10.31.07 - Myth and Religion-Euripides, Bacchae Myth and...

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Myth and Religion-Euripides, Bacchae Myth and Religion Myth was a way to think about the gods largely separate form actual cult practices But myth and cult overlapped and interacted in a number of different ways o Three examples Myth were often present, visually or orally, at the performance of cult practices Visually: for example, the depictions of the contest of Athena and Poseidon and of the birth of Athena on the pediments of the Parthenon: background to Panathenaic sacrifices at outdoor altar on the Acropolis Orally: myths could be retold in the context of hymns performed at festivals Myth provided Greek religion with a Panhellenic dimension lacking in the sphere of actual cults, which were always local Example: the myth of Demeter and Persephone was Panhellenic; the author of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter associates it with the local cult at Eleusis, giving that cult a Panhellenic association Myth promoted the idea that all Greeks, despite their local cults in honor of specific gods (e.g. Athena Polias), actually worshipped the same gods. Myth could provide an explanation, an aetiology, of a particular cult practice Example: story of Hippolytus and the ritual of hair made by brides-to-be in Trozen (Euripides, Hippolytus…) In many cases, the myth seems to have a secondary development, created in order to explain the ritual
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2008 for the course CLAS 131 taught by Professor James during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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10.31.07 - Myth and Religion-Euripides, Bacchae Myth and...

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