Finding Persephone: Women's Rituals in the Ancient Mediterranean
Drawing upon the latest research in gender studies, history of religion, feminism, ritual theory, performance, anthropology, archaeology, and art history, Finding Persephone investigates the ways in which the religious lives and ritual practices of women in Greek and Roman antiquity helped shape their social and civic identity. Barred from participating in many public arenas, women asserted their presence by performing rituals at festivals and presiding over rites associated with life passages and healing. The essays in this lively and timely volume reveal the central place of women in the religious and ritual practices of the societies of the ancient Mediterranean. Readers interested in religion, women's studies, and classical antiquity will find a unique exploration of the nature and character of women's autonomy within the religious sphere and a full account of women's agency in the public domain.
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57 Images of hetairai at or on altars are not uncommon ; a famous example
appears in the tondo of a red - figure cup in the Athenian Agora ( fig . 3.8 ) .58
The Agora cup portrays a nude hetaira kneeling before a flaming altar and
holding aloft ...
... while their alignment with the divinity Clementia enables them to articulate a
voice of justice and reason that the men appear incapable of attaining .
Nevertheless , the women's assumption of these powers also appears highly
For both there appears to have been an assumption of equality among
participants as the social basis for communitas within the sanctuary.59 Crucial to
both festivals was a coming into relationship of felt intimacy with Demeter by
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Sources and Methodology
THE SCANDAL OF WOMENS RITUAL
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