Bergen workshop 2022

Religious Networks in Antiquity

A topical workshop in The Connected Past series of events


University of Bergen, Department for the Archaeology, History, Cultural Studies and Religion


7 – 8 June 2022

The Religious Networks in Antiquity is a two-day topical workshop in The Connected Past series of events. The workshop is funded by Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Actions and jointly organized by Francesca Mazzilli, Tomas Glomb, and The Connected Past. It brings together researchers studying religious traditions from antiquity using network perspectives. The aim of the workshop is to promote the connection between the network approaches and the study of religions. We believe that it is a growing and promising conceptual and methodological synthesis that is still, nevertheless, underrepresented in the academic debate on historical topics and at international conferences. Our speakers will discuss one or more of the following research focus:

  • the conceptual and methodological benefits as well as issues of the network approach in religious studies. 
  • case studies of ancient religious networks and the latest formal applications of network theory in this field.
  • methodology-centred debates.

The papers presented in this workshop will be dealing with networks in religion in antiquity and its research issues without specific restrictions in terms of geographical framework. The flow of past religious interactions is often inaccessible to direct measurement and the edges and attributes of ancient religious networks are typically not specifically religious but might simply represent, for example, distances between archaeological evidence or connections within a group of people. For these reasons, the papers will be covering topics involving varying types of networks (e.g. social, spatial, textual), often entangled with each other and different scales (e.g. group-level, micro-regional, regional, macro-historical). Since past religious networks were also significantly affected by the surrounding political, economical, geographical, and cultural contexts, we will discuss the use of a wide range of data and proxies reflecting these factors. We believe that this workshop will be a fruitful platform not only for potential future collaborations but also for sharing methods and data.


Francesca Mazzilli

PI in the Regional Religious Networks in the Roman Empire (RENE; 2020-2022) Marie-Sklodowska-Curie-IF-project. It investigates the diffusion of religious traditions and architectural style in rural and urban cult sites in relation to the regional mobility of elite and interactions between rural and urban communities at the edge of the Roman Empire (the Hauran, Southern Syria, and Lusitania, roughly Portugal and the western part of Spain) through social network analysis and spatial analysis.

Tomáš Glomb

PI in the Favorable Conditions of the Spread of the Cult of Asclepius across the Transportation Network of the Roman Mediterranean: A Quantitative Evaluation (ASCNET; 2020-2022) Marie-Sklodowska-Curie-IF-project. The research of this project applies methods of formalized modeling to explore how the Roman army and infectious diseases in the era of the Roman Empire could have contributed to the spread of the cult of Asclepius.

List of confirmed speakers and projects:

  • Anna Collar, University of Southampton
  • Tom Brughmans, Aarhus University
  • Rubina Raja, Aarhus University
  • Raffaella da Vela, University of Tübingen
  • Katherine Crawford, The Cyprus Institute
  • Francesca Fulminante, Bristol University, University Roma Tre
  • Eivind Seland, University of Bergen
  • Francesca Mazzilli, University of Bergen
  • Tomas Glomb, University of Bergen
  • Anna Danilova, University of Bergen
  • Adam Schor, University of South Carolina
  • Jessica Munson, Lycoming College
  • Sandra Blakely, Emory University
  • Centre for the Digital Research of Religion (CEDRR), Masaryk University
  • Mapping Ancient Polytheisms. Cult Epithets as an Interface between Religious Systems and Human Agency project (MAP), University Toulouse
  • Social Dynamics in the Ancient Mediterranean project (SDAM), Aarhus University