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 Dr 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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THE SPATIALITY AND MATERIALITY OF PILGRIMAGE IN BYZANTINE AND MEDIEVAL CYPRUS AND RELIGIOUS NETWORKS IN THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN (11th-16th CENTURY)
The Research Programme “The Spatiality and Materiality of Pilgrimage in Byzantine and Medieval Cyprus and Religious Networks in the Eastern Mediterranean (11th-16th century)” (SpaMaP Cy) is funded by the Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus, under the Research Promotion Foundation Programmes for Research, Technological Development and Innovation “Restart 2016-2020”. This three-year programme started in December 2018 and will be completed in November 2021. The University of Cyprus acts as the Host Organisation. The Department of Antiquities, Cyprus – Ministry of Transport, Communications and Works and the Deputy Ministry of Tourism are the Participating Organisations of the project. SpaMaP Cy aims to investigate the development of religious pilgrimage in Cyprus from the 11th to the 16th century. The proposed project constitutes an innovative and interdisciplinary attempt to study pre-modern pilgrimage, that combines traditional approaches (chronological categorisation of monuments, written sources, archaeological data) with contemporary digital techniques and tools (digitisation of artefacts and monuments, statistical data, visualization of thematic maps, application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)).
The main objectives of the project can be summarized as follows:
- Creation of a corpus for pilgrimage sites and materials directly connected with pilgrimage practices.
The results of the project will contribute inter alia to the digitization and management of the cultural heritage of Cyprus, something that will benefit greatly the local community where the monuments are located, by promoting cultural tourism, and by contributing to a sustainable economic development. Finally, the findings of the project will advance our scientific knowledge of the period and will contribute to a more thorough understanding of the history of Cypriot society and the existing current discourse on the peaceful coexistence of and tolerance between different religious and/or ethnic groups on the island, from the medieval past to our times.
Research carried out by Dr Ourania Perdiki (University of Cyprus).
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NEW LIGHT ON EARLY MEDICINE: THE GYNAECOLOGICAL VOTIVES FROM THE MINOAN PEAK SANCTUARY OF PETSOPHAS
The peak sanctuaries appearing on Crete in the late 3rd millennium BC are sites most relevant to the (pre)history of medicine in the Mediterranean because they commonly produce anatomical votives. Regarded as the forerunners of those dedicated to historical medical deities in request or thanks for cures, these models of body parts often pierced for suspension are generally interpreted as evidence for a Minoan healing cult. Petsophas, the peak sanctuary yielding, by far, the largest number of anatomical votives, displays a striking concentration of offerings suggesting gynaecological concerns that call for detailed study. As such dedications point to practices connected with midwifery, women’s therapeutic response to difficult birthing and other reproductive hazards derived from bipedal adaptation; an ancestral expertise encompassing pharmacological, mechanical and ritual skills that bespeaks of women’s central but mostly ignored role in the articulation of medicine.Aiming to provide much needed insights into female healing lore in Bronze Age Crete and beyond, the project intends to study this extraordinary body of materials from Petsophas within the context of early midwifery cults and birth-related practices in the Near East, the Aegean and broader Mediterranean. The research will focus in the identification, analysis and photographic documentation of the gynaecological votives and other offerings from the sanctuary possibly associated with female therapeutics. Special attention shall be paid to the pharmacological and apotropaic uses of animals represented at Petsophas (figurines) that have a bearing on ancient and later folk obstetrics. The project will include an outlook on practices involving the fashioning and dedication of anatomical votives in present-day Crete, which are testimonies to the tenacious survival of healing rituals in popular religion.
Research carried out by Dr Simone Zimmermann Kuoni (Trinity College Dublin).