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Apotheosis (from Greek ἀποθεόων, apotheoun "to deify", in Latin deificatio, and later inItalian gióvino, "to be made divine"[1]), refers to the exaltation of a subject to divine level. The term has meanings in theology, where it refers to a belief, and in art, where it refers to a genre.

In theology the term apotheosis refers to the idea that an individual, group, or locale has been raised to godlike stature. In art the term refers to the treatment of any subject (a figure, motif, convention or melody) in a particularly grand or exalted manner.

Contents

Antiquity

Prior to the Hellenistic period, imperial cults were known in Ancient Egypt (pharaohs) and Mesopotamia (since Naram-Sin). From the New Kingdom, all deceased pharaohs were deified as Osiris.

Hellenistic Greece

From at least the Geometric period of the ninth century BC, the long-deceased heroes linked with founding myths of Greek sites were accorded chthonic rites in their heroon, or "hero-temple".

In the Greek world, the first leader who accorded himself divine honours was Philip II of Macedon, who was a king, when the Greeks had set kingship aside, and who had extensive economic and military ties, though largely antagonistic, with Achaemenid Persia, where kings were divine. At his wedding to his sixth wife, Philip's enthroned image was carried in procession among the Olympian gods; "his example at Aigai became a custom, passing to the Macedonian kings who were later worshipped in Greek Asia, from them to Julius Caesar and so to the emperors of Rome".[2] Such Hellenistic state leaders might be raised to a status equal to the gods before death (e.g., Alexander the Great) or afterwards (e.g., members of the Ptolemaic dynasty). Heroic cult similar to apotheosis was also an honour given to a few revered artists of the distant past, notably Homer.

Archaic and Classical Greek hero-cults became primarily civic, extended from their familial origins, in the sixth century; by the fifth century none of the worshipers based their authority by tracing descent back to the hero, with the exception of some families who inherited particular priestly cult, such as the Eumolpides (descended from Eumolpus) of the Eleusinian mysteries, and some inherited priesthoods at oracle sites. The Greek hero cults can be distinguished on the other hand from the Roman cult of dead emperors, because the hero was not thought of as having ascended to Olympus or become a god: he was beneath the earth, and his power purely local. For this reason hero cults were chthonic in nature, and their rituals more closely resembled those for Hecate and Persephone than those for Zeus and Apollo. Two exceptions were Heracles and Asclepius, who might be honored as either gods or heroes, sometimes by chthonic night-time rites and sacrifice on the following day.

Ancient Rome

Apotheosis in ancient Rome was a process whereby a deceased ruler was recognized as having been divine by his successor, usually also by a decree of the Senate and popular consent. In addition to showing respect, often the present ruler deified (devino) a popular predecessor to legitimize himself and gain popularity with the people. The upper-class did not always take part in the imperial cult, and some privately ridiculed the apotheosis of inept and feeble emperors.

At the height of the imperial cult during the Roman Empire, sometimes the emperor's deceased loved ones—heirs, empresses, or lovers, as Hadrian's Antinous—were deified as well. Deified people were awarded posthumously with the prefix Divus (Diva if women) to their names to signify their divinity. Temples and columns were sometimes erected to provide a space for worship.

Ancient China

The Ming dynasty epic Investiture of the Gods deals heavily with deification legends. Numerous mortals have been deified into the Daoist pantheon, such as Guan Yu, Iron-crutch Li and Fan Kuai. Song Dynasty General Yue Fei was deified during the Ming Dynasty and is considered by some practitioners to be one of the three highest ranking heavenly generals.[3][4]

Christology

Christian theology traditionally makes a distinction between "theosis" and "apotheosis". Orthodox Trinitarian Christianity views Jesus Christ as a pre-existing deity who undertook mortal existence, not a mortal being who attained divinity (see Adoptionism). Regarding human beings, the mystical theology of the Eastern Orthodox churches characteristically describes the situation as "theosis", and this is echoed by the belief of "divinization" in the Catholic Church: human beings enter into the divine life of the Trinity through Jesus Christ. In this sense human beings are "God revealed" -- living representations of God on Earth as they live in such a fashion. It is referred to in the letters of St. Peter as "partaking of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).

