AskDefine | Define hierodule

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From etyl grc ἱερόδουλος from ἱερός + δοῦλος.

Noun

  1. (in Ancient Greece) A temple slave, often one performing religious prostitution.

Extensive Definition

In ancient Greece and Anatolia a hierodule, from the Greek ( "temple" + δούλη "female slave"), was a temple slave in the service of a specific deity, often with the connotation of religious prostitution. Her prostitution would technically be excused because of the service she provided to the deity, despite the fact that promiscuity was the social norm at the time. The priestesses of Inanna/Ishtar were known to be hierodules, or nadītu in the native Sumerian language.
Among some neopagans, a hierodule may be a priestess who has sexual intercourse in the role of whichever Goddess she serves in the divine union of hieros gamos.

External links

hierodule in German: Hierodulen
hierodule in Spanish: Hieródulo
hierodule in Dutch: Hiërodulen
hierodule in Russian: Иеродулы
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