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Zagreus

(351 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Ζαγρεύς/ Zagreús). The name Z. (or 'Dionysus Z.') is used as a useful if also problematic term for Dionysus, the son of Zeus (and the daughter of Zeus Persephone) who, according to the Orphic anthropogony (Orphism), had been killed and eaten as a small child by the Titans. Ancient lexica cite Callimachus's Aítia (fr. 43,177) as the sole source for the epiclesis of Dionysus Z.; but this is not used until the 6th cent. AD (in Ps.-Nonnus, Commentaria in Greg. Naz. Serm. 5,30 Nimmo Smith) in the context of the Z. myth. The name, which…

Zurvan

(215 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] The Iranian god of time (Avestan: zruuan; Pahlavi: zamān). Z. had two forms: as the eternal time of divine existence he is zruuan akarana- (Avestan), 'the boundless time', as the period of the confrontation between Good and Evil, zruuan darengō.xvadāta, 'the time of long dominion'. Earlier it was assumed that within the Zoroastrian religion (Zoroastrianism) 'Zurvanism' represented a Median sonderform, a degeneration or a heresy. The myth in which the cosmogonic deity Z. enables both the transient rule of Evil (A…

Magical spells

(1,227 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
(ὀνόματα βάρβαρα/ onómata bárbara, Lat. nomina barbarica). [German version] I. General Broad term for names, words and sounds used in ancient incantation practices of ritual magic and popular medicine. Their obscurity or indefiniteness was often understood by ancient observers as a synecdoche for the otherness of magic, above all in poetical depictions of fictional witchcraft rituals (e.g. Lucan, 6,685-693; Lucian, Dialogi Meretricii 4,5). From the magician's perspective, such utterances underpinned his authority with div…

Boukoloi

(280 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Βουκόλοι; Boukóloi). Male members of Dionysian communities with different tasks, including dance (Lucian. Saltatione 79; schol. Lycoph. 21…

Enyo

(150 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Ἐνυώ; Enyṓ). Pale feminine counterpart to Enyalius, of whose name E. is a shortened form; goddess of bloody close combat. In Homer's Iliad she appears in 5,333 with Athena and in 592 with Ares, whom she joins in encouraging the Trojans. Her identifying characteristic is Kydoimos (demon of close combat), which she swings like a weapon (Il. 5,592, cf. 18,535; schol. Hom. Il. 5,593). Genealogical constructions starting from these passages made E. the mother or daughter or wet-nurse o…

Ma

(730 words)

Dendrophoroi

(240 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (δενδροφόροι; dendrophóroi). Collegium, probably founded by the Emperor Claudius in connection with the reorganization of the cult of  Mater Magna. The first epigraphical evidence, dating from AD 79, is CIL X 7 (Regium Iulium). The founding date ( natalicium) was 1 August. The association's ritual function involved felling, decorating and carrying the sacred pine in the mourning procession on 22 March in memory of Attis (Lydus, Mens. 4,59; cf. the bas-relief in the Musée d'Aquitanie, Bordeaux [1]). The association's G…

Enyalius

(584 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Ἐνυάλιος; Enyálios, also dialect forms). Deity of close combat, called upon in historical times in the moment battle began. In antiquity it was already disputed whether E. was just an epithet of  Ares in literary texts or originally an independent deity (schol. Hom. Il. 17,211; 22,132; schol. Soph. Aj. 179; schol. Aristoph. Pax, 457 = Alcm. fr. 104 Bergk/44 PMG). A …

Mithras

(2,056 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
(Μίθρας/ Míthras, Μίθρης/ Míthrēs). [German version] I. Persia A Hittite treaty with the Mitanni (14th cent. BC) contains the earliest evidence of Mithras ([1. No. 16]: Mitra). In the oldest literary evidence, the Indian Ṛg Veda, Mitra is the god who together with Varuna is responsible for upholding the ṛta

Selene

(441 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Σελήνη/ Selḗnē, Μήνη/ Mḗnē, cf. Latin Luna [1]). In Greece in the Archaic and Classical Periods the moon (thought of as female), although generally known as the nocturnal counterpart of the sun (Helios/Sol), was barely personified (Personification): she is neither present as a deity either in the epic tradition, where night (Nyx) virtually replaces S., nor (with two exceptions) in the elegiac and lyric poets. Hesiod seems to fit S. into his cosmology almost as an afterthought, namel…

Cottyto

(343 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
(Κοτυτώ; Kotytṓ; variant Kótys/Κότυς, Kottṓ/Κοττώ; Lat. Cottyto). [German version] A. General Traditionally considered variants of the name of a Thracian-Phrygian goddess who was honoured in orgiastic rites and whose festivity, the Kotytia, was celebrated in Corinth and Sicily in the Greek world [1]. However, it is probable that the Corinthian-Sicilian cult was part of the calendar of rural celebrations and should be differentiated from the putative Thracian cult [2]. Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) [German version] B. The Corinthian-Sicilian cult According to the Suda (s…

