Votive Body Parts in Greek and Roman Religion

Hughes, Jessica (2017). Votive Body Parts in Greek and Roman Religion. Cambridge Classical Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316662403

URL: http://admin.cambridge.org/academic/subjects/class...


This book examines a type of object that was widespread and very popular in classical antiquity - votive offerings in the shape of parts of the human body. It collects examples from four principal areas and time periods: Classical Greece, pre-Roman Italy, Roman Gaul and Roman Asia Minor. It uses a compare-and-contrast methodology to highlight differences between these sets of votives, exploring the implications for our understandings of how beliefs about the body changed across classical antiquity. The book also looks at how far these ancient beliefs overlap with, or differ from, modern ideas about the body and its physical and conceptual boundaries. Central themes of the book include illness and healing, bodily fragmentation, human-animal hybridity, transmission and reception of traditions, and the mechanics of personal transformation in religious rituals.

- Examines votive offerings from all over the classical world, enabling readers to perceive important changes in beliefs and traditions

- Brings votive body parts into a conversation with other visual and literary sources from the classical world and emphasises their importance for a wide range of topics in classics

- Demonstrates how votives intersect with modern theories about the body and draws connections between ancient and modern perceptions of the body.

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