Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Thwarted Expectations of Divine Reciprocity

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Mnemosyne

The notion of reciprocity in Greek religion has been approached from many angles. One question that has not been treated concerns human discontent at gods’ gifts. Given that, in Greek literature, characters conceptualised their relationship with gods as a bond of reciprocal χάρις, did these fictive characters use the same conceptual frame in talking about frustrated expectations of divine reciprocity? When gods did not give in return what had been hoped for, was such disappointment ever constructed as a case of dysfunctional reciprocity? In this paper I argue that the answer is ‘no’, but a conscious no. Explicit disappointment in divine reciprocity occurs, but exclusively under ‘special circumstances’. Such criticism is uttered by characters who are not Greek, for example, who are portrayed as having rather strange views anyway, or who have a very special reciprocal relationship with a god based on divine parenthood of a human child. The distribution and nature of complaints shows that reproaching gods about disappointed reciprocity was consciously considered as very un-Greek.

Affiliations: 1: Université de Liège, Sciences de l’Antiquité 7 place du xx-Août, B-4000 Liège


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Allan W. The Children of Heracles. Euripides; with an Introduction, Translation and Commentary 2001 Warminster
2. Anderson M. " The Imagery of the Persians " g&r 1972 Vol 19 166 174
3. Barrett W.S. Hippolytos. Euripides. Edited with Introduction and Commentary 1964 Oxford
4. van Berkel T.A. The Economics of Friendship: Changing Conceptions of Reciprocity in Classical Athens 2013 Diss. Leiden
5. Blok J.H. Azoulay V. , Ismard P. " Politics and the Gods: Hosiê and Athenian Law from Solon to Lykourgos " Clisthène et Lycurgue d’Athènes: autour du politique dans la cité classique 2011 Paris 233 254
6. Blok J.H. Rapp C. , Drake H.A. " A ‘Covenant’ Between Gods and Men: Hiera kai Hosia and the Greek Polis " The City in the Classical and Post-Classical World: Changing Contexts of Power and Identity in Antiquity 2014 Cambridge/New York 14 37
7. Boyce M. A History of Zoroastrianism. II: Under the Achaemenians 1982 Leiden
8. Bremer J.M. Gill , et al The Reciprocity of Giving and Thanksgiving in Greek Worship 1998 127 139
9. Burnett A. " Tribe and City, Custom and Decree in Children of Heracles " CPh 1976 Vol 71 1 4 26
10. Cairns D.L. " The Meadow of Artemis and the Character of the Euripidean ‘Hippolytus’" qucc New Series 1997 Vol 57 3 51 75
11. Cairns D.L. Five Epinician Odes (3, 5, 9, 11, 13) / Bacchylides. Text, Introductory Essays and Interpretative Commentary 2010 Cambridge
12. Dale A.M. Dale A.M. " Note on Euripides, Helena 1441-50 " Collected Papers 1969 Cambridge 180 184
13. Festugière A.J. " Ἀνθ’ὧν, la formule ‘en échange de quoi’ dans la prière grecque hellénistique " RSPh 1976 Vol 60 389 418
14. Finley M. The World of Odysseus 1954 New York
15. Fisher N.R.E. " HYBRIS " A Study in the Values of Honour and Shame in Ancient Greece 1992 Warminster
16. Furley W.D. Ogden D. " Prayers and Hymns " A Companion to Greek Religion 2007 Malden/Oxford 117 131
17. Gill C. , Postlethwaite N. , Seaford R. Reciprocity in Ancient Greece 1998 Oxford
18. Godulier M. L’énigme du Don 1996 Paris
19. Halleran M.R. Hippolytus / Euripides. With Introduction, Translation and Commentary 1995 Warminster
20. Herman G. Ritualized Friendship and the Greek City 1987 Cambridge
21. Kuhrt A. The Persian Empire 2007 Vol Vol. 1 London
22. Labarbe J. Limet H. , Ries J. " La prière contestaire dans la poésie grecque " L’expérience de la prière dans les grandes religions 1980 Louvain 137 148
23. LaRue J. " Creusa’s Monody: Ion 859-922 " TAPhA 1963 Vol 94 126 136
24. Lloyd-Jones H. The Justice of Zeus 1971 Berkeley and London
25. MacLachlan B. The Age of Grace: “Charis” in Early Greek Poetry 1993 Princeton
26. McDevitt A.S. Bacchylides. The Victory Poems. Translated with Introduction and Commentary 2009 Bristol
27. Mikalson J.D. Herodotus and Religion in the Persian Wars 2003 Chapel Hill
28. Mitchell L.G. Greeks Bearing Gifts: the Public Use of Private Relationships in the Greek World, 435-323 bc 1997 Cambridge
29. Nagy G. The Best of the Achaeans: Concepts of the Hero in Archaic Greek Poetry 1979 Baltimore
30. Parker R. Pelling C. " Gods Cruel and Kind: Tragic and Civic Theology " Greek Tragedy and the Historian 1997 Oxford 143 160
31. Parker R. Gill , et al Pleasing Thighs: Reciprocity in Greek Religion 1998 105 126
32. Parker R. Griffin J. " Through a Glass Darkly: Sophocles and the Divine " Sophocles Revisited: Essays Presented to Sir Hugh Lloyd-Jones 2001 Oxford 11 30
33. Peels S. "Hosios: a Semantic Study of Greek Piety (Mnemosyne Supplement 387)" 2015 Leiden
34. Pelling C. " Educating Croesus: Talking and Learning in Herodotus’ Lydian Logos" ClAnt Vol 25 1 141 177
35. Pulleyn S. Prayer in Greek Religion 1997 Oxford
36. Rademaker A.M. Sophrosyne and the Rhetoric of Self-Restraint: Polysemy & Persuasive Use of an Ancient Greek Value Term 2005 Leiden
37. Saintillan D. Blaise F. , Judet de la Combre P. , Rousseau P. " Du festin à l’échange: les grâces de Pandore " Le métier du mythe: Lectures d’Hésiode 1996 Paris 315 348
38. Schadewaldt W. Monolog und Selbstgespräch 1926 Berlin
39. Silk M.S. " Heracles and Greek Tragedy " g&r 1985 Vol 32 1 22
40. Versnel H.S. Versnel H.S. " Religious Mentality in Ancient Prayer " Faith, Hope and Worship 1981 Leiden 1 64
41. Versnel H.S. Coping with the Gods: Wayward Readings in Greek Theology 2011 Leiden
42. West M. The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth 1997 Oxford
43. Wilkins J.M. Heraclidae. Euripides. With Introduction and Commentary 1993 Oxford
44. Winnington-Ingram R.P. " Zeus in the Persae " jhs 1973 Vol 93 210 219
45. Yunis H. A New Creed: Fundamental Religious Beliefs in the Athenian Polis and Euripidean Drama 1988 Göttingen
46. Zacharia K. Converging Truths: Euripides’ ‘Ion’ and the Athenian Quest for Self-Definition 2003 Leiden
47. Zuntz G. The Political Plays of Euripides 1955 Manchester

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Mnemosyne — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation