The Music of Sacrifice: Between Mortals and Immortals

TitleThe Music of Sacrifice: Between Mortals and Immortals
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsSfyroeras, P
JournalGreek and Roman Musical Studies
Volume8
Issue1
Pagination97–110
Abstract

The widely attested use of music in sacrificial ritual invites us to consider how it shapes the participants’ perception of both. I argue that ritual gestures and musical accompaniment complement each other to define the parameters of the divine presence in the cultic moment. On the one hand, in light of Hesiod’s canonical aetiology, sacrifice divides mortals and immortals, as they partake of different parts of the sacrificial victim. On the other hand, according to our various literary sources, music elicits identical responses from gods and men; human pleasure, in fact, is projected onto a divinity that is understood as fully present among the human spectators and/or performers. A corollary is that in visual and literary depictions divine musicians serve as models for what is essentially a human activity. While gods are imagined as recipients of sacrificial offerings, it is only music that makes them into full participants. [https://brill.com/view/journals/grms/8/1/article-p97_7.xml]

DOI10.1163/22129758-12341364

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