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Article

Manfred Oppermann and Nora M. Dimitrova

Evidence about Thracian religion is provided by numerous Greek and Latin inscriptions, which list a variety of deities and epithets, both with Greco-Roman and local names. Accounts in Greek and Latin authors are another important source of information for the religion of *Thrace. *Herodotus(1) (5. 7) writes that the Thracians worshipped only *Ares, *Dionysus, and *Artemis, though their kings also had a cult of *Hermes. No doubt this is a typical case of *interpretatio Graeca, ‘Greek interpretation’. That is, the functions of these deities were meant to illustrate the nature of the Thracian gods for a Greek audience. Ares suggests the existence of a war-god, Dionysus probably stood for a deity of orgiastic character linked with fertility and vegetation, while Artemis was an embodiment of the major female deity, frequently interpreted as the Great Goddess, though positive evidence for the cult of one principal Great Goddess is lacking. More likely, there were a number of important female deities, such as Artemis, often equated with *Bendis, who was introduced to Athens in the 5th cent.

Article

Jenny March

Rhadamanthys, in mythology usually the son of *Zeus and *Europa (Hom. Il. 14. 321–2, Hes. fr. 141. 13 M–W), although an obscure tradition gives the genealogy Cres (eponymous hero of *Crete)–*Talos(1)–*Hephaestus–Rhadamanthys (Cinaethon in Paus. 8. 53. 5). He did not die but went to *Elysium, where the most blessed mortals live in bliss. There he is a ruler and judge (Pind. Ol. 2. 75 ff.). He is universally renowned for his wisdom and justice (e.g. Pind. Pyth. 2. 73 f.), and is one of the judges of the dead in the Underworld, along with his brother *Minos and *Aeacus (Pl. Apol. 41a adds *Triptolemus). In *Virgil (Aen. 6. 566) he presides over *Tartarus and punishes the wicked for their sins. It is sometimes said that he married *Alcmene after the death of *Amphitryon and lived in exile at Ocaleae in *Boeotia (Apollod.

Article

Rhesus  

Andrew Brown

Rhesus, a *Thracian ally of *Priam. Iliad 10 (a post-Homeric addition) tells how *Odysseus and *Diomedes(2), learning of his arrival before Troy from the Trojan spy Dolon, stole into his camp, killed him and twelve of his men, and carried off his magnificent horses. Other authors told of a prophecy that, if his horses had fed or drunk at Troy, the city could not have fallen (so Verg. Aen. 1. 469–73), or alternatively credited him with some fighting at Troy before his death. The story is also the subject of the Rhesus attributed to *Euripides. While Iliad 10 makes Rhesus the son of Eïoneus, the play makes him the son of the river Strymon and a Muse (see muses). The Muse appears with his body at the end, and declares that he will live on as a demigod (970–3).At the refounding of *Amphipolis in 437–6 bce the colonists are said (*Polyaenus(2), Strat.

Article

Herbert Jennings Rose, B. C. Dietrich, and Alan A. D. Peatfield

The island was sacred to *Helios who claimed it before it rose from beneath the sea. He had seven sons (Haliadae) with the *nymph Rhodos (who gave her name to the island), and three grandsons, the eponymous heroes of the chief Rhodian cities *Camirus, *Ialysus, and *Lindus (Pind. Pyth. 7. 69–76). The brilliant panhellenic Halieia were celebrated quinquennially with great pomp and games. Expensive gifts to the god included *Chares (4)'s Colossus of Rhodes (Ath. 561F; *Xen.Ephes. 5. 11; see seven wonders of the ancient world); and every year a quadriga (chariot), horses and all (with which the god circled the world), was thrown into the sea in his honour. The festival replaced the Tlapolemeia of the founding hero and son of *Heracles (Pind. Pyth. 7. 20), whose myth records the island's *Dorian settlement. Heracles Bouthoinas had a cult at Lindus with curious rites resembling the Attic Bouphonia (Lactant Div.

Article

Manfred Oppermann and Nora M. Dimitrova

Riders, symbolizing nobility and higher status in many cultures, traditionally employed the iconography of heroes and gods. The representation of a deity on horseback is relatively rare in the central areas of the Graeco-Roman world. The best example is provided by the *Dioscuri. Rider-god iconography, albeit with varying regional characteristics, is more frequent around the periphery, in Hellenistic-Roman Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, and north Africa.Rider-god iconography was extremely popular in the Eastern Balkans, where it often featured a hunter on horseback. This kind of votive monument is known as Thracian Rider, probably functioning as a conventional, symbolic image of a deity, rather than as an extreme product of religious syncretism, and is not to be confused with the Danubian Rider—mostly votive tablets of smaller format. The latter belongs to a mystery cult with Mithraic elements found in the lower and middle Danube area in the 2nd and 3rd cents. ce.

