State Pilgrims and Sacred Observers in Ancient Greece: A Study of Theoria and Theoroi

State Pilgrims and Sacred Observers in Ancient Greece: A Study of Theoria and Theoroi

By: Ian Rutherford (author)Hardback

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For at least a thousand years Greek cities took part in religious activities outside their territory by sending sacred delegates to represent them. The delegates are usually called theoroi, literally 'observers', and a delegation made up of theoroi, or the action of taking part in one, is called theoria. This is the first comprehensive study of theoroi and theoria. It examines a number of key functions of theoroi and explains who served in this role and what their activities are likely to have been, both on the journey and at the sanctuary. Other chapters discuss the diplomatic functions of theoroi, and what their activities tell us about the origins of the notion of Greek identity and about religious networks. Chapters are also devoted to the reception of the notion of theoria in Greek philosophy and literature. The book will be essential for all scholars and advanced students of ancient religion.

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About Author

Ian Rutherford is Professor in the Classics Department, University of Reading. He works mostly on Greek poetry, Greek religion and relations between Greece and other cultures: chiefly the Hittites and Egypt. For fifteen years he has published a great deal on 'pilgrimage' in the ancient world (e.g. Pilgrimage in Graeco-Roman and Early Christian Antiquity: Seeing the Gods, co-edited with Jas Elsner, 2005) with a related interest in travelling poets (Wandering Poets in Ancient Greek Culture, co-edited with Richard Hunter, 2009). He has also published a full commentary on Pindar's Paeans (2001) and has another volume forthcoming on Hittite and Greek religion.


1. Approaches to theoria: preliminary definitions and issues; 2. Evidence; 3. An historical overview; 4. Festival theoria; 5. Festival announcement and truce; 6. Oracles; 7. Conveying offerings; 8. Theoroi as magistrates; 9. Theoria and viewing; 10. Participants; 11. The journey; 12. Performances at the sanctuary; 13. Civic theoria: two case studies; 14. The theoric chorus; 15. Politics and diplomacy; 16. Hellenism, panhellenism and common sanctuaries; 17. Theoric networks over space and time; 18. The case of Athens; 19. Philosophy and theoria; 20. Theoria in Greek imagination; 21. Epilogue. The end of theoria.

Product Details

  • publication date: 19/12/2013
  • ISBN13: 9781107038226
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 552
  • ID: 9781107038226
  • weight: 1160
  • ISBN10: 1107038227

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