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Ascending and Descending the Acropolis - Mobility in Athenian Religion provides new perspectives on religious mobilities within the geographically limited region of Attica in Greece from the Late Bronze Age to the second century AD. Attica is a particularly fruitful region to study these forms of mobility, as it provides rich evidence across a range of material and textual sources for a variety of different mobile situations - both inside the city of Athens itself (such as on and circumnavigating the Acropolis) and to sanctuaries in its hinterland (for example, those of Demeter and Kore at Eleusis and that of Artemis at Brauron), as well to as more distant sanctuaries, such as Delphi.



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Date de parution 28 janvier 2019
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EAN13 9788771848625
Langue English
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and Descending
the Acropolis
Movement in Athenian Religion
Edited by Wiebke Friese, Søren Handberg and Troels Myrup Kristensen
Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens
Movement in Athenian Religion
Edited by
Wiebke Friese, Søren Handberg and Troels Myrup Kristensen
Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens,
Volume 23Ascending and Descending the Acropolis. Movement in Athenian Religion.
© Aarhus University Press and Te Danish Institute at Athens 2019
Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens, Volume 23
Series editor: Kristina Winther-Jacobsen
Type setting: Ryevad Grafsk
Tis book is typeset in Minion Pro.
Cover: Jørgen Sparre
Cover image: Troels Myrup Kristensen
Ebook production: Narayana Press, Denmark
ISBN 978 87 7184 862 5
ISSN 1397 1433
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8200 Aarhus N
Oxbow Books Ltd.
Te Old Music Hall 106–108
Cowley Road Oxford, OX4 1JE
United Kingdom
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/ In accordance with requirements of the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science, the certification
means that a PhD level peer has made a written assessment justifying this book’s scientific quality.
Te publication of this book was fnanced by:
Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF) and Aarhus University Research Foundation (AUFF)Contents
7 Preface
11 New Approaches to Movement in Athenian Religion
Troels Myrup Kristensen
23 Performing Piety: A Phenomenological Approach to Athenian Processions
Erin Warford
43 On the Peripatos: Accessibility and Topography of the Acropolis Slope Sanctuaries
Wiebke Friese
63 Under the Care of Daemons: From the Athenian Acropolis to Kallirrhoe on the Ilissos
Maria Salta
103 Pausanias and the Intellectual Travellers of the Roman Imperial Period:
Te Acropolis and the Historical Imagination
Maria Pretzler
121 Te Beginning of Sacred Travel in Ancient Athens and Its Countryside
Søren Handberg145 “To the Mountain”: Te Ritual Space of Maenadism in the Athenian Imaginary
Ariadne Konstantinou
161 Journeys to the Eleusinian Mysteria (with an Appendix on the Procession at the Andanian
Kevin Clinton
179 Individuals and Polis in Cult: Te Procession from Athens to Eleusis in Classical Times
Soi Agelidis
191 Te Route of the Athenian Pythaïs across the City and Its Territory
Daniele Pirisino
221 Refections on Pilgrimage at the Acropolis of Brauron during the Late Helladic Period
Konstantinos Kalogeropoulos
255 Ritual in Its Space
Fritz Graf
267 List of Contributors
269 Index of Place Names
275 Index of Ancient NamesPreface
Te majority of the papers published here were frst Sapere Aude excellence programme under the
Danpresented in preliminary form in the “Ascending ish Council for Independent Research (DFF) and
and Descending the Acropolis: Sacred Travel in A-t directed by Troels Myrup Kristensen. We would like
tica and Its Borderlands” workshop held at the Dan- to thank the staf of the Danish Institute at Athens
ish Institute at Athens on 15 November 2014 and for their help in organizing the conference, and the
organized by Wiebke Friese and Søren Handberg. Aarhus University Research Foundation (AUFF) for
Te workshop was organized under the auspices a generous grant to cover the costs of publishing this
of “Te Emergence of Sacred Travel: Experience, volume. For editorial assistance, we are grateful to
Economy and Connectivity in Ancient Mediter- Nicola Daumann, Martine Petlund Breiby and Isak
ranean Pilgrimage” collaborative research project Roalkvam.
(, generously funded by the
Aarhus, Hamburg, and Oslo
April 2018
Tis page is protected by copyright and may not be redistributed.INTRODUCTIONNew Approaches to Movement in Athenian
Troels Myrup Kristensen
Te aim of this volume is to provide new perspec- fascinating window into the role that specifc kinds
tives on religious movement in the city of Athens of ritualised movement could play within Athenian
and the broader region of Attica from the Late religious and social imaginary.
