INTER-CULT: Cultic honours and divinisation in the Hellenistic Eastern Mediterranean – New voices for interdisciplinary collaboration

UNIL principal investigator

Dr Giuseppina Lenzo, Faculty of Arts

UNIPD principal investigator

Prof. Stefano G. Caneva, DBC


Joint seminar / conference involving early-stage researchers


A one-day conference organised in Lausanne will be followed by an online seminar and the publication of a co-edited volume. The papers presented in Lausanne will bring together three research approaches of high relevance for the study of cultures and societies in the Ancient Mediterranean world:

  1. interactions between political and religious ideas/practices in the (self-)representation and legitimation of personal power;
  2. developments in the rituals and representations concerning the relationship between humans and the divine sphere, in particular with regard to the possibility that human beings are honoured as, and/or believed to become gods/heroes (during their life or posthumously);
  3. cultural contacts and transfers in the Hellenistic Eastern Mediterranean area: the Greek world, Egypt, and the Near East.

The topics tackled by the project are under the spotlight of current scholarship about the history of the Ancient Mediterranean world. Moreover, they have a remarkable importance in the debate about contemporary societies as well. The interaction between politics and religion will be tackled with the dual focus of exploring regional characteristics on the one hand and, on the other hand, their contacts and mutual influences. This interdisciplinary approach shall encourage established and young scholars to experiment with new forms of collaborative work as the studied trends can only be fully understood beyond a still common scientific separation between different ‘civilisations’.


The one-day conference will be organised in Lausanne in autumn 2022, followed by an online seminar (until autumn 2023) and the publication of a co-edited volume. The joint conference will gather a few established scholars together with young researchers, PhD students and talented postgraduates from the Universities of Lausanne and Padova and from the international networks already established by the applicants.

After the event, the applicants will co-edit a volume collecting the papers presented at Lausanne and other contributions that will be gathered via an international call for papers especially addressed to young researchers. These extra-papers will become the object of an online seminar that will last about one year after the Lausanne conference.

Potential for follow-up activities

  • Establishment of a broader research group with more participants, both from Lausanne and Padova and from outside
  • Launch of an international network for the study of the relationship between human power and deification in the Ancient Mediterranean
  • Organisation of a second joint conference in Lausanne or Padova, with old and new collaborators
  • Recruitment of a group of postgraduates, PhD students, young researchers interested in starting a MA, PhD, or research project in Lausanne or Padova (or a third venue, if applicable) on one of the topics related to INTER-CULT


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