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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... and participated in the exclusively female festival of the Pongala , have
recourse to data from fieldwork , an opportunity denied scholars of ancient
women's rites.28 The yearly spring festival of the Pongala , in which women from
all classes ...
A second example from Rome is Clodius Pulcher's infiltration of the Bona Dea
festival held by Caesar's wife during his consulship . First Plutarch tells us this
about the festival : " It is not lawful for a man to attend the sacred ceremonies , nor
Ovid tells us that worshipers of Ceres abstained from sex for nine nights around
the time of the goddess's annual festival , but he is not explicit as to whether
Ceres ' priestesses observed either the same or a more stringent requirement .
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Sources and Methodology
THE SCANDAL OF WOMENS RITUAL
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