EXC 2060 B3-41 - Ephesus and its Cult Spaces: Projections of Political and Religious Practice (ECS)

Basic data for this project

Type of project: Subproject in DFG-joint project hosted at University of Münster
Duration: since 02/11/2020 | 1st Funding period


Ephesus provides unique evidence for the comprehensive study of cult activities in an ancient city, both in terms of time and space. Against the background of the methodological concepts of "cult space" and "locality", the project seeks to record, define and analyse the pagan and Christian cult spaces in the Ephesian urban area. In this way, the cult spaces are to be harnessed from a political and religious perspective for a better understanding of the history of the city of Ephesus while making visible their embedding in a broader regional and universal political-cultural network of relations in the Mediterranean region. The specific aim is to work out patterns and interdependencies that arise when looking at Ephesian cult spaces and to address the question of a longue durée, which is also reflected in the spatial presence of Christian places of worship following the pagan tradition. Is it perhaps even possible to locate something like Ephesian cult landscapes in the individual time horizons, in which the cults and sanctuaries are performatively linked with each other? Do cult networks exist and if so, how do they function? No basis has yet been established for answering such questions, which aim at a better understanding of the cult dynamics within an ancient city. It is therefore time to make use of the potential inherent in Ephesus as a research object due to its wealth of sources and the importance of the city that goes far beyond the local context, and to examine the attested pagan and Christian cult practices in a comparative diachronic analysis for the first time. A study of this kind will introduce the ancient historical examination of Ephesus to debates that are currently of particular interest in the field of Classical Studies and relate to spatial concepts and questions of the interweaving of the ancient world.

Keywords: Religion; Politics; Ephesus; cult space; cult landscape