marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
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marycatelli

Greek Religion

Greek Religion by Walter Burkert

An intensive look at the religion practice of the ancient Greeks, up to the time of Alexander. Not a beginning text, assuming a basic knowledge of Greek history and also of the study of religion.

It starts with what can be pieced together from the earliest period between the archeological evidence and the deciphering of Linear B, followed by the still lesser knowledge from the dark age, and then into classical Greece. Rituals, offering, processions (the term for celebrating a festival literally meant "joining the escorts [of sacred objects]"), how a priest or priestess was of a single god and indeed tied to that god's sanctuary, the gods and their limits (not the literally thousands of gods of other pagan practices) with such bits as how you could not bring ivy into a temple of Hera and that since "-ene" is part of place names, the goddess Athena may have been named for the city, annual festivities and their significance and practices, and concluding with discussions of the mystery initiations and then of the complications introduced by philosophers.

A lot less homogenizing than most treatments of Greek religion.
Tags: history reviews: classical
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