It has often been thought that participation in fertility rituals was women's most important religious activity in classical Greece. Matthew Dillon's wide-ranging study makes it clear that women engaged in numerous other rites and cults, and that their role in Greek religion was actually more important than that of men. Women invoked the gods' help in becoming pregnant, venerated the god of wine, worshipped new and exotic deities, used magic for both erotic and pain-relieving purposes, and far more besides. Clear and comprehensive, this volume challenges many stereotypes of Greek women and offers unexpected insights into their experience of religion. With more than fifty illustrations, and translated extracts from contemporary texts, this is an essential resource for the study of women and religion in classical Greece.
Introduction Part 1. Public religious roles for girls and women 1. Women as Dedicators 2. The public religious roles of girls and adolescent women in Athens 3. Women Priests Part 2. Segregated and ecstatic religious rites 4. Women-only festivals 5. Women at the margins of Greek Religion 6. Prostitutes, foreign women and the Gods Part 3 Sacrificial and domestic rituals 7. From adolescent girl to woman, wife and mother 8. Women, sacrifice and impurity 9. Women and the corpse: Morning Rituals