Religious Practices and Beliefs Pt. 2

  • Created by: Ruthfeath
  • Created on: 17-05-18 23:09
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  • Religious Practices & Beliefs Pt. 2
    • Shrine/Cult Buildings
      • Shrine Gamma, Mycenae
        • In its early phase it had an unusual altar from which a covered channel ran to a cooking vessel embedded by the adjacent wall
        • Later a small structure was built outside the entrance - assumed to have taken over the function of the altar
      • Room with the Fresco, Mycenae
        • Central horseshoe shaped hearth, high bench/altar on which items were displayed (male ivory head - deity?) and a plain clay bath tub
        • Contained quantities of pottery
        • Immediately behind this room another small room seems to have served as a shrine and a store - a small figure with glass beads next to it was found on a dias
        • Main room contained 47 storage jars and drinking vessels
        • Ivory head could have formed part of a 1/3 life sized statue with a clothed wooden body - nearby was a lion object that was once perhaps an arm rest for a throne
        • Other objects suggest they were recycled by priests - pair of ivory hilt plates which had previously decorated a bronze sword
        • Building was damaged (earthquake?) and covered over - sacred space?
        • Religious complex seems to have been linked to but not an immediate part of the palace - no evidence to suggest Megaron was used for religious purposes (unlike Pylos)
        • Shrines are very different - suggests variety of independent deities were worshipped
        • Cult Centre has similarities to cult complex of similar time at Phylakopi, Melos, or later obscure cults on the Acropolis, Athens
      • The Temple, Mycenae
        • Second group of rooms separated from Room with the Fresco by a passageway
        • Central altar, series of stepped benches on which one figure and a small portable altar were displayed
        • In two areas was a mass of dedications - figures, pottery, single items of jewellery, 3 large portable altars (1 showed marks of burning)
        • Damaged during same event as Room with the Fresco - storeroom sealed up, worship continued in only main room
        • Objects sealed into storeroom include 27 large male & female figures, more than 15 coiled clay snakes, a single small elegant figure, 3 clay offering tables, a clay bowl containing glass beads, wide range of pottery vessels
      • Phylakopi, Melos
        • 2 12thC cult rooms have some of the same features as at Mycenae
        • Finds were different - 1 elegant female with painted beard, naked male figures, several cows, bronze figurine of near eastern type
      • Tiryns
        • Shrine was a small room with a shallow porch built against the wall of the lower citadel
        • At the back of the main room was a bench from which two female figures had fallen to the floor
        • Around the entrance to the shrine were an unusual number of small female and clay animal figurines which were well known in Mycenaean settlements and graves
    • Religious Scenes
      • Seen on wall paintings, gold rings, sealstones, painted on stone/clay coffins
      • Stone Sarcophagus, Hagia Triada, Crete - scene shows both men and women with men carrying 2 animals and a model boat towards a building
        • On the opposite side there is a scene of sacrifice with an ox on an altar/elaborate table, next to the table are two goats which also await their fate
        • On another part of the scene women ride chariots and others are carried by winged griffins
      • Daemons - creatures with paws and scaly wings - often depicted
        • Daemons Ring, Tiryns - procession of daemons carry jugs to a seated woman who is accompanied by a hawk (goddess?), wheat between the creatures is a reminder of the importance of crops
      • Great Goddess Ring - countryside scene, female is seated and is giving or receiving poppy heads, in the central background is an upright double axe (cult symbol)
      • Offering Scene, Room with the Fresco, c.1250BC - female figure holding up ears of wheat accompanied by an animal (lion?)
        • On the wall above the altar 2 female figures face each other
      • Mythical creatures such as griffins & sphinxes often shown
      • Mortals accompanied by animals - control of wild animals was sign of power
      • Ring, Knossos - circular dance being performed by women in skirts, tiny figure can be seen in the background
        • Interpreted as an epiphany - ritual performed to summon the god
      • Scenes of mourning or funerary ritual, Clay Coffins, Tanagra - women appear to tear their hair & touch their foreheads in lamentation
        • Gesture also found in Knossos - thought to be Cretan
    • Wall Paintings & Processions
      • Wall paintings show processions played a key role in cult practice - best examples from Thebes & Tiryns, fragments of similar types identified at Mycenae
        • Mylonas -argued that passage leading to Cult Centre from palace was a processional way
      • Text, Pylos - inventory of gold vessels, perhaps represented processional display
      • Paintings, Cult Centre & Tiryns - figurines held in hands
        • Figurines perhaps carried to Cult Centres in this way
      • Rhyton Well, Mycenae - broken items of cult significance found, perhaps broken deliberately after ceremonies as part of procession
      • Processions allowed larger numbers of people to participate - cult buildings small
    • Cult Offerings
      • Images show jugs & boxes - offered for themselves or for contents
      • Texts list oil (perfumed), oxen, sheep, goats, pigs, grain, wine, honey, unguent, wool, cloth
      • Oil, honey, grain & wool were most common
    • Sacrifices
      • Texts, Thebes & Pylos - large quantities of food for religious festivals, including various animals
      • No evidence of actual burnt offerings, but offering part of an animal seems likely
      • Main part of beast would be eaten by the participants
      • Number of drinking cups found suggests that it would be for both libations & drinking by participants
    • Figurines & Cult Equipment
      • Many examples of small female & animal figurines found in domestic contexts, tombs, cult places - not necessarily all evidence of tombs
      • Possible that each house had its own shrine, but they could not have been particularly special, as figures would often be found in rubbish deposits
      • Larger figurines of clay - elegant females & wheel made animals - much rarer
      • Larger heads such as Ivory Head from Mycenae occasionally found
      • Numerous perishable items made of wood or cloth may have been in shrines - many early cult statues made from wood
      • Elaborate rhyta found - stone bull's heads, metal gold lion's head, silver bull's head from Shaft Graves, Mycenae, faience ram's head, Kas
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