Skip to main content


Professor Barbara Borg (University of Exeter), ‘Straddling borderlines: divine associations in funerary commemoration’

Seminar by Prof Barbara Borg for Classics and Ancient History

This paper contributes to a longstanding and controversial debate around portraits in divine costume. It aims to disentangle various aspects of divine associations such as metaphorical (verbal or visual) panegyric, a hierarchy of honours, as well as different degrees and kinds of divinity, immortality. I take issue with some prevailing views in classical archaeology: that divine associations are primarily a matter for the freedmen class; or that they must be either mere visual rhetorical panegyric (majority view) or else an indication of apotheosis (normally not further explained). Taking into account a range of different sources including archaeological, epigraphic, and literary, I argue that they rather beg the question of what divinity is, for the Romans, and why it was desirable.

Event details


Streatham Court 0.28