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D aniel Ogden ed. Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World. The answers are of course all too short, but nevertheless extremely rich and dense: the perfect starting point for further research. There are only minor points of possible criticism. The A.

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The example of the six double altars at Olympia is not only an illuminating case for the notion of twelve gods, as noted by Dowden, but also an important piece of evidence for the existence of local concepts of the twelve gods. Dowden chooses to exemplify his views about Greek gods by using Apollon and Artemis as cases in point. The Letoids are indeed two of the most interesting and puzzling divine figures, but a brief explanation of the reasons for this seemingly arbitrary choice would certainly have been very useful.

Larson presents no panorama of such divinities closely connected with nature. Stafford concentrates in her Personifications in Greek Religious Thought and Practice on those personifications that can be securely identified thanks to literary and epigraphic sources as figures of cult.

Her contribution is chronologically structured and demonstrates in a very clear manner the developments in the cult of personified concepts. Noticeably, in the case of the so-called Tyche of Antiocheia, one should take into consideration M. Felton offers an appealing insight in both ancient Greek ritual practices connected with and the mythology of death.

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The author briefly summarises festivals related to the dead such as the Genesia and the Anthesteria, the nature of deities and mythological figures traditionally associated with death Hades, Persephone, Thanatos, Charon, Hermes Psychopompos , heroic katabaseis , the ritual practice of necromancy, and stories about ghosts.

Minor problems concern exclusively the archaeological data used: lamentation scenes occur on Athenian Geometric vases of the eighth and not of the ninth century BCE, while the cemetery in the Athenian Agora was abandoned after the enlargement of the latter, thus, the Agora was not simultaneously used as a meeting place and a cemetery as stated by Felton. Ekroth offers in her Heroes and Hero-Cults a sophisticated overview on Greek hero-cults, the importance of heroes and heroines in the panthea of Greek cities, the enormous formal variability of their respective cult places, and the sacrificial rituals related to them.

The author explicitly refers to the ambiguous, and thus problematic Greek terminology for addressing heroic figures and the rituals connected with them.

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Furley discusses the ritual frame and the rhetoric of prayers and hymns, before addressing their different types. He underlines that singing and further musical features are indeed formal attributes that distinguish the more performative hymns from prayers. Furley rightly stresses that the elaborate naming in the beginning of prayers and hymns is not only aiming at the greater glory of the gods, as noticed by S.

Pulleyn, but serves also the identification of the right gods as addressees of the respective prayers and hymns. Bremmer offers an account of the typical Greek blood sacrifice and its different parts: the choice of the correct animal, the treatment of the sacrificial victim, the procession, the ritual acts immediately before the killing, and the actual killing of the animal. Unfortunately, Bremmer decides to consider the sacrificial meal in just four lines, thus, neglecting the importance of this last part of a Greek sacrifice.

A companion to the classical Greek world / edited by Konrad H. Kinzl - Details - Trove

In two further sections, the author discusses briefly the emic and etic perspectives on sacrifice, concentrating mainly on the epic tradition and the scholarly works of K. Meuli, W. Burkert, and J. Vernant respectively. Bonnechere in his Divination addresses three very important issues related to Greek divinatory practices, namely the ambiguity of oracles, the danger of charlatanism, and the forgery of oracular responses.

Bonnechere further discusses different forms of divination either based on the interpretation of signs 4 or delivered by prophets. For this, Dignas chooses the Greek Asklepieia as an example, although there are numerous references to the cult of Amphiaraos as well. One could ask, why the author prefers to focus on the Asklepieion of Korinth and not on the Epidaurian sanctuary, but this is indeed a marginal criticism. Dignas is definitely right in challenging the traditional idea that sanctuaries were usually open only on special days.

Bendlin discusses in his Purity and Pollution one of the most important aspects of Greek religion and as a matter of fact of social life in general: the notion and concept of purity and its endangerment by death, childbirth, sexual intercourse and so on. There are also brief, but quite informative references to religious authorities and purificatory ritual acts that could help in expelling pollution. Instead of the impossible task of an overview, Scullion simply focuses on three festivals using them as examples that help understand the scarcity of our evidence Diasia , the preconceptions of modern scholarship Karneia , and the value of ancient sources in understanding structure and function of festivals Oschophoria.

His guide of further reading is up to date and above all refreshing: Scullion refers not only to English but also to French and German publications that go beyond W. Readers should, thus, thank the editor of the volume for entrusting Time and Greek Religion in J. Davidson offers an imaginative, well-structured, and intriguing account of the importance of time in and for Greek religion.

He makes the apparently impossible possible, for he elegantly demonstrates that time is so much more than calendars and month names. He describes three types of time, which should not be conceived as distinct temporal entities, but as interwoven layers. For example, the yearly addition of ash on the altar of Zeus at Olympia creates a visual monument of the accumulative aspects of time, the entire ritual past of the sanctuary concentrated on its central altar.

In a separate section, Deacy discusses the return of Peisistratos to Athens as well as the mutilation of the herms and the profanation of the Eleusinian mysteries in BCE. Richer offers a helpful synthesis of Spartan religion. Special attention is paid to the cults of Artemis Orthia, Apollon Amyklaios, and Helen because of their importance in the life of children and young males and females in their transition to adulthood.

In separate sections, the author focuses on sacred space and its significance for Sparta and Lakonia in general, the eminent importance of religious festivals in Spartan everyday life, and the role of the dead dead kings treated as heroes, significance of war dead, burials within the city in the Spartan religious system. Dunand presents in her The Religious System at Alexandria concise separate accounts on divinities worshipped in one of the most important cities of the Hellenistic world: Demeter, Dionysos, Aphrodite, Isis, and Sarapis.

She also discusses aspects of the dynastic cult and its religious significance.

On a Side Note - Mercenaries in the Greek World

Most welcome, but unfortunately far too short is her presentation of the Jewish and Christian communities of Alexandria. However, despite the obvious profundity of the contribution, the fragmentation in the presentation of the evidence and the absence of a conclusive section hinder the development of a more synthetic view of the Alexandrine religious system.

Jost offers in her The Religious System in Arcadia an invaluable overview of religious life, cults and myths in Arcadia. After stressing the importance of Pan and Zeus Lykaios for all Arcadians, Jost makes a strong case for the pan-Arcadian status of the sanctuary and cult of Despoina at Lykosoura. Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about A Companion to Greek Religion , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about A Companion to Greek Religion. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews.

Showing Rating details. Sort order. Nov 29, Chris rated it it was amazing. This superb work is even better when you are already familiar with many of the primary sources. I read Classical Greek; I know this period intimately, and I was delighted by the level of research, the freshness of the information, and the quality of the writing. I would give this book six stars if they were available.


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