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The Foreword

, 2002 .

A. V. Kolobov, V. R. Gushchin, A. Ju. Bratukhin


THE ANCIENT MYTHOLOGY IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT


THE FOREWORD


The book offered to attention of the reader represents three independent essays joined by common idea. This attempt is nonconventional for Russian science about antiquity to consider the antique myth not only as component of religious world outlook, that was made already repeatedly in the domestic scientific literature by the philosophers and philologists, but also as the phenomenon of a political history, and besides to show the reception of the classical myth not only in an epicentre of an antique civilization, but also on its peripherals, both its supporters, and opponents1.

The Greek myths and their heroes are known rather well., Much less we know about role played the mythology in this or that period of the Greek history and place it held in life of the separate people as well. V. R. Gushchin section deals with these questions devoted to Athens. In this chapter is staked a role and place of mythology in the Athenian history and in activity of leaders of the Athenian policy.

The research of mythology of the ancient Greeks has a durable history. The collection of information about most ancient periods of the Athenian history begun by the ancient Greeks themselves. As the pioneers of this direction we can name the playwrights using known mythological plots. Among them best known are playwrighters Eschyles, Sophocles, Euripides. The valuable items of information on the Athenian kings and the heroes contain works of the Greek historians Herodotes, Thucydides, philosopher Aristotle. The latter was an author of many compositions, in which it is possible to find mentions both about the heroes of an antiquity, and about the mentioned above characters.

Not smaller value for learning of the history and mythology have also works of the late Greek authors: Geography by Strabo, numerous works of the historian and philosopher Plutarch, the Description of Greece by Pausanias, and also assigned to Apollodores the Mythological Library.

The learning of mythology of ancient Greeks started simultaneously with research of their history. Originally the mythology was surveyed mainly in historical and religious context. In the middle of our century there are some directions for studying various aspects of becoming and evolution of the Greek mythology. One of the scholars survey mythology mainly as the constituent of mentality of the ancient Greeks2. Others tend to outline boundaries of myth and knowledge3. Thirds links the mythology with religious ritual4. The contextual studying of the Greek mythology began recently5. However learning of mythology in a historical context was not practically undertaken, if let alone small units in survey of P. Cartledge6. Thus, the present section is invoked to fill a blank, existing in modern research science.

First  introductory  section of this essay are deal with problems of interrelation of a history and mythology. The author pays attention to a huge role of the heroic myth. The heroes were the most esteemed mythological characters. A question on evolution of mythological consciousness is staked here during long historical period  from archaic age up to the epoch of Pericles.

Next chapter devoted to the analysis of the Athenian mythological tradition. The mythology represented the corpus of the items of information applying for historical reliability. For example. The items of information on the Athenian kings, in section are made attempts to clarify a degree of credibility of mythological tradition.

In third, most extensive part of the unit, is regarded an issue about a role of mythology and separate mythological characters in concrete historical events. The speech here goes about such persons, as Solon, Pisistrates, Kimon and Pericles.

The second section of the books presented by A. V. Kolobov devoted to treating of a place of the antique myth in reception of the soldiers of Roman army of epoch of principate. As a main source are researched iconography and texts of soldiers dedicative and gravestone monuments from the Balkan-Danube locale, mainly of territory of former Roman provinces Dalmatia and Upper Moesia.

Roman Dalmatia covered not only the Adriatic coast of Croatia, but practically all Bosnia and Herzegovina, and also west of modern Serbia. Here during I Century A. D. some legions were deployed. Legion camps Burnum and Tilurium and the small bases of an auxiliary troops constituted so-called dalmatian limes, protecting numerous city of the Adriatic coast from militant mountain tribes. The departure of legions in second half of the I Cent. A. D. out of Dalmatia has not resulted in complete demilitarization of a province. The militarians were actively involved in a participation in the management by Dalmatia, fulfilled police and customs functions, guarded mines, built roads. Though one veteran colony  Equum here was derivated only, the veterans of legions and auxiliary troops willingly settled in numerous cities of Dalmatia, and also gained estates in a countryside.

East neighbour of Dalmatia  Upper Moesia  included the most part of modern Serbia, territory of former Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia, and also the northwestern part of modern Bulgaria. These two provinces were similar not only by the fact of durable presence of a Roman troops in their territory, but also by those circumstances, that legion garrison of the Upper Moesia was formed, mainly, at the expense of translation there of troops from Dalmatia. Resettlers from Dalmatia were involved in mastering of a province Moesia. Since second half of the I Cent. A. D. up to the end of IV Cent. A. D. Moesia was one of the most militarized territories of Roman empire. The main body of a troops concentrated on Danube limes around of legion camps Viminatium and Singidunum. The numerous subdivisions of legions and of auxiliaries carried guards of rich silver, iron and other mines in an internal part of a province. The militarians have brought the appreciable contribution in urbanization of a province. The first city of the Roman Law derivated here, was veteran colony Scupi. The veterans constituted also core of the population of the cities which have arisen near to military camps on limes and in mining districts.

