The Greeks perceived a great divide between humans and gods. Intentional ritual celebrations (e.g. sacrifice, dedications, prayers) formed constant and direct interactions that could bridge this gap. This paper discusses other ways of communicating with the gods. The first case study examines a secondary stage in the habit of offering portrait sculptures to the gods. The second case study concerns the habit of giving humans divine names. Thus, the two studies explore ways in which humans could interact indirectly with the divine: on a more personal level and through individual initiatives.
The aim of this study is to analyze small bronze votives from the sanctuaries of Akragas. It examines the objects themselves as well as the context of their use. The study presents the preliminary results of a survey of akragantine finds, with a particular focus on the bronzes from the shrine near the Olympieion. This context has accurate stratigraphical information, especially for the finds coming from the excavation carried by University of Palermo. The dominant evidence consists in several phialai found in layers of the first and the second phase, as well as from some votive deposits, which underline the rededication of the building in the late 6th to early 5th cent. B.C. Another feature examined in this paper is the dedication of arrowheads.
The extra-urban sanctuary at S. Anna in Agrigento first was excavated in the 1960s and was attributed to Demeter based on comparisons with other known Demeter sanctuaries. Ongoing investigations in the ritual landscape in the southwestern area of ancient Akragas have established a larger extension of the sanctuary, which dates to the 5th cent. B.C. Excavations during the last several years identified various kinds of depositions that were connected both spatially and chronologically. Many find contexts of sacrificial material and feasting remains were encountered together. The complex relationships between the built structures, earthen floors and finds also attested to the agency of these ancient depositions’ times. Arguing from a ‘bottom up’ perspective, the material documented at S. Anna appears to challenge current assumptions regarding the definition of votive typologies. Additionally, this material advances the larger debate surrounding the cultural backgrounds of sanctuary visitors. To conclude this contribution, Linda Adorno supplies an appendix, which comments on the characteristic finds from the ongoing excavation.
The relationship between the Demeter cults and the offering of piglets is a cornerstone of many discussions about ancient Greek religion. However, this connection has rarely been supported by systematic zooarchaeological studies. The new excavations at the sanctuary of S. Anna greatly increase the zooarchaeological record of Sicily, while also providing an excellent case study for exploring the broader issues of ancient Greek ritual practice. Our results highlight the almost exclusive presence of pig bones, mostly belonging to very young individuals. The taphonomic analysis of the remains point to a cultic context, in which the piglets were used for sacrificial purposes and as part of sacred meals.