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FIOMO NECANS

TheAnthropology
of AncientGreek
SacrificiqlRitual andMtlth

bV
WALIER BURKERT

Translated
by
PETERBING

UNIVERSITYOF CALIFORNIA PRESS

Berkeley LosAngeles London

f-.

-L .;
i1,
cr

Originally published in German by Walter de Gruyter & Co., Berlin,


under the title Homo Necans(1972).
University of California Press
Berkeley and Los Angeles, California
University of California Press, Ltd.
London, England
@ 1983by
The Regents of the University of California

Library of CongressCatalogingin PublicationData


Burkert, Walter r93rHomo necans.
Translationof: Homo necans.
Bibliography: p.
r. Ritesand ceremonies-Greece. z. Sacrifice.
3. Mythology, Greek. 4. Greece-Religion. I. Title.
zgz' .38 77-93423
sr788.a8V3 rg8)
rsrwo-5zo-o5875-5

Printed in the United Statesof America


456789
The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements
of American National Standardfor llformation Sciences-Permanence
of Paperfor Printed Library Materials,ANSI 49.48-r984.

For ReinholdMerlcelbsch

fuso

xcti rair' Eart rd. puarr1pca, cvueltovrt


gduut. gouoL xo.i ragoc

Clementof Alexandria

et nos servasti_sanguine

Mithraic inscription,Santaprisca,Rome

Translator'sPreface xi

Contents

to theEnglishEdition xiii
Preface

Listof lllustrations xvii


lntroduction xix

I . SACRIFICE,HUNTING, AND FUNERARYRITUALS

r. Sacrificeasan Act of Killing 1


Explanation:
PrimitiaeMan as Hunter
z. TheEtsolutionary
3. Ritualization 22
4. Myth and Ritual 29
of Ritual Killing J5
5, TheFunctionand Transformation
6. Funerary Ritual 48
7. TheSexualizationof Ritual Killing: Maiden Sacrifice,
PhallusCuIt 58
8. FatherGodand GreatGoddess 72

il. WEREWOLVESAROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

NEW YEAR'SFESTIVAL

r. Lykniaand Lykaion 84
z. Pelopsat Olympia 93
3. Thyestesand Harpagos 1o3
4. Aristaiosand Aktaion 1o9
5. TheDelphicTripod tr6
6. A Glanceat Odysseus t3o

m. DISSOLUTION AND

r. FromOx-Slayingto thePanathenaic
Festiaal t36
Dipolieia q6
Skira 74)

IX

72

83

a35

2.

Arrhephoria 71'o
Panathenaia 754
Excursus: The Troian Horse
Argos and Argeiphontes 16r
158

) . Agrionia $8
4 . Tereusand the Nightingale a79
5 . Antiope and EPoPeus 185
6 . The Lemnian Women 79o
7. The Return of the DolPhin t96
8 . Fish Adaent 2o4
IV. ANTHESTERIA

48

7 . Testimoniaand Dissemination 213


2 . Pithoigia and Choes zt6
3 . Carians or Keres zz6
SacredMarriage and Lenaia-Vases z3o
i
?'

5 . Chytroi qnd Aiora


6 . Protesilaos 243
V. ELEUSIS
t. Documentation
and Secret 248
z. TheMyth of Koreand Pig-Sacrifice256
3. Myesisand Synthema 265
in the Telesterion274
4. TheSacrifice
Deathand Encountering
Death:Initiationand
5. Oaercoming
Sacrifice zg3
and Bibliography 299
Abbreaiations
Indexof Cult Sitesand Festiuals 3o9
Index of Namesof Godsand Heroes 3a3
and Things )79
lndexof Persons
lndex of GreekWords 33a

273

248

Translator'sPreface

PeterBing

walter Burkert'sstyle is often suggestiverather than explicit, his


descriptionsare vivid (at times almost visionary)rather than dryly academic,and he does not hesitateto use colroquiarismsso as to make a
point more forcefully. In the processof translation, such featuresinevitably undergo a certain levelling. I have tried, however, to maintain the drama and drive of ProfessorBurkert'sprose.In the German,
Homo Necansis remarkable for being both an exemplary piece of
scholarshipand just plain good reading. It is my hope that itiemains
so in the.English.
Among the many friends and colleagueswho helped me at various stagesin this translation,specialthanks are due to fames Fanto,
ProfessorBruce Frier, ProfessorLudwig Koenen, Charlotte Melin,
ProfessorWilliam Owens, and ProfessorSusan Scheinberg.I was
privileged to spend severalenjoyable and productive days revising
the manuscript with ProfessorBurkert in Uster. Finally my thanki
to Doris Kretschmer of the University of California piess who entrusted this project to me and politely,but firmly, kept my nose to the
grindstone.

PHILADELrHIA, NovEMBnn rg8z

xi

Prefaceto the English Edition

It is with some hesitation that I present this book, conceivedin


the sixties, to an Anglo-American public of the eighties. An holistic
synthesisin the field of anthropology may appear preposterousand
inadequateat any time; and changesin approach, method, and interest, which have been especiallymarked in these decades-be it
through progress in the individual branchesof study, be it through
changes.ofparadigmsor even fashions-make such an attempt all the
more questionable.When this book appearedin German in 1972,it
could claim to be revolutionary in various respects.To a field still
dominated largely by philological-historicalpositivism or by the residue of the Tylorian approach in Nilsson and Deubner, it brought a
comprehensiveand consistentapplicationof the myth-and-ritual position; it introduced, after Harrison's Themis,functionalism to the
study of Greek religion; it used a form of structuralismin interpreting
the complexesof mythical tales and festivals;and it made a first attempt to apply ethology to religious history. In the English-speaking
world, ritualism and functionalismhad made their mark long before,
and much more on all theselines has beenworked out, disseminated,
and discussedin the last decade.What was originally novel and daring may thus soon apPearantiquated.The socialaspectof religion in
generaland the central role of sacrificein ancient religion are taken
for granted today.Much of the credit goesto the schoolof Jean-Pierre
and the
Vernant and Marcel Detienne in Paris. Ren6 Girard's Violence
Sacred,
which appearedin the sameyear as HomoNecansand may be
seenas largely parallelin intent (cf. L5.n.r), was also instrumental.
More generally,we have seen the swift rise of semiology and structuralism, which, though judged by some to be already past their
apogee, still command attention and discussion.We have likewise
witnessedthe emergenceof sociobiology,which aspiresto a new synthesisof natural and socialsciences.To keep up with all thesedevelwould virtually require
opments and iniegrate them into HomoNecans

xlll

PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION

another book replacing the tentative essay that now constitutes my


first chapter.
Chapters II through V appear less problematical. They elaborate
basic ritual structures reflected in myth, demonstrating correspondences and integrating isolated pie-9gsinto a comprehensive whole.
As a description-this *ill prorr. ualid.in its own right. The attempt,
however, to extrapolate from this an historical-causal explanation of
the phenomena-that is, to derive sacrifice from hunting and religion
be condemned by the stern rules of
from sacrificial ritual-could
many a methodology. Yet I have decided to run this risk rather than
limit my perspectives by preestablished rules.
In so doing, I have inevitably made use of various hypotheses
concerning prehistory, sociology, and psychology that are open to error and to the possibility of attack and falsification in the course of
further research. There is no denying that a decisive impulse for the
thesis of Homo Necans came from Konrad Lorenz's On Aggression,
which seemed to offer new insight into the disquieting manifestations
of violence, which are so prominent in human affairs and not least in
the ancient world. Lorenz's assertions about the innate roots of aggression and its necessary functions have come under vigorous attack
by progressive sociologists. Some overstatements no doubt have been
corrected, but some of the criticism and subsequent neglect may be
viewed as part of the schizophrenia of our world, which pursues the
ideal of an ever more human, more easygoing life amid growing insecurity and uncontrolled violence. Fashionable psychology attempts to
eradicate feelings of guilt from the human psyche; ideas of atonement
appear old-fashioned or even perverse. The thrust of Homo Necans
runs counter to these trends. It attempts to show that things were different in the formative period of oui civilization; it arguJs that solidarity was achieved through a sacred crime with due reparation. And
while it has no intention of thwarting modern optimism, it tries to
warn against ignoring what was formerly the case.
Great advances have been made in prehistory and especially in
primatology. We now know there are hunts with subsequent ,,distribution of meat" among chimpanzees (seeI.z.n.z3)-showing them to
be more human than had been suspected; a chimpanzee ,,rarar,,has
been observed, and there are reports of intentionaf kitting by gorillas
and orangutans (see I.6.n.5). The picture of evolution hai become
ever richer in details but increasingly blurred in its outlines. In reaction to the "hunting hypothesis" of Robert Ardrey and others, specialists are now reluctant to lay claim to knowledge of the importance
of hunting behavior. what had been taken to be lhe earliest evidence

PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION

for sacrifice has been called into question again (see


yet the
I.z.n.6).
historian of religion still insists that religion must have
come into ex_
is.tence at some specific point_chimpir,re"s
are apparentlv irreli_
gious-and that it first becomes disceinibre with funera.y
uni
nrr.,t_
ing ritual. In view of all
this
it
is
essential
to
note
that
the
lor.r" or
historical development as
delineated
in
Homo
Necqns
does
not at any
stage require that "all" men acted or experienced things
in a certain
way-e'9., that all hunters feel sympathy
for
their
quairy
or
remorse
over their hunting-but
only that ro*"
iid
indeed
instiiute
forms
of
behavior that became traditional and had a
formative
influence
on the
high cultures accessible to historical investigation.
For the srrange
prominence of animal sraughter in ancient rer'igion
this still seems to
be the most
economical,
and
most
humane,
exllanation.
dealing with tradition, Homo Necanstakes a
stance
.
-F
that
is
hardly popular: it restricts
the
role
of
creative
freedom
a.d
fantasy;
it
reduces "ideas" to the imprinting effect of cultural transfer.
on the
,,creativity,,
other hand, modern insistence
on
may
simply
be
an
at_
tempt to compensate for the enormous anonymous constraints
at
work in our society. Nobody wants to question the spiritual achievements of mankind, but these may have it.ung" and opaque
substructures. In pointing them out it is perhaps wisest not even to shun
the
accusation of reductionism, for, though from a structuralist-semiotic
perspective one
may
well
describe
religion
as
the
relations
between
men and gods, with sacrifice
mediating
between
them,
the
term
gods
nonetheless remains fluid and in need of explanation, while
sacrifice
is a fact.

The thesis that those groups united by religious


ritual
have
historically been most successful seems to conflict *itn tn" modern
version of the theory of evolution. That theory now discards the concept
9f qlo"p selection and insists, rather, on ih" self-perpetuation of the
"selfish gene" (see
I.3.n.9).
It
may
be
pointed
out
bnce
more
that
this
is a predictable
modern
perspective
ieflecting
the
disintegration
of
our society. whether it
applies
to
the
history
of
culturally
dJtermined
groups is another question.
The
thesis
of
Homo
Necans
does not hy,,human
pothesize about genetic fixation
of
nature.,,
It
seeks, rather,
to.confront the power and effect of tradition as fuily
as possibre. In
this sense it is radically historical, and factual.

pre.paring the translation, I have only been able to rework the


ototrography
and
notes
to
a
limited
extent.
They
still
largely reflect
the state of
the
relevant
scholarship
in
1972.
I
have,
howlver, taken
the opportunity to refer to more recent specialized
studies and stan-

PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION

more complete and updard works and to make the documentation


to-date.
ItremainstothanktheUniversityofCaliforniaPressandPeter
Bing, the translator, for their untiring efforts'
usrER,yurv r98z
WalterBurkert

List of Illustrations

following pagefi4

'Lenaia-vase'. Attic red-figure stamnos.

r. Sacrificialprocession.Attic black-figurecup.
z. Preparation for sacrifice. Attic red-figure bell crater.
3. Leopard men hunting stagand boar. Wall painting from Qatal
Htiyrik.
4- Sacrificial feast: roasting and cooking. Caeretan hydria.
5 . Warrior rising from a tripod cauldron. Mitra from Axos.
6. Bulls strolling around an altar. Attic black-figure oinochoe.

8 . Mystery initiation: pig sacrifice. Lovatelli urn.


9 . Mystery initiation: purification by liknon. Lovatelli urn.

xvll

Introduction

It is not so much the limits of our knowledge as the superabundance of what can be known that makes an attempt to expliin man's
religious behavior an almost hopelessenterprise.The mass of available data and interpretation has long exceededthe limits of what an
individual can grasp and assimilate.Perhapsthis stream of information will soon be ordered and surveyedthrough a collectiveeffort using computels, but as long as intellectualindependenceprevails and
an individual must seek to orient himself within his own world, he
may-indeed, he must-take the risk of projectinga model of his situation and reducing a confusing multiplicity into a comprehensible
form.
A philologist who startsfrom ancientGreek textsand attemptsto
find biological, psychological,and sociologicalexplanationsfoi religious phenomenanaturally runs the risk of juggling too many balls at
once and dropping them all. And if it is strangefor a philologist to
venture beyond scrupulous discussionof his texts, psychology and
sociologyare just as reluctant to burden their analysesof contemporary phenomenawith an historical perspectivestretchingback to antiquity and beyond. There is a danger that important biological,psychological, and ethnological findings be overlooked, juit as can
happen with archaeologicalfinds, and it is hardly possible for the
non-specialistto give the Near Easternevidencethe expert treatment
it requires. Yet we must not assumethat all subiectsfii neatlv within
the limits of a particular discipline. Even philology depends on a biologically,psychologically,and sociologicallydeteimined environment
and tradition to provide its basisfor understanding.And just as biology acquiredan historical dimension with the conceptof evolution,r
so sociology,like psychology before it, should uccepfthe notion that

'H.
Diels, lnternationale wochenshrift ) (1gog), g9o, discussed the "historicizins of nature" through Darwin's the<-rry

xix

INTRODUCTION

understood only by
human societyis shapedby the past and.can be
of time'
examining its"develoim"nf ou"t long periods
itself presentsus with probOf course, ttr" uii of understanding
If by "understanding" we
lems that have been widely discussed'
correspondto-our exPecmean that the outside world will ultimately
tutio"'andthoughtstructures,thenweadmitthatthediversityof
thatworldisperceivedasthoughthroughapredeterminedfilterand
b" diff"rent kinds of understanding, distinguished ac;ir;;;;r;;fi
individuals and groups. But if reality were not anthropo.*d*_-;
or at leastintellectuallydetermined, then understanding
"iiii?."ify
sensewould be altogetherimpossible. The possibility
i;;;;rrr;al
fully awareof theseproblems,to
,"-uir* of using our consciousness,
unravel the courseof receivedtradition,' and to adapt the structures
of understanding to the ever-new realities with which we are confronted and to *tl.t man, whether he likes it or not, remains tied.
our task is to seek the perspectivesthat give us the broadest and
clearestview, to project a-modelthat accountsfor the various areasof
experienceas comprehensivelyas possibleand that is susceptibleto
frequent factualveiification. We cannot hope that our model will be a
finiihed product; it is merely an attempt set forward for discussion,
with full knowledge of its tentative natureEvery religionaspiresto the absolute.Its claims,when seenfrom
within, make it self-sufficient.It establishesand explains,but needs
no explanation.Within this sphereof power, any discussionabout religion will almost automaticallybecomea religious Pronouncement,
especiallyas the essenceof religion is an attempt at expressionand
communication.In this way, however,religion becomesthe agentand
the medium of communication rather than its subiect. This is precisely why religious discussionabout religion is effective,for it finds
resonancein nearly everyone.Thus, even when the seriousnessof religious practiceis replacedby the ambiguousand non-binding "as if"
of emotional understanding, this mode of discourseremains entirely
respectableeven in a secularizedsociety.
The opposite extreme in the study of religion is likewise generally acceptedand carriesno risk: this is the lexicographicaldocumentation and arrangementof the details that have been observed and
transmitted to us from the past. And yet a lexiconwill not give us an
understanding of the language if the grammar is unknown or disregarded and if the practice under discussion has not been underzFor the fundamental philosophical treatment see H.
G. Gadamer, Wahrheit und Methode Q965\').

INTRODUCTION

stood' Thus, preciselybecausereligious phenomenaseemmore and


more to elude the modern world's grasp, mere gathering of material
can shed no more light on them than can the uncontrolledresonances
of emotional understanding.
Especiallywhen dealing with foreign or extinct religions, an outsider finds himself confronted, as it were, with a strange and unknown language:to understand it, he must translateit. This means
first of all that there should be no ambiguity about the languageinto
which one translates.To vacillatebetween transformationand imitation will produce the kind of misunderstandingsthat do, in fact,
dominate many controversiesin the study of religion. If one tries to
translateone religion into the languageof another, one finds, just as
in working with ordinary languagesof different nations, that this is
only possible to a limited degree. Equivalent expressionswill frequently be lacking, due to the respectivedifferencesin religious practice and in living conditions. If we take up foreign words such as
totem,tabu, and mana,their meaning remains unclear or changesaccording to the interpreter'sintent. If we invent new conceptssuch as
spirit or YearDaemon,3
aegetation
their legitimacyremains a matter of
dispute, especiallyif it is unclearat what point the conceptbecomesa
new myth itself.
The languagethat has proved the most generallyunderstoodand
cross-culturalis that of secularizedscholarship.Its practicetoday is
determined by sciencein its broadestsense,its systemof rules by the
laws of logic. It may, of course,seemthe most questionableendeavor
of all to try to translatereligiousphenomenainto this language;by its
self-conception,a religion must deny that such explanationsare possible. However, scholarship is free to study even the rejection of
knowledge and repudiation of independentthought, for scholarship,
in attempting to understand the world, has the broader perspective
here and cannot abstain from analyzing the worldwide fact of religion. This is not a hopelessundertaking.nHowever, a discussionof
religion must then be anything but religious.

3W.
Mannhardt, Die KorndiimonenQ868); Harrison (r9z) 31r-34. Especially dangerous
is the little word is, which confounds translation, allegory, classification, and onlologicaf or psychological realization. See, for instance, Nilsson jgo6) z7: "wenn der Stier des
Zeus Sosipolis ein Korngeist ist, muss der des Zeus Polieus es auch sein.',
aE.
E. Evans-Pritchard, Theoriesof Primitiae Religion(1965), offers a survey with penetrating criticism that leads to the conclusion that the "believer" is s-.rperiorto the "nonbeliever" (rzr). still fundamental, however, is E. Durkheirn's Les
formesilimentaires tlela
ttte religieuse(r9rz). Psychoanalytical enterprises-most recently La Barre j97o)-are
also to be taken seriously.

xxl

We shall examine religion as an historical and social phenomenon, as the medium of tradition and communication among men.
This contradicts the common assumptions, if not the practical reality,
of the dominant religious tradition in the West, i.e., Christianity,
which views the individual's encounter with the one God, and his
subsequent salvation, as the onlyrelevant facts. This perspective has
determined the common scholarly definition of religion as, for instance, "man's experiential encounter with the sacred and his action
in response to the sacred."s And yet individual religions exist in typical and persisting forms precisely because very little unforeseen spontaneity and innovation occur in them. To the extent that we find a
"personal encounter with the sacred," it is performed according to a
traditional method and with pedagogical intent. Only those who can
attest to a genuine encounter are accepted. The pre-Christian religions proclaimed with the utmost conviction that only ancestral tradition could guarantee the legitimacy of religion. Thus, through his oracle, the Delphic god always sanctioned rites "according to the custom
of the city"; and the Boeotian was speaking for many when he remarked, in regard to a strange fish-sacrifice at Lake Copais, "There is
just one thing I know: that one must maintain the ancestral customs
and that it would be improper to excuse oneself for this before
others." 6
Ancient Greek religion is distinguished neither by extreme antiquity nor by a great wealth of source material. It is far younger than
either the Egyptian or Sumerian tradition, and in terms of accessibility it cannot even begin to compete with a living religion. In spite of
this, the general problems in the study of religion have been repeatedly linked to research on the religion of the Greeks. This can hardly
be a coincidental offshoot of the once-ubiquitous humanistic tradition. If, rather, we take both age and accessibility into account simultaneously, the ancient Greek religion assumes a unique position after
all: among the most ancient forms of religion, it is still the most comprehensible and the one that can be obseived from the greatest number of perspectives. For it never disappeared entirely, but remained

INTRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

xxiii

zur Rerigionssoziologie
_,__"6."I, [ryzo],
q-zo6), but
rtrzwt, L/_zuorl
our Lalvlnlsm
Calvinis- cannot conversely be explained
--^r-i-^r by
L.. way
-.,--,ol
-/
capitalism.
"r...*.nn\/p,car'ho

TMax
weber, in his famous study, demonstrated
the influenceof carvinism on capitalism (Dreprotestantische
Ethikunider Geistdesxopirotir*ur, Ges.Aufsiitze

active,even if in strangetransformations,_irgmsuperstition
and
liter_
ary tradition to liturgical practice and Christi""'th;;i;;y.t.,ty
i.,
ancient Greek religion do we
find
an
uninterrupt"J;;:iir;
of the
greatestantiquity in a highly refined culture, unsurpassed
in its intel_
lectual and artistic achievement.It was
due
to
this
union
of
antiquity
with sophisticationthat the Greekswere
the
first
syst"mati*ri
to call
religion into question' Seen from that distanceind from
c(angrng
perspectives,the phenomenon may come into
sharper
relief.
In the following studies, the Greek tradition
wiil
hold
center
stage,though it is hoped that we will illuminate important
stagesin
the mainstreamof human
development
as
well.
we
witt
not try to exp]{n nfeigmena by amls.sing,,primitive,,material
fo. lo.r,p'u.iror,,
stripped of its context and
henie
utt
tn"
more
difficult
to
understand.
Rathe.r,.we shall proceed from
a
consistent
historical
perspective
stretching back to man's beginnings. we wit
pr"." gi*itweigtt
""t
on theindividuality of Greericultuie, regardless
of
how
p?Jr"*or*ry
it may be; the anthroporogicalaspectout-weighs
the
humanistrc.
nut it
is preciselyhere that both the primeval rools and
the
lucidity
of the
Greekmaterialbecomesevideni. It can serve,as it were, as
a mirror in
which the basicorders of rife, lying far behind us, become
visiblewith
an almost classicalclaritv.
we shall try to combinethis consistenthistoricalperspective
with
.
a functiorralone. within historical
reality,
religion
is
a
sta'uitizr.,g
ructor of the first order in society.As such
it
upp"u*
in
its
enduring
aspect, always a given tradition which is moaified
time
and
ug"i; u"a
never replacedby something entirely new. As
it
unfords
-iihir, th"
many-facetedplay of sociarforces, various traditions
unite, thereby
perpetuatingthemselvesor languishingand dying out.
i:t"J,,l"g 1"d
while tied to social reality, do", .,ot si"mply
:1",:-t:.1":pect,..religion,
reflec.t
that reality; it
takes
little
account
of
society's
swift
changes,especiallythose regarding
economic
conditions.
Rathea
it seemsto deal
wrth more fundamental layers of communal human
life and with its
preconditions,which have changedonly ,filf,,ff f.offI.^l:,t"-gi.a.l
rne earlresttimes until now If religious
forms
have ofien iro"iaua u
focal point for new social and ecinomic
developmentr,ii"y'-"."
more.a prerequisitethan a consequenceof these
developments.,
At the core of our study u." th" rituals, together
wiih the mythic

5G Mglsching,
Die grossenNichtchristlichenReligionenunserer Zeit (rg5+), rJ; RGG3 V
6 2mi g a n g m i t
9 & ; c f . F . H e i l e r , E r s c h e i n u n g s t ' o r n r e n u n d W e s e n d e r R e l i g i o n ( r 9 6 t ) ,,5, U
dem Heiligen."
oAgatharchides,
Ath. z97d; u6ptp r6\tueXen. Mem. t.1.t,
4 . 3 . : ' 6 ,a n d c f . H e s . f r . ; z : . ;
Eur. Bacch. 2o7-2o4i Plat. Leg. 78b-d,; Cotta in Cic. Nat. deor.
3.5, 9;Cic. Leg.z.4o;Cic.
Hat resp. 18-r9. Likewise, early Christianity felt obliged to its ancestors: oix dpels rilv
yeipd oou atro roi uioi oou i) dro fi1s tuyarpog oou, ri,\,),ri dtr6 veornros 6r.6ri{srs rdv
96Bov roi Beoi (Didache4.q\.

xxii

TNTRODUCTION

traditions relating to them. Our aim is to identify and to understand


relationshipsand structuresthat recur in various guises but always
bind certain elementstogetherin the sameway'' We shall consciously
refrain from trying to arrangethe materialaccordingto a mathematical model. Theelementsare, on the one hand, so complexand, on the
other, so directly understandablethat it would be wrong to reduce
them to a yes/no pattern, thus making them so complicatedthat they
would be obscured.Killing and eating, virgins, mothers and fathers
-these basic configurations of human life are more easily grasped
through experiencethan through logical analysis,just as the structure of a ritual and of a mythic tale unfolds in linear time and cannot
be representedby a systemof reversiblepermutations.Thus, the sacrificial ritual moves from preparationthrough the "unspeakable"central point to the act of "setting up" an order, a pattern which can be
repeatedbut not reversed.
The first chapter deals with basicprinciples and could stand on
its own, although it would then probably seem too dogmatic and
speculative.It pulls together the various threads that appear in the
casestudies of the subsequentchapters. By spelling out the consequences,it lays the foundation that is then assumedfor the rest of the
book. The hypothesisand the applicationconfirm one another, even
though neither is quite self-sufficient.Following this attempt to analyze the complex of hunting, sacrifice,and funerary ritual both historically and functionally, we turn to an interpretation of groups of
Greek festival rites under various aspects.We examine, on the one
hand, the divisions and interactionsof individual groups at the sacrifice of a ram and, on the othet the sequenceof dissolutionand restoration of the order of life, from the city festivals to the Dionysiac
orgies. The sacrificialstructure of guilt incurred and subsequentrestitution also appearsin the consumption of wine at the oldest festival
of Dionysus; and the mysteriesof the grain goddessDemeterappear
to be likewise organizedby the rhythm of the sacrificialrites. This sequenceis not to be understood as historicalstratigraphy.It is increasingly difficult to separateMediterranean,Near Eastern,and Eurasian
elements, and to distinguish Greek from pre-Greek.The structures
are perhaps too basicto follow ethnic distinctions.
The aim of our presentationis to set out the phenomenain a per6The following analyses were begun and conducted largely without
reference to
C. L6vi-Strauss'sAnthropologiestructuraleQ958; MythologiquesI-lY 11964-197rl; Anthropologiestructuraledeuxlt971l). For a closer look at structuralism, see Burkert (1979)
5-a4.

xxlv

INTRODUCTION

spicuousand understandableform. This requiresa practicablebrevity


and limitation of scope,a selectivetreatmentof the boundlessmassof
material. It would be impossibleto discussall questions in detail or
refer exhaustivelyto all specializedsecondaryliterature. we have attempted instead to refer to what is basic and what is new The most
important sourcesare cited, but the list is by no means exhaustive.
we refer the reader to the standardworks of preller-Robert,Deubner
and Nilsson, Farnell and Cook for more completedocumentation.
-The aspectsof Greekreligion and of humanity that emergein this
study are not those which are particularly edifying, not the ideal or
the most likable traits of Greekculture. yet we can invoke the Delphic
god'sinjuction that mankind should seeitself with absoluteclariry,no
illusions: f uio& oaurov.

I. SACRIFICE,
HUNTING, AND
FUNERARYruTUALS

r. Sacrifice
asan Act
of KiIIing

Aggressionr and human violence have marked the progress of


our civilization and appear, indeed, to have Brown so during its
coursethat they havebecomea centralproblem of the present.Analysesthat attempt to locatethe roots of the evil often set out with shortsighted assumptions,as though the failure of our upbringing or the
faulty developmentof a particular national tradition or economicsystem were to blame. More can be said for the thesisthat all orders and
forms of authority in human societyare founded on institutionalized
violence.This at least correspondsto the fundamental role played in
biology by intraspecificaggression,as describedby Konrad Lorenz.
Those, however, who turn to religion for salvation from this "socalledevil" of aggressionare confrontedwith murder at the very core

'S. Freud
Xll
in der Kultur (r91o), Ges.Schrit'ten
pointed the way in Das Unbehngen
(r9$, z7-t'r4 = Ges.WerkeXlv (1948),4:'9-5o6.K. Lorenz (1963)is basic from the
standpointof the behaviorist.The sometimesspirited criticismsof his approach-for
hstance, M. F. Ashley-Montagu, ed., Man and Aggression
(1968);A. Plack, Die Gesellschaftund das BijseGg6go);J. Rattner, Aggression
und menschliche
Natur Q97o)_.did,indeed correctsome particularsbut sometimesalso displayedwishful thinking and partisanship; cf. Eibl-Eibesfeldtt (r97o) defensive posture. For application to religious
studies see P Weidkuhn, Aggressiaiti)t,Ritus, Slikularisierung.BiologischeGrundformen
religidserProzesse(1965).

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

the old
of Christianity-the death of God'sinnocent son; still earlier,
had deTestamentcovenant could come about only after Abraham
fascinatcided to sacrificehis child. Thus, blood and violence lurk
ingly at the very heart of religion'
-,o
Fromaclassicizingpersp"ective,Greekreligionappearedandstill
who
some as Uiigt t and harmlessly cheerful. Yet those
upp"u.,
(I Cor. r:23) is on another
^jir.,tuir., that the skand"alonof the Cross
overlook the deeperdimension that accompaniesthe
i;;;il;;iler
to draw
fri" 3f the gods as portrayed by Homer. If a man is able
""r, i"-,r," god"s,as the priest Chryseswith Apollo or as Hektor or
thigh"l^',
Oiurr"rr, *ith 2".*, he can do so becausehe has "burnt many
of bulls,,(II. r.4o, zz.a7o;Od. r.66), for this is the act of piety:
"i"1",
slaughter-and eating.It makesno differenceif there is
tloodshed,
no temple or cull-statue,as often occursin the cult of Zeus. The god is.
pr"r"r,i at his place of sacrifice,a place distinguishedby the heap of
,,sacred"offerings burnt there over long periods of
ashes left from
time, or by the horns and skulls of slaughteredrams and bulls, or by
the altar-stonewhere the blood must be sprinkled. The worshipper
experiencesthe god most Powerfully not just in pious conduct or in
pruy"r, ro.g, u.,I dance,but in the deadly blow of the axe, the gush
Lf Utooa an? the burning of thigh-pieces.The realm of the gods is
sacred,but the "sacred" act done at the "sacred" place by the "consecrating" actor consistsof slaughteringsacrificialanimals, iepeiecv
ra iepe{a.,It was no different in Israel up to the destruction of the
tempie.' It is prescribed that daily "burnt offering shall be on the
hearth upon the altar,""all night until the morning" (Lev' 6:z); these
offerings, the remnantsof two one-year-oldlambs cut into pieces,are
"a plea-singodor to the Lord." Thus the principal sin of Antiochus
Epiphanesagainst|erusalemwas that he ordered that "the continual
burnt offeri"g 1U"1taken away" (Dan. 8:rr). Augustus built an altar to
2On Greek sacrificeseeStengel(r9ro), (r9zo) g5-a5, Eitrem (r9r5); F Schwenn, Cebef
und Opfer (r9z); L. Ziehen, RE XVIII (ry9), 579-627,lll A (tgzg), 1669-79;Meuli
"Die antiken
(1946);burkert (1966);Nilsson $95) tlz-t57; Casabona(1966);E'Forster,
'Animal Sacrifice
i"ti.trt"" tiber das Opferwesen,"Diss. Innsbruck, r95z;E. Kadletz,
in Greek and Roman Religion," Diss. University of washington, t976; Detienne and
121'-45;
the pictorial tradition seeG. Rizza, ASAA37l38(195916o)'
Vernant (1979).For
'(ig6S)
:roZ-trfi. On sacrificegenerally see W' R Smith (r89+); H Hubert and
Metzger
z (1898),
M. M-auss,"Essai sur la nature et la fonction du sacrifice," Ann6eSociologique
sur le
zg-tlg: M. Mauss, oeuuresI (1968),rgJ-)o7; A. Loisy, Essaihistorique
-sacrifice
(iqzoj; n. Money-Kyrle, TheMeaningof Sacrifce(r91o) (psychoanalytical);-E'M' Loeb'
')The Blood SacrificeComplex," Mei. Amer.Anthr. Assoc'1o(:'923\;E' O' fames' Sacri(:.962);Burkert (r98r).
ficeand Sacrament
3R. de Vaux, Lessacrifces
deI'AncienTestament
i96$; cf. n. 4z below'

SACRIFICE AS AN ACT OF KILLING

celebratethe establishmSnl0f world peace and, together


with his
family, appearson the reliefsof this Ari pacisur u ru.iiril".,
p."."a"a
by servants carrying the sacrificiaraxe. Thus, the -ort;;fi;;d
gustan art provides a framework for the bloody sacrifices Au_
at the
centgl.
.. .f$acrificial killing is the basicexperienceof the "sacred.,,HomoreIigiosusacts and attains self-awareness
us homonecans.Indeed, this is
what it means "to act,"
operari(whence ,,sacrifice,,
t'6{ew,
is
Opfer
in
German)-the name merely coversup the heart gf
action
with
the
a
euphemism.orhe bliss of encounteringdivinity finds expression
in
ryordr, and yet the strange and extraor-clinaryE;6GTh-at ine parfiaipant in the sacrificeis forced to witness are all the more intense
be_
causethey are left undiscussedl
Thanks to the descriptions"inHomer and tragedy,we can reconstruct the courseof an ordinary Greek sacrificeto"the olympian gods
almost in its entirety.
Ihe path that leads to the center or tn" sacred
experienceis complex.frhe preparationsinclude bathing and dressing in cleanclothes,sputting on ornamentsand wreaths;Joftensexual
abstinenceis a requirement.'At the start, a procession(rrop.rr),s even
if still a small one, is formed. The festivalpirticipants depart from the
everydayworld, moving to a single rhythm and singing. The sacrifi_
cial animal is led along with them, iikewise decoratet and transformed-bound with fillets, its horns coveredwith gold.'Generally it
is hoped that the animal will follow the processioncompliantly or
even willingly. Legendsoften tell of animals that offered tiremselves

'The
basic
meaning
of 8{ew is "to smoke." Concerningthe ancients,plutarch writes
Theophrastus?) raparrop.evot xai ietp.aivovres"Ep6ew"
{fgllowiig
ltiv Exa\ouu xai
"t'6(ew"'
6s
ptya
*
6pdures,
rd
Biew
i;trltuyov,
e. conu.729f .; z:ouekrlar.il. 2.4o9,cf.
r.3r8; Hy. Merc. 436.Likewisein Hebrew and Hittite, the verb to dois usedin
the sense
of "to sacrifice"; cf. casabona e966) 3or-1o4, who warns against generarizations.
sE.g.,
Od.
Eur.
EL
and,
D.
Dennistons
4.759;
Commentary
79t
J.
e99), ad /oc.;poll.
r'25; Wdchter(r9ro) rt-rz; R. Ginouvds, BAAANEYTIKH; Recherchis
surle batndans
I'antiquitdgrecqueQ96z), 2993tB.
"xen. Anab.7.r.4o;Aeschines3.77;etc.;J.
Kochling,
Decoronarumapudantiquosaiatque
usu (r9t3); K. Baus, Der Kranzin Antike und Chrisientum(r94o);L.
Deubner, z{RW3o
(ty), 7o-ro4; Blech (1982).
?Fehrle
1r9ro),esp. r55-58; for the coan inscription on the sacrificeof a bull for Zeus
r-olreusseenow SlC, to25 = LS r5t A
4t_44.
8E.Pfuhl,
De Atheniensium
pompis
(r9ro);
sacris
Wilamo
(t932)
witz
j5o_54.
"od' 3.412-38.This survived in fork custom until modern times; seeU.
Jahn, Die deutschenopferbriiuchebeiAckerbauund viehzucht
egg4), q6-17, lt5-17, on the proverbial
"ox at Pentecost";Megas
Q956)t7. On the meanint otfiepeiovrit erozseeArist. fr. ror;
t'tut. Uedel.or. 437a:Schol.A. II. r.66;Eust.
49.35.

SACRIFICE, HUNTING/ FUNERARY RITUALS

uP for sacrifice,r0
apparent evidenceof a higher will that commands
aisent. The final goit it the sacrificialstone, the altar "set up" long
ago, which is to be sprinkled with.blood' Usually a fire is already
u[luru on top of it. Olten a censeris used to impregnatethe atmospherewith ihe scentof the extraordinary,and there is music, usually
tirat of the flute. A virgin leadsthe way, "carrying the basket" (xavr1gripos)," that is, an untouched girl holding a coveredcontainer (see
fieuresr and z). A water iug must be there as well'
"
fFirst of all, after arriving at the sacred place, the participants
,,'"i-t off a circle; the sacrificial basket and water jug are carried
around the assembly,thus marking off the sacredrealm from the profane." The first communal act is washing one's hands as the beginning of that which is to take place.The animal is also sprinkled with
waterll"shakeyourself,"saysTrygaiosin Aristophanes,''for the animal'sirovement is taken to signify a "willing nod," a "yes" to the sacrificial act. The bull is watered again," so that he will bow his head.
The animal thus becomesthe center of attention. The participants
now take unground barley grains (orilal), the most ancient agricultural product, from the basket. These, however, are not meant for
grinding or to be made into food: after a brief silence,the solemn
eJgqp,eiv, followed by a prayer out loud-in a way, more selfaffirmation than prayer-the participantsfling the barley grains away
onto the sacrificialanimal, the altar, and the earth." They are after
rorge4lrirou
Bo<is6ixqu Aesch. Ag. 7297;seeBurkert (t966) to7 n. 43; Dio Chrys Or'
rz.5r (Olympia);Porph. Abst.t.z5 (Gadeira,Kyzikos);Plut. Pel.zz (Leuktra);Apollon.
Mir. 11 (t{alikarnassos);Arist. Mir. Ausc.844a35(Pedasia);Philostr' Her. 8 p. 294
(Rhesos),17 p.)2g and Arr. Peripl.zz (Leuke);Ael. Nat. an. ro-5o(Eryx), rr.4 (Hermione); especiallyfor human sacrificesee Neanthes FGrHist84 F 16 (Epimenides),
Isaac,accordingto HellenistictradiServ.Aen.3.57(Massalia),Paus.
4.9.4(Messenia);
Opfertod
tion, seeJos.Ant. lud. r.z1z; IV Macc. l.1:tz, 16:zo. Cf. J. Schmitt, Freiutilliger
bei Euripides(r9zr).
1tJ.Schelp, DasKanoun,der griechische
(tg75\; for reproductionssee,e.g., SiOpferkorb
mon (1969)r93;Deubner(1912)pl. rr.r; Nilsson(1955)pl. 32.r.
'2E.g.,
Pax956-58, Eur. lph. Aul. t-568;Eitrem (r9r5) 7-29.
Aristoph.
rrAristoph. Pax
96o;6 6' |xoitotov d.uxarauciaTl . .. Porph. Abst.z.g: Parke and
Wormell(1958)II #517;Plut. Q. conu.7z9f., De def. or' 45b-c,437a;Schol. Il' 1.449;
Schol.Aristoph. Pax96o;Schol.Apoll. Rhod.r.425;cf. Meuli (t946\254,266;J'C'Fra1898,on Paus.ro.5.7;Ginouvds,BAAANEYTIKH,
of Creece,
zer, Pausanias'
Description
3rr-18.
raBull-sacrifice
for dithyrambic victory: see, e.8., the Munich stamnos z4rz: ARV'z
ro36, 5 in Stengel(r9zo)pl. V
'sA. W. H. Adkins, "Etyop.at. Eiyd,il and Ei'1osin Homer," CQ tg (196), 2o-))'. "as'
serting his existence,his value, and his claims" (33);this characteristic,a given in Homeric usage,conformsexactlyto the positionof prayerin the sacrificialritual, although
the prayer qua requestcan, as Oriental textsshow, be far more elaborate

SACRIFICE

AS AN

ACT

OF KILLING

another kind of food. The act of throwing simultaneously


as
a
group
is an aggressive gesture, rike beginnir,g
u
iight,
even
if
ihJ;;
harm_
less projectiles are chosen. Indeed, i.r ,ome ancient rituals
stones
were used.'u Hidden beneathJhe grains
in
the
basket
was
the
knife,
which now lies uncovered.r'The leader in this
incipient
drama,
the
iepeis, steps toward the sacrificial animal, carrying
the
knife
still
cov_
ered so that the animal cannot see it. A swift cui, uid u
f"*
hairs
from
the brow are shorn and thrown into the fire. This is another,
though
more serious,
act
of
beginning
(cipyecgat),rn
just
as
the
water
and the
barley grains were a
beginning.
Blood
has
noi
yet
been
spilled
and no
pain whatsoever has been inflicted, but the inviorability
of the sacrificial animal has been abolished irreversibly.
Now comes the death blow
The
*orn"r,
raise
a
piercing
scream:
,,Greek
whether in fear or triumph or both at
once,
the
custJm
of the
sacrificial scream"'n marks the emotional climax of the
Lo-._

hit the altar, the


it is raised over
sprinkled on the
and again, drip

"rr".ri,
ilg-ar4t-th-death:ralfle.Theblood nowrnf out is treated
*itn $*i"r

care. ft may.not spill on the ground; rather, it must


hearth, or the sacrificial pit. If the animal is small
the altar; otherwise the blood is caught in a bowl and
altar-stone. This object alone may, and must again
blood.'o

The "act" is over; its consequences


are
the
next
concern.
The
anr_
mal is carved up and disembowelled. Its
inner
organs
are
now
the
main focus, lying revealed, an alien, bizarre,
and
rri.ur,rry
sight,
and
yet common in the same form to men as well, as is
knoin
from
seeing wounded soldiers. The tradition specifies preciselv what
must

toOritrolurcs
d.ut\ovro
I
rpoBa\ovro
ll. t.449145g, z.4to/42r, and cf. Ori.
3.447; ylputpa
r' oi)royirae re xardpyecfiat od.
).++5; cf . Aristoph. pax 96r-67. ro. o;ioJ us tr," ,.ort

ancrentgrain see Theophrastusin porph.


Abst.
2.6
and
schol.
Ir.
r.44gb;
schol.
orl.
).44r; Sudao 9o7;Eust. 7)2.25,1,i3.1,2,
and cf. Eust. rg59.4g; ur,
of a.otru_
rlrqfeia and eigopia seeSchol.A lt.r.449,Schol. Od.
",
"*prJrrion
3.4.4t.VngZcLu. . . duri oiiitu
Paus.,r.4r.9
(cf.
III.4
below).
For
ritual
stone_throwing
around the altar of
l:.t:ro,
t'oserdonat the Isthmian sanctuaryseeo. Broneet
Hesperia
zg (g59),3o1. Cf .L. ziehen,He-rmes)zQgoz),3gr-4oo;Stengel(r9ro)r)-));Eitrem(r9r5)
z6r-3og,whorecog,1" eSlivalelle.yith,pur,ropJla una *Lriytoptrra; Burkert
lii:l
1ryoo)to7, n. 4o.
r1at.Com. lr.9r \CAF l6z6); Aristoph. pax
94gwith Schol.;Eur. El. gto, iph. Aul.
1565;Philostr. V Av. r.r
'8Od.
3.4q6,r4.4zz';Eur.Alc.74-76,El. ht;Eitrem (r9r5)
roneouslymakesthe "beginning,,into a ,,selbstdndige 344_72_who,howeve,er_
dpfergabe,, (44)
'e'E,\,A1urr<iz
v6p"topa tucraios
Aesch.
Sept.
269;
Boils
Od. 3.45o;Aesch. Ag. 595,
Hdt. 4.r89;L. Deubner,,,Ololygeund Verwandtes,,,
Abh. Berlin(ry4r), r.
^-rr18;
Aip.rlooerv
poll.
porph.
rois
t.z7;
Bapois
Absf.
r.z5;
.
cf
Bacch.
rr.rrr;
Aesch. Sept.
vase-paintingsseen. 2 above;ipviov Od.l.+++(ct. Schol.) :
ngayeiovpoll.
l75tFo1
ro'65'
In place of the artar-(Bup'os),
gira.
the
iearth
inyap,r) or sacriiiciarpit (Bdfpos) can receivethe blood; cf. II.z.n.rg below.
Cf. Stengel(tgro) to5_r25.

l
l
'i'

i1

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

be done with eachpiece." First of all, the heart, sometimesstill beating, is put on the aitar.r'A seeris presentto interpret the lobesof the
liv*er..,in general, however, the ozr),d7Xzc-the collectiveterm for
the organsl-are quickly roastedin the fire from the altar and eatenat
/ once.Thus the inner circleof activeparticipantsis brought together
meal,transforminqh91o1into pleasure.Only the bile
\in
".o*^unal
and has to be disposedof. Likewise, the bones are not to
is inedible
be used for the subsequentmeal, so they are "consecrated"beforehand. The bones, above all the thigh-bones Aqpiq) and the pelvis
are put on the altar "in the proper order."'oFrom
with the tail (rio<pris),
the bones, one can still seeexactlyhow the parts of thgliving animal
fit together: its basic form is restored and consecratedJIn Homer, a
"beginning," i.e., a first offering, consisting of raw pieces of flesh
from every limb, is put on the bonesas well, indicating the entirety of
the slaughteredanimal.'{Tne purifying-jire then consumesall these
remains]The skulls of buTlsand rams ffigoat-horns are preserved"
in the sacredplaceas permanent evidenceof the act of consecration'
The flow of blood is now replacedin its turn by the offerings of the
planter, pouring libationsof wine into the fire and burning cakes.2'As
the alcohol causesthe flames to flare up, a higher reality seemspresent. Then, as the fire dies down, the pleasing feast gradually gives
'?rStengel
Qgto) p-78; Meuli (1946) 246-48, 268-72; cvrnrXayTveierz Aristoph. Par
rrr5; Eup. fr. ro8 (CAF I 286);Ath.
4rob.
zGalen PIac.Hipp. et Plat.2.4 p. 238K; cf. Cleanthesin Cic. Nal. deor.z.z4; Sudax
17o
(An. Bekk.lz75.to; Et. M. 49z.tz);Hsch. xap6lo0orlct,xap6cou)\xlat,and cf. Luk. Sacrif. 13; LSSnr.7.
tsG.Blecher,De extispicio
capitatria (t9o); for the Near Easterntradition seeJ. Nougayrol, "Les rapports des haruspicines 6trusque et assyro-babylonienne," CRAI (t955),
jo9- r8.
2aErifsrr:oos
Hes. Th. 54r. Meuli (1946)zr5-r7 proved that the p.lpia mentionedregularly in Homer are the bare thigh-bones;6or6,a XeuxaHes. Tir. 54o,sj7.The comic
poets normally mention dogus and gall; cf. Men. Qrsc. 45r-52 and cf. fr. 264, Sam.
3gg-4o2;Eub. fr. 95, 1Jo (CAF II tg7, zto); Com.adesp.fr. rzo5 (CAF III.6o6).Vasepaintings (see n. z above) portray the dogris and tail of the sacrificial animal on the
altar; cf. Aristoph. Pax rc54 with Schol.
T'{lp.o$trlcav ll. r.46r, 2.424; Od.
3.458, rz46r, :^4.427Dion. Hal. Ant. 2.72.t7;
Meuli (1946)zr8, 256,z6z.
"Theophr. Char.zt.7; Schol. Aristoph. Plut.943; Eitrem gy/
14-48; Nilsson (1955)
88, r45. For the accumulationof goat-hornsin the templeof Apollo at DrerosseeS. Marinatos, BCHfu Qq6), zz4-25, 24r-44.On the Keratonof DelosseeDikaiarchusfr. 85
W. = Plut. Thes.zr; Callim. Hy. Ap.58-64; E. Bethe,HermesTz(rg), rgt-94.
'z?Oil.
3.459-6o; xpi in.;Biet d){ghav ilpiexrov...LS r57 A, and cf. r5r A zo
intBiew.

SACRIFICE AS AN ACT OF.KILLING

way to everyday life." The skin of the


sacrificiarvictim
is
generary
sord to benefit the sanctuary,
to
purchase
new votive offerLgs
and
new victims:in this way, the cult insures
its own .onti.,uur.,.u.irl
This rite is obrectionabre,
and
was
already
fert
to
uu
,o
o,.,,
becauseit so cleariv and directly
"u;rf
benefits
man.
Is
the
god ,,to
whom,,
the sacrificeis made any more than a transparent
excusefor festive
feasting?All he gets arl the bones,
th;
fa;
u"d
th"
;;[-Uiuia".r.
Hesiod says that the crafty prometheus,
the
friend
of mankind,
causedthis to be so in ordei to deceive
the
gods,
and the burning of
bones became a standard joke in Cr""t
comedy.3oCriticism that
damned the bloody
act
per
se
was
far
more
penetrating.Zarathustra,s
curseappliesto all who rust for brood
and slaughter?attr".l,)inuuu
had enough of burnt o{fering of rams
af.r"fat of fed
beasts;
I
do
not delight in the blood of bulls or of lambs
""J
or of he_goats,,,
says
the
Lord through Isaiah.3,Inthe Greek
pythag%;;;, u]ia
wortJ,
tne
O._
phics demanded that the lives of all creatures
with souls be spared,
and Empedokleswas the most vehement
,r
i"-"tt]Jffi.nT.r._
nibalisticmadnessof the traditional sacrificiar
"il
meal,
u, utro?.,-"ip.ursing the desirefor a realm of non_violentlove,on
the path toward ,,pu_
rification'"33Ph'osophy then took up
the criticism of blood-

28Ofteneverythingmustbeeatenonthespot1o'oo,ffi
88' st.

,stengel (gzo\
rr6-t7; esp. IG1r': y496ro rtpt'ytuop.evov
dudrirnrerveis dvatiltrLarla
SIG3rc44, 47 = LSAM 72,
47;cf. LSS'6r,Sz_07,,lA+, StC, 982, z3_zl; tS 69, 85. An
exception:16
6eppa
dyi[erfaL
IS
r5r
D
6;
Li
fil
ll
ro 66ptra'xqrrri(("irq, o tt
66pp'axararyi(e(rar) meaning "is burned" (sokolowski) ,,is
or
torn apart,,(Hsch. xoraLlaaas and aiyi(et, Sudaat
44; G. Daux, BCI1g7
61o)?
[ry6j],
sSee n.
z4 above;A. Thomsen,,,Der
prometheu
Trug
des
s,,,
ARWrz (r9o9), 46o_9o;
l. Rudhardt, "Les mythes grecs relatifs i l,instauration
du
sacrifice,,,MH z7 (r97o)
r-r5. The basisof the criticismis
the
concept
that
d
rhrerz
Lapekrhaidozy rois rleols
(Pla.t.Euthyphr.r4c). Accordingly,
tabl".;;;;;;;;;;..
the gods (rpatre{at\: oxilros16
tptTro Bo6srapteuto r6t Bnt Ib_Iy g74=
SIC399bitpiauu.ur, fifth century n.c.); cf.
L. Ziehen, RE XVIII 6rc-r6;
.The
S..Dowand
D-H
6iit,
Greek
cultrabti,,, a1ao9
(1969'-rc|-n4' yet it is possibre
',for
to sraughter
- a
-z
*iri
'ui.,a.r.3.roal3ro;
uo.,
zeusand
Helios,,and
then throw the cadaverinto the
sea
i9
eI
ro, t*tuo* t,ypothesesto savethe ,,offering,,-interpretaiiofsee
Siengel
ftgrc1,
ry_4). Likewise in
"gtority,', th"egod,s
ir."t
from the subjection of
Il:?;ii^T*,rre,
""i "-"l""tio'deriue
, Esp.
Yasna
(G.
rz,
ra
32.8,
Widengren,lranische
Geisteswelt
[r96t-j,t55;H. Humbach,
Die GathasdesZarathustra
[rySSl,I Si_Sil.Iti, ,n.l"ur, however,to what
extent
blood_
sacrificewas
reiected
on
orincipre,-.in."
it
.onti.,,r"J
rn practice:see M. Boyce,
(re66),rro; G. Wideneren
/&{S
. oie'neiigtonen;;i;;;;;
66,92, tos.
'21s.
r : r r ; c f . 6 6 :r .
$The
Pythagorean tradition is divided,
with ilrg{yav an'yec'atagainst 'marorqrov

SACRIFICE, HUNTING/

FUNERARY RITUALS

sacrifice-above all, Theophrastus, in his influential book on Piety.


This book explained animal-sacrifice as having replaced--canlibalism'
which, in tuin, had been forced on men because of difficult times.y
After this, a theoretical defense of sacrificial custom was virtually
do
hopeless..uBoth varro and seneca were convinced that the gods
noi demand blood-sacrifice.'u Judaism in the Diaspora spread more
temple
easilv because cult practices had become concentrated in one
reliin lerusalem, thus virtually making Judaism outside Jerusalema
eion without animal-sacrifice.r'This also helped form Christian praciice. which could thus take up the traditions of Greek philosophy. On
the other hand, it gave the idea of sacrifice a central significance and
raised it to a higher status than ever before." The death of God's son is
the one-time and perfect sacrifice, although it is still repeated in the
celebration of the Lord's Supper, in breaking the bread and drinking
the wine.
Folk custom, however, managed to defy even Christianization
and was subdued only by modern technological civilization. The Cerman expression geschmilckttpie ein Pfingstocftse("decked out like an ox
at Pentecost") preserves the memory of the ritual slaughter of an ox at
the church festival (see n. 9 above). In Soviet Armenia the slaughter
of a sheep in front of the church is still a feature of regular Sunday
service. Isolated Greek communities in Cappadocia celebrated the ancient sacrificial ritual well into the twentieth century: oPPosite the
conventional altar in the chapel of the saint would be a sacrificial altarstone, upon which incense was burned when candles were lit; during prayers, it would be decked with wreaths. The sacrificer would
bring the animal-a goat or a sheep-into the chapel, leading it three
in der Antike (ry5),
Buerr (lambl- V. Pyth. 8z). Cf. J. Haussleiter,Der Vagetarismus
(1972),r8o-83; Em79-t6j; W. Burkert, Lore and Sciencein AncientPythogoreanism
pedoklesB 46-39.
sPorph. Abst. 2.22t Bernays, Theophrastos'
(1866),86, rt6;
SchriftitberFrdmmigkeit
J.
fiepi ei<repeias(196$, rZ4-75.
W. Potscher,Theophrastos
"One way out was to posit inferior, more bloodthirsty demons: see Xenokratesfr.
z3-25 Heinze.
kDii
aei
desiderant
ea
neque
deposcunt
Varro in Arnob. 7.t; deum. . . non immolaneque
tionibusnecsanguine
Sen.fr. rz3 = Lact. Dit,. inst.6.z5.3.Cf . Demonaxin
multocolendum
Luk. Dem.rr; the Sibyl in Clem. Pr.4.62;(Just.)Coft.ad. Gr. t6.
37With
the
der Saexception
of
Passover
celebrations;
cf. J. ]eremias, Die Passahfeier
maritaner(1932);Th. H. Gaster,Passoaer:
ItsHistoryand TraditionsQ958).
sTd zrlo1a
ip"6tv i,ra&n Xprords I Cor. 5:7. For the rest, I refer the reader to
H. D. Wendlandand E. Kinder, RGG3IV fi47-56. The ChristianJewsstill made Paul
partakein a sacrificein ]erusalem(Num. 6: r3-zr) and financeit; cf. Acts zt:23-26. On
the other hand, "Petrus"(Clem. Hom.2.44.2)declaresthat the sacrificiallaws of the OT
are forgeries.

