CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
The hand gesture and symbols of Sabazios
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3013-1322
2018 (English)In: Opuscula: Annual of the Swedish Institutes at Athens and Rome, ISSN 2000-0898, Vol. 11, p. 151-168Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The material evidence left from the cult of Sabazios is meagre, apart from sculpted bronze hands dating to the Roman Empire. The hand is held in a certain pose, the so-called benedictio Latina gesture, and the hand was often covered with depictions of various objects and symbols. The bronze hands were probably attached to staffs and carried around in processions. This practice most likely spread via the channels of the Roman army during the Early Imperial period, but the gesture existed much earlier. The gesture is found on Attic black- and red-figured pottery, and is frequently associated with Hermes in his role as instructor and Psychopompos. From the beginning of the Hellenistic period the gesture was mainly used as an indication of speech, and for knowledge transmitted through speech. There are several examples of how the gesture was used to indicate the knowledge revealed through the initiations of mystery cults. Hermes is closely associated with Sabazios and is represented on the bronze hands, probably because of his role as instructor and Psychopompos; i.e. the position played by the mystagogue in the Sabazian mysteries. The gesture of the hands simply denoted the knowledge acquired through the initiation. The symbols on the hands are often associated with the Underworld, and it is suggested that knowledge acquired in the Sabazian mysteries dealt with life after death and the Underworld.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 11, p. 151-168
Keywords [en]
Sabazios, cult, hand gesture, benedictio Latina, bronze hand, mystery cult, Hermes, gesture of speech, Roman Empire, Underworld
National Category
Archaeology
Research subject
Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-163470DOI: 10.30549/opathrom-11-08ISI: 000453340200007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-163470DiVA, id: diva2:1275351
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 1441602Available from: 2019-01-05 Created: 2019-01-05 Last updated: 2019-01-07Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(1468 kB)12 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 1468 kBChecksum SHA-512
e99dcb3a689c49953a944c7208892927e88a98a28d53f71af1afabcac30e7b8f6a7228dfaf24f60f0a7b9e2ebae6588ec04bbec3f3fead31c036b08a95e35b16
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Berndt, Susanne
By organisation
Classical Archaeology and Ancient History
In the same journal
Opuscula: Annual of the Swedish Institutes at Athens and Rome
Archaeology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 12 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

doi
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

doi
urn-nbn
Total: 56 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf