Overarching Themes I
Abstracts of Session Papers
Friday 2021-10-15 | 11:30 | 12:10
The earliest Christian churches in what is now modern Greece, appear in Crete and the Cycladic islands before most areas of the mainland, with the exception of Thessaloniki and parts of the north. I will argue here that this is in part a result of well-established connectivity in addition to the resilience of the islands in their abilities to interweave behavioural adaptations within their existing environmental and social contexts. In doing so, we will address some key questions regarding use of existing religious space and its positive inclusion in the promulgation of Christianity. It is increasingly being shown for other areas of the Empire such as Asia Minor and Egypt, as well as the Peloponnese, that temple conversion rarely took place unless the existing building had been out of use as polytheistic space for some time. In this paper, we will examine the evidence for the use of polytheistic sanctuary space on Crete and the Cyclades with the aim of understanding the processes of Christianization in the Late Antique period as strategic, organic or both.
Friday 2021-10-15 | 12:10 | 12:50
The paper aims to examine the presence of mystery cults in Late Antique Greece during the second half of the fourth century. It will also seek to assess our knowledge of the actual practices and rituals of mystery cults in a period typically seen as defined by the process of Christianization. First, I will propose some methodological remarks on the study of mystery cults in Late Antiquity. Then, I will focus on the sanctuary of Eleusis, through the account of its destruction made by Eunapius of Sardis. Finally, I will analyze the sources attesting a ritual activity in continental Greece, as Lerna and Egina.
Friday 2021-10-15 | 12:50 | 13:30
The sacred use of caves was a widespread phenomenon in antiquity for many centuries, with a peek in Classical Times and a decline from Hellenistic Times onwards. In Greece under Roman rule, a return to some of these caves is to be seen – although the type of the material evidence is now changing. Moving onwards in time, at the turn to Christianity, there is in some instances a new interest in caves for ritual purposes. The paper will discuss some cases in various parts of Greece and will try to highlight some patterns regarding the changes in votive assemblages and possible impacts on the rituals held in the caves.