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Restless Dead: Encounters between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece Hardcover – May 3, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0520217072 ISBN-10: 0520217071 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (May 3, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520217071
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520217072
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,931,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"[This work] will represent the principal study of ancient Greek beliefs in the intervention of the dead, a topic of acute relevance to the study of classical literature, Greek religion, and the later cultures that spawned curse tablets and versions of Christianity."—David Frankfurter, author of Religion in Roman Egypt

"This is an incontestably useful book. . . . The author's scholarship is remarkable and her competence indisputable. Her laudably courageous and original analysis of the Erinyes leads us from archaic poetry, via the purificatory rituals and reforms of cult brought about by the mysterious Epimenides, to the Orphic tradition recently discovered in the Derveni papyrus—all of which enables Sarah Johnston to conclude by proposing an enthralling rereading of Aeschylus' Oresteia."—Philippe Borgeaud, author of The Cult of Pan in Ancient Greece

About the Author

Sarah Iles Johnston is Associate Professor of Greek and Latin at Ohio State University. She is author of Hekate Soteira: A Study of Hekate's Roles in the Chaldean Oracles and Related Literature (1990) and coeditor of Medea: Essays on Medea in Myth, Literature, Philosophy and Art (1997).

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Ioannis Sfinias on August 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book as soon as it came out. I became a fan of S.I. Johnston as soon as I read her Hekate book.

In this book she describes the evolvement of the relationship between the living and the dead in ancient Greece. Being a Greek I was amazed of how much it has survived of what Greek think as far as the dead are concerned. It is very rewarding to see that so much of the old religion is still around us and that Christianity has not destroyed everything yet...

Having said that, this book is an academic endeavour and not a New Age or Neo-Pagan writing. Mrs. Johnston is a true scholar and she does honour to the University she teaches.

Read her other books too.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Quigley on January 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a fabulous overview of death and related issues (miasma, psychopomps, ect) in Greece. It was even written in an interesting style, which is refreshing for an academic book.
Originally, I took it out of the library for research on Hekate (Ms. Iles Johnson's pet subject), but I got caught up and ended up reading the whole book instead of just the chapters pertinent to my work. Fabulous. Someday, I will add it to my own library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By E. Ricciardi on January 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book was really great. It's chock-full of facts and primary source material about Greek ghosts, heroes, demi/gods, and other members of the social dead. If you get bogged down in lots of detail, this might not be the book for you, but when I'm into something I'd rather be overloaded with specifics and corroborating evidence and parallels and so forth, so I LOVED the amount of information jam-packed in this book. Johnston brings up really interesting observations about ancestor and hero worship, particularly how hero worship translated into cultic practice in some cases, notably the cases of dead female spirits.

Her chapters on Hecate and hanged-girls were particularly good.
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By JDV on January 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Exactly what I needed for research. This book was previously listed at $48 for a Kindle edition. Thankfully, the price dropped to $20 and I could buy it. Exhaustively researched, and full of great insight into the Greek realm of the dead. So far I have read this and Daniel Ogdens work in this field. Both are highly recommended if you are looking for the sources of modern ghost tales. Every aspect of every modern ghost story has it's roots in tales that are over 2,000 years old. This book held special interest for me for it's attention to the "Goes" who were ancient Greek spirit mediums. Their techniques are almost identical to modern day ones as far away as Thailand. The parallels with modern Asian folklore and the ancient Greeks is uncanny. All of it covered in a scholarly, yet accessible manner by the author.
By far one of the best books on this subject. Hope the author produces more work.
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