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- ENCOUNTERS WITH ANCIENT EGYPT
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My thanks to Facts On File editorGary Krebs, who kept the door open while the manu-scriptcame together.
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Especially I must thank my wife,Joan Monahan, who brought home the familys bacon,day after day, during the four years consumed by thisproject. Thepoignant handclasp of a married couple on a tombstonein the Kerameikos.
The perfect acoustics of the theater atEpidaurus. The vibrant characters of Homer andEuripides. The rhythmic decoration of a Geometric vasepainting. The driving ambition of Alexander the Great. The mysterious oracle of Apollo at Delphi. The thrillingcompetition of the athletic festival at Olympia.
The ancient Greek world began to emerge in theeastern Mediterranean during the third millennium B.
ENCOUNTERS WITH ANCIENT EGYPT
Many elements of modern Westerncivilizationincluding art, architecture, literature, phi-losophy,science, and medicinerely on the culturalachievements of the ancient Greeks. Today a wide rangeof interdisciplinary scholars study the ancient Greek civi-lization;the goal of this revised encyclopedia is to presentthese scholars new discoveries and reinterpretations in aconcise and readable format that will appeal to a broadaudience. Greece is a peninsula in southeast Europe that pro-jectsinto the Mediterranean, flanked by the Aegean Seato the east and the Ionian Sea to the west.
Its long coast-linehas numerous natural harbors and inlets for sea trav-eland maritime commerce that became essential to Greekcivilization from its inception. Mainland Greece is also amountainous country, with a landscape well suited tograzing sheep and goats, growing grape vines and olivetrees, and building naturally defended citadels and cities. The first truly Greek civilization was that of theMycenaeans, around B.
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The centuries following the collapse of theMycenaean civilization are variously called the Sub-Mycenaean period, the Greek Dark Ages, the Protogeo-metricperiod, or the early Iron Age. During this time ca. The period from about to B. Communication and trade routes were renewed,literacy reemerged with a new written language adoptedfrom the Phoenicians, and artistic creativity began to beexpressed again. The Geometric Greeks also built sacredcult areas with altars and temples where they worshippedtheir gods with animal sacrifices and other offerings.
TheGreeks prosperity continued into the early Archaic peri-od ca. Coinage wasinvented, and monumental stone sculpture and architec-turebegan to be created, probably due to influences fromneighboring peoples such as the Egyptians. In the s B. The communities continued to flour-ishand trade increased.
In Athens, the tyranny of thePeisistratid family was ended in B. Around thesame time, the massive Persian Empire began its attemptsto conquer the Greeks. Despite being generally outnum-bered,the Greeks under the leadership of the Athenians defeated the Persians; the victory was celebrated in publicartworks by scenes of mythological battles where civi-lizedforces triumph over barbaric ones Gods vs.
Giants,Greeks vs. Centaurs, Greeks vs. Amazons, and Greeks vs. The end of the Persian Wars in B. The fifth century B.
A monumental building program wasundertaken on the Athenian Acropolis, including thetemple of Athena, known as the Parthenon. By the lates B. The resulting civil war,the Peloponnesian Wars, disrupted the entire Greekworld and ended the domination of the Athenians. In the mids B. The Macedonian con-quests,extending as far east as India, spread Hellenicculture throughout the ancient world and introduced anew, international era, known as the Hellenistic period. Cosmopolitan centers such as Alexandria, Athens, andPergamon attracted large numbers of artists, philoso-phers,and scientists.
Cults of foreign divinities such asIsis and Mithras became increasingly popular, alongsidethose of the traditional Olympian gods. By the sB. In B. Travel to Greece, motivated by interest in its ancientculture, began almost immediately, in the early Romanperiod. Other isolated female figures represented priestess-initiators of a local cult. Greek hero cult Iconographic and epigraphal evidence marshalled by Jennifer Lynn Larson combine to depict heroines as similar in kind to heroes, but in androcentric Greek culture, typically of lesser stature. Types of hero cultJames Whitley distinguished four, perhaps five, essential types of hero cult: Oikist cults of founders.
In the case of cults at the tombs of the recently heroised, it must be assumed that the identity of the occupant of the tomb was unequivically known. Thucydides V. Battus of Cyrene might also be mentioned.
Full text of "The mythology of the Aryan nations"
Cults to named heroes. A number of cult sites known in Classical times were dedicated to known heroes in the Greek and modern senses, especially of the Iliad and other episodes of the Epic Cycle. Whitley makes two points here, first that the earliest heria associate the male hero with earlier and stronger female presences, and second, that figures such as Odysseus, Agamemnon and Menelaus all have strong local connections. The cults of Oedipus at Athens and Pelops at Olympia. Cults to local heroes.
Such local figures do not figure among the Panhellenic figures of epic. Examples would be Akademos and Erechtheus at Athens. Cults at Bronze Age tombs. These are represented archaeologically by Iron Age deposits in Mycenaean tombs, not easily interpreted. Because of the gap in time between the Bronze Age collapse and the earliest votive objects, continuity appears to be broken. A sherd from above the Grave Circle at Mycenae is simply inscribed "to the hero", and Whitley suggests that the unnamed race of the Silver Age might have been invoked.
In Attica, such cults are those associated with tholos tombs at Thorikos and Menidhi.
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Oracular hero cults. Whitley does not address this group of local cults where an oracle developed, as in the case of Amphiaraus, who was swallowed up by a gaping crack in the earth. Minor cults accrued to some figures who died violent or unusual deaths, as in the case of the dead from the Battle of Marathon, and those struck by lightning, as in several attested cases in Magna Graecia.
Heroes, politics, and godsHero cults could be of the utmost political importance. When Cleisthenes divided the Athenians into new demes for voting, he consulted Delphi on what heroes he should name each division after. According to Herodotus, the Spartans attributed their conquest of Arcadia to their theft of the bones of Orestes from the Arcadian town of Tegea. Heroes in myth often had close but conflicted relationships with the gods.
Thus Heracles's name means "the glory of Hera", even though he was tormented all his life by the queen of the gods. This was even truer in their cult appearances. Perhaps the most striking example is the Athenian king Erechtheus, whom Poseidon killed for choosing Athena over him as the city's patron god. When the Athenians worshiped Erechtheus on the Acropolis, they invoked. ISBN D. Currie, Pindar and the Cult of Heroes