1Bronze Age to the 2nd century AD. Since the 1990s, Tis brief introduction consists of three parts.
work on the ancient Greek world has increasingly Te frst outlines some key aspects of movement in
focused on diferent aspects of movement, such as Athenian (and more broadly, Greek) religion, and
processions and pilgrimages, and how they feed into why they matter. Te second suggests some ways
the cultural, political, and religious imagination of through which archaeology may contribute to the
2cities and sanctuaries across the Mediterranean. study of Athenian religious movement by taking in -
Athens and Attica are particularly fruitful places in spiration from the so-called “new mobilities para -
the study of these phenomena, as the region provides digm”. Te third presents a brief overview of the
rich evidence across a range of textual and material individual case studies presented in the following
sources for a variety of diferent types of religious chapters.
movement – both inside the city of Athens itself
(such as to, on, and around the Acropolis) and from
its centre to sanctuaries in the hinterland (such as Movement Matters
those of Demeter and Kore at Eleusis and that of
Artemis at Brauron), as well as to more distant sanc- In spite of the obvious perils and dangers that faced
tuaries, such as Delphi. Te evidence for maenadism ancient travellers, religious movement on a variety
in both drama and vase-painting provides another of diferent scales was integral to the development of
Greek religion. From the Greek world at large, there
is evidence for some 356 processions ( pompai) in * I thank Anna Collar and Søren Handberg for reading
drafs of this introduction. total, clocking in at varying lengths and durations,
1 For scholarship on later periods, see Kaldellis 2009 and but each demonstrating how frmly embedded this
forthcoming work by Elizabeth Key Fowden.
form of communal and highly performative mov-e
2 Processions: Graf 1996; Agelidis 2017. Pilgrimage:
ment was in the religious life of cities and sanctua-rColeman & Elsner 1995; Dillon 1997; Elsner &
Ruther3ford 2000; Rutherford 2013. For a useful historiogra- ies. Te role of movement in enabling both religious
phy, see Elsner 2017. Outside of the present volume, and political constellations is central to François de
other work by the Emergence of Sacred Travepl roject
Polignac’s infuential study of extramural
sanctuarfocuses on the Mediterranean as a whole; see
Kristensen & Friese 2017; Collar & Kristensen forthcoming
11a and b; Kristensen forthcoming a. 3 True et al. 2004.
Tis page is protected by copyright and may not be redistributed.ASCENDING AND DESCENDING THE ACROPOLIS: MOVEMENT IN ATHENIAN RELIGION
8ies and their role in the rise of the Greek polis in assortment of ritual paraphernalia. Processions
the 8th and 7th centuries BC, where his focus is on were headed by a young man or a maiden, and the
their role as territorial demarcations of individual pompe could accordingly be personifed as a young
4 9cities (see also Handberg, this volume). Processions woman in Greek iconography. In this sense,
reliofen served to manifest links between a city and gious movement was also a highly gendered
pracoutlying sanctuaries, such as in the case of the pro- tice (see Konstantinou, this volume). Characteristic
cession from Athens to Eleusis that demonstrated forms of movement closely linked with processions
Athenian control over the sanctuary of Demeter and included dancing and singing (both on the road and
Kore and its mystery cult (see Agelidis and Clinton, in sanctuaries), as well as the performance of other
this volume). rituals along the way, contributing to a certain
car10 However, it is important not to approach Greek nivalesque quality. Joan Connelly has, for example,
processions as a sort of black box, or indeed “as described the spectacle of the Panathenaic
proces5an empty container for social processes”, as this sion as “the ultimate multi-media kinetic display”
11obscures much of their potential signifcance. Te (see also Warford, this volume).
manner in which individual processions were staged From the Archaic period onwards, religious
and conducted is indeed of pivotal importance. In movement on a more “international” scale was
an important paper on Greek processions, Fritz Graf institutionalised through the journeys of civic
thus noted that a procession “is not just a journey ofcials as part of the phenomenon of theoria
from A from B: undoubtedly, it matters where A (sometimes glossed as “state pilgrimage”) that
6and B are, and who is doing the journey”. Graf has received renewed scholarly interest in recent
12presents two models of Greek processions, one in years. Representatives from individual poleis,
sowhich they moved towards the city centre (so-called called theoroi (ofen translated as “state pilgrims” or
centripetal processions), and the other in which “sacred observers”), travelled considerable distances
they moved away from the city to an extra-urban to witness and participate in festivals held in
extrasanctuary (so-called centrifugal processions). Tis territorial sanctuaries. As with all other forms of
fundamental aspect of direction is one key factor in Greek religious life, participation in theoria was a
understanding the contexts and meanings of indi - means of displaying power and performing civic
vidual cases of religious movement in the broader identities, evident for example in the Athenian
religious landscape. procession to Delphi that in the 2nd century BC
Other key features of Greek processions include included more than 500 delegates (see also Pirisino,
13the social make-up and structure of the procession this volume). Tis procession, known as the
7itself and the ritual activities of the participants. Pythaïs, has been described as the “travelling image
14Visual representations of processions show partici - of the Athenian state”. But this kind of movement
pants wearing garlands, special dress, and a rich
8 Stavrianopoulou 2015.
9 LIMC VII, 435-6.
4 Polignac 1995. 10 Kowalzig 2007.
5 Sheller 2014, 791, making this important point in 11 Connelly 2011, 318. For a full account of the
relation to the study of movement more broadly. Panathenaic procession, see Shear 2001, 122-206.
6 Graf 1996, 64, thus foreshadowing key points in 12 Te key study is now Rutherford 2013.
Cresswell 2006. 13 Rutherford 2013, 157 (on the number of Pythaïdes),
7 On gendered aspects of Greek mobility, see 222-30 (for a broader discussion of the Pythaïs).
12 Konstantinou 2018. 14 Rutherford 2013, 230.
Tis page is protected by copyright and may not be redistributed.NEW APPROACHES TO MOVEMENT IN ATHENIAN RELIGION h TROELS MYRUP KRISTENSEN
was not only about external communication, as cially those that pay close attention to their
mate20moving together in a group of theoroi undoubtedly riality.
contributed to a sense of community or belonging Since the turn of the millennium, a wave of new
15 21among the participants themselves. and important work on mobility has appeared,
Infuenced by these developments in religious occasionally under the banner of the so-called
movement, travel was increasingly seen as a “new mobilities paradigm” or “mobile turn”, mainly
method of acquiring knowledge, as the examples of developed within sociology and geography, but ofen
Herodotus and Solon as well as the more extreme of a highly interdisciplinary character. Scholarship
16Roman example of Apuleius’ Golden Ass all attest. under this broad banner has repeatedly argued that
Beginning with Plato and Aristotle, the model of the study of movement must develop new methods
theoria came to be understood as a metaphor for and approaches that are able to study an increasingly
17 22philosophical inquiry itself. Te metaphorical sense mobile world. In a programmatic paper published
of travel further developed during the Hellenistic in 2006, Mimi Sheller and John Urry thus point out
period. In Stoic philosophy, wandering constituted how the immense growth in contemporary mobility
a metaphor for life itself in which man h(omo viator) is rapidly transforming scholarly terminologies and
18sought moral frmness. Tese examples demon- methodologies across a broad range of disciplines
strate how the study of movement ofers a window (note, for example, the rise of network metaphors
23into a whole range of diferent aspects of Greek s-o in historical studies). Sheller and Urry propose
ciety and culture. While by necessity highly impres- that “mobilities need to be examined in their fuid
24sionistic, this brief overview of why movement ma-t interdependence and not in their separate spheres”.
ters has highlighted the need to look at individual Observers of contemporary mobility have indeed
moments in which movement acquires meaning, as shown how the ways and means by which people
well as the shape, direction, and representation of move create new social and cultural practices. Te
movement in diferent contexts and media. automobile is a classic case that has received
con25siderable attention in scholarship, but even
seemingly basic forms of movement, such as walking,
can ofer insights into a broad range of phenomena, Te Matter of Movement
shown, for example, in the extensive literature on the
Movement is, by its very nature, an elusive and
ephemeral topic that has ofen been exclusively 20 Tis is attempted more comprehensively than is
possible here in Kristensen forthcoming a. Kristensen studied through the singular lenses of texts and
forthcoming b applies a “new mobilities paradigm” 19inscriptions. An alternative approach to religious
perspective to the sanctuary of Asklepios at Epidauros.
movement is to take inspiration from methods and 21 Te geographer Tim Cresswell makes a distinction
theories developed in studies of contemporary mo- between movement and mobility (Cresswell 2006,
2-3). In his view, movement is in itself abstract bilities and apply them to the ancient world,
espeand meaningless, whereas mobility is meaningful
and socially produced. However, the two are used
interchangeably in the present context.
22 Sheller & Urry 2006; see also Büscher et al. 2011; Adey
15 Cf. Adey 2009, 172. et al. 2014.
16 Montiglio 2005, 147-79; Pretzler 2007, 48. 23 For recent applications of network models in history
17 Rutherford 2013, 325-32. and archaeology, see Brughmans et al. 2016.
18 Montiglio 2005, 42-61. 24 Sheller & Urry 2006, 212.
13 19 See also Kristensen & Friese 2017. 25 See, for example, Inglis 2004.
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Fig. 1. Te “staging mobilities”
framework (from Jensen 2013, fg. 1.1, repro -
duced by permission of Taylor & Francis
Books UK).
26fâneur. Tis has profound methodological impli- ation”, defned as “an assemblage of human subjects,
cations that have been addressed by a number of physical design and material infrastructures of the
27scholars across a range of disciplines. built environment” to describe his object of study,
30 In his work on contemporary mobilities, the thus enabling a study of urban life in motion.
Alurban theorist Ole B. Jensen has developed what he though Jensen’s study is limited to contemporary
calls the “staging mobilities” framework that brings urban spaces, his observations have more general
together the study of physical settings (i.e .the ma- application for two reasons. Firstly, they provide
useterial world in which mobility happens), embodied ful terminology for studying movement in both the
performances (by people), and social interactions present and the past, and secondly, they are frmly
28(within groups) (Fig. 1). Jensen’s framework em - anchored in material aspects of mobility.
phasises how mobilities are always staged, either For example, a striking aspect of contemporary
from above (through careful architectural design mobilities is their dependence on immobile,
mateor other forms of supervision within a given space) rial infrastructures. Cars need roads, mobile phones
or from below (through the embodied actions and need antennae, and so on. Many studies have thus
29performances of groups and individuals). Jensen frequently emphasized how diferent aspects of
furthermore develops the notion of a “mobile situ- materiality fundamentally shape movement in the
31contemporary world. Tis is particularly helpful
for an archaeological approach to past mobility, as
26 Benjamin 1999. many forms of religious movement in the ancient
27 On fânerie as a method in ethnography, see Soukop
2013 and Coates 2017.
