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Dendrophoroi

(243 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[English version] (δενδροφόροι). Collegium, wohl im Zusammenhang mit der Reorganisation des Kultes der Mater Magna von Kaiser Claudius gegründet. Der erste inschr. Beleg 79 n.Chr. ist CIL X 7 (Regium Iulium). Das Gründungsdatum ( natalicium) fiel auf den 1. August. Die rituelle Funktion des Vereins bestand im Fällen, Schmücken und Tragen der hl. Pinie in der Trauerprozession am 22. März zur Erinnerung an den Tod des Attis (Lyd. mens. 4,59; vgl. das Basrelief im Musée d'Aquitanie, Bordeaux [1]). Der griech. Name des Vereins legt …

Mysteries

(486 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L.
[German Version] The basic meaning of the Greek root μυ/ my is “to close”; the noun μύστης/ mýstēs, “initiate,” refers to the oath by which initiates swore not to give away the content of the rites. The basic form of the Greek mysteries is the cult of Demeter and Kore at Eleusis in Attica (from the 7th cent. bce). Its rites were directly imitated elsewhere in the Greek world, for example Pausanias II 14.1 (Keleiai); VIII 15.1–4 (Pheneus). However, the term “mysteries” itself is extremely imprecise in the classical period. It is best to speak not of “my…

Magical papyri

(1,407 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] I. General information Loose term for the constantly increasing body of Graeco-Egyptian magic texts (standard editions: [1; 2], since then, newly published texts in [3]). The most important distinction is to be made between the handbooks (until now more than 80 published copies) on papyrus, which contain the instructions for acts of magic, and directly used texts (at least 115 published copies) on papyrus, metal (lead tablets), pottery shards, wood, etc., corresponding to the extant …

Theoi Megaloi, Theai Megalai

(494 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
(θεοὶ μεγάλοι/ theoì megáloi, θεαὶ μεγάλαι/ theaì megálai, Latin di magni). [German version] I. General Term for a variety of deities or groups of gods in the Greek world. A distinction is made between deities or groups of gods for whom the adjective 'great' was used as an honorary epithet (e.g. Megálē Týchē, Theòs hýpsistos mégas theós) and those whose cultic nomen proprium was 'Great God' or 'Great Gods', such as the TM in Caria (SEG 11,984; 2nd cent. AD). Inscriptions record a broad range of use between these two poles. Often the TM are deities or groups…

Anaetis

(258 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Ἀναῖτις; Anaîtis). Iranian goddess. The Avestic name, Aredvī-Sūrā-Ānāhitā, goddess of the waters, consists of three epithets (e.g. anāhitā = untainted). The Indo-Iranian name was probably Sarasvatī, ‘the one who possesses the waters’. Yašt 5 describes her as a beautiful woman clad in beaver skins, who drives a four-horse chariot. She cleanses male sperm and the wombs of animals and humans, brings forth mother's milk, but also bestows prosperity and victory. Promoted in Achaemenid times (Berossus, FGrH 680 F11); in an undefined phase previously, she…

Magical spells

(1,227 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
(ὀνόματα βάρβαρα/ onómata bárbara, Lat. nomina barbarica). [German version] I. General Broad term for names, words and sounds used in ancient incantation practices of ritual magic and popular medicine. Their obscurity or indefiniteness was often understood by ancient observers as a synecdoche for the otherness of magic, above all in poetical depictions of fictional witchcraft rituals (e.g. Lucan, 6,685-693; Lucian, Dialogi Meretricii 4,5). From the magician's perspective, such utterances underpinned his au…

Boukoloi

(280 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Βουκόλοι; Boukóloi). Male members of Dionysian communities with different tasks, including dance (Lucian. Saltatione 79; schol. Lycoph. 212). The term relates to 1. shepherds in mythical stories who have been converted to servants of the god by witnessing a miracle (Eur. Bacch. 660-774); 2. the transformation of Dionysus from human to animal form, especially as a bull (idem 616-22; Plut. Quaest. Graec. 299b) [1]. The place associated with mythical shepherds is the mountains, the c…

