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  • Cited by 9
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
February 2011
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Book description

In Sanctified Violence in Homeric Society, Margo Kitts focuses on oath-making narratives found in the Iliad through which she articulates a theory of ritualized violence. She analyzes ritual paradigms, metaphors, fictions, and poetic registers as oath-making principles, which she then traces through Homeric references and texts from the ancient New East. Discussing ritual features that are common to acts of religious violence throughout the world, Kitts makes use of the theory of ritual performance as communication.


“Kitts presents a detailed study of oath making in Homer's Iliad, both the ritual details and the consequences of oath breaking; in particular, she distinguishes between commensal sacrifices and those involving oaths, and she looks at instances in which deaths on the battlefield are compared to the deaths of sacrificial animals. In doing so, Kitts makes good use of comparative Near Eastern material, including Hittite, Assyrian, and biblical texts.”

"The book is fluently written and the discussion throughout is careful and detailed. There are many useful references to secondary material, and a valuable appendix of the key passages in Greek." - Fiona McHardy, Roehampton University

"Margo Kitt offers scholars a number of intriguing new views on well-known pieces of poetic material...anyone interested in studying religious rituals-actual or imagined-will profit intellectually from observing Iliadic oath sacrifices through Kitt's wide-ranging and often keen-sighted eyes."
Shubha Pathak, The Journal of Religion

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