28 Jensen 2013, 5-10. 30 Jensen 2013, 10.
14 29 Jensen 2013. 31 Jensen 2013; 2014.
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world would have had a material footprint even if chitectural developments and topographical changes
the materials and technologies in question were radi- that are difcult to explain by other factors. Arguably
cally diferent. Most ofen, archaeology reveals what similar spaces were provided in many other
sancthe geographer Tim Cresswell calls the “places and tuaries that accommodated similar forms of ritual
32landscapes of mobility”, but this is only the frst movement, as in the case of the temple of Athena
34step in reconstructing the experiences and meanings Polias. Yet Classical archaeology ofen lacks a
terof mobility itself. minology and methodology to study such spaces and
Two recent studies of particular aspects of the mobile situations that they would have hosted.
Athenian archaeology demonstrate these issues in Te second case is Nathan Arrington’s discussion
some detail, although their authors do not explicitly of the Academy Road that led from the Kerameikos,
draw on methods from the “new mobilities paradigm” . through its important funerary area and the public
35Te frst is Henrik Gerding’s discussion of the cemetery (the demosion sema) to the Academy.
Athenians’ startling decision to rebuild the temple of In some parts, the Academy Road was up to 40
Athena Polias on the Acropolis afer its destruction metres wide, which is even more than its extension
by the Persians in 480 BC, not in its original position inside the city walls, the important Panathenaic Way
on the so-called Dörpfeld Foundations, but rather that was between some 10 and 20 metres wide. Tis
slightly to the north at the new location of the extraordinary width suggests that it was constructed
33Erechtheion. Tis decision is strikingly at odds not simply to facilitate heavy trafc, but to
accomwith Athenian religious conservatism and stands in modate grand processions that required
considerstark contrast to the Parthenon, which was fnished able space, efectively constituting a kind of moving
36directly on top of the foundations of its predecessor. theatrical stage. Te Academy Road was in fact not
As Gerding argues, the decision to relocate the one of the city’s main thoroughfares, as it did not go
temple of Athena Polias can be explained by the any further than the Academy and thus constituted
apparently growing need of the participants in the a dead end. Te materiality and layout of the road
Panathenaic procession to gather in the area around instead underlined its use as a public performance
the Great Altar of Athena. Te relocation of the space, a role that was especially apt in the public
temple of Athena Polias created a large open space at commemoration of Athenians who had died on the
the very heart of the Acropolis, allowing large groups battlefeld and for the occasion of funerary orations
of worshippers to convene and participate in the that amassed large crowds. Te Academy Road fur -
rituals that took place there. Practical needs and the thermore played a role in several Athenian festivals,
desire to further embellish the Panathenaic festival notably that of the Dionysia, in which the cult image
won over religious tradition in this case, and this of Dionysos was taken in procession from his
extra37new open (and essentially performative) space in mural temple that was situated nearby.
turn infuenced the ritual practices undertaken (as Both the case of the Academy Road and that
well as the experiences thereof). Although Gerd- of the temple of Athena Polias on the Acropolis
ing does not frame his study from the perspective emphasise how individual movement (which Jensen
of movement, his interpretation constitutes a good
example of how the movement needs of individual
34 Connelly 2011. festivals and festivals help us to make sense of a -r
35 Arrington 2010.
36 Arrington 2010, 524. On the Panathenaic Way, see
32 Cresswell 2006, 57. Ficuciello 2008, 136-53.
15 33 Gerding 2006. 37 Arrington 2010, 527-8.
Tis page is protected by copyright and may not be redistributed.ASCENDING AND DESCENDING THE ACROPOLIS: MOVEMENT IN ATHENIAN RELIGION
would classify as “staging from below”) can be very of mobilities that can be partially reconstructed on
difcult to access on the basis of archaeology alone. the basis of material evidence. An important lesson
In fact, it can perhaps only be studied through from the study of contemporary mobility is the need
textual evidence that describes the journeys of single to understand Greek religion as a mobile practice
individuals, such as Aelius Aristides or Pausanias that involved not just going to one temple, but
(see also Pretzler, this volume). However, what we visiting several diferent sanctuaries and doing many
may term “structural movement” is more readily diferent things, complicating our eforts to separate
available for study through material remains. diferent phenomena and drastically unravelling a
Structural movement relates to a more general level feld of study that has been rather obsessed with
at which movement is shaped and controlled by rigid terminology. Indeed, many previous studies
physical factors, such as buildings and monuments – of the archaeological evidence for Greek religious
and how movement through sanctuaries and movement have focused on static remains, such
landscapes is regulated by, for example, sacred ways as individual buildings for the accommodation of
and sacred regulations that have been inscribed on pilgrims, or picked up on anecdotal evidence for
stone (through what Jensen would call “staging tents that presumably would have provided a very
from above”). Te study of structural movement large proportion of the accommodation for pilgrims.
also takes in embodied perspectives of experience, In my view, however, the study of Greek religious
such as visibility – what could be seen from where, movement must be more ambitious and engage in
for example, and, perhaps just as importantly, what a much broader palette of approaches in order to
40could not be seen. Te study of sightlines, pioneered move forward.
as early as 1937 by Doxiadis in his Raumordnung im
38griechischen Städtebau, may be particularly useful
for emphasising the experience of arriving at and Movement in Athenian Religion:
moving through particular sanctuaries. Doxiadis Case Studies
showed how space in ancient Greece was not a
concept that was drawn up on a map, but rather Te contributions to this volume provide a range of
something that was experienced from a particular “mobile” perspectives on Athenian religion.
