Dr., Professor for Classical Philology
The Ohio State University, USA

Born 1944 in Grub, Switzerland
Studied Classical Philology and Archaeology in Zurich

Research Project
Project „Roman Festivals in the Imperial Greek East“

Traditionally, research in Roman heortology focused on the festivals of the city of Rome during the Late Republican and Augustan periods, not the least because the sources are mainly authors and documents from this period (writers from Varro to Ovid and contemporary epigraphical material). Researchers have however overlooked the rich material on originally Roman festivals from the cities of the Greek East during the Imperial time, e.g. from Constantinople, Antioch, or Gaza. This material is not confined to the manuscript calendars treated by Michele Salzman in her monograph On Roman Time (1990): mainly Greek and Byzantine authors such as John Lydus, John Malalas or Constantine Porphyrogenitus contribute essential information to the topic.
My project (that is coming close to a book manuscript) presents these source texts and constructs a history of these urban festivals in the Greek East. This history is embedded in the framework of more general developments in the religion of these cities; at the same time, I regard it as contribution to the question of how these cities reacted to the overpowering presence of Rome in the East. I have two special interests. One is in the actors of these developments: it seems that the festivals were not dictated from above, but were introduced by members of the Roman elites. The other interest concerns the changes necessitated by the Christianization of the Empire after Constantine to preserve the festivals: they needed a re-interpretation that in some respects remind me of the innovations the French Revolution introduced into the festival culture of France.

Selected Publications

Graf, F., Apollo (London: Routledge, 2008).

Graf, F., Together with Sarah Iles Johnston: Ritual Texts for the Afterlife. The Bacchic Gold Tablets (London: Routledge, 2007).

Graf, F., La magie dans l’antiquité greco-romaine, (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1994, pb 1996). – English: Magic in the Ancient World (Harvard University Press, 1997). – German: Gottesnähe und Schadenzauber (Munich: Beck, 1996). – Italian: La magia nel mondo antico (Bari and Rome: Laterza, 1995). – Greek: I mageía stin ellinoromaiki arkhaotita (Iraklion: University Press of Crete, 2004).

Graf, F., Nordionische Kulte. Epigraphische und religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen zu den Kulten von Chios, Erythrai, Klazomenai und Phokaia. Bibliotheca Helvetica Romana 21 (Rome: Istituto Svizzero, 1984).

Graf, F., Griechische Mythologie. Eine Einführung (Munich and Zürich: Artemis 1984, 4th German ed. 1997). – English: Greek Mythology. An Introduction (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1992); Italian: Il mito in Grecia (Bari and Rome: Laterza, 1987).