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Landscapes, Gender, and Ritual Space: The Ancient Greek Experience

Landscapes, Gender, and Ritual Space: The Ancient Greek Experience

Hardback Joan Palevsky Imprint in Classical Lite

By (author) Susan Guettel Cole

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  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Format: Hardback | 306 pages
  • Dimensions: 142mm x 231mm x 28mm | 454g
  • Publication date: 31 March 2004
  • Publication City/Country: Berkerley
  • ISBN 10: 0520235444
  • ISBN 13: 9780520235441
  • Edition statement: New ed.
  • Illustrations note: 3 maps
  • Sales rank: 1,283,628

Product description

The division of land and consolidation of territory that created the Greek polis also divided sacred from productive space, sharpened distinctions between purity and pollution, and created a ritual system premised on gender difference. Regional sanctuaries ameliorated competition between city-states, publicized the results of competitive rituals for males, and encouraged judicial alternatives to violence. Female ritual efforts, focused on reproduction and the health of the family, are less visible, but, as this provocative study shows, no less significant. Taking a fresh look at the epigraphical evidence for Greek ritual practice in the context of recent studies of landscape and political organization, Susan Guettel Cole illuminates the profoundly gendered nature of Greek cult practice and explains the connections between female rituals and the integrity of the community. In a rich integration of ancient sources and current theory, Cole brings together the complex evidence for Greek ritual practice. She discusses relevant medical and philosophical theories about the female body; considers Greek ideas about purity, pollution, and ritual purification; and examines the cult of Artemis in detail. Her nuanced study demonstrates the social contribution of women's rituals to the sustenance of the polis and the identity of its people.

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Author information

Susan Guettel Cole is Professor of Classics at the University at Buffalo (SUNY) and author of Theoi Megaloi: The Cult of the Great Gods at Samothrace (1984).

Table of contents

Preface Abbreviations Maps Introduction 1. CLAIMING A HOMELAND Three Landscapes Using the Land Space and Community Genealogy and Gendered Landscapes 2. RITUAL SPACE Drawing the Boundaries between Human and Divine Discovering Sacred Space and Creating Ritual Space Mapping the Urban Community Hierarchies of Sacred Space 3. INVENTING THE CENTER Regional Sanctuaries Finding the Center Civic Centrality Ritual Narratives of Centrality and Judicial Success 4. THE RITUAL BODY Hebe's Hens and Herakles' Roosters "Women, Dogs, and Flies" Body Language and Ritual Gesture " I Write the Oaths of a Woman in Water" Serving the Gods The Delphic Bee 5. THE PLAGUE OF INFERTILITY Male Reproductive Anxiety Bodies of Water and Miniature Landscapes Body Parts Sterility and the Crisis of Paternity 6. LANDSCAPES OF ARTEMIS Borderlands Typologies of Sacred Space Turning Points Boundaries and Combat Epiphany and Crisis The Lay of the Land Unifying Center and Borderland 7. DOMESTICATING ARTEMIS At the Margins The Anger of Artemis The Cycle of Reproduction Inscribing Civic Success The Naked and the Clothed Permanent Press Glossary of Greek Terms Bibliography Index