In art the matter is practical: the elevation of a figure to divine level entails certain conventions. So it is that the apotheosis genre exists in Christian art as in other art. The features of the apotheosis genre may be seen in subjects that emphasize Christ's divinity ( Transfiguration, Ascension, Christ Pantocrator) and that depict holy persons "in glory"--that is, in their roles as "God revealed" (Assumption, Ascension, etc.). There is also a death metal band hailing from Nashville, Tennessee named Apotheosis there music can be found at www.myspace.com/apotheosisnashville

Modern

Apotheosis of French soldiers fallen in the Napoleonic Wars, Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson, beginning of 19th century.
Apotheosis of George Washington

Later artists have used the concept for motives ranging from real respect for the deceased (Constantino Brumidi's fresco The Apotheosis of Washington on the dome of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.), to artistic comment (Salvador Dalí's or Ingres's The Apotheosis of Homer), to comedic effect.

Many modern leaders have exploited the artistic imagery if not the theology of apotheosis. Examples include Rubens's depictions of James I of England at the Banqueting House (an expression of the Divine Right of Kings) or Henry IV of France, or Appiani's apotheosis of Napoleon. The term has been used figuratively to refer to the elevation of a dead leader (often one who was assassinated and/or martyred) to a kind of superhuman charismatic figure and an effective erasing of all faults and controversies which were connected with his name in life - for example, Abraham Lincoln in the US and Yitzchak Rabin in Israel. Kim Jong-il of North Korea took the place of his father Kim Il-sung and much of the nation has grown up with the idea of the "leader" being placed at the height of society, this is the result of parents raised under a similar image by Kim Il-sung passing this view onto their children.

The subjective experience of being oneself elevated to God-like status has been widely reported by those involved in and the psychedelic counterculture beginning in the 1950s and continuing through the present. The distinction can be made as becoming one with God by sacrificing the individual ego during psychedelic ecstasy, as opposed to co-opting the name or status of God in order to elevate the individual ego. In fact, the word "psychedelic" is coined from the Greek words for "soul," ψυχή (psyche), and "manifest," δήλος (delos). The word "entheogen" may also be used, which means "creates god within," en- "in, within," theo- "god, divine," -gen "creates, generates," and so may the word "phanerothyme," which, also derived from Greek, means "to reveal the spirit." Apotheosis can be understood in either the ego-less or egotistical context as long as the definition of God is equally contextual.

In literature

Joseph Campbell, in his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces, writes that the Universal Hero from monomyth must pass through a stage of Apotheosis. According to Campbell, apotheosis is the expansion of consciousness that the hero experiences after defeating his foe.

Arthur C Clarke's novel Childhood's End has the Overlords refer to Mankind's "apotheosis" when the world's children evolve into their union with the Overmind (see also post-human).

Stephen King's novel The Dark Tower first book, The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger 's second sentence was "The desert was the apotheosis of all deserts."

In the novel Moby-Dick, Herman Melville writes, "Take heart, take heart, O Bulkington! Bear thee grimly, demigod! Up from the spray of thy ocean-perishing -- straight up, leaps thy apotheosis!"

In the novel The Lost Symbol, by author Dan Brown, the concept of apotheosis is one of the main themes of the plot featuring the Apotheosis of George Washington at the US Capitol Building.

In the metaseries .hack, The AI Aura sacrifices herself in order to fulfill her role and ascend to her role as The Ultimate AI, and Goddess of The World. Wiseman mentions this transcendence as one of the ideas of apotheosis.

In music

Apotheosis in music refers to the appearance of a theme in grand or exalted form. It represents the musical equivalent of the apotheosis genre in visual art, especially where the theme is connected in some way with historical persons or dramatic characters. When crowning the end of a large-scale work the apotheosis functions as a peroration, following an analogy with the art of rhetoric.

Apotheosis moments abound in music, and the word itself appears in some cases. Hector Berlioz used "Apotheose" as the title of the final movement of his Grande symphonie funèbre et triomphale, a work composed in 1846 for the dedication of a monument to France's war dead. Czech composer Karel Husa, concerned in 1970 about arms proliferation and environmental deterioration, named his musical response Apotheosis of This Earth. Aram Kachaturian entitled a segment of his ballet Spartacus "Sunrise and Apotheosis."

