Divine property: Solutions from Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages


The project explores various historical and conceptual foundations underlying the structural change of and through property. It is based on the hypothesis that ancient practices such as sacrificial offerings, prayer and pilgrimage, and theories attributing property rights to gods had far-reaching consequences:

They provided a context in which to experiment with the concept of property, encouraged reflection on ownership structures, and turned ownership and the renunciation thereof into key aspects of religious practice. By analysing diachronic sources, the project explores the internal dynamism of that hypothesis and its contribution to the development of property as a concept.

Project activities

Publications (selection)

Scientific publications

Articles in journals and edited volumes:

  • Bianchi Mancini, S., contributor in Nickel, R. _Lexikon der antiken Literatur_, 4. Auflage. Marburg: Tectum. (forth.).
  • Bianchi Mancini, S.; Dell’Isola, M. (eds.) (2024): Divine Property and Boundary Violation from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, (in preparation).
  • Bianchi Mancini, Sofia (2024): "Gods’ Landed Property: Sacred Groves in Republican and Imperial Literature“, In: Bianchi Mancini, S., Gibson, H., Schuck, D., Vinzent, M. (eds.): Relating to Landed Property, Frankfurt: Campus, (forth.).
  • Vinzent, Markus (2024): "Inheritance of land – the origin of property“, In: Helen Anne Gibson, Dirk Schuck, Sofia Bianchi Mancini, Markus Vinzent (eds.), Relating to Landed Property, Frankfurt a.M., (forth.).
  • Vinzent, Markus (2024): "Nature – our common good? A Patristic challenge“, In: Marcin Wysocki (ed.) Christians of the Patristic Period in Relation to Nature, ed. Studia Patristica, Leuven, (forth.).

Edited volumes:

  • Bianchi Mancini, S.; Gibson, H.; Schuck, D.; Vinzent, M. (eds.) (2024): Relating to Landed Property, Frankfurt: Campus, (forth.).
Media and podcasts
  • Rüpke, Jörg (2023): "Holidays as divine property: Moving symbols of ownership from the countryside into the city”, In: blog of the Collaborative Research Centre “Structural Change of Property”. (published 27.11.2023)

Lectures (selection)

  • Bianchi Mancini, Sofia (2024): Internationale conference "Objects as a Lens on Group Formations in the Cities of the Roman Empire (1st-4th Centuries CE)“ – Geschlossene Podiumsdiskussion (mit Prof. Laura Carnevale): "Property of Ritual Space“, Universität Erfurt (Organisation in Vorbereitung seit Mai 2022).
  • Bianchi Mancini, S.; Dell’Isola, M. (2022): EASR — Geschlossene Podiumsdiskussion: "Boundary Violation Between Property and Freedom: Case Studies from Antiquity to the Middle Ages“, University College Cork, Irland.

Project Staff