Friday, 23 June 2017



Archaeologist Discovers Traces of Social Networking in Ancient Greece’s Peripheral Temples



BalkanTravellers.com   
14 December 2009 | A new study has found evidence to suggest that subjects who lived in the periphery of ancient Greece built their temples in a way to strengthen their ties with mainland Greece.

Ancient Greeks who lived in Sicily had their temples face the rising sun not for religious reasons, but to adhere to Greek conventions and forge a stronger bond with Greece, Alun Salt, an archaeo-astronomer with the University of Leicester, discovered in his research, cited by www.livescience.com.

Almost all of the temples constructed on the island of Sicily during its Greek period over 2,500 years ago are oriented toward the eastern horizon, Salt found out.

“If you were a Greek living in the Greek homeland, you knew you were Greek. The Greeks in Sicily were Greeks living at the edge of their world. They may have felt they had something to prove,” Salt told the publication, also noting that most temples in Sicily were also built on a larger scale than those in Greece proper.

On mainland Greece, many temples also line up with the sunrise, although less frequently than on outlying colonies, implying the latter's effort to strengthen their ties to the home territory, Salt told LiveScience.

The scientist initially wanted to see if there was a religious reason for the eastward-facing temples. “What I was expecting to find was that the temples of celestial gods faced the rising sun and the temples of the chthonic [or underworld] gods didn't. I was completely wrong about that.” He found the correlation with sunrise found amongst temples to all the gods, even ones like Demeter and Kore, who are more associated with the underworld.

Salt also found another possible and also quite practical reason for the temples’ orientation, connected to the ancient Greek rituals of sacrificing animals, which usually took place early in the morning. Having temples that faced east provided an impressive backdrop to the priest carrying out the sacrifice, rather than putting him in the shadow.

 

 

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