Contriplace in the landscape. But sightlines do not only butions to the frst part of the book, “Movement in
reveal technical aspects of Greek architecture; they the City”, focus on religious movement within the
also framed the religious experience of pilgrims and asty itself. Erin Warford’s chapter, “Performing Piety:
39made them participants in liturgical ritual. As such, A Phenomenological Approach to Athenian
Procesthey constitute an important case of how structural sions”, thus explores the sensory experiences aforded
movement was staged in Greek sanctuaries. to participants in processions, particularly focusing
Te central methodological challenge of the on the especially well-documented case of the
Panamobility perspective in studying Greek pilgrimage thenaia. In “On the Peripatos: Accessibility and
Tois consequently to see sanctuaries not simply as an pography of the Athenian Slope Sanctuaries”, Wiebke
assemblage of static buildings, but rather as a series of Friese turns to the sanctuaries situated around the
fows and stages of movement that produced a variety Athenian Acropolis that created a complex and dense
network of sacred places. Maria Salta takes us on a
38 Doxiadis 1937.
39 Yasin 2012. Cf. Tonio Hölscher’s notion of “sakrale 40 Leary 2014 similarly urges us to privilege movement
16 Achsen” (Hölscher 1999, 74-83). over place.
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similar topographical journey to another part of action between the Athenian procession to Delphi
the city in “Under the Care of the Daemons: From with the surrounding landscape. Te fnal chapter by
the Athenian Acropolis to Kallirhoe on the Ilissos.” Konstantinos Kalogeropoulos, “Refections on
PilIn contrast, Maria Pretzler focuses squarely on the grimage at Brauron during the Late Helladic Period”,
Acropolis in “Pausanias and the Intellectual Trave-l considers the nature and character of religious
activlers of the Roman Imperial Period: Te Acropolis ity on the acropolis of Brauron by comparing it to
and the Historical Imagination”, in which she investi- other sanctuaries from across the early Greek world.
gates the signifcance of visiting Athens in the Roman Finally, the volume concludes with an epilogue by
period through the lens of Roman writers. Fritz Graf that places its contributions within the
Te second part of the book, “Movement be- larger historiographical context of recent
developyond the City”, takes us further afeld as it turns to ments in the study of Greek religion more broadly.
movement that connected the asty with sanctuaries
placed in the landscapes of Attica, and even beyond
in the case of the Pythaïs. Søren Handberg looks Abbreviations
at the earliest phases of Athenian religious
movement in the Late Geometric period when members LIMC = Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae
of the aristocracy not only made dedications on the Classicae (1981-2009)
Athenian Acropolis, but also travelled to sanctuaries
in Isthmia and Eretria where they had established
guest-friendships, as well as ascending Mounts Bibliography
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17ritory”, ofers a detailed investigation of the
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CRESSWELL, T. 2006 Staging Mobilities, London and New York.
On the Move. Mobility in the Modern Western World,
London and New York. JENSEN, O.B. 2014
18 Designing Mobilities, Aalborg.
Tis page is protected by copyright and may not be redistributed.NEW APPROACHES TO MOVEMENT IN ATHENIAN RELIGION h TROELS MYRUP KRISTENSEN
Te Christian Parthenon. Classicism and Pilgrimage in State Pilgrims and Sacred Observers in Ancient Greece.
Byzantine Athens, Cambridge. A Study of Teôriâ and Teôroi, Cambridge.
Female Mobility and Gendered Space in Ancient Greek ‘Polis and Panathenaia: Te History and Development
Myth, London. of Athena’s Festival, ’ PhD diss., University of
Singing for the Gods. Performances of Myth and Ritual SHELLER, M. & J. URRY 2006
in Archaic and Classical Greece, Oxford. ‘Te New Mobilities Paradigm’, Environment and
Planning A: Economy and Space 38.2, 207-26.
Materiality and Mobility in Ancient Mediterranean SHELLER, M. 2014
Pilgrimage. Landscapes, Gatherings, Presence, London ‘Te New Mobilities Paradigm for a Live Sociology’,
and New York. Current Sociology Review 62.6, 789-811.
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Greek Sanctuaries’, World Archaeology 50.2. Study of Hyper-Mediated Everyday Life’J, ournal of
Contemporary Ethnography 42.3, 226-54.
Excavating Pilgrimage. Archaeological Approaches to STAVRIANOPOULOU, E. 2015
Sacred Travel and Movement in the Ancient World ‘Te Archaeology of Processions’, in A Companion to
(Routledge Studies in Pilgrimage, Religious Travel and the Archaeology of Religion in the Ancient World, R.
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Wandering in Ancient Greek Culture, Chicago. ‘Sight Lines of Sanctity at Late Antique Martyria’, in
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Cults, Territory, and the Origins of the Greek City-State, R.G. Ousterhout (eds.), Cambridge, 248-80.
