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CLA219H1 Lecture Notes - Athena, Chytri, Kanephoros

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Regina Höschele

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CLA 219 – WOMEN IN ANTIQUITY R. Höschele 11/06/12
- Euripides, Captive Melanippe – importance of religious rituals and women’s roles in it
- One aspect in which women’s role is dominant in a way
oPaid rations, share of sacrificial meat, skins of the animals, date year by the priestesses
(of Argos)
oFemale deities – female priestesses
oTemple = house ~ housekeepers - tend the deities
- Classical Athens, Aristophanes’ Lysistrata – female cultic activity, religious roles in different
stages of a woman’s life
oAletris, corn grinder of goddess
oKanephoros, basket carrier in a procession
oAnephoros, Brauronia
- Gentilician priesthoods – tribal, family-ruled
- Athena Polias (and Poseidon Erecthonous?) – priests come from the Eteoboutadai genos (family)
- Pandron, Boutes, Erechtheus – origin myth of the Athenian gentilician priesthoods
- Democratic priesthoods – open only to citizens, satisfy qualifications
oPaths to priesthoods: inheritance, allotment, election / appointment / purchase
- No payments for public services
oPurchased priesthoods common in colonies (East, Asia Minor)
- Healthy, of sound body, free from defects
oTo be servants of gods, one must be perfect as well
- Pandron, king of Athens, Boutes and Erechtheus his sons
oUpon his death, Boutes inherits priesthoods tied to kingship, and the Etouboutadai
claims descent from him to justify control of Athena Polias priesthood
Arrhephoria – the carrying of secret things
- Erechthonious
- Cecrops, daughters Herse, Aglaurus, Pandrosus
- 2 Athenian girls, between 7-11 years old, live in the Acropolis for a year with the priestess
oHelp with the maintenance of the temple
oHelp weave the peplos of the cult statue of Athena
oMade to carry baskets through a tunnel underground leading to a sanctuary of Eros and
Aphrodite, deposit whatever was in the basket, and bring back whatever is at the
sanctuary, all without knowing what those things were (i.e., no one does)
- Hephaestus attempted to rape Athena, ejaculates on thigh instead, semen that fell on the soil
created Erecthonious, the ancestor of all Athenians – can claim descent from a virgin goddess
- Cecrops’ daughters given basket by Athena and told them not to look but they did and saw the
baby Erechthonious lying inside with snakes – scared them and made them jump off the cliff –
origin of the underground ritual
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- Sexual initiation – serpents are phallic; carrying something unknown, sanctuary of Eros and
Aphrodite, fertility symbolism
- Athena’s peplos on the Parthenon frieze
oChild hands over the finished peplos to a magistrate
oPeplos woven annually
- Held at Brauron – in Attica, near Athens
- Arktoi
- Associated with bears
- Festival for Artemis (virgin goddess)
- Transition into maidenhood
- Done every 4 years, only the daughters of Athenian citizens
- Procession from Athens to Brauron
- Dancing, choruses, races
- Saffron colour robes were worn, as well as bear masks
- Bear is sacred to Artemis, girl child was scratched by a bear and was killed, goddess sent a plague,
appeased her by having girls pretend to be bears
Anthisteria – wine and drinking, Dionysius
- Spring festival celebrated over 3 days
oPithiogia, Choes, Chytoi
- Slave participation, reversal of social order
- 1st day: opening of the jars at temple of Dionysius in the marshes
oOpen jars, drink/taste the wine
- 2nd day: libation, vessels in which the libation is contained
- People have to drink a lot
- Children, 3 years old, 1st pitcher of wine – initiation into the family
- Sacrifice – wine – blood
- One tradition – blood of Dionysius
- Procession to Dionysius’ temple
- Gerarai, venerable ones controlled by Basilinna, wife of the Archon Basileus
- Sacred marriage of god Dionysius (re-enactment?)
- Chytroi (?) pots
oDifferent grains, offering to Hermes Chthonius
- Erigone (daughter of Icarius)
- Death and life festival
- Girls swing happily – association with Erigone’s suicide (hanging)
- Adonis, lover of Aphrodite
- Bron, Hellenistic poet, lament for Adonis
- Gardens, lamenting at the rooftops
oLet gardens die and throw at sea (?)
- Funereal
- Pigs sacrificed
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