AdvisorVoyatzis, Mary E.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractExamining the accessibility and restrictions of sacred spaces in the Ancient Greek world can help us to better understand the past use of the space and the community that oversaw the space. Ancient literary sources give hints on how the conceptualized boundaries (the temenos, abaton, and adyton) of sacred sites functioned and affected access to sites. Literary and epigraphic evidence indicate general restrictions placed on visitors to sanctuaries, relating to such issues as purity and gender regulations. Archaeological remains can help to determine the ways that spatial configurations at sites might have reflected potential sacred restrictions. The literary evidence and the archaeological remains both indicate a pattern in terms of accessibility at sanctuary sites. When political control or complexity increases in a community, the shrines under the influence of those communities develop more restrictions and regulations. Evidence from Minoan peak sanctuaries, Mycenaean sanctuaries within palatial centers, and Archaic-Classical sanctuaries suggests that access at sanctuary sites were dictated to a large degree by political control. At times when political complexity and competition increased within communities, tighter restrictions can be seen developing at sacred sites controlled by these communities. The exception to this pattern of development seems to be rural and mountaintop sanctuaries. Rural and mountaintop sanctuaries are often more removed from political regulation and are instead run by smaller local settlements. These sites appear to have fewer restrictions imposed on them by governmental bodies, and instead tend to develop strong mythic traditions and superstitions that serve to enforce behavior and access at the sites. The region of Arkadia displays this alternative model of developments and can be seen in the development of sites like Mt. Lykaion. These access and restrictions patterns can provide insight into the political and religious lives of the communities in charge of sanctuaries.
Degree ProgramGraduate College