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The Route of the Pythaïs through Athens and Attica

PIRISINO, DANIELE (2015) The Route of the Pythaïs through Athens and Attica. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 23 October 2018.

Abstract

The Route of the Pythaïs through Athens and Attica
Daniele Pirisino. Doctoral thesis abstract.
This study presents a discussion and hypothetical reconstruction of the spatial context of the Pythaïs, an occasional overland pilgrimage from Athens to Delphi. The main research question addresses the route of the pilgrimage, specifically through Athens and Attica. This work has a broad chronological scope, spanning most of the life of the ritual. It is proposed in this study that the Pythaïs was introduced to Athens in the sixth century BC. After its introduction, the Pythaïs was conducted with irregular frequency until the second half of the first century BC, when the traditional Pythaïdes were taken over by the Dodekaïdes. The work mainly combines textual sources and old archaeological data with new archaeological evidence collected through field walks. The latter focused on one of the routes possibly used by the pilgrimage, which had not been fully archaeologically understood and contextualised: the Phyle road through western Parnes. The Pythaïs followed a properly-named sacred road; therefore, a general discussion of Greek sacred roads is provided at the outset to highlight the current issues concerning the study of sacred roads. Subsequently, the work offers a review of the scholarly literature on the Pythaïs to present the diverse hypotheses on the route of the pilgrimage. Discussion of the scholarly literature also shows that a study on the spatial contextualisation of the Pythaïs had never been sufficiently conducted; this thesis aims at filling this gap from a principally archaeological perspective. The Pythaïs staged the Athenian version of the mythical journey of Apollo on his way to Delphi. Therefore, before discussing the topographic matters related to the ceremony, the work offers a discussion of this Athenian myth, with a focus on the mythical geography connected with it. Subsequently, after an in-depth discussion of the religious topography connected with the ceremony and the three main possible routes across Attica, a reconstruction is proposed for the route of the Pythaïs in Athens and its territory in close connection with current knowledge of the ancient road network. A large part of the work is devoted to the presentation and discussion of the field-collected data. All discussions and interpretations are supported by conspicuous visual aids such as digital photographs and maps, most of which are original.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Pythaïs; Route; Sacred Roads
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:23 Oct 2015 14:58

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