Chapter

Gods at Work I: Protecting the City

Robert Parker

in Polytheism and Society at Athens

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780199216116
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191705847 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216116.003.0018
Gods at Work I: Protecting the City

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Greeks called on the gods and heroes who occupied their territories to lend aid in times of crisis, but never tried to list who they might be. Attempts to reveal the hidden essence of particular gods or to identify this god with that were not rare. But neither the ordinary politicians who kept the cults going nor speculative thinkers were concerned to quantify the pantheon, to list all the gods, or to explain the relations between them. If one attempts today to describe the indescribable, the best starting point is the application of structuralist ideas to the study of Greek polytheism that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. The central and defining proposition is that Greek gods need to be studied not one by one but with reference to one another, as members of a pantheon. This chapter discusses the role of Greek gods as protectors of the acropolis.

Keywords: Greece; gods; pantheon; festivals; cults; structuralism; polytheism; acropolis

Chapter.  16903 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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