Encounters between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece
Publication Year: 2013
Topics of focus include the origin of the goes (the ritual practitioner who made interaction with the dead his specialty), the threat to the living presented by the ghosts of those who died dishonorably or prematurely, the development of Hecate into a mistress of ghosts and its connection to female rites of transition, and the complex nature of the Erinyes. Restless Dead culminates with a new reading of Aeschylus' Oresteia that emphasizes how Athenian myth and cult manipulated ideas about the dead to serve political and social ends.
Published by: University of California Press
Title Page, Copyright
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So goes one of our oldest ghost stories.1 The Greek historian Herodotustells it to illustrate the moral flaws of a tyrant: to serve his own purposes,Periander was willing to rob and humiliate all the women in Corinth, tosay nothing of indulging in necrophilia. But at the same time, Herodotusprovides a textbook example of how relations between the living and the...
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Good colleagues are a scholar's greatest resource, and I am fortunate inhaving had many who were willing to discuss ideas with me at variousstages of this book's completion. First of all, I thank Philippe Borgeaudand David Frankfurter, both of whom critiqued early versions of my the-ories during a shared semester of fellowship at the Institute for Advanced...
Frequently Used Terms
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I use many transliterated Greek words in this book, translating the termwhen it first is used but not thereafter. For convenience, here are defini-tions of the most important terms. Plurals follow in parentheses.agalma (agalmata) anything that delights a god, including a statue ofalastor (alastores) and elasteros (elasteroi] a vengeful ghost or an...
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PART IA Short History of theDead in Ancient Greece
CHAPTER IElpenor and Others
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So begins one of the most effective ghost stories of the twentieth century.It is an appropriate overture for a tale that explores how human beingscope not only with incursions by the restless dead but also with the un-certainty of whether what they are experiencing is really the work ofghosts or only the creation of their own imaginations. When the main...
CHAPTER 2To Honor and Avert
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Reprinted here with the kind permission of the Associated Press.In chapter i, I used evidence from narrative sources to examine ancientGreek beliefs concerning the dead and how they changed over the courseof three centuries or so. Now I turn to other types of evidence, both totest the accuracy of the conclusions reached earlier and to try to extend...
CHAPTER 3Magical Solutionsto Deadly Problems
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Masquerading as a wizard in order to rescue a woman held captive inthe Basque region of Spain, Lord Peter Wimsey constructs himself tomatch what his audience would expect of such a man. A book of spells,a wand, and, most important, obscure incantations spoken in a foreigntongue. In the popular imagination of many cultures, the wizard is...
PART IIRestless Dead
CHAPTER 4The Unavenged
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Mr. Tregennis's conclusion reflects a belief that was exceedingly com-mon in many cultures until recently—indeed, a belief that still underliesmany contemporary ghost stories. Disasters for which no other causecan be found, and especially madness, are presumed to have been in-flicted by creatures "not of this world." Most often, it is specifically the...
CHAPTER 5Childless Mothersand Blighted Virgins
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MANILA, Philippines (AP)—Filipinos will choose a new president andthousands of elected officials next week. But in the squalid barrios ofterrorizing the area. According to Filipino folklore, a manananggalappears as a woman who can cut her body in two. The top half fliesaround at night searching for babies to devour. The top half must...
PART IIIDivinities and the Dead
CHAPTER 6Hecate and the Dying Maiden
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No figure is more closely associated with the returning souls of the deadthan Hecate. Her role as their leader was well enough established by thefifth century for the tragedians to allude to it without further explana-tion. In an unassigned tragic fragment, one person asks another, "Doyou fear that you will see a phantom in your sleep? Do you expect to be...
CHAPTER 7Purging the Polls
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In two linear B tablets found in Knossos, the name Erinu—an early formof Erinys—appears along with early forms of the names Zeus, Athena,Enyalios, Paion, and Poseidon.1 That Erinu is a divinity of approxi-mately equal stature to these others is hard to deny: not only is her nameincluded alongside theirs without any apparent distinction, but on one...
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Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2013