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Kykeon

Studies in Honour of H.S. Versnel

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Edited by H.F.J. Horstmanshoff, H. W. Singor, F. T. Van Straten and J. H. M. Strubbe

A collection of papers with new insights on ancient religion, read at a colloquium in honour of Professor H.S. Versnel ("Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman Religion"). The contributions, presented by nine leading scholars in the field, cover many areas of the religious experience of the Greeks and Romans: myth and ritual (W. Burkert), the gods (F. Zeitlin), cult, festivals, sacrifice. Several papers consider methodological problems and the progress of scholarship; they highlight the contribution of H.S. Versnel to the field. The papers are based on a wide range of sources: pagan and Christian, literary and epigraphical and iconographical.
The collection will fascinate all scholars interested in ancient religion, whether they study malign magic, the Imperial cult or general theory.

The Nile Mosaic of Palestrina

Early Evidence of Egyptian Religion in Italy

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Paul G.P. Meyboom

The famous Nile Mosaic of Palestrina, ancient Praeneste in central Italy, dating to c. 100 B.C., is one of the earliest large mosaics which have been preserved from the classical world. It presents a unique, comprehensive picture of Egypt and Nubia. The interpretation of the mosaic is disputed, suggestions ranging from an exotic decoration to a topographical picture or a religious allegory.
The present study demonstrates that the mosaic depicts rituals connected with Isis and Osiris and the yearly Nile flood. The presence of these Egyptian religious scenes at Praeneste can be explained by the assimilation of isis and Fortuna, the tutelary goddess of Praeneste, and by the interpretation of the mosaic as a symbol of divine providence.

The Early Amazons

Modern and Ancient Perspectives on a Persistent Myth

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Josine Blok

The Early Amazons offers a new understanding of the ancient Amazon myth, situating mythical representations in the realm of cultural history.
The first section examines how the Amazons have presented a challenge to views on history, myth and gender in classical mythology from the late eighteenth century up to the impact of structuralism. Topics included are nineteenth-century historiography and the interest in linguistics.
The second section sheds new light on the culture of archaic Greece, offering a coherent assessment of literary and visual representations. Taking mythical narrative as a form of oral storytelling, it shows the emergence of the Amazon motif and its meaning in the world of epic. Iconographical analysis reveals how the visual arts have made a contribution of their own to the imaginary presence of the Amazons.

Greek Religious Terminology – Telete & Orgia

A Revised and Expanded English Edition of the Studies by Zijderveld and Van der Burg

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Feyo Schuddeboom

A proper understanding of the words τελετή and ὄργια and the context in which they occur is fundamental to the study of Greek religion. This volume seeks to make a significant portion of the source material available to present-day students of religions in the Graeco-Roman world. The ancient texts are accompanied by English translations. Revised chapters from the seminal works by Zijderveld (1934) and Van der Burg (1939) show a whole range of different contexts in ancient literature, thus arguing against an automatic equation of τελετή and ὄργια with mystery rites. New chapters give an overview of the loanword orgia in Latin poetry, and of τελετή and ὄργια in the epigraphical evidence.

The Epigraphy and History of Boeotia

New Finds, New Prospects

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Edited by Nikolaos Papazarkadas

Over the past 20 years, Boeotia has been the focus of intensive archaeological investigation that has resulted in some extraordinary epigraphical finds. The most spectacular discoveries are presented for the first time in this volume: dozens of inscribed sherds from the Theban shrine of Heracles; Archaic temple accounts; numerous Classical, Hellenistic and Roman epitaphs; a Plataean casualty list; a dedication by the legendary king Croesus. Other essays revisit older epigraphical finds from Aulis, Chaironeia, Lebadeia, Thisbe, and Megara, radically reassessing their chronology and political and legal implications. The integration of old and new evidence allows for a thorough reconsideration of wider historical questions, such as ethnic identities, and the emergence, rise, dissolution, and resuscitation of the famous Boeotian koinon.

Contributors include: Vassilios Aravantinos, Hans Beck, Margherita Bonanno, Claire Grenet, Yannis Kalliontzis, Denis Knoepfler, Angelos P. Matthaiou, Emily Mackil, Christel Müller, Nikolaos Papazarkadas, Isabelle Pernin, Robert Pitt, Adrian Robu, and Albert Schachter.

Dionysos in Classical Athens

An Understanding through Images

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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.

De Memphis à Rome

Actes du Ier Colloque international sur les études isiaques, Poitiers - Futuroscope, 8-10 avril 1999

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Edited by Laurent Bricault

The studies of the Isiac Cults are forty years old. Many of the scholars who have contributed to the development of this particular field of research, - the diffusion of the Egyptian cults in the Graeco-Roman world -, met in the Futuroscope of Poitiers for a three-day colloquium, to establish the progress of research, and the subjects which need more discussion. The synthesis of this colloquium is presented in this volume. The best specialists in the world give their assessment of the past forty years of research: which tools do students and scholars have? Which -provisional- conclusions can be drawn about, for example, the hellenization of Isis, the reality of the Roman soldier's devotion to Isis or Sarapis, the celebration of the Isiaca in Rome from Republican days well into the Empire? This volume is a very useful update on what we do and do not know in the study of the Isiac cults in the Graeco-Roman world.

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Henk Versnel

This is the second of a two-volume collection of studies on inconsistencies in Greek and Roman religion. Their common aim is to argue for the historical relevance of various types of ambiguity and dissonance. While the first volume focused on the central paradoxes in ancient henotheism, the present one discusses the ambiguities in myth and ritual of transition and reversal.
After an introduction to the history of the myth and ritual debate (with a focus on New Year festivals and initiation) in the first chapter, the second and third chapters discuss myth and ritual of reversal—Kronos and the Kronia, and Saturnus and the Saturnalia respectively; the fourth treats two women's festivals—that of Bona Dea and the Thesmophoria; the fifth investigates the initiatory aspects of Apollo and Mars. In the background is the basic conviction that the three approaches to religion known as 'substantivistic', functionalist and cultural-symbolic respectively, need not be mutually exclusive.

Romanising Oriental Gods

Myth, Salvation and Ethics in the Cults of Cybele, Isis and Mithras

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Jaime Alvar

The traditional grand narrative correlating the decline of Graeco-Roman religion with the rise of Christianity has been under pressure for three decades. This book argues that the alternative accounts now emerging significantly underestimate the role of three major cults, of Cybele and Attis, Isis and Serapis, and Mithras. Although their differences are plain, these cults present sufficient common features to justify their being taken typologically as a group. All were selective adaptations of much older cults of the Fertile Crescent. It was their relative sophistication, their combination of the imaginative power of unfamiliar myth with distinctive ritual performance and ethical seriousness, that enabled them both to focus and to articulate a sense of the autonomy of religion from the socio-political order, a sense they shared with Early Christianity. The notion of 'mystery' was central to their ability to navigate the Weberian shift from ritualist to ethical salvation.

Votives, Places and Rituals in Etruscan Religion

Studies in Honor of Jean MacIntosh Turfa

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Edited by Margarita Gleba and Hilary Becker

Etruscans were deemed “the most religious of men” by their Roman successors and it is hardly surprising that the topic of Etruscan religion has been explored for some time now. This volume offers a contribution to the continued study of Etruscan religion and daily life, by focusing on the less explored issue of ritual. Ritual is approached through fourteen case studies, considering mortuary customs, votive rituals and other religious and daily life practices. The book gathers new material, interpretations and approaches to the less emphasized areas of Etruscan religion, especially its votive aspects, based on archaeological and epigraphic sources.