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The Extramural Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone at Cyrene, Libya, Final Reports VIII

The Extramural Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone at Cyrene, Libya, Final Reports VIII: The Sanctuary's Imperial Architectural Development, Conflict with Christianity, and Final Days

Donald White
with Joyce Reynolds
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    The Extramural Sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone at Cyrene, Libya, Final Reports VIII
    Book Description:

    This is the climactic volume on the archaeological and architectural history from ca. 31 B.C. to A.D. 365 of the extramural sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone at Cyrene, Libya. It deals with the impact of Christianity on the cult and the causes of its decline, with particular emphasis on the largest body of evidence recorded anywhere for iconoclastic damage, presumably by Christian populations, to sculpted images of worshippers and twin goddesses. The volume traces the characteristics of major Demeter sanctuaries elsewhere (e.g., Eleusis, Corinth, Pergamon, Acragas, and Selinus) and places Cyrene's sanctuary within the context of this development. The volume also presents the sanctuary's important lapidary and lead inscriptions as analyzed by Joyce Reyonlds. It is the eighth volume in the final reports series for the excavations conducted for the University of Michigan, and subsequently the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, between 1969 and 1981.

    eISBN: 978-1-934536-57-5
    Subjects: Archaeology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Minor Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Abbreviations and Bibliography
    (pp. xv-xxii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxiii-xxiv)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    I first encountered Richard Goodchild 44 years ago on the beach of Marsa Susa where he laid out his conditions for licensing the University of Michigan to excavate Cyrene’s port city of Apollonia.² This led to 17 years of fruitful collaboration between the University of Michigan’s Kelsey Museum of Ancient and Mediaeval Archaeology (succeeded in 1973 by the University of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology) and the Libyan Department of Antiquities until the Libyan authorities terminated the activities of the American mission in 1981. An interval of 23 years ensued before Susan Kane and I were invited to return...

  8. I

    • Part 1: Background to the Early Imperial Period
      (pp. 5-8)

      The standard analyses of the province’s historical development from the time of Augustus and his dynastic successors until the A.D. 115 outbreak of the Jewish Rebellion emphasize how, notwithstanding periodic clashes with native tribal elements from the Syrtic Gulf area, this was an interval of relatively sustained peace and stability within the borders of the region¹⁷ On the other hand, the prosperous material conditions which theoretically should have prevailed during the 1st c. A.D. for the most part find only a lackluster reflection in Cyrenaican architecture¹⁸ and, to an even lesser extent, in the region’s sculptural output¹⁹ standably, in light...

    • Part 2: The Early Imperial Walled Remains, 31 B.C.–A.D. 115
      (pp. 9-68)

      Based on our currently available information, it is the century or so prior to the Jewish Rebellion which marks the sanctuary’s initial expansion down the wadi slope to the level of what eventually evolved into the Lower Sanctuary terrace. It is also when the first stone and wood bridge was constructed in order to connect the lower grounds with the walled city and the agora zone north of the wadi bed. While this may have been preceded by some earlier form of spanning arrangement now lost, it provides us with the first recorded effort to unite the intramural urban core...

  9. II

    • Part 1: Sanctuary Development from A.D. 115–262
      (pp. 69-124)

      Perhaps the least expected aspect of the sanctuary’s 2nd century A.D. development (Fig. 35) is its apparent lack of obvious traces of damage by the Jewish rebels who otherwise did such a surprisingly thorough job of wrecking, with fire and hammer, monuments within the walled city.²³³ The most straightforward explanation for why it was spared probably lies in its relatively isolated topographical setting. Until a more thorough investigation can be carried out for signs of intentional damage to the other secular and religious complexes now known to spread south of Wadi bel Gadir (including the Doric temple compound cleared by...

    • Part 2: Building Alterations before the A.D. 262 Earthquake
      (pp. 125-128)

      While trying to convey a sense of how confusing determining the architectural development of this site can be, the plan of the early Archaic Middle Sanctuary previously was compared to a moth-eaten rug with most of its center missing. But what remains of the Upper Sanctuary is even more poorly preserved.⁴¹⁵ Given our limited understanding of early sanctuary development, it might be hoped that the later phases would emerge with greater clarity. To some extent they have, but after nearly three decades since the cessation of excavation, the central mystery surrounding the Upper Sanctuary still remains: what happened to it...

  10. III

    • Part 1: Background to the Years A.D. 262–365
      (pp. 129-131)

      The physical malaise affecting the walled core of the city after the mid-3rd century A.D. earthquake is, if anything, even more intensely experienced across the extramural sanctuary grounds. According to at least one of two possible interpretations, the last expression of organized cult-directed activity takes the form of a drastic effort to protect elements of its ruined infrastructure and sculptural dedications by covering them with the sprawling S29 earth mound (Fig. 62). Interpreted in this way, the mound finds its closest local analogy in the centuries-earlier extramural deposit of Archaic sculptures and architectural debris that were discovered in 1966 buried...

