(B2-6) Political-Religious Interdependence in Sacred Spaces. Epigraphic Texts in the Context of Ancient Greek Sanctuaries
In addition to the monumental and architectural remains, not only the literary tradition, but also and above all an opulent wealth of inscriptions permits insight into the functional diversity of ancient Greek sacred sites. Research interest usually gives priority to the dedicatory inscriptions and to the administrative documents that are directly related to the sanctuary (temple inventories, building and invoice inscriptions, etc.). However, sanctuaries also served as a location for epigraphic documents that had a very limited relation to the respective place of worship. This textual evidence alone is the research project’s object of investigation. The focus will not lie on the historical evaluation of individual documents, which has mostly already been done in any case, but on a systematic genre-specific analysis of the practice of erecting. Asking for the reasons for “locating” these – in the main precisely non-religious – texts in sanctuaries will open up access to very specific structures of conditions of politics and religion which are suitable for a far more detailed understanding of the particular dialectics between these two areas in ancient Greece. The projected investigations will focus on the following text genres:
When ancient treaties were published, they were usually not only deposited in public record offices but also erected in central sanctuaries of the respective contracting parties and, furthermore, often also in large supraregional sanctuaries at “third” places. In this manner, a special network of relationships between the initiators of the inscription, the shrine as the place of erection and the addressees of the erection, which could be quite different, developed. The repercussions and consequences of these relationships need to be identified with regard to the significance of the regulations recorded in the inscription on the one hand, and with regard to the respective sanctuary as such on the other hand.
2. Release records:
A group of inscriptions in Greek sanctuaries outnumbering the treaties are, by far, inscriptions documenting the release of slaves. Even if the release inscriptions have already been analysed in detail under legal aspects, this exceedingly rich epigraphic inventory of sources has not yet been put to sufficiently productive use as regards the present issue of determining the relationship of religion and politics. The view often taken to date that a distinctive need for publication was the sole reason for the public manifestation of the releases is certainly too narrow. Rather, the specific religious, political and also economic reasons and general conditions in each case will have to be identified in order to ascertain the reasons that gave rise to the fact that, obviously, the manifest documentation of a release in a sanctuary was frequently considered to be an indispensable prerequisite for the legal act that had already been archived in any case. In the same way as in the case of the treaties, the particular network of relationships between the actors, the place of erection and the addressee will also be investigated here.
3. Oracle texts and curse tablets:
These two text genres are distinguished from those mentioned before by their being much more closely and directly connected with the cultic religious sphere. Nevertheless, they lend themselves as an excellent addition in the context of overriding questions regarding the interdependence of politics and religion. This part of the investigation, which is projected to be carried out in close collaboration with the research group Inscriptiones Graecae of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and with the Berlin Pergamon Museum, will be based on an extensive archive of as yet unpublished oracle tablets from the sanctuary of Zeus at Dodona and of a large inventory of Attic curse tablets which will also have to be published anew after having already been refurbished.