The territory of these provinces is selected as the object of research not accidentally. From most ancient times the western part of the Balkan peninsula was for a rendezvous point of various civilizations and cultural traditions. In particular, in an antiquity here passed boundary between the Greek and Roman spheres of cultural influence. The attempt to define cultural self-identification placed here soldiers of Roman army, to understand, as far as is deep in their consciousness the images of Roman and Greek mythology were implanted, to observe paths of distribution connected with them iconography the learning of various assemblies of the inscribed monuments will help us. Most appreciable, besides three parts of the third volume Corpus inscriptionum Latinarum, are the assemblies Der Antiken Inschriften aus Jugoslawien, prepared by B. Saria and V. Hoffiler (Zagreb, 1938) and Inscriptiones Latinae quae in Iugoslavia reperta, published in three parts by A. and J. Sasel (Ljubljana, 1963, 1978, 1986). Since 1976 in Belgrad under edition of F. Papazoglou the issuing a multivolume series Inscriptiones latines de la Mesie Superioure, proceeding till now began. Systematic issuing of the Roman epigraphics from Bosnia  Herzegovin a in the age of XIXXX Centuries was begun on pages of a magazine Glasnik zemalijskog muzeja u Sarajevu by the the Austrian famous scholar C. Patsch, then has continued by our compatriot  emigrant D. Sergeevskij. The work by E. Imamovic Antički kultni i votivni spomenici na području Bosne i Hercegovine (Sarajevo, 1977) deserves a separate mention. The regular publication of the antique epigraphics from Dalmatia comes true on pages of the Croatian scientific periodicals Vjesnik za historiju i arheologiju Dalmatinsku (Split), Diadora (Zadar), Opuscula archaeologica (Zagreb). The epigraphical data from ancient Upper Moesia are published in magazines Starinar (Beograd) and Ziva antica (Skopje).

The epigraphic material from adjacent provinces is used also. The territory of former Upper Pannonia is rich by the Roman inscriptions especially. Composition of this province included grounds of modern Austria, Hungary, Slovenia. This territory became one of the first advanced posts of Roman military presence in the Balkan-Danube locale. The Roman troops placed in Upper Pannonia were closely connected to Roman garrison of Dalmatia and Upper Moesia. The special attention deserves the assemblies of epigraphical material from Carnuntum  legion camp on Danube in vicinities of Vienna existing about 400 years7, and also from veteran colony Savaria8.

We have involved also the epigraphical material from a Roman province Noricum, surrounding a part of modern Austria and Slovenia. Here was a Roman colony Celeia, settled by the numerous veterans and delivering a plenty of the soldiers in Roman army9.

The numismatic data presented in monographic researches by M. G. Abramzon10 and K. Wittwer11 were used also. We studied the representational plots on the weapon and equipment of Roman imperial army. Representation of Roman arms became a subject of special research only in the latest time12. Rich material of such kind is presented also in excellent book by M. Bishop and J. Coulston13.

The representation of the Roman phaleras is a subject of our special attention. Though the special researches on the given sort of sources are absent, there are depleting researches on separate groups of phaleras, where the appropriate illustrative material14 is presented.

In spite of the fact that in the scientific literature there are numerous publications concerning separate aspects of spiritual culture (not only religion) of army and the population of frontier provinces of Roman empire, the links on which the reader will find at reading the chapters of the second unit of the book the special researches devoted to a place of antique mythological tradition in mentality of army of Roman empire till now were not.

In the first chapter undressed the features of Roman mythology as a whole are parsed and the main stages of development of the Roman myth are taped. The second chapter is devoted to a place of antique mythology in imperial propagation. The characters and images of antique mythology in official propagation intended for army are parsed. Besides the problem of perception of the Roman myth in soldiers mass on an extent IIII Cent. is researched. The third chapter of the unit is devoted to learning of images and characters of antique mythology presented on military gravestone monuments. The characters and images, as connected with treatment, traditionally inherent by a classical antiquity, of deaths as eternal exodus in underground world, and with distributed in IIIII Cent. beliefs in immortality are surveyed.

The third section of the work prepared by A. Ju. Bratukhin is devoted to the reception of antique mythology in the early Christian patristic literature. The works of the apologists of a christianity IIIII centuries are researched, many of which till now are not translated on Russian. Among of the Greek-speaking authors being the inhabitants of east provinces of Roman empire, Kliment of Alexandria deserves the special attention. His work the Admonition to Pagans contains references to hundreds fragments of the antique authors. In this treatise contain interesting, and occasionally and unique item of information on the antique myths and mysteries. The valuable items of information on antique mythology contain also works of such Greek-speaking fathers of a Christianity, as Iustinus, Tatianus, Athenagores, Origenes, recognized eventually as heretic. The creators of the western, Latin-speaking early Christian literature were the natives of Northern Africa. Tertullian is most known from them. He was famous by the irreconcilability concerning an ancient art. His numerous compositions contain the rich information on antique mythology. Besides in operation above section the works by Minutius Felix, Cyprian, and also later apologists of the Christian doctrine are used: Lactantius, Amvrosius, Hieronimus and, certainly, Augustinus. The author of the unit collects solid historiographic base.

