Call for Papers
“The Flavian Empire”
International conference at Maynooth University, Republic of Ireland, 18th – 19th June 2020

Invited speakers: Prof. Bruce Gibson (Liverpool) and Dr. Claire Stocks (Newcastle)
Deadline for submissions: 5pm GMT on 29th February 2020
In recent years, work on the Flavian dynasty has proliferated substantially. However, not enough consideration has been devoted to the relationship between the dynasty itself and the wider world which it governed. This is surprising considering the nature of Flavian rule: the dynasty rose to power from the Eastern provinces, the Flavian period saw numerous innovations in provincial administration, and a great deal of Flavian political communication centres on the exploits of the dynasts in provincial and overseas settings. In particular, Roman literature from and about the Flavian period engages deeply with themes related to empire, and with the wider world: Pliny the Elder’s encyclopaedia provides a catalogue of empire; Silius restages a key moment the history of Rome’s imperial expansion; Valerius Flaccus’ short epic engages with themes relating to the exploration and taming of wild foreign spaces; the empire writes back in the prolific works of Flavius Josephus; Tacitus’ Agricola examines imperial expansion and provincial administration in Flavian Britain; Martial celebrates the imperial dimensions of Flavian spectacle in the amphitheatre. The aim of this conference is to bring the Flavian empire into the heart of the conversation about Flavian Rome, both by examining the discourses of empire in evidence (in literary and other sources) at Rome itself, and by looking at how individuals and communities in the provinces received and responded to Flavian messaging about empire.
Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:

  • How themes of expansion, conquest, subjugation, enslavement, mastery, exploration, ethnography and the Roman or Flavian imperial destiny are treated in Flavian literature.
  • How artistic, architectural, numismatic and epigraphic sources relate to these themes.
  • How provincial art and literature adopts, adapts and responds to Flavian discourses of empire.
  • What Flavian administrative innovations (such as Vespasian’s municipalisation of the Spanish provinces, the absorption of allied kingdoms into provinces, or Domitian’s reorganisation of the northern frontier) might suggest about Flavian imperial priorities and ideologies.
  • How the dynasty’s foreign and provincial successes are represented and communicated, at Rome and elsewhere. 

Those interested in participating should send an abstract of up to 500 words for a 30-minute paper to, no later than 29th February 2020. Confirmations of acceptance will be sent out by the end of March.
There will be a charge of €50 per participant, to cover catering and venue hire. Accommodation on campus at discounted rates will be available for delegates.

More information and a full programme will be added as the conference takes shape: stay tuned!