Did religious cults of Archaic Greece interact with Lydian religions?
October 23, 2013 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Is there evidence of either Orphism or the Eleusinian Mysteries in archaic Lydia? Do we have knowledge of the religion practiced by, say, Croesus, and whether or not the Lydian kings of that time were especially pious? I read somewhere that Dionysus had Anatolian roots, and I am wondering where I can learn more.
posted by jwhite1979 to Religion & Philosophy (1 answer total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Almost all of the information we have about the Lydian kings comes from Herodotus' Book I. Gyges seems to defer to Greek religion (sending offerings to Delphi and consulting the oracle there), not the other way around. There is evidence for some Lydian overlap with other Near Eastern religions (here's one example; if you can't access JSTOR, the ritual in question is a puppy sacrifice at the Lydian capital of Sardis, known to be a part of Hittite religion from Hittite texts, and dated to the middle of the 6th century BC, so the time of Croesus).

Dionysus comes from the East in Greek mythology, so that etiology is ancient. We know that the Greeks thought the god came from that region, but not why they thought that. The Wiki for ancient Near Eastern religion covers the basics of mythology from that part of the world (Hittite and Hurrian stuff is maybe the most relevant for you).
posted by oinopaponton at 10:57 AM on October 23, 2013 [3 favorites]

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