Public Lecture

Hellenic Studies Seminar Series Presents Dr. Megan Daniels

September 29, 2017

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies is pleased to present a talk by Dr. Megan Daniels, from SUNY-Buffalo, entitled "The Dying God between East and West: Reanalyzing a Funerary Scene from the Sanctuary of Orthia at Sparta."

This public talk is presented as part of the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies Fall Seminar Series, which features exciting, new research in Hellenic Studies from disciplines such as Archaeology, Classics, Literature, and Byzantine, Ottoman, and Modern Greek History.

Date: Sept. 29, 2017
Time: 2:30pm
Campus: SFU Burnaby
Room: Academic Quadrangle 6204

This event is free, but seating is limited, please RSVP to


The terms “spartan” and “laconic” sum up our modern conception of ancient Sparta: a city-state founded upon hardline militarism and eschewing all forms of art and luxury. Yet some of our earliest evidence for Sparta in the Archaic period (ca. 800-480 BCE) suggests that it was originally a cosmopolitan and wealthy city-state tied into flourishing Mediterranean exchange networks. In this talk, Megan Daniels, postdoctoral scholar at SUNY-Buffalo, examines one aspect of this cosmopolitanism: the religious offerings at the sanctuary dedicated to the mysterious goddess Orthia. In particular, she focuses on two ivory plaques showing, arguably, the widespread myth of the death of a youthful god, and connects the symbolism on these plaques to notions of kingly power operating between western Asia and the Mediterranean world in the Archaic period. This talk thus engages the mysterious origins of Sparta and its goddess Orthia with some of the more notorious religious theories from the early twentieth century – namely James Frazer’s conception of the dying and rising god – to argue for fascinating networks of elite religious power operating between east and west during the genesis of the Greek city-state.