Philostratus’s Heroikos

Religion and Cultural Identity in the Third Century C.E.


This multidimensional collection of essays explores the interrelation of religion, cultural identity, politics, literature, myth, and memory during the Roman Empire by focusing on the cultural dynamics embedded in and surrounding Philostratus’s Heroikos, an early third-century C.E. dialogue about Homer and the heroes of the Trojan War. The essays focus on ritual and literary dimensions of hero cult; cultural and community identity reflected in the Heroikos and in early Christianity; and the cultural, literary, and political turn toward heroes in the negotiation of difference, particularly with those outside the Roman Empire. Contributors to this volume include classicists, archaeologists, ancient historians, and scholars of early Christianity: Ellen Bradshaw Aitken, Susan E. Alcock, Hans Dieter Betz, Alain Blomart, Walter Burkert, Casey Dué, Simone Follet, Sidney H. Griffith, Jackson P. Hershbell, Christopher Jones, Jennifer K. Berenson Maclean, Francesca Mestre, Gregory Nagy, Corinne Ondine Pache, Jeffrey Rusten, M. Rahim Shayegan, James C. Skedros, and Tim Whitmarsh.

Paperback edition is available from the Society of Biblical Literature (

Biographical Note

Ellen Bradshaw Aitken, Th.D. in New Testament (1997), Harvard University, is Associate Professor of Early Christian History and Literature at McGill University in Montreal. Jennifer K. Berenson Maclean, Ph.D. in New Testament (1995), Harvard University, is Associate Professor of Religion at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia.