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Nekydaimon

(367 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[German version] (Νεκυδαίμων; Nekydaímōn). Nekydaímōn is used in magic papyri and defixiones as a technical term to describe the spirit ( daímōn; Demons) of a dead person (Greek  nékys) providing services to the living. It was primarily the spirits of people who had not received a ritual burial ( átaphoi), or who had died violently ( biaiothánatoi) or prematurely ( áhōros ) that were threatened with the fate of being forced into service as a n ekydaímōn.  (PGM V 304-369; [1. 46-63, 71-81, 100-123; 3. 273]). The word nekydaímon is not found other than in papyri and defixiones, but they are…

Ahoros

(502 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[German version] (ἄωρος; áōros). ‘Untimely’, used as adjective and noun, known in the magical papyri as a designation of a soul that died before its time (ἄωρος). Ahoros in this usage also appears in literary texts (Aesch. Eum. 956; Eur. Or. 1030); ahoros or synonyms (πρόμοιρος, ἀωρόμορος) are also found in grave inscriptions of all periods [1. 14; 2]. In general ahoros relates to death before puberty, marriage or childbirth ([1. 47-83]; cf. Od. 11,36-41; Verg. Aen. 6,426-29; Pl. Resp. 615c; PGM IV 2732-5). Living people could command the ahoros to carry out various tasks, includi…

Oracula Chaldaica

(463 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[German version] The term Oracula Chaldaica describes those Greek poems in dactylic hexameters which were allegedly uttered by Hecate and possibly also other deities, either directly to a man known by the name of Julian [4] the Chaldean, who had invoked them, or via a divinely possessed medium acting for Julian. The poems were written in archaizing style which imitated both Homer and other older oracles. Although they date from the late 2nd or early 3rd cent. AD, the name Oracula Chaldaica was not…

Theurgy

(934 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[German version] (θεουργία/ t heourgía), from Greek 'divine' ( theîos) and 'work' ( érgon): 'divinely oriented actions'. During the first few cents. AD, there arose a number of religious movements that combined elements of Platonic philosophy, practices drawn from traditional cult, and newer doctrines that adherents claimed were revealed to them directly by the gods. One of the most influential of these movements was Theurgie, which emphasized worshipping the gods through ritual. Theurgie was said to have been founded by a certain Julian, who came to be known as 't…

Orphicae Lamellae

(428 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[German version] (Orphic gold leafs). A number of Greek texts on thin gold foil from grave finds; the Latin expression has become established since [1]. A critical edition of most of the texts known until 1997 (18 in total) can be found in [2]. The texts contain instructions and information to guide the soul of the dead on its way through the underworld and to guarantee its preferential treatment by the gods of the same place. They are called 'Orphic' because early scholarship, knowing significant…

Gello

(160 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[German version] (Γελλώ; Gellṓ) designates the spirit of a girl who died single, which kills unmarried or pregnant women and small children; it is first mentioned in Sappho (fr. 178 L.P. = 168 V.) [1]; G. is also the name of a mythological creature with these characteristics (Suda s.v.). It was still feared in the Byzantine period (Johannes Damascenus Perì Stryngôn, PG 94, 1904 C; Psellos Dihḗgesis perì Gellṓs [2]), something that has survived to the present day in rural Greece [3]. G. has often been associated with  Lamia and  Mormo, two similar spirits, and the strix. Rites to fend off G…

Gate, deities associated with

(314 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[German version] The three most important Greek deities associated with gates (for Rome see  Ianus,  Carna) were  Hecate (and  Artemis, who was closely associated with her),  Hermes and  Hercules. Hecataea (small statues or shrines to Hecate) were to be found in front of the gates of private houses and in front of city gates (Aeschyl. TrGF 388; Aristoph. Vesp. 804, Hsch. s. v. προπύλαια). Corresponding with this is the association between Hecate and additional liminal places, particularly road-forks ( tríhodoi), which is in turn connected with her role as protector from t…

Megaera

(131 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[German version] (Μέγαιρα/Mégaira, ‘the envious one’, Lat. Megaera). Name of one of the Erinyes ( Erinys; Apollod. 1,3f.; Cornutus 10; Verg. Aen. 12,845-847; Lucan. 1,572-577, 6,730; Stat. Theb. 1,712; more in [1. 123]), perhaps also a name for the destructive power of personified envy in general and the evil eye in particular (Orph. Lithika 224f., cf. Orph. Lithika kerygmata 2,4). A 3rd century AD altar with a votive inscription to M. has been found in Pergamum. Votive offerings may have been made with the aim of warding off envy [2]. Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton) Bibliography 1 E. Wüs…

