Robert Parker

in Polytheism and Society at Athens

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780199216116
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191705847 | DOI:

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This book is a kind of long commentary on the religious themes in Aristophanes and Theophrastus and the rest in ancient Athens. It is about the pervasiveness and the taken-for-grantedness of religion in Attic life. Although the book features the religious life of just one Greek city, it aspires to extend the scope of curiosity about Greek religion, not to restrict it. In anthropology, it is the precise, detailed and varied information about a particular community to be found in monographs that allows imaginative engagement with human behaviour in society. Rich and varied (and even in some measure precise and detailed) information is available about the religious life of Athens as of no other Greek city; indeed there may be no other polytheistic city in the ancient world the religious life of which is illuminated from so many different angles. This book looks at Athens' religious activities including festivals, cults, worship of gods, magic, and rituals.

Keywords: ancient Athens; polytheism; cults; magic; gods; festivals; religion; rituals; religious life

Chapter.  2932 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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