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P. Schievink, MA

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NWO-Funded Promoties in de geesteswetenschappen PhD position at the University of Groningen

Research: Creating complex sacred spaces: experience, agency and multivocality in Hellenistic Asklepieia (4th century BC – 1st century BC).

Project website:

Space is complex. The same space is perceived in different ways, with narratives and practices contingent upon its users. Sacred space multiplies this complexity. This research focuses on sacred spaces in the Hellenistic world, specifically Askleipeia, sanctuaries of Asklepios, the god of medicine. These sanctuaries attracted a cross-section of society, from different places and with different motives. However, the narrow focus of scholars on their healing function, analysed through the major shrines, presents a monolithic view of Asklepieia. Not everyone went for healing, not all Asklepieia were large centers, and not all sanctuaries were used or experienced in a similar way. The objective of this research is to understand the complexity of sacred spaces dedicated to Asklepios. Who visited, where did they come from, what did they want, what traces did they leave behind, and how did these influence others? How did Asklepios become part of the lives of individuals and what levels of diversity can we detect? This project researches a selection of representative Asklepieia that operated on different scales (local, regional, supraregional), focusing on mainland Greece and the Aegean. The multiple voices and agencies at the shrines will be analysed through a wide variety of data including literary, archaeological and epigraphical sources, using the innovative theoretical approach of Lived Ancient Religion, spatial studies, and memory studies. Examining the social complexity of such sacred spaces in this light will bring us much closer to fully comprehending the broad spectrum of functions that religion fulfilled.

Last modified:10 October 2023 1.10 p.m.