SACRIFICE AS AN ACT OF KILLING

times around the sacrificial stone while ch'dren

threw grass and

flowersonto it. As the prieststood


at
the
artar,
th"
k";;;;8iii*
mal would make a sign of the cross with
his
"",knife
thiee
ii'#, u.,a
then slaughterthe animar while praying. The brood *ur
*fiolr"a to
sprinkle the stone. After this, ortside ihe chapel,
the
aniriil"woura
be carved up and the feast prepared. The priest,
like
his
ancient
counterpart, receivedthe animal'sthigh and skin,
as
well
as
its head
and feet.3echristianity is here .ro *oiu than a transparent
cover for
the ancient form that underlies it: that is to say,for
the sacredact of
blood-sacrifice.
Animal-sacrificewas
an
ail-pervasive
rearity
in
the
ancient
world.
The Greeksa0
did not perceivemuch differencebetweenthe
substance
of their own customs and those
phoenicians,
of
the
Egyptians
and
Babyloniansand persians,Etruscansuna i{o-a's, though
rii.rA a"_
tails varied greatly among the Greeks
themselves.ni
one
fu."iiu.rty or
sacrificepresentsa problem for the modern historian:
the comlreef

bination of a fire-altar and a blood_rite, of burning and


eating, corre_

,Megas
(1956)
15, and cf. 17, 84, 87, zz4. (The name of the sacrifice,
youpravt, comes
from lslam: Arabic qurban) For
animal
sacrifice
to,'Zeus,,in
Albania see Cook III (r94o)
t t 6 8 - 7 t . S e e n o w G . N . Aikaterinides, Neoetrl4zrris
aip.ar4pis Buoles (Athens.
197q.

{Th.eophrastus(Porph.
Abst.z andcf. n.
above),
in
his
study
34
of
the
development
of
sacrifice,found
it
naturar
to
include
Egyptians,
syrians,
caithaginians,
Et.r.r.ar,r,
Thracians, and srythians. The tradition i-natttre Cyprians
invented
sacrifice(Ta'an. r,
Schwartz)goes back to Asklepiadesof Cyprus, FCrHist
lP^ i:.6
Z5zF r : Neanthes,
FGrHist84F 3z = potph. Abst.
4.15.
arrhe antithesis
between
orympian
and
Chthonic
cu.rt
is
often
regarded
as fundamentar
(Rohde[fi98) r4B-52; Harrison
t_1t; Iess
[ryzz)
schematically,
Meuli
[ry46] rgl. zrt,
and.cf. Nilsson j9551
The
antithesis
4z-y).
between
hea.,enly
goa, u#god, of tn"
underworld
is
frequently
attested
starting
with
Aeschylu
s (Hik. ia, ,S+, ,fS. ;gl; u tumiliar distinctionis that between ivali{eJu, "to make
tubu,'o. 6rr6:,prirr,,,tosliughter
heroesani the dead, and siep (F. pfisrer, Der Retiquienkutt
::,..1T.::::lt:':11,,".f:,
tm
Atlertunttt l19r2l,466_8o;Casabona
19661zo4_zog,zz5- 29).On the differentways
of slaughtering
s
e
e
S
c
h
o
l
.
A
p
o
l
l
.
R
h
o
d
'
r
.
5
S
r
,
'
p
;
.
p . 1 1 5M : E r . M . ) q s . z 4 _
"rn
19-.H "'Fritze, ldl 18(r9o3),58-6T.vetbesriesthesacriiicial
pits(polpot)tliereare
different
kinds of altars (Barpcol,
Ecyap.,t,porph. Antr.6; Schol. Eur. phoen.274; Serv.
and the complexof Bv<ricitciltuorot(Stengel
hs+sl
Ir9ro] ro5)
3::"r^!,:::r:
,sn-,s),
n:t cor_respond
to
the rearm of the chthonic: sacrificiarmearsare ]amiriar
:ues
to us
trom
the
cult
of
the
&coi
(Stengel
Xfi6urct
[ryto] r3r-rj3), especiallyEeizya from
hero-cults(A. D. Nock, uTiR
Lit"*i"", osaynv and Boiu.,l.ca
lz y$aal,i+-iti.
do
not mutually exclude
each
other:
see
Eur.
or.
fo5.
rn
the
culi
of
the dead, the meal
during which the dead man is offered
blood (11.4129attrtaxoupia,
cf .1.6 below) is
34;
iuxtaposedto a rite of burning (It.
4.166- 76).nu-rnt'onerings
aloneare rare:they often
function
prelimi.u?.
as
a
g., lS r5r A z9_36 (cf. burnt_offering/thank_
offeringin I Sam. ro : 8, r r,
"
.,ingtu;..i.ruf
9i,
lustls
*irf
often
haveboth the graveof
the altar of the gocr:i.e., we are dearingwith an
anrithesiswithin the rituar,
1l"r:.?"d
not
with two fundamentaty differentand separatJ
things. Cf. Burkert (ry66) rcryn. 16.

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

of the
sponds directly only with the burnt offerings (zebah'iel1rym)
oldTestamento,-althoughthedetailsofUgariticandPhoenician
from EgyP.
sacrificialcults are uncertiin-and thesediffer markedly
rites' all of
tian and Mesopotamian,as well as-Minoan-Mycenaean'
whichhavenoaltarsforburningwholeanimalsorbones.o.Andyet,
in cultural tradition unwhatever complexities,layers' .and.9trangfs
astounding, details aside, to
J;r1," in" l"ai"ia"al peculiarities,it is
from Athens to jerusaour"."" the similarity of action and experience
;; io oabyion. A detailed Babyloniantext of which several
i;;";
whose skin was
;;;i"; were made-describesthe sacrificeof a bull
the membraneof a tympanon in the temple:s an untouched
;'J;,
Ufu.t U"ff would be chosenfor the secretceremony,which took place
in a room enclosedon all sidesby curtains.The complicatedpreparations included scatteringgrain, offeringbreadsand libations,and sacLikewise,in the Egyptianrealm, sacrificefor the dead and that for the gods have comopferlistenaonder Friihzeitbiszur griech.-rdm'
mon roots: seew barta, Die altiigyptischen
Epoche
Q,g6), r53. On roasting/boilingseeII.r.n.z9'
R. schmid,
{2R.K. yerkes, sacrifcein creekand RomanReligionsandEarlyludaism(11952\;
in Israet(1964),therefore assumedthat Israeli burnt offering was a MyDasBundesopfer
cenaeanimportviaUgarit(92),butcf.D,G1||,Bib|ica47$966),255_62:Homer,sfamil.
iar ptlpiu xaiew is absentfrom Mycenaean.
sDemostratedby Yavis(1949);cf. K. Galling, Der Altar in denKulturendesAlten Orients
religionedei Semiti di Babi(1925).On Mesopotamia
-Mem. seeG. Furlani, "Il sacrificionella
in Babylon
Linc. VI 4 G%2), 1o1-J7o;F. Blome, D\e Opfermaterie
lonia e Assiria,"
dansIa soci'ti sumirienned'apris
und lsraelogl+j; Y. Rosengarten,Le r'gime desot'frandes
de I'agas(196o). On Eq/g1see H' Kees, "Bemerkungen zum
les textesprtsar_goniques
Tieropferder Agypter und seiner Symbolik," NCG (t942),7r-88; Ph' Derchain, Rifes
Zandee,BiblOr'zo(t96)'
lgyptiensl:Lesaiificedel'oryx(1962),concerningwhichcf.J'
opferlisten(n.4r above).on Ugarit seeB. Janowski,
iir_sl,w. Barta, Die alttigyptischen
n Q98o),4a - 59.
Ugarit-Forschungen
-For
a sacrificial list from Alalakh see D. J. wiseman, TheAlalakhTablets(t951), rz6.
For a monumentalaltar for bull-sacrificeat Myrtou Pygadeson Cyprus, including hornsymbols, a watering place for cattle, and bull statuettes(ca. rToolrzoon.c') see AA
(t962) 118-19, fig. 84. For a depiction of bull-sacrificeat Pylos seeThePalaceof NestorIl
(1959)pl. rr9.
The "hearth-house,"out of which the Greek temple developed,is a type known alHomerica
O (1969),rz1-28. M. H.
ready in Helladic tirnes:seeH. Drerup, Archaeologia
fameson,AIA 6z (1958),zz3,refersto sacrificeat the hearth in Mycenaeantimes. Openair sites for burnt offering-ash-altars consistingof piles of ashes and bones-are
abundantlyattestedboth for Greece(Nilsson [1955],86-88; cf. ILr below on Lykaion,
lI.z on Olympia) and for bronze-ageEurope (W. Kriimer, "PriihistorischeBrandopferpldtze," in Heluetiaantiqua,Festschr.
E. Vogtltg66l, r r r -zz). It does not seem possible
at this time to organizethe various forms of sacrificeat the "hearth-house,"the stone
altat and the ash-altarinto an historicalsystem.
qANET
164a8.The main text is Seleucid;others were copied in the seventhcentury
n.c. from older Babylonianmodels. They thereby attest to the survival of the ritual over
the centuries. On the tympanon and the Kalu-piiest (= Sum. galu),wino"laments" "in

SACRIFICE AS AN ACT OF KILLING

rificing a sheep.The bulr stoodchainedon a rush mat until


it was time
for its mouth to be washed. After this,
incantations
*o.rlJ
uJ
wnis_
pered into both its ears, after which it was sprinkled with walr,
pu_
rified with a torch, and.surrounded by a circle
of
grain.
eoiro*i.,"
prayer and song, the bull was killed, the heart burriea at once,
ani
the skin and left shourder sinew removed to string the tymfanon.
After further libations and offerings, the priest worrld beni dbwn to
the severedhead and say,"This deed was done by all the gods; I did
not do it." one version of the text saysthat the cadaver*oitd be buried; an older one forbids at
least
the
head
priest
from
eating
the
meat.
Fifteen dayslater,in a largely
parallel
."r"^or,y,
with
prepiratory
and
closing rites, the new.rycoveredtympanon wis brougnt into the
center in place of the bull, thus inauguriting it into its fu"nction.
Not even the religious revorution
inihe
Near
East,
i.e.,
the
emergence of Islam, could eliminate animal-sacrifice.The high point
in
the life of a Moslem.is the pilgrimage to Meccaoswhich"stiil today
draws hundreds of thousands of woishippers annually. The central
point occurson the ninth day of the holy month, in the journey from
Mecca to Mount Arafat, where the pilgiims stay from noon tiil sun"before God." This is-fofowed by the Day of Sacrifice.
1o*l praying
o" ,.h."tenth day, in Mina, the pilgrim must throw sevln pebblesat
an old stone monument and then slaughter-usualry with his own
hands-a sacrificialanimal-a sheep,a goat, or even a camel-which
is driven up and sold to him by Bedouins.He eatssomeof the animar,
though usually giving-mostof it away or simply leavingit. Saudi Ara_
bia has resortedto bulldozersto remove the carcasses.
After this, the
pilgrim is allowed to cut his hair again and removehis pilgrim,srobes.
Likewise, sexualabstinenceendJafter his return to Mecca. It is the
consecratedman who kills and the act of killing is made sacred.,,In
the name of Allah" and 'Allah is merciful" ur" ih" Moslem formulas
that accompanyeven profane slaughter.
Daily routine inevitably made
the
sacrificial
ritual
an
empty
formality.ftTherefore,in order to stressits importance,
especially
in
the
ancient Near East, ordinanceswere createdstipulatingcountiess
ob-

servances. The Greeks seem to have given most care to


the ,,begin_

the language of the female," see E. Dhorme, Les rerigions


de Babyronieet d,Assyrte
(rg+g'), zo7-2o9,2t7.
$Enzyklopiidie

of the pirgrimagu
i.;'piJ-rrt"*i..

desIslam ll (t.927), zo8-zr1; Encyclopidie de l,tslam III (1965), j3_4o


s.a.

HADJDI;ibid. for the proofthatthe busi.

sA
"r"me.is
sacrificial
list
from
Uruk
notes
50 rams, z bulls, r ox, and g lambs, among many
sacrifice: ANET jaa. Croesus
had
animats
sacrificed atbelphi:
3,ooo
L,l:.:,
rlot. r, 1r^:1"_daily
154 cows were boughtfora festival on Delos: /G
50;
IIIIIIr $35, 35. King Seleukos gave t,ooo iepeia
lsheef) and rz cows for a sacrifice at Didyma: OGI zr4, 63.

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

as if trying to distract attention from the


ning" stages (ctpleorloc),
'*ti.f,
nonetheless remained permanently fixed.
ceniral p"oi"t,
characterizedthe structureof sacrificialritHubert ind Maussn' aptlv
-"sacrali
zation" and "desacralization"; that is
.ual with the conceptstf
/to sav. oreliminary rites, on the one hand, and closing rites, on the
lotn"i.'fiumins a centralaction clearlymarked as the emotional climax
"Ololyg6'" This act' however' is the act of
$y a piercing"r.r"u-, the
liffi"i, the Jxperienceof death. Thus, a threefold rhythm becomes
moving from an inhibited, labevlde"ntin the courseof the sacrifice,os
vrinthine beginning, through a terrifying midpoint, to a scrupulously
offeringsfrequentlycomeat the beginning
Vegetable
iidy conclusi,on.
and again at the end of the ceremony,when libations are also especially iharacteristic. But the offerings can overlap and multiply, enlarging the pattern until a triad of sacrificialfestivalsemergeswhich
yet adheresto the sameunchangeablerhythm: the preliminary sacriiice, the terrifying sacrifice, and the victorious, affirming sacrifice.
flhe core is always the experienceof death brought about by human
{violence,which, in turn, is here subjectto predeterminedlaws. And
\this is nearlv alwavs connected with another human-all too human-actio.,, .tu-"Iy, eating: the festive meal of those who share in
the sacred.

z. TheEaolutionary
: Primitiae Mqn
Explanation
asHunter
Karl Meuli's great essayon "GriechischeOpferbrAuche"(rg+6)'
added a new dimension to our understanding of sacrifice.He noted
striking similaritiesin the detailsof Greeksacrificeand the customsof
n T S e en . z .
sCorresponding
to
the
special
case of the initiation rite, as established by Harrison
p.os-dvaBiao c.
\t927) :r5: rat\orpogia-otapay
'Nilsson's "durchschlagender
Einwand" (rgS), 1.45^. z,,,dass nur geziihmte Tiere,
fast nie wilde geopfert werden," applies only to a problem of historical change (cf. I.5

PRIMITIVE

MAN

AS HUNTER

hunting and herding societies,.mostly in


Siberia.
Moreove, he
pointed out prehistoric discoveriesthai s.eemed
to utt"rt iJ .rmilar
customs by Middle palaeorithictimes. This powerful
step
L"u.t*ura
about 5o,oooyears in time.admittedly seemJto
explain
ibrrurr_
y,r,
obscurius.
whether the prehistoric evidencemay be taken
to indicate
belief in a supreme being-a kind of primordial
monotheism_is a
moot question' It seemed
ress
risky
to
state:
"sacrifice is the oldest
form of religiousaction.", But muci of the
oldestevidenceremains
controversial.

Meuli relied on the "buriar of bears" of Neanderthal


times, as described by B;ichlerand others;,-!n"y
claimed
that
they
nuJ'forr.,a
bears' skulls and bones, especiaty thrgh
bones.
."*i"iy'rJt
,rp i.,
caves,and that thesecorrespondedto ttie ,,skull_
u"d lo;;ior," ,u.ri
fice" observedamong.Siberianhunters, who
used to"a"porit tn"
bonesand skulls of their quarry-in sacredpraces.o
r" c*"r.-rii""r, ,".,
it,isthe bones,especially-the
thigh_bones,
that
belong
to
ine
goar.
Thebear s specialrole further
uppEu*
in
"bear
the
festivals,,
of northern Eurasiantribes, from the Finns
to
the
Ainus
and
on
to America.,
Yet the findings of Biichler have come under serious
uttal liu.."

below) and
not
to
Meuli's
basic
argument.
To
be
sure,
the rattercompretetyo,,r".rooil
the Neolithic Near Easterncomponentby making
an all-too-directconnectionbetween
the Indo-Germanic
Greeks
and
the
Eurasian
h.,ite.,
and
herders.againsrMeuri,sarmagical interpretation, Mtiller-Karpe (ry66\ zz7-28
proposes a rerigious one
fg:oty
that proceedsfrom the experience
"tianscendentar
of
a
power,,, u"i,iir'ir"p...*ay
what the ritual communicates,and any interpretation
ot rt-even self-interpretatron_
is secondary(cf. I.3 below).
'zH.Krihn, "Das problem
des Urmonotheismus,,,
Abh.
Mainz
(ry5o),
zz, r7, whose interpretation follows p
W.
Schmidl
lJrsprung
tler
Gottesiiee'Vi
pq5j','aaa_5a, *
.Der
well
as
A.
vorbichler,
Das
opfer
auf
den
heute'
noch'erreichbaren
attertrn si-uiin iJr- urnrrt _
heitsgeschichte
and
MtiLiler-Karpe
e956),
(1966)
zz8.
Bl*hf
DasalpinePakiot.ithikum.der
Schweiz(r94o);Meuti e946) 217_39.For addi_
l!
tional finds
in
Central
Franken,
Silesia,
and
Siberia,
see
tvtLiiler_(aril"
(1SOS)
.rO; in
Hungary, see I. Trencsnyi-waldapfer, LJtttersuchunSletr
zur Rerigionsgeschichte
e966)
1 9\ . 7 7 .

".Y;rrr:l:!N.t,^_,YT. Ot:
der
nordlichen
Jagdriten
Vcitker
Asiens
und
Europas,.,
/. So_
c'EL(ttnno-uugrtenne
(t9i:l:
"Kopf-, Schiidel-und Langknochenopfer
47
bei
.ci!s,
Rentiervolkern," Festschr.
p. W.1Schmidt
g9rli1, 4r_eA; I. paulson, ,,Die Tierknochen
im
der
nordeurasischen
Jagdritual
Volker,,,'Zeiischr.
gC bSSq, 27o_gj;
f. Ethnotogie
I' Paulson,A Hultkrantz, and K.
Jettmar,oi ni,is,*rrn Nordeurasiens
und der amertkanischenArktis (:,962\.
tA'
I Hallowell, "Bear
ceremonialism
in
the
Northern
Hemispher
e,,, American AntlrolotoSist
(t926),
z8
t-t75;
l_M. Kitagawa,,Ainu BearFestival,,,Historyof Religtons
r
\196r), 95-r5t; I. paulson,."Die
rituelie
Erhebung
des B?irenschiiders
bei arktischen
und subarktischenVolkern,,,Temenos,
t SOSS,-,io'iz

73

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

assemblageof bones cannot be excludedas an-explanltiolgf the allegedbeai-burials.uIt is saferto rely on the evidenceof the Upper Pala6ofithic, the epoch of homo sapiens.At this period, hunters' customs, including the manipulation of animals' bones and skulls, are
clearly attested]Meuli's iniight-about the antiquity of Siberianhuntine riiual is basicallyconfirmed, even if still more ancient layers re^ii" i" the dark. There are placeswhere stag skulls and deer skeletons were gathered,as well as the bones of bison and mammoths.'
At a site in Sberia, twenty-sevenmammoth skulls were found set up
in a circle around a central point where a female statuette lay buried
beneatha pile of bonesand partially worked tusks.'This recallsa frequently reproducedgold ring from Mycenae,on which a row of animal skulls borders the processionto the seatedgoddess'' A stylized
pair of horns is the common and omnipresent religious symbol of
Minoan-Mycenaeanculture. Much earlier, in the household shrines
of Qatal Htiytik, there are genuine cow-horns set up in rows or inserted in plaster heads.'oUpper Palaeolithicdeer hunters had attached a reindeer skull to a pole near a place where they used to
throw young roes into the water, weighted down with stones-a
"sacrificeof immersion."" There is a life-sizeclay statueof a bear in
the caveof Montespan,which had been coveredwith a genuinebearskin, including the skull." Similarly,hunters in the Sudan covered a
clay figure with the skins of slaughteredlions or leopards, just as
farmers in southern Abyssinia did with the skin of a young sacrificial
bull. Hermes the cattle-thiefand cattle-killerstretchedout on a rock
6Against Bdchler's theory, see F. E. Koby, L'Anthropologie5S Ggsr), lo4-3o8; H. G.
Bandi in Helaetiaantiqua(1966),r-8; cf. the discussion in J. Maringer, "Die Opfer der
palaolithischen Menschen," in AnthropicaQ.968),249-7r; M. Eliade. Histoire des croyanceset desidles religieusesl(t976), 4-27, 391f.
7Mtiller-Karpe (t966) zz5- 26.
8Jelisejevici:see Mtiller-Karpe (19661zz5.
'Corpusiler minoischenund mykenischen
Siegel,ed. F. Matz and H. Biesantz,| (196$ #r7;
Nilsson (rglS) pl.r7.r; Simon (1959)t8r-83. Even if these were meant to rePresent
animal-headedvessels(Simon), they are a further, symbolizing development of the ancient sacrificial structure (seeIV.z.n.39).
'0Mellaart j967) r4o-4r, r44-55, r8r..
trMtiller-Karpe(1966)zz4-25, pl. 199.45.
LMtiller-Karpe
Q966) zo5 pl. to7.r; A. Leroi-Gourhan, Prthistoirede I'art occidentale
(1965\, 1t3, figs.646-47. For parallels from the Sudan see L' Frobenius, Kulturgexhichte Afrikas 993\, $; from Abyssinia see A. Friedrich, Paideumaz Og4r), 4-24;
Meuli(1946)z4r;cf. l. Paulson,Temenost(l.96),rfu-6r, onstatuesof bearsassubstitutesfor actualdead ones, "the soul'sresidence."

L4

PRIMITIVE MAN AS HUNTER

the skins of the cows he had slaughtert


This, too, is "one
of the
manv sagasabout the origin of ,u..ifi.".jd'
One could, of course, try to cut through
these correspondences
with conceptualdistinctions, and r"purut"
r,rnting
and
sacrifice
principle.'oIn the nylr,
might urgu", killing is not ceremonialon
:"*
but
practicaland subjectto chance;"it,
^"u',ing. and goal, both quite pro_
fane, lie in obtaining meat
for
food;
a
_iia U"urt"^.,st b" sererin op_
position to a tame iomestic u.ri*ur.
ana

y", the very similarity of


huntingandsacrificial
customs
ueries^such'"
di;ti"Ji&:riiiilg .""

becomeceremonialevena,mong
hunters.
A
wouldhaveto performat thebeir f"rtiuui. tamebear,for instance,
we arsoh";;J;.olpr"t"
mammoth skeleton found on a-high
..ug,
u place to which it could
only havebeendrivenby men.',o"" *r"
5tn"i hana,

theirr.,ii.,g ,it_
uation is often
evoked
and
acted
out
in
later
civilizations,as if one had
to catch a wird beast so as to sacrifice
ii at a
predetermined
prace.
Thus' Plato combinesthe hunt u"a
ru.riii.e in a
semi-barbarous
context, his fictitious Atlantis,'uand in ru.iurr-nunts
are attestedin the
marginal areis of Greek curture.'' An
Attic myth tells how Theseus
subdued the w'd bull of Marathon
ir,u, it let itserf be red to the
sacrifice-and
"o
this
is.
said
ro
be
the
legenaury
origi., of ii"lJ."r r",
tival in Marathon, the Hekaleiu.,,
,,wild
efio"g
the
Sumerians,
a
bull" was consideredthe most
u.,i*ut,
oug^
it had long been extinct it', rraesopota-L.'rrr"
"."i.,u.,ilu..iri"iut
".r"r,it
consecrated
horns in
the sanctualigsof QatarHriynk ;;.;,-'il;-ever,
st'r obtained from
genuinewild bulls;bull_and stag_huniine;

on the very impressive


sivewall-nainrinoc
wall-paintings
rho.a
c:r.--^ -, ,;--lpP"ut
there(/-^^
seeFi[ure
: ).,iff"""ly? ffi; il:",ffi _

t",or
'

i}},?p1l
tz4iri (cdd.eui)rriron.
ln
the
-yq,,
ir,"
;k;;:;;;;.;il;",'ril."l',"J:ljlJ:ffJ:i:
"i"i"{I
lHat'7'zi;'xen'
rt rherite-",';l;;;;; p,".;'*::rYff,'r"i*;?!'

^tl:r""l objection,n. r above.on the


interrelatronof hunt and slaughterin Aflll^""nca
seeStraubee95) r99^2o4.
"Mriller-Karpe (t966)
(Gravettien).
zz5
t6Plat.
Critiasrrgd-e; H. Herter, RhMrcg
O966),t4o-42.
t'For
raupo$rlpla in Thessaly
see
IG
rX
zvs,
yt-17;
Arch.
Dertion76 (t96o), rg5,
REG77 Fg6+), rz6: AP o.543;
on this and on ilie rrrupo*atorf,rain
Asia Minor see
L. Robert,Ics gladiateurs
ians-l,Orient
(rnO"l,
grcc
lrr_ rn, who alsotreatsthe .un'u,.,,ng
and rglpopoldat go913i). foia i'"ia,
xuvrly|orcv in Athens seeHypoth.
;#.r::.r"
tESoph.
fr. z5 P;
Callim.
fr.259-6o;264;plut.
philochoros,FGrHist
Thes.4following
3:8 F ro9; Paus.r.z7,ro. For vase_paintings
see
Brommer
g96o) 19z_96.
teOn
Sumerianwild bulls seeMtiller_Karpe
(196g)
' II -33E;on eatal Hriytik seeMellaart
(1967)zoo-2o8,pl.
S+_SZ,6r_64; cf . ^. qubo.i".

L5

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

ard men swarm around the bull and the stagin thesepaintingsis perhaps almost more suggestiveof a dancethan of hunting. In Egypt,
the sacrificeof bulls and hippopotami, performed by the pharaoh,
In many partsof Greece,the animals
was entirelvstvlizedas a hunt.20
chosenfor saciificewere "set free for the god," almost as if they were
wild beasts on sacredland until the time appointed for the bloody
"act,""
The continuity between the hunt and sacrificial ritual aPpears
most forcibly in the ritual details that leaveno tangiblearchaeological
trace;thesehavebeen set out in detail by Meuli. The correspondences
extend from the preparations, with their purifications and abstinences, to the closing rites, involving bones, skulls, and skins. In
hunting societiesaccessibleto ethnologicalstudy, hunters are said to
have expressedclear feelings of guilt with regard to the slaughtered
animal. The ritual provides forgivenessand reparation, though frequently taking on a scurrilous characterwhich prompted Meuli to
coin the phrase"the comedyof innocence."The ritual betraysan un- i
derlying anxiety about the continuation of life in the face of death."/
iThe bloody "act" was necessaryfor the continuanceof life, but it is
fiustas necessaryfor new life to be ableto start again.Thus, the gathbring of bones, the raising of aIIuIIEFstreiihfrg;f
a skin is to be
understood as an attempt at restoration,a resurrectionin the most
concretesense.The hope that the sourcesof nourishment will continue to exist, and the fear that they will not, determine the action of
the hunter, killing to live.
20H. Kees, "Bemerkungen
zum Tieropfer der Agypter und seiner Symbolik," NGG
(1942), 7r-88.
2lBabrius
37 Qtooyos &qeroc in antithesis to the plow-ox). For herds of Hera in Croton
see Liry 24.3.2, and cf. Nikomachos in Porph. V. Pyth. 2.4, Iambl. V Pyth.6r. For the
cattle of Argive Hera see III.z.n. z5 below; for Ar.tisBo0s at Miletus see Hsch. s.a.; for a
donkey sacrificed to the winds at Tarentum see Hsch. d.yep.riras; for the sheep of Helios at Apollonia/Epirus see Hdt.
for
bulls
of
Dionysus
at
Kynaithos
see paus.
9.g);
8.r9.2; lor sacred sheep, goats, cattle, and horses at Delphi see OGI
345, t5-rg; for sacred sheep at Delos see IG IIllII? t639, 15; for cattle of ,,Herakles,, in Spain see Diod.
4.r8.3; for cattle of the "Meteres" in Sicily see Diod. 4.h.6; for,,persian Artemis,,, (Anahita) herds on the Euphrates see Plut. Luc. 24; for rd Sptp.p.ara rils Beol at Kleiror see
Polyb.4.19.4;scillus,Xen. Anab.5.3-9;fortheherdsofpersephoneofKvzikosseeprut.
Luc..ro. Cf. further,
in
myth,
Apollo,s
cattle
in
Thessaly,
Uy.
Merc.7o_72;
and,Helios,
cattle, od. rz. For Atlantis see plat. Critias. ngd, and ci. piot.
prom. 666.
3zoa,'Aesch.
similarly, for the Indian A6vamedha a horse is "set free,,:
,"" w. Kopp". s, wiener Beitr.
z. Kulturgeschichte 4 9916), 3o6.
2tMeuli
Q946) zz4-52; H. Baumann, "Nyama, die Rachemacht,,, paideuma
4 \agso),
791-2)0. For a psychiatric perspective see R. Birz, "Tiert6ter-skrupulantismus,,,
/ahrbuch f . Psychologie und psychotherapie
3 e95), zz6_44.

t6

PRIMITIVE MAN AS
HUNTER

These customs are

more than mere curiosities,


paraeorithic
for the hunt
hunter
of the
n1t ius,t u.,irriry!T-"*
-.u.,y Thetransrtion
! one
to the hunt is' rather'
""" most
of the
i'e.iriu" ecorogical

changes
tween man and the other primates'
Man*can virtuaily be defi'nuobe"the huntins ape',(even ',,rhe
a,
if
n"k"l';;*_
makes
title)'" Thisstatement
readsr" ;-;;.;;I indispuiabi"'i..i"#-",r,
";;;;;;eating
that the age of the hunter,
,h" p;;;thic,
comprises by far the
largest part of human history.
N;;;il.
that estimates range be_
tween 95 and 99 percent:it is
iear tn"i."""t biorogicar

evorutio.nwas
'XT:fi
tllTi?*:,:'1f;
,:I' ti'" nv'o-il,',o.',tni|"r oJIi,'".".*,"

::.f,::*:.;'ii;"*{,i!;ii?J",l,T;il{:Fj:;**i,r

characteristics
h"e."." io

".q;.""rr, ,,","..,u.;;;;"lo_i.,g

rng vrolenceas deriving from


the buhu;;; of the predatory
animal,

ill;:"

Our conceptionof.primitive
man and his,societywill always
tentativeconstruct;still,
be a

there ur" ,o.nf,l


conditions
*,,ui.u,.,.,ot
r,ur,"
u"", u[;;n*#[:tlil]H'j.:it;

early hunters' The primate's


biorrgi;;i;akeup was not
fit
for this
new way of life. Man had
to compe?s;i";r, this deficiency
by a rour
de force of ingenious
th";;;-;;,r;; by his
culture' arthoueh thatl".l;;;t;;',iri,,r,,o,,r,
curture;i;ii;;t.kly
becamea means of setec_
i.nportancewas *.,J
weapons,
1:1 poses
_O^t_frt1u.],
without
which
man
virtually no threat to beasts.
"r".r
The earliest
weapon
that
effectiveat a distancewas
was
the '."ooa"r, ,p"ar hardened
by
fire.r"
presupposesthe use of fire;
This
earlier,Uo..Jnua ,;r;;il
;ffi;
Man,s
upright posture facilitated,th".
But perhaps more im_
portant than alr this was.the "r"-;;";;ons.
deverop-""i.r r sociarorder
leading to
(196) ry-49,

#;;" become
apartor
herited
;:il:jT,:iij,,*.:::::i:t:irth
biolosical
constituiion.
A;;;; ffii'ilTr::i:f[T; ourin_

tsMorris

,48-68;
A Kor,andt,
,Xi;::,1:;:':':,1,y,!,,'!lZ!!:::::i):f,lF;*n
Current
i";;';'(';;;;;:;;:"i,ili!":'',t;[::i:;';;,i:,
t;:::i:W:.:1"i1;ti
_;;,ti,"",';,"';;ffi
;;.ffi
;
lr
:[*;::
#
[
sei31,
3,-a.,and
crp r.wirson,
"tr;iil!,i;"'jlT:,,1H,ny.lii
;!i;fl]:f? ,i:::!'!:#:'ican zz8t,
Man
n.s.ro
y;#,'**'fl1l,i,;i';::
ilil :T,l
;n ru$, ",::* :,t;1"":l
Xi*

'ot, Burkert(re67)zfi-87.see
generalyK. Lindner,Lt chasse
theMissing
Link(e5o),7e7*2o4;
cf. toe-rs,,,rheAn-

!i.::**'with

il;'i:r,#r'i:rliTuu'
rfi;rt,,fi;l.f

r7

1i

SACRIFICE. HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

man's work-in
contrast to all animal predators-requiring both
speed and strength; hence the male's long, slender thigh' By contrast'
since women must bear children with ever larger skulls, they develop
round, soft forms. Man's extraordinarily protracted youth, his tteoteny, which permits the development of .the mind through learning
and the transmission of a complicated culture, requires long years of
security. Ihis is basically provided by the mother at home. The man
institution universal
urr,r*", the role of the family breadwinner-an
to human civilizations but contrary to the behavior of all other
mammals.'u
The success of the "hunting ape" was due to his ability to work
cooperatively, to unite with other men in a communal hunt. Thus,
man ever since the development of hunting has belonged to two overlapping social structures, the family and the Miinnerbund; his world
falls into pairs of categories: indoors and out, security and adventure,
women's work and men's work, love and death. At the core of this
new type of male community, which is biologically analogous to a
pack of wolves, are the acts of killing and eating. The men must constantly move between the two realms, and their male children must
one day take the difficult step from the women's world to the world of
men. Fathers must accept their sons, educating them and looking
after them-this, too, has no parallel among mammals. When a boy
finally enters the world of men, he does so by confronting death.
What an experience it must have been when man, the relative of
the chimpanzee, succeeded in seizing the power of his deadly enemy/
the leopard, in assuming the traits of the wolf, forsaking the role of
the hunted for that of the hunterl But success brought its own dangers. The earliest technology created the tools for killing. Even the
wooden spear and wedge provided man with weaPons more dangerous than his instincts could cope with. His rudimentary killing inhibitions were insufficient as soon as he could kill at a distance; and
males were even educated to suppress these inhibitions for the sake
of the hunt. Moreover, it is as easy, or even easier, to kill a man as it is
to kill a fleeing beast, so from earliest times men slipped repeatedly
into cannibalism.2'Thus, from the very start, self-destruction was a
threat to the human race.
If man nonetheless survived and with unprecedented success
'oMorris (t967)37-39;LaBarre
(t97o\79-81. Ontheroleof manasbreadwinnerseeM.
Mead, Male and Femalej949, r8B-94.
27on
the "gesicherten Tatsache von Ritualtotungen" in palaeolithic times see MtillerKarpe (1966) z4o (Ofnet cave), z3z-33 (Monte Circeo), z3o (peking Man). Cannibalism
,A
is probable: see La Barre j97o)
Su.u"y
of
Evidence
4o4-4o6, \4 n.)o) M. K. Ropea
for lntrahuman Killing in the pleistocene ,', Current Anthropilogy to (196),
422- i1g.

r8

PRIMITIVE MAN AS HUNTER

li'*:[*

even enlarged his sphere of influence,


it w_as,,bec1use
naturalinstinctshe developedth"
-rnplace of his
..riesof cultural
tradltiin,lnus
tificiallyforming and differentiatinj
ar_
r.rltiuri. inuorn'u"iu,r'ior.
u,o,,rr_
ical serectionrather than consci"ul
piun"ir.,g
determined"t-#*ou.u_
tional processesthat helped fo.".,;;;
,o ihut n" .orrJ
f"i,
uoup.
himself to his role. A man hud
i; U"*.ou.ug"ous to take part
in
the
hunu therefore' courage is arways
rr,.i]a"a"ir, ;";"-d,ro.
or u.,
ideal man' A man hadlo uu."riJutu,
utie to wait, to resist a momentary impulse for the
sake
of
u
rong-.u.rge
goal. He had to have enduranceand keep to his word.
il:h;;;.

h.a
viorpattern
s thatwere.
racLing i n un; ;;:liJ:

[T"
3;
closely analogousto the U"nu"i8,
oif"urr, of prey.r,Above
all, the
use of weapons was controlled
by the strictest-if also artificial_
rules: what was allowed una n".""rurf
ir'ro.r" rearm was absolutely
forbidden
in
rhe
other:,1lrilla;l""."ripf,ri,^ent
in one was murder
in the other. The decisivepoint
is the

submitto lawscurbinghisindividu"r vlry possibility that man may


i"i"iiis!";;;il";;;,uuiri,y
ro.
riu: of societar
prldi.tubtityi;;
power
il-"
of
tradition
at"iu.ur,u"
himin an irreversibt"
p.ocess
anatogous
to bioiogical
4il|j,Xf#nd

On a psycho,o*l:ullevel, hunting
behavior was mainly deter_
o{
Igg.urri,u"and sexuatcom_
11i.:1 ln" qec"lil interpiay
plexes'
which thus gave form to "r-tr,?
some
of the foundations of human
society'whereas resiarch on biorog"ui
iunu'ior, at reastin
predatory
animals, carefully distinguisher
i"irurp".irrc aggressionfrom
the
behavior of huntine u.a Ltir.,g,;
;hi#;;_ction
obviously
does
not
hold for man. Ra"ther,these"two
U".*r""rrperimposed at the
time
when man unexpectedlyassumed
*r" u"rruuiorof predatory animals.
Man had to outdo himielf in his
transiiio., to the hunt, a transition

28A.
Kortlandt, CurrentAnthropolo* U
tn6rt,

the biorogicar
factof im.printingseeK. Lorenz,,.uber
tierisches

On the human tendency to submii


to authority see Ejbl_Eibesfeldt(r97o)

,n".,TF itit"iortn"rnun,ur
dexterty
oranarborear
rruit
ffl ::i":
eater
withrhe,*i ,"j:.:::::,.r.:;l;";;;il"T:J:?,"TffiXtJj.:1,,::r.'::l
$,il'H:",::T_,::i
il:|:.'
non

;ffiffiT.::ffi:-i,,1i".,?"1ffi

und menschriches
ry),);E H Hess,
science
I;Hll'il;--";:-f:';i#t9i' ' 'lti-+8,'2"-2,"i*i,e
,jo

ff1,,:.;3:':j';
iij:;i:''+ll*:iiL*:1,
;;;;;ilil;;:H
rh;;;";
;:{:i!,:;}';l;;;# ?,1
ifi;;:ij:jl
;:,tln;

ttdeals with secularm-an,


""
ignorls
.":rigi.",
.i,""ij.
'Lorenz
A96:) rc; Eibl-Eibesfeldte97o)
7_g,with a.polemic

againstR. A. Dart (n. z5


:llJi];"?"1_lijl,LTi,i;.',i.';';;:"';''n;;;;;',';ii,",,u,,.".
S*rctrii,"Jviousry

L9

SACRIFICE/ HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

And because
requiring implementationof all his spiritual reserves'
thissortofbehaviorbecamespecifictothemalesex'thatistosay'
,,men,swork,,,males.o"iJ-oi" easilyadaptthemselvesto,theintrafor courtship fights and the imspecific aggressionptog'u-tud
prllr", of JJxualfrusiration (seeI'7)'
to cooperate'and especiallythe
It is not easy tor adult males
out of proportion in order
"naked ape," whose '"""uUty clearlygrew
insure that the family would be supto bind men to women and thus
could be
in" n"ignt"ned aggressivenessthus aroused
i"rr,J;
redirection, as
to the ,"rri." of the iommunity by means of
i;;
for it is preciselygroup.demirll u*" a"scribed by Konrad Lorenz;3'
that createsa senseof close
onstration of aggressiontoward outsiders
oersonalcommunity.TheMiinnerbundbecomesaclosed'conspirthrough the explosjvepotentialof aggressionstoredin;;;i;;;p
and bloody
ternallli This aggrelsion was releasedin the dangerous
mutually enhunt. The inteinal and external effects of aggression
hanced the chancesof success.Community is defined by-participationinthebloodyworkofmen.TheearlyhunterSoonsubduedthe
world.
Becausethehunter'sactivitywasreinforcedbybehavioraimed
aggresoriginally at a human partner-that is, through intraspecific.
pf"ce of a biol,ogicallyfixed relationshipof beastand quarry'
,i.i-iri
adsomething curious occuired: the quarry becamea quasi-human
conversary,eiperienced as human and treatedaccordingly'Hunting
centraied on the great mammals, which consPicuouslyresembled
their
men in their body structure and movements, their eyes and
" faces,"their breaih and voices,in fleeingand in fear' in attackingand
in
in rage. Most of all, this similarity with man was to be recognized
kiilir;g and slaughtering: the flesh was like flesh' bones like bones'
and, most importantof all'
phallis like phaiius,ani heartlike heart,33
ih" *ur- running blood was the same' One could' perhaps' most
the
clearlygrasp the animal'sresemblanceto man when it died' Thus'
told of
ouarrv turned into a sacrificialvictim' Many observershave
]rMorris (1967)
.roz;putting some limitations on his theses, cf Eibl-Eibesfeldt (r97o)
5o'
749-BZ, esp. 770-72.
"Lorenz Q961\ z5l-y8; Eibl-Eibesfeldr (r97o) r87-9o.
names from the earliest times' but
"Human and animal on\ayyva bore the same
whereas the animal's *"." *"il known from slaughter, human entrails became visible
only in those wounded in war or during human sacrifice. Their visible Presence was
diaphragm, and gall in
basic for the consciousness of one's own "subiectivity"-heart,
Greek; liver and kidneys as well in other languages (cf. R. B. Onians, Origis of Europ e a n T h o u g h t[ r 9 5 r ] , e s p . z r - 4 3 a n d 8 + - 8 S ) .

PRIMITIVE MAN AS HUNTER

the almost brotherly bond that hunters felt for their


game,..and the
exchangeabilityof man and animal in sacrifice"r".".r?r-u
Lyi^otogi_
J'
cal themein many culturesbesidesthe Greek.35
In the shock causedAythe sight of flowing blood36
we clearlyex_
th.e
of a
biologlcal,
life-preserving
inhibition.
f.'"_t::ry
But
lemlant
tnar ls preclsely
what must be overcome,
for
men,
aileast,
could
not
afford "to see no blood,".and they were educatedaccordingly.
Feerings of fearand guilt are the necessary
consequences
of
overitepping
one'sinhibitions;yet human tradition,in
the
form
or
."rgio.,.
clearly
does not aim at removing or settling these
tensions.
on
tle
contrary,
they are purposefu'y heightened] peace
must
reign
within the
group, for what
is
cailed
for
outside,
offends
within.
drder has to be
observedinside, the.extraordinaryfinds release
without.
outside,
something utterly different, beyona the norm, frightening
but fas_
cinating, confronts the ordinary citizen riving withii
the tiriits of the
everydayworld. It is surrounded by barriers to be broken
down in a
,comqlicaled,set-way,correspondingto the ambivalenceof the event:
sacrarlzatlon
and desacralization
around
a-central
point
where
weaplons, blood, and deathestablisha senseof human
io.^""ity.
The irreversibleevent becomesa formative experiencefor
aI pariicipants,
provoking feelingsof fearand guilt and increasingdesire
io
make
.eparation, the groping
attempt
at
restoration.
For
t"he
barriers
that
had
been broken before are
now
ail
the
more
willingly
.ecognir"a.
th"
rulesare confirmedpreciselyin their antitheticaltension.
As an order
embracingits opposite,^always
endangered
yet
capable
of
uauftutior,
and development,this fluctuating bara"nce
entered
the
tradition
of
human culture' The power to kilr ind respect for life ilruminate
each
other.
with remarkableconsistency,myths teil of the origins of
man in a

xMeuli (1946)
248-52,and cf. H. Baumann, paideuma
+ Fg5o), tgg, zoo;Meuliffi
16o.
3sForan
animal
substituted
for
a
man
see
the
story
Abraham
of
and Isaacin cen. zz: 11;
Iphigenia..inAulis, Apollod. Epit.
virgin
and
goat
at Munichia, Zen. Athous r.8
1.zz;
p' 35oMiller; Paus.Att. e Erbse;for Veiovisimmolatur
15
ritu humanocapracer. 5.72.1.a.
The
reverse
situation,
that
a man dies insteadof a sacrificiaranimal, is a berovedmotif
in tragedy:see Burkert
eg66) n6. substitution, however,also occursin ritual: seethe
Bovtucia insteadof human sacrificeat salamis/Cyprus,porph. Abst.
2.54;for the frequent substitutionof child- and animal-sacrifice
aiCarthageseeG. Char-les-picard,
Les
':l's':": de^t'At'rique
antique
for children designatedas carvesand sacrificed
ft954),
49r;
see Luk' syr' D. 58;for a calf treated
as a child and sairificed see Aer. Nat. an.12.34
(Tenedos).
rFor
folkloristic materiar see H.
L.
strack,
Das
Brut
int
craubert
und
Abergrauben
der
Menschheit(t9oo7);F. Rrische, BIut, Leben
rna SnUlrg3o); J. H. Waszink, R/C Il
11954),

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

violence'"The CreifLiflc"fall,a crimethat is oftena bloodyactof


of modestvegetananrsm'
latedthatthis wasPr".;;;l;y a'golden19:
anthropologists
;fi*-o"''{ccordingly' as,:l:::]ginal
endingin the "^rrra"i)lll;;
tn" fr"rri"t3'
oncesawthe peacefulgatherers':l:.Y-^1
this
Thestudyof piehistoryhas'changed
formof humancivilizafion'

pi.i,,,g,*u.,b"*-u'liili'13',",,:tllla*.lUf
f*,'i,,1,Xff1}$;

RITUALIZATION

acquired its purely religious function outside the context in which


killing was_necessary for life. For the action to be thus redirected and
maintained, there had to be ritualization.
The concept of ritual has long been used to describe the rules of
{r,.
religious behavior. Biology's recent usurpation of the term appears,
however, to confuse the concept, mixing the transcendent with the
infra-human. But perhaps these two do indeed meet within the fundamental orders that constitute life. Thus, we deliberately start from
the biological definition of ritual, and from there we will soon be led
deep into the nature of religion.

santa Priscain RomeQ965), zt7-zo In the lacuna, eternalihad been read, but this cannot have been there: S. Pancierain U. Bianchi, ed., MysteriaMithraeeg7), rqf|.
tSir;ulian
Huxley, Proc.Zool. Soc.(r9r$,511-15 on "ceremonies"of the GreatCrested
Grebe;Lorenz Qg63)89-tz7;'A Discussionon Ritualizationof Behaviorin Animals
and Man," Philos.Trans.Roy.Soc.LondonBz5r(t966), 247-526,with articlesby Huxley,
Lorenz, and others; Eibl-Eibesfeldt e97o) 6o-7o; p. Weidkuhn, Aggressioiidt,Ritus,
Siikularisierung
(1965). In defining ritual as "action re-done or pre-di"ne,,,J. Harrison
(Epilegomena
to the study of GreekRetigionfigztl, xliii) recognized the displacement of
behaviorbut not the communicatoryfunction. Now E. R. Leach,for example,finds
that "communicativebehavior" and "magicalbehavior" in ritual are not basicallydifferent (Philos.Trans.Roy. Soc.LondonBz5i,
l:'966l, 4o)-4o4).

Since the work of Sir Julian Huxley and Konrad Lorenz,l biology
has defined ritttal as a behavioral pattern that has lost its primary
function-present
in its unritualized model-but which persists in a
new function, that of communication. This pattern in turn provokes a
corresponding behavioral response. Lorenz's prime example is the
triumph ceremony of a pair of graylag geese, which is no longer
prompted by a real enemy. The victory over a nonexistent opponent is
meant to demonstrate and draw attention to the couple's solidaritv
and is confirmed by corresponding behavior in the paitner, who understands the ritual communication because of its predetermined
stereotypy. In the triumph ceremony, communication is reciprocal
and is strengthened by the reactions of each side. But it can also be
one-sided, as, for example, when a threatening gesture is answered
by ritual submission, which thus upholds a hierarchy. This communicating function reveals the two basic characteristics of ritual behavior, namely, repetition and theatrical exaggeration. For the essentially
immutable patterns do not transmit differentiated and complex information but, rather, just one piece of information each. This single
piece of information is considered so important that it is reinforced by
constant repetition so as to avoid misunderstanding or misuse. The
fact of understanding is thus more important than what is understood. Above all, then, ritual creates and affirms social interaction.-

111,"ili3:T:::::'T"'rut';i;:"^"TLln::.:":*n"-::n"-'

divorcedfrom the gods-anddependent


terizedthe state"f t'itti"a'
"Such^arethe conflictsand groanon food, by quotingE*p"aon"s:born"' As one of the Old Testament
U""n
inqs from which yt"itui"
if it
tne children of Cain' Yet killing'
miths seemst. t"ll;;;;nl'e
shedthe sametime' "You savedus by
was a crime, *u. ,uli-utlon at
their savior-god'Mithrasthe bullding blood," the Mithiaistsaddress
paradoxhal been iust fact in the
slaver.'"What has;;;;;;ystic
beginning.

j. Ritualization
appearedat its most meAlthough sacrificebegan in the hunt',it
city cultures' and at its most grueticulous and brilliant in th; ancient
its form and perhaps even
some in Aztec civiliz"ii""' ft maintained
see G' Devereux'
on the shock caused by blood
a.qq-7;.For a psychologitutl"-"p"ttlve
t4' 4'-!5...
Ethnopsychiatryand Suicide(t96r\'

Uinii,
i --^ the
!L^ Enuma
r-.,-e
Fti{ vI'
Vr.
Eris
the irood or areberriousgod see
f;:::::;:::;;"';';'"*
Ttrawxilg#t''"" Plat'.Le67orc'probn'o)'atcr
ANET68,andcf. ANET,*,i"t'*""t
Age'the
'lo-X]lnLl thetransitionto thelron
ablyfollowingtheOrphic;;;; ;;*t
R' Smith(r894)3o6-1o8;B'Catz'
w'
cr'
of Dike,andthe"t"f;i;;i;i;pr'*-o*
';2;;;;;;
flisht
-7t'
vorstettungen
$e67)' 165
2,,t unasinnuerwandte

;;i;;',
te vetxiav
$cited by Meuli (1946)zz6; EmpedoklesB ru4 z-in-Porph' Abst l'27 \ilx
Plut Cono' sept' sap'
D"l', ftilowing the parallel traditiori)'
Porph., Ex re crova'11[o,
o.onnPiau&p'ipgvov 6 Beds'trettoir.xe'
r59c-d: Q 6'dueu*o*arr"',1rr;pou rilv"ainoi
"Uber das Tolitt'Lr}erxov'.A' E' tensen's'tieatment'
rcinq; rip gitow dpailv
Kult
yy,thosunil
4Paideuma.41r95.d'
"{*atilr.i"i^'"tg,"
ten als kulturgeschichtlicrre
.: :
thesis
and rich in source material His
beiNaturadlkernttrrtl, trl-lri,'ir'it"ta1*""t"1
that he is dependent on organic
that this is the expressio. oi ^u.t basic realization
it is the ideology of the
food can be made more specific from an historical.perspective:
(t95) zoo-zo4'
hunter, still maintained in the planter's culture Cf Straube
e Et nosseruaEtif . . .1 sanguinefuso:inscription in the Mithraeum of SantaPrisca' Rome:
in theMithraeumof theChurchof
M. |. Vermaserenand C. C. van Essen, ihe txcauations

2)

SACRIFICE/ HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

Aggressive behavior evokes a highly attentive, excited response.


,
{ P r e t e n d e d a g g r e s s i o nt h u s p l a y s a s p e c i a lr o l e i n r i t u a l c o m m u n i c a tion. Raising one's hands, waving branches, wielding weapons and
torches, stamping the feet while turning from attack to flight, folding
the hands or lifting them in supplication, kneeling and prostration: all
these are repeated and exaggeratedas a demonstration whereby the
individual proclaims his membership and place in the community. A
rhythm develops from repetition, and auditory signals accompanying
the gestures give rise to music and dance. These, too, are primordial
forms of human solidarity, but they cannot hide the fact that they
grew out of aggressive tensions, with their noise and beating, attack
and flight. Of course, man has many modes of expression that are not
of this origin and that can be ritualized. But in ethology, even laughter
is thought to originate in an aggressive display of teeth., Gestures of
jdisgust or "purification" are not far removed from the impulses of ag{gression and destruction. Some of these ritual gestures can be traced
with certainty to the primates, from waving branches and rhythmic
drumming to phallic display and raising the hand in supplication.!
It is disputed to what extent ritual behavior is innate or learned.o
We will have to wait for further ethological research. There is even a
possibility that specific learning or formative experiences may activate
innate behavior. Universal modes of behavior suggest an innate stock
from which they are drawn. Yet, building upon these, cultural education creates special forms delimiting individual groups almost as if
they were "pseudo-species." Fortunately, in studying the effect of rituals as communication in society, the question of their biological roots
is comparatively
unimportant.
I Ever since Emile Durkheim, sociologists
have been interested in
the role of rites, and especially of religious rituals in society. "it is
through common action that society becomes self-aware"; thus "the
. collective feelings and ideas that determine Isociety's] unity and charI acter must be maintained and confirmed at regular intervals."s A. R.
2Lorenz
9963) 268-7o; cautiously, Eibl-Eibesfeldt (rg7o) r97.
3Burkert
OgZq 1.9-+S.On drumming see Eibl-Eibesfeldt (r97o) 4o; on phallic display
see I.7 below; on the outstretched hand see Eibl-Eibesfeldt (r97o) zo4-zo5; Morris
(1967) r57, 166.
oOn the
socially learned behavior of the primate see, for instance, L. Rosenkotter,
Frankfurter Hefte zt (1966),521-13, and cf. Lr.n. r above.
sE. Durkheim,
ks formesebmentairesde Ia aie religieuse(rgtz; tg6oa),59g: ,,c,est par l,ac,,entretenir
tion commune
qu'elle
la
soci6t6]
prend
consiience
Isc.
de
soi,,;
6ro:
et
raffermir, i intervalles rdguliers, les sentiments collectifs et res id6es coilectives qui font
son
unit6 et sa personnalit6.,,

24

RITUALIZATION

Radcliffe_Brown
has
been
the most tho
developing this
tional perspu.tir",
a
society
funccan exist
by
means
of commonconcepts and feelings
which,'in
":?.:fl|':
t;;;";;"'I
through society's
effecton the ini?viuual' "The
t"'"-o;'i"Ieloped

:,.y9'ld

perha.ps
reprace

il!qHg,I#;i",l.m:mt;t*#*':xif+

the termsenti ie nt'w ithtnou


giir s;rr, ;;iy_::

j.:X",:,:[:?::::'iii:':,::';
I,T,"
r[["xi:,;y,lffiif

existingorder' we maf
call it "statut
Jtututttu
tion,"'
uttnount-ulihe
is not to say that a rite
cannotestablishana aefine
a ^;;;,rJl.,his
Besidesthis

functio"uf_U"f,uriJri,
contra
dictingit,is*' p,v.r'
ou
ff': :i:,ffj'3liii;

triestoI

"
il1 ixr: :":H
too,*-u-iiirl
se
tbe
[**ru TI - A"..,
fiIjl ;*iJI;:'?ilJ
pragmatic
':'"f
this
function.
view,
neurosis b"".,-*
In
]'rl'::L^l:LU:tary'
uarbecome,.",,".,?.::":"';#g!il'fr:'*'i1x?ff
lil."o.,,avoid
anxierd;r"J;;

i""l'1,'ji;#iifl :,',,:in".p'y.nca
n
n
o
t
a
ccep
t
". o,.l1l.
i:;# :U;:: :":: tr f : gj;:T;r,;f,:Tr."l,

alit'
it
seeks
to
escapeutter madness.Thus, religion
is seen'asan irrational outburst, a ;ghost
"
d";;;j;;""'
The contrast, however,
is more one of perspective

than of sub_
observe
il:ffi; #:,;:ll,X':r,sy ,;u;;;, ;"";;" onehand,
theror_

'*il*1y,
:#Hj;?;;:""f"",':'#lff
lU:,**J#ri"ffi

forma
tionof private tu.r..th; ili ji,::Hk
,.::
l:?",,Hy::ff
.ri
top'v.f,olo$v.
e .un.,oig,a,p

ir ,r"gative. A ritual can


persistin a com-

any,case, are impressive


evidenc""fo, ^",

,eri;i;'": :T:::il.ilmplement
construct".rv.'",',ii"".ffi
jn*lri
6:,:*;l:""..".1,;l
sands
or
y"u,r,
u,iJ
"venirthey";r;;",,;T:ilj,lr::il?i"fr;T::?ffilJ,|],
:;[';iH
f::i: I;';;;: "",.",n",1".,".,,'i.,"^
The first of theseru.to.r

'Jll!':::,:,tanders
-tA.*.nua.ln"-u.o*nh
'7For
ee33)
44
the ;;,";;:';
* Youns,Initiation
c,,r^onir,' i Cross-Cutturat
yj,rliirr:iiit;|u",f:
studyof status

, wes. Jchr. rc (ry24), 2to_2o =


Ges.Werke

s Freu
) see
d
"",(re7o
;?:it$iilti",::TJ-f,#:ff :Hj:T:3
;:,:,:",T
/ \194t), t2g39.

25

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

munity only so long as it does not threatenthat community with extinction. Somereligious developmentshave indeed tended in this direction. The swift fall of most Gnostic movementsand the final fall of
Manichaeismwere undoubtedly causedby their negationof life, just
as the monks of Mount Athos, who were maintained by the outside
world's consciousnessof sin, are dying out today. If, however, practically all human cultures are shaped by religion, this indicatesthat
religious ritual is advantageousin the processof selection,if not for
the individual, then at leastfor the continuanceof group identity.'Re'/
ligion outlives all non-religious communities; and sacrificial ritual
plays a specialrole in this process.
.tr Furthermore, those rituals which are not innate can endure only
when passedon through a learning process.The impulse for imitation, which is highly developedin man and especiallyin children, is
decisivehere, and it is encouragedby the theatricalityof ritual. Children act out weddings and funeralsagainand again.This alone, howevet cannot preservethe form of ritual, which remainsrigid and unchanging over long periods of time. For this, the rite must be
established as sacred. A religious rite is almost always "serious":
somedanger is evokedarousinganxiety,which then heightensattentiveness and lifts the subsequent proceedings out of the colorful
stream of daily experience.Thus, the learning processleavesan ineradicableimpression.By far the greatestimpressionis madeby what
terrifies, and it is just this that makesaggressiverituals so significant.
But even this is not enough to guaranteethe permanenceof the
'
f ritual: deviationsare correctedby elimination. Ritull was evidently so
important for the continuanceof human societythat it becameone of
the factorsof selectionitself for innumerablegenerations.Thosewho
will not or cannotconform to the rituals of a societyhave no chancein
it. Only those who haveintegratedthemselvescan haveinfluenceand
affectaction. Here, the seriouscharacterof religious ritual becomesa
very real threat. The psychologicalfailure to meet this threat causes
personal catastrophe.For instance, a child who consistentlylaughs
during solemn occasionswill not survive in a religious community.-1
Apollonios of Tyana once declaredsuch a boy to be possessedby a
demon, but luckily the evil spirit quickly left the frightened young
eSo
already
O. Gruppe, RML Suppl., ,,Geschichte
der klassischenMythologieund Religionsgeschichte"
(r9zr),
243.
Group
selection
is not accepted by the molern theory
of evolution-see R. Dawkins, fhi Setfish
Genei976)-but it is still granted that,,a
grudger's strategy" is ,,evolutionarily stable,,: iUii. |99_ ror,.

z6

RITUALIZATION

d"devirr-i ip,,ur#iq::';?:*,;:rii:'LU*:,*::, 1"*r'".'",e

rascal.loIn the Middle Ages, abbots


foug]r^t^:h".
d:yil with very
real
Drrtrrpsro accounttor the
r
durability of aggressive
ritual.
The
biologicar-functional
view
of rituarhasa
consequence
that
serdomrearized'beca.use
is
it seemsto go uguinrt the
intention
of
manism, which sees,itsmission l"
hup"."riir",ga phenomenology
of the
mind or sourand in discrosing
;;";;;;.oncepts
or ideas.Eversince
wilhelm Mannhardt and Rob"erts";;#;,
the study of rerigionshas
focusedon ritual' The evidenc"
.f th; ii;;;ary tradition
no rongersat_
isfied' sinceit had becomeevident
that iiwas secondary.Thus,
,,aeepef;',Lore
ars looked for its rool:
schorin
primitive ideas.,,,,It was,
and is' consideredserf-evident'tn"t
titr"l,
must dependon an anrecedent;i;;;/;{"n especialryrerigiousritual,
though it afwaysturns
out that those peopl:_lnr,:
nlri., hul b"ur.,
able
to
observe
practlclngritual ,,no longer,,
unaurrtuJir, ,,d""pu. meaning.,, stilt
the rationaristic bias in,tfre.coffi
After
i,
instead to'iexperien.":::i-'d;:;f;.*,,t i'rr' ) t_exposed,schorarirooked
for
.so".,
.,3 the roots which, as

orosy,however_ and, in
thiiJ:::,J:.lli3lli:,
L
scase,
history- fl :1:::1,j, :;l
rons
aso
revoru
ti
on
iz";Ti?rtf"$:.ff
".,i li; .il

toPhilostr.
V Ap.4.zo. On the Teufelspeitsche
seeA:
Schweiz.
z8 (1928),8r-ros.
errn,, y.iEii,
,,witch..s
Cf.
f:9Uy,
the
story
of
the
.r,ira. iil c;,,rr'ila,l"ii:,1; Der
Heinrich1r85a),I. ch.
sri)ne
5
rrFor
instance'Mannhardt
Qg7) 6q
der primitivisten Entwickelu.;-r;;i#" stateshis concrusionas follows: ,Als Uberlebser
;",
-l'r*n,nnen
Geistes
Vorstellung
hat
sich . . . die
von
der
Greichartig"keitil
tilil;
una a", Baumesgere*et. Die
zeugung 'der Baum hat
Uber_
ejne.SJele*f" a". V""*h,,
und
aer
Wunsch
zu b'ihen wie ein Baum'
zu
wachsenund
sind
die ',"."""in".
weitverzwei';tenGlaubens
mannigfacher
und
Gebrauche
gewesen";that is, the conception
and wish give rise to the

jffi;
"r,J#

..ideen,
therituar
iJ'lljl;,*X,"t"lilll,:n:.t ortr,"ia"u,u^p."*"a.,"
t.aditiJn,
die

men
tar
idea
.r,,,"
_.."0,1".1
tlfr ::;,li1:-a
il',i."Tl
;;*i

t.e+8'l'33o)sought
behind-ttr" r"t1rt"g'";;r',,#
Geschichte
tne building btoiks
der Vorsterungen.,as
of an "Entwickiur!rg.;.*.;ls
''E.g.,
menschrichenGeistes.,,
Nilston (r95) z:,,Es gibt
Glaubenssdtze
..
aus
ihnen
entspriessen. . . die
Hanalunien',;
,,die
we
are
obliged
iujiati,tin
allee
Vorstellungenzuerst auf
o"'religicisei Handrungen
t.rlrlrrl.L-,ii"n"T"'n"n
""]11
(ryo7),42, ror instance,_spoke ,,rerigioser
a""*l:fr,';^t';{::'":;:":y,'iitze
or
Vorstellungenund.in Handlung".r.;';t:;ir: Emprin_
rooks to ,,den
natLirlich";i1"in
In{"ur,

"

flxi*rk";,"ffu;';n':*:';i;
;*J'iJffi
!;x;:i::;'I;f

rherite.s
in which,r."*lirJ.]r*,riurirl,"*
demonstrative.#:,:r.i*,,s1._rog,

lll

SACRIFICE, HUNTING/

FUNERARY RITUALS

not Produceritual; rather, ritual itself producesand shapesideas, or


even experienceand emotions. "Ce ne sont pas des 6motions actuelles,ressentiesir I'occasiondes r6unionset des c6r6monies,qui engendrent ou perp6tuentles rites, mais I'activit6rituelle qui susciteles
6motions."'n'A specificpracticeor belief . . never representsa direct
psychologicalresponse of individuals to some aspect of the outer
world. . . . The sourceof their beliefsand practicesis . . . the historic
tradition."" It is this, by transmittingthe customas custom,that producesideas, shapesexperiences,excitesdesires.
This changein perspective,of course,takesus back to a basicassumption of primitive religion which religious studies constantly try
to transcend:the sourceof religiouscustomis the "ways of our ancestors."16Ever since the pre-Socratics,people have stubbornly asked
how mankind cameto have its religiousideas;and they have done so
although all men of the historical era, and certainly countlessprehistoric generations,were taught their religiousbeliefsby the generation immediately preceding them. Plato expressedit thus: children
come to believe in the existenceof the gods by observing how "their
own parentsact with utmost seriousnesson behalf of themselvesand
their children" at sacrificeand prayer.'' Even the most radicalinnovations in the history of religion proceedfrom this basis.
To be cautious,let us say that all human action is accompaniedby
ideas, surrounded by images and words. Tradition embraceslanBuageas well as ritual behavior. Psychoanalysiseven speaksof "unconscious ideas." But to what extent these ideas, which are then
raised after all into the realm of linguistic presentation,are just hermeneutic accessoriesor factorsthat exercisea demonstrablecausality
is a difficult question, at best answerableonly in the context of psychology itself. By meansof interpretation,one can attributeideas to
any aiiion.flnituil has an undersiandablefunction within society-of
course,it often has many, and changing, functions, for, as we know,
biologicalselectionfavorsmultiple functions. Human beingscan usually understand ritual intuitively, at least in its constituent parts.
Thus, ritual makes sensein two ways. It is quite right to speak of
"ideas" or "insights" which are "contained" in ritual and which it can
'uC.
L6vi-Strauss,
Le totimisme auiourd'hui (1962) tozf .
'5A. L
Hallowell, American Anthroltologist z8 (:1926), 19. M. Mead, Male and Female
(1949\,6r, stresses that even childhood experiences bear the stamp of the adult world,
"a process of transmission, not
of creation.,,
'oCf.
P
r
e
f
a
c
en. 7.
l'1Plat. Leg.
887d.

z8

for instance.,.

MYTH AND RITUAL

express and communicate_as,

t,"
:"r": :,ll:$"":l"Lilo*1*,

n"'iil:T-::.::y1

the reality
of
a
transcendentpower or the ,u.."ar,us
higher,
of life
y;;"ur""",,,.,1
problematicto say thatritual has ro-" ;p.,rqose,,,
_o.u
since
*" t'o* *,ut
its courseis predeterminedand tnui
u
,ip"iimposed
p.r.poru-.un.,o,
changeit but can at most provokeii*?t*rr"re.
Thereis no
tion for viewing the ,'idea),"""n
lustiti.uir.ir, fi].guisticmanifestation,
as
an_
terior to or decisivefor rituar. I"
rh; ii;;;ry of mankind, rituar
is far
older than linguistic communication.,B
Neitirer th" ;;;;, ;;;i"r,grrO
that can be extractedas a
partiar
clarification
nor the emotionsand,expJanati";r;;;;;rsedby interpreting the rituar
by
participints
in
the
cult are the basis and, origin ,i
,f,"li'if,ey simply accompany
it.

Thanksto its theatrical,

minetic;;;;;'
tha
t its,u..u
d, r _"r,y ^ i;;;;;;,
""
""

4. Myth andRituql

Ritual, as a form
is
a.kind of language. It is F
3f .9om-munication,
f natural' then, that verbarizedru"g"ugu,'-an's most
\of
effective
system
communication,
shourd be a;;;Hfi
*i*r
.it.,ut.
Arthough
complishment of language
the acresides in communicating
some
content
and in projecting r3a,"i.or
reahty,it'irll'tr," sametirie
u^""t**"ty
"
socialphenomenor,,
it brings ;;;;;-;;procal

personalcontactand
*lo u"to"g'
tJth"s';"t i;;;;;',1",p*

H:T::::t:;iT;Tr"'
k""p';;;l;,;,;"'*#;L:1,:rlT:il.:Jl].*nTTil.ili,1

seemsless
important.
in everyd;t ltf" i;;; rhat something
is in tact
*tO
roe."th:..i n silenceir'u f_ori'lr.bearabte.
;L:,lg
Doubtlesslor
this reason, ritual and language
have gone hand in

ma
n.ou,o
.ffi
:$r"J'"J'.tff
,tffntffi#*,'derthar

gl"e","proc.seaenth
r""i,, llt:,ti:::;,f',lfu'-u1: "o...u.."e'"rr,i;;;;,#;
*1e","procsnenthi,;C"Ts,";;;;;;;,J""rili?;",?l#:r,,i:y;E:;:,Tf

't",liffl;t.?.,i1:jl;l:t b r-rxr"",a'):,i)i'o,,n*p"tosist
zB7-)o7:
74(ts7zt,

speech,"Annals.New
york
yet therewas
r1976).
Acatd.
sciences
zgo
nr"r,1Tt_"-"".,and
cannibalism,
and buriat_b", n. p,.,orili
to*".putu"oiiii,r.in,,".,,,.r,
].t_in tt"

Morris (t9671 zoz- zo6on ,,grooming


talk.,,

oJr*"ir,"
ir","""'u[:. :io.*#:;':;*"lT[:,f ilUiT.v.3i#,:H,""r
'5ee

29

SACRIFICE/ HUNTING/

FUNERARY RITUALS

hand sincelanguagebegan. Any number of forms are conceivablefor


',,
such a combination,and many are indeed attested;from a responsion
of expressivecries during the ritual, to naming that which seems
presentin it and invoking it,2 to a more or lessdirect accountof what
is happening there.lThisleads us to the problem of myth'
The theme of myth and ritual is still the subjectof great controversy. While some see the ritual backdrop of a myth as the only acceptablemeaning for something that at first aPPearsabsurd, others
champion the causeof free fantasyand speculation.After Robertson
Smith had determined "the dependenceof myth on ritual," which
Jane Harrison then distilled into the theory that myth is often just
"ritual misunderstood,":5. H. Hooke postulatedon the basis of ancient Near Easternand biblical material that there was a unity, a necessaryconnectionbetweenmyth and ritual: myth is "the spoken part
of the ritual." oThe occasionalclaimsthat this thesisresolvedthe question absolutely have caused a variety of strong reactions,sbut these
'?The
(L.
"Paian,"
divine
names
Paian
Deubner,
Nlb zz ftgrgl, 185-4o6;Nilsson [1955]
G6rard-Rousseau[1968] t64-65) and
54j; see already the Mycenaean pa-ja-wo-ne,
Iakchos (Foucart lr9r4l rrr; Deubner |t%zl 7); Nilsson lt955l 661 aroseout of the cultic cries i'ficeflarov and "IoxX' 6 "Iax1e.
3W R. Smith (1894)t7-zo; for "absurd mythology" seenas "ritual misunderstood" see
J. Harrison, Mythology and Monumentsof Ancient Athens Q89o), xxxiii. Cf. Harrison
(t927)327-1r, where the meaning of myth is recognizedonce again:"the myth is the
plot of the dromenon" b3r). The connections between myth and ritual were already
strdssedby F. G. Welcker(Die aeschylische
TrilogiePrometheus
und dieKabirenweihe
zu Lemnos[r8z4l, esp. 159, 249- 50)and Wilamowitz (e.g., EuripidesHeraklesI [1889], 85; "Hephaistos,"NGG 1895,zj4 : Kl. Schr.Y z, 2)-zd.
'S. H. Hooke, ed., Myth and Ritual
Og1;), ), myth is "the spoken part of the ritual,"
"the story which the ritual enacts."As early as 1910,A. van Gennepstatedthat myth
is "eine Erziihlung . . . , deren Bestandteilesich in gleicher Sequenz durch religirismagische Handlungen (Riten) dussern" (lnternationaleWochenschrilt
4. rr74). In the
meantime,empiricalethnologyhad arrivedon the scene:B. Malinowski,Myth inPrimitiae Psychology(1926).For an attempt at an overview see D. Kluckhohn, "Myths and
Rituals: A General Theory," HThR35 Q94z), 45-79; also S. H. Hooke, Myth, Ritualand
Kingship(1958);and Th. H. Gaster, Thespis:Ritual, Myth and Drama in theAncient Near
East(rg5o, 196r'?).Lord Raglan, The Originsof Religion(1949),and A. M. Hocart, Social
Origins$954\, went so far as to reconstructan Ur-ritual, rooted in ancient Near Eastern
kingship.
Alongside this debate-carried on almost exclusivelyamong English-speakingscholars-are parallel attempts in the early work of G. Dum6zil (k crimedes kmniennes
IrS24l; Le problimedesCentaurs[1929])on the one hand, and, on the other, in Germany
where W. F. Otto, Dionysos(tSlt, 44, spoke of the "Zusammenfall von Kultus und
Mythos," and O. Hofler (1934)derived the sagasabout hordes of wild men and about
werewolves
from
ritual.
sH. Rose,Mhemosyne
J.
n.s. 3 (r95o), z}r-87; M. p. Ni.lsson.Cults,Myths, Oraclesand

)o

MYTH AND RITUAL

have been unable to dampen

the fascinal
r,.n
mvrh
and-ritua
;"t a"*.','"ir,";3
Gili l;[Tj?:l'il :i:

with rituar.o
argueagainst
this:sioriesthatare;;vorrir,au"_

than that of ritual, a solutionsatisfacLry


to-allis virtually n.O"r"it:"
A radical way out is to say tnat
*rJaeri"i"g f;;;;oi"#rrn,
u,
opposedto saga,fairytale, ur,d ro'.tut",
i, i,, connection

ffi"#::flfacts

inbothancient;oT'""#f,l:i,?".,:J',ff.1:T:*'ffj;?.l,l,

sponding' expricatorymyths.'a"a utihough


one could attribute the
Iack of a correspond;:c; rn antiquiil
iJ i.,.o.npt"te documentation
preservedby chance,it is hard to'attacf
the proofs brought forward
by ethnology.*one courd,
"r.o.r^",-Jr-gue that myths wit-houtrituals
derive nonetheressfrom rost
rituurr,'?ilut
myth
is so much easier
to transmit and takes so.much t"t"
that tailil;;eud
una
grow on its own' Butthis
"*pu.,re
hypothesis
iun.,ot be verified. Rituaris
far
older in the history of evolution;
;il;j;;"es
back
even
to
animals,
whereasmyth onlv b"crm" posriui"
-i r-rine adventof speech,a
specificallyhuman auitity.
h";";;;;;nnot
yytn,
be documentedbefore
the era in which *.iti.,g *u,
i.rt".-#d-,*arthough i;;'.tio.rrty
present long before. somewher"
rr, u"i*""n, in the vast reaches
of
the unknowabre,are the 'origins.;
il;;;
reft with the fact that stories are somethins
to Uiofogically
observable
rituat. To
"": ll:"{ri".
this extent' myth does
not grow directly Lut of ritual.
on the

other
do
i,fliSiX]ilo"1tic' nota;'put"iiui^'.it"r,.,a-y*, .u^" ," u"

"i

o,and cf Ni,sson(,m

According to the broadest


definition, a mythis
a
traditional
tale.,
This is alreadyienough
to airpor" or'tr,l opi.io.,, herd
from Xenopha-

?;":;;':,

,""04ab.ve)
and
ERLeach,

Mythos(ts67), therituatrhe_

l:
;;
:,,
;:
:;:
::',,
(,g66);
K,k
r,;;;i;;,:;|,lJ:iJ":jr,llS,.i':J?;:I
l:Xn:;;;*,,,jlii,irf:,;:

gre(re6t), and
K. Ker6nvi.
Die
Lrofuing
;r;;;g;;;r"rrm
only marginalty.Cf. Burkeit
t,s8o)l-'''^

:y--"PT"^

,*:iiilpi"t;i;i;;i;,*#:$i*i:r

rituarsoierrap ratherthan0",",,",".0"|o"llX'Ll,view seeKirk (re7o)z8:


,;::j:::::
seeE otto' "DasVerhdrtnis
von
Rite
und
d;;:.il:v',rl:;i,:;:,::"t:
Myrhusim
(1958),r; c. J' Bleeker,Egyptian
re't,uats,-r.n
srri i;rt tiio)1,'iri.*'8
n
in'riir rl o*
(r97o)z5_zg.
,rurk
,,rorKirk (r9zo),the ,,tradj

;ffi",T:fti,[:*,ji1'.,'1]1#";1,'i':Tiil:,,'ff
i'"1T:I."*#'lily,l',..1",

3a

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

the
nes up through modern classicists,that myths y:1" :::"":"^1bv
poet'sfancy,if not in historicaltimes, then in ?1:hiti"t{:,1"i::1""t^t
telltngand reof its origin, myth is characterizedbyits suitabilityfor
telling. Although it does not derive from empiri::.t ",b::T:^t1"1:l;i:
and can be only partiallyverified'at best'^TI^,t:
dividiral
t"
"*p".i"".."
lucid. lts themes are often.surprisingly-::it^t?,"t'
extraordinarily
that shape lts unspite of the many fantasticand paradoxicalmotifs
they return again
mistakableidentity; even though slightly distorted'
For this reason,psycnoa"utysisseesmyth as a projection
""aspecific
"g"f" structuresin the to,'I, utt elaborationof inborn psychologiof
however'
."ii*p"tiaions." From a strictly evolutionarystandpoint'
hollowed
*" -.it, suPPosethat even these archetypei, like valleys
beout by ancient streams, were createdby a processof s.election
ways
tween various ways of life open to Palaeolithicman' And if the
they
of life were determined by rituals, then from the very start
shaped the mYthic Patterns.
This is speculaiion' We can be certain, however, that myths and
is no
rituals successfullycombineas forms of cultural tradition. There
need for the myth itself to be part of the ritual, as the strict orientation
apof the myth-and-ritual school would have it. Continuous stories
outside
p"u, i., ritual only exceptionally.The ritual can be discussed
this
it, o*. context,either in prepaiation or to explain it afterward;.in
way, the Greeksconnectehaimost every ritual with a story explaining
ineachcasewhyaquestionablecustomwasestablished.''onlythe
is
oppositequestion, wiether in turn all Greek myths refer to rituals'
l0,,Der
Phantasiedes Dichters,,,Wilamowitz (lg3t) 4z' a
in
der
.
entsteht
'
.
Mythos
To be
D,ich.tung
thesis restatedprogramatrcallyby E' Howald, Der.Mythosals
!1SlZ),
individual manifestation of a
sure, it is perfecity legitimate t; in;estigate eachparticular
themes which are the
^ytt, U"i it is no less legitimateto slarch for the underlying
given for every Poet historically known to us'
;C. G.
(1938),4o3-ro, on archetypesas "Funktionsformen"; idem'
1.-,.,g,Eranos-lb.
C' G'
' Symbolin derPsychologie
Mon oni uii synbols(tg6+);i . iu.oii, Ko^p\", Archetypus
Weltbildeinerfrilhen Kultur lrg48l,
(Diasreligi1se
lungs(t95fl. Following A. E. Jensen
from Jung. Regardr3rff.), even Kerenyi 1rgO7)xxiii_xxxiii has now distancedhimself
ut
stated:-,"-ttl-:
irig the problem of myth and history W' F JacksonKnight
be calledan
can ,^tt^ltud
u i.r"ntai containertohold the factsof somenew event.The container
(CumaeanGates1ry161'9r)'
archetypal
Pattern"
1'?Theearliest examples are Hesiod's Prometheus story (Th 556-57 ' the possibly inthose to Apollo
terpolatedverses I/. 2.546-5t, among the Homuic Hymns prirnarily
Dichtung [1963])' to Demeter
(D. Kolk, Der pythischeApitlonhymnis als aitiologische
(cf' I'u at n' r3 above)' On cultic
1f. W"htti, ARW-3r (tgl+l', ZZ-ti+), and to Hermes
der griech' Literatur Il1 Qg4o)' 7o5'7'
etiologies in tragedy i"e W. Schmid. Geschichte
776.8.Cf . Nilsson (1955\z7-29.

)2

MYTH AND RITUAL

disputed. There have been attempts, of course, to distinguish


etiolog_
ical myths referring to cult from"genuine" myths,', bu"t the
di.tin._
tion falls apart as soon as one can show in even a few cases that rndis_
putably genuine old
myths
are
subordinate
to
cultic
action,
as,
for
instance, the myth of Pelops is to the festival at olympia. Nor is
it
generally true that the Greeks saw a correspondence'b"t-u"r, speech
and action, Xey6p,eva.and 6ptitp,eva,only in mystery cults.', piety was
indeed in the Greek view a matter of ritual, bui myt'h was nonetheless]
ubiquitous. The two were transmitted together because they explained
and strengthened each other.

This.is-not to say that ritual is a theatrical dramatization


of
myth.rsg
Nor can it be seen as arising from magical ideas with an alleged
pur-pose. The relationship of the two becomes clear if we take
itual
for
what it is, if we accept that its function is to dramatize the order
of life, expressing itself in basic modes of behavior, especially aggression. In its own way, too, myth clarifies the order of iif".'. A, ii well
known, it frequently explains and justifies social orders and establishments,r'and in so doing it is related to ritual, which occurs by means
of social interaction. The most exciting themes in myth come from the
realm of sexuality and aggression, and these are alsb prominent in ritual communication. The most fascinating stories .or,."..r the periis
of death and destruction. These have their counterpart in sacrificial

killingrJ

"E.g., A. E. Jensen,"Echteund,dtiologische(explanatorische)
Mythen,,,in K. Kerenyi,
tff[nuns desZugangszum Mythos (967), z6i-7o : Mythos uid
Krrt beiNaturuorkern
lie
67-9t' gz-tcn, in which "mythical trurh" is the criterionfor what is
\1951'),
genuine;cf.
I.z.n. 38 above.
uThus
Nilsson (1955)r4n.. It is true that the generalterms (jepris)I<iyos (Hdt.
2.47,
2.5r,z.8r) or \eyop.tvaand iptitp.eva
(paus.
r.43.2,
z.3g.z,
2.17.2,9.1o.lr,9.27.2)come
up.precisely in situations where the content of the
story and riiual may not be described,
that
is,
in
the
mysteries.
So
also,
for
instance,Euseb.praep.Ea. ry.r.zretrezcd
KqLputrnpld rripgavo rois rcovrporepav p.u|wois
6tt7"yr1p,aow;Lact.
Diz,. ittst.t.zt.39
quidquid
est
in
abscondendo
Restum
puero,
id iprr^ p* imagiiemgeritur in sacris(mysteries
of Kuretes);steph. Byz. s.a."Aypa.
. . ,iptn*ta r[ov repi rdu Lr,ovu<tov.
But the correspondence
is
not
limited
to
these
cases:on"sacrifice generafiy see Firm. Err. 16.3:ut
acerbarum
mortium
casus
cottidiano
aictimarumsonguiie recrutrescant.
Ach. Tat. z.z.z rfis
io?ris iqyoivrat
r;arlpa
pihov.
"SeeFontenrose(1959)
464, who correctly states:,,Whenevermyth precedesritual,
then drama is produced.,,
*re paraliel functions. of rituar and myth see Kruckhohn, ,,Myths
and Rituals,,
ion
(n'
4 above); Leach, political Systems.
'fuo*ing
Malinowski, Uyin in primitiue psychology,on ,,charter
myths,, see Kirk
t'r970)154-57.

33

SACRIFICE, HUNTING/

FUNERARY RITUALS

ai'pruyof agg"ression-sealing

The mythical tale' as


"The mvth is the plot of the dromenon'" "
|
withina singleritualtradition'
;;#;;ili;;'
L'--""'t.";il
behavi-oraldescription of
does not, of course, p'ot'id" an obiective
are
the ritual intends' Rituals
what occursthere. It i"t"t ift"t which
the
with a displaced'*f:t:'11}us'
redirectedpatterns
orientationand so
";;;;;i";'
mythical naming, b;;;i;;otlo*'
l!::;iginal which cannotbe pera quasi-realitv
filis the spaceleft vacant'creates
ritual' Huis direcfly experiencedin the
ceived with the '""'"' Ut't
and thus ritual com'o-".
man speech naturai]'"re;;l;
"'ui"ct'In hunting and then in
munication gir'", "'i io-*ytftituf.subjects'
behavior between -'"" u1-"diverted
sacrifice,aggressivemodes of
the other hand' is a human victim''o
onto animals; in the myth' on
myth names somedisplayedin tire Preparatoryrituals; the
;;;;r;.;
shapedby g"tiut"t of guilt and
one who is to be feared.tire iit,rat is
strongerbeing t"O
submission;the myth tells of some
:t"It^:"I:t:
contain * n*:t
ii" ^ytf, developswhat the gestures.
: :,\reatenrng
out becomesgenuine mourngesturebecomesmurder, so"J* acted
elea story of love and death' The as-if
ing, erotic -o.'"-"iiJ;;;"
ieality; conversely'the ritual conment in the ritual il;;";;ythical
*uyiW mutually affirming each
firms the reality ii" *V*t' In this
"r
force in forming a cultural traother, myth and ritual beiame a strong
different'
;iii;;, e{,e.,though their origins were
in
ritual'
To some extent myth can even supplant.
-especially
and organization ot the group'
its function of expressingthe unity
its precision and dexterity' One
Speech is far superior tJ ritual in
dance' But becauseof its
word, one cry .u,t t"^filtu u tornprttut"d'war
iitxre' It can easilybe abusedor used
very flexibility,ra,,g'ula;lt
it
"ft"
always returns to riiual' even though
-rational
to deceive.Thereforesociety
An
acieleration of communication''o
runs contrary to ;h;
clearly in words' but it is
agreement.ur, U"'"*pt"""J q"tttty.and
op"t' *"uponless hands
onlv made uff".tr'r" iy a ritual g"'tt""'
in a mutual hando"" airother' graiping eachother
;#il;;*uia

shake-amutual
thillilf.leviouslv
possibleto conceiveof a relibeen merely spoken"simitarly' it ^u{.b:
u tutigiott using myth without ritual
gion without *yttt',L"i
""i"f
without ritual''i
practice.There has yet to be a community

t'Harrison (:.927) 11r.


reSee
z above'
n
at
cf'
above;
I.2.n.35
auch in Zukunft
20A. Portmann , Das Tier alssoziales Wesen(t964)' 34o:"Das Ritual bleibt
Lein allem h6heren' d'h sozialen
das gewaltige Instrument des Uberindividuellen
(r97o) zo7-zo6'
U".,.y O" sh"aking hands see Eibl-Eibesfeldt

34

TRANSFORMATION OF RITUAL KILLING

5. TheFunctionand
Transformation
of Ritual
Killing

Hunting behavior became establishedand, at the same time.


transferablethrough ritualization. In this way it was preservedlong
after the time of the primitive hunter. This cannoi be explained
simply by the psychologicalmechanismsof imitation and impiinting,
whereby customs are inherited. Theserituals were indispeniable becauseof the particular thing they accomplished.The only prehistoric
and historic groups obviously able to assert themselveswere those
held together by the ritual power to kill. The earliest male societies
banded together for collectivekilling in the hunt. Through soridarity
and cooperativeorganization,and by establishingan inviolableorder,
the sacrificialritual gave societyits form.
As ethology has shown, a senseof community arises from collectiveaggression.'A smile can, of course,establishcontact,and a crying child touchesour hearts,but in all human societies,,seriousness,,
takes precedenceover friendliness and compassion.A community
bound by oaths is united in the "sacred shiver" of awe and enthusiasm-the relic of an aggressivereflex that made the hairs bristle,in a feeling of strength and readiness.This must then be releasedin
an "act":
the
sacrificial
ritual
provides
the
occasion
for
killing
and
bloodshed. Whether
in
Israel,
Greece,
or
Rome,
no
agreemeit,
.,o
contract,no alliance
can
be
made
without
sacrifice.
And,
in
the
lan,,struck,,
guageof the oath, the object
of
aggression
that
is
to
be
and
"cut" becomesvirtually identical*ltn tn" covenantitself:
foedusferire,
6pxtu trrrrd r6,p.vtcu.3
Familiesand guildsoorganizethemselvesinto

'Lorenz
(1963)esp. 249-318.For criticisms,seeI.r.n.r; Eibl-Eibesfeldt
e97o) t45-.48,
1d7-9ois
somewhat
reluctant;
his
example
of
the
sudden
effectof a smilein war (rr3r4) shows how shaky these other kinds of bonding
are. A new theory of how human
communityis founded
on
aggression
has beenset out by Girard 6972\:his model is not
rne
hunting
pack
but
the
scapegoat
complex(cf. Burkert bgZgl Sg'_ZZl
and Dionysiac
a7fapo'yPos-acombinationwhich
is questionable.The practiceof eatingin sacrificeis
not taken
into
account
by
him.
'On
the "sacredshiver" of awe see Lorenz(t961)
J75-77.

T s a formula, see
ll. 3.73 and 19.r9r; Od. 24.4$; R. Hirzel, Der Eid (r9oz); Stengel

3^

35

SACRIFICE/ HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

sacrificial communities; so too cities at a festival, as well as gatherings


of larger political groups. The inhabitants of the Peleponnesus, the
"island of Pelops," meet at Pelops' grave for sacrifice at Olympia; the
islanders celebrate in Delos; the Ionian cities slaughter a bull to Poseidon at Mykale.5 In the time of Cicero, the cities of the Latin League
still had the right "to demand their portion of meat" u from the sacrifice of a bull to ]upiter Latiaris. The Ionian League headed by Athens
first met at Delos; Iater, Athens exacted a phallus for the procession at
the Dionysia at Athens, and a cow for the Panathenaia.'It is in the
sacrificial procession that the empire's power becomes manifest.
The closer the bond, the more gruesome the ritual. Those who
swear an oath must touch the blood from the accompanying sacrifice
and even step on the testicles of the castrated victim.8 They must eat
the meat of the victim as well, or at least the ozr).c!71ua."It was generally believed that conspiracies practiced human sacrifice and cannibal(tgzo) 46-38; Nilsson (ry55) 49-42. On the Semitic "cutting" of a covenant see
E. Bickermann, "Couper une alliance," Archiuesd'Histoire du Droit Orientale 5 Qg5ol5:.),
t13-56.A
special case of the encounter with death is passing through the severed
halves of the sacrificial victim: see S. Eitrem, Synfu. Oslo 25 Og4Z), 36-39; for the Hittites see O. Curney, RHR 97 j95o), 5-25. On the sacrifice of the /efinleswith the sacred silex see Latte Qg6o) rzz-23; R. M. Ogilvie, A Commentary on Liuy | (t9611),trz;
Burkert $967\ 287. Calling down a curse on oneself (Livy r.z4; Nilsson [1955] r39) does
not explain the details of the ritual; the essential point is that the act, during which the
one who swears raises himself above annihilation, is irrevocable. This can be shown,
for instance, by sinking metal bars in the sea: Hdt. r. r65; Arist. Ath. Pol. 4.5. For this
reason the otov\il can take the place of blood sacrifice (cf. L6.n.z6 below).
{The phratries are constituted
at the sacrifices of the peiou and xovper.ovat the Apaturia: see Deubner ftg1z) 4z-34. Amasis allowed the Greek merchants to construct
"altars and sacred precincts for the gods" at Naukratis (Hdt. r.r78)-the
permanent
establishment of a trading company; cf. late Hellenistic Delos.
5Hdt. r. r48; Strabo 8 p.
)84; :.4p.619; Marm. Par., FGrHist 49 A z7; G. Kleiner, P. Hommel, and W. Miiller-Wiener, "Panionion und Melie," ldl Erg.-H. z1 g967); F. Sokolowski, BCH 94 OgTo), to9-7t2; on Pelops see ILz below.
oL\vy
32.t.9, 37.1.4; Crc. Planc. 21. Cf. Latte (96o) t44-46; A. Alfdldi, Early Rome and
the bztins Qg6), rg-25.
TDelos: Thuc. r.96.2. For the phallus see IG Il/lll? 671.
drayeLu
B6[u xairavotr)\fiav
is flavaSftvata rd pttfya),al haz'cloas lG I' 61 : R. Meiggs and D. Lewis, A Selection
of Greek Historical lnscriptions Q96), #69, 55ff ; #q6, 4r; cf . IC I'? ro : SIGr 4r; Schol.
Aristoph. Nuh. 386.
EStengel
Qgro) 78-85; Hennes 59 Qgz4), 3rr-zr; <rras 6ri ttov ropiav Demosth. 23.68,
a n d c f . D i o n . H a l . A n t . 7 . 5 o . r ; P a u s . 3 . z o . g , 4 . 1 5 . 8 , 5 . 2 4 . 9 .C f . I . 7 b e l o w .
'Thus Demaratos
adjures his mother at the sacrifice: Hdt. 6.67, iorleis is ras yeipas oi
r('tv orltayyvar,. Cf. Stengel jgzo) 1'16,r4; Aristoph. Lys. zoz with Schol.; Antiphon
5 . r : . ; A e s c h i n e s 1 . 1 r 4 ; I s a e u s 7 . 1 6 ; L y k . L e o k r .z o .

36

TRANSFORMATION

OF RITUAL KILLING

ism''" And' in a secularized


form among Athenian

h e t a i r i a i ,c o r e c t i v e
killingwasan expression
of loy"ity.;"riJ",
in the sauumno longer ,"*ri., ,n" sacritegium"-r.rr,r,
within the confinesof

;il:i-"d

In a sacrificethc circreof
participantsis segregated
from the outside
worrd'
Compricated
socilt
st.uitu"r", rina
expression
in the di_
verse roles the participants
assume;il;" courseof
the rituar, from
the various ,,beginnings,,,,
through
pruy".,
cutting up, to roasting-and,
.rtuu't''t"., ,kinn]ig, ur..a
a "lord of the sacrific!,,
"U"r?"fi'a1rr.,Ur6ng the meat.Thereis

a"-"r"ri
(actuarry ;;;/, pote*fl"
stas,;; ; ;; ;;"_, !': :,,:::,
9;l;

: i:::i:;:!", if:
power of rife)' And as for tttu
.""t, uu.i
iurti.lpur.,t has a
set
function
and actsaccordingto a precisery
n-"J'Jraer.tThe sacrificiar
nity is thus a moJer.of iociety
commu_
;t-;';h;-,
divided accordingto occupation and rank' Henge,
,r," rri"r"-iies
manifested
in
th--eceremony are given sreat socialtmportance
u.,a r* ,;i.;;;;
*.i""Ur1
An ancientepic, the Thebaid,;"i;;;;;.bedipus
cursedhis sonsbe_
causehe was given the wrong
pi;;" ;;';.rificial meat.,2
Harmodios
murdered Hipparchos, tne pJiistratt'a,
deniedthe honor of being "burk;;;;;ul" ,""u.r." his sister had been
in ,hu panathenaia.,.
the Corinthians turned u"gui"riiiu
And
"
a;;;;;r",
not
reastof alr because
"in their common festivaii
tr.,ey_ouii'"i,
th";;;;;;r;uv
privilege of founders and, at
,i"i. r"lriri.""r,"uo*
they did not perform the
rites of 'beginnine, for,1 ^3r.,

rawsthatreg-

of Corinth, as the
,nt'$ll1T:i:1y,
r.eirteq
in thep"r"p,".",iln other coioniesdid,,:

war.,n
Thesacrificiar
mearis particul'rt.tft,1'r-*o

.
;"n:5:fl:il:i:T".fi'""

r72 see Dio Cass.


^., ,l
L
o f t i a n ^ " conrains
^^hr^:-^ ^ ,::
:.D.
7r.4.r. The pniin;t ;i, , h^,,^r L_.
Lorianos,
" di ]^**::lffii."ir:lT:';J"'#"ff,il::T ff H:lj;

Phoinikika
desLoilianosrro:z);
;p;;;;
cf.
Henri.hr;
fiituut,nd theAllegedCrimes
Earlychristianr,,' in iy,ioton,
of the
Frri,;r;;;
l'''a;;:;;tlizor, ,u_ts.

r.25.4

"Thuc. 8.
73.3,yripBoiov
.....
dzroxreiuouttty,
triirw 6L6oyresairois; cf. plat.
3zc on the request of the Thirty to
Apol.
S..."i"" B"i^O*"rorrir-s
atriov' The murilation
atrerjorous
ir_orxt1oo,
of the herms ;;;l;i#;lo"rs,
ando.. r .67-and.rikewrse
symboliccastration(Aristoph.
a
Lys.
tos4,a;i;fi;;.
'Jebats
6.27). Ct.alsoDiod. r.zr.z.
fr. 3 Kinkel/Allen-even the
Grammarianwho
wf cited theoC
passage
'vil
(schol.
round
soph.
this
^;;i"";;;;;r;;::l:i::T
'11"" primitive, rtt,e.tos
dodya.sfor the spartal*l:l
iu
.d.yevits.Cf. the 6L1rctpio
"aas
Xen' Ages' 5'r; the double
uet's
p".ii".'i.r'ir"#",
rater
mot"he;';;ff.Ti-'ng'
t.-t3Thuc.
6.56.

toThuc.

oihe Kopwt
en
o
o.,,,ol,u.,iri.'##,;i
";'ffJ:f;
fi
:rJ,
Jff
::::
"lf_i[:Hil,_]fl1;:ijJ

37

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

TRANSFORMATION OF RITUAL KILLING

Building-sacrifices,for example,are for this reasonwidesprs4cl.rz


A house, a bridge or a dam wil stay strong only if ro-"*ri.g
t*,
slaughteredbeneathit. one of the most detaiieaLatin descripiions
of
a sacrificedepicts the
erection
of
a
border-stone.'s
A
sacrificial
anrmal
would be slaughteredin a pit and burned together with offerings
of
incense,fruits, honey,and wine. The stonewis then placedon top of
the remainswhile they were still hot. Thereafter,neighborswould return regularly on the anniversaryof that sacrificetJ repeat it. similarly, altars and statuescan be set up over a victim in the courseof a
ritual." Any new creation,even the birth of music, requiresritual killing. underlying the practicaluse of bone-flutes,turtre-sheillyres, and
the tympanon coveredwith cowhide is the idea that the overwhelming power of music comesfrom a transformationand overcoming
of
death.'?o
Thus, a slain man is easily made a hero or even a god, pre_
ciselybecauseof his horribleend.i' In any case,apotheosislsalways
precededby death.

orderinthe constructionof a statueof Apolto to ward off the prague:


lT:^ln::.""e
^arbel,
tpgr,.
ro34.K. Buresch,Klaros(tgg9), gr_g6: a rarnand a sheepare slaughtered
in the sacrificial pit and burned; the fire is extinguished
with wine and sea-water;the
statueis then set up on the remains.
8Hy.
Merc.38 r)z 6i Bavylsrore xtv pllXa xa),dv ded6ore;
Soph. Ichn. zgr_93. On the
I.r.n.44above. On the z<ipoenoXuxega),os
ru" pi.,d. pyth. n.-4_24.On
IIT_lu"o".:-""
rrylos
see
III.4
below.
on
the
head
of
orpheus
see III.7 below. The death of the lyreorpheus but Linos u, *"il--u,
a favoritetheme in Greek art (Bromfar;r
-n-otlust
8+-8s); cf. Aegisthuswith the lyre on the Bostonoresteia-crater:E. verl"t,ltsf_lr
meule,
//A 7o (1966),j, pl. 4.
murdered, becomes andvilprleios: Aesch. Ag.1547; and
*ll:t-tt"-"mnon,.when
nnesos
becomesan dvtpano\aip,av, Eur. Rhes.
;,to
962_n.Among the Hittites,
begg1.'rr the normal expressionfor the death oi lhu kir,g,"""e Otten (1958)rr9.
;?T"*1
rne murder and deificationof Caesar
is
historically
the
most
significant
,u"
"ri-pt",
furfgrt, Historia n Q96z), i56-76; H. Gesche, bie vergottungCaesars
Q,968), with
A. Alfdldi's review in pftoenix z4(g7o),
t66_76.

very
ulate social interaction in distributing, giving, and taking' The
l"temonial .'i"utty distinguish*,liT:1::fact that eating U".*"
on the vrchavior from animal. Once the deadly knife has been used
tim, intraspecificaggressionmust b! set aside' This is accomplished
anxiety and
through an eating i"itibiti;; evokedby rituals that excite
"Since huriting society must support women and children' aba
guilt.
of others' Thus'
stinencebecomesu.r""*..,,"' we killed'for the sake
must refrain
there is often a rule that the killer, the sacrificer himself,
Hermes' the
And this is not so only in human-sacrifice;'u
iro"utir,g. must also obey this rule, and similarly the Pinarii were
.uitf"-f.iff"i
excludedfrom the meal in [he sacrificeat the Ara Maxima. Sometimes
way,
there is a rule that sacrificialmeat must be sold at once;'uin this
the ritual inhibition becomesan economicfactor.The tabu makes social interaction all the more intense.
I The shock felt in the act of killing is answeredlater by consolidaIts
ttion; guilt is followed by reparation,destructionby re-construction.
simpi-estmanifestation-isin the custom of collecting!o1es, of raising
the skull, the horns, or the antlers, thereby establishingan order
exwhose power residesin its contrast to what went before' In the
periencl of killing one perceivgt t" sacrednessof life; it is nourished and perpetuated by death. This paradox is embodied' acted
out, and generalizedin th-eritual. whatever is to endure and be effective musipass through a sacrificewhich opens and resealsthe abyss
of annihilation.l
(rgr2l,91; for can15ForMexico see E. Reuterski6ld,,Die Entstehung
der speisesakramente
(rg1g), 443-44;for Persianyoungsters' Strabo
nibals see E. Volhard, Der Kannibalismus
and Suicide.Qg6r)'
4z-.41;J' P'
15 p. 734,and cf. G. Devereux,MohaueEthnopsychiatry
at-the Attic
Gr;pi;, TheTragicParadox(t968), t6t'-6z See Hy' Merc TJo-))) likewise
sacrifiBupironia, the Bourtnros,who flees and does not reappeat is excluded from_the
zr3-zr'
ciai meal (cf. III.' below). On the sacrificeat the Ara Maxima seeLatte i96o)
Hal' Anl'
On Pinarii see Cic. Dom rS4tYerg. Aen. 8.269-7oand Serv' on 269;Dion'
seeII'z ber.+o; Diod. 4.zt-.2;Macr. Sit. 3.O.ra.On the sacrificeto Pelopsat Olympia
low. On Egyptian customsseeHdt. 2.48'r'
16IG12rgg = LS ro C :I8,zr; LSAM 54,a-J; Hdt. 2.)g; Serv.Aen.8.t83 dehocbotteimmocausareligionis,et indealter redimebatur-this is not
lato Herculi carnescartusztenilebantur
evijust an expansion of Vergil's phrase perpetuiboois(Latte lt96ol zt7' z) but' rather'
and continudence of a crrstomwhosefunitlon it is simultaneously to insure exchange
to
ity. The Manichaeanstransfer the principle of exchangeand assertionsof innocence
eis
ail food, even vegetables: otne oi iyd 1qtpwa oJ'6i ri)reoo ohe BBN,ltaoe oihe
x\i,Bauov E}al,oi <i)t)tdd)r)tos ir.oiqoe ratta xo,i iiveyxi 1t'ot'67<idvattias igayov
(Hegemon. ActaArchel.rc.6; cf. A. Henrichs and L' Koenen, ZPE 5lr97ol' 146-5$'
as a
E. D-urkheim, ks formesll,mentairesde i:t aie religieuse(r9rz), interpreted totemism
system of reciprocal collaboration and supplementation.

)9

r?Hock
(r9o5)
75-83; Nilsson og55)+o+,ro; Miiiler-Karpe(1968))J6, i57,36r; K. Klusemann, DasBauopferGgry); cf . F. S. Krauss, Volksglaube
)nd religiisir Briuci derSildslaaen
(r89o),
r58-64;
B.
Schmidt,
Das-Volksleben
der
Niugriechen
eSlr\, 196_99.According to
the EnumaElit, Ea kills his father Apsu and buil"dshis temple rpo.ri.,i-,
ANET6r.
However, animal sacrifice
is
rare,
and
human
sacrifice
,rr,utteried,
for a buitdingsacrifice in the ancient Near East: see R. s. Eris, FoundationDeposits
in Ancient Mesopotamia
Q968),
35-45.
r8Gromatici
ed.
Lachmannr
lapidesin
solidam
terram
rectos
4'
conlocabant
. . unguento
uelaminibusque
et
coronis
eos
coronabant.
in
i^maoti oiqu
fossis. . . sacrificio
facto hostiaque
incensa
(Lachmann; -i cdd.i sanguineminstillabanteoque
facibusardentibusin fossacooperta
tura et frugesiactabant,faaosquoqueet uinum . . . consumptisque
igie omnibusdapibussuper
'Fasl.
calentesreliquiaslapidesconlocabaint.
On the festival see Ov.
2.619_7g.

38

SACRIFICE, HUNTING/

FUNERARY RITUALS

the irreversible."act"
Sacrificetransforms us' By going through
taken consciouslyand
we reacha new ptur',"'-wn"tt"""'"u newstepls
sicrifice' Thus' when crossirrevocably,it is inevitabfyf""""tt"a with
an
the \wBarilpca;" when opening
ing frontierc o, .irr".rlii;-;t;
when passinginto a new
assembly,there are t;;;;;;P;tifications;"
societv ther-ewill be sacrifice''o
age grouP or on enteringinlxcl"sive
of abstln:":"" 1"9 -'f1-"jt:1-'.:""*
Before the sacririce;;;: ;; ;;;iod
limits can grve new
erectedas a sort of reparation' their
;;;;;t-"t"
by a predeterminedprlos,or lifestyle,
definition to life. Ir it is ioll,owed
Tho'u who have undergone the
the sacrificebecomesan initiation'
consecrated'as expressedin
unspeakableare both exoneratedand
lifestyleand.thesacrificeat
the Greekword 6oro0eis''sThus' the new
o*opnagy is {ollowed by
its inception are almost complementarv:
conscious
Killing-t;stifies and affirms life; it makesus
i"g;;i""itm
of tne new order and brings it to power' have used the folFollowing Rudolf Ott6,'u students of religion
oi th" Holy: terror' bliss'
lowing concePtsto describethe experient"
mysterium.tremendum'fasand recognition of an absolute auihority'
and impressivecombination
cinans, and'augusturr'The most thrilling
iitual: the shock of the deadly
of these elementso.t"t' in sacrificial
the bodily and spiritual rapture of festive
ii"* ,"a flowing bl;;,

;;;e,-ih" ttri.t 6'ae"*roundingth: 1ll:tll:::::t::::::


ll:
the
confront
!ffi?- ilil;;;;;Ji"ort.,Aboie alt,theyo,,"smust

n I l . t t . 7 z 6 - 1 o . F o r t h e s p e c i a l i m p o r t a n c e o f t h e s e - r i t u a l s f o r s p a r t a n s s e e T h u c5 ' 5 4 -

'{'iir'""""*g"^:"tT i"lt::llll;I"j"llHTX;:;
t gtgt,oi'-7r.'
55,n6;Pritchett
in thesea:Hdt 7.54'Alexander
obJects
l.a,u,,r valuabre

ii;*,";ii,lllit:ii#l;

Arr' Anab' r'rr'5-7'


*uJ"'"'"t"".o"s sacrificesto the sameend:
eict{vat 1-t'6L'
rDemosth. 54.19rois dplets rous Ex ritv yotpiav' ois xafio.tpouct6tav
Aeschines1 21;Schol Aristoph Eccl rzS'
\uctv. .. . Cf. Harp. xadapotoviSchol'
tnseen. above;V.z below'
4
25Eur.fr.4j2.12-T'rasr'dtp,ogalous8oitasre\eoo.s.plrpit'6peio't6-q6astiva,o1<iuxar
cf Wilamowitz' BerlinerKlassikertexteYlz(rgo7)'
rovpfirau paxyos itxXiltrl' 6c;',;l8sis;
Schriftilber Frdmmigkeit
n"t"uys' Theophtastos'
77, r (readingp""a i,,,t"uj"oi*"f"1'
dotos see i{arrison (r9zz) 5o4;M' van der
(1866),16o, thought ,",t"o*s corrupt On
REG58 (rg+s)'
rr3-4o' Rec 64 i95t\,4r8; H Jeanmaire'
Yalk,Mnemos.Ill/ro1r9az1,
by a
totts"i'J"d through a sacrificeperformed
66-89. on the Delphic toto' *inJ*"t"
e88
presumablya similar contrastbetweenthe
6crcrilpsee ll.5.n'47 below-There was
among the Orphics (Mart' Cap'
tabu (Plut. Q. conx'.015"1uttJ 'it"ul egi*wallowlng
ro4n'25)'
uei''a'lrcn' s'ltslil' rrz; Burkert [1968]'
,t*) o.l.i".e,
2oR.Otto,DasHeiligelgtT;1929"-"1;thereafterG'Mensching'WesenundLlrsprungder
Religionen(1954' 7a-22'
nichtchristlichen
Religion:Die grossen
j965)' 6z: "GiPfelPunkt der Faszr
27See
P Weidkuhn, Aggressitritiit Ritus Siikularisietung
ist die opGipfelpu"it'a"" tt"*"ndum ' ' '
nation . . . ist das oPf", ;;i;;t;elist
ferung des Niichsten."

40

TRANSFORMATION

OF RTTUAL KILLING

Holy again and again so that the ancestral tradition will become
their own.

Although we can understand the persistenceof sacrificialritual


through its social function, this by no means excludeschange as an
explanation.Ritual is a pattern of action redirectedto serve for communication, and this means that the terms of expressionare open
to substitution, i.e., symbolization-this occurs even in the insect
world, when a resourcefulmale offershis bride a white balloon or veil
Every communicationis symbolic
insteadof an edible wedding gift.'?8
inasmuch as it does not use the real object it wants to communicate,
but substitutesa sign that is familiar to and, hence,understoodby the
addressee.The object serving as sign is exchangeable.If the sender
and the receiverare sufficiently familiar with one another, the complex of signs can be greatly reduced. On the other hand, when in
competition with rival communications,the sign is exaggeratedand
heightened.Substitutesigns thus used-whether consistingof natural or artific.ialobjects,pictures, cries, or words-may be called syrzbolsin a pregnant sense.They are not chosenarbitrarily,but are taken
from a continuous tradition; they are neither independent nor selfevident, but bound to the systemin which they function. Their richness of meaning coincideswith the complex effectsthey produce in
predeterminedinteractions.2'
In ritual aggression,the ends and the means of aggressionare
exchangeable.Even mammalstear up tufts of grassor shred tree bark
when performing the threatening rituals that both introduce and
postpone a fight.'o The triumphant cries of the greylag gooseare directedtoward a purely imaginary interloper.In human ritual, too, the
aggressivegesturecan becomeso important that its objectis unessential. The wildest form of destruction, that of tearing an object to
pieces(nnapayp.os),can be carried out on an ivy plant," and instead
of a deadly club, a safe and flexible narthex stalk can be used.3,Spiri-

TLorenz
(1963)99-ror.
'This
is not far removed from the basic meaning of oiptBo\ov (on which see also
W. Mtiri, "Symbolon," BeiL z.
lahresberichtdesStadl.Gynn. Bern [ry3]); the biological
and traditional roots should not be lost sight of in the more sublimated use of the concePt-see/ for instance, P. Tillich, SymbolundWirklichkeit(1962).
rMorris
(:.96:) ry3-55.
"OJu,. Q. Rom.zgraa[ 1dp Evollotrois paxytxois zrcrfrerltyuvaixes eihig Eri rou xnrdv
9 e povtaL xa i or ap arr ouo t,6pano p"eva t,r ais Xepc [,v.
t'On
the mock combatof the vapByxogriporsee Xen.Cyrop.2.J.12) Ath.63ra. In myth,
the thyrsosbecomesa terrifying weapon: seeEur. Bacih.76z.

41.

