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The Gods of Ancient Greece

Identities and Transformations

Edited by Jan N. Bremmer, Andrew Erskine

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This collection offers a fresh look at the nature and development of the Greek gods in the period from Homer until Late Antiquity

The Greek gods are still very much present in modern consciousness. Although Apollo and Dionysos, Artemis and Aphrodite, Zeus and Hermes are household names, it is much less clear what these divinities meant and stood for in ancient Greece. In fact, they have been very much neglected in modern scholarship.

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List of illustrations
Notes on Contributors
Introduction: The Greek Gods in the Twentieth Century, Jan N. Bremmer
1. What is a Greek God?, Albert Henrichs
Systematic Aspects: 2. Canonizing the Pantheon: the Dodekatheon in Greek Religion and its Origins, Ian Rutherford
3. Gods in Greek Inscriptions: Some Methodological Questions, Fritz Graf
4. Metamorphoses of Gods into Animals and Humans, Richard Buxton
5. Sacrificing to the Gods: Ancient Evidence and Modern Interpretations, Stella Georgoudi
6. Getting in Contact: Concepts of Human/Divine Encounter in Classical Greek Art, Anja Klöckner
7. New Statues for Old Gods, Kenneth Lapatin
Individual Divinities and Heroes: 8. Zeus at Olympia, Judith M. Barringer
9. Zeus in Aeschylus: the Factor of Monetisation, Richard Seaford
10. Hephaistos Sweats or How to Construct an Ambivalent God, Jan N. Bremmer
11. Transforming Artemis - From the Goddess of the Outdoors to City-Goddess, Ivana Petrovic
12. Herakles between Gods and Heroes, Emma Stafford
13. Identities of Gods and Heroes: Athenian Garden Sanctuaries and Gendered Rites of Passage, Claude Calame
Diachronic Aspects: 14. Early Greek Theology: God as Nature and Natural Gods, Simon Trépanier
15. Gods in Early Greek Historiography, Robert L. Fowler
16. Gods in Apulia, Tom H. Carpenter
17. Lucian's Gods: Lucian's Understanding of the Divine, Matthew W. Dickie
18. The Gods in the Greek Novel, Ken Dowden
19. Reading Pausanias: Cults of the Gods and Representation of the Divine, Vinciane Pirenne-Delforge
20. Kronos and the Titans as Powerful Ancestors: A Case Study of the Greek Gods in Later Magical Spells, Christopher A. Faraone
21. Homo fictor deorum est: Envisioning the Divine in Late Antique Divinatory Spells, Sarah Iles Johnston
22. The Gods in Later Orphism, Alberto Bernabé
23. Christian Apologists and Greek Gods, Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta
24. The Materiality of God's Image: Olympian Zeus and Ancient Christology, Christoph Auffarth
Historiography: 25. The Greek Gods in Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century German and British Scholarship, Michael Konaris
Epilogue, Andrew Erskine
Index of names, subjects and important passages.

About the Author

Jan N. Bremmer is Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Groningen.

Andrew Erskine is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh.


This is a very rich collection of papers which no one interested in ancient Greek religion can afford to miss.
- Frederick Naerebout, BMCR

Scholars and others will hugely welcome the reappearance, now in its paperback form, of the fifth in the invaluable series of Edinburgh Leventis Studies. The renascence of theoretically sophisticated research into the often desperately foreign world of ancient Greek polytheism is perfectly captured by this deeply learned, far-shooting and richly various collection.

- Paul Cartledge, A.G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture, University of Cambridge

This volume is essential reading for all those interested directly or indirectly in ancient Greek religion…as it offers an overview of the progress of research in this area.

- Gabriella Pironti, Università degli Studi di Napoli, Kernos

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