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(402 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] (εὐσέβεια; eusébeia). With eusebeia the Greeks characteristically conceptualized religion in a different way from the Romans with their religio or modern research with its ‘beliefs of the Hellenes’ or ‘Greek religion’ [1]. Eusebeia remained a part of the social value-system, in which the gods had no exclusive place. Factually and to some extent chronologically, three spheres may be distinguished: 1. In the polis, eusebeia describes a relationship of belonging and authority with regard to one's own parents, the polis and its norms, and the gods (Lys. 6. 33; …


(718 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] [1] Navel as center of the world (Ὀμφαλός/ Omphalós, 'navel'). The omphalos represents two signs which are combined in the omphalos of Delphi (Pind. Pyth. 4,74f.; Bacchyl. 4,4; Aesch. Eum. 40): (1) If it is true that the omphalòs thalássēs, 'navel of the sea', - as Ogygia, the island of Calypso, is called in Hom. Od. 1,50 - means the greatest distance from the human world, then, conversely, the navel of the oikuménē lies in the center of men. Thus the concept of omphalos does not express the geometrical center (but see below), bu…


(103 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] (Ἀγοραῖος; Agoraîos). The epiclesis of the gods designates the local and functional relationship of the god to the agora as a political and economical institution [1]. Thus Zeus in particular is cultically revered as guarantor of the statutes, and an oath is sworn to him [2; 3. 197-199], sometimes with others, including female deities (Artemis, Ge). Otherwise, Hermes is the market god par excellence (especially in Erythrae [3. 270]; IE 201 = Syll.3 1014, 90-100). Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen) Bibliography 1 R. E. Wycherly, in: Agora 3, 1957, 123a 2 H. Schwabl, …


(522 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] (Ἀνθεστήρια; Anthestḗria). Spring festival, celebrated wherever Ionians settle (Thuc. 2,15,4: ‘the oldest Dionysia’; prior to the Ionian migration). It is to be equated in part with the ritual of the Katagogia ‘Collecting (of the god from the sea)’ [1]. On the first day of the three-day festival (11th-13th Anthesterion), the Pithoigea (πιθ-οιγία ‘cask opening’), the wine flasks/ pithoi of the autumn are released for consumption and sale. The rural Dionysus sanctuary of Icaria celebrates the arrival of the god (Aiora [2]) and unites the …

Potnia theron

(960 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
(Πότνια θηρῶν/ Pótnia thērôn, 'Mistress of animals'). [German version] A. Preliminary remark In the study of Greek religion, the PT is the subject of several fundamental theses on the relationships between gods, humans and animals. The PT represented a vital experience in sacrifice and hunting, but also in the dangers of the human sphere of life: the sacralization of killing animals in order to save one's own life. In India, on the other hand, the master of animals represented the prohibition against killin…


(275 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] (αἰώρα; aiṓra, ‘swing’). At the spring festival of the Anthesteria, seat cushions or chairs were suspended from trees by ropes, for children to use as swings. This is portrayed on choe pots [pl. 1, 31,2; pl. 4, 18]. The custom is attested for Attic Icaria, the mythical place of arrival of Dionysus as wine god. Because the rough shepherds do not recognize the god's gift, they attempt to kill him, but instead strike the old man, the god's host, Icarius. The daughter Erigone wanders v…


(182 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] (Μαλεάτας; Maleátas). The epiclesis M. for Apollo is derived from the place-name Malea [1], the cape in the south-east of the Peloponnese (of the Mani) feared for its storms (Hom. Od. 3,287 et passim). Poseidon had a cult there (Eur. Cyc. 293; Paus. 3,23,2). Typically, however, it is Apollo rather than Poseidon who bears this epiclesis in the eastern Peloponnese and radiating outward from there, for example in Piraeus (IG II2 4962); here M., as well as Apollo, receives his own preliminary sacrifices before Asclepius. Another link with healing cults …


