Chthonic sanctuaries and religious narratives in ancient Cyrene

Fabiola Salcedo Garcés and Estefanía Benito Lázaro

PYRENAE, vol. 53 núm. 1 (2022) (p. 113-133)

DOI: 10.1344/Pyrenae2022.vol53num1.5

In ancient North Africa, contacts between colonising newcomers and previous populations have always provided a complex cultural frame within which religious characteristics can be analysed. A comparative examination of some rock sanctuaries located in the area of Cyrene reveals a clear interaction between Greeks, Romans, and ancient Libyans. It also shows that the religious expression of the ancient Libyans was strongly linked to nature, following an uninterrupted tradition from the Neolithic until Roman times. The chthonic religious character of these sanctuaries is also attested by a type of iconography that illustrates the process of hybridity between Punic, Greek, and Roman deities.

KEYWORDS: ROMAN AFRICA, ANCIENT LIBYA, CYRENE, ROCK SANCTUARIES, ICONOGRAPHY, HYBRIDITY