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Uses and interpretations of ritual terminology: goos, oimoge, threnos and linos in ancient Greek literature

Olivetti, Paola (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

The purpose of my thesis is to study the lament in ancient Greek culture, and to show how its ritual meaning is interpreted by literature. The terms goos, oimoge, threnos and linos not only indicate the presence of different ritual attitudes to death but also the existence of different interpretations for each of them. The goos and the oimoge mirror an archaic religiosity and consist of sinister utterances aimed at summoning ghosts, requesting for divine revenge, etc. Aeschylus introduces them as aischrologic acts as he implies the presence of a god or a daimon. Sophocles and Euripides use them as dysphemic elements and censure an approach to death which implies that gods are vindictive, deceitful and unjust. However, they also introduce an euphemic goos consisting in an expression of feelings. The threnos only appears in funerary contexts in Homer while is often introduced as dysphemic in drama. The linos-song is mentioned as a vintage-song in Homer, it appears as a lament and then as a song for some hero’s apotheosis or return to life in drama. The poetic use of these terms serves to understand how the social and political meaning of the ritual was understood and codified by literature.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Barker, Andrew (1943-)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Archaeology and Historical Studies, Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity
Subjects:BL Religion
CB History of civilization
GT Manners and customs
ML Literature of music
PA Classical philology
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3009
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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