"Pardon the Lack of Eloquence:" The Creation of New Ritual Traditions from Imperial Contact in Roman Gaul
AuthorColeman, Matthew Casey
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis dissertation analyzes the means by which ritual traditions changed and spread throughout the Roman provinces in Gaul in the first two centuries CE. While numerous scholars have studied ritual shifts in Roman Gaul with a focus on material culture and imagery, this has not been accompanied by a focus on the negotiations involving the non-elite. By including non-elite Gauls in the analysis, my research creates a full picture of religious change that traces how the traditions evolved and how these adaptations spread across the region. This project argues that ritual sites, practices of ritual deposition, monuments depicting the gods, burial traditions, burial stelae, and some commercial production were all part of the cultural negotiation regarding ritual among Gauls of various levels in the social hierarchy. Communication of these cultural negotiations was transmitted along the trade and pilgrimage travel routes in Gaul, including both roads and rivers. Numerous individuals used these routes and discussed their own ideas and learned about other views of the gods on their journeys. As these ideas spread, they gradually standardized. This regional study, that covers a broad periodization, states that the provinces of Gaul adopted Roman ritual imports into their religion through a nuanced series of local cultural negotiations that were still part of a regional network connected by travel routes. This process takes into account communal choices in regional changes. By broadening the focus of the study of provincial societies, this dissertation shows that the changes brought into new areas by the Romans created a complex network of negotiation, which crossed social hierarchies and geographical boundaries.
Degree ProgramGraduate College