Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oddities in antiquity

While our Greek class was translating Philostratus' Life of Apollonius, we came across a passage talking about Philolaus of Citium and Apollonius chatting near the grove of Aricia (περι το νεμος το εν τη Αρικια). This grove was the home of a priest of the goddess Diana. There's nothing particularly interesting (to me) about Diana, but what is interesting is how the priest was selected.

In this particular grove, the priest was succeeded by his assassin. You read that right - if you wanted to take over the priesthood in the grove of Aricia, you killed the priest there and took over.

Unfortunately, for such a controversial practice, very little is written about it. There are definitely some questions that are raised, though - for one, who in their right mind would ever want to take over this job? Your celebration of victory over the priest is cut short immediately by the paranoia that sets in knowing that you are now the target.

No comments: