Difference between revisions of "Hekate - Section A"

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Hekate - Section B
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Hekate - Section A
  
==Cult==
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Hekate or Hecate (ancient Greek Ἑκάτη, Hekátē, pronounced /ˈhɛkətiː/ ''[1][2]'' is a pre-Olympian chthonic goddess associated with childhood, magic, witches, ghosts, and crossroads as well as wealth and prosperity.
  
The oldest reference about Hekate in poetry is found in Hesiod's Theogony, while an inscription from late archaic Miletus naming her as a protector of entrances attest for her presence in archaic Greek religion. ''[2]''  Regarding the nature of her cult, it has been remarked, "she is more at home on the fringes than in the center of Greek polytheism. Intrinsically ambivalent and polymorphous, she straddles conventional boundaries and eludes definition." ''[18]''
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[[Image:Hecate1.jpg|thumb|400px|Hecate]]
  
She has been associated with childbirth, nurturing the young, gates and walls, doorways, crossroads, witchcraft, ghosts, lunar lore, necromancy, torches and dogs.
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==Name, etymology, spelling, and pronunciation==
  
She had few public temples in the ancient world, however, small household shrines, which were erected to ward off evil and the malevolent powers of witchcraft, were quite common; her shrines were called Hekaea. Her most important cults were those of Eleusis, where she was one of the chief goddesses alongside with Demeter and Persephone, and the island of Samothrake, where she was worshipped as an associate-goddess of the Mysteries and was closely connected with Demeter.
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Notable proposed etymologies for the name Hekate are:
  
Her most famous sanctuary in Caria was in Lagina, a theocratic city-state in which the goddess was served by eunuchs. ''[30]'' Lagina, where the famous temple of Hekate drew great festal assemblies every year, lay close to the originally Macedonian colony of Stratonikeia, where she was the city's patroness.
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*From the Greek word for 'will'. ''[2] [3]''
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*A native name meaning “the one who works from afar (Εκάς 'far'): far-shooting, far-darter. ''[2]''  
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*From the Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility, Heqet. ''[4]''  
  
William Berg observes, "Since children are not called after spooks, it is safe to assume that Carian theophoric names involving hekat- refer to a major deity free from the dark and unsavoury ties to the underworld and to witchcraft associated with the Hecate of classical Athens." ''[8b]''  But he cautions, "The Laginetan goddess may have had a more infernal character than scholars have been willing to assume." ''[8d]'' In Ptolemaic Alexandria and elsewhere during the Hellenistic period, she appears as a three-faced goddess associated with ghosts, witchcraft, and curses. Today she is claimed as a goddess of witches and in the context of Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism. Some neo-pagans refer to her as a "crone goddess", ''[32]'' though this characterization appears to conflict with her frequent characterization as a virgin in late antiquity. ''[33]'' She closely parallels the Roman goddess [[Trivia]].
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Εκάτη appears to be the feminine equivalent of Εκατός (Hekatos), obscure epithet of Apollo. ''[2]''
  
It is to be noted that Hekate plays little or no part in mythological legend. Her worship seems to have flourished especially in the wilder parts of Greece, such as Samothrace and Thessaly, in Caria and on the coasts of Asia Minor. In Greece her worship found ground on the east coast and especially in Aegina, where her aid was invoked against madness.
 
  
The most common form of offering to her was to leave fish or meat at a crossroads. Sometimes dogs themselves were sacrificed to her. This is sometimes offered as an indication of her non-Hellenic origin, as dogs very rarely played this role in genuine Greek ritual. ''[7]''
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== Parentage of Hekate==
  
In Ptolemaic Alexandria and elsewhere during the Hellenistic period, she appears as a three-faced goddess associated with ghosts, witchcraft, and curses. Today she is claimed as a goddess of witches and in the context of Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism. Some neo-pagans refer to her as a crone. ''(The crone is a stock character in folklore and fairy tale, an old woman who is usually disagreeable, malicious, or sinister in manner, often with magical or supernatural associations that can make her either helpful or obstructing. She is marginalized by her exclusion from the reproductive cycle,... goddess,)'' though this characterization appears to conflict with her original virginal status in ancient Greece.  
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*Hesiod emphasizes that Hekate was an only child, the daughter of Perses and [[Asteria]], a star-goddess who was the sister of Leto (the mother of [[Artemis]] and [[Apollo]]). Grandmother of the three cousins was [[Phoebe]] the ancient Titaness who personified the moon.  
  
  
===Festivals===
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'''Other References about her parents'''
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* Perses
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* [[Zeus]] & Asteria
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* Zeus & [[Demeter]]
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* Zeus & Hera
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* Nyx (Night), as the mother of Hekate was probably identified with Asteria ("the Starry One").
  
Hekate was worshipped by both the Greeks and the Romans who had their own festivals dedicated to her. According to L. Ruickbie ''[34]'' the Greeks observed two days sacred to Hekate, one on the 13th of August and one on the 30th of November, whilst the Romans observed the 29th of every month as her sacred day.
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''(see:  [[#Hekate - Section C - Quotations I]])''
  
  
===Necromancy===
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==Offspring==
  
Hecate along with Persephone and Haides presided over the oracles of the dead and the art of nekromanteia (necromancy), the summoning forth of the ghosts of the dead.
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* None (she was a virgin goddess)  
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* Skylla (by Phorkys)
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* [[Kirke]], [[Medea]], Aigialeus (by Aeetes)
  
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''(see:  [[#Hekate - Section C - Quotations II]])''
  
===Sorcery===
 
  
Being the chief goddess of magic arts and spells, Hekate is said to be the mother of the sorceresses Circe and Medea. She is constantly invoked, in the well-known idyll (ii) of Theocritus, in the incantation to bring back a woman's faithless lover.
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==Overview==
  
In the Argonautica, a third century BCE Alexandrian epic based on early materials, Jason placates Hekate in a ritual prescribed by Medea, her priestess: bathed at midnight in a stream of flowing water, and dressed in dark robes, Jason is to dig a pit and offer a libation of honey and blood from the throat of a sheep, which was set on a pyre by the pit and wholly consumed as a holocaust, then retreat from the site without looking back. All these elements betoken the rites owed to a chthonic deity.
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Hekate is not mentioned in Homer’s work, but she appears in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and in Hesiod's Theogony, where she is promoted strongly as a great goddess.  
  
To the Christian Gnostics, who believed that magic had been brought to earth by fallen angels, Hekate represents one of the five Archons (Paraplex, Hekate, Ariouth, Typhon, Iachtanabas ), appointed to rule over the 360 demons of the "Middle," the aerial place below the zodiacal sphere or the circle of the sun, which fixes the Heimarmene. She has three faces and twenty-seven demons under her command. She occupies the third level in the hierarchy of the "Middle," between two female demons, long-haired Paraplex and Ariouth the Ethiopian, and two male demons, Typhon and Iachtanabas.  
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According to the most genuine traditions, she appears to have been an ancient Thracian divinity, and a Titan, who, from the time of the Titans, ruled in heaven, on the earth, and in the sea, who bestowed on mortals wealth, victory, wisdom, good luck to sailors and hunters, and prosperity to youth and to the flocks of cattle; but all these blessings might at the same time be withheld by her, if mortals did not deserve them, and was the only one among the Titans who retained her power under the rule of Zeus, and was honoured by all the immortal gods. Hekate assisted the gods in their war with the Gigantes and slew Clytius.
  
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Like Artemis, Hekate is also a goddess of fertility, presiding especially over the birth and the youth of wild animals, and over human birth and marriage. She also attends when the soul leaves the body at death, and is found near graves, and on the hearth, where the master of the house was formerly buried. She was a torch-bearing goddess of the night, the leader of haunting ghosts and inspirer of the night-time baying of hounds. She may have been a goddess of the moon or rather of moonless starlit nights.
  
== Cross-cultural parallels==
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Hekate was considered as the consort of Khthonian[[ Hermes]]. In Thrace she played a role similar to that of lesser-Hermes, namely a governess of liminal regions (particularly gates) and the wilderness, bearing little resemblance to the night-walking crone she became.
  
Hekate closely parallels the Roman goddess Trivia, the Latin equivalent of the Greek Trioditis.  
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Alone of the gods besides Helios, she witnessed the abduction of Persephone, and, torch in hand (a natural symbol for the moon's, light) ''[5][6]'', assisted Demeter in her search for her daughter.  
  
The figure of Hekate can often be associated with the figure of [[Isis]] in Egyptian myth (mainly due to her role as sorceress). In Hebrew myth she is often compared to the figure of [[Lilith]] and the [[Whore of Babylon]] in later Christian tradition. Both were symbols of liminal points, and Lilith also has a role in sorcery. Some scholars ultimately compare her to the Virgin Mary.
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On moonlight nights she is seen at the cross-roads (hence her name “trioditis”, Lat. Trivia) accompanied by the dogs of the Styx and crowds of the dead. Here, on the last day of the month, eggs and fish were offered to her. Black puppies and she-lambs (black victims being offered to chthonian deities) were also sacrificed.  
  
Before she became associated with Greek mythology, she had many similarities with Artemis (wilderness, and watching over wedding ceremonies) and Hera (child rearing and the protection of young men or heroes, and watching over wedding ceremonies).
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''(see:  [[#Hekate - Section C - Quotations III]])''
  
H. P. Blavatsky,''[10]'' considers Hekate as the equivalent of the Egyptian goddess [[Hathor]] and then identifies Hathor as another, rather infernal aspect of [[Isis]]. This is supported from the fact that they are both lunar deities connected with magick, although Hekate seems to represent a liminal and chthonic aspect of Isis.
 
