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Record identifier : 565620
Personal Name - Primary Intelectual Responsibility : Rybakova, Maria,
Title and statement of responsibility : The child-snatching demons of antiquity: Narrative traditions, psychology and Nachleben [Thesis]
Publication, Distribution,Etc. : Yale University, 2004
Language of the Item : eng
Dissertation of thesis details and type of degree : Ph.D.
Body granting the degree : , Yale University
Summary or Abstract : My dissertation concerns a constellation of horrifying imaginary figures of antiquity said to snatch away babies and children: Strix, Lamia, Gello and Mormo. The belief in these demons has been pervasive from the Greek Archaic period until the present day. I discuss a variety of sources--from the nursery to Ovid, from remote antiquity to early Christian Europe and modern Greece--that speak of or illustrate in plastic art beliefs about these creatures who come at night through closed doors to harm the living, children above all. My approach aims to be more broadly synthetic than earlier scholarship. I take these monsters as a group (they are predominantly Greek and Roman, but attend as well to attestations from the Ancient Near East and Mediaeval Europe) and I employ a variety of perspectives: historical, mythological and psychological. I propose some specific paths whereby these monsters of classical antiquity lived on in the folk traditions of a Christianized world. The dissertation concludes with an attempt to answer the question of the survival of child-snatching demons in Modern Greek beliefs. I argue that the malleability of the image of demons, the absence of closely-regulated cult, and the possibility of shifting blame for the misfortunes of life, notably in reproduction and early childhood, are the features that allow their survival into the Christian era..
Topical Name Used as Subject : Classical studies, Cultural anthropology, Religious history
Information of biblio record : TL
 
 
 
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