|Publisher||Black's Academy Limited|
|Publication Date||February 1, 2019|
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This history of Greek religion in the Dark and Archaic Ages (1200 - 479 BC) corrects the error of ancient and modern historians in attributing the bulk of mythological material to the Minoan- Mycenaean epoch (before 1200): Greek myth encodes an oral tradition that tells the story of a religious war of monumental proportions between matriarchy and patriarchy. This war accounts for the catastrophe of the Bronze Age Collapse (c.1200) in which up to 90% of the population of the Near East was wiped out. The central concept of a mythologem is defined in the work, which proceeds to introduce a methodology based on analogy with archaeology and comparative linguistics for the reading of mythologems. Myth is content of historical social and spiritual significance encoded by iconic as opposed to semantic memory and reasoning, and it is possible to decode it. In addition to myth, the Greek and Roman literary tradition concerning the war is examined. Two other transformations are explained: (i) a transformation in human cognition from a system dubbed "primitive materialism" to "Ionian consciousness"; (ii) the abandonment in principle of ritual human sacrifice. It is argued that human and child sacrifice was practised in the Dark Age and that the rite of sacrifice itself underwent a historical evolution, one that is systematically charted in the work. As well as thoroughly surveying the pre-existing Minoan-Mycenaean culture and religion that laid the foundation for the conflict, the work outlines the reformation of Greek religion during the Archaic Age (c.750 - 479 BC), when a dual religion, Olympian and Chthonic, was established, and the original rites of human sacrifice were replaced by animal sacrifice and symbolic rituals. The work contains 48 figures and illustrations in black-and-white and colour.