  
Both Hekate and Isis were symbols of liminal points. Lucius Apuleius (c. 123—c. 170 CE) in his work "The Golden Ass" associates Hekate with Isis as well,[aa] While Paul McKechnie and Philippe Guillaume in “Ptolemy II Philadelphus and His World” ''[4]'' relate Hekate with Heqet, the Egyptian goddess of fertility and childbirth, who breathed life into the new body of [[Horus]] at birth.
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==Theories about Hekate’s origins==
  
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As for the homeland of Hekate's worship, the early archaeological evidence is concentrated about the Aegean Sea and in western Asia Minor, although it is also possible to origin in Egypt:
  
===Survival in pre-modern folklore===
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===Caria, Anatolia===
  
Hekate has survived in folklore as a 'hag' figure associated with witchcraft. Strmiska notes that Hekate, conflated with the figure of [[Diana]], appears in late antiquity and in the early medieval period as part of an "emerging legend complex" associated with gatherings of women, the moon, and witchcraft that eventually became established "in the area of Northern Italy, southern Germany, and the western Balkans." ''[35]''This theory of the Roman origins of many European folk traditions related to Diana or Hekate was explicitly advanced at least as early as 1807 ''[36]'' and is reflected in numerous etymological claims by lexicographers from the 17th to the 19th century, deriving "hag" and/or "hex" from Hekate by way of haegtesse (Anglo-Saxon) and hagazussa (Old High German). (John Minsheu and William Somner (17th century), Edward Lye of Oxford (1694-1767), Johann Georg Wachter, Glossarium Germanicum) '' [37] '' Such derivations are today proposed only by a minority ''[38]'' since being refuted by Grimm, who was skeptical of theories proposing non-Germanic origins for German folklore traditions.[39]
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Hekate could have been originated among the Carians of Anatolia, ''[7]'' the region where most [[theophoric names]] invoking Hekate are attested (such as Hecataeus or Hecatomnus, the father of Mausolus), and where Hekate remained a Great Goddess into historical times, worshiped at her famous temple in Lagina.  
  
In the syncretism during Late Antiquity of Hellenistic and late Babylonian ("Chaldean") elements, Hekate was identified with Ereshkigal, the underworld sister (or counterpart) of Inanna in the Babylonian cosmography. In the Michigan magical papyrus (inv. 7), dated to the late third or early fourth century CE, Hekate Ereschigal is invoked against fear of punishment in the afterlife. ''[40]''
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If Hekate's cult spread from Anatolia into Greece, it is possible it created a conflict, as her role was already filled by other more prominent deities in the Greek pantheon, especially by Artemis and [[Selene]]. This reasoning lies behind the widely accepted hypothesis that she was a foreign deity, who was incorporated into the Greek pantheon. Nevertheless, it has been argued that "Hecate must have been a Greek goddess”, ''[8]'' since the monuments to Hekate in Phrygia and Caria are numerous but of late date.
  
''(see: [Section B – Quotations VII])''
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William Berg also observes, "Since children are not called after spooks, it is safe to assume that Carian theophoric names involving hekat- refer to a major deity free from the dark and unsavoury ties to the underworld and to witchcraft associated with the Hecate of classical Athens." But, he cautions, the Laginetan goddess may have had a more infernal character than scholars have been willing to assume."
  
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On the other hand, Robert Von Rudloff states in “Hekate in Early Greek Religion”: “As it is common for Greek deities to serve beneficial and destructive functions that are paired opposites (for example, Apollo as healer and sender of plagues and Artemis as bringer of comfort or death to women in childbirth), Hekate's reputation for governing fearful ghosts might be the "flip side" of Her ability to offer protection against them.” ''[9]''
  
==Other names and epithets==
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===Thrace===
  
*Aedonaea (Lady of the Underworld)
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Farnell regards Hekate as a foreign importation from Thrace, the home of [[Bendis]] with whom Hekate has many points in common. Hekate is not mentioned in Homer’s works, but in Hesiod ''[1]'' she is the daughter of the Titan Perses and Asterie, in a passage which may be a later interpolation by the Orphists. She is there represented as a mighty goddess, having power over heaven, earth and sea; hence she is the bestower of wealth and all the blessings of daily life. The range of her influence is most varied, extending to war, athletic games, the tending of cattle, hunting, the assembly of the people and the law-courts. Hekate is frequently identified with Artemis, an identification usually justified by the assumption that both were moon-goddesses. Farnell, ''[5][6]'' who regards Artemis as originally an earth-goddess, while recognizing a "genuine lunar element" in Hekate from the 5th century, considers her a chthonian rather than a lunar divinity. He is of opinion that neither borrowed much from, nor exercised much influence on, the cult and character of the other.
*Atalus (Tender, Delicate)
 
*Curotrophus (Nurse of the Young)
 
*Perseis : (Daughter of Perses / Perses: Destroyer)
 
*Scylacagetis (Leader of the Dogs)
 
*Trimorphis (Three-Formed, Three-Bodies)
 
*Zerynthia (Of Mount Zerynthia [in Samothrace])
 
*Anassa eneri (Queen of the those below -i.e the Dead)
 
*Angelos. A surname of Artemis, under which she was worshipped at Syracuse, and according to some accounts the original name of Hekate.
 
*Antania (Enemy of mankind)
 
*Apotropaia (that turns away/protects) ''[7]''  
 
*Artemis of the crossroads
 
*BRIMO (Brimô), the angry or the terrifying, occurs as a surname of several divinities, such as Hekate or Persephone. There is also another derivation of Brimo from Bromos, so that it would refer to the crackling of the fire, as Hekate was conceived bearing a torch.
 
*Chthonia (of the earth/underworld) may mean the subterraucous, or the goddess of the earth, that is, the protectress of the fields, whence it is used as a surname of infernal divinities, such as Hekate, but especially of Demeter.
 
*Core munagenes (Only Begotten) Maiden
 
*Crataeis (the Mighty One)
 
*Enodia (on the way) ''[16]''
 
*Klêidouchos (holding the keys) ''[2]''
 
*Kourotrophos (nurse of children ''[2]''
 
*Liparocredemnus (Bright-Coiffed, With Bright Headband)
 
*Nyctopolus (Night Wandering)
 
*Pheraea (Pheraia). 1. A surname of Artemis at Pherae in Thessaly, at Argos and Sicyon, where she had temples. 2. A surname of Hekate, because she was a daughter of Zeus and Pheraea, the daughter of Aeolus, or because she had been brought up by the shepherds of Pheres, or because she was worshipped at Pherae.  
 
*Phosphoros (bringing or giving light ''[2]''        Phosphorus also occurs as a surname of several goddesses of light, as Artemis]
 
*Propolos (who serves/attends) ''[2]'' or "the attendant who leads,"
 
*Propylaia (before the gate) ''[16]''
 
*Prytania (invincible Queen of the Dead)
 
*Soteira (savior) ''[15]''
 
*Tricephalus or Triceps (The Three-Headed)
 
*Trimorphe (three-formed) ''[16]''
 
*Triodia/Trioditis (who frequents crossroads) ''[16]''
 
  
''(see: [[Hekate - Section D # Quotations VIII]])''
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One surviving group of stories suggests how Hekate might have come to be incorporated into the Greek pantheon without affecting the privileged position of Artemis. Here, Hekate is a mortal priestess often associated with Iphigeneia. She scorns and insults Artemis, who in retribution eventually brings about the mortal's suicide. Artemis then adorns the dead body with jewelry and commands the spirit to rise and become her Hekate, who subsequently performs a role similar to Nemesis as an avenging spirit, but solely for injured women. Such myths in which a native deity 'sponsors' or ‘creates’ a foreign one were widespread in ancient cultures as a way of integrating foreign cults. If this interpretation is correct, as Hekate's cult grew, she was inserted into the later myth of the birth of Zeus as one of the midwives that hid the child, while Cronus consumed the deceiving rock handed to him by Gaia. There was a fane sacred to Hekate as well in the precincts of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, where the eunuch priests, megabyzi, officiated.
  
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===Egypt===
  
==Hymns to Hekate==
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A.  It is possible that Hekate’s cult was imported from Egypt, where Heqet (also Heqat, Hekit, Heket etc, more rarely Hegit, Heget etc., written with the determinative frog- Her name was probably pronounced more like *Haqā́tat in Middle Egyptian, hence her later Greek counterpart Ἑκάτη / Hecate), the Egyptian goddess of fertility and childbirth was worshiped. '' [4] ''
  
=== Hesiodic Hymn===
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B.  H.P.Blavatsky relates Hekate to Hathor, as the latest represents the lower infernal aspect of Isis. ''[10]''
  
Hesiod describes Hekate’s wide-ranging divine powers in the following passage. The name of her father Perses (the destroyer) was connected with both Persephone, goddess of the underworld, and Perseis, the mother of the witches Aeetes and Kirke. Her mother Asteria (the starry one) was a goddess of the night.
 
  
"Asteria of happy name, whom Perses once led to his great house to be called his dear wife. And she conceived and bare Hekate whom Zeus the son of Kronos honoured above all. He gave her splendid gifts, to have a share of the earth and the unfruitful sea. She received honour also in starry heaven, and is honoured exceedingly by the deathless gods. For to this day, whenever anyone of men on earth offers rich sacrifices and prays for favour according to custom, he calls upon Hekate. Great honour comes full easily to him whose prayers the goddess receives favourably, and she bestows wealth upon him; for the power surely is with her. For as many as were born of Gaia (Earth) and Ouranos (Heaven) [the Titanes] amongst all these she has her due portion. The son of Kronos did her no wrong nor took anything away of all that was her portion among the former Titan gods: but she holds, as the division was at the first from the beginning, privilege both in earth, and in heaven, and in sea. Also, because she is an only child, the goddess receives not less honour, but much more still, for Zeus honours her. Whom she will she greatly aids and advances: she sits by worshipful kings in judgement, and in the assembly whom she will is distinguished among the people. And when men arm themselves for the battle that destroys men, then the goddess is at hand to give victory and grant glory readily to whom she will. Good is she also when men contend at the games, for there too the goddess is with them and profits them: and he who by might and strength gets the victory wins the rich prize easily with joy, and brings glory to his parents. And she is good to stand by horsemen, whom she will: and to those whose business is in the grey discomfortable sea, and who pray to Hekate and the loud-crashing Earth-Shaker [Poseidon], easily the glorious goddess gives great catch, and easily she takes it away as soon as seen, if so she will. She is good in the byre with Hermes to increase the stock. The droves of kine and wide herds of goats and flocks of fleecy sheep, if she will, she increases from a few, or makes many to be less. So, then, albeit her mother's only child, she is honoured amongst all the deathless gods. And the son of Kronos made her a nurse of the young who after that day saw with their eyes the light of all-seeing Eos (Dawn). So from the beginning she is a nurse of the young (kourotrophos), and these are her honours." –
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==Identifications==
  
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'''Iphigeneia'''
  
=== Homeric Hymn===
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Some poets identified Hekate with the goddess worshipped by the tribes of the Tauric Chersonese (the Black Sea Crimea). Hesiod in his “Catalogue of Women” says that Agamemnon's daughter Iphigeneia was carried off to the region and transformed into this goddess by Artemis.
  
