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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-07-21

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] 'Worshipping Women: Ritual and Reality in Classical Athens'

  • [01] 'Worshipping Women: Ritual and Reality in Classical Athens'

    An impressive exhibition titled "Worshipping Women: Ritual and Reality in Classical Athens" was inaugurated at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens by President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias on Monday night, in a ceremony also attended by culture minister Antonis Samaras.

    The exhibition, through the 172 rare and extraordinary archaeological artefacts on display that are divided into five sections, explores the manifold ways in which women‚s religious worship contributed not only to personal fulfillment, but also to the civic identity of the leading city of the Classical Greek world.

    The first section of the exhibition introduces the principal of "Female Deities" of Athens and Attika, in whose cults and festivals women were most actively engaged: Athena, Artemis, Aphrodite, Demeter and her daughter Persephone. In between goddesses and mortals was a small group of heroines -explored in the next section-, women who were believed to have lived in the distant past and after their deaths became figures of cult worship.

    The exhibition then enters the world of "Priestesses", historical and mythological, and looks at their visual iconography focusing on their principal attribute, the large temple key.

    The several kinds of "Ritual Acts", some that apply universally to all cults and others that were specific to the worship of a particular divinity, are presented in the third section.

    The fourth section deals with the participation of women in major religious "Feasts", such as the Panathenaia, or in strictly women‚s feasts, such as Adonia or Thesmoforia.

    The fifth and final section focuses on the "Life-Cycle" of Athenian women, from birth to death, highlighting certain key moments of transition and the role of ritual in each of these.

    The exhibition, through the study of religion seeks to correct the unremittingly bleak picture that the lives of Athenian women were highly restricted when it came to public sphere and participation in the political process.

    Women‚s involvement in cults and festivals, whether alongside men or separate from them, was as essential for the successful functioning of the "polis" as that of any member of society.

    The exhibition which will be on display through November 30, is part of a series of celebrations planned for the 180th anniversary since the Museum's founding and the 120th anniversary of its inauguration at its current premises on Patission street.

    It is organised in collaboration with the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, and had previously been on display at the Foundation's Onassis Cultural Center in New York from December 2008 to May 2009.

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