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By Daniel Ogden

This significant addition to Blackwell’s partners to the traditional international sequence covers all facets of faith within the historic Greek global from the archaic, in the course of the classical and into the Hellenistic period.

Written by means of a panel of foreign experts.
Focuses on spiritual lifestyles because it was once skilled by means of Greek women and men at various occasions and in numerous places.
Features significant sections on neighborhood non secular structures, sacred areas and formality, and the divine.

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Ancient ideas of ritual pollution only coincided with ancient ideas of pathogenic pollution to a very limited degree. The usual sources of ritual pollution included childbirth, miscarriage, abortion, menstruation, sex (licit or illicit), the eating of some animal products, corpses, and killing. It resulted, accordingly, from abnormal human actions and normal, unavoidable ones alike. The regulations for managing such pollution varied widely from region to region and city to city. The old structuralist belief that ideas of purity and pollution acted as a mechanism of social control leaves much unexplained: it does not, for example, account particularly well for the management of relations between the sexes.

Well-known examples of the latter include the similarities between Achilles’ speech to his dead friend Patroclus and Gilgamesh’s speech to his deceased comrade Enkidu. Also remarkable are parallels that connect the account of Greek Religion and the Ancient Near East 25 Gilgamesh’s refusal of Ishtar’s sexual advances to Homer’s treatment of Aphrodite and Anchises. The evidence for literary borrowing that these motifs and thematic parallels provide, and there are many more than can be elaborated upon here, is bolstered by additional similarities in style and compositional structure (Morris 1997).

The experience of being a visitor to one of these sanctuaries is perhaps most immediately conveyed by Herodas’ poetic description of a visit to an Asclepieion by two women. We hear how they progress through the sanctuary, which is seemingly open to all visitors, make their offering, admire the displayed votives, and have a friendly chat with the caretaker. Some larger sanctuaries could be the principal source of employment, direct or indirect, in their local community, as Pausanias observed. Sick people and their attendants, who might lodge in the sanctuaries for an extended period, would need all the provisions of the market, and these would come to them, with some sanctuaries even leasing out shops within their precincts.

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