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Проблема сакральных мест хоры Херсонеса Таврического [The Problem of Sanctuaries of the Chora of Chersonesus Taurica]

Зедгенидзе А. А.

The Problem of Sanctuaries of the Chora of Chersonesus Taurica

Angelina Zedgenidze           

This article presents the first ever study of a network of ancient Greek sanctuaries situated on the coast of the Heracleian Peninsula (Crimea) and linked to the chora (i.e. the agricultural territory) of Chersonesus Taurica. The reconstruction of this system has never been a topic of archaeological and historiographic research. The source of information on these sanctuaries are the reports by Pallas and Dubois de Montpéreux. Pallas discovered two sanctuaries, one at Aya Burun Promontory (Russ. Мыс Айя Бурун) and the other at Lermontov Promontory (Russ. Мыс Лермонтова). Dubois de Montpéreux gave a description of the remains of other two sanctuaries and interpreted one of them (near Mramornaya Valley/Мраморная балка) as a sanctuary of the Tauri, the indigenous people of the Heracleian Peninsula, and the second, as an ancient Greek temple (near Streletskaya Bay/Стрелецкая бухта). To these sites we should add the temple of Parthenos on the Parthenion Promontory (the present-day Chersones Promontory/Мыс Херсонес) and the sanctuary of the same goddess in the city of Chersonesus; these two sanctuaries are mentioned in Strabo’s Geography. We have come to the conclusion that these sites made up a network of sanctuaries situated on promontories and, apart from their sacral function, were used as navigation signs. The formation of this system probably dates back to the period when Greeks were occupying the territory of the Heracleian Peninsula, i.e. from the end of the 5th and during the 4th century BC. The main problem associated with these sites is the absence of archaeological studies of those locations which were described by Pallas and Dubois de Montpéreux. Research would have clarified both the localisation and the purpose of the structures described by these authors. However, Pallas and Dubois de Montpéreux had studied the sites in question in the period when they were still intact, i.e. before the later destruction of the environs of Sevastopol. We should therefore pay attention to their reports as important sources for the study of the structure of the chora of Chersonesus.