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CALL. 15.05.2020: The Roman Censorship - Oxford (England)




LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Ioannou Centre, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford (Oxford, England)




Over half a century has passed since the publication of Jaakko Suolahti’s The Roman Censors: A Study on Social Structure. But much more remains to be said about position, the ‘social structure’, of censors across Roman society. Censors, elected (give or take) every five years, attaining ‘a pinnacle higher than any other honour’ (Plut. Cat. Mai. 16.1), were infrequently but regularly at the heart of the establishment and concretization of Rome’s social order. The very fabric of the city of Rome was altered whenever censors were elected. The variety of responsibilities leads to an enormous variety of possible approaches to the magistracy, which highlights the need not only for further research on each magistracy, but also the need for scholars to collaborate and share their methodologies and approaches.

This conference encourages submissions from scholars and graduate students from a range of backgrounds. Papers need not be on constitutional matters, though historians of the Roman constitutional are of course welcome, but on the broader social and economic problems associated with the censorship and the institutions over which it had control. Broader studies on censorial building programmes, the lustrum, the lectio senatus, censors’ apparitores, and so on are encouraged. Papers may include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • The evolution of the role and responsibilities of the censorship, with particular focus on the impact of individuals and wider political developments

  • The economic role of the censorship

  • The topography and archaeology of censorial construction projects

  • The relationship between censors and other magistrates, including their colleagues in office

  • The question of ‘morality’ in republican thought

  • The irregularity of the censorship in the late republic

  • The political, philosophical, or literary reception of the censorship from Augustus into later antiquity

We are delighted to announce that Assistant Professor Seth Bernard from the University of Toronto will deliver the keynote paper: ‘The Curious Censorial cura urbis’.

The conference is due to be held on the 17th October 2020 at the Ioannou Centre, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford and will be fully accessible (please contact us if you have any specific needs). The deadline for abstract submissions is 15th May 2020 and acceptances will be communicated before 1st June 2020. Please send a title and abstract of 300 words to, along with your name and institutional affiliation. Papers will be 20 minutes long, with 10 minutes for discussion.

We regret that we cannot provide financial or organizational assistance with accommodation and travel arrangements (we may be able to assist students who are unable to secure funding from their home institutions at a later date). Attendance at the conference will be free.

Please contact any of the organizing committee for further information:

Alex Antoniou –

Tim Smith –

Kimberley Webb –

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