Professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta's new book, Divine Institutions: Religion and Community in the Middle Republic (Princeton University Press, 2020) is a landmark study of religion, culture, and state-formation in the middle Roman Republic (400-200 BCE). It offers a new account of how the Roman community was made and replicated during a period of explosive imperial expansion in the Italian peninsula, replacing the conventional political and military narrative with one focused on religion in general, and on temple construction, ritual, and pilgrimage in particular. Drawing on recent work in the archaeology of Republican Rome, the sociology of community cohesion, and the anthropology of religion, Divine Institutions places the history of this critical period on a new footing. Professor Padilla Peralta will open the event with an intellectual biography of the book. Professors Emily Mackil (History), Duncan MacRae (Classics), and Carlos Noreña (History) will offer brief remarks on the book's methods, arguments, and implications before opening up a general discussion.
In order to prepare for the event, we recommend that you read Chapter 1, "Introduction: One State, under the Gods" (pp. 1-28) and Chapter 6, "Conclusion: Religion and the Enduring State" (pp. 230-46). The book is available at Project Muse (accessible on OskiCat with UCB IP address).