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(2,987 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku
The Concept ‘Western Esotericism’ 1. a) ‘Esotericism’ has become a highly popular term during the last three decades. Like → ‘New Age,’ it is a catchword for a lot of quite disparate religious or cultural phenomena, and its usage in a wider public differs considerably from that in academic contexts. Since its first appearance in the nineteenth century, a definition of ‘esotericism’ often refers to the meaning of the Greek esôteros (‘inwardly,’ ‘secretly,’ ‘restricted to an inner circle’) and lays the main emphasis on → secrecy and concealment of religious, spiritu…

Astrology (Western)

(1,885 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku
The Concept 1. a) Astrology (from Gk., ‘science of the stars’) belongs to the oldest cultural phenomena of humankind. Its persistence from antiquity to modernity—despite many transformations and various developments—is remarkable. Most generally, astrology engages the suspected correspondences between the heavenly realm (the stars, planets, zodiacal signs, etc.) and the earthly realm. To interpret these correspondences, astrological discourse developed different, and often conflicting, strategies. On the one hand, scholars construed a causal influence of heavenly b…

New Religions

(673 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku
Difficulties of the Concept ‘New religions’ or ‘new religious movements’ is a broadly inclusive term that has emerged in academic discussions to refer to a cornucopia of religious communities entering the scene in the wake of colonialism and—particularly—modernity. The theoretical difficulties are enormous: (1) Just like the → demise of a religion, it is a normal historical and social development that new communities and new forms of religious tradition arise against a background of changing cultura…

Esotericism, Astrology, Gnosticism, Hermeticism: Time Chart

(1,588 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku
Era 1: Early Premises of Ancient Esotericism (c. 2500–300 BCE) from c. 2500 BCE First astronomical systematizations in Mesopotamia Under Hammurabi of Babylon (1728–1689 BCE), a calendar reform occasions the collection of astronomical knowledge. c. 1500–300 Astrological compendia in Mesopotamia; astronomical diaries; development of Zodiacal schemata; first horoscopes Calendrical and astronomical tables are further developed, and the competency of calculation is improved. From c. 1350, the first astrolabe is on the scene. Important compendia, then, are Enuma Anu Enlil (omen…


(1,568 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku
Systematic Determination of the Concept 1. The terms ‘divination’ and ‘fortune telling’ are general designations for various forms of religious vision, and usually bear on the future. Both the degree of institutionalization and the goal of respective practices, however, can vary widely. In many cases, the prophecy is performed by religious → specialists, who, in earlier ages, and even today in some extra-European cultures, were or are integrated into religious institutions, such as → oracles or proph…


(79 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku (Erfurt)
[German version] A divinity mentioned by Varro, Antiquitates Rerum Divinarum fr. 149 Cardauns (in Aug. Civ. 6,9), probably taken from the Indigitamenta of the pontifices ( Pontifex ), classified there as a ‘goddess of marriage’. She was invoked to keep a wife with her husband. M. is not attested elsewhere, but according to [1] should be linked to the Etruscan god Mantus, with a suffixation characteristic of Etruscan. Etruscan; Sondergötter von Stuckrad, Kocku (Erfurt) Bibliography 1 Radke, 198.


(253 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku (Erfurt)
[German version] Goddess who was worshipped in a grove between the estuary of the Liris and Minturnae (modern Minturno), probably as early as the beginning of the 7th cent. BC. A temple which was still frequented in the late Republican period can be dated to the late 6th cent. According to Plutarch (Marius 39), once something had been carried into the temple it was not allowed to remove it. Archaeological findings - anatomical votive offerings ( Consecratio) and representations of babies ( Kourotr…


(1,356 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku (Erfurt)
[German version] I. Systematics The term hemerology denotes the cultural practice of connecting the success or failure of actions with favourable or unfavourable days defined by the calendar (= cal.). The assumption that days are fixed not only quantitatively but also qualitatively was common to all ancient cultures and led to its own genre, the  hemerologion. The concept of hemerology meanwhile goes beyond this genre and must be seen in connection with  calendar,  divination and  astrology. Further…


(178 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku (Erfurt)
[German version] (Μελίαι, Μελιάδες; Melíai, Meliádes). Tree, esp. ash nymphs, related to the dryads and hamadryads [1; 2]. According to Hes. Theog. 176-187, they arose, like the Erinyes and Titans, from drops of blood from the castration of Uranus, which fell to Earth ( Gaia) and fertilized her. Hes. Op. 145 confines the descent of humans from tree divinities to the third age of iron ( Ages). Some of these nymphs are linked in local legend with heroes: (1) a Theban nymph, daughter of Oceanus, mother …


