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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…

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…

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 as of …

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 …

Theoi Megaloi, Theai Megalai

(494 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
(θεοὶ μεγάλοι/ theoì megáloi, θεαὶ μεγάλαι/ theaì megálai, Latin di magni). [German version] I. General Term for a variety of deities or groups of gods in the Greek world. A distinction is made between deities or groups of gods for whom the adjective 'great' was used as an honorary epithet (e.g. Megálē Týchē, Theòs hýpsistos mégas theós) and those whose cultic nomen proprium was 'Great God' or 'Great Gods', such as the TM in Caria (SEG 11,984; 2nd cent. AD). Inscriptions record a broad range of use between these two poles. Often the TM are deities or groups…

Anaetis

(258 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Ἀναῖτις; Anaîtis). Iranian goddess. The Avestic name, Aredvī-Sūrā-Ānāhitā, goddess of the waters, consists of three epithets (e.g. anāhitā = untainted). The Indo-Iranian name was probably Sarasvatī, ‘the one who possesses the waters’. Yašt 5 describes her as a beautiful woman clad in beaver skins, who drives a four-horse chariot. She cleanses male sperm and the wombs of animals and humans, brings forth mother's milk, but also bestows prosperity and victory. Promoted in Achaemenid times (Berossus, FGrH 680 F11); in an undefined phase previously, she…

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 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…

Enyo

(140 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[English version] (Ἐνυώ). Blasse weibliche Entsprechung zu Enyalios, von dessen Name E. eine Kurzform ist; Göttin des blutigen Nahkampfs. In Homers Ilias erscheint sie 5,333 mit Athene und in Vers 592 mit Ares, mit dem zusammen sie die Trojaner ermutigt. Ihr Erkennungsmerkmal ist der Kydoimos (Daimon des Nahkampfs), den sie wie eine Waffe schwingt (Il. 5,592, vgl. 18,535; schol. Hom. Il. 5,593). Genealogiebildungen aus diesen Passagen machten E. zur Mutter bzw. Tochter oder Amme des Ares (schol. H…

Zurvan

(211 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L.
[English version] Der iranische Zeitgott (avestisch: zruuan; pehlavī: zamān). Z. hatte zwei Formen: Als die ewige Zeit des göttlichen Daseins ist er zruuan akarana- (avestisch), “die grenzenlose Zeit”, als die Periode der Konfrontation zw. Gutem und Bösem zruuan darengō.xvadāta, “die Zeit der langen Herrschaft”. Früher ging man davon aus, daß der “Zurvanismus” innerhalb der zoroastrischen Rel. (Zoroastrismus) eine medische Sonderform, eine Degeneration oder eine Häresie darstelle. Jetzt wird der Mythos, bei dem Z. als kosmogonische …

Theoi Megaloi, Theai Megalai

(460 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L.
(θεοὶ μεγάλοι, θεαὶ μεγάλαι, lat. di magni). [English version] I. Allgemeines Bezeichnung für verschiedene Gottheiten bzw. Göttergruppen in der griech. Welt. Man unterscheidet zw. Gottheiten bzw. Göttergruppen, bei denen das Adj. “groß” als Ehrenepitheton verwendet wurde (z. B. Megálē Týchē, Theós hýpsistos mégas theós), und solchen, deren kultisches nomen proprium “Großer Gott” bzw. “Große Götter” war, wie den Th. M. in Karien (SEG 11,984; 2. Jh. n. Chr.). Die Inschr. belegen ein breites Verwendungsspektrum zw. diesen zwei Polen. Oft handelt es sich bei den Th. M. um Gott…

Enyalios

(537 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[English version] (Ἐνυάλιος, auch dial. Formen). Gottheit des Nahkampfs, in histor. Zeit im Augenblick des Kampfbeginns angerufen. Schon in der Ant. war umstritten, ob E. nur ein Epitheton von Ares in lit. Texten oder urspr. eine eigenständige Gottheit war (schol. Hom. Il. 17,211; 22,132; schol. Soph. Ai. 179; schol. Aristoph. Pax, 457 = Alkm. fr. 104 Bergk/44 PMG). Diese Frage wurde teilweise dadurch versucht zu beantworten, daß E. als E-nu-wa-ri-jo in einer Liste von vier Gottheiten aus Knosos vorkommt. Unabhängig davon, wie man sich die myk. Gottheit auch vors…

Zauberworte

(1,068 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L.
(ὀνόματα βάρβαρα/ onómata bárbara, lat. nomina barbarica). [English version] I. Allgemeines Loser Begriff für Namen, Worte und Laute, die in der ant. Inkantationspraxis sowohl der Ritualmagie wie auch der Volksmedizin verwendet wurden. Ihre Obskurität bzw. Undeutlichkeit wurde von den ant. Beobachtern oft als Synekdoche für das Anderssein der Magie, v.a. in poetischen Schilderungen vermeintlicher Hexenrituale verstanden (z. B. Lucan. 6,685-693; Lukian. Dialogi Meretricii 4,5). Aus der Perspektive des Magie…
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