The dancing goddesses : folklore, archaeology, and the origins of European dance /

An ethnographic and archaeological exploration of ancient traditions and folklore pertaining to "dancing goddesses" traces their roots in early Roman, Greek, and European cultures to reveal the origins of modern customs.

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Main Author: Barber, E. J. W., 1940-
Format: Book
Language:English
Published:New York : W.W. Norton, c2013.
Edition:1st ed.
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Main Author:Barber, E. J. W., 1940-
Summary:An ethnographic and archaeological exploration of ancient traditions and folklore pertaining to "dancing goddesses" traces their roots in early Roman, Greek, and European cultures to reveal the origins of modern customs.

From southern Greece to northern Russia, people have long believed in female spirits, bringers of fertility, who spend their nights and days dancing in the fields and forests. So appealing were these spirit-maidens that they also took up residence in nineteenth-century Romantic literature.

Archaeologist and linguist by profession, folk dancer by avocation, Elizabeth Wayland Barber has sleuthed through ethnographic lore and archaeological reports of east and southeast Europe, translating enchanting folktales about these "dancing goddesses" as well as eyewitness accounts of traditional rituals--texts that offer new perspectives on dance in agrarian society. She then traces these goddesses and their dances back through the Romans and Greeks to the first farmers of Europe. Along the way, she locates the origins of many customs, including coloring Easter eggs and throwing rice at the bride. The result is a detective story like no other and a joyful reminder of the human need to dance.

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Physical Description:xiii, 429 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.
Bibliography:Includes bibliographical references (p. 381-400) and index.
ISBN:9780393065367 (hbk.)
0393065367 (hbk.)
Author Notes:

Elizabeth Wayland Barber is the author of Women's Work, The Dancing Goddesses, and The Mummies of Ürümchi. Professor emerita of archaeology and linguistics at Occidental College, she lives in California.

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