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VIRTUAL - AIA Student Affairs Interest Group Dissertation Lecture: “In Search of Border Sanctuaries: Religion, Landscape, and Territory in the Peloponnese”

May 7, 2024 @ 2:00 pm EDT

This is an online event.

Lecturer: Shannon M. Dunn

SAIG Dissertation Lecture flyer

Every year, the AIA Student Affairs Interest Group (SAIG)Dissertation Lecture speaker is Shannon M. Dunn (Bryn Mawr College), who will be presenting her lecture: “In Search of Border Sanctuaries: Religion, Landscape, and Territory in the Peloponnese”.

Join us for her virtual lecture on Zoom on Tuesday, May 7th at 2pm Eastern. Register for the lecture here.

Ancient Greek border sanctuaries have been commonly understood within scholarship as sacred places that reflected or reinforced the territorial boundaries of different political entities. Though implied to be a distinct group of sacred places, there is no agreement about how these sanctuaries functioned as/at borders. Despite the lasting impact of scholarly models of the distribution and function of sanctuaries in the Greek landscape, the type of site often referred to as a “border sanctuary” has not been subject to a large-scale study which comprehensively addresses this category, and which uses sufficient data to critically discuss the usefulness and verity of such terminology. As those models rely on sanctuary landscapes, both in terms of terrain and of spatial relationships, this study maintains the same focus. In the Peloponnese alone, there were different strategies for border delineation and land claims, and different deities preferred by poleis to guard these marginal or contested areas. Major landscape features tended to be used to determine borders, often associated with sacred sites, such as mountain-top temples at the edges of a territory, or shrines in a pass between two regions. The usage of and access to the sanctuaries are dependent on their relationships to regional routes as well as the local political histories, and can be traced through both votive material and written records, including disputes and arbitrations. Some sites reflect changing control of their associated border, while others suggest functions as places of connection and communication between territories. While the framework of “border sanctuary” does not result in a strict typology of site, it does provide a productive lens through which to approach an array of sacred places and to bring them into dialogue with their regional religious landscapes, moving beyond models which revolve around the polis. This project has implications for our understanding of Greek polytheism in general and for the interconnected religious landscapes of the Archaic and Classical Peloponnese.

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May 7, 2024
2:00 pm EDT
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