Two marble sculptures of men

Gods of the Anakeion: Analysis of Dioskouroi Cult Inscriptions

1:00pm - 2:00pm / Thursday 20th May 2021
Type: Seminar / Category: Department
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Adam Brennan
(University of Bristol)

Perennial guests to Athenian hosts, the Dioskouroi carry a sense of the foreign, “outsiders looking in.” Yet despite this exclusion, they were welcomed as Attic gods. How did this happen?

This paper will argue that their relationship to the Anakes was crucial to this development. The Anakeion was one of several temples located in the heart of the Archaic agora. As a focus for Dioskouroi cult in Athens it existed alongside rituals honouring the Dioskouroi in the prytaneum and the cult’s economic influence in Piraeus. However, surviving inscriptions from Athens and Attica rarely equate the Anakes and the Anakeion directly with the Dioskouroi. Names are generally not given as Dioskouroi, and nor was the Anakeion called a Dioskourion, as was the case with shrines to the Dioskouroi in Cyrene or Delos. Inscriptions naming the Anakes, such as accounts of funds, do not refer to the Dioskouroi at all. Yet although obscured from view, these twin gods were understood as the Dioskouroi even under a defiantly different pseudonym.

As a cult centre in Athens, the Anakeion and inscriptions naming the Anakeion enable us to investigate the “Attic Dioskouroi” and interactions of their cult with Athenian life.

Please email Rachael Cornwell ( or Daniel Lowes ( for the zoom link.