Problems of Organization of Religious Life in Attic Demes in the 5th–4th Centuries BC

Lenskaya Valeria S.

The article considers some problems of cult in the Attic demes in the 5th–4th centuries BC, primarily the problem of fi nancing cults, as well as the activity of the offi cials connected with organization of deme cults. Demes organized their religious cults on their own. After Cleisthenes’ reforms control over temples gradually passes from genos-appointed priests to deme administration and the magistrates appointed specially for managing problems connected with cult. Demes get hold of both lands belonging to sanctuaries and the temples’ fi nances (“gods’ money”). Supreme control over organization of cults in the demes was exercised by the demarchoi. The main sources of financing the cults were: (1) leasing the sacred land, partly belonging to a temple, partly being just a deme’s temenoi not connected with certain sanctuaries; (2) loans at interest from the “gods’ money”; (3) private contributions. Priesthood, which before the 440s had consisted of the gennetai, began to change: some of positions (connected mainly with old cults) were still fi lled by the gennetai, others were taken over by the demotai. Priests could take part in fi nancial and administrative activities, but normally these functions were fulfi lled by local magistrates, priests’ tasks being limited to performing rites and taking care of the sanctuaries.

Keywords: ancient Greece, Attica, demes, religion, cult, priesthood
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