Quantifying Black Sea Artemis. Some Methodological Reflections, Pia Guldager Bilde
QUANTIFYING BLACK SEA ARTEMIS
SOME METHODOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS
pia guldager bilde
The present article aims to provide an overview of where and when Artemis was worshipped in the Black Sea region.1 We have at our disposal no com- prehensive study dealing particularly with the cult of Artemis in the Black Sea region. But she is included in a few studies with a pan-Pontic perspec- tive such as K. Hanell’s small book on the Megarian colonies from 1934 and N. Erhardt’s monograph from 1988 on the Milesian colonies. Both authors deal with the Black Sea region and the transfer of cults to the newly founded cities, and both mention Artemis as an important deity in the official cult of the two metropoleis. Accordingly, one would a priori expect many attestations of the public and private worship of Artemis in the Black Sea region as well.
Only recently, in 2005, A.S. Rusjaeva’s monograph Religija pontijskich ellinov v antičnuju epochu (Religion of the Pontic Greeks in Antiquity) appeared, but even though its title promises a pan-Pontic study, the first of its kind, it is, in fact, almost exclusively limited to the region of former ‘South Russia’. Other studies available are confined to specific subregions, which is an effect of modern research bias, but may equally reflect also the religious regionalism of antiquity. In previous research it is generally assumed that Artemis was omnipresent, not least due to the fact that the cult of her brother, Apollo, played a significant role in the early period of Black Sea colonisation (e.g. Rusjaeva 2005, 256). This assumption is, however, backed by very few indisputable facts. So let us take a closer look at the evidence for the Artemis cult in the Black Sea region.
First of all, it should be stressed that not a single securely identified Artemis sanctuary has ever been excavated in any of the Greek cities of the Black Sea region. So before engaging ourselves in the study, some meth- odological reflections are necessary on which remains, then, can qualify as evidence for the cult. In scholarly research, the following types of sources are normally employed on equal footing as evidence for cult practice:2