Symposium Peregrinum 2016, Tarquinia

Thursday, June 16—Sunday, June 19, 2016

Research on Mithras, Cybele, Isis, Serapis and other foreign gods within the Roman world is still ongoing and necessary. We barely know how these cults were shaped, what their aims were, how and why they firmly took roots in the Roman world. Formerly known as “Oriental cults” or “Mystery cults”, they could more appropriately be identified as “foreign cults”, which was a Roman concept, and which allows a broader approach to the problem. Starting from the 3rd century BC “foreign” referred to all of Italy, and no longer merely to the area outside Rome, as we learn from the repression of foreign elements of the Bacchanalia, which affected the whole of Italy.

The occasion for a new conference on this topic arises from the recent discovery of new monuments of Mithras in Tarquinia,Veii, Rome and Ostia, which could allow new research on Italian Mithraism.  Old and new discoveries of temples to Cybele could give impulse, moreover, to research the cultic connections with Isis or Mithras (see, for example, the cases of Ostia and Mainz). Interactions between other oriental cults are also rarely studied, or are their relations with the imperial ideology or specific interactions between foreign cults and Christianity.  We will also welcome discussions of a better definition of the relationships between what was mysteric and what was not.

We hereby invite proposals for panels and individual papers on these and related topics. They should be submitted to Patricia A. Johnston ( no later than March 1, 2016. All paper proposals will be peer-reviewed, and the decisions will be communicated by March 15, 2016. Panel session proposals will be reviewed as soon as they are received, and these proposers will receive notification within 30 days.  Abstracts (written in English) for individual papers should not exceed 400 words; abstracts for panels should not exceed 600 words. Presentations should be in English. If that is not possible, ample materials should be distributed to all attendees to facilitate discussion after each talk.

The conference organizers are: Attilio Mastrocinque (Università di Verona) (, Lászlo Tákács (Péter Pázmány Catholic University, Budapest) (, and Patricia A. Johnston (Brandeis University, Waltham, MA) (  See Call for Papers Symposium Peregrinum 2016 for registration materials and further information.