Pausanias. Travel Writing in Ancient Greece, London.
Tis page is protected by copyright and may not be redistributed.PART I
MOVEMENT IN THE CITYPerforming Piety: A Phenomenological Approach
to Athenian Processions
Erin Warford
Imagine for a moment that you are a basket-bearer combined movement through a landscape with a
in the Panathenaic procession. In the lead walk the variety of sights, sounds, and smells, perceived by
priests and priestesses, setting a steady pace. Te both the spectators and the participants of the
pro1basket on your head is beginning to feel heavy, and cession. Much of this sensory experience was deeply
the handles are slippery in your hands. Your gold personal, and it would be impossible to reconstruct
jewellery hangs heavy on your neck, jangling with any individual’s experience. Te difculty does not,
each careful step, and the white paint on your face however, invalidate the usefulness of attempting to
itches in the summer heat. Ahead of you stretches consider this sensory experience, the possible
perthe wide street, lined with wooden stands which are ceptions or meanings of this sensory experience,
flled with people, chattering and murmuring as you and the potential ways that these symbols infuenced
pass by. You are acutely conscious of all the eyes on collective memory and identity.
you, and the stands channel all the sound down to Some scholars studying ancient Greek sacrifcial
you. In the distance, you can see the Acropolis, the processions have attempted to classify those
procesgreat rock of Athena. Behind you, you can faintly sions as a way of understanding them. For example,
hear the musicians with their futes and kitharai, Martin Nilsson organized processions into categories
matching their solemn tunes to the pace of the pro- such as processions to the deity, processions with the
cession. Once in a while, the wind carries a whif
of incense to you from the incense-bearers, or the 1 Angelos Chaniotis has produced welcome and
fascinatsmell of the cattle and sheep who are plodding along ing work (2006, 2011) which injects emotion back into
our analysis of festivals and processions and analyzes behind you to the altar. In your mind’s eye, you
imthe ways that these rituals help create “emotional
comagine the procession winding behind you, and you
munities”, but his work does not focus on the sensory
feel giddy and proud. You imagine the altar waiting experience of processions. Connelly 2011 focuses
atop the Acropolis in front of Athena’s temple, the mainly on the routes and space of processions,
particularly spaces used for dance – an ephemeral but vitally goddess watching from her pedestal, the fre lit and
important element of ancient ritual sensory experience.
waiting for the sacrifce. You can almost taste your
Raja & Rüpke 2015 contains many important articles
share of the roasted meat. on experience in ancient religion and the ways we can
Scholarship on ancient festivals and festival pr-o access that experience through material culture (see
especially Huet 2015). However, Stavrianopoulou’s cessions tends to be rather clinical, focused on aitia
chapter on processions focuses on processions as
perand myth, or the mechanics of the ritual. Tis
apformances and movements through a landscape, and
proach fails to capture the rich sensory experience gives little discussion of processional symbols aside
23of these rituals, and especially processions, which from their signifcance as displays of wealth.
Tis page is protected by copyright and may not be redistributed.ASCENDING AND DESCENDING THE ACROPOLIS: MOVEMENT IN ATHENIAN RELIGION
Fig. 1. Wooden plaque from Pitsa with a painted scene of a religious procession. 540-530 BCE. L. 31 cm, max.
H. 14.5 cm. A 16464, National Archaeological Museum, Athens (photographer: G. Patrikianos).
deity, and “magical” processions which were origi- processions of each Greek city-state formed a ritual
nally focused not on a god, but on a specifc ritual system, in dialogue with and related to each other,
goal (e.g. processions that carried around a symbol sharing symbols, participants, and topography.
2like the phallus or eiresione). Fritz Graf, seeking a Perhaps part of the problem is that processions
classifcation focused on landscape and movement, are complex and difcult to defne. What diferen -
divided processions into two categories, centripetal tiates a procession from a group of people wal-k
(moving toward the city centre) and centrifugal ing down the street? Participants may move in a
3(moving away from the centre). Such classifcation particular way, as a unifed group, perhaps in lines
systems imply that the processions in each category or formations; they may be holding signs or other
share signifcant characteristics with each other that symbols; they may be escorting a foat, a statue, or
they do not share with the processions in other cat- a distinguished person; they might be shouting
sloegories, but this is not necessarily true – nor do pro- gans or singing hymns; and they might be dressed
4 5cessions always ft neatly into such categories. What distinctively, in costumes or priestly vestments. It
to do, for example, with processions that circumam - is by these types of sensory cues that we distinguish
bulate the city, such as the Athenian Targelia? Te a procession from other types of movement. Athina
Kavoulaki has proposed a very useful “basic
structure” for processions, including human participants,
2 Nilsson 1916, 309-23.
symbols or oferings, musical accompaniment, and 3 Graf 1996, 55-65.
4 Kavoulaki 2000, 145 rightly emphasizes the
variation in “tone, rhythm and colour” present in
processions. Stavrianopoulou 2015, 351-2 criticizes 5 Luginbühl 2015, 47 defnes processions as “a number
Graf for excluding the element of performance and of people moving forward in an orderly fashion as part
communication between participants and spectators, as of a ceremony or other ritual activity, generally of a
24 well as the dynamic character of processions. religious nature”.
