Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-ttngx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-21T05:31:57.572Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Epilogue: A Tribute to Potnia of the Labyrinth

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 April 2023

Hans Beck
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany
Julia Kindt
University of Sydney
Get access


Rethinking the local horizon of Greek religion is a challenging but necessary endeavour. After two decades of fascination with Mediterranean connectivity and entangled worlds, it is worthwhile to remember that a significant part of the population in Antiquity, as well as in later periods up to the twentieth century, moved and functioned in a vital space that hardly exceeded a radius of 25 km from their home.1 This observation provides an image of a ‘small world’ that is quite different from the one recently explored by Irad Malkin. The attention paid to the local dimension is by no means a historiographical narrowing: works on globalisation and its early manifestations in Antiquity convincingly ascertained that the global–local binomial, with various variations and intermediate scales, was structurally inescapable. In other words, questioning the local dimension of Greek religion in no way means isolating idiosyncratic cultic realities and studying specific identities in restricted contexts. On the contrary, as all the contributions in this book show, it is a matter of articulating several levels of social reality, in which the local dimension fuels interactions, comparisons, differentiations, collaborations, representations, within individual and collective dynamics. In ancient Mediterranean contexts, distant in time and space, with variable unknowns and incomplete evidence, it is necessary and salutary to avoid optimistic generalisation and to carefully analyse each single situation as a social laboratory prone to elaborate creative social devices. Religion is a space of communication between people and superhuman entities, open to change and uncertainty. The local scale is, at the same time, the most evident, rich, and intricate layer for an archaeology of religious practices.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Beck, H. (2018) ‘If I am from Megara. Introduction to the Local Discourse Environment of an Ancient Greek City-State’, in Beck, H. and Smith, P. J. (eds.), Megarian Moments. The Local World of an Ancient Greek City-State. Teiresias Supplements Online, 1545.Google Scholar
Beck, H. (2020) Localism and the Ancient Greek City-State. Chicago, Ill.Google Scholar
Bonnet, C. et al. (2018) ‘Les dénominations des dieux nous offrent comme autant d’images dessinées (Julien, Lettres 89b, 291b). Repenser le binôme théonyme-épithète’, Studi e materiali di storia delle religioni 4, 567–91.Google Scholar
Bonnet, C. (2019) ‘Mapping Ancient Gods: Naming and Embodiment beyond Anthropomorphism. A Survey of the Field in Echo to the Books of M. S. Smith and R. Parker’, Mediterranean Historical Review 34, 207–20.Google Scholar
Bonnet, C. (2021) Noms de dieux. Portraits de divinités antiques. Toulouse.Google Scholar
Bonnet, C. and Pironti, G. (eds.) (2021) Les dieux d’Homère III. Attributs onomastiques. Liège.Google Scholar
Capdetrey, L. and Zurbach, J. (eds.) (2012) Mobilités grecques. Mouvements, réseaux, contacts en Méditerranée, de l’époque archaïque à l’époque hellénistique. Bordeaux.Google Scholar
Carrière, J. C. (1988) ‘Oracles et prodiges de Salamine. Hérodote et Athènes’, Dialogues d’histoire ancienne 14, 219–75.Google Scholar
Gasparini, V. et al. (eds.) (2020) Lived Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World: Approaching Religious Transformations from Archaeology, History and Classics. Berlin and Boston, Mass.Google Scholar
Harvey, D. (2006) ‘Space as a Keyword’, in Castree, N. and Gregory, D. (eds.), David Harvey: A Critical Reader. Malden, Mass., 270–94.Google Scholar
Herrero de Jáuregui, M. (2021) ‘Les épithètes toponymiques des dieux dans l’Iliade’, in C. Bonnet and G. Pironti (eds.) Les dieux d’Homère III. Attributs onomastiques. Liège, 191208.Google Scholar
Herrero de Jáuregui, M. and Gagné, R. (eds.) (2019) Les dieux d’Homère II. Anthropomorphismes. Liège.Google Scholar
Horden, P. and Purcell, N. (2000) The Corrupting Sea. A Study of Mediterranean History. Oxford.Google Scholar
Kindt, J. (2009) ‘Polis Religion – A Critical Appreciation’, Kernos 22, 934.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lebreton, S. and Bonnet, C. (2019) ‘Mettre les polythéismes en formules? À propos de la base de données Mapping Ancient Polytheisms’, Kernos 32, 267–96.Google Scholar
Malkin, I. (2011) A Small Greek World: Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean. Oxford.Google Scholar
Palamidis, A. (2019) ‘Des souris et des homes’, Kernos 32, 191236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Papantoniou, G., Morris, C. E. and Vionis, A. K. (2019) Unlocking Sacred Landscapes: Spatial Analysis of Ritual and Cult in the Mediterranean. Nicosia.Google Scholar
Papantoniou, G. et al. (2019) Unlocking Sacred Landscapes: Digital Humanities and Ritual Space. Berlin.Google Scholar
Pirenne-Delforge, V. (2020) Le polythéisme grec à l’épreuve d’Hérodote, new online ed. Paris.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pironti, G. and Bonnet, C. (eds.) (2017) Les dieux d’Homère. Polythéisme et poésie en Grèce ancienne. Liège.Google Scholar
Rüpke, J. (2011) ‘Lived Ancient Religion: Questioning “Cults” and “Polis Religion”’, Mythos 5, 191204.Google Scholar
Rüpke, J. (2017) ‘Una prospettiva individualizzata sulla religione antica’, Mythos 11, 145–55.Google Scholar
Vernant, J.-P. (1965) ‘Espace et organisation politique en Grèce ancienne’, Annales. Economies, sociétés, civilisations 20, 576–95.Google Scholar
Vernant, J.-P. (1963/1974) ‘Hestia-Hermès. Sur l’expression religieuse de l’espace et du mouvement chez les Grecs’, L’Homme 3, 1250, republished in Vernant, J.-P., Mythe et pensée chez les Grecs. Étude de psychologie historique. Paris 1974, 155201 (the latter is cited).Google Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats