Polytheism and Society at Athens

Author: Robert Parker
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0199216118
Release Date: 2005-11-24
Genre: History

This book is the first attempt that has ever been made to give a comprehensive account of the religious life of ancient Athens. The city's many festivals are discussed in detail, with attention to recent anthropological theory; so too, for instance, are the cults of households and of smaller groups, the role of religious practice and argumentation in public life, the authority of priests, the activities of religious professionals such as seers and priestesses, magic, the place of theatrical representations of the gods within public attitudes to the divine. A long final section considers the sphere of activity of the various gods, and takes Athens as a uniquely detailed test case for the structuralist approach to polytheism. The work is a synchronic, thematically organized complement (though designed to be read independently) to the same author's Athenian Religion: A History (Oxford 1996).

Polytheism and Society at Athens

Author: Robert Parker
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199274833
Release Date: 2005-11-24
Genre: History

The first attempt that has ever been made to give a comprehensive account of the religious life of ancient Athens.

Greek Gods Abroad

Author: Robert Parker
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520967250
Release Date: 2017-05-23
Genre: History

From even before the time of Alexander the Great, the Greek gods spread throughout the Mediterranean, carried by settlers and largely adopted by the indigenous populations. By the third century b.c., gods bearing Greek names were worshipped everywhere from Spain to Afghanistan, with the resulting religious systems a variable blend of Greek and indigenous elements. Greek Gods Abroad examines the interaction between Greek religion and the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean with which it came into contact. Robert Parker shows how Greek conventions for naming gods were extended and adapted and provides bold new insights into religious and psychological values across the Mediterranean. The result is a rich portrait of ancient polytheism as it was practiced over 600 years of history.

Athenian Religion

Author: Robert Parker
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: UOM:39015059198450
Release Date: 1997
Genre: Religion

This book is an attempt to take seriously the cliche that Greek religion is an eminently social phenomenon. It differs from `Histories of Greek Religion' by focusing on a particular Greek city with particular social structures. It treats a much broader range of phenomena than do books on `Athenian festivals'. It seeks to bridge the gap that usually divides studies of Greek religion from studies of Greek history and society. Among the topics discussed are the actual dates and circumstances of foundation of many temples, festivals, and cults at Athens, the historical development of the social structures within which religious activities took place, and the effects in the religious sphere of the radical shift in Athens' political life from tyranny to democracy and the acquisition of an empire. Robert Parker investigates the relation between religion and political prestige, considers the introduction of new cults, and looks in detail at such key personalities and events in the religious history of Athens as Lycurgus the Eteoboutad and his religious policies, and the trial of Socrates. The period covered is roughly that from 750 to 250 BC.

On Greek Religion

Author: Robert Parker
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801462010
Release Date: 2011-02-10
Genre: History

"There is something of a paradox about our access to ancient Greek religion. We know too much, and too little. The materials that bear on it far outreach an individual's capacity to assimilate: so many casual allusions in so many literary texts over more than a millennium, so many direct or indirect references in so many inscriptions from so many places in the Greek world, such an overwhelming abundance of physical remains. But genuinely revealing evidence does not often cluster coherently enough to create a vivid sense of the religious realities of a particular time and place. Amid a vast archipelago of scattered islets of information, only a few are of a size to be habitable."-from the Preface In On Greek Religion, Robert Parker offers a provocative and wide-ranging entrée into the world of ancient Greek religion, focusing especially on the interpretive challenge of studying a religious system that in many ways remains desperately alien from the vantage point of the twenty-first century. One of the world's leading authorities on ancient Greek religion, Parker raises fundamental methodological questions about the study of this vast subject. Given the abundance of evidence we now have about the nature and practice of religion among the ancient Greeks-including literary, historical, and archaeological sources-how can we best exploit that evidence and agree on the central underlying issues? Is it possible to develop a larger, "unified" theoretical framework that allows for coherent discussions among archaeologists, anthropologists, literary scholars, and historians? In seven thematic chapters, Parker focuses on key themes in Greek religion: the epistemological basis of Greek religion; the relation of ritual to belief; theories of sacrifice; the nature of gods and heroes; the meaning of rituals, festivals, and feasts; and the absence of religious authority. Ranging across the archaic, classical, and Hellenistic periods, he draws on multiple disciplines both within and outside classical studies. He also remains sensitive to varieties of Greek religious experience. Also included are five appendixes in which Parker applies his innovative methodological approach to particular cases, such as the acceptance of new gods and the consultation of oracles. On Greek Religion will stir debate for its bold questioning of disciplinary norms and for offering scholars and students new points of departure for future research.

