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Persönliche Frömmigkeit und religiöses Erlebnis Wesenszüge der griechischen Religion am Beispiel von Heilkulten*

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Abstract Ancient Greek healing cults can be studied in the context of “personal piety.” This article emphasizes personal aspects of the Greek religion. It shows that the concept of “polis religion” does not embrace major aspects of ancient Greek piety. I analyze the direct and personal relation of worshippers in healing cults, especially that of Apollo, with the deity. By doing so, I put forward a new reading of Greek religion in the context of the concept of “personal piety” developed in Egyptology. The well-known “embeddedness” of religion in the structures of the Ancient Greek city-state led to a one-sided view of ancient Greek religion, as well as to aspects of ritual and “cult” predominating in research. Simultaneously, aspects of “belief ” are often labelled as inadequate in describing Greek (and Roman) religion. Religion as ritual and cult is simply one side of the coin. Personal aspects of religion, and direct contact with the deity, based on “belief,” are thus the other side of the coin. It follows that they are also the fundament of ritual. It is necessary to combine “polis religion” with “personal piety” to display a complete picture of Greek religion. The Isyllos inscription from Epidaurus is presented here as a final and striking example for this view. It reports the foundation of a cult of the polis on behalf of a personal religious experience.

Affiliations: 1: Institutul de Arheologie Str. Codrescu 6, Pavilion H 700479 Iasi Romania


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