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Polytheism and Society at Athens$
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Robert Parker

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199216116

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216116.001.0001

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International Religion

International Religion

(p.79) 4 International Religion
Polytheism and Society at Athens

Robert Parker (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Not even at the level of practice, still less of the imagination, was religion in ancient Athens restricted within the confines of Attica. This international dimension of Athenian religion has four overlapping aspects. The first is the participation of Athens at the festivals held at the four great Panhellenic sanctuaries. The second international aspect was Athens' membership of Amphictyonies, which are a survival of a religious and political organisation that predates the city in the form in which it is known. At the Panhellenic games and at amphictyonic festivals, the Athenians participated along with other states. But there were also certain religious activities that they undertook at Delphi either alone or in association only with the Delphians. This is the third international dimension of Athenian religion. The final international dimension involves individuals who made offerings, attended festivals, and sought healing at foreign sanctuaries; they were initiated too in Mysteries.

Keywords:   ancient Athens, religion, festivals, sanctuaries, Amphictyonies, Delphi, religious activities, cults

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