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The Emergence of Sacred Travel

Experience, Economy, and Connectivity in Ancient Mediterranean Pilgrimage


"The Emergence of Sacred Travel" is a project that aims to build an internationally recognized environment for the study of ancient pilgrimage, an emerging topic that is currently reshaping our understanding of the interconnections between the religious traditions of the Mediterranean Basin, from Greek and Roman religions to Christianity and Islam. In particular, the project focuses on the material and visual dimensions of pilgrimage.

Bridging traditional chronological and disciplinary divisions, it seeks to explore the extent to which Greece and Rome constituted the cultural and religious background to the development of early Christian and Islamic pilgrimage.

By tracing the emergence of sacred travel within this cultural sphere, we get a clearer picture of the phenomenon’s later historical trajectory, including Islamic Hajj, Medieval travel to the Holy Land and contemporary traditions of pilgrimage.

EST News

Seminar: Sacred Treasures 
- Collecting in Greek and Roman Sanctuaries

Friday 9 December 9:00-19:00
Carlsberg Academy, Copenhagen 

Programme in pdf
Registration required:




Troels Myrup Kristensen publishes ”Landscape, Space and Presence in the Cult of Thekla at Meriamlik” in Journal of Early Christian Studies Volume 24 Number 2, 2016  / PDF version

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Call for Papers

The Emergence of Sacred Travel:
Comparativism and the Study of Ancient Mediteranean Pilgrimage
3rd EST Symposium 17 - 19 May 2017
Aarhus University, Denmark
Presentation in PDF

The symposium provides a comparative, cross-disciplinary platform for the discussion of ancient pilgrimage. Bridging traditional chronological and disciplinary divisions, the symposium seeks to compare and contrast  'Classical' traditions of sacred travel (set wide to include continental Europe, the Mediterranean, Near East and North Africa during the first millennium BC-AD) with both earlier and later forms of pilgrimage. We are particularly interested in comparative papers that bridge traditional disciplinary and chronological boundaries. The full call for papers is attached here. Please circulate as widely as possible.

Director of Research

Troels Myrup Kristensen

Associate professor

Part of Classical Antiquity

The Emergence of Scared Travel is part of the Research Programme Classical Antiquity: Tradition and Transformation at the Department of Culture and Society.

The project is funded by the Danish Council for Independent Research Sapere Aude.

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Revised 07.10.2016