Anthesterierna

anthesteria

“Scholars have puzzled over the question of how all of these elements – the honoring of Dionysus, the celebration of new life and the appeasement of the dead – came together to create the festival complex known as the Anthesteria, and what ideas, cumulatively, it articulated. The fact that from at least the late Archaic period Dionysus was a god associated with mysteries and thereby with the world of the dead is surely of relevance, but there is a broader reason at work as well.

In Greece and elsewhere, the dead, and especially the unhappy dead, were assumed to be envious of those who were still enjoying life: thus, success and joy were often accompanied by a heightened awareness of possible misfortune and the jealous spirits who brought it. As Plato put it, ‘kēres cling to most of the good things of life.’

Given this attitude, the Greeks would have assumed that the dead were particularly likely to burst forth from the Underworld and attack them at that time of year when the living were celebrating renewal and abundance. A ritual complex that simultaneously rejoiced in the new vintage, the growth of flowers, and the health of the young even as it appeased and then exorcised the envious, restless dead, makes sense, then.”

Restless Dead: Encounters between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece by Sarah Iles Johnston.

Nu när det är Halloween och allt det där kom jag att tänka på Anthesterierna, en högtid som firades på våren i antikens Grekland och som delvis var tillägnad de döda. Jag tycker att det är en av de mest fascinerande högtiderna och jag hoppas att jag längre fram kan göra en serie som utspelar sig just under Anthesterierna.