Apotropaia and Phylakteria

Conference Paper

Archaeological evidence: 3a. Apotropaic qualities of objects: Sanctuary context
Friday 2021-06-25
09:00 | 11:00
Place: Swedish Institute at Athens & Zoom

Tracing the apotropaic qualities of Parthenos in ancient Neapolis (Kavala)

Amalia Avramidou, 2021-06-25

Abstract

Twentieth century excavations by Georgios Bakalakis and Dimitrios Lazaridis at Kavala’s old town (Panagia promontory), brought to light impressive finds from the sanctuary of Parthenos, the patron deity of ancient Neapolis. Dating mainly to the Archaic period, these finds testify to the cosmopolitan character of the sanctuary, its high number of visitors and the important role it played in the Northern Aegean not only as a sacred temenos but also as a social and economic center. The archaeological record included architectural members, inscriptions, large amounts of pottery -both local and imported- and significant small finds. It is particularly the latter that need to be addressed, as they invite a fresh examination of the characteristics of the patron goddess of this important Thasian colony. 

This paper investigates the apotropaic qualities of certain objects from the sanctuary, such as an extraordinary lead disk, clay and other artifacts, astragaloi, pendants, figurines and miniature vessels, attempting to understand their significance vis-à-vis the rest of the finds but also key topographical elements. This material prompts an exploration of the role of Parthenos beyond her poliadic and kourotrophic powers, focusing more on the prophylactic facets of the goddess. When examined in comparison to similar characteristics of Thasian Artemis, this new data helps us form a better understanding of the ritual practices that took place in the sanctuary of Parthenos.

About the Author(s)

Assistant Professor of Classical Archaeology, Department of Language, Literature and Culture of the Black Sea Countries Democritus University of Thrace, Komotini

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