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Eros and Ritual in Ancient Literature


Singing of Atalanta, Daphnis, and Orpheus


This book examines popular erotic myths with regard to their origins and literary treatment throughout antiquity. The relation of ritual to certain mythic patterns that reflect initiation rites is also considered. These myths reinforce the association between cult and mythology in literature. Initiation patterns were employed as literary metaphors for falling in love or even for holding a philosophical argument on human progress. The myths are chosen in order to form a narrative sequence, but also as an example of how mythic patterns can be variously manipulated in literature.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-931956-72-7
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Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Aug 15,2013
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 610
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-931956-72-7
$233.00
$139.80

This book examines popular erotic myths with regard to their origins and literary treatment throughout antiquity. The relation of ritual to certain mythic patterns that reflect initiation rites is also considered.

The myths are chosen in order to form a narrative sequence, but also as an example of how mythic patterns can be variously manipulated in literature. The first two chapters study the myths of Atalanta and of Daphnis (in Theocritus) and comment on literary metaphors for falling in love. The influence of ritual and particularly of Near Eastern cults in the formation and the subtext of these metaphors is indicated. The nature of Latin Elegy and of Greek pastoral is analyzed based on fundamental metaphors that poets might have used as the bedrock of their work.

The following three chapters deal with the Vergilian project in the Eclogues and the Georgics: in his Eclogues, Vergil envisioned a second Golden Age, beyond the suffering of civil strife; based on teleology rites like the Orphic and the Eleusinian mysteries, he ascribed to Daphnis the civilizing force of Orpheus. Thus, he attributed to the pastoral ideal the philosophical depth and credence of ancient religions. Mythical allusions to the primal Golden Age and Arcadia were designed to outline the role of love and poetry in the New Agricultural Age. In the fourth book of the Georgics, the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice was interwoven with that of Aristaeus, to denote the rebirth of the Golden Age under the Jovian theodicy. Vergil returned to ancient rites in which the initiate was perceived as dying before being resurrected to a new stage of existence. In this light, Aristaeus and Orpheus are equated as cultural pioneers.

These myths reinforce the association between cult and mythology in literature. Initiation patterns were employed as literary metaphors for falling in love or even for holding a philosophical argument on human progress.

Evangelia Anagnostou-Laoutides researches mythology and cult across a variety of ancient literary genres including Greek Lyric and Drama, Hellenistic epigram and bucolic poetry, Latin elegy, and pastoral. She currently teaches classical mythology and drama at the Universities of Kent and Wales, while she also co-operates with the Foundation of the Hellenic World on the project 'Asia Minor: an electronic dictionary.'

Cover: Thracian Girl Carrying the Head of Orpheus on His Lyre, oil on canvas, Gustave Moreau, 1865.

This book examines popular erotic myths with regard to their origins and literary treatment throughout antiquity. The relation of ritual to certain mythic patterns that reflect initiation rites is also considered.

The myths are chosen in order to form a narrative sequence, but also as an example of how mythic patterns can be variously manipulated in literature. The first two chapters study the myths of Atalanta and of Daphnis (in Theocritus) and comment on literary metaphors for falling in love. The influence of ritual and particularly of Near Eastern cults in the formation and the subtext of these metaphors is indicated. The nature of Latin Elegy and of Greek pastoral is analyzed based on fundamental metaphors that poets might have used as the bedrock of their work.

The following three chapters deal with the Vergilian project in the Eclogues and the Georgics: in his Eclogues, Vergil envisioned a second Golden Age, beyond the suffering of civil strife; based on teleology rites like the Orphic and the Eleusinian mysteries, he ascribed to Daphnis the civilizing force of Orpheus. Thus, he attributed to the pastoral ideal the philosophical depth and credence of ancient religions. Mythical allusions to the primal Golden Age and Arcadia were designed to outline the role of love and poetry in the New Agricultural Age. In the fourth book of the Georgics, the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice was interwoven with that of Aristaeus, to denote the rebirth of the Golden Age under the Jovian theodicy. Vergil returned to ancient rites in which the initiate was perceived as dying before being resurrected to a new stage of existence. In this light, Aristaeus and Orpheus are equated as cultural pioneers.

These myths reinforce the association between cult and mythology in literature. Initiation patterns were employed as literary metaphors for falling in love or even for holding a philosophical argument on human progress.