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

tual forcesthus find releasein a harmlessgame which heightens the


senseof socialordering by meansof dramatization'
Yet the theatricaliharacter of the ritual may becomeso obvious
here that it imperils its necessaryfunction. In groups shaped by ugin the younger generation, forces that question
gression,
"rp"iiully
of iradition becomeactive. Willfulness stands in the
i'he acceptance
way of t'he impulse to imitate. Thus, along with its theatricality,human ritual must always have a strong underlying component of seriousness,and this means that time and again there is a regression
from symbolismto reality.A non-instinctiveritual, transmittedby human beings, can fulfill its communicatoryfunction only if it avails itself of a pragmatismthat is unquestionablyreal.
In the hunting ritual, aggressionbetweenmen was redirectedtoward an animal quarry which was thereby raised to the status of a
personality,a blood-relation,even a father.3rIt becamethe object of a
"comedy of innocence,"but becauseof the necessityof food, the hard
underpinning of reality was never questioned.This all changedwhen
mankind took its most important step, its mastery of the environment, in the Neolithic Revolution, the invention of agriculture, some
1o,oooyears ago.' Thereafter, hunting was basically dispensable.
Characteristically,however, it was retained even in advanced cultures, as a ritual status symbol." The pharaoh was celebratedas a
lSee l.2..nn.33-35above;L8 below.
yEarlier
cultural historiansthought that an era of nomadicshepherdsformed an intermediate stagebetween hunters and farmers,but this has been made dubious by prehistoric finds, especiallythe discoveryof Near EasternNeolithic sites.Nomads seem,
rather, to be offshoots of farming and city culture-see Mtiller-Karpe (1968) uo-zr.
support for the position-still held by some, and
Likewise, there is no archaeological
usually arguedin connectionwith the theory of a matrilinealsystem(cf. P. W Schmidt,
DasMutterrecht[r955])-that the cultivation of bulbous plants must have preceded
grain-growing;cf. Miiller-Karpe (1968)ll.zt-zz, 249, and P J. Ucko and G. W Dimand Exploitation
of Plantsand Animals(1969).ln this rebleby, eds., The Domestication
spect, the outlines of a universal history such as A. v. Rtistow's Ortsbestimmungder
(1915;r95o'z)have
alsKultursoziologie
GegenwartI (r95r) and A. Weber'sKulturgeschichte
been renderedobsolete.
G. Childe coined the term Neolilfticreaolution(Man MakesHimself[1936],ch' V), cf.
S. Cole, The NeolithicRevolution1r95g;1963').The term is, however, controversial: see
I (196r), zz9; Ucko and Dimbleby, Domestication.
R. Pittioni, Propylden-Weltgeschichte
sFor Egypt see E. Hornung, Geschichte
als Fest(196o),t5-ry;E. Otto, /NES g (1950),
'Assyrische
(1958),t, zo-zt. For Assyria/PersiaseeB. Meissner,
164-77; SB Heidelberg
jagden," Der Alte Orient 13 z (tgtt). For the reliefs of Assurbanipal see ANEP 626; for
seeXen. Anab.r.2.7, HeI\.4.1.15;on the sarcophagusof
the animal parks (zrapd6eroor.)
ro'
Alexander,etc., see F. Orth, RE IX (r9r4) 558-fu+; i. Aymard, Essaisut leschasses
(t969\;
Vasenmalerei
in der griechischen
maines(r95r); K. Schauenburg, lagddarstellungen
Frevert,DasiagdlicheBrauchtum
generally,cf^J.OrtegayGasset,Uberdielagd(1956);W.
(r959'o).

42

!i ".

TRANSFORMATION

r; J;.T'1ry*:

OF RITUAL KILLING

ro, 19 above; Mellaart (196) z6g.On domestication


see R. E. Z;

hunter, as were his counterparts_inBabylonand Nineveh; the persian


kings maintained animal parks for hunting, and Alexa.,a", iotto.'-ua
in their footsteps.of course,it was no longer a question of catching
one'sdinner, but purely a demonstrationof the ruler,s power io kill.
Thus, the most prestigiousquarry was the beastof prey. Through this
emphasisthe sport remained pragmatic and serious. Heraklts, the
bearerof the club, was more popular as a lion-killer than as thetamer
of the bull.
we find a transitional phase documentedat
eatar Htiytik.s rhe
most important religioussymbol in this farming town where goat and
sheephad long been domesticatedwas a pair of horns from ihe wild
bull, and wall paintings containclear,thriiing depictionsof the ritual
hunt of a band of leopard men.
We
can
even
tru."
th"
gradual
extinc_
tion of wild cattle in eatal Hriytik, though not the .iiti.ui,i"p
tt ut
followed: in place of the dwindring bandi of wild animars,at,L"su.
ones were now used for sacrifice.The power
of
the
traditironar
rituar
to bind thus remained intact. The animal must,
of
course,
now
be
removed from the everyday world; it must becomesacred.
Hence
the
adornmentand the procession,and, sometimes,the animal
being set
free and recaptured.3'Hence, too, the many stepsof ,,beginning,,r,n"
incenseand the music.
In
addition
to
the
"action,,,
whicliis.oiu.,g".
dangerous or even difficult,
there
are
also
words:
prayers
to the
"stronger" powers and myths that
tel
of
them.
rne
rearity
Lt-aea*,
and flowing blood is an unmitigated
presence,
perhaps
ali the more
intensebecausethe reactionis now inspired
uy
a
aomestic animal, a
familiar member of the househord.The rapture
attendant on eating
gamein the sacrificialmeal is no lessreal
now. Moreover,the domestic animal is a possessionwhich must be
given away;* thus, in addilcl

j:1r""":
ni,,ory
ofrechnorogy
I ossl, )27_52;
F.E.Zeuner,
il.1
ilg A:'nlhal,-A
A Historu
ofDomesttcated
Animars
a;;;;;:ir;;;;i;"i!,'il?,]ll,,l7,rii,,

Dimbleby, hoiestication.The ordestdomestic


Y-tk: 3na
animarsare-apart from the
special
case
of
the
ioe-eoats
and
sheep;
shortry
thereaftet the pig appears,fotowed
tn the seventh mi.ilennirim
by the coi.'e.'u"i.l-,t*is
(Die Haustiere,,8961, and
cf' Ebert, Reatr.d. vorgesch.
V
zrg)
that
the domestication of the cow occurred from
u"o start for ,".ru'l ."u"ona, i.e.,
for sacrifice, has recently been resurrected: see
ln",
E'
Isaac,Sciencetrz (to6z\,
195-264;
C.
A.
Reed
in
Ucko
and
Dimbleby,Domestication,
3z' lt remains
un
op"n
question
to what extent the rituar of human sacrificehad
deveroped
before
animal-sac.ifice'
The evidencefor ritual sacriiiceof men in the palaeolithic
a8eis overwhelming:
seeI.z.n.z7 above.
ttsee
l.z.n.ur ubor"l
$In
this way' ceremoniesof bartering
and buying deveroped.on cos, the owner presents-thesacrificiar
poriius
bur
for
Zeus
"to
tt,"
dou.,.,.,and Hestia,i.e., the coffersof
tne state,gets
the proceedsof the sale;,"" Lc;i;':
SlG3rc25= LS r5r A z3-27.

43

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

tion to the old fundamental ambivalence of life and death in the sacrifice, there is now also renunciation and gratification. Even more than
before, a sacred order is presumed and confirmed in this critical situation. In any case, with the integration of animal-sacrifice into agricultural society, a very stable socio-religious structure was established, which was to survive many thousands of years.
No less important was the expanded symbolism brought about
by the newfound sources of food from farming_barley, wheat, the
fruit of the vine-and added to the themes of ritual killing. The ritual
pattern was so strong and inflexible that a festival meal without
the preliminary horror of death would have been no festival at all.
The farmer had to be just as reliable, enduring, and farsighted as the
hunter. In particular, it was no mean task to overcome the inclination
to eat the seed grain rather than throw it on the ground in the mere
hope that something would grow. Here, too, the individual's desire
for immediate profit could be controlled by the sacred tradition of the
hunting ritual, which established the old order in a new context: renunciation and abstinence for the sake of long-range success, and
with it a new order. Thus, the harvest is celebrated in a hunting festival and in sacrifice.3'Gathering and storing at the sacred place now
took on a new reality. Most importantly, the seed grain could not be
touched as long as it was stored in sacred granaries, those mysterious, half-buried depositories of wealth.ooAt the same time, aggres"Shepherds today in Crete will dedicate one of their animals to the village saint, selling
it by auction on the Saint's Day to give the proceeds to the saintt church": S. G. Spanakis, Crete, aGuide toTrauel, History and Archeology,Iraklion (n.d.) z9r. Those who sacrifice a goat on the island of Leuke must deposit the buying price in the temple of
Achilles: Arr. Perip. zz, and cf. n. 16 above.
3eThe researches of
Wilhelm Mannhardt (Roggenwolf und Roggenhund 11865l; Die Korndiimonen 1fi681; Wald- und Feldkulte j8751771; thereafter GB VII/VIII), who developed
the idea of the "Vegetationsdimon," are basic. The fact that it is precisely the "Vegetationsdimon" who is killed time and again in the ritual has been explained in various
ways: the drowning is weather-magic for rain (1fi751 zr4, 4r7), the immolation is a purification (6o7-6o8), the burying is intended for sowing and germination (4r9-zr), the
whole process stimulates the annual cycle of the death and rebirth of vegetation. Indeed, in this case the rite cannot be derived from any attested or hypothetical mythology (l.l-4 above)- The sacrificial rites are a given: no matter how great the hopes for
increase and harvest are, the ritual can give form only to death and destruction.
{For
sacred circular structures functioning as granaries ever since Arpachija see MrillerKarpe (1968) 336. The myth of Trophonios and Agamedes (Telegony, p. ro9 Allen;
Charax, FGrHist ro1 F 5; Egyptianized in the story of Rhampsinit's treasure house, Hdt.
z. rzr) deals with such a Bqaaupog which can be opened only "secretly," accompanied
by sacrifice. Cf. the underground r}locupds at Messene: Plut. Philop. 19;Li*y 39.5o.3
(following Polybius).

44

TRANSFORMATION

OF RITUAL KILLING

sion had to look for new_objects.Consequently,farming


implements
assumedthe characrerof weapons. After all, a plow, u ri.ti",-u.ro
u
pestle were all used forchopping, cutting, and-tearing apart. Cutting
the wheat could thus-become a symbolic substitute"for castration;
grinding the grain and pressingthe wine could take the placeof tearing up an animal in the hunt or sacrifice.plowing and sowing could
be seenas preliminary sacrificialrenunciations.r'
We have already shown how, in hunting ritual, death gives way
to a new order of life. In agriculture,the victory of life can bE felt with
even greaterimmediacy.The vine that has been pruned will bear all
the more fruit; the grain that was buried in the earth sends u,, new
shoots toward the light. The sacrificiarritual's power to bind i, p."served on this level as well. Contracts are r"ul"d with libations of
wine (trrovDal), and weddings are celebratedby cutting up cake or
bread; cutting or breaking must still precedeeating,nr
luit as slaughtering precedesthe eating of meat. The symbolisir courd easilyLecome detached were it not for a counterforceguiding it back to the
frightening reality. This occurs first of all in the mvtf,, for the most
gruesometales of living creaturestorn apart and of cannibalismare
presentedin conjunction with the achievementsof civilized life. But
the myth is not enough. Blood-sacrificemust be made at the harvest
festival and at-thepreparationsfor it. Here the savagerybeneaththe
seeminglycivilized exterioris exorcized.In Greece,is iar back as we
can see, the victims were animal. But in the tropics, the very regions
that had more favorableclimates, the planters regressedto relular
human sacrifice,to cultic cannibalism.bnly in thii way, it was said,
could the seedgrow and the fruit ripen.nrCivilized rife endures only
by giving a ritual form to the brute fbrce that still lurks in men.
"See IV and V below.

anportioningpresupposesa division, and it is preciselythe latteract that is


i"o!,cou1se,'
taking/praying/breaking(I
Cor.
rr:24).
Among
the
Hittites, breaking
::lli:':"d,
oreadrs one of the most common sacrificialceremonies(ANEI
y5_5r, 36o_6r);at an
Attic wedding, the groom cuts (xdry'ar)
a sesamecake(Aristoph. pax g6gwith schol. :
Men. fr. 9ro) and divides it up (Men. Sam.74,125,tgo;phot.
ailoapou). Onthe confar_
reatioseeV, below.
3
{3Polynesian
myths, especialrythe myth of Hainuwelefrom west-ceram, abouta being
that was killed and out'of which
grew
edible
plu.,ts,;'D"-a," made a greatimpression:
,;:11 Ui"t,
Dema:
Des,iption
ani
Anatysi,
o1Uor;na Anim Cutture e966);A. E. Jensen,
nqtnuuele (tgld; Das relipi1seWeltbild
einerfri)hen Kultur eg4g) = Die getitete Gottheit.
(ry66); C. G Jung and k. Ker6nvi, Einfiihrung in daswesen
!!'!:!i,::r::!'yhen
.Kuttir
r3j-go. As applied to ancientmyths and riiuals, s*eeA.
:':.r.r!,:ro*9"^!r94t),
Bretich,
t'2utrrnus,"SMSR
61-n9,
3r
followed
e96o),
by
I.
-hirassi, Elementidi cultureprecereali
neimiti e riti Greci(Rome,1969).The notion that
this representsa pre-agricultural

45

SACRIFICE, HUNTING/

FUNERARY RITUALS

Thus, aggression is once again directed toward human beings.


Although the male societiesthat had been superimposedon the family structure lost their ostensiblefunction when the hunt was abandoned, they were reestablishedamong planters as secret,or mask,
societies.aAt the center was a secretsacrifice,and if the aggression
there did not suffice, it was worked out within the society itself. The
contrast between the sexeswas now played up-Miinnerbund versus
female power-the more so becausewomen now shouldered the
main burden, supporting the family according to the new agricultural
method. Likewise, the conflict between the generations became
highly dramatized in the initiation rituals. Deprived of its hunting
quarry, the secretsociety makes the initiand himself into a victim.as
The group's aggressionbecomesfocusedon this man and he is forthwith killed-symbolically, of course;a sacrificialanimal is substituted
at the last minute. However, the bloodshedand the refined methods
of torture are very real and guaranteethe seriousnessof the ritual.
The gruesome "evil" at work in the ritual fulfills a function, i.e.,
to preserve a social structure over the course of generations.Once
again, life rises up from the peril of death. Indeed, the individual experiencesin himself how, after life had been endangered,there is a
resurrection,a rebirth.
To some extent, this too was still a game, a show. With the progressivegrowth of consciousness,civilization cameto dernand absolute seriousness-one could no longer pretendto kill men. For this
reasonthe death penalty becamethe strongestexpressionof governmental power,ft and, as has often been shown, the criminal'sexecustagehas, however, been supersededthrough the excavationsatJericho andJarmo: see
n. 34 above.
{H. Schurtz, Altersklassen
und MiinnerbundeQgoz);H. Webster,PrimitiaeSeoet Societies
(r9o8); H<ifler 0%4; rN. E. Peuckert, Geheimkulte
j96t).
'5Aristoph. Nub.257,and cf. V.3.n.16
below; Livy ro.38.9admouebatur
altaribusmagisut
oictimnquamut sacriparticepsat the initiation into the legiolinteataof the Samnites. On
initiation rites generally seeM. Eliade, Birth and Rebirth(1958).
sOn
the
ancient
evidence
K.
see
Latte,
RE Suppl. Vll 1599-1619;on its sacrificiatcharacter seeTh. Mommsen, Riimisches
Stralrecht(r8SS),9oo-9o+, 9r8; for an opposing view
see Latte, RE Suppl. Yll t6r4-:.7; K. v. Amira, "Die germanischenTodesstrafen," Abh.
Miinchen 3:.l (tgzz); L. Weiser-Aall, ARW1o (ry), zo9-27; Gupin (1963)84. A traitor
dies, according to the "law of Romulus," ris Biy,a toi xataaBouiou Ac6s,Don. Hal.
Ant. z.to.3.
There are clear elementsof a comedy of innocencein the "last meal" before an execution and in the expectationof goodwill; cf. also the executioner'smask. For the use of
criminals in sacrificial ritual on Leukas, see Strabo rc p. 452; on Rhodes (Kronia),
Po1ph./bsf . 2.54;on Massalia,Petron.fr. r Buecheler;Schol.Stat. Theb.rc.793;on the
Druids, Caes. BGall. 6.:.6.

46

TRANSFORMATION

OF RITUAL KILLING

tion at a public festival correspondedto a sacrificialritual. In ancient


times, the death penalty was not so much aimed at profane murder_
ers as at those who entered an "untouchable" ru"."d precinct, went
into a house of the mysteriesunconsecrated,or laid a branctr upon
the wrong altar.47
The tabu almost becamean excuseto find a victim
for releasingthe sacredimpulsesof aggression.
There is
another,
far
more
serious,
way
to
divert
aggression
to_
ward the outside world: by integrating large groups of m"e"n
in a common fighting spirit, i.e., war.s History, as fir backas we can traceit, is
the history of conquestsand wars. Ever sinceThucydides, historians
have tried to understandthe_necessityof these events and, if possible, make them predictable.But it is preciselythe irrationar,compulsive character of this behavior mechanism that confronts us more
clearly today than ever before. war is rituar, a self-portrayaland serfaffirmation of male society..Malesocietyfinds stabiiity in confronting
death, in defying it through a display of readinessto aie, and in the
ecstasyof survival. such modesof behaviorare so bound up with the
governmental systems and values of our society that even today,
when modern military technologyhas made -at so distant that its absurdity is patent, when it is beginning to be the source of discord
rather than of solidarity, still final emancipationfrom war lies far in
the future.
For the ancient y9tlq1 hunting, sacrifice,and war were sym_
bolically interchangeable.The pharaoh and Heraklescould be lord of
the hunt, lord of the sacrifice,and warrior. on grave reliefs, Greek
yoyjlt appear as hunters, warriors, or athletes.The emphasismay
well have varied accordingto the socialreality.A farmer, for instance.

eOn the.
Lykaion
precinct
see
II.
r.
n.7
below;
on
Eleusis
see
Lity
3t.t4, and V r be.low;
Kallias the Daduchos claimed that ii was v6p"os. . . r,arprcs, is-au
i,i1 ixenlpnv y.v_
orlpiots, retvdyat (cf.
V.4.n.45
below),
Andoc.
r.rro-16.
sA "world-History
of
war"
such
as
L.
Frobenius
(r9o3)
attempted
could hardly be ac'palaeolithic
comPlished today. on the earliest evidence, that of
(?) drawings i.i spui.,,
seeF Cornelius,-Geistesgeschbhte
derFriihzeitI (196o), 54, pl. J. Today there ire an enorn11be1 of sociologicaland psychological studies or, th" probl"* of war:
for inlous
stance,
B. L. Richardson,Armsandrnsecurity:
Thecauses
of war ()96"J);G.Bouthour,Les
guerres(r95t). K. R.
,,the
Eissler,
Psyche
zz
(t96g),6a5,
among
others,
stated
that
war
is
of the elder generationon the younger.,,Ontreece, see p Vernant,
ed.,
J.
::::lg"
de.la.guerre
en Glce ancienne
(r96g);
on
the
distancing
"::!r:*
of modern historians
nom I hucydides
see
A.
Momigliano,
"some
observations
on tlie causesof war in Ancint Historiography," in s.tudis in Historiographv
rrz-26. on the cultic aspe*s
<tioor,
see F. Schwenn, ARW zo (r9-zt), 299_3zrirr'(isrri,
5i}_7r;r, (t921/zl zz4_44; and
A'
Guerre,
agoni
e
curti
neili
Gicio
orroiri(gst1.
For the Hebrew term to conse.Brelich,
sg
R. smith (r8ee) 12'2_2:,.
on ceremoniatwar in Esypt
:,::::::^r:!:q:
1""see {.
onq
among the Aztecs
E. Hornung, Geschichte
alsFest(rgb6).

47

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

would put more weight on sacrificial ritual, whereas the nomadic animal breeder, wary of slaughtering his proud possessions, would become a conquering warrior.
Amongihe Greeks, a military expedition was Prepared and ended
by sacrificiil ritual. There was sacrifice before setting off, then adornment and crowning with wreaths before battle-all as if it were a festival. A slaughtered victim introduced the subsequent deadly action
which, in Homer, is simply called Epyov. Afterward, a monument, a
tropaion, was set uP on the battlefield as a consecrated, enduring witness. This was followed by the solemn burial of the dead, a privilege
the victor could not deny his defeated enemy. The burial, almost as
important as the battle itself, was far more lasting in its consequences,
for it left an enduring "monument." It almost seems as though the
aim of war is to gather dead warriors, iust as the Aztecs waged war in
order to take prisoners to use as sacrificial victims.aeThe erected and
consecrated monument is what endures, and it embodies the duty of
the following generation. For war, necessary yet controlled because
it is ritual, has this function above all: it must integrate the young
into the patriotic community. The senatusresolves; the iuaentus must
fight. As a rule, the Greeks' cnou\ai were for a period of thirty years
at most. Each generation has the right and the obligation to have
its war.

Ritual
6. Funernry

FUNERARY RITUAL

to interpret it as a first move toward a metaphysical, transcendent


realm.' It is somewhat more certain that we are dealing with a h.r*u.
action which may vary from culture to culture but "within a single
community proceeds according to the same scheme with great constancy over many generations. Behind every burial there is a funerary
ritual.'?
However, the Palaeolithic era, in which burial evolved, was also
the age of hunting. Thus, the ritual of hunting and sacrificing accompanied the funerary ritual from the start, each influencing tie other.
In prehistory and ethnology it generally holds true that deid men and
dead animals are treated alike:3 both rituals basically deal with death.
It makes little difference whether one says that the quarry is treated
like a dead man or whether a dead man is treated like thl sacrificial
quarry. Homo sapiens is also homo necans and homo sepeliens. Both
rituals are, of course, complex, and one can hardly hope to discover
the origins of each detail. Nevertheless we can obierve that essential
elements of funerary ritual derive from the ritual of hunting and sacrificing, inasmuch as the necessary functions deal with hun"ting rather
than with the death of a member.obid man come to understand death
through the paradox of killing?' one's own death always seems far

(1968)
cremation;
in general, Girard (1972) 152-55. Batsdy
,*;"^y-"]1".:5"rpe
167.on
(19tto)
1o2
stresses
that
in
the
wild,
dead bodies are eaten by icaveng".r. H".r."
the fantasies of how the dead are
eaten in the underworld, by Eurynome in paus.
2''8'z; and by Hecate in a vase-painting, Vermeule o97il ro9. Modern hunters have
the "great Halili" sounded at thelurial
Ji a hunter as at the end of a hunt: w. Frevert,
DasjagdlkheBrauchtum
eg69,o\,
76.
"see B' M. F. Galdikas, NationalGeographic
ry7 iggo),g32, on an adolescentorangutan,

'Mtiller-Karpe
$966) zz9 speaks of a "metaphysischen Dimension.,, The pavianes do
not acknowledgedeath: seeG. Devereux,Symb.Oslo (196), g5,
4z
4.
'?w1
here give only a brief indication of the enormous complex of funerary rites. on
;an
prehistory seeMaringer (1956)passim; Mriller-Karpe
eg66) i9_42, (1968) 348_7r. For
Gree_ce
see Rohde (1898)z16-58;Nilsson (.SSS)iZ+-SS,
324_84;A. Chudzinski, Tod
und rotenkultusbeidenaltenGriechen
(rq,g);M. Anogoil;
J. wiut.,"., Grabund Jenseits
dronikos, "Totenkult," in Archeologia
Homeficaw (1968);!. pini, Beitriige'zii iinoische,
Griiberkunde
(1958);A. Schnaufer, Friihgriechischer
Totenglaube
(rgZo); u:n cremation see
n' 17below. on the particularly complex problem of how belief
and ritual are related in
runerary custom see R. Moss, The Life after Death in oceaniaand
the Malay Archipelago
(1925),who concludesthat
the
two
coexist
largely
without
being
related,
but that ritual
,,Ents'tehung
will
sooner
influence
belief
than
vice
,r".ri
i.
Meuli,s
und sinn der
Trauersitten," schweiz.Archiu vorkskunde (a946),
t'.
$
9a-7og, is also of fundamental
importance.
3Meuli
(r967) r6o
on
tree-burial;
no
less
remarkable
is
the
similar
bone-interment,
usrng
and the specialtreatmentof the skull. Seealso H. Baumann, paideuma
ll1 ":h*l
4
(r95o),
r98, zoo.

teSeeI.7 below.On decorationseeHdt.


7.2o8-zo9;Plut. [.4c.inst. 218f.; on the cgayta
see Stengel (r9ro) 9z-roz, (r9zo) 4z-33; Casabona j966) r8o-93; Pritchett (1979)
83-9o; Epyov ll. 4.47o,etc.; on burial seeThuc. 2.34.On human sacrificeamong the
AztecsseeHornung, Ceschichte,43.
For the metaphorof sacrificeappliedto war see,for
instance, Pind. fr. 78. On the Delphic oracle for king Philip see Parke and Wormell
(1956)#266 : Diod. r6.9t; Paus.8.7.6.

49

It is a peculiarity of the human race that it caresfor its dead.


Hence, burials have been among the most important finds from prehistory. Along with the use of fire and tools, they testify to the process,starting in the early Palaeolithicera,by which man becameman.
Frequentattemptshavebeen made to describethe extraordinaryspiritual and intellectual step underlying this process,sometimeseven

48

off and uncertain. But, when another dies, the frightening confrontation with death and the pleasurableshock of survival leave a deep
impression.J
The mo'st widespread element in funerals-so obvious it may
seemhardly worth mentioning-is the role playedby eating,i'e', the
funerary meal. Ethnology and religiousstudieshave dwelt mainly on
the bizarre and more or less unsuccessfulattempts to feed the dead
themselves,but it is more often the real and festive meal of the living
"in honor of" the dead that is of primary importance. Thus, even
while mourning the death of Patroklos,Achilles permits his companburial."oThis unabashedstatement
ions to "feastthe heart-pleasing
refers to behavior that is offensiveto anyone concernedmerely with
the dead individual, yet has not been expunged to this day, namely,
that in an environment of grief, pain, and tears, the pleasureof the
festive meal will thrive. At first the necessarycombination of death
and eating appearedonly in the hunt. Starting here, the ritual meal
functioned as a bond within the community.'This is not to say that
cannibalismwas the earliestform of honoring the dead.8The ritualization of hunting behavior made possiblea twofold transferral:the
dead could take the place of the quarry-a substitute more serious
than what it replaces-but in the subsequentfeast,his placecould in
turn be taken by the sacrificialanimal.'

SACRIFICE/ HUNTING/ FUNERARY RITUALS

FUNERARY RITUAL

57

great funerary festival of the Dajak on Borneo (Tiwah) is


l'Jn:.,::^out."ct.in_the
of
buffalo-in
earlier
times,
it
was
a
man_whom
each
parhcrpant
..a
;:::tTq
trao
to
stab
with
a
spear:
F.
Grabowsky,
lnternat.Archiaf . Ethnographie
z (g9g),'ry9;
H. Schiirer, Der Toteikult der
Ngadju
Dajak
in
Sijd_Borneo
| (1966), zo.
tsA
somewhat different, though no resscharacteristic,
sequenceis noted by Herodotus
Thracians.(5.8): rpeis p"iu i11.t
ipas zrpottBelotrov vexpdv xc.i rrcrvroiacg<ith"
:::lq
Sctmes
iepitq
eiooyeovtol r.pox\auaavtes rp6trov- iaerra 6i Oarrouct xataxat_
oc,zes r) ritrI<rrs xpi,ltavres,lrirg,a
6i ylavres d"y6wartfieiot On the agon seen. 23
below.
",

see ILz below.

For funerary sacrificealready in the Moust6rien see Miilrer-Karpe(1966)


\tl' n 4.
2Jr-3i.For
horse-sacrifice
in, and bull-sacrificeat, the royal tomb at Archanes(Crete),
see Archneology
(196),
zo
z7g_79
trPlu-t.Solozzr.5;A.Martina,
Solone('96g),#465-7o;andcf.n.6above.
Forailtaxovpta

funerary meal for patroklosshows very clearly that although


Thu
feasting follows death, the death must be repeatedimmediately b"e_
fore the feast, through ritual killing. After the mourners circled the
corpsethree times while crying out in grief and swearingvengeance,
many cows, sheep, goats, and pigs were slaughteredand",,blood
pou-r:g from the cups flowed all around the dead man.,,,0The corpse
co-uldhardly be placedmore emphaticallyat the centerof a bloody act
which, however, at the same time also signals a pleasing m"ui fo,
7o,@oMyrmidons. so too in Athens it was customary to eat at the
grave;solon was the first to forbid that cows be slaug'hteredthere.r'
There wa_sno thought of burning or burying such a iow whore, for
the meat belonged to the living, while the deid man ,,tookhis fill', of
the blood. The idea that the dead delight in blood obviously emanates
from_the reality of the r'rual: the pattern of hunting calls for the
bloody "act" at the placeof death. Becausedeath beconieskilling, and
the participant, a killer," death itself becomesan act of the will, subject to performanceand repetition. For this very reasonit can be overcome through the festive meal, which confirms the survivor,s will
to live.
The sacrificialanalogiesextend to the actions that precedeand
follow as well. There is a.periodof preparation,in whicir the corpse
lies in stateand is washed and adornedl a processionmarks the transition from indoors to out. This is then foliowed by wild, ecstaticbehavior, bloodshed,and a hearty meal.'3The location in which the action takes place remains sacred forever after-distinguished by a
monument as the realm of the extraordinary-whereaJat home, the
ordinary order is restored.
The most striking resemblancesbetween hunting and funerary
customscan be seen in the treatmentof the bones.Tlie funeral cere-

Sugito, who drowned his younger foster-sister,Doe: "Sugito .


was staring off into
spacewith a funny look that I had never seen before. He studiously avoided looking
into Doe's direction. After some time . . . he slowly approached.Then, standing on
two legs, he raised both arms over his head and brought them down, fluttering, in
front of him . . . flikel a shaman . . . performing rituals of obsequiousnessto his
god. . . . Sugito . . knew perfectly well that Doe was dead. He had killed her." On
intraspecifickilling with gorillas, seeD. Fossey,NationalGeographic
r59 (r98r), 5o8-5r2.
6ll. 23.29,and cf. z4.8or- 8o+;Od.
3.3o9.For eatingat the tomb in Geometrictimes see
J. Boardman,IHS fl6(t966),z-4; cf. M. Murko, "Das Grabals Ttsch,"Wdrterund Sachen
z (tgro), 79-rh.Cregory of Nazianzusrailsagainsteatingand drinking in churchesat
the tombs of the martyrs: AP 8.166-69, t72, t7S. After the burial, people met for the
festivemeal of the rpha, 6uata, rptaxas, iutaiota: An. Bekk.268.t9rfi rpnxocrfi yup
iptpS . , . oi rpotrfixouteg qtrq.vreg. . . oauehflovres xowfi iiei,nvouv iri rQ dtro$avowt. xqi roino xafli|pa iraleiro.
TBesidesthis there is the psychologicalexplanationthat the senseof loss is compensated for, in a form of oral regression, by eating. This sense of loss could, however,
manifest itself just as well through fasting; it is the ritual constraint that causesNiobe to
eat after ten days: Il. 24.62-11.
8Allegedly
the
custom
among
the
Massagetai;
see
t.zt6,
Dissoi
Ingoi
2.r4.
Hdt.
eS. Freud, Totemund Tabu,Ges. Schr.rc j9zg, 66-88 : Ges. Werke
9 Q94o), 66-88,
developed the idea of the ambivalencebetween love and aggressionin relationship to
the dead man.

5o

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

FUNERARY RITUAL

tion of sacrificial ritual into that of the plant realm. The produce
gathered by the farmer replaces the hunter,s quarry; thus, githering
bones acquires new meaning.

are, of course, aipects of funerary ritual that cannot be


fne."
traced to the hunt. It is then all the more characteristic that these elements have frequently been taken up in the sacrificial ritual. Above
all, lamentallsnro-\^/ggping and wailing, tearing one's clothes and
hair, scratching the face and beating the breast; then defiling oneself,
p,caiveo9at-smearing one's face, strewing one's head with clay, dirt,
and ashes. The large part that aggression plays in these rites is evident.z' It is an inevitable group reflex to offer to protect an endangered member against a hostile force by means
of
aggressive
threats.
when faced with the fact of death, this reflex aggression
strikes
out
into a vacuum and hence returns in upon itself. With no enemy nea,
the hand raised to strike comes down upon one's own headJ
Men, of course, often seek some external substitute as the butt of
their rage: hence those funerary sacrifices that are and intend to be
merely destructive. When a Hittite king died, for example, a plow ox
was sacrificed while the king was invoked: "What you have become,
this too shall become."" Achilles slaughters countless sacrificial animals, four horses, nine dogs, and twelve Trojans at the bier of patroklos. Once again, death is mastered when the mourner becomes a
killer. For this reason there is often no clear-cut distinction between
merely destructive sacrifice and the sacrifice of the funerary meal (cf.
n' 13).

BSH
8oz, pl. XVI-XX. Bones(unburnt) had been depositedin clay vessels
?Z Gg$\,
already
at
Neolithic
Lerna:
see
(196g)165.
Mi.iller-Karpe
'oE.
Reiner, Die rituelleTotenklage
der Griechen(r91g); E. de Martino, Morte e piantorituale
n;,l11ondo
antico(Turin, 1958).On puaivecfio,rsee,for instance,the law at iulis (Keos),
rtu'rzrS = LS
z4-lr; Hdt.6.5g.r.
S
Z
,
aOn
destructiverage in funerary customsseeMeuli (1946)zot-zo7; Antike 77
\7947),
193-92;
Schuteiz.
Archiu
f . Volkskunde
$ (ry46), ro6_ro8.
1O1en
(1958)
g;
ll.
and
cf.
Od.
24.65-66.
4.166-76,
On btoody sacrificeat the interment_and"opening of the mouth" in Egypt, see A.
Wiedemann, .ARWzz (r923t24,1,
7z-86.
ts'Der,Ursprung_fer
plympischen Spiele,,, Antike ry eg4r), r8g-zog; Der griechische
^! Kampfsp.tel
im Totenbrauch,
Totentanz,Totenklage
und Totenlob
(rS68;orig.
irY:.fypf
rrabUttationsschrif
t Basel,r 926).

mony often centers not so much on the corpse as on the bones from
individual limbs. These are collected and solemnly deposited' The
rhythm of the hunting ritual is, thus, repeated: death/tearing apartl
restoration. In Qatal Htiyuk, as among the Parsees, bodies were set
out for scavenging birds, after which the bones were carefully deposited in household shrines at the feet of the Great Goddess.'nOften a
corpse was intentionally torn aPart, only to be put back together
again. In Egypt, the roots of the mummification ritual are much the
same." lt was a widespread custom during the Neolithic to sever the
head and preserve it in a sanctuary, like a Bukranion; head and thighbones are buried separately at Ugarit.'u Until modern times, ruling
houses of Europe used to bury certain parts of their dead in different
sacred places. With the development of artisan skills, it became possible to substitute a symbol for the skull: the Roman lararium, for instance, preserved only the masks of the ancestors.
Among the Greeks and Romans, even cremation" was used for
the avowed purpose of obtaining the bones quickly. The most sacred
duty for the next-of-kin is to gather the bones (6cro),oyeiv; ossalegere)
from the ashes of the pyre. The fire that burns the corpse is described
as a beast of prey, "tearing apart" the dead man with "a furious jaw." ''
The remains are then united forever in an urn. This act is at once a
joining together and a foundation, as in the Latin word condere.When,
as early as Homert description of the death of Achilles, we find the
wine jar of Dionysos serving as an urn,'o it is merely the transforma"Melfaart Q967)z4r-45.
rsA.
"Zergliedern
Hermann,
und
Zusammenf
rigen," Numen1 $956), 8t - 96.
'oOn burying the skull see Maringer
Q956) 67-7o, 78-86, rzz-28, 220-22; MtillerKarpe (1966)2)7-34, 239-40; (1968)165-66.The skulls from pre-ceramicJerichothat
16
havebeen formed into portraitsare particularlyimpressive:seeArch.f . Orientforsch.
(rgS), l8+; Miiller-Karpe Q968) 349.On skull-burial at Archanes (Crete) see Archaeology zo (t967) 276-77; cf. Hdt. 4.26 on the Issedonians.For Ugarit see H. Th. Bossert,
Altsyrien(rg5r),on nr. 154.
tTFor post-Mycenaeancremation in Creece, see Mtiller-Karpe (1968)
15r, 166-67;
and
G. Mylonas, AIA 5z (t948), 56-8r; V. R. d'A. Desborough,The Inst Mycenaeans
j964')),71; Schnaufer,Totenglaube,36-45.
Cremationis found among
Their Successors
the Hittites, Hurrians, Troy VI, etc., by the second millennium: see Otten bgSB)S;
U. Schlenther,Brandbestattung
und Seelenglaube
bg6o);Pini, Beitriige,rg-zr, 58-62.
'Oorta
'8Lanrrew ll. z1.t81;nvpdsp,aXepa
trriTerzalreadyin
Tva$osAesch. Cho. 325.
ll. 4.239, z5z;ouv$eieEur. Hik. rrz6. Accordingto Andron of Halikarnassos,FGrHist
ro F ro = Schol.A IL t.5z, Heraklesat Troy was the first to use cremation,burning the
body of the dead Argeios so as to be atr- -, .arry "him" back to his father: see Il.
in Schol.S,,d loc.);Thuc.2.34.
7.3J4-j5 (contradicted
'eOd. z4-71-75.Cf. the Dionysiac',ronze-crater
from Derveni,which servedas an urn:

53

Unbounded rage can be vented in a life-affirming form through


-. fighting, through an agon. Karl Meuli demonstrated the extent and
inner necessity of the connection between funerals and competitive
contests:23it remains to say that an agon can accompany not only a

52

I
i

ijil1

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

deposition ceremony for human bones but animal sacrificeas well.


The Greek agon of historical times was a sacrificialfestival. In Rome,
the ancientslcrifice of the October-Horsewas followed by a ritual battle betweentwo groups. Similarly,the Macedonianswould pretend to
fight a battle after the dog-sacrificeat their Festivalof Purification,the
Xindika.'n Myth applies the same pattern to the hunt, raising it to
tragic seriousnessin the story of the war between the Aetolians and
the Curetesafter the CalydonianBoarhunt.'uHere, too, as soon as the
quarry was killed, the warriors' accumulatedenergy struck into a vacuum; moreover,their bad consciencemade them willing to suffer for
their "action."
fEven more prominent in funerary ritual than in sacrifice is the
willingness to assumeand recognizea pattern of renunciation after
.1
'the fact. This willingness is primarily shown by offering food in the
form of libations, 1ood.Milk, honey,oil, and wine, the preciouscommodities of a society familiar with dearth and hunger, were poured
away irretrievably; similarly, grain was mashed into pap so it could
drain into the ground. In southern regions, even water is a precious
commodity and henceplayed a part in somelibations.Like the sacrificial ritual, libation would have occurred outside the confines of everyday reality. There would have been a procession,then the restrained
attitude of prayer, and finally the ecstaticcry (ritrolu74) at the moment
No other act of destructioncan be expressedby gesof the libation.'z5
tures so noble and sublime:Achilles pouring wine for his dead friend
Patroklos,an unforgettablepoeticalimage." The artfully shapedlibation vesselsstressthe grandeur of the proceedings.By renouncing
personalprofit, man can uplift himself; by humbling himself in spite

FUNERARY RITUAL

p,f hi:needs, hedisplays his wearthor at reasthis freedom. Arexander


Greatactedin.thisway in the Gedrosiandesertwhen he emptied
Ithe
linto the sanda helmetfilted with water.2"
Here, the social significanceof renunciation rituar and, for thatr
matler,-funeraryritual altogether,is clear.By keeping a space
"_pry0
artificially, one can prevent grasping, greedy,ug[."rii.r" individuals
.
from clashing,or at least pretend to dtso. rhe
fi6usure of inheriting
possessionshas to be masked and at least part of the dead man,s
property renounced. By playing out the breakdown of the socialor_
der, even in the easily neutralizedact of self-defilement,that very or_
der can be gotten under control. such actionspreservethe basicstructure of society,becausedeath is not perceivLdas an ending. Now,
human culture needs continuity: to be able to go on, there h"asto be
an authority-recognized through the course generations. Man,s
Jf
neoteny,the lon-gperiod of time he spendsin the
irocess of learning,
forged a new relationship betweenyoung and old, aboveall between
son and father, in which the catastropheof death becameespecially
disturbing and.dangerous.And the v-eryelementsthat funerals took
over from hunting and sacrificialritual were the ones able to mend
the rift, transformingdeath into killing, celebrationinto an eruption
of aggressionfollowed by reparation.tr, thir way, there arosea posthumous duty toward the dead. A swing
of
t"he
pendulum
transformed symbolic parricide into an obliga-tionto worship one,s
ancestors' Thus, fathers, chiefs, and kingJ have the
most
magnificent
funerals;and a pile of stones, the moriument left by collective
stoning, will grow until it becomesa pyramid.r"
Funerary ritual alone may almost be enough to confirm
and in_l
in the community. Indeed, among some peoples alllrr
:111"_.:",il"ity
etse
pale; by comparison.Among the Greeks,ruleis characteristicatty
expectedtheir vassalgto
participate
in
funerals
as
a
sign
of
royalty;
the spartans demanded it of the
Messenians,
the
Corinthians
of the
Megarians.'0But a funeral is dependent
on
circumstance
and chance,
requires repetition and regularity.
Thus,
funerary rit_
lllT:r.in"al
ual
can be repeatedthrough funerary sa&ifice.-Theact
of kilring re-

rt&tvtv ixeivo td ou*

the Kabylai,
a
great
hunter
is
buried
beneath
a
pile of rocks, upon which new
ljl'q-KS
are
always
thrown:
see H. Baumann, paideuma (rgSo), r9z; and,cf . plat. kg.
+
B. Schmidt, Nlb y e8y),
t6g-ss; Baudy (r98oj rasf.
:7jb;
Dehl = Prato;Schol.pind. Nem.
,,ll]l"iot jl 5.4
7.r55b = Demon, FGrHist327F rg;
ruppias
of Erythrai, FGrHist4zr F t.

rorov yeviciat

'?aOnOlympia see II.z below; on the Isthmia seeIII.7 belowi on the October-Horsesee
Marsmythos
Latte (1960)7tg-2r; U. W. Scholz, Studienzum altitalischenund.altrdmischen
(r97o); on the fight for the head see Festus r9o L. On the Xandika see Nilsson (r9o7)
4c,4-4cf, who correctly compares the Platanistas-fightof the Spartan ephebes (4o64o7),which also occurredin connectionwith a dog-sacrifice(Paus.3.2o.8,14.8-ro).
r"For the head and the tufted hide of the boar," lL
9.548;Apollod. t.7o-7t; etc.
H. Usenet the first to collect the ancient evidence for ritual combat (ARW 7 lrgoal,
297-1a3 : K. Schr.IV [r9r3], $5'47)' saw in it a fight between Winter and Summer;
obiections already in Nilsson Qfi)
44-:^4. The mock-battle among the Hittites
(H. Ehelolf, SBBerlinlrg:5l,269-7o;A. Lesky,Ges.Schr.11966l,1to-t7)occursinthe
context of a sacrifice,which, however, was not discussedby the editor.
bAesch. Cho. zz-163, esp. 149 ff.; Perc.6ro-18; for additional evidence see Stengel
(tgro) 178-86, (r9eo)ro3-ro5; CasabonaQg66)4r-97.
u Homer ll. z1.zr8-zo; "Giesse, Myrmidone, den funkelnden Wein ins Land," Gottfried Benn, Ges.WerkeI OS6o),rz9. Seealso Lucr. 3.4J4 f .

55

^Arr'
Anab. 6.26 ' . ' di<tre eixtT.,..t d.u rwa
zrp<is'A)refciv6 pou ixXvfi
6v.

54

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

establishes the context of death;" the dead man becomes the focus of
attention once again, and thus his power is recognized and renewed.
Inversely, the Greeks set a funerary monument at almost every place
of sacrifice, a tomb that may or may not have been real: the hero had,
then, his place at sacrifice beside the recipient god, the sacrificial pit
beside the altar, the chthonic aspect beside the Olympian." We see
here how deeply sacrificial and funerary ritual permeated one another. By joining together to honor the dead, the survivors, and especially the young, would have been initiated, integrated into the continuity of the society, and educated in the tradition all at once. The
rituals of sacrifice, funeral, and initiation are so closely related that
they can be interpreted through the same myths and may even partially overlap. The myth tells of death and destruction, while in sacrifice an animal is killed. By encountering death as symbolized in word
and ritual, succeeding generations are molded into successors. In this
way society is consolidated and renewe{]f
Plutarch provides us with the most detailed description of a funerary sacrifice in Greece." It concerns those who died at Plataea. The
cult was active till the end of antiquity, and Plutarch was obviously an
eyewitness: just before dawn, a procession was formed leading from
the center of town to the outside, from the marketplace to the cemetery. The atmosphere was aggressive and warlike; a trumpeter gave
the signal for war. But the wagons were loaded with myrtle branches
and wreaths; a black bull trotted along in the middle of the procession. The young men carried amphoras with wine and milk, jugs
of oil and salves. The archon of the city brought up the rear. As head
of the civil authorities, he would normally have been forbidden to
carry weapons and would always have worn white robes. But on the
day of the sacrifice he was dressed in a purple mantle and was carrying a sword in his belt. Something extraordinary had replaced the
everyday order, and bloodshed was imminent. The archon himself
brought a water jug from the Bouleuterion. Thus, the procession
3lJust as "blood is purified through blood," so funerary sacrifice (with an agon) counts
as expiation for killing: Fldt. r.166-67. Clytaemnestra alone celebrates the Day of Death
in open triumph, with sacrifices (Soph. El. 277-8t); otherwise, the more profound ambivalence (n. 9 above) is concealed in gestures of propitiation toward the dead (per),locew, i)raoxtnOar). Sometimes it is indeed the dead enemy who becomes a hero: Hdt.
5 . 1 L 4 . 2 ;P l u t . C i m o n t 9 . 5 .
32See,for
example, Pelops-Zeus (ll.z below), Pyrrhos-Apollo (1I.5 below), ErechtheusAthena (III.r below), Epopeus-Athena (11.5below), Palaimon-Poseidon (IIL7 below).
33Plul. Aristidesz.r, and cf. Thuc.
,l9c6)
3.58.4; Paus. 9.2.5; Nilsson
455-56; on the penteteric agon Eleutheria see Paus. 9.2.6; Philostr. Gymn. 8.24.

56

FUNERARY RITUAL

moved toward the cemetery.No slaveswere permitted: the archon


himself drew water from a nearby well, then washed and anointed
the-stelesrising up from the gravesof the dead. The myrtle branches
and wreaths were also evidently used to decoratethe steles.These
monumentshad been set up over the men who fell in battle, and thev
were treatedlike guestsof honor in the sacredceremony.yThe remairi_
ing participants had likewise come to the festival turh"d, anointed,
and wreathed. In the time of Thucydides,robeswere alsobrought for
the dead and presumably laid upon the stelesbefore being birned,
for we know that a pyre was built in the center-though Fausanias
also mentions an altar and statue of Zeus Eleutherios. Libations of
milk introduced the sacrifice:children'sfood, in contrastto what fol_
lowed.'u swiftly drawing his sword, the archon slit the black bull,s
throat so that the blood flowed onto the pyre. After this, he calledthe
fallen warriors to supper, to "take theii iitK of blood (ai.p"arcoupta).
The remaining participantspresumably ate their fill or ine meat, but
Plutarchdoesnot say.whatever was finaly burnt on the pyre,3othere
were alwayslibationsof wine at the end. T-hearchon mix# a krater of
wine from the amphoras that were brought arong, and, in ail rikelihood, poured it over the pyre, which had by riow burned to the
ground. He did so, as he announced, ,,for the men who died for the
freedom of the Hellenes." In just this
way,
the
lord
of
the
sacrifice
poured wine on a flaming altar, and Achilles extinguishedthe pyre
of
Patroklos.

Both battle and burial were reenactedin the bloody


ritual.
Death
and victory alike were presentin the act of killing. The plataeans
evihad,alreadyexp-erienced
their victory as a sacrificein the year
*T]tthe
ot
battle:
the
votive
offering
they
presented
at
Delphi after 479
was a bull''? The
persiansis thereritual
celebrating
the
defeat
of
the
fore not a creation
of
the
historicaievent
but,
rather,
a traditional form
assimilatingthat event. A unique occurrence
was thereby given unisisnfficance and transfoimed
into
an
enduring
obiig"ation
that
1111,t
nsted
through centuries. of course, this could not!r",n"".rt the
de-

xsee
A P r r . 8 ; I . 5 . n .r g a b o v e
^.UU libations see Serv. Aen.
5.78;K. Wyss, Die Milch im Kultusiler Griechen
und
lP:
xoma
Q9r4); Eisler (r9:5) is7-gt'w. Deonna, Deux itudes de symborismereligieux
U955),2r-11.

and seasonalfruits (o)paio)seeThuc.


i]3".-"",t
3.58.4,and cf. Od. rc.521: 11.J1.
.ee
in
general
Luk'
Merc.
cond zg on ivayi".ltara, ,i..r.,y6.,*"s
ltipov xai rovcregauov irrtfliwes crritoi
trivovat xori eiolyoilvrctt.. . .
ttPaus.
ro.15.r,16.6.

'l

il
rrl
i

,i1

ril

irlli
I

lllll'
I
i

1
I

SACRIFICE/ HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

sanctuaryof their
struction of Plataeain 427,but the victors built a
interchangeable;the
own for observance irr" cult.$ The actorsare
"r
ritual remains.

of Ritual
7. TheSexualization
Killing:MaidenSacrifice,
CuIt
Phnllus
lfthethemesofkillingandeatingaresointenselyenactedinrit.
ual that they are able to g.i!, .not", and transformhuman personality'
it is inconceivablethat lhe most powerful human impulse, sexuality,
would play no part. On the con1rary,sexuality is always intimately
but,
involvei in ritual. There is no socialorder without a sexualorder;
,o, sexualityalways retains the quality of something extraordi"rr"r, and strange.
nary
to
Even u-oig primates, sexual behavior is ritually redirected
demonstratepower and differencesin rank' Among someprimates'
his
the male delimits his territory by facing outward and displaying
as an invitationto mate is a gesture
erectphallus.Rump-presentation
of suLmission inhibiiing an aggressiveresponsefrom the stronger
in hupartner.l It is astoundin-ghow correspondingbehavior..recurs
man ritual: the function-of the phallus is "apotropaic." The Babylothe
nians made their boundary stones in the shape of a phallus;
Greeksmarked their territory with herms''
Human sexuality was not alone in experiencing inordinate
of
growth, even from t(e standpoint of externals'lRather'it was part
existence'The
X n"* tension brought about by the polarity of human
sThuc.
3.68.3.
Burkert (tqzg) lg-+r. orr_ rump'on phallic display see Fehling Qg7$
1_281
167'68; Eibl-Eibesfeldt
presentation see Lorenz 6ge17 ioj- 'aa; Morris (t967) ry8'
(r97o) zor-zoz; Fehling (t97$ z8-18.
On the herms see H' Her'zF.X. Steinmet zer, Die babylonischen
Kudutru (t9zz)' l4-r'
phallus'
ter, RE XIX $88-9z, r.o i'hullor; lbid' 1713-44,on the apotropaic
3Morris (tS6Z\S and
Passim.

58

SEXUALIZATION

OF RITUAL KILLING

family's supporter had to be emotionally bound to his wife, though


regularly having to tear himself away from her to go out into the unknown and hunt. Separationand bonding are thus two aspectsof a
single situation. Sexuality defines the specificallymale role just as
much as does hunting and warring behavior.It does so, first, in the
expectationsand educativeimpulses of societyin which women play
no small part, and, second, in the psychologicalmakeup that the
male developed in this context. Hunting is, of course, fueled in part
by the powers of aggression,which had their original function in
mating fights. That is to say,from the very start it included an undercurrent of sexualmotivation. Male aggressionand male sexualityare
closelybound up with one another, stimulated simultaneouslyand
almostalways inhibited together.
The actions of bangingnand stabbing, thrusting and piercing
thus all becomeambivalentin deed just as they do in language.There
is no need to enumerate the ubiquitous military metaphors for the
sexualorgans and activity. In ancient literature the Centonuptialisby
Ausonius takes pride of place, consisting as it does of nothing but
Vergilian battle sequencespatched together so as to describea deflowering in great detail. Whether it be a stick or a club, a spearor a
sword, a gun or a cannon, as a symbol of masculinitythe weapon has
beenequivalentto and almost interchangeablewith the sexualorgans
from Stone Age drawings'to modern advertising.
Thus, when enthusiastic, aggressivetension reachesits peak,
particularlyat the moment of success,it may suddenly turn sexual.If
an opponent is defeated,this tension strikesinto a vacuum and must
find releasein some other way. Thereforein hunting rituals, sacrifice,
warlike fighting, and even in funerary cult, there are frequent periods
of license during which sexual impulses stimulated earlier can express themselvesfreely.uSuch practices,which have been observed
by ethnologists,were of coursealready suppressedin the Greek ur-

'See,
for instance,Ov. Fcsf.2.425-46,and the evidencethat Mannhardt(1875)z5r-1o1
(esp.256)assemblesunder the title "schlag mit der Lebensrute."
sFor
the associationsmale/spear, female/being wounded, see A. Leroi-Gourhan, Prlhistoirede I'art occidental
(r96j), ng;La Barre g97o) 78,r7o. For hunting as "making love
to the animal" among modern primitives, seeG. Reichel-Dolmatoff,
AmazonianCosmos
\t97t), zzo. African hunters fear that the dying animal's revenge could affect their
masculinity-they cover their genitals and perceivethe symbolic castrationin initiation
as an anticipatory sacrifice to their prey: L. Frobenius, Kulturgeschichte
Afrikas (ry}),
7r*79.
6Thus,
after the gruesomesacrificeof the Tiwah festival(I.6.n.rz above):F. Grabowsky,
Internt. Archiu . Ethnographie
z fi899), r99-2oo.
f

59

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

ban culture, but the ambiguity of the extraordinary could not be


altogethersuppressed.The girl losing her virginity at a sacrificialfestivalbecame a stock motif in comediesand novels'-an almost predictablefall. When leaving office, the Boeotianpolemarchswere said
wife of Ares.'
to sacrificeto Aphrodite, the not-altogether-legitimate
In depicting theiall of Troy, archaicartistsportray Menelausattacking
Helen witli a drawn sword, but everyone knew that he threw his
sword away the moment Helen bared her breast in supplication.
Thus, whaiwould otherwise have ended in death becamethe start of
a happy marriage.' Another especially_well-lovedscene portrays
Aias, heavily armed, tearing the virgin Cassandraaway naked from
the altar and statue of Athena, the virgin goddess' An apocryphal
variant of the myth tells how he raped her as well. It is the ambivalencein the confrontationbetweenwarrior and virgin that makes
both pictorial and narrative accountsso thrilling."
Suppliants at a sanctuary are inviolable, especiallyat -an-altar,
preciseiybecausethat is the place where blood must be spilled. In a
si-ila. vein, Greekswere strictly prohibited from "having intercourse
in a sanctuary."" The very ritual that gives expressionto the realm of
the extraordinaryalso painstakinglycontrols it.
Such prohibitions correspondto the pattern at the beginning and
the end oi sacrificialritual. Preciselybecausethe act of killing is sexually charged, sexualabstinenceis frequently a Part of preparing for
TForexample,Men. Ssm.(Adonia); Epif. (Tauropolia)'
8Xen.Hell.
5.4.4;cl.III.r.n.rr8 below.
,Depicted already on the pithos relief from Mykonos (ca. 67o n.c.), schefold (1964)
t35b; fittle lliad tr. t7 Allen : 14 Bethe;Aristoph. Lys. t55; the Kypselos-chest,Paus'
297--g7;furtherelaboratedbyStesichoros(zorPage)andlbykos
5.r8.3;Brommer(196o)
et retoursd'Hline$95), V-98'
(296Page).L. Ghali-Kahil, Lesenliuements
t\lliu Persisp. to8, z-6 Allen; Alkaios, ZPE r (196) 8r-95; SchefoldQ96$ 4t-42,
pl. 77; Brommer (196o)z1z-84 the Kypselos-chest,Paus.5.19'5;PR ll, rz66-74' For
ih" tup" seeCallim. fr. 35;Lycoph. 148-62;Apollod' Epit.5.zz; PRll, tz67-68; C' Robert, Rom.Mitt. t (tgtB), 15-42rrHdt. 2.64. Myths frequently tell of shocking exceptions:Atalanta with Melanion,
Apollod. 3.ro8, or with Hippomenesin the Srottoof Meter, Ov' Met' rc'686-7o4;Laocoon in tie temple of Thymbraic Apollo, Euphorion fr. 7o Powell; Melanippos and
Komaitho in the temple of Artemis Triklaria at Patrai, Paus.7.].9.1;Poseidonand
Medusain the templeof Athena, Ov. Met. 4.798-8o1;the begettingof Theseusthrough
Poseidonand Aigeus in the sanctuaryof Athena, Hyg. Fab.17;etc. The backgroundis
determined in pirt by hieros-gamosrituals (A. Klinz, "Hieros Gamos," Diss' Halle'
7gt); on the aniient Near Easiern tradition see H. Schmdkel,"Heilige Hochzeit und
Fiohes Lied," Abh. f . d. Kunde desMorgenlandesSzlt 11956l;S. N' Kramer, The Sacred
MarriageRile I1969]).

