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Other Titles: On the right hand of Zeus. The sacred space of ancient Greeks and Romans
Authors: Berger, Łukasz
Keywords: Prawo - lewo
Right - left
Góra - dół
Up - down
Religia Greków
Greek religion
Religia Rzymian
Roman religion
Issue Date: 31-Mar-2011
Publisher: Pracowania Humanistycznych Studiów Interdyscyplinarnych WFPiK UAM
Citation: INTERLINIE. Interdyscyplinarne Czasopismo Internetowe, 1 (2)/2011, pp. 99-105.
Abstract: The aim of the article is to give a portrayal of certain aspects of how ancient Greeks and Romans perceived the space surrounding vertical and horizontal oppositions. A selective presentation of ideas originating in religion and classical literature at different stages of its development is supposed to indicate some consistency in the conveyance and judgment of spatial categories. The division between t h e t o p and b o t t o m appears to be in close relation to the Universe from its very beginning. In cosmogony itself, which is based on a vertical axis, there is an analogy in sacred architecture and aetiological myths (the foundation of Rome, the constructing of the Oracle of Delphi). The exchange of energy between different levels in the Universe is also based on a vertical line, including all the moments of transfer between them (ascensus, descensus). Those moments – through mythology – found their way into literature (Homer, Plato, Vergilius). The horizontal opposition had its imprint on divinities whose right-hand side is regarded as the righteous and auspicious one. The semantic extension of the perception of this category can be found in the fact that being right-handed is often associated with mastery in arts. This penetrated modern Romance languages via Latin. What is more, in many cases Latin linguistic inheritors replaced the lexeme which was related to the left in space with a foreign word which could indicate its bad connotations connected with the Latin sinister. The variety described in this selective presentation does not allow the author to draw more general conclusions. The article is merely trying to signal that certain patterns do exist in the perception of the ancient sacred space and still influence the reception of basic oppositions which build the world around the modern European.
ISSN: 2082-9434
Source: Interlinie. Interdyscyplinarne czasopismo internetowe, nr 1 (2), 2011, s.
Appears in Collections:Interlinie, 2011, nr 1 (2)

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