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Religious landscapes and identities of the Maltese islands in a Mediterranean context, 700B.C.-A.D.500

Maltese religious practices in Classical antiquity are an area of research that has been neglected by scholars, particularly in recent years, in contrast to religious practices of the prehistoric periods. This has created a lacuna in Maltese archaeology that this thesis seeks to address. In doing so, the approach adopted in this thesis diverges from earlier accounts based largely on artefacts and sites divorced from their associated landscape. Instead, the approach pursued here focuses on the landscape context of religious practices of the Maltese islands. An important contribution of this thesis is the deliberately broad definition of religious phenomena in the Maltese islands to include aspects of private religion and rural religious contexts. This aim is achieved through a multidisciplinary, comparative, and interpretative approach that is widely adopted throughout the core of the thesis comprising five integrated case studies. To facilitate a better understanding and interpretation of the religious phenomenon in the Maltese islands, the thesis evaluates the case studies within the religious context of the wider Mediterranean region. Aided by syntheses and analyses of the data, this study examines ‘sacralised’ landscapes often re-worked to accommodate hybrid cults. It also identifies the religious identity(ies) of the Maltese communities as they are shaped by their different concerns or motives and as they manifest themselves in urban and in rural contexts, defines the nature of their religious practices, and establishes their character vis-à-vis other Mediterranean religious cultures. Relying on a wider set of data sources and adopting a more holistic approach, the thesis builds up a comprehensive picture of ancient Maltese religious culture and identity that, while reflecting the religious scenario of the wider Mediterranean region, was characteristically Maltese in a hybridised form. The thesis, therefore, provides a case study that may contribute towards knowledge on religious cultures and identities in the Mediterranean in general and amongst island communities in particular.
Date January 2014
CreatorsAzzopardi, George
PublisherDurham University
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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