Religious ritual in ancient Greece regularly incorporated music, so much so that certain instruments or vocal genres frequently became associated with the religious veneration of specific gods. The Attic cult of Pan and the Nymphs should also be included among this group: though little is often known about the specific ritual practices, the literary and visual evidence associated with the cults make repeated reference to music performed on the panpipes—and to auditory and sensory stimuli more generally—as a prominent feature of the worship of these gods. I consider the Vari Cave, sacred to Pan and the Nymphs, together with the surviving marble votive reliefs from that space, to explore the sounds and sensations associated with the veneration of the rural gods. I argue that the sensory experience offered by the cave and the images within it would have enhanced the worshiper's experience of the ritual and the gods for whom they were performed. In this way, visual and auditory perceptions blurred together to create a powerful experience of the divine.
Research Article| October 01 2019
Sacred Sounds: The Cult of Pan and the Nymphs in the Vari Cave
Classical Antiquity (2019) 38 (2): 185–216.
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Carolyn M. Laferrière; Sacred Sounds: The Cult of Pan and the Nymphs in the Vari Cave. Classical Antiquity 1 October 2019; 38 (2): 185–216. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ca.2019.38.2.185
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