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Beate Dignas

Barbara Craig Fellow & Tutor in Ancient History (Somerville); Associate Professor in Ancient History
Staatsexamen Münster, MA DPhil Oxf
Faculty of Classics

Dr Beate Dignas (Fellow and Tutor in Ancient History)

My broad interests are in Greek History and Religion, especially late Classical and Hellenistic, as well as in the cultures and history of ancient Anatolia. More specifically, I focus on the Hellenistic Period, especially priesthood and the link between ethnic and religious identities.

I am currently engaged in a study of the religious landscape and cultural identity of pre-Attalid Pergamon. Stemming from articles on the religious identity of Attalid Pergamon this is evolving into a long-term research project with regular research output of article length but also ultimately a monograph that will bring together much interdisciplinary research and, I think, will be of interest to a wide scholarly community. At present I am investigating the genesis of the cult of Dionysus in Mysia as well as the possible identification/ association of the Attalid hero Telephos with the Hittite divinity/ ruler Telepinu.

I am also beginning work on a comprehensive study on ‘Satyrs in the Hellenistic World’, trying to approach the phenomenon of the satyr in visual and textual culture not from an art-historical but cultural perspective. Apart from looking at the religious dimension and investigating the role of the satyr in Dionysiac worship the study will relate the figure of the satyr to the expressions and responses of Hellenistic societies, both local and transregional.

Main publications:

  • Economy of the Sacred in Hellenistic and Roman Asia Minor’ (Oxford University Press 2002)
  • Rome and Persia in Late Antiquity’ (together with E. Winter, Cambridge University Press 2007; repr. 2008; Persian translation 2008)
  • Practitioners of the Divine: Greek Priests and Religious Officials from Homer to Heliodorus’ (edited together with K. Trampedach, Harvard University Press 2008)
  • Creating the Past, Controlling the Present: Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World’ (edited together with R.R.R. Smith, Oxford University Press 2012)
  • Priests and Prophets among Pagans, Jews and Christians (edited together with R.C.T. Parker and G.G. Stroumsa, Peeters 2013)

Academic Biography:

  • M.St. in Greek and Roman History (1992), Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford
  • Staatsexamen in History and Greek and Latin Language and Literature (1994 and 1995), Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany
  • D.Phil. in Ancient History (1998), Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford
  • Assistant Professor in the Departments of History and Classics, University of Michigan/ USA (1999-2005)
  • Tutorial Fellow in Ancient History and University Lecturer, Somerville College; Lecturer in Ancient History, Trinity College, Oxford (2006-)

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