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In this paper, the author reviews individual sacrifices in Ancient Greece: where and for what reason they occurred, to what deities sacrifices of the house were made, the way individual sacrifices took place in public sanctuaries. The article also deals with the issue of individual sacrifices financing and private donations for cults. Individual sacrifi ces were the easiest and most accessible way of communication between a person and deity; they did not require special preparation, often did not need the intermediation of any cult personnel and could be performed daily by any person regardless of his status, gender and age. The different “levels” of individual sacrifi ces were discerned: household sacrifi ces were their simplest kind; sacrifi ces in sanctuaries required the observance of certain rules set by the sanctuary and its religious personnel. Household sacrifi ces at family gatherings, being an infra-familiar matter, in some cases (for example, in court cases) gained a social signifi cance, “marking” important events in a person’s life. We also see cases of cooperation between a polis and an individual person in the fi eld of fi nancing of individual sacrifi ces. Thus, although individual sacrifi ces were the area least affected by the interference of polis structures, they were not completely free from this interference and were not a purely private matter, being integrated in the common space of the polis religious life.


Ancient Greece, religion, cult, sacrifice

Valeriya S. Lenskaya

Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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