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A Moment’s OrnamentThe Poetics of Nympholepsy in Ancient Greece$
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Corinne Ondine Pache

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195339369

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195339369.001.0001

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Kephalos in the City

Kephalos in the City

(p.123) 5 Kephalos in the City
A Moment’s Ornament

Corinne Ondine Pache

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 considers what happens to the motif of love between mortals and immortals in the civic and religious contexts of the classical polis, focusing more particularly on the hero Cephalus in Athens and Attica. While historical nympholepts establish their sanctuaries in honor of the nymphs in the countryside, narratives of mortal men seized by goddesses also become part of the polis through images, words, and ritual. The motif of Eos and her lovers, in particular, was popular on vase paintings and on monuments such as the throne of Amyclae in Sparta and the Stoa Basileios in Athens. Eos’s lover, Cephalus, was named on the Thorikos sacrificial calendar and was important in cult throughout Attica. The mortal lovers of goddesses provide a crucial connection between the divine and mortal realm; this is true not only in myth, but also in the Athenian polis, where Cephalus is celebrated and mourned by the Greeks of the classical period.

Keywords:   Cephalus, Athens, Attica, Polis, Eos, Amyclae, Stoa Basileios, Thorikos

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