New User Special Price Expires in

Let's log you in.

Sign in with Facebook


Don't have a StudySoup account? Create one here!


Create a StudySoup account

Be part of our community, it's free to join!

Sign up with Facebook


Create your account
By creating an account you agree to StudySoup's terms and conditions and privacy policy

Already have a StudySoup account? Login here

Ancient Religion

by: Mr. Macey Heathcote

Ancient Religion CLA 315

Mr. Macey Heathcote
GPA 3.9


Almost Ready


These notes were just uploaded, and will be ready to view shortly.

Purchase these notes here, or revisit this page.

Either way, we'll remind you when they're ready :)

Preview These Notes for FREE

Get a free preview of these Notes, just enter your email below.

Unlock Preview
Unlock Preview

Preview these materials now for free

Why put in your email? Get access to more of this material and other relevant free materials for your school

View Preview

About this Document

Class Notes
25 ?




Popular in Course

Popular in Classical Studies

This 14 page Class Notes was uploaded by Mr. Macey Heathcote on Saturday September 26, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to CLA 315 at Grand Valley State University taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 68 views. For similar materials see /class/214363/cla-315-grand-valley-state-university in Classical Studies at Grand Valley State University.

Similar to CLA 315 at GVSU

Popular in Classical Studies


Reviews for Ancient Religion


Report this Material


What is Karma?


Karma is the currency of StudySoup.

You can buy or earn more Karma at anytime and redeem it for class notes, study guides, flashcards, and more!