See also

References and further reading

  1. ^ Nicolo Machiavelli, letter to Giovan Battista Soderini, week of September 13-21, 1506
  2. ^ Robin Lan Fox, Alexander the Great (1973:20)
  3. ^ Liu, James T. C. "Yueh Fei (1103-41) and China's Heritage of Loyalty." The Journal of Asian Studies. Vol. 31, No. 2 (Feb., 1972), pp. 291-297, pg. 296
  4. ^ Wong, Eva. The Shambhala Guide to Taoism. Shambhala, 1996 (ISBN 1570621691), p. 162
  • Arthur E.R. Boak, "The Theoretical Basis of the Deification of Rulers in Antiquity", in: Classical Journal vol. 11, 1916, pp. 293-297.
  • Franz Bömer, "Ahnenkult und Ahnenglaube im alten Rom", Leipzig 1943.
  • Walter Burkert, "Caesar und Romulus-Quirinus", in: Historia vol. 11, 1962, pp. 356-376.
  • Jean-Claude Richard, "Énée, Romulus, César et les funérailles impériales", in: Mélanges de l'École Française de Rome vol. 78, 1966, pp. 67-78.
  • Bernadette Liou-Gille, "Divinisation des morts dans la Rome ancienne", in: Revue Belge de Philologie vol. 71, 1993, pp. 107-115.
  • David Engels, "Postea dictus est inter deos receptus. Wetterzauber und Königsmord: Zu den Hintergründen der Vergöttlichung frührömischer Könige", in: Gymnasium vol 114, 2007, pp. 103-130.
  • Stephen King "The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger

External links

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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Apotheosis
disambiguation
This is a disambiguation page, which lists works which share the same title. If an article link referred you here, please consider editing it to point directly to the intended page.


Apotheosis may refer to:


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

APOTHEOSIS (Gr. airoOEav, to make a god, to deify), literally deification. The term properly implies a clear polytheistic conception of gods in contrast with men, while it recognizes that some men cross the dividing line. It is characteristic of polytheism to blur that line in several ways. Thus the ancient Greek religion was especially disposed to belief in heroes and demigods. Founders of cities, and even of colonies, received worship; the former are, generally speaking, mythical personages and, in strictness, heroes. But the worship after death of historical persons, such as Lycurgus, or worship of the living as true deities, e.g. Lysander and Philip II. of Macedon, occurred sporadically even before Alexander's conquests brought Greek life into contact with oriental traditions. It was inevitable, too, that ancient monarchies should enlist polytheistic conceptions of divine or half-divine men in support of the dynasties; "Seu deos regesve canit deorum Sanguinem," Horace (Odes, iv. 2, 11.12, 13) writes of Pindar; though the reference is to myths, yet the phrase is significant. In the East all such traits are exaggerated, a result perhaps rather of the statecraft than of the religions of Egypt and Persia. Whatever part vanity or the flattery of courtiers may have played with others, or with Alexander, it is significant that the dynasties of Alexander's various successors all claim divine honours of some sort (see Ptolemies, Seleucid Dynasty, &c.). Theocritus (Idyll 17) hails Ptolemy Philadelphus as a demigod, and speaks of his father as seated among the gods along with Alexander. Ancestor worship, or reverence for the dead, was a third factor. It may work even in Cicero's determination that his daughter should enjoy "- as he writes to Atticus - or receive the "honour" of consecratio (fragment of his De Consolatione). Lastly, we need not speak of mere sycophancy. Yet it was common; Verres was worshipped before he was impeached !

