From 7–9 July 2015 the Swedish Institute at Athens, in collaboration with the British School at Athens, organized a three-day international conference titled
Ancient Hermione is mostly hidden under the modern city. Photo: Jenny Wallensten
A Greek cityscape and its people. A study of Ancient Hermion/Hermione
In 2015, together with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Argolida, the Swedish Institute at Athens commenced work on a joint three-year study of Hermione or Hermion, an ancient city known through written sources and archaeological remains identified through surveys and scattered rescue excavations. The General Director of this project is Dr Alcestis Papadimitriou, Ephorate of Antiquities of Argolida, and Dr Jenny Wallensten is responsible for the Swedish team...
Excavations at the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Kalaureia on Poros were recommenced in June 2015 under the direction of Arto Penttinen.
The gods of the Greeks liked things. Greek religion is inseparable from its temples, altars, statues, and votive offerings; the last of a dazzling variety, ranging from gleaming bronze tripods or elaborate gold jewellery, to simple terracotta figurines, used shoes and dirty pieces of clothing. As a corollary, to understand Greek religion one has to integrate into any study of its theology and rituals, its distinctive materiality. This conference examines this “distinctive materiality” on two levels: firstly, by examining the role of religious objects in human society and secondly, by looking at the significance that objects were thought to have for the gods themselves. The discussions will aim specifically at exploring the ancient Greek ideas on objects and their materiality, a perspective that has hitherto been given little attention.
The Swedish Institute at Athens has invited the jazz band Orfeas Wärdig Tsoukalas Quartet to perform at the
- 15th Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival on Friday June 5, 2015 at 21.00 hrs.
Before that a concert will also be held in the city of Kavala on Wednesday June 3 2015, at 21.00 hrs at Halil Bey or “Palia Mousiki”.
The Swedish Institute at Athens and Aegeus – Society for Aegean Prehistory invite you to the lecture:
Reappraising Kirrha. New evidence on landscape,
economy and society from Southern Phocis
Julien Zurbach & Raphaël Orgeolet
Friday 22 May 2015, 19:00 (Μitseon 9, Acropolis Metro station).
Double Greek Religion Seminar, by Jan-Mathieu Carbon and Edward Harris,
Tuesday 19 May 2015 (Μitseon 9, Acropolis Metro station).
12 May 2015, 15:00
Swedish Institute at Athens (Mitseon 9, Akropolis metro station)
Polyxeni Strolonga, ASCSA
“Shaping Religious Beliefs: The Case of the Major Homeric Hymns”
Scholars often link the Homeric Hymns with certain rituals and festivals in order to assign an aetiological function to them or to locate them in a religious performative context. In this line of interpretation the Homeric Hymn to Demeter reflects the Eleusinian Mysteries (Foley 1993; contra Clinton 1992:28-37 who links it with the Thesmophoria), the Homeric Hymn to Apollo provides an aetiology for Apollo’s three cults and a foundation myth for the Delphic oracle (see Chappell 2006), and the Homeric Hymn to Hermes was performed at the Hermaia, an athletic festival in the god’s honor (Johnston 2002; contra Vergados 2012: 150-153). Even the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, which lacks any obvious cultic dimensions, has been linked to rituals of the adoration and the cleansing of cult images (Breitenberger 2007; cf. Faulkner 2008 who views the hymn purely as secular court poetry). My paper by treating the Hymns as religious poetry dissociates them from specific ritual contexts and relocates them in a panhellenic belief system. A structuralistic and anthropological approach to the Hymns indicates that these poems, which express a theological speculation (Clay 2012) even if they are not cult hymns (Clay 1989), portray gods in such a way so as they display a consistent behavior with respect to their reciprocal relationships with humans. In the narrative of the Homeric Hymns the gods employ quid pro quo and do ut des exchanges in place of punishment (e.g. Aphrodite and Anchises) and they present rituals and priesthood as the ideal reciprocal communication between gods and humans (e.g. Apollo and his priests). The consistency in which gods reciprocate with humans in a religious context and the positive nature of the gods’ offerings constitute a rationalization for the practice of reciprocity and reflect religious beliefs with a panhellenic appeal as the Homeric Hymns shape the mortals’ perception of the Greek Pantheon beyond local cults.
Clay, Jenny Strauss. The Politics of Olympus : Form and Meaning in the Major Homeric Hymns. Princeton, 1989.
—. “Theology and Religion in the Homeric Hymns”, in Richard Bouchon, Pascale Brillet-Dubois, Nadine Le Meur-Weissman (eds.), Hymnes de la Grèce antique. Approches littéraires et historiques : actes du colloque international de Lyon, 19-21 juin 2008 (Lyon), 2012 : 315-322.
Chappell, Michael. 2006. Delphi and the Homeric Hymn to Apollo. CQ 56.2: 331-48.
Clinton, Kevin. Myth and Cult: The Iconography of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Stockholm, 1992 .
Faulkner, Andrew. “The Legacy of Aphrodite: Anchises’ Offspring in the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite.” American Journal of Philology 129.1 (2008): 1-18.
Foley, Helene P. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter : Translation, Commentary, and Interpretive Essays. Princeton, 1994.
Johnston, Sarah Iles. “Myth, Festival, and Poet: The Homeric Hymn to Hermes and Its Performative Context.” Classical Philology 97.2 (2002): 109.
Vergados, Athanassios. A Commentary on the “Homeric Hymn to Hermes. Berlin, 2012.