Miasma: Pollution and Purification in Early Greek Religion

Paperback | April 30, 1999

byRobert Parker

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Anyone who has sampled even a few of the most commonly read Greek texts will have encountered pollution. The pollution of bloodshed is a frequent theme of tragedy: Orestes is driven mad; Oedipus brings plague upon all Thebes. In historical texts we find cities intervening in the internalaffairs of others to `drive out the pollution', or making war on account of it. Political orators represent their opponents as polluting demons. Purity is a constant concern in ritual texts, and any Greek underwent many small purifications in his everyday life. Certain abnormal religiousmovements of the archaic age made `purification' the path to felicity in the afterlife. First published in hardback in 1983, Miasma is the first work in English to treat this theme in detail.

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From Our Editors

This was the first work in English to treat the themes of pollution and purification in depth and has become a classic. It brings together the different categories of evidence while doing justice to the diversity and complexity of the phenomenon.

From the Publisher

Anyone who has sampled even a few of the most commonly read Greek texts will have encountered pollution. The pollution of bloodshed is a frequent theme of tragedy: Orestes is driven mad; Oedipus brings plague upon all Thebes. In historical texts we find cities intervening in the internalaffairs of others to `drive out the pollution',...

From the Jacket

This was the first work in English to treat the themes of pollution and purification in depth and has become a classic. It brings together the different categories of evidence while doing justice to the diversity and complexity of the phenomenon.

Robert Parker is at Oriel College, Oxford.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.87 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198147422

ISBN - 13:9780198147428

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From Our Editors

This was the first work in English to treat the themes of pollution and purification in depth and has become a classic. It brings together the different categories of evidence while doing justice to the diversity and complexity of the phenomenon.

Editorial Reviews

`[Parker's] substantial and important book has set new standards of perceptiveness and subtlety, quite apart from its sheer learning, in this difficult but rich and revealing field of study.'Times Literary Supplement