    • Part 2: The Sanctuary’s Final Construction
      (pp. 133-142)

      The S29 Mound (or the E14 Mound as it was first designated) was recognized as an independent entity only late in the course of the site’s decadelong clearance. It was, however, quickly understood to represent enough of an oddity to give rise over the years to a fair amount of discussion.⁴⁵⁶

      In terms of actual size, the mound spreads roughly 23 m. from east to west. Despite the fact that it came into being during the sanctuary’s twilight years when little else was taking place, in terms of sheer length it nearly eclipses the sanctuary’s largest structure, the S17 Southwest...

    • Part 3: Squatter Period Walls (FIG. 62)
      (pp. 143-152)

      Unlike the majority of the sanctuary features discussed up until this time, most of what, for lack of a better term, is labeled here squatter occupation takes the form of detached, random walls. The majority were found in late debris close to the modern surface of the Middle and Upper Sanctuary grounds and fail to form complete structures.

      There are exceptions. Wall W19 to the immediate south of the S21 Propylaeum Court, for example, sits directly on top of Wall W20; this probably indicates that whatever W20 was once part of continued in use. Walls W12a–c, which run east...

  11. IV

    • Part 1: Sanctuary Iconoclasm
      (pp. 153-160)

      Damage to Cyrene’s pagan sculptures and religious buildings—whether explained as acts of nature, foreign invaders, regional Jewish rebels, rival Christian factions, or, following the end of Classical antiquity, traditional Islamic abhorrence of representational images—has been reported off and on since the Beechey brothers and Hamilton’s day and probably even before.⁵⁷³ Prior to Pennsylvania’s work in the Wadi Bel Gadir sanctuary, the actions specifically attributed to the city’s Christian population were believed to center primarily on the destruction of the Temple of Zeus along with its Commodan cult statue⁵⁷⁴ and Temples B and C in the Valley Street area.⁵⁷⁵...

    • Part 2: Similar Activities Outside the Region
      (pp. 161-166)

      Intentional damage inflicted on sculpted images has, to put it mildly, a long history (“And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it,” Exod. 32.20). While the phenomenon has been reported widely elsewhere, it may prove useful to provide a broader context for the present situation by means of a brief summary of documented instances of similar activities.

      A recent study by Andrew Stewart analyzing the complex range of evidence for the intentional mutilation...

    • Part 3: The Cult’s Final Years: Christianity’s Advent and Impact on the Cult
      (pp. 167-171)

      As set forth thus far, the site’s later development runs as follows. The overwhelming majority of identifiable finds distributed across the sanctuary’s Wadi Bel Gadir grounds can be dated no later than the Severan period. This suggests in turn that the worship of Demeter and Persephone largely had run its course by roughly A.D. 230 at the latest. In the fallow decades that followed, an effort was mounted either to refurbish many of the old structures or, as now seems more likely, to strip them down to ground level of their reusable spolia for deployment elsewhere. This activity was interrupted...

  12. V

    • Conclusion
      (pp. 173-180)

      The previous two volumes dealing with the sanctuary’s architectural development concluded with discussions which, among other things, dealt with the place of the Wadi Bel Gadir precinct within the broader context of Pentapolis religious architecture, the diversity of its votive offerings, its hypothetical use of dual temene to accommodate the separate cultic roles of the “twin” goddesses, the deployment of independent sacred houses and their possible cultic symbolism, and the part potentially played by the sacred houses in the physical movement of the cult’s celebrants over the course of the religious year.⁶⁶⁹ This time around, the objective is simply to...

  13. Appendix:: The Inscriptions on Stone and Lead

    • Bibliography
      (pp. 183-184)
    • Minor Abbreviations
      (pp. 185-185)
    • PLATE
      (pp. 186-186)
    • Editor’s Preface
      (pp. 187-188)
    • Introduction
      (pp. 189-190)

      The sanctuary inscriptions are organized into two groups. Group A deals with the inscriptions on stone and lead, which are, in principle, set out in chronological order. It must be understood that the evidence for date is often poor and sometimes nonexistent to my eye. I am sure that I have not always got it quite right, although I hope that I have given a substantially correct picture. Group B includes inscriptions found, or probably found, on the site before the American excavations began. It should be noted that I have included under Group A one stone with three texts,...

    • Catalogue of Inscriptions on Stone and Lead
      (pp. 191-208)
  14. الملخص العربي لکتاب ״قورينا الثامن״
    (pp. 209-210)

    يمثل ھذا الکتاب الدراسة الثالثة والأخيرة لقدس الأقداس الخارجي لمعبد ديميتر وبير سفون بمدينة قورينا٬ وھي من إعداد تستعرض الفصول الثلاثة ״دونالد وايت״٬ رئيس بعثة التنقيب في المدينة (والذي ٲعد ڪذلك ڪتابي ״قورينا الٲول والخامس״) الٲولى من الدراسة مقتطفات من تاريخ التطور المعماري لقدس الٲقداس منذ بداية الحقبة الاستعمارية الرومانية عام 31 قبل الميلاد حتى انھيار ھا البطيء عام 200 ميلاديًا تقريبًا٬ ليحل محله بعد ذلك جدر ان وضع اليد بعد حادث الزلزال المدمر الذي ٲتي عليه عام 262 ميلاديًاْ٠ ويمثل جز ء من الفصلين الثالث والر ابع عرضًا مفصلا لو جود دليل على اضطر اب العلاقة بين ويعرض الفصل...

  15. Index
    (pp. 211-216)