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In this volume, first published in 2006, Sandra Blakely considers technological myths and rituals associated with ancient Greek daimones, who made metal; and African rituals in which iron plays a central role. Noting the rich semantic web of associations that has connected metallurgy to magic, birth, kingship, autochthony, and territorial possession in both Greek and African cultures, Blakely examines them together in order to cast light on the Greek demons, which are only fragmentarily preserved and which have often been equated to general types of smithing gods. Her comparison demonstrates that these demons are more sophisticated and ritually useful than has been previously acknowledged. This book provides new insights into the position of technology in Greek myth. Providing a new methodology for the study of Greek religion, which uses comparative cultural material in a thoughtful and careful way, it helps close the fifty-year gap between the social sciences and Classical philology in the theoretical understanding and study of technological systems.
Sandra Blakely is Associate Professor of Classics at Emory University. A scholar of the religions of the classical world, she has received fellowships from the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, the Albright School of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem, and the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC.