Who were the Boiotians? Myths of Migration in Ritual

Barbara Kowalzig

in Singing for the Gods

Published in print December 2007 | ISBN: 9780199219964
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191712968 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Classical Monographs

Who were the Boiotians? Myths of Migration in Ritual

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This chapter describes the Boiotians as among those Greeks who understood their past in terms of wanderings. It discusses the Boiotian custom performed at Dodona that puts the final seal on the Boiotians' arrival in their historical home. It notes that the interpretation of the ‘tripodophoric’ rite comes first since despite the highly fragmented nature of the evidence, it makes the fundamental proposition for a ‘Boiotian’ identity based on a myth of arrival. It then examines the plentiful remainder of Boiotian religious song, now performed in Boiotia itself, and with khoroi similarly embedded in the myths and rituals linked to the migratory traditions. It reveals that the migratory myths were crucial in developing the notion, possibly even cohesion, of early fifth-century Boiotia, and in how these traditions operated particularly in the service of early Boiotian koinon.

Keywords: Boiotians; Boiotia; migration; ritual; Dodona; khoroi; myth; wanderings; fifth century

Chapter.  33661 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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