Advanced

A study of dedications to Aphrodite from Greek magistrates

Wallensten, Jenny LU (2003)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Utifrån epigrafiska källor analyserar avhandlingen Afrodites roll som ämbetsmannabeskyddarinna. Huvudmaterialet är 62 dedikationer till Afrodite: inskrifter från ämbetsmän eller dedikationer där gudinnan presenteras med ett epitet som alluderar på ett ämbete, t.ex. Afrodite Strategis, ‘Strategernas Afrodite’. Materialet visar att Afrodite dyrkades av ämbetsmän på ett panhellenskt plan och att aspekten framför allt kan knytas till den hellenistiska perioden. Det indikerar också att den Afrodite som åkallades inte beskyddade ämbetsmän i allmänhet, utan mindre, mycket specifika grupper, ämbetsmannakollegier eller enskilda tjänstemän. Detta är framför allt påtagligt i de dedikationer som använder... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Utifrån epigrafiska källor analyserar avhandlingen Afrodites roll som ämbetsmannabeskyddarinna. Huvudmaterialet är 62 dedikationer till Afrodite: inskrifter från ämbetsmän eller dedikationer där gudinnan presenteras med ett epitet som alluderar på ett ämbete, t.ex. Afrodite Strategis, ‘Strategernas Afrodite’. Materialet visar att Afrodite dyrkades av ämbetsmän på ett panhellenskt plan och att aspekten framför allt kan knytas till den hellenistiska perioden. Det indikerar också att den Afrodite som åkallades inte beskyddade ämbetsmän i allmänhet, utan mindre, mycket specifika grupper, ämbetsmannakollegier eller enskilda tjänstemän. Detta är framför allt påtagligt i de dedikationer som använder epitet formade från dedikanternas egna titlar. De 62 huvudinskrifterna jämförs i ett andra steg mot ett omfattande bakgrundsmaterial, dels dedikationer till Afrodite i allmänhet, dels dedikationer från ämbetsmän till andra gudar än Afrodite. Undersökningen visar att rollen som ämbetsmannagudinna skall tolkas som en utveckling inom Afroditekulten, inledd under senklassisk tid och som mest påtaglig under den helllenistiska perioden. Det står också klart att Afrodite inte var den enda guden eller gudinnan som dyrkades av ämbetsmän. Under den hellenistiska perioden var hon dock en av de mest populära. Tidigare studier av denna aspekt förklarar fenomenet genom gudinnans karaktär: eftersom Afrodite var en gudinna som skapade sämja var hon lämplig som ämbetsmannabeskyddarinna. Avhandlingen visar att kopplingarna mellan Afrodite och begreppet sämja/endräkt (gr. Homonoia) inte är så tydliga att de klart stödjer denna teori. Min avhandling identifierar istället faktorer märkbara i den (religions-)historiska kontexten vilka kan ha påverkat Afrodites utveckling till populär ämbetsmannagud. Under den hellenistiska perioden ökade kontakterna mellan privat och offentligt i den grekiska världen. Detta underlättade Afrodites utökande av sina ansvarsområden, vilka tidigare varit starkt kopplade till den privata sfären. Afrodite var generellt sett en mycket populär gudinna under hellenistisk tid och kan också ha uppfattats som en tydligt närvarande gud under denna period: flera av de hellenistiska drottningarna lät sig dyrkas i Afrodites skepnad. Jag föreslår vidare att Afrodites utveckling till ämbetsmannagudinna skall ses som utslag av två tendenser i den hellenistiska tidens religiösa klimat: sökande efter beskydd och individualism. En annan bidragade orsak till Afrodites roll som ämbetsmannagudinna kan ha varit hennes starka kopplingar till Hermes, den mest populära ämbetsmannaguden i det undersökta materialet. Slutligen diskuteras det faktum att de flesta ämbetsmannadedikationer till Afrodite härstammar från en tid då Rom dominerade Medelhavsvärlden på det politiska planet. Myter och legender användes flitigt som redskap i hellenistisk diplomati. Den grekiska världen kände vid denna tid till traditionerna som hyllade Afrodite som romarnas anmoder. En dedikation till Afrodite skulle i dessa sammanhang också kunna tolkas som en gåva till Afrodite i denna politiskt korrekta roll. (Less)
Abstract
Through the identification of a series of inscriptions, mainly datable to the Hellenistic era, a link between Aphrodite and the civic life and administration of the Greek poleis has come to light. The inscriptions in question are dedications to Aphrodite through which magistrates of various cities and varying status express their devotion to the goddess. In certain dedications, the goddess is even invoked by an epithet specifically alluding to a public office. Taking these dedications as its point of departure, the present study analyses Aphrodite’s role as a goddess honoured by magistrates. The present study examines 62 preserved examples of ‘magistral’ dedications, i.e., votive inscriptions from magistrates to Aphrodite or dedications... (More)
Through the identification of a series of inscriptions, mainly datable to the Hellenistic era, a link between Aphrodite and the civic life and administration of the Greek poleis has come to light. The inscriptions in question are dedications to Aphrodite through which magistrates of various cities and varying status express their devotion to the goddess. In certain dedications, the goddess is even invoked by an epithet specifically alluding to a public office. Taking these dedications as its point of departure, the present study analyses Aphrodite’s role as a goddess honoured by magistrates. The present study examines 62 preserved examples of ‘magistral’ dedications, i.e., votive inscriptions from magistrates to Aphrodite or dedications that invoke the goddess by epithets alluding to a magistracy. An analysis of this material shows that magistrates’ worship of Aphrodite existed on a Pan-Hellenic level and that most of the dedications can be dated to the Hellenistic period. It also suggests that these dedications were meant for a very specific goddess: not a protectress of magistrates in general, but a protective deity of defined smaller groups of magistrates or single holders of magistracies. The phenomenon is at its most apparent when the goddess is honoured by epithets created from the titles of the magistrates themselves, e.g., Epistasie, Nomophylakis and Stratagis. The dedications from magistrates to Aphrodite are also studied against the background of dedications to Aphrodite in general as well as magistrates’ dedications to deities other than Aphrodite. A comparison between the chronological and geographical distribution of the core inscriptions