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an established route with a defned start and end Peace Trygaios remarks on Teoria’s wonderful
6point. Additional elements could be added to this smell, which evokes for him among other things
basic structure to alter the sensory experience and “sweet fruits, festivals, the Dionysia, the harmony
14meaning of the ritual. of futes, the tragic poets”. In Aristophanes’ Frogs,
Te ritual processions of ancient Athens also Dionysos and Xanthus frst become aware of a
proincluded these types of sensory cues, so that even cession of initiates in the underworld when they
15a small private sacrifcial procession like the one hear the faint sound of pipes and smell torches.
that Dikaiopolis organized with his family in Aris- Several authors use a phrase vividly translated as
16tophanes’ Acharnians would have been immediately “fll the streets with the smell of burnt sacrifce”.
7recognizable (Fig. 1). Participants in Greek proces- Incense-burners, or thymiateria, and incense were
17sions were associated with a particular kind of move- carried in processions. Both incense, which was
8ment that distinguished them from normal walking. imported from afar, and incense-burners, frequently
Sacrifcial animals and other bloodless oferings were made of precious metals, were symbols of wealth in
18escorted or carried, along with other symbols. Auloi service of and for the glory of the deity.
were the most common instruments played dur- Within the procession, participants and spectators
ing processions, although kitharai, syrinxes, and alike experienced a rich collection of symbols – items
9drums are also attested. Hymns or songs were also perceived by the senses which possessed meaning
ubiquitous, and certain distinctive types were as- for the people who perceived them. Tese symbols
10sociated with particular processions. Distinctive included items worn or objects and oferings carried
dress was also part of ancient Greek ritual proces- in procession; the animals led to the sacrifce; hymns,
sions. Xenophon mentions garments reserved for chants, or music that accompanied the procession
11festivals, something like one’s “festival best”. Priests or marked specifc places along the way; dances
and kanephoroi dressed in particular clothes, and or movement specifc to the processional context;
kanephoroi may also have worn makeup to whiten and the monuments, buildings, or art visible along
12their faces. Demosthenes ordered gold crowns for the processional route. Participants and spectators
himself and his chorus and a gold-embroidered robe perceived these symbols in diferent ways, however.
13for himself to wear in the City Dionysia procession. Participants walked along the procession’s route,
Literary evocations of processions further em- seeing all the monuments, buildings, art, and the
phasise their sensory appeal and draw on their natural landscape and observing or participating
audience’s sense-memory. Although a theoria was in the minor performances which took place along
a diferent form of sacred travel than a ritual pr-o the route. Spectators were stationary, watching the
cession, it is still noteworthy that in Aristophanes’ procession from the side of the road, or perhaps
6 Kavoulaki 2000, 145.
7 Ar. Ach. 241-62. 14 Ar. Pax. 530-2 (trans. O’Neill).
8 Polyaenus, Strat. 5.5; Kavoulaki 2000, 154. 15 Ar. Ran. 312-5.
9 Haldane 1966, 98-107. 16 Eur. Alc. 1156; Ar. Av. 1233, Eq. 1320; Dem. 43.66.
10 Te oschophorikon at the Oschophoria, see Rutherford 17 Andoc. 4.29; Parthenon frieze East VIII fg. 56 carries
& Irvine 1988, 43-51; Kavoulaki 2000, 153. On the a thymiaterion; Xen. Ephes. 1.2.4 describes incense
“melody of the wild fg. “ at the Targelia, see Bremmer carried in procession (but no thymiateria).
1983, 313-4. 18 Tymiateria made of precious metals as part of the
11 Xen. Oec. 9.6. state’s processional vessels: Andoc. 4.29; Tuc. 6.46;
12 Parker 2005, 93-5, 225 n. 35; Roccos 1995, 641-66. Diod. Sic. 13.3. Used by private citizens as a mark of
25 13 Dem. Meid. 16, 22. luxury: Dem. Against Androtion. 22.75; Pl. Resp. 373a.
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21sitting in stands or carts for a better vantage point. minds. It also allows for the possibility of change in
Tey saw the entire procession with all its participants an individual’s understanding of religious symbols,
and symbols, but did not experience the landscape as he or she grew older, experienced new rituals, and
in the same manner as the participants. Tis is not gained new experiences or insights, and as society
to say that the spectators simply passively absorbed itself changed.
the procession’s symbolic spectacle. Efychia Tese memories of processions and their symbols
Stavrianopoulou rightly emphasises the central were also collective, in the sense that they were held
importance of the interplay between participants by many individual members of a group. While
and spectators, sensory symbols, and landscape individual emotional experiences during a festival or
elements which can “evoke the creation or collapse of deeply personal responses to particular symbols were
19communities”. Te presence of spectators who were not necessarily shared, the spectators of a procession
actively watching was an important part of the ritual, saw, heard, or smelled roughly the same sensory
22since they could bear witness that the procession symbols. As Anthony P. Cohen has observed,
20(and sacrifce) had been properly carried out. Te just as communities contain a group of individuals
majority of Athenians played the role of spectator with diferent experiences and views, so symbols
23most of the time, but this does not diminish the accumulate a range of individual meanings.
