Regional Studies I
Abstracts of Session Papers
Saturday 2021-10-16 | 09:30 | 10:10
Religious material culture, inscriptions, statues and statuettes or votive objects of various material but most importantly temples and sanctuaries were from very early on an integral part of religion in the area of Macedonia. Much of this activity involved shrines and sanctuaries in rural areas or areas away from large urban centers. Within this religious landscape where local sanctuaries played a significant role underlying non Greek and Thracian beliefs came to coexist with Greek religious practices and such cult places were of central importance in the non urbanized rural areas of the province. Systematic research over the last 50 years has revealed a diverse ritual landscape with different ritual sites ranging from open air sanctuaries and caves to large ritual complexes equipped with temples and other administrative buildings. With the gradual Christianization of Macedonia changes in ritual space followed. Scope of the paper is to describe the end of ritual space especially in rural contexts in Macedonia. It will focus specifically on different cases of rural sanctuaries within Macedonia (such as the sanctuary of Ennodia at Kozani or the cave of Black Rock at Siderokastro), and thus on the methodological problems related with identifying the end of these sites. Evidence for destruction - desacralization, continuity (where EC basilicas succeeded old sites) and social and economic changes will be examined through archaeological examples in order to describe in archaeological terms the process of the “twilight phase” of these ritual sites.
Saturday 2021-10-16 | 10:10 | 10:50
Persistence, Suppression, Extinction: The Transition to Late Antiquity in the Sanctuaries of Phokis and East Lokris
Situated between the Northern Euboean and the Corinthian Gulf, the regions of East Lokris and Phokis were home to some of the oldest sanctuaries in ancient Greece. With the exception of the sanctuary of Delphi, which has seen important work on its Late Roman and Early Byzantine phases in recent times, our knowledge about the end of pagan cults and the fate of sanctuaries in Late Antiquity (here taken to encompass ca. the later 3rd to the 7th c. AD) in this part of the Greek mainland is limited. Equally little is known about the process of Christianization (or more correctly, Christian monumentalization) in the towns, countryside, and sanctuaries of this wider region, as suggested, for instance by church building projects. This paper reviews the archaeological, epigraphic and historical evidence for this transition, placing emphasis on the changing nature of sanctuary spaces, as well as on the breaks and/or continuities in cult. It is argued that, while the transition varied between larger urban centres and the countryside (including smaller urban communities), pagan cult sites suffered serious destructions already by the middle to later 4th c. AD which may be linked to various causes. At the same time, the transition was far from smooth, as suggested by the evidence for damages to cult places and/or (in some cases also) for their modification in order to house Christian cults. Although the chronology of these changes is far from clear, it appears that already by the later part of the 5th c. AD, a new landscape, in which pagan cults had little or no place, began to be emerging, as suggested by the expansion of church building, especially on the coastal areas and on sites of strategic (incl. symbolic) importance.
Saturday 2021-10-16 | 10:50 | 11:30
Valentina Di Napoli
Located in the heart of the city, the Sebasteion, or temple for the imperial cult, of Eretria was built in the late 1st cent. BC and underwent some modifications during the centuries of its use. After briefly presenting the main building phases of the temple, its decorative apparatus, and some suggested reconstructions, the talk will focus on the final chapter of its life. The latter saw a meticulous destruction of both the building and the inner decoration, which consisted of imperial images.
The fate of the Sebasteion and of its statues is examined not only in the frame of the history of Eretria in late antiquity, but also in the wider context of the process of Christianisation of Greece. A violent act of destruction is attested in this building, which matches other similar events attested in Greece and the Mediterranean world. On the other side, appropriation of the pagan past and continuity with the tradition can be also observed in late antique Greece. Thus, the picture of a multifaceted process involving different Christian responses to paganism seems to emerge more clearly.