Course Information
TitleΘεωρητικές προσεγγίσεις της «θυσίας» στην ακαδημαϊκή μελέτη της αρχαιοελληνικής θρησκείας / Theoretical frameworks for the study of " sacrifice" in the contemporary study of religion
Cycle / Level1st / Undergraduate
Teaching PeriodSpring
CoordinatorPanayotis Pachis
Course ID600019341

Programme of Study: Anamorfōméno PPS Tmīmatos THeologías (2020)

Registered students: 14
OrientationAttendance TypeSemesterYearECTS
KORMOSElective CoursesWinter-3

Class Information
Academic Year2021 – 2022
Class PeriodWinter
Faculty Instructors
Weekly Hours3
Class ID
Course Type 2016-2020
  • Scientific Area
Course Type 2011-2015
Knowledge Deepening / Consolidation
Mode of Delivery
  • Face to face
Digital Course Content
The course is also offered to exchange programme students.
Language of Instruction
  • Greek (Instruction, Examination)
  • English (Instruction, Examination)
Learning Outcomes
. Study and understanding of contemporary theoretical and methodological discussions that may be applied to the research of religions / cults of antiquity. 2. Understanding of basic terms (categories) (such as "magic”) by representatives of modern research of the ancient world. 3. Achieve a correct and not misleading view of the ancient world. 4. To understand the issue of the “system” during the Graeco-Roman age. 5. To penetrate into the way of thinking of the ancient world individuals regarding their gods, i.e. the preoccupations, preconceptions, and assumptions of ancient Greek religion and culture. 6. To understand the meaning of reciprocity in the Ancient Greek and Roman World.
General Competences
  • Apply knowledge in practice
  • Retrieve, analyse and synthesise data and information, with the use of necessary technologies
  • Make decisions
  • Work autonomously
  • Work in teams
  • Work in an international context
  • Work in an interdisciplinary team
  • Generate new research ideas
  • Appreciate diversity and multiculturality
  • Respect natural environment
  • Demonstrate social, professional and ethical commitment and sensitivity to gender issues
  • Be critical and self-critical
  • Advance free, creative and causative thinking
Course Content (Syllabus)
The essence of a ritual, which is hence often simply termed doing or making sacred or working sacred things, is in ancient Greek practice a straight-forward and far from miraculous process: the slaughter and consumption of a domestic animal for a god. Sacrifice has long been recognized as the central ritual of the ancient Greek religion. The sacrifice is a festive occasion for the community. The contrast with everyday life is marked with washing, dressing in clean garments, and adornment, in particular, wearing a garland woven from twigs on the head – a feature which does not yet appear in Homer. The ritual of animal sacrifice varies in detail according to the local ancestral custom (thesmia, ta nomima), but the fundamental structure is identical and clear: animal sacrifice is ritualized slaughter followed by a meat meal. In this the rite as a sign of the sacred is in particular the preparation, the beginning, on the one hand, and the subsequent restitution on the other: sacralization and desacralization about a central act of killing. The order of life, a social order, is constituted in the sacrifice through irrevocable acts; religion and everyday existence interpenetrate so completely that every community, every order must be founded through a sacrifice.
Sacrifice, reciprocity, do ut des, do ut abeas, (ritual) violence, water, blood, purifications.
Educational Material Types
  • Notes
  • Book
Use of Information and Communication Technologies
Use of ICT
  • Use of ICT in Course Teaching
  • Use of ICT in Communication with Students
  • Use of ICT in Student Assessment
Use of Power Points during the lectures (and presentations). Collaboration with the students during the Semester through E-Mails.
Course Organization
Reading Assigment241.0
Written assigments100.4
Student Assessment
Writing of papers - Discussion - Evaluation of current scientific theories and methodologies. The rating of the students is a result of their above efficiencies during the semester.
Student Assessment methods
  • Written Assignment (Formative, Summative)
  • Performance / Staging (Formative, Summative)
Course Bibliography (Eudoxus)
Pachis, P., Religion and Politics in the Graeco-Roman World. Redescribing the Isis-Sarapis Cult, Thessaloniki: Barbounakis Publications, 2010 (Εύδοξος).
Additional bibliography for study
Bloch, M. 1992. Prey into Hunter: The Politics of Religious Experience. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. Bremmer, J. N., Greek Religion, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. Burkert, W., Greek Religion, trans. J. Raffan,Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985. Burkert, W., Homo Necans: The Anthropology of Ancient Sacrificial Ritual and Myth, trans. P. Bing. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983. Detienne, M., Vernant, J.P., The Cuisine of Sacrifice among the Greeks, transl. P.Wissing,Cicago-London:The University Chicago Press, 1989. Ekroth, G., The Sacrificial Rituals of Greek Hero Cults in the Archaic to Early Hellenistic Periods, Kernos Supp. 12, Liège: Presses Universitaires de Liège, 2002. Girard, R., Das Heilige und die Gewalt, transl. E. Maonberger-Ruh, Zürich:Bensigerm1987. Hamerton-Kelly, R. G. (ed), Violent Origins. W. Burkert, R. Girard, and J.Z. Smith on Ritual Killing and Cultural Formation, with an Introduction of B. Mack and a Commentary by R. Rolaldo, Stanford:Stanford University Press,1987. Naiden, F. S., Smoke Signals for the Gods. Ancient Greek Sacrifice from the Archaic through roman Periods, Oxford: Oxford University Press,2013. Rudhardt, J. Reverdin, O. (eds.), Le sacrifice dans l’Antiquité, Entretiens sur l’Antiquité Classique, to, XXVII, Genève: Vandœuvres, 1981.
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