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Theonyms, epicleses and divine epithets in Ancient Greece: phraseology and Indo-European heritage

Grant number: 12/02674-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2012
Effective date (End): June 30, 2013
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature - Classical Literatures
Principal Investigator:José Marcos Mariani de Macedo
Grantee:José Marcos Mariani de Macedo
Host Investigator: José Luis García Ramón
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Cologne (UoC), Germany  


Identifying the deity one addresses, or whom one refers to, is a problem every worshipper has to tackle in the polytheistic Ancient Greece. The deity may either be referred to as an anonymous collectivity ("the gods") or identified solely by name, but in prayers and oaths, or else when some cultic activity is at issue, the deity is usually addressed under a specific epithet. These epicleses serve not only to identify the deity but also to link him or her to a certain function. Various aspects of the god's personality are reflected in his numerous epithets, whether they are understandable within Greek itself or by linguistic comparison. Both literary and epigraphic epithets reveal at times a fairly archaic divine image which may go back to religious ideas of Indo-European times. The aim of this project is to offer a detailed account of divine epithets found in epigraphical data or quoted in literary texts from a linguistic, philological, historical, and literary point of view. The study of religious onomastics will focus on four main issues: 1) epithets in Greek tragedy and comedy; 2) linguistic and religious background of (a) epicleses linked to two or more divine beings, (b) epiclesis which have a tendency to stand alone, without the divine name alongside it, and (c) epithets halfway between epiclesis and theonym; 3) epicleses in the epigraphic records from the North-west Greek dialectal area (Phocis, Locris, Elis and Epirus); 4) divine epithets in the Doric chorus and lyric monody (Alcman, Stesichorus, Ibycus, Pindar, and Bacchylides). (AU)

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