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Workshop Anchoring Innovation in Delphi

When:Th 14-04-2022
Where:In-person and online, Utrecht

The sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi was one of the most important religious places in the Ancient Greek world. Its famous oracle impacted politics but also religious, philosophical and, more generally, cultural matters. While tradition was a powerful factor in shaping the sanctuary, it was also a hub for innovations of various sorts. With its religious and political weight, the sanctuary served – both as a physical space and as an institution – to legitimize new ideas, in effect anchoring innovations in a recognized system of values.

The purpose of this exploratory workshop is to reflect on how different types of innovations (architectural, cultural, iconographic, literary, philosophical, political) were anchored within the boundaries of the sanctuary and to pinpoint its role in promoting new ideas. Possible themes to be addressed during this workshop include:

● interpretations of the Delphic maxims that constitute or lead to new ideas or moral expectations;

● the inspiration of new political developments by, or their legitimization with reference to, utterances of the Delphic oracle;

● features of the built environment that serve as behavioural cues for religious experiences;

● the ways in which the Delphic priest(esse)s and buildings contribute to shaping new textual motifs or literary experiments.

Other themes in relation to the anchoring of innovations in Delphi (in the sanctuary of Apollo as well as in the one of Athena Pronaia) are also welcome.


10:00 – 10:30 Welcome and opening remarks

10:30 – 11:10: Therese EMANUELSSON-PAULSON (Stockholm University) - An octagonal votive column in Delphi

11:10 – 11:50: Massimo GIUSEPPETTI (Università degli Studi Roma Tre) - Anchoring Civic Identity at Delphi: The Inscribed Songs of the Athenian Treasury

11:50 – 12:30: Banban WANG (University of Heidelberg) - Anchoring the Monumental Landscape: Early Roman inscriptions contextualised in the Hellenistic sanctuary of Apollo Pythios

12:30 – 13:30: lunch break

13:30 – 14:10: Antti LAMPINEN (Finnish Institute at Athens) - Galatai and Galli: Delphi as the Anchor for Hellenistic Innovations in Barbaromachy

14:10 – 14:50: Stefano ACERBO (University of Seville) - Delphi and the Aesopic tradition

14:50 - 15:30: Calloway SCOTT (University of Cincinnati) - Hippocrates’ Delphi: Innovating the past in the Hippocratic pseudepigrapha

15:30 – 15:50: coffee break

15:50 – 16:30: Bram DEMULDER (Leiden University) - New: the source. Anchoring innovation in Plutarch’s Delphic dialogues

16:30 – 17:10: Rebecca FRANK (Oberlin College) - Debating the Oracle: The Delphic Oracle as a Literary Motif in Imperial Greek Philosophy

Organizers: Jean Vanden Broeck-Parant (jean.vandenbroeck and Albert Joosse (L.A.Joosse For updates, see the also the event on the Anchoring Innovation website.