Animals in Ancient Greek Religion  book cover
1st Edition

Animals in Ancient Greek Religion

Edited By

Julia Kindt

ISBN 9780367524821
Published August 1, 2022 by Routledge
320 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book provides the first systematic study of the role of animals in different areas of the ancient Greek religious experience, including in myth and ritual, the literary and the material evidence, the real and the imaginary.

An international team of renowned contributors shows that animals had a sustained presence not only in the traditionally well-researched cultural practice of blood sacrifice but across the full spectrum of ancient Greek religious beliefs and practices. Animals played a role in divination, epiphany, ritual healing, the setting up of dedications, the writing of binding spells, and the instigation of other ‘magical’ means. Taken together, the individual contributions to this book illustrate that ancient Greek religion constituted a triangular symbolic system encompassing not just gods and humans, but also animals as a third player and point of reference.

Animals in Ancient Greek Religion will be of interest to students and scholars of Greek religion, Greek myth, and ancient religion more broadly, as well as for anyone interested in human/animal relations in the ancient world.

Table of Contents

On Gods, Humans, and Animals Julia Kindt

Part 1: Perspectives

1. The ‘Entanglement’ of Gods, Humans, and Animals in Ancient Greek Religion Jeremy McInerney

2. Sources for the Study of Animals in Ancient Greek Religion Ingvild Sælid Gilhus

3. Approaches: The Animal in the Study of Ancient Greek Religion Emily Kearns

Part 2: Representations

4. Gods and Heroes, Humans and Animals in Ancient Greek Myth Hannah Willey

5. The Theriomorphism of the Major Greek Gods Jan Bremmer

6. Greek Anthropomorphism vs. Egyptian Zoomorphism: Conceptual Considerations in Greek Thought and Literature Julia Kindt

7. Philosophers on Animals in Ancient Greek Religion James Henderson Collins II

Part 3: Beliefs and Practices

8. Caloric Codes: Ancient Greek Animal Sacrifice Fritz Graf

9. Animals in Ancient Greek Divination: Oracles, Predictions, and Omens Julia Kindt

10. Animals in Ancient Greek Dedications Milette Gaifman

11. Animals in Asclepian Medicine: Myth, Cult, and Miracle Healings Florian Steger and Frank Ursin

12. Circe’s Ram: Animals in Ancient Greek Magic Korshi Dosoo

Gods, Humans, and Animals Revisited Julia Kindt


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Julia Kindt is Professor of Ancient Greek History in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney, Australia, and a current Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2018–22). Her publications include Rethinking Greek Religion (2012) and Re-visiting Delphi: Religion and Storytelling in Ancient Greece (2016), as well as several co-edited volumes including The Oxford Handbook of Ancient Greek Religion (2015).