Level of study Second Year
Credit value 20
Semester Scheduled for 2013-14, 1&2
How did Greek and Roman pagans worship their gods? Why were they so addicted to sacrifice? How did myth fit with these practices if it was not the bible of the Greeks (or indeed Romans)?
In this module we will select key topics from the history of Greek and Roman cults and mythology. We will look at the festival system of the city state, at the gods and their representation - in poets and in art. We will look at more intense forms of religious expression, like the Eleusinian Mysteries and (much later) the ‘oriental cults’ that were supposedly the competitors of Christianity - Isis and Mithras. We will also stop to look at the quaint religious practices of Rome and the ambivalent attitude of its élite to their religious heritage. Finally we will deal with the problematic figure of the Emperor and briefly with the confrontation with Christianity.