"Kourotrophe ''[nurse of the young]'' [Hekate], give your ear to my prayer, and grant that this woman may reject the love-embrace of youth and dote on grey-haired old men whose powers are dulled, but whose hearts still desire."
 
  
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'''Artemis'''
  
=== Orphic Hymn===
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Artemis was frequently identified with the goddess Hekate. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Artemis the playmate of Persephone perhaps becomes Hekate, the companion of Demeter in the search for her stolen daughter. Hekatos (the far-shooter) was also a common Homeric epithet applied to Artemis' brother Apollon. Depictions of the two goddesses were near identical. The attributes they had in common included a short-skirt and hunting boots, torches and a hunting dog.
  
"Hekate Einodia, Trioditis ''[Trivia]'', lovely dame, of earthly, watery, and celestial frame, sepulchral, in a saffron veil arrayed, pleased with dark ghosts that wander through the shade; Perseis, solitary goddess, hail! The world’s key-bearer, never doomed to fail; in stags rejoicing, huntress, nightly seen, and drawn by bulls, unconquerable queen; Leader, Nymphe, nurse, on mountains wandering, hear the suppliants who with holy rites thy power revere, and to the herdsman with a favouring mind draw near."
 
  
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'''Hecate-Artemis-Selene'''
  
===A Prayer to Hecate from a Greek Magical Handbook===
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In Roman-era’s poetry Hekate, Artemis and Selene are often presented to be invoked as a triad (see Seneca, Statius and Nonnus).
  
''[Christopher A. Faraone, “Hymn to Selene – Hecate – Artemis from a Greek magical handbook (PGM IV 2714-83)”, in Mark Kiley, ed., Prayer from Alexander to Constantine: A Critical Anthology (New York: Routledge, 1997), pp. 196-7]''
 
  
“Hither Hecate, giant who protects Dione, Persian Baubo, Phroune, goddess who pours forth arrows, anwedded Lydian, untamed, of noble father, torch-holder, leader who bends down the necks (of mortals), Kore, hear me, O Artemis, you who have completely closed the gates of unbreakable adamantine and who even before were the greatest overseer, Lady, earth-cleaver, leader of the hounds, subduer of all, worshipped in the streets, three-headed, light-hearing, august virgin, I call you, fawn –slayer, wily lady of the underworld, who appears in many forms.
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'''Bendis'''
  
Hither Hecate, goddess of the crossroads, with your fire-breathing ghosts, you (i.e. the ghosts) who have got as your allotment horrible ambushes and irksome haunts, I call you, Hecate, with those who have died before their time and with those of the heroes, who hissing wildly with anger in their hearts have died without wife or children. You stand above the head and take sweet sleep from her. May her eyelids never be closely joined with each other, but rather let her be worn out over her wakeful thoughts about me. And if she is lying down with another man in her embrace, let her push that man away, let her put me down into her heart and let her immediately forsake him and quickly come stand near my doors, subdued in her soul for my wedding bed.
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After the fall of Troy, Odysseus received Queen Hekabe was received from Odysseus as a captive. During the voyage back to Greece she murdered a Thracian king and was stoned by the locals. The gods then transformed her into a black dog, Hecate accepted her as an animal familiar. In this myth the queen was clearly identified with Bendis, the Thrakian Hekate, who was offered dogs in sacrifice.  
  
  
==References==
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'''Enodia'''
  
===Primary Sources===
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It was probably Hekate’s role as guardian of entrances that led to Hekate's identification by the mid fifth century with Enodia, a Thessalian goddess. Enodia's very name ("In-the-Road") suggests that she watched over entrances, for it expresses both the possibility that she stood on the main road into a city, keeping an eye on all who entered, and in the road in front of private houses, protecting their inhabitants.
  
*Homer's Epigrams- Greek Epic C9th-8th BC
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''(see:  [[#Hekate - Section C - Quotations IV]])''
*Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th BC
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*The Homeric Hymns - Greek Epic C7th-4th BC
 
  
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==Attributions==
  
===Secondary Sources===
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Hekate came to be associated with ghosts, infernal spirits, the dead and sorcery. Like the stone piles of Hermes—hermae placed at borders as a ward against danger—images of Hekate (who, like Artemis and Diana, is often referred to as a "liminal" goddess) were also placed at the gates of cities, and eventually domestic doorways. Over time, the association with keeping out evil spirits could have led to the belief that, if offended, Hekate could also allow the evil spirits in. Whatever the reasons, Hekate's power certainly came to be closely associated with sorcery.
  
*Aelian, On Animals - Greek Natural History C2nd - C3rd A.D.
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Variations in interpretations of Hecate's role or roles can be traced in fifth-century Athens. In two fragments of Aeschylus she appears as a great goddess. In Sophocles and Euripides she is characterized as the mistress of witchcraft and the Keres.  
*Aeschylus, Fragments - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
 
*Aeschylus, Suppliant Women - Greek Tragedy C5th BC
 
*Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
 
*Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
 
*Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica - Greek Epic C3rd B.C.
 
*Apuleius, The Golden Ass - Latin Epic C2nd AD
 
*Aristophanes, Frogs - Greek Comedy C5th-4th BC
 
*Aristophanes,Thesmophoriazusae - Greek Comedy C5th-4th BC
 
*Aristophanes,Wasps - Greek Comedy C5th-4th BC
 
*Athenaeus, “The Deipnosophists” – Greek author C2nd-3rd AD
 
*Callimachus, Hymns – Greek Poet C3rd-2nd BC
 
*Chaldean Oracles – Hellenistic Commentary on a poem C2nd AD
 
*Cicero, De Natura Deorum - Latin Philosophy C1st B.C.
 
*Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History - Greek History C1st BC
 
*Euripides, Hellen - Greek Tragedy C4th BC
 
*Euripides, Ion - Greek Tragedy C4th BC
 
*Euripides, Medea - Greek Tragedy C4th BC
 
*Greek Lyric I Sappho or Alcaeus, Fragments - Greek Lyric C6th BC
 
*Greek Lyric III Stesichorus, Fragment 215 - Greek Lyric C7th-6th BC
 
*Greek Lyric IV Bacchylides, Fragments - Greek Lyric C5th BC
 
*Hesiod, Catalogues of Women - Greek Epic C8th-7th BC
 
*Hyginus, Fabulae – Latin Author C1st AD
 
*Lycophron, Alexandra - Greek C3rd BC
 
*Michael Psellus – Greek Historian & Philosopher C10th AD
 
*Nonnos, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C5th AD
 
*Orphica Argonautica – Greek Epic C5th-6th AD
 
*Ovid, Fasti - Latin Epic C1st BC - C1st AD
 
*Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st BC - C1st AD
 
*Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Geography C2nd A.D.
 
*Philodemus, Piety – Greek Philosopher C1st BC
 
*Pindar, Fragments - Greek Lyric C5th BC
 
*Pindar, Paean 2 - Greek Lyric C5th BC
 
*Pistis-Sophia –C2nd AD
 
*Plutarch, Sayings of Kings and Commanders
 
*Proclus, Hymn to Athena or Minerva
 
*Proclus, on the book IV – Greek Philosopher C5th AD
 
*Propertius, Elegies - Latin Elegy C1st B.C.
 
*St. Quen of Rouen, Vita Eligii – Biography C7th AD
 
*Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy - Greek Epic C4th AD
 
*Saint Eligius, Sermo – French Bishop & writer C6th–7th AD
 
*Schol. On Apollonius Rhodius, Musaios
 
*Schol. On Theocritus
 
*Seneca, Medea - Latin Tragedy C1st AD
 
*Seneca, Oedipus - Latin Tragedy C1st AD
 
*Seneca, Phaedra - Latin Tragedy C1st AD
 
*Seneca, Troades - Latin Tragedy C1st AD
 
*Sophocles, Root-cutters – Greek Tragedy C4th BC
 
*Statius, Thebaid - Latin Epic C1st AD
 
*Strabo, Geography – Greek Geographer C1st BC
 
*Suidas - Byzantine Lexicographer C10th AD
 
*Theocritus, Idyll ii. – Greek Poet C3rd BC
 
*Plato, Timeo, - Greek Philosopher C4th-3rd BC
 
*Tzetzes on Lycophron – Commentary C12th AD
 
*Valerius Flaccus, The Argonautica - Latin Epic C1st AD
 
*Virgil, Aeneid – Latin Epic C1st BC
 
*Οrphic Hymns – Greek Poetry C3rd-2nd BC or C1st-2nd AD
 
  
 +
In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Hecate is called the "tender-hearted", a euphemism perhaps intended to emphasize her concern with the disappearance of [[Persephone]], when she addressed Demeter with sweet words at a time when the goddess was distressed. She later became Persephone's minister and close companion in the Underworld. But Hecate was never fully incorporated among the Olympian deities.
  
===Modern Sources===
+
The modern understanding of Hecate has been strongly influenced by syncretic Hellenistic interpretations. Many of the attributes she was assigned in this period appear to have an older basis. For example, in the magical papyri of Ptolemaic Egypt, she is called the 'she-dog' or 'bitch', and her presence is signified by the barking of dogs. In late imagery she also has two ghostly dogs as servants by her side. However, her association with dogs predates the conquests of Alexander the Great and the emergence of the Hellenistic world.
  
