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Dr. Ilaria Bultrighini

Research Interests:

Social, religious, and cultural history of Greek and Roman antiquity; Attic demes and Athenian countryside; Calendars, time-reckoning, and conceptions of time in Greco-Roman antiquity; Greek and Latin Epigraphy.


Ilaria Bultrighini studied Classical Archaeology, Classics, and Ancient History in Urbino and Rome (Sapienza) and obtained her PhD in 2012 from G. d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara. Her monograph (Demi attici della Paralia, Lanciano, Carabba publisher, 2015) deals with a number of demes (villages, communities) of Attica belonging to the coastal sector of the region (Paralia), with an emphasis on their epigraphy and religious life. She has also published on Greek and Roman calendars, astrological beliefs, measurement and perceptions of time, and more broadly on the social and religious history and the material culture of the Greco-Roman world in the imperial and late antique periods. 

In 2018-2019 Ilaria worked as Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Institute of Classical Studies (London) within the framework of Professor Greg Woolf’s Sanctuary Project. As part of her role, she carried out her own research on religious exchanges between Athens – especially non-urban components of the polis – and other regions of the ancient Greek world. Ilaria has previously worked as a researcher for the ERC project Calendars in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, which was based in the UCL Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Prior to that, she was a Joint Fellow of the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies (Washington, DC) and the German Archaeological Institute (Berlin). Since 2016 she has been a member of the International Research Network CHRONOS: Soziale Zeit in den Kulturen des Altertums, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). 

Project Abstract

Drawing on my earlier research as member of the ERC project Calendars in Antiquity and the Middle Ages: Standardization and Fixation at UCL (2013–2018), my current project looks at the ways in which the use of the seven-day week shaped the religious, social, and cultural life of the inhabitants of the Roman Empire. It explores the various meanings and functions that were ascribed to the seven-day week by different groups, such as pagans, Christians, and Jews. These include its use in relation to astrological practices, religious observance of the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day, and festivals, with possible implications for work patterns and social organisation. 

Within this framework, a particular focus is placed on exploring how individual days of the week competed for the primacy before and after Sunday was decreed as a day of rest across the Empire in 321 CE. Thursday was the day dedicated to the chief god of the Roman pantheon and, at the same time, the day associated with the astrologically favourable planet that had been named after Jupiter; Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath which was equally observed by many Gentiles and Christians; and Sunday was at once the day dedicated to the Sun god(s) and the Christian Lord's Day. 

Curriculum vitae

Since 2018

Honorary Research Associate in Ancient History, UCL Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies


Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute of Classical Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London


Postdoctoral Research Associate in Ancient History, UCL Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies


Joint Fellow, Center for Hellenic Studies (Harvard University) and Deutsches Archäologisches Institut (Berlin) 


PhD in Ancient History and Archaeology, G. d’Annunzio University of Chieti-Pescara


MA in Classical Archaeology, Sapienza University of Rome 


BA in Cultural Heritage Science (specialising in Archaeology), Carlo Bo University of Urbino 

Selected Publications

I. Bultrighini, 'Calendars of the Greek East under Rome: A new look at the Hemerologia tables', in S. Stern (ed.), The Making of Ancient and Medieval Calendars (Time, Astronomy, and Calendars: Texts and Studies) Leiden: Brill (Forthcoming, 2020).

I. Bultrighini, ‘Theon hemerai: astrology, the seven-day planetary week, and the spread of astral beliefs and the cult of the seven planets in the Greco-Roman world’, in T. Sheer and I. Salvo (eds.), Religion and Education in the Ancient Greek World, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck (Forthcoming, 2020).

S. Benoist and I. Bultrighini, 'Time and space', in B. Dignas (ed.), A Cultural History of Memory. Vol. 1: A Cultural History of Memory in Antiquity’ (800BC-AD500), London: Bloomsbury (Forthcoming, 2020).

I. Bultrighini, 'Thursday (dies Iovis) in the later Roman Empire', Papers of the British School at Rome 86 (2018), 61–84.

I. Bultrighini, 'New light on five Latin inscriptions of the later imperial period, with special reference to their dating formulae', Epigraphica. Periodico internazionale di epigrafia 79 (2017), 411–424. 

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