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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…

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 …

Sol

(1,794 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Wallraff, Martin (Bonn)
(the Roman sun god, Greek Ἥλιος/ Hḗlios). I. Graeco-Roman [German version] A. General summary Although S. is one of the few undisputed Indo-European deities of the pantheon (cf. Gallic sulis, Gothic sauil, Old High German sôl, Greek *σαέλιος/* sawélios = ἥλιος/ hḗlios; [1]), the public cult of the sun played only a subordinate role in Rome and the Greek world, until the time that political developments led to an affinity between S. and the concept of monarchy (ruler cult). Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) [German version] B. Roman Republic According to Varro, the cult of the 'Sun'…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Priests

(4,255 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Quack, Joachim (Berlin) | Niehr, Herbert (Tübingen) | Haas, Volkert (Berlin) | Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Et al.
[German version] I. Mesopotamia From the 3rd millennium to the end of Mesopotamian civilization, the staff of Mesopotamian temples consisted of the cult personnel in the narrower sense - i.e. the priests and priestesses who looked after the official cult in the temples, the cult musicians and singers - and the service staff (male and female courtyard cleaners, cooks, etc.). In addition, there was the hierarchically structured administrative and financial staff of the temple households, which constit…

Meleager

(1,931 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster) | Badian, Ernst (Cambridge, MA) | Ameling, Walter (Jena) | Günther, Linda-Marie (Munich) | Albiani, Maria Grazia (Bologna)
(Μελέαγρος/ Meléagros, Lat. Meleager). [German version] [1] Hero from the pre-Trojan period, Argonaut, [1] Hero from the pre-Trojan period, Argonaut Mythological hero. Hero from the generation before the Trojan War, from Calydon [3], the capital city of the Aetolians. As one the Argonauts ( Argonautae) M. participated in the funereal games for Pelias (Stesich. PMG 179; Diod. 4,48,4). As the brother of Deianeira he is also linked with the Hercules cycle (Bacchyl. 5,170-175; Pind. fr. 70b). First and foremost, however, he is associated with the local legend of Calydon. In the archaic …
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