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date: 05 July 2022

votive offeringslocked

votive offeringslocked

  • Irad Malkin


Votive offerings are voluntary dedications to the gods, resulting not from prescribed ritual or sacred calendars but from ad hoc vows of individuals or communities in circumstances usually of anxiety, transition, or achievement. Votives display a considerable number of constant features in both Greek and Roman religions. Dedications consisted in renunciation and long-term symbolic investment in the divine, in expectation of good things to come. Unlike *sacrifice, where one ‘destroys’, by depositing a perceptible object in a sanctuary one both loses it and makes it eternal. One of the primary functions of *temples was to house expensive dedications; the temple itself was a communal dedication, anathēma, to the god (cf. Plut. Per.12, 14).On a personal level, just like prayers, votive offerings emphasize the individual's ‘if–then’ relations with the gods. The gift to the sanctuary both mediates and serves as testimony to the occasion of the vow. ‘If my ship arrives safely, if I recover from illness, if my crop succeeds, etc.…I shall dedicate a statue, a *tithe, a temple’, and so on.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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