and the background material indicates that Aphrodite’s role as a protectress of magistrates was a development in the goddess’ cult, probably begun in the fourth century BC but most apparent in the Hellenistic period. The perspective offered by the background inscriptions also shows that Aphrodite was not the only deity approached by magistrates but that she became highly popular, however, as the recipient of their dedications in the Hellenistic period. Earlier explanations for magistrates’ devotion to Aphrodite have referred to ‘internal’ characteristics of the goddess, e.g., Aphrodite being a goddess of concord. The connections between Aphrodite and concord/homonoia in cult can be shown to be less self-evident than previously thought. The present study instead proposes to seek the reasons for Aphrodite as a protectress of magistrates in the ‘external’ historical and religious context. The present study suggests that magistrates’ worship of Aphrodite can be seen as an expression of two general trends in Hellenistic religious concerns: the search for protection and for individualism. Furthermore, Aphrodite’s strong associations with Hermes, otherwise the most popular god in the studied material, might also have affected her development into a magistrates’ goddess. Finally, most magistrates’ dedications to Aphrodite were presented in a world politically dominated by Rome, and thus the idea of Aphrodite as the ancestress of the Romans might have been a factor strengthening her popularity as a goddess worshipped by officials. In the Hellenistic period, myths and legends were frequently used as diplomatic tools, and a dedication to Aphrodite in these circumstances would also have been a votive to the ancestress of the Roman people. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
opponent
  • Dr. Price, Simon, Oxford University
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Ancient history, epithets, votive gifts, ancient diplomacy, Hermes, inscriptions, epigraphy, the Hellenistic period, Greek religion, dedications, Aphrodite, magistrates, Antikens och forntidens historia
pages
264 pages
publisher
Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Lund University
defense location
Carolinasalen, Kungshuset, Lundagård
defense date
2003-12-20 10:15
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f781c3fa-e29d-4cdf-b5a8-0039317dead3 (old id 21245)
date added to LUP
2007-05-28 14:26:32
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:12
@misc{f781c3fa-e29d-4cdf-b5a8-0039317dead3,
  abstract     = {Through the identification of a series of inscriptions, mainly datable to the Hellenistic era, a link between Aphrodite and the civic life and administration of the Greek poleis has come to light. The inscriptions in question are dedications to Aphrodite through which magistrates of various cities and varying status express their devotion to the goddess. In certain dedications, the goddess is even invoked by an epithet specifically alluding to a public office. Taking these dedications as its point of departure, the present study analyses Aphrodite’s role as a goddess honoured by magistrates. The present study examines 62 preserved examples of ‘magistral’ dedications, i.e., votive inscriptions from magistrates to Aphrodite or dedications that invoke the goddess by epithets alluding to a magistracy. An analysis of this material shows that magistrates’ worship of Aphrodite existed on a Pan-Hellenic level and that most of the dedications can be dated to the Hellenistic period. It also suggests that these dedications were meant for a very specific goddess: not a protectress of magistrates in general, but a protective deity of defined smaller groups of magistrates or single holders of magistracies. The phenomenon is at its most apparent when the goddess is honoured by epithets created from the titles of the magistrates themselves, e.g., Epistasie, Nomophylakis and Stratagis. The dedications from magistrates to Aphrodite are also studied against the background of dedications to Aphrodite in general as well as magistrates’ dedications to deities other than Aphrodite. A comparison between the chronological and geographical distribution of the core inscriptions and the background material indicates that Aphrodite’s role as a protectress of magistrates was a development in the goddess’ cult, probably begun in the fourth century BC but most apparent in the Hellenistic period. The perspective offered by the background inscriptions also shows that Aphrodite was not the only deity approached by magistrates but that she became highly popular, however, as the recipient of their dedications in the Hellenistic period. Earlier explanations for magistrates’ devotion to Aphrodite have referred to ‘internal’ characteristics of the goddess, e.g., Aphrodite being a goddess of concord. The connections between Aphrodite and concord/homonoia in cult can be shown to be less self-evident than previously thought. The present study instead proposes to seek the reasons for Aphrodite as a protectress of magistrates in the ‘external’ historical and religious context. The present study suggests that magistrates’ worship of Aphrodite can be seen as an expression of two general trends in Hellenistic religious concerns: the search for protection and for individualism. Furthermore, Aphrodite’s strong associations with Hermes, otherwise the most popular god in the studied material, might also have affected her development into a magistrates’ goddess. Finally, most magistrates’ dedications to Aphrodite were presented in a world politically dominated by Rome, and thus the idea of Aphrodite as the ancestress of the Romans might have been a factor strengthening her popularity as a goddess worshipped by officials. In the Hellenistic period, myths and legends were frequently used as diplomatic tools, and a dedication to Aphrodite in these circumstances would also have been a votive to the ancestress of the Roman people.},
  author       = {Wallensten, Jenny},
  keyword      = {Ancient history,epithets,votive gifts,ancient diplomacy,Hermes,inscriptions,epigraphy,the Hellenistic period,Greek religion,dedications,Aphrodite,magistrates,Antikens och forntidens historia},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {264},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x9b6a3d0)},
  title        = {A study of dedications to Aphrodite from Greek magistrates},
  year         = {2003},
}