"Autorità senza autore" nella Grecia antica: il caso dello scettro

Carmine Pisano


Starting from an important work by Carlo Severi dedicated to forms of "authority without an author" in modern societies that do not have a written tradition, this article analyzes the cultural mechanisms by means of which the authority of the sceptre is constructed in a prevalently oral world like that described in the Homeric poems. Through comparison with ritually subjectivized artifacts like the nkisi, to which a mainly judicial function is attributed among the Zinganga of Congo, we demonstrate that the sceptre of Agamemnon, venerated in the Boeotian city of Chaeronea as the chief deity of the polis, has a specific "agency", presenting itself – in Alfred Gell's terms – as "the visible knot which ties together an invisible skein of relations, fanning out into social space and social time".

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