Ancient Greek Cults: A Guide
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Using archaeological, epigraphic, and literary sources; and incorporating current scholarly theories, this volume will serve as an excellent companion to any introduction to Greek mythology, showing a side of the Greek gods to which most students are rarely exposed.
Detailed enough to be used as a quick reference tool or text, and providing a readable account focusing on the oldest, most widespread, and most interesting religious practices of the ancient Greek world in the Archaic and Classical periods, Ancient Greek Cults surveys ancient Greek religion through the cults of its gods and goddesses, heroes and heroines.
Jennifer Larson conveniently summarizes a vast amount of material in many languages, normally inaccessible to undergrad students, and explores, in detail, the variety of cults celebrated by the Greeks, how these cults differed geographically, and how each deity was conceptualized in local cult titles and rituals.
Including an introductory chapter on sources and methods, and suggestions for further reading this book will allow readers to gain a fresh perspective on Greek religion.
Versnel, H. S. 1981. Faith, hope and worship: Aspects of religious mentality in the ancient world. Leiden: E. J. Brill. –– 1990. Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman religion. 2 Vols. New York: E. J. Brill. –– 1992. The festival for Bona Dea and the Thesmophoria. G&R 39.31–55. Vian, Francis. 1963. Les origines de Thébes; Cadmos et les Spartes. Paris: C. Klincksieck. Vidal-Naquet, Pierre. 1975. Les esclaves immortelles d’Athéna Ilias. In Le Monde grec, ed. J. Bingen, G. Cambier, and G.
and prostitutes could be present and in what capacities. Aristophanes’ Women at the Thesmophoria draws a vivid tableau of male suspicion and female revelry during the Thesmophoric ritual, which he sets on the Pnyx, in the same meeting place used by the Athenian assembly. Excavation in this area uncovered a few terracottas and lamps consistent with a sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, but not enough material to confirm the existence of a Thesmophorion.7 Demeter, Kore, and the agricultural year As
on one of the column drums. It endured until the fourth century, when it was consumed in a fire set by a madman. The Ephesians, men and women, gave their own jewelry toward its restoration, which took more than a century.24 The archaeological remains from the sanctuary include large numbers of animal bones, primarily those of sheep and goats, but cattle, pigs, and a wide variety of wild animals are also attested. Slightly fewer than one hundred deer bones were found around the hekatompedon in
linked the worship of Eros with that of Aphrodite, and both received offerings of anatomical votives in the shape of male and female genitalia. These charming spots, surely filled with greenery in antiquity, correspond to the vase paintings of the Meidian school that show Aphrodite seated on a rock in a garden setting. Aphrodite’s connection with vegetation at these shrines recalls the sacred gardens of Near Eastern Astarte and Cypriot Aphrodite Ourania.10 Pheidias sculpted an Aphrodite Ourania
appear “in the holy season of spring” for the Theoxenia (Hospitality to the Gods), a festival at which deities were provided with food, drink, and entertainment.26 It also describes major additions to Dionysos’ Delphic cult: the establishment of a sacrifice and dithyrambic competition, the erection of a statue of Bakchos “in a chariot drawn by golden lions” and the building of a grotto “suitable for the holy god.” Already in the fifth century, tragedians speak of the ecstatic worship of Dionysos