Greek Heroine Cults (Wisconsin Studies in Classics) by Jennifer Larson

By Jennifer Larson

This paintings exhibits that the worship of heroines, in addition to of gods and heroes, used to be frequent within the Greek global from the eighth in the course of the 4th centuries BC. Drawing upon textual, archaeological and iconographic proof as varied as historical go back and forth writing, ritual calendars, votive reliefs, and Euripidean drama, Jennifer Larson demonstrates the pervasiveness of heroine cults at each point of Athenian society. Larson finds huge diversity of herioc cults existed during the Greek international, encompassing not just members yet (Pelops and Hippodamela, Alexandra and Agamemnon, Helen and Menelaos) and households equivalent to these of Asklepios and the Dioskouroi. She indicates how heroic cults strengthened the Greek's gender expectancies for either men and women via ritual prestige, iconography, and narrative motifs. eventually, Larson appears to be like on the intersection of heroine cults with particular subject matters comparable to myths of maiden sacrifice, the Amazons, the function of the goddess Artemis, and folks ideals approximately woman "ghosts".

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A fourth-century colossal head of Asklepios was found in a cave on Melos, which also contained a statue base and figurines of Hygieia, as well as a votive bone inscribed with the names ofboth. 23 In Athens there was a sacrifice for Asklepios and Hygieia on the day of the Dissoteria. 24 Votive thank offerings are commonly dedicated to the pair. This is not to argue that Hygieia's importance is equal to that of Asklepios-on the contrary, her cult is almost entirely dependent on his. The point is that while we think of Asklepios as an individual healing figure, the experience of the person actually participating in the cult would have been of a pair or a family group.

These scenes, of course, lack such heroic attributes as snake, horse, and armor. 59 54 55 ICONOGRAPHY A N D HEROIC CULT Heroines in Votive Reliefs Heroines in Votive Reliefs In general, then, the "hero feast" is not shown on vases, and even the stereotypical scene of the banqueting "husband-wife" pair is avoided. A striking exception to this rule is a cup by the Kodros painter, dated 450-425. 60 It shows five divine couples in the familiar banqueting pose. In the central position are Persephone and Pluto, who holds a large cornucopia, the symbol of his ability to grant abundance.

2 The shape of the relief itself is significant; sepulchral reliefs are usually stelai, tall and relatively narrow, while votive reliefs for gods or heroes, including the Totenmahl reliefs, are oblong and wide, often intended to fit into the wall of a shrine. 3 Inscriptions on Totenmahl and other heroic reliefs are rare, suggesting that they generally were not used to commemorate the recently dead. Moreover, the few inscriptions we have show quite clearly that 42 43 Heroines in Votive Reliefs Heroines in Votive Reliefs the Totenmahl reliefs were dedicated primarily to heroes, and sometimes to deities with similar cults, such as chthonic Dionysos, Zeus Meilichios or Philios, and Asklepios.

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