The hand gesture and symbols of Sabazios
Article , Content / 2018-11-08

Opuscula 11 (2018) is available for purchase at, Adlibris, Bokus and Distributed by ab. The hand gesture and symbols of Sabazios By Susanne Berndt (Stockholm University). Abstract The material evidence left from the cult of Sabazios is meagre, apart from sculpted bronze hands dating to the Roman Empire. The hand is held in a certain pose, the so-called benedictio Latina gesture, and the hand was often covered with depictions of various objects and symbols. The bronze hands were probably attached to staffs and carried around in processions. This practice most likely spread via the channels of the Roman army during the Early Imperial period, but the gesture existed much earlier. The gesture is found on Attic black- and red-figured pottery, and is frequently associated with Hermes in his role as instructor and Psychopompos. From the beginning of the Hellenistic period the gesture was mainly used as an indication of speech, and for knowledge transmitted through speech. There are several examples of how the gesture was used to indicate the knowledge revealed through the initiations of mystery cults. Hermes is closely associated with Sabazios and is represented on the bronze hands, probably because of his role as instructor…

Cutting the Gordian knot
Article , Content / 2015-12-02

Opuscula 8 (2015) is now available for purchase and free download at Also available at, and Cutting the Gordian knot. The iconography of Megaron 2 at Gordion By Susanne Berndt Abstract This article examines the incised drawings of Early Phrygian Gordion, and in particular those of Megaron 2. Aspects of their iconographic and archaeological contexts are taken in to consideration, as well as literary sources and especially the story of the Gordian knot. The focus of the study is a series of incised labyrinths, which have hitherto not been recognized as such, but which are of particular interest for the analysis of this building. The myth of Theseus and the Minotaur in the labyrinth helps to throw light on both the images of Megaron 2 but also on the story of the Gordion knot, and how these are interlinked with each other. It is suggested that Ariadne’s ball of thread and the Gordian knot are two different expressions of a similar concept; both represent sovereignty provided by a Goddess. Megaron 2 seems to have been a building that was intimately connected with both the king and the Phrygian Mother Goddess. Bibliographical information Susanne Berndt, ‘Cutting the…

Book reviews
Book review , Content / 2011-12-02

Opuscula 4 (2011) is now available for purchase and free download at Also available at,,, and Books reviewed in Opuscula 4 (2011) Susanne Berndt-Ersöz | M. Xagorari-Gleissner, Meter Theon: Die Göttermutter bei den Griechen (Peleus Studien zur Archäologie und Geschichte Griechenlands und Zypern, 40), Ruhpolding: Verlag Franz Philipp Rutzen 2008. 161 pp., 14 pls. ISBN: 3-938646-26-7. Hans Lejdegård | Ralph W. Mathisen & Danuta Shanzer (eds.), Romans, Barbarians, and the Transformation of the Roman World. Cultural Interaction and the Creation of Identity in Late Antiquity, Farnham: Ashgate 2011. 378 pp., 27 ills. ISBN: 978-0-7546-6814-5. Karin W. Tikkanen | S. J. Harrison (ed.), Living Classics. Greece and Rome in Contemporary Poetry in English (Classical Presences), Oxford: Oxford University Press 2009. 346 pp., 1 fig. ISBN 978-0-19-923373-1. Luciano Santella | B. Santillo Frizell, Lana, carne, latte. Paesaggi pastorali tra mito e realtà, Mauro Pagliai Editore, Firenze 2010, ISBN 978-88-564-0095-3. Bibliographical information ‘Book reviews’, Opuscula. Annual of the Swedish Institutes at Athens and Rome (OpAthRom) 4, 159–168. Stockholm 2011. ISSN: 2000-0898 ISBN: 978-91-977798-3-8. Softcover, 168 pages.