The Mysteries of Artemis of Ephesos: Cult, Polis, and Change in the Graeco-Roman World

Overview

Artemis of Ephesos was one of the most widely worshiped deities of the Graeco-Roman World. Her temple, the Artemision, was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and for more than half a millennium people flocked to Ephesos to learn the great secret of the mysteries and sacrifices that were celebrated every year on her birthday.

In this work Guy MacLean Rogers sets out the evidence for the celebration of Artemis's mysteries against the background of the remarkable urban ...

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The Mysteries of Artemis of Ephesos

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Overview

Artemis of Ephesos was one of the most widely worshiped deities of the Graeco-Roman World. Her temple, the Artemision, was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and for more than half a millennium people flocked to Ephesos to learn the great secret of the mysteries and sacrifices that were celebrated every year on her birthday.

In this work Guy MacLean Rogers sets out the evidence for the celebration of Artemis's mysteries against the background of the remarkable urban development of the city during the Roman Empire and then proposes an entirely new theory about the great secret that was revealed to initiates into Artemis's mysteries. The revelation of that secret helps to explain not only the success of Artemis's cult and polytheism itself but, more surprisingly, the demise of both and the success of Christianity. Contrary to many anthropological and scientific theories, the history of polytheism, including the celebration of Artemis's mysteries, is best understood as a Darwinian tale of adaptation, competition, and change.

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Editorial Reviews

H. W. Pleket

A magnificent reconstruction of the cult and mysteries of Artemis of Ephesos, capital of the province of Asia Minor and one of the most impressive archaeological sites. Rogers offers many intriguing and provoking hypotheses, based on a profound knowledge of the inscriptions and of the abundant secondary literature, especially those in German, the language of the city’s Austrian excavators.—H.W. Pleket, University of Leiden
James Rives

Rogers provides a meticulous and vividly detailed recreation of the history of a single cult, grounded in a mastery of all the relevant evidence and carefully situated in its wider political, social, and cultural context. This book contributes significantly to our appreciation for the complex texture of religious life in the Graeco-Roman world.—James Rives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Greg Woolf

This magisterial study of the complex evolution of one of Greek antiquity’s most intriguing and long-lasting ritual traditions offers new insights into the attractions of ancient polytheism. Historians of religion, and of the Roman empire too, are greatly in Rogers’ debt.—Greg Woolf, University of St. Andrews
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300178630
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/2012
  • Series: Synkrisis Series
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 668,115
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Guy MacLean Rogers is Kemper Professor of History and Classics at Wellesley College. He is the author of The Sacred Identity of Ephesos: Foundation Myths of a Roman City, Alexander: The Ambiguity of Greatness, and Roots of the Western Tradition: A Short History of the Ancient World. He lives in Litchfield County, CT.

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Table of Contents

Preface: Anathema ix

Maps xiii

Part I Muesis-Initiation

1 Continuity in Change 3

2 Funeral Games 33

3 Mysteries and Sacrifices 61

Part II Teletai- Rites

4 Mystic Sacrifices 91

5 Kouretes eusebeis 122

6 Kouretes eusebeis kai philosebastoi 145

7 Kouretes eusebeis kai philosebastoi kai bouleutai 171

8 "The Nurse of Its Own Ephesian God," 205

9 "Our Common Salvation," 230

Part III Epopteia-Viewing

10 Cult, Polis, and Change in the Graeco-Roman World 259

Appendix 1 The Other Mystery Cults of the Polis 293

Appendix 2 Cults of the Prytaneion 303

Appendix 3 Chronological Chart of Kouretes 309

Appendix 4 Chart of Mysteries and Change 311

List of Abbreviations 313

Notes 315

Glossary 437

Select Modern Bibliography 441

General Index 481

Index of Ancient Authors 495

Index of Inscriptions 497

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