Greek Gods Abroad

Sather Classical Lectures

Book 72
Univ of California Press
Free sample

From even before the time of Alexander the Great, the Greek gods spread throughout the Mediterranean, carried by settlers and largely adopted by the indigenous populations. By the third century b.c., gods bearing Greek names were worshipped everywhere from Spain to Afghanistan, with the resulting religious systems a variable blend of Greek and indigenous elements. Greek Gods Abroad examines the interaction between Greek religion and the cultures of the eastern Mediterranean with which it came into contact. Robert Parker shows how Greek conventions for naming gods were extended and adapted and provides bold new insights into religious and psychological values across the Mediterranean. The result is a rich portrait of ancient polytheism as it was practiced over 600 years of history.
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About the author

Robert Parker is Wykeham Professor of Ancient History at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Miasma: Pollution and Purification in Early Greek Religion, Athenian Religion: A History, Polytheism and Society in Athens, and On Greek Religion.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of California Press
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Published on
May 23, 2017
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Pages
261
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ISBN
9780520967250
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / Greece
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This content is DRM protected.
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"We Greeks are one in blood and one in language; we have temples to the gods and religious rites in common, and a common way of life." So the fifth-century historian Herodotus has some Athenians declare, in explanation of why they would never betray their fellow Greeks to the enemy, the "barbarian" Persians. And he might have added further common features, such as clothing, foodways, and political institutions. But if the Greeks knew that they were kin, why did many of them side with the Persians against fellow Greeks, and why, more generally, is ancient Greek history so often the history of internecine wars and other forms of competition with one another? This is the question acclaimed historian Robin Waterfield sets out to explore in this magisterial history of ancient Greece. With more information, more engagingly presented, than any similar work, this is the best single-volume account of ancient Greece in more than a generation. Waterfield gives a comprehensive narrative of seven hundred years of history, from the emergence of the Greeks around 750 BCE to the Roman conquest of the last of the Greco-Macedonian kingdoms in 30 BCE. Equal weight is given to all phases of Greek history -- the Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic periods. But history is not just facts; it is also a matter of how we interpret the evidence. Without compromising the readability of the book, Waterfield incorporates the most recent scholarship by classical historians and archaeologists and asks his readers to think critically about Greek history. A brilliant, up-to-date account of ancient Greece, suitable for history buffs and university students alike, Creators, Conquerors, and Citizens presents a compelling and comprehensive story of this remarkable civilization's disunity, underlying cultural solidarity, and eventual political unification.
"There is something of a paradox about our access to ancient Greek religion. We know too much, and too little. The materials that bear on it far outreach an individual's capacity to assimilate: so many casual allusions in so many literary texts over more than a millennium, so many direct or indirect references in so many inscriptions from so many places in the Greek world, such an overwhelming abundance of physical remains. But genuinely revealing evidence does not often cluster coherently enough to create a vivid sense of the religious realities of a particular time and place. Amid a vast archipelago of scattered islets of information, only a few are of a size to be habitable."—from the Preface

In On Greek Religion, Robert Parker offers a provocative and wide-ranging entrée into the world of ancient Greek religion, focusing especially on the interpretive challenge of studying a religious system that in many ways remains desperately alien from the vantage point of the twenty-first century. One of the world's leading authorities on ancient Greek religion, Parker raises fundamental methodological questions about the study of this vast subject. Given the abundance of evidence we now have about the nature and practice of religion among the ancient Greeks—including literary, historical, and archaeological sources—how can we best exploit that evidence and agree on the central underlying issues? Is it possible to develop a larger, "unified" theoretical framework that allows for coherent discussions among archaeologists, anthropologists, literary scholars, and historians?

In seven thematic chapters, Parker focuses on key themes in Greek religion: the epistemological basis of Greek religion; the relation of ritual to belief; theories of sacrifice; the nature of gods and heroes; the meaning of rituals, festivals, and feasts; and the absence of religious authority. Ranging across the archaic, classical, and Hellenistic periods, he draws on multiple disciplines both within and outside classical studies. He also remains sensitive to varieties of Greek religious experience. Also included are five appendixes in which Parker applies his innovative methodological approach to particular cases, such as the acceptance of new gods and the consultation of oracles. On Greek Religion will stir debate for its bold questioning of disciplinary norms and for offering scholars and students new points of departure for future research.

Tim Sharp, a sound editor for a mid-west college, had always lived his life as a paradox. Half of his life was spent in tireless pursuit of the next scientific or technological advancement; the other half was usually filled by ‘role-playing’ and video games, or fantasy novels. He held only a passing interest in the paranormal, but he was at least intrigued by the possibility. When he met Carley Newquist, his two worlds collided with a mind and heart-numbing crash. Both Tim and Carley would remember the day that old Professor Freeman came into the sound editing lab with a mysterious recording and a strange request as the day that changed everything. Old Professor Freeman tells Tim and Carley of a strange incident in a recent class, involving half of his students turning in an assignment late; and they all offer their recordings as proof of what the Professor requested. After interviewing most of the students in class that day, Tim and Carley’s investigations are halted by a secretive student who refuses to talk. Is this student the author of an elaborate college hoax? Or does he know more about the mysterious voice than he is admitting? After finally getting the kid to talk, Tim and Carley learn the reason for his silence and evasiveness. He had recognized ‘the voice’ in class as the same one from one of his ‘Ghost Hunting’ trips. Armed with this new clue, Tim and Carley begin an investigation both with the group and, more treacherously, individually. The results are a perplexing, terrifying and enlightening roller coaster ride through both this world and the world just on the other side of perception leading to a shocking and edifying conclusion.
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