The Feminine and the Sacred in Ancient Athens: Proceedings of the International Conference held at the Onassis Cultural Center on Saturday, May 2, 2009

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9780981966618: The Feminine and the Sacred in Ancient Athens: Proceedings of the International Conference held at the Onassis Cultural Center on Saturday, May 2, 2009

Organized in conjunction with the Onassis Cultural Center's exhibition Worshiping Women: Ritual and Reality in Classical Athens, this International Conference further explored the role of women in Classical Athens through a series of 9 papers by renowned scholars of the discipline. The conference was divided into four main sections, each exploring a difference facet of the feminine and the sacred in Ancient Athens. The first section explores the worship and role of Artemis in Attica. Dr. Jan N. Bremmer focuses on the functions of Artemis and her relationship to Iphigeneia as preserved in the plays of Euripides, while Dr. Lydia Palaiokrassa investigates family binds and equality between men and women in the oikos, as well as in matters of cult as can be observed through dedications made to Artemis at Brauron. The next section focuses on Athena and the Akropolis. Dr. Eva Stehle looks at Athena's "multifarious" aspects, sharing both male and female qualities. In art, the use of the helmet and aegis connect her to the male side, and in particular to her warlike quality. This paper explores two late-fifth-century plays, namely Aristophanes' Lysistrata and Euripides' Ion that use these two predominately male objects as signs of the new alliance between Athena and women. In the next paper, Dr. Andreas Scholl focuses on the votive offerings from the Athenian Akropolis in the Geometric and early Archaic Periods. Using the most important types of offerings found on the Akropolis, an attempt is made to understand the historical situation of Athens and mainland Greece in the eight and seventh centuries. The next section explores women's ritual activities in Attica. Dr. Susan I. Rotroff's paper examines the evidence of women's ritual activities along the length of the Panathenaic Way between the Dipylon Gate and the northwest corner of the Agora. The next paper by Dr. Olga Palagia explores a set of fragmentary reliefs found on the Athenian Akropolis that offer visual evidence for the association of the Three Graces with the weaving of the Panathenaic peplos. Dr. Carol L. Lawton's paper explores the evidence for women's religious activity provided by a particular class of artifact, namely the Attic votive reliefs, that offer evidence for women as dedicators and perhaps as the initiators of the prayers and sacrifices they depict. The final section explores the goddesses Aphrodite and Demeter and their worship in Attica. Dr. Vasiliki Machaira looks at Aphrodite on the Sacred Way and attempts to understand the morphology of the cult through the study of the monumental topography, the sacred dedications and the inscriptions. The final paper by Dr. Sarah Iles Johnston examines the two festivals of Demeter in Attica, namely the Proerosia and the Haloa. She argues that the key to understanding festivals lies not in seeking a way in which their interests can be harmonized into a more or less coherent whole, but rather in allowing their disparate interests to co-exist. (The Onassis Foundation 2012)

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