Civic Rites: Democracy and Religion in Ancient Athens

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University of California Press, 2010 - History - 272 pages
"Civic Rites clearly demonstrates the complete interdependence of religion and democracy in Athens, illustrating just how much the ancient Athenians' view of the relationship between these powerful forces differs from that in twenty-first century, Western democracies. Evans has provided a systematic, thorough, and lively treatment, liberating readers from modern expectations and offering a new window onto Athenian society."--Loren J. Samons, author of What's Wrong with Democracy? From Athenian Practice to American Worship

"It is a double task the author has undertaken: to demonstrate the interdependence, nay, integration of politics and religion in the high days of 'democratic' Athens and to bring this special form of 'democracy' home to a contemporary non-specialist public. She brilliantly succeeds in both, presenting a clear and poignant narrative with graphic details. Civic Rites is a novel and fascinating course through a seemingly well-known field."--Walter Burkert, author of Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth

"In equal measures intelligent, accessible, and well-informed, this book provides a contemporary introduction to classical Athenian religious practices and their manifold cultural significance. Evans interweaves overviews of political, economic, and social history with engaging descriptions of several major Attic rites. This book will interest specialists while providing students with an illuminating pathway into the familiar yet alien world of ancient Greek religion."--Deborah Boedeker, Brown University

"With vivid, elegant writing and compelling imagination, Nancy Evans recreates the complex interaction of religion and politics in the ancient Athenian Democracy. Deftly interweaving chapters on cult and on political developments, she shows the general reader an Athens that is stranger to modern sensibilities than we often realize, and yet one from which we can learn many things about democratic life. A wonderful achievement."--Martha Nussbaum, author of The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy

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User Review  - gmicksmith - LibraryThing

This is a marvelous and informative book. It is well written and covers all of the major rituals and religions of democratic Greece. I would like to applaud the author who has written an excellent review of the era. Read full review


Introduction The City of Pericles and Socrates
One Cleisthenes The Family Curse behind Athenian Democracy
Two Athena Religion and the Demo cratic Polis
Three Pericles Empire and War in the City of Athena
Four Demeter Civic Worship Womens Rites and the Eleusinian Mysteries
Five Alcibiades Politics Religion and the Cult of Personality
Six Dionysus Civic Rituals of Wine Theater and Transformation
Seven Socrates Impiety Trials in the Restored Democracy
Epilogue The City after Socrates
Glossary of Terms
Suggested Further Readings by Chapter

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About the author (2010)

Nancy Evans is Associate Professor of Classics at Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts.

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