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Worship of Women in Ancient Greek Myth and Culture

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Bridget Kelly

Mortal or semi-mortal heroes play a major role in the mythology of the Ancient Greeks, and many heroes are worshiped as gods. Some, like Heracles, become divine in the myths and in religious practice during the Bronze Age, while others, like Theseus, become deified much later. This does not only happen to the male heroes, however, as female heroes experience similar deification and worship. The worship of these heroes-and particularly the females-was distinct from other deities, but they still served an important role in the society. The Greek historian, Pausanias, writes about periods of Greece prior to his own and what remains of those periods, and much of the remains include how various mortal women were worshipped, both those who became divine in their myths and those who were deified by the Ancient Greeks themselves. Using archaeology and examining the claims Pausanias makes compared to earlier sources can reveal the significance of mortal women to the Ancient Greeks and how those women fit into the religion not only as extensions of the more known hero cults, but also as their own independent cults. Understanding that role can reveal much about the interactions between society, myth, and religion, and it can also show how women were viewed in a religious way.
University / Institution: University of Utah
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #D47
SESSION D (3:30-5:00PM)
Area of Research: Humanities
Faculty Mentor: Alexis Christensen