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Aitiologies Of Cult In Euripides: A Response To Scott Scullion

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Chapter Summary

Scott Scullion has skillfully argued that all the cultic aitiologies in Euripides' extant tragedies involve invention by the poet, either of aitiological myth or in some cases even of the cult itself. In opposing him, author in the unenviable position of arguing for the re-instatement of what may seem obvious. It is likely that many myths were never written down, and that even many written myths have been lost, and that many ritual practices too have left no trace. It is precisely because of this enormous loss, this "almost infinite variety," that author is suspicious of S.'s assumption that, where Euripides is the only or earliest source for an aition or a cult, he is likely to have invented it himself. This chapter criticises these "fairly compelling arguments", and would also suggest that accumulation of cases in which he is almost certainly wrong casts doubt on his position in others.

Keywords: aetiological myth; aition; cult; Euripides; ritual practices; Scott Scullion



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