Civic Rites: Democracy and Religion in Ancient Athens

Civic Rites: Democracy and Religion in Ancient Athens


By (author) Nancy Evans

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  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Format: Hardback | 296 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 224mm x 24mm | 540g
  • Publication date: 3 May 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Berkerley
  • ISBN 10: 0520262026
  • ISBN 13: 9780520262027
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: 12 b/w photographs and 3 maps

Product description

"Civic Rites" explores the religious origins of Western democracy by examining the government of fifth-century BCE Athens in the larger context of ancient Greece and the eastern Mediterranean. Deftly combining history, politics, and religion to weave together stories of democracy's first leaders and critics, Nancy Evans gives readers a contemporary's perspective on Athenian society. She vividly depicts the physical environment and the ancestral rituals that nourished the people of the earliest democratic state, demonstrating how religious concerns were embedded in Athenian governmental processes. The book's lucid portrayals of the best-known Athenian festivals - honoring Athena, Demeter, and Dionysus - offer a balanced view of Athenian ritual and illustrate the range of such customs in fifth-century Athens.

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Author information

Nancy Evans is Associate Professor of Classics at Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts.

Review quote

"Highly recommended ... provides a compelling narrative ... would be useful in any course on ancient Greece." Canadian Journal Of History 20120724 "Undergraduate students of ancient Athens can profit from this book." Choice 20110509 "A trustworthy, readable, well-organized, and enjoyable case study in the interrelationship between politics and religion in antiquity." Review Of Biblical Literature 20130305

Table of contents

Contents List of Illustrations Preface Introduction / The City of Pericles and Socrates One / Cleisthenes: The Family Curse behind Athenian Democracy Two / Athena: Religion and the Democratic Polis Three / Pericles: Empire and War in the City of Athena Four / Demeter: Civic Worship, Women's Rites, and the Eleusinian Mysteries Five / Alcibiades: Politics, Religion, and the Cult of Personality Six / Dionysus: Civic Rituals of Wine, Theater, and Transformation Seven / Socrates: Impiety Trials in the Restored Democracy Epilogue / The City after Socrates Glossary of Terms Suggested Further Readings by Chapter Bibliography Index