Past event

Centre for Ancient Environmental Studies (CAES) Take me to the River: Religious Communications in the Asopos-corridor in Boiotia (800-300 B.C.E.) - Visiting Scholar Dr Roy van Wijk (Münster)

In 1948 Guillon mentioned that Boiotia is divided into “les deux Béoties” geographically. These were centred around the massifs dividing the region, with one area anchored around Orchomenos and the other around the Teneric plain. Lake Kopais effectively formed the barrier alongside which these two ‘Boiotias' existed. The neat separation resulted in a ‘religious corridor' that negotiated these two halves, with the Poseidon-sanctuary at Onchestos as the main hub. Depending on the prism one uses to look at the region, there are many more Boiotias to be uncovered.

In this presentation, visiting Scholar Dr Roy van Wijk (Münster) will investigate whether it is possible to trace a similar religious corridor along the river Asopos in Southern Boiotia, inspired by theories from social geography. The river Asopos hosted many Boiotian poleis along its shores, such as Oropos, Tanagra and further removed, Plataia and Thespiai.

Mythologically, these towns were connected by grace of their parentage, namely the river god Asopos. But how did the inhabitants of these towns view themselves? Can we detect a religious corridor as well that was meant to reconcile and negotiate between these various poleis? And if there was one, why were these places chosen? What this investigation will show is how the lives of the inhabitants around the river Asopos in Boiotia were shaped by an engagement with the local environment and influenced by their cultural, economic and political interactions. What emerges is an analysis of a ‘sub-region' centred around the river Asopos without ever losing touch of its roots in Boiotia.

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