PhD student (Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies)


Weltbeziehungen / C19.03.15

Visiting address

Universität Erfurt
Nordhäuser Straße 63
99089 Erfurt

Mailing address

Universität Erfurt
Postfach 90 02 21
99105 Erfurt

Elizaveta Boyko

Personal Information


  • 2013-2018: Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of history, Department of History of Arts (Bachelor Theses "How art portrays Aphrodite of pinakes in Epizephyrian Locri. Iconography and semantics")
  • 2019-2021: Higher school of Economics, Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies, Master's Programme in Classical and Oriental Archaeology  (Master Theses "The temple of Zeus Olympius in Agrigento in the context of mediterranean cultural relationships")
  • 2023-2026: University of Erfurt (Max-Weber-Kolleg)/University of Graz, PhD in archaeology

Work experience:

  • 2023-2026: Research assistant in the University of Erfurt (Max-Weber-Kolleg)
  • 2021-2023: Research fellow of the Department of Art and Archeology of the Ancient World of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
  • 2017-2021: expert in examination and recruiting of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
  • 2020: Charles university (Prague), Faculty of Arts, research assistant
  • 2015-2017; 2022: boarding school "Intellectual", teacher of ancient history

Research Project

Development of cult urban places in Sicily in the end of 6th -  the beginning of 5th century BC

In the end of 6th century – beginning of 5 century a tradition of powerful tyrannical reign was strengthened in Sicily. The tyrants Falaris and Theron of Akragas, Hieron and Thrasybulus of Syracuse, Gelon and Polyzelus of Hela are well known figures among Greek authors.  All these tyrants came from aristocratic families,  they were often Olympionics. Also and invited famous cultural figures  of Greece at their courts, like poets Simonides or Pyndar, who glorified and imprinted in memory their reigns. At the same time, the tyrants acquired huge wealth in their hands, which allowed them to expand the construction of religious buildings and various urban transformations.

For example, the tyrant Theron of Akragas changed the face of the city, laying several new temples in the new cult space of Akragas, which is now called the "Valley of the Temples". The central building was the temple of Olympian Zeus (the largest of the Doric temples), the god who personified justice and the rule of law in Greece, with figures of telamones, whose images also carried a certain semantic meaning in the context of tyrannical rule. In addition, Theron also built a water supply system and an artificial reservoir.

According to Poliaenus, the tyrant  captured Himera. After banishment or killing  citizens from there, Theron refounded the poleis. He was heroized there as new oikist by new citizens of new city, who probably were doric. This situation is usual for that times  (Diod. Sic. 9.76. 1;4).

Powerful tyrants of 6-5th cent. BC reconstructed  big  cities, which were growing up quickly. Probably it was the second phase of urbanization of polities. This rebuilding goes nearby cultural changes connected with coming of classical age. 

Well known the fact that tyrants (and aristocrats) payed attention to their mythical gods-ancestors. This attention may impress in new temples or votives or some other things connected with memory (for example, poetic works).

Greeks made around them symbolic structure – the net of religious and mythical ideas, which related with cults and religion and urban transformations. For example, in the text  dedicated to Hieron from Syracuse  Pindar writes of the most ancient part of Syracuse, which calls Ortighia. This place was related to the myth of Artemis the Althean, which is succinctly stated by the scholiast in the comments to the description of the ode, and describes Strabo in some detail. Strabo reports that there is a spring of Arethusa (Ἀρέθουσα) on Ortigia, that they say that it is on the river Alpheus itself, which flows in the Peloponnese, and then underground, coming to the surface already in Sicily in the form of a spring, the waters of which flow into the sea (6.2, 4). This opinion seems completely unbelievable to Strabo, but it was fully shared by Pindar (cf. Nem. 1.1-3). Thus, between the colonies and metropolises, a topographic similarity is widespread, sometimes very distant, but united by a common myth.

Considering the above, we would like to describe the structure of the Sicilian cities and raise possible questions:

  1. what new cult spaces were in the policies of Magna Graecia at the end of the 6th and the beginning of the 5th centuries of Akragas, Gela and Syracuse (both including temples and some urban spaces),
  2. what new cults were chosen and how they are covered with the identity of the tyrant (but this connection is not necessary)
  3. assessment of the sanctuary in terms of architecture assessment of new comparisons or reconstructed sanctuaries in terms of semantics, cultural field - including how wide the range of votives and their production in one place or another.
  4. Pay attention to sacral topography: which sacred places are duplicated with Greek metropolises

methodological approach: cross analysis of text, archaeological material and visual sources.

mainly suggest that since tyrannies were a personalist regime, large building projects reflect the vision of the city (including cult life)


  • «Like a ram he seemeth to me, a ram of thick fleece»: interpretation of myth on red-figure stamnos by Triptolemos Painter
    in: Aristeas XXIV (2021) p. 56-66
  • Architectural Design of the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Akragas (c. 480 B.C.)
    in: Actual problems of Theory and History of Arts 13 (2023) p. 51-64