BMCR 2009.12.40

Asklepios: Heiligtümer und Kulte, 2 vols. Studien zu Antiken Heiligtümern

, Asklepios: Heiligtümer und Kulte, 2 vols. Studien zu Antiken Heiligtümern. Heidelberg: Verlag Archäologie und Geschichte, 2005. 392; 502; 24 pls., ills. ISBN 3-935289-30-8. €135.00.

[ This reviewer apologizes for the lateness of his review. ]

Jürgen W. Riethmüller’s (henceforth R.) massive two-volume study of the cult of Asklepios is quite ambitious and useful, but also significantly flawed. The work in question is an expanded version of the author’s 1995 dissertation, written at Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. Providing a nearly exhaustive treatment of the structural remains from more than two dozen surviving cult sites while also incorporating a tremendous amount of literary, epigraphical, iconographic, numismatic and even papyrological sources pertaining to these and hundreds of other sites, R.’s book is the most detailed study of Asklepios since that of Ludwig and Emma Edelstein sixty years earlier.1 Even after the more recent appearance of a comparable — and in some ways superior — work by Milena Melfi, R.’s work remains the broadest in scope, particularly valuable for its unparalleled treatment of lesser sites.2 Its overall value, unfortunately, is greatly reduced by numerous and varied problems evident throughout the work.

This work is essentially two books in one. The first volume is a 400-page monograph that surveys the history of the cult of Asklepios and explores what is known about Asklepieia in terms of both their structural composition and cult practices. The second volume catalogs roughly 900 sanctuaries of Asklepios and other types of cult sites with which he was associated, covering both the Greek East and Latin West. Both were much needed, since there had not been a sufficiently thorough study of the origins, development and nature of the cult of Asklepios since the Edelsteins’ somewhat outdated work, while no one had attempted a full list, let alone detailed catalog, of Asklepieia in more than a century.3 While Volume 1 consists primarily of eight chapters, Volume 2 features a catalog with detailed discussions and extensive references for 171 cult sites (and cult-related sites) in Greece, followed by an “Appendix-Katalog” with bibliographical and literary references for 732 sites everywhere else in the Greco-Roman world, as well as several maps and photographs of sites and artifacts.

The contents of Volume 1 are as follows:

“Einleitung” (pp. 22-31). R. introduces the reader to the subject with an overview of the history of Asklepios’s cult, followed by a brief but valuable survey of the history of the relevant scholarship going back to the 17th century.

Chapt. I, “Der Mythos des Asklepios” (pp. 33-54). This chapter provides a valuable service by tracing the scholarship and debates about the god’s mythic origins and offering an updated bibliography. Though featuring a discussion of the different theories about the etymology of the name “Asklepios,” most of the chapter is devoted to Asklepios’s family in Homeric myth (and what the earliest references might suggest about Asklepios’s status during this period), the different myths concerning his birth, and the myth of his death, burial and apotheosis.

Chapt. II, “Die Heiligtümer des Asklepios. Materialsichtung, chronologischer und geographischer Überblick” (pp. 55-90): In this chapter R. provides an overview of both the geographical span of Asklepios’s cult and the broad range of sources for his worship. The chapter begins with a survey of the varied sources for cult sites and secular locations such as baths and gymnasia at which Asklepios was worshiped or honored — archaeological remains, literary sources, inscriptions, coins, sculptures, terracottas, vases, and so on. The rest of the chapter is devoted to giving a basic summary of the known cult sites of Asklepios. According to R., there are 159 known cult sites on the Greek mainland (17 of which are uncertain) and a further 192 in the Greek islands, Asia Minor and other places colonized by the Greeks (44 uncertain). These numbers do not count sanctuaries of other gods where he was also worshiped, nor the several hundred cult sites in Syria, Egypt, North Africa, and western Europe.

