The Ritual Body


in Landscapes, Gender, and Ritual Space

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2004 | ISBN: 9780520235441
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929326 | DOI:
The Ritual Body

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This chapter investigates the distinctions of gender in ritual practice and while demonstrating that women's ritual efforts were focused on reproduction and the health of the family, argues that requirements of purity narrowed the range of female performance. It also discusses how anxieties about reproduction encouraged Hippocratic theorists to account for reproductive success or failure in terms of a relationship between the hydrology of the local landscape and the relative moisture of female bodies. Women were classified with polluting animals because they could not control the natural processes of their bodies. Body language and ritual gesture are described. Pindar's nickname for the Pythia was “Delphic Bee,” a metaphor that also called attention to the harsh sound of her voice, reputedly projected through her body by will of the god and through no act of her own.

Keywords: female bodies; gender; reproduction; health; anxieties; Hippocratic theorists; hydrology; body language; ritual gesture; Delphic Bee

Chapter.  24966 words. 

Subjects: Greek and Roman Archaeology

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