Myth, Ritual, and the Warrior in Roman and Indo-European Antiquity

Myth, Ritual, and the Warrior in Roman and Indo-European Antiquity

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This book examines the figure of the returning warrior as depicted in the myths of several ancient and medieval Indo-European cultures. In these cultures, the returning warrior was often portrayed as a figure rendered dysfunctionally destructive or isolationist by the horrors of combat. This mythic portrayal of the returned warrior is consistent with modern studies of similar behavior among soldiers returning from war. Roger Woodard's research identifies a common origin of these myths in the ancestral proto-Indo-European culture, in which rites were enacted to enable warriors to reintegrate themselves as functional members of society. He also compares the Italic, Indo-Iranian and Celtic mythic traditions surrounding the warrior, paying particular attention to Roman myth and ritual, notably to the etiologies and rites of the July festivals of the Poplifugia and Nonae Caprotinae and to the October rites of the Sororium Tigillum.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139136429
  • 9781139136426

Table of contents

Preface; 1. People flee; 2. And Romulus disappears; 3. At the shrines of Vulcan; 4. Where space varies; 5. Warriors in crisis; 6. Structures: matrix and continuum; 7. Remote spaces; 8. Erotic women and the (un)averted gaze; 9. Clairvoyant women; 10. Watery spaces; 11. Return to order; 12. Further conclusions and interpretations.
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Review quote

Advance Praise: "Who dares in this day to advance a comparatist approach? Woodard takes this challenge on with intelligence and dexterity to, examine Roman rituals and Indo-European myths. We are led by the warrior god Indra, and confronted in turn by CuChulainn, Hercules, and Batraz, in a thrilling comparative journey, traced by a master hand." -Claude Calame, Directeur d'etudes ... l'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris "This book is about the 'dysfunctional raging warrior' in Indo-European traditions, especially as reflected in Roman rituals and in the myths linked to these rituals. The author shows a masterful command of the relevant evidence, which requires the most careful and precise analysis of text and language." -Gregory Nagy, Harvard University
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