Mystic Cults in Magna Graecia

Mystic Cults in Magna Graecia

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In Vergil's Aeneid, the poet implies that those who have been initiated into mystery cults enjoy a blessed situation both in life and after death. This collection of essays brings new insight to the study of mystic cults in the ancient world, particularly those that flourished in Magna Graecia (essentially the area of present-day Southern Italy and Sicily). Implementing a variety of methodologies, the contributors to Mystic Cults in Magna Graecia examine an array of features associated with such "mystery religions" that were concerned with individual salvation through initiation and hidden knowledge rather than civic cults directed toward Olympian deities usually associated with Greek religion. Contributors present contemporary theories of ancient religion, field reports from recent archaeological work, and other frameworks for exploring mystic cults in general and individual deities specifically, with observations about cultural interactions throughout. Topics include Dionysos and Orpheus, the Goddess Cults, Isis in Italy, and Roman Mithras, explored by an international array of scholars including Giulia Sfameni Gasparro ("Aspects of the Cult of Demeter in Magna Graecia") and Alberto Bernabe ("Imago Inferorum Orphica"). The resulting volume illuminates this often misunderstood range of religious more

Product details

  • Paperback | 390 pages
  • 149.86 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 544.31g
  • University of Texas Press
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • English
  • 53 b&w photos, 38 line drawings, 1 map
  • 0292723547
  • 9780292723542
  • 1,328,796

Table of contents

Illustrations Abbreviations 1. Introduction (Giovanni Casadio and Patricia A. Johnston) I. Dionysus and Orpheus 2. Dionysus in Campania: Cumae (Giovanni Casadio) 3. The Meaning of bavkco" and bakceuvein in Orphism (Ana Jimenez San Cristobal) 4. New Contributions of Dionysiac Iconography to the History of Religions in Greece and Italy (Cornelia Isler-Kerenyi) 5. Who Are You? Mythic Narrative and Identity in the "Orphic" Gold Tablets (Radcliffe G. Edmonds) 6. Imago Inferorum Orphica (Alberto Bernabe) 7. Putting Your Mouth Where Your Money Is: Eumolpus' Will, Pasta e Fagioli, and the Fate of the Soul in South Italian Thought from Pythagoras to Ennius (R. Drew Griffith) II. Demeter and Isis 8. Aspects of the Cult of Demeter in Magna Graecia: The "Case" of San Nicola di Albanella (Giulia Sfameni Gasparro) 9. Landscape Synchesis: A Demeter Temple in Latium (Kathryn M. Lucchese) 10. The Eleusinian Mysteries and Vergil's "Appearance-of-a-Terrifying-Female-Apparition-in-the-Underworld" Motif in Aeneid 6 (Raymond J. Clark) 11. Women and Nymphs at the Grotta Caruso (Bonnie MacLachlan) 12. "Great Royal Spouse Who Protects Her Brother Osiris": Isis in the Isaeum at Pompeii (Frederick Brenk) 13. Aegyptiaca from Cumae: New Evidence for Isis Cult in Campania: Site and Materials (Paolo Caputo) 14. The Mystery Cults and Vergil's Georgics (Patricia A. Johnston) III. Mithras 15. The Amor and Psyche Relief in the Mithraeum of Capua Vetere: An Exceptional Case of Graeco-Roman Syncretism or an Ordinary Instance of Human Cognition? (Luther H. Martin) 16. The Mythraic Body: The Example of the Capua Mithraeum (Richard Gordon) 17. Why the Shoulder? A Study of the Placement of the Wound in the Mithraic Tauroctony (Glenn Palmer) Bibliography Indexshow more

Review quote

"This thematic structure is excellent... As the first comprehensive collection of essays examining the range of cults of Magna Graecia, this book represents important reading." Journal of the Platonic Traditionshow more

About Giovanni Casadio

GIOVANNI CASADIO is Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Salerno in Italy. He is the associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Religion and has written more than one hundred articles on various topics of religious history and historiography. PATRICIA A. JOHNSTON is Professor of Greek and Latin Philology and Literature at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. A past president of the Vergilian Society and founder and director of the Vergilian Society's annual Symposia Cumana, she has published extensively on Greek and Latin literature and culture, specializing in more