Temples (?) from Sozopol

From Novinite:

Bulgarian archeologists in the historical coastal town of Sozopol are working on unearthing two antique temples – of Gods Poseidon and Priapus.

The information was announced over the weekend by the Director of the National History Museum and former Minister for Bulgarians abroad, Bozhidar Dimitrov. He added that archaeological excavations were ongoing near the fortress wall where the entrance to the town was uncovered in the summer with well-preserved parts of two towers and the “Saint Nikolay” monastery.

According to Dimitrov, two antique temples were discovered on the left of the monastery, both about 2-meters tall. Inside one there is a stone plate with an image of God Poseidon. The altar of the second temple is well-preserved, and was made by squares of white limestone cemented with iron clamps and lead. There, the archeologists have found a ceramic phallus with Priapus inscribed on it in ancient Greek. Dimitrov says this could be a gift from an individual who might have had some reproductive problems since Priapus is the god of fertility, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia.

Digs are also continuing at the north tower, which is located on the highest elevation in Sozopol. When works are completed, the tower will offer a splendid scenery viewed from the sea. Dimitrov predicts it will become one of the symbols of the historical town.

Okay … I’m getting cranky with identifications lately; not really sure what the basis for identifying these temples with these particular divinities, although the phallus is, er, suggestive. The other thing that confuses me is the photo that accompanies this article … I’ll break my usual practice of simply linking and include it below:

BGNES photo via Novinite

This is apparently a temple of Poseidon … it’s kind of interesting that no connection is made to the find of an erotic vase fragment at/near this site earlier this year (Erotic Vase Find from Sozopol)  … previous temple finds  include one to Demeter (Another Temple of Demeter) …

Erotic Vase Find from Sozopol

As often, something seems lost in translation in this one from Focus Fen:

A Greek painted vase with erotic scene on it was discovered during excavations in the Bulgarian coastal town of Sozopol. Professor Bozhidar Dimitrov, Director of the Bulgarian National Museum of History, announced the news exclusively for FOCUS News Agency.

One of the oldest Greek painted vases found on Bulgarian territory was discovered during excavations, which started in October 2011, at the fortified wall of Sozopol and the St Nicolas the Wonderworker Church in the beginning of the old town. It was discovered in the lowest layers, remains of Sozopol’s history of the end of the VII and the middle of the VI centuries Before Christ.

“There is a strong erotic scene on the vase, which unfortunately was discovered in several fragments. There are several naked young boys and girls, having sex in some untraditional way. Such a scene is found for the first time on the territory of our country,” Dimitrov said.

“The scene is a rarity, we have thousands of vases found here, but this is the first one with such a scene on it. We have seen similar items in Greece. The Ancient Greeks used to consider sex a free gift from the Gods; it is for the Christian Church to be the first to start labelling what is right and what is wrong in the sex. It imposes restrictions, allowing only one position between the man and the woman and it is not by chance that this position is called ‘monastic’. For good or evil, the Ancient Greeks did not think this way,” Dimitrov commented further.

Lacking a photo, I guess we’ll have to let our imaginations run wild with the “untraditional way” phrase. I recall a similar phrase in a translation of Herodotus … if I get some time I’ll try to track it down …

ADDENDUM (the next day): The coverage from the Sofia Echo is rather more clear and includes some other information, to wit:

[…] Archaeologist Dimitar Nedev told Focus that there were such erotic scenes in finds from ancient Greece, but none so large, expressive and done by such a good artist.

According to a preliminary analysis of the style, the painting was made by one of the prominent artists in Apollonia – the Artist of the Running Satyr.

The painting is comprised of seven figures; the scene is erotic, with good style, expressive and very “spicy”, Nedev was quoted as saying.

He said that the find would widen the knowledge of the region, its trade contacts, and the aesthetic and artistic criteria of ancient Hellenes and Thracians who used to live in this region.