Thomas Rust, assistant professor of history at Montana State University, Billings, will address the topic, “Mother Goddesses of Lower Germany and Roman Britain” at noon, Wednesday, April 30 in the Foley Center Teleconference Room at Gonzaga University.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is part of a series of archaeology lectures organized by Andrew Goldman, assistant professor of history at Gonzaga.
The traditional view of Roman imperial presence in the northwestern part of the Roman Empire has centered on the concept of Romanization in which the indigenous people simply adopted Roman cultural characteristics.
Rust notes that recent research, however, has begun to challenge this unilateral approach to cultural accommodation, recognizing a nuanced and bi-directional interaction that was more complex than scholars had originally thought. This study examines the cultural interactions during the Roman era in Germany and Britain by focusing on the pre-Roman cult of the “Mother Goddesses,” also known as Matronae or Matres. Unlike the blending (interpretatio) of indigenous gods with
Greco-Roman gods, the Mother Goddesses remain distinctly separate but worshiped in new ways.
Examining the votive dedications through literary, artistic and geospatial analysis reveals that cultural accommodation was more self-assured and nuanced than what was expected in these regions after conquest. During the Roman Era, indigenous Mother Goddess votaries produced several Roman elements in form, style and substance while maintaining the distinctiveness of the pre-Roman cult.
Roman administrators from the Mediterranean and their families, particularly women, were counted among a significant number of the Mother Goddess devotees indicating that cultural accommodation in these provinces was neither unilateral nor limited to cities or administrative centers.
The lecture series is sponsored by the GU history department and classical civilizations department. Since 2004, Goldman has invited a number of prominent local and national scholars to speak on topics of ancient history and culture, historical events, and recent archaeological discoveries in the Near East and the Mediterranean world.
For more information, contact Goldman by telephone at (509) 323-6691 or by e-mail.