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In the Footsteps of the Gods: the use of computational methods to explore the role of mobility in the religious landscape of 2nd century AD Ostia

In the Footsteps of the Gods: the use of computational methods to explore the role of mobility in the religious landscape of 2nd century AD Ostia
In the Footsteps of the Gods: the use of computational methods to explore the role of mobility in the religious landscape of 2nd century AD Ostia
This thesis assesses how temples contributed to the religious landscape of Ostia, Rome’s ancient port, through the practice of processional rituals. A novel computational approach is developed for the study of ritual movement that combines space syntax, urban network analysis, and agent-based modelling to evaluate where processional routes may have travelled within Ostia’s urban landscape. The modelling and visualisation of hypothetical processional routes, associated with specific temples, provides a heuristic approach for looking at how temples structured individual rituals and their wider cultic impact upon the surrounding cityscape. The quantity of evidence relating to Ostian religion presents an ideal opportunity to consider how religious and ritual practices extended beyond temple precincts to impact the wider cityscape.

Processional routes are explored within the 2nd century AD city as one way to study the role that temples played in structuring religious landscapes. While scholars acknowledge the regularity of processional activity, studies have traditionally focused upon major processions, such as the Roman triumph, rather than considering the wider occurrence of religious processions within urban contexts. The nuances of how a procession traversed a city’s streets and its urban impact are not easily revealed due to the paucity of information from ancient literary sources and their near invisibility within the archaeological record. In terms of Ostia, processions are assumed to have occurred but no attempts have been made to assess their contribution to Ostia’s religious environment. This thesis aims to address this gap in both processional scholarship and approaches to religious landscapes more broadly by developing a new method that questions how urban architecture and social activity helped to structure ritual movement within the city of Ostia. Three case studies are used to illustrate how processional movement created a complex ritual environment: the Campo della Magna Mater, the Serapeum, and the forum temples. It will be argued that the analysis of these routes contributes new understanding into how the urban community of Ostia interacted with these temples through virtue of their rituals.
University of Southampton
Crawford, Katherine Ann
df1e0dd4-e7f4-43fc-b9b3-c4b94f48d10f
Crawford, Katherine Ann
df1e0dd4-e7f4-43fc-b9b3-c4b94f48d10f
Keay, Simon
52b4cdfd-fc5e-4fa0-bd3e-8dd896624f41
Mladenovic, Dragana Ehrismann
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Crawford, Katherine Ann (2018) In the Footsteps of the Gods: the use of computational methods to explore the role of mobility in the religious landscape of 2nd century AD Ostia. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 691pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis assesses how temples contributed to the religious landscape of Ostia, Rome’s ancient port, through the practice of processional rituals. A novel computational approach is developed for the study of ritual movement that combines space syntax, urban network analysis, and agent-based modelling to evaluate where processional routes may have travelled within Ostia’s urban landscape. The modelling and visualisation of hypothetical processional routes, associated with specific temples, provides a heuristic approach for looking at how temples structured individual rituals and their wider cultic impact upon the surrounding cityscape. The quantity of evidence relating to Ostian religion presents an ideal opportunity to consider how religious and ritual practices extended beyond temple precincts to impact the wider cityscape.

Processional routes are explored within the 2nd century AD city as one way to study the role that temples played in structuring religious landscapes. While scholars acknowledge the regularity of processional activity, studies have traditionally focused upon major processions, such as the Roman triumph, rather than considering the wider occurrence of religious processions within urban contexts. The nuances of how a procession traversed a city’s streets and its urban impact are not easily revealed due to the paucity of information from ancient literary sources and their near invisibility within the archaeological record. In terms of Ostia, processions are assumed to have occurred but no attempts have been made to assess their contribution to Ostia’s religious environment. This thesis aims to address this gap in both processional scholarship and approaches to religious landscapes more broadly by developing a new method that questions how urban architecture and social activity helped to structure ritual movement within the city of Ostia. Three case studies are used to illustrate how processional movement created a complex ritual environment: the Campo della Magna Mater, the Serapeum, and the forum temples. It will be argued that the analysis of these routes contributes new understanding into how the urban community of Ostia interacted with these temples through virtue of their rituals.

Text
Crawford 2018, In the Footsteps of the Gods: Volume 1 - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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Text
Crawford 2018, In the Footsteps of the Gods: Volume 2 - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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More information

Published date: November 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 428634
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/428634
PURE UUID: 5d03d240-3109-41ed-a406-cdc19f71d214

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 05 Mar 2019 17:30
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 17:31

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Contributors

Author: Katherine Ann Crawford
Thesis advisor: Simon Keay

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