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AIAS Workshop: Cultic Connections in the North Aegean Region

Info about event


Friday 22 September 2017,  at 10:00 - 18:30


The AIAS Auditorium, Building 1632, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus C


The Aegean Sea and its northern extension - the Thracian Sea – were vibrant areas of the ancient world. Numerous harbour-cities thrived, and the region gave birth to many important cult centres. This international one-day workshop focuses on the dynamics of cultic connections in the North Aegean from the Late Classical-Early Hellenistic periods to the Imperial Roman age. It traces cultic connections among the coastal regions (Greece, Macedonia, and Thrace), and islands surrounding these seas (Samothrace, Thasos, Imbros, and Lemnos). Literary and archaeological evidence demonstrate the importance gained by some of the sanctuaries in these areas. These sources also show that both ordinary and illustrious people and initiates travelled to the sanctuaries from various parts of the Mediterranean, particularly from the regions of Thrace, Asia Minor, Macedonia, and Greece (such as Philip II who visited the Sanctuary of the Great Gods in Samothrace). 

We aim to bring together scholars who are interested in exploring:

  • Practices associated with cult and religion in relation to the historical, cultural and social context and the excavations of the sanctuaries in the north Aegean regions (including the problem of assigning functions to individual buildings, their architecture and decoration).
  • The religious, social and political role and impact of the main cults and sanctuaries (i.e.  the  cult of the  Great Gods  in and outside  of  Samothrace)  both  in  the  Early Hellenistic and Roman periods; as well as continuities and changes in the transition of power during these periods.
  • Alongside the recognized role played by the Macedonian agency in enhancing the status of the Sanctuary of the Great Gods at Samothrace, it would be interesting to explore: if and at what extent the Macedonians more generally played a role in disseminating North Aegean cults in the wake of their expansion during the 4th century BC; for example, possible acts of emulation by local dynasts in other areas (i.e. Thessaly and Thrace); as well as Greek models and influences.    


10.00 Welcome by Morten Kyndrup, AIAS Director, and the organizers 

10.15 Opening Keynote: Bonna Wescoat, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Art History and Director of Excavations in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods (Samothrace), Emory University, USA:
Why Samothrace? 

11.15 Coffee 

11.45 Maria Chiara Monaco, Università degli Studi della Basilicata, Italy (presenting in absentia):
The Great Gods of Lemnos in Classical and Hellenistic Periods:  Myth and Cult Festivals 

12.15 Consuelo Manetta, AIAS-COFUND Fellow, AIAS, Denmark, and Daniela Stoyanova, St. Kliment Ohridski University, Sofia, Bulgaria:
The Sanctuary of the Great Gods in Seuthopolis, Thrace, in the Light of New Evidence 

13.00 Lunch (speakers and discussants only)

14.00 Jacques des Courtils, Professor of Archaeology, Université Bordeaux Montaigne, France:
The Sanctuaries of Thasos in Classical Times 

14.45 Margarit Damyanov, National Institute of Archaeology with Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria (presenting in absentia):
Demeter in  Apollonia Pontica: Connections to the Northern Aegean and beyond 

15.15 Coffee 

15.45 Milena Melfi, Lecturer in Classical Art and Archaeology, New College, Oxford, UK:
The Athenians in Thrace and the diffusion of the cult of Asklepios in the Thasian Pereia 

16.30 Troels Myrup Kristensen, Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology, Aarhus University, Denmark:
Cultic Connections and The Materialities of Ancient Mediterranean Pilgrimage 

17.15 Responses: Jens Krasilnikoff, Associate Professor of Ancient History, Aarhus University, Denmark, and Armin W. Geertz, Professor of the History of Religion, Aarhus University, and Jens Chr. Skou Senior   Fellow, AIAS, Denmark. 

19.30  Dinner at Komfur, Guldsmedgade 38-40, 8000 Aarhus C (speakers and discussants only) 

Participation and registration

The workshop is open to all; academics, students and the general public, and participation is free of charge. If you wish to attend the workshop, prior registration is not necessary.


Consuelo Manetta, AIAS Fellow in collaboration with Troels Myrup Kristensen, School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University.


Consuelo Manetta, AIAS Fellow
Phone: +4587153262  

Troels Myrup Kristensen, Associate Professor
Phone: +4587162043