Evangelia Anagnostou-Laoutides researches mythology and cult across a variety of ancient literary genres including Greek Lyric and Drama, Hellenistic epigram and bucolic poetry, Latin elegy, and pastoral. She currently teaches classical mythology and drama at the Universities of Kent and Wales, while she also co-operates with the Foundation of the Hellenic World on the project 'Asia Minor: an electronic dictionary.'

Cover: Thracian Girl Carrying the Head of Orpheus on His Lyre, oil on canvas, Gustave Moreau, 1865.

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Evangelia Anagnostou-Laoutides

  • Copywrite Page (page 4)
  • Table of Contents (page 7)
  • Acknowledgements (page 9)
  • Introduction (page 11)
    • The Myths (page 11)
    • The Poets (page 22)
    • The Structure on the Thesis (page 25)
      • Chapter One: The Myth of Atalanta (page 25)
      • Chapter Two: The Myth of Daphnis (Theocritus) (page 27)
      • Chapter Three: The Myth of Daphnis (Vergil) (page 30)
      • Chapter Four: Poetry and Vergil (page 31)
      • Chapter Five: Orpheus and Aristaeus (page 32)
      • Appendices (page 29)
        • Appendix I: The Epic Tradition of the First Idyll (page 29)
        • Appendix II: The Cup of Theocritus (page 29)
        • Appendix III: Fishermen: Lovers of Death? (page 30)
        • Appendix IV: Orpheus, Pythagoras and the Egyptians (page 34)
  • Chapter One: The Myth of Atalanta in Antiquity (page 37)
    • Ancient Literature: Its Principles (page 37)
    • The Myth of Atalanta: a Reflection from Ritual? (page 41)
    • Artemis and Atalanta: Eastern Associations (page 54)
    • The Reception of Myth in Latin Literature: Ovid (page 72)
    • The Apples of Love (page 82)
    • Atalanta and the Elegiac Lover (page 103)
    • The Magical Aspect of Love (page 119)
    • Erotic Mania (page 132)
  • Chapter Two: Theocritus 1.1: The Myth of Daphnis (page 141)
    • The Theoretical Background (page 141)
    • Daphnis and His Traditions in Theocritus (page 151)
    • Three Images on a Cup: Image III (page 190)
    • The Death of Daphins (page 220)
    • Daphnis, a Bewitched Lover? (page 230)
  • Chapter Three: The Pastorals of Vergil- Eclogues and the Georgics (page 235)
    • Vergil versus Theocritus (page 235)
    • Daphnis in Vergil (page 245)
    • Daphnis-Orpheus (page 255)
    • Daphnis-Prometheus (page 268)
    • Arcadia (page 274)
    • The Golden Age (page 286)
    • Vergil-Orpheus-Linus (page 297)
    • The Eleusinian Mysteries (page 307)
    • Vergil and the Agricultural Golden Age (page 314)
  • Chapter Four: Poetry and Vergil (page 319)
    • Poetry and Passion: Arcadia and Rome (page 319)
    • Vergil, the Bard of a New Era (page 347)
  • Chapter Five: Aristaeus and Orpheus in Georgics Four (page 357)
    • Literary Review (page 357)
    • The Role of the Bees (page 372)
    • Aristaeus-Aeneas-Orpheus (page 395)
    • Aristaeus-Prometheus-Opheus (page 401)
    • The Three Heroes as Deities (page 414)
    • 'At Once Hierophant and Poet' (page 426)
    • Aristeas of Proconnesus and Aristaeus (page 435)
  • Conclusion (page 459)
    • Synopsis (page 459)
      • Chapter One (page 461)
      • Chapter Two (page 465)
      • Chapter Three (page 467)
      • Chapter Four (page 468)
      • Chapter Five (page 470)
    • Poets and Philosophers Embrace Ritual (page 472)
  • Appendix I: The Epic Tradition of the First Idyll (page 481)
    • Daphnis, Achilles, Heracles and Death by Love (page 481)
    • Heracles and Omphale (page 498)
  • Appencix II: The Cup of Theocritus (page 501)
    • The First Image (page 501)
    • The Second Image (page 508)
  • Appendix III: Fishermen: Lovers of Death? (page 519)
  • Appendix IV: Orpheus, Pythagoras and the Egyptians (page 525)
  • Abbreviations List (page 531)
  • Bibliography (page 535)
  • Index (page 595)
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