Dance and Ritual Play in Greek Religion

Dance and Ritual Play in Greek Religion

Hardback Ancient Society and History

By (author) Steven H. Lonsdale

List price $42.50

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Paperback $24.29
  • Publisher: JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Hardback | 368 pages
  • Dimensions: 139mm x 152mm x 33mm | 600g
  • Publication date: 1 September 1993
  • Publication City/Country: Baltimore, MD
  • ISBN 10: 0801845947
  • ISBN 13: 9780801845949

Product description

In private and in public life, the ancient Greeks danced to express divine adoration and human festivity. They danced at feasts and choral competitions, at weddings and funerals, in observance of the cycles of both nature and human existence. Formal and informal dances marked the rhythms of life and death. In "Dance and Ritual Play in Greek Religion", Steven Lonsdale looks at how the Greeks themselves regarded the act of dance, and how dance and related forms of ritual play in Greek religious festivals served a wide variety of functions in Greek society. The act of worship, he explains, often implied engaging in collective rites regulated by playful behaviour, the most common forms of which were group hymns and choral dances. Dance became a vital part of participation in the cults of divinities like Artemis and Apollo, who oversaw the emergence of young men and women into adult society, and in festivals, where groups of all ages came into contact with one another and with their own youthful, playful nature. As a result, dance satisfied several vital objectives: training the young for marriage and for battle; maintaining the morale of the population at large; and honouring the gods.

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Review quote

"This book offers a thorough and detailed review of the evidence for the function of dance to "express divine adoration and human festivity in Greek culture."--'New England Classical Newsletter and Journal'