6o

SEXUALIZATION OF RITUAL KILLING

sa$ifice, for war, and for the hunt. Artemis is both huntressand virgin; her servant Hippolytus makes chastity the guiding principle o{
his life. And yet, Aphrodite triumphs in his fall, and her temple
In the growth of the individstandsbesidehis sanctuaryand grave.''?
ual, life's necessarypolarity, the far-swinging movementbetween renunciation and fulfillment, is in constant danger of becoming onesided and absolute.Beforean agon, which was itself also a sacrificial
festival, athleteshad to go on a vegetariandiet and abstainfrom sex;
victory and sacrificeat the altar were frequently followed, according
to mythic fantasy,by a wedding festival." Many mysteries required
sexualabstinencefor a certain period precedinginitiation; some form
of sexualitythen would accompanythe blissful shockof the concluding ceremonY.r{
The preliminaries correspond to the order reestablishedin the
closingrituals. And just as the realm of the extraordinary-the experience of hunting, sacrifice,and death-is sexualized,so the everyday order is desexualizedbythe tool of civilization, that is, by ritual.
In all human societies,even among "primitives," there is some kind
of sexualtabu, though observersof foreign culturesmay at first notice
only the violation of tabus that they share.Above all, the prohibition
againstincest is universally recognizedby mankind and is the basis

t'Paus.
z.3z.r-3.
For
the
sanctuaryof 'A9po6i"rqsdlri'Irro\it<p in Athens see Eur.
HW. )o with Schol., lGlz 724.69,r9o, 3ro.z8o;W. S. Barret,Euripides
Hippolytos(1964),
3-ro. For Hippolytus as a vegetarianand Orphic see Eur. Hipp. 952-54,a crux mterpretum(cf. Barret ad loc.;Dodds Il95r) t48, 169.86;D. W Lucas,Ce ao jg46l 6S-6g),
actually
only
a
special
accentuation
of
hunter
the
paradox.
For
the
hunter'ssexualabstinence see CB III, r9r -zoo; also HandwArterbuch
dt . Aberglaubens
lY , 579.The necessary
break between the hunter and the alluring woman is alio manifested through the potiphar motif in the myth of Peleus(Hes. fr. zo8-zogM.-W.; Apollod.
3.164-26);an unsuccessfulbreak, in the myth of Kephalos and Prokris-there, instead of killing a
beast,the hunter kills the woman who has pursued him (seePherekydes,FGrHist
1F
34, and cf. Partheniosro; "Plut." Par.min. troe). The animals flee Enkidu after he
makeslove to the whore: see the epic of GilgameshI, ANET
74-75.For sexualabstinencebeforewar seeI Sam. z.r:6;W R. Smith (r89g) .-.z1;
Amphitryon, Apollod. 2.55;
beforesacrifice,seeI.r.n.z above.
t3On
abstinencesee Philostr. Gymn.zz; paul in I Cor.
9.25;on the agon and the wedt: the Argonauts on Lemnos, Simonides
547l,age, pind. pyth. 4.:53 with
Silt,
schol.,
Pind. Ol. 4.23-y; for the Danaids,seeApollod. z.zz; paus. j,.rz.z; for peneloPe,see Paus.3.rz.r; for Marpessa,
see Bacchyl.zo A, Schol. pind. Isthm.4.gz;for
rhebes (Asia Minor), see Dikaiirchus
fr. 5.2W.
'{Fehrfe
Qgro) 47-18(Demeter/Ceres), r59 (Bacchanatia),ry6- 37(Isis);Schol. Nik.
oi p.6uovtais Lrcuvotaxais.dl,Lci xad zcis
:tex 47o.Diod. 4.6.4 iv re rais ze,tr.erais
axe6ov
dz'clcrarsoriros 6 rleds (scil. flpianos 'IBurpatrros) wyyauet nvos rttrtils, p"era
Tdtrortosxqi rat6td.s napetcay6pevos Ev tais
Buoiats.

6r

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

SEXUALIZATION

OF RITUAL KILLING

giving,her.a life for.a life.'oIn the cult of Aphrodite, deflowering occurred in the sanctuary itself-admittedly a custom that remained
foreignto the Greeks.2'Andif, on this occasion,virgins had to spend
their first night with total strangers,this too servedto removeresponsibility in a way familiar to us, once again, from sacrificial rilual.
gometimesit was the groom, in disguise,who assumedthe stranger,s
role. Reparationsfollowed the wedding "sacrifice,"just as they db in
a normal sacrifice.After the fact, the husbandbrought gifts and started
supporting the new family.,,Thus here too the new order was based
on sacrifice.The rituals do not mitigate the transition; rather, they
stressit by creatinginhibitions and guilt. It is unimportant whether or
not an individual leads a placid existence,as long as the continuance
of societyis guaranteedby a durable structure.And the human soul
is suited to such structurespreciselybecauseof its capacityfor inhibition and resignedobedience.
To succeedin the
tension
between
the
indoor
and outdoor worlds,
man must practicerenunciation.
In
renouncing
love, one'sfrustration
canbe transformedinto aggressiveability.'?3
The only activity that cannot under any circumstancesbe renouncedin a hunting soiiety is the
hrrnt itself, and yet hunting is not innate-it has to be taughi. Each

mPoll.
3.38i1 6i rpd yap"ouBuoia rport\etrr. . . and cf. plat. Leg.774e;Men. fr. 9o3
Koerte;Hsch. yaptuv EBq;for Artemis see Eur. tph. Aul. 433 and cf.
7rg rporilten
cacirter'v;depending on local customs,Hera, Aphrodite, nymphs, and Iocal heroines
can also be recipients of the preliminary wedding sacrifice.sacrificing the bride,shair is
common:at Troizen (Hippolytus), seeEur. Hipp. t4z3- z7;at Delos (Opis and Hekaerge),
seeHdt.
Paus.7.41
.4;
at
Megara
(Iphinoe),
4.34,
seepaus. r.43.4, and cf. paus.2.33.r
(Troizen),z'34'rz (Hermione);Plut. Am'. narr.
vzb (Hariartos);prut.Aristides:o (pra!a9a);Agathocles,FGrHist 472F r (Praisos);procl. 1n Tim. ril 176.26Diehl (Athens).
Likewise, the d.pxreia for Artemis of Brauron and a parallel rite in
Munichia aie preliminary wedding sacrifices:seeHarp. dpxreiew = fC)Hist
:,42Fg, Brelich(1969))+o_Zg,
with a goat as
substitute
victim
iee
I.2.n.35
above.
characteiistically,npor'6,Irero
can
Harp. s.o., An. Bekk. 291.5,LS 4.2),
ilT T:3"-"pteliminary sacrifice"generalljr-1see
especially
for the mystery initiation (Kratinosfu. r&,, Caf t O7y.
per se, only in southernItalian Lokroi: seeKearchos fr.43 aW.,Just.zr.3;
-t1_":":*
rr'
l'nicknet Die LokrischenTonreliefs
(1968),g-r3, who connectsthe votive reliefs (fifth
:enfury) with the cult of Aphrodite, and also considerswhether the Ludovisi and
rn-n::might belong to this temple of Aphrodite (8S-gr). Seealso the legend
Sllo^n
vr
.ne
hero
of
Temesa,
Paus.6.6.7_rr.
On
Cyprus
seeHdt. r.r99; Justin.rg.5.4;NiIs_
(t9ro)
On'ttre
presentation
to
4o-42.
strangers
see
also
loi_!1?:6)^i65_!Z;
fetr_rle
o' r'reud, Das Tabuder
Virginitiit, Ges.Schr.5 Og2i, 212_)7 : Ges.Wike e
e94),
r6r*8o.
bAvoxa)ruzrripra:
see PhererydesvS 7 B z;A. Briickner,Anakarypteria(g4.
winckermannsProgr.rgg); AM
t2 (lwil, 7g-r22.
-J'^Dollard,
ed., Frustrationand Aggressionugls);L. Berkowitz, rnternat.Encycr. sociar
Jctencest
e96g), r6g_7a.

for our conceptof the family.'5On the other hand, aggressionplays a


prominent part in erecting thesebarriers, in providing motivationprimarily that of jealousy-and in the methods of regulating them.
Mockery plays a specialrole here. Man cannot afford to exposehimself in an aggressivesocietyas out of control and helpless,"the beast
with two biiks.,, Therefore,all permissibleand necessarysexualactivity is restricted to a permanently defined area which is, in turn,
coniecratedand tabu, almost as though the wild outdoors were Present within: such is the immovablebed of Odysseus,"built into a wild
tree rooted in the earth, the lectusiugalis' Marriage is a Oeopds,an
institution, and, once instituted, it endures in its sacrednessand cannot be abrogated.
Of course,this order will be violated again and again, only to be
reinstituted.The older generationdies out and the younger one takes
its place.Here, too, sacrificialritual is the meansof reestablishingan
order of the extraordinary. Even marriage, as initiation, is the product
of sacrificial rites." The sacrificialmeal that sealsthe new bond is permeated by rituals making the bride and groom the butt of makebelieveaggression.By hurling flowers" and smashingpots, outsiders
come to grips with the couple'snew status.Above all, the bride must
suffer the male act. Defloration turns into sacrificemainly becauseof
the exclusivelyhuman phenomenon of sheddingblood in first intercourse.The bride's alienationand anxiety can be easedthrough temporary ritual substitutes.In Rome, for example,a spear was used to
part the bride's hair, a spear that had dripped with blood and had
killed men." Greek brides had to make a sacrificecalleda rpor6),oca,
in which they apparently appeasedthe anger of the virgin Artemis,

t" Od. 23.:.84-2o4,296\rixrpor.oro,\atdv Beop'ov. @eop'osis likewise the name for sacrificial remains which have been deposited: see LS 44 B 17 = Abh Berlin i9z8), 8' zz.
Deubner (tglz) U derives the name Beop'ogoposfrom the latter meaning, the ancient
tradition from the former. Yet in the act of securing the order the two virtually coincide.
tTon wedding rites seeK. F. Hermann and H. Bluemner, Lehrbuchdergriech.Priaatalter'
thiimer t.8823), 268-78; V. Magnien, "Le mariage chez les Grecs," Mtl Cumont Q916),
3o5-2o M. P Nilsson, "Wedding Rites in Ancient Greece," OpusculaIII (196o),24t-5o;
L. Deubner, "Hochzeit und Opferkorb," ldl 4o (t925), zro-23. This is not the Placeto
give more than a few references;seealso I.5.n.42 above.
tEOn xaraTigl.taro and related topics seeE. Samter,Familienfeste
derGriechenund Rdmer
(rpr), t-t4; his animistic interpretation, however, is not compelling: cf. I.r.n.r6
above.
rsCaelibaris
hasta:seeFestus 6z-63M.; Ov. Fasf.2.56o;Plut. Rom.t 5.7; Q. Rom.z85a-d;
Arnob. 2.67.'

63

@'sss.

tsM. Mead, lnternat. Encycl. SocialSciences 0S68), rr5-zz with lit.; La Barre (r97o)
Z

6z

SACRIFICE/ HUNTING/

FUNERARY RITUALS

new generationmust be forced to hunt, just as, much later, with the
/'progress"
of civilization, eachis forcedinto military service.Hunting
and war are sanctionedby social custom as tests of manhood, and
they take precedenceover courtship and marriage. Man declinesto
love in order to kill: this is most graphicallydemonstratedin the ritual
slaughterof "the virgin," the potential sourceboth of a happy union
and of disruptive conflict within the group. In the maiden-sacrifice,
all the tensions-the jealousy of the elderly, the strivings of the
young-are released.An irreparableact transformsan erotic game
into fighting fury. Desperate"searching"turns into "hunting." In the
period of preparation, maiden-sacrificeis the strongestexpressionof
the attempt to renounce sexuality.It comesat the start of fighting expeditions and war, and it precedesthe great sacrificialinstitution in
In hunting myth, the sacrifarming, namely, the harvest festival.'?a
ficed virgin becomesthe bride of the quarry whether it is a bear, a
buffalo, or a whale;'sin agricultural myth, she is connectedwith the
seed that must go beneath the earth in order to insure the return of
the crops. in any case, as a preliminary, maiden-sacrificestands in
contrast, and provides a balance,to the main sacrificethat supplies
the food. It is a ritual of giving in order to get: in the main sacrifice,
in cutting up and eating; during
fulfillment comes in the sparagmos,
the preliminaries,however, there is an anticipatoryself-denialwhich
consequently requires other forms of destruction-submerging in
water, hanging from trees.tu
2aForthe sacrifice of a virgin before fishing see GB II r47 (Algonquins and Hurons), II
r58 (Guinea), II r49 (lndia), II r5r-52 (Egypt.' cf. E. Mader, Die Menschenopferder alten
Hebrtier und der benachbarten Vdlker lr9o9j, z6-27); before the harvest, see GB VII 237
(Mexico), and cf. the virgins sent to the dragon at Lanuvium, Prop. 4.8.3-r4. The sacrr
fice of a virgin appears atavistically especially during famine and drought. It may be
conducted symbolically or in actuality: see Mannhardt ($7) )27-Jj, and cf. the legKorinna and Nikander in Ant. Lib. 25, and Ov. Met.
end of the [IapSivotKopavi|es,
4.692-99; for Aio xcipar see n. 33 below. See, in general, D. Wyss, Strukturen der Moral
(1968), g6If ., on "die Verschriinkung von Inzestverbot und Opfermythologem."
'?5Onthe bride of the bison, a myth of the Blackfoot Indians concerning the origin of the
bison dance, see J. Campbell, The Masks of God. I: PrimitizLeMythology (t95), r$-86.
On the bride of the whale, a myth of the Chukchis, see I. Trencsdnyr-Waldaptel, Untersuchungen zur Religionsgeschichte(t966), z8-29. ln a similar way Andromeda and Hesione are given to the sea monster.
'?6C.
"Katapontismos,"
SMSR )4 0963), 6r-9o; cf .lll.7-8 below On "Apreprs
Gallini,
d.ncryyo1r,6vr7
see Paus. 8.21.6-7; Callim. fr. r87; a hanged woman becomes Hekate,
Callim. fr. 46r; on Helena Dendritis (Rhodes) see Paus. 3.tg.ro; on Ariadne hanged see
Plut. Tftes. 20.1; on goats hanged in the ritual in which the myth tells of the maiden's
suicide (Melite) see Ant. Lib. 4.7.

64

SEXUALIZATION OF RITUAL KILLING

Ethnology has shown that maiden-sacrificeoccurred, with disconcerting frequency,from Mexico to polynesia. perhaps it was not
unknown even among the Greeks,although usually a s mbolic (animal) substitute was used here as well. Maybe thaf is how we must
understand the early Palaeolithicsubmersion sacrifices:2'a young
doe, after being killed and weighted down with rocks, *o..ld b"
pushed into the water in springtime.
In
Greece,
the
maiden
would be
represented-bya goat-for Artemis, a pig for Demeter.2o
The myths,
however, call them Iphigenia and Kore and, at least in some rituals
(initiation and mystery rites), the substitution is made explicit.
The great sacrificethat followed, the departure for hunting and
war, could thus be psychologicallymotivated as a punitive exlpedition, as vengeancefor the maiden'sdeath. The maiden-sacrificeprovided the basisand the excusefor the subsequent
kilring, and the restitution that foliowed referred mainly to her ,,disappearance,,:
she
returned, symbolicallyand ritually restored,as the fbius of the company of youths brought togetherby the double sacrifice.For this reason, a city goddesscould also serveas ,,thevirgin.,,rn
Among the Greeks,preliminary maiden-sacrificeis for the most
part a prelude to war.30when beginning their military service,for example, the Attic ephebesmarchedin a processionand made sacrifice
in honor of Artemis, the "goddess of the outdoor world,,, Artemis
Agrotera;3'they swore an oath in the sanctuaryof Aglauros, a king,s
daughter who met with a mysterious death.3rw" t.,o* no details of

"Maringer (1956)48-42 on the prelude to the hunt; cf. Mtiller-Karpe(1966) 224_25.


rCf.
n. zo and I.2.n.35above;V.z below
nThus,
a myth about the sacrificeof a virgin was linked to the Tycheof Antioch and
the
citygoddessofLaodikeia:seepaus.
Fcr|iistg54Fro;porph.Abst.2.56;cf.paus.3.16.8.
about the (willing) sacrificeof a maiden are mainly connected
with particurar
l$n"
sanctuaries
and their rites: Agesilaossacrificedat Aulis (xin. Heil.3.a.3;Rlui.
Ages.6)
Pelop'
pJus.
zr;
on
the
ritual
see
j.9.4,9.rg.6-7).
on the sacrificefor the,,Leuktrian
maidens,"where a colt
was
substituted
for
the
maiden,
see Xen. Hell. 6.a.7; Diod.
Pet.z.'-zz; paus.9.r3.5, 743, ,'ptut.. Am. narr.
:.?iry 1-"1
774d.Forthe sacriiiceof the
vtrgin
Makaria
see
Eur.
Heracr.
4o8-6or; schol. plat. Hp. Mi. 291a.For the sacrificeof a
vrrgin at Thebessee Paus.
9.17.r (in conjunction with the pre-wedding ritual, n. ro
Sbvo; during the Messenianwar, seepaus.4.9.4(followingMyron). cf. arsothe tearrn8apartof a dishonored
woman
as
a
call
to
war,
Ot;ud
gi
,g,r9.
,ApreptLt
'A7por6pg,IG
rcris Eylpagais
...
inoprev<rau
t!1
ri1
II/III,
]j:t"-"t
roo8.7, rotr.t. roz9.g, roz9.6, ro3o.5; Hesperia
:q.b-9,
34 e965), 256;16 $96), f,6;
ueubner
f91z) zo9.
*Philochoros,
FGrHist
F ro5;plut. Arc. r5.7;on the ephebic oath see L. Robert,
Etudesepigraphiques 328
et piilologiques(ty8), z9t-3o7.

65

ii
i1

ri

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

SEXUALIZATION

OF RITUAL KILLING

-r94);different too is Athena's head-birth, which is linked to the sacrificeof a bull (Cook
III [r94o],
556_ZJ9).
sPhylarchos,
FGrHistgt F
F.
Vian,
Ia
guerre
des
gtants
(rg5z), z7g.
47;
as the skin of Gorgo after she had
been
killed
in the gigantomachy see Eur.
l"l"::^
Di,od.3.7o.3-5: DionysiosSkytobrachion
, FGrHisllzF 8 (Ad7tsas a fire::27.-97;
monster like the xip.atpa). For Alhena killing her father pallas, who wanted
ijil'\g
tu rapeher, and
on his skin, seeCic. Nat.deor.J.59;Clem. pr. z.zg;Schol.Lyk.
l"ttjlg
16.z;Ker6nyi (t952) 57-64. For pallasas a maiden slain by Athena and
ijl:jllT
.t:t
rEconstifuted
as a (oavov, seeApollod. ).144_45.
*?_R
II ru75-79; Ibykos fr.
3o7page;Simonides fr. 557page;Sophoclesfr. 5zu_zg pearso$ Eur. Hec.
ul7-582 (veav,iat5z5);Brommer gft) z9t_99.
ibn Fodlan,
quoted
by Jaqut,English transl. in AntiquityI (rg14),
58_62.
rro^ufeyd. veavt'es, pind.
":nlud
fr. rzz.r.

the sacrificethat surely accompaniedthe oath. Beforesetting off for


war, moreovet the army sacrificedat the sanctuaryof the Hyakinthides, who, in mythology, were often portrayed as king's daughters
who had been killed: in the war between Erechtheus,first king of
Athens, and Eleusis, Erechtheus'daughters, of their own free will,
offered themselvesup for sacrifice."Their death, which was repeated
in sacrificebefore setting off for war, guaranteedsuccessin the subsequentbloodshedand victory in battle. And again, immediately before battle, animals were slaughteredin great numbers as the enemy
looked on.
The Spartanssacrificeda femalegoat to Artemis Agrotera:v thus
beganthe deadly activity that then continued in the human slaughter
of battle. A victory meant there had to be restitution, so a stakemade
of oak would be set up and adorned with a captured helmet, shield,
and spear.Through this tropaion,3s
a monument to the enemy'sflight,
those who were conqueredwere made to attest to their adversary's
victory. So, too, hunters already hung up their "hunting trophies"horned skulls and, aboveall, skins-on a tree or a stake.3u
By adding
to the tropaion the skin of the goat, t}l.eaigis,which had been slaughtered before battle, the stake came to representthe goddessAthena
with her helmet, shield, and aegis.3'The "virgin" thus came into
33See
Euripidea,fr. 65.65-89, on annual
Eur. Erechtheus,
in C. Austin, NoaaFragmenta
with chorusesof maidens,burnt offering without wine at the start of a
cattle-sacrifice
war. In addition seePhanodemos,FGrHisfJz1 F 4; Philochoros,FGrHist328F rz. The
third group of heroic sistersat Athens is that of the A.ta xopat, honored at the Leokoreion; the motivation for their willing sacrifice was a plague (cf. n. z4): Kock, RE XII
2000-2001.
vXen. Iak. Pol.
4.8; Hell. 4.z.zo;Plut. lyc. zz.z; for the most part, the brief reports do
not even mention a divinity. In this contextthe art of the seeris of decisiveimportance:
see Hdt. 9.18.r, 4t.4,45.2;Thuc. 6.69.2;Eur. Phoen.ry1-74, rTog-tr; Stengel(r9ro)
92-rO2.
$K. Woelcke,Bonn.
lbb. tzo (rgrr), 727-2)5, F. Lammert, RE VII A (rg1$, 6$-71;
Cook II (rgz5) to8-4; A. J. Janssen,Het antieketroryion 9957\. On depictionsin art
see Metzger Qg65)rt5-r7. The tropaion is called ArdsBpiras, Eur. Phoen.rz5o, Aros
dyaXy.ara, Corg. VS 8z B 6, becauseZeus bestows victory (cf. the inscription from Selinus, /G XIV 268).
&Meuli (ry67) t59-6o; Callim. fr.
96; Yerg. Aen. 9.4o7;etc. For depictionsin art and
epigrams,seeI.z above.
37Thismust havealreadyarisenin prehistorictimes;it is symbolicallyreproducedin the
Palladion (G. Lippold, RE XVIII z, t99-zo:^; on a gold ring from Mycenae, see Nilsson
und mykenischen
SiegelI [1964l,#r7; Simon [1969]
Ir955),T.r7.r = Corpusderminoischen
r83; on a stucco dish from Mycenae, see Simon [1969]r8r). The old cult-statueof
Athena Polias at Athens is different, as it is seated (A. Frickenhaus, AM y lt9o8l,
17- jz; C. J. Herington, AthenaParthenos
and AthenaPotias[t9551, 16-27; Simon 11969]

67

being through the battle, just as her symbolic substitute had been
slaughteredin the preliminary sacrifice.similarly, there were tales
Flling how the statueof Athena, the Palladion,fell from heavenduring the primordial war between the gods and the giants,3sand how
Pallaswas named after a creatureof that name whose skin had been
removed to serve as her attire.3eIn the paradox that both the god of
the hunt and the god of war were "virgins" we observethe sexuil tensions,the frustration and symbolicsubstitution,upon which hunting
and warring behavior feeds.
If the preliminariesand the aftermathof the greatexperiencecorrespond, the sequenceof guilt and atonementcan be reversed,that
is, the sacrificeof a maiden or woman can follow the battle. This occurs mainly in funerary ritual, although there are analogiesin sacrificial ritual. The demands of the dead man may, for instance,be recognized through an irrevocableact of renunciation,which mav in turn
havea symbolicsubstitute.In this way, feelingsof guilt and ieadiness
to atone cT !9 expressed,just as death previously had been given
the form of killing, of an aggressivelyand sexuallymotivated act. If
the sacrificeof Iphigenia precedesthe Trojan war, the sacrificeof
Polyxenafollows it. That is how Achilles gets his share of the captured women. A dead father can demand renunciationfrom his son;
his wishes are carried out by youths, veot.e rhe most detailed description of a cremation with maiden sacrificewas given by an Arab
e.mis9aryto the Rus on the Volga. There, before belng strangled on
the dead man'sbiet the victim, a volunteer,had to offJr hersif to all
the participantsin the funeral.o'Doesthe namepolyxenapointto similar practices?"A period of licensegives vent to thJ extraordinary;anotheract of killing ends and transformsit into an order of renunciation.
sexually colored fighting and killing can give rise to yet another

66

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

cycle of destruction and reparation. When stimulated by sexual jealousy, the destructive rage operating in the battle of man against man
wili turn against the adversary's masculinity: when killed, a warrior
is immediaLly castrated. This has occurred regularly in wars up until
recent times,i, and it appears to be a basic element in man's fightins instinct. lt can also, without further ado, be translated into the
,'battle" with his quarry.# In mammals, the significance of
hrinte.t
the male reproductive organs is obvious. They stimulate aggression
and hence are accorded special treatment when the quarry is cut up
and distributed. It is certain that castration rituals play an important
role in sacrifice,nubut because they largely belong to the "unmentionables," the cippqroz, we hear of them only exceptionally or by
chance. For instance, only by virtue of a gruesome joke in Martial* do
we know that the goat sacrificed to Dionysus was castrated by an assistant at the very moment it received its death-blow. The pseudoexplanation that in this way the meat would be freed of its goat odor
and thus be made edible, simply shows that the procedure was the
same at every he-goat sacrifice, whether to Dionysus or to Aphrodite.
Thus, Clement of Alexandria gives prominence to an apocryphal

SEXUALIZATION OF RITUAL KILLING

sacrificialram and the phallic Hermes is surely no accident. Thus,


too, when the October-Horsewas sacrificedand its tail carried bleeding to Regiafrom the CampusMartius, we may suspectthat the "tail"
representedthe genital organ; and our suspicionsare raised to the
Ievel of probability by the fact that a horse'stail has too little blood
Donkeys are sacrificedto the phalto be of use in the ceremony.as
hc god Priapos, and one etiologicalmyth clearly statesthat the donkey's death is due to its remarkable and proverbial lust.aePindar
incorporatessuch associationsinto his description of the Hyperborean donkey sacrifice:Apollo laughs at seeing the animals' "upright
presumPtion."s
The ritual reparationcorrespondingto ritual castrationevidently
consistedof an especiallystriking, provocativecustom. A singlephallus was set up for worship and carried through the city as if in a
triumph. If this worship entailed submission, the worshipper was
forced to assumea female role and appearance-padding his body,
presenting his rump. Just such practicesare known to us from DiScholarshave sought an easy explanationfor
onysiacprocessions.sr

69

G. Devereux,MnemosynelYz1 jgTo), 2g1-3o7,and cf. Eitrem


Q9r) z8-34; H. Wamyth telling of the ram's castration;*'and the frequent association of a
genvoort, SertaPhilologica
Aenipontana
Q962.\,z7-87; U. Scholz, Studienzum altitalixhen und altrdmischen
MarskultundMarsmythos(r97o), tz6- 4o,but cf . C. BennetPasarThe
proposedby F. Dtimmler, Philologus
fr.
Diehl/Prato
(r98r),
Tyrtaios
56
cal,
HSCP
35
2.82.
For
interpretation
of
276,
worship
a
horse's
of
phallus,
V6lsi,in the Edda, see
7
119l,61,
F. Genzmer,Edda$979'), r85 nr. 3r; A. Heusler,Zeitschr.
(r8g), 11,has not stood up to criticism(Wilamowitz, Die llias und Homer
95't;
t3 g9o), z5-39.
f . Volkskunde
'e"Eral."
=
F. Jacoby,Hermes51 lrgt}l, 24, ri R. Nierhaus, ldl Sl [1938],9o- r r3), but the nonCat.
p.9o
Robert
Schol.
Germ.
p.
7o-p. rz9;Lact. Dia. inst.r.zt.z8, quonnE
Greek evidenceis cleat especiallythat from Egypt (Nierhaus9o);for the oT seeI sam.
from Philiskos(fr. z, Tragicorum
Graecorum
Fragmenta
p. 8r9 Nauck,); Ov. Fast.t.3gt18:25-27; cf. A. E. Jensen,ed., AltodlkerSild-Athiopiens
095il, 3zZ'For castrationin
44o,6319-48; H. Herter, De Priapo(rg1z), 78-85, 264-67.
sPind. Pytft.
connectionwith torture and the death penalty see, for instance,Plat. Gorg.471ciin
rc.13-16; Callim. fr. :186.ro,
4gz;Simmiasand Boiosin Ant. Lib. zo; Apolconiunctionwith lynch law seeWilliam Faulkner,Lightin August
'Arimaspeia"
lodorus,
FGrHist
rz6.
244
F
Aristeas'
may
possibly
have been pindar,s
*'As
sexual
organ
animalt
death
a
male
of
at
the
moment
knows,
any
big
game
hunter
source.
This work may have connectedthe horse-sacrifice
of Asiatic rider-nomads4' 2) \7970)'
which has been linked to the EquusOctoberand the A6vamedha(W. Koppers, Wiener
becomestumescentand emits semen,"writes G. Devereuxin Mnetnosyne
among the
Beitriige
299,though there is no detailedverification.At the great elephant-sacrifice
zur Kulturgeschichte
und Linguistik+Itgl6l,279-477; for sourcei-seelJdG IX
278-96)-with the donkey-sacrifices
Pygmies,cutting off and burying the Procreativeorgan plays a large role: R. P. Trilles,
of Asia Minor. During the castrationof an animal,
the Moi-Sedang(Vietnaml habituallylaugh (unpubl. note by G. Devereux).
LesPygmlesdela for^t iquatorialeQy), 46o;UdG IV 88-9o, 95-roo; O. Eberle, Cenalora
srFor
go-5r,88-9o, ro9-rro; seealsoMeuli (1946)247-48,256.During the festivalof
O,gSi),
the
one
Attic
black-figure
bowl with a phallic procession see Deubner (1932)
the bull at Drdmling (Mark Brandenburg),the genitalsof the slaughteredvillage bull
pl. zz, Nilsson (rglS) pl.J5, a new photograph in Pickard-Cambridge(1962)
pl. IV
were hung from the loft: A. Kuhn, MiirkischeSagenund MtirchenQ84), 168-69.
(rrorence
For
the
figures
(one
on
the
phallus
of
them
3897).
xvB6'dro|upaivuu ttvi,
nsDuring
t*lln:descriptionof similarsatyr'sgestureinSoph.
(r9ro)
and
sacrifice:
Stengel
and
funerary
at
an
oath
the
sacrifice
78-84,
a
I c h n . n z ) , s e e L u k .S y r . D . z 8
gctr)toug6oot Arcvtv<p
L5.n.8 above.During purification sacrifice:1.5.n.:.3.The uiresof the sacrificialvictim
iytipovaw, Euloiut gc)tloior xoli tivipas fu),duousxadlovet,
gleu liv etvexa iyti oix iptri , with a clear allusion to the femalerole (cf. Herter, RE
are kept and carriedin i kernosat the Taurobolionand the Kriobolionof the Meter cult:
t?{, 6z; "auf}esetzt," but this does not necessarilymean that the figures are porr75r; Hepding Qgo) r9o-93.
CIL Xll 1567,XIll
525,
5ro,
522,
:1
* 3 . r 4 . . . s t a b a t m o r i t u r u s a d a r a s h i r c u s . . . q u e m T u s c u s m a c t a r e d e o c u m o e l l e t h a r u s p e x l a seatedposition).For the rest, seeHerte, RE XIX 1673-gr, ,7ir-r3.
"T"d i"
,1" pygal symbolism of the padded dancers(who are preciselynof ithyphallic)
I taeterut immundae
secarct
et acuta
dixcrat agresti
falce
^^":
forte rudiqueuiro I ut cito testiculos
see.E.
Buschor, AM 51 1rg4), to5-to6; L. Breitholz, Die dorische
Faiceim griichischen
carnisahiretodor.For a phallus with a he-goat'slegs at the Dionysia on Delos see BCH 3r
':'!*y:!
aor
dem lahrhundert(Gdteborg, 96o\, r4g-54, who is too quickl however,
\7907),5@-507.
tu posrt "magic" 5.
in place of the purely biological-physicalfactors. In the rite with the
otClem.Pr. z.t5.z;V4.n.44below.

68

li,
lii

lii

li'l

SACRIFICE/ HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

SEXUALIZATION OF RITUAL KILLING

aThe decisivecontribution is
"I/agalma
R.
Vallois,
des
Dionysies
de
D6los,,,
BCH
46
(:gzz), 94-rrz. G. M. Sifakis, Studiesin the History oi HellenisticDrama(ry67\,
7-r1,
gives an overview of the Delian Dionysia. He is hasty, however, in speaking of the
god's "epiphany" (rz\, and overlooksthe phallus swimming away. The inscriptions
clearly show that the cart remains and is repaired from time to time, but that the
winged agalmais producedanew everyy"ur. ih" topographyis uncertain;the inscnptions mention the "Leukothion" and a "river."
For the votive offering of Karystios see BCH 3r (r9o7\, 5o4,fig. r8; for an archaicdepiction
of
the
phallus-bird
Ch.
Dugas,"Les vasesde l'Heraion," DilosX (t928), rz,
see
#28; cf. C. Berard,AK 9 e966),
%-96;8. Vermeule,AK tzfr969), pl. :_r.4t5.
$Val.
Flacc. Arg. z.z4z-3oz; a red-figure bowl, Berlin z1crc: ARV24o9.43;Burkert
1r97o).7-8;III.6 below.Megas(1956)rr7-18 reportsfrom TyrnabosiThessaly
that, after
a testival
meal
"king"
on
a
mountain,
a
is
consecrated
and
led,
sitting
on
a
donkey
backward, with a phallus through thelillage, and that in the evening-he is
dumpei
mto the,water.
The
zrAocogioro
in
(Apul. Mel. u,.t7;L. Vidtnu.t, Isisund
the
cult
oilsis
Jarapisbeiden Griechenund Rdmern(r97ol,
76-87\ aie probably a sublimated version of
the same ritual.
$Hes.
Tft. t76-zoo. Both Anatolian and Cypriot ritual may be in the background;the
presupposesthe sacrificeof a goat for Aphrodite (if. n.
46 above) liie those for
lu":ug:
itr':,payia (cf. Simon [r96fl z5z; for an archaic depiction from Argos see
l*tt.di*
ggq. On the strange clay figurine from Perachora,a bearded Ap-hrodite
1* ?i bg6gl,
payne, perachora
I eg4o), 2.,r' 32,
So*i.S-.!p_out of testicles(67515os.c.), see H.
W. Sale,TAPA9z (196r), 5o8-zr . Cf . alsoC. devereuxin Echanges
e:tcommunil:.1o2;
catons,
Mil. Lioi-strauss(tg7o), rzzg_52.

rather detailed picture of the ritual. A large phallus would be built


from a beam, painted with wax colors, and equipped with large
wooden wings. The phallus-bird has long been known to us from an
often-reproducedvotive offering on Delos and from the art of Attic
vase-painters.In the Delian ritual, however, it was driven on a leadweighted wagon down to the "river"; while the wagon sank in the
water,the phallus-bird floatedout to seaand out of sight.s This phallagogiais clearly a closing ritual, for the act of worship includes disposingof the objectof worship. In the mythologicalversion, the same
eventsoccur in the fate of Thoas, son of Dionysus and king of Lemnos:after the Lemnian women had exterminatedall other men, Thoas
was brought down to the beach in a Dionysiac processionand set
afloatin a wooden coffin." There is an even earlierexampleof a phallus floating away on the sea in Greek mythology. When Kronos, at
Earth'sinstigation, castratedthe father of the heavens,he threw the
severedportions behind him into the sea-plainly a ritual gesture
embeddedin a speculativemyth, even though we are no longer able
to localizethe ritual.*
The larger the phallus, the greaterthe element of humor, of the
yel'oiov.For man, the inventor of seriousweapons, the lighthearted
threats in obscenegesturesare all too transparent.Aggression dis-

elephant's phallus, the Pygmy chieftain is dressed as a bride (cf. n. 44 above). At the
ASvamedha,the queenlies with the horsewhich had been killed; seealso I.8.n.15below. A phallic rite was observed at the Altaic horse-sacrifice:D. Zelenin, lnternat. Archiaf . Ethnographie
z9 QgzB),$ff .; UdG lX 399-411.It takes place partly before, partly
after the sacrifice.
52Oclrlrousdyeipew: see Luk., n.
5r above; cf. the black-figure lekythos, Athens 969o
(ABV 5o5.r) in Metzger Q96) 5r-52, pl. 25, where satyrs dance around a phallus as
they would for an ascending goddess (cf. Metzger [1955] 5o). Cf. W. Wickler, Sfanund RitualisierungQ97o) 253 on the herms: "keine Fruchtbarkeits-, sonmesgeschichte
dern soziale Drohsymbole."
$Clem. Pr. 2.34, and cf. Paus.2.37.5(Ilo)'up"vosCdd. Tzetz. ad Lyk. zrz (flot ivltvos);
);
Schol. Luk. p. r87 (KoporBos).Dionysus 6z,i p.6cqs (scil. r4s orxfis) 6tiBl Et. M.
455.25. There is a different etiology for the phallus-cult in the legends about Archilochus (Archilochus-monument EIIII, Arch. Eph. lt95zl, 4z-43; M. Treu, Archilochos
[tgSgl, +Z-+8; I. Tarditi, Archilochuslrg68], 6-Z), Pegasusof Eleutherai (i.e., city Dionysia; cf. Schol.Aristroph. Ach. 243,Paus.r.2.5), or Ikarios (Schol.Luk. p. 2lr.r4zrz.g; z8o.r-rz): the god punishes those who scorn his prophet by making them
ithyphallic, a condition that ends only with the production of artificial phalluses. That
which rises out of the unconscious as something overwhelming and oppressive for
man is rendered "do-able" in the rite and is thereby overcome. The third, Egyptianizing, etiology.-since Isis cannot find Osiris'sorgan, she erectsartificial phalluses (Plut.
ls. 358b; Diod. r.zz.7; Euseb. Praep.Ea. z.r.zt)-situates the phallus-cult squarely in
the context of restitution following the act of tearing apart.

71

these phallic processionsin the term fertility rlfes, Ieaving open the
question of whether this fertility is animalic or vegetal, or both at
once. The act which alone producesfruit, that is, the union of male
and female, is preciselywhat the phallusesdo not indicate: they do
not stand with their headsin the earth but, rather, upright. They are
"erected," "aroused,"" impressive rather than reproductive. It has
caused some puzzlement that those carrying the phallus are not
ithyphallic, that Dionysus riding the lewd donkey is soft and effeminate. This polarity is understandable,even necessaryin view of the
tensionsand inhibitions containedin sacrificialritual. The phallophoria presupposessacrificialcastrationand assumesthe characterof a
restoration and reparation consonant with the transition from seriousnessto merriment, the period of license.
The etiologicalmyth clearly shows that setting up the Dionysiac
phallus is a restorationafter somekind of death. Dionysushimself, as
the archetypeof his worshippers,promisedProsymnosthat he would
submit to him like a woman. Returning from the dead when Prosymnos had died, the god set up a phallus made of figwood. Once again,
Clement of Alexandria exposedthis myth in a polemic," but Lukian
clearly alludes to it, and his allusion is explicitly substantiatedin
sixth-centuryvase-paintingsof the phallophoria.
Inscriptions from the Delian Dionysia have provided us with a

7o

SACRIFICE/ HUNTING/ FUNERARY RITUALS

solvesinto laughter. It is characteristicthat rituals requiring seriousness could once again symbolicallysubstitutea weapon for the phallus-the weaponof the hunted animal,the horns of the goat or bull.
According to the myth, for instance,Heraklesbroke off the horn of
the bull-shapedAchelooswhile fighting for his bride Deianeira.u'The
broken-off horn turned into the "horn of plenty," brimming with
flowers and fruit (it is hardly accidentalthat, in one instance, phalAlready
luses rather than fruits project from Herakles' cornucopiae).'"
in the Upper Palaeolithicrepresentationof the Venusof Laussel,the
goddessis holding a horn in her hand.'oAnd perhapsit is significant
that on Corinthian vases, Dionysiac padded dancersso often carry
horns from which they drink wine. This too is a horn of plenty; sacrificing a bull is after all also part of the dithyramb."'
Sexualreproduction and death are the basic facts of life. Mutually determinant and interwoven, both are actedout in the sacrificial
ritual, in the tension between renunciationand fulfillment, destruction and reparation.The stelebuilt on a gravecan take the form of a
phallus.u' Orgies and death are close neighbors. Thus, ritual itself
serves in the processby which the group perpetuatesits existence
through death.

B. FqtherGodand
GreatGoddess
Trying to reconstructthe ideasor conceptsof preliterateagesis a
game in which nothing can be verified. The earliestpictorial repre5TArchilochus
fr. r8r Bergk : Hsch. pouuoxepa;Diod.4.35.4;Apollod. 2.l.48;Ov. Met.
(r97o), rr-28, 115-19.
9.7-92; cf. H. P. lsler, Acheloos
nGazetteArchiologique (fi7il, pl. z6; P. Baur, AIA
9 O9oil, 159; Furtwangler, R.&ll
)
|
2176.
vMtiller-Karpe
Q966)z5z, T. 93.r.
osee n.
5r above;III.7 below. For the sacrificeof a bull seePind. Ol. r1.r9; Simonides
fr. 79 Diehl; Burkert Q,966)98.
6lForAsia Minor seeG. Perrotand Ch. Chipiez, HistoiredeI'artY (r89o),
48-5r; Herter,
RE XIX r7z8-13; F. Poulsen, DelphischeStudien Qgz4), fig. 8; AA (1919), t7t-74. For
dergermanischen
Altertumskundelll, 4t5.
Scandinaviasee E. Mogk, Reallexikon

72

FATHER GOD AND GREAT GODDESS

sentationsallow us to draw only uncertain conclusionsabout visual


conceptsin early times, and these are no older than Upper palaeolithic. But already in Lower Palaeolithicfinds there is evidenceof ritual activity in hunting and funerary custom. Under these circumstances,any attempt to discover the Ursprung der Gottesideewlll
simply reflect one's own assumptions;it will be an act of faith. The
only certaintyappearsto be that from the very start, the rites of hunting, sacrifice,and funerals played a decisivepart.
Studentsof religion havelong attemptedto graspand reconstruct
a stage of religion without gods, a pre-deistic level; belief in gods
would be precededby animism and this, in turn, by a pre-animism
characterizedby formless notions of Mana and "simple" magical
rites. "God is a latecomerin the history of religion."' It has sincebecomeclear that the assumption on which this theory is based comes
from modern preconceptions.Scholarssaw their own religion as the
culminationof a development,as though it containedno primitive elements,and assumedthat this developmentproceededfrom "the simple" to the complex-as though life, even in its earlieststages,were
not a vast and intricate systemof balances.Against these tendencies,
Wilhelm Schmidt'gathered impressiveevidence for his theory that
there was a belief in a single, father{ike god at the very start of human evolution, as it appearsamong the most primitive hunters. He
did not see how this coincided with Sigmund Freud's theory developed almost contemporaneously,which likewise posited a father-like
god at the beginning of man'sdevelopment.Of course,what Schmidt
saw as a primordial revelation,Freud viewed as a primordial catastrophe: patricide.

rG. van
der Leeuw Phiinomenologie
der Religioneg1),87; cf. the survey in Nilsson
'fylor,s
(tg5:).36-67.
primitioe
The
theory
of
animism
goes
bick
to
i.
S.
Culture eBTr)
and affectedthe study of Greek religio-nprimarily througtrJ. Harrison's first great
book
ed.
r9o3).
The
thesis
of
pre-animism
was
formulated by R. R. Marett (see
l*ttJ:t
rne
labu-Mana
Formula
as
a
Minimum
Definition
of Religion,,' ARW rz lr9o9l, rfl6_
94)and was followed by Nilsson (seeesp. lrSSSl
+Z-60, 68-7r), Deubner liee t.a.n.z
in Chantepiede la Saussaye,Lehrbuchder Religionsge:f-","j Y{b-t7 ltytl,3zr-35;
Latte ([1959] iz-t4). The posiiion drew protest froin watYYt:ll'lryz5l,4zt-3o);
ter !' otto (Die
Gdtter
Griechenlands
[1929])and his school. Recently,La Barre (r97o) still
suPPosesthat the belief
in god came iaie and was precededby shamanism(ro, +lg,
etc.).
'zud-G;
applied to prehistory
probrem
by
H.
Ktihn,
Das
des
r-Irmonotheismas
(Abh.
Mainz,
:z;-criticized by R. Pettazzoni, ,,Das Ende des Urmonotheismus?,, Numen
,i]f_oJ1
3
tS0-Sl; 5 Q958), r6t-63. The concept of an Urmonotheism is suspect, but the
;11^9,
wuet m a supreme god is more
widespread ind older than the proponents of evolution
had supposed.

73

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

Freud'sfascinatingconstruct,developedmainly in his book Tofem


andTabu,'proceedsfrom Darwin, on the one hand, and from Robertson Smith'sdescription of sacramentalsacrifice,on the other. Among
the primitive hominid hordes,brothers joined togetherto kill and eat
their father becausehe jealously prevented them from sharing his
women. Yet, this crime was avengedby an inner compulsion within
these now-human brothers. Obedient to the dead man, they submitted to the newly createdorder of renunciation and sexualtabu' The
father becamemightier than before and was worshipped as a god.
Freud seesthe reenactmentof this primordial crime in sacrificialand
funerary ritual. So, too, within the individual's soul, repressedwithin
his subconscious,stirs the desireto commit the crime of Oedipus: to
kill his father and marry his mother.
Regardlessof the psychologicalsignificanceof the Oedipus complex, Freud'sconstruct is, as has long been recognized,a myth, impressivebut unverifiable,oand, in this form, under no circumstances
correct.Even if one assumesmatricideor infanticideas the primordial
crime, the samebasicproblem remains:a unique occurrence,no matter how gruesome, could not assume such formative significance,
stretchingover thousandsof generations,if there were no genetically
predeterminedtendency for such imprinting, and this can be understood in biological terms only as an adaptation within a long evolutionary process.Patricide assumesthe existenceof fatherhood and
father-bonding,although both are specificallyhuman, civilized innovations. It is characteristicof modern biasesabout man that Freud
and his schooldid not even considerthe areawhere killing had a necessary function-a function which in fact determined the course of
evolution. It was at the time when Australopithecineprimates were
killing and eating baboons, and sometimeseven one of their own,'

FATHER GOD AND GREAT GODDESS

(196) fio-95, 2o'L-2o4;Eibl-Eibesfeldt(r97o)esp.


U5-38.
,lolun,
-rrntmal friezes on archaic Greek vases frequentry contain confrontations between
111aator1animals (mainly lions) and their prey; the prey (cow, sheep, goat, boar) is
armost
always
clearly
depicted
as
masculine,
the'predator
as
sexless.
vn gd)tosas possessive
DronounseeM. Landfester,Dasgriechische
Nomen',phitos,,
und
setneAbleitungen
eg66).

that spiritual and-socialstructuresbeganto evolvewhich made killing


the foundation of cultural order.
In hunting, intraspecificaggressionfocuseson the hunted animal
and is thus deflected from man. But in order for this aggressionto
achieveits goal, instincts that inhibit aggression-namely, responses
to female sexualityand infant behavioru-have to be blocked. In the
hunter'simaginationand in mutual actsof encouragement,the quarry
could not appear as woman or child but, rather, had to seem-,,big;,
and "masculine," even when it was only a rabbit. The fact that tfie
most profitable game was the largest mammals-cows, bears, mammoths-and that the largest, though not the tastiest, specimensin
eachcasewere male, plays into this as well.'The hunter'saggressivenesswas, however, modified in a remarkableway. It was not his aim
to drive the quarry away or destroyit, but, rather,to catchit and make
it his own. Thus, in a sense,the "big" and "masculine" prey was part
of the group/ gltros in the basic senseof the word.s Masculine, big,
both a member of the family and doomed to die, the quarry becomes
a kind of father, a father-symbol,a father-substitute.conscious killing is a kind of patricide.
Such stylized hunting behaviorbecamevery significant,because
the outwardly directed societalactivity combined here with its inner
tensionsin a specialway. Man's neoteny,the long period of dependencyand learning, causedgravetensions,especiallysince-at.ulir,"
aggressiveness
was cultivated at the same time. yet boys must learn
identify with their fathersif they are to be able to perpetuate
fym 1d
the achievementsof culture as dictatedby tradition. The human tenO."l.t to respect authority offsetsaggreisive impulses, as does the
older generation'shead start, which itto*s it, at least temporarily, to
assertits power. The rising generation'slatent
rebelliousness,
however,-and
its
Oedipal
inclinations
toward
patricide
are
deflected
and
ritually
neutralized
in
the
hunt,
sacrifice,
and
war.
Freud's
intuition
that
a
patricide
stands
at
the
start
of
human
development
is thus to
some extent
confirmed,
although
not
in
the
sense
of an historically
fixed crime but, rather, in the function of rituar
symbols and the correspondingstructuresin the soul.
For ritual emphasizesand guides individual fantasies. In the

3(tgrzlr3); Ges.Schr.rc jgz4), r-a94 -- Ges.Werkeg (rg4o); enthusiastically taken up


to theStudyof GreekReligion(r9zr), xxiii; seealso Karl Meuli,
by J. Harrison , Epilegomena
Agon (1968;written t9z6), zo; criticized by A. L. Kroebet AmericanAn'
Der griechische
thropologistzz (r9zo), 48-55.
aSee
The
Meaning
of
Sacrifice
R.
Money-Kyrle,
QgSo),rg4; A. L. Kroeber, "Totemand Ta'
booin Retrospecl," Americanlournal of Sociology
45 Ogiq, 446-5r; R. Fox, "Totemand
TabooReconsidered," in E. R. Leach, ed.., The Structural Study of Myth and Totemism
(t967\, r$-75. In conscious conflict with the teachings of biological herediry Freud
found himself constrained (Ges. Werk $ lr95ol, zoo-zo8) to postulate some archaic
heritage in man, "Erinnerungen an das Erleben frtiherer Generationen" (zo6).J. W. M.
Whiting considered the desire for matricide, rather than patricide, to be central (Fox,
"Totem,"r73), whereasG. Devereuxdemonstrates"The CannibalisticImpulsesof Parents" (Psychoanalytic
Forumr [19661,t73-24) in conjunction with actual casesof infanticide. Are the aggressiveimpulses more constant and hence earlier than their object?
sSeeI.z.nn.z5, z7 above.

75

ot

74

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

hunter's"comedy of innocence,"the quarry is frequentlyinvoked and


appeasedas "father."' Ritual restitution includesexpressingone'sbad
conscienceand renewing renunciation, submission, and worship;
preparatoryritual includesanticipatoryrenunciationand giving things
away in the hope of success.The gestures-kneeling, Prostration,
folding or raising one's hands, solemn presentation,sighing, crying,
and wailing-are taken from behavior found in human interaction.
Their particular function is in relation to one'sfellow man, promoting
unity and trust rather than aggressivetension. As ritual, as demonstrativecommunication,they are severedfrom any real objectand instead oriented toward something imaginary.This conduct is consolidated and grows with the urge to imitate and with the pressuresof
tradition: people act collectivelyas though an invisible, quasi-human
being were present whom they must worship."'The experienceof a
transcendentpower is mediatedby the community.At the sametime,
in worshipping this power the individual acquiresa specialfreedom
and independencefrom his fellow men, since the inescapableconfrontations that result from selfish interestsare replacedby a collective orientation. When languagecomesto name this imaginary object
and attemptsto describeit, there is at leasta rudimentary "conception
of.god," basedon the experienceshapedby the ritual.
Yet, by describing the ritual experiencethrough language, by
consciouslyrendering it concrete,great problemsarise.It was certain
that the god was intimately linked to sacrifice;in classicalantiquity
this is self-evidentin the complex of [ep6vliepeiov,sacerlsacrificare.lt
was possibleto play with the idea that the god and the sacrificialanimal were identical; accordingly,the god would be killed, eaten," destroyed, and yet later, when the ritual was repeated,miraculouslybe
present once again. The closing rituals could be stagedas a resurrection or revivification.'2Certain Greek myths indeed give some indica'E.g., the elephant among the
Pygmies (I.Z.n.++ above); "lieber Vater Nilpferd, lieber
kfeiner Vater, lass dich von deinen Kindern fressen" (Abyssinia, Paideumazlry4rl, z).
roMorris (tg67) t78-8t thinks that
when the cooperative hunting society reduced the
actual superiority of the individual father, it created the concept of an almighty Father
as a substitute-a reprise of Freud's ideas rendered harmless. M. Mauss wrote: "La
cr6ation de la divinitd est l'oeuvre des sacrifices ant6rieurs": OeuuresI (1968), 288.
"The idea of a god eaten as a sacrament was spread primarily by J. C. Frazer (GB VIII
48-ro8), following W R. Smith (1894). The provocative problem in this context was, of
course, the relationship to the Christian communion; cf. E. Reuteskicild, Die Entslehung
der Speisesakr
amente (rgrz).
12The
focus of myth and ritual is characteristically the death-i.e.,
the sacrificewhereas the "resurrection" is seldom explicit: cf. Dumuzi/Attis, and Adonis/Osiris; on
Aqhat see II.4.n.34 below; on Dumuzi see V.z.n.3o below. Even in the Gospels, the reports of the resurrection are mere appendices to the Passion.

