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City-Founding Rites and City-Protecting Deities as Roman Discourses of Urban

Lecture 3/4 in the series "Roman Religion Through an Urban Lens" by UrbNet visiting professor Jörg Rüpke (Max-Weber-Kolleg, Universität Erfurt)

Info about event


Tuesday 7 November 2023,  at 12:00 - 13:00


Centre for Urban Network Evolutions, Aarhus University, Moesgård Allé 20, 8270 Højbjerg, Denmark (Building 4230-232)


Centre for Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet)

City-founding Rites and City-protecting Deities as Roman Discourses of Urban, lecture 3/4 in the series Roman Religion Through an Urban Lens. 
Jörg Rüpke 
(Max-Weber-Kolleg, Universität Erfurt). 

Among the social spatial constructs that can be summarised with the term “city” and fruitfully compared with each other in the most diverse disciplines, are two motifs that are reflected in diverse practices and discourses. One is the projection into the used and imagined space of a principled distinction between city and non-city. In the city wall, this demarcation finds its most important iconographic sign, irrespective of what purpose such walls might have served. The second motif, focused upon in this lecture, concerns the drawing of boundaries in time, typically the narrative of a city foundation, whether by deed or ritual act. Undoubtedly, cities often serve domination purposes, the domination of a compound or a territory. Accordingly, they are founded or transplanted as such instruments of domination. This need not always be a mere disambiguation of the status of a gradually growing settlement. But even where it is indeed a complete refoundation, the presence of the act of founding in the subsequent period, the visibility of the deed, the memory of the act and its actors seem to be of great importance. Frequently, however, it is by looking back, by projecting a fictious foundation event as status marker in a developed discourse of urbanity, that foundation narratives come about.