Chapt. III, “Der frühe Horizont” (pp. 91-228). R. explores Asklepios’s origins and the initial spread of his cult, especially during the period before he became a panhellenic god. The beginning of the chapter (sects. III.1-2) argues for the cult’s Thessalian origin, giving an overview of the limited literary evidence and disappointing archaeological evidence for the famous sanctuary at Trikka and discussing cult sites in the region. Noting that Phokis and northern Boiotia each had its own association with Asklepios’s birth myth, R. next surveys the evidence for the god’s early centers of worship in central Greece (sect. III.3). The chapter continues with a discussion of the cult’s spread to the Peloponnesos (sect. III.4), arguing that Asklepios was received into Apollo’s sanctuary at Corinth by the mid-6th century B.C. and thus at least a century earlier than scholars have believed, before proceeding to the earliest phase of Asklepios worship at Epidauros (sect. III.5). The chapter continues by examining the cult’s initial establishment beyond mainland Greece, starting with Macedonia before moving on to the Cyclades and Doric Hexapolis (sect. III.6), and again arguing for a much earlier date than commonly accepted. R. ends the chapter by arguing, no less controversially, that the early spread of the cult of Asklepios can be linked in part to the Dark Ages colonization movement, ultimately attributing it to the adoption of Asklepios as a tribal divinity by Dorians who moved through Thessaly before continuing their migrations (sect. III.7).

Chapt. IV, “Die Blütezeit des Asklepioskultes. Epidauros und seine Filialen” (pp. 229-240): The most important phase in the cult’s expansion was the 5th-3rd centuries, when Asklepios became widely recognized as a god and numerous healing sanctuaries — rather than mere temples — were established as offshoots not of Trikka, but of Epidauros. This chapter traces both the transformation of existing sanctuaries into the god’s healing sanctuaries and the appearance of new healing sanctuaries where he previously was not worshiped ( e.g., Athens, Lebena, Rome, Troizen). R. argues that this development should be viewed in the context of changes in polis religion during the period, and also comments on several known patterns associated with the cult’s spread.

Chapt. V, “Das Asklepieion von Athen: Ein Paradigma” (pp. 241-278). Following a detailed discussion of the Telemachos stele, the most important contemporary document for the establishment of Asklepios’ Athenian sanctuary, R. analyzes the sanctuary’s topography, chronological development, and architecture, devoting attention to each structure. R. pays particular attention to the bothros and tetrastylon attached to the East Stoa, recapitulating his arguments from an earlier article concerning the bothros functioning as a heroon.4 The last part of the chapter concerns another cult site, the Amyneion, and the purported role of Sophokles in establishing the worship of Asklepios in Athens.

Chapt. VI, “Die monumentale Neugestaltung des Epidaurischen Hierons im 4. Jh. v. Chr.” (pp. 279-324). Returning to Epidauros, R. provides a detailed exploration of the sanctuary as it existed following the major building program of the 4th century B.C., also covering the burst of construction in Roman times. The chapter, therefore, is primarily devoted to architectural analysis of the buildings and other structures both within the temenos and nearby, but also investigates the purpose that some of them served. Particular attention is given to the ” thymele,” a mysterious, circular building with a labyrinthine substructure: returning to a subject he had previously discussed,5 R. surveys the different theories concerning its purpose and concludes from iconographic evidence associating the building with Asklepios’s sacred serpents that it should be identified as Asklepios’s heroon and thus represented the heroic aspect of this cult (sect. VI.3). The chapter also includes discussion of the main temple’s pedimental sculptures and the evidence regarding the lost cult statue by Thrasymedes (sect. VI.2).

Chapt. VII, “Die bauliche Gestalt der Epidaurischen Filialen: Der Vorbildcharakter des Mutterheiligtums” (pp. 325-359). R. discusses the architectural remains of certain Asklepieia that were “offspring” of the Epidauros sanctuary, with the goal of determining whether enough parallels exist in terms of layout and structures to consider the Epidaurian “Mutterheiligtum” a model for the others. As R. recognizes, this is a difficult proposition, since several of the sites reported to have been established as offshoots from Epidauros are unexcavated, unpublished, or too small for analysis. The chapter, therefore, focuses on the Asklepieia of Balagrai (Cyrene), Lebena and Pergamon, with the main Athenian site having been the subject of Chapt. 5. Not surprisingly for so limited a survey, R. concludes that there are insufficient parallels among the “Filialen” and “Mutterheiligtum” to establish that the latter served as a model, but he does note that even if the dimensions and architecture varied, each site had an incubation hall and fountain in addition to a temple and altar.

