Sailing with the Gods: serious games in an ancient sea

  • Sandra Blakely Emory University, Atlanta
Keywords: Classical reception studies, game studes, serious games, Samothrace, seafaring


Maritime safety in the ancient Greek world was created through symbols and social practice as well as the science of seafaring. The human connections forged through ritual, myth and image enabled communication and granted authority to the civic institutions that offered legal and economic benefits. A gaming application offers a route to modelling the triangulation of seascapes, civic institutions, and narratives through which people and goods moved around the ancient Mediterranean. The game was inspired by the promise of maritime safety given to initiates into the mystery cult of the Great Gods of Samothrace, where grants of proxenia and theoria represent the civic counterparts of mystic promises and tales of supernatural intervention. The flexibility that characterizes ancient proxenia recommends the framework of a game; the bridge between imagination and strategic outcomes that characterizes serious games maps onto the ancient realities of the maritime success enabled through ritual

Author Biography

Sandra Blakely, Emory University, Atlanta

Akademischer Rat a.Z. 

Universität Trier

Fachbereich III - Alte Geschichte