Ted Kaizer's overall project concerns the first-ever comprehensive study, to be published as a monograph, of the religious life of Dura-Europos, a small-town on the Euphrates river in the Parthian and Roman periods known amongst scholars as the ‘Pompeii of the Syrian desert’ for the richness of its finds. A detailed and systematic study of the various temples, cults, deities and worshippers in Dura will have invaluable implications for our understanding of religious life outside the main cult centres, and will provide a methodological framework for the study of cultural life in the small-towns of the Roman provinces in general.
Together with Professor Rubina Raja, and as part of the larger ‘Palmyra portrait project’ which she is directing at Aarhus University, Kaizer will also be working towards an article on the Palmyrene tesserae in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen. These concern the small tokens that are generally interpreted as religious dining tickets and hence of the utmost importance for our understanding of cult groups and religious associations in the Hellenistic and Roman Near East, attested in particular in Palmyra and Dura-Europos. This side-project fits in very well with Kaizer's own work on the religious life of Dura, since a substantial community of Palmyrene worshippers was based there throughout Parthian and Roman times, and the study of Durene material culture cannot be undertaken properly without taking into full account the evidence from Palmyra, or vice versa.
Ted Kaizer is a Dale T. Mortensen Senior Fellow at AIAS. He is also Senior Lecturer in Roman Culture and History at the Department of Classics & Ancient History of Durham University, UK. He was educated at Leiden (MA 1995) and Brasenose College, Oxford University (DPhil 2000), UK, and held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University (2002-2005) before moving on to Durham. His main research interest is the social and religious history of the Near East in the Late Hellenistic and Roman period. He is the author of The Religious Life of Palmyra (Stuttgart 2002) and has written many articles on various aspects of religion and history of the Classical Levant.