Erinys

(713 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[German version] (Ἐρινύς; Erinýs). Etymology uncertain (Chantraine 2,371, cf. [1; 2. 83-4]). E. is already mentioned in  Linear B (KN 200 = Fp 1, 208 = V 52, cf. Fs 390; [1]) in connection with other deities such as Zeus, Athene, Paeon and Poseidon. Later, the name appears both in the singular as well as in the plural (‘Erinyes’). Mostly, the Erinyes are daughters of Night (Aesch. Eum. 69; 322 et passim) or they originate from drops of blood shed during Uranus' castration (Hes. Theog. 185), which indicates their connection with crime within a family, in particul…

Kleidouchos

(163 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[German version] (κλειδοῦχος; kleidoûchos, ‘Holder of the keys’) referred to the person who had the keys to the house (Eur. Tro. 492), or the priest or priestess who held the keys to the temple (Aesch. Supp. 291). Some cults assigned a symbolic significance to this function (on Carian Hecate cults [1; 2]). Sometimes kleidoûchos was an epiclesis of a deity as well, in particular of Hecate in her soteriological role in the mysticism of late antiquity (such as Procl. In Platonis rem publicam vol. 2, 212,7 Kroll; Orph. H. 1,7; more in [2]). Kleidoûchos was also the Pythagorean term for the …

Mormo

(160 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[German version] (Μορμώ/ Mormṓ). A female spirit, principally used to frighten children (Theocr. 15,40 with schol.; Plat. Phd. 77e; Str. 1,2,8; schol. Aristides p. 41 Dindorf = 1,5), in this role often interchangeable with Gello, Lamia [1] and strix (a nocturnal bird which sucked the blood out of children). Her other name, Mormolýkē or Mormolykía, suggests she was imagined as a wolf, though Theocr. 15,40 (with schol. ad loco) associates her with a horse and Erinna 26f. implies she could change shape. According to myth M. was a woman from Corinth who devoured at first her own…

Iphigenia

(906 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
(Ἰφιγένεια; Iphigéneia). [German version] A. Myth Daughter of  Agamemnon and  Clytaemnestra (Procl. Cypriorum enarratio, 55-62 EpGF S.32; Aesch. Ag.; but cf. Stesich. fr. 191 PMGF and Nicander fr. 58 = Antoninus Liberalis 27, where Theseus and Helena are her parents and Clytaemnestra merely adopts I.), sister of  Orestes,  Chrysothemis [2] and  Electra [4]. Although she was promised to marry Achilles [1], Agamemnon, on the advice of Calchas, sacrificed her to Artemis to allow the Greeks' departure for Troy, which had been delayed by an unnatural calm. Aulis is most commonly refer…

Iphinoe

(96 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[German version] (Ἰφινόη; Iphinóē). Name of various heroines in myth and cult: one was a daughter of the Megarian king  Alcathous [1] at whose grave girls offered libations and locks of hair before marriage (Paus. 1,43,3f.), another was a daughter of king  Proetus (Apollod. 2,29) who died when Melampus tried to cure her and her sisters of madness. She may have been honoured with rites during the Argive Agrigonia. (Hsch. s.v. Agrania). Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton) Bibliography W. Burkert, Homo Necans, 1972, 189-200 K. Dowden, Death and the Maiden. Girls' Initiation Rites in…

Hecate

(1,055 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[German version] (Ἑκάτη; Hekátē). Into the modern age, the goddess H. has been known as the mistress of ghosts, as the demonic mediator par excellence between above and below. In this function, she is closely associated with  magic in which the ‘use’ of the spirits of the dead plays an important role (Eur. Med. 397; Hor. Sat. 1,8,33). H. probably stems from Caria and came to Greece around the archaic age, from where her worship spread to the entire Graeco-Roman world. Her cult in Caria (above all in Lagina) and other p…

