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Baby and Child Heroes in Ancient Greece (Hardback)

Ancient History > Ancient Greece & the Hellenistic World > Greek Philosophy & Religion

Imprint: University of Illinois Press
Pages: 234
ISBN: 9780252029295
Published: 31st December 2004
Casemate UK Academic


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Babies and children may seem the most unlikely heroes but they frequently appear in ancient Greek literature, iconography and religious practices from the 5th century BC onwards. This book explores why this was so. In studying literary, pictorial and numismatic evidence, Pache seeks to identify who the child heroes were, what myths were associated with them, what rituals were performed in their honour and what this meant for Greek religion. Through a series of examples featured in individual chapters - the children of Medea, children of Heracles, Linos and Demophon, Pelops, Opheltes-Arkhemoros, Melikertes-Palaimon - she reveals how these myths were expressions of parental anxieties and guilt about child deaths. What therefore began as a tale of danger, violence and death, became a myth of mourning and commemoration celebrating the youth and beauty of the child.

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