Chapter 5 Priestesses in the Sacred Space of the Acropolis

A Close Reading of the Hekatompedon Inscription

In: The Public Lives of Ancient Women (500 BCE-650 CE)
Authors:
Josine Blok Utrecht University Department of History and Art History

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Janric van Rookhuijzen Utrecht University Department of History and Art History

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Abstract

The Hekatompedon inscription is a heavily damaged, but uniquely impressive inscription of two decrees by the Athenian people of 485/4 BCE regulating the conduct of visitors and cult personnel on the sacred site of the Acropolis. This article offers a new reading of the regulations for the sanctuary’s female cult personnel, mentioned in the text as the priestesses and the zakoroi. Our reading involves a new proposed restoration for a lacuna in this damaged text, and offers a new, integrated understanding of the inscription’s message at large. While the decrees clearly assign a position of authority over the priestesses to the Tamiai (male treasurers of Athena), gender plays a more complicated role in the Hekatompedon inscription than would appear at first sight.

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