CIEGL XIII: Thematic Panel 2.2, ‘The Epigraphy of Greek Cult’

Marijana Ricl (University of Belgrade), in “Neokoroi in the Greek World”, outlined the function of these cultic officials as temple wardens and sometimes as replacements for priests, drawing on a large number of inscriptions. She argued that in most contexts the terms zakoros and neokoros seem to refer to the same function. Yet it was apparent that a more detailed study of neokoroi would need to compare and contrast these officials with neopoiai and other groups of cultic officials.

Beate Dignas (Somerville College, University of Oxford) surveyed a few inscriptions recording foundations of new cults in “How to Found a Cult: Epigraphic Manifestations”, notably F. Sokolowski, Lois sacrées des cités grecques 129 (Anaphe) and 180 (Paros). Many interesting issues raised by this paper remain to be developed further, such as the distinction between individual and public motivations for a foundation as well as the involvement of foreigners in founding new cults and enhancing local forms of religious practice.

A paper by Eran Lupu (George Washington University), “Of Priests and Snouts: The Snout as a Priestly Prerogative in Greek Cult Regulations”, was read in absentia by the author’s wife, Catherine Keesling. Snouts were considered a refreshingly entertaining subject by the Oxford audience, yet they are only seldom attested in sacred laws: F. Sokolowski, Lois sacrées d’Asie mineure 21.5-6 (Erythrai) and 54.4 (Didyma), and possibly Lois sacrées des cités grecques 151.B.20 (Kos) where the restoration is not certain. Lupu suggested that the uncertain mention of an akrokolion, ‘extremity’, in a fragmentary sacred law, I. Ephesos 1263, may refer to a snout, but Lois sacrées d’Asie mineure 54 shows that this could not have always been the case, since it distinguishes between akrokolia and snouts. Various literary sources collected in Athenaeus 3.48 demonstrate that snouts were prized delicacies.

Maria Paz de Hoz (University of Salamanca), in “Confession Inscriptions and Other Testimonies of Aretalogy in the Greek World”, discussed several inscriptions from G. Petzl, Die Beichtinschriften Weskleinasiens, EA 22 (1994), and from P. Herrmann and H. Malay, New Documents from Lydia, TAM 24 Suppl. (Vienna 2007). Classifying confession inscriptions as aretalogical texts, she stressed that the main aim of these inscriptions was to publicize the power of gods to punish human transgressions (dunamis), over and beyond any notion of benevolent divine power. In the case of the texts from Maionia in Lydia, she argued that the “receding economical power of the sanctuaries as well as the loss of influence [of these sanctuaries] on the community”–factors perhaps tied to the rise of Christianity–led priestly officials to foster the practice of erecting these inscriptions.

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