In Kooperation mit der Universität Leiden, Faculty of Archaeology und dem Deutschen Archäologischen Institut (DAI), Abteilung Rom
The concept of “The invention of tradition” was formulated 30 years ago in the now famous book edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger and is still highly influential. Taking stock of its current (theoretical) understandings and focusing on the Roman world, this workshop aims to explore the concept as a means to understand processes of cultural change in the Roman West in particular. Four case studies from different periods and regions around the world will open the discussion and serve as theoretical introductions to analyze how “the invention of tradition” works as a cultural process. On the basis of rich archaeological and literary evidence, the program will zoom in on the Roman oikumene subsequently. Three lectures will provide an overview of how processes of “inventing traditions” were played out in the Roman present with regard to the Greek, Near Eastern and Egyptian pasts. This will set the scene for the final group of five lectures that will explore difficult and important questions about the indigenous pasts in the “Roman” present in Northwestern Europe. Why were some traditions forgotten, others invented and some (just) continuing?