Athena Itonia: Geography and Meaning of an Ancient Greek War GoddessGerald V. Lalonde offers the first comprehensive history of the martial cult of Athena Itonia, from its origins in Greek prehistory to its demise in the Roman imperial age. The Itonian goddess appears first among the Thessalians and eventually as the patron deity of their famed cavalry. Archaic poets attest to "Athena, warrior goddess" and her festival games at the Itoneion near Boiotian Koroneia. The cult also came south to Athens, probably with the mounted Thessalian allies of Peisistratos. Hellenistic decrees from Amorgos tell of elaborate festival sacrifices to Athena Itonia, likely supplications for protection of the islanders and their maritime trade when piracy plagued the Cyclades after collapse of the Greek naval forces that policed the Aegean Sea. This will be an indispensable volume for all interested in the social, political, and military uses of ancient Greek religious cult and the geography, chronology, and circumstances of its propagation among Greek
poleis and federations.
Individuals and Materials in the Greco-Roman Cults of Isis Valentino Gasparini and Richard Veymiers present a collection of reflections on the individuals and groups which animated one of Antiquity’s most dynamic, significant and popular religious phenomena: the reception of the cults of Isis and other Egyptian gods throughout the Hellenistic and Roman worlds. These communities, whose members seem to share the same religious identity, for a long time have been studied in a monolithic way through the prism of the Cumontian category of the “Oriental religions”. The 26 contributions of this book, divided into three sections devoted to the “agents”, their “images” and their “practices”, shed new light on this religious movement that appears much more heterogeneous and colorful than previously recognized.
This volume explores the nature of religious change in the Greek-speaking cities of the Roman Empire. Emphasis is put on those developments that apparently were not the direct result of Roman actions: the intensification of idiosyncratically Greek features in the religious life of the cities (Heller, Muñiz, Camia); the active role of a new kind of Hellenism in the design of imperial religious policies (Gordillo, Galimberti, Rosillo-López); or the locally different responses to central religious initiatives, and the influence of those local responses in other imperial contexts (Cortés, Melfi, Lozano, Rizakis). All the chapters try to suggest that religion in the Greek cities of the empire was both conservative and innovative, and that the ‘Roman factor’ helps to explain this apparent paradox.
Taking seriously critiques of historiography produced in recent decades, Vaia Touna advocates for an alternative approach to the way the past is studied. From Euripides’ tragedy
Hippolytus, to the notion of voluntary associations in the Greco-Roman world, to the authenticity of traditional villages in Greece,
Fabrications of the Greek Past argues that meanings (and thus identities) do not transcend time and space, and neither do they hide deep in the core of material artifacts, awaiting to be discovered by the careful interpreter. Instead, this book demonstrates that meanings are always relative to their present-day context; they are historical products created by social actors through their ever-contemporary acts of identification.
“By disturbing the notion of an easily knowable Greek past, Touna makes an invaluable contribution to critical scholarship regarding ancient cultures and to contemporary theory about ideological uses of history.”
- Naomi Goldenberg, University of Ottawa
“From an insider to Greek tradition, expert in its modern appropriations and translations,
Fabrications is an important stimulus to metatheory and self-reflexivity in the study of religion, ancient and contemporary.”
- Gerhard van den Heever, University of South Africa
“Vaia Touna expertly dissects modern discourses on the past, arguing that our contemporary interests don't just
color our accounts of the past, they
constitute them. A fantastic book.”
- Brent Nongbri, author of
Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept
In the Hellenistic and Roman world intimate relations existed between those holding power and the cults of Isis. This book is the first to chart these various appropriations over time within a comparative perspective. Ten carefully selected case studies show that “the Egyptian gods” were no exotic outsiders to the Hellenistic and Roman Mediterranean, but constituted a well institutionalised and frequently used religious option. Ranging from the early Ptolemies and Seleucids to late Antiquity, the case studies illustrate how much symbolic meaning was made with the cults of Isis by kings, emperors, cities and elites. Three articles introduce the theme of Isis and the
longue durée theoretically, simultaneously exploring a new approach towards concepts like ruler cult and