In the first chapter undressed the main directions in interpretation of the antique myths by the Christian apologists are taped. In the second chapter the motives of different treatment by the early Christian writers, first of all, Tertullianus of Greek, Roman, Eastern myths are taped. In third, conclusive chapter the author researches a problem of adequacy of perception by the early Fathers of Church of antique mythology.

The monography is distinguished with stylistic variety. The authors of the first and second part  historians, whereas the third part is written by the philologist. The authors would like to hope, that the style of presentation, characteristic for historical works, is successfully supplemented by a manner, inherent in the philologists, of fulfillment of operation.

Some words about the authors of this book. V. R. Gushchin as professional scholar of ancient Greece was prepared in university of Sankt-Petersburg. He is a former post-graduate student of the professor Ed. D. Frolov. V. R. Gushchin has degree of a candidate of historical sciences. Now he is docent of faculty of a general history at the Perm Pedagogical University. V. R. Gushchin is an author of a number of articles on a political history of Athenes on a boundary of archaic and classical edges of the ancient Greek history, including in such authoritative journals as Classical Quarterly and Greece and Rome.

A. Ju. Bratukhin is also the pupil of university of Sankt-Petersburg. He has completed doctoral studies on the faculty of classical philology under the direction of the professor A. I. Zaitzev and completes operation above a candidate thesis, which subject is connected to the reception of antique mythology in early Christian literature. Now  teacher of the Latin language in Perm State University. He is grantee of the Russian Humanitarian Scientific Foundation (1998). A. Ju. Bratukhin has published his own translation and commentary of the treatise Admonition to the Pagans by the early Christian writer Climent of Alexandria (St.-Petersburg, 1998).

The section Antique mythology and army of imperial Rome is prepared by A. V. Kolobov. After the termination of doctoral studies at chair of the ancient history of the ancient world at the Moscow State University under the direction of the professor I. L. Mayak and after subscribing a candidate thesis he works on chair of a history of the ancient world and Middle Ages at the Perm State University. Now  senior lecturer and manager by this chair. A. V. Kolobov is author of numerous articles in domestic and foreign scientific periodicals, book Roman Legions Outside of Fields of Battles (Perm, 1999), one of the authors of the high school tutorial Religion in a History and Culture (Moscow, 1998).


  • 1Attempts to study myth as historical fact were made by some Soviet scholars of antiquity at end of 1960-th: Utchenko S. L. Fact i mif v istorii // Vestnik drevnej istorii (Moskva). 1998. N 4. S. 415. Unfortunately this theme was not developed by Marxist historical science of antiquity.
  • 2Kessidy F. H. Ot mifa k logosu. Moskva, 1972.,
  • 3Lloyd G. E. R. Science, Folklore and Ideology. Cambridge, 1983.
  • 4Burkert W. Structure and History in Greek Mythology and Ritual. Berkeley; Los Angeles, 1979.
  • 5Buxton R. Imaginary Greece. The Context of Mythology. Cambridge, 1995.
  • 6Cartledge P. The Greeks. A Portrait of Self and Others. Oxford, 1993.
  • 7Vorbeck A. Inschriften aus Carnuntum. Wien, 1954.
  • 8Die roemische Steindenkmaler aus Savaria / Hrsg. A. Mocsy, T. Czentleleky. Budapest, 1971.
  • 9Kolsek V. Celeia  Steindenkmaler. Ljubljana, 1967.
  • 10Abramzon M. G. Rimskaja armija i ee lider po dannym numizmatiki. Chelyabinsk, 1994; Abramzon M. G. Monety kak sredstvo propagandy oficialnoj politiki Rimskoj imperii. Moskva, 1995.
  • 11Wittwer K. Kaiser und Heer im Spiegel der Reichsmuenzen. Tuebingen, 1987.
  • 12Um K., Deschler  Erb E. Katalog der Militaria aus Vindonissa. Brugg, 1997; Deschler  Erb E. Ad arma! Roemisches Militaer des 1. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. in Augusta Raurica. Augst, 1999.
  • 13Bishop M., Coulston J. Roman Military Equipment from the Punic Wars to the Fall of Rome. London, 1993.
  • 14Boschung D. Roemische Glasphalerae mit Portraetbuesten // Bonner Jahrbuecher. 1987. N 187; Feugere M. Faleres romaines en calcedoine // Miscellanea di studi archeologici e di antichita., 1989. N 3 / Aetas Muratoria. na., Modena, 1990; Neverov O. Ja. Rimskie nagradnye znaki  falery iz kollekcii Ermitazha // Problemy istorii, filologii, kultury. Moskva; Magnitogorsk, 1996. N3.
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