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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 published texts in [3]). The most important distinction is to be made between the handbooks (until now more than 80 published copies) on papyrus, which contain the instructions for acts of magic, and directly used texts (at least 115 published copies) on papyrus, metal (lead tablets), pottery shards, wood, etc., corresponding to the extant …

Logos

(3,385 words)

Author(s): Ierodiakonou, Katerina (Oxford) | Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Meister, Klaus (Berlin)
[1] Philosophical [German version] A. Term The Greek noun lógos (λόγος) is derived from the verb légein, ‘say’. Greek philosophers made extensive use of it in a wide range of meanings: what has been said, word, assertion, definition, interpretation, explanation, reason, criterion, proportion, relation, argument, rational discourse. Ierodiakonou, Katerina (Oxford) [German version] B. Pre-Socratics Attempts to trace the use of the word in detail have proved to be unsuccessful. It is, however, evident that logos was already being used by the Pre-Socratics, chiefly in re…

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 partial answer to this question was attempted by pointing to the fact that E. appears as E-nu-wa-ri-jo in a list of four deities from Knosos. Independent of how the Mycenaean deity was imagined…

Syncretism

(1,979 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Gippert, Jost (Frankfurt/Main)
I. In the context of religious studies [German version] A. General remarks In a religious context, syncretism can be defined as the process of either a peaceable or a contentious mutual permeation of elements taken from two or more traditions [1]. Here 'tradition' is inevitably an ambiguous concept; in considering Antiquity, scholars traditionally distinguish between 'internal syncretism' and 'contact-based syncretism'. 'Internal syncretism' refers to the transfer of manifestations, names and epithets from one deity to another within a single polytheisti…

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, the cosmic order. Likewise, in Iran Mi θ ra is one of the most important yazata (gods), who leads people ‘on the path of aša, order’ ( Yašt 10,86; [2. 114f.]), and guides a multitude of social relations such as agreements, friendship, marriage and blood kinship ( Yašt 10,116f.). In thi…

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…

Luna

(1,084 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Angeli Bertinelli, Maria Gabriella (Genoa)
[German version] [1] Roman Goddess of the moon Latin for moon. Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) [German version] A. Overview Deity as well as celestial body, L. was considered the subordinate (female) counterpart to Sol, the sun. In Roman etymology, the name derives from the Latin lucēre, ‘to shine’ (Varro, Ling. 5,68; Cic. Nat. D. 2,68), in modern etymology from the feminine form of the corresponding adjective * louqsna (connected to Lucina , cf. losna in Praeneste, CIL I2 549). Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) [German version] B. Public cult and temple The Roman antiquarians believed…

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 M. According t…

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…

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 (Ahriman) and the ultimate vi…

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 au…

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. 212). The term relates to 1. shepherds in mythical stories who have been converted to servants of the god by witnessing a miracle (Eur. Bacch. 660-774); 2. the transformation of Dionysus from human to animal form, especially as a bull (idem 616-22; Plut. Quaest. Graec. 299b) [1]. The place associated with mythical shepherds is the mountains, the c…

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)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
(Greek Μᾶ/ , Lat. Ma-Bellona). One of a number of powerful Anatolian deities, whose cult was concentrated on the great temples (cf. Anaitis in Zela, Cybele/ Mḗtēr in Pessinus, Men Pharnaku in Cabira). The basic meaning of the word [1], widespread as a feminine proper name, is ‘mother’. [German version] A. Temple and cult in Anatolia The original centre of the cult was Comana [1]/Hierapolis in Cappadocian Cataonia. The local temple was already significant at the time of Suppiluliuma I ( c. 1355-1320 BC) ( Ḫattusa B. 3). A second ‘temple state’ arose in Comana [2]/Hierocaesa…

Mars

(2,454 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Ley, Anne (Xanten)
[German version] I. Cult and myth Mars is one of the oldest Italic-Roman deities. His original functions have been superimposed to such an extent that it proves difficult, maybe even impossible, to determine today the concepts that the Italic-Roman people had of him. The limitation of his function to the aspect of war corresponded to the interest of the Roman aristocracy to control the social significance and use of warfare. Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) [German version] A. Name Of the different forms of the name, Mārs was probably the earliest, since it spread in Italy so ear…

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 sophisticated representation of the foreigner -- with the Greek world as its point of reference. …

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 …
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