Chapt. VIII, “Asklepieia: Typologie und Kultpraxis” (pp. 360-392). This final chapter covers general patterns among cult sites of Asklepios, most of which have received extensive treatment by earlier scholars ( e.g., the extra-urban locations of Asklepieia, the presence and role sacred springs, the types of structures used for incubation). Of greater significance are R.’s discussions of the shift, first evident in the fourth century B.C., from Asklepieia that featured a small temple and a few secondary structures to bigger sanctuaries with multiple large structures (sect. VIII.2), and of the archaeological evidence suggesting that aspects of Asklepios’s hero cult survived his transition to god at Epidauros, Athens, and possibly other sites, giving his cult a “Doppelnatur” (sect. VIII.5).6

The contents of Volume 2 are as follows:

“Katalog” (pp. 9-315). Covering all of mainland Greece in 171 entries, the geographically-arranged catalog provides detailed and often valuable discussions of varying length concerning what is known about each site at which Asklepios was worshiped. In the case of those that have been discovered, R. traces the excavation history in addition to discussing the remains and topographical issues; and, for both excavated and unexcavated sites, R. assesses the pertinent non-archaeological sources. Each discussion is followed by a list of sources, usually with a full lemma for particular artifacts or groups of artifacts, as well as a comprehensive bibliography for that site, and these are complemented by roughly two hundred maps and plans.

“Appendix-Katalog” (pp. 317-360). Picking up where the catalog leaves off, the appendix-catalog covers 732 cult sites outside of mainland Greece, but each entry consists solely of a lemmatized list of ancient sources and bibliographical references. Since R.’s stated goal for his book is to analyze Asklepieia in Greece itself and only a few outside of the mainland were deemed important enough to merit analysis in Volume 1, most of these sites receive no discussion, with even such obviously relevant Asklepieia as the one at Fregellae being all but ignored in that volume. Nonetheless, the appendix-catalog is of tremendous value simply because such a vast amount of information has been included, and also because the list of sites is almost completely comprehensive.7

The most valuable parts of the monograph volume are those in which R. provides detailed descriptions of the architectural remains of sanctuaries or traces the course of their excavations. The volume’s greatest weakness, on the other hand, is the author’s willingness to push his evidence farther than it can reasonably go, seeking to overturn conventional thinking even when there is little or no justification for doing so. The most striking example of this is a lengthy, and ultimately unsustainable, discussion of the spread of Asklepios’s cult to the Doric Hexapolis, which R. believes has already occurred by the end of the 6th cent. B.C. (sect. III.6.3). In order to prove his claim, R. opts to focus solely on Kos, implying that there also is evidence for an early appearance by Asklepios at these other sites but that he is choosing the most famous site as representative of the whole of the region. However, other than an unreliable Suda entry,8 none of the sources that R. lists in the appendix-catalog entries for these other sites can be dated even close to the Archaic period (App.-Cat. Nos. 170-189), leaving Kos as the only part of the region for which we can entertain such an early arrival. While it is generally accepted that the cult reached Kos during the mid-Classical period, R. prefers to assign this development to an earlier second wave of Doric migration in the area, relying on the questionable evidence of Pausanias’s account of the founding of Epidauros Limera as a terminus ante quem for Asklepios’s cult on Kos,9 and taking as authentic the apocryphal traditions regarding Hippokrates and his students inscribing cures at the temple.

