Adrian Robu
Cercetător asociat
Sectorul de Arheologie Greco-Romană şi Epigrafie

Proiect de cercetare


Research Project


From Greece to the Black Sea: Common Traditions, Local Identities in the Greek Colonization. The Cults, the Calendar and the Onomastics of Megarians Cities.


Programme PNII – Human Ressources

Project Code : RP-14

Project supported by the Romanian National Council for Scientific Research in Higher Education (CNCSIS).

Institution: The “Vasile Parvan” Institute of Archaeology of the Romanian Academy

Project Director: Dr. Adrian Robu

Grant Period: 01.09.2010-31.09.2012

 I. The main goal

The goal of the project is to emphasize the common elements and the local particularities concerning the cults, the calendar and the onomastics of the Megarian colonies. In this respect, we study the exchanges in the religion and onomastic fields between the Greek colonies, as well between the Greek and the indigenous populations from the Black Sea.

Otherwise, we analyze the relationship between public and private in the celebration of the divinities in order to make a clearly distinction between the civic cults (of the entire city) and the private cults (belonging to private associations).

II. Short project summary

Megara was situated on the Isthmus of Corinth, in central Greece. She was one of the most important cities during the Greek colonization, founding many settlements between the 8th and the 6th centuries BC in Sicily (Megara Hyblaia, Selinous), on the coasts of the Marmara Sea (Byzantion, Kalchedon, Astacos, Selymbria) and of the Black Sea (Herakleia Pontica, Mesambria). In these cities, the Greek colonists introduced the cults, the calendar, the institutions and the onomastics inherited from the metropolis. Furthermore, we find these traditions (which the Greeks named nomima) in the colonies that Herakleia Pontica (a Megarian settlement) had founded in the 6th and the 5th century BC on the West and the North coasts of the Black Sea, Kallatis and Tauric Chersonesos.

Usually, the specialists examined the discoveries from the Megarian colonies in a local context, without making comparisons and parallels between the evolutions of the metropolis traditions in different regions colonised by the Megarians. Our intention is to examine the Megarian cults, calendar and onomastics in a local context as well in the larger context of Megarian colonization. In this respect, by using recent archaeological, epigraphic and numismatic finds, we would like to complete the documentation from the Pontic colonies with those from other Megarian colonies (from Propontis and from Sicily). The discoveries from the cities of Sicily, recently published, offer important data about the organization of the civic and religious space in the Megarian colonies during the Archaic Period. The sacred law of Selinous allows a better understanding of relationship between public and private in the celebration of Greek cults and rituals. We find important archaeological and epigraphic discoveries about the religious life in the Black Sea cities and theses discoveries make possible comparisons and analogies between the cults of Black Sea colonies and those of other Megarian settlements.

Concerning the onomastics, we may notice the rarity of studies analysing the onomastic data from the Black Sea colonies, the Marmara Sea colonies and those from Sicily. The research on Megarian onomastics is now favoured by the publication at Oxford of a new series of volumes containing all the attested names from the Ancient Greek world (The Lexicon of Greek Personal Names). The last two volumes of this collection (vol. IV and VA), published in 2005 ans 2010, reviews all the names attested in the cities from the North and the West coasts of the Black Sea.

III. Objectives and expected results

By creating some data bases on the religious life and the onomastics, we want to have a better understanding of the religious space and the pantheon of Megarian cities from the Black Sea. In this way, we can distinguish the cultural and onomastic habits inherited from the metropolis and the different manners in which theses traditions have changed in the new settlements. Otherwise, the Megarian cities develop among them a series of networks and these networks allowed people’s mobility and cultural exchanges. It is one objective of the project to identify theses networks and the way in which they have worked in Antiquity.

After the interdisciplinary corroboration of all data, we want to publish some synthesis papers on the cults, the calendar and the onomastics of the Megarian colonies.

In order to facilitate the study of epigraphic documents and to preserve their information, we make an archive of photographs and squeezes of inscriptions on stone.

For a better use of our finds and for an easier access of the public to the project results, we plan to realize collaborations and partnerships with specialists from the Romanian and Greek archaeological museums