76

FATHER GOD AND GREAT GODDESS

tion that the god is identical with his sacrificialanimal. Zeus, for in_
stance,transforms himself into a bull,'3 Dionysus into a kid.rnBehind
the story that Prsiphacopulated with an exceptionalsacrificialbull
are rituals in which a woman offers herselfsexuallyto the victim.'s Is
Pasiphadto be seen as identical with Europu *uti.,g with Zeus in
form of a bull? The women-of Elis call upon DionysuJto appear as a
bull:'uthe real bull is doubtresspresentin the sacrificialmeai. But the
assertionthat the father-likegod was relatedto the patricidal charac_
ter of sacrificeprovoked strong resistance,especiallyin an extremely
patriarchalsociety such as that of ancient Greece.Fionoring one,sd_
ther was central to the consciousmorality, patricide almost unthink_
able.Thus, the crime of Kronos againstutu.tos entered official Greek
literature only once under the impact of an orientalizing fashion.''
The-complementarycharacterof extraordinaryand ordina[, behavior
could otherwise be expressedonly in the context of secretsocieties
and secretmyths, that is to say,in the mysteries.Hence, it was sim_
pl,9r1ostyle the sacrificialanimal an //enemyof the god.,; The goat is
killed for Dionysus becauseit gnaws at the vine;'.
HJra,s
anger?rives
Io the cow away. But in characteristiccontrast to the Egyp"tians,
for
example,the Greekswere not consistentin this ideology"Li
designating the victim as an enemy: Io was simultaneouslytte priestess
of
Hera,.representing
the
goddess
herself,
and
Artemis
kilred
the sheoearKallrstowho was,
howevet
considered
"most
the
beautiful,,
and
hencethe perfect likenessof Artemis, the ,,most beautiful.,,ro
In the
picturesshowing the god and his
sacrificial
animal
side
by
side
in
almost inner communion, we recognize that heartfelt ambivalence
of

myth, seethe largeamount of evidencein Cook III (r94o)


Ar5_ra; ,""
i,lt.,ll"_Eylpa
afso
W. Btihler, Europa\196g).

rlr 666-n;

gr-64. cr. tfr" ritualor the queenat the VedicASva-

'{Apollod.
3.29; Ltouunos"EpLgos at Sparta, Hsch. eipaqu}tn1s.
tsEur.
Cretans;
C.
Austin,
Noz,a
Fragmenta Euripiden (196g), fr. gz; Apollod.
3.g_ro,
where Poseidon himself
tne btirt emerge rio. tn" sea as a sacrifice for poseidon;
1a!;
pRrI

lutfl rut

medha,I.7.n.sr above.
zzgb: aV Page(Poetae
Oa
MeticiGraeci);cf.Ath. 476a. Onthe bull-Dionysus
"^O^'::: r.
". Bacch.
7077)Soph. fr. 959pearson;Euphorion fr. 14 powel; Hor::: *:
qw
f 2.r9.)o; :oo, 9zo,plut.
Ldrrn.
Is. 264f. (Argos-Lerna).
Bovyevqs
"-on the long-discussed
reration
between
Kumarbi
and Kronos (ANET no, Hes. f/r.
r54-:oo), seeM. L. West,
HesiodTheogony
(1966),fi_1t;Kirk (r97o) 214_2r-.
rleonidas
of.Tarenrum.
11 99*-page : Ap g.gg;Euenos.Ap g ZS(fora Near
parallel see M. L."?ig.
West, gSCt,
,lL_r71;
Eratosthenes
ZtirS6Sl,
fr. zz [,owell.
;:*1"
- un lo seeIII.z below.On Kallistoand Artemis
g.35.g)cf. alreadyK. O.
Kalliste
(paus.
Mtilfer,^Prolegomena
zu
einer
wissentschaftlichen
iytio,ogr,
(rgz5),
75; pR I y4_3o5;
tt below.On the themeof the muriered maiien :goddess
seealsoI.7.in.eo, 39
:,;il

SACRIFICE/ HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

sacrificewhich made it possible for the Greeks to create tragedy.2o


Strangely,mythology often reversedthe crime of Oedipus so that the
father sacrificedhis own son and even ate him, due to some gruesome madness. In reality, child-sacrificeis attestedwith frightening
frequency2'as a horrible but easy form of substitution, as a deadly
solution io the conflictsarising from the generationalgap. Myth itself
sometimes seemsto indicate uncertainty: was Athamas or Phrixos,
the father or the son, the sacrificialvictim for Zeus Laphystios?" In
reality, some kind of substitute,a perfect-and, accordingto myth,
was given to Zeus "the glutton."
golden-ram,
The successionof male generationsis characterizedby conflict
and death, and yet culture needsa continuity that can survive catastrophe. In order to attain such continuity and demonstrateit, ritual,
starting in the Upper Palaeolithic,apparently found a specialdevice:
the symbolizing of the feminine.
Besidessacrificialand burial rites, remarkableevidence for the
continuity betweenthe age of the hunt and the agriculturalera is provided by the female statuettesthat have come to be known as "Venus
statuettes,"although that name has long been recognizedto be inappropriate. They make their appearancein the Upper Palaeolithicfrom
Siberiato Spain and continue, sometimesin further developedvariations, sometimesin quite "primitive," simple form, throughout the
Neolithic and on into the high cultures." At that point they are not
easyto interpret, and it is even harder to postulatea unity or clarity of
meaning and function for them during the Palaeolithic.In Siberia
mseealso E. Buschor,Phidiasder Mensch(t948\, esP.47-50, 5z-56 on the "gemeinsamen geistigen Raum" in the look and the gesture of the Phidian fighters involved in
single combat.
2lSeeDevereux,"CannibalisticImpulses."It is characteristic
that Empedokles(VS 3r B
r37) describesin detail the eating up of the son, not of the father'
zSee II.4.n.z7below.
aMtiller-Karpe (1966) 249_52, z:.6-:^9; (1968) 289-3or, J8o-95; F. Hancar, Priihistor'
Zeitschr.lol3r (r91gl4o),85-156;K. |. Narr, Antaiosz(:'96r), 4z-57; R' Lery, TheGate
ol theStoneAge lt9$))' 54-$, 78-8t; Maringer
Conceptions
of Horn (l;g49l : Religious
dela cioilisationen Grice
(1956)r93-zor. On the Greek Neolithic seeC. Zervos, Naissance
II (t9$), 565-68,575-79.For the Near East see E. D' van Buren, Clay Figurinesol
Babyloniaand Assyria(rgJo); I. B. Pritchard, PalestinianFigurinesin Relationto Certain
Known throughLiteratureOg+); J. Thimme, "Die religiose Bedeutung der KyGoddesses
kladenidole," AK8 ('96),72-86, criticizedby K. Schefold,ibid.,87-go; P J. Ucko,
AnthropomorphicFigurinesof PredynasticEgyptand NeolithicCretewith comparatiaeMate(tg68), conteststhe interpretation of
rial from the irehistiric NearEastaid MainlandGreece
the figurines as mother-goddessesand argues for a plurality of functions and meanGtjttin (r97r), seesher primarily as a goddess
zur Grossen
ings. W. Helck, Betrachtungen
of female sexuality.

78

FATHER GOD AND GREAT GODDESS

theseidols are a part of the femalerealm, but they are also connected
with hunting quarry, as indicated aboveall in a statuettefound at the
center of a circle of skulls of mammoths.raFurther, in eatal Huyrik
there are large plaster statuesof a goddess,or sometimestwo goddesses,set up in household shrines over the bones of the dead. The
goddessis portrayed with her legs spread wide so as to give birth;
next to her, bull horns and boar skulls dominatethe room.ruIn several
instances,bull skulls-and, in one case,a ram's skull-are emerging
from between her thighs.'ushe is the mother of the beasts2'that are
hunted and sacrificed,a life-giving power governing the dead. On
the murals, men clothed in leopard skins swarm around a stag or a
bull; in a statuette, the goddessappearsflanked on either sidJ by a
leopard:" she is attendedby the hunting community, the homonecans,
assimilatinghimself to a beastof prey. The iconographyleadsdirectly
to the image of Kybele sitting upon her throne between two lions.
Could tl" ygylg boy who is intimately connectedwith the greatgod_
dessat QatalHtiynk perhapsbe a predecessorof Attis/Ado;is?,n
In the Neolithic and Bronze ages, the female idols becamein
many ways more developed and differentiated.one cannot simply
equate the statuettesfrom sesklo and Lerna, the beautiful mar-bl-e
statuesfrom cycladic graves,and the consummatelysplendid statues
of goddessesfrom Minoan palaceshrines.But it cani uiaty uu doubted
that they reflect a continuity and differentiationgrowing from a common root' The goddessesof Greek polytheism, so diffeient and complementary are, nonetheless,consistentlysimilar in appearanceat an
earlierstage, with one or the other simply becoming dominant in a

aSeel.z..n.8
paulson,A. Hultkrantz, and K.
above;on the female
realm
see
L
Jettmar,
Die ReligionenNordeurasiens
und deramerikanischen
Arktis(1962), 3og_ro
sMellaart
Q96) q3-34, 49, a44-45, 46; cf. (rg7o)I 166_85.
26Mellaart
Q96) :-16-y (sanctuaryVil !, r4o- 4r (VI B 7), 144-46(yl B rg, r47_48
(VI
B
8),
r48-5o
(VI
B'ro,
ramy;
summary
on ro6-ro7. For the goddesson her throne
givin8 birth to a boy seepl. IX (y.+.n.75berow).Miller-Karpe
igiores the animarbirths
11t968)
382-83], so as to contestthe identificationof the figure as a goddess.

the Eskimos who have a mother of hunting prey, namely, Sedna,


i"Il^r; Rrimarilf
Iuother
of
seals,
a
sacrificed
maiden
in the myth (F. Boas, sixth innuat Reportol the
of ern"obgy,
5, [1888],583-9r; K. Iiasmussen
, rhurefahrtlryz5l,69-7), as
!^y11ou
wefl as a mother of.t884reindeer(Rasmussen,Thurefahrt,245-46;I. paulson, schutzgeister
(der lagdtie.re
und Fische)
in Nordeurasien[Uppsata,ry6!, 266-69),a mother of
lf^*rr!r:
the Chukchis(paulson,Schutzgeister,
6+_6il. For Rhea/Demeteras
l:.:vnat:s_among
mother
paus.
g.g.z
of
the
horse
(Nestane).
see
4Mellaart
(ry67\ pl. 67t68;tX and plL.
6rt63.
54t55,
rne
statuette
of the goddessand the boy from Hacilar(Anat. Stud. rr
I196r],59)does
h howevet
rrur,
depict sexualintercourse;cf. Mellaart e97o)I r7o.

79

1ir

itll
iijl

SACRIFICE, HUNTING,
FUNERARY RITUALS

sanctuary or city. Each is the Creat Coddess presiding over a male society; each is depicted in her attire as Mistress of the Beasts,3,'and Mistress of the Sacrifice, even Hera and Demeter. Artemis enjoys the
closest ties to the hunt, but at the same time Artemis of Ephesus is
very much like Asiatic Kybele.3' Aphrodite3'?recallsOriental origins,
the naked goddess, who was herself a transformation of the ancient
"Venus statuettes," becoming more sexual and less dangerous in the
course of civilization. The goddess I5tar, however, remained a goddess of war, and Venus could bring victory to a Sulla or a Caesar.r3
Bachofen's ingenious but fantastic theory of a prehistoric matriarchy has hindered the understanding of these female deities. Female
dominance is no more possible in Neolithic farming cultures than it is
among Upper Palaeolithic hunting societies.y Moreover, these goddesses are characteristically savage and dangerous: they are the ones
who kill, who demand and iustify sacrifice.
lOn the Potnia Theron (ll. zr.47o)
see F Studniczka,KyrerreeSgo),151-65; Nilsson
(t95) 3o8-3o9;E. Spartz,"Das Wappenbilddes Herrn und der Herrin der Tiere,,,Diss.
Munchen, ry64; Ch. Christou, PotniaTheron(Thessaloniki,1968).Argive Hera appears
as mistressof the beasts(simon [1969]4r-45; Hera Argeia with an animal park among
the veneti-strabo 5 p. z't5),as does Hera Lakinia (l.z.n.zr above),Artemis orthia
(R. M. Dawkins, TheSanctuary
of ArtemisOrthia, IHSSuppl. 5 ltgzSl), Demeterof phigalia, the Despoinaof Lykosura.or Athena Alea (R. stiglitz, Die grossen
cijttinnenArkndiensft967J,rz5, 16,9o),etc.; Pandora(Hes. Th. SZS-8+).
At least in Greece,the Master of the Beastsis less prominent (J. Chittenden, "The
Master of Animals," Hesperia$ [ry47], 89-rt4); one ought not to call him in pseudoGreek +zrjryros,|qpdv (sicNilsson j9551 1og-to). SeegenerallyH. Wozak,,,Herr und
Herrin der Tiere in Vorderasien"Diss. Wien, ry62; A. Hultkrantz, ed,.,TheSupernatural Ownersof Nature(Uppsala, r96r); Paulson, Schut;geister;
La Barre (t97o) t$-69,
r89-gr.
3rOn Artemis of Ephesussee Ch. Picard,
Ephiseet Claros(r9zz), 45r-53g (who hypotheticallypositsan origin in the "earth-goddess").
32G.contenau La diessenuebabylonienne
,
Q9t4);H. Herter in Elimentsorientauxdansla
j96o),6t-76; Nilsson 995) 5ry-zt.
religiongrecque
ancienne
3tOn Venusaictrix seeC. Koch, RE VIII A 86o-6+. For
the Near EastseeM. Th. Barrelet, "Les d6essesarm6eset ail6es,"Syria32 (1959, zzz-6o. For an armed Aphrodite see
Paus.2.5.r, 1.r5.ro(Sparta:cf. Plut. btc. inst.z39a);Paus.3.zr.r (Kythera).The special
cult of Aphrodite at Lokroi (1.7.n.2rabove) was establishedin thanks for a victory
ln war.
ySee
I.5.n.34above.Seealso S. Pembroke,"Women in Charge:The Function of Alternativesin Early Greekrradition and the Ancient Idea of Matriarchy,"lournalof thewarburglnst.3o(196),r-15;F.Cornelius,CeistesgeschichtederFri)hzeitl(r96o),67-7t,t7B79l seesthe priority of the patrilinealfarmer,but wants to fit matrilinearityin as a later
transitionalstage(83-86). one doeswell to rememberthat in spiteof their tremendous
honor for the mother of god, both Easternand Westernforms of Catholicismare purely
male organizations.

8o

I.7.n.59 above.

FATHER GOD AND GREAT


GODDESS

It is the hunter,sjob ,9
:-upporathe family. He actsfor the sakeof
his wife and his mother. When this merges.with feeling,
oiu.,"i"ty
and guilt, it is comfor,tlq ,o. shift responsibility ,o
ur.,Jrn"i
higher
will. The hunter sets out to do his deadly work ,,for the
sake
of the
Mother'" For the time being, this long-rangeobjectiveforces
him to
abstainfrom sexualintercourse.whei sexualfrustration is
added to
the hunter'saggressivity,it appearsto him as though a mysterious
female being inhabits the.outdoors. Thus, this highEr wil'i"'*i,,.h
rr"
submits becomesconsoridatedin the
conceptions
and
artistic
reproductions, even already in language,as
the
figure
of
the
C."",
Coa_
dess,the wife and mother, the bearerof childrlen,
the
giver
oiilf", b.ra
the one who demands death; in her hands, she
holds"the
irot"rr_on
Horn of P]9nty.$primitive man saw and realizedthat
the
mvsierious
processof birth, a woman releasingnew life fro- n",
*o"ii, .o"fa
shut the jaws of death. Thus, it was"thewoman who
insured continuity beyond death. Blood
sacrifice
and
death
provided
the
,"."rru.y
complement.Next to the gocrdess
was
her
dfing
partne.,
the
sacriricial animal' 'Besidethe.anlhropomorphic
goddJss
qaiai
i.,
iriy,it,.
and in Minoan Crete is the bull represlnting
masculinity,
the bulr that
must die' while Isis representsfhe permanence
-Horus,
of the throne, the
pharaoh takes office as
but always dies as osiris.37Man, the
paradigm
of
mankind
in
a
male
society,
u.,t"r,
the permanu.,to.a". ,,
y.gy"g man, ritually and symboricarytransformeb
:
"trrr
i.,to
*oih".,
bull," as we learn from ongof the pharaonic
epithets,$
and
sooner
or
laterhe must die, iust like the sacrificiai
u"t,,.,ut Thr;, ;t;
f.oviaes
the GreatGoddesi with
a
chosen.;;;;;"
who is both her son and
lover;he is known as ,,father,,attis,r'irhoi
the goddessloves,emas_
culates,and kills.
. Th" unspeakablesacrificefollows the maiden-sacrificeand is thus
simultaneouily a restitution
of the maiden according to the Great
sSee

evidence see

M.;.

"a"aay,.,seep. chantraine.Dic-

vermaseren, fhe Legendof Attis in


Greek
;iii"ji

+ (ts6g,64-72= ,tiii'5r7_ra.

$Mellaart
(tg6il zt5and passim.
"On Isis and the throne
see,H.
Frankfort,
Kingship
and
the
Gods(ry4g1, 43_45,TheInteltectualAduenture
of Ancient.Man
r0.
rri"
Qg46),
priurt-of_sarapis
is changedannuary,
thepriestess or rrir toiar-oni;,;;;:;;:
vidman, rsisund sarapisbeiden
X*l-"-.,:"t
unechen
und R\mern(g7o\,
4g_. r.
rramutef:see Frankfort.
King,ship
and the Gods
t77_go.
e94g),
The ,,marriageof the
mother"
after
the
father'smurJer is a routine ^o,ii o?.u..".sion
in a Babylonianmyth:
t-"rnbeft,
Kadmos

ii^l;,
ror the
"

awtRonanArt (tg66t. Heodingegq);


o., it

;ij.";,,
*.;a
rtonnaire(tymologique
" grecqut,l
de Ia langue
(tg6g), s.zt.

8r

SACRIFICE. HUNTING,

FUNERARY RITUALS

Goddess'swill. The mother and the maiden, Kore, stand side by side,
meeting in the course of the secret rituals of the Miinnerbund.In mythology, the two may become indistinguishable and overlap,noin which
case the Great Goddess is maiden, lover, and mother at once. But the
maiden has her share of sacrificeas well: the ram, an animal considered a kind of father, was sacrificed to Kore.o' Thus, what appears,
when following up the myth by logic, to cause the most severe contradiction, actually has a necessary function in the drama of human
society in the counterpoint of familial bonds and male activity.
In the religious ritual and the resultant worship of a god, the cohesiveness and continued existence of a group and its culture are best
guaranteed through one supreme and permanent authority. The ritual provides the orientation that transforms confrontation into unity.
In the storm of history, it was always those societal organizations with
religious foundations that were finally able to assert themselves: all
that remained of the Roman Empire was the Roman Catholic Church.
And there, too, the central act remained the incredible, one-time and
voluntary sacrifice in which the will of the father became one with
that of the son, a sacrifice repeated in the sacred meal, bringing salvation through admission of guilt. A permanent order thus arosecultural progress that nonetheless preserved human violence. All attempts to create a new man have failed so far. Perhaps our future
chances would be better if man could recognize that he still is what he
once was long ago, that his existence is defined by the past.
a0Hekate(at Ephesus) comes into existence when Artemis puts her own ornaments on a
hanged girl: see Callim. fr. 46r (1.7.n.26 above). So, too, in the Eskimo myth, Sedna is
made a sacrificed maiden. For the sacrifice of a virgin for the Great Goddess see Steph.
Byz. s.t,.Lemnos.
o ' S e eV 4 . n . 4 o b e l o w .

8z

II. WEREWOLVES
AROUND
THE TRIPODKETTLE

In the first chapter we tried to see man's basiccondition from a


biological,p-sychological,
and sociologicalperspective,as indicatedin
Greek sacrificialritual. However, in spite of ihe evidence adduced
from prehistory and folklore, we were unable to proceedwithout hypotheticalsupplementsand generalizations;moreover, since the examples used to illustrate the thesis were chosen selectively,doubts
couldbe raised
as
to
our
methodology.
The
following
chapters
reverse
the procedure.we
will
examine
t
u.io,rs
individuar
iurt-complexes
as
exhaustivelyas possible,
then
ask
to
what
extent
the
details
fit the
perspectivedeveloped in Chapter
I.
If
in
so
doing
we
find
ourselves
confronted again and again by sacrificialritual with its
tension beY:."" encountering death and affirming rife, its external form conot preparations,a frightening centralmoment, and restitution,
:lsttng
tnen
we may seein this a confirmationof our hypothesis.
Ancient Greek rituarswere b,oundto permanbntlocal groups
and
henceto specific
localities
as
well,
i.e.,
the
sanctuaries
and
altars
that
O::" set up for
yet,
all
time.
in
studying
such
complexes,
one
al_
l1o
ways
discoverssimilaritiesto other rituais iriother places,jusias
various myths often reflect a
single
structure.
Thus,
reiated
riiuals
can
be
they need by no means
invoke
or
worship
the
same
gods
in
::::|.e91
urqer
to be consideredsimilar. By comparing reratld phenomEna
we
shall find that details wilr
ilruminate each other, thai we can bridge
gaps in the transmission
and surmise certain lines in the tradition
*nt.I_l: notalways correspond
to ethnic or linguistic categories.
rrrst of all, we shall.examinea complex
thit appearslspecially
it reflects
the
ideology
or
i["
predatory
animat pack at
ilt"*;:ilce
meal,and
"s sacrrtrcial
this
in
spite
of
the
faci
that cookingin a kettle,
a clearlyculturalachievement,
is an essentiar
part of the rite. Antithe-

83

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

LYKAIA AND LYKAION

Abst.2.27.

ses and tensions are the stuff of ritual-hence, individual rituals cannot be explained by their momentary aims; rather, we must understand them in the larger context. Not just the religious cult, but the
order of society itself takes shape in sacrifice.

1,. LykniaandLykaion

'315c.
sln Porph.

Minos'mentionshuman sacrificeat the "Lykaia festival,,as certain


fact, and Theophrastus5comparesthe sacrifice"at the Lykaia in Ar_
cadia"with Carthaginiansacrificesto Moloch.
Pausaniassaw and describedthe altar of Zeus at the summit of
Mount Lykaion, but he did not participatein the festival, for the sacrifice there took place "in secret."To this Pausaniasremarks: "I could
seeno pleasurein delving into this sacrifice;let it be as it is and as it
was from the beginning."uPausaniasalso named and describedthe
other cult sites of Zeus Lykaios: the mysteriousprecinct where none
may enter, on the mountain slope somewhat below the summitanyone going in would have to die,' and inside he would cast no
shadow;then the Caveof Rheaand the precinctcalledKretaiaon the
mountain where, it was told, Zeus was born, and fed and caredfor by
the Arcadian nymphs;'finally, the Stadium, the Hippodrome, and
the sanctuaryof Pan further down the mountain.nrhis is where the
athleticcompetitions took place during the Lykaia festival. other literary sources supplement Pausanias'indications, and excavations
have confirmed and expanded our knowledge. votive offerings dating back to the seventhcentury n.c. have come to light near the altar
of Zeus, a simple mound of earth and ash.'o
But what Pausaniaspiously conceaiedin his description of the
altarof Zeus, he mentioned in relating the story
parof
Damaichos
of
rhasia, who won the boxing competition at Olympia in about
4oo
n.c'" It was claimed that he "turned into a wolf at the sacrificeto Zeus

When the wave of Sea Peoples and Dorian migrations destroyed


Mycenaean culture, only the mountainous region of Arcadia was
able, as a retreat, to assert its pre-Dorian individuality. Later, too, it
was slow to join in the rise of the city cultures; it developed an urban
center only after 37t, at the newly founded city of Megalopolis. The
Arcadians themselves were as aware of the antiquity of their race and
customs as were their neighbors: long before the Hellenistic Age discovered pastoral Arcadia as the setting for its romantic yearnings, the
Arcadians had been known as "acorn eaters" and "older than the
moon."I
Rumors of terrible, primitive activity especially surrounded the
main Arcadian festival to Zeus,2 celebrated in the mountains of Lykaion in the heart of Arcadia. There were tales of human sacrifice,
cannibalism, and werewolves. Plato is the first source we know who
mentions this as a current story (mythos) "that is told of the sanctuary
of Lykaian Zeus in Arcadia, namely, that he who tastes of one bit of
human entrails minced up with those of other victims is inevitably
transformed into a wolf ."'Plato compares this eerie metamorphosis
with the development of a tyrant who, once having killed, can no
longer stop. Bloodshed has its consequences. The pseudo-Platonic

cf.8.2.6,
"8.18.2;
Kallisthenes,
FCrHist
tz4F
z1;pind.
4.22.7;
r3.ro8.
O/.
7Pa
rs.8.38.6;
cf. Theopompos,FGrHistt..5F 141: potyb. t6.rz.7;Architimos,
FGrHist
3r5T r (cf. JacobyIII B Notes p. 48 n. 8) : Plut Q. Cr. 3ooa-c;Schol.Callim. Hy. Zeus
rJ; Strabo8 p.
388;Pliny NH 4.zt; n.y below;Schol.Theocr.r.tzle-f rd eiotpyoltcv<r
\Ea ayoua
and cf. schol. callim. Hy. Zeus.,3.on the resultsof the excavaTivecBat,
tions
see
RE
XIII zz4o-4r; Cook I (r9r4) 83; thJ measurementsare approx.60 x 1lo m.
t-\nr".t1t
Paus.8.38.2. 2ri1),atovrrls 'Pias: paus. 8.36.3;cf . g.3r.4; Callim.Hy. Zeus
1o--r4(the scholionconfusesthe precinct
of Rheawith the dBariv: seen. 7 above).Cf.
RE Xtll 2243.On the spring, Hagno, and rain-magic
seepaus.g.:g.l-+.
'Paus.
8.38.5;RE Xlll zz17-4o;Cook I (r9r4) 82.
''K.

Kourouniotis, Eph.
praktika
Arch.
(ryo4),
t13-2a4;
t6r'
-R
e9o),
78;
e9o),64, fi5_
- 44;G. Mytonas,
Crassicar
I iy | 6.1ee;cf.E.'veyei e nIi Oiizl, 22)5

Honourof W. A. Oldfathere94), rzz-33. On the type see W. kriimer, ,,prihi:j:l':.t,t,


srorrsche
Brandopferpliitze,,,
in Heluetiaantiqua(t966), t77_22.
a Moretti,
Oly-mpionikai
(Rome,
1957),
#359. The name appearsas Demainetos
,,U:t
\''c., :uamainetos)in Skooas(?), FGrHist
4r3 : Varro in ptiny NAS.Su; Aug. Cia. Dei
,6.r7.

iT;tu\
2W Immerwahr, Die Kulte und Mythen
Arkadiens (r8gr), r-24; Nilsson (19o6) 8-ro;
(r95) 397-4or; Farnell I (1894) 4t-42, 144-46; Cook I (t9r$ $-9g; Schwenn 1r9t5)
zo-25; loh. Schmidt, F.E XIII (t927), zz48-52; G. Piccaluga, Lyknon, un tema mrtrco
(r968).
3Resp.565d.

85

'Balavqgayot:
see the oracle (#1r Parke and Wormell [1958]) in Hdt. r.66; axpov
yeipa Lyk. 483 with Schol.; Verg. Ecl. rc.zo; Plut. Es. carn. indicates a festival: i1opeicrap.ev i9' i16oui1s.ITpoctiqvot: see Hippys, FCrHist 554 F 7; Eudoxos fr. 4r Gisinger : Schol. Apoll. Rhod. 4.264; Schol. Aristoph. Nub. Jg7; Callim. fr. t9r.56 and
Pfeiffer ad loc.; Lyk.48z with Schol.; etc.

84

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

Kallisto, Lykaon's daughter, who during her amorous encounter with


Zeuswas turned into a bear." Thus, the Arcadian par excellence is the
"sorrof abear," on the one hand, and a victim at the altar of Zeus, on
the other. This death does not end the story for both Arkas and Nyktirnos were included in the genealogies as ancestral Arcadian kings.r,
ZeUsbrotght his victim back to life,2" according to the myth, or,ly to
have him come full circle and return to the sacrificial situation: Arkas
was brought up by a goatherd, but upon becoming an ephebe he
turned to hunting. Once, while in the region of Mount Lykaion, he
came on the track of his own mother. According to one text, he hunted
her down; according to another, they mated.2, These mythical variants attest once more to the ambivalence of weapons and sexuality in
hunting behavior. The gruesome act occurred in that very precinct on
the mountain into which none could enter. For this reason, Arkas and
the bear had to be sacrificed again "according to the custom,, at the
altar of Zeus Lykaios. At this point the myth fades, allowing the victims to be translated to heaven as stars. The ritual, however, goes on
in the same place, and in the circuit of time, it is to form an important
junction in the lives of the Arcadians.
some curious details were reported by a Hellenistic author called
Euanthes,22who was read by Varro. Admittedly, his concern is not
with the Arcadians as a whole but with a single family descended
from Anthos, whom the author seems to count as one of his own u.rcestors' A young boy of the family would regularly be selected by lot
and led to a lake. He had to strip, hang his clothes on an oak tree,
and swim across the lake; thereupon he would disappear in the wilderness and turn into a wolf. He would have to live as a wolf among
wolves for eight years, after which time, if he had abstained from human meat, he could return to the lake, swim across it, take down his
clothes from the oak tree, and turn into a human again, though he
was now nine years older and a grown man. Thus far, Euanthes. this

LYKAIA AND LYKAION

87

r8R'
Franz,"De Callistus fabula,"Leipz. Stud.tz (rg9o),
45- j65; RMLII 9y-35; RE X
t7z6-29; W. Sale, RhM rc5
e96z), 43-4r; ro8 (t965), n15.
ItPaus.
8.3-4, g.z4.r.
b"Eratosth."
Catast.:
rd.Xw
dvatrXaoas
dprrcv
thrTxev.
" C^ot,.ppa
Robert irrd 6i roi i6iou uioi 6taxop,6vt1v
. . . ; dyvoiloas rilu
,,-11 'vi11t'o,t 5z-53
in
Fragmentavaticana(seen. r7), where the last word is written Letween
fi|:f"
rrts
rrhsi
matri
insciusuimt'erreaoluitSchol.Germ. p. 64.2r Breysig.
:
1'^9rr:r lzo Varro in Pliny N.H. 8.8r; Aug. Cio. Dei $.t7.For the Arcadiansbeing
qescended
from the oak seeiyk. aso; plut. elRon. zg6a;tor Dryas as the wife of Arkas
seePaus.g.a.z.

Lykaios, and changedback into a man againin the tenth year thereafter." The condition for being transformed and changed back is just
that: "someonewas always turned into a wolf at the sacrificeto Zeus
Lykaios, but not for his whole life; if he refrainedfrom eating human
flesh while he was a wolf, they say he would turn back into a man in
the tenth year;but if he ateit, he remaineda beastforever."12Pausanias
probably found the legend of Damarchosin a localHellenistichistory;
but if it is tied to the victory at Olympia, it goesbackbeyond Plato.
The accompanyingmyth is found already in the Hesiodic catalogues" and reflectsthe ritual in a particularly transparentway. What
was only a vague rumor among Plato'scontemporariesis told here as
the crime of the ancestralking of the Arcadians;he is related to the
wolf even in his name, Lykaon. Once upon a time, the gods, including Zeus himself, came to visit him and be entertainedin a common
sacrificialmeal. But the sacredmeal turned into cannibalism,for Lykaon slaughtered a young boy upon the altar at the summit and
poured out his blood on that altar; then he and his helper "mixed the
boy'sentrailsin with the sacrificialmeat and brought it to the table.""
Of course, divine punishment followed. Zeus overturned the table,
graphically putting an end to the newly formed community, and
hurled a bolt of lightning into Lykaon'shouse; most importantly, Lykaon himself turned into a wolf. In another, frequently told version,
the gruesomesacrificewas followed by a flood that destroyedmost ol
the human race,ttyet Lykaon'sdescendants,the Arcadians,survived
to come togetherat the altar again and again for secretsacrifice.
Opinions differed as to the identity of the boy whose entrails
were slicedinto the sacrificialmeat.The Libraryof Apollodoros speaks
of an anonymous"native" boy; Ovid callshim a "hostage";Lycophron
"night-like,"'u and makes him
gives him the name "Nyktimos,"
the
Lykaon's own son; the EratosthenicKatasterismoi,
by contrast,invoking Hesiod as its precedent,lTsaythat he was 'Arkas," the eponymous
hero of the Arcadians,who was Lykaon'sgrandson.His mother was
12Paus.
8.2.6.
r3Hes.fr. 163 M.-W., and cf. fr.
354;Apollod. 3.96-97; Eumelos. FGrHist 45r F 8 =
Apollod. 3.roo;Lyk. 48o-8r with Schol.;a tragedyby Xenokles,TGF p. 77o;Ov. Met.
r.rg8-219; Clem. Pr. 2.36.5;Nonnus r8.zo-24; RML Il z165-68; PR I rz7-29; Picca'
luga, Lykaon,zg-98.
'{Apollod.
3.98;cf . Nikolaos, FGrHist90 F 18.
'5Apollod.
3.98-gg;Tzetz.ad Lyk. 48r; Ov. Met. t.z4o fl.;Hyg. Fab.q6.
'uApollod.
Lyk.
48r.
1:98;Ov. Met. 1..227;
t7Fr.:63 M.-W = "Eratosth."Catast.FragmentaVaticana,
ed. Rehm QBg), p. z.

86

iii

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

is not identical with the versions reported by the earlier authors.2l


Any link with the pan-Arcadian festival, the Lykaia, is missing; there
is selection by lot instead of the sacrificial meal. But the combination
of a transformation into a wolf, a nine-year period, and an injunction
to abstain makes the connection very close. Did pan-Arcadian werewolf practices and familial customs run a parallel course? It is more
likely that some sort of development took place. With the founding of
Megalopolis, urban culture arrived in Arcadia, and there in the agora
Zeus Lykaios was given the most prominent temple.'n Thus, the Lykaia festival was now organized here, and although, as Pausanias
tells us, the Arcadians still sacrificedupon the altar on the mountain,
it is safe to assume that some aspects of the cult were changed at that
time and, to some extent, civilized. After this reform, the old ways
could no longer be carried on officially, but only in the tradition of a
particularly conservative family. Plato's testimony comes from before
this time, as does the legend of the boxer Damarchos. Regardless of
how we conceive of the relationship between family customs and
pan-Arcadian rituals, Euanthes' report at least gives us some idea of
how such wolf-metamorphoses were accomplished.
Both Pausanias and Pliny considered these werewolf stories to be
clear examples of shameless braggadocio and the shameful gullibility
of the masses," and when Plato uses the word mythos he is already
expressing a certain skepticism. Paradoxically, the modern researcher
cannot assume the same critical, enlightened stance. There is no doubt
that werewolves existed, just like leopard men and tiger men, as a
clandestine Miinnerbund, a secret society, wavering between demonic
possession and horseplay, as is common in such a Miinnerbund. In Europe, there is at least one case of a "werewolf" on record in sixteenthcentury Livland. There, the werewolvish activity consisted for the
most part of breaking into other people's cellars at night and drinking
any beer found there.26More dangerous and perhaps more ancient
were the bands of leopard men in Africa, who conspired to assassinate others and practice cannibalism. Leopard m"n uppear on the
23Stressed
by Nilsson j9o6) 9, ,lg5) 4ut;cf. Cook | (r9rg 71.
2aPaus.8.3o.z.
5Paus.8.2.6;Pliny N.H. 8.8o.
'z6Ftrofler
Qryg y5ff .; L. Gernet, "Dolon le loup," M6l. CumontQ936\,t89-zo8 : Anthropologie
de Ia GriceantiqueQ968), t54-27 W E. Peuckert,Geheimkulte
(196r), roor 17;R. Eisler, Man into Wolf(ry5t); I. z above. Seealso B. Lindskog, AfricanLeopardMen
(Uppsala, 1954).For werewolvesin Wallis still in the eighteenthcentury see H. G.
Wackernagel,Schweiz.
Arch.f . Volkskunde
35 j916), r-rz; 46 (rS+q, Z+.For "dog-men"
in Hittite ritual texts see.ANET36o.On the Hirpi SoraniseeServ.Aen. n.785.

88

LYKAIA AND LYKAION

rnuralsin QatalHtiyuk as well,?7and their costumesrecall thoseof the


later Greek centaursand satyrs,those ,,wild men,,who fell upon wine
jars much like the werewolves in Livland. The leopard, one of the
gfat t,,r and a climbel was.the primate,sarch-enemy.By training
himself in the ways of the wolf, man becamea hunter and iord of the
earth. Could it be that thesebands of leopard men and wolf men were
the direct result of this decisive step? werewolves are, in any case,
attestedin antiquity not only in fairytalesbut in a doctor,sclinical report. Markellos of sidon treated casesof "lykanthropy" as a mental
special form of melancholy, by the cui!-all of letting
disorder,'?8,a
blood' He knew patients who "run out at night imitating wolves and
dogs in every way and gadding about for the most part i"ncemeteries
until dawn." Their legs usually bore the scarsof dog bites. strangely,
thesefits of madnessoccurredwith great regularityl accordingto the
calendar,in-February,the month of the Lupercalia:even in lati antiquity, then, the so-calledmental disorder wis regulatedthrough ritual.
By combining rumors about Arcadian sacrificewith locaimythology,we arrive at a description of an entirely real, institutionalizedritual. At its center was the secretsacrificialfestival at the ash-altarof
Zeus Lykaios. we gather from the name, Nyktimos, that it occurred
at night. The entrails of many sacrificialanimals were, so they say,
slicedin together with
those
of
a
man,
so
that
what
each
persJn
ate
was seemingly a matter of
chance.
Apparently,
everything
would
be
stirred together in a large tripod kettle., and each person"t,adto
fish

usee
I.z.n.r9 above;I.8.n.28.For Indians hunting in wolf'.sclothing see F. E.
zeuner,
Geschichte
der Haustiere(rg6Z\, S+.
afn
A6t. Amid. 6.rr (Oribas.8.9;paul. Aeg.
Graecillzg:),cf. W H.
1.t6; physrognonr.
Ky::::throp:iehardetndiFiagntentttesMarceltusuon Side,Abh. Leip):^t:l"",rjr(1897);
?or^d:,
zrBt7.j
Galen
XIXVg
Krihn;
zepd
Auxcloyos
ij \uxaugp<iroupaul. Aeg.3.16.
"Lykanthropy" no-longer plays.arole
in modern psychiatry(contrapiccalugu,'Lykoon,
5U):it was culturallydetermined.

descriptionsof sacrifice,and most depictionson vases,presentonty


l"U-"::."::-!"leric
on a spit, boiling.hasgone largelyunnoticed;there is nothing about
,l--":, :l::"r,ing
('r.gto:.rgzo).
on the other hand, the significanceof the sacrei tripod
Iil;"-f^1t
t d s D e e nlt"lgel
studied(K.schwendemann,
ldl 36lr9zrl,t5t-g5;pGuillon, Lestripiedsdu
lllio" I:s+ll, 87-rz+), but without consideringits use as a pot for cooking. Both roastcookingin a kettleare repreJentedon a Caeretanhydria] Viila Giulia,
TtI^,,f :pl : ".9
pt. 4, Detienneand Vernant Oszs) pt.r_rV; ci. a fragmentfrom
;:::^1:r2.i9:6t48)
"'c acropolis, Craef and Langlotz
nr.
654.'.6rn.,c'rcrr)rayxvav,
xpetiruirlr4ols in the
the,MitesianMolpoi-SrG) =- LSayt
ro, boiling at the sacrificeto the
SZ
5o..35;
n:::"^:1
328F 1Zi. "Partialy boiting and partiailyioasting,,is a standard
;:llj:""_:,^:.choros
of grue_so1n-e
banquets:Lykaon, Ov. Met. r.zz8_29;Tf,yestes,Accius
;;:.1'"l""rl:"::
'.s-zz,5en.
tfiu.
z6s_6t:
Harpagos,Hdt. 1.119;Tereus,Ov. Met.6.645-40;Dionysus,
oF 15 = Clem. pr'z.ia; r.ur.
Cyrioprr.4r-ou, lit, i.i-4o4. Cf . the orphic tabooior)<iy

89

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

LYKAIA AND LYXAION

tJeanmaire
(ty1) 55o-69. Alcaeus, in exile, calls himself ),uxatpiate(r3o.z5
Lp).
rln
Paus.4.tr.3; cf. yerg. Aen. g.zgz, Stat. Theb.
4.1q f.
Bur
-,.
Erar.
L
4
f
.
r
p
p
.
5z_53 Robert.
sAel'
Nal. an.
tt
6,
who
mentions
an AJr4 of pan at Mount Lykaion; it is presurnably
identical w-ith the aparcv
^ . 7, )iabove, in accordance with the paraller of the sanctuaryofApolloHylatasatKurion(Cyprus).Cf.Ael.
Nat.an.rr.7:there,too,thedogsdo
into the sacred'grove, and whoever touches Apollos altar
is
i"""ly:"",n":.llr:,
'rrror^r'^n
trom a cliff; cf. strabo r4
p.
693. Anyone who entered the precinct on Mount
Ly(alon was
,,deer,,:
considered
a
see plut. e. G;: 3ooa_c (n. 7 above).
t^:1,:^:il_:
rather than cipr<zosalready in LSS rr5 B 16 (fourth century
",.tji
{ . r , n o t , u s t s i n c e t:o*:t
he Septuagint (thus Frisk, Chanirarne s.r,.).
-Paus.
8.36.3 (n.g above).

ephebesmust leave.The boy must die if they are to enter the sphere
of manhood. But expulsionhas to precedeinclusion. Life as a wolf in
the wilderness, occurring, as we-seerroughly between the agesof 16
and 25, was thus analogousto the spartin krypteia which,in turn,
later corresponded to military service.3rAccording to Myron in his
history of the Messenianwar," Arcadian warriors carried ihe skins of
wolvesand bearsinsteadof shields.This behavioawild and primitive
though it was, was enough to preserveArcadian independence.
In discussingthe preparationsfor the sacrificialfestival,the myth
,
makesmention of the precinct "that none may enter.,,Becauseboth
Arkas and the bear went in, they had to be sacrificed.33
Those who
breakthe tabu are damned and consecratedat once, destined for sacrifice. Predatory animals, it was said, would not follow their ouarrv
pastthis line.v rhus, within this small area they were free utthorrgh
.lygry.i" an inescapabletrap, for the wolves were waiting just out_
side. The tabu was evid_entlycreatedonly as an excuseani justification for the sacrificialkilling. presumablythe sacrificialanimals were
set free'only to be caught all the more certainly when thev would
crossthe line "of their own free will.,, The Arcadians,own .u.rr" *u,
indicatea"bear festival,"which would easilyfit the well-known type.l'
It is, of course,doubtful whether bearsstill lived in Arcadia in historical times; perhaps a shaggyram could havebeen used as a substitute
quarry.
It is clear that women would have been excludedfrom the Arcadians' nocturnal sacrifices.Instead, there is a female realm that is
closedto men. only "consecratedwomen" could enter the cavewhere
l(hea bore Zeus,u for they representedthe Arcadian nymphs
who
took care
,
of
him.
whereas
the
men
gathered
for
sacrifice
,'for'the " act
of killing, the women attendedto n"ewbornlife. Thus, the polarity
of

p.iy6nrdv, Arist. Probl.ined.S.4l Bussemaker(Paris,r857),and cf. Iambl. V. Pyth. t54;


Ath. 656b;DetienneQ977)t63-2r7. For boiling a ram seelG Xll7, 5r5.78;tor its place
in Roman ritual see Varro Ll. 5.98; for the boiling of meat in Germanic sacrificessee
I Q956'}), 416-zo; for the Hittites see
J. de Vries, AltgermanischeReligionsgeschichte
ANET 348/49;for referencein the OT seen. lo below.It is not certainwhether the invention of boiling presupposesthe invention of ceramics;boiling is also possiblein
stretched-outhides, into which hot stoneswould be thrown to heat the water.
rFor the trident as a fork for meat seeI Sam z:13 (cf. Exod. 27.t;8. D. van Buren,
Symbols
of theGodsQ94), 48. The trident alsoappearsas a harpoon:Aesch. Sepf.r3r;
cf. Bulle, RlfL III 2855;Simon jg6) 8z; J. Boardman, CR zt (rg7t), t41; lll.8.n.zr
below.

97

out his portion with the sacredfork (the trident?)(seeFigure 4).'For


all must partake of the sacredobject; no participant was allowed to
decline.The sacrificialmeal separatedthe "wolves" from the "sons of
the bear," the Arcadians, just as Lykaon had divorced himself from
the circle of the gods. Excavatorsat Mount Lykaion, however, have
discoveredno human bones among the sacrificialdetritus. Yet, even
by daylight it is hard to distinguish a piece of human heart, liver, or
kidney from that of an equally large mammal; modern surgeonshave
even pondered the feasibilityof transplants.In the flickering flamesat
night, only the innermost circle of sacrificialservants could know
what was really floating about in the kettle. The power of suggestion
comes from tradition, from social constraints.Human entrails may
well have been thought to be present.The proof lay in their effectson
the participants:each time one or more would be struck with "wolf's
frenzy,"whether spontaneouslyor becausethey were somehow manipulated. The "eaters" and the "slaughterers"were not the same.
The "wolves" disappearedinto the dark and had to avoid human settlements for years. By the time the dawning rays of sunlight hit the
golden eagleson top of the columns eastof the altar,the sacrificewas
long over.
The wolf metamorphosis,as describedby Euanthes,can easilybe
seen as an initiation ritual, for stripping off one'sclothes and swimming acrossa lake are clearly rites of passage.If Damarchoswon an
Olympic victory after his time as a wolf, he could have been no older
than 16 at the time of his transformation.Now it is surely the novice,
the first-time participant in the nocturnal festivities,who would be
most susceptibleto suggestion,and henceto the shockingrealization
that he had eatenhuman flesh. From this we surmisethat the separation of the "wolves" from the "sons of the bear" reflecteda division
accordingto age. The myth alwaysspeaksof a "young boy" to be sacrificed, that is, a representativeof preciselythat age-classwhich the

90

KETTLE
WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD

assuredperpetuity in
the sexesbound together the courseof life and
the face of death.
to the rift in
Thus, too, there must be a new unity correspon-ding
the sacrificeat the altar on
^ur"-uo.i"tf due to the sacrifice:following
further down the mounthe summit, there was the inevitable agon
Arcadian "performed the
i"i". e..".aing to X"t'opnott, Xenia-si-he
in foreign lands' ln enuivtuiorl sacrifiie and heid an agon"'-'even
fe"stivals,pindar mentions the "festive
;;;;',r.g ,n" C.""t agonistic
,,the
times.s
several
Zetts,"
of
race-track
;;;-h";i""g of zeus Lyliaios,,,
was a
the oldest of all Greek agons." The prize there
iii,
".r"^".ulled
probably a tripod' i. constant reminder of that
implement,
bronze
were of course
f'"stival.those wnb naa turned into "wolves"
who had returned
"igi.,ti*"
not allowed to participate in the agon' but those
for Damaryears"abstinencewere peim-ittedto enter' Thus'
;;i;;i""
for.the agon' and
chos, his time as u *otf was a time of preparation
won-the victory that
even for the Olympic victory which he tnen
him pan-Hellenic
lifted him out of his Arcadian context, bringing
fame.Intheagonfollowingthesacrifice'societalroleswerereasfor others went tort*O- The exiulsion of soire and the new start
had to be
eether. The younger members of the rising generation
i",;;lli. wild,.outdoors,, white the twenty-five-year-olds,
il;
now
TheY
";;;
io." *ut.iugeable, entered athletic competitions'n".
-were
beasts of
true Arcadians, "acorn-eaters"u' oppot"d to carnivorous
now participatein the sacpruy. fn"y had found their way and might
from the altar and dedicatrifice without danger,taking their wrealhs
ing their bronze triPods'
who was inStrangeto say,there was another god besidesZeus
His sacred grove
volved in the agon-Pan, the lewd goat-like god'
eponymous official
and sanctuarywere next to the stadium'o'and the
then a priest of
oijur,iri.,g the Lykaia was alternatelya priest of Zeus'
on one side and
Pan." Arcadiar,coins, moreovet display Zeus'shead
yXen.
ii$uoe xo.id76va E#rlxe'
A'uxola
ra
r.z.to
Anab.
BOl.
; l ' 7 . 8 1 - 8 4 r, 3 r o 7 - r o 8 '
9 . 9 6 ;N e m .t o . 4 5 - 4 8O
3ePaus.8.2.r; Pliny NH 7'zo5' Fot a prize of 1atrrds see Pind' Nen ro 45; Polemon
Ol' l'8+; Arist fr' 6y; Mann Par''
Schol.Pind. Ol.7.t51d 1r.if,i +l.t, cf' Pini'
Pind' OI 9 r41a' For inscriptions
iirluirt a9 e. t7;riiophanes, u"ii ara," Schol'
(new foundation ca zr5 n c )
see IG V 2.4q, 549,SS",li' i'5, 671,lY'12 629'lllll.I'1993
(1886)ro5
For coins with the superscriptionAYKAIA seeImhoof-Blumer
noFor
agonand weddingseeI 7'n t3 above'
r'rz1c'
arpaus.g.38.5(,,Zufall,"Nilsson bgo6l,+4+.2\;pavrtiouflavosSchol'Theocr'
o ' I G Y2 , 5 5 o .

92

In genealogicalmyths, Arcadian Pan is said to be


pan'son the other.a3
the son of Zeus and, hence, the brother or half-brother of Arkas.*
ns
Similarly,when it is told that Arkas was raised by a "goatherd," it
evidently reflects the role played by the cult of Pan in the life of a
erowing boy. It is thus the polar oppositeof the world of the huntress
irtemis, to which Arkas' mother, Kallisto, belongs' Zeus and Pan alrnost seem to embody the antithesisbetween aggressionand sexualitv, or at leastbetween order and wild living. The serioussacrificethat
divides the group is the antithesisof the unification during a period
of license.But the details of the Program, and its sequencein time,
escaPeus.
A strange abundanceof antithesesis thus impressed upon the
animals,
celebrantsat the Arcadianritual: predatoryanimals/sacrificial
night/day,sacriwolves/bears,wolves/stags,meat-eaters/acorn-eaters;
ficelagon, ZeuslPan; the old/the young, men/women, killing/giving
birth. Characteristically,theseantithesesdo not merely collapseinto a
uniform duality.They are,rather,generallytransformed,eachinto the
other,like night into day: the hunter becomesthe hunted, the cannibal
turns ascetic,the living are killed, the dead come back to life-the
"secretsacrifice"revealsthe primordial situation of the hunt'

2. Pelopsat Olympia

Although they were of the greatestantiquity,the Lykaia remained


abasicallyprovincial, purely Arcadianevent.Theywereclearlyeclipsed
by the Olympic games,held every four yearson the banks of the Alpheios,at the foot of the Hill of Kronos, in the sacredgrove of Zeus.'

sCook
I (r9r4) 68-7o. On the statueof Pan in the sanctuaryof Zens Lykaiosat Megalopolis
see
Paus.
8.1o.z- 3; for altarsof Zeus Lykaiosand Panat TegeaseePaus.8.53.r r.
*Epimenides,
FGrHist 4:,ZF g : Schol.Theocr.r.1-4c, and cf. Schol.Theocr.r.rz3b;
Aristippos, FGrHist317F 4.For Panas the son of Aither, seeAriathos, FGrHisty6 F 4;
asthe son of Hermes, seePind. fr. roo. For Panas the inventor of astronomy,i.e., putting
an
end
to
the
primitive rpoat),nvot seeSchol.Lyk. 482.
# "Eratosth."
Catast
., p. z : Hes. fr. 163;accordingto anotherversion("Erat." Cat.p. 5z
Robert),the she-bearand her baby are caughtby aizdtror.
'E.
N. Gardiner, Olympia, lts Historyand RemainsQ9z5);W. Hege and E. Rodenwaldt,

93

lri

Thesegameswere the most important expressionof unity aboveall in


the Peloponnesus,but also for all of Greece.Their enormous importance in giving the Greeks a senseof identity in sports and politics,
and even in their spiritual existence,is well known. Long after Pindar, the Greekswere still awarethat this athleticeventwas simultaneously a religious festival, even if only through the Zeus of Phidias,
which was consideredthe most important expressionof their conception of god. But the fact that both the religious experienceand the
socio-athleticevent were imbedded in a ritual with a striking resemblanceto the Lykaia, a sacrificialritual that centeredon the precinctof
Pelopsand the altar of Zeus, receivedfar less notice and hence has
come down to us only in scatteredfragments.'z
Although there are signs of a pre-Doric tradition, the history of
the sanctuaryat Olympia3 seemsto start in the Protogeometricera.
From then on, the significanceof the gamesconstantly grows. It is
probably just chancethat the list of victors beginsin the year 776, for
it was about then that the Greek alphabetwas introduced.oPisaand
Elis fought to possessthe famous site over many generationsuntil, in
the sixth century,Pisa was destroyedand the pan-Hellenicorganization of the Hellanodikaiwas established,with Elis presiding.sThanks
to the excavations,we have detailed knowledge of the sanctuary's
glorious architecturalhistory aswell as its declinein late antiquity until the emperor Theodosiusabolishedthe games.6But it is far easierto

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

PELOPS AT OLYMPIA

ffi;

ii:;;;;;;;';?y, n"._

t:]t:*s we will not deatwith the traditionsthat attribute


the founding of the

p"i..,
5.r.4,5.8.r,6.zo.e),

Kronos(Paus.
5.7.to,'g.z.z)

,ifi,13*fl,*s;f1..:set,-w

95

teady an alfusion
at ll. z.ro4lli)rotrt A,q{int<p.
ePaus.
5.8.7; doubted by L. Deubner, Kult und Spiel int alten Olympia
(1936), z6_27, on
account of the
votive offeri.,gs.
'oH.
R. Hall, ,lHS zq (rqoq). tg-zz;
cf . F. Schachermeyr, Anzeiger
*h"ft ,;1;'9,66\',ur" ""u",'
fi)r dieAltertumswissenuG',Devereux,
"The Abduction
of
Hippodameia
as Aition' of a Greek Animar Husoandry Rite,"
SMSR 36 (1965), 3-25; Hai.
+.fo; nut. g Gr. y3b;paus. 5.5.2.

; !'l;;;;;?';;2i;J';3;;I;;'il;;:i:
i'iJiJlJ"i"'i"[
::*:* :l:.,::::::i:;;;
"'-

;Paus.
5.r77.on thepedimental
sculptures
seeM. L

irni"e""l
:l1:j:,Tdy^i:" 1p.ul_.
:;.'i;.;,'
; ;; ;);;;%;' ;ff ilil#
l*":i::# i:;1aactrltp^i' s-)le,s'4.'

"1:::l

sift through the archaeologicallayers than to organize and evaluate


the literary evidencefor the cults and gamesat olympia, for here the
rnost diverse traditions have become superimposed:pre-Doric and
Doric, Pisan and Elean,-localand pan-Hellenii. Morebver, they are
frequently distorted by local patriotism or politics or becausegenealogieshave becomesystematized.'wecan often do no more than
combinethose items that necessarilybelong togetherbecauseof their
function'
In so doing, however,we must omit the most famous foundation
of the olympic games.Although the story of pelops,abduction
my_t_h
of Hippodameia from her father, oinornaos, in the chariot race and
oinomaos' death in the processwas already a part of the pseudoHesiodicGreat Ehoiai and appearedon the liyps^eloschest about
57o
8.c.,and althoughthe pedimentalsculptureo.t the easternsideof the
greattemple of Zeus depicted the preparationsfor this chariot race,E
the myth only becameimportant for olympia oncechariot-racinghad
becomethe most prestigious and costiy sport and thus becomethe
focal point of the games.However, accordingto the olympic victory
lists, chariot-racingwas only introduced in the twenty-fifth olympiad, that is, in 68o n.c.'Until then, only victors in the ftot-race were
recorded.There are, admittedly,reproductionsof war chariotsamong
the votive offeringslong before6go-as there are in other Greeksanctuaries as well-and perhaps
even
the
name
of
the
wily
charioteer,
Myrtilos, can be tracedto Hittite
roots,
which
might
thente
related
to
the introduction of the war chariot in the
middle
of
tne
second
millennium n.c.'oBut all this does.nottouch upon
the
heart
of
the
olympic
festival. Rather, in its detairsthe myth of Hippodameia
reflects the
strangetabus of Elean animal-husbindry rites;r1
and the fact that it
penetratedto olympia testifiesto growing Elean
influence in the sev-

OlympiaQ916);L.Ziehen and J. Wiesner RE XVIII (ry$, r-r74; A. Mousset,Olympie


et lesjeux grecs(196o).On the excavationssee E. Curtius and F. Adler, Olympia Q89oin Olympiat-5 Q944-6$;
97); W. Wrede and E. Kunze, Berichtilberdie Ausgrabungen
E. Kunze, Olympische
Forschungen
fif . $944ff.). For the lists of victors see L. Moretti,
Olympionikni(Rome, 1957).
'?A.B. Cook, "Zeus,
Jupiter,and the Oak," CR t7 Qgq),268-78, interpretedthe ritual
as a battle between the young and the old priest-king; he was followed by F. M. Cornford in Harrison Q.927\279-29. L. Drees, Der Ursprungder OlympischenSpielejg6z)
sees"pre-Doric fertility cults."
rF. Mezo, Geschichte
der OlympischenSpiele(r93o); for a hypercritical account see U.
Kahrstedt,"Zur Geschichtevon Elis und Olympia," NGG j9z7),157-76; cf. F. Jacoby,
FGrHist III B: Kommenlar zzr-28.
fL. H.
feffery, TheLocalScriptsof ArchaicGreece(t96r), zo-zr.
sThetradition is late,confused,tendentious,and unverifiable;Paus.6.22.3-4 (destruction of Pisaafter 588),5.9.4;StraboZ p. 351,(cf. F. Bolte, RE VII A t96-97): destruction
of Pisaby Elis and Spartaafter the (Second?)MessenianWar.On the discusof Iphitos
and Lykurgus, seeArist. fr. 533,and cf. F Jacoby,Apollodors
Chronik(tgoz), u6 n. 1o'
tzz-26.
5On the protubitionagainstpagancults seeCod.Theod.XYl.to.ro-rz (lgrlgz); the last
Olympic gamestook placein 393.

