Tag Archives: Athens

Eleusis

Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter by Carl Kerényi, translated by Ralph Manheim, part of the Mythos / Bollingen series, a 1991 paperback from Princeton University Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Carl Kerényi Ralph Manheim Eleusis from Princeton University Press / Bollingen

“The Sanctuary of Eleusis, near Athens, was the center of a religious cult that endured for nearly two thousand years and whose initiates came from all parts of the civilized world. Looking at the tendency to ‘see visions,’ C. Kerényi examines the Mysteries of Eleusis from the standpoint not only of Greek myth but also of human nature. Kerényi holds that the yearly autumnal ‘mysteries’ were based on the ancient myth of Demeter’s search for her ravished daughter Persephone—a search that equates not only with woman’s quest for completion but also with every person’s pursuit of identity. As he explores what the content of the mysteries may have been for those who experienced them, he draws on the study of archaeology, objects of art, and religious history, and suggests rich parallels from other mysteries.” — back cover


Honor Thy Gods

Honor Thy Gods: Popular Religion in Greek Tragedy by Jon D Mikalson, a 1991 paperpack from University of North Carolina Press, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Jon D Mikalson Honor Thy Gods from University of North Carolina Press

“In Honor Thy Gods Jon Mikalson uses the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides to explore popular religious beliefs and practices of Athenians in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. and examines how these playwrights portrayed, manipulated, and otherwise represented popular religion in their plays. He discusses the central role of honor in ancient Athenian piety and shows that the values of popular piety are not only reflected but also reaffirmed in tragedies.

Mikalson begins by examining what tragic characters and choruses have to say about the nature of the gods and their intervention in human affairs. Then, by tracing the fortunes of diverse characters—among them Creon and Antigone, Ajax and Odysseus, Hippolytus, Pentheus, and even Athens and Troy—he shows that in tragedy those who violate or challenge contemporary popular religious beliefs suffer, while those who support these beliefs are rewarded. Mikalson concludes by describing the different relationships of the three tragedians to the religion of their audience, arguing that the tragedies of Euripides most consistently support the values of popular religion.” — back cover

Dionysos

Dionysos: Exciter to Frenzy by Vikki Bramshaw, from Avalonia UK, may be of interest. This volume was due to release in December but appears to still be in pre-order, both via the Avalonia site and through Amazon.

Vikki Bramshaw Dionysos from Avalonia

Dionysos: Exciter to Frenzy is a phenomenal and scholarly exploration of one of the most complex, liminal and paradoxical gods of the ancient world. The author Vikki Bramshaw guides the reader through the mysterious world of the multifaceted Dionysos, revealing his hidden faces and forms and his presence in different cultures, the growth cycles of nature, the establishment of theatre and the ancient Greek calendar.

The roots of the wine god Dionysos, like his vines, spread throughout the ancient world. From the Cretan Zagreus, to the Thracian Sabazios and the Egyptian Iachen, his stories permeated the myths and traditions of both the untamed wilderness and the culture of cities such as Athens. Joined by slaves and rulers, wild flesh-ripping Maenads and vegetarian Orphics, wine-makers and hunters, the thrice-born Dionysos danced his way through the challenges of rebirth and initiation, with the liberating ecstasy of trance and possession.

The god Dionysos unites opposites, he is many-formed, dying yet eternal, chthonian and heavenly. His ancient myths, mystical symbols, pagan rites and incarnations represent a uniquely detailed and relevant perspective of the transformation he brings through prophecy and personal liberation which is still relevant today.” [via]