5. Montafoner Gipfeltreffen: „Religion in den Bergen“







On 19-23 October 2021 took place the fifth conference of the cycle Montafoner Gipletrefen (, this time devoted to the theme "Religion and Mountains". It was planned and organized by Professor Robert Rollinger, and among its participants were all other members of his NAWA research team. Dr Agnieszka Wojciechowska chaired the inaugural session of the conference, other team members presented papers:


Professor Krzysztof Nawotka and Piotr Głogowski PhD:


Women of Byblos, Adonis and Mount Lebanon

The aim of the paper is to present the connections of Adonis with Mount Lebanon in the Greco-Roman period. In the course of the ages Adonis, from an unnamed Phoenician divinity, became a god worshiped all throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. His importance and the connections with the area of Lebanon are attested by a number of literary texts, with Lucian's De dea Syria as one of the most important sources. Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind the account of Pseudo-Callisthenes' Alexander Romance, a source that attest the perceived close cultic connection between Adonis and Byblos as late as the 3rd cent. CE. However, except for the literary sources, there is only very limited evidence for the cult of Adonis in the Lebanon at that time: for instance, in terms of the epigraphic evidence, we do have only one unprovenanced fragmentary dedication to the deity and, surprisingly enough, it is written in Latin. However, the available literary evidence provides us with strong implications associating the cult of Adonis in the Lebanon with Aphaca, where a sanctuary of Aphrodite was located. All of this shows strong mythological and religious relationship between god Adonis and the mountain.


Nina Mazhjoo PhD:


From the Platonic Cosmos to the Mountains of Persia

Abstract: The cult of Mithras flourished in the second century CE, and archaeological evidence suggests that the cult was spread throughout the Western part of the Roman Empire from northern Britain down to the Rhine and the Danube area. The Mithraic temples each followed a similar structure and architectural plan, but not so much in interior design. As of the 1970s, scholars have argued that the Mithraea represent the cosmos and everything within it and that the initiates imitated the souls’ genesis and apogenesis by performing rituals in this micro-cosmos. Challenging this view, more recently, scholars have suggested using “Persianism” to explain the Greco-Roman appropriation of the Persian god Miϑra, whereby the Roman Mithraists attempted to validate and to portray their god as a Persian deity.

Building on this recent view, this research aims to examine the architecture and interior design of Mithraea as it complements the process of Persianism in the context of Roman Mithraism and demonstrates the Mithraic Mystagogues’ efforts for historicizing their cult and cultic brotherhood. It also proposes an alternative reading to astrological-cosmological interpretation of Roman Mithraea that understands these sacred sites as micro-model of the cosmos.


Paulina Zagórska MA:


Seleucus’ sacrifices on the mountaintops of Northern Syria

Seleucus I Nikator’s sacrifices on the mountain tops of Northern Syria constitutes the fundamental part of foundation myths of Syrian Tetrapolis. He erected main cities of the region - Seleukeia, Antiocheia, Laodikeia and Apamea in the montaineous region of Amuq Valley. Although these myths were examined before, the sacrificial rituals and their connection to the landscape haven’t received attention for all four cities at once. The most puzzling issue are differences between foundation myths of these settlements: Seleukeia and Antiochia in comparison to Laodikeia and Apameia. According to John Malalas work – and to a certain degree also Libanios – Seleucus made sacrifice before every foundation, asking gods for guidance. At first, in the case of Seleukeia and Antioch, he clearly made an offering on the mountains, namely Mount Kassios and Mount Silpios, while the other two lacks such topographical circumstances. My paper examines the details of these sacrifices in order to find their roots in Semitic cultural background of montaineous region of Northern Syria intertwined with Greek mythical stories. It analyses the foundation myths alongside the Seleucus’ mythopoesis based on Alexander’s legends, and concerns constant presence of Zeus, not Apollo, divine predecessor of Seleucids, in the cities foundation and urban space. Last but not least, taking under consideration iconographic, archaeological and epigraphic sources, I outline the long duration of such myths as part of cultural outlook of the city until the Roman period and likely Malalas’ times likewise.


Professor Robert Rollinger:

fot. 4


Professor Touraj Daryaee:

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Arash, archer of the Iranians and the arrow from a mountain


Group photograph from Montafon conference:

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International digital Conference

Empires through the Ages:

Short-term Empires – Rule or Exception?