R.’s treatment of epigraphical evidence is equally problematic. As part of his argument against the consensus that Asklepios’s establishment at Kos post-dates the synoikismos of 366/5 B.C., R. cites inscriptions from Astypalaia (one of the poleis whose inhabitants joined to create the unified polis of Kos) that do reveal the worship of Asklepios there — but only in the Hellenistic period (App.-Cat. No. 182). More central to R.’s argument is his reliance on an unpublished epigram as evidence that Asklepios was being worshiped at the temenos of Apollo Kyparissios well before becoming the predominant divinity there during the early Hellenistic period. This epigram was briefly mentioned by Rudolf Herzog, who noted its reference to “Paian of the grove” ( Παιὰν ἐν ἄλσει) and dated it to the late-5th or early-4th cent. B.C.10 Following Susan M. Sherwin-White’s brief treatment of the inscription,11 R. accepts this date without reservation, and thus is able to conclude that Asklepios — who, like Apollo, was often referred to as “Paian” — was worshiped at the future site of the Kos Asklepieion decades before the synoikismos. However, the epigram should instead be dated to the early Hellenistic period based on its letter forms.12 Without the epigram or the wholly unreliable literary sources, R. has no evidence to support the conclusion that Asklepios was worshiped at this sanctuary before the synoikismos, and thus his overall thesis that the god was brought to the island and region much earlier by a Doric migration cannot be sustained.13

With this theory about Kos and its neighbors rejected, R.’s dubious contention that the early spread of the cult of Asklepios beyond Thessaly and Greece can be attributed in large part to Dorian migrations of the Dark Ages suffers a serious blow (sect. III.7). However, even if Asklepios could be detected on Kos as early as the 6th cent. B.C., R.’s reasons for reaching similar conclusions regarding other regions would still be questionable, since he repeatedly depends on unacceptably early dates for the worship of Asklepios at representative sites. Thus, in seeking to argue for an earlier spread of the cult of Asklepios, R. has to push back the dates of several individual Asklepieia, frequently with little or no real evidence. The best known of these is the one in Corinth, a site originally belonging to Apollo (sect. III.4.1; p. I:220). Even though there is no evidence for Asklepios’s presence there before the late-5th century B.C., R. concludes that he was installed at least a century earlier, perhaps even in the 7th or 8th century B.C.14 Similar is R.’s claim that Asklepios’s existence in Messene as far back as the 6th or 7th century B.C. is proven by the presence of a small shrine from this period near the later temple, at which evidence of a heroic healing cult, including anatomical votives, were found (sect. III.4.6; p. 220 claims an 8th-century date is possible). 15 Not only is there no compelling reason to conclude that the first shrine’s votives represent evidence for Asklepios’s pre-liberation worship at Messene, but a short distance away another hero shrine was taken over by one or more gods by the end of the Classical period — just as Asklepios most likely took over long after the unknown hero had begun healing people.

Similarly questionable conclusions are found in R.’s discussions of Gortys and Antisara. At Gortys the two extant Asklepios sanctuaries were built atop earlier cult sites, but in neither case can it be concluded that the preceding sanctuary was associated with him: the “upper” temple, located atop the acropolis and dated to the mid-Classical period, was built near a buried trove of votive objects with a military theme that date to the Archaic period, leading R. to conclude, improbably, that at Gortys Asklepios was a military god as well as a healer (pp. I:220, II:196);16 the later “lower” temple, on the other hand, is thought by R. to have been preceded by an Archaic temple of Asklepios because underneath it archaeologists discovered part of a cella wall dated to the 8th or early-7th century B.C., even though this older structure cannot be linked to Asklepios (pp. I:220, II:199). Similarly, for the small Thracian settlement of Antisara R. concludes that a sanctuary that belonged to Asklepios in the 4th century B.C. must have been his originally, even though no sources link the 6th-century temple to the god (pp. I:204-205, 220-221). R.’s exceptionally early dates for Asklepieia are not limited to these sites, since he makes similar claims regarding others (pp. I:220-221). Overall, R.’s attempt to place the spread of Asklepios’s cult much earlier than currently accepted does not stand up to scrutiny.

