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Department of Archaeology

Thursday, 24 January, 2019 - 13:00
Event speaker: 
Philipp Kobusch (Kiel University)

The antechamber of ancient Greek temples is often described in relation to theories of rites de passages and liminal spaces as a neutral zone, as a space in between the sacred and the profane. However, its specific use is for the most part unresearched. 

This paper aims at giving a characterisation of the pronaos as a space of action. Therefore the architectural layout, the connection to the cella, its accessibility and visibility, as well as the objects which were placed in pronaoi, will be discussed in comparison to the few ancient written sources which mention the antechamber. 

It will be demonstrated that different pronaoi show a broad spectrum of different usages. Pronaoi on the one hand could be staged as open public space, on the other hand they were used as treasury, as waiting room and served for specific cultic actions. Lattices in front of the cella doors, which allowed sight of the cult image without giving access to the cella, show furthermore that the pronaos often served to experience the cult image in the cella and communicate with it. 

Architects and authorities of the sanctuary could rather interpret the room in different manners and assign a different character to it by adding singular functional elements such as doors, lattices, tables etc. Thus, the building type ‘pronaos’ could be used multifunctionally. However, the individual pronaos is not a multifunctional room per se, but could be subject to specific concepts of usage.

Event location: 
McDonald Seminar Room
Geographical areas: 
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