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Singing for the Gods: Performances of Myth and Ritual in Archaic and Classical Greece

Singing for the Gods: Performances of Myth and Ritual in Archaic and Classical Greece

Hardback Oxford Classical Monographs

By (author) Barbara Kowalzig

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 528 pages
  • Dimensions: 160mm x 240mm x 38mm | 4,699g
  • Publication date: 25 February 2008
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199219966
  • ISBN 13: 9780199219964
  • Illustrations note: 10 maps, 14 in-text illustrations

Product description

Singing for the Gods develops a new approach towards an old question in the study of religion - the relationship of myth and ritual. Focusing on ancient Greek religion, Barbara Kowalzig exploits the joint occurrence of myth and ritual in archaic and classical Greek song-culture. She shows how choral performances of myth and ritual, taking place all over the ancient Greek world in the early fifth century BC, help to effect social and political change in their own time. Religious song emerges as integral to a rapidly changing society hovering between local, regional, and panhellenic identities and between aristocratic rule and democracy. Drawing on contemporary debates on myth, ritual, and performance in social anthropology, modern history, and theatre studies, this book establishes Greek religion's dynamic role and gives religious song-culture its deserved place in the study of Greek history.

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Author information

Barbara Kowalzig is Leverhulme Research Fellow, Royal Holloway, University of London.

Review quote

Kowalzig leaves archaic Greece a richer and even more interesting place than she found it, and this book will make us all more suspicious and more attentive readers and tourists. This is a significant achievement. Richard Hunter, The Anglo-Hellenic Review ...a fascinating and ground-breaking study of the relationships between myth and ritual in Greek religious practices... Brad Eden Consciousness, Literature and the Arts ...a remarkable attempt to reconstruct Greek history of the archaic and classical periods though choral performance...the book is a monument to the possibility and the desirability of understanding Greek choral performance historically and Greek history as influenced by choral performance. Richard Seaford Bryn Mawr Classical Review Anyone with an interest in Greek religion or choral poetry will have to consult this study. Its richness lies in its cumulative detail and its bringing together of literatry, historical, anthropological and archeological evidence to contextualize the dynamics of cultic performance throughout the Greek world. Jenny Strauss Clay Religious Studies Review

Table of contents

Prelude to the khoros ; 1. Introduction ; 2. Dancing on Delos ; 3. New Tunes in Musical Argos: Mapping out the Argolid in Cultic Song ; 4. Locality and Panhellenism: Aiginetan Myth and Delphic Ritual ; 5. Returning to the Beginning: Insular Identity on Fifth-Century Rhodes ; 6. Aetiology Overseas: From Epic to Ethnic Identity in Megale Hellas ; 7. Who were the Boiotians? Myths of Migration in Ritual ; Epilogue