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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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Who Prays for Athens? Religion in Civic Life

Who Prays for Athens? Religion in Civic Life

(p.89) 5 Who Prays for Athens? Religion in Civic Life
Polytheism and Society at Athens

Robert Parker (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines some particular aspects of public religion in ancient Athens, focusing on religious decision-making and authority, the power and influence of priests and priestesses, magistrates, other religious specialists, and of the council and assembly. The priests and priestesses are those appointed by the city, by the gene traditionally so empowered on behalf of the city, or by the demes, to serve particular gods in particular sanctuaries. These are the priests and priestesses who served bodies that had both a civic and a religious identity. The chapter then turns to the place of religion in the main public domains of Athenian life, considering behaviour along with the role of religious practices within the procedures of the assembly, the courts, and the army. The types of religious argument and evidence that might and might not be explicitly deployed in those contexts are discussed.

Keywords:   ancient Athens, religion, priests, priestesses, religious decision-making, religious authority, religious practices, assembly, civic life, cults

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