Religion Grecque

Author: Louise Bruit Zaidman
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521423570
Release Date: 1992-12-17
Genre: History

This book is an English translation of the French work La Religion Grecque. Its purpose is to consider how religious beliefs and cultic rituals were given expression in ancient Greece. The chapters cover first ritual and then myth, rooting the account in the practices of the classical city while also taking seriously the world of the imagination. For this edition the bibliography has been substantially revised to meet the needs of a mainly student, English-speaking readership. The book is enriched throughout by illustrations, and by quotations from original sources.

Civic Rites

Author: Nancy Evans
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520262027
Release Date: 2010
Genre: History

"Civic Rites clearly demonstrates the complete interdependence of religion and democracy in Athens, illustrating just how much the ancient Athenians' view of the relationship between these powerful forces differs from that in twenty-first century, Western democracies. Evans has provided a systematic, thorough, and lively treatment, liberating readers from modern expectations and offering a new window onto Athenian society."--Loren J. Samons, author of What's Wrong with Democracy? From Athenian Practice to American Worship "It is a double task the author has undertaken: to demonstrate the interdependence, nay, integration of politics and religion in the high days of 'democratic' Athens and to bring this special form of 'democracy' home to a contemporary non-specialist public. She brilliantly succeeds in both, presenting a clear and poignant narrative with graphic details. Civic Rites is a novel and fascinating course through a seemingly well-known field."--Walter Burkert, author of Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth "In equal measures intelligent, accessible, and well-informed, this book provides a contemporary introduction to classical Athenian religious practices and their manifold cultural significance. Evans interweaves overviews of political, economic, and social history with engaging descriptions of several major Attic rites. This book will interest specialists while providing students with an illuminating pathway into the familiar yet alien world of ancient Greek religion."--Deborah Boedeker, Brown University "With vivid, elegant writing and compelling imagination, Nancy Evans recreates the complex interaction of religion and politics in the ancient Athenian Democracy. Deftly interweaving chapters on cult and on political developments, she shows the general reader an Athens that is stranger to modern sensibilities than we often realize, and yet one from which we can learn many things about democratic life. A wonderful achievement."--Martha Nussbaum, author of The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy

The Theatrical Cast of Athens

Author: Edith Hall
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199298891
Release Date: 2006-10-12
Genre: Literary Criticism

An examination of ancient Greek drama, and its relationship to the society in which it was produced. By focusing on the ways in which the plays treat gender, ethnicity, and class, and on their theatrical conventions, Edith Hall offers an extended study of the Greek theatrical masterpieces within their original social context.

Civic Obligation and Individual Liberty in Ancient Athens

Author: Peter Liddel
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199226580
Release Date: 2007-10-11
Genre: History

A fresh approach to the old problem of the nature of individual liberty in ancient Athens. Using modern political theory as a springboard, Peter Liddel argues that the ancient Athenians held liberty to consist of the substantial obligations (political, financial, and military) of citizenship.

Athenian Myths and Festivals

Author: Sourvinou-Inwood Christiane the late
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780199592074
Release Date: 2011-01-27
Genre: History

Moving out from a particular problem about a particular Athenian festival, the late Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood investigates central questions concerning Athenian festivals and the myths that underlay them. This is the final work of an iconic figure among students of Greek religion.

Athenian Democratic Origins

Author: Geoffrey de Ste. Croix
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 9780199255177
Release Date: 2004-03-25
Genre: History

In these interconnected essays the late Geoffrey de Ste. Croix defends the institutions of the Athenian democracy, showing that they were much more practical, rational, and impartial than has usually been acknowledged. A major essay provides a new view of Aristotle's use of sources in The Constitution of the Athenians, on which so much of our knowledge of Athenian constitutional history depends. Ste. Croix also argues that commercial factors had much less influence on Greek politics than modern scholars tend to assume, and that there was no such thing in any Greek state as a `commercial aristocracy'. As always, he works out these general positions with the utmost lucidity and pungency, and in meticulous detail. Though written in the 1960s, these hitherto unpublished essays by a great radical historian will still constitute a major contribution to contemporary debate. The editors and other specialists have supplied an updating Afterword to each chapter, and the book contains a thorough index.

