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greek and roman terms
terms test
Religious Studies
Undergraduate 4

Additional Religious Studies Flashcards




-from Eleusinian mysteries

-a rectangular building within the hall, which would have housed the sacred objects, and into which only the hierphant could enter (he could reveal the sacred object using a light)
-secret rituals that put the participant into a privileged relationship with the deity, often through the revelation of some arcane doctrine.
-Although they were a defining feature of what are conventionally called “mystery cults”, they were by no means limited to private associations of a few devotees
-Some of the most famous initiations, such as those in the cult of Demeter at Eleusis near Athens were publicly organized and held on a large scale
- Ex. In Eleusis there would be 2 success nights in the Telesterion to complete the initiation. Night one would include the initiate, sponsor and watchers. The hierophant would enter the Anaktoran and the scared object would be revealed. The second night the re-enachtment of the story of Demeter and Persephone would take place along with animal sacrifice.
-from Eleusinian mysteries
-a large square hall with six entrances, two on each of the three sides and eight tiers of seats along all of the four sides, cut into the rock, where the initiates sat
- Made up of 10-50 Members, mostly male
-can be thought of us unions that controlled some of the trades violently as well
- Generally lower status, reliance on patronage, hierachical structures, egalitarian rhetoric, imitated polis, Politically suspect, offically banned, Ignored or tolerated 
- Text Book: Associations did not simply provide cultic “services” but created social obligations, a sense of belonging and purpose, and provided very concrete benefits. Thus the association functioned as a “city writ small”
- Most of these associations had religious dimensions and most served broadly social goals.
association meeting places
Meeting places: temples; grottos

Dedicated buildings - meeting places

Shops (tabernae) – most of the groups we look at they met in more most locations, multi stories with street level being the store but then a ladder up to the living courters as you would live above the shop. This gave them the ability to live, sell and work all in one place

Apartments (insulae) – they were built out of wood so often burner to ground

Villas and houses
-to mean something like a proposition that a person accepts as true even without proof. If by religious beliefs we means propositions of this sort regarding the nature of the divine world and its interaction with the mortal sphere, then there can be little question that religious beliefs played an important role in Greco-Roman tradition

Belief doesn’t need to be the only marker of significance

Secondly belief in a strong Christian sense requires there to be a coherent and internally consistent set of propositions or doctrines in which to believe

Lastly, there was no mechanism in the roman empire to define or much less to impose “correct” beliefs about the divine world

Belief played very different and much less central role in Greco-Roman religion than it has in others.
-In the Greco-Roman world the word cult isn’t given the negative connotation because it refers to worship and specifically the various practices and rituals employed in worship

-In the Greco-roman religion, cult normally refers to worship, and specifically the various practice and rituals employed in worship

-Cult represented a conception of the divine world that was enacted in a set of practices, not codified in a set of beliefs. Cut practices were not the expression of a formalized doctrinal system, but were instead a self-sufficient approach to the divine.
-Interpretation of the will of the gods through reading of natural signs sent by the gods
-(e.g., bird patterns, stars, intestines, lightening)
-direct messages believed to be sent by the gods (dreams, visions, prophecies)
– understanding the position of the gods; guide to action out of fear of divine consequences
-includes various religion figures (oracles, seers, haruspex)
-omens affect outcome; going against an omen will have negative results (e.g. loss in battle; death; disaster)
-attempts to determine the hidden significance of events
- From the Text Book: attempting to obtain answers from the gods was a basic element of ancient Mediterranean religious practice
- Sacrifice and astronomy as forms of divination were practiced by individuals and the community
-In the Mediterranean, establishing the will of gods was seen as necessary part of maintaining good relations with them
-Gods could only be indirectly known in this religion which was commonly known
regular rituals repeated frequently
-low levels of arousal
-normally larger, more hierarchal communities
-generally in more staid communities
- From text book: The  doctrinal mode, is associated with larger, more hierarchical communities. Mainstream Christianity is typical of doctrinal mode , involving regular rituals repeated week by week or day by day
- The doctrinal mode may not help to explain the nature of ancient religion the imagistic mode seems a very useful way to categorization mystery cults.
eitological myth
-from Eleusinian mysteries
- a myth of origins, of the argiculture cycle and the place
-• An etiological myth: explains why humans get the better part of animal sacrifice and how they came to have cultured civilization; more importantly it explains the alienation of the human from the divine; explains the conflict between men and women
-from Eleusinian mysteries
-the watchers
- they appear to be one who witnesses what a mystes experiences without seeing
-They would know what was to follow in the initiation and would watch the mystai being bewildered and confused.
-Special days instituted for gods
-Marked by communal ritual activities such as sacrifices, competition, performances
-Opportunity for gods and humans to enjoy an experience together
-Could include a shared meal
-Create and maintain right relationship with the gods; religio; creates piety
-Set the rhythm of the year
-Ensure communal success
-from Eleusinian mysteries
-revealer of the sacred objects
- a piece of wheat, stone, phallic symbol, etc
- this is the person responsible for showing the light to the sacred object
very infrequent but very dramatic and intense, ritual events
-generally physically and/or emotionally intense
-often included ecstatic rituals (teletak and orgia)
-usually found in small communities with minimal hierarchy
-initiation often takes place in cohort groups
- From the text book: Imagistic mode is characterized by very infrequent, but very dramatic, ritual events
-In small communities and there is not much of a social hierarchy
impius, impietas
-denying the gods the honours and rank that were rightfully theirs, or damaging their property by theft or neglect, deliberate which malicious intent
-inexpiable for the individual
-from Eleusinian mysteries
-from Eleusinian mysteries
-rituals that involved some degree of secrecy, full participation in which was limited to those who were "initiated"
- Could encompass all types of practices with hymns, processions, etc