Enyo

(150 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Ἐνυώ; Enyṓ). Pale feminine counterpart to Enyalius, of whose name E. is a shortened form; goddess of bloody close combat. In Homer's Iliad she appears in 5,333 with Athena and in 592 with Ares, whom she joins in encouraging the Trojans. Her identifying characteristic is Kydoimos (demon of close combat), which she swings like a weapon (Il. 5,592, cf. 18,535; schol. Hom. Il. 5,593). Genealogical constructions starting from these passages made E. the mother or daughter or wet-nurse o…

Ma

(730 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
(Greek Μᾶ/ , Lat. Ma-Bellona). One of a number of powerful Anatolian deities, whose cult was concentrated on the great temples (cf. Anaitis in Zela, Cybele/ Mḗtēr in Pessinus, Men Pharnaku in Cabira). The basic meaning of the word [1], widespread as a feminine proper name, is ‘mother’. [German version] A. Temple and cult in Anatolia The original centre of the cult was Comana [1]/Hierapolis in Cappadocian Cataonia. The local temple was already significant at the time of Suppiluliuma I ( c. 1355-1320 BC) ( Ḫattusa B. 3). A second ‘temple state’ arose in Comana [2]/Hierocaesa…

Arimaspi

(126 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Ἀριμασποί; Arimaspoí). Mythical group of one-eyed people in the extreme North, beyond the Issedones and before the land of the griffins, whose gold, according to the epic by  Aristeas of Proconnesus, they apparently repeatedly stole (Hdt. 3,116; 4,13; 27). The earliest iconographic evidence is the mirror of Kelermes, c. 570 BC [1. 260 pl. 303]. In contrast to older interpretations [2. 112-6], these days the historical aspect of this is understood as a component of a sophisticated representation of the foreigner -- with the Greek world as its point of reference. …

Pontifex, Pontifices

(1,559 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] A. General The pontifices were the most eminent college of priests in Rome. Their traditional founder was Numa Pompilius (Liv. 1,20,5-7). According to the accepted modern etymology ( pont- = 'way', cf. Sanskrit p ánthāh, 'path'), pontifex means 'path maker' [1]; some ancient etymologies, though wrong, more clearly illustrate Roman views: Q. Mucius [I 9] Scaevola, himself pontifex maximus, suggested an etymology from posse and facere: 'those who have the power (to act)’ (Varro, Ling. 5,83; cf. Plut. Numa 9,2). The collegium had the duty, at least from the time …

Curetes

(1,030 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Κουρῆτες; Kourêtes, Lat. Curetes). Mythological beings who protect the infant  Zeus from his father  Kronos by hitting their spears against their shields in order to drown out his screams (Callim. H. 1,51-53; Apollod. 1,1,6f.) or to deter the father (Str. 10,3,11). Most sources locate the scene in the cave of  Dicte on Crete, others locate it on  Ida [1] (e.g. Epimenides, FGrH 457 F 18, Aglaosthenes of Naxos, FGrH 499 F 1f., Apoll. Rhod. 1,1130, cf. Callim. H. 1,6-9). In one variati…

Cautes, Cautopates

(221 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Καύτης, Καυτοπάτης; Kaútēs, Kautopátēs). Antithetical pair of companions of  Mithras, associated with a large number of attributes, e.g. burning torches [1]. The etymology is disputed, the most plausible being the derivation from old Iranian * kaut ‘young’ [2]. Already the earliest iconographic representation displays them as complementary opposites [3]. They are the ‘twin brothers’ who are nourished by Mithras' water miracle (Mithraeum of Santa Prisca, Rome). The only literary documentation (Porph. de antro Nympharum 24 with conjecture Arethusa, p. 24,14…

