Amelia Brown has recently won a 3-year research fellowship from the Australian Research Council to support a project on ancient Greek maritime religion. She will be based in Australia, at the University of Queensland, for the term of the fellowship, and will be taking on new graduate students and traveling to the Mediterranean in the summer to pursue research on her project, entitled “Like frogs around a pond: Maritime Religion and Seafaring Gods of Ancient Greek Culture.”
Greek gods like Aphrodite, Poseidon and Apollo were once invoked by ancient seafarers to ensure safe embarkation and homecoming around the Mediterranean sea. This study of ancient Greek maritime religion will help promote understanding of ancient Greek culture, and how religious rituals, beliefs and cultural identities are developed and changed by travel and transmission across water. Cults of seafaring gods throughout Classical Antiquity included rituals of embarkation, prayers at sea, and offerings for a safe arrival, all of which contributed to establishing and maintaining a collective Greek cultural identity in the absence of political unity. This project aims to assemble both textual and archaeological evidence for ancient Greek maritime religion; to explore the significance of cults of seafaring gods for ancient Greek ethnic identity, migration and colonization; and to contextualize ancient Greek maritime religion with comparable modern customs.