#"Pronunciation: \ˈhe-kə tē, ˈhe kət\"— "Hecate" in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2009. ^ Webster, Noah (1866). A Dictionary of the English Language (10th edition), "Rules for pronouncing the vowels of Greek and Latin proper names", p.9: "Hecate..., pronounced in three syllables when in Latin, and in the same number in the Greek word Ἑκάτη, in English is universally contracted into two, by sinking the final e. Shakespeare seems to have begun, as he has now confirmed, this pronunciation, by so adapting the word in Macbeth.... And the play-going world, who form no small portion of what is called the better sort of people, have followed the actors in this word; and the rest of the world have followed them."
+
When Philip II laid siege to Byzantium she had already been associated with dogs for some time; the light in the sky and the barking of dogs that warned the citizens of a night time attack, saving the city, were attributed to Hekate Lampadephoros. In gratitude the Byzantines erected a statue in her honor. Probably it was her epithet “φωσφόρος” -lightbearer- after which the straits of the Bosphorus were named, slightly corrupting her name. '' [11] ''
#Greek-English Lexicon, Henry George Liddell & Robert Scott.
+
 
#Jenny Strauss Clay, Hesiod's Cosmos, Cambridge University Press, 2003,  
+
As a virgin goddess, she remained unmarried and had no regular consort, though some traditions named her as the mother of Scylla or Kirke, Medea, and Aigialeus.  
#McKechnie, Paul, and Philippe Guillaume. Ptolemy II Philadelphus and His World. Leiden: Brill, 2008. page 133
+
 
#Lewis Richard Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States, Clarendon Press, 1907, p. 549. 
+
Hekate assisted Demeter in her search for Persephone, guiding her through the night with flaming torches. After the mother-daughter reunion she became Persephone's minister and companion in Hades.  
#Lewis Richard Farnell, (1896). "Hecate in Art", The Cults of the Greek States. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
+
Two metamorphosis myths describe the origins of her animal familiars: the black she-dog and the polecat (a mustelid house pet kept to hunt vermin). The bitch was originally the Trojan Queen Hekabe, who leapt into the sea after the fall of Troy and was transformed by the goddess into her familiar. The polecat was originally the witch Gale who was transformed into the beast to punish her for her incontinence. Other say it was Galinthias, the nurse of Alkmene, transformed by the angry Eileithyia, but received by Hekate as her animal.
#"One of the features of the Lupercalia which has aroused the greatest amount of scholarly speculation is the use of a dog as sacrificial victim. Such a sacrifice was very unusual, both in Italy and in Greece." Alberta Mildred Franklin, The Lupercalia, Columbia University, 1921, p. 67. Franklin goes on to discuss the likelihood that dog sacrifice was closely connected with Thrace.  
+
 
#William Berg, “Hecate: Greek or “Anatolian”?”, Numen, Vol. 21, Fasc. 2 (Aug., 1974);  
+
Hekate was usually depicted in Greek vase painting as a woman holding twin torches. Sometimes she was dressed in a knee-length maiden's skirt and hunting boots, much like Artemis. In statuary Hekate was often depicted in triple form as a goddess of crossroads.
##8a. Berg 1974, p. 128: Berg comments on Hecate's endorsement of Roman hegemony in her representation on the pediment at Lagina solemnising a pact between a warrior (Rome) and an amazon (Asia), 
+
 
##8b. Berg 1974, p. 129.
+
Hekate was identified with a number of other goddesses, including Artemis and Selene (Moon), the Arkadian Despoine, the sea-goddess Krataeis, the goddess of the Taurian Chersonese (of Skythia), the Kolkhian Perseis, and Argive Iphigenia, the Thracian goddesses Bendis and Kotys, Euboian Maira (the dog-star), Eleusinian Daeira and the Boiotian Nymphe Herkyna.
##8c. Berg 1974, p. 134. Berg's argument for a Greek origin rests on three main points: 1. Almost all archaeological and literary evidence for her cult comes from the Greek mainland, and especially from Attica—all of which dates earlier than the 2nd century BCE. 2. In Asia Minor only one monument can be associated with Hecate prior to the 2nd century BCE. 3. The supposed connection between Hecate and attested "Carian theophoric names" is not convincing, and instead suggests an aspect of the process of her Hellenization. He concludes, "Arguments for Hecate's "Anatolian" origin are not in accord with evidence." 
+
 
##8d. Berg 1974, p. 137.
+
 
#Robert Von Rudloff, “Hecate in Early Greek Religion”.
+
===Iynx===
#Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine”, Vol. I, p.386-403.
+
 
#Vasiliki Limberis, Divine Heiress: The Virgin Mary And The Creation of Christian Constantinople, Routledge, 1994, pp. 126-127. " If any goddess had a connection with the walls in Constantinople, it was Hecate. Hecate had a cult in Byzantium from the time of its founding. Like Byzas in one legend, she had her origins in Thrace. Since Hecate was the guardian of "liminal places", in Byzantium small temples in her honor were placed close to the gates of the city. Hecate's importance to Byzantium was above all as deity of protection. When Philip of Macedon was about to attack the city, according to he legend she alerted the townspeople with her ever-present torches, and with her pack of dogs, which served as her constant companions. Her mythic qualities thenceforth forever entered the fabric of Byzantine history. A statue known as the 'Lampadephoros' was erected on the hill above the Bosphorous to commemorate Hecate's defensive aid. Her epithet “φωσφόρος” -lightbearer- named the straits of the Bosphorus slightly corrupting her name. Hecate was also worshipped in a temple in the area that would become the Hippodrome. Instead of being destroyed, the temple was absorbed into the construction of the Hippodrome, so that the memory of the cult “was perpetuated"..
+
Goddess Hekate is associated with a device called “strophalos” or “Hekate’s wheel” about the actual shape of which there have been several speculations:
#William Geoffrey Arnott , “Birds in the ancient world from A to Z”, p. 118-119. 
+
 
#Yves Bonnefoy, Wendy Doniger, Roman and European Mythologies, University of Chicago Press, 1992, p. 195.  
+
a. Michael Psellus, a Byzantine Neoplatonist speaks of a golden sphere, decorated throughout with symbols and whirled on an oxhide thong. He adds that such an instrument is called an iynx (hence "jinx"), but as for the significance says only that it is ineffable and that the ritual is sacred to Hekate.
#Buffie Johnson, “Lady of the Beasts – The Goddess and her sacred animals”, p.160
+
 
#Sarah Iles Johnston, Hekate Soteira, Scholars Press, 1990.  
+
b. Hekate is one of the most important figures in the so-called Chaldaean Oracles; in fragment 194 is mentioned: "Labour thou around the Strophalos of Hecate. This appears to refer to a variant of the device mentioned by Psellus.
#a. Sarah Iles Johnston, Restless Dead: Encounters Between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece‎, University of California Press, 1999, p. 207.  17.b. Sarah Iles Johnston, Restless Dead: Encounters Between the Living and the Dead in Ancient Greece‎, University of California Press, 1999, pp. 208-209.    17c. Sarah Iles Johnston, Restless Dead, University of California Press, 1999, pp. 211-212.  
+
 
#Amanda Porterfield, Healing in the history of Christianity, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 72.
+
c. According to W. G. Arnott , most of the ancient literature deals with the Wrineck’s use in a piece of erotic magic in which a man or woman spread-eagled a (presumably dead) Wryneck and fastened it to a small four-spoked wheel which could then be whirled rapidly in alternate directions by attached strings while she or he chanted incantations designed to attract or bring back a loved one; the wheel itself came to be termed an Iynx, and was often used on its own with either no bird attached or an imitation substituted and indeed the wheel concept came to be used as a metaphor for sexual magnetism or desire.
#Hornblower, Spawforth (Eds.), The Oxford Classical Dictionary, Third Edition, Oxford University Press, 1996, p. 671.
+
 
#Charles Duke Yonge, tr.), The Learned Banqueters, H.G. Bohn, 1854.  
+
Greek writers provided various mythical explanations of the Wryneck’s connection with erotic magic. Pindar claims that the Wryneck wheel was invented by Aphrodite to help Jason win Medea. Callimachus says that Iynx was originally a nymph, a daughter of Echo, who Bewitched Zeus and as punishment was transformed by Hera into a Wryneck. Other writers made Iynx the daughter of Peitho, her crime that of luring Zeus into an affair with Io. Nicander has one of Pierus’ nine daughters punished for trying to rival the Muses by metamorphosis into an Iynx.
#William Martin Leake, The Topography of Athens, London, 1841, p. 492.
+
The bird is at times figured on Greek vases and in Roman wall-paintings, always probably with its erotic connotations in mind. ''[12] ''
#Yves Bonnefoy, Wendy Doniger, Roman and European Mythologies, University of Chicago Press, 1992, p. 195; "Hecate" article, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1823.  
+
 
#R. L. Hunter, The Argonautica of Apollonius, Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 142, citing Apollonius of Rhodes.
+
The word "jinx" might have originated in this cult object associated with Hekate.
#Daniel Ogden, Magic, Witchcraft, and Ghosts in the Greek and Roman Worlds, Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 82-83.  
+
 
#Matthew Suffness (Ed.), Taxol: Science and Applications, CRC Press, 1995, p. 28.
+
''(see:  [[#Hekate - Section C - Quotations V])''
#a. Frederick J. Simoons, Plants of Life, Plants of Death, University of Wisconsin Press, 1998, p. 143;
+
 
26b. Frederick J. Simoons, Plants of Life, Plants of Death, University of Wisconsin Press, 1998, pp. 121-124.
+
 
