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With This Body I Thee Worship: Sacred Prostitution in Antiquity

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Why do ancient writers tell us that sacred prostitutes massed on the citadel of ancient Corinth? What are we to make of Herodotus' famous account of the ancient customs of Babylon? Beard and Henderson examine the formation of the discourse of sacred, or cultic, prostitution both in classical texts and modern scholarship. They take a sceptical position on the existence, in Greece and the Near East, of institutions traditionally envisaged as `sacred prostitution' and explore the uses which have been, and are still, found for such myth-making with the bodies of women, whether in the form of a `marriage-market' or of various kinds of `sacred prostitution'.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Cambridge

Publication date: November 1, 1997

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