For at least a thousand years Greek cities took part in religious activities outside their territory by sending sacred delegates to represent them. The delegates are usually called theoroi, literally 'observers', and a delegation made up of theoroi, or the action of taking part in one, is called theoria. This is the first comprehensive study of theoroi and theoria. It examines a number of key functions of theoroi and explains who served in this role and what their activities are likely to have been, both on the journey and at the sanctuary. Other chapters discuss the diplomatic functions of theoroi, and what their activities tell us about the origins of the tion of Greek identity and about religious networks. Chapters are also devoted to the reception of the tion of theoria in Greek philosophy and literature. The book will be essential for all scholars and advanced students of ancient religion.
Ian Rutherford is Professor in the Classics Department, University of Reading. He works mostly on Greek poetry, Greek religion and relations between Greece and other cultures: chiefly the Hittites and Egypt. For fifteen years he has published a great deal on 'pilgrimage' in the ancient world (e.g. Pilgrimage in Graeco-Roman and Early Christian Antiquity: Seeing the Gods, co-edited with Jas Elsner, 2005) with a related interest in travelling poets (Wandering Poets in Ancient Greek Culture, co-edited with Richard Hunter, 2009). He has also published a full commentary on Pindar's Paeans (2001) and has another volume forthcoming on Hittite and Greek religion.