Neokoroi: Greek Cities and Roman Emperors


The neokoroi, or 'temple-wardens,' were Hellenized cities of the eastern Roman empire who received that title for possessing their provinces' temples to the living emperor. This work collects and analyzes all the evidence for the neokoroi, including their coins and inscriptions, contemporary and subsequent historical texts, and the archaeological remains of the temples themselves and the statues that stood within them.
There were at least thirty-seven neokoroi, and each is examined in a separate chapter. The results are then re-analyzed chronologically, clarifying the development of the institution. Finally the statues, temples, cities, and provinces are compared, resulting in new insights into the rivalry and hierarchy among the cities, and the dialogue of worship that related them to their Roman overlords.

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Biographical Note

Barbara Burrell is Associate Research Professor of Classics at the University of Cincinnati. She received her B.A. from N.Y.U., and her M.A. and Ph.D. (1980) from Harvard. She has excavated in Spain, Italy, Greece, and Turkey, and was field director at the Promontory Palace, Caesarea, Israel.

Review Quotes

“This is the most comprehensive work on the topic to have been produced to date, and is therefore likely to remain definitvie for quite some time…a book that clarifies and deepens both our general and our particular understanding of a phenomenon that was one of the most significant aspects of civic life in the eastern Roman empire, and historians and archaeologists alike will consult it with profit. No one engaged in research in Roman Asia Minor should ignore this book, and we will doubtless be returning to it for many years to come.” – Kieran Hendrick, in: BMCR (2005) “Burrells Buch wird sicher auf lange Zeit ein Standardwerk zum Thema bleiben, auf das man nicht nur wegen seiner Benutzfreundlichkeit immer gerne zurückgreifen wird.” – Jens Bartels, in Bonner Jahrbücher (2007)


Historians and archaeologists of Greco-Roman antiquity, numismatists, epigraphers, religious historians, scholars of the imperial cult and of early Christianity, architectural and art historians of Greece and Rome.

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