‘Those with Whom I Sacrifice’

Robert Parker

in Polytheism and Society at Athens

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780199216116
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191705847 | DOI:
‘Those with Whom I Sacrifice’

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This chapter looks at aspects of the religious role of the household that are often overlooked. The focus is on the role of cults in holding social groups together in amity or at least intimacy. The bonding created was not confined to members of the same household or to kin; the shared sacrifices of non-kin are a further central aspect of private religion. It is a fallacy to suppose that the temples of the acropolis and the festivals of the city hosted a formal and civic religion detached from the more personal and urgent religious concerns of the Athenians. Although civic festivals were important events in the life of individuals and families, the oikos itself was not a sealed unit. Sacrificing together and attending festivals together were the most important contexts for the expression of social intimacy, but one might engage in these activities with one's kin, with one's friends, or with a mixture of both.

Keywords: ancient Athens; oikos; household; cults; sacrifices; social groups; religion; festivals; social intimacy

Chapter.  6684 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical History

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