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 phenomena.

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  • Paperback | 394 pages
  • 149.86 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 544.31g
  • 01 May 2010
  • University of Texas Press
  • Austin, TX
  • English
  • 1, black & white illustrations
  • 0292723547
  • 9780292723542
  • 1,169,262

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"This book represents the most current state of knowledge about cults in Magna Graecia and will set standards for subsequent discussions of the topic."oLarry J. Alderink, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion, Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota

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