The lesser mysteries
•In Athens in the month of February
•Eleusinion: an affiliated sanctuary
•Each mystes had to bring a piglet for sacrifice
•A pig was offered to Demeter and would purify themselves, which made them qualified to be qualified

The greater mysteries
•Month of late September – early October lasted for 6 days
•Brought the sacred objects from the Anaktoron at Eleusis to Athens as a procession
•A sacred announcer proclaimed the official beginning of the festival
•Mystai purified themselves in the sea and sacrificed piglets
mystes / mystai
-from Eleusinian mysteries
-initiates (people being initiated into the cult/mystery)
- myth was an old and well established way of thinking about the divine world and remained an integral part of the Greco-Roman culture. Traditional myths continued to be familiar to a brad range of people at least where there were temples and public festivals

- Myth remained a vital and pervasive way of envisioning the divine world, and as such constituted a crucial element of the Greco-roman religious tradition

- An etiological myth: explains why humans get the better part of animal sacrifice and how they came to have cultured civilization; more importantly it explains the alienation of the human from the divine; explains the conflict between men and women
-provided plots for the mass entertainments for the theatres and amphitheatres of the empire.
-from Andania
-defined message mediated through a priest or priestess who advises some kind of prophecy
-usually rather vague, and therefore, they tend not to be wrong -ex: a great army will be defeated (took it as other army but was then his own)
- ex. oracle at delphi - ex.
-The re-founder (Mnasistratos) went and consulted an oracle concerning the sacrifices and mysteries. Sacrifice in accordance with ancestral customs.
- This was set up to show that he had divine sanction and was to be a big production to show off
pius, pietas
-correct relations with parents, friends and fellow-citizens as well as the correct attitude with regard to the gods; a reciprocal relationship
-involves purity which includes moral obligation but goes beyond to include purity in body (for ex. after contact with a "pollutant" ex: dead body)
-direct communication between mortal and deity
-enactment of a ritual
-structure: invocation, justification, request
-often accompanies an offering or sacrifice
-could involve statues or images
-standing with arms raised
-various locations (natural places=grotto) (human created=temple)
-includes expression of gratitude or a request
-vocal or non-vocal
-communal or individual
-can be made for many reasons (honour, protection, wealth, travel, guidance, career, relationships, fertility, war, power, deceased....etc)
-explains the contractual relationship to the god
- no single priest in Greek, it as particular type of public office with certain distinguishing characteristics. These priests claimed authority over all interactions between the community and the gods. They focused on the correct performance of rituals concerned with behaviors not beliefs

- a set of people with a privileged role who act as the authoritative representatives of that tradition for the rest of the population

-Some people did claim to have a deeper and better understanding of the divine world than others and consequently criticized and rejected other beliefs

