Sanctuaries and Cults of Artemis in Post-Liberation Messene: Spartan Mimeses?, Heather Maureen Loube
This dissertation is a comparative study of the relationship between the sanctuaries and cults of Artemis in Lakonia and Messenia, after the liberation of Messenia from Lakonia (370 BCE). Four hypotheses are explored in order to answer the central question of whether the sanctuaries and cults of Artemis in Messenia after the liberation were mimeses of those in Lakonia: essential religious similarity from the fourth century onwards, post- liberation Messenian revival of pre-conquest religious practices, conscious Messenian determination of religious difference from Lakonia and independent evolution of Messenian sanctuaries and cults of Artemis.
From literary, archaeological, epigraphic and numismatic evidence as well as observations made during personal visits to sites and museums in Greece, relevant data on the physical and historical landscape, epicleseis, sanctuary components, relevant myths and cult practices of all Artemisia in the southern Peloponnese are assembled into two comprehensive catalogues, one for each polity. A synthesis and analysis of that data is then conducted to establish patterns for purposes of comparison. The emergent patterns demonstrate that sanctuaries and cults of Artemis in post-liberation Messene are not essentially Lakonian mimeses.
This study advances our collective understanding of sanctuaries and cults of Artemis in Lakonia and Messenia. It points to unknowns which could provide fertile avenues for future research into the complexity and diversity of ancient Greek religion in the Peloponnese.