Professor and Chair, Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies
Eric Orlin is a Roman historian whose primary interests center on the religious practices of the ancient world. He has studied how religious practice both shapes and reflects cultural identity, and he has looked at what the similarities and differences in religious practice across the ancient Mediterranean reveal about the peoples inhabiting that world. He also has been exploring how memory is shaped by religious practices and how those memories in turn shape the development of a society. Orlin is general editor for the Routledge Dictionary of Ancient Mediterranean Religions (Routledge, 2015), and is working on the book Republican Rome: A Social and Cultural History. Earlier he wrote Foreign Cults in Rome: Creating a Roman Empire (Oxford University Press, 2010), which explores how religion contributed to the reshaping of the Roman sense of identity in the wake of their transition from a single city to the dominant power in the Mediterranean basin. Orlin suggests that the methods by which the Romans absorbed cults, priests, and practices allowed them to recreate a clear sense of community that could include the peoples they had conquered. His earlier book, Temples, Religion and Politics in the Roman Republic, discusses the connections between politics and the construction of new temples in Rome. Orlin has published numerous articles in professional journals and regularly gives public presentations. He teaches Greek and Roman history, as well as classical languages.