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23 greek and roman cultic practice

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  • This type of sanctuary is called a Pan-Hellenic Sanctuary – meaning all the gods, all natural, not belonging to one. A neutral ground where all Greeks could come. The sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi was one of them – located on a very mountainous, rocky terrain. The space is clearly defined by a wall, then Temanous Wall. Distinguishes what is outside sacred territory. There is a porch, a chamber, and a sanctuary. Lots of polis decided that they wanted to have their own representation there – treasuries were build, small buildings near the temple – a kind of small meeting place for the peoples, and where they could keep treasure as well. In the southeast corner, number 15, there is a road that ascends from the entrance to the temple – the sacred way of procession – similar to the Panatheniac way. One would be forced to pass by the advertisements of Athenian pride. Apollo is a god of music and the arts – a theater is located in the top left corner. There is a stadium just off the map, past the theater. At this sanctuary, one could come here and ask a question of the priest or priestess called the Pythia. The names of the heroes were chosen by these priests and priestesses. One of the most famous prophesies was that a non Greek king Croesus – of Lydia, Turkey territory, would have his territory threatened, and he asked the Pyithia if he should go to war with the Persians and they responded that a great empire would be destroyed. His empire was destroyed.
  • There was a myth as to why the temple was here – Apollo defeated a monster called Python and took control of the territory.
  • The Pythia was said to sit in a tripod – a caldron with three feet while she gave her answers. The idea was that you would ask a question, and the Pythia would respond in gibberish, and the priests attending her would translate that into a response. Initially the responses came in poetry. She holds a branch of laurel in her hand – sacred to Apollo. They later found that she was being intoxicated by fumes.
  • This sanctuary had a sacred oak tree – the idea that the wind rustling through the trees was interpreted to make prophesies. Also, people were traveling great distances to get to these sanctuaries.
  • One is supposed to camp out in the area, until you have been there enough days (you have to be there a certain amount of days before you can enter and ask your question). Then there is a sacrifice of a animal, and it’s intestines are checked to see if the omens are good. Trophonios is the first builder in stone. He was supposed to have built the first temple at Delphi. One is then bathed, and drink the water of forgetfulness to clear your mind, and drink the water of memory to remember what you are asking once you come back.
  • Reconstruction of what the sanctuary would have looked like. This is a circular base of white marble.
  • This is a sanctuary where you would go to be healed. The god Asklepios was worshipped here – he is the god of healing. One would stay in the Apaton, the sleeping room – where one would hope to have a dream saying or showing how they would be healed.
  • There is an image of the god at the back.
  • Circular room where one would have an usual experience. The basement has a circular labyrinthine plan. The animals that were the most sacred of Asklepios was snakes – thought that one could have an experience in the underworld. Cthonic – associated with the underworld – snakes not meant to create a traumatic experience.
  • Main sanctuary of Demeter – the god of grain and agricultural fertility, mother of Persephone. The myth said that Hades, the god of the underworld was in love with Persephone, and he snatched her from a field and brought her to the underworld – while she was there, Demeter made the land barren. A deal was struck up that Persephone would spend a certain amount of time of the year in the underworld, and a certain amount of time in the upper world. Thought to be an explanation of the changing season – shows Persephone as a goddess that can cross over from the two worlds. One would come to this sanctuary to be initiated into their cults, to receive protection of a god in the afterlife. One cult called the Mysteries of Demeter.
  • Telesterion – the cultic building, meant to be kept secret from the polis. There is a stoa at the front, and enter into a multi- columned vault, an inner sanctuary – something of performance would happen here, and the stepped areas were where those could watch.
  • Interior of the sanctuary – the stepped seating.
  • Rite of passage. A series of rituals happen here – all the girls would have to go through a ritual at the age of seven. They would worship Artemis as a transition of young childhood to late childhood. Later there would be a ritual for puberty. At this ritual, the little girls would do a little bear dance. Artemis has a power over wild animals, this relates to that. This is a courtyard outside.
  • This is a kind of Andron – the all male banquet. This is strange because this is at a specifically female sanctuary. Idea that women could participate in symposic styled banqueting. Could have been women only.
  • They could give votive offerings. This was a cauldron for cooking.
  • Statuary was very common as an offering in Greek sanctuaries. This is not life size, about a foot and a half high. Could be in a gesture of an offering, as well as the object itself is an offering.
  • Youthful male statues called Kouros – could have been placed in sanctuaries as offerings.
  • Some are enormous. Nude male –ideal beauty.
  • Man standing with a calf he is prepared to sacrifice.


  • 1. ARTH 2402 Classical Art and Archaeology
  • 2. Sanctuary of Apollo Delphi
  • 3. Sanctuary of Apollo, Delphi
  • 4. The Pythia and supplicant, Codrus Painter, ca. 450-425
  • 5. Sanctuary of Zeus, Dodona
  • 6. Sanctuary of Trophonios, Lebadeia
  • 7. Sanctuary of Trophonios, Lebadeia
  • 8. Sanctuary of Trophonios, Lebadeia
  • 9. Sanctuary of Trophonios, Lebadeia
  • 10. Epidauros
  • 11. Temple of Asklepios,Theodotos, Epidauros, ca. 380
  • 12. Temple of Asklepios,Theodotos, Epidauros, ca. 380
  • 13. Tholos, Polykleitos the Younger, Epidauros, ca. 360-340
  • 14. Tholos, Polykleitos the Younger, Epidauros, ca. 360-340
  • 15. Sanctuary of Demeter, Eleusis
  • 16. Telesterion Sanctuary of Demeter Eleusis
  • 17. Telesterion, Sanctuary of Demeter, Eleusis
  • 18. Telesterion, Sanctuary of Demeter, Eleusis
  • 19. Sanctuary of Artemis, Brauron
  • 20. Sanctuary of Artemis, Brauron
  • 21. Bronze tripod Olympia 8 th century BCE
  • 22. “ Dame d’Auxerre” Crete??? ca. 630 BCE
  • 23.  
  • 24. New York kouros Athens ca. 600 BCE
  • 25. Sounion kouros 580 BCE
  • 26. Rhombos, son of Palos “ Moskhophoros” (Calf-bearer) Athens 560 BCE
  • 27. Victorious Youth Lysippos? Late 4 th c.
  • 28. Etruscan temple Plan, elevation
  • 29. Greek temple Hephaisteion, Athens
  • 30. Etruscan temple Model
  • 31. Haruspicy – Etruscan mirror
  • 32. Haruspicy – The Piacenza Liver
  • 33. Haruspicy – The Piacenza Liver
  • 34. Tomb of the Augurs, Tarquinia 540-530 BCE
  • 35. Temple of Portunus, early 2 nd c. BCE
  • 36. Temple of Portunus early 2 nd c. BCE
  • 37. Temple of Portunus, early 2 nd c. BCE
  • 38. Temple of Portunus, early 2 nd c. BCE
  • 39. Temple of Portunus, early 2 nd c. BCE
  • 40. Temple of Hercules Victor, end 2 nd c. BCE
  • 41. Temple of Hercules Victor, end 2 nd c. BCE
  • 42.