Bêtes, hommes et dieux dans la religion arcadienne
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In Arcadia the links between animals, men, and gods are so strong that the boundary between these different worlds can be crossed. The god Pan symbolises the symbiosis between man and beast: he protects shepherds and their animals and his appearance is hybrid, half human and half animal. In myth, the metamorphosis of man into animal is considered as a punishment from the gods (Kallisto, changed into a she-bear for allowing herself to be seduced by Zeus; Lykaon, changed into a wolf for sacrificing a new-born human child to Zeus Lykaios). - On the other hand, the metamorphosis of gods into animals is a normal phenomenon, that implies no notion of regression; at Mantinea, Rhea makes Kronos swallow a young foal, which represents Poseidon; the legends of Thelpousa and Phigaleia tell how Demeter is transformed into a mare to escape the attentions of Poseidon. The god then takes the form of a horse and mates with her. - In ritual the closeness of animals, men, and gods is shown at Lykosoura by a ceremony in which the worshippers put on animal masks and perform dances in honour of the goddess Despoina who protects animals.
Papers from the third international seminar on Ancient Arcadia, held at the Norwegian Institute at Athens, 7-10 May 2002
SeriesPapers of the Norwegian Institute at Athens