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date: 20 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the nature and development of Greek daimonology, that diverse and structured combination of ideas and beliefs (involving ritual) which applies to a category of superhuman beings known as daimones. The distinctive characteristic of this category is its intermediate and intermediary function between humans and gods. In a cosmological sense daimones are often located in one of the intermediate levels of the cosmic structure. Another meaning is anthropological: a daimon is a human soul, both during life and especially after death. While literary sources illustrate the reflection of authors (e.g. poets, philosophers, historians) that are frequently linked to various philosophical schools (Pythagoreanism, Stoicism, Platonism), it is difficult to investigate popular beliefs and ritual pertaining to daimones. However, examination of the literary and epigraphic evidence allows us to trace the historical development and local differences of the daimonological tradition from the Archaic to the Hellenistic and Roman imperial periods.

Keywords: daimon, daimonology, belief, ritual

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