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Citizen BacchaeWomen's Ritual Practice in Ancient Greece$
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Barbara Goff and Terence Taylor

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520239982

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520239982.001.0001

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Working Toward a Material Presence

Working Toward a Material Presence

(p.25) One Working Toward a Material Presence
Citizen Bacchae

Barbara Goff

University of California Press

Women are usually represented in vase painting as gushing libations and making various kinds of bloodless offering, but they also contributed important elements to the course of blood-sacrifice. Blood-sacrifice is of inestimable value to Greek culture, permitting not only the knowledge of divine intent, through inspection of the victim's entrails, but also the opportunity for influencing such intent through the offering of an especially pleasing victim. However, men were the chief actors in this event; women's participation in sacrifice brings them into the heart of their community, to engage in the crucial moment of mediation between mortals and gods. Young women were assigned the responsibility for bringing water for sharpening the sacrificial tools. They also carried the basket that contained the grain to sprinkle over the victim's head, and concealed the sacrificial knife.

Keywords:   libations, painting, mortals, gods, mediation

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