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Dionysos in Classical Athens

An Understanding through Images

Series:

Cornelia Isler-Kerényi

Dionysos, with his following of satyrs and women, was a major theme in a big part of the figure painted pottery in 500-300 B.C. Athens. As an original testimonial of their time, the imagery on these vases convey what this god meant to his worshippers. It becomes clear that - contrary to what is usually assumed - he was not only appropriate for wine, wine indulgence, ecstasy and theatre. Rather, he was present in both the public and private sphere on many, both happy and sad, occasions. In addition, the vase painters have emphasized different aspects of Dionysos for their customers inside and outside of Athens, depending on the political and cultural situation.

Coping With the Gods

Wayward Readings in Greek Theology

Series:

Henk Versnel

Inspired by a critical reconsideration of current monolithic approaches to the study of Greek religion, this book argues that ancient Greeks displayed a disquieting capacity to validate two (or more) dissonant, if not contradictory, representations of the divine world in a complementary rather than mutually exclusive manner. From this perspective the six chapters explore problems inherent in: order vs. variety/chaos in polytheism, arbitrariness vs. justice in theodicy, the peaceful co-existence of mono- and polytheistic theologies, human traits in divine imagery, divine omnipotence vs. limitation of power, and ruler cult. Based on an intimate knowledge of ancient realia and literary testimonia the book stands out for its extensive application of relevant perceptions drawn from cultural anthropology, theology, cognitive science, psychology, and linguistics.

Ritual Dynamics and Religious Change in the Roman Empire

Proceedings of the Eighth Workshop of the International Network Impact of Empire (Heidelberg, July 5-7, 2007)

Series:

Edited by O. Hekster, Sebastian Schmidt-Hofner and Christian Witschel

This volume presents the proceedings of the eighth workshop of the international network 'Impact of Empire', which concentrates on the history of the Roman Empire and brings together ancient historians, archaeologists, classicists and specialists in Roman law from some thirty European and North American universities. The eighth volume focuses on the impact of the Roman Empire on religious behaviour, with a special focus on the dynamics of ritual. The volume is divided into three sections: ritualising the empire, performing civic community in the empire and performing religion in the empire.

Roman Gods

A Conceptual Approach

Series:

Michael Lipka

The book is concerned with the question of how the concept of "god" in urban Rome can be analyzed along the lines of six constituent concepts, i.e. space, time, personnel, function, iconography and ritual. While older publications tended to focus on the conceptual nature of Roman gods only in those (comparatively rare) instances in which different concepts patently overlapped (as in the case of the deified emperor or hero-worship), this book develops general criteria for an analysis of pagan, Jewish and Christian concepts of gods in ancient Rome (and by extension elsewhere). While the argument of the book is exclusively based on the evidence from the capital up to the age of Constantine, in the concluding section the results are compared to other religious belief systems, thus demonstrating the general applicability of this conceptual approach.

Dionysos in Archaic Greece

An Understanding through Images

Series:

Cornelia Isler-Kerényi

For the Greek, Dionysos was a very important god: for individuals as well as for the community as a whole. As there are only a few written sources dating from before the 5th Century BC the many images of Dionysos on Greek vases may well offer a genuine approach to the meaning given by the ancient viewer.
This book explores the earliest images followed by those on small vases for private use, on mixing bowls of the symposion, on amphoras, on later drinking cups and on archaic sculptures. It gives an overview of Dionysian iconography of the 5th Century BC as well as an overall interpretation.
The reader will learn why this god of vine and wine, of theatre and ecstasy, was so important for humans and why he played a key role in the life of the polis.
Dionysos war für die Griechen ein Gott von zentraler Bedeutung, sowohl im Leben des Einzelnen wie der Gemeinschaft. Weil vor dem 5. Jahrhundert v.Chr. sehr wenige Schriftzeugnisse existieren, können uns die vielen Darstellungen des Dionysos auf griechischen Vasen am ehesten einen Zugang zu dem vermitteln, was der antike Mensch über ihn dachte.
Analysiert werden zuerst die frühesten Bilder, dann jene auf kleinen individuell gebrauchten Vasen, auf grossen, beim Symposion verwendeten Mischgefässen, auf Amphoren, auf den späteren Trinkschalen und schliesslich in der archaischen Skulptur. Das Buch schliesst mit einem Ausblick auf die Bildgeschichte des Dionysos im 5. Jahrhundert v.Chr. und einer umfassenden Deutung.
Diese Interpretation hilft zu verstehen, warum Dionysos, der Gott der Rebe und des Weins, des Theaters, der Ekstase, für den antiken Menschen so wichtig war und auch im öffentlichen Leben der klassischen Polis eine so grosse Rolle gespielt hat.