Date Created: 09/26/15
Magic in Ancient Greek Culture Features of Magical Practices in Ancient Greece Sympathetic ritual symbols Contagious ritual samplestokens Private or unofficial setting Personal motives benign or malign Coercion of underworld powers Repetition Ancient Greek words for magic workers Male Female Probable Translation magos no equivalent Persian wise man enchanter conjurer fraud pharmakeus pharmakz39s or expert in using herbs pharmakeutrz39a poisoner mag1c1an go 39s go 39tz39s rare wailer of spells enchanter conjurer fraud Magic in the Community One of Theophrastus Characters c370285 BC is The Superstitious Man He is apt to purify his house frequently claiming Hekate has bewitched it If owls hoot as he passes by he becomes agitated and says Mighty Athena before he goes on He refuses to step on a gravestone view a corpse or visit a woman in childbirth saying it s the best policy for him not to incur pollution Theophrastus Characters 16 tr J Rusten Xenophon s Socrates pretends to be a magic worker come and see me often she said Well Theodote replied Socrates poking fun at his own avoidance of public life it s not very easy for me to nd the time for it I have a great deal of private and public business that keeps me occupied and I have some girlfriends too who will never let me leave them by day or night because they are learning from me about lovecharms and spells Do you really know about them Socrates she asked Why do you suppose that Apollodorus here and Antisthenes never leave me And that Cebes and Simmias come to visit me from Thebes You may be sure that these things don t happen without a lot of lovecharms and spells and magic wheels Lend me your iunx magic wheel then so that I may spin it first for you Certainly not he said I don t want to be drawn to you I want you to come to me Very well I will she declared Only mind you let me in Yes I ll let you in said Socrates unless I have someone with me that I like better Xenophon Memoirs of Socrates 3111618 tr H Tredennick amp R Waterfield 41h century BC The author of the discussion of epilepsy On the Sacred Disease 5Lh century BC attacks magoz39 and the like My own view is that those who first attributed a sacred character to this malady were like the magicians puri ers charlatans and quacks of our own day men who claim great piety and superior knowledge Being at a loss and having no treatment which could help they concealed and sheltered themselves behind superstition and called this illness sacred in order that their utter ignorance might not be manifest They added a plausible story and established a method of treatment that secured their own position They used purifications and incantations they forbade the use of baths and of many foods that are unsuitable for sick folk On the SacredDz39sease 2115 trWHS Jones Circe Circe turns Odysseus companions into pigs They cried aloud and called to her And she at once came forth and opened the bright doors and invited them in and they all in their innocence followed her inside Only Eurylochus remained behind for he suspected that this was a snare She brought them in and made them all sit on chairs and seats and made for them a potion of cheese and barley meal and yellow honey with Pramnian wine but in the food she mixed evil drugs that they might utterly forget their native land Now when she had given them the potion and they had drunk it off then she immediately struck them with her wand and penned them in the pigsties And they had the heads and voice and bristles and shape of swine but their minds remained unchanged just as they were before So they were penned there weeping and before them Circe ung mast and acorns and the fruit of the comel tree to eat such things as wallowing swine are accustomed to feed upon Homer Odyssey 10230243 tr AT Murray Necromancy See Homer Odyssey 11 for Odysseus necromantic ritual In Aeschylus Persians the Persian King Darius s ghost is raised by his widow Queen Atossa ATOSSA But come my friends chant solemn songs as I make these libations to the dead and summon forth the divine spirit of Darius while I convey in honour of the nether gods these offerings for the earth to drink Aeschylus Persians 619622 tr HW Smyth adapted In Plato s Laws early 4th century BC The Athenian Stranger mentions the punishment of magicians among the laws that an ideal state would have But as to all those who have become like ravening beasts and who besides holding that the gods are negligent or open to bribes despise men charming the souls of many of the living and claiming that they charm the souls of the dead and promising to persuade the gods by bewitching them go teuontes as it were with sacrifices prayers and incantations and who try thus to wreck utterly not only individuals but whole families and States for the sake of money 7 if any of these men be pronounced guilty the court shall order him to be imprisoned according to law in the midcountry jail and shall order that no free man shall approach such criminals at any time and that they shall receive from the servants a ration of food as fixed by the lawwardens Plato Laws 909ab tr RG Bury Hecate In Hesiod s Theogony 7th century BC Hecate is praised as the greatest and most favouring of all deities And Leto conceived and bare Hecate whom Zeus the son of Cronos honoured above all He gave her splendid gifts to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea She received honour also in starry heaven and is honoured exceedingly by the deathless gods For to this day whenever any one of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays for favour according to custom he calls on Hecate Great honour comes full easily to him whose prayers the goddess receives favourably and she bestows wealth upon him for the power surely is with her For she has authority over all those who were born of Earth and Ocean and received an office Hesiod Theogony 411422 tr EvelynWhite Medea invokes Hecate in Euripides Medea By the goddess I worship most of all my chosen helper Hecate who dwells in the inner chamber of my house none of them shall pain my heart and smile at it Euripides Medea 395398 tr D Kovacs The maidservant chorus invokes Hecate in Euripides Ion 