The Connecting Gods: The Waters and Shores of the Mediterranean in the Religion of Sardinia in the 5th to 2nd Centuries BC

    There is no doubt that ancient Sardinia was one of the Mediterranean regions most affected by the development of interactions between different populations, a lively scene of meetings and exchange. Rich in natural resources and a crossroads between North Africa, Sicily and the Italic and Iberian Peninsulas, as well as a contact bridge between the western and eastern shores of the Mediterranean, the island has consistently produced, not surprisingly, cultural expressions arising from important moments of interaction and negotiation – the locally constructed results of a complex network of connections.

      From this viewpoint, the religious dimension certainly offers a privileged perspective of investigation: one need only consider, as a general and preliminary aspect, the open and dynamic character of polytheism, which allows traits – whether similar or disparate – that belong to different cultures to be synthesized (and shared) in specific (superhuman) figures. Through the lens of cult, or rather of some of its manifestations, these reflections will focus, then, on some of the dynamics that marked, in 5th- to 2nd-century Sardinia, the relationship between inside and outside – clearly defining first what is meant by “inside” and “outside” – and between the various constituent parts of the region (between coasts and hinterlands, cities and rural settlements, for example).

      A central component of the discussion will be the insular nature of the territory and, more specifically, how and to what extent that insularity – a concept, I think, that should be handled very cautiously, especially when reflecting on social and cultural phenomena – influenced the self-perceptions of individuals and communities, and contributed to the construction of their culture(s).

Giuseppe Garbati, CNR, ISMA

Rome, Italie


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