G.05, 50 George Square, Edinburgh | 17:30-19:00
Friday 2nd February 2018
Professor Peter Jackson is director of History of religions at the Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender studies at Stockholm University. He specialises in the philological study of Indo-European religions, with a special emphasis on ancient Indian and Iranian religions, the religions of ancient Greece and Rome, and Old Norse religion. He has also undertaken the daunting comparative task of exploring how recurrences in the earliest cultic and heroic poetry of ancient India, Iran, Greece, and the Germanic world may provide clues to the common past of these traditions.
In his lecture, Prof. Jackson will examine the mutual dependence between a rudimentary warrior elite and increasingly specialized suppliers of ritual in proto Indo European society. He will explore deep layers of comparative evidence, in order to demonstrate the means by which patron-client relationships in ancient Greece, pre-Achaemenid Iran, and Vedic India paved the way for new notions and sensibilities, including theoretical means of living and the promise of a happy afterlife. Special attention will be drawn to the names and mythical characterizations of Orpheus and the Vedic so-called R̥bhus (r̥bhú- [pl. r̥bhávaḥ]) as idealized projections of the itinerant poet-priest.