Project presented at key conferences in Vienna and Paris

Principal Investigator, Bryan Ward-Perkins, recently took part in two conferences (one in Vienna and one in Paris) at which he presented aspects of the Cult of Saints project.  The Vienna conference, held on 11-13 December 2014, was around the theme of ‘Linking the Mediterranean’ within the period 300-800 CE, and he opened the conference with a key-note lecture entitled ‘Did saints link the post-Roman world?’.  In this lecture he stressed that, while some saints successfully straddled wide geographical areas, the sphere of influence of most saints was purely local, or regional at best.  He also pointed out that the successful movement of saints was primarily from East to West and South to North, very seldom in the opposite directions.

At the Paris conference, on ‘Approches topographiques du fait religieux’ (which examined the topography of religious practice from archaic times to Late Antiquity), he outlined how the Cult of Saints database, currently under construction, will allow scholars and the interested public to track the spread of saints’ cults throughout the Christian world, including into regions that are sometimes wrongly considered peripheral by western scholarship.  He also explored some of the problems in defining ‘cult’ and in differentiating it from what might be termed ‘encyclopaedic’ interest in the saints of other regions.’