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date: 23 November 2020


  • J. N. Bremmer


Ino-Leucothea is a goddess connected with *initiation and rites of reversal. The names are already combined by *Homer (Od. 5. 333 f.), but Ino appears independently in myth, as do Leucothea and her festival Leucathea in cult. Leucothea was worshipped in ‘the whole of Greece’ (Cic. Nat. D. 3. 39), but it is difficult to get a clear idea of her festivals, which often seem to have contained features of dissolutions of the social order: her sanctuary at *Delos was connected with a phallagogy (see phallus), and in *Chaeronea slaves and Aetolians (see aetolia) were excluded. In *Teos the ephebes (see ephēboi) became adult during the Leucathea, here the first month of the year. This initiatory aspect of Leucothea may well have led to her identification with Ino, who is also connected with initiation: she founds a contest for boys in *Miletus and raises *Dionysus, in a typical initiatory way, ‘as a girl’ in *Euboea (Apollod.

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