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I Really Did A Double Take

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I Really Did A Double Take

Post  Helleicchild on Thu Sep 18, 2014 8:23 pm

A couple of weeks ago, around the time that I got the internet back in the house, someone posted on one of those groups that people that dress up in Greek costume are not reconstructing anything, their reenactors (okay, I know that I'm as close to how it's spelled as possible) . Now I know that they were attacking the Hellenic groups in Greece when they said this. What is your take on this line of thought, which I think is stupid.

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Re: I Really Did A Double Take

Post  Erodius on Thu Sep 18, 2014 11:02 pm

A couple of weeks ago, around the time that I got the internet back in the house, someone posted on one of those groups that people that dress up in Greek costume are not reconstructing anything, their reenactors (okay, I know that I'm as close to how it's spelled as possible) . Now I know that they were attacking the Hellenic groups in Greece when they said this. What is your take on this line of thought, which I think is stupid.




I think it's probably easiest to answer in a list form (apologies for not writing out a response, but I'm pressed for free time. The academic quarter is closing and I have a shipload of teachery things that need doing, and finite time in which to do them, while the list keeps getting longer by the day) 

-For one thing, there is a plenty of ridiculous nonsense all over the Internet in every conceivable subject. Any fool can say anything on the Internet, and plenty of people will believe him/her. Something about a screen makes us dangerously trusting. 

-Many people [probably most] have little to no idea what Greek garments of Antiquity were. On one hand, their conceptions are based on Hollywood movies and Halloween costumes, and on the other, are usually not aware of the fact that what constituted 'Ancient Greek clothing' evolved fairly considerably over the many centuries that make up Classical Antiquity. 

-Many of the public-sphere associations in Greece whom you mention are only somewhat tangentially dedicated to Classical religion. Most of them are into 'putting on a show' for media and social attention (and sometimes tourist attention, and plenty of these are, essentially, reenactment performers), which is understandable, given that many of them have social and political goals to push. They are also, as a side note, as I am told from my contacts with the living lines in Greece, made up almost entirely of converts or the only tangentially interested. The live sodalities keep out of the media eye. 

-There are some elements of dress that are part of religious ceremony – like the leaved crown or wool or cloth fillet on the head, or certain linen or wool garments of certain colors (or none at all), or certain items held in the hand or even on top of the head. Outside of these, however, what you wear for worship should be clean, respectful and not distracting to you or to another. There really isn't any religious reason for special clothing other than the above. 

Those in the traditional, familial sodalities in Greece dress much the same way as one would to go to church – the Sunday best, if you will – the sort of thing one would wear to meet an esteemed and distinguished guest — which is, truly, precisely what one is doing.  Wink

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Re: I Really Did A Double Take

Post  J_Agathokles on Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:19 am

I see no reason to a priori condemn people who wear some form of ancient Hellenic clothing during ritual as mere re-enactors. That's is simply a false equation. Personally, I think a Hellenist wearing ancient garb is no different from Native Americans wearing traditional clothing during their rituals or gatherings, or Hindu sages dressing in saffron clothing, or Shinto priests wearing traditional Japanese garb, etc. What matters is the earnest devotion of the worshipper, not the clothes he wears (beyond the bare necessities like which Erodius listed).

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Re: I Really Did A Double Take

Post  Erodius on Sat Sep 20, 2014 6:58 am

J_Agathokles wrote:What matters is the earnest devotion of the worshipper

That's exactly the issue I was addressing – that (aside from the fact that so many people have a totally nonsensical notion of Greek or Roman [or any historical, really] clothing) it becomes so often an element of 'play', of 'costume' or attention seeking/theatrics; i.e. that one is not taking either oneself or the act of worship seriously, which then doesn't go on to reflect well for one seeking to be taken seriously by others.

The use of traditional clothing in India, Japan, or among Native American nations has a distinct difference, I think (unfortunately). In these places, the antique religion and culture are a symbol commanding a general respect - in the West, the Classical religion and culture, at least within the last century or so, have become objects of derision, media butchery, and scorn.

A saffron dhoti in India suggests respect and authority, a himation/toga/chlamys/etc in the West today, in contrast, is more an invitation to laughter, frivolity and mockery.

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: I Really Did A Double Take

Post  DavidMcCann on Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:00 pm

When an Hindu priest discards western dress for a temple ceremony he's just reverting to a costume that many of his rural contemporaries wear on a daily basis, but for a modern European to use the costume of 2000 years ago seems a bit over the top to me. And my ancestors didn't wear a tunic, but shirt and trousers! As Isocrates said, "the name of Hellene is now considered to refer not to race but to spirit, to the point of calling Hellenes those who share our culture rather than our ancestors."

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Re: I Really Did A Double Take

Post  Human on Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:50 pm

Hasn't half the battle been lost when we allow people who make a mockery of our beliefs dictate what we wear during ritual? I mean I agree it shouldn't matter what we wear during ritual and ancient Greek clothing is very different than other cultures wearing traditional clothing some people never really stopped wearing (or at least respecting with in the community as with Native Americans) but I don't see anything wrong with holding semi public rituals wearing traditional clothing. I think it is ultimately up to them besides a religion with idols and processions isn't exactly one that would object to being theatrical.

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