Oracula Chaldaica

(444 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[English version] Mit dem Begriff O.Ch. werden griech. Gedichte in daktylischen Hexametern bezeichnet, welche angeblich von Hekate und vielleicht auch anderen Gottheiten entweder direkt zu einer unter dem Namen Iulianos [4] der Chaldäer bekannten Figur gesprochen werden, der sie angerufen hatte, oder über ein von Iulianos eingesetztes göttlich besessenes Medium. Die Gedichte sind in archaisierender Sprache verfaßt, die sowohl Homer als auch ältere Orakel nachahmt. Obwohl sie aus dem späten 2. oder…

Orphicae Lamellae

(407 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[English version] (orphische Goldblättchen). Eine Reihe von griech. Texten auf dünner Goldfolie aus Gräberfunden; der lat. Ausdruck hat sich seit [1] eingebürgert. Eine kritische Ed. der meisten bis 1997 bekannten Texte (18 Stück) findet sich in [2]. Die Texte geben Anweisungen und Informationen, welche die Seele des Toten auf ihrem Weg durch die Unterwelt leiten und sicherstellen sollen, daß sie von den Unterweltsgöttern bevorzugt behandelt wird. “Orphisch” heißen sie, weil die frühere Forsch. au…

Iphinoe

(94 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[English version] (Ἰφινόη). Name verschiedener Heroinen in Mythos und Kult: zum einen eine Tochter des megarischen Königs Alkathoos [1], an dessen Grab Mädchen vor ihrer Hochzeit Trankopfer und Haarlocken opferten (Paus. 1,43,3f.); zum anderen die Tochter des Königs Proitos (Apollod. 2,29), die bei einem Versuch des Melampus, sie und ihre Schwestern vom Wahnsinn zu heilen, stirbt. Vielleicht wurde sie mit Riten während der argiv. Agrigonia geehrt (Hesych. s.v. Agrania). Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton) Bibliography W. Burkert, Homo Necans, 1972, 189-200  K. Dowden, Death and…

Kleiduchos

(144 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[English version] (κλειδοῦχος, “Schlüsselhalter/-in”) bezeichnete die Person, welche über die Hausschlüssel (Eur. Tro. 492), oder den Priester bzw. die Priesterin, welche über die Tempelschlüssel verfügte (Aischyl. Suppl. 291); in einigen Kulten hatte dies neben der prakt. auch eine symbol. Bed. (zu karischen Hekatekulten [1; 2]). Manchmal war K. auch Epiklese einer Gottheit, vor allem von Hekate in ihrer soteriologischen Rolle im spätant. Mystizismus (etwa Prokl. In Platonis rem publicam Bd. 2, 212,7 Kroll; Orph. h. 1,7; mehr bei [2]). K. war auch die Bezeichnung, die die…

Iphigeneia

(881 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
(Ἰφιγένεια). [English version] A. Mythos Tochter von Agamemnon und Klytaimestra (Prokl. Cypriorum enarratio, 55-62 EpGF S.32; Aischyl. Ag.; vgl. aber Stesich. fr. 191 PMGF und Nikandros fr. 58 = Antoninus Liberalis 27, wo Theseus und Helena ihre Eltern sind und I. lediglich von Klytaimestra adoptiert wird), Schwester von Orestes, Chrysothemis [2] und Elektra [4]. Obwohl sie dem Achilleus [1] zur Ehe versprochen ist, wird sie von Agamemnon auf Rat des Kalchas der Artemis geopfert, um die durch eine unnatürliche Windstille verzögerte Abfahrt der Griechen nach Troia zu ermöglichen. Al…

Ahoros

(477 words)

Author(s): Johnston, Sarah Iles (Princeton)
[English version] (ἄωρος). “Unzeitig”, als Adj. und Subst. gebraucht, bekannt aus den magischen Papyri als Bezeichnung einer Seele, die vor ihrer Zeit (ἄωρος) gestorben ist. A. taucht in dieser Verwendung auch in lit. Texten auf (Aischyl. Eum. 956; Eur. Or. 1030); A. oder Syn. (πρόμοιρος, ἀωρόμορος) finden sich auch auf Grabinschr. aller Perioden [1. 14; 2]. Im Allg. ist mit A. der Tod vor Pubertät, Heirat oder Geburt gemeint ([1. 47-83]; vgl. Od. 11,36-41; Verg. Aen. 6,426-29; Plat. rep. 615c; PG…
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