Current Research Postgraduates
Mr Panayiotis Panayides
(email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
The fate of statues in Greece and Cyprus, from the late third to the seventh centuries AD
The present study aims to shed light on the status of statues and the relationship between the way these were conceived by the late antique societies and how that changed compared to the preceding centuries, focusing on the diocese of Macedonia and the province of Cyprus.
Archaeological, historical and epigraphical evidence will be combined in order to illuminate better the shift in the statue-habit. Data will be collected from inscriptions to determine when the dedication of statues stopped and where and to whom were the last statues dedicated. A further examination, incorporating information from archaeological reports, will seek to answer what happened to the statues after that period, providing details on their final location, condition and use if the last had changed. Several attitudes towards statuary will also be put under question: are there any religious attitudes traceable in the statuary of that period? Were statues systematically removed, destroyed or altered in any way, intentionally hidden or remained publicly displayed until they collapsed?
A number of factors will be taken into consideration and discussed: the transformations of the late antique society, the rise of Christianity and the interaction of the Christian and pagan communities, the adaptation of the classical tradition, the revival, continuation or prohibition of pagan cults, the proximity to quarries and the availability/trade of marble materials and craftsmen, the late antique habit of collecting statues, the practice of spolia.
The current research has a regional basis: the data will be collected from the Roman diocese of Macedonia and the Roman province of Cyprus. The diocese of Macedonia, which comprises modern Greece, included the provinces of Achaea, Macedonia Prima, Macedonia Secunda, Thessalia, Epirus vetus, Epirus nova and Crete. A closer examination of areas near the administrative centres and that of remote areas will enable a more-detailed study and a comparison of any differences on attributes toward statuary. Cyprus was a minor senatorial province under the praetorian prefecture of the Orient, governed by a consularis after the Diocletian reforms of 293.
The period under question spans from the late Roman to the early Byzantine years ending with the Slavic (in Greece) and Arab (in Cyprus) invasions: from the late third to the seventh century, a period which is marked by a number of events that left their traces in the society, affecting the statue-habit in particular: Greece and Athens in particular, places with strong pagan presence and a long tradition in sculpture, went through numerous events that eventually altered its classical character: most importantly the closure of the Schools marked the end of the ancient city of Athens. Pagan cults revived all over Attica from the fourth to the sixth century, while the major pagan sites of the city were not taken over by Christians before the seventh century. In Corinth, which grew to become the largest city in Greece by the second century AD, the pagan sanctuaries were still in used and statues were worshipped until the late fourth century. Similarly, Cyprus went through a number of events that changed decidedly the character of its cities: in the fourth century, earthquakes left the cities in ruins and brought about the necessity of new ones. Pagans lived together with Christians until the late fourth century, while statues were still worshipped and the cult of pagan gods continued up to the sixth century in more remote areas of the island.
Is supervised by
- Ritual, Religion, Belief and Place Research Group