The Athenian Adonia in Context

The Adonis Festival as Cultural Practice

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Laurialan Reitzammer
  • Madison, WI: 
    University of Wisconsin Press
    , May
     288 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


Ancient sources and modern scholars have often represented the Athenian festival of Adonis as a marginal and faintly ridiculous private women's ritual. Seeds were planted each year in pots and, once sprouted, carried to the rooftops, where women lamented the death of Aphrodite's youthful consort Adonis. Laurialan Reitzammer resourcefully examines a wide array of surviving evidence about the Adonia, arguing for its symbolic importance in fifth- and fourth-century Athenian culture as an occasion for gendered commentary on mainstream Athenian practices. 

Reitzammer uncovers correlations of the Adonia to Athenian wedding rituals and civic funeral oration and provides illuminating evidence that the festival was a significant cultural template for such diverse works as Aristophanes' drama Lysistrata and Plato's dialogue Phaedrus. Her fresh approach is a timely contribution to studies of the ways gender and sexuality intersect with religion and ritual in ancient Greece.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Laurialan Reitzammer is an assistant professor of classics at the University of Colorado, Boulder.


Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments