Asset Publisher

Fellow Bendlin, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Andreas

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Andreas Bendlin


Department of Classics,
University of Toronto,
125 Queen’s Park, Room 115,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2C7


The project reconstructs the religious lives of migrants in the city of Rome, contextualizing them within the socio-political, economic and demographic determinants of city life. Studying the religious affiliations of migrants can provide an insight into how societal ties were shaped and affiliations modified, and how religious identities took shape. First, the project investigates the pragmatics and the materiality of the religious activities of migrants. Second, it reconstructs the semantics they deployed to validate (or invalidate) the religious choices they were making (or choosing not to make) – semantics that ranged from imitation and accommodation to rejection of locally available choices and outright conflict. Third, it enriches current debates through new hypotheses concerning the nature and development of religious pluralism in Roman antiquity.

Although it has been observed that the Roman Empire’s expansion and the adoption of new deities and cults into Rome's pantheon necessitated the constant redefinition of the Roman locality’s cultural and religious identity, the demographic reality of mass migration and the social consequences of socio-economic and ethnical diversity seriously undermine any postulated link between religion and locality as the expression of a straightforward and uncontested "Roman" identity. Imperial Rome, a densely populated metropolis with highly mobile ethnic, cultural and social networks, becomes a laboratory where religion can be studied as a conduit for the many (trans-) Mediterranean flows of religious ideas, ritual practices and deities through network ties that undercut 'national' or cultural boundaries. They call into question all essentialist definitions of what religion in the city of Rome meant.

This project collects, analyzes, and reassesses the available data pertaining to ethnic networks in Rome. In particular, I focus on the various groups of Eastern immigrants to Rome; the Judean diaspora community; the Christ-followers; and their religious functionaries. I apply recent research on diasporic religion, which suggests that immigrants develop plural religious identities and networks of relationships that are conceptually grounded in their places of origin and in their new localities; they become "trans-migrants". The need to negotiate plural identities usually results in various degrees of accommodation and religious hybridization, which become the sources of religious change through diffusion in shared local networks.

Curriculum Vitae

2014 –  present

Area Editor 'Roman Religion', The Oxford Classical Dictionary (fifth edition)

2013 –  present

Member of Editorial Board, Journal of Cognitive Historiography (

2012 –  present Member of Editorial Board, Entangled Religions (
2010 –  present Associate Professor, Classics, Toronto
2006 –  present Associate Editor, Roman History and Religion, Phoenix: Journal of the Classical Association of Canada
2006 –  present Co-editor, 'Forschungsbericht Römische Religion', Archiv für Religionsgeschichte
2014 Research Fellowship Jerusalem
2013 Research Fellowship Konstanz
2010 Research Fellowship Bochum
2005 –  2010 Assistant Professor, Classics, Toronto
2005 Habilitation Erfurt (Antike Religionsgeschichte)
1999 –  2005 Wiss. Assistent, Religionswissenschaft, Erfurt
1999 –  2003 Area Editor 'Greek and Roman Religion', Der Neue Pauly / Brill's New Pauly
1996 –  1999 Junior Research Fellow, Oxford,
1998 D.Phil. Oxford (Ancient History)
1994 M.A. Tübingen (Greek and Latin Philology)


forthcoming Religion, Rome, and Italy: the 'Bacchanalian affair' of 186 BCE revisited.

"'Sodalician associations'? Dig. 47.22.1 pr. and imperial government", in: R. Ascough et al. (Eds.), Scribal Practices and Social Structures Among Jesus’ Adherents: Essays in Honour of John S. Kloppenborg, Leuven (2016), vol. 2, 435–464.


"The urban sacred landscape", in: P. Erdkamp (Eds.), A Companion to Ancient Rome. Cambridge / New York (2013), 459–477.


"Religion at Rome", in: M. Gibbs et al. (Eds.), Themes in Roman society. Oxford / New York / Toronto (2013), 191-218.


"On the uses and disadvantages of divination: oracles and their literary representations in the time of the Second Sophistic", in: J. A. North, S. R. F. Price (Eds.): The religious history of the Roman empire: pagans, Jews, and Christians, Oxford (2011), 175–250.


"Associations, funerals, sociality, and Roman law: the collegium of Diana and Antinous in Lanuvium (CIL 14.2112) reconsidered", in: M. Öhler (Eds.): Aposteldekret und antikes Vereinswesen: Gemeinschaft und ihre Ordnung (WUNT I 280), Tübingen (2011), 207–296.