Molpus

(170 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Μόλπος/ Mólpos). In the local legend of Tenedos, according to some sources M. is a flute-player from Colonae in the Troad whose false testimony was partly responsible for the banishment of Tennes, the son of Cycnus [2], when Tennes was accused by his stepmother Philonome of attempted rape (Plut. Quest. Graec. 28; schol. Lycophr. 232). Older sources (‘Heraclides’ = Aristot. fr. 611,22 Rose; Lycophr. 232-239; Conon FGrH 26 F 1; as well as Paus. 10,14,2) do not mention …

Molpoi

(512 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Μολποί/ Molpoí). Term for the members of a society responsible for performing the paean at public sacrifices, documented almost exclusively in the towns of the Ionic Dodecapolis (especially Miletus and Ephesus) and their colonies. Although colleges of M. are only sparsely attested, the number of personal names formed from Μολπ- in the Ionic Aegean [1], the Dodecapolis (e.g., Hdt. 5,30,2; IEph 4102) and the Milesian colonies (e.g., SEG 41, 619, Olbia) indicates their political and …

Magic doll

(426 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] Loose term for an anthropomorphous statuette made from a variety of different materials for specific ritual purposes. The conceptual condition for such statuettes, which function as signs or images of a physical and social existence, is the context-contingent abolishment of the difference between living creatures and objects that are incapable of self-determination [1]. Such statuettes were used for beneficial as well as harmful purposes in the ancient Oriental empires, while in M…

Arimaspi

(126 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Ἀριμασποί; Arimaspoí). Mythical group of one-eyed people in the extreme North, beyond the Issedones and before the land of the griffins, whose gold, according to the epic by  Aristeas of Proconnesus, they apparently repeatedly stole (Hdt. 3,116; 4,13; 27). The earliest iconographic evidence is the mirror of Kelermes, c. 570 BC [1. 260 pl. 303]. In contrast to older interpretations [2. 112-6], these days the historical aspect of this is understood as a component of a sop…

Pontifex, Pontifices

(1,559 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] A. General The pontifices were the most eminent college of priests in Rome. Their traditional founder was Numa Pompilius (Liv. 1,20,5-7). According to the accepted modern etymology ( pont- = 'way', cf. Sanskrit p ánthāh, 'path'), pontifex means 'path maker' [1]; some ancient etymologies, though wrong, more clearly illustrate Roman views: Q. Mucius [I 9] Scaevola, himself pontifex maximus, suggested an etymology from posse and facere: 'those who have the power (to act)’ (Varro, Ling. 5,83; cf. Plut. Numa 9,2). The collegium had the duty, at least from the time …

Curetes

(1,030 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Κουρῆτες; Kourêtes, Lat. Curetes). Mythological beings who protect the infant  Zeus from his father  Kronos by hitting their spears against their shields in order to drown out his screams (Callim. H. 1,51-53; Apollod. 1,1,6f.) or to deter the father (Str. 10,3,11). Most sources locate the scene in the cave of  Dicte on Crete, others locate it on  Ida [1] (e.g. Epimenides, FGrH 457 F 18, Aglaosthenes of Naxos, FGrH 499 F 1f., Apoll. Rhod. 1,1130, cf. Callim. H. 1,6-9). In one variati…

Cautes, Cautopates

(221 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Καύτης, Καυτοπάτης; Kaútēs, Kautopátēs). Antithetical pair of companions of  Mithras, associated with a large number of attributes, e.g. burning torches [1]. The etymology is disputed, the most plausible being the derivation from old Iranian * kaut ‘young’ [2]. Already the earliest iconographic representation displays them as complementary opposites [3]. They are the ‘twin brothers’ who are nourished by Mithras' water miracle (Mithraeum of Santa Prisca, Rome). The only literary documentation (Porph. de antro Nympharum 24 with conjecture Arethusa, p. 24,14…

Caelestis

(290 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] Latin name for the female counterpart of the highest Punic-Berber deity  Saturnus. The earliest iconographic portrayal, on the denarii of Q. Caecilius Metellus 47-46 BC, show C. as a lion-headed figure, genius terrae Africae (RRC 1. 472, no. 460. 4. pl. LIV). Literary sources describe her as the city goddess of Carthage; C. was also the protective goddess of Thuburbo maius, Oea and probably of other towns; ruler of the stars in the heavens, and of the Earth with all its produce and its inhabitants, as well…

Magical papyri

(1,407 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] I. General information Loose term for the constantly increasing body of Graeco-Egyptian magic texts (standard editions: [1; 2], since then, newly pu…
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