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Το ιερό της Αρτέμιδος Ταυροπόλου στις Αλές Αραφηνίδες
July 2016 (120.3)
Το ιερό της Αρτέμιδος Ταυροπόλου στις Αλές Αραφηνίδες
By Kοnstantinos Kalogerοpoulos (Λούτσα. Πραγματειαι τες Ακαδημίας Αθηνών 71). Vol. Α. Pp. 524; Vol. B. Pp. 221, b&w pls. 115, color pls. 54. Academy of Athens, Athens 2013. Price not available. ISBN 978-960-404-273-9 (paper).
This comprehensive account of the little-known, partially excavated temple and sanctuary of Artemis Tauropolos at modern Loutsa (ancient Halai Araphenides) on the east coast of Attica incorporates intriguing literary testimonia with fragmentary physical remains, including monumental architecture, inscriptions, ceramics, and small finds. Faced with a bare temple platform, datable but otherwise undistinguished pottery and small finds gathered 60 years ago without stratigraphic documentation, plus a startling ritual described by Euripides, Kalogeropoulos has accomplished a heroic task in assembling a coherent picture of this sanctuary. The Greek text is accompanied by a long summary in English, and the organization is very clear (only once is there a significant translation error, in which a neck is said to be “stretching” instead of “scratching” [B:68]). Some of the ideas and information presented here had been published by the author in German in 2010 (“Die Entwicklung des attischen Artemis-kultes anhand der Funde des Heiligtums der Artemis Tauropolos in Halai Araphenides (Loutsa),” in H. Lohmann and T. Mattern, eds., Attika: Archäologie einer “zentralen” Kulturlandschatft. Akten der internationalen Tagung vom 18–20. Mai 2007 in Marburg [Wiesbaden 2010] 167–82).
The author begins with a long discussion of Euripides’ Iphigeneia Among the Taurians and Athena’s concluding speech (lines 1446–61), an aition for the temple and its ritual. Euripides tells of Orestes and Pylades escaping the barbarian Taurians aided by Athena, who directs them to install the (portable) image of Artemis in the temple that they are to establish at Halai and to institute a practice of drawing a sword across a man’s throat until blood appears, in a quasi sacrifice reminiscent of the Taurians’ murderous treatment of strangers. Kalogeropoulos presents an extensive anthropological analysis of Iphigeneia Among the Taurians, interpreting the play as reflecting coming-of-age behaviors for young males that culminated in the bloody ritual prescribed for the new cult at Halai, symbolizing the death of childhood as a young man achieved adulthood. The author devotes less attention to female participation, attested by Menander’s allusion to women in the Tauropolia in his Epitrepontes and also by material gathered at the site: sherds of krateriskoi, loutrophoroi, an epinetron, female votive figurines, and a fragment of a bronze mirror, all suggesting a substantial role for females. Seeking actual behavior through literature can be problematic. Reading the play as an expression of male maturation as background for rites at Halai constitutes one particular approach, but it is not the only viable interpretation. On the other hand, the metonymic human sacrifice prescribed by Athena was so dramatic and atypical of Greek practice that the Athenian audience must have known of it. In any case, the placement and length of this commentary on Iphigeneia Among the Taurians risks influencing interpretation of the archaeological remains in the subsequent section.
Kalogeropoulos’ study does not document new excavation, but it provides the sole complete report to date of structures and finds at Halai. His account of the site and finds is meticulously organized and cross-referenced, with catalogues embedded in the text, appendices with charts, and extensive illustrations, both line drawings and color photographs. The temple was first excavated by Nikolaos Kyparissis in the 1920s, its identification provided by two fourth-century B.C.E. inscriptions that came to light nearby. In 1956 and 1957, Ioannis Papadimitriou conducted brief excavations (adjunct to his work at Brauron) that he published in Ergon (1956, 31; 1957, 23–5) and Praktika (1956, 87–9; 1957, 45–7); his reports, together with the ceramic material and small finds that he collected, now housed in the Brauron Museum, form the core of Kalogeropoulos’ archaeological analysis. Subsequent sporadic investigations in the 1970s of structures near the temple, including a small temple 200 m to the south, are described briefly, but they have not yet been fully published. There was much more to this site, with modern exploration limited in part by the shifting sands and human occupation of its beachfront location. The temple’s east facade faces a sand dune, and archaeologists have noted traces of additional ancient structures southeast of it underwater in the adjacent sea. Some explication of coastal subsidence and shoreline variation in eastern Attica would help clarify such topographical change since antiquity.
Shifting sands may also account for the absence of any stratigraphic record of finds. After building an externally based chronological framework based on securely dated deposits “of cultic character” ([B:30–1]; “λατρευτικὰ χαρακτήρα” [A:153]) found in situ at their respective sites (“closed cult inventories” [B:30–1]; “κλειστὰ λατρευτικὰ σύνολα” [A:152–53]), Kalogeropoulos creates comparisons by type and style with ceramics and small finds from Halai, resulting in a sequence of eleven “cult periods” ranging in date from Early Mycenaean (17th or 16th century B.C.E.) through fourth-century C.E. Roman. He also describes nine “excavation units” or locations of collection in and around the temple, together with the material found at each, in an attempt to situate this sanctuary in both time and space.
The focus of the archaeological site is the Doric limestone temple, with a 2:3 ratio of width to length, which has been restored with a peristyle of 6 x 9 or 8 x 12 columns. Although this reviewer initially proposed the former reconstruction (“Against Iphigeneia's Adyton in Three Mainland Temples,” AJA 89  435–38), I now agree with Kalogeropoulos that the latter is preferable, based partly on a newly identified triglyph fragment. The cella, with no traces of a pronaos, was divided into a main chamber and a small (ca. 3.2 x 5.0 m) back room. Given past debates and the detailed drawings of ceramic finds, a new plan of the temple would have enhanced the architectural analysis. Based on details of construction and finds, the temple may be dated to sometime in the fifth century B.C.E. Roof tiles of 470–460 B.C.E. suggest an earlier date, but additional tiles (repairs?) are datable to the late fifth century. Kalogeropoulos’ proposed date of 420–410 B.C.E. seems to reflect his desire to connect the actual architecture to Athena’s mandate in Iphigeneia Among the Taurians, probably performed in 414/413 B.C.E., and to contemporary construction at Brauron. Pottery shapes for drinking and cooking attest to feasting near the temple throughout the fifth century and continuing in Hellenistic times. Two fourth-century B.C.E. inscriptions mention a festival of the Tauropolia; a third refers to a Dionysia and a theater, not yet located. The extant archaeological remains of the sanctuary of Artemis Tauropolos thus offer tantalizing clues to communal celebrations, even independent of Euripides’ aition and bloody rites. We can hope that Kalogeropoulos’ thorough study of current evidence will stimulate further investigations at this fascinating site.
Mary B. Hollinshead
University of Rhode Island
Book Review of Το ιερό της Αρτέμιδος Ταυροπόλου στις Αλές Αραφηνίδες, by Kοnstantιnos Kalogerοpoulos
Reviewed by Mary B. Hollinshead
American Journal of Archaeology Vol. 120, No. 3 (July 2016)
Published online at www.ajaonline.org/book-review/2826