Navy History - 3 Book Bundle
Mystery Cults in the Ancient World by Hugh Bowden - Published: Thames and Hudson Ltd - 2023-08-03 - 320 pages.A landmark study of ancient Greek and Roman cults, from the nocturnal mysteries at Eleusis to the cults of Dionysus and Mithras.
Mystery cults are one of the most intriguing areas of Greek and Roman religion. In the nocturnal mysteries at Eleusis, participants dramatically re-enacted the story of Demeter's loss and recovery of her daughter Persephone; in Bacchic cult, bands of women ran wild in the Greek countryside to honour Dionysus; in the mysteries of Mithras, men came to understand the nature of the universe and their place within it through frightening initiation ceremonies and astrological teachings.
These cults were an important part of life in the ancient Mediterranean world, but their actual practices were shrouded in secrecy, and much of what they were about has remained unclear until now. This is the first book to describe and explain all the major mystery cults of the ancient world, cult by cult, reconstructing the rituals and exploring their origins. It makes plentiful use of artistic and archaeological evidence, as well as ancient literature and epigraphy. Greek painted pottery, Roman frescoes, inscribed gold tablets from Greek and South Italian tombs and the excavated sites of ancient religious sanctuaries all contribute to our understanding of ancient mystery cults. Making use of the most recent work on these cults, the book is also informed by crucial current work on the anthropology and cognitive science of religion.
Not only is this clearly written book a significant contribution to the study of these cults, but it is also accessible to a general readership. More than any other book on ancient religion, it allows the reader to understand what it was like to participate in these life-transforming religious events.
Ancient Magic in Greece and Rome: A Hands-on Guide by Philip Matyszak - Published: Thames and Hudson Ltd - 2023-07-06 - 208 pages.Bestselling author Philip Matyszak explores how the Greeks and Romans used magic, who performed it – and why.
Magic was everywhere in the ancient world. The supernatural abounded, turning flowers into fruit and caterpillars into butterflies. Magic packed a cloud of water vapour with energy enough to destroy a house with one well-aimed thunderbolt. It was everyday magic, but it was still magical.
Philip Matyszak takes readers into that world. He shows us how to make a love potion or cast a curse, how to talk to the dead and how to identify and protect oneself from evil spirits. He takes us to a world where gods, like humans, were creatures of space and time; where people could not just talk to spirits and deities, but could even themselves become divine; and where divine beings could fall from – or be promoted to – full godhood.
Ancient Magic offers us a new way of understanding the role of magic, looking at its history in all of its classical forms. Drawing on a wide array of sources, from Greek dramas to curse tablets, lavishly illustrated throughout, and packed with information, surprises, lore and learning, this book offers an engaging and accessible way into the supernatural for all.
The Slavic Myths by Noah Charney and Svetlana Slapšak - Published: Thames and Hudson Ltd - 2023-09-21 - 240 pages.A Pulitzer-nominated author and one of the great public intellectuals of Slavic culture bring to life the unfamiliar myths and legends of the Slavic world.
Slavic cultures are far-ranging, comprising of East Slavs (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus), West Slavs (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland) and South Slavs (the countries of former Yugoslavia plus Bulgaria), yet they are connected by tales of adventure and magic with deep roots in a common lore. In this first collection of Slavic myths for an international readership, Noah Charney and Svetlana Slapšak expertly weave together a retelling of the ancient stories with nuanced analysis that illuminates their place at the heart of Slavic tradition.
Though less familiar to us than the legends of ancient Egypt, Greece and Scandinavia, in the world of Slavic mythology we find much that we can recognize: petulant deities, demons and faeries; witches, the sinister vestica, whose magic may harm or heal; a supreme god who can summon storms and hurl thunderbolts. Gods gather under the World Tree, reminiscent of Norse mythology’s Yggdrasill; or, after the coming of Christianity, congregate among the clouds. The vampire – usually the only Serbo-Croatian word in any foreign-language dictionary – and the werewolf emerge from the shallow graves of Slavic belief.
In their careful analysis and sensitive reconstructions of the origin stories, Charney and Slapsak unearth the Slavic beliefs before their distortion first by Christian chroniclers and then by 19th-century scholars seeking origin stories for their new-born nation states. They reveal links not only to the neighbouring pantheons of Greece, Rome, Egypt and Scandinavia but also the belief systems of indigenous peoples of Australia, the Americas, Africa and Asia. In so doing, they draw out the universalities that cut across cultures in the stories we tell ourselves.
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Navy History - 3 Book Bundle