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Title: The economic relations of religious and political organisations and social groups in the Mycenaean world
Author: Bendall, L. M.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2000
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The Mycenaean Linear B documents are exclusively economic and administrative records and tell us little or nothing about the nature of Mycenaean religion. They do, however, yield economic information relating to the religious sphere. Mycenaean palaces provided economic support for cult through the presentation of offerings, state sponsorship of ceremonial feasts and religious festivals, and through typical Mycenaean elite maintenance systems such as the allocation of land tenure and produce from state-controlled industries. These economic aspects of religion are recorded in the Linear B tablets and can be used in conjunction with archaeological data to investigate the place of religion more generally in Mycenaean palace society. References to religion are very frequent in the tablets, creating the impression that cult activities consumed a large proportion of palatial resources. Moreover, some aspects of political structure (such as kingship) and economy (especially industrial manufacture) appear to be specially tied to religion, which has led some scholars to speak in terms of sacral-political syncretism and even a 'temple economy'. Detailed investigation of the Linear B evidence does not bear out such notions. A complete dataset of the relevant Linear B evidence is presented for the first time here. Following this, the study focuses on three main areas: the extent of resources allocated to the religious sphere, the long-standing issue of a special relationship between shrines and workshops, and the social significance of Mycenaean ceremonial banqueting, which had an important religious dimension. The thesis argues that religious activities consumed a very small proportion of the total resources of the palaces and that there was no special connection between religion and industry. Thus, there is no evidence that religion was itself economically significant or was tied to economically significant activities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available