With the exception of this dating issue, R.’s approach to sanctuaries’ physical remains is generally sound and reliable — and, indeed, often quite illuminating. However, problems with arguments based on literary and epigraphical sources extend beyond the discussion of Kos. The most noteworthy instance of this is in R.’s treatment of the purported role of Sophokles, whom the Etymologicum Magnum identified with the hero Dexion, in introducing the cult of Asklepios to Athens (sect. V.3). Scholars who have been willing to accept one or both contentions have done so because they accepted this and other later literary sources, Alfred Körte’s dubious emendation of Sophokles’s fragmentary Hellenistic vita and an uncertain restoration of the inscription on the Telemachos Monument, and linked these to epigraphical evidence associating Asklepios and the hero Amynos with Dexion. Echoing this scholarly tradition in his own discussion, R. emphasizes that that there should be little doubt of the playwright’s involvement in establishing Asklepios’s Athenian cult. However, this belief in the link among Sophokles, Dexion, Asklepios and Amynos was thoroughly refuted in an article by Andrew Connolly that appeared after R. completed his dissertation.17 Rather than dealing with Connolly’s cogent philological and historical objections, R. buries his reference to the article in a footnote in which he briefly summarizes and then dismisses it as a “hyperkritische Standpunkt” (p. I:277n.198).

The most pervasive problem in this book, however, is that R.’s approach to references fails to take into account how the book will be used, making a work that was intended to be the standard reference on Asklepios’s cult sites difficult to consult. In an attempt to try to provide a full range of references for every site, artifact, phenomenon or issue, R. has included hundreds — if not thousands — of unnecessary citations that that have the potential to lead readers to waste considerable time pursuing them. The first volume alone has 2300 footnotes, and many of these have a dozen or more individual citations, with the longest footnote featuring more than a hundred citations, far too many of which are irrelevant or far too outdated to be of any use.18 In the second volume, most of the roughly 900 entries likewise contain unnecessary references that were included more to achieve a sense of thoroughness than to benefit the user.19 Obsolete citations, however, are not as troubling as those that are completely irrelevant. For example, in his entry on the poorly documented cult site at Antium (Cat. No. 575), R. cites two unrelated works on underwater archaeology and the building techniques employed in the construction of the city’s harbor.20 This, however, is not a fluke, as demonstrated by the catalog entry for Gytheion citing an equally irrelevant article about archaeological work at the harbor.21

These examples are indicative of a pattern throughout the work: not limiting himself to providing references to Asklepios’s cult sites, R. also often tries to provide general references to the topography and archaeological remains of places where those cult sites were located, even when the works he cites contain no discussion of Asklepios. Unfortunately, the reader usually has no way of knowing that a cited work is irrelevant without taking the time to check it. But what makes the decision to do so even more regrettable is that there are numerous major and minor errors to be found among these citations, and one wonders how many of these errors might have been caught if R. had channeled his considerable energy into checking references for accuracy instead of piling on more.22 A related problem is that insufficient effort was made to include books and articles that became available after the dissertation’s completion: even though in his introduction R. indicates that he has pursued bibliographical references through 2002 there are many omissions, several quite significant, from the years 1995-2002.23 Collectively, these flaws diminish the work’s value as a research tool, by making it both difficult to use and at times unreliable.

In sum, this is a book that contains a vast amount of research and makes a significant contribution to the study of Asklepios, and therefore will need to be consulted by all who study this god’s worship. It is strongest in its careful and thorough treatment of archaeological remains, and is invaluable simply because it is the first work to survey every known cult site at which the god was worshiped. However, caution is warranted when considering some of the arguments, particularly in the monograph volume, and if basing one’s own arguments on these one would do well to look under the hood and kick the tires a little. This is especially true of R.’s speculative contention that the cult of Asklepios can be detected at multiple sites much earlier than has previously been accepted and even that it spread with Dorian migrations. For this and other reasons, therefore, one cannot be unreservedly positive about this book: while an admirable achievement in numerous respects, there are many flaws detracting from its usefulness and reliability.


1. Emma and Ludwig Edelstein, Asclepius: A Collection and Interpretation of the Testimonies (Baltimore, 1945), 2 vols.

2. Milena Melfi, I Santuari di Asclepio in Grecia 1 (Rome, 2007), the first of two planned volumes. Like R.’s book, Melfi’s surveys the material evidence from each site and grapples with some of the same broad issues regarding the cult’s history and nature. Scholars investigating particular Asklepieia or aspects of the cult of Asklepios therefore will wish to consult both works. Unfortunately, this book received an undeservedly harsh review from R. ( AJA Online Review), who — among other criticisms — faults Melfi for what is a much more defensible approach to dating certain Asklepieia than R. himself displays (see below).

