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6. S ocial Roles of Deities in Local Cults

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the methodology of identifying the functions of a particular deity in a local system of cults, evaluating the influence of various types of data and of the prevalent interpretive paradigms. It determines how each of the correlatives is used to arrive at the social functions or the sphere of action of a deity in a local cult. Asklepios is arguably the most homogenous figure of Greek religion. Depending on the type, cultic epithets represent a spectrum from the entirely useless to the entirely useful for the purpose of determining the social function of a deity. The placement of sanctuaries in the natural and social landscape of ancient Greece holds a firm position in studies on ancient Greek cults. Votive figurines representing deities entail the same uncertainty or ambiguity of interpretation as other visual representations of deities, as identifications often rely on established panhellenic paradigms.

Keywords: Asklepios; cultic epithets; deities; Greek religion; local cult; panhellenic paradigms; sanctuaries; votive figurines



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