This introductory chapter presents an overview of the history and myth surrounding the worship of the Mother of the Gods during the classical Greek era, and how these concepts shaped classical Athenian society and politics. It also presents the contents of each of the chapter contained in this book. The early chapters of this book consider the influences exerted over the Greeks chiefly by the kingdom of the Lydians. In the period covered in the second half of the book, Asiatic sovereignty is represented by the empire of the Persians. As the Athenians take the lead in Greek opposition to Persia, the influence of religion in shaping expressions of Athenian identity is traced. Kingdoms, empires, and states, like Persia and Athens, that asserted various and sometimes conflicting claims to sovereignty or autonomy did so in reference to concepts of the relationship between human dominion and the principles that gave order to this world.
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