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Dance and Ritual Play in Greek Religion

Overview

In private and in public life, the ancient Greeks danced to express divine adoration and human festivity. They danced at feasts and choral competitions, at weddings and funerals, in observance of the cycles of both nature and human existence. Formal and informal dances marked the rhythms of life and death.

In Dance and Ritual Play in Greek Religion, Steven Lonsdale looks at how the Greeks themselves regarded the act of dance, and how dance and related forms of ritual play in ...

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Overview

In private and in public life, the ancient Greeks danced to express divine adoration and human festivity. They danced at feasts and choral competitions, at weddings and funerals, in observance of the cycles of both nature and human existence. Formal and informal dances marked the rhythms of life and death.

In Dance and Ritual Play in Greek Religion, Steven Lonsdale looks at how the Greeks themselves regarded the act of dance, and how dance and related forms of ritual play in Greek religious festivals served a wide variety of functions in Greek society. The act of worship, he explains, often implied engaging in collective rites regulated by playful behavior, the most common forms of which were group hymns and choral dances.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

New England Classical Newsletter and Journal
This book offers a thorough and detailed review of the evidence for the function of dance to 'express divine adoration and human festivity in Greek culture.'.
New England Classical Newsletter and Journal
This book offers a thorough and detailed review of the evidence for the function of dance to 'express divine adoration and human festivity in Greek culture.'
Booknews
Explores in detail the vital role of dance in ancient Greece as a means of training the young for marriage and for battle, maintaining the morale of the population at large, and honoring the gods. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801867590
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2000
  • Series: Ancient Society and History Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen H. Lonsdale was educated at Harvard University and Cambridge Universities. He is the author of Animals and the Origins of Dance and Creatures of Speech: Lion, Herding, and Hunting Similies in the "Iliad".

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
Preface
Introduction: Problems and Sources 1
1 Dance and Play in Plato's Laws: Anticipating an Anthropological Paradigm 21
2 Origins and Divine Prototypes: Dance as an Ordering Force 44
3 Further Divine Prototypes: Dance as a Disruptive Force 76
4 Divine Prototypes and Their Human Realizations 111
5 Preparations for Manhood: Zeus, Athena, and the Weapon Dance 137
6 Rehearsals for Womanhood: Dance and Ritual Play in Female Transition Rites 169
7 Dance in Courtship and Marriage 206
8 The Dance of Death: Privileges of the Dead 234
9 Change: Pan and Private Worship 261
List of Abbreviations 277
Notes 279
Select Bibliography 325
Index of Passages 335
General Index 343
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