(286 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] (βουφόνια; bouphónia). In the Athenian Dipoleia, the ox that first eats of the sacrificial grain is sacrificed because it has desecrated the gift for the god (Porphyr. Abst. 2,28-30; this probably goes back to Theophrastus [5]; Paus 1,24,4). The slaughterer -- a hereditary office of the Thaulon family [3. 161] -- kills the animal for this reason and then flees. In the myth the Delphic oracle orders that the fleeing slaughterer, the farmer Sopater, be brought back and that he repeat…


(537 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] (Βενδῖς; Bendîs). The Thracian goddess B., still known to the Greeks in the 6th cent. (Hipponax fr. 127 W.) (see Hdn. 2, 761 L.; Liv. 38,41,1; only as antiquarian knowledge? [1. 114]), B. is understood in the interpretatio graeca as an  Artemis (Hdt. 4, 33; 5, 7; Palaephat. 31; Hsch.), as  Hecate (Plut. De def. or. 13, 416e, owing to incorrect etymology; Hsch. s.v. Ἀδμήτου κόρη) or Persephone (Orph. Fr. 200 OF; cf. texts in PCG 4, p. 165; cf. 159). The iconography, too, aims at equating her with Artemis as a hunting …

Myiager, Myiodes

(192 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] (Μυίαγρος/ Muíagros, Μυιώδης/ Muiṓdēs). Sacrifices attract flies. In order to drive them away, those offering a sacrifice would provide a preliminary sacrifice (with an additive?), the blood of which would satisfy the gnats (according to Ael. NA 5,17 for Leucas; 11,8). In the half-empty town of Alipheira the help of the ‘gnat-chaser’ Myiager was called upon (Paus. 8,26,7). In Olympia, on the malaria plain, similar protection was provided  by sacrifices to Zeus Apómyios, the ‘fly repeller’ (Paus. 5,14,1; Plin. HN 10,75; 29,106), or Myiakórēs/ Myiṓdēs (‘fly catche…


(346 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen) | Niemeyer, Hans Georg (Hamburg)
(βαιτύλια; βαίτυλοι; baitýlia, baítyloi). [German version] I. Religious Studies Large upright stones which are included in the cult activity in sanctuaries are to be found throughout the entire Mediterranean region [1]. It was the Phoenicians in particular who contributed to the spread of these. The baitylia in Tyrus and in Emesa were famous [2]. In Israel polemics and the inclusion of baitylia in the cult (Maṣṣebah) with the predication of God, exist side by side (God as a rock: Ps 28,1 [3]). Minoan iconography portrays ecstatic theophany (?) [4]. In Gre…


(68 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] (ἀρεταλόγοι; aretalógoi). Functionaries at sanctuaries who recount the great deeds (ἀρεταί; aretaí) of the local god to pilgrims, particularly in healing and Isis-cults [1; 2]. Used in Lat. to mean ‘boaster’. The historic form is connected to the Gospel [3]. Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen) Bibliography 1 Nilsson, GGR 2, 228 f. 2 H. S. Versnel, Ter unus, 1990, 191 f. 3 J. Z. Smith, Map is not Territory, 1978, 190-207. E. Norden, Agnostos Theos, 1913, 143-277.


(112 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] (Εὔφορβος; Eúphorbos). Hero in the Iliad on the Trojan side, son of Panthoos and Phrontis [1]. Together with Hector he killed Patroclus (Il. 16,806-815); Menelaus killed him in a counter-strike (Il. 17,9-60) [2]. His shield was kept at the Heraeum of Argus (Paus. 2,17,3).  Pythagoras considered himself to be an incarnation of E. (Heraclid. Pont. fr. 89 Wehrli/Schule; Callim. Fr. 191,59-63 Pfeiffer; Diog. Laert. 8,1,4; Ov. Met. 15,160-163 etc.) [3; 4]. Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen) Bibliography 1 P. v. d. Mühll, Kritisches Hypomnema zur Ilias, 1952, 255 2 L. Kahi…