Sport in the Cultures of the Ancient World

Author: Zinon Papakonstantinou
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781317989493
Release Date: 2013-09-13
Genre: Sports & Recreation

Sport has been practised in the Greco-Roman world at least since the second millennium BC. It was socially integrated and was practised in the context of ceremonial performances, physical education and established local and international competitions including, most famously, the Olympic Games. In recent years, the continuous re-assessment of old and new evidence in conjunction with the development of new methodological perspectives have created the need for a fresh examination of central aspects of ancient sport in a single volume. This book fills that gap in ancient sport scholarship. When did the ancient Olympics begin? How is sport depicted in the work of the fifth-century historian Herodotus? What was the association between sport and war in fifth- and fourth-century BC Athens? What were the social and political implications of the practice of Greek-style sport in third-century BC Ptolemaic Egypt? How were Roman gladiatorial shows perceived and transformed in the Greek-speaking east? And what were the conditions of sport participation by boys and girls in ancient Rome? These are some of the questions that this book, written by an international cast of distinguished scholars on ancient sport, attempts to answer. Covering a wide chronological and geographical scope (ancient Mediterranean from the early first millennium BC to fourth century AD), individual articles re-examine old and new evidence, and offer stimulating, original interpretations of key aspects of ancient sport in its political, military, cultural, social, ceremonial and ideological setting. This book was previously published as a special issue of the International Journal of the History of Sport.

Battling the Gods

Author: Tim Whitmarsh
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307958334
Release Date: 2015-11-10
Genre: History

How new is atheism? Although adherents and opponents alike today present it as an invention of the European Enlightenment, when the forces of science and secularism broadly challenged those of faith, disbelief in the gods, in fact, originated in a far more remote past. In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh journeys into the ancient Mediterranean, a world almost unimaginably different from our own, to recover the stories and voices of those who first refused the divinities. Homer’s epic poems of human striving, journeying, and passion were ancient Greece’s only “sacred texts,” but no ancient Greek thought twice about questioning or mocking his stories of the gods. Priests were functionaries rather than sources of moral or cosmological wisdom. The absence of centralized religious authority made for an extraordinary variety of perspectives on sacred matters, from the devotional to the atheos, or “godless.” Whitmarsh explores this kaleidoscopic range of ideas about the gods, focusing on the colorful individuals who challenged their existence. Among these were some of the greatest ancient poets and philosophers and writers, as well as the less well known: Diagoras of Melos, perhaps the first self-professed atheist; Democritus, the first materialist; Socrates, executed for rejecting the gods of the Athenian state; Epicurus and his followers, who thought gods could not intervene in human affairs; the brilliantly mischievous satirist Lucian of Samosata. Before the revolutions of late antiquity, which saw the scriptural religions of Christianity and Islam enforced by imperial might, there were few constraints on belief. Everything changed, however, in the millennium between the appearance of the Homeric poems and Christianity’s establishment as Rome’s state religion in the fourth century AD. As successive Greco-Roman empires grew in size and complexity, and power was increasingly concentrated in central capitals, states sought to impose collective religious adherence, first to cults devoted to individual rulers, and ultimately to monotheism. In this new world, there was no room for outright disbelief: the label “atheist” was used now to demonize anyone who merely disagreed with the orthodoxy—and so it would remain for centuries. As the twenty-first century shapes up into a time of mass information, but also, paradoxically, of collective amnesia concerning the tangled histories of religions, Whitmarsh provides a bracing antidote to our assumptions about the roots of freethinking. By shining a light on atheism’s first thousand years, Battling the Gods offers a timely reminder that nonbelief has a wealth of tradition of its own, and, indeed, its own heroes. From the Hardcover edition.

Edinburgh Companion to the History of Democracy

Author: Benjamin Isakhan
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
ISBN: 9780748653683
Release Date: 2015-03-24
Genre: History

Re-examines the long and complex history of democracy and broadens the traditional view of this history by complementing it with examples from unexplored or under-examined quarters.

The Parthenon Enigma

Author: Joan Breton Connelly
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 9780307476593
Release Date: 2014
Genre: Architecture

"A revolutionary new understanding of the most famous and influential building in the world, a thesis that calls into question our basic understanding of the ancient civilization that we most identify with. For more than two millennia, the Parthenon has been revered as the symbol of Western culture, the epitome of the ancient society from which we derive our highest ideals. It was understood to honor the city-state's patron deity Athena, and its intricately sculpted surface believed to depict a celebration of civic continuity in the birthplace of democracy. But through a close reading of a lost play by Euripides, accidentally discovered on a papyrus wrapping an Egyptian mummy, Joan Connelly began to develop a new theory that has sparked one of the fiercest controversies ever to rock the world of classics. Now, she recounts how our most basic sense of the Parthenon and of the culture that built it may have been crucially mistaken. Re-creating the ancient structure from its natural environment to its pediment, and using a breathtaking range of textual and visual evidence, she uncovers a monument glorifying human sacrifice set in a world of cult rituals quite unlike anything conventionally conjured by the word "Athenian." "--