#Freize, Henry; Dennison, Walter (1902). Virgil's Aeneid. New York: American Book Company. pp. N111.
+
==Representations==
#Margaret F. Roberts, Michael Wink, Alkaloids: Biochemistry, Ecology, and Medicinal Applications, Springer, 1998, p. 16. "Hecate had a "botanical garden" on the island of Colchis where the following alkaloid plants were kept: Akoniton (Aconitum napellus), Diktamnon (Dictamnus albus), Mandragores (Mandragora officinarum), Mekon (Papaver somniferum), Melaina (Claviceps pupurea), Thryon (Atropa belladona), and Cochicum [...]"
+
 
#Bonnie MacLachlan, Judith Fletcher, Virginity Revisited: Configurations of The Unpossessed Body, University of Toronto Press, 2007, p. 14.  
+
In older times Hekate is represented as single-formed, clad in a long robe, holding burning torches; later she becomes triformis, " triple-formed," with three bodies standing back to back - corresponding, according to those who regard her as a moongoddess, to the new, the full and the waning moon. In her six hands are torches, sometimes a snake, a key (as wardress of the lower world), a whip or a dagger.
#Richard Cavendish, The Powers of Evil in Western Religion, Magic and Folk Belief, Routledge, 1975, p. 62.
+
 
#Walter Burkert, (1987) Greek Religion: Archaic and Classical, p. 171. Oxford, Blackwell.  
+
In classical sculpture Hekate was depicted in one of two ways: either as a woman holding twin torches; or as three women standing back to back and facing in three directions. She also appears in a number of ancient vase paintings battling a giant with her twin torches.
#Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, Penguin Books, 1977, p. 154.  
+
 
#e.g. Donna Wilshire, Virgin mother crone: myths and mysteries of the triple goddess, Inner Traditions International, 1994, p213
+
The earliest Greek depictions of Hekate are single faced, not triplicate. Lewis Richard Farnell '' [5][6]'' states:
#"In theurgy the queen of rites is Hecate, virgin goddess of the underworld..." Mark Edwards, Neoplatonic Saints: The lives of Plotinus and Proclus by Their Students, Liverpool University Press, 2000 ,liii; From a prayer addressed to Hecate: "[...]Lady, earth-cleaver, leader of the hounds, subduer of all, worshipped in the streets, three-headed, light-bearing, august virgin [...]" Michael Maas, Readings in Late Antiquity: A Sourcebook, Routledge, 2000 p167
+
 
#Leo Ruickbie, “Witchcraft Our of the Shandows”
+
“The evidence of the monuments as to the character and significance of Hecate is almost as full as that of the literature. But it is only in the later period that they come to express her manifold and mystic nature. Before the fifth century there is little doubt that she was usually represented as of single form like any other divinity, and it was thus that Hesiod imagined her, as nothing in his verses contains any allusion to a triple formed goddess.
#Michael Strmiska, Modern paganism in world cultures, ABC-CLIO, 2005, p. 68.
+
 
#Francis Douce, Illustrations of Shakspeare, and of Ancient Manners, 1807, p. 235-243.  
+
The earliest known monument is a small terracotta found in Athens, with a dedication to Hecate, in writing of the style of the sixth century. The goddess is seated on a throne with a chaplet bound round her head; she is altogether without attributes and character, and the only value of this work, which is evidently of quite a general type and gets a special reference and name merely from the inscription, is that it proves the single shape to be her earlier form, and her recognition at Athens to be earlier than the Persian invasion.''[6]''
#John Minsheu and William Somner (17th century), Edward Lye of Oxford (1694-1767), Johann Georg Wachter, Glossarium Germanicum (1737), Walter Whiter, Etymologicon Universale (1822)
+
 
#e.g. Gerald Milnes, Signs, Cures, & Witchery, Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2007, p. 116; Samuel X. Radbill, "The Role of Animals in Infant Feeding", in American Folk Medicine: A Symposium Ed. Wayland D. Hand. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976.
+
However, Greek anthropomorphic conventions of art resisted representing her with three faces: a votive sculpture from Attica of the third century BCE, shows three single images against a column; round the column of Hekate dance the [[Charites]]. Some classical portrayals show her as a triplicate goddess holding a torch, a key, and a serpent. Others continue to depict her in singular form. ''[5]''
#"Many have been caught by the obvious resemblance of the Gr. Hecate, but the letters agree to closely, contrary to the laws of change, and the Mid. Ages would surely have had an unaspirated Ecate handed down to them; no Ecate or Hecate appears in the M. Lat. or Romance writings in the sense of witch, and how should the word have spread through all German lands?" Jacob Grimm, Teutonic Mythlogy, 1835, (English translation 1900)
+
 
#Hans Dieter Betz, "Fragments from a Catabasis Ritual in a Greek Magical Papyrus", History of Religions 19,4 (May 1980):287-295). The goddess appears as Hecate Ereschigal only in the heading: in the spell itself only Erschigal is called upon with protective magical words and gestures.  
+
The second-century traveller Pausanias stated that Hekate was first depicted in this so-called Triformis style by the sculptor Alkamenes in the Greek Classical period of the late fifth century. There is a good example of an Hekate Trimorphis in the Vatican Museum and also one in Antiquities Museum of Leiden.  
#William Gordon Holmes, The Age of Justinian and Theodora, 2003, pp. 5-6; "In 340 BC, however, the Byzantines, with the aid of the Athenians, withstood a siege successfully, an occurrence the more remarkable as they were attacked by the greatest general of the age, Philip of Macedon. In the course of this beleaguerment, it is related, on a certain wet and moonless night the enemy attempted a surprise, but were foiled by reason of a bright light which, appearing suddenly in the heavens, startled all the dogs in the town and thus roused the garrison to a sense of their danger. To commemorate this timely phenomenon, which was attributed to Hecate, they erected a public statue to that goddess and, as it is supposed, assumed the crescent for their chief national device.
+
 
#Christopher A. Faraone, “Hymn to Selene – Hecate – Artemis from a Greek magical handbook (PGM IV 2714-83)”, in Mark Kiley, ed., Prayer from Alexander to Constantine: A Critical Anthology (New York: Routledge, 1997), pp. 196-7
+
In Egyptian-inspired Greek esoteric writings connected with Hermes Trismegistus, and in magical papyri of Late Antiquity she is described as having three heads: one dog, one serpent, and one horse. In other representations her animal heads include those of a cow and a boar. ''[6]''
 +
 
 +
Hekate's triplicity is elsewhere expressed in a more Hellenic fashion in the vast frieze of the great Pergamon Altar, now in Berlin, wherein she is shown with three bodies, taking part in the battle with the Titans. In the Argolid, near the shrine of the Dioscuri, Pausanias saw the temple of Hekate opposite the sanctuary of Eileithyia; He reported the image to be the work of Scopas, stating further, "This one is of stone, while the bronze images opposite, also of Hekate, were made respectively by Polycleitus and his brother Naucydes, son of Mothon."
 +
 
 +
A fourth century BCE marble relief from Crannon in Thessaly was dedicated by a race-horse owner. (This statue is in the British Museum, inventory number 816.) It shows Hekate, with a hound beside her, placing a wreath on the head of a mare. She is commonly attended by a dog or dogs, and the most common form of offering was to leave meat at a crossroads. Sometimes dogs themselves were sacrificed to her. This is sometimes offered as an indication of her non-Hellenic origin, as dogs very rarely played this role in genuine Greek ritual. ''[7]''
 +
 
 +
 
 +
==Attributions==
 +
 
 +
===Goddess of the crossroads===
 +
Hekate's role as a goddess of crossroads actually is a single aspect of the broader role that she played from early times—that of guiding individuals through liminal points and during transitions of many types. Evidence for this larger role includes epithets such as “Enodia”, “Propylaia”, “limenoskopos”, “Prodomos” and “Prothyraea” which describe Hekate's presence at liminal points. ''[14]''
 +
 
 +
Pillars like the Hermae, called Hecataea, stood, especially in Athens, at cross-roads and doorways, and in front of city gates, perhaps to keep away the spirits of evil.  
 +
 
 +
Cult images and altars of Hekate in her triplicate or trimorphic form were placed at crossroads (though they also appeared before private homes). ''[15]'' In this form she came to be known as the goddess Trivia "the three ways" in Roman mythology.
 +
 
 +
In what appears to be a 7th Century indication of the survival of cult practices of this general sort, Saint Eligius, in his Sermo warns the sick among his recently converted flock in Flanders against putting "devilish charms at springs or trees or crossroads", ''[17]'' and, according to Saint Ouen would urge them "No Christian should make or render any devotion to the deities of the trivium, where three roads meet..."
 +
 
 +
 
 +
===Animals===
 +
 
 +
'''Dog'''
 +
 
 +
Dogs were closely associated with Hekate in the Classical world. "In art and in literature Hekate is constantly represented as dog-shaped or as accompanied by a dog. Her approach was heralded by the howling of a dog. The dog was Hekate's regular sacrificial animal, and was often eaten in solemn sacrament." ''[7]'' The sacrifice of dogs to Hekate is attested for Thrace, Samothrace, Colophon, and Athens. ''[19a]''
 +
 
 +
It has been claimed that her association with dogs is "suggestive of her connection with birth, for the dog was sacred to Eileithyia, Genetyllis, and other birth goddesses. Although in later times Hekate's dog came to be thought of as a manifestation of restless souls or demons who accompanied her, its docile appearance and its accompaniment of a Hekate who looks completely friendly in many pieces of ancient art suggests that its original signification was positive and thus likelier to have arisen from the dog's connection with birth than the dog's demonic associations." ''[16g]''
 +
 
 +
 
 +
'''Snake'''
 +
 
 +
Sophocles presents Hecate crowning herself with oak leaves and twisting coils of wild serpents. She is also often depicted holding a snake.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
'''Horse'''
 +
 
 +
In Egyptian-inspired Greek esoteric writings connected with Hermes Trismegistus, and in magical papyri of Late Antiquity she is described as having three heads: one dog, one serpent, and one horse. In other representations her animal heads include those of a cow and a boar. Hecate's triplicity is elsewhere expressed in a more Hellenic fashion in the vast frieze of the great Pergamon Altar, now in Berlin, wherein she is shown with three bodies, taking part in the battle with the Titans.  
 +
 
