The Sacred and the Feminine in Ancient Greece

The Sacred and the Feminine in Ancient Greece

Language: English

Pages: 208

ISBN: 0415126630

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In classical Greece women were almost entirely excluded from public life. Yet the feminine was accorded a central place in religious thought and ritual.This volume explores the often paradoxical centrality of the feminine in Greek culture, showing how out of sight was not out of mind. The contributors adopt perspectives from a wide range of disciplines, such as archaeology, art history, psychology and anthropology, in order to investigate various aspects of religion and cult. They include the part played by women in death ritual, the role of heroines, and the fact that goddesses had no childhood, at the same time posing questions about how we know what rituals meant to their participants.
The Sacred and the Feminine in Ancient Greece is a lively and colourful exploration of the ways in which religion and ritual reveal women's importance in the Greek polis, showing how ideologies about female roles and behaviour were both endorsed and challenged in the realm of the sacred.

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gamos of hera 13 woman a true gyne. It is the change in status from parthenos to married gyne, celebrated by the wedding, which is the most radical. The various perceptions of marriage and weddings include a range of positive and negative images of the process of becoming a gyne. We have considerable evidence from various parts of the Greek world for the existence of rituals for parthenoi which are frequently associated with myth. 1 These rites are associated particularly with girls who are on

body), he is contemplating a construction—the same one in alternative states. (Bowie 1991:26) As an expression of the fragmented body, Lacan (1977:4–5, 21) refers to the paintings of Hieronymous Bosch and, in connection with ‘a peculiar satisfaction deriving from the integration of an original organic disarray’, to Heracleitus’ notion of discord being prior to harmony. Bowie (1991:28–9) suggests that Lacan might have done better to refer to Empedocles’ notion of disjointed limbs seeking union

the use of both mirror and riddle in the mysteries. Riddling language indicates indirectly and obscurely what is eventually fully revealed. Ancient mirrors, which were never as clear as ours, could have the same function in ritual: they might reveal indirectly and obscurely something that would later in the ritual be revealed ‘face to face’, i.e. deity. 76 Paul is deploying a mystic pattern to express the higher truth that God cannot in fact be revealed face-to-face in this world. We are all

words. For how could he announce that as another when he did not see…another, but one with himself? This is the intention in the command given in the mysteries here below not to disclose to the uninitiated.’ Here again, as is implied by the other texts discussed in this section, mystic overcoming of our separation from the divine is associated with eliminating the otherness that separates our image from ourselves. 93 re wa t f o ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Fs D of My thanks go to Darian Leader, Pauline

material it is made of’). 20 A striking expression of this is the Villa of the Mysteries frieze at Pompeii. See also Pl. Laws 815c; et al. (Seaford 1994a: 266). 21 Zuntz 1971; Tsantsanoglou and Parassoglou 1987. 22 Seaford 1994a: 289 n.33. 23 CIL III 686 (Philippi). 24 Pl. Phaedo 108a; Ps.Pl. Axiochus 371de; Ar. Frogs 154–8, 313–459; Burkert 1987:22–3, 100–1, 105. 25 West 1983:17–19; cf. Hclt. fr. 62. 26 Med. 1162; cf. 1165 with Ba. 938. 27 8.37.7. Next to the temple were celebrated the goddess’

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