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Lecture 8

Lecture 8 - Women in Ritual

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Regina Höschele

CLA219: Women inAntiquity Tuesday Nov 6, 2012 Lecture 8 - Women and Ritual Greece • Fragment from Euripides The Captive Melanippe • Women have greatest part in divine affairs • In holy service woman plays the righteous role • Women in priesthoods would get the skins of sacrificial animals, part of the meat • Sometimes dates are attributed to priestesses (their year of reign) • Female deities required female cult attendants • Analogy between temple and house • Woman looks after house just like priestess looks after temple • Aristophanes Lysistrate • List of all the roles of a woman in religion at different stages in their life Aletris - corn grinder for goddess • • Kanephoros - woman who carries basket, garlands, grains in front of procession that they would sacrifice before the animal • Contrasts with what we know of women - used to them being behind closed doors • Gentilician priesthood • Restricted to genos - tribe • Athena Polias • Priest drawn from the Eteoboutadai genos (family grouping) • Pandion, Boutes, and Erechtheus • When King Pandit of Athens died Erechtheus was given kingship and Boutes priesthood of Athena • This is an example of people using myths to legitimized their role • Democratic priesthood: had to be a of the demos (the people) but not open to just anyone: Paths to priesthoods • • Inheritance (Gentilician priesthood) • Allotment (drawn by lot, the god would choose who was to be priest. To get on the list you had to have specifications like wealth or good family) • Election/appointment (had to pay a fee in order to become a priest(ess) • Purchase (particularly inAsia Minor. Didn’t have to make payouts for public services if this is purchased [like to build temples and ships]) • Would get an income as a priest • Had to be free from physical defects to be priest (the gods were perfect so you had to be) Athena Polias • • Athena in her role as guardian of the city • Arrhephoria • Athenian festival Arrhe - secrets; Phoria - carrying. The carrying of secrets • • 2 girls form athenian families aged 7-11 live on acropolis for a year and hang out with priestess of Athena Polias. One of their main tasks was to weave new robe forAthena Parthenon • The girls were given a basket of something and told to carry it through an underground corridor to the sanctuary of Eros andAphrodite. They would leave the basket there and take another thing back. The had no idea what they were carrying CLA219: Women inAntiquity Tuesday Nov 6, 2012 Lecture 8 - Women and Ritual • Hephaestus ejaculates on Athena’s thigh, she wipes semen off with wool and chucks it on the ground • Ericthonius born from the ground • How the athenians get aroundAthena being a virgin but yet still decedent of her • Cecrops daughters Heres,Algiers, Pandrosus were given basket byAthena, told not to look inside. They looked inside and saw the baby Erichtonius born from the ground along with snakes. They were so terrified by this that they jumped from the acropolis and died Arrhephroia connected to sexual initiation • • Snake is phallic • Athena’s peplos on the Parthenon frieze • On the right is young child carrying Peplos woven every year forAthena They hand it toAthenian magistrate • • Shows importance of peplos as it is on the Parthenon • Arkteia • Celebrated at Brauron at the sanctuary ofArtemis Brauronia Festival for artemis • • Arktoi - bear • Young girls active in this festival as Artemis is associated with maidens • Brauron is in attica • Happens every 4 years • Only daughter of athenian citizens could take place • Procession fromAcropolis in Athena to Brauron (20k!) • Dancing, races • Wear saffron colored robes • There was a bear sacred to artemis, girl playing with bear and the bear scratched her. The bear was killed, artemis unhappy, she caused plague. She said the plague would only be re- moved when little girls pretended to be bears • Wore bear masks • Anthesteria • Slaves could take place, festival of wine and drinking associated with Dionysus • Spring festival celebrated on three days: • Pithoigia • First day • Opening of the jars • Go to temple of Dionysus of the Marshes and open the jars and taste the new wine • Choes • Festival for making the libations • Considered day of pollution • At home they would paint doors with pitch • Eat together in silence • Drink a lot • Every person including slaves would drink 2.5l of wine (cut with water) CLA219: Women inAntiquity Tuesday Nov 6, 2012 Lecture 8 - Women and Ritual • Children from 3 on would get first pitcher of wine (smaller) as initiation into the family • Has to do with sacrifice? Wine as blood • Tradition of the god Dionysus ripped apart by titans - is the wine the blood of Dionysus? • When drunk they would put wreaths on pitchers and make procession to his temple • 14 women called the Gerarai ‘venerable ones’took oath to bind them together and their function is unclear • In charge of these women was Basilinna, wife ofArchon Basileus (name means king magistrate) • Wife goes through sacred marriage with the god - but we don’t know anything on this • Chytrio • Means pots • They would cook up grains and make an offering to Hermes of the Dead • On this day girls would swing on swings joyfully • Erigone, daughter of Icarius (the first person to whom Dionysus gave wine) • Icarius gave wine to some other guys and they assumed it was poison • They weren’t happy and killed him • His daughter found his body and she hung herself • The girls swing on swings joyfully is because there is an association between hang- ing yourself and swinging • Slaves could take place, festival of wine and drinking associated with Dionysus • Adonia • Adonis was a mortal lover ofAphrodite Killed by a boar after Aphrodite warned him not to go hunting • • Festival for adonis celebrated in early summer • Doesn’t seem to have been officially organized by the city but was an informal gathering of neighbors and friends (women only) • They would hang out on rooftops and lament for him • Would grow gardens - let it sprout and deliberately let them die; adonis lived for short time, this reflected that • One of the few times women can express their sexuality • Thesmophoria Means “law-giver”; title of Demeter • • Festival for Demeter and Persephone • Restricted to marriage women not young girls • Older women more likely to have had children - thereby proving their fertility; this ritual had a lot to do with fertitliy • 3 days, names were: • Anodos - ascent. Women would come to this hill (Pnyx) where the assembly took place but the women would take over and live in huts or tents during this festival. They would bring food and sacrificial animals and offerings CLA219: Women inAntiquity Tuesday Nov 6, 2012 Lecture 8 - Women and Ritual • Nesteia - fasting. Day of mourning, as Demeter mourned Persephone and didn’t eat all the while. They would sit around statue of the goddess, fasting. • Kalligeneia - good birth (well-born). Day of celebration, women making obscene jokes (Iambe) • Take piglets and th
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