Article

J. N. Bremmer

Rites of passage Is the term first used by A. van Gennep in his classic study The Rites of Passage (1960; 1st Fr. edn. 1909) for mainly those rituals which dramatize passages in the life-cycle and the calendar. According to Van Gennep, these rites were characterized by a separation from the old status, a liminal phase ‘betwixt and between’, and the incorporation into the new condition. More importantly, an analysis of these rituals shows which transitions were deemed important, which parts of these transitions, which symbols were used, and what they signify.

The main passages in the ancient life-cycle were birth, *initiation, *marriage, and death, although in Rome initiation must have been abolished at a relatively early period because only traces of these institutions have survived. It is much harder to see which parts of the transitions received attention in which periods. Whereas on Attic black-figure vases of the late Archaic period the public procession of the couple to the bridegroom's home received all attention, the red-figure vases focused on the relationship of bride and groom: a nice illustration of a shift in attention from public to private. Unfortunately, our information about the rites is usually so fragmentary that development within these (as in other) rites is often hard to document.

Article

ritual  

Fritz Graf

Both definition and interpretation of ritual are highly debated among social scientists. On a minimal definition (at least in the context of Greek and Roman cultures), ritual could be seen as symbolic activity in a religious context. A ritual (or ceremony) is composed of several single acts, the rites. Ritual is an activity whose imminent practical aim has become secondary, replaced by the aim of communication; this does not preclude ritual from having other, less immediate practical goals. Form and meaning of ritual are determined by tradition; they are malleable according to the needs of any present situation, as long as the performers understand them as being traditional. As to interpretation, in an era where often loosely associated Frazerian meanings dominated the field, the seminal work of A. van Gennep (1909; see the preceding entry) made it clear that rituals with seemingly widely different goals have common structures; this developed the insight, deepened by structuralism, that in ritual, structures are prior to meaning. French sociology (E. Durkheim) and British social anthropology (E.

Article

Irad Malkin

Rivers and seas are ultimately derived from Oceanus, the father of all rivers (Hom. Il. 21. 196; Hes. Theog. 337; see oceanus (mythological)). As personifications of animate powers river-gods such as *Scamander in the Trojan plain may assume human form (conversation with *Achilles) but attack as gushing waters. River-gods also assemble in the council of *Zeus. Rivers are ancestors of ‘older’ heroes (Inachus, father of Io), articulating a differentiation of the landscape and humanity's link with it. Rivers can function as guardians: the river Erasinus refused to abandon the citizens of *Argos(1) to the Spartan *Cleomenes(1) (Paus. 2. 20. 6). One tenth of the property of the traitors of *Amphipolis (the city ‘surrounded by river’) was dedicated to the river.River-gods, such as the *Nile or the *Tiber, are quintessentially male, and are often represented as bulls (also as horses and snakes) and appear thus—or as humans with bull-attributes, sometimes swimming—on coins (especially from Sicily). Live bulls, a natural metaphor for the roaring waters, were occasionally sacrificed by throwing them into the river (horses too, sometimes). *Ritual acts and cult seem to have been ubiquitous.

Article

rivers  

Brian Campbell

Ancient peoples lived in close proximity to the environment and experienced at first hand natural phenomena and landscape features that, while often helpful or indeed essential to life, were also potentially threatening. The land and its produce were crucial to survival, and in a predominantly rural world dotted with towns and cities, many people will have observed at first hand mountains, rivers, and the relationship of landscape to available space for settlement. Rivers expressed the local community’s link with the landscape and sustained river valley communities by providing water for drinking, washing, irrigation, and watering of animals, as well as offering routes of communication. Many rivers were also a fruitful source of fish, especially if the water was clean, such as the high-quality fish from the Pamisos in Messenia (Paus. 4.34.1–2). But of course rivers could also flood a settlement or sweep it away. In addition, popular reaction to the environment around the local area was often influenced by strong cultural and religious feelings associated with landscape. In this context, it is not surprising that some literary works were exclusively devoted to natural features of the landscape, for example describing rivers, their character, history, and legendary associations. Mythology helped to explain natural phenomena. Furthermore, the theme of rivers in various guises appears repeatedly in the work of geographers, ethnographers, teachers, poets, and historians. Philosophers were also interested in the curiosities of riverine conditions, which, by their timeless quality yet constant movement, seemingly offered a comment on the human condition.

