The River and the City: the Tiber in Archaeology, Cult, and Myth

MONDAY 26 MARCH, 09.00–17.00

The River and the City: the Tiber in Archaeology, Cult, and Myth

Conference organised by Krešimir Vuković (BSR; Oxford) and Stephen Heyworth (Oxford)

This one-day symposium at the British School at Rome proposes to reassess the archaeological, literary, and religious aspects of the Tiber within the city of Rome and its environs from the Archaic period to the Augustan age. The river was the setting of early Roman myths, such as the miraculous salvation of Romulus and Remus and Horatius Cocles at the Sublician bridge. Virgil chose to place the arrival of Aeneas to Latium at the mouth of the Tiber, perhaps defying tradition. Other Augustan poets wrote of a god called Vertumnus because he turned the great river back to its shores. Augustus himself tapped into an ancient tradition when reforming the Secular games, traditionally placed at the Tarentum with its ancient altar hidden beneath the flowing Tiber. Claudia Quinta pulled the ship of Magna Mater when it got stuck on a sandbar. The myths of Gaia Taracia and Acca Larentia reflected the interplay of flooding and alluviation. Caesar toyed with the idea of diverting the river and Augustus turned Campus Martius into a monumental playground, which famously impressed a ‘squinty’ Greek tourist on his visit. These and many other cults and stories talk of a unique relationship between the river and its city and call for exploration in a dialogue between historians, classicists, and archaeologists.


If you wish to register please send an email to There is no registration fee.