Myth, Ritual and Metallurgy in Ancient Greece and Recent Africa

Myth, Ritual and Metallurgy in Ancient Greece and Recent Africa


By (author) Sandra Blakely

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  • Format: Hardback | 342 pages
  • Dimensions: 183mm x 259mm x 25mm | 975g
  • Publication date: 17 August 2006
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521855004
  • ISBN 13: 9780521855006
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations, maps

Product description

In this volume, first published in 2006, Sandra Blakely considers technological myths and rituals associated with ancient Greek daimones, who made metal; and African rituals in which iron plays a central role. Noting the rich semantic web of associations that has connected metallurgy to magic, birth, kingship, autochthony, and territorial possession in both Greek and African cultures, Blakely examines them together in order to cast light on the Greek demons, which are only fragmentarily preserved and which have often been equated to general types of smithing gods. Her comparison demonstrates that these demons are more sophisticated and ritually useful than has been previously acknowledged. This book provides new insights into the position of technology in Greek myth. Providing a new methodology for the study of Greek religion, which uses comparative cultural material in a thoughtful and careful way, it helps close the fifty-year gap between the social sciences and Classical philology in the theoretical understanding and study of technological systems.

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Author information

Sandra Blakely is Associate Professor of Classics at Emory University. A scholar of the religions of the classical world, she has received fellowships from the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, the Albright School of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, and the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC.

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I. Data and Methodologies: 1. The Greek daimones; 2. Iconography and metallurgy; 3. African iron: history, ritual, and investigation; Part II. Metallurgy and Birth: 4. Birth, craft, and the daimones: the Erectrian hymn to the Daktyloi; 5. Gender and production: the Fipa; 6. The daimones: fertility and ritual performance; 7. Pharmaka and apotropaia; Part III. Metallurgy and Political Power: 8. Iron and political power: Africa; 9. Bakongo investiture: kings, iron, and autochthones; 10. Daimones and political power: Idaian Daktyloi in the Phoronis; 11. Pindar's Telchines; Conclusion.