Article

Rogozen  

Simon Hornblower

Rogozen, Bulgarian site in ancient *Thrace (see also religion, thracian), at which important finds of beautiful 4th-cent. bce silver and silver-gilt vessels were made in 1986. Some carry Greek inscriptions (e.g. the name of *Cersobleptes) and depict Greek mythological scenes.

Article

Charles Farwell Edson and Simon Price

The essential characteristic of Greek ruler-worship is the rendering, as to a god or hero, of honours to individuals deemed superior to other people because of their achievements, position, or power. The roots of this lie in Greece, though parallels are to be found in other near eastern societies.In the aristocratic society of the Archaic age, as in the Classical polis of the 5th cent., no person could reach a position of such generally acknowledged pre-eminence as to cause the granting of divine honours to be thought appropriate: posthumous heroization (see hero-cult), rather than deification, was the honour for city-*founders. The first case of divine honours occurred in the confused period at the end of the Peloponnesian War, when *Lysander, the most powerful man in the Aegean, received divine cult on *Samos. There are some other, 4th-cent. examples.Ruler-cult in a developed form first appears during the reign of *Alexander(3) the Great, and is directly inspired by his conquests, personality, and in particular his absolute and undisputed power.

Article

Robert Parker

Sabazius (Σαβάζιος—but numerous other spellings occur), a god first attested in several slighting allusions in *Aristophanes (1); there are also 4th-cent. references to his unofficial cult in *Attica. Aristophanes treats him as a Phrygian (see phrygia); the bulk of the surviving dedications derive from Anatolia, particularly from Phrygia; *Attalus III in 135/4 bce claimed to be incorporating ‘Zeus Sabazios’ (cf. zeus) into the state cult of *Pergamum (a rare instance of official recognition for Sabazius) as an ‘ancestral god’ of his mother, Stratonice of *Cappadocia (OGIS331). Later, Sabazius also appears as an ‘ancestral god’ of Thrace (see religion, thracian). Except in Attica, the cult is little attested until the late Hellenistic period; it eventually penetrated almost every corner of the Roman empire, normally at the level of private associations. From Rome itself, according to a puzzling report in *Valerius Maximus (1.

Article

Robert Parker

The category of “sacred laws” is one within which modern scholarship on Greek religion assembles inscriptions which in various ways regulate the conduct of cult. Many have a broadly policing function: fines or other punishments are imposed for cutting wood, pasturing animals, lighting fires within a sanctuary, or disorderly conduct at a festival. Some deal with other aspects of sanctuary management such as the positioning and care of votive offerings. Some prescribe ritual activities such as processions or sacrifices to be conducted at new or reorganized festivals; the financing of cult is often a concern. Many define the duties and perquisites of priests and priestesses. A distinctive subclass is the “sale of priesthood” text, from those parts of the east Greek world where some priesthoods were so allocated. Each time a sale was to occur, a job description was published which functioned as a cross between advertisement and contract. Calendars listing month by month the sacrifices to be offered by a particular city or subgroup within one are also conventionally included among sacred laws.

Article

C. J. Tuplin

Four wars declared by the Delphic *amphictiony (see delphi) against states allegedly guilty of sacrilege against *Apollo.The First involved *Solon and resulted in *Cirrha's destruction as a punishment for ‘brigandage’ and impious treatment of pilgrims and dedications (early 6th cent.). Claims that this is a pseudo-historical event, invented in the 340s, are dubitable given *Isocrates' reference in Plataicus (14.31: 373/2).The Second arose when Athens placed the sanctuary under Phocian control (see phocis). *Sparta intervened to restore Delphian authority and *Athens countered by restoring Phocis (c.448). The Phocians lost control again after 446. The affair is obscure (*Thucydides (2)'s treatment is very brief); Sparta's intervention in *Doris in 458 is probably part of the background.The Third. Phocian intentions were suspect in 363, but it was a Delphian denunciation (357) for cultivation of the Crisaean plain (between Delphi and the coast) which precipitated war.

