The Light of the Gods: The Role of Light in Archaic and Classical Greek Culture

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9780715629345: The Light of the Gods: The Role of Light in Archaic and Classical Greek Culture
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This is the first synthetic study of the use and significance of light in Greek ritual and belief of the Archaic and Classical periods - from the 7th to the 4th century BCE. Based on all available evidence, from literary texts to the representation of light in vase painting and remains of sanctuaries, it treats light both as a concept associated with a divine persona and as an artefact in the hands of the gods or during human worship.

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Synopsis:

This is a synthetic study of the use and significance of light in ancient Greek cult of the Archaic and Classical periods (from the seventh to the fourth century BCE). It is based on all the available evidence, ranging from literary texts and inscriptions to representations of light in vase-painting and sculpture, and surviving physical remains from excavations of Greek sanctuaries. Light is treated both as an abstract component of brightness which forms part of the nature of the gods and as an artifact which assumes concrete forms in divine hands. As a possession of mortals, light is found to have been regularly involved in contact with the gods. A variety of rituals are discussed in connection with the types and amount of light that they required, and reconstructions are suggested of the different roles that light played in them. This book shows that the involvement of light in Greek cult was a complex phonomenon which penetrated a great variety of ritual practices and religious beliefs surrounding the worship of gods in Archaic and Classical Greece.

About the Author:

Lorna Hardwick is Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at the Open Unversity.

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