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3. Individual and Family
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about how cult activity articulated and reinforced an individual’s relationship with his or her polis. In particular, we think about: (i) the various rites of passage that marked an individual’s transition from one phase of life to another (e.g. from childhood to adulthood); (ii) the roles within the polis that only individuals who had undergone these rites of passage could participate in; (iii) the different roles available to males and females; and (iv) the ways in which one’s religious status also reflected one’s social and/or political status.
In this course, Professor Esther Eidinow (University of Bristol) thinks about Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood’s theory of ‘polis religion’ as a means of understanding Greek religious practice. We begin in the first module by thinking about some of the basic features of Greek religious practice, before outlining the theory of polis religion itself. After that, we think about the Greeks’ belief in the multiple gods and how religious practices reflected and reinforced the Greeks’ relationship with time and space. In the third module, we think about how cult activity articulated and reinforced an individual’s relationship with those around him – his family, his phratry, his polis, and so on – before turning in the fourth module to consider the organisation and management of polis religion. In the fifth module, we think about some of the ways in which the theory of polis religion might be extended, focusing in particular on the religious activities that seem not to be mediated by the polis – curse tablets and Orphism.
Esther Eidinow is Professor of Ancient History in the Department of Classics at the University of Bristol. Her broad area of expertise is ancient Greek society and culture with a specific focus on ancient Greek religion and magic. Among other topics, she has published on oracles, curse tablets, and binding spells, concepts of fate, luck and fortune, and the social emotions surrounding ‘witchcraft’ trials in classical Athens.
Cite this Lecture
Eidinow, E. (2019, January 31). Greek Religion: Polis Religion - Individual and Family [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/greek-religion-polis-religion/individual-and-family
Eidinow, Esther. "Greek Religion: Polis Religion – Individual and Family." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 31 Jan 2019, https://massolit.io/courses/greek-religion-polis-religion/individual-and-family