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Demeter in Roman Corinth: Local Development in a Mediterranean Religion

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This study constructs a history of Demeter worship in Corinth and its environs based on archaeological finds from the Demeter and Kore sanctuary on Acrocorinth and elsewhere in the Corinthia. These finds document the changing character of Demeter devotion from the Greek to Roman period. Demeter worship survived the Roman sacking of Corinth in 146 BCE, but the reemerging cult changed: Demeter's chthonic aspect became dominant in the Roman period. The earlier Greek emphasis on fertility, substantiated by votive pottery finds from the Classical and Hellenistic periods, gave way to funerary and underwold emphases. Evidence both from the Demeter and Kore sanctuary on Acrocorinth and from Isthmia attests to the growing importance of Persephone and Pluto, the rulers of the dead, and of snake symbols, whose funerary and chthonic affinities were deeply rooted in ancient Mediterranean culture.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Theology Valparaiso University Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 USA


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