Boiotian Tripods: The Tenacity of a Panhellenic Symbol in a Regional Context

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Boiotian Tripods: The Tenacity of a Panhellenic Symbol in a Regional Context
  dining in the sanctuary of demeter and kore1   Volume 77 2008   Hesperia  The Journal of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens  This article is © The American School of Classical Studies at Athens and was srcinally published in Hesperia   77 (2008), pp. 251–282. This offprint is supplied for personal, non-commercial use only. The definitive electronic version of the article can be found at <>.  hesperia  Tracey Cullen, EditorEditorial Advisory Board Carla M. Antonaccio, Duke University   Angelos Chaniotis, Oxford University   Jack L. Davis,  American School of Classical Studies at Athens    A. A. Donohue, Bryn Mawr College  Sherry C. Fox, Wiener Laboratory   Thomas W. Gallant, University of California, San Diego Sharon E. J. Gerstel, University of California, Los Angeles   Jonathan M. Hall, University of Chicago Guy M. Hedreen, Williams College  Hermann Kienast, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Athens  Leslie V. Kurke, University of California, Berkeley  Olga Palagia, University of Athens   John K. Papadopoulos, University of California, Los Angeles   Jeremy B. Rutter, Dartmouth College   A. J. S. Spawforth,  Newcastle University  Sofia Voutsaki, Groningen Institute of Archaeology  Marc Waelkens, Katholieke Universiteit, LeuvenHesperia is published quarterly by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Founded in 1932 to publish the work of the American School, the journal now welcomes submissions from all scholars working in the fields of Greek archaeology, art, epigraphy, history, materials science, eth-nography, and literature, from earliest prehistoric times onward. Hesperia is a refereed journal, indexed in  Abstracts in Anthropology, L’Année philologique,  Art Index, Arts and Humanities Citation Index, Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, Current Contents, IBZ: Internationale Bibliographie der geistes- und sozialwissenschaftlichen Zeitschriftenliteratur, Numismatic Literature, Periodi-cals Contents Index, Russian Academy of Sciences Bibliographies, and TOCS-IN  .  The journal is also a member of CrossRef, the citation linking service. The American School of Classical Studies at Athens   is a research and teaching institution dedicated to the advanced study of the archaeology, art, history, philosophy, language, and literature of Greece and the Greek  world. Established in 1881 by a consortium of nine American universities, the School now serves graduate students and scholars from more than 150 affiliated colleges and universities, acting as a base for research and study in Greece. As part of its mission, the School directs ongoing excavations in the Athenian Agora and at Corinth and sponsors all other American-led excavations and surveys on Greek soil. It is the official link between Amer-ican archaeologists and classicists and the Archaeological Service of the Greek Ministry of Culture and, as such, is dedicated to the wise man-agement of cultural resources and to the dissemination of knowledge of the classical world. Inquiries about programs or membership in the School should be sent to the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 6–8 Charlton Street, Princeton, New Jersey 08540-5232.  © The American School of Classical Studies at Athens hesperia 77 (2008) Pages 251–282 BOIOTIAN TRIPODS  The Tenacity of a Panhellenic Symbol in a Regional Context For Elizabeth and Willy Childs  ABSTRACT  The author examines the ritual uses of tripod cauldrons in Boiotian public contexts, synthesizing material, epigraphic, and literary evidence. Dedications of tripods by individuals were expressions of prominent social status. Com-munal dedications made in the distinctively Boiotian rite of the tripodephoria   were symbolic actualizations of power relations between the dominant center and its periphery. Remains of two suntagmata   of tripods at the sanctuary of the hero Ptoios at Kastraki, near Akraiphia, provide evidence for the physi-cal ambience of the sanctuary, the form of the tripods, and the collective rites associated with the dedications. INTRODUCTION  The Greek tripod cauldron served as a powerful, panhellenic religious symbol from the Geometric through the Roman period (Fig. 1). 1  Neverthe-less, it would be problematic to suppose that it was adopted without any differentiation of meaning throughout the Greek world. Rather, I would argue that the symbolism of the tripod can be understood only in terms of its local manifestations, which were as rich and variegated as the cultural landscape of the Greek world throughout antiquity. Perhaps nowhere can the career of this long-lived symbol be better sketched than in Boiotia, 1. This article developed from a paper presented at the Ninth Interna-tional Conference on Boiotian Antiq- uities, University of Manitoba, Win- nipeg, Canada in 1998. I am grateful to the organizers, Michael B. Cosmopou-los and John M. Fossey, for creating a congenial atmosphere of scholarly ex- change and informal discussion that facilitated the generation and develop-ment of many of the ideas presented here. My work was made possible by generous leaves of absence and financial support from the Department of Art and Art History and the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. Pierre Guillon’s meticulous publication of the sanctuary at Kastraki offers invaluable information on an important site that is no longer well preserved. I am grateful to Penelope Davies and Mark Munn for their suggestions, and especially to Amy Papalexandrou for her criticism and for imparting to me her enthusiasm about Boiotia. I would also like to thank Priscilla Keswani, and the editor and anonymous reviewers of Hesperia,  for many constructive comments. Barbara Kierewicz undertook tedious revisions of the digital reconstruction of tripods  with patience and good humor. Helena Kountouri, epimelete of the Ephoreia of Thebes, kindly shared information on the site with me. All translations are my own unless otherwise noted.  nassos papalexandrou252 a stronghold of traditional ideas and religious conservatism throughout ancient times (Fig. 2). 2   The use of the tripod cauldron as an object of dedication in Boiotian sanctuaries extends from the 7th century b.c.  to the Roman Imperial period.  The tenacity of the tripod in Boiotian culture is attested by both literary sources and archaeological data. Pausanias explicitly notes the presence of dedicated tripods at the sanctuaries of Apollo Ismenios and Herakles at  Thebes and at the sanctuary of the Muses on Mt. Helikon as late as the 2nd century a.d. 3  There is abundant archaeological evidence for dedications of monumental tripods from Mt. Ptoon near Akraiphia in the Archaic, Early Classical, and Hellenistic periods. Numerous tripod bases attest to the presence of other costly tripods in the civic center of Orchomenos during the Hellenistic period.  Thanks to several important studies, there is enough archaeological evidence to reconstruct, in broad outline, the religious biography of the tripod in ancient Boiotia. The material from Ptoon has been thoroughly discussed by Guillon in a two-volume monograph that is, to date, the only diachronic treatment of Boiotian tripods. 4  The material from Orchomenos,  which is still largely embedded in the masonry of a 9th-century church Figure 1. Modern reconstruction (1974) of a Late Geometric bronze tripod cauldron from Olympia. Photo G. Hellner, courtesy Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Athens (neg. D-DAI-ATH-1974/1115) 2. This conservatism may be inferred from Pausanias’s account of Boiotia. Pausanias was very careful in perceiving, recording, and presenting the religious traditions and phenomena of ancient Greece. See Habicht 1985; Schachter 1981, 1986, 1994a.3. Thebes: Paus. 9.10.4, 10.7.6; Mt. Helikon: Paus. 9.31.3. See also  IG   VII 1773.4. Guillon 1943a, 1943b.  boiotian tripods253 (see below, Fig. 3), was published in detail by Amandry and Spyropoulos. 5   These studies are supplemented by the thorough analysis of the sanctuary of Apollo at Ptoon by Ducat. 6  In this article, I consider the two principal modalities of dedication associated with the tripod from the Archaic period onward: the individual and the collective. I also discuss the tripod monuments in the Akraiphian sanctuary of the hero Ptoios at Kastraki, examining their centrality in ritual events and practices with a distinctively Boiotian character.  TRIPODS AS SYMBOLS IN PANHELLENIC AND BOIOTIAN CONTEXTS  While there are abundant occurrences of the tripod cauldron in Boiotian contexts, no previous study has attempted to synthesize the evidence and interpret the symbolic meanings of the tripod in the various cultic envi-ronments of ancient Boiotia. How did this intricate object, which figured so prominently among the earliest dedications at the great panhellenic sanctuaries during the Geometric period, come to play an important com-municational role in Archaic Boiotia? Did this dedicatory custom conform to a standard cultural template, or were there significant variations in Boiotian ritual practice?   Mt. Ptoion Mt. Parnes PHOKISEUBOIAATTICA Mt. HelikonMt. Kithairon 5. Amandry and Spyropoulos 1974. See also Amandry 1978 for a group of typologically similar tripods from the sanctuary of Athena Itonia at Coronia (identification uncertain).6. Ducat 1971. Figure 2. Map of Boiotia showing sites mentioned in the text. N. Papalexandrou
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