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In this paper I examine the link between cultic and dramatic heroes, and more particularly the status of cult heroes as exemplary figures for protagonists in tragedy. A hero in ancient Greek cultural terms is a human being who becomes heroized after death, a figure of cult, that is, who requires worship and sacrifice. Heroes are also central to epic and tragedy, yet because of the local nature of hero cults, heroes' status as objects of worship is rarely explicit in poetry. Poets typically avoid references to particular local practices, and focus instead on the figure of the hero before his or her heroization, telling their deeds and remembering their lives. This is also true of tragedy, which rarely alludes to the cultic status of its protagonists, and usually depicts them before their transformation into cultic beings. In this paper I explore allusions to cultic figures in Euripides' Hippolytos. Euripides foregrounds Phaidra's tragedy by contrasting her to cult heroines throughout the play: the chorus alludes to Iole (and hence Deianeira) and Semele. Yet, it is another heroine, l suggest, who is the role model for Phaidra: another tragic wife, local figure of cult in Attica, who betrays and is betrayed and eventually killed by her husband, the Athenian cult heroine Prokris.


Marion Meyer & Ralf von den Hoff


Rombach Verlag





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Helden wie sie: Übermensch - Vorbild - Kultfigur in der griechischen Antike

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