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Open Access Playing (The) God Did (The) Greeks Believe In The Divinity Of Their Rulers?

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Playing (The) God Did (The) Greeks Believe In The Divinity Of Their Rulers?

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Chapter Summary

'Behaving ambiguously' by means of role playing is the theme of this chapter, in which attention is paid to the elements of double awareness and the ambiguity of the ludic in the deification of mortals. Among numerous other features illuminating the religious atmosphere of early Hellenistic culture, there is one that may help us to become more familiar with the true nature of the phenomenon that author calls 'playing the god'. He hopes to demonstrate that, if taken literally - and hence scrutinized in terms of its coherence, implications and consequences - the hymn would convey a desperately chaotic and inconsistent picture. Greeks cannot have been so confused that they considered their rulers to be gods. However, it cannot be denied that from the early fourth century onwards, kings, tyrants and generals did receive cultic honours, including altars, sacrifices, cult hymns praising their superior power, and in later times also temples.

Keywords: divinity; Greeks; Hellenistic culture; playing the God; religious; role playing; rulers



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