Sacrality and the Greek Polis

RMA Dissertations

Between Politics and Religion in the Amphiareion

The Athenian presence within a disputed border sanctuary in the fourth century BC

Ianthe van Beuningen

This thesis explores the various ways in which the Athenian polis presented themselves within a contested border sanctuary, the Amphiareion. It was founded during a period of Athenian control, lost after the Peloponnesian War and reclaimed in the fourth century. I will explore the Athenian religious investments within the sanctuary in consideration of the historical background of the fourth century. These investments were various in nature: from the repairing of fountains, to the building of baths and from the revival of the religious festival to the integration of the sanctuary and the surrounding lands in Attic regulations and laws. An integral part in the Athenian approach towards the Amphiareion was the appropriation of the once mythical war-hero turned healing deity: Amphiaraos, who was crowned by the Athenians and became an honored citizen. All of these various Athenian investments stroll along the thin line between religion and politics. Exploring these investments not only help us understand the Athenian attitude towards the Amphiareion, but shed light on the interplay between religion and politics in ancient Attica.