Inventing the Center


in Landscapes, Gender, and Ritual Space

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780520235441
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929326 | DOI:
Inventing the Center

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  • Greek and Roman Archaeology


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This chapter examines the concept of a centered polis nested within the broader networks organized around regional sanctuaries and the institutions of the prytaneion. Olympia is the only Greek site where both buildings commonly associated with a polis—a prytaneion and a bouleuterion—have actually been found, but Olympia was never itself a polis. The myth of Delphic centrality conveyed a message of security, in sharp opposition to the challenges faced by cities protecting a local landscape. The prytaneion was a place for creating male community and male solidarity. The movement from akropolis to prytaneion connects the procedures of the prytaneion with the most hallowed ritual site in the city and suggests that the segment at the prytaneion was the original reason for the entire sequence. The link between akropolis and prytaneion showed that the judicial procedures of the polis required the same divine protection as its physical spaces.

Keywords: polis; prytaneion; bouleuterion; akropolis; Delphic centrality; Olympia

Chapter.  11304 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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