The Sanctuary of Demeter and Kora on the Fontalovsky Peninsula: Natural Environment and Sacral Topography

Zavoykin Alexei A.

The author explores two interconnected problems: (1) in what kind of natural environment the sanctuary of Demeter and Kora-Persephone on the north-western promontory of the Taman Peninsula sprang up in the late 6th с. ВС and functioned till the mid 1st с. ВС; (2) how the adepts' idea of sacral topography connected with traditional cult myth developed in the new place. To solve the problems he draws parallels from other Mediterranean and Pontic areas (and from Bosporos itself), where Demeter's sanctuaries existed, pointing out the details of landscape and elements of environment characteristic of this type of sanctuaries. The author comes to the conclusion that some elements were essential for the place where sanctuary was founded. They were: closeness to the volcano (Mt Gorelaya) implying connection with underground forces; isolated position on a promontory; water sources (a stream running from the crater and springs of subsoil waters). Of some importance could be the local fauna (abundance of waterfowl connected with the underworld).