Caelestis

(290 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] Latin name for the female counterpart of the highest Punic-Berber deity  Saturnus. The earliest iconographic portrayal, on the denarii of Q. Caecilius Metellus 47-46 BC, show C. as a lion-headed figure, genius terrae Africae (RRC 1. 472, no. 460. 4. pl. LIV). Literary sources describe her as the city goddess of Carthage; C. was also the protective goddess of Thuburbo maius, Oea and probably of other towns; ruler of the stars in the heavens, and of the Earth with all its produce and its inhabitants, as well as of …

Maskelli Maskello

(215 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Μασκελλι Μασκελλω). The two first ‘names’ in one of the most common lógoi ( lógos II. 2) in Graeco-Egyptian magic texts ( Magic). The lógos appears mainly in so-called agṓgima (coercive love spells; for example PGM IV 2755-2757, XIXa 10f.), but it also appears in other genres (albeit not with protective amulets) and is often identified expressly as a formula of ‘necessity’ (e.g. katà tês pikrâs Anánkēs, ‘according to bitter Anánkē ’, PGM VII 302; cf. XII 290f.). The suggestion that M.M. is derived from the Hebrew mśkel, ‘psalm of praise’, and represents a type of ‘…

Cannophori

(155 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] ( cannofori, καννηφόροι; kannēphóroi). The younger of the two colleges connected with the cult of Magna Mater; founded as part of Antoninus Pius' reorganization of the cult (2nd cent. AD). It was their ritual function in Rome, on 15 March to carry a bundle of reeds to the temple on the Palatine as part of the joyful procession commemorating the discovery of the young Attis by the Magna Mater on the banks of the  Gallus (Iul. or. 5,165b) [1] ( canna intrat, calendar of Philocalus, CIL I2 p. 260). On the same day, the Archigallus and the C. sacrificed a bull to ensur…

Brahmin

(137 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (Βραχμᾶνες, also Βραχμάναι, Βραχμῆνες; Brachmânes, Brachmánai, Brachmênes). Collective name of the Indian priestly caste. Sanskrit brāhmaṇa ‘praying person, priest’, members by birth of the highest caste, together with the samanaioi (Sanskrit śramaṇa) scholars, clerics and people of high social standing in Ancient Indian society (Str. 15,1,39). Entirely unknown in the Greek world prior to Alexander's campaign (Arr. Anab. 6,16,5; Str. 15,1,61), viewed as exemplary ascetics, were immediately described as the teac…

Dolichenus

(268 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] Jupiter Optimus Maximus D., highest divinity of Dolichē in  Commagene, now Dülük near Gaziantep. The original temple on the Dülük Baba Tepe has not been excavated. However, the god's pose on the bull, his thunderbolt and his double axe suggest his descent from the Hittite storm-god Tesšub. In Rome he was venerated as conservator totius mundi, preserver of the universe (AE 1940, 76). The counterpart of Jupiter Optimus Maximus D. was named  Juno Sancta/ Regina. Two other pairs occur, sun and moon, and the Dioscuri. There is no literary …

Zurvan

(215 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] The Iranian god of time (Avestan: zruuan; Pahlavi: zamān). Z. had two forms: as the eternal time of divine existence he is zruuan akarana- (Avestan), 'the boundless time', as the period of the confrontation between Good and Evil, zruuan darengō.xvadāta, 'the time of long dominion'. Earlier it was assumed that within the Zoroastrian religion (Zoroastrianism) 'Zurvanism' represented a Median sonderform, a degeneration or a heresy. The myth in which the cosmogonic deity Z. enables both the transient rule of Evil (Ahriman) and the ultimate vi…

Dendrophoroi

(240 words)

Author(s): Gordon, Richard L. (Ilmmünster)
[German version] (δενδροφόροι; dendrophóroi). Collegium, probably founded by the Emperor Claudius in connection with the reorganization of the cult of  Mater Magna. The first epigraphical evidence, dating from AD 79, is CIL X 7 (Regium Iulium). The founding date ( natalicium) was 1 August. The association's ritual function involved felling, decorating and carrying the sacred pine in the mourning procession on 22 March in memory of Attis (Lydus, Mens. 4,59; cf. the bas-relief in the Musée d'Aquitanie, Bordeaux [1]). The association's G…
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