(BEING CONTINUED FROM 13/05/16)
THE SANCTUARY OF TITANE AND THE CITY OF SIKYON
FIG. 1 1. Part of the southern side of the building on the eastern terrace of Titane (source: author).
LOCATION OF THE SANCTUARY WITHIN THE CITY-STATE
Now I should like to turn to the location of the sanctuary within its broader area and the
territory of the city-state. On the eastern slopes of Vesiza, within a radius of c. 2 km from
the sanctuary, we recorded seventeen settlement sites of varying character, size and date
(FIG. 12).22 Of the eleven sites which yielded material remains of the pre-Roman period,
HS nos. 59 and 6o, c. 20,000 and 28,000 m2 in size, showed clear traces of habitation in
the Mycenaean, Geometric, and Archaic eras which continued well into the Late Roman
and Byzantine periods. The remaining sites are generally small, with less than o0,000 m2
of artefact scatter, and only three of them (HS nos. 72, 73, 75) showed pottery which
could be safely assigned to the Archaic and Classical periods. These latter sites most likely represent small hamlets and farmsteads, a common feature of the Classical Sikyonian
countryside. It is worth noting that both large multi-period sites (HS nos. 59 and 6o) are
located north of Titane, that is further inland than Titane with regard to the southern
boundaries of the city-state.
The boundaries of Sikyonia to the east and west are mentioned in the sources, and can
be placed with confidence along the Nemea and Xylokastro rivers respectively (FIG. 2).
With regard to the southern frontiers, the ancient testimonia do not provide explicit
information. They do say, however, that Thyamia was at the Sikyonian border toward
Phlious, and that Titane was located within Sikyonia.23 Thyamia is the peak of the
Trikaranon range, across the Asopos river from Titane. To the west of Titane, and within
visual range from the site, stands a fort (F3) which I interpret as a border fort looking
toward Phlious to the south-east and Stymphalos to the south-west (FIG. 13). The fort
crowns the middle hill of Kokkinovrachos and consists of a lower wall with six towers
and a tower on the summit (FIG. 14).
It is connected to Titane not only visually, but also physically through a road suitable to wheeled traffic (R8). Consequently, I believe that the location of Titane near the southern borders of the state toward Phlious dictated the fortification of the hill of Athena (F2) in the late Classical or early Hellenistic period. In other words, the fort of Titane is part of the defensive system of Sikyonia, and would both provide safety for the people living around the sanctuary and serve as the connecting link between the fort of Kokkinovrachos to the west, another fort (of Liopesi-Gonoussa) to the north (F4), the tower of Profitis Elias (T2) and the city of Sikyon itself. The fortification wall of Titane, built in trapezoidal masonry, is preserved to a length of c. 73 m and a maximum height of 4.25 m (FIGS. 15-16). It has two towers built at the corners, and comprises an area of c. 2,000 m’ (FIG. 17).24 The coexistence of a sacred space and a fort here is by no means unique in ancient Greece, Sounion in Attika being probably the best known example.’5
Perhaps we could now go a little further and speculate on the choice of the site for the
foundation of the sanctuary. Was it there to mark the extent of the territory of the city-state or did other considerations come into play? It is obvious that any attempt to answer such a question must be tentative at best. As far as the location of healing centres go, Vitruvius and Plutarch opted for healthy regions abundant in springs.”6 Water in particular was a prime consideration. Indeed, there are springs all along the eastern slope of the Vesiza range, although the one below the hill of Titane is not the most copious, at least today.27
That local sources did not satisfy the water need of the sanctuary in antiquity is demonstrated by the fact that additional water was brought to the site from two springs, one located near the summit of Vesiza, by the monastery of Lechova, and the other at Anavara above the neighbouring village of Bozika. The clay pipes of the underground aqueduct have been unearthed (and destroyed) in many places between Lechova and Titane during cultivation of the fields. Thus the natural water resources of the area could not have been the determining factor in choosing the site, but merely a contributing one. As we have mentioned above, besides Asklepios and his retinue, other cults were worshipped at Titane,notably Athena and the Winds, perhaps predating the foundation of the Asklepieion, while the place in the minds of Pausanias’s contemporaries was connected with Titan, of the race of the predecessors to the Olympian gods.’s In addition, the sacrifices to the winds and the other secret rituals( cdroeeora)which according to Pausanias were performed to
appease their wildness, echo nature-worship and nature-magic practices of prehistoric
communities.29 Religious and mythological traditions associated with these cults could
have been the principal factors in the choice of the site, although we have no way to
prove or disprove such a claim. Hope-Simpson and Dickinson reported a few EH II
sherds and one LH III A2 or LH III B kylix stem from the hill of Agios Tryphon.3Isn our
survey, we recovered LH II-III red burnished ware, and fragments of LH III bowls,
mugs, kraters, and goblets in the terraces to the west and south of the hill of Agios Tryphon.
