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Project D1

The Heroic in Intercultural and Political Relations of the Imperial Roman World up to the 7th Century


Prof. Dr. Peter Eich
Prof. Dr. Ralf von den Hoff
Prof. Dr. Sitta von Reden
Dr. Jens-Arne Dickmann
Sebastian Bauer
Matthias Bensch

Department of Ancient History
Department of Archaeological Sciences

In A cooperation withcollaboration between the Departments of Ancient History and Classical Archeology, this project researches how the effect of mythological heroes (héros), non-mythological heroes and heroization took effect in visual and textual media in the Roman Empire (Imperium Romanum) and the kingdoms of the post-Roman world between the 1stst century BCE and the 6thth to and 7thth centuries CE. At the center of this research It focuses onis the question of foundational cohesion, identity construction and conflict escalation in the changing political atmosphere of a roughly held-together Roman Empire that was loosely held together in regard to the attraction of the heroic, as well as the hero and ruler figures allowing forbehind the construction of “political myths.”

This project is further divided into three sub-projects. The Classical Archeology team is devoted to the topic project “Aeneas, Romulus und der Princeps. Modellierungen heroischer Figuren im Imperium Romanum zwischen Augustus und der Spätantike” (“Aeneas, Romulus, and the Princeps: Models of heroic Heroic figures Figures in the Roman Empire from Augustus to late Late antiquityAntiquity”). Alongside other research goals, Matthias Bensch’s dissertation project, for example, looks intoinvestigates the role of visual elements in the reciprocal heroizations of the founding heroes of Rome and that of the Princeps in both Rome and the provinces during the transition to the Principate of from the late 1stst century BCE and to the 4thth century CE. This timeframe overlaps with sub-project B, in which Sebastian Bauer (Ancient History) is researching the pattern of heroic elements in Greek identity constructs during Roman rule from the 1stst to the 3rdrd century on the basis ofusing the Greek-Roman Parallelviten of Plutarch and epigraphic documentation of Greek cities as a basis. This dissertation project is titled “Vom Heros zum Held. Transformationen des Heroischen in griechischen Städten unter römischer Herrschaft” (“From mythological Mythological hero Hero to heroNon-Mythological Hero: Transformations of the heroic Heroic in Greek cities Cities under Roman ruleRule”). In his planned book, “Heroisierungen in Zeiten der Orientierungslosigkeit. Umschreibungen monarchischer Rollen in der nachjustinianischen Mittelmeerwelt” (“Heroization in the time Time of disorientationDisorientation: Understanding monarchical Monarchical roles Roles in the postPost-Justinian Mediterranean”), project leader Peter Eich will research the emperor Emperor and West European monarchs in a somewhat later transformation period in the Mediterranean, a region strongly culturally influenced by Rome, in a somewhat later transformation period. His research will focus on the conception of a new type of heroic monarchy, with its roots in Christian rule, which that developed in the 6thth and 7thth centuries. Through the analysis of historiography, poetry and epistolography, this sub-project strives for to provide a further better understanding of the conceptualization ofhow rulers were conceived in areas that were culturally related to one another yet but with varying different political histories (Byzantine Empire, Italy, Gaul, Iberian Peninsula). Additionally, tThis project will produce also result in a report presenting that presents a long-term perspective of on the conceptions ofhow heroes are conceived and their transformationstransformed in the a transcultural study of the Roman Empire.