7 December 2020 Start
7 December 2020 End
5pm-6pm (UK Time/GMT) Time
online seminar


The gods at home: Cult images in context in the Roman Empire

Monday, December 7, 2020

The Gods At Home: Cult Images In Context In The Roman Empire – A Seminar By Dr Philip Kiernan – Online – Monday 7th December 5pm-6pm (UK Time/GMT)

Everyone is welcome at this online seminar, which will take place on Monday 7th December 2020, 5pm – 6pm (UK time/GMT).

Register via Eventbrite to receive further details and joining instructions.

We will be pre-circulating a video recording in the week before the seminar, which will form the starting point of our group discussion, led by Dr Philip Kiernan.


The role of images in Roman religion is often ignored and underestimated, but the Romans saw and encountered the gods in a very real way in the cult images (“idols”) housed in their temples. This seminar visits the gods in their very homes – the temples that housed them. Rare temple sites with evidence for cult image placement in Rome’s western provinces show how temples were built specifically for the cult image and were designed to accommodate diverse interactions between the cult images and worshippers. Small finds recovered in these temples correspond to the very sorts of interactions with cult images that are described in Roman textual sources. Both the built environment and the nature of human interactions with Roman cult images illustrate how they retained a sense of agency amongst their worshippers, and enabled communication with the divine.