Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 27 November 2022

transvestism, rituallocked

transvestism, rituallocked

  • Fritz Graf


The wearing of a dress of the opposite gender during *ritual. Ritual transvestism belongs to rituals of reversal where the values of ordinary life are temporarily abandoned; it is often combined with functionally similar rites, as in Dionysiac rituals (see dionysus). It is a special case of ritual change of dress; a structural equivalent is the taking up of freedmen's dress by Roman citizens during the Saturnalia (see saturnus). In Greece it occurs in many rituals, among them those which were understood as transformations from initiatory rituals (e.g. *Oschophoria; see initiation) where a temporary role reversal was characteristic for marginality. Persons who perpetually live on the margins of society might perpetually wear transvestite attire, as did the eunuch priests of *Cybele (see eunuchs, Religious).


  • Greek Myth and Religion

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription