Savage Energies: Lessons Of Myth And Ritual In Ancient Greece

Paperback | October 11, 2013

byWalter BurkertTranslated byPeter Bing

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We often think of classical Greek society as a model of rationality and order. Yet as Walter Burkert demonstrates in these influential essays on the history of Greek religion, there were archaic, savage forces surging beneath the outwardly calm face of classical Greece, whose potentially violent and destructive energies, Burkert argues, were harnessed to constructive ends through the interlinked uses of myth and ritual.

For example, in a much-cited essay on the Athenian religious festival of the Arrephoria, Burkert uncovers deep connections between this strange nocturnal ritual, in which two virgin girls carried sacred offerings into a cave and later returned with something given to them there, and tribal puberty initiations by linking the festival with the myth of the daughters of Kekrops. Other chapters explore the origins of tragedy in blood sacrifice; the role of myth in the ritual of the new fire on Lemnos; the ties between violence, the Athenian courts, and the annual purification of the divine image; and how failed political propaganda entered the realm of myth at the time of the Persian Wars.

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We often think of classical Greek society as a model of rationality and order. Yet as Walter Burkert demonstrates in these influential essays on the history of Greek religion, there were archaic, savage forces surging beneath the outwardly calm face of classical Greece, whose potentially violent and destructive energies, Burkert argues...

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We often think of classical Greek society as a model of rationality and order. Yet as Walter Burkert demonstrates in these influential essays on the history of Greek religion, there were archaic, savage forces surging beneath the outwardly calm face of classical Greece, whose potentially violent and destructive energies, Burkert argues...

Walter Burkert is an emeritus professor of classics at the University of Zürich. He is the author of a number of books, most recently The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age and Creation of the Sacred: Tracks of Biology in Early Religions. Peter Bing is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Pro...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:152 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.4 inPublished:October 11, 2013Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022610043X

ISBN - 13:9780226100432

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Glenn W. Most
1. Greek Tragedy and Sacrificial Ritual
2. The Legend of Kekrops's Daughters and the Arrhephoria: From Initiation Ritual to Panathenaic Festival
3. Jason, Hypsipyle, and New Fire at Lemnos: A Study in Myth and Ritual
4. Buzyges and Palladion: Violence and the Courts in Ancient Greek Ritual
5. Demaratos, Astrabakos, and Herakles: Kingship, Myth, and Politics at the Time of the Persian Wars

Editorial Reviews

“There can be no question that Walter Burkert is the preeminent historian of Greek religion of our time. In this book are five of his early essays . . . all of them dealing with aspects of the relationships between sacrificial ritual and myth in ancient Greece, in which brilliant new light is cast on obscure and enigmatic examples.”