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

Olivetti, Paola (2011). Uses and interpretations of ritual terminology: goos, oimoge, threnos and linos in ancient Greek literature. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


Download (2MB)


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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology (CAHA)
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CB History of civilization
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
P Language and Literature > PA Classical philology


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year