We did not find any artefact betraying an undisputed sacred activity on this site in
Mycenaean times. Yet the simple presence of earlier remains may have influenced the
choice of this hill for the foundation of the cult in historical times.3′ On the other hand,
prehistoric evidence is by no means limited to Titane, the nearby large site of Gourkioni
(HS no. 59) also showing a Mycenaean phase. Alternatively, or perhaps in addition, the
political boundaries of the state could account for the erection of the sanctuary here. F. de
Polignac emphasized the fact that important extra-urban sanctuaries, by virtue of their
location, acted as a means of marking the borders of the state, or at least of the cultivated
territory, thus securing the land between them and the city centres. Prime examples of
this interaction are the Argive sanctuary of Hera at Prosymna and the Corinthian sanctuaries of Hera at Perachora and of Poseidon at Isthmia.32 In a similar way, the sanctuary of Titane, perhaps the most important sanctuary of Sikyonia outside the city proper, would have ‘legitimized’ Sikyonian ownership of the land between the city on the coast and the Phliasian borders to the south. The foundation myth of the sanctuary had the same goal,i.e. to claim that the sanctuary was always Sikyonian since it went back to Titan and the pre-Olympic pantheon.
(TO BE CONTINUED)
Departmenotf History,Archaeology and Social Anthropology,University of Thessaly
YANNIS A. LOLOS
22 For a description of these habitation sites (HS) see the corresponding entries in Appendix I (Register of Sites),Lolos, Land.
23 On the eastern and western Sikyonian boundaries see Strabo viii. 382, Livy xxxiii. 15. 1, Pausanias vii. 27.12. Our ancient authority for Thyamia being at the border of Sikyon and Phlious is Xen. Hell. vii. 2. 20. See the lengthly treatment of the Sikyonian borders in Lolos,
Land, ch. 1.
24 I offer a full description of the fortifications of Sikyonia including those of Titane in Lolos, Land, ch. 4. The plan of the fort reproduced here is based on 146 measurements taken with a laser theodolite in December 1997-
25 At Sounion, the sanctuary of Poseidon is included within the wall of one of the most important border forts of Attica. Closer to Sikyon, in the western part of the Stymphalian basin, the hill of Agios Konstantinos was surrounded by a polygonal fortification wall and topped by a Doric temple: see W. K. Pritchett, Studies in Ancient Greek Topographyv,i (Amsterdam, 1989), 15-
26 Vitruvius i. 2. 7: ‘saluberrimae regiones; aquarum fontes…ideonei’; On the location of Asklepieia, see Graf 168-70 and S. Guettel Cole, ‘The use of water in Greek sanctuaries’, in R. Hiigg, N. Marinatos, C. C. Nordquist (eds), Early GreekC ult Practice.P roceedingosf the Fifth Internationa l symposium at the Swedish I nstitute a t Athens:26-9 June 1986 (G6teborg, 1988), 163-
27 A much more copious spring can be found some 1500 m to the north of Titane, by the neighbouring village of Liopesi (modern Gonoussa).
28 The identity of Titan and his relation to the Titans is not clear: RE s.v. (1937) cols. 1484-5 [Wiist].
29 As argued by L. R. Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States (Oxford, 1909), v. 415-17. A Priestess of the Winds is already found in Mycenaean Knossos: see W. Burkert,
Greek Religion: Archaic and Classical, trans. J. Raffan (Oxford, 1985), 175. Nilsson 444-5 notes that a prayer to an Olympian god for appeasing the winds is strikingly
missing at Titane; cf. Papachatzis 114. On the cult of the winds as chthonic powers see: P. Stengel, ‘Die Opfer der Hellenen an die Winde’, Hermes, 16 (1881), 346-50; id.,’Der Kult der Winde’, Hermes, 35 (19oo), 627-35; S.Scullion, ‘Olympian and Chthonian’, Classical antiquity,1 3(1994), 75-119, esp. 111 (referring to Titane).
30 The fragments were recovered by R. Hope Simpson in 1959: A Gazetteer and Atlas ofMycenaean Sites (London, 1965), 36; also R. Hope Simpson and 0. T. P. K.Dickinson,A Gazettee of Aegean Civilization in the Bronze Age, i: The Mainland and Islands (G6teborg, 1979), 68.
31 Cases of foundation of Geometric/Archaic sanctuaries near or on top of prehistoric sites include the Argive Heraion (Prosymna), the Spartan Menelaion (Therapne), and the sanctuary of Apollo Maleatas at Epidauros among numerous others: see C. M.Antonaccio, ‘Placing the past: the Bronze Age in the cultic topography of early Greece’ in S. E. Alcock and R. Osborne (eds), Placingt he Gods;Sanctuaries and Sacred Space in Ancient Greece (Oxford, 1994), 79-104-
32 See, however, the objections of I. Malkin below (n. 41).