Article

Robert Parker

Sacrifice was the most important form of action in Greek religion (see religion, greek), but we should note at once that there is no single Greek equivalent to the English word ‘sacrifice’. The practices we bring together under this heading were described by a series of overlapping terms conveying ideas such as ‘killing’, ‘destroying’, ‘burning’, ‘cutting’, ‘consecrating’, ‘performing sacred acts’, ‘giving’, ‘presenting’, but not at all the idea present in ‘it was a great sacrifice for him’. As occasions for sacrifice *Theophrastus distinguished ‘honour, gratitude, and need’ (in *Porphyry, Abst. 2. 24), but his categories do not correspond to fixed types, and in fact the rite could be performed on almost any occasion.Vegetable products, savoury *cakes above all, were occasionally ‘sacrificed’ (the same vocabulary is used as for animal sacrifice) in lieu of animals or, much more commonly, in addition to them. But animal sacrifice was the standard type. The main species used were sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle. In a few cults fish and fowl were offered, wild animals still more rarely; dogs and horses appear in a few sacrifices of special type that were not followed by a feast. Human sacrifice occurred only in myth and scandalous story. The choice between the main species was largely a matter of cost and scale, a piglet costing about 3 drachmae, a sheep or goat 12, a pig 20 or more, a cow up to 80. Within the species symbolic factors were sometimes also relevant: the virgins *Athena and *Artemis might require unbroken cattle, fertile Earth a pregnant sow.

Article

Herbert Jennings Rose and J. N. Bremmer

Salmoneus, a son of *Aeolus (1). *Homer calls Salmoneus ‘blameless’ (Od. 11. 235 f.), but post-Homeric tradition pictures him as the eponymous king of Salmone in *Elis, who in a case of *hubris pretended to be *Zeus, flinging torches for lightning and making a noise like thunder with his chariot; Zeus killed him with a real thunderbolt. *Sophocles (1) wrote a Salmoneus Satyricus.

Article

Richard Allan Tomlinson

Sanctuaries in the Greek world (see also temenos) were areas set aside for religious purposes and separate from the normal secular world. The boundary (peribolos) might be an actual wall, but more often would be indicated by boundary markers. Traditional Greek and Roman worship was not restricted to initiates (except for the *mysteries at *Eleusis and elsewhere) who had to be accommodated in closeable buildings suitable for private ritual: the open space of the sanctuary was where the worshippers congregated to observe and participate in the ritual which was enacted on their behalf; for this, the main requisite was sufficient space.The *festivals which were the occasion for such worship were normally annual, though sanctuaries would be accessible for individual acts of worship and the performance of vows. Within the sanctuary space were the buildings and other structures dedicated to the use of the god, especially the *altar at which the burnt *sacrifice, essential to the religious functioning of the sanctuary, was made.

Article

Sandas  

Francis Redding Walton

Sandas (Σάνδας and variants), an indigenous god of *Tarsus, whose symbols (club, bow) and fire-ritual probably account for his Hellenization (i.e. his Greek form) as *Heracles. The cult recurs in *Lydia (where he was the consort of *Cybele), *Cappadocia, and other nearby regions.

Article

Jenny March

Sarpedon, in Homer's Iliad the son of *Zeus and Laodamia, the daughter of *Bellerophon; he was commander of the Lycian contingent of Priam's allies (2. 876; see lycia). He is one of the strongest warriors on the Trojan side and takes a prominent part in the fighting, killing Heracles' son *Tlepolemus (5. 628–62), leading an assaulting group of the allies on to the Greek wall (12. 101 ff.), and making the first breach (290 ff.). The story of his death at the hands of *Patroclus is narrated in detail (16. 419–683): Zeus, knowing that he is fated to die, wishes to save his beloved son, but, rebuked by *Hera, allows his death and marks it by causing bloody rain to fall. There is a great fight over Sarpedon's corpse, until *Apollo rescues it on Zeus' instructions; it is then carried back home to Lycia by Sleep and Death (*Hypnos and *Thanatos; subject of a famous late-Archaic Attic vase by Euphronius: New York, MMA 1972.

Article

Richard Seaford

Satyrs and silens are imaginary male inhabitants of the wild, comparable to the ‘wild men’ of the European folk tradition, with some animal features, unrestrained in their desire for sex and wine, and generally represented naked. The first mention in literature of ‘silens’ is as making love to *nymphs in caves (Hymn. Hom. Ven.262–3); of ‘satyrs’ it is as ‘worthless and mischievous’ (Hes. fr. 123). On the Attic François vase (c.570 bce) the horse–human hybrids accompanying *Hephaestus (with *Dionysus) back to *Olympus (1) are labelled as silens. It seems that in the course of the 6th cent. bce the (Attic-Ionic) silens were amalgamated with the (Peloponnesian) satyrs (so that the names were used interchangeably) to form, along with nymphs or maenads, the sacred band (*thiasos) of Dionysus. It is a thiasos of young satyrs that, in the 5th cent., forms the chorus of *satyric drama, with Silenus (in keeping with the ancient belief in individual silens) as father of the satyrs.