Numerous ancient texts describe human sacrifices or other forms of ritual killing: In the "Iliad" Achilles slaughters twelve Trojan captives before the funeral pyre of Patroclus, while many other texts report human sacrifices performed regularly in the cult of the gods or during emergencies such as war and plague. In addition, archeologists have frequently proposed sacrificial rites as an explanation for their discoveries.
The first book-length study of this controversial subject to appear since 1915 and the first ever published in English, "Human Sacrifice in Ancient Greece" examines the written and archeological evidence for the ritual killing of human beings in ancient Greece. The author discusses the evidence for a range of sacrificial practices which collectively suggest a bloody and violent religious life among the ancient Greeks from the Bronze Age well into historical times. At the same time, Hughes presents the skeptical view of such sacrificial interpretations. A valuable synthesis of data and arguments on this controversial subject, "Human Sacrifice in Ancient Greece" offers a fascinating glimpse into the religious thought of the ancient Greeks and into changing modern conceptions of their religious behavior.
"In sum, Dennis Hughes has written a stimulating, highly useful, and often . . . convincing book. It is certainly a solid and important contribution to the study of ancient Greek religion."
-"Journal of the International Plutarch Society