Hellenistic Sanctuaries between Greece and Rome (Melfi and Bobou)

I’m slowly making my way through a backlog of new Corinthian scholarship this morning as the first east coast snowstorm of 2016 threatens to envelop central Pennsylvania (and I’m not sure whether my six year old or I am more excited about a foot of snow).

Discovered this little gem. A brand new collection of essays on Hellenistic sanctuaries due for publication in March with Oxford University Press.  According to the publisher website, the book

  • HellenisticSanctuariesExamines the complex relationship between ancient Hellenistic and Republican sanctuaries and cities, rulers, and worshippers through surviving archaeological material
  • Represents a significant contribution to the existing bibliography on ancient Greek religion, history, and archaeology
  • Provides new ways of thinking about politics, rituals, and sanctuary spaces in Greece
  • Features an international, interdisciplinary range of contributors

 

 

The abstract suggests wide-ranging essays on sanctuaries within various political, spatial, and social contexts.

Sanctuaries were at the heart of Greek religious, social, political, and cultural life; however, we have a limited understanding of how sanctuary spaces, politics, and rituals intersected in the Greek cities of the Hellenistic and Republican periods. This edited collection focuses on the archaeological material of this era and how it can elucidate the complex relationship between the various forces operating on, and changing the physical space of, sanctuaries. Material such as archaeological remains, sculptures, and inscriptions provides us with concrete evidence of how sanctuaries functioned as locations of memory in a social environment dominated by the written word, and gives us insight into political choices and decisions. It also reveals changes unrecorded in surviving local or political histories. Each case study explored by this volume’s contributors employs archaeology as the primary means of investigation: from art-historical approaches, to surveys and fieldwork, to re-evaluation of archival material. Hellenistic Sanctuaries represents a significant contribution to the existing bibliography on ancient Greek religion, history, and archaeology, and provides new ways of thinking about politics, rituals, and sanctuary spaces in Greece.

And Google Books, which recently won a major legal battle with the Author’s Guild over its practice of scanning books, has made available sections of the book online. The work includes a number of articles on sanctuaries in Greece and the Peloponnese. Of particular interest to Corinthiaphiles is Milena Melfi’s essay, “The Making of a Colonial Pantheon in the Colonies of Caesar in Greece: The Case of Corinth,” pp. 228–53. In it, she examines three preexisting sanctuaries in Corinth (Asklepios, Aphrodite on Acrocorinth, and Demeter & Kore on the lower slopes of Acrocorinth) that survived the transition to Roman colonization both because they met the community’s basic needs and they represented the colonists’ social backgrounds. Here is a taste:

“Recent archaeological and historical research has demonstrated how few sites conformed to the stereotypical notion that all colonies needed to have capitolia at their centres before the Imperial period. Therefore, rather than looking at what the Romans brought about in Corinth, I will make use of the archaeological and documentary evidence attesting continuity and possibily change in cult places and cultic activities (230) ….The cults practiced in Corinth at the time of the foundation of the Roman colony seem to have been all Greek cults. No elements of the public religion postulated on the basis of the charter of Urso can be detected in these early years. The Greek origin of most of the early colonists was certainly one of the factors contributing to the development of these specific cults over others (250).

 

Advertisements

Categories: Hellenistic, Periods, Roman, Religion, Religion - Ancient

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s