 +
In her three-headed representations, discussed above, Hekate often has one or more animal heads, including cow, dog, boar, serpent and horse. ''[21]''
 +
 
 +
 
 +
'''Fish: Red Mullet and Sprats'''
 +
 
 +
Athenaeus [1st or 2nd century BCE], notes that the red mullet is sacred to Hekate, because of the resemblance of their names since the goddess is “trimorphos”, of a triple form. The Greek word for mullet was trigle and later trigla.[19] In relation to Greek concepts of pollution, Parker observes, "The fish that was most commonly banned was the red mullet (trigle), which fits neatly into the pattern. It 'delighted in polluted things,' and 'would eat the corpse of a fish or a man'. Blood-coloured itself, it was sacred to the blood-eating goddess Hekate. It seems a symbolic summation of all the negative characteristics of the creatures of the deep At Athens, it is said there stood a statue of Hekate Triglathena, to whom the '''red mullet''' was offered in sacrifice. ''[20]'' 
 +
Another fish mentioned by Athenaeus as sacred for Hecate was the Sprat.
 +
 
 +
 
 +
===Plants===
 +
 
 +
Hekate was closely associated with plant lore and the concoction of '''medicines''' and '''poisons'''. In particular she was thought to give instruction in these closely related arts. Apollonius of Rhodes, in the Argonautica mentions that Medea was taught by Hekate, "I have mentioned to you before a certain young girl whom Hecate, daughter of Perses, has taught to work in drugs." ''[22]''
 +
 
 +
The goddess is described as wearing oak in fragments of Sophocles' lost play The Root Diggers (or The Root Cutters), and an ancient commentary on Apollonius of Rhodes' Argonautica describes her as having a head surrounded by serpents, twining through branches of oak. ''[23]''
 +
 
 +
The yew in particular was sacred to Hekate. Greeks held the yew to be sacred to Hecate, queen of the underworld, crone aspect of the Triple Goddess. Her attendants draped wreathes of yew around the necks of black bulls, which they slaughtered in her honor and yew boughs were burned on funeral pyres. The yew was associated with the alphabet and the scientific name for yew today, '''taxus''', was probably derived from the Greek word for yew, toxos, which is hauntingly similar to toxon, their word for bow and toxicon, their word for poison. It is presumed that the latter were named after the tree because of its superiority for both bows and poison."''[24]''
 +
 
 +
Hekate was said to favor offerings of garlic, which was closely associated with her cult. ''[25]'' She is also sometimes associated with cypress, a tree symbolic of death and the underworld, and hence sacred to a number of chthonic deities.''[26]'' Suidas mentions the Rhodians used to wreath Hecate with Asphodel.
 +
 
 +
A number of other plants (often poisonous, medicinal and/or psychoactive) are associated with Hekate. ''[27]'' These include aconite (also called hecateis),''[31] belladonna, dittany, and mandrake. It has been suggested that the use of dogs for digging up mandrake is further corroboration of the association of this plant with Hekate; indeed, since at least as early as the first century CE, there are a number of attestations to the apparently widespread practice of using dogs to dig up plants associated with magic. ''[25]''
 +
 
 +
 
 +
===Places===
 +
 
 +
Hekate was associated with borders, city walls, doorways, crossroads, and, by extension, with realms outside or beyond the world of the living. She appears to have been particularly associated with being 'between' and hence is frequently characterized as a '''"liminal"''' goddess. "Hecate mediated between regimes – Olympian and Titan - but also between mortal and divine spheres." ''[28]'' This liminal role is reflected in a number of her cult titles: Apotropaia (that turns away/protects); Enodia (on the way); Propulaia/Propylaia (before the gate); Triodia/Trioditis who frequents crossroads); Klêidouchos (holding the keys), etc.
 +
 
 +
As a goddess expected to avert demons from the house or city over which she stood guard and to protect the individual as she or he passed through dangerous liminal places, Hekate would naturally become known as a goddess who could also refuse to avert the demons, or even drive them on against unfortunate individuals.
 +
 
 +
This function would appear to have some relationship with the iconographic association of Hekate with keys, and might also relate to her appearance with two torches, which when positioned on either side of a gate or door illuminated the immediate area and allowed visitors to be identified. "In Byzantium small temples in her honor were placed close to the gates of the city. Hekate's importance to Byzantium was above all as a deity of protection. When Philip of Macedon was about to attack the city, according to the legend she alerted the townspeople with her ever present torches, and with her pack of dogs, which served as her constant companions. Hekate was also worshipped in a temple in the area that would become the Hippodrome. Instead of being destroyed, the temple was absorbed into the construction of the Hippodrome, so that the memory of the cult “was perpetuated".''[11]'' This suggests that Hekate's close association with dogs derived in part from the use of watchdogs, who, particularly at night, raised an alarm when intruders approached. Watchdogs were used extensively by Greeks and Romans.
 +
 
 +
Like Hekate, the dog is a creature of the threshold, the guardian of doors and portals, and so it is appropriately associated with the frontier between life and death, and with demons and ghosts which move across the frontier. The yawning gates of Hades were guarded by the monstrous watchdog Cerberus, whose function was to prevent the living from entering the underworld, and the dead from leaving it." ''[29]''
 +
 
 +
''(See [[#Hekate - Section C - Quotations]])''
 +
 
 +
 
 +
==Other Sections==
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'''This entry continues to:  [[#Hekate - Section B]]'''
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''[[#Hekate - Section C - Quotations]]''
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''[[#Hekate - Section D - Quotations]]''

Revision as of 21:45, 10 May 2010

Hekate - Section A

Hekate or Hecate (ancient Greek Ἑκάτη, Hekátē, pronounced /ˈhɛkətiː/ [1][2] is a pre-Olympian chthonic goddess associated with childhood, magic, witches, ghosts, and crossroads as well as wealth and prosperity.

Hecate

Name, etymology, spelling, and pronunciation

Notable proposed etymologies for the name Hekate are:

  • From the Greek word for 'will'. [2] [3]
  • A native name meaning “the one who works from afar (Εκάς 'far'): far-shooting, far-darter. [2]
  • From the Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility, Heqet. [4]

Εκάτη appears to be the feminine equivalent of Εκατός (Hekatos), obscure epithet of Apollo. [2]


Parentage of Hekate

  • Hesiod emphasizes that Hekate was an only child, the daughter of Perses and Asteria, a star-goddess who was the sister of Leto (the mother of Artemis and Apollo). Grandmother of the three cousins was Phoebe the ancient Titaness who personified the moon.


Other References about her parents

  • Perses
  • Zeus & Asteria
  • Zeus & Demeter
  • Zeus & Hera
  • Nyx (Night), as the mother of Hekate was probably identified with Asteria ("the Starry One").

(see: #Hekate - Section C - Quotations I)


Offspring

  • None (she was a virgin goddess)
  • Skylla (by Phorkys)
  • Kirke, Medea, Aigialeus (by Aeetes)

(see: #Hekate - Section C - Quotations II)


Overview

Hekate is not mentioned in Homer’s work, but she appears in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and in Hesiod's Theogony, where she is promoted strongly as a great goddess.

According to the most genuine traditions, she appears to have been an ancient Thracian divinity, and a Titan, who, from the time of the Titans, ruled in heaven, on the earth, and in the sea, who bestowed on mortals wealth, victory, wisdom, good luck to sailors and hunters, and prosperity to youth and to the flocks of cattle; but all these blessings might at the same time be withheld by her, if mortals did not deserve them, and was the only one among the Titans who retained her power under the rule of Zeus, and was honoured by all the immortal gods. Hekate assisted the gods in their war with the Gigantes and slew Clytius.

Like Artemis, Hekate is also a goddess of fertility, presiding especially over the birth and the youth of wild animals, and over human birth and marriage. She also attends when the soul leaves the body at death, and is found near graves, and on the hearth, where the master of the house was formerly buried. She was a torch-bearing goddess of the night, the leader of haunting ghosts and inspirer of the night-time baying of hounds. She may have been a goddess of the moon or rather of moonless starlit nights.

Hekate was considered as the consort of KhthonianHermes. In Thrace she played a role similar to that of lesser-Hermes, namely a governess of liminal regions (particularly gates) and the wilderness, bearing little resemblance to the night-walking crone she became.

Alone of the gods besides Helios, she witnessed the abduction of Persephone, and, torch in hand (a natural symbol for the moon's, light) [5][6], assisted Demeter in her search for her daughter.

On moonlight nights she is seen at the cross-roads (hence her name “trioditis”, Lat. Trivia) accompanied by the dogs of the Styx and crowds of the dead. Here, on the last day of the month, eggs and fish were offered to her. Black puppies and she-lambs (black victims being offered to chthonian deities) were also sacrificed.

(see: #Hekate - Section C - Quotations III)


Theories about Hekate’s origins

As for the homeland of Hekate's worship, the early archaeological evidence is concentrated about the Aegean Sea and in western Asia Minor, although it is also possible to origin in Egypt:

Caria, Anatolia

Hekate could have been originated among the Carians of Anatolia, [7] the region where most theophoric names invoking Hekate are attested (such as Hecataeus or Hecatomnus, the father of Mausolus), and where Hekate remained a Great Goddess into historical times, worshiped at her famous temple in Lagina.

If Hekate's cult spread from Anatolia into Greece, it is possible it created a conflict, as her role was already filled by other more prominent deities in the Greek pantheon, especially by Artemis and Selene. This reasoning lies behind the widely accepted hypothesis that she was a foreign deity, who was incorporated into the Greek pantheon. Nevertheless, it has been argued that "Hecate must have been a Greek goddess”, [8] since the monuments to Hekate in Phrygia and Caria are numerous but of late date.

William Berg also observes, "Since children are not called after spooks, it is safe to assume that Carian theophoric names involving hekat- refer to a major deity free from the dark and unsavoury ties to the underworld and to witchcraft associated with the Hecate of classical Athens." But, he cautions, the Laginetan goddess may have had a more infernal character than scholars have been willing to assume."