(1,079 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen) | Hidber, Thomas (Berne) | Karttunen, Klaus (Helsinki) | Gatti, Paolo (Trento)
(Διομήδης; Diomḗdēs). [German version] [1] Cultic hero of the city of Argos Hero of the city of Argos in the Trojan War, as opposed to Agamemnon of Mycenae, the lord of north-eastern Argolis (Hom. Il. 2,559-568; cf. Il. 23,471f. [1; 2]). Son of Tydeus and Deipyle, the daughter of Adrastus. In his aristeia before Troy (Il. 5 and 6), he killed Pandarus, wounded Aphrodite when she tried to save Aeneas (Il. 5, 290-351), and later also wounded Ares (Il. 5, 825-863). As a friend of the family, he exchanged weapons with Glaucus the Lycian (on the side o…

Dragon slayers

(519 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] Dragons, from the Greek δράκων ( drákōn) derived from δέρκομαι ( dérkomai) ‘to look at penetratingly’ (Porph. De abstinentia 3,8,3), are mythical beings combining the superhuman qualities of various animals [1]. In mythology the world of humans was threatened by amphibious snakes (synonym: ὄφις; óphis, Hom. Il. 12,202/208), fish (κῆτος; kḗtos) or composite creatures. Only a hero could hold up against their power, gaze, odour and fiery breath, multiple heads and limbs. Victory over the dragon freed mankind from mortal peril, and t…


(149 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] (Αἴγισθος; Aígisthos). Pre-Grecian name [1]; neologism in the epic, short for αἰγι-σθένης [2]. In the Odyssey, son of Thyestes (only Od. 4,518); usurps the throne and wife of  Agamemnon. He murders (Od. 3,266-71) the conqueror of Troy on his homecoming. Thereafter he rules for seven years as king in Mycenae, until Orestes takes revenge for his father. A. is placed there as a negative (the murderer as king ὑπὲρ μόρον Od. 1,29-43; ἀμύμων, ‘good-looking’ instead of ‘beyond reproach’ […


(459 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] Modern atheism appeals to ancient models as its authority in its repudiation of the (Christian) religion; it even creates martyrs. While atheism in modern times turns against monotheism and institutions derived from it -- the term atheism first appears in the 16th cent. --, the ancient terms, including ἄθεος ( átheos, ‘god-less’), were part of a polytheistic system of local god-persons, which was realized in cultic forms and does not assume a verbalized, conceptual credo. Therefore, one must distinguish for ancient atheism: 1. Th…


(936 words)

Author(s): Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] (Ἀγαμέμνων, Agamémnōn). King of the Argives in Mycenae. In the early Greek epics A. led the army of the Argives ( Danai, Achaeans) against Troy, to avenge the kidnapping of the wife of his brother Menelaus. He brings the greatest fleet from the north-eastern Peloponnese (in the ships' catalogue Il. 2,569-575 south-western Argolis belongs to Diomedes, the remainder and as far as to Corinth, to A. In contrast to this, lord of ‘all Argus’ (Il. 2,107; 9,141 [1.180 f.]). In the Iliad he causes his charismatic rule [2] to waver through the theft of Achilles' capti…

Festivals; Feasts

(4,658 words)

Author(s): Sallaberger, Walther (Leipzig) | Felber, Heinz (Leipzig) | Auffarth, Christoph (Tübingen)
[German version] I. The Ancient Orient The ancient Mesopotamian calendar was based on the phases of the lunar cycle and was observed in the cult on a monthly basis (1st, 7th, 15th day). Annual feasts were frequently associated with the agrarian cycle (sowing, harvest), whereby regional differences must be drawn into consideration (e.g., irrigation vs. rainfed agriculture). Non-cyclical feasts were generally related to the ruler (crowning, temple and palace construction, war, death). In the family sphe…


(13,714 words)

Author(s): Bendlin, Andreas (Erfurt) | Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Assmann, Jan (Heidelberg) | Podella, Thomas (Lübeck) | Colpe, Carsten (Berlin) | Et al.
I. Introduction [German version] A. Definition of the concept 'Religion', the substantive for describing the religious, denotes a system of common practices, individual ideas about faith, codified norms and examples of theological exegesis whose validity is derived chiefly from an authoritative principle or being. For the academic study of religion, conversely, the word is a purely heuristic category in which those practices, ideas, norms and theological constructs are examined historically; however, the…
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