« 2022. # 3 (165)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2022. № 3 (165), 633—646

UDK [[903.2:930]:251/255-162.2](477.7)”652″

DOI https://doi.org/10.15407/nz2022.03.633

THE CULT OF THE GODDESS ASTARTE ON THE BOSPORUS: BETWEEN HISTORIOGRAPHICAL CONSTRUCT AND REALITY

KORCHAK Andrii

  • ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3895-9677
  • Ph. D. student (History),
  • Ivan Franko National University of Lviv,
  • Department of Archaeology and Special Historical Studies,
  • 1, Universytetska Str., 79000, Lviv, Ukraine,
  • Contacts: e-mail: naum2109@ukr.net

Abstract. The study of the beliefs of the ancient Greek colonies in the northern Black Sea region has a long, almost two-hundred-year history. Many researches on this topic have been published. However, the information presented in them is often outdated. Moreover, a number of Russian researchers, using fragmentary archeological materials, construct doubtful scientific hypotheses based on them, and this hypotheses often result misinterpretation of sacred monuments, confusion of different in nature cults, and other similar cases.

One of such problems is the question of presence of the cult of the Middle Eastern goddess Astarte in the Bosporus Kingdom during the IV century BC — III century AD. According to the statements, this belief manifested itself in the image of goddesses such as Astara, Aphrodite-Urania, Anahita. There is an opinion that Astarte on the Bosporus, like all other goddesses, was a manifestation of the so-called «female deity». Of course, such incertitude greatly enhances the relevance of the proposed study.

The purpose of this article is an attempt to find answers to the following questions: was the cult of the goddess Astarte widespread in the Bosporus Kingdom? Did it express itself in the worship of goddesses known in this region, or were these deities represented there by their own cults?

The following methods were used in the article: system-structural analysis, comparative-historical, typological, descriptive and semantic methods to study the source base, namely sculptural, numismatic monuments and individual myths. Based on the use of comparative-historical and typological methods, it was possible to outline a list of relevant scientific approaches to the topic, prepare their brief reviews, verify, present the value and originality of the views of certain authors, depict the state of their scientificity.

The results of the study identified several important facts. Artifacts discovered in the Bosporus, previously associated with Astarte, are likely to represent the popular Aphrodite-Urania. The cults of this goddess, as well as the little-known Astara, were independent in nature and originated in Asia Minor (Ionia and Bithynia). There are no monuments which can testify to the fact of the worship of the Iranian goddess Anahita in the Bosporus Kingdom. Instead, the notion of «the great female deity», personified by almost every goddess of the Northern Black Sea region, is only a collective representation of a number of representatives of Russian historical science.

Keywords: The Bosporan Kingdom, cults of Astarte, Sanerg and Astara, Aphrodite Urania, «great female deity».

Received 14.04.2022

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