414412 BC CHORUS Goddess of Highways Demeter s Daughter Queen of the nightmare darknessranger Guide thou the hand that for noontide slaughter Shall ll up the chalice my lady s avenger Which beareth the venomgouts that fell From the neck of the Gorgon the end of hell My lady s greetinggift to the stranger That usurpeth Erechtheus royal sway That an alien of alien strain in out Athens never may reign But the noble Erechtheids 7 none save they Euripides Ion 10481060 tr AS Way In Apollonius Argonautica 310351038 Medea tells Jason to make an offering to Hecate before he uses her reproof ointment against the bronze bulls which she gives him outside the temple of Hecate Love Magic In Sophocles Trachim39ae Women of Trachz39s Heracles wife Deianira uses the blood of the Centaur Nessus which he gave her as he died calling it a lovecharm after Heracles shot him for trying to abduct Deianira to charm back her husband after she hears he has taken a concubine Far from me Be thought of evil witchcraft or desire To learn it wives who try such arts I hate But how I may by lovecharms win again My Heracles and retrieve him from this girl This I have planned 7 unless indeed I seem Too reckless if you think so I will stop Sophocles Trachz39m39ae 582587 tr F Storr adapted In Euripides H ippolytus 428 BC Theseus wife Phaedra is tortured by her secret desire for Hippolytus her soninlaw CLA 315 Ancient Religion Religion and the Roman Family Definitions of thefamilia Most commonly 0 those in the power of the paterfamilias kin and slaves not necessarily living in the house Other usages 0 all birthrelatives who had been in such power 0 a lineage within a clan like the Julian house 0 a group or household of slaves NB the authority of the paterfamilias patria potestas applies to sons as well as daughters Birth Governed by Juno Lucina but not such a religious event Was not considered as polluting as it was by the Greeks Marriage Two versions 1 more common Very simple bride and groom choose to live together and commit to one another celebration May be accompanied by law of manus wife s property becomes husband s and she enters his control 2 oldfashioned Confarreatio sharing of the speltcake More formal Only accessible to patricians upper class Parents of potential Flamines and Vestaes must have been married this way A general account of an upper class marriage based on literary sources Scheduled on a diesfas favorable day in the calendar often June 0n the previous day the bride puts away her toga praetexta childhood clothes 0n the wedding day Bride s ritual outfit 0 hair arranged in six locks with woollen ribbons 0 dress is a straight white woven tunic fastened at the waist with a knot of Hercules o veil is a large flamecolored headscarf ammeum with matching shoes Friends and associates gather in bride39s father39s house The Cult of Mithras Mithraism was a maleonly mystery religion which spread from the East lran Mithra Persian god of pacts cattleherding and the dawn light U Mithras Roman sungod bullkiller cattlethief savior figure Facts and Figures 0 Flourished in 2quotd and 3rd centuries AD 0 Materials found in over 400 places 0 Over 1150 pieces of sculpture 0 Around 1000 inscriptions 0 Literary references very scarce Mithraism not widespread among the elite o Mithraea see below all over the empire more in West than East concentrated in Rome 35 discovered and Rome s port Ostia 15 discovered NB too small to contain more than 2 of the population maximum Mithraea meetingplaces The word is a modern creation a neologism worshippers called them caves 0 Sometimes located in real caves or set against rockfaces eg at Jajce in Bosnia 0 Sometimes built to resemble caves dim locations vaulted ceilings wall decorations 0 central aisle flanked by two platforms couches for communal meal up to 20 or 30 people 0 Internal and private space for worship no external decoration opposite of a typical Greek or Roman temple Myth and Cosmology Always the same image at one end of the Mithraeum o Mithras killing a bull he straddles and stabs it The bull may symbolize fertility in many images its tail turns into an ear of wheat Blood fertilizer Other mythological scenes in Mithraic art no particular order 0 Mithras being born from a rock 0 The hunt and capture of the bull o Mithras sharing a feast with Sol the Sun as a separate figure CLA 315 Ancient Religion The Cult of Isis In Egypt in the Middle and New Kingdom Popularity Isis lmistress of the house of life connected with queens and other royal women a key figure in the Great Ennead Myth Plays a part in various dramatic scenes esp death and revival of Osiris see earlier handout plus Hornung Theology lsis represents fertility and life nurturing and motherhood In Egypt in the Late Period 7th to 4th centuries BC Popularity Widespread cult in the Egyptian delta in the Late period Myth a connected story appears probably under Greek influence 0 Seth murders her brother and husband Osiris lsis and Nephthys revive him 0 Osiris impregnated lsis gives birth to Horus who ascends to the throne 0 Later Horus attacks and rapes lsis In return she chops off his hands Theology numerous interconnected roles o Protector of the coffin grants rebirth as mother and wetnurse of the dead 0 Midwife protects women during labor and while breastfeeding o Equated with SothisSopdet Sirius brings the Nile flood and the new year 0 Equated with Renenutet snakegoddess of harvest brings life 0 Magician and protector is lmistress of heaven in magical papyri In Hellenistic 4th century BC onward and Roman Religion Popularity Becomes one of the major gods in the Mediterranean region Myth Stays much the same although lsis is combined with many deities eg DemeterCeres Theology lsis roles are simplified to three 1 Protects women and marriage 2 Protects maternity and the newborn 3 Guarantees the fertility of fields and abundance of harvests Greek Religious Practice Prayers Oaths Sacrifice The Twelve Olympian Gods Name Role and Specialty Zeus King of the gods thunder Hera Queen of the gods marriage HadesPluto King of underworld Poseidon King of oceans earthquakes Ares Wargod Hermes Messenger trader trickster Aphrodite Goddess of desire beauty sex Artemis Huntress