94

ii,
iiiii

r11

ilii

iiii
lilll

illj

rlli

llt

TRIPOD KETTLE
WEREWOLVES AROUND THE

locatedfar from the Altis of


enth century.But the Hippodromer'rras
stadium'by contrast'was inZeus, in the plain of ii"ifpfteios' The
toward the altar of Zeus'l'?The
side the sacredp.".littand oriented
the foot-racein the stadium' and it
preeminent agon at Olyfi;;;t
ilone had a sacralfunction'
the
precinct.ofPe.lops.are
The altar ot,".,,, ..n"",,udi,., and.the
at Olympia. If goeswithout saying that
cultic centersof the;;;l;^;y 'mainly 'sacrifiie' Of course' in such a
of
the cultic activity t";;i;i;J
there would be a considerablediversity
highly frequentedt;;A;;t
ofritualscurrentutu"yot'"tit"'private'occasionalsacrifice;daily
becausethe city administration
and annual ,tut" ,ut'i#e-important
fina-lly'once
intimately involved in running Olympia;.and
ffili;;;;
the gieat fesiival' And yet' to the
every four years,uUitt" 'ut'ifices at
hero or god at the sameslte' we
extent that they concernedthe same
belweenthe smallersacrimay assumethat there was someanalogy
and the rare; they would exfices and the larger ones, the frequent
or elaborated'
press essentiallythe same thing' whether abbreviated
than the other heroes
"The Eleansno"ot"a Pelopsas much more
says
than the other gods"'
'Now he
at Olimpia as they honored Zeus mote
his unique stat rs:
Pausanias."e"a urt"ulf fitta- a"tttibes
lying by the'ford of the Alis drenched in glorious'blood-offerings'
altarwhich the most peopn"i.t, -ian his busy tomb right next tothe
true center of the Altis'
ple come to visit."'o'The alta;of Zeus is the
heap of
,n" very end nothing more than a primitive
i;;r"*g;n,il
an impressiveheight through
earth and ash, though it had risen to
far off' toward the west' was
the sacrificesof .ou'itless visitors'" Not
of stones'Beforesacrificing
the precinctof n"foft, u*losed by a circle
thus got the samenumber of
to Zeus,or," ,u.,irilla-io n"ropt'1"tho
white
;"t; tt'ot'u' large' Inloth cases'only
sacrificeseven if d;

Hfi;ffii,"il*ttr*ial

bff"::;
and.i'J: 4.:P:: :Yl":::"',*:
1' Whereas
;;;i;; ;"; J .o"rau'"used,
({urerls)'"
thewoodman
servant'

(956), rc.rz; A|A 5z j948)'


in olympia
l2E. Kunze, 5' Berichtiiberdie Ausgrabungen
"9 ''o'o'
675c;cf' Paus'5'8'6' 8'26'4;
':i^t ' 'ii ipJlio' Plut'
492-gJ.flawa npoohil-,
Philostr. GYmn. tz

! - .xltt9eis'
, \ . o ^ : ruP'A\geoir^ r6pot
"s.tJ.t.
p6y'exrct''
t,Ol. t.g-93
viv 6' iv aipcrxortpicrtsd1Lclaiat
rot'u(evottarq rapd BallQ'
Bov d4'gitot ov i1lrl,v
ro above'
15paus.
Thuc. 5.5o.r. On the tyPe, see lI'r'n
5.t3.8- 17, 14.t- t;cf.
'H)telous Biew' On the Pelopion'
r6Schol. pind. Ol. t.r49a xai npd toi Atos arhQ rois
see Paus. 5.a3.r-).
(1896)' #62' 64' 72r' r22'
in inscriptions see Olympia V
tzpaus.
5.r3.3, r4.z; torfutreus
724.

96

PELOPS AT OLYMPIA

the entranceto the precinct of Pelopsis in the west, the altar of Zeus
from the stadium,i.e., from the east.Whereasblood
was aPProached
was poured into the sacrificialpitl8 for Pelops,that is to say, downward, the altar of Zeus grew higher and higher. Thus, the two sacrificial recipientswere united in a polar tension. The hero and the god
went together like night and day. The name Pelopscan be interpreted
to mean "dark-face,"tethe antithesisof the god of daylight. The agon
took placein the daytime and could not be continued into the night.'o
When the schedule started to get too long, the pentathlon and the
horse-racingwere moved up, to be followed by the sacrifices,"which
were, in turn, followed by the foot-racein the stadium. Thus, the preparatorysacrificeto Pelopsoccurredat night' "When the Eleanshad
slaughteredthe sacrificialvictim accordingto their custom, its consecratedparts would lie on the altar, though not as yet set on fire' The
runners would stand at a distanceof one stadefrom the altar, in front
of which there was a priest signalling the start with a torch. And the
winner would set fire to the consecratedparts and then depart as an
Olympic victor." Thus, following ancient sources,Philostratus" derciiUusthe foot-raceto the altar; one stadelong, hence stadium.And
in fact, the early stadium ended at the altar.
Philostratusalsoconnectsthe double coursewith sacrifice:"When
the Eleanshad finished their sacrifice,all the Greek envoys present
had to sacrifice.But in order that their processionnot be delayed,the
runners ran one stade away from the altar, calling on the Greeks to
come,then turned and ran back as if to announcethat all Greecewas
presentrejoicing. So much for the double course."2'It started at the
altar and returned there in the end. Pausaniasdescribesthe altar
more exactly:"The custom is to slaughtervictims in the lower part of
the altar, the so-calledprothysis. Then they take the thighs up to the
very highest point of the altar and burn them there. . . . But only men
may climb up from the prothysis to the top."zt Thus, the foot-race

ttEds
r,iy BofipouPaus.5.r3.2.
ttl.
B. Hofma.,n, Etvmologisches
(r95o), s t' rre)ttrvcis;RE
Wbrterbuchdes Griechischen
luppl. VII 849. Even if Pelopswere-as is more probable-the ePonym of a people,
ll6)\oaes (like Ari,\oaes. Apitotres),the associationwould not be without significance.
aPaus.
5.9.3.
trPaus.
5.9.3:472r,.c.
uGymn.5.
Cf . Eumenes'foundationat Delphi, LSS44.r5 6 6i Dp<ipos
7lu lnfiot . . . riTpt
ttvri rdv
Bap"ov,6 6i vutay iganttra ra i.epa.
uymn.6.
t'Paus.
5.r1.9-ro.

97

tl

lii

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

presupposesthe bloody act of killing; likewise Pelopswas "drenched


with blbod,, in the preliminary sacrifice.The end of the race, its goal,
is the top of the aniient heap of ash, the place where fire must blaze
and burn up the thigh-bones. The race marks the transition from
blood to pn.ifyir,g fire, from encounteringdeath to the joyful satisfaction of surviving is manifestedin the strength of the victor. Thus, the
most important agon at Olympia is part of a sacrificialact moving between the Pelopionand the altar of Zeus.
The propei victim for Zeus is a bull;" for Pelops,however, it is a
blackram-this, too, stressesthe dark sideof the ceremony'Pausanias
describesthe annual sacrificeoffered to Pelopsby the Elean officials:
,,From
it
is
customary
rather,
share;
no
gets
the
prophet
sacrifice
this
' Anyone,
to give only the ram's neck to the so-calledwoodman.
whlther El-eanor foreign, who eatsthe meat of the victim sacrificedto
26-that is, he may not enter his
Pelopsis not allowed to go in to Zeus"
precinct or draw near to the altar. Pausaniasstatesthis rule in a 8enLral way; it was surely not restricted to the annual sacrificebut applied toevery Pelopssacrificeprecedinga sacrificeto zeus, especially
during the great pentetericfestival.
C-iraracteristiially,the sacrificeof a ram is also present in the
myth linking Pelopsto Oinomaosand Hippodameia. Oinomaos, so it
is iold, ,rsed to sairifice a ram, Ietting the suitor get a head start until
the "consecrated"parts of the victim were burned; thereupon he
would chaseafter the fleeing suitor and, upon catchinguP with him,
kill him.r' A series of vase-paintingsdepicts the sacrificeof a ram,
admittedly,theserams are white, but
basedon scenesfrom tragedy;'?8
this is probably just an iconographicalshift causedby someintervening facior. Even the tale is quite far removed from ritual; yet, in the
seienth century, those who told the myth were moved to combine
Pelopswith a race and the sacrificeof a ram, just as these had been
combined in ritual until the time of Pausaniasand Philostratus.

98

6Do Chrys. Or. rz.5r. On Milon's sacrificeof a bull at olympia seeAth. 4rz-t3a Phy'
larchos, FGrHist8rF 3.
26Paus.
There, the
5.r3.2. Cf. the sacrificeof a ram at the BabylonianNew YearFestival.
priestsand those who do the slaughteringmust leaveBabylon: ANET 111'
2'Diod.
xprcv . . . dyw$iurav 6i riov bpdv rore dpyeoSat
4.73.46 ptivOivop.aogE.f.ue
roi 6po1.tou.
:
BM F
aBrommer
Qg6o)37o:Calyx-craterBM F z7r D 6, Cook I (r9r4) pl 5; amphora
C o o kl ( r 9 t 4 ) 4 o g : B l =
3
-iRV'
) r : D 7 , C o o k l i r g r a ) p i . 3 ; b e l l - c r a t e r i n N a p l e s zHz. o o :
: D
,44o.t, FR III i5r, ilarrison (1927)zt8;amphoraat Ruvo : Cook | (tgt4) 4oB
Zeus appearsas the
4, Anna\i 4 $85r), Pl. QR. For Etruscanurns see EAAY u5f
recipient of the sacrificeon D 7, Artemis on B 3.

lllllllr
ll

PELOPS AT OLYMPIA

The sanctuaryof Pelopswas no ordinary grave. It was said that


his bones were preservedin a chestnot far from the sanctuaryof Artemis Kordax;" an outsized shoulder blade, however,was kept separately for display, though it no longer existed during Pausanias'lifetime.r Pelops' severedshoulder blade belongs, of course, with that
other gruesomemyth of Pelopswhich Pindar mentioned in his first
OlympianOde, only to rejectit indignantly as a maliciousinvention of
the poets.3lThis myth runs directly parallel to the myth of Lykaon:
with Zeus leading the way, the gods came to visit Tantalosfor a festive meal. Tantalos,however, for whatever reason,turned the divine
banquet into cannibalism: he slaughtered his own son Pelops and
offered him to the gods as food; and Demeter, unaware becauseof
her intense mourning for Kore, took the shoulder and ate it. Here,
too, the justice of Zeus was quick to folloW even though there is little agreementas to the form it took. In any case,Pelops'limbs were
put back together in the sacrificialkettle and he was brought to life
once more; only the missing shoulder had to be replacedby a piece
of ivory."
After Pindar, the Greeks often changed the setting of this cannibalistic banquet of the gods to Sipylos in Asia Minor.r, Modern
mythologiststhink that the myths of Tantalosand Lykaon must have
influencedeachother. But becauseboth clearlydepict a sacrificialact,
from cutting the victim up and cooking him in a kettle, to the typical
closing "revival" by putting together his bones, both are therefore
bound to a specificlocality through ritual. pelops' shourderwas disat Olympia, not in Asia Minor. And jusi as the pelopion, the
P.layedaltar of Zeus, and the stadium were all'u"ty clor" to eachothbr, so too
the only woman allowedto enterthe stadiumwas the priestessof DeDPaus.5.zz.r.

5ar3+-6, cf. Lykcoph. 52-56and Schol.54;Apollod. Epit.5.to- rr; Schol.LV


],P1us
tt. 6.92,Dionysios, FGrHist15 F Firm. Err. .-5.r.pelops,
shoulier guaranteedthe
3;
vlctory of the pelopids over Trov.
)Pind.
ol. ,.ro-r),
a7-53.
tl
Bacchyl.fr.
Eur. Iph. Taur.186-88; Lyk. r5z-55;Apollod. Epit.
4z;
^fn
1eo_-22,
2'2-l;
etc. F. M. cornford in Harrison (ry2.) z4-5r interpietedirt" *y*r ur belongrng
to an
-t<nife
initiation
year's
and
New
festival.
the
of perops"was kept in the sikyonian
seePaus.6.t9.6,
pelopsrn
and
cf.
Pind.
Ot.
t.4g.
There
may
be
a
depiction
of
["^":_lO,
kettle on metope3z from the Heraion at the river Sele:seeE. Simon,
;:^",:.lP*
/dI g:
,tt-ffi. The myth of Medea,pelias,and the ram in the kettle is far more
pt_rpu_
ll37]:
y:-: *e Brommer[196o)348-4g);there,Medeaappearsas the priestessof ,Ar_
;:11-.,1
temts"
(Diod.
4.5r;Hyg. Fab.z4),i.e., of Hekate,the nociurnal readerof dogs.
*l'ind.
O/. r.j8, and cf. pR II zg6.

99

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

6.2o.9, 6.zr.t; 8. Bericht iiber die Ausgrabungenin Olvmpia Q967), 69-74.

meter Chamyne, who took her place at the gamesuPon an altar opposite the Hellanodikai.'Thus, the Olympic ritual combinesthe very
gods that went together in the myth-Pelops, Zeus, and Demeter.
ihe cannibalisticmyth of Pelopsthat so shockedPindar clearly refers
to the Olympic festival.
The hero's mythical fate is strangely connected with the ram
slaughteredin the Pelopion-on accountof that sameshoulderblade.
In Greece,as elsewhere,a ram's shouder blade played a specialpart
in the sacrificeof a ram. In such a sacrificefor Poseidonon Mykonos,
it is expresslystatedthat "the back and the shoulderblade should be
cut up, the shoulderblade sprinkledwith wine"3s-i.e., destruction
first, then sacredhonors. In Slavicand German folk-religion, a ramb
shoulder blade is used for making predictions,'owhile at Olympia a
seer would have been present at the sacrificefor Pelops.We do not
know what was actually done with ramt bones in historical times.
Philostratuswas content to avoid the problem by simply saying that
they did "whatever was customarythere" 3tand we too must be satisfied with the realizationthat, in both the sacrificeof the ram and the
myth of Pelops,the tracesof ancient hunting and sacrificialcustoms
shine through preciselyin the way in which the bones are treated.
One thing is certain-and once again this connectsthe sacrifice
at Olympia with the Lykaia-the big tripod kettle was extremely important in thesesacrificialcustoms.At leastpart of the sacrificialmeat
would be collectedin such kettles ()'eB4res)and prepared in them,
although at first without fire. This is apparent from a legend current
in the time of Peisistratosand retold by Herodotus: Hippokrates, the
father of the future Athenian tyrant, "as yet held no public office,
when a greatmarvel happenedto him while he was at Olympia to see
the games. When he had offered the sacrifice, the tripod kettles,
which were full of meat and water, began to boil without fire and to
overflow."" Hippokrates was evidently one of those envoys who, according to Philostratus,would sacrificeafter the double course. The
fact that the kettlesbegan to boil by themselveswas a sign of the vicyPaus.

35SIC3 roz4.5 -- LS
xonrero,t, i1 trXarq cneu6erar'. Tearing off the
96.7 vGtroy xai r\arq
arm together with the shoulder blade plays a special role in the crapayp'os; see Eur'
Bacch.trz5-27; Theocr. z6.zz; cf. Hdt. 4.62.
sF. S. Krauss, Volksglaubeund religi1serBrauchder Sildslauen
Q89o)' 166-67'
I'Philostr. Gymn.
5.
$Hdt. r.59. Accordingtothebequestof Kritolaos, lGXll7.5r5 = LSS6r, TS,asacrificial
ram is cooked and prepared so as to be eaten after the games.

PELOPS AT OLYMPIA

torious strength emanatingfrom Hippokrates,a sign of the future tyrannyof his son, who had yet to be born. Such was the importanceof
cookingin a tripod kettle at the pan-Hellenicfestival at Olympia. It is
no surprise,then, that-as the excavationshave shown-great numbersof tripods were dedicatedthere from the tenth century on.rnAnd
when, in the fifth century,the great temple of Zeus was constructed,
the architectschosefor the acroteriathis very symbol of Olympic sacBetweenthe tripods was the battle of the
rifice, namely, the tripod.nO
Lapiths and the Centaurs, and the start of the chariot race between
Pelopsand Oinomaos.
fust as Arkas was the ancestorof the Arcadians, so pelops was
the eponymoushero of the whole "island of Pelops"(peloponnesus).
fust as the Arcadiansgatheredfor the festival of ZeusLykaios, so the
inhabitantsof the "island of Pelops"and, later, all of Greecegathered
for the Olympic festival "in the wooded valleys of Kronos in pelops,
land."n'And just as the sacrificefor Zeus Lykaiosdivided Arcadian
society,thereby shedding light on its workings, so too the sacrificial
ritual at olympia accentuatedthe distribution of roles in society.The
division is most noticeablein those participatingin the sacrificeof the
ram to Pelops.This chthonic, dark, nocturnal sacrificeis for eating,
but the "eaters"must subsequentlyshun the daytime sky god, Zeui;
their expulsion is comparableto that of the wereworveso1 Lykuio.r.
of
age groups and initiations were no longer part of tire pan.course,
Hellenicfestival; thus, perhaps the meat was given to any socialoutcastswho happened to be there. There was one person of sacredstatus who ate of the ram, namely, the ',woodman,,;consequentlyhe
was permanentlybarred from the precinctof Zeus. The otherswere
probably
allowed
to
purify
themselves
and
return,
as
in
the
parallel
case,
cited
by
Pausanias,
of
a
purificatory
bath in pergamon.o2
Nevertheless,
"woodman"
the
supplied
the
wood for buint offerings to
7.euswhereby the ash-altargi"*
higher-a typical distribution
"'u",
ot roles.ina comedy
of
innocence.
In
sacrificing
the
ram,
fasting
was
required
of
the
seer
taking
part,
anJ
was
also
requiid
of
*tt"il:ty
the athletes.we know with certainty itrat at least until the
late sixth

:1",

"F.wil|emsen,,,Dreifusskesselvono|ympia,,,o,,*ffi
the olderpiecesfound *"i" i"-urkaLly numerousaroundthe pelopron;
l]::

'r'-v' tlerrmann, "Die


Kesselder orientalisierendenZeit," orympischeForschungen
6
(1966);rr (rgZq)
sPaus.
5.ro.4.
"Pind. o/. 3.r3.
'5.t3.3.
On the futrerisseen. 17 above.

illl

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

century athleteshad to undergo a thirty-day period of preparation


with a strict vegetariandiet of cheeseand figs. This was likewise a
time of sexualabstinence.Such renunciation and focusing of one's
strength was meant to lead all the more certainlyto a final goal, to the
competition, to victory, and to sacrifice.For many kinds of sacrifice
followed on a victory, with banquets at the state'sexPense;the victory
celebrationalso included an eveningprocession;and in the story that
Artemis Kordax was given hs1112ms4-a name that reflectsa lascivious dance-because Pelops'companionsheld their processionwithin
her precinct, we get some indication of the sexualurges that, having
built up inside, would now break out into the open in the festivalcelebration. Yet, Pelops'bones were kept in the precinct of Artemis Kordax-that is, sacrifice underlay this uninhibited celebration. After
this, military symbolism would mark a return to order: trumpets instead of flutes, armor instead of athletic nudity;osthis was the norm
for all Greek men.
Women,though not virgins, werebarredfrom the Olympic games,
under threat of death.* The festival divided the family in order to illuminate its relationships.At Olympia, the women had to play their
part beforeand after the games.On an eveningat the start of the festival, the women, weeping and wailing, would gather in the gymnasium for sacrifice:this was said to be in honor of Achilles,n'though it
may just have been a secondarymotivation for the comedy of innocencepreceding the sacrifice.After the games,they had an athletic
festival of their own, the Heraia.The temple of Hera was built much
earlier than that of Zeus, not becauseZeus was any less important
but, rather, becausethe men gathered around the site where killing
took place, the ash-altat whereas the goddessof women stayed at
home, in her vads. On the other hand, the men were barred from the
sacredcaveof Zeus Sosipolisand Eileithyiaon the slopesof the Hill of
aTupov ix r6v ra),apotvPaus. 6.7.ro, until the victory of Dromeus (#r88 Morettt,
r.c.), for whom the sculptor Pythagorasof Rhegionmade a statue;
Olympionikai,484
thence, perhaps, the tradition that Pythagoras of Samos introduced a diet of meat
rather than cheese,Porph. V Pyth. 15 (from Antonios Dogenes), Iambl. V Pyth.25'
'Agpo}';aiti,u
dtiyecflol seePhilostr.Gymn.zz; cf .1.7 at n. 13above.For the thirty-day
period see Philostr. U Ap. 5.4J; JohannesChrysostomos,Migne PG 5r, 76. For a training period of ten months, seePaus.5.24.9,i.27.r1,6.2+.3.
sPaus. 6.:u.r; cf. Schol. Aristid. lll
564,ro Dndorf ht ivrfi lli)roaos xpeovpyiqdp/1oa7o 6 [ld.v.
asPhilostr.Gymn.7; Plut.
Q. cona.63ge;Artemidorus r.63.
BPaus.
5.6.7,5.2.2;Ael. Nat.an. 5.r7; PNostr. Gymn.ry (II z7oed. Teubn.)
47Paus.
6.23.3.
sPaus.
5.16.2;Nilsson Ogcr6)6z; on Hera at Olympia see Simon (r$) 36-18.

LO2

THYESTES AND HARPAGOS

Igonos.onAn aged priestessand a virgin choseneach year, the ,,lou_


trophoros,"were responsiblefor ministering to the cuit of the divine
child in the room of Eileithyia.The child'sname seemsto havebeen of
little importance. Olympia was unable to establishitself as the birthplaceof Zeuseven though Pindarhad mentionedthe "IdaeanGro tto,',n
ind a temple was built for the mother of the gods in the fifth century.
Yetit was evidently not so much a question of the child's name as the
expectationexpressedin the ritual act, that the incessantkilling in the
male sphere where Pelopswas "drenched" with blood must have its
counterpartin the female sphere in the mysteriousbirth in the cave.
How else could the "city be saved," as the name Sosipollssuggests?
Thus, Rhea'scave on the slopesof Mount Lykaion has its .eierru.y
counterpartat Olympia. By combining those aspectswhich the festival divides, the power of men and the power of women, the circleof
life is sealed.
Theseconnectionswere no longer so obvious when the games
grew into a highly organizedbusinessand when sport becameimportant for its.own sake,yet the two managedto survive side by side for
a thousand years. An olympic victory was a unique socielalevent,
but the victor's status and the order in which the participating cities
wereranked becamevisible mainly in the sacrifice.The winneiof the
foot-racewould be the first to ligtrt the sacrificialfire, after which the
envoyswould sacrificein a specificorder set by the Judgesof the Hellenes' Pride in individual achievement,and divine gIory radiating
from.the sanctuary were inseparablyunited. The part"icipatingcommunities demonstratedtheir renewed strength each time in the festive
-competition,the racebetween the "darK, sacrificeto pelops and
the fire of Zeus, past death to the sovereignorder of life.

j. Thyestes
andHarpagos

The third and most famous, indeed, proverbial, cannibalistic


rnealin Peloponnesianmythology
is directry preservedonly in liter-

sPaus'6.zo.z-q,6'z5.4.Onthearchaeo,o,,.u,p,on,"-@

studres/orS.
M. RobinJon
I (r95o), yo_5ol
"Purd. Ol. 5.rg, and cf. Schol. lza

103

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

ary sources: it is the feast of Thyestes (@ueoreca 6eirrva).' Thyestes


and Atreus were sons of Pelops, and the parallels to the crime of Tantalos were drawn already in tragedies. Unfortunately, the Atreus of
Sophocles and the Thyestestragedies of Sophocles and Euripides have
noi survived, nor have the imitations by Ennius and Accius;'only the
late version of Thyestesby seneca remains, along with allusions in surviving tragedies, above all in Aeschylus' Aganrcmnonand in the Electra and orestesof Euripides.r on the basis of quotations, it is clear that
the myth appeared already in ancient epic, in the Alkmaionls, and in
early mythography, in Pherekydes of Athens.'
The essential part of the "act" is the same in all versions; variation occurs only in the preceding sections and in the motivation. The
two brothers struggled for the throne of Mycenae; Atreus slaughtered
Thyestes' infant sons and served them up for dinner, so that Thyestes
unsuspectingly ate the flesh of his own children. Of the brothers, one
was a killer, the other an eater, but the worse pollution belonged to
the eater. After this meal-all versions agree in this detail as wellThyestes had to abandon the throne forever and flee the land: thus
Atreus became, or remained, the Mycenaean king. Another set detail
in the story is that Thyestes had previously committed adultery with
his brother's wife, Aerope, whence the motivation for Atreus' dreadful deed: the "eater" could not restrain himself sexually either. Therefore, Atreus, the killer, hurled his unfaithful wife into the sea's
It is clear once again how the myth repeats the course of the sacrificial ritual and adds gruesome details. It is hard to tell how much in
Seneca's fantastic description derives from ancient tradition-the
children were sacrificed, according to the letter of the ritual, in a secret sacrificial grove in an obscure corner of the palace groundsnthus, effective theatrical pathos springs from the religious mystenum
tremendum. According to Apollodorus,T the children fled to the altar
of Zeus, only to be torn away and slaughtered. It is certain that the
=
I PRII 291-98;Cook I (r9r4)
4o5-4og;@uicreta 6eir'ra Achill. Isag.p. 55.18Maass
VS ar.ro, and cf. Eur. Or. roo8.
2Sophoclespp.91-94 and ft. 247-69 Pearson,Eur. fu. 39t-97; Ennius Scaen.14o-65
Vahlen2,Accius w. 197-2J4cRibbeck.
3Aesch. Ag. togo-97, tr85-93, 't277-2), t581-t6o2 Eur. El. 6gg-n6; lph. Taur'
9tz- 17; Or. 8rt - 15, 997-'to7o.
aAlkmaionisfr. 6 p.
: Schol.Eur. O'' 995'
77 Kinkel, and Pherekydes,FGrHist) F t)i
Cf. Apollod. Epit.z.ro-rz.
'Soph. Aiasng5-g7, Schol.rz97 = EuriPides,TCF pp.5o7-5o2.
oSen.Tlry.64t-788.
7Epit.z.rl.

ro4

THYESTES AND HARPAGOS

feastof Thyestesfollowed the form of a sacrifice,as did any meal with


rneat.In Aeschylus, Atreus servesThyesteshis meal "under the prea name
tenseof happily celebratinga feast day" (xpeoupydvfip.o.p),,
clearlytaken from sacrificialritual.' At this unusual meal, Thyestes
sits alone at his own table, as do all the others, "man for man." it *",
in just this way that the men of Aegina sacrificedto poseidonas ,,solitary eaters," and this separation of the participants recurs at the
PitcherFeastin Athens.'Some of the entrails were roasted, and the
maiority were boiled in a bronze kettle, accordingto Accius and Seneca.'oHere, then, as at Mount Lykaion and Olympia, the tripod kettle
makesits appearance.Lykaon, too, it is said, preparedthe meat of his
human victim partially by roasting,partially by boiling. The head and
feet were kept intact, and that is how the father later realizedwhat he
had eaten.This specialtreatmentof the head and feet, recurring several times in Greek sacrificialritual," evidently goesback to primitive
hunting customs. Finally, Thyestesoverturns the table, just as happened after Lykaon's crime.'2But the most transparentlink between
sacrifice(duos)and the man who ate this feast, with which he remained proverbially associated,is his very name, Thyestes.
This dreadful sacrificestirred the powers of the cosmos:the sun
reversedits course. During the height of fifth-century speculation
about nature, this wondrous changewas variously rethought and rationalized.Theseinterpretationsassumethat at that time the sun began to follow the course which it demonstrably follows todav; the
world was organized differently beforehand.r3Thus, the crime as-

6Aesch.
Ag. rygz, and cf. Fraenkel ad loc.; i1 fldtronos xpeoupyia Luk. De salt.
54;
II.z.n.44above.
eAesch.
Ag.t15g5,
and cf. IV.z.n.z3below
roAccius
:zo-zz Ribbeck;Sen.Thy. 765-62;ILr.n.z9 above.
= L S 5 5 . r o ; f o r t h e p r i e s t s , s e e L sns5 , B 1 6 ;
]tHLaa3nafeetforthegod,seeSlGrro4z
ror
the
king,
see
Demon,
FGrHist
3z7F r. Cf. porph. in Euset. praep.Ea. +.g.2;Hsch.
e-vlP.ata,
Hy. Merc.
Syr.
D.
L55
B z; LSSrzr; Eitrem (r9r7) 43-48; Stenry7;Luk.
55;
4o
get.(r9ro)
85-9r.
For
this
practice
in
hunting
customsseeMeuli e946) z4i; A. Gahs,
restxhrift P. W. Schmid(ry28), z4o; Lldc
lX zgz.
t'S""
II.t..,.14 above;Aesch. Ag. ..6or.On Lesbos,there areas the parentsof Dionysus
and ,,meal,,):Schol.Lyk. zrz.
"'opxqt the coupleThyestesand Daito (,,sacrifice,,
,Arpei
p.e#Batrev aird
i_linopiaes, VS 4r.ro; Plat. Soph. z69ap.apnpilocrs dpa 6rleds
e:.r:vivtxipa;Sophocles,
AP9.98;Hyg.Fah.88;Serv.
Aen.r.568;Schol.Stat.Tfteb.
4-3o6;cf.-3;5oHdt. z.r4z. For the sun travelringfrom west to east see Eur.
or. roort^d cf. schol. 8rz; Apollod. Epit. z.rz. ior the scientificreinterpretation
that
lTl
astronomer,discoveredthe sun'sretrogrademotion in the zodiacseeEur.
ltllut,jt_ul
rr'd6r;
Polyb. tt.z.6 -- Strabor p. z3; Soph. fr.
Schol.Eur. Or.99g; Serv.
T3g"pearson;
A e n .r . s 6 g .

105

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

sumes an almost cosmogonicfunction: ever since that unspeakable


sacrifice, and becauseof it, the sun has kept to its familiar and reliable
course.|ust so, the Old Testamentcovenantfollowed the crime and
the flood to guaranteethe order of "seed-timeand harvest, cold and
heat, summer and winter, day and night."'n The kingship of Mycenae
was legitimizedby the sun; Thyesteshad to flee. The great feasttook
place at night; the next day at dawn the miracle had occurred. Once
again, the transition of night into day-the Greek conceptionof time
always follows this order-corresponds to the dark and the light
sidesof sacrifice.And just as we saw at Olympia," the man who eats
the meat at night is forced to leave;at dawn, the other man, even if he
killed, becomesthe victor.
From the very start, inthe Alkmaionis,the myth relatesthe brothers' quarrel to an animal, a sacrificial animal-the golden ram or
golden lamb. Ever since Euripides, thii lamb was referred to in the
feminine, reflecting a familiar tendency in the Greek language;'uthe
likelihood that it should, rathet be a ram-referred to once in this
context with the archaicword dpvet<is"-is suggestedby its counterpart at Olympia. Possessionof the crown depends on this golden
lamb. By rights it belongedto Atreus, and it was consideredthe most
beautiful animal in his herd. It had, of course,been intended for sacrifice, but Atreus secretlystrangledit insteadand hid it in a chest (tr<ipvat)." However, with the help of the unfaithful Aerope, Thyestes
seizedthe lamb and showed it as his own at a great feast. Later versions struggledto connectthe story of the lamb with the feastof Thyestes,and already in Aeschylusthis gave rise to the curious doublet
that Thyestes was banished twice.le Starting with Euripides,'othe
wondrous changein the courseof the sun was moved to the first act.
Thus, Thyestes,who had wanted to seizethe crown by stealing the
lamb, was overthrown and expelledby the evidenceof the sun; it was
only when he returned that Atreus served him that gruesomemeal.
Yet according to the older versions, and by the nature of the myth
itself, the changein the sun'scourseand the unspeakablesacrificego
hand in hand: what appear as successiveeventsin the story collapse
into a single act as soon as the ritual-symbolicequivalenceof animal
and man in the sacrificialritual is recognized.Indeed, the brothers'
tsSeeII.z.n.z6above.
laGen.
8:zz.
'6Eur.El.
@S-Z16;lph. Taur.89; Or.8n,998.
'7Schol.Eur. Or.
998;ariesSen. Thy. zz6; Schol. Stat. Theb.43o6.
reAesch.Ag. 158617
'6Apollod. Epit. z.rt; Schol.Eur. Or.8:,r.
4Eur. El.6gg-216.

r,o6

THYESTES AND HARPAGOS

actionsare exactly the samein both acts:Atreus kills something and


hides it; Thyestesgreedily snatchesit up and exposeswhat had been
hidden. Similarly, we saw that the Tantalos myth reflected the sacrificeof a ram at Olympia and that the Arcadian myth was a gruesome
elaborationof the sacrificeon Mount Lykaion. There are two roles at
this sacrifice, kept strictly apart yet closely related; in the Argive
myth, they are played by two hostile brothers. The nocturnal "sacrificer" wins only a temporary victory for the sunrise determines who
has won the day: his is a mediating role at an exceptionaltime. Already in the lliad-even though heroic epic abhorsritual atrocitiesThyestes'reign is seen as merely provisional. Agamemnon, though
known to all as the son of Atreus, did not receivethe king's scepter
from his father; rather, it cameto him via Thyestes."Thus, the societal rift causedby sacrificehelps to achievethe successionbetweenthe
generations-and what happened at Mount Lykaion and at Olympia
was no different.
WhereasArgive mythology becameliterary early on, Argive cults
sank into oblivion. The only indication that Thyesteswas anything
more than a characterin tragedyin the Argolid is given by Pausanias,
who describes"the grave of Thyestes"on the road from Mycenaeto
Argos. 'A stone ram stands on top of it, becauseThyestestook possessionof the golden lamb." Peoplecalledthe site "the rams" (xprci),
even though there was only one stone ram. Could the multiple rams
in the name point to a custom still in practice,consistingof repeated
ram-sacrificeat Thyestes'grave?In the samecontext,a bit further on
toward Argos at the crossingof the river Inachos,Pausaniasmentions
an altar of Helios." Sacrificinga ram at night, crossing a river, and
then sacrificing to Helios at dawn: the conjunction of these acts
would be most attractive.But there is no proof.
Other sources,however,point to an Argive sacrificialfestivalthat
was
named
after
a
lamb,
and
even
lent
its
name to a summer month:
the "days of the lamb," 'Apw1i6esi1p.6po:r,,
in the month Arneos.r,The
testival began with the mourning cries of women and girls-just as
tne women and girls gatheredfor lamentationat the gymnasium on

21I/.
z.ro6-ro8; cf. Schol.A ro6, where AristarchusarguesagainstLikymnios that Homer did not "yet" know of the fraternal strife between Atreui and Thyestes.
zPaus.
z.18.r-3. Crossingthe river would correspondto swimming acrossthe lake;cf.
u.t.n.:z above.
alor
the_month "Apz4oe see Schwyzer
9o.1; SEGJ Og2g),#112.3; Nilsson (19o6)
43j-38; Callim.ft. z6-3r; Konon, FGrHistz6F r #r9;paus. r.43.7,z.r9.g;Ov. lbis
573
with Schol.The story of Poineand
Koroibos(paus. i.43.7-g; ip 7.r5a)belongsto the
ntnonia-type: seeIIl.3 below.

a07

1[
li
rl'll
i

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

the evening before the Olympic games. The refrain of their lament,
the ai),czov, gave rise to the myth of the death of the young boy,
Linos. According to the tale, he was Apollo's son by Psamathe,the
daughter of king Krotopos, and grew up among the lambs of the
royal flock. But he was torn apart by the hounds of his grandfather
Krotopos. The aijtrcvozlament is sung in his honor at the Festivalof
the Lamb, which is held to commemoratehis name and "his youth
among the lambs."" It is, of course,only an appealingconjecturethat
the main sacrificialvictim at this festival was a lamb, but an ancient
Argive tradition speaksof a "lamb-singer,"dpvq\os, so calledbecause
he was awarded the sacrificiallamb as a prize." Thus, it was not Argive dignitaries but a wandering strangerwho would eat the victim.
Callimachus,at least, apparently made the connectionbetween this
lamb-singerand the Festivalof the Lamb.'uBut another aspectof the
festival made a far greaterimpressionand hencebecamethe focus of
our sources:"If a dog happenedto enter the marketplace,they would
kill it."'z?The myth explainedthis as vengeancefor Linos; the proponents of nature-allegorysaw it as a symbolicbattle againstthe deadly
heat of the dog-star,Sirius; the "dog-days" coincidewith the "days of
the lamb"-which are close, too, to the time of the Olympic games.
Yet how are we to understand the peculiar role of the boundaries of
the marketplace,in that a dog would be killed only if it crossedthem?
This is not an event in nature but a social ordinance. The market of
Argos stood under the protection of Apollo, worshipped here as
"Lykeios," a name which was taken to mean "wolf-like"; in this context Sophoclescalls him the "wolf-killer," ).uxoxrovos,"possibly a direct allusion to that "day of dog-killing" (the closeaffinity of dogs and
wolves needs no elaboration).Apollo the "wolf-like" was Linos' father; the boy-the lamb-was torn apart; thereforethe greedy predators were henceforth barred from the kingdom of men, that is, from
Apollo's agora.Likewise, Sophoclestells us inhis Electrathat Orestes,
protected by Apollo the "wolf-like," killed Aegisthus, Thyestes'son,
at Argos, and the impious Aegisthus had also been a provisional
king, between Agamemnon and Orestes.
In his history of the Persians,Herodotus constructeda story in
the Median-Persianmilieu that correspondsin all its details to the
feast of Thyestes.fust as Atreus had taken dreadful vengeanceon
Thyestes, so Astyages avenged himself on Harpagos, for the latter
2f
sDonysios
Konon,
FCrHist
z6
F
r.ry.
of
Argos,
FGrHist
3o8F z.
'?7Ael.Nal. an. 1.2.)4(on Klearchos,fr. ro3 W); Ath.
26Fr.z6.r-5.
99e.
u S o p h .E / .6 , a n d c f . 6 4 5 , 6 5 5r, j 7 g .

ro8

ARISTAIOS AND AKTAION

had not obeyed his orders to kill Cyrus, the child of Mandane. Therefore, Astyages sent for Harpagos, thirteen_year_oldson, whom he
slaughtered, tearing him limb from limb; some of his
subgegugnlJy
flesh he boiled, some he roasted.He then servedit to Harpagosat his
special table while the others-significantly-ate lamb.'Tfie head,
hands, and feet were coveredin a basketwhich Harpagoshimself had
to uncoverat the end of the meal." The detailsof thl iory were probably taken Jrom the feast of Thyestes,for we know thai Herodotus
was preceded by the versions in the Alkmaionis,pherekydes, and
Aeschylus'AgamemnonBut the gory feastis typically connectedwith
the theme of the dog, or, rather, the wolf,
in thii Median-persian
milieu: Cyrus, the king's son, was brought"ue.r
up by Kyno, ,,thebitch,,_
i.e., almost exactly like Romurus and Remus.rdMoreover, the wolfboy was helped in carrying out his appointedtasksby Harpagos,,,the
rapacious,"i.e., the wolf, as his name must have Uee.,,r.aerlstoodby
the Greeks.They knew him as the persiangeneral who relentlessly
subduedthe cities of Asia Minor, a terrifyin! characteron whom fitting storieswould be fastened.The "woli-like"
man
had
become
the
eater of human flesh, and this meal transformed
him,
if
only
in_
wardly- invisibly: for under the mask of the devoted
servant,
he
was
henceforth the inexorableenemy of the king, unwilling to rest
until
Astyageshad been overthrown. "By reasonor thut ban{uet,,,
according to Herodotus
(r.rz9),
the
Median
empire
fell
to
the
irersians.
The
parties were divided through the sacrifiiial meal, and their
division
determinedthe dynastic succession.

4. AristaiosandAktaion

- on the island of Keos there was an animar-sacrificeto ward off


the deadly power
,,tne
of
Sirius,
J*.;,--Our
evidence
dates from
the fourth ur,d thira centuries
a.c.
and
is
provided
by Aristotre and
his students and by the poets
c"iri-".n"r
and Apollonios.r rhe rite

DHdt.
r.rog_ro.
tHdt.
,. , ro- r-r; Jr.t r.4.ro-t4; G. Binder,
Die Aussetzungdes Kdnigskindesg964),
r7-4,
45-57.
'Theophr'
De uentisr4,and cf. Arist. fr.
5n,6n.27;Heracrides fr. r4r wehrli : Cic.diu

Lo9

i:

llt

II

WEREWOLVES AROUND

THE TRIPOD KETTLE

ARISTAIOS AND AKTAION

5.27o-7j.For the invention of oil and honey on Keos seeSchol.Apoll. Rhod. z,49gb.
'fthol.
Apoll. Rhod. u.498alw.
toDiod.
4.gz.z.
u_PR
I 458-6r; Hes. Tft. 977; a ^ew fragment of Hesiod,s Cataloguesin
T. Renner, HSCp
u2 (1978),j
282;
Stesichorus
46 page pars. 9.2.3;Akusilao FGrHistz F 33; Aesch.
toxotidesfr.
") Diod.
Eur. Baich.
4r7-z4Mette;
Callim.
Hy.
,g;
5.7to_a5;
4.gr.4 Apollod.
3^tl
For depictions in art see p. Jacobsthal,Maiburger
lahrb.f. Kunstwiss.5 \rg29),
?
*
Ul:.^t""r(-196o) 1;l6-t;7.On polygnotus,depictionseepaus. 1o:io.S.nU,{ ipI_?
pears
with a wolf's-head cap on the Boston bell-crateroo.J46= ARV, t'o+5.2.

was not accompaniedby the sort of rnyth that would be used in tragedy, but only by a foundation legend: once, when the people of the
Aegean islands were threatened by drought, they sought the advice
of in oracle,which ordered them to summon the priest and prophet
Aristaios, son of Apollo. When he came, he brought with him Arcadian priests, descendantsof Lykaon,2 and built an altar on a mountaintop to Zeus Ikmaios, "Ze1Jsthe rain 9od";'then he sacrificedto
the dog-starand to this Zeus. Suddenly the cooling north winds began to blow, just as they do today in July, the "Etesian" winds that
make the summer heat in Greece bearable.
and it
Aristaios' activity has been interpreted as weather-magic,o
is easy to empathizewith a passionate, desperateyearning for coolnessand moisture in the arid Greek summers. But the corresponding
cult is not mere wish-fulfillment or symbolic rain-making;it is, rather,
a sacrificein traditional Arcadian stvle, by "the descendantsof Lykaon." Its specialform derives from a ritual handed down since ancient times. Even in the little we know of the Kean festival we can
recognizeanalogiesto the Lykaia.
Like the Lykaia, the Kean sacrificial ritual moves between two
poles, oriented on the one hand toward the dangerous"dog," on the
other toward Zeus; the one brings searing heat, the other coolness
and rain. The dog-starfirst appears in july, just beforedawn' The sacrificerswaited on the mountaintop for this, the brightest star,to rise.5
Thus, the ritual began at night and would have been continued in
the rnorning and into the day. The first sacrifice was for the dog;
thereafter, for Zeus. But only Zeus had an altar.uAccordingly, the
preliminary sacrifice to the " dog" would have used a sacrificial pit, a
Botpos. And since Aristaios was commonly portrayed as a shepherd-specifically, as Agreus and Nomios,T hunter and herdsman,
r.r3o; Callim. tr. 75.12;Apoll. Rhod. 2.5:^6-27with Schol.498;Diod. 4.82.r-1; Clem.
Strom.6.z9;Schol.Pind. Pyth.9.tr5; Nonnus 5.269-79.For the head of Aristaios,a
stat and a dog on coins from Keos, see HN'1 484;Cook III (t'g4o)z7o' Cf. Nilsson (19o6)
6-8. Aristaiosappearsin myth already in Hes. Ir. zt6l7 M.-W.
'Apwtrlaotfi (= 'Apt'?Apoll.Rhod. z.5zr and Schol.
498. For a cult organizationof
ataccrotai) in Boeotia seeZPE 4 Gg79, z5tf.; z5$gV), 45f .
'lxpr.os
3Apoll.
Callim. fr. 75.34;Schol.T ll. r4.tg.
Schol.
Rhod.
z.5zz
and
498;
{Cook III (r94o)265-7o; GB VI
15.
5'AwcDrirovnpotrapotfieApoll. Rhod. 2.527, and cf. Schol. 498alw;Heraclidesfr' r4r'
6Apoll. Rhod. z,5zz_,b:ut a sacrifice "for Sirius and for Zeus." "For Zeus, Apollo,
Poseidon and the Winds" Nigidius fr. 99 Swoboda.
?Pind.Pyth.9.65.For sacrificeof a black lamb for a typhoon, seeAristoPh. Ran'847'

111

killer and keeper-we must presumethat his sacrificialvictim for the


ragingdog-starwould have been, once again, a ram. Nonnus, on the
other hand, mentions a bull-sacrificeat the altar of Zeus, and a honey
rnixture.8Aristaios had "discovered"oil and honey in Keos-so it was
told-and libations of oil and honey were clearlylinked to the sacrificial ritual, even though we know nothing of the order-so important
for understanding the ritual-in which they occurred. In any case,
the ritual's nighttime aspectwas followed by a daytime aspect,analogous to the polarity of Pelopsand Zeus at Olympia; and just as Lykaon'ssacrificeprovoked a flood, and the feastof Thyestesmade the
sun changeits course, so the sacrificeof Aristaios set cosmicpowers
in motion: the supremacyof the "dog" was overturned and the rising
winds renewed the forcesof life. The Keansawaited the appearance
of the dog-star and the sun "in arms."' It was the men of armsbearing age who became consciousof their solidarity and identity
at this sacrificialfestival; they would naturally have identified with
the daytime ordet the winds that dispelled the danger. And they
conceivedof their tiny island as the center of the world: the Keans
claimed that they celebratedthe festival, which Aristaios founded,
"for all the Greeks."'o
Lykaon sacrificedan Arcadian boy, his son or nephew, as a wolf;
similarly,Aristaios, the herdsmanwho discoveredoil and honey and
establishedthe sacrificefor the "dog,"was the father of Aktaion, who
was torn apart by dogs. This leadsus from ritual back to myth, to one
of the most famous of all Greek myths, a frequent subjectin art from
archaictimes." As is often the case,the motivating forcesin the story
are unclear. The only certainty is in what Aktaion suffered, his zriBoi,
and what Artemis did: the hunter becamethe hunted; he was transformed into a stag,and his raging hounds, struckwith ,,wolf,sfrenzy,,
(\!oay), tore him apart as they would a stag. The regal anger of an
ottended goddess is at work here, demanding a victim. Her wrath
was stirred by an oversightwith regard to sacredlaws, by trespassing

110

]i1r

:
l.i;llillll
l

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

on an "untouchable" precinct, by sexualdesires,or, from an ethical


perspective,by behaving presumptuouslytoward a divinity'"
The stag-metamorphosisrecalls the"untouchable" precinct on
Mount Lykaion: all who enteredwere forthwith regardedas stagsto
be hunted and killed." Even the Delphic god orderedsuch a "stag" to
be given up to its pursuers. And, accordingto mythic fantasy,Arkas
und hir mother mated in that very precinctlo-the same motifs, the
sameexcusesare always superimposedon the act of killing. The fact
is often enactedby Arthat in storiesand art this stag-metamorphosis
temis throwing a stag'sskin over Aktaion" is perhapsnot so much a
rationalizationas a feature of ritual, a mask, though of course completely seriousfor the masked participant. Whereasthe Greek examples show a man disguised as a stag being attackedby real hounds,
the wall paintings at Qatal Htiyrik depict the masked leopard men
surrounding a realisticallypainted stag.'u
In fact, there is something peculiarabout Aktaion'sdogs as well.
It is probable that already Hesiod gave a catalogueof their names/
thus making them virtually individuals;" and the end of the myth, as
told by the mythographers,has a particularly ancientquality: "When
Aktaion was dead, his dogs searchedand howled for their master.
Their searchtook them to the caveof Cheiron;and he made an image
of Aktaion which stilled their grief."'8 This description of the dogs'
behavior doubtlessgoes beyond anything that could be observedin
nature; real dogs cannot be comfortedby an image.Rather,these animals are performing a human ritual of the sort we find attestedagain

12According to Hesiod (new fragment), Stesichorus, and Akusilaos, Aktaion wanted to


marry Semele; according to Eur- Bacch. 339 he boasted that he was a better hunter than
Artemis (cf . Soph. EI. 56). There is no certain attestation before Callimachus that Aktaion saw Artemis naked.
Plut. Q. Gr. 3ooa-c; ILr.nn.7, 14 above.
I3Architimos, FGrHist
3t5F t:
r a S e eI I . r . n . z r a b o v e .

3.y;

'sstesichorus
: ARV2 287 24, f.ig.8 : ARV'
46Page;Jacobsthal, Marburger lahrb , fig.6
285.r, fig. g : ARV'155z.zo;cf . the metope from Selinus, fig rr. Similarly, in Dionysios'
Bassarika,the god clothes the victim, who is to be torn apart, in the skin and horns of a
-- fr. r9.9 Heitsch. For
newly slain stag; cf. D. L. Page, Literary Papyri (r94t\, fi6-4o
d e e r - m a s q u e r a d e sa m o n g t h e B u k o l i a s t a i i n S i c i l y s e e S c h o l . T h e o c r . P P . 3 . 6 , 7 ' 1 4 '
14.2,5Wendel; cf. an early Greek gem in D. Ohly, Griech. Gemmen Q95), fig. z4; for
'Axrc,icou
xepaogopos as a theater mask see Poll. 4.r4r.
r 6 S e eL z . n . 1 9 , I . 8 . n . 2 8 a b o v e , a n d F i g u r e
1
.
r T S e eA p o l l o d . 3 . 3 2 ; A e s c h . f r . 4 z 3 M e t t e ; O v . M e t .
1.2o6-zz4;Hyg. Fab.r8r.
tsApollod.
POxy 25o9, going back to Hesiod. Cf. A. Casanova, RFIC 97 Og6q,
)r-46.

ARISTAIOS AND AKTAION

and again: the "search" for a torn-up victim ending in a symbolicrestoration.leAktaion's death is a sacrificiarritual oI the hunt, consecratedby the Mistress of the Beastsand performed in the form that
had been standard sincePalaeolithictimes. The actorsare dogs struck
mad by "wolf's frenzy," werewolves whose shrine is in a riountain
cave.one mythographer even identifiesAktaion'sdogs with the Rhodian Telchines,''the magicalbronze-smiths;in so do.-ing,he equates
one secretsocietywith another.
The literary myth probably combines various local cultic traditions' Aktaion's death, for instance,is situated at the spring Gargaphia near Mount Kithairon;r' the cave of Cheiron, howev6r, is on
Mount Pelion in Thessaly.Almost by chance,a few details about the
cave of Cheiron in Thessaly happen to have come down to us in
a note by the Hellenistic periegete Heraclides:,,On the heiehts of
Mount Pelion, there is a cave, the so-calledcave of Cheiron,"and a
shrine of Zeus Aktaios. At sirius' rising, which is the time of the
greatestheat, the most prominent citizens,thosein the prime of their
lives, climb up to the cave.They are chosenby the priest and girded
with fresh, thrice-shorn sheepskins.This shows how cold it must be
on the mountain!"2'?whatthe witty author considersa geographical
curiosity is_obviouslya-sacredritual performed by *re rrilin[ cliss of
Magnesia' It was introduced by the sicrifice of a iheep or rul*;
participanthad to slaughteran animal. Then camethe strangest
"rr"ry
part
of the ritual: eachman put on the skin of his victim, and thuJthe processionclimbed the mountain to the caveof Cheiron and the shrine of
Zeus. The sacrificeridentifies
with
his
victim
to
the
point
of
wearing
its skin, tries in effect to undo his
own
deed;
yet
he
remains
a
wolf
in
sheep'sclothing. With its expiatory character,the journey to
Chei_
following the sacrifice obviously corresponds to the jour_
lo"b :uy:
Aktaion's dogs to the mysterious mountain cave where ihey
II_:f
round
comfort in the restoredimage of their victim. The connection
with Aktaion would be direct if tie transmitted
text, which names
"zeusAktaios,"
were
reliable;
but
the
inscriptions
from Magnesia near
Mount Pelion speak only of ,,ZeusAkraios,,,,,Zeusof
theieights.,,,
-

teSee
I.z.n.rz uro
eArmenides,
FCrHist
F g; Eust.
37g
77r.59.
"Vib Sequ.r7z, andcf. Stat. Theb.7.z74withSchol; REyll757;for,,on
Kithairon,,see
Apollod.
3.3o.
aHerakl.
2.8 (F. Pfister, Die Reisebiliter
desHerakreides[r95r].gg). on hunters masquerading in animals'skins see
Baudy (r9go)4oJ n.ro2.
o'A*'6t
,'Axr<7otv-zeusAktaios,like Lykaon-ZeusLykaios.For Zeus Akraios as su-

r13

,i
ifri
lll I

,/

tl l

1lill
I
rl'

]i

ili

lll

They do, however,mention a cult of Pan in the caveof Cheiron, and


Thus, the parallels to
there were even rumors of human sacrifice.2o
the Lykaia becomecloser.
The sacrificeson Mount Lykaion, Keos, and Mount Pelion have
long been connected from the standpoint of weather-magic'" The
proverbial "prayer of Aiakos" at the altar of Zeus Hellanios on the
highest mountain in Aegina, said to bring storms and rain,'ufalls into
this categoryas well, as does the sacrificeto Zeus Laphystios in the
myth of Phrixos and the golden ram." In order to prevent famine,
king Athamas (whether in Orchomenosor ThessalianHalos) wanted
to sicrifice his son to Zeus Laphystios.When he was alreadystanding
at the altar, the "cloud," Nephele, suddenly camedown and a golden
ram appeared.Thereupon both Phrixos and the ram vanished. The
old connectionwith the Argonauts, and the removal of Phrixos and
the ram to Aietes, more likely reflecta poetic combinationthan a cult
legend. But even in this version of the myth, the ram is sacrificed,
and all that remainsis the golden fleece.
Herodotus tells us that a similar human sacrificefaced the descendantsof Phrixos (that is, Athamas) in ThessalianHalos down to
left to the victim
his own time.28The crucialstep was characteristically
in a comedy of innocence:if the eldestmemberof the family set foot
in the "Le7ton,"the prytaneum, he had to die. Once again,entering a
place not to be enteredis used as an excusefor sacrifice.If the victim
managesto flee but happensto be caught later on, he is led back into

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

ARISTAIOS AND AKTAION

115

sSchol.
Plat. Minos3r5c;Apollod. r.g4.
"Thus, Seneca, Thy. 696,has the
earth quake during the sacrificeof Atreus.
llt
Mens.4.65p. tt9.r9-zz Wuensch;Smith(rg94)
+65_Zg.
xl-ydus
LuK. Syl. D.
55, and cf. Porph. V.pyth. t7 (Idaeancave,Crete).

the "Leiton" to start,the sacrificialprocessionaccordingto the rules.


