Synopses & Reviews
Ancient Greek Religion
provides an introduction to the fundamental beliefs, practices, and major deities of Greek religion. While the focus is on Athens in the Classical Period, the book includes detailed discussion of Greek gods and heroes, myth and cult from the archaic age to the Hellenistic world.
The book clearly sets out the fascinating but alien concepts of Greek polytheism, building up a picture of Greek religion as it was actually practiced. It emphasizes the experience of worshippers, considering Greek religious practice from a variety of perspectives – from the slave and members of the family, to priests and public officials. It examines views of the gods and the afterlife, the relationship between cult and myth, the nature of piety and impiety, and the wider social and political context in which religion functioned.
New to the revised edition are additional feature boxes and bibliography, a new discussion of the nature of Greek piety, and a new chapter on Greek Religion and Greek Culture. Throughout the book, vivid descriptions of actual sanctuaries and practices, the inclusion of ancient texts in translation, and the use of abundant illustrations re-create the rich and varied religious life of ancient Greece.
Praise for the first edition:
"A brilliant general synthesis covering the Greek world over the period of 'classical' Athens ... [Mikalson's] book is a model of how it should be done." BBC History Magazine
"A first introduction to ancient Greek religion, which encompasses hundreds of deities of several different types, and varied widely over nearly two thousand years and thousands of large and small Greek city-states." Reference and Research Book News
"Clearly written and organised, it will be appreciated by students." Antiquity
"It is well written, very accurate, and communicative." Australian Religion Studies Review
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title of the Year
“This thoroughly updated new edition offers a vivid, engagingly written and beautifully illustrated introduction to the major phenomena of Greek religion from a leading authority in the field.”
Daniel Ogden, Professor of Ancient History, University of Exeter, editor of A Companion to Greek Religion (Blackwell 2007)
“An excellent introductory text, even more user-friendly in its second edition, augmented by color plates, updated bibliography, and a new chapter exploring how religion influenced Greek culture as a whole.”
Charles C. Chiasson, The University of Texas at Arlington
Ancient Greek Religion
provides an introduction to the fundamental beliefs, practices, and major deities of Greek religion.
- Focuses on Athens in the classical period
- Includes detailed discussion of Greek gods and heroes, myth and cult, and vivid descriptions of Greek religion as it was practiced
- Ancient texts are presented in boxes to promote thought and discussion, and abundant illustrations help readers visualize the rich and varied religious life of ancient Greece
- Revised edition includes additional boxed texts and bibliography, an 8-page color plate section, a new discussion of the nature of Greek “piety,” and a new chapter on Greek Religion and Greek Culture
About the Author
Jon D. Mikalson is William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Classics at the University of Virginia. In 1968-1969 he was a Fellow and in 1994-1995 a Whitehead Professor at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece. His books include Athenian Popular Religion (1983), Honor Thy Gods: Popular Religion in Greek Tragedy (1991), Religion in Hellenistic Athens (1998), and Herodotus and Religion in the Persian Wars (2002).
Table of Contents
List of color plates.
List of figures.
List of maps.
1. An Overview: Greek Sanctuaries and Worship.
2. Greek Gods, Heroes, and Polytheism.
3. Seven Greek Cult Myths.
4. Five Major Greek Cults.
5. Religion in the Greek Family and Village.
6. Religion of the Greek City-State.
7. Greek Religion and the Individual.
8. Greek Religion in the Hellenistic Period.
9. Greek Religion and Greek Culture.
10. Glossary of recurring Greek terms.