virginity moon Athena Wargoddess wisdom crafts Apollo God of light music and arts sun Hephaestus Smithgod fire technology Demeter Fertility goddess crops nature Other Divine Beings Name Some Examples Reasons for Prayer Earlier Gods Ge Earth Ouranos Sky Nyx Night Usually connection with the dead andor underworld powers Other Major Gods Dionysus Hestia Persephone Pan Helios Various similar to reasons for twelve Olympian gods Personifications Nemesis Payback Themis Proper Procedure Peitho Persuasion Eris Discord Eros Lust If worshipped normally closely linked with a god eg Aphrodite Peitho Some never prayed to Heroes Heracles Theseus Asclepius Various Some heroes have local cults for a whole community Supernatural figures humanlike or monstrous The Muses the Fates Moirai Erinyes Furies Cyclopes Centaurs etc Not normally prayed to Some exceptions eg Erinyes at Athens Tombs and the Afterlife Pyramid Texts and the Book ofthe Dead Collections of Spells Title Period Main Focus Known Extent Book of the Dead Early Dynastic Death various aspects 190 chapters in the onwards lThebanI version 18 h Dynasty Pyramid Texts 5 h dynasty onwards The Afterlife ascent to heaven 759 spells in total earliest version has 228 Coffin Texts Book of Two Ways Early Intermediate Period onwards The Afterlife new focus on mortal experience 1185 spells in total approximately Illustrated guide to the Afterlife Book ofBreathngs Book of Traversing Eternity Book of the Earth etc Late Kingdom onwards Various summaries of Book of the Dead sections Much shorter than earlier texts increasineg shortened The Four Canopic Jars Son of Horus Compass Point Represented As Jar Contains Hapi Imseti Duamutef erehsenuef North South East West Baboon Human Jackal Falcon Lungs Stomach Liver Intestines CLA 315 Ancient Religion State Religion and Divination State Religion The religious structures of the Roman state were focused on three things 1 Keeping routines and conventions that ensured the goodwill ofJupiter and the other gods 2 Detecting any signs of divine pleasure or especially displeasure 3 Responding appropriately to these signs Forms of Divination Two categories used by some ancient theorists including Cicero natural and artificial Natural 0 Dreams 0 Prophecy Artificial o Augury the best known form observing the behavior of birds Done at Rome by the augurs o Extispicy also widely used observing entrails of sacrificial animals 0 Rolling dice or drawing lots common and localized at certain sites 0 Involuntary actions a twitch or a sneeze o Prodigies monstra o Exceptional plant growth 0 Strange births human or animal 0 Strange weather eg lightning eclipses recorded at Rome in the annaes maxmi o Astrology spread to Rome from the East in Hellenistic period Tiberius banned Imperial horoscopes o 39Homeric Lots and 39Virgilian Lots in late antiquity because poets are divinely inspired o Necromancy practiced at all periods but never gained respectability Divination presumes that gods send meaningful messages These were classified in various ways 0 most importantly whether the message was meant for private or public application 0 the type of sign and whether it was sought or not 0 the timeframe being indicated future present past and the message prediction warning prohibition displeasure approval The Roman state had three groups of divination experts 1 augurs augury artificial divination especially bird signs 2 board for the performance of sacred rites quindecimvirisacrisfaciundis Sibylline books 3 haruspices read entrails in sacrifices especially the liver Passage 1 Cicero On Divination 12 Cicero is introducing the subject that will be discussed Nor is it only one single mode of divination that has been employed in public and in private For to say nothing of other nations how many our own people have embraced In the first place according to tradition Romulus the father of this City not only founded it in obedience to the auspices but was himself a most skilful augur Next the other Roman kings employed augurs and again after the expulsion of the kings no public business was ever transacted at home or abroad without first taking the auspices Furthermore since our forefathers believed that the soothsayersll art had great efficacy in seeking for omens and advice from the gods as well as in cases where prodigies were to be interpreted and their effects averted they gradually introduced that art in its entirety from Etruria lest it should appear that any kind of divination had been disregarded by them And since they thought that the human mind when in an irrational and unconscious state and moving by its own free and untrammeled impulse was inspired in two ways the one by frenzy and the other by dreams and since they believed that the divination of frenzy was contained chiefly in the Sibylline verses they decreed that ten2 men should be chosen from the State to interpret those verses In this same category also were the frenzied prophecies of soothsayers and seers which our ancestors frequently thought worthy of belief like the prophecies of Cornelius Culleolus during the Octavian War3 Nor indeed were the more significant dreams if they seemed to concern the administration of public affairs disregarded by our Supreme Council Why even within my own memory Lucius Julius who was consul with Publius Rutilius by a vote of the Senate rebuilt the temple of Juno the Savior4 in accordance with a dream of Caecilia daughter of Balearicus 5 Passage 2 Cicero On Divination 115 Cicero s brother Quintus is speaking to him quotlndeed how trustworthy were the auspices taken when you were augur 6 At the present time pray pardon me for saying so Roman augurs neglect auspices although the Cilicians Pamphylians Pisidians and Lycians hold them in high esteem I need not remind you of that most famous and worthy man our guestfriend King Deiotarus who never undertook any enterprise without first taking the auspices On one occasion after he had set out on a journey for which he had made careful plans beforehand he returned home because of the warning given him by the flight of an eagle The room in which he would have been staying had he continued on his road collapsed the very next night This is why as he told