Initiation in Ancient Greek Rituals and Narratives: New Critical Perspectives
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Scholars of classical history and literature have for more than a century accepted `initiation' as a tool for understanding a variety of obscure rituals and myths, ranging from the ancient Greek wedding and adolescent haircutting rituals to initiatory motifs or structures in Greek myth, comedy and tragedy.
In this books an international group of experts including Gloria Ferrari, Fritz Graf and Bruce Lincoln, critique many of these past studies, and challenge strongly the tradition of privileging the concept of initiation as a tool for studying social performances and literary texts, in which changes in status or group membership occur in unusual ways. These new modes of research mark an important turning point in the modern study of the religion and myths of ancient Greece and Rome, making this a valuable collection across a number of classical subjects.
who hold them in awe. When the chorus ask if this will be forever, they use the expression engueª n these, will you set, lay down, or deposit, as in a bank, an engueª of all the time to come? I believe that the image of laying valuables in store in a vault, or an underground vault, is the one that structures the sense of engueª as ``deposit'', one that suits its use both as guarantee and betrothal. I should make it clear that this is not a matter of tracing the etymology of the word, but of
question this widely held assumption. This faulty premise leads, moreover, to the equally shaky presumption that we can reconstruct female initiation rites in ancient Greece (for which we have woefully little evidence) by comparing them to the only slightly better documented male initiation rituals. It has been suggested, for example, that the female ``bears'' at Brauron have the same significance as the boy ``wolves'' have in the male initiation ceremonies connected with the Lykaia festival in
against helots. Given the emphasis on secrecy in this institution, we should perhaps be content with a certain amount of ambiguity in our sources. Vidal-Naquet (1986) 113^14. Plato Laws 633b^c, and the scholiast on this passage. It is worth mentioning that Plato put this description of the krypteia in the mouth of the Spartan Megillus. Plutarch (Lycurgus 28.3) supports his description of the murder of helots in the krypteia with Thucydides' account (4.80) of how the Spartans once determined who
cephalic hair as well.52 Specially grown cephalic hair might even have been thought of as a ritual substitute for the growth of secondary hair: it was certainly something that all boys were capable of in early adolescence, even those who lagged behind their contemporaries in pubertal development. The youthful hairstyles seen in the frescoes from Bronze Age Crete and Thera seem almost to have been designed to dramatize an increase in sexual vitality: the girls of Thera and the boys of Crete begin
epigram by Theodoridas from the third century BCE (A.P. 6.156), a Euboean youth dedicates to the nymphs of Amarynthos his hair together with a cicada pin, which presumably held the hair up: this is, in fact, the only literary reference I am aware of to a cicada hairpin apart from descriptions of the old Ionian practice, and this fact makes it all the more likely that that mention of the cicada pin in this dedicatory epigram would remind the reader of the Ionian practice. And considering Euboea's