1st Edition

The Archaeology of Lucanian Cult Places Fourth Century BC to the Early Imperial Age

By Ilaria Battiloro Copyright 2018
    342 Pages
    by Routledge

    342 Pages 62 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    With the emergence and structuring of the Lucanian ethnos during the fourth century BC, a network of cult places, set apart from habitation spaces, was created at the crossroads of the most important communication routes of ancient Lucania. These sanctuaries became centers of social and political aggregation of the local communities: a space in which the community united for all the social manifestations that, in urban societies, were usually performed within the city space.

    With a detailed analysis of the archaeological record, this study traces the historical and archaeological narrative of Lucanian cult places from their creation to the Late Republican Age, which saw the incorporation of southern Italy into the Roman state. By placing the sanctuaries within their territorial, political, social, and cultural context, Battiloro offers insight into the diachronic development of sacred architecture and ritual customs in ancient Lucania.

    The author highlights the role of material evidence in constructing the significance of sanctuaries in the historical context in which they were used, and crucial new evidence from the most recent archaeological investigations is explored in order to define dynamics of contact and interaction between Lucanians and Romans on the eve of the Roman conquest.

    List of Figures


    Foreword (Helena Fracchia)

    Note on Abbreviations and Translations


    1 Lucania and Lucanians

      1. Lucanian Borders and Geographical Setting

      2. The Emergence of the Lucanian Ethnos

    1.3 Social Structure: Oligarchies and "Intermediate Groups"

    1.4 Political Organization: Touta and Basileis

    1.5 Settlement System: a Landscape of Fortified Centres, Farms, and Extramural Sanctuaries

    1.6 The Lucanian Settlement Model: an "Urban" Phenomenon?

    2 Lucanian Cult Places: Topographic and Architectural Aspects

    2.1 The Sanctuary: a Distinctive Sign of the Lucanian Ethnos

    2.2 The Sanctuaries within the Settlement Organization of Ancient Lucania

    2.3 Architecture and Space Organization

    2.4 Architectural Models and Cultural Influences

    3. Lucanian Cult Places: Cultic Manifestations

    3.1 Votive Offerings and Ritual Practices: Archaeological Phenomenology and Historical Interpretation

    3.1.1 Votive offerings: "gifts" to the gods

    3.1.2 Ritual tools: communal meals, sacrifice, and fumigations

    3.2 The System of Votive Offerings: Reiterated Dedications and una tantum Rituals

    3.3 Lucanian Cult Places and the Emergence of the "Intermediate Groups"


    4 Lucanian Cults and Pantheon Between Epigraphy and Archaeology

    4.1 Water and Fertility Cults

    4.2 Male Cults

    4.3 Mefitis in the Sanctuary of Rossano di Vaglio: the Epigraphic Evidence

    4.3.1 The etymology of Mefitis

    4.3.2 Mefitis’s epithets

    4.3.3 Mefitis and other deities

    4.4 The Cult of Mefitis at Rossano di Vaglio: a Cross Reading of Written and Archaeological Sources

    5 Lucania and the Rise of Roman Power

    5.1 From Leukania to Regio III

    5.2 Territorial and Administrative Change

    5.2.1 The new political and institutional organization

    5.2.2 Ruralization and the disappearance of hilltop centres

    5.3 Social Transformations and the Vanishing of the "Intermediate Groups"

    5.4 Contraction and Continuity in Lucania during the Late Republican Age

    6. Lucanian Cult Places during the Late Republican Age

    6.1 The Late Republican Age: Change and Continuity in Lucanian Cult Places

    6.2 The Political and Social Context

    6.3 The Late Republican Phases of the Sanctuary of Rossano di Vaglio

    6.3.1 Restoration phases: a reconstruction

    6.3.2 Votive material

    6.3.4 Rossano di Vaglio in the wider context of "Italic Hellenism"

    6.3.5 The management of the sanctuary during the last two centuries BC

    6.4 The Role of Lucanian Sanctuaries in the Post-Hannibalic Age

    7. Conclusions

    Catalogue of Lucanian Cult Places




    Ilaria Battiloro is Associate Professor of Classics at Mount Allison University, New Brunswick, Canada. She is a Classical archaeologist whose research mostly focuses on the sacred architecture and ritual practices of pre-Roman Italy.