Our first evening lecture of the semester will be given by Prof. Felix Pirson, Director of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut in Istanbul and of the Pergamon excavations:
Meter-Kybele in the Pergamon Micro-region: Formation, Functions, and Transformation
On Wednesday 1st November 2023 at 17:30 in C Blok Amphi (Faculty of Economics) or on Zoom: To obtain Zoom event details please send a message to department.
Meeting ID: 649 436 5503
GE points will be given.
The Phrygian mother-goddess Meter-Kybele was among the most popular deities in Anatolia and Greece during Antiquity. She was venerated both in monumentalized sanctuaries and in natural shrines in city and countryside. According to the Roman authors Varro (ling. 6, 15) and Suetonius (Tib. 2, 3), Pergamon played a crucial role in the transmission of the goddess Meter (Magner Mater) form Phrygia to Rome in 205/204 BCE. However, while the cult is attested at Pergamon at the latest from the 3rd C BCE onwards, no architecturally elaborate cult-building has been identified yet. The great popularity of Meter-Kybele is mainly attested by an abundance of terracotta figurines both from domestic spaces and rock-cut sanctuaries within the city. Such sanctuaries are a familiar feature in the Pergamon Micro-region, too. Together with the temple of Meter-Kybele at Mamurt Kale, dedicated by the founder of the Attalid dynasty Philetairos, and a recently discovered cave-sanctuary, they form a wide and varied spectrum of cult-places of Meter-Kybele. Thisspectrum attests to the function of the goddess in the communication between humans and nature within a complex socio-ecological system. The paper focuses on the sanctuaries and their interaction with the landscape and the natural sphere, and on the terracotta figurines and pottery from the cult-places. On this basis, the role of local traditions, the impact of an alleged Phrygian model, and the influence of the Attalid dynasty is discussed together with the transformation of the cult during antiquity.
Felix Pirson is a Classical Archaeologist. He holds a MPhil from Cambridge University, a PhD from Munich University and a postdoctoral lecture qualification (“Habilitation”) from Leipzig University, where he is Honorary Professor. Since 2006 he is director of the German Archaeological Institute at Istanbul and head of the Pergamon-Excavation (Bergama, Türkiye). He is senior fellow at ISAW (New York University) and member of several international archaeological institutes. His current research topics include Pergamon, ancient urbanism and historical human-environment interaction.