For a Prosopography of Athenian Priests and Priestesses in the Imperial Age: Preliminary Notes
This paper offers an overview of an ongoing research project on priesthoods in Roman Athens, whose first purpose is to realise a prosopography of the Athenian cult personnel during the Roman imperial period (c. 27 BC-267 AD). Despite a growing interest in the last years on the social aspects of Greek (and Roman) religion and specifically on priesthoods as is also shown by the publication of several collective volumes on the latter subject, systematic investigations on the cult personnel of single poleis are still lacking. As regards Athens, in particular, while there are studies on specific priesthoods such as the Eleusinian priesthoods or the priests of Asklepios, to date there is no comprehensive investigation on the Athenian cult personnel. Furthermore, while different aspects connected with priesthood have been studied for Classical and Hellenistic Athens, the Roman imperial period has been left largely ‘in the shadows’. Having this in mind, I have begun a research on Athenian cult personnel during the Roman imperial period. Since any such investigation must be based on a systematic collection of the epigraphic evidence on the individual holders of the different priesthoods, my first aim is to realise a prosopography of all religious functionaries, both male and female, of Athenian cults (that is to say of cults performed in Athens) from Augustus up to the 3rd c. AD (ca. AD 267). The prosopography is to be followed in due time by a synthesis on the religious, social, and cultural aspects of priesthood in Roman Athens. The prosopographic catalogue, collecting the relevant epigraphic and literary testimonies, will provide for each priest the main data (name, chronology, status, other charges, bibliography) and a thorough commentary on his family relations and on his priestly activity and public career.