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The First Two Chapters of Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, by Jane Ellen Harrison, [1922], at

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Mr Raskin on the absence of fear in the Greek genius. Religion, to writers of the fifth century B.C., mainly a matter of festivals. In the Euthyphron religion is 'doing business with the gods,' a form of 'tendance' (θεραπεία). Contrast of `g deisidaimonía`, fear of spirits.' Plutarch on 'fear of spirits.' Distinction drawn by Isocrates and others between Olympian and apotropaic ritual. Contrast between 'Tendance' (θεραπεία) and 'Aversion' (ἀποτροπή). Sacrifice to Zeus in Homer is a banquet shared. Contrast of the ritual of the Diasia. The holocaust or uneaten sacrifice. Ritual of the Diasia addressed primarily to an underworld snake. Superposition of the Homeric Zeus. Evidence of art. The 'Dian' fleece, not the 'fleece of Zeus' but the fleece of magical purification. Examination of the Attic calendar. The names of festivals not connected with the names of Olympian divinities. The ritual of these festivals belongs to a more primitive stratum than that of the Olympians, pp. 1-31.



The Anthesteria, ostensibly dedicated to Dionysos, a spring festival of the revocation and aversion of ghosts. Examination of the rites of the three days. Meaning of the Chytroi, the Choes and the Pithoigia. Derivation of the word Anthesteria. Rites of purgation among the Romans in February. The Feralia and Lupercalia. The 'ritual of devotion' (ἐναγισμοί). Contrast of θύειν and . The word θύειν used of burnt sacrifice to the Olympians, the word ἐναγίζειν of 'devotion' to underworld deities. The ritual of ἀπόνιμμα. Gist of the word ἐναγίζειν is purgation by means of placation of ghosts. Contrast of ἱερεῖον, the victim sacrificed and eaten, with σφάγιον, the victim sacrificed and 'devoted.' The σφάγια in use for the taking of oaths, for purification, for omens, for sacrifice to winds and other underworld powers. Elements of 'tendance' in the ritual of 'aversion,' pp. 32-76.

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The Thargelia an early summer festival of first-fruits. The Eiresione. Object of the offering of first-fruits a release from taboo. The Australian Intichiuma. Removal of taboo developes into idea of consecration, dedication, sacrifice. The material of sacrifice. The god fares as the worshipper, but sometimes, from conservatism, fares worse. Instances in ritual of survival of primitive foods. The οὐλοχύται, the pelanos and the nephalia. The fireless sacrifice. The bringing in of first-fruits preceded by ceremonies of purification. The pharmakos. Details of the ritual. The pharmakos only incidentally a 'human sacrifice.' Its object physical and spiritual purgation. Meaning of the term. The pharmakos in Egypt, at Chaeronea, at Marseilles. Analogous ceremonies. The Charila at Delphi. The Bouphonia. The Stepterion. Further ceremonies of purification. The Kallynteria, Plynteria, Vestalia. General conclusion: in the Thargelia the gist of sacrifice is purification, a magical cleansing as a preparation for the incoming of first-fruits, pp. -.



Importance of these festivals as containing the germ of 'Mysteries.' Detailed examination of the ritual of the Thesmophoria. The Kathodos and Anodos, the Nesteia, the Kalligeneia. Gist of the rites the magical impulsion of fertility by burying sacra in the ground. Magical rites preceded by purification and fasting. Analogy of Arrephoria, Skirophoria and Stenia with Thesmophoria. Meaning of the word Thesmophoria, the carrying of magical sacra. Magical spells, curses and law. θεσμός and νόμος. The curse and the law. The Dirae of Teos. The Haloa, a festival of the threshing-floor, later taken over by Dionysos. Tabooed foods. Eleusinian Mysteries a primitive harvest-festival. Order of the ritual. The pig of purification. Other rites of purification. The tokens of the mysteries. Ancient confessions rather of the nature of Confiteor than Credo. The fast and the partaking of the kykeon. The Kernophoria. Ancient mysteries in their earliest form consist of the tasting of first-fruits and the handling of sacra after preliminary purification, pp. -.

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Primitive demonology constantly in flux. Various connotations of the word Ker. The Ker as evil sprite, the Ker as bacillus of disease. The Keres of Old Age and Death. The Ker as Harpy and Wind-Daimon. The Ker as Fate in Homer and Hesiod. The Ker as Gorgon. Origin of the Gorgoneion. Apotropaic masks. The Gorgon developed from the Gorgoneion. The Graiae. The Evil Eye. The Ker as Siren. The Sirens of Homer. Problem of the bird-form in art. The Siren as midday daimon. The Siren on funeral monuments. The bird-form of the soul in Greece and Egypt. Plato's Sirens. The Ker as Sphinx. Mantic aspect of Sphinx. The Sphinx as Man-slaying Ker, as Funeral Monument. The Ker as Erinys. The Erinyes as angry Keres. Erinys an adjectival epithet. The Erinyes primarily the ghosts of slain men crying for vengeance. The Erinyes developed by Homer and Herakleitos into abstract ministers of vengeance. The Erinyes of Aeschylus more primitive than the Erinyes of Homer. The blood-curse in the Choephoroi. The Erinyes of the stage. The Erinyes analogous to Gorgons and Harpies, but not identical. The wingless Erinyes of Aeschylus. The winged Erinyes of later art. The Poinae. The Erinys as snake. The Semnai Theai. New cult at Athens. New underworld ritual. The transformation of Erinyes into Semnai Theai. The Eumenides at Colonos, at Megalopolis, at Argos, pp. -.



Anthropomorphism. Gradual elimination of animal forms. The gods begin to mirror human relations and at first those of 'matriarchal' type. The Mother and the Maid, two forms of one woman-goddess. The Great Mother as Πότνια θηρῶν, as Kourotrophos. Influence of agriculture. Relation of women to primitive agriculture. Demeter and Kore as Mother and Maid rather than Mother and Daughter. Gradual predominance of the Maid over the Mother. The Anodos of the Maiden. Influence of mimetic agricultural rites. The evidence of vase-paintings. Pandora Mother and Maid. The Hesiodic story. The Maiden-Trinities. Origin of Trinities from the duality of Mother and Maid. Korai, Charites, Aglaurides, Nymphs. The Judgment of Paris a rivalry of three dominant Korai-- Hera, Athene and Aphrodite. Evidence of vase-paintings. Development of Athene, her snake- and bird-forms. Athene finally a frigid impersonation of Athens. Development of Aphrodite. Myth of her sea-birth. Its origin in a ritual bath. The Ludovisi throne. Ultimate dominance of the mother-form of Aphrodite as Genetrix. Hera as maiden. Her marriage with Zeus. Intrusion of Olympian 'patriarchal' cults on the worship of the Mother and the Maid. Evidence from art, pp. -.

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The passage from ghost to god more plainly seen in the cult of heroes than in that of heroines. Instances from heroine-worship. Helen and Hebe. The hero as snake. Origin of the bearded snake. Heroes called by adjectival cultus-titles rather than personal names. The 'nameless' gods of the Pelasgians. The name 'hero' adjectival. Origin of supposed 'euphemistic' titles. The 'Blameless' Aigisthos. The 'Blameless' Salmoneus. Antagonism between the gods proper of the Olympian system and local heroes. Beneficence of the heroes. Asklepios and the heroes of healing. Asklepios originally a hero-snake. Evidence of votive reliefs. Amynos and Dexion. The 'Hero-Feasts.' Cult of Hippolytus. Zeus Philios. Hero-Feasts lead to Theoxenia. Type of the Hero-Feast taken over by Dionysos. Evidence from reliefs, pp. -.



Mystical character of the religion of Dionysos. Dionysos an immigrant Thracian. The legend of Lycurgus. Historical testimony. In Euripides Dionysos an oriental. Explanation of apparent discrepancy. The Satyrs. Analogy with the Centaurs. The Satyrs represent an indigenous people who became worshippers of Dionysos. Cheiron the good Centaur. The Maenads not merely mythological. The Thyiades of historical times. The Maenads, Thyiades, Bacchants, women possessed by Dionysos. They are the nurses of the god and worship him as Liknites. Dionysos son of Semele. Semele the Earth-Mother. Cult of thunder-smitten places. Dionysos son of Zeus. Zeus adopts Dionysos as god of the grape. Examination of the titles Bromios, Braites, Sabazios. All three are titles of a god of a cereal intoxicant. The cereal intoxicant preceded in the North the intoxicant made from the grape. Tragedy the song of the cereal drink. Dionysos emerges from obscurity as god of the grape. Dionysos the tree and vegetation god. Evidence of art. The 'Principle of Moisture.' Dionysos the Bull-god. Animal incarnations. The 'return to nature.' Dithyrambos and the Dithyramb. Dithyrambos the Mystery-Babe. Plutarch on the Dithyramb. Possible association with the Bee-Maidens, the Thriae. Moderation of the Greek in the use of wine. Sacramentalism of eating and drinking. The ecstasy of aceticism, pp. -.

