Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


22 January 2014

Textual evidence for Aegean Late Bronze Age ritual processions

Jörg Weilhartner Opuscula 6 (2013): 151-173.


In the Aegean Late Bronze Age there exists rich iconographic evidence for the ritual practice of processions, demonstrating the practice’s importance within Mycenaean offcial cult. In contrast, due to the nature of the Linear B documents which are the records of the palace administration referring to particular aspects of the palace economy, hardly any explicit textual information about processions in Mycenaean times is available. Among the rare exceptions is the outstanding tablet Tn 316 from Pylos whose lexical items seem to point to a ritual of this kind. Moreover, the term te-o-po-ri-ja/*θεοφóρια (“the carrying of the gods”) is generally understood as the name of a religious festival in which a (terracotta) cult figurine representing a deity was carried in a procession. Some additional textual evidence on processions may be provided by terms ending in -po-ro/-φóρος. Along these lines, this paper argues that the term to-pa-po-ro may denote men whose description reflects activities they have performed in connection with processions. Similarly, it is suggested that the individuals who are described as ka-ra-wi-po-ro (“fe-male key-bearer”) and di-pte-ra po-ro (whose traditional interpretation as “wearer of hide” is disputed) may act as carriers in the course of a procession. The textual and linguistic analysis of these words is combined with iconographic evidence of the Aegean Bronze Age.

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