The priestesses of the goddess were rrap6Evoc (i.e.
At al-`01ä, south-east of Elath) to the priests and priestesses of the Arabian god Vadd (so especially Hommel, Anc. Heb.
Later, they were used to denote the attendants on certain priests and priestesses, especially the flamen dialis and flaminica and the curiones.
Her priestesses were Italian Greeks and her temple was Greek in its architecture and built by Greek artists.
Her oldest priestesses, the dew-sisters - Aglauros, Herse, Pandrosos - signify the fertilization of the earth by the dew, and were probably at one time identified with Athena, as surnames of whom both Aglauros and Pandrosos are found.
Of Hellanicus, the Greek logographer, who appears to have lived through the greater part of the 5th century B.C., and who drew up a chronological list of the priestesses of Here at Argos; of Ephorus, who lived in the 4th century B.C., and is distinguished as the first Greek who attempted the composition of a universal history; and of Timaeus, who in the following century wrote an elaborate history of Sicily, in which he set the example of using the Olympiads as the basis of chronology, the works have perished and our meagre knowledge of their contents is derived only from fragmentary citations in later writers.
Epiphanius says quite distinctly that they were woman-elders and not priestesses in any sense of the term, and that their mission was not to interfere with the functions allotted to priests but simply to perform certain offices in connexion with the care of women.
This position, we see, can be reached by various paths: the priest may become indispensable through the growth of ritual observances and precautions too complicated for a layman to master, or he may lay claim to special nearness to the gods on the ground, it may be, of his race, or, it may be, of habitual practices of purity and asceticism which cannot be combined with the duties of ordinary life, as, for example, celibacy was required of priestesses of Vesta at Rome.
A series of forty-four mummies of priests and priestesses of the XXIst Dynasty furnished the material for an important monograph.
But there is some evidence also for the existence of special priestesses at certain sanctuaries.
In the service of the Theban Ammon two priestesses called the Adorer of the God and the Wife of the God occupied very influential positions, and towards the Saite period it was by no means unusual for the king to secure these offices for his daughters and so to strengthen his own royal title.
In the period of Dorian supremacy, in spite of the new cults which were introduced by these people, the Heraeum maintained its supreme importance: it was here that the tablets recording the succession of priestesses were kept which served as a chronological standard for the Argive people, and even far beyond their borders; and it was here that Pheidon deposited the 6/3EAcvKot when he introduced coinage into Greece.
In addition to his ministrant priestesses, the god has numerous " wives," who form a complete organization.
The priestesses were called doves (7r XEtac) and Herodotus tells a story which he learned at Egyptian Thebes, that the oracle of Dodona was founded by an Egyptian priestess who was carried away by the Phoenicians, but says that the local legend substitutes for this priestess a black dove, a substitution in which he tries to find a rational meaning.
There were simple religious annals, votive tablets recording miracles accomplished at a shrine, lists of priests and priestesses, accounts of benefactions, of prodigies and portents.
Aphrodite Pandemos was held in equal regard with Urania; she was called Qeµv i ("holy"), and was served by priestesses upon whom strict chastity was enjoined.
By order of the Sibylline books, a temple was built to these three deities near the Circus Flaminius; the whole cultus was borrowed from the Greeks, down even to the terminology, and priestesses were brought from the Greek cities.
There were also three classes of priestesses, Mellierae, Hierae, Parierae; there is no evidence that they were called Melissae ("bees"), although the bee is a frequent symbol on the coins of the city.
It is conjectured that the Amazons were originally the temple-servants and priestesses (hierodulae) of this goddess; and that the removal of the breast corresponded with the self-mutilation of the galli, or priests, of Rhea Cybele.
The priestesses by whom she was served are depicted in early art as armed with the double-headed axe, and the dances they performed in her honour with shield and bow gave rise to the myths which saw in them.