Working Toward a Material Presence

Barbara Goff

in Citizen Bacchae

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780520239982
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930582 | DOI:
Working Toward a Material Presence

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Women are usually represented in vase painting as gushing libations and making various kinds of bloodless offering, but they also contributed important elements to the course of blood-sacrifice. Blood-sacrifice is of inestimable value to Greek culture, permitting not only the knowledge of divine intent, through inspection of the victim's entrails, but also the opportunity for influencing such intent through the offering of an especially pleasing victim. However, men were the chief actors in this event; women's participation in sacrifice brings them into the heart of their community, to engage in the crucial moment of mediation between mortals and gods. Young women were assigned the responsibility for bringing water for sharpening the sacrificial tools. They also carried the basket that contained the grain to sprinkle over the victim's head, and concealed the sacrificial knife.

Keywords: libations; painting; mortals; gods; mediation

Chapter.  25033 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religion in the Ancient World

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