Katerina Apokatanidis

PhD Candidate


Katerina Apokatanidis is a PhD student at the University of Toronto, Department of Classics. She works with Prof. Sarah Murray on the Archaeology of Greek ritual and religion in the late Archaic to early Classical period. She specialises in the materiality of the Orphic Gold Tablets and their role in Greek ritual. She obtained her BA in Classical Philology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

For her first MA at Durham University, U.K., she worked with Prof. J. H. Haubold on the role of women in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women. In particular she examined the significance of the women in the narrative as opposed to their half-divine children. For her second MA at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, she worked with Prof. A. Faulkner on the gender interplay in Nonnos’ Dionysiaka. In particular, she studied the power dynamics between Dionysos and two of his most important enemies in Nonnos’ text as based on the reversal of gender expectations.

Her current work at the University of Toronto provides a new angle of examination of the relationship between mortals and gods in ancient Greek thought. It aims to add to our interpretation of the Orphic Gold Tablets by examining them as objects of a cult practice and funerary culture which unified people from different social and political contexts as well as time periods, transcending ties with the polis.

My interest lies in Ancient Greek religion as lived. I focus on the production of religious knowledge in combination with the material world. I draw from a wide range of evidence, from textual to material, with particular attention given to the Orphic Gold Tablets. I look at issues of their materiality and crafting technique, as well as their archaeological assemblage, and what all this means for the expression of religious knowledge on a personal scale. In sum, I attempt to gain a better understanding of the relationship between humankind, the gods, and the spaces each occupy within the material world.

Research Interests: Greek funerary archaeology of the Archaic and Classical periods; archaeometallurgy; archaeothanatology; ancient lived religion; assemblage theory; the active engagements between real people and objects; the production of religious knowledge in combination with the material world; Dionysian and Orphic religious beliefs and ritual practices; the worshippers of the Orphic Dionysos.