Katerina Apokatanidis (Neda and Franz Leipen Fellow, The Canadian Institute in Greece; PhD candidate in Classical Archaeology, University of Toronto) “Greek Funerary Religion: The Case-Study of the Orphic Gold Tablets”
My talk discusses the funerary aspect of the Orphic cult practice. This cult is visible in the material record via the tombs of the worshippers of an Orphic version of Dionysos whose myth in this context goes beyond what we know from Hesiod. The Orphic worshippers were buried with the so-called Orphic Gold Tablets somewhere on their person. These gold tablets date from the late Archaic all the way to the Roman Imperial era and contain unique tidbits of information on life in the Underworld. For the purposes of this talk I will be presenting two case-studies from the corpus of tombs which have yielded an Orphic tablet, one from modern-day Larisa and the other from modern-day Rethymno. This research forms part of the topic of my PhD dissertation and aims to situate the Orphic tablets within their archaeological context, where this is not lost. With this project I hope to enrich our understanding of the funerary aspect of the Orphic cult previously understood to be operating on the fringes of official religion in Ancient Greece.