Sophie Lunn-Rockliffe

King's College


Diabolical politics: images and ideas of the devil in early Christian Rome


Lunn-Rockliffe graduated from the University of Oxford in 1998 with a degree in History. She moved to Cambridge University for her postgraduate studies and from there received an MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History, and a PhD in History. She was a Research Fellow and a Teaching Fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge, between 2002 and 2006, and she is now a University Lecturer in Roman History in the Classics Department of King's College, London. Her general areas of interest are political thought, the history of ideas, religious history, and the history and theory of the reception of images. Her doctoral work was on the political theology of the late Roman Christian writer Ambrosiaster; through this she developed an interest in early Christian ideas and images of the Devil in Rome, which is the subject of her research at the Italian Academy. This project will begin by investigating the supposed absence of artistic representations of the Devil from early Christian Rome. The second part, on presence, will deal with Christian images depicting the Devil in bestial form, and visual narratives of exorcism and healing which implied an invisible diabolical presence. The third part, on memory, will deal with Christian memories of and attitudes towards the physical remains of pagan Rome.