Sailing with the Gods: Religion and Maritime Mobility in the Ancient World

CONFERENCE DETAILS

Dates June 17-21, 2020
Location Floriana, Malta
Accommodations

Grand Hotel Excelsior
$___/night

Contact

John Black jblack2@emory.edu 404-727-2904

 

Conference Registration TBA

Ritual practices dedicated to maritime success appear across a wide span of human cultural history, from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, Southeast Asia across the Pacific to the west coast of the Americas. Culturally-constructed seafaring rituals could be seen as spiritual or superstitious, and respond to the combination of risk and profit endemic in even short voyages by water.

Maritime religion infuses all water-borne contact across cultural boundaries; the crafts of those who build rafts, canoes, and sailing vessels; navigational skills which may reach back to ancestors who have faded into cultural legend; and myriad mnemonic and naming strategies extending to littoral markers and celestial patterns.

Mythic and ritual responses are accordingly complex, ranging from apotropaia to the divine authorization of civic structures, shipboard shrines and functional epithets which could link divinities, heroes and nearly-deified rulers to the control of the waves and winds.

Studies of religion and maritime mobility are often framed within individual cultural contexts, but this international conference seeks to bring together scholars from across a range of disciplines and historical periods, from prehistoric to the seventh century CE, to address critical questions in method and theory relevant to religion in the context of maritime mobility.