This is the final CfP for the session “Myths as theoretical models for religious identity in ancient Greece” for Nordic TAG 2022 “What’s the use of theory?”, Oslo, Norway, April 21-23, 2022, which  will now be arranged as a hybrid online and in-person event.

The theme of this session, “Myths as theoretical models for religious identity in ancient Greece”, concerns the relationship between Cultural Memory theory and mythology. Based on Jan Assmans’ proposition that, “cultural memory transforms factual into remembered history, thus turning it into myth” (Assmann 2011, 38), the topic of this session will address how this theoretical framework can be related to ritual behaviour, practices, and identity in ancient Greece.

As Assmann suggested, cultural memory is imbued with an element of the sacred, which could be expressed in a religious festival. The ceremony of a festival keeps the past alive and provides a basis for identity creation for the participating groups. Consequently, according to Assmann, such planned ceremonies and repetitive events, which also include texts, dances, and images, help shape memory.

The aim of this session is to explore how/if myths can function as a model for religious identity and how this might be recognized in the archaeological record. Can ancient Greek myths serve as a framework for understanding the specific ritual behaviour in local and regional cults? How can we perceive religious identity of specific ethnic or civic groups in the face of changing group affiliations and flexible ritual behaviour?

Speakers are invited to present on topics related to the interconnectivity of myth, cultural memory, and religious identity, for example by looking at:

– aspects exploring the connection between theory and mythology

– cultural memory as embodied in ritual/cult (foundation deposits, ritual breakage of votives, etc.)

– cult related to and expressed in specific myths

– civic and/or ethnos identity

– material and iconographical analyses relating to (regional/local) myths

– any combination of the above


Assmann, J. 2011. Cultural Memory and Early Civilization: Writing, Remembrance, and Political Imagination. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

The time allotted to our session allows for 15 minutes papers and 7 participants. Proposals in the form of a 300-word (max) abstract will be selected based on their relevance to the topic.

More information about the Nordic TAG 2022 and the accepted sessions is available here:

If you are interested in submitting a paper proposal, the deadline is January 15, 2022. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of the organisers of the session:

Signe Barfoed, postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo

[email protected]

Søren Handberg, associate prof. at the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History, University of Oslo

[email protected]

Ada Nifosì, lecturer in Ancient History at the Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies, University of Kent

[email protected]