Nicole Belayche

senior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2013/2014
discipline History
Professor of Religions of Rome and the Roman World, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes Paris

Research project

Contextualizing the Cult of the Southern Levant in the Greco-Roman Period: Monotheism and Polytheism between Continuity and Change


The coming of Alexander the Great ushered many changes in the southern Levant, and the subsequent period saw many more upheavals, including the Roman conquest, the Jewish Revolts, and the gradual Christianization of the Holy Land. Throughout this period, many local cults and cultic places – "pagan", Jewish and Christian – dotted the local landscape. These cults underwent processes of profound change, but also maintained much of their older identities, while at the same time constantly interacting with each other. Our group seeks to examine these processes both synchronically and diachronically, along three different axes – cultic places, personnel, and objects. Though different, these axes share a common denominator, namely, the people whose beliefs and practices shaped religious behaviour in the Greco-Roman southern Levant. Our aim is to investigate whether cultic practices formed a coherent cultural system, by taking into account the co-existence and competition of different religious systems, and analyzing them in terms of continuity, discontinuity, and change over a long period of time, roughly from Alexander the Great to the conversion of Constantine (ca. 300 BCE – 300 CE). Our approach is deliberately eclectic and interdisciplinary, combining archaeological, philological, historical and art-historical analyses of the different bodies of evidence, in order to overcome the narrow tunnel vision that often is characteristic of each of these fields. Our modus operandi will consist of weekly seminars, combined with numerous visits to archaeological excavations, sites and museums, in order to examine the remains of ancient religious shrines and cultic practices.


Nicole Belayche is Director of studies (Professor) at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris.  She holds a Habilitation in Roman History from the University of Paris-Sorbonne.


Her main research fields cover pagan religions and their changes in the Eastern Roman Empire, religious contacts and interactions, and analysis of rituals as revealing theological conceptions within polytheisms. 

Selected publications


‘Individualization and Religious Rhetoric in Imperial Anatolia’, in J. Rüpke (ed), Religious Individualization in the Hellenistic and Roman Period, Oxford, 2013, pp. 243-266.


‘L’évolution des formes rituelles : hymnes et mystèria’, in L. Bricault & C. Bonnet (eds), Panthée. Religious Transformations in the Graeco-Roman Empire, RGRW 177, Leiden, 2013, pp. 17-40.


‘Priests as Diviners: an Impact on Religious Changes in Imperial Anatolia?’, in B. Dignas, R. Parker & G.G. Stroumsa (eds), Priests and Prophets among Pagans, Jews and Christians, Peeters, Leuven-Paris-Walpole, 2013, pp. 112-135. 


Les Mystères de Mithra (Réédition critique de F. Cumont), with A. Mastrocinque (eds), Bibliotheca Cumontiana, Scripta maiora 3, Academia Belgica, Torino-Roma, 2013.

L’oiseau et le poisson. Cohabitations religieuses dans les mondes grec et romain
, with J.-D. Dubois (eds), Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne, Paris, 2011.


'Deus deum … summorum maximus (Apuleius), Ritual Expressions of Distinction in the Divine World in the Imperial Period', S. Mitchell & P. Van Nuffelen (eds), One God. Studies in Pagan Monotheism and Related Religious Ideas in the Roman Empire, Cambridge, 2010.


'Angeloi in Religious Practices of the Imperial Roman East'Henoch, vol. 32, 2010, pp. 45-65.  


Entre lignes de partage et territoires de passage. Les identités religieuses dans les mondes grec et romain « paganismes », « judaïsmes », « christianismes », with S.C. Mimouni (eds), Louvain, 2009.




senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2014/2015
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline Indian Philosophy and Intellectual History
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2013/2014
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline History
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2018/2019
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline Philosophy
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2017/2018
Israel Institute for Advanced Studies (IIAS)
discipline Mathematics