Polytheism and Society at Athens

Polytheism and Society at Athens

Polytheism and Society at Athens

Polytheism and Society at Athens

Synopsis

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 smallergroups, 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 sectionconsiders 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: AHistory (Oxford 1996).

Excerpt

I began this work while holding the Mark Fitch Research Readership of the British Academy from 1995–6, and after six years spent on other matters I was able to bring it almost to completion during a sabbatical year granted by the University of Oxford in 2002–3. I am very grateful to the institutions (the British Academy, Oxford University and Oriel College) which made possible these prolonged periods of study, as also to New College for the excellent facilities which I here enjoy. All students of antiquity in Oxford are fortunate to be able to use the fine new Sackler library. Enid Barker, Dorothy McCarthy and Lavinia Porter have guided my book helpfully through the press, and I particularly thank Belinda Baker for expert copy-editing. a welcome grant from the Jowett Copyright Trust covered the cost of providing illustrations. Among the many friends to whom I am grateful for discussion of topics treated in this work I must single out Jan Bremmer, Esther Eidinow, Sally Humphreys, Michael Jameson (whose recent death so many Hellenists mourn), Barbara Kowalzig, Robin Lane Fox, Angelos Matthaiou, Robin Osborne, Olga Palagia, Nikolaos Papazarkadas, Peter Thonemann. I owe particular thanks to Stephen Lambert, who has kept me abreast of his own important work on Athenian religious inscriptions in advance of publication, and has checked readings for me in Athens rapidly and expertly. Simon Hornblower's gift to me of his own copy of Mommsen's Feste der Stadt Athen, a rare book, is only one of many kindnesses for which I am indebted to him. I thank above all Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood for the blend of intellectual engagement, instant and complete mastery and warmly encouraging enthusiasm with which she has discussed with me my studies of Athenian religion over many years.

R. P. New College May 2005 . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.