me himself he had time and again abandoned a journey even though he might have been travelling for many days By the way that was a very noble utterance of his which he made after Caesar had deprived 1 The word translated as soothsayers here is hartspices Z This number was changed to fifteen in the time of Sulla 3 The Octavian War occurred in 87 BC between Octavius and Sulla on the one side and Cinna and Marius on the other 4 This was in 105 BC when Cicero was one year old 5 Quintus Caecilius Metellus Balearicus consul 123 BC 6 Cicero was elected to the college and became a colleague of Pompey and Hortensius in 53 BC Quintus proceeds now to contrast the state of augury in 5363 BC with that of the time of the dialogue 44 BC CLA 315 Ancient Religion Emperor Cult Giving divine honors to humans was not native to Italy Things changed in the first century BC Julius Caesar and his adopted son Augustus and the emperors who came after them all became gods Q How could this happen A Organically gt Emperorcult grew out of a range of different ritual systems gt There were many religious honors for emperors only some set them directly among the gods Greek Influences Four models of deification 0 Heroes especially Heracles who is transformed by cremation 0 Alexander and the Hellenistic kings 0 Greek tendency to treat rulers as living heroes 0 Stoic belief in deification of the soul Roman Traditions o Romans had long sacrificed to the ghosts of the dead Manes and believed in a semiindependent spirit attached to living people the Genius o Rome s founder Romulus was supposedly deified on death BUT this myth was invented under Greek influence no earlier than the 4th century BC The myth was developed further towards the end of the Republic guess why 0 Roman officials had received divine honors in Greek cities For example the cult of Quinctius Flamininus the liberator of Greece c191 survived into the imperial period At Rome such honors appear only exceptionally and only from the late 2nd century onward o Cicero accepted the Stoic belief that worthy individuals might become divine after death he planned to build a shrine not just a tomb for his dead daughter Tullia Divine Ancestry of Julius Caesar and Augustus W77 AeneaF Kngs of AleL long at39au R0 and the Kings of Raf eER TheMiiax 139 u ms 215 Aug ms Worship of Emperors and their Relatives tat reiigioh lie 1 u L L a u the by theJuiiah 39 hu aho Mars Somecuits l 39 R m ntim h h varied aho dynamic thah those D l i i cuit Greek ie Hellenic and Hellenism Communities lh Greekcohtexts ih Egypt arid the rest ofthe East iivihg emperors weregeheraiiyadded to the ordinary cult ofthe Big Tweive temples cult statues priests processiohs sacrties arid games Ah ihitial cult ofAugustus often became a geherai cuit of the emperors I Italian andWestem Communities some towns ih ltaly aho Others esp colohies chose to follow the Roman modei uiuui Halquot Egypt u l MW 4 e lit w 39 the Pharaohs aho Ptoiemieshad peeh lrememper PPt images of Romahsih Egyptian artl PrivateWorship maihly the slaves aho freedmeh lh his exiie poetry Ovid claims that he prays each anh at his househoid shrihe to images ofAugustus aho his famiiy The Augustaieswere a highrrahkihg status for Roman freedmeh lh ltaly aho the west Their officiais are sometimes associated with the imperial cuit Deification oflulius Caesar 39 4 the Great a ar a A M and Heiiehistic kings but more based on Roman modeisl NB the evidence is cohtroversiai lt l iii a a illati ll 39 39 39 39 39 lll Diviheluiius l Denarius circa 13 BC obverse 39Caesar Augustus39 reverse 39Divus lulius Deification of Augustus 42 BC 29 BC 27 BC 12 BC 7 BC AD 14 AD 15 Octavian is now divifiius son of the deified one and hence a mediator with the gods provincial assemblies of Pergamum and Nicomedia in Asia create cults of Roma AND Octavian Various provincial assemblies in the Greek east and Asia are permitted to do this Octavian gains the title Augustus Majestic From now on poets assume that he will be deified posthumously Augustus becomes Pontifex Maxmus he reorganizes the cults of the 265 neighborhoods vici of the city henceforth the officials of the neighborhoods mainly freedmen worship the Augustan Lares and the Genius of Augustus Worship appropriate for a household is now performed throughout the city his funeral is a traditional aristocratic funeral on a grand scale The senate formally declares Augustus deification the province of Hispania Tarraconensis is permitted to establish a temple and flamen to Divus Augustus at Tarraco Deification Becomes an Institution Later emperors are automatically deified on death down to Constantine who dies in AD 337 After Livia Drusilla in AD 41 imperial relatives male and female can also be deified posthumously Like Augustus later good emperors avoid official deification at Rome in their lifetimes Caligula and Commodus are exceptions they seek to emphasize their own divinity After Constantine publicly adopts Christianity traditional practices fade Christ alone had combined human and divine The prevalent doctrine is now that the emperor rules by divine favor Passage 1 Extract from a text written about the disabled Claudius shortly after he was deified Claudius has just arrived in heaven Word comes to Jupiter that a stranger had arrived a man of fair height and hair well sprinkled with grey he seemed to be threatening something for he wagged his head ceaselessly he dragged the right foot They asked him what nation he was of he answered something in a confused mumbling voice his language they did not understand He was no Greek and no Roman nor of any known race On this Jupiter bids Hercules go and find out what country he comes from you see Hercules had travelled over the whole world and might be expected to know all the nations in it But Hercules the first glimpse he got was really much taken aback although not all the monsters in the world could frighten him when he saw this new kind of object with its extraordinary gait and the voice of no terrestrial beast but such as you might hear in the leviathans of the deep hoarse and inarticulate he thought that his thirteenth labor had come upon him When he looked closer the thing seemed to be a kind of man


