Performing the Sacra: Priestly Roles and Their Organisation in Roman Britain
Alessandra Esposito

‘Performing the Sacra: Priestly roles and their organisation in Roman Britain'addresses a range of cultural responses to the Roman conquest of Britain with regard to priestly roles. The approach is based on current theoretical trends focussing on dynamics of adaptation, multiculturalism, and appropriation and discarding a sharp distinction between local and Roman cults. The perspective is shifted from a centre-periphery model towards a spectrum of cultural responses. The book investigates a wide range of published and unpublished evidence to examine three main themes: a model of priesthood organisation, the embodiment of priestly authorities in a provincial environment, and how the different depositional contexts of priestly regalia contribute to our understanding of these roles. Previous accounts of this type of evidence from Britain has often linked the objects to local cults, for being somehow specific to the province. This was based on a limited search for comparisons among the evidence from other areas of the Roman world, both in terms of the individual objects and of the overall priestly organisation. Here, a methodical investigation of objects identifiable as priestly regalia and ceremonial tools was integrated into an assessment of historical, epigraphic, and iconographic sources. Mapped via the creation of a Geographic Information System and highlighting regional distributions, this work contributes to our understanding of the fluid provincial culture behind the religious organisation of the ritual landscape of Britain.

Archaeopress Archaeology
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