Paper No. 148-10
Presentation Time: 4:05 PM
INFLUENCE OF PALEOSEISMIC ACTIVITY ON TRAJECTORIES OF RELIGIONS, WITH AN ODD EXAMPLE FROM BRONZE-AGE GREECE
Volcanism’s impact on religious practices (ancient to modern) is well documented in the geo-anthropologic literature. Four lines of evidence suggest that paleoseismic activity similarly molded religious evolutions. These are 1) The spatial association of originating sites of religions is very close to tectonic plate boundaries, significantly closer than to subduction-related volcanism; 2) Dozens of examples exist of religious reforms and other punctuations that immediately follow seismic events, known archaeologically (an example at Mycenae is illustrated) and/or described in ancient texts complete with dynamic descriptions; these continue into the modern era; 3) Religious evolution following local seismic events can be tracked in great detail through the ancient literature of one religious tradition over a thousand-year period, and confirmed archaeologically; and 4) Seismically quiescent terrains lack such evolutions; religions originated there tend to remain simpler and/or static. Cultural response to tectonic environments in the ancient world thus apparently passed through a religious lens. Probably the link between seismic activity and religious response is the other-worldly nature of earthquakes.