Mystic Cults in Magna Graecia
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In Vergil's Aeneid, the poet implies that those who have been initiated into mystery cults enjoy a blessed situation both in life and after death. This collection of essays brings new insight to the study of mystic cults in the ancient world, particularly those that flourished in Magna Graecia (essentially the area of present-day Southern Italy and Sicily).
Implementing a variety of methodologies, the contributors to Mystic Cults in Magna Graecia examine an array of features associated with such "mystery religions" that were concerned with individual salvation through initiation and hidden knowledge rather than civic cults directed toward Olympian deities usually associated with Greek religion. Contributors present contemporary theories of ancient religion, field reports from recent archaeological work, and other frameworks for exploring mystic cults in general and individual deities specifically, with observations about cultural interactions throughout. Topics include Dionysos and Orpheus, the Goddess Cults, Isis in Italy, and Roman Mithras, explored by an international array of scholars including Giulia Sfameni Gasparro ("Aspects of the Cult of Demeter in Magna Graecia") and Alberto Bernabé ("Imago Inferorum Orphica"). The resulting volume illuminates this often misunderstood range of religious phenomena.
Christian view and maintains a form of active manliness within the passive or “feminized” virtue of endurance. We might suggest that something of this kind is implied at Capua: the initiand must endure pain, humiliation, and confusion, but in a context in which this suffering is rendered purposive and therefore, in a sense, active. The model is anyway Mithras, whose endurance of the bull hunt was rewarded by the fulfillment of his cosmic role in doing it to death. That said, two other features
40:67–81. ———. 1997b. “La madre di Dioniso: Iconografia dionisiaca VIII.” AION, n.s. 4:87–103. ———. 2001a. Dionysos nella Grecia arcaica: Il contributo delle immagini. Pisa and Rome. ———. 2001b. “Mitologie del moderno: ‘Apollineo’ e ‘dionisiaco.’” In S. Settis, ed., I Greci: Storia cultura arte società, vol. 3, I Greci “oltre la Grecia,” 1397–1417. Turin. (Reprinted in Isler-Kerényi 2007b: 235–254.) ———. 2003. “Images grecques au banquet funéraire étrusque.” Pallas 61:39–53. ———. 2007a.
observations of Dionysiac iconography of the fifth century will, in the future, reveal further information relating to the history of religions in Greece and Italy. Notes 1. Isler-Kerényi 2001a. 2. Isler-Kerényi 2001b. 3. Isler-Kerényi 2001a: 35, figs. 1-2; disregarded by Carpenter 1986. 4. Isler-Kerényi 2001a: 38, fig. 7. 5. Ibid.: figs. 8-9. The connection of this dancer with the theater, i.e., with the origin of comedy, so often discussed in the past, is not in fact verifiable: see
evoked recur with significant frequency in the archaeological contexts identifiable with certainty or good approximation as Thesmophoria, or are illustrated as such by the relevant sources. It can be seen from this that the Thesmophoria and the numerous similar cult centers identifiable in the area in which Greek religious history unfolded8 imply a qualified relationship between the symbolic organization of the ritual space and the specific mythical parameter to which the ceremonies performed
471-480—the other passage influenced by the epic Herakles katabasis to which I alluded earlier. In sum, the related texts support the inference drawn from the Apollodoran narrative that Herakles in the common source encounters the terrifying apparition of the Gorgon as soon as he has crossed the infernal water, not as soon as he enters Hades, and that he has to travel deeper into the underworld before finding Theseus and Peirithoos near the gates of Hades. In verse 290 in the sixth book of the