Buy Material

Are you sure you want to buy this material for

25 Karma

Buy Material

BOOM! Enjoy Your Free Notes!

We've added these Notes to your profile, click here to view them now.


You're already Subscribed!

Looks like you've already subscribed to StudySoup, you won't need to purchase another subscription to get this material. To access this material simply click 'View Full Document'

Why people love StudySoup

Bentley McCaw University of Florida

"I was shooting for a perfect 4.0 GPA this semester. Having StudySoup as a study aid was critical to helping me achieve my goal...and I nailed it!"

Anthony Lee UC Santa Barbara

"I bought an awesome study guide, which helped me get an A in my Math 34B class this quarter!"

Steve Martinelli UC Los Angeles

"There's no way I would have passed my Organic Chemistry class this semester without the notes and study guides I got from StudySoup."


"Their 'Elite Notetakers' are making over $1,200/month in sales by creating high quality content that helps their classmates in a time of need."

Become an Elite Notetaker and start selling your notes online!

Refund Policy


All subscriptions to StudySoup are paid in full at the time of subscribing. To change your credit card information or to cancel your subscription, go to "Edit Settings". All credit card information will be available there. If you should decide to cancel your subscription, it will continue to be valid until the next payment period, as all payments for the current period were made in advance. For special circumstances, please email


StudySoup has more than 1 million course-specific study resources to help students study smarter. If you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, our customer support team can help you find what you need! Feel free to contact them here:

Recurring Subscriptions: If you have canceled your recurring subscription on the day of renewal and have not downloaded any documents, you may request a refund by submitting an email to

Satisfaction Guarantee: If you’re not satisfied with your subscription, you can contact us for further help. Contact must be made within 3 business days of your subscription purchase and your refund request will be subject for review.

Please Note: Refunds can never be provided more than 30 days after the initial purchase date regardless of your activity on the site.