Athenian Religion

Athenian Religion : A History

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This book is an attempt to take seriously the cliche that Greek religion is an eminently social phenomenon. It differs from 'Histories of Greek Religion' by focusing on a particular Greek city with particular social structures. It treats a much broader range of phenomena than do books on 'Athenian festivals'. It seeks to bridge the gap that usually divides studies of Greek religion from studies of Greek history and society. Among the topics discussed are the actual dates and circumstances of foundation of many temples, festivals, and cults at Athens, the historical development of the social structures within which religious activities took place, and the effects in the religious sphere of the radical shift in Athens' political life from tyranny to democracy and the acquisition of an empire. Robert Parker investigates the relation between religion and political prestige, considers the introduction of new cults, and looks in detail at such key personalities and events in the religious history of Athens as Lycurgus the Eteoboutad and his religious policies, and the trial of Socrates. The period covered is roughly that from 750 to 250 BC.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 396 pages
  • 156.7 x 234.2 x 22.6mm | 711.64g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • maps
  • 019815240X
  • 9780198152408
  • 1,086,786

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Review quote

What Parker does that is new is to give us a broad picture of religious practices and outlook ... in a single city-state. This ambitious self-limitation permits a developmental account that is refreshingly embedded both in the underlying social framework and in historical narrative. Epigraphists will enjoy seeing their patient reconstructive work rescued from the brilliant obscurity of learned journals to be incorporated into this masterly synthesis. It is an extraordinary achievement to have made the assembling of fragmentary and often unexciting evidence of various kinds, with all the necessary qualification and counter-qualification, so absorbingly readable. Parker excels in elegant caution. Times Literary Supplement

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