-These officials had some jurisdiction over everything that affected the welfare of the community, and included both administrative officers and priests
-Public displays showing devotion to one’s gods (pietas to a god or ancestors)
-Performative display of how one was in life, especially in a funeral context
-Possibly tell a story such as a reenactment of historical events or behaviours of the gods = social vs. physical
-Social cohesion create by the community gathering together -A way to move people from point A to B = practical purpose
- Rituals intended to remove pollution and render people as pure. A sort of general purification was often a necessary preliminary to other religious acts, such as entering a sanctuary or performing a sacrifice; other purification rituals were required to cleanse people from specific sources of pollution, such as childbirth or contact with a corpse
-a set of formal, objective rules and obligations, bequeathed by tradition, through which humans maintain a formal relationship with a deity (etiquette)
-mutually binding contract between humans and gods
-more about keeping positive relationship
religious specialist
- individuals who claimed a more profound and privileged understanding of the divine world or some special expertise in rituals of divination, purification or initiation

-There were a variety of free-lance specialists, poets, philosophers, and sages whose lore and specialized knowledge could be regarded as authoritative by those who were so included

-All these figures could operate without hindrance from public officials since their authority lay outside the sphere in which public officials were interested
religious tradition
-we do not think of Greco-Roman religious tradition as "religious" but as constituted by a set of approaches to the divine.

-2 fundamental facts:
1) people were in charge of their own religious lives, and had no need of religious specialists (priests, etc)

2) there was a wide range of figures with different types of authority and concerned with different areas. (reflects the general diversity of approaches to the divine that constituted religious tradition
-A social/communal or individual action(s) or ceremony following a prescribed order and aimed at a specific function/goal or as an expression of gratitude/respect
-Emphasis is on order
-They are traditional; passed down as established beforehand
-Often carried out in sacred spaces through symbolism and gestures
-Range from simple to complex
-They aim to appease the deities and thus maintain social order and coherence
sacred object
-Things or people that are incorporated in some capacity into rituals performed to win the favour of the gods
-Refers to something that is separate from the everyday (profane)
-Opposite of “profane,” which is something that can be touched by anyone
sacred tale (hieros largos)
-Accounts or explanations about the gods and their world
-For example, a collection of secret knowledge held by initiates of a particular mystery cult
-Could be transmitted orally or through text
-Used by priests for initiation rites; define who is initiated and who is not
-Essentially, an offering to a deity to bring about a desired effect
-Sacrifice was usually quite physical: bloody (animals, humans, etc.) or non-bloody (drink
offerings, cake, cheese, etc.)
-Includes elements of religio and superstitio
-Sacrifice could be appeasement, offering to curry favour, thanksgiving, ritual, or used for
-A sacred place, such as a temple or shrine set apart for the presence of a deity or for ritual activities
-Used by the community to make appropriate rituals, offerings, and sacrifices, often to appease the gods
-An auger acted as sacred connection/spokesperson of the resident god or goddess
-A physical manifestation of the mutually binding contract between humans and gods
-A three dimensional work of art as a representational or abstract form
-Sometimes had distinct depictions (e.g., thunderbolt for Zeus), which could be based on classical epics -Housed in temples, communal spaces, and in the home -Can act as a manifestation of the deity, providing safety or comport to those who can see it
-a whole set of religious attitudes in the widest sense, usually with reference to the wide-spread belief that the gods were evil, jealous and tyrannical and must be placated with slavish forms of behaviour designed to win the favour of the gods
-more about the negative
taxonomy of associations
- Household associations:

Oikos - means house, temple, shrine all types of diffrent equivalences. It seems there is a link to a house early on and a women passing on the association to her grandchildren

Family associations: Mentioning of person, daughter, brother, etc. Family lineage but not neccessarily linked to one particular family because it could be broader than that  (linked through common ancestors)

- Ethnic/immigrant associations: Geographicallay based group that became displaced from their origins

Neighborhood associations: Shared resources

Occupational associations: Invoking one of the gods right up front (in good fortune)

Common Purpose: main purpose of getting together is mainly to have a good time

Initiate (the mystery cults):

- From the text book: 
family: The “Brotherhoods” was an extension of the family consisting of groups of related families all worshipping a common ancestral deity and usually dwelling in the same district. Membership was restricted to tMahe legitimate male descendents of members in the Roman period we find other family based associations that included most or all of the dependents of Roman family

 A second type of association (partly overlapping family-based groups) formed around a common cult. Religious clubs had been attested in Athens since the time of Solon. Cultic associations were extremely popular throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods

Naturally, there is considerable overlap among these types of associations, since ethnic associations likely also observed the cult of national deities.

Trade associations were not even restricted to cities and large towns
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