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Problem of relation between Orpheus and Dionysos. Analogy and contrast between the two. Orpheus a Thracian; a magical musician. Possible Cretan origin of Orpheus. The island route from Crete to Thrace. The death of Orpheus. Representations on vase-paintings. Orpheus an enemy of the Maenads. His burial and the cult at his tomb. His oracle at Lesbos. His relation to Apollo. Orpheus a real man, a reformer, and possibly a martyr; heroized but never deified. Orpheus as reformer of Bacchic rites. Influence of Orphism at Athens. New impulse brought by Orphism into Greek religion. Spiritualization of the old Dionysiac doctrine of divine possession. Contrast with the anthropomorphism of Homer and Pindar. Consecration the keynote of Orphic religion, pp. -.



Our chief source a fragment of the Cretans of Euripides. The Idaean Zeus the same as Zagreus. The Omophagia or feast of raw flesh. The bull-victim. Bull-worship in Crete. The Minotaur. Evidence of Clement of Alexandria as to the Omophagia. Narrative of Firmicus Maternas. Analogous Omophagia among primitive Arabs. Account of Nilus. Sacramental union with the god by eating his flesh. Reminiscences of human sacrifice in Greek tradition. The Titans and the infant Zagreus. The Titans white-earth men. The smearing with gypsum. The Orphic doctrine of the dismembered god. The Mountain Mother. Her image on a Cretan seal impression. The Kouretes her attendants. The final consecration of the mystic. Meaning of the word ὁσιωθείς, 'consecrated.' Orphic taboos. Orphic formalism. Parody of Orphic rites of initiation in the Clouds of Aristophanes. The 'shady side' of Orphism. The Liknophoria. Dionysos Liknites. Symbolism of the liknon. Purification, rebirth. The liknon and the Homeric ptyon. The liknon in marriage ceremonies. The Sacred Marriage. Orphic elements in Eleusinian Ritual. Iacchos at Eleusis. The Liknophoria at Eleusis. The Sacred Marriage and the Sacred Birth at Eleusis. Thessalian influence, Brimo. Thracian influence, Eumolpos. Dionysos at Eleusis. As child, and as grown man. The pantomime element in the cult of Dionysos. Its influence on the Eleusinian Mysteries, pp. -.

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The tablets our chief source for Orphic doctrines. Their provenance and general character. The Petelia tablet of the British Museum. Analogous tablets from Crete. The Well of Mnemosyne. Parallels in Fiji and Egypt. Lethe in Greek Literature. Lethe in the ritual of Trophonios. The river of Eunoë, Good Consciousness, in Dante. The Sybaris tablets. The tablet of Caecilia Secundina. The confession of Ritual Acts on the Sybaris tablets. The attainment of divinity through purification. The escape from the Wheel. The kid and the milk. The formulary of adoption. Eschatology on Orphic vases from Lower Italy. Orpheus in Hades. The tortured criminals. Development by Orphism of doctrine of eternal punishment. The Danaides and the Uninitiated, pp. -.



Orphic theology as seen in the Hymns. The World-Egg. Use of Eggs in Orphic ritual of purification. Birth of Eros from World-Egg. Complex origin of Orphic Eros. Eros as Herm. Eros as Ker of life. Evidence of art. Eros as Ephebos. Eros and the Earth-Mother. Eros present at the Anodos. Evidence of art. The Mystery-cult at Phlya, the birthplace of Euripides. Pythagorean revival of the cult of the Mother. The mystic Eros as Phanes and Protogonos. Contaminatio of Eros and Dionysos. Popular Orphism on vases from Thebes. Eros as Proteurhythmos. The divinities of Orphism are demons rather than gods. Orphism resumed, pp. -.


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       I. Greek

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       II. General

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Next: Chapter I. Olympian and Chthonic Ritual