3. RE II.2 (1896), 1662-1677, s.v.“Asklepios” (R. Pietschmann).

4. J.W. Riethmüller, ” Bothros and Tetrastyle: The Heroon of Asklepios in Athens,” in R. Hägg (ed.), Ancient Greek Hero Cult… (Stockholm, 1999), 123-143.

5. J.W. Riethmüller, “Die Tholos und das Ei,” Nikephoros 9 (1996), 71-109.

6. R.’s contention that this hero cult extended to the Tiber Island sanctuary in Rome (pp. I:324, I:381), however, must be rejected: even if such a notion were plausible, R. bases his claim on an Imperial-period relief showing Asklepios and Hygieia feeding two cockatrices — not sacred serpents — that was linked to a guild of bakers and most likely came from their headquarters ( LIMC II, “Asklepios,” No. 252 = CIL VI 546, cf. 30790).

7. This reviewer knows of only one site that should have merited inclusion, but it is admittedly an obscure one: according to the often unreliable Life of Proclus, at an as yet undiscovered site in Lydia called Adrotta there was a mysterious shrine of Asklepios at which visitors, including the Late Antique philosopher himself, were able to obtain therapeutic “oracles” (Marin., Procl. 32).

8. Suda, s.v.Δημοκήδης.” This source claims that Demokedes of Croton, known to readers of Herodotus as the physician who treated Darius, was the son of a priest of Asklepios at Knidos, which R. lists as evidence of a priesthood there in the mid-6th century B.C. (p. II:348).

9. According to Pausanias (3.23.6-7), Epidauros Limera was established by Epidaurians who were sailing to Kos as envoys to Asklepios when they put in at this location and decided to stay and found a city after receiving dream-visions. If true, Kos would already have had to have a public cult before 424 B.C., when Thucydides first refers to events at Epidauros Limera (Thuc. 4.56.2). While there is little reason to doubt that Epidauros Limera could have been founded by the 5th century B.C., R. places too much weight on this anecdote as evidence for dating the cult of Asklepios at Kos, especially since persuasive arguments have been made that it was an Epidaurian fiction intended to claim the Koan sanctuary as an offshoot of their own Asklepieion (see S.M. Sherwin-White, Ancient Cos (Göttingen, 1978), 336-338).

10. Rudolf Herzog, Heilige Gesetze von Kos (Berlin, 1928), p. 33.

11. S.M. Sherwin-White ( supra, n. 9), 338.

12. R.’s arguments identifying “Paian” as Asklepios would be highly dubious were the inscription indeed from the period to which Herzog dated it, but it is a reasonable conclusion in view of the inscription’s actual date. So this inscription does indeed attest to Asklepios’s presence at the sanctuary, but at a considerably later period. (I am grateful to Kent Rigsby, part of the team working on the fascicles of Inscriptiones Graecae covering Kos, for providing me a photograph of this inscription.)

13. Sherwin-White had earlier stated that even though the evidence for the official cult of Asklepios post-dates the synoikismos this does not preclude the god’s earlier presence (Sherwin-White ( supra, n. 9), 334-335), but R. goes too far in repackaging such speculation as fact. There is no reason why Asklepios would not have been worshiped by some on the island of Kos in the years or decades preceding his official establishment at Apollo’s sanctuary, but there certainly is no good reason to think that he was introduced to the island as early as R. believes.

14. There is ample evidence that the sanctuary was active in the 6th century B.C., but none of the anatomical votives and vases bearing dedicatory graffiti that represent the first evidence of Asklepios’s worship there can be dated earlier than c. 425 B.C.

15. Although the votives found there do date from the 6th to 4th centuries B.C. — with the anatomicals being relatively late — and the building’s first phase was in the 7th or 6th century, if that hero continued to be worshiped in the area he might have been relocated to one of the many small shrines in close proximity to Asklepios’s temple. Moreover, R. overlooks the fact that another nearby shrine first constructed in the 7th century B.C., Shrine ΩΩ, has produced very similar votives (though not anatomicals), and is believed to have been the site where a hero was joined or replaced by the Dioskouroi and one or two goddesses.

