Related Ongoing Projects

CULT AND CRISIS. THE SACRED LANDSCAPE OF ATTICA AND ITS CORRELATION TO POLITICAL TOPOGRAPHY

The veneration of Greek gods is inseparably connected to the location of cult places in the territory of a Greek city state. The resulting sacred landscape is used for rituals linking different cult places, for example by means of processions or races. The inhabitants of the city state participate in these rituals and become members of the cult community, and, vice versa, the communally practiced cult becomes part of each participant's personal religion. Rituals further function as a performative act that shapes a related, collective identity of a polis. It is obvious that cult topography is strongly dependent on the territorial situation of the city state. Accessibility to the polis territory can be restricted, for instance by natural catastrophes or military occupation, and can have an immediate effect on the usability of the sacred landscape.

In the case of the Athenian polis, literary sources report multiple limitations of the political topography caused by military occupation of parts of the Athenian countryside, which also restricted cult activity at sanctuaries located in the occupied areas. During the Peloponnesian War (431-404 BC), certain aspects of the religious life in the Polis of Athens were constrained by the fact that the Spartan army occupied parts of the hinterland of Attica. In the 4th century BC, when the Macedonians subdued Greece, partial occupation of the Attic land lasted for almost a period of nearly 100 years.

The project focuses on this second period and aims to analyse with a holistic approach the influence of the military occupation on the sacred landscape asking for alterations, shifts, decline or other coping strategies concerning the most likely hindered cult activity.

Research carried out by Constanze Graml (Institut für Klassische Archäologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München).

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MAPPING LITURGICAL EMOTION AND MEMORY IN BYZANTINE CONSTANTINOPLE

Emotions have attracted scholarly interest across the humanities, but have received only tentative discussion to date in the study of Byzantium. Although various aspects of ritual experience relating to emotion and memory have received some attention, the discussion has focused primarily on textual analysis and art. This project aims to fill significant gaps in our knowledge by focusing on the annual commemorations in Constantinople in a bid to map the city's ceremonial topography and to access the emotional impact of ritual in relation to space. Questions such as ‘How do people become emotionally attached to space and ritual?’ or ‘What features of the urban landscape are used in ritual to enhance emotional responses and how does this shape identity and ideas of belonging?’ have yet to be addressed in the historiography of Emotion or Medieval studies, and certainly not in an attempt to establish a link between emotions, ritual and space. The project will examine hymns, liturgical objects including icons and relics, art and architecture, as affective stimuli. Our understanding of the way in which the city’s ceremonial topography was organised and used throughout the year will also be greatly enhanced through the detailed exploration of where and what the city remembered.

The project will combine traditional historical methods with digital approaches and analysis (e.g. Geographical Information Systems [GIS]). A variety of primary sources, both textual and material will be used.

Research carried out by Dr Vicky Manolopoulou (School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University).

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