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Creating collective identities through astronomy? A study of Greek temples in Sicily

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posted on 14.04.2010, 10:10 by Alun Mark Salt
This is a study of the alignments of Greek temples in Sicily and the implications for the study of identity and ethnicity in the Greek world of the first millennium BC. The thesis presents data from 41 temples and applies a new method of statistical analysis and presentation in order to draw conclusions as to whether or not there are any meaningful patterns of alignment related to astronomical practices. I test several hypotheses, first by determining if there is a correlation between temple alignment and sunrise, and then analysing sub-samples by location, genealogy, period of construction, type (celestial or chthonic) and gender of deity the temple is dedicated to, as well as four specific deities. Additionally I examine them in their historical and cultural contexts for evidence of hybridisation with the native inhabitants of Sicily. I find that the temples in Sicily exhibit a closer correlation with solar alignments than temples in Greece do, but that the alignments of individual temples are selected for reasons associated with local historical and topographical contexts. The study as a whole is conducted within a post-positive framework, which intentionally tackles one of the problems of interdisciplinary studies, that they can lack a coherent means of integrating data.



Foxhall, L.

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University of Leicester

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