(72 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku (Erfurt)
[English version] Eine von Varro, antiquitates rerum divinarum fr. 149 Cardauns (bei Aug. civ. 6,9) wohl den indigitamenta der pontifices ( pontifex ) entnommene, dort als “Hochzeitsgöttin” klassifizierte Gottheit, welche angerufen wurde, damit die Gattin beim Mann bleibe. Die sonst nicht belegte M. ist nach [1] mit dem etr. Gott Mantus zu verknüpfen, wobei eine für das Etr. charakteristische Suffixerweiterung vorläge. Etruskisch; Sondergötter von Stuckrad, Kocku (Erfurt) Bibliography 1 Radke, 198.


(1,193 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku
[English version] I. Systematik Der Begriff T. bezeichnet die kulturelle Praxis, das Gelingen oder Mißlingen von Handlungen mit kalendarisch (= kal.) definierten günstigen oder ungünstigen Tagen in Verbindung zu bringen. Die Annahme, daß Tage nicht nur quantitativ, sondern auch qualitativ bestimmt sind, war allen ant. Kulturen geläufig und führte zu einem eigenen Genre, dem Hemerologion. Das Konzept der T. geht indes über dieses Genre hinaus und muß im Zusammenhang mit Kalender, Divination und Astro…


(164 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku (Erfurt)
[English version] (Μελίαι, Μελιάδες). Baum-, bes. Eschennymphen, die mit den Dryaden bzw. Hamadryaden zu verbinden sind [1; 2]. Nach Hes. theog. 176-187 stammen sie wie die Erinyen und Giganten aus den Blutstropfen, die bei der Entmannung des Uranos auf die Erde (Gaia) fallen und diese befruchten. Hes. erg. 145 beschränkt die Abkunft des Menschen von den Baumgottheiten auf das dritte, eherne Geschlecht (Zeitalter). Einzelne dieser Nymphen sind in Lokalsagen mit Heroen verknüpft: (1) Theban. Nymphe…


(215 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku (Erfurt)
[English version] Göttin, die in einem Hain zw. der Mündung des Liris und Minturnae (h. Minturno) wahrscheinlich schon im frühen 7. Jh.v.Chr. verehrt wurde. Ein Tempel läßt sich ins späte 6. Jh. datieren; er wurde noch in spätrepublikanischer Zeit frequentiert. Nach Plutarch (Marius 39) durfte einmal Hineingetragenes aus dem Tempel nicht mehr entfernt werden. Arch. Funde - u.a. anatomische Votivgaben (Weihung) und Darstellungen von Wickelkindern (Kurotrophos) - sowie die extraurbane Lage des Heili…


(207 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku (Erfurt) | Strobel, Karl (Klagenfurt)
[English version] [1] Sohn des Amphiktyon (Μᾶλος). Sohn des Amphiktyon, Eponym der Malieis und ihrer Stadt Malieus (Androtion bei Steph. Byz. s.v. Μαλιεύς). In den Gedichten des Isyllos aus Epidauros (CollAlex 132-135 = [1. 380-383 Nr. 40]) führt M. als epidaurischer König den Kult des Apollon Maleatas ein. Damit ist M. wohl epidaurische Erfindung zur Etym. von Maleatas. Bei Isyllos heiratet M. durch die Vermittlung des Zeus die Muse Erato und wird Vater der Kleophema, damit Großvater der Aigle [5] und Urgroßvater des Asklepios. von Stuckrad, Kocku (Erfurt) Bibliography 1 L. Käppel,…


(294 words)

Author(s): von Stuckrad, Kocku (Erfurt) | Strobel, Karl (Klagenfurt) | Olshausen, Eckart (Stuttgart)
[German version] [1] Son of Amphictyon (Μᾶλος; Mâlos). Son of Amphictyon, eponym of the Malieis and of their city Malieus (Androtion in Steph. Byz. s.v. Μαλιεύς; Malieús). In the poems of Isyllus of Epidaurus (CollAlex 132-135 = [1. 380-383 no. 40]) M. is an Epidaurian king who introduces the cult of Apollo Maleatas. Therefore, M. is probably an Epidaurian etymology to explain the name Maleatas. In Isyllus, M. - through the mediation of Zeus - marries the Muse Erato and becomes the father of Cleophema, hence the grandfather of Aegle [5] and the great-grandfather of Asclepius. von Stuckrad,…