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State Pilgrims and Sacred Observers in Ancient Greece
A Study of Theōriā and Theōroi


  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108729956

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About the Authors
  • For at least a thousand years Greek cities took part in religious activities outside their territory by sending sacred delegates to represent them. The delegates are usually called theōroi, literally 'observers', and a delegation made up of theōroi, or the action of taking part in one, is called theōriā. This is the first comprehensive study of theōroi and theōriā. It examines a number of key functions of theōroi and explains who served in this role and what their activities are likely to have been, both on the journey and at the sanctuary. Other chapters discuss the diplomatic functions of theōroi, and what their activities tell us about the origins of the notion of Greek identity and about religious networks. Chapters are also devoted to the reception of the notion of theōriā in Greek philosophy and literature. The book will be essential for all scholars and advanced students of ancient religion.

    • The first ever comprehensive study of theōroi and theōriā in Greek religion
    • Provides an overview of the evolution of religious networks throughout Greco-Roman antiquity
    • A major contribution to the study of 'pilgrimage' in the pre-Christian Mediterranean
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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108729956
    • length: 562 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 170 x 30 mm
    • weight: 0.9kg
    • contains: 4 b/w illus. 19 maps 12 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Approaches to theōriā: preliminary definitions and issues
    2. Evidence
    3. An historical overview
    4. Festival theōriā
    5. Festival announcement and truce
    6. Oracles
    7. Conveying offerings
    8. Theōroi as magistrates
    9. Theōriā and viewing
    10. Participants
    11. The journey
    12. Performances at the sanctuary
    13. Civic theōriā: two case studies
    14. The theoric chorus
    15. Politics and diplomacy
    16. Hellenism, panhellenism and common sanctuaries
    17. Theoric networks over space and time
    18. The case of Athens
    19. Philosophy and theōriā
    20. Theōriā in Greek imagination
    21. Epilogue. The end of theōriā.

  • Author

    Ian Rutherford, University of Reading
    Ian Rutherford is Professor in the Classics Department, University of Reading. He works mostly on Greek poetry, Greek religion and relations between Greece and other cultures: chiefly the Hittites and Egypt. For fifteen years he has published a great deal on 'pilgrimage' in the ancient world (e.g. Pilgrimage in Graeco-Roman and Early Christian Antiquity: Seeing the Gods, co-edited with Jas Elsner, 2005) with a related interest in travelling poets (Wandering Poets in Ancient Greek Culture, co-edited with Richard Hunter, 2009). He has also published a full commentary on Pindar's Paeans (2001) and has another volume forthcoming on Hittite and Greek religion.

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