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Abstract | What’s in a Name? Linguistic Considerations in the study of ‘Karian’ religion

The study of religion in Karia, in south western Anatolia, is inextricably linked with the wider social dynamics of the region; the cultural and religious character of the region was shaped by sustained interaction with both east and west. My intention in this paper is to reconsider the framework in which discussions of religion in Karia are frequently embedded, and address the methodological issues that need to be considered when addressing the practice of religion in Anatolia in the ancient world. The complexities of the topic are compounded by the source materials available; the majority derives from the Classical period or later, and is in the Greek language. In this paper I will examine the role of language in religious practices; did the assimilation of local ‘Karian’ deities with those of the Greek pantheon alter the nature of the deities concerned, or was it a simple matter of identification? Bilingualism developed early in Karia due to the proximity of the coastal Greek settlements, while the Karian language disappears from the written record at some point in the Hellenistic period; I intend to readdress the assumption that this was to the detriment of a regional identity, and consider the social dynamics of the ‘Hellenization’ of Karian deities.

About Naomi Carless Unwin

Naomi Carless Unwin (PhD University College London) is a postdoctoral researcher, working on the history, epigraphy and archaeology of Karia in south western Anatolia. After completing a BA at Oxford University in 2006, she moved to University College London, where she completed her MA in Ancient History in 2008 and her PhD in 2013. She was employed in the 2013/2014 academic year as a Fernand Braudel IFER-FMSH post-doctoral fellow, affiliated to the Labex Resmed in Paris, where her project was focused on religion and society in Karia. She has subsequently continued this project as a Senior Fellow at the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations at Koç University in Istanbul (2014/2015), and the CHS/DAI fellowship for 2015/2016 will be used to develop this research into a monograph. She has participated for a number of years in the archaeological excavations at Labraunda, where she works primarily on the epigraphy of the site.

One Response to Abstract | What’s in a Name? Linguistic Considerations in the study of ‘Karian’ religion

  1. Naomi,

    Can you discuss the Carian hero Chrysaor? Apparently the “founding father” of the Chrysaorian League and not the Giant Chrysaor who fathered Geryon.

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