The Sanctuary of Achilleus on the Tendra in the Context of History and Religion of Olbia Pontica

Rusyayeva Anna S.

Analysing various sources and their objective interpretations in the context of history and religion of Olbia, the author reconsiders the earlier views (including her own) on the Sanctuary of Achilleus and pan-Hellenic competitions in his honour on the Tendra (the Dromos of Achilleus). The desert spit was probably mythologized in connection with Achilleus during the Greek colonization of the lower reaches of the Bug; but foundation of his sanctuary on the Cape of Tendra in archaic a period of the Hellenes in this region can only be a hypothesis. Numismatic and archaeological materials from the ashill, which coincides with the literary data, provide evidence on the Sanctuary of Achilleus which was functioning there since the late 4th с. ВС - until the third quarter of the 4th c. AD. The absence of evidence (even indirect) of pan-Hellenic, Pontic or even local Olbian competitions in honour of Achilleus makes impossible the proposal of such competitions to be ever held on the sand of the Tendra, especially on the pattern of the Pythian Games or other famous games of the ancient world. In antiquity the Tendra was an uninhabited peninsula, dangerous for the seamen and not unsuitable, because of landscape and nature, for sports, especially for chariot races. According to the epigraphic data, the inhabitants of Olbia held sporting and musical competitions irregularly, obviously, only in peace-time, in their city or near it, in the more convenient places. The competitions were most popular in the 2nd c. AD, when the role of Achilleus Pontarchos as the supreme deity of the Olbian state acquired great importance.