Miasma (Greek mythology)

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In Greek mythology, a miasma is "a contagious power ... that has an independent life of its own. Until purged by the sacrificial death of the wrongdoer, society would be chronically infected by catastrophe."[1]

An example is Atreus who invited his brother Thyestes to a delicious stew containing the bodies of his own sons. A miasma contaminated the entire family of Atreus, where one violent crime led to another, providing fodder for many of the Greek heroic tales. However, attempts to cleanse a city or a society from miasma may have the opposite effect, that of reinforcing the miasma.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Armstrong, p. 64–65.

References[edit]

  • Armstrong Karen, The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions, Random House Digital, Inc., 2007. ISBN 9780385721240.