The Cult of Thracian Hero : A Religious Syncretism Study with Deities and Heroes in the Western Black Sea Region


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Διεθνές Πανεπιστήμιο της Ελλάδος
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2016 (EL)
The Cult of Thracian Hero : A Religious Syncretism Study with Deities and Heroes in the Western Black Sea Region (EN)

Sakellariou, Antonis (EN)

School of Humanities, MA in Black Sea & Eastern Mediterranean Studies (EL)
Manoledakis, Manolis (EN)
Aristodemou, Georgia (EN)
Xydopoulos, Ioannis (EN)

My dissertation is about the cult of the Thracian Hero through a religious syncret ism analysis with other deities and heroes in the Western Black Sea region. My first interest about this subject was the depictions of the specific motif all over the Black Sea area and the resonance it had to other population other than the Thracians. I a m interested to find out the reasons the lining population in the Western Black Sea basin adopted the specific motif and by extension the cult of the Thracian rider in their cultures. As far as the chronological frame of this study, it begins with the earl iest archaeological finds of the Thracian Hero in Perperikon dated in the Hellenistic period (early 4 th century B.C) until the 4 th century A.D. when the cult stopped practicing and the sanctuaries located in ancient Thrace area and Moesia province fell int o decline and abandoned. However, it is important to mention that the motif of the Thracian Hero was use d four centuries later first by the Bulgarian khans and then by the Christian church. Furthermore, a fter the examination of the most important and repre sentative monuments and the inscription s concerning the Thracian Hero ’s cult, my purpose is to find out if t he horseman is an iconographical convention for a god or a hero - messenger to the gods. In addition, I am going to examine the issues of h ow did this religious syncretism with nearly every Greek, Roman and other Eastern deities function and h ow did the worshippers who set up a thank - offering or made a vow in hope of well - being, or individuals who erected a grave monument, perceive this deity . Even thou gh there are more than 3000 monuments bearing the image of the Thracian Hero the cult remain rather obscure. I hope with my work to contribute to shed light into this mysterious cult that dominated the area of the Western Black Sea area for more than eight centuries. The subject of this master is divided in five chapters. In the first chapter there is outlined general information about the term of the Thracian Hero, the chronological frame, the three basic categories the votive and funerary reliefs divided and the most important sanctuaries located in the Western Black Sea area. In the second chapter there is a comprehensive analysis about the Nature of the Hero and the connection with the cult of the Heroised Dead based on the examples of Melsas, Rhesus and Zalmoxis. The third chapter focuses on the religious syncretism between the cult of the Thracian Hero and other important deities worshipped in the same area. In the 11 fourth chapter there is the religious syncretism with Thracian local heroes and how the w orshippers believed their ancestors passed into the immortality after their death. The last chapter records the results and the conclusions about the cult of Thracian Hero through the religious syncretism with other deities and Heroes , explaining why the s pecific motif dominated the religious life of the population. I would like to express my gratitude to my supervisor, Assistant Professor of Clas sical Archaeology Manolis Manole dakis, for his useful observations and advices during the course of my dissertat ion. Furthermore, I would like to thank Ioannis Xydopoulos , assistant professor of Ancient Greek History, for his useful and constructive consultation. In addition, I would like to thank personally Georgia Aristodemou , academic a ssociate at the School of H umanities (IHU), because without her support this study could not have been completed in time . Moreover, I am more than grateful for the assistance my colleagues Christophoros Arabatzis and Konstantinos Moschakis offered me during my work in this paper. In conclusion, this dissertation would not have been completed without the constant support of my family and friends . (EN)


Διεθνές Πανεπιστήμιο της Ελλάδος (EL)
International Hellenic University (EN)



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