On the other hand, Robert Von Rudloff states in “Hekate in Early Greek Religion”: “As it is common for Greek deities to serve beneficial and destructive functions that are paired opposites (for example, Apollo as healer and sender of plagues and Artemis as bringer of comfort or death to women in childbirth), Hekate's reputation for governing fearful ghosts might be the "flip side" of Her ability to offer protection against them.” [9]

Thrace

Farnell regards Hekate as a foreign importation from Thrace, the home of Bendis with whom Hekate has many points in common. Hekate is not mentioned in Homer’s works, but in Hesiod [1] she is the daughter of the Titan Perses and Asterie, in a passage which may be a later interpolation by the Orphists. She is there represented as a mighty goddess, having power over heaven, earth and sea; hence she is the bestower of wealth and all the blessings of daily life. The range of her influence is most varied, extending to war, athletic games, the tending of cattle, hunting, the assembly of the people and the law-courts. Hekate is frequently identified with Artemis, an identification usually justified by the assumption that both were moon-goddesses. Farnell, [5][6] who regards Artemis as originally an earth-goddess, while recognizing a "genuine lunar element" in Hekate from the 5th century, considers her a chthonian rather than a lunar divinity. He is of opinion that neither borrowed much from, nor exercised much influence on, the cult and character of the other.

One surviving group of stories suggests how Hekate might have come to be incorporated into the Greek pantheon without affecting the privileged position of Artemis. Here, Hekate is a mortal priestess often associated with Iphigeneia. She scorns and insults Artemis, who in retribution eventually brings about the mortal's suicide. Artemis then adorns the dead body with jewelry and commands the spirit to rise and become her Hekate, who subsequently performs a role similar to Nemesis as an avenging spirit, but solely for injured women. Such myths in which a native deity 'sponsors' or ‘creates’ a foreign one were widespread in ancient cultures as a way of integrating foreign cults. If this interpretation is correct, as Hekate's cult grew, she was inserted into the later myth of the birth of Zeus as one of the midwives that hid the child, while Cronus consumed the deceiving rock handed to him by Gaia. There was a fane sacred to Hekate as well in the precincts of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, where the eunuch priests, megabyzi, officiated.

Egypt

A. It is possible that Hekate’s cult was imported from Egypt, where Heqet (also Heqat, Hekit, Heket etc, more rarely Hegit, Heget etc., written with the determinative frog- Her name was probably pronounced more like *Haqā́tat in Middle Egyptian, hence her later Greek counterpart Ἑκάτη / Hecate), the Egyptian goddess of fertility and childbirth was worshiped. [4]

B. H.P.Blavatsky relates Hekate to Hathor, as the latest represents the lower infernal aspect of Isis. [10]


Identifications

Iphigeneia

Some poets identified Hekate with the goddess worshipped by the tribes of the Tauric Chersonese (the Black Sea Crimea). Hesiod in his “Catalogue of Women” says that Agamemnon's daughter Iphigeneia was carried off to the region and transformed into this goddess by Artemis.


Artemis

Artemis was frequently identified with the goddess Hekate. In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Artemis the playmate of Persephone perhaps becomes Hekate, the companion of Demeter in the search for her stolen daughter. Hekatos (the far-shooter) was also a common Homeric epithet applied to Artemis' brother Apollon. Depictions of the two goddesses were near identical. The attributes they had in common included a short-skirt and hunting boots, torches and a hunting dog.


Hecate-Artemis-Selene

In Roman-era’s poetry Hekate, Artemis and Selene are often presented to be invoked as a triad (see Seneca, Statius and Nonnus).


Bendis

After the fall of Troy, Odysseus received Queen Hekabe was received from Odysseus as a captive. During the voyage back to Greece she murdered a Thracian king and was stoned by the locals. The gods then transformed her into a black dog, Hecate accepted her as an animal familiar. In this myth the queen was clearly identified with Bendis, the Thrakian Hekate, who was offered dogs in sacrifice.


Enodia

It was probably Hekate’s role as guardian of entrances that led to Hekate's identification by the mid fifth century with Enodia, a Thessalian goddess. Enodia's very name ("In-the-Road") suggests that she watched over entrances, for it expresses both the possibility that she stood on the main road into a city, keeping an eye on all who entered, and in the road in front of private houses, protecting their inhabitants.

(see: #Hekate - Section C - Quotations IV)


Attributions

Hekate came to be associated with ghosts, infernal spirits, the dead and sorcery. Like the stone piles of Hermes—hermae placed at borders as a ward against danger—images of Hekate (who, like Artemis and Diana, is often referred to as a "liminal" goddess) were also placed at the gates of cities, and eventually domestic doorways. Over time, the association with keeping out evil spirits could have led to the belief that, if offended, Hekate could also allow the evil spirits in. Whatever the reasons, Hekate's power certainly came to be closely associated with sorcery.

Variations in interpretations of Hecate's role or roles can be traced in fifth-century Athens. In two fragments of Aeschylus she appears as a great goddess. In Sophocles and Euripides she is characterized as the mistress of witchcraft and the Keres.

In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Hecate is called the "tender-hearted", a euphemism perhaps intended to emphasize her concern with the disappearance of Persephone, when she addressed Demeter with sweet words at a time when the goddess was distressed. She later became Persephone's minister and close companion in the Underworld. But Hecate was never fully incorporated among the Olympian deities.

The modern understanding of Hecate has been strongly influenced by syncretic Hellenistic interpretations. Many of the attributes she was assigned in this period appear to have an older basis. For example, in the magical papyri of Ptolemaic Egypt, she is called the 'she-dog' or 'bitch', and her presence is signified by the barking of dogs. In late imagery she also has two ghostly dogs as servants by her side. However, her association with dogs predates the conquests of Alexander the Great and the emergence of the Hellenistic world.

When Philip II laid siege to Byzantium she had already been associated with dogs for some time; the light in the sky and the barking of dogs that warned the citizens of a night time attack, saving the city, were attributed to Hekate Lampadephoros. In gratitude the Byzantines erected a statue in her honor. Probably it was her epithet “φωσφόρος” -lightbearer- after which the straits of the Bosphorus were named, slightly corrupting her name. [11]

As a virgin goddess, she remained unmarried and had no regular consort, though some traditions named her as the mother of Scylla or Kirke, Medea, and Aigialeus.

Hekate assisted Demeter in her search for Persephone, guiding her through the night with flaming torches. After the mother-daughter reunion she became Persephone's minister and companion in Hades. Two metamorphosis myths describe the origins of her animal familiars: the black she-dog and the polecat (a mustelid house pet kept to hunt vermin). The bitch was originally the Trojan Queen Hekabe, who leapt into the sea after the fall of Troy and was transformed by the goddess into her familiar. The polecat was originally the witch Gale who was transformed into the beast to punish her for her incontinence. Other say it was Galinthias, the nurse of Alkmene, transformed by the angry Eileithyia, but received by Hekate as her animal.

Hekate was usually depicted in Greek vase painting as a woman holding twin torches. Sometimes she was dressed in a knee-length maiden's skirt and hunting boots, much like Artemis. In statuary Hekate was often depicted in triple form as a goddess of crossroads.

Hekate was identified with a number of other goddesses, including Artemis and Selene (Moon), the Arkadian Despoine, the sea-goddess Krataeis, the goddess of the Taurian Chersonese (of Skythia), the Kolkhian Perseis, and Argive Iphigenia, the Thracian goddesses Bendis and Kotys, Euboian Maira (the dog-star), Eleusinian Daeira and the Boiotian Nymphe Herkyna.


Iynx

Goddess Hekate is associated with a device called “strophalos” or “Hekate’s wheel” about the actual shape of which there have been several speculations:

a. Michael Psellus, a Byzantine Neoplatonist speaks of a golden sphere, decorated throughout with symbols and whirled on an oxhide thong. He adds that such an instrument is called an iynx (hence "jinx"), but as for the significance says only that it is ineffable and that the ritual is sacred to Hekate.

b. Hekate is one of the most important figures in the so-called Chaldaean Oracles; in fragment 194 is mentioned: "Labour thou around the Strophalos of Hecate. This appears to refer to a variant of the device mentioned by Psellus.

c. According to W. G. Arnott , most of the ancient literature deals with the Wrineck’s use in a piece of erotic magic in which a man or woman spread-eagled a (presumably dead) Wryneck and fastened it to a small four-spoked wheel which could then be whirled rapidly in alternate directions by attached strings while she or he chanted incantations designed to attract or bring back a loved one; the wheel itself came to be termed an Iynx, and was often used on its own with either no bird attached or an imitation substituted and indeed the wheel concept came to be used as a metaphor for sexual magnetism or desire.

Greek writers provided various mythical explanations of the Wryneck’s connection with erotic magic. Pindar claims that the Wryneck wheel was invented by Aphrodite to help Jason win Medea. Callimachus says that Iynx was originally a nymph, a daughter of Echo, who Bewitched Zeus and as punishment was transformed by Hera into a Wryneck. Other writers made Iynx the daughter of Peitho, her crime that of luring Zeus into an affair with Io. Nicander has one of Pierus’ nine daughters punished for trying to rival the Muses by metamorphosis into an Iynx. The bird is at times figured on Greek vases and in Roman wall-paintings, always probably with its erotic connotations in mind. [12]

The word "jinx" might have originated in this cult object associated with Hekate.

(see: [[#Hekate - Section C - Quotations V])


Representations

In older times Hekate is represented as single-formed, clad in a long robe, holding burning torches; later she becomes triformis, " triple-formed," with three bodies standing back to back - corresponding, according to those who regard her as a moongoddess, to the new, the full and the waning moon. In her six hands are torches, sometimes a snake, a key (as wardress of the lower world), a whip or a dagger.

In classical sculpture Hekate was depicted in one of two ways: either as a woman holding twin torches; or as three women standing back to back and facing in three directions. She also appears in a number of ancient vase paintings battling a giant with her twin torches.