The descendentof Phrixos, "completely coveredwith rioolen fillets,,,
would be led to the shrine of Laphystian Zeus. The equationwith the
ram could hardly be more obvious. Presumably,a ram would normally take the place of a human victim for Zeus Laphystios, as it
would for other deities. But here, too, the motif of the wolf accompanies-themyth of human sacrifice:Athamas became,just as the oracle had proclaimed,a companionin the meal of the woives, beforehe
ascendedthe Thessalianthrone.2"
The motivation for sacrificialritual in weather-magicmust have
seemedquite convincing to early farming and urban communitiesalways living in the shadow of famine. But the elementof the werewolf
cannot derive from this source,nor the ritual's persistence,given the
undoubtedly frequent failure of the weather to cooperate.frhe.eve,
we can grasp details, we seethat the festival accentuatesand restructures the distribution of societalroles;there are hints of this in the domestictragedybehind the Phrixosmyth-women againstmen, father
against son, brother and sister against everyoneelie. what actually
setsthe "unspeakablesacrifice"in motion is not nature but the order
of the community and its spiritual life. The sacrificecausessuch a
shockthat the cosmosmight well seemto move to the rhythm of the
sacredaction.r
scholars have tried to relate this weather-magicsurrounding
3:":,o-the_concept of an Indo-Europeanstorm god, but the parallels lead rather toward Asia Minor and th" semitic realm. A strange
sheep-sacrifice,
attestedfor Cyprian Aphrodite, has been the subje-ct
,;They
of
detailed
study
by
Robertson
Smith:
sacrifice
sheep
together,
while
they
are
themselves
covered
with
sheepskins"','
then
thlre
is a
sacrificeof wild
pigs,
which
is
seen
us
trengear,.e
for
Adonis,
who
was killed by a boar. Thus, the preliminary Jheep-sacrifice,
in which
tne participants disguise themselves
so
strangely,
probably
repeats
the death of the Great Goddess's,,lord,,
and
lover.
At
Hierapolis,
in
the temple of the "syrian Goddess,,-another
place
where
the
Adonis
tegend was at home-a worshipper,spreliminary sacrifice
consisted
l..llaughtering a black sheep, in"., prortrating himself on its skin,
wtth
the
head
and
feet
wrapped
around
his
body.r,
But
the Great
Goddesscan bring about a woif-metamorphosisas well.
Gilgamesh's

preme god and god of oaths see IG IX 2.71oJ,rto5, tro8, rro9.54,77, 1770,rrz8. For
'Axroios seeStrabo
'Ar<itrtr<ov
L.r,vuoos'Axroioson Chios see C/G zzr4e (II ro3o);for
r3 p. 588,Steph.Byz. "Axrt'ov.
2a"Erat."Cat. p. r84 Robert;Monimos in Clem. Pr. 1.42.4.The "Pan Painter"couples
4o
his famous depictionof Pan with Aktaion'sdeath;seeBostonro.r85 : ARV')55o.r'
sNilsson j95)
395-4or.
26lsocr.9.r4-r5;Diod.4.6r; Paus.2.29.6-8;Clem. Sfron.6.z8.On Cos there was a
xotvdvt6tv oul.nropeuop,ivavrapa Lia'Y|rr'oz. see SIG3 tro7.'lr,peirov duaBaa6 on
Mount Olympus in Thessaly,with an ash-altar:see Plut. fr' r9r Sandbach= PhiloP
seeLyk.16o
CAGXIV r.z6-27.ForanallegedhumansacrificeforZeusOmbriosatElis,
with Schol.
'??Ttirk,Rrvll lll 2458-67;PR lI
4r-5r; Schwenn -r9r) 9-46; Cook I (r9r4) 474-19;
Hes. fr. 6819,254-56,299;Hekataios, FGrHistr F r7; Pherekydes,FGrHisf3F g9lg;
Hellanikos, FGrHist4F rz6;Soph. "Athamas"fr. r-ro Pearson;Eur. PhrixosI and II,
Euripidea,ed. C. Austin (1968),pp. 1ol-loJ The myth of Phrixos is
NouaFragmenta
linked to two sanctuariesof Zeus Laphystios, at Halos in Thessaly(Eur. P/rrirosI; Hdt.
7.rg7; cf. strabo g p. 433; schol. Apoll. Rhod. 2.513)and at orchomenos in Boeotia
(Eut. PhrixosII; Paus.9.j4.5, 1.44.7;Hellanikos,FGrHistr F rz6).
8HdL
7.197,and cf. Plat. Minos 3r5c.
744

complaint against I5tar has long been known: "Because you loved the
herdsman, the keeper . . . you smote him and changed him into a
wolf: now he is hunted by his own shepherd boys and his dogs bite
his ankles."'3 Although the distribution of roles is somewhat different, the context is reminiscent of both Adonis and Aktaion. In
Ugaritic mythology, there is the story of Aqhat the hunter, who was
torn apart by birds of prey, at the bidding of the goddess Anat, who
wanted his bow; his father managed to retrieve from the belly of the
vulture-mother his remains-bones and fat-and to bury them.'It
would be tempting to equate the names Aktaon, Akteon, Aktaion
with Aqhat," but even in the Babylonian and Ugaritic versions we are
nowhere near the "origins" of the myth. The wall painting at Qatal
Hriytik has already been mentioned:* here, some four to five thousand years earlier, we find the leopard men, servants of the Creat
Goddess, a Miinnerbund and mask society, dancing around their victim, the stag. By changing himself into a predatory animal, a hunter,
man single-handedly guaranteed the continuance and development
of the human race in Palaeolithic times; he lived on in this form
through the Neolithic period in the rituals that shaped society, and on
into classical Greece in the sacrificial rites and myths about the stag
and the werewolf.

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

a whole.' Moreover, like Olympia-or even more so, becauseof its


greatpopularity-the sanctuarywas repeatedlyentangledin political
and military disorders, and each SacredWar brought new forms of
administrationwhich influencedthe function and senseof identity of
Apollo's servants.Thus, as at Olympia, various traditions becamesu_
and disentanglingthem is no mean task. The most sigperimpo-sed,.
nificant break probably came with the first sacred war, shortlv after
6oo n.c., in the course of which the Pylaic Amphictiony of Anthela
took over the supervisionof Delphi from the inhabitantsof Krisa and,
aboveall, organizedthe Pythian games,starting in 586.,Nonetheless,
the oracle'sauthority was undiminished by the crisis. The cult of the
Delphic priesthood was virtually untouched, just as, later, it would
survive the sanctuary'ssudden decline in late Hellenistic timesStrabo called Delphi "the poorest sanctuary", of his time. yet the
detailed information about the cult, which we find primarily in plutarch, consistentlycorrespondsto more ancient allusions or indications. Thus, we may conclude that the Delphic rituars maintained
essentiallythe sameforms at the sameplacefor at leasteight hundred
years.
Delphi was set apart from the normal Greek polis: since it was
isolatedon a steepmountain six hundred metersabove the valley of
the Pleistos,nestled by the Castalianspring between the grandiose
Phaedriadiccliffs, Delphi could never be a farming community. Already the HomericHymn to Apollonstatesin no uncertain termi that
the Delphianshad lived for, as well as from, the sanctuaryever since
the most ancienttimes. There may be sometruth to the tradition that
the Delphiansoriginally camefrom Lykoreia,sinasmuchas it is possible for a community to exist there bn the large plateau above the

THE DELPHIC TRIPOD

5. TheDelphicTripod

33Gilgamesh
Vl i, 58-63, ANET 84.
vANET r49-5j.lt has been postulatedtime and again that Aqhat is revived-ANET
(r96r'1),323-but the heart of the myth consistsof death by
r55; Th. Gaster,Thespis
being torn apart, "collecting,"and burying; cf. l.8.n.rz above.
35Astour
$96) t$-68.
aSeeaboveat n. 16.

477

'See
Nilsson Q9o6)15o-62,283-88,46t-62; (t955) t7o-74,6r5-fi; Farnell IV (r9o7)
t79-zr8,2ga-911,;H. Pomtow REIY z5r7-z7oo;RE Suppl. ly rrSg-r412; F. Schober,
R! Suppf Y 6r-ry2; G. Daux, Pausanias
d DetphesQ976);p.Amandry Ia mantiqueapollinenned DelphesQg5o);f. Defradas, Lesthimesde la propagande
delphique(1954);M. Delcourt,
L'oracle
de Delphes(1955);Parkeand Wormell (rSSg);G. Roux, Delphi:Orakelund
Kultstiitten
(r97r). on the myth seeFontenrose(1959);on the resultsof the excavations
see Foulllas
de
Delphes
(r9oz
and
after).
'zThe
most
accurate
pindar's
pythian odes,
tradition
is
to
be
found
in
the
hypothesis
to
fthol' Pind. ILr-5 Drachmann,basedon the archivalresearches
of Aristotle and Kalusthenesat
=
Delphi,
SIC)
275
FCrHist
rz4T
23.
tf
4zo.wvi ye ror neuicrarov icrw 16 Ev A,ehgois iepdv11pr11.tarorv
"yeyapw.
ltO:?:
.rut. ue yyth. or.
4o5c,in whose time the pythia was the daughterof poor farmers.
]'.
oSee
n. 7 below.
ssee
n. zz below.

The first sanctuarythat comesto mind in consideringthe sacred


tripod is, of course, Pytho, the Delphic sanctuary,the far-famedoracle of Apollo which, simultaneously,was the centerof the PylaicAmphictiony and site of the Pythian games.Delphi played such a significant role in Greek religious, intellectual, and political life that it is
impossibleto do justice in a few pagesto the Delphic phenomenonas

t16

,,r]

*1r

l',

IOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

rr8

6Nilsson (rgSS\
llg.
'Hy.
Ap.
528-38; pr4lo6dx9 flistizrPind. Pyth. yz7.
EForthe legerid of Aesop see POxy r8oo
fr. z col. ll 3z-46 = Aesopica,
ed. B. E. Perry
(1952), Test. 25 p. z2r, and cf. Schol. Flor. Callim. Ir. 19r.:^6-25;Schol. Pind. Nem.
7.62a; Pherekydes, FGrHrst3 F 64; in addition see Achaios ft. 4, TGI p. 249 = Ath.
r73d; Burkert, Gnomonl8 (t966), 4)g-4o.

Phaedriadic cliffs between the Korykian cave and Mount Parnassus,


but already before 6oo n.c. Delphi was governed by Krisa down on
the gulf of Corinth, for the envoys who came to the isolated slopes
seeking the counsel of the god generally came by ship. Delphi was
the only Greek community to make religion its main occupation; the
basisfor this unique role was the oracle'span-Hellenicand even international fame. It was this, too, that prompted the intervention of the
Amphictiony. And the Pythian gameswere all the more glorious becausethey were connectedto the sanctuary.The god spoke at Delphi:
here, piety was firmly imbedded in the transcendentalworld. However,the worldly actionthat gaverise to the oracle,and which we can
grasp, was a specialform of sacrificialritual. The siteof the oracle,the
place of pronouncementsand liberating purifications, was first and
foremost a placeof sacrifice,outdoors, high on the mountain.
The excavatorsof the temenosfound "the earth fat with organic
remains mixed with ash and burnt bones, and filled with countless
Mycenaeansherdsand terra-cottas."uHouseswere even built in this
terrain that would normally have been considered unfit for habitation. The HomericHymn to Apollodescribeshow the god himself built
his sanctuaryamong the cragsof Mount Parnassusand in the form of
a dolphin personallyled his priests,the Delphians,from Crete. "How
shall we live now?" they ask in fright on seeingthe temple high up on
the slope. But the god comforts them with a smile: "Each of you
should carry a knife in your right hand and slaughter sheep continually; for they will be there in abundance. . . . But guard my
temple and receivethe tribes of men."'Thus, Apollo's worshippers
brought their sheep up from the fertile plain to the mountain to be
slaughteredwith the assistanceof the priestswith their knives. These
priests were then allowed to enjoy themselvesat the meal. The sacrifice was accomplishedin a most peculiar way: "Whenever someone
enters the sacred precinct to sacrifice to the god, the Delphians surround the altar, each of them carrying a knife. And when the lord of
the sacrificehas slaughteredthe victim, skinned it, and removed its
entrails, then all those standing around cut off as much as they can
for themselvesand go away with it; thus, the sacrificerhimself is
often left empty-handed."'For this reason,a versefrom comedy be-

ilill

rlll

lllir

,ltli
I

THE DELPHIC TRIPOD

cameproverbial: "When you sacrificeat Delphi, you will have to buy


extra meat for yourself to eat."oThe Delphic knives were made in a
specialform which we are unableto reconstructwith certaintyin spite
of numerousironic allusions.'0In any case,rather than a transcenden6l piety, the Delphic sheep-sacrificeexhibited all-too-human traits.
"Like flies around a goatherdor like Delphiansat sacrifice:,,'rthis is a
picture of shamelessobtrusion. But no one ever tried to reform what
acruallytook place in the sacredprecinct,for it was an unchangeable,
sacredcustom.
Preciselythis form of Delphic sacrificeis reflectedin the heroic
myth that reconstructsthe action as a human tragedy: NeoptolemosPyrrhos, the _son of Achilles, suffered a horrible death ai Apollo,s
hearth in Delphi, and his grave in the sacredprecinct was ilways
pointed out.12The motivation for the act varies accordingto whether
or not the specific version presents Pyrrhos in a good light. Some
makehim a temple robber whom the god justly punishes;'rbthersdescribefrim as a pious worshipper of the oraclewho was perniciously
killed by Orestes.laWhat actuallyhappenedthere, the ,,act,,itself, remains unchanged. Neoptolemossacrificedto Apollo at the ,,hearth,,
in his temple; there he was surrounded by Delphiansand, in the confusion of carving and snatchingup the sacrificialmeat, he was killed
with a Delphic knife.lsrhus, in sacrificing,he himself becamethe vict-t- i" this specificallyDelphic ritual. The genealogiescall the murderer "Machaireus," "the knife-man," son of Daitis, ,,the feaster,,;
and,-far from making him a criminal, they give him priestly status.
His descendantis Branchus,the founder of the other famous'oracleof
Apollo, at Didyma near Miletus.16As for Neoptolemos-pyrrhos,he is

eCom.
ailesp.4fu; CAF lll 495: Plut. e. cono.Toga;App. prov. t.95, paroem.Gr. |
3g1.
mArist.
Pol. rz5zbzand in Hsch. Aelgrr4 p,ayarpa,prov. Coisl. to5 : App. prov. r94,
Paroem.Gr.I 393.The knife is alsomentioneJrn Hy. Ap.535 and Aristoph.
fr. 6a4.
ttCallim.
fr. 19r.z6-27.
r2J'
Fontenrose, The Cult nnd Myth of pyrrosat Derphi(196o);M. Delcourt, pyrrhos pyret
rhn
Pouilloux
$96);
and
G.
itoux,
J.
inigmes
a Oapiu (r9g);L. Woodbury,phoenrx33
Gg7il,^gS-_tll.For the tomb seepaus. i.U.e, r.4.4; Schol.pind. Nern.
7.62c;J. pouilde,DelphelII: La rtgion nord du sanctuairee9tu),49_6o. For the myth see
;::1, :-Uryr
Nem.7.4o-47with Schol.5g,62;Eur.Anir. 49_55,trzz_57;Eur.
Xo .nor.6.rr6-zo;
pearson;pherekydes,rC,iUii
Hermionepp.
14a-43
1F Oa;esklepi
]:lo1!-y.,
.9tl"j .Soph.
r:
F
r5;
Apotlod.
Epit.
6.4-14.
On the Ruvo crater(Jatta239)seeJ. pouil_
ljlt
G. Roux, Enigmes
d Detphes
fugg) r:.9.3,and cf. G. Roux, AK i (9Oa)-,y_q.
;:t:"o
..Dtrabo9 p. 421;Schol.Pind. Nem.7.5g,r5oa;and cf. paus.1.73.g,4.1.7.4.
t.'-Eur.
Andr.
rocrcIf .
'"Ma1odpq 9g5-9g,
pind,. Nem.
7.42.
'"Asklepiades,
FCrHist tz F t5; Callim. fr. 229.7;Strabog p.
421.

r19

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

gr

honored eternallypreciselybecausehe died: he now has a place in


the sanctuary"seeing to law and iustice in the heroes' processions
amid much sacrifice."" Pindar assuresus that it was necessaryfor
such a heroto be situatedin the sanctuary.Admittedly, the excavators
did not find at the site a grave consecratedto Neoptolemos-Pyrrhos,
but, rather,a Mycenaeanpithos, filled with ashesand the remains of
bones."Thisis, however,a placeof sacrifice,with its double aspectof
killing and renewinglife. fust as Zeus was united with Pelops,so Delphic Apollo is associatedwith his chosen victim, whom the poets
made into the son of Achilles. His death occursin the sacredprecinct
in a violentritual which the Delphiansregularly repeat.
Once again, two grouPs confront each other in the sacrifice:
Apollo'sworshippercoming from afar,and the native Delphians. The
one brings a sacrificialanimal and slaughtersit, the others "steal" the
meat and eat it. Thus, man searchesfor god in the wilderness, far
from the world of peacefulcommunitiesand farms, and there he encountersthe god'swild servants,a group of greedy gluttons. The first
inhabitantof the ravines of Mount Parnassusto be attestedin Greek
literatureis none other than Autolykos, the "werewolf." His grandson was Odysseus,whom he taught how to hunt, and it was there
that Odysseussuffered the wound that was to reveal his identity."
The Delphianspointed out the site of the boar hunt, and the place
where Odysseusreceived his wound, in their gymnasium20not far
from the Castalianspring.
This early legend is not the only link between Delphi and the
wolf. "The Delphiansworship the wolf" was Aelian'sstraightforward
in referenceto the bronze statue of a wolf that the
pronouncement2'
Delphians set up as a votive gift beside the great altar; moreover,
there was a story that a wolf caught and killed a temple robber. If
was a temple robbet he sufferedthe samefate
Neoptolemos-Pyrrhos
at the handsof the Delphians. In any case,in stealing the sacrifice,
their behaviorwas distinctly wolflike. The name of the wolf is linked
primarily with Lykoreia, the place where the Delphians were said
to have originated.The name was taken to mean "howling of the
wolves," though "wolf-mountain" would be etymologically more accurate. Accordingto the legend, the first human beings, Deucalion
and Pyrrha,landed on Mount Parnassusafter the great flood and,
'8Pouilloux,Fouilles11,57-59.
'7Pind. Nem.
7 44-47.
teOd.
ry391-466.
nPaus.ro.8.8.On Apollon Lykeios at Delphi, seeJ. Bousquet'BCH p (t#),
2tNat.an. ru.4o;Paus.7o.r4.7,and cf. Plut. Pericl.zr.

120

THE DELPHIC TRIPOD

guided by "howling wolves," they founded their city and named it


accordingly.'The Delphians, or at least the most prominent Delphic
families, traced their ancestryback to Deucalion;r,in u se.rse,fhey
were still following the footstepsof the wolf in the ritual of robbing
the sacrifice.There was even a story that Apollo was borne by a shewolf;'oand modern scholarsdispute whether the name Apollo Lykeios
has to do with Lycia, "light" or the "wolf"'u-most Greeks, in any
case,took it to mean "wolf ."
Opposing the she-wolf'sson was the son of the ,,ram,,:one tradi_
tion claimedthat the Pythian gameswere establishedbecauseApollo
killed a robber from Euboea,the son of Krios,ruHere, the sacrificeof a
sheepin Apollo's precinct has becomepart of the legend almost undisguised. By contrast, the official myth, which becamewidespread
no later than the first Pythian gamesin 586when Sakadasincluded it
in his performanceof the "Pythian nome,",'names python, the earthborn dragon, as Apollo's opponent and victim.rsBut already plutarch
noticedthat the fight againstthe dragon has very little to do with Delphic ritual-'?e'Rather,
it is a favorite motif of the orientalizing era, a
period with a distinct preferencefor such monsters,and it waJprobablytransposedto Delphi by the poetswithout affectingthe cult or entirely supplanting rival traditions. still more ancient,and immensely
popular, is the story of how Herakles fought Apollo for the pythian
tripod.s rhis may or may not reflect the memoriesof a Dorian invasion and the take-overof a pre-Dorian cult-site;in any case,the fact
that two polarized groups arosein the Delphic ritual, each struggling

,Paus.
ro.6.z.
and
.
cf
Marm.
Par.,
FGrHist
z1g
A
2,4;
Andron,
FGrHist
ro F g; Callim.
fr.5'; Strabo gp.4r8; 'Azrdtrtrary lruxaptis Callim. Hy. z.r9; Apoll.
Rhod. 4.r49o; Euphorion fr. 8o.r powell.
BSee
n.
below.
47
xArist.
Hrst.-an. 58oar8; Ael. Nal. an. ro.z6; cf. Ant. Lib.
15. The meaning of Apollo
nvxrlyevils, ll.
4.tor, was disputed even in antiquity.
ECook
I (ryr4) g-68, who argues for ,,light.,,
xPaus.
ro.6.6.
27Paus.
poll.
:.22.8cf.
S
t
r
a
b
o
p
.
e
;
4
.
7
g
;
9
4
2
1
.
'For
the most detailed discussion see Fontenrose (1959); in
the Hymn to Apoilo, the
dragon is female and nameless.
nPlut.
De def. or.
-4.l8a.
4t7f
"There are reliefs and vase-paintings
with the fight for the tripod starting in Geometric
times,
but
the
identification of Herakles and Apollo becomes a certainty only in the
ffi""n,ury,
r"1Sj.P...Lr.", AlAl4eyo),
)73-:;l;E. Kunze, OlympischeForschungenz
\1950), Lt)-77; F Willemsen,ldl
7o (:'gS), gl_gg; Brornmer (i96o) 3o_38; Schefold
(rg6+) T.ab.

iirl
il'

,l

rlr
,.r,l
"J,,

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

in
for the sacrificialmeat-which, of course, would have been kept
those
the tripod-and the fact that the "robbers" in this ritual were
the
*t o .i"r" truly obedient to the god are goo-d.indicationsthat
not just a
ritual provided the storyb basic structure and that it was
p'oa,''.tofchance.Transcendingthesacrificialstruggles,however,
order Prevailed.
Apollo's
'
Deliogethu, *ittl the tripod, the act of.cutting up the ram links
phitot"heLykaiaandolympia.AsatOlympia,moreover/afoot-race
was
ivas held in ihe stadium. The temple'sspecialfunction, however,
unique to Delphi, as was the role of the Pythia, th9 w9m11 consehome
cratid to Apolio. Inside, there was the famous hearth (ioria)'
alien to the ordinary
of the eternal flxms3r-a very ancient feature,32
Greek temple. The tripod was kept in the temple'sinnermost area,
the adyton,'3which *it oputt to only a few' Thosewho came for advice could probably have ieen what was happening only from a distance; they would have seen the consecratedwoman sitting on the
tripod, would have heard her alteredvoice and thus have known that
Aiollo's word was passingthrough her lips' The Stoic"pneuma" doctrine gave rise to tire theory-eagerly taken up by rationalists-that
.,rupor:,rising from the depihs of the earth in the adyton would have
But this theory
induced the"Pythia'stranceand her prophetic Powers'
v
has not stood up to archaeologicalexamination: there is simply no
trace of a chasrrlor any volcanicactivity whatsoeverbeneaththe temple at Delphi. There were, of course,vaPors surrounding the tripod
as the nyihia entered the adyton and took her place on the sacred
seat:lauiel leaveswould have been burned, with barley grains" and

i,lflil"l

,ril

rl

iI
rt

rl

rtPaus.ro.z4.4;Plut. Nunrag.n; Aristideszo'4; De E 385c'For the Amphictionic oath


'Azrti)r)tcov
fhir]ros rai Lar<i xcti "Aprep'tfs xai)'Ecria
see SIG, 826C t40 [ipr.s re] roi
Aesch' Cho' to17;
xcrinitp dtlavarovrai rleoi r:o:vresxai rdc:aq and ct Hom' Hy z4;
the hymn of Aristonoos,pp. 164-65Powell'
F. Oelmann, Bonn' lb' t57
3rYavis(1949)
59-Zo;S. Marinatos, BCHfu $y6), 49-4o;
Baukunstin geometrischer
HomericaO" Griechische
ti-5ziE. Drerup, Archaeologia
119571,
Zeit $96$, rzl-28.
,3paus.
Eur. Iph. Taur. rz56;AristonoosI 13 p. 163Powell;
Hdt.
d6vov
ro.2,4.5
;
7.r4t;
DeDef'or'4';7c'Theexactarrangeoixos.ivri,rorlsyp<,tp'6vovsrQBeQxafil{ouvtvPlut
-tt5
ment of the interior of the temple is not certain:seeRoux \tg7r) 9t
vcic. Dir,. r.r15, and ct. 18,Zg;Diod. 16.26(lateHellenisticsource,E schwartz' RE V
with text and inter682);Strabo gi. +rS;Lucan5.165;Ps'-Long' r3'z; Callim' Hy' 4'178'
pretation uncertain.Cf' Nilsson (1955)t7z'1'
iPl,rt. De Pyth. or. J97a;De E 385c;chewing the laurel is mentioned by Lyk' 6 ano
Tzetz. ad loc.,Luk. Bisacc.t.

r22

THE DELPHIC TRIPOD

perhaps-othersorts of incense.But it was simply subjectiveopinion


lnd traditional belief.that the tripod rocked and shook in the murky
1eofllr that a power from the depths was at work when the pythia
spokeot rather "sang" and "screamed."$The tripod and the vapors
rising from a fire go hand in hand in any case;at Olympia, too, we
encounteredthe tale of the tripod mysteriously starting to boil.3'
The Delphic tripod had a cover,on which the pythia sat.s It is no
wonder that all sorts of rumors circulatedas to its secretcontents,but
all of them pointed basicallyin one direction: the remains of some
slaughteredcreaturewere gatheredinside-"the bones and the teeth
of the Python snake,"" accordingto one version in keeping with the
official myth of the fight and death at Delphi. An apocryphal tradition, by contrast,inverted the victor and his victim: 'Apollo was the
son of Silenus;he was killed by Python; his remains were deposited
in the so-calledtripod."a The majority, however, also unofficial and
relatedto sectarianmysteries,spokeof Dionysusslain: ,,Whenthe Titans had torn apart Dionysus, they gave hir li-bs to his brother,
Apollo, having thrown them into a kettle, but he preserved them
closeto the tripod."n' This was surely not Callimachus'own inventicin. We find his statementconfirmed by Plutarch: ,,The people of
Delphi believethat the remainsof Dionysus rest with them besidethe
oracle,and the Hosioi offer a secretsacrificein Apollo's shrine whenever
the
Thyiades
wake
Liknites
Dionysus].',0,
Thus, plutarch
[sc.
placesthis
tradition
in
the
context
of
a
sacrificial
ritual.
Starting with Aeschylus' Eumenides,
there is a great deal of evi-

rPythia
tdv rpizroia
plut. z"rt.,,An..Lov
itaoeurap.twl
Luk.
Brs
acc.
r;
schol.
Aristoph.
roi tpiroios 6agn1 t<rraro,i)u i1 flu}ia. iluixa Eypqcp<!6et.
t<retev;cf . RristonoosI ro,
p. r53 Powell;dej8ousa"E),trr1ot
BoasEur.Ion 92.
YSee
ILz, p. roo above.
O,^r:tZenob. Par.1.61,paroem.Gr.l7z;Schol.
Aristoph.plut.g;Vesp.4g;ivonp.tos
l
fr_ ro44 Pearson.For the Pythia ',sitting" ,"" iu.. lon
9z (correspondingly,
TPt
lph. Taur. rz54;Or. SS5-56);Diod. 16.26-27.For vase-paintingsseeWillllb,
!yl.
(t95),85-88 The "raving" Qtc.ueiao)of the pythia is meitioned by
-S,itT, .ldl 7o
Pjdl
Amandry,
Mantique,
19-24, disputed the pythiis ecstasy;cf. R. Flace"4fa.
[11
trere,Rrulrl?desEtudes
Anciennes
5z (r95o), Jo6-24;parke and Wormell (t95g) | 3a_q.
Aen. 3.36oand cf. 3.92,6.147;Eust.ad Dion. per.44t: Lpaxavirro re rpt1**
::"
xwL gtey-fetat',Luk."
Astr. zz.

V. Pyth.
ft,
following
Antonios
Dogenes.
ll*n
fr:!o-2: Schol.Lyk. zo7;Cailim. fr.
V7 in Et. Gen.= Et. M. 255..4-16;phi,;til^
FGrHist
Euphorion
fr. 13 powell; Clem. pr. z.18.z.
SzBF
7;
;T:toros,
rtut. Is. j65a, and cf. De
E 3g9c.

723

l'

lr
I
{l

ltll

iltr

|[

rll

hir

rli
iti
I
,/ jlJh,r

iil

liill''

tl

l
'1

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

dence that not only Apollo was worshipped at Delphi, but Dionysus
as well.n3The Leningrad vase-painting on which Apollo offers his
hand to Dionysus at Delphi has often been used as an illustration.
The pediments of the fourth-century temple presentedApollo in the
circle of the Muses in the east, Dionysus among the Thyiades in
the wests-a studied antithesisof morning/evening,light/darkness,
the two were in fact conceivedof as brothers. Plutarchastestifiesthat
three winter months were consecratedto Dionysus, but Apollo resumed power in the month Bysios in spring. This pairing has been
seen as a result of a religious-historicalprocess,a shrewd balance,
permitting the Delphic priesthood to assimilatethe religious movements of the sixth century and at the same time to soften their impact.e There is undoubtedly some truth to this. But it is not a question of diplomatic compromise or give-and-take,but, rather, of a
polarity in which the contrary elements determine each other, like
east and west, day and night. It comprisessavageryversus clarity,
lack of inhibition versusawarenessof limitations, femaleversusmale,
proximity to death versusaffirmation of life: this is the circularcourse
that sacrificialritual charts again and again, renewing life by encountering death. The circle of the "werewolves" around the tripod kettle
is a form of the ritual especiallyrich in antitheses.In the Delphic context, Dionysusis more likely a new name or accentuationof the one
pole than a foreign intruder; in the sacrificialritual, the polar tension
is present from the outset.
Plutarch mentions two rituals, simultaneously performed and
mutually determinant, that he associateswith the dismembermentof
Dionysus. The Hosioi would offer an "unspeakable"sacrificein the
a3Aesch.Eum. zz, z4; Soph. Ant. rrz6; Eur. Ion
150-51, 7r4-t8, t:'z5; Iph. Taur. tz41;
Phoen.zz6 with Schol.; Bacch.3o6-1o9; Hypsipylefr. 752; Aristoph. Nrh. 6o5; Philodamosp. 165Powell.
sleningrad crater,St. $o7 : trpyz n85.7, Metzger(r95r) T.25.3;Ior the pedimentsee
Paus. ro.r9.4. The sixth century temple was different: see FD IV 3; P. de la Costesculptures
destemplesQgSt),15-74; J. Ddrig, Festschr.
K. ScheMesselidre,Art archailque:
fold (,\K Beih. 4, 1965),r.o5-rog. For "Delphos" the son of Apollo and Thyia see Paus.
ro.6.4; cf. the Vienna crater 9J5 : ARV2 r44r; Metzger Qg5r) pl.zz.4: Aphrodite,
Apollo, Omphalos,Thyiad.
asPlut. De E
389c;for the identificationof Dionysuswith Apollo seeMenander Rhet.Cr '
III 446 Spengel,and cf. Aesch. fr. 86 Mette and Philodamos.On Dionysusas the first
to give oraclessee Schol. Pind. Pyth. p.2.7, t) Drachmann. See also'Atr6Mruv 6tovuoo}orosat Phlya, Paus.r.3r.4; in Asia Minor seeApollo and Marsyas(linked with
the sacrificeof a ram in the Louvre statue542).
*Rohde (1898)II
54-55;cf . H. Jeanmaire,Dionysos(rg5r), r87-9r.

r24

THE DELPHIC TRIPOD

shrine; and_theThyiades would "wake" the child in the winnowing


;a1.47The Hosioi were the m-ostdistinguished sociargroup at Delphi
direct descendantsof Deucalion.By undergoing a special,seemingly
ancient,initiation sacrifice,they attained the stitus of ,,the purified,,
and were hence able to deal with "the unspeakable,,on i regular
basis.This probably entailed a sacrificialdismemberment.Euripides
combines a similar "consecration"with omophagy in Crete.d The
Miinnerbundis juxtaposedto the company of "iaviig" women; the act
of killing in the shrine correspondsto caring for thJnewborn child in
the female realm, a secretaction performed in the mountain wilderness,ason Mount Lykaion or at olympia. The Thyiadeswould have
roamed Mount Parnassusin ecstasyduring the winter;{, accordingly,
the Hosioi must have offered their unspeakablesacrificeat this time.
Plutarch indicates,as.clearlya_sone possibly could with something
"unspeakable,"that the sacrificecorresponded to the dismember_
ment of Dionysus. Thus, it probably followed the main lines of Dionysiacmyth, i.e., tearing apart, gathering, and preserving in a sa_
cred container.This in turn correspondsto the aniient closiig rite in
hunting and sacrificialritua_I,The myth tells us that Arkas u.jp"lop,
emergedfrom the sacrificialkettle revived. And at Delphi, the advent
9f Apollo marked the closeof the Dionysiacperiod. Apollo,sbirthday
falls on the seventhday of the month of nysios in the spring,. which
likewise signalsApollo's return to power. "In ancienttimes--the oracle spoke only on this day. Death, as embodied in the previous un_
speakablesacrifice,was finally overcomeby renewed divine life when
the Pythia took her placeon the coveredtripod. Ecstasyis a phenom_
enon sui generis,but its placeis fixed by the sacrificial
ritual.
Yet another sacrificehad to be made before the pythia
might
enter the-adyton-this
time,
a
goat-sacrifice.
Before
it
could
be
iaughtered,however,its entire boay had to be made to shudder;sr
therefore

rPfut.
k.
cf
.
De
def
.
or.
)6sa;
Gr.
z9zd.
4JBb;
e.
fr a7z.rz -ry; cf. 1.5.n.25above.Lyk. zo7alludesto a secret
sacrificeto Donysus
,".E;1
at
Delphi

Oltl t'rig. 9yd; De


uir. z49e-f;paus.ro.4.z-3 (everysecondyear),and cf.
l^Ol"r.
.mul.
'!_-?r...Z,Hdt.
7.t78; philodamos 27-2'),p. 166poweil; Aiirto.,oos I 37,p. 16l powell;
Latullus 6+.3go-Sl. On Liknites."u
Niilrror,(rSSil lg_+5.
O. Cr. zgze-f, with referenceto Kallisthenes
, FGrHist 124F 49.
"llt, O. def. or.
65c, 4.37bi1u aiya; r6L Be6fuyp4orilpbo, . . .aiya x[c.*rtprevona
,ll'l\er
qoat's
t'or
a
41'21.
head
on Derphiccoins see HN2 34o;Hsch. ripgal,dsAiTcaosis
cf. stepi. Byz. Aiva. on ihe shudder of the sacrificiaranimal
,"" Lr..,.r3
::rrupu
above.

125

1l

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

it was
it was doused with cold water' When the goat then quivered'
nottakenasanodofconsent-aswouldnormallybethecaseina
fe-ar'I 'egends
comedy of innocence-but, rather, as a sign of quaking
but also of
speak oi t o* Aix, ihe "goat," mourned its father' Python'u2
insane by the
n'.r* g"",r aiscoveredti'e oraclewhen they were driven
apors." Thus, the goat is clearly made to correspond-to the
;;ti;'t
was offering
Fytf,i" heiself. When the pylhia mounted the tripod, she
r,!ir"rr up to death in an expiatory act-of mourning for the_previous
Python or
Uttifu lt'made no difference whether the victim was called
yet
Dionlsus or even Apollo himself' The Pythia, a mature woman'
sodressed and adorned like a virgin,s the only woman in-a male
no other woman wal permitted to approalh thg oracle.i"ty-fo.
too
*ui l"d to the tripod almost like a sacrificial victim herself. She
would shudder, her entire body would quake, but the divine presencewelledupoutoftheanguishandfear:Apotlowouldbethere
and would speak.
Christian polemicstried to denigratethe imageof the woman sita
ting atop rising vapors by embroidering-it with sexualdetails'usEven
as
ouiun like pausaniascalied the Sibyl "the god's consecrated_wife,"
L""rct yt"r had made Apollo's relation to-Kassandraa sexualencounter;r similar ideaswere ipplied to the Pythia consortingwith Apollo.5'
simulYet, in the contextof saciiiice,offering oneselfup to the god-is
taneouslyan encounterwith death. The "virgin" awakensthe.reproit'
ductive po*"r, in what had been dead and, being posse-ssedby
winmakes this new life manifest. After the unspeakable sacrificeof
in the shrine beside the hearth and the tripod, the
t"i p"*"r^"d
divine
uua^sor spring mark the advent of Apollo, the embodiment of
wisdom and cllarity,the source of potentially crucial guidance.
Besidesthe hearth and the tripod, and even more prominent'
wastheomphalos,the,,navelofttreearth,,,thesacredsymbolofthe
s'?Plut. Gr' 293c.
Q.
s3Dod. 16.26;Plut. De def.or. 415d.
aDiod.t6.z6;yuwlEur. longr;ypair'Aesch. Eum. 18;d7vi16r'oBiouPlut'Dedef'or'
4J5d'$k.
sorig. cels.
xo\tav;Joh. Chrysost.,Migne PG
T.S66yerrlt.rrueipa6urr6tvyvvaweiav
(tgro)7-8,75-76;
6r..{., followedby Schol.Aristoph. Ptuti.19,Sudazr 3r4o;cf. Fehrle
K. Latte, HThRY (r94o),9-r8.
spaus. ro.rz.z; Aesch. Ag. L2o)-L2. The prophetessat Patarais shut into the temPleat
night: Hdt. r.r8z.z. Seealso Pap.Gr.Mag' r'z9r'
sTplut.De pyth. or.4o5c, and cf. De sera566d;Ps.-Long.t!.z Eyrup,ovafis 6o:r'tt'oviott
xafl wt a p"6v4v 6uvti P'eas.

rz6

THE DELPHIC TRIPOD

Delphicsanctuary.$The actualomphalos was probably locatedin the


adyton of the temple, next to the tripod. It was coveredwith a net-like
fabric made of raw wool." Both in antiquity and today, there have
beennumerousinterpretationsof this symbol. The conceptof a center
of the world, expressedanthropomorphically in the image of the
navel/ characteristicallydesignatesa place where sacredactions oc*
c!,r; every sanctuaryis in some sensea "center." Nevertheless,the
function of the Delphic stone was a matter for debate.Was it a grave
Whatmonument, for Python,5lfor instance;was it a chthonic altar?62
everthe standardinterpretationsor designationsmay have been, the
omphalos had one primary function in the ritual: it was the stand
over which the woolen net was draped. In just this way Palaeolithic
huntersspreada bearskinover a clay model, and Hermes laid out the
cowskinson the rocks.u'Theomphalos,as a sacrificialmonument, belongs in the category of ritual restoration, a practice spanning the
time from the ancient hunter through Greek sacrificialritual. Slaughtering the victim at the "hearth" and tearing it apart like wolves
are combined with "gathering" the piecesinto the tripod kettle and
spreadingthe fleece,or the goatskin,out on the stone:in the temple
at Delphi, the symbols of the oracle are Hestia, the tripod, and the
omphalos.The stone set up for sacrificeis the centerof the world.

Every eighth year there was a festival at Delphi, which Plutarch


alone describesin all its curious details.d However, becauseboth

$See
Harrison Qgzz) 396-4o6;Cook II (r9zl :169_93;
Fontenrose Q95g 376-77;H. Y.
Herrmann, Omphalos
(r1Sil; J.Bousquet, BCH 75 g95r), zro'23. There is rich comParativematerialin the essaysof W. H. Roscher,Abh. Leipzig29.9g9t1l,3r.r (r9r5);
Ber.kipzig 7o.z (r9t8).
tlts
name could be aiyis, Ael. Don. c 48, Paus.Att. a 4o, but J. Harrison called it
ayprlvovwith referenceto Poll.
4.r16: BCH z4 egrn), 2.54-62.
'Ci
M Eliade, Das Heiligeund dasProfanej957), zz-zg. The omphalos appears as the
center
of
the
world
in
the
myth
of the two birds who come from either end of the world
and meet there;cf. Pind. fr.
54 = Strabog p. 419;paus. ro.16.3;plut. De def. or. 4o9e.
6
Varro
L.l. 7.r7; Hsch. T of iou Bouvos.Forfrescoesfrom the house of the Vettii see R.Ull
ttt
,,tomb DiFontenrose
3407;
of
OgSil tZS; Harrison Ggzil 4z+;EAA Vl 315.For the
onysus"seeTatian8 p.
9.t7 Schwartz(cf. n. 4r above).
*Herrmann,
Omphalos
(n. 5g above).
asee
l.z.n.rl above.
{th

sourceis Plut. De def.or. 4r7e- 4r8d; seealso e. Gr. z91c;De mus. tt36a;
.'^u."itt
FGrHist 7oF 3tb: Strabo9 p. 4zz; Theopompos, FGrHist rrTF Bo = Ael. VH
lllT..::
J'r,
\-afum. h. 86-89,
ry4.j4-36; cf. B. Snell, Hermes73 OSlg), +lg on pind. pae. ro;

L27

ilil

l
I

l l

lli

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

had'
Ephorus and Theopompusallude to it, we know that the festival
even
Uy ttre fourth century iong been in existence;it was evidently
to the Pythian
oider than the first Sacredfrar, for it was closelylinked
year until in
games, which were also originally held in every eighth
every fourth. The ritual establishesa
!g6 ah"V began to be celebra"ted
in Thes- t"h?ionship betweenDelphi and the valley of Tempe
ii.if.itrg
was brought
;;lt f -", from ihere that the sacred laurel branch
In the
*frich was used to crown the victor at the Pythian games'
group of
courseof the long pilgrimage on the "sacred" route' a large
to the
tribes and cities woul"clbe s-ummonedto the common festival,
the festival which Plutarch called the
agon, which was precededby
;;3"pi"rio.t,"u' the festival of 'dread" ot "flight'" One might consider
whether or not this was actuallya festival of the PylaicAmphictiony'
to
sinceit was originally centeredat Thermopylae,considerablycloser
have
the valley of Tlmpe. The eight-yearperiod, however'* cannot
been introduced into Delphi at tire time of the first SacredWar, for it
have
was then that the four-yeir interval was established.There may
of an
b"". u more complicatedoverlapping,basedon the foundations
sepessentially ritual structure, for- even the rare and exceptional
terion fiti the structure of the normal Delphic sacrificialritual: there,
and
too, we find a sacrificeto incur guilt, marked by flight' expiation'
the return of the god.
For this festival, a wooden building, a "hut" (oqvi)' which'
however, "looks like an imitation of a king's or a tyrant'spala-ce"'was
the circular sPacea short disbuilt on the "threshing floor" (<il,<os),
tance down from the iemple terrace'6'We do not know what went
comon inside the hut, but the climax came when the building was
pt","ty destroyed' Torchesin hand-that is, at night-the members
init tfr" f-uUyadaiphratry silently Ied a young boy to attack the hut;
and
side, they overturned [h" tubt", set fiie to ihe wooden structure,
of the
fled without turning around until they reachedthe entrance
Nilsson(19o6)r5o; HarH. Usener, ARW7 ;rr,4),3t7-28: Kl Schr'lV (r9r3)' 45r-58;
(tgSil +fiff'
rison (1927) 425-28;Jeanmaire(t919) 187-4l,t; Fontenrose
uQ.Gr. z91c2errrr1prcv
Mss., 2tetrrilptov Bernardakis;Hsch oerrnpia' xa0o,pltos'
oreltlt'ara, <ioi' ix6tat
dxrluocs(incorrectly listed after oecuop6vos\) Hsch. ontrrilpta'
Nilsson ('.9.6) r5t'r lot
ix r(ou xt a6.,vE(i,rou. R. Mo-rnr". argued for oetrtqpn,
beforethe new Teuborerrhpwv,following W. H. Roscher,Neie IU'49 U879\'il+-ll'
ner edition by J. n. Titchener(1935)'
BedeutunS
u' religidse
Die Entstehung
6Plut.
Q. Cr- z91c;Ael.VH 3'r; cf M P Nilsson'
(Lund, 1962'?),40-48;(r?Sil 6+4-+7'
desgriech.Kalenders
15
67plut.Dedef. or. 4r8a.Forthe d)r<os
in Delphic inscriptionssee51G3672: LS 8o'58;
h.7; LSS44.9.

rz8

THE DELPHIC TRIPOD

"dangerouscunshrine. The attack was calledthe Dolonia,* and the


ning" in this name recalls the cunning and murderous exploit of
Odysseusand Diomedesat Troy, when they slew Rhesus,the barbarian king, guided by the information wrested from Dolon, who was
dothed in a wolfskin. Thus, at Delphi, a young boy whose Parentsare
still alive, who has not as yet faced the spectreof death, is made the
instrument of destruction. Mythographers tried to link this ritual to
Apollo'svictory over the Python dragon,u'but, as Plutarchnoted, the
detailsare incongruous. If there was a table inside the "king's building," there was surely a meal on top of it, a sacredmeal at a festival in
the sanctuary-i.e., a sacrifice-a meal which was then violently destroyedand obliteratedso that no trace remained to attest to its existence. The act of overturning a table, documented here in ritual,
appearsin the myths of Lykaon and Thyestes.'nLykaon's"act" is followed by the all-consumingflood; and Delphi is the other site linked
to the myth of the flood,'' An exceptionalperiod, and an unsPeakable
sacrifice,end suddenly and radically in ritual fire.
But the rjtual here is only beginning; it must still travel a wide arc
beforeit can finally overcomethe catastropheand reestablishdivine
purity in the sanctuary.Thus, the young boy setsout with his retinue
in the long processionto the valley of Tempe. His journey is an "erraticwandering," "a slave'swork," but at the sametime an "orgiastic"
march through the land"-this could mean something like armed
dancesor torch-waving. It was then taken up in the Python myth.
According to the story the wounded monster fled from Apollo; the
god chasedit to the valley of Tempe,where he finally killed it.'3It is a
"sacredroute," uniting the Thessalians,Pelasgians,Oitaeans, Anians,Malians, Dorians, and Locrians.Finally,there was a "splendid"
sacrificeat an altar on the Peneiosin the valley of Tempe, together
with purificatory rites, as if a terrible stain, an unthinkable crime, had
to be blotted out.7oIn the myth, this too is accomplishedby the god

EPlut.
De def. or. i1 6n r4s Aotr<oziasi,po6os (on the meaning of 6rri see Num.8 Bu<riat
&'dlglrou
xai ozr:ou6fis trerottlpivc.t). A,aBvc.ic,t is Pomptow's coniecture (cf . LS 7);
the Mss. have MHAIO,AAAE.
4Ephoros,
FGrHist 7oF 3rb, criticized by Plut. De def. or. 4r8a.
DSee
-rSee
I I . r . n . r 4 , 1 . n . r . za b o v e .
p. rzof. above.
nPlut.
De d4. or. 4rgazous i{<r flul,au Z,..,r,ag "E},^lzcs 4 a<itrr5 xrltop:vd.{ovca y,eypt
retlltdu iAnAarcy.

4Plut.
e. Gr. rs1r.
r'l"p.i
66,isHat. e .3a.2;Plut.Q. Gr. z93c.Fora list of the stopping-places
and sacrifices
tn Tempesee
Ael. iu 3.r; cf. plut. Dedef. or.4r8b;Callim.f;.'s7,89;schol.pind. pyrft.
PP.4.rr-r+Drachmann.

a29

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

Apollo in person.'sThe purificatory god was himself in need of purification, ior he had killed. After this, the young boy would break off
a laurel branch and carry it back all the way from the valley of Tempe.
Accompanied by the music of the flute, he was led through all the
lands ind was received everywhere with reverenceand esteem.76
When the processionarrived in Delphi, the gamescould beginTT-the
women had in the meantimeapparently performed closing rituals of
their own." Apollo himself would return to Delphi at midsummer
from the land of the Hyperboreans,as celebratedin the hymn by Alcaeus." Music was the primary mode of experiencingthe Delphic
god's epiphany,and the musicalagon was the most important at Delphi. The violent act at the "place of putrefaction"-the ancient etymology of Pythoe-was surmounted and overcomeonce and for all
through luminous order, through the beauty of art. But the order and
the art themselveswere suspendedover an abyssof dread that was
continuously torn open in feelings of guilt and sacrificialexpiation.
Apollo would speakonly through the raving woman sitting on top of
the coveredtripod.

6. A Glanceat Odysseus
The oldest story of cannibalismin Greek literature is Odysseus'
adventurewith the Cyclops.The extraordinarypopularity of this unforgettable,pithy tale is already attestedin the seventhcentury n'c'
thr6ugh a wiroleseriesof vase-paintings.Moreover,the great massof
parallels collectedby folklorists-mainly related to the odysseybwt in
TsPind.fr. z49a: Tert. De cor.7.5;Callim. fr. 89;Aristonoosl:'7, p. l^6l Powell.
76Ael.VH
3.r; cf. Plut. De mus.rr36a;Callim.fu' t9436.
TBefore
586, they were ennaeteric:see Schol. Pind. Pyth. P. 4.14 Drachmann;Censorinus 18; Schol. Od. 1.z67.The cettilptov took place "shortly before" the Pythian
games:seePlut. De def. or. 4toawith 4r8a.
^Tpeis . . . ivvaer1piias xcrd ro if4s, Septerion,Herois, Charila, see Plut' Q Gr
zg3b-f. Plutarch,simprecisestatementmakesit possible,though not certain, that the
Herois and Charila were celebratedbeforethe Pythian games(Fontenrose[1959]458)
DAlcaeus
3o7Lobel-Page: Himer. Or. 48.ro-rr.
nHy.Ap.163.

uo

A GLANCE AT ODYSSEUS

part also exhibiting more primitive featuresl-g2n hardly be overiooked. One might be tempted to considerthe story of the man-eater
an almost universal folk motif, and hence not look for closeties with
such myths as those of Lykaon, Thyestes, or Tantalos. But more
carcfulconsiderationuncoversa whole seriesof strange correspondences,leading us to suspect a specific ritual structure underlying
this masterpieceof early Greek song.
First of all, we notice the decisiverole played by a ram, a sacrificialanimal. Clinging to the ram'sfleeceand hidden beneathit, Odysseusis able to escapethe terrifying cave. The fact that he pro-p1ly
sacrificeshis rescuer to Zeus must gravely offend any animalJover;
but Phrixosactedno differently.The idea of tying men under the belfies of sheep is worthy of the mind that conceivedof the wooden
horse-and just as impractical.Here, a whole group of those parallel
versionsseemto offer us something more ancient:threatenedby the
man-eater,men concealthemselvesin the skins of slaughteredanimalsand thus, disguisedas animals,escapethe groping hands of the
blinded monster.2In this case,necessityforced them to kill their rescuers, and it had to be done before the escape.Here, in order to
achievefreedom, man must identify himself with the slaughteredanimal. If we presume this
version
behind
the adventure oi odyste.,s,
the correspondenceswith the cult
in
the cave of Cheiron on Mount
Pelion,and with the sheep-sacrifice
for Cyprian Aphrodite,, are quite
close.The fact that Odysseuswas named by hii grandfather, who
in so doing attempted to fix his own nature i., -otds, also becomes
significant,for his grandfather was Autolykos, the wereworf from
Parnassus.n
The poet of the Odysseydid not understand it in this way. But
eventhe name Odysseus,
Olytteus,is clearly non-Greek.sThe myth of
uclysseusleads us
just
back
not
to
pre-Homeric
times
but
to
sources
outsideGreece.Now, a Greek inteipreter once made a strange
con-

o"riili]t"r

see Schefold e96g pl. r (Eleusinian amphora found


ry54);45

ifor.ltr;-vase-naintings
A,sos,
B
CH
7e[rgss],r- +q; pi.ril;;;i.,l,::'^l!*p$t _r.o#
,_, - _^_-,qrrq

vn-*t,,

(t96o), pl..

'a

-J.

14tr5.

ruurcrtq

lurrrc xtLvLil,

polyphemsagiIn
For the parallels see O. Hackm
rrar^rrrdtl' an, utt
Die r-utypn(rnsugc
in uzr
der
1904);
66-7t;

!vr. I rrrrrrst,

i1':,*_1;:',"-^:,h:;..:,?t;R;;;,'p:,d';;*';;'J;1#i:;;';,#i-iili;:;,;;
vnll^::t,
;"Y::::}

\'>))rt

rv.

r84; cf. the

K. Meuli, Odysseeund Argonautikaegzt)|,


;w:oer,Ielerung_(Helsingfors
c*t
I t'qai, ;d-;;:;
L. page,rheHomeric
or;r;ir;;i:::':X
2h

Wust,nr xvil r9o9_rJ.

malority of variants:seeHackman, polyphemsage,


,7-74,
J:l::ttut,,le
the
shipwrecked'sailo.,
i., the caveof Dionysusin paus.z.z3.r
rsee
I^8a:f
ll.4.nn.zz:
"od. ry.4o6_4o9.
,r";"r;.

'E.

a3r

I'l

,,rli, ,,i

] r 6 i'

llfrl
l

ll,

,I

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

nection between the Odysseyand the Samothracianmysteries:"They


sav Odvsseuswas initiated at Samothraceand thereforewore the veil
of-Leucotheainsteadof a fillet. For the initiatesat samothracetie pur6
ple fillets around their abdomen." It was commonly believedthat the
gods of Samothracewould save their initiates from drowning.? Alihough virtually no details of the secret initiation are known, the
coins point us toward one fact:the centralevent was the sacrificeof a
ram.'-Wearingthe woolen fillet was linked to a bath' Aside from this,
there are only various myths connected with Samothrace.These,
howevet reveal a series of striking analogiesto Odysseus. Just as
Dardanus came from an island on a raft (o1e6ta)nat the time of the
great flood to found llion-Troy, so Odysseusleft Calypso's"Ogygian"
island-a name still unexplainedand enigmaticin the context of the
Odyssey.Ogygos, however,is elsewhereknown as Boeotia'sancestral
king, who lent his name to the most ancient Greek flood legend."'
This makesthe parallelbetweenthe journeys of Dardanusand Odysseus on the raft even closer.Ever since the most ancient times, the
sanctuary of the Cabiri played a central role in Boeotia. One can
hardly separateCadmus from Cadmilus;" moreovet his wife Harmonia" links the myth directly with Samothrace'Among the grotesque
vase-paintingsfound in the BoeotianCabirion, scenesfrom the OdrTssey crop up with surprising frequency.The best known is a vase on
which "Olyteus," driven by "Borias," sails the seaon a primitive raft,
with Poseidon'strident in hand." Are Poseidonand Odysseus, the
6 S c h o l .A p o l l . R h o d . r . 9 r 7 x c i ' O 6 u o o i o 6 i , p a c t p e p ' u r l p t v o u i v 2 a p ' o S p g x p y p 1 ' r u oBat rQ xpniip,vtp dvri raruias.llepi yap rilv xot),iau o[ pep"vqp'6votrawias rirrotxrt
ropgupds. Schol. P Od. 538t mentions a "goat island," Aiyo.i. r),qoiov2apotpQxns'
According to Aristotle ft. 57g = Schol' Apoll Rhod' t 9r7, Samothrace was called
1\euxoaia.
TSee the anecdote of the atheist Diagoras or Diogenes, Diog. Laert. 6.59. On Samo'
thrace see N. Lewis, Samothrace:The Ancient Literary Sources(1958); Hemberg (r95o),

3z8F 92.

49-737.
sHemberg (t95o), toz, to9.
'Lyk.
74-8o with Schol. 7l; Schol. Plat. Tim. zza.
10N4oou dr''Ayvyirls Od.6.:,7z, and cf. r.85,7.244, 254, t2..448,
4.111; U'v
Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Homerischt Llntersuchungen$88$, 16-17. On Ogygos see
Korinna 67r Page; Paus. 9.5.r; as Cadmus' father see Suda ro rz. On the OgyS'ln
flood see Schol. Plat. Tim. zza; Varro in Cens. zr.r; cf. Jacoby in Philochoros, FGrHist
"Hemberg GgSo) gS, 3r6-t7.
l'?Hellanikos, FCrHist F z3; Ephoros, FGrHist
7oF rzo; cf' RE VII 2179-88.
4
'3Oxford skyphos, Cook III (r94o), r.6o.R. StiSlitz, "Herakles auf dem Amphorenfloss'

r32

A GLANCE AT ODYSSEUS

god and his victim, paradoxicallyequatedhere?since archaictimes,


odysseus' iconography has, with strange consistency,included the
circular,pointed hat, the pilos, otherwise worn by Fiephaestusand
his sons, the Cabiri, and further by the Dioscouii, ,"iro ur" them_
selvesGreat Gods. was odysseus involved in the mysteries of the
Cabiol?In any case,the Cyclopeswere also among Hephaestus,com_
panions.rnAnd the pilos was made "from the wool of i