experience of the participant; presumably, if and Because the members of a community share the
when an Athenian had the chance to participate symbols, they overlook the variations in meaning
in a procession, those memories and impressions and perceive themselves to be more similar to each
infuenced his or her later experiences as a spectator. other than to the members of other communities,
Te meanings of these processional symbols in part based on this shared symbolic language. All
varied from person to person, highly conditioned who came to see the Panathenaic procession would
by personal experience. At least some of these have seen the peplos with its woven tale of Athena’s
layers of meaning, however, were shared within the triumph, or the kanephoros walking past in her
community through the links between the symbols festival garments bearing her ceremonial basket,
and shared myths, history, or knowledge of other or the thallophoroi carrying their olive branches.
rituals. Trough their common sensory experience Moreover, since the procession was repeated, two
of these rituals and familiarity with the meanings people who had attended the procession in diferent
and interpretations of a shared set of symbols, years would still have shared collective memories
processions brought Athenians together to create, about the ritual, since they would have seen much
shape, and maintain their communal identity. the same set of symbols.
Processions were repeated once every year, Tis is not to suggest that processions were static,
two years, or four years. Tus, Athenians had the unchanging rituals. Some things would alter from
chance to experience the procession and its symbols year to year, for example the identity of the various
repeatedly throughout their lives. Such repeated participants, or perhaps the specifc wording of
retrieval of memories and cultural knowledge prayers or the tunes played by the musicians. Other
about a procession’s symbolism could certainly
have reinforced that knowledge in the Athenians’
21 Roediger et al. 2009, 138-70.
22 Except performances at particular places along the
processional route, which only those nearby would
19 Stavrianopoulou 2015, 350. have observed.
26 20 Graf 1996, 57-8. 23 Cohen 1985, 11-21.
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elements of the procession changed to refect social foreign visitors. Non-Athenians lacked access to
or political changes in the community, for example the shared memories of those who had been raised
the addition of Athenian allies and colonists in the on Athenian myth and ritual. Some metics who
processions of the Panathenaia and City Dionysia had lived in Athens for longer periods could have
during the late 5th century BC. Some symbols, become familiar with collective Athenian memory,
however, were consistently present in these depending on how enthusiastically they embraced
processions, and it is especially with respect to their new home. But they also possessed another set
these symbols that we may consider the efects of of collective memories tied to their original polis,
collective memory. which diferentiated them from Athenians. Also, they
Te concept of collective memory was pioneered would probably not have had the same emotional
by Maurice Halbwachs, who pointed out that the attachment to Athenian collective memory – for
formation and recall of memories was socially stru-c example, they could not say that their ancestors
24tured and conditioned. Geofrey Cubitt points out were buried in Athenian cemeteries, or that their
that in fact, groups require a collective memory for ancestors were born from the land itself.
three reasons: to ensure the satisfactory performance Other scholars have emphasised that memory is
of their own activities, to maintain and communi- also culturally structured and conditioned,
embedcate their corporate identity, and to maintain and ded in and transmitted through cultural institutions
27advance their position with respect to other groups and recurring rituals. As one example, Paul
Con25or broader institutional structures. Te memories nerton discusses commemorative rituals – rituals
collectively held by the group are not necessarily that celebrate their continuity with past observations
static bodies of information, waiting to be passed of the same ritual, and frequently also with a myth -i
28on to the newest member as a lump sum of know-l cal or historical fgure or group. Unfortunately, cult
edge; rather, the group is itself a place of exchange myths are not always preserved for the Athenian fe-s
and interaction, processes which form and maintain tivals, and sometimes their associations with mythic
26 29the group memory. By participating in the forma- fgures may be secondary. Connerton suggests that
tion and retrieval of these memories, an individual this “rhetoric of re-enactment” is enacted through
demonstrates and creates a sense of “belonging” to the recurrence of the ritual at the same time every
the group. In Athens, these groups existed at many year, as well as verbal or gestural repetition within
30levels, for example the family, the deme, the phratry, the ritual. Athenian festivals did follow a cyclical
the tribe, elite drinking groups, and many more. Te calendar, but it is harder to fnd verbal or gestural
group most visible to us, however, is the collective of repetition within the procession itself (the
sacriAthenian citizens. By attending a polis-level festival fce is another matter), aside from broader cultural
procession as either a participant or a spectator, an norms of gesture and speech. Hymns and music for
Athenian reafrmed his or her identity and member - the procession could be rewritten, and new ones
ship in this group. composed; and we have little evidence for specifc
Of course, processions could also be attended gestures during the procession, aside from a sort of
by non-Athenians, including resident metics and
27 Connerton 1989, 36-40; Assmann 2011.
28 Connerton 1989, 41-71.
24 Halbwachs 1992 [1925], 37-9. On social memory in 29 For example, Teseus’ connections to the Oschophoria,
5th-century Athens, see Steinbock 2012, 1-47. frst attested in the 4th century BC. Plut. Tes. 23.2;
25 Cubitt 2007, 134-5. Philoch. F183; Istros FGrH 334 F8; Harding 2008, 61-3.
27 26 Cubitt 2007, 166. 30 Connerton 1989, 65-70.
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