The Athenian Adonia in Context
The Adonis Festival as Cultural Practice
Wisconsin Studies in Classics
Laura McClure, Mark Stansbury-O’Donnell, and Matthew Roller, Series Editors
Rediscovers the influence of women’s rituals on Lysistrata, Plato, and diverse Athenian works
Ancient sources and modern scholars have often represented the Athenian festival of Adonis as a marginal and faintly ridiculous private women’s ritual. Seeds were planted each year in pots and, once sprouted, carried to the rooftops, where women lamented the death of Aphrodite’s youthful consort Adonis. Laurialan Reitzammer resourcefully examines a wide array of surviving evidence about the Adonia, arguing for its symbolic importance in fifth- and fourth-century Athenian culture as an occasion for gendered commentary on mainstream Athenian practices.
Reitzammer uncovers correlations of the Adonia to Athenian wedding rituals and civic funeral oration and provides illuminating evidence that the festival was a significant cultural template for such diverse works as Aristophanes’ drama Lysistrata and Plato’s dialogue Phaedrus. Her fresh approach is a timely contribution to studies of the ways gender and sexuality intersect with religion and ritual in ancient Greece.
“Persuasively reinterprets the Adonia as a ritual that brought Athenian women’s dissenting voices into the public arena to critique male social institutions and values. This innovative work draws on an immense range of ancient sources—literary, documentary, artistic, and material.”
—Laura McClure, series editor
“Uncovers remarkable and unsuspected depths in the works of such figures as Aristophanes and Plato. This is the most compelling and sophisticated study available of any single Athenian ritual and the most challenging to received notions about the wider role of religion in city-state society.”
—Richard P. Martin, Stanford University
Of Related Interest
LC: 2015036817 DF
288 pp. 6 x 9
28 b/w illus.