Bryn Mawr Classical Review

Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2004.11.06

Pia Guldager Bilde, Jakob Munk Hojte, Vladimir F. Stolba, The Cauldron of Ariantas: Studies presented to A. N. Sceglov on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Black Sea Studies I.   Aarhus:  Aarhus University Press, 2003.  Pp. 397.  ISBN 87-7934-085-7.  $39.95.  



Reviewed by Stanley M. Burstein, California State University, Los Angeles
Word count: 1376 words

Pity the poor Festschrift. No genre of scholarly literature is more maligned than the Festschrift. Throughout my career I have repeatedly heard Festschrifts condemned as incoherent collections of articles and repositories for rejected papers rescued from dusty files where they had languished. Like all caricatures this one has just enough truth to survive. A well designed and edited Festschrift, however, can be a valuable contribution to scholarship that will be consulted for years to come. As the coeditor of a Festschrift I know how difficult accomplishing that task can be, so the editors of The Cauldron of Ariantas are to be congratulated on a job well done.

The honoree, Dr. A. N. Sceglov has been a distinguished and productive archaeologist specializing in the archaeology of the Crimea and particularly the archaeology of Chersonesos for almost half a century, producing over two hundred publications and training numerous students. The Cauldron of Ariantas is a joint project of the Danish National Research Foundation's Centre for Black Sea Studies and the Institute for the History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg and focuses on the social and economic history of the Black Sea from the archaic period to the end of the Hellenistic period. Its publication is yet another example of the ever-increasing cooperation between western and Russian scholars since the end of the Cold War that has brought the results of Soviet period and current Russian and Ukranian archaeology into the mainstream of classical scholarship.

The Cauldron of Ariantas opens with seven articles dealing with the archaic and classical periods. In the first, J. V. Domanskij and K. K. Marcenko offer a new theory for the foundation of Borysthenes, suggesting that, instead of being a fishing station, agricultural settlement, or trading post, it was founded as a raw material colony intended to supply Miletus with metals. In the "Archaic Buildings of Porthmion" M. J. Vachtina makes an important contribution to the ongoing debate concerning the physical character of archaic Greek colonies, noting that there is no evidence for dugouts as the primary form of housing in the earliest levels at Porthmion. George Hinge uses Dumézilian theory to argue in "Scythian and Spartan Analogies in Herodotos' Representation: Rites of Initiation and Kinship Groups" that the similarities noted in Herodotus' accounts of Scythian and Spartan institutions are "not due to an interpolation of Greek categories into a Scythian context" but "the result of the formulation of Scythian customs and beliefs in a Greek discourse" (p. 69). N. A. Gavriljuk pursues the theme of Graeco-Scythian interaction in "The Graeco-Scythian Slave-trade in the 6th and 5th Centuries BC," contending that the slave trade and not the grain trade dominated commercial relations between the Scythians and Greeks in the 6th and 5th centuries. In "An Istrian Dedication to Leto" A. Avram offers a new restoration of I. Histriae 380, suggesting that it is a dedication to Leto by a woman named Sothemis and provides additional evidence for the transfer of the cult of Leto to the Black Sea colonies from Miletus. The final two papers in this group are more narrowly archaeological. The first by A. S. Rusjaeva lucidly summarizes the development of the western religious precinct at Olbia from its foundation in the 6th century BC to its decline in the 1st century AD, while the second by V. V. Krapivina provides a detailed catalogue of the twenty-three bronze weights discovered to date at Olbia.

Four articles on Chersonesos, Professor Sceglov's specialty, follow. In the first, G. N. Nikolaenko summarizes the results of surveys of farming sites at Omega Bay in the northwestern coastal region of the Chersonesian chora conducted between 1991 and 2003, noting that the original land plots continued in use as laid out in the fourth century BC until the end of antiquity. The following article by S. J. Saprykin reconstructs the history of a farmhouse on Lighthouse Point that was occupied from the late classical period through the Hellenistic period, with particular emphasis on the evidence it provides for dating the appearance of "anti-ramming belts" in the Chersonesian chora to the second half of the third century BC. P. G. Bilde's paper shifts the focus to religious history, reviewing the evidence for the transformation of the Taurian goddess into the cult of a deer-killing goddess and its spread from Chersonesos to Italy, and suggesting that the critical period for the development of its unusual iconography was the reign of Mithridates VI. The unassuming title of the final paper in this group, "Interpretation of a Group of Archaeological Sites in the Vicinity of Tauric Chersonesos" is misleading. In it V. M. Zubar and E. A. Kravcenko convincingly demonstrate that the widely accepted view that in the fourth and third centuries BC Chersonesos was surrounded by numerous settlements of non-Greek dependent laborers rests solely on erroneous interpretations of three partially excavated sites on the Herakleian peninsula.

The focus of the volume broadens in the next three papers to include relations with the Aegean and the peoples of the Eurasian steppes. In "The Bosporan Kings in Classical Athens: Imagined Breaches in a Cordial Relationship (Aisch. 3.171-172; [Dem.] 34.36)" David Braund argues vigorously, if not completely convincingly, for a return to the view that relations between Athens and Bosporus were close and friendly from the accession of Spartocus I in the 430s BC to the late fourth century BC. In "Bosporos and Chersonesos in the 4th-2nd Centuries BC" E. A. Molev offers a new reconstruction of the history of relations between Bosporos and Chersonesos during these critical two centuries, highlighting the influence of the Sarmatians and Scythians on relations between these two states. In the final article in this group the late lamented J. A. Vinogradov makes an important contribution to the history of the northern Black Sea basin by demonstrating that the entry of the Sarmatians into the steppes north of the Black Sea occurred in two waves separated by a long period of relative peace, the first in the early third century BC and the second in the second century BC.

The remaining seven papers deal with a variety of topics ranging from the proposal of a statistical model for evaluating the validity of reconstructions of archaeologically attested buildings to a reconsideration of Meriwether Stuart's The Portraiture of Claudius. The gem of this group, however, is I. V. Tunkina's "The Formation of a Russian Science of Classical Antiquities of Southern Russia in the 18th and early 19th Century" which provides a detailed and illuminating account of the early history of Russian archaeology. Also valuable are three papers dealing with amphoras discovered in the Black Sea, one of the central areas of Russian archaeological scholarship since the early twentieth century. In the first, S. J. Monachov convincingly assigns the so-called "Proto-Thasian" amphoras to workshops in a variety of cities on the Thracian coast of Aegean Sea. V. I. Kac then comprehensively surveys the evidence for amphora production at Heraclea Pontica and offers a new chronology for the city's amphoras. Finally, V. F. Stolba convincingly argues that amphoras bearing the stamp AMASTRIOS were not made at the city of Amastris but in a workshop at Heraclea Pontica owned by the city's queen Amastris, most probably during her period of sole rule from 305 to 300 BC.

The Cauldron of Ariantas will serve scholars for years to come as a valuable resource, and for that its editors and authors are to be congratulated. Perusing it, however, also highlights a striking difference in the perspectives of western and Russian scholarship concerning the history of the Greeks in the Black Sea. Outside the history of archaic colonization little attention is given the Black Sea Greek cities by western scholars, and understandably so, given the Aegean focus of most western Greek historiography. Russian historians, on the other hand, have traditionally viewed the history of the Greek cities as an integral part of the broader history of the Black Sea basin and its hinterland, and have, therefore, treated all aspects and periods of their history as worthy of study. This broader perspective marks all the articles in The Cauldron of Ariantas, and one hopes that its spread will be one of the results of the sort of international cooperation typified by this volume.

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