Sie sind hier: Startseite / Reviews / Journals / sehepunkte / 16 (2016) / 11 / Hellenistic Sanctuaries
  • Metadaten

    • Dokumenttyp
      Rezension (Monographie)
      Autor (Rezension)
      • Scott, Michael
      Sprache (Rezension)
      Sprache (Monographie)
      Herausgeber (Monographie)
      • Melfi, Milena
      • Bobou, Olympia
      Hellenistic Sanctuaries
      Between Greece and Rome
      Oxford University Press
      XVI, 326
      Thematische Klassifikation
      Kirchen- und Religionsgeschichte
      Zeitliche Klassifikation
      bis 499 n. Chr.
      Regionale Klassifikation
      Alte Welt → Griechenland / Alte Welt, Alte Welt → Römisches Reich
      Griechenland (Altertum)
      Original URL
  • Zitierhinweis

  • Lizenzhinweis

    • Dieser Beitrag kann vom Nutzer zu eigenen nicht-kommerziellen Zwecken heruntergeladen und/oder ausgedruckt werden. Darüber hinaus gehende Nutzungen sind ohne weitere Genehmigung der Rechteinhaber nur im Rahmen der gesetzlichen Schrankenbestimmungen (§§ 44a-63a UrhG) zulässig.

Milena Melfi / Olympia Bobou (Hg.): Hellenistic Sanctuaries. Between Greece and Rome (rezensiert von Michael Scott)

erstellt von Recensio Net zuletzt verändert: 15.05.2017 11:57

sehepunkte 16 (2016), Nr. 11

Milena Melfi / Olympia Bobou (eds.): Hellenistic Sanctuaries

This edited volume seeks to even up the hitherto unbalanced focus on sacred sites either during the Classical or Roman eras of Greek history by moving the spotlight onto the fortunes and development of sanctuaries during the transitional Hellenistic era in-between them. Its editors pose their key question in its opening pages: given that one of the traditional characterizations of the Hellenistic period is that of a society not mediated by the polis, to what extent does this impinge upon our understanding of how sanctuaries fared and functioned during this era, given that their own traditional frame of reference (thanks to the work primarily of Christine Sourvinou-Inwood and Francois de Polignac) has been so heavily geared towards the polis?

This question is set within the shifting terms of the debate in the latest scholarship: scholars of the Hellenistic world have recently reappraised the so-called 'decline' of the polis during this era, citing its vitality in many areas of the Greek world. Equally, scholars of Hellenistic religion, as part of the on-going tug of war between continuity and change as the key tenets of Hellenistic religious practice, have recently pointed to the continued strength of Hellenistic civic religious practice and the healthy development of the link between polis and sanctuary in many areas (not to mention the fact that scholars like Julia Kindt have at the same time challenged the ubiquity of the polis model for religious practice even at its supposed high point in the Classical period).

This volume seeks to contribute to these on-going discussions by, as the editors set out, investigating the degree to which 'cult places remained physically woven into the urban and institutional fabric of the polis, and religion embedded in civic life' (4). They point to the on-going power of local elites and poleis in several Greek sanctuaries, the adaptation of sacred traditions to new socio-political practices and rulers, as well as, particularly after 146 BC and the Roman destruction of Corinth, an increasing separation in certain cases between the religious and political life of the community. They conclude their introduction by asserting that ''polis religion' is a valuable category of investigation [...] as long as the polis continued to be a self-governing entity' (16).

What follows is a series of case-studies by a range of international scholars, all of strong individual interest, which examine a range of individual sanctuaries from across the Greek world at different points in time during the Hellenistic era. Several analyze the complex ways in which sanctuaries and their users sought to affirm the traditions and values of the past, while embracing the changing social and financial realities of the Hellenistic present (Ch. 2: Lafond; Ch. 7: Mylonopoulos); others how local elites managed to continue to exert control as previously despite the vastly different 'big picture' politics, and how poleis even continued to use regional sanctuaries to make claims over territory, as posited by de Polignac for the archaic and Classical periods (Ch. 3: Kantirea; Ch. 4 Forsén). Some even argue for the absence of any change during the entire Hellenistic period in cult practice - particularly in the Dodecanese (Ch. 5: Caliò).

Many however speak to the way in which sanctuaries sought to morph in response to the ever-changing political climate of the Hellenistic period, especially with the gradual advance and take over by Rome. Some posit a careful and intentional game of mediation and transition (Ch. 6: Melfi; Ch. 11 Bobou). Others show how such rulers in turn themselves made active use of sanctuaries for their own - often propagandistic - ends (Ch. 8: Kravaritou; Ch. 10: Interdonato). And others still show the clear efforts made by those incoming rulers (particularly the Romans) to copy practices of rulers who came before them, as well as to harness the good will of local elites through the encouragement of traditional religious practice (Ch. 12: Lo Monaco; Ch. 13 Melfi), alongside their more traditional reuse and reorientation of many Greek sacred spaces towards their own needs (Ch. 14: Campagna).

Many of these articles are richly deserving of close study. The focus on extra urban sanctuary space (around Pagesai - the largest port of Thessaly) in Kravaritou's chapter was particularly welcome, as was Lo Monaco's survey of the careful ways in which Roman magistrates presented and memoralised themselves within Greek sanctuaries. I particularly appreciated her observation (discussing Oropos) of the distinction between changes in the physical space of the sanctuary as a result of Roman intervention (almost none) compared to the significant changes visible through the inscriptional record in the sanctuary (225). One's impression of continuity and change, the vitality of polis religion, and the degree to which new rulers had exerted their authority within the religious sphere, varied not simply depending on which sanctuary you went to when, but how the individual visitor chose to (or were able to) engage with, understand, and 'read' a particular sanctuary.

On the other hand, it would also have been instructive if, through the different papers, or indeed in an edited conclusion to the volume, we could have been given more of a sense not just of the huge spectrum of variety with which individuals, communities and rulers interacted with sanctuaries during the Hellenistic period, but the degree to which certain factors may have influenced particular choices: whether that be location in the Mediterranean world, precise time period, location of sanctuary within the community fabric (urban, extra urban, panhellenic); or principle sanctuary activity (e.g. oracular, healing, athletic competition, dedication).