(November 30th – December 2nd, 2021)



Organisation: Robert Rollinger (Innsbruck/Wrocław), Hilmar Klinkott (Kiel),

Kai Ruffing (Kassel), and Wolfgang Blösel (Duisburg-Essen)


The Symposium is held within the framework of the AURORA Universities Network (Innsbruck – Duisburg-Essen), the Erasmus partnership Innsbruck-Kiel, and the ongoing cooperation between Innsbruck and Kassel. It is also part of the just initialized Commission “Transformationsprozesse und Imperium in den Antiken Welten Afro-Eurasiens” of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW).

It is supported by a grant PPN/PRO/2020/1/00009/U/00001 of the NAWA Chair 2020 Programme “From the Achaemenids to the Romans: Contextualizing empire and its longue-durée develop-ments” and by a grant from the National Science Centre (Poland) 2021/01/1/HS3/00006.


Location: ONLINE via BigBlueButton,




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15:00-15:30    Welcome Address | Brigitte Truschnegg, Robert Rollinger, Kai Ruffing


15:30-16:30    Key Note

Nathanael Andrade (Binghamton): Zenobia’s State: A Short-term Empire?


16:30-17:00    Break


17:00-18:30    SECTION 1: Changing Dynasty – Changing Empire
Chair: Clemens Steinwender

Guolong Lai (Gainesville): Short-term Empires in China? The Qin (221 BCE–206 BCE) and the Sui (581–618)

Omar Coloru (Bari): The Graeco-Bactrian and the Indo-Greek Kingdoms: A Short-term Empire?




09:00-10:30    SECTION 2: Imperial Heritage and Empire | Chair: Kerstin Droß-Krüpe

Timo Stickler (Jena): Die indischen Hunnen (Alchon)

Roland Steinacher (Innsbruck): The Vandals: The Roman Barbarians and their African Empire


10:30-11:00    Break


11:00-15:00    SECTION 3: Conqueror and Empire


11:00-12:30 | Chair: Louisa Thomas

Giorgio Rota (Vienna): Ahmad Shah Durrani: Empire-founder or Unwitting Emperor-maker?

Julian Degen (Trier): The Perils and Limits of Empire: Alexander the Great in India


12:30-13:30    Break


13:30-15:00 | Chair: Jakob Riemenschneider

Sabine Müller (Marburg): Philipp III. Arrhidaios and Alexander’s Generals

Martin Krieger (Kiel): The North Sea Empire of Knut the Great


15:00-15:30    Break


15:30-17:00    SECTION 4: Rebellion and Empire | Chair: Moritz Buhrmann

Kordula Schnegg (Innsbruck): Sextus Pompeius: Ruler of the Western Mediterranean

Sven Günther (Changchun): Gallic Empire and Carausius




09:00-10:30    SECTION 5: New Visions of Empire | Chair: Amal Allouch

Michael Zeuske (Cologne): Simón Bolívar and la Gran Colombia (1819-1830)

Jörg Schwarz (Innsbruck): The Angevin Empire 1154-1214


10:30-11:00    Break


11:00-12:30    SECTION 6: Empire by Competition | Chair: Florian Posselt

Christoph Schäfer (Trier): Antigonos Monophthalmos

Hilmar Klinkott (Kiel):   Sparta after the Peloponnesian War: The Harmost System, the Organization of an Empire in its final Stage


Break 12:30-13:30


13:30-17:00    SECTION 7: Contingency and Imperial Claim


13:30-15:00 | Chair: Alexander Steiner

Josef Wiesehöfer (Kiel): The Empire of Tigranes of Armenia (1st cent. BCE)

Florian Schwarz (Vienna): The Khanate of Bukhara in the 19th c. AD


15:00-15:30    Break


15:30-17:00 | Chair: Ole Hansen

Patrick Reinard (Trier): Empire or Usurpation? The failed Rule of the Marciani

Khodadad Rezakhani (Leiden): The Empire of the Saffarids


17:00-17:30    Break


17:30-18:15    SECTION 8: Democracy and Empire | Chair: Laura Kopp-Zimmermann

Wolfgang Blösel (Duisburg-Essen): The Athenian Empire in the Fifth Century B.C.


18:15-18:45    Concluding Remarks | Wolfgang Blösel, Hilmar Klinkott