Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Marianne Kleibrink and Elizabeth Weistra - Cult in context: an early Athena in Calabria?

I'm delighted, now, to present the next abstract for Friday's Athena conference, from two scholars,
Marianne Kleibrink and Elizabeth Weistra, both of whom are based at the University of Groningen
Cult in context: an early Athena in Calabria?
In the 6th century BC the sanctuary on the Timpone della Motta at Francavilla Marittima, Calabria, was devoted to Athena, as evidenced by a bronze votive inscription and numerous terracotta figurines. Largely abandoned in the 5th century BC, the site continued to receive the latter
dedications. In these centuries the main identity of the venerated goddess, Athena, is clearly
recognizable, as opposed to the 8th and 7th centuries BC, in which the cult on the Timpone della Motta already flourished.

The Groningen excavations (1991-2004) of the large 8th c. BC apsidal timber Building V.b. supplied data of large-scale feasts, of sophisticated textile production and of divine or substitute-divine anthropomorphic couple figurines. Besides possibly ritual weaving, another link to Athena is formed by the ever-increasing evidence that Francavilla Marittima may be identified as ancient Lagaria, the town founded by Epeios, constructor of the Trojan horse, who dedicated his tools in an Athenaion along the Ionian coast.

The late- 8th to mid-7th c. BC sanctuary, with its large timber buildings, abundant votive gifts and fascinating iconography, is the focus of this paper. By means of contextual and iconographical analyses of two of the most eye-catching objects: a matt-painted sherd with a dancing couple and a terracotta pinax known as the ‘Dama di Sibari’, it will be argued that the 7th c. BC cult and identity of the goddess comprise earlier traditions that continue into the 6th c. BC. Aim of this paper is to decide whether or not the venerated goddess may be regarded as an Athena before the 6th c. BC.

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