Mystic Cults in Magna Graecia
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In Vergil's Aeneid, the poet implies that those who have been initiated into mystery cults enjoy a blessed situation both in life and after death. This collection of essays brings new insight to the study of mystic cults in the ancient world, particularly those that flourished in Magna Graecia (essentially the area of present-day Southern Italy and Sicily).
Implementing a variety of methodologies, the contributors to Mystic Cults in Magna Graecia examine an array of features associated with such "mystery religions" that were concerned with individual salvation through initiation and hidden knowledge rather than civic cults directed toward Olympian deities usually associated with Greek religion. Contributors present contemporary theories of ancient religion, field reports from recent archaeological work, and other frameworks for exploring mystic cults in general and individual deities specifically, with observations about cultural interactions throughout. Topics include Dionysos and Orpheus, the Goddess Cults, Isis in Italy, and Roman Mithras, explored by an international array of scholars including Giulia Sfameni Gasparro ("Aspects of the Cult of Demeter in Magna Graecia") and Alberto Bernabé ("Imago Inferorum Orphica"). The resulting volume illuminates this often misunderstood range of religious phenomena.
which had been polluted by Herakles’ own arrow, tainted previously by the Hydra’s blood; and the purifying fire of Herakles’ funeral pyre, which consumed only that part of him which was mortal, allowing the divine portion to assume its rightful place among the gods. The notion that the mortal part could be burned away, with immortality remaining, recalls attempts by both Demeter and Isis, when they served as nursemaids to the kings of Eleusis and Byblos, respectively, to burn away the mortality
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associates, Eumolpus the poetaster, their boy-toy Giton, and hired man Corax. Here the tireless grifters launch their final sting, Eumolpus posing as a wealthy magnate, conveniently both childless and moribund, with the others masquerading as his slaves. So styled, the foursome dines out on invitations from local captatores eager to fawn and wheedle their way into Eumolpus’ will (Tracy 1980). Finally, tired of the game and no doubt threatened with imminent exposure as the Felix Krull he is, in a
you have come to both Rhamnous and broad Athens, 8. Having left the sonorous halls of Father Zeus, 9. Thus you hasten to the vine abundant in grapes, 10. And the fields of standing corn, and the trees laden with fruit, 11. Consecrating the tender grasses, the herbage of the nourishing meadows. 12. For Herodes names this land sacred to you both. 13. As much as is enclosed with a wall running ‘round it, 14. Not to be altered by future man, and also to remain inviolate 15. Since truly Athena