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Women and Ritual.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Regina Höschele

Lecture 8 (11/06/12): Women and Ritual - Contrast with the rest of the course, women have an important role in religion - These women would get rations and part of the sacrificial meat, etc. - Female goddesses needed female attendants, priestesses looked after temples like women looked after the home - Sometimes dates were given by the year in a reign of a priestess - There were many different places a woman could take a religious job throughout her life and in different cults - Women would be at the front of religious processions - Gentilician Priesthood: a priesthood restricted to a particular family or tribe - Priests of Athena Polias or Poseidon Erechtheus are restricted to the Eteoboutdai genos - Story of the Eteoboutdai being decedents of the original priest leader Boutes (brother of Erechtheus) - Democratic Priesthoods could be given by inheritance, allotment, election / appointment, or purchase - Even in the democratic priesthoods only the people of certain standing and wealth would be eligible - Priests must be healthy in body and mind and have no deformities, perfect like the gods - Athena Polias is Athena in the aspect of protector of the city, very important to Athens - The early kings of Athens are portrayed as being snake from the waist down - Arrephoria: the carrying of the secrets - Two Athenian girls of good families between 7 - 11 lived on the acropolis and wove the peplos for the statue of Athena - Kanephoros: The basket bearer, lead the procession, only given to unmarried women - Given a random basket and nobody knows what's in it, take it down a tunnel into the sanctuary of Aphrodite and brought something back that they weren't allowed to know what was in it either - Erechthonius born of the ground from Hephaestus' sperm when he tried to rape Athena, gave a basket to Cecrops' daughters, Herse, Aglaurus, and Pandrosus, and told them not to open it. They did and they were so scared that they jumped off the acropolis and died - Something to do with sexual initiation because of snakes (phallic symbols) and the temple of Aphrodite - Parthenon frieze depicting Athena's peplos and the procession of the Panathenaea festival - Arkteia: A festival for bears celebrated at Brauron in the sanctuary of Artemis Brauronia - Artemis is a virgin goddess associated with maidens and transition - Happened every 4 years and only the daughters of Athenian citizens could attend - There was a 20 km procession from Athens to Brauron and things like dancing and races, etc. - Bears get involved because of a curse by Artemis about a bear, they wore bear masks at the event - Brauron is still in Attica - The procession went from the acropolis to the temple of Artemis - Artemis is also associated with wild beasts - Anthesteria: A spring festival to Dionysus celebrated over three days - Slaves could attend, this was unusual - Pithoigia: The first day of the Anthesteria for the opening of jars. Go to the temple of Dionysus of the Marshes and taste the new wine. - Choes: The second day of the Anthesteria festival for libations. Considered a day of pollution, paint the doors black and eat in silence - They each drank 2.5 litres of wine by themselves - Children got their first pitcher of wine at 3, this was an initiation into the family - Something to do with sacrifice - When everyone was very drunk they would put wreaths on their pitchers and make a procession to the temple of Dionysus - Basilinna: The wife of the Archon Basileus who had a sacred marriage to Dionysus during the Anthesteria - The Gerarai, the venerable ones, led the Basilinna to the sacred marriage - Chrytoi: Was the third day of the Anthesteria for the pots. Cook up different types of grains and offer them to Hermes of the Underworld - Girls would swing happily on swings because of Erigone (daughter of Icarius the first person to invent wine), she found her father's body and then hung herself and thus swinging - Primarily about Dionysus and wine - Gerarai, 14 women appointed for a secret function and took an oath to bind themselves, not sure exactly what their function was - Adonia: A women's only festival to Aphrodite's mortal lover Adonis - He died when he was gored by a boar while hunting even though Aphrodite had told him not to go - Lament to Adonis by Bion (Hellenistic) - Celebrated in early summer, not put on by the city by organized informally - All women, they would eat with their neighbours and shout from the rooftops in lament - They would create gardens that would sprout then let them die and toss them into the sea in a mock funeral - It was a celebration of female sexuality - Thesmophoria: An all women's festival held over three days in the fall in honour of Demeter and Persephone - Thesmophoria was an epithet of Demeter's that meant law giver - Restricted to mature women, no young girls, because Demeter was a mature woman who had had a child - Anodos: The first day of the Thesmophoria, the ascent up the Pynx where they would stay for the rest of the festival - Pynx: A hill in Athens where the assembly was usually held - Nesteia: The second day of the Thesmophoria, fasting in a reflection of the mourning of Demeter for the lost Persephone - Kalligeneia: The third day of the Thesmophoria, the day of good birth that was celebrated with merriment and the telling of dirty jokes (Iambe) - They would take piglets and throw them i
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