The Romans had, up to the end of the Republic, accepted only one official apotheosis; the god Quirinus, whatever his original meaning, having been identified with Romulus. But the emperor Augustus carried on the tradition of ancient statecraft by having Julius Caesar recognized as a god (divus J ulius), the first of a new class of deities proper (divi). The tradition was steadily followed and was extended to some ladies of the imperial family and even to imperial favourites. Worship of an emperor during his lifetime, except as the worship of his genius, was, save in the cases of Caligula and Domitian, confined to the provinces. Apotheosis after his death, being in the hands of the senate, did not at once cease, even when Christianity was officially adopted. The Latin term is consecratio, which of course has a variety of senses, including simple burial. (Inscription in G. Boissier, La Religion romaine; Renier, Inscriptions d'Algiers, 2510.) The Greek term Apotheosis, probably a coinage of the Hellenistic epoch, becomes more nearly technical for the deification of dead emperors. But it is still used simply for the erection of tombs (clearly so in some Greek inscriptions, Corpus Inscript. Graec. 2831, 2832, quoted in Pauly-Wissowa, s.v. Apotheosis). Possibly there is a trace of ancestor worship even here; but the two usages have diverged. The squib of the philosopher Seneca on the memory of Claudius (d. A.D. 54), Apocolocyntosis (" pumpkinification"), is evidence that, as early as Seneca's lifetime, apotheosis was in use for the recognition of a departed emperor as a god. It also indicates how much contempt might be associated with this pretended worship. The people, says Suetonius (Jul. Caes. c. 88), fully believed in the divinity of Julius Caesar, hinting at the same time that this was by no means the case with the majority of the apotheoses subsequently decreed by the senate. Yet we learn from Capitolinus that Marcus Aurelius was still worshipped as a household divinity in the time of Diocletian, and was believed to impart revelations in dreams (Vit. M. Ant. c. 18). Antinous, the favourite of Hadrian, was adored in Egypt a century after his death (Origen, Contra Celsum, iii. 36), though, according to Boissier, his worship never had official sanction. The ceremonies attendant on an imperial apotheosis are very fully described by Herodianus (bk. iv. c. 2) on occasion of the obsequies of Severus, which he appears to have witnessed. The most significant was the liberation, at the moment of kindling the funeral pyre, of an eagle which was supposed to bear the emperor's soul to heaven. Sharp-sighted persons had actually beheld the ascension of Augustus (Suet. August. c. ioo), and of Drusilla, sister of Caligula. Representations of apotheoses occur on several works of art; the most important are the apotheosis of Homer on a relief in the Townley collection of the British Museum, that of Titus on the arch of Titus, and that of Augustus on a magnificent cameo in the Louvre.

In China at the present day many Taoist gods are (or are given out as) men deified for service to the state. This again may be statecraft. In India, the (still unexplained) rise of the doctrine of transmigration hindered belief. Apotheosis can mean nothing to those who hold that a man may be reborn as a god, but still needs redemption, and that men on earth may win redemption, if they are brave enough. Curiously, Buddhism itself is ruled by the ghost or shadowy remainder of belief in transmigration - Karma.

Apotheosis may also be used in wider senses. (a) Some (e.g. Herbert Spencer) hold that most gods are deified men, and most myths historical traditions which have been grotesquely distorted. This theory is known as Euhemerism (see EUHEMERUS). It is needless to say that the attitude of those holding the Euhemerist theory is at the farthest pole from belief in apotheosis. According to the latter, some men may become gods. According to the former, all gods are but men; or, some men have been erroneously supposed to become gods. The Euhemerist theory mainly appeals to ancestor worship - a fact of undoubted importance in the history of religion, especially in China and in ancient Rome. In India, too, a dead person treated with funeral honours becomes a guardian spirit - if neglected, a tormenting demon. But whether the great gods of polytheism were really transfigured ancestors is very doubtful. (b) Again, there is a tendency to offer something like worship to the founders of religions. Thus more than human honour is paid to Zoroaster and Buddha and even to the founders of systems not strictly religious, e.g. to Confucius and Auguste Comte. It is noticeable that this kind of worship is not accorded in rigidly monotheistic systems, e.g. to Moses and Mahomet. Nor is it accurate to speak of apotheosis in cases where the founder is in his lifetime regarded as the incarnation of a god (cf. Ali among Shiite Mahommedans; the Bab in Babism; the Druse Hakim). Most Christians on this ground repudiate the application of the term to the worship of Jesus Christ. Curiously, Apotheosis is used by the Latin Christian poet, Prudentius (c. 400), as the title of a poem defending orthodox views on the person of Christ and other points of doctrine - the affectation of a decadent age. (c) The worship paid to Saints, in those Christian churches which admit it, is formally distinguished as dulia (SovXeia) from true worship or latria XarpEia). Even the Virgin Mary, though she is styled Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, receives only dulia or at most hyperdulia. (R. G.; R. MA.)


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