Date(s) - 18/09/2014
The power of mythological landscapes: Pergamon, Teuthrania and the Telephos saga
In studying the territorial development of ancient states, one of the larger problems lies in understanding how a sense of political identity and belonging was created. What kind of dialogues does a centralizing authority initiate with the local communities? Besides military and economic power, what kind of ’soft power’ was deployed as a tool of persuasion? How was the mythological landscape used in connection with political territory? These are issues which the Attalid rulers strategically dealt with as they turned Pergamon from a minor settlement in central Mysia to a major power to be reckoned with by their rival Hellenistic monarchs. Scheer (1993) has shown how crucial the myth of Telephos was to the political status of the Attalids. In this paper -work in progress!- Williamson focuses on the mountain of Teuthrania, where Telephos was king, as a natural landmark which served as an organizing element in the Attalids’ hold on the surrounding landscape. She demonstrates how visibility played a strong role in forging a new sense of territory that at the same time appeared to be rooted in the past.
Bio: Christina Williamson earned her PhD at the University of Groningen in 2012 for her dissertation City and sanctuary in Hellenistic Asia Minor. Constructing civic identity in the sacred landscapes of Mylasa and Stratonikeia in Karia. Currently she is conducting a postdoctoral research entitled Commanding views. Monumental landscapes and the territorial formation of Pergamon, 3rd to 2nd centuries BC. This project is funded via a Rubicon grant from NWO and is being carried out at the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University (USA).