The earliest Greek depictions of Hekate are single faced, not triplicate. Lewis Richard Farnell [5][6] states:

“The evidence of the monuments as to the character and significance of Hecate is almost as full as that of the literature. But it is only in the later period that they come to express her manifold and mystic nature. Before the fifth century there is little doubt that she was usually represented as of single form like any other divinity, and it was thus that Hesiod imagined her, as nothing in his verses contains any allusion to a triple formed goddess.

The earliest known monument is a small terracotta found in Athens, with a dedication to Hecate, in writing of the style of the sixth century. The goddess is seated on a throne with a chaplet bound round her head; she is altogether without attributes and character, and the only value of this work, which is evidently of quite a general type and gets a special reference and name merely from the inscription, is that it proves the single shape to be her earlier form, and her recognition at Athens to be earlier than the Persian invasion.” [6]

However, Greek anthropomorphic conventions of art resisted representing her with three faces: a votive sculpture from Attica of the third century BCE, shows three single images against a column; round the column of Hekate dance the Charites. Some classical portrayals show her as a triplicate goddess holding a torch, a key, and a serpent. Others continue to depict her in singular form. [5]

The second-century traveller Pausanias stated that Hekate was first depicted in this so-called Triformis style by the sculptor Alkamenes in the Greek Classical period of the late fifth century. There is a good example of an Hekate Trimorphis in the Vatican Museum and also one in Antiquities Museum of Leiden.

In Egyptian-inspired Greek esoteric writings connected with Hermes Trismegistus, and in magical papyri of Late Antiquity she is described as having three heads: one dog, one serpent, and one horse. In other representations her animal heads include those of a cow and a boar. [6]

Hekate's triplicity is elsewhere expressed in a more Hellenic fashion in the vast frieze of the great Pergamon Altar, now in Berlin, wherein she is shown with three bodies, taking part in the battle with the Titans. In the Argolid, near the shrine of the Dioscuri, Pausanias saw the temple of Hekate opposite the sanctuary of Eileithyia; He reported the image to be the work of Scopas, stating further, "This one is of stone, while the bronze images opposite, also of Hekate, were made respectively by Polycleitus and his brother Naucydes, son of Mothon."

A fourth century BCE marble relief from Crannon in Thessaly was dedicated by a race-horse owner. (This statue is in the British Museum, inventory number 816.) It shows Hekate, with a hound beside her, placing a wreath on the head of a mare. She is commonly attended by a dog or dogs, and the most common form of offering was to leave meat at a crossroads. Sometimes dogs themselves were sacrificed to her. This is sometimes offered as an indication of her non-Hellenic origin, as dogs very rarely played this role in genuine Greek ritual. [7]


Attributions

Goddess of the crossroads

Hekate's role as a goddess of crossroads actually is a single aspect of the broader role that she played from early times—that of guiding individuals through liminal points and during transitions of many types. Evidence for this larger role includes epithets such as “Enodia”, “Propylaia”, “limenoskopos”, “Prodomos” and “Prothyraea” which describe Hekate's presence at liminal points. [14]

Pillars like the Hermae, called Hecataea, stood, especially in Athens, at cross-roads and doorways, and in front of city gates, perhaps to keep away the spirits of evil.

Cult images and altars of Hekate in her triplicate or trimorphic form were placed at crossroads (though they also appeared before private homes). [15] In this form she came to be known as the goddess Trivia "the three ways" in Roman mythology.

In what appears to be a 7th Century indication of the survival of cult practices of this general sort, Saint Eligius, in his Sermo warns the sick among his recently converted flock in Flanders against putting "devilish charms at springs or trees or crossroads", [17] and, according to Saint Ouen would urge them "No Christian should make or render any devotion to the deities of the trivium, where three roads meet..."


Animals

Dog

Dogs were closely associated with Hekate in the Classical world. "In art and in literature Hekate is constantly represented as dog-shaped or as accompanied by a dog. Her approach was heralded by the howling of a dog. The dog was Hekate's regular sacrificial animal, and was often eaten in solemn sacrament." [7] The sacrifice of dogs to Hekate is attested for Thrace, Samothrace, Colophon, and Athens. [19a]

It has been claimed that her association with dogs is "suggestive of her connection with birth, for the dog was sacred to Eileithyia, Genetyllis, and other birth goddesses. Although in later times Hekate's dog came to be thought of as a manifestation of restless souls or demons who accompanied her, its docile appearance and its accompaniment of a Hekate who looks completely friendly in many pieces of ancient art suggests that its original signification was positive and thus likelier to have arisen from the dog's connection with birth than the dog's demonic associations." [16g]


Snake

Sophocles presents Hecate crowning herself with oak leaves and twisting coils of wild serpents. She is also often depicted holding a snake.


Horse

In Egyptian-inspired Greek esoteric writings connected with Hermes Trismegistus, and in magical papyri of Late Antiquity she is described as having three heads: one dog, one serpent, and one horse. In other representations her animal heads include those of a cow and a boar. Hecate's triplicity is elsewhere expressed in a more Hellenic fashion in the vast frieze of the great Pergamon Altar, now in Berlin, wherein she is shown with three bodies, taking part in the battle with the Titans.

In her three-headed representations, discussed above, Hekate often has one or more animal heads, including cow, dog, boar, serpent and horse. [21]


Fish: Red Mullet and Sprats

Athenaeus [1st or 2nd century BCE], notes that the red mullet is sacred to Hekate, because of the resemblance of their names since the goddess is “trimorphos”, of a triple form. The Greek word for mullet was trigle and later trigla.[19] In relation to Greek concepts of pollution, Parker observes, "The fish that was most commonly banned was the red mullet (trigle), which fits neatly into the pattern. It 'delighted in polluted things,' and 'would eat the corpse of a fish or a man'. Blood-coloured itself, it was sacred to the blood-eating goddess Hekate. It seems a symbolic summation of all the negative characteristics of the creatures of the deep At Athens, it is said there stood a statue of Hekate Triglathena, to whom the red mullet was offered in sacrifice. [20] Another fish mentioned by Athenaeus as sacred for Hecate was the Sprat.


Plants

Hekate was closely associated with plant lore and the concoction of medicines and poisons. In particular she was thought to give instruction in these closely related arts. Apollonius of Rhodes, in the Argonautica mentions that Medea was taught by Hekate, "I have mentioned to you before a certain young girl whom Hecate, daughter of Perses, has taught to work in drugs." [22]

The goddess is described as wearing oak in fragments of Sophocles' lost play The Root Diggers (or The Root Cutters), and an ancient commentary on Apollonius of Rhodes' Argonautica describes her as having a head surrounded by serpents, twining through branches of oak. [23]

The yew in particular was sacred to Hekate. Greeks held the yew to be sacred to Hecate, queen of the underworld, crone aspect of the Triple Goddess. Her attendants draped wreathes of yew around the necks of black bulls, which they slaughtered in her honor and yew boughs were burned on funeral pyres. The yew was associated with the alphabet and the scientific name for yew today, taxus, was probably derived from the Greek word for yew, toxos, which is hauntingly similar to toxon, their word for bow and toxicon, their word for poison. It is presumed that the latter were named after the tree because of its superiority for both bows and poison."[24]

Hekate was said to favor offerings of garlic, which was closely associated with her cult. [25] She is also sometimes associated with cypress, a tree symbolic of death and the underworld, and hence sacred to a number of chthonic deities.[26] Suidas mentions the Rhodians used to wreath Hecate with Asphodel.

A number of other plants (often poisonous, medicinal and/or psychoactive) are associated with Hekate. [27] These include aconite (also called hecateis),[31] belladonna, dittany, and mandrake. It has been suggested that the use of dogs for digging up mandrake is further corroboration of the association of this plant with Hekate; indeed, since at least as early as the first century CE, there are a number of attestations to the apparently widespread practice of using dogs to dig up plants associated with magic. [25]


Places

Hekate was associated with borders, city walls, doorways, crossroads, and, by extension, with realms outside or beyond the world of the living. She appears to have been particularly associated with being 'between' and hence is frequently characterized as a "liminal" goddess. "Hecate mediated between regimes – Olympian and Titan - but also between mortal and divine spheres." [28] This liminal role is reflected in a number of her cult titles: Apotropaia (that turns away/protects); Enodia (on the way); Propulaia/Propylaia (before the gate); Triodia/Trioditis who frequents crossroads); Klêidouchos (holding the keys), etc.

As a goddess expected to avert demons from the house or city over which she stood guard and to protect the individual as she or he passed through dangerous liminal places, Hekate would naturally become known as a goddess who could also refuse to avert the demons, or even drive them on against unfortunate individuals.

This function would appear to have some relationship with the iconographic association of Hekate with keys, and might also relate to her appearance with two torches, which when positioned on either side of a gate or door illuminated the immediate area and allowed visitors to be identified. "In Byzantium small temples in her honor were placed close to the gates of the city. Hekate's importance to Byzantium was above all as a deity of protection. When Philip of Macedon was about to attack the city, according to the legend she alerted the townspeople with her ever present torches, and with her pack of dogs, which served as her constant companions. Hekate was also worshipped in a temple in the area that would become the Hippodrome. Instead of being destroyed, the temple was absorbed into the construction of the Hippodrome, so that the memory of the cult “was perpetuated".[11] This suggests that Hekate's close association with dogs derived in part from the use of watchdogs, who, particularly at night, raised an alarm when intruders approached. Watchdogs were used extensively by Greeks and Romans.

Like Hekate, the dog is a creature of the threshold, the guardian of doors and portals, and so it is appropriately associated with the frontier between life and death, and with demons and ghosts which move across the frontier. The yawning gates of Hades were guarded by the monstrous watchdog Cerberus, whose function was to prevent the living from entering the underworld, and the dead from leaving it." [29]

(See #Hekate - Section C - Quotations)


Other Sections

This entry continues to: #Hekate - Section B


For quotations, see:

#Hekate - Section C - Quotations

#Hekate - Section D - Quotations