16. R. bases his conclusion in part on Alexander the Great having dedicated a breastplate and spear to Asklepios at the sanctuary (Paus. 8.28.1). Since by Roman times Asklepios was widely worshiped by military personnel for his perceived ability to ensure their well being, it seems far more likely that Alexander would have been honoring Asklepios for this than for his “kriegerische Gottheit.”

17. A. Connolly, “Was Sophocles Heroised as Dexion?”, JHS 118 (1998), 1-21.

18. For example, the footnote for incubation cites twenty-eight mainly trivial and outdated studies — the oldest from 1850, and most before 1950 — and yet excludes some important works (p. I:382n.130).

19. In addition to the references pertaining to particular sites in the catalog and appendix-catalog, R.’s treatment of individual objects unearthed at them suffers from this problem, since he attempts full bibliographical lemmas for each. Thus the reader is provided with superfluous information for hundreds of inscriptions, sculptures, reliefs, coins and the like, with those unearthed in the 19th century or earlier being especially prone to such treatment. For example, in his entry for the hundreds of anatomical votives found in the Tiber river near the Asklepieion R. cites not only the relevant catalog (P. Pensabene et al., Terracotte votive dal Tevere (Rome, 1980)), but also multiple publications recording the discovery of these objects over time, going back to 1844. Similarly, for inscriptions and coins obsolete editions from a century or more ago are routinely included.

20. E. Felici, “Osservazioni sul porto neroniano di Anzio e sulla tecnica romana delle costruzioni portuali in calcestruzzo,” Archeologia Subacquea 1 (1993), 71-104; E. Felici & G. Balderi, “Nuovi documenti per la ‘topografia portuale’ di Antium,” in Atti del Convegno nazionale di archeologia subacquea, Anzio, 30-31 maggio e 1 giugno (Bari, 1997), 11-20. (Since the author prefers a citation style for journal articles that omits the title, a reader encountering “E. Felici, ASubacq 1 (1993), 71ff.” would have no way of knowing the nature of this study. Though it might seem like nitpicking to criticize a scholar’s citation style, R.’s inclusion of hundreds (if not thousands) of irrelevant citations in his work makes his decision not to provide at least partial titles even more regrettable, since it will lead many readers to waste time following up on false leads.)

21. N. Scoufopoulos-Stavrolakes, “Ancient Gythion, the Port of Sparta: History and Survey of the Submerged Remnants,” in A. Raban (ed.), Harbour Archaeology: Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Ancient Mediterranean Harbours, Caesarea Maritima 24-28.6.83 (BAR-IS 257; Oxford, 1985), 49-66.

22. The main problem is not minor typos and other sorts of easily recognizable errors, but that many citations are sufficiently inaccurate to cause users difficulty. Among the types of errors found too frequently are erroneous page ranges (e.g., citing pp. 265ff. for V. Allamane-Soure, ArchDelt 39 (1984) [1990], Mel. 205-231, at pg. II:321), incorrect volume or year for journals (e.g., the inscription cited at p. II:348 as “BCH 2, 1878, 270” has to be the one at BCH 4 (1880), 270), faulty references to items in corpora or similar publications ( e.g., twice citing IG V.1, 1145 as 1445, at pp. II:124n.28, II:126), and misspelling authors’ names ( e.g., “Lefart” and “Ross” for Lefort and Roos, at pg. I:382n.130). There are also a number of missing references: R.’s catalog entries for the cult sites in Rome, for example, omit an important literary reference (Festus, De sign. verb., 110μ three inscriptions ( CIL VI 238, 656, 2799), a colossal head from the Palatine ( LIMC II, “Asklepios,” No. 218), a relief thought to represent the god ( LIMC II, “Asklepios,” No. 101), one of the two statuettes from the Villa dei Quintilii (G. Annibaldi, NSc 1935, 81, No. 5), and several works of scholarship.

23. The most significant omission is Lynn R. LiDonnici, The Epidaurian Miracle Inscriptions: Text, Translation and Commentary (Atlanta, 1995).