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Chapter 21. Traditional Cults and Beliefs

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Chapter Summary

Ancient Greek religion is most easily studied in a polis, or a small regional area. The Hetairideia were presumably meant to strengthen the ties of comradeship (hetaireia ) between the Macedonian king and his "Companions" and to mark officially the admission of new members into a selected elite. The interrelation between cults and social roles in Macedonia is also clear in other social contexts. M. B. Hatzopoulos has stressed the importance of "rites of passage" in a conservative society such as Macedonia. For a truly "national" dimension to Macedonian cults, one has to come back, inevitably, to the kings and the "pan-Macedonian" festivals. Alternatively, some civic (or even "poliadic") cults grew in importance precisely due to the kings' interest in their sanctuaries. Finally, scattered evidence for the Macedonians' presence in Panhellenic sanctuaries allows one to catch some of the outward projection of the religious life of the region.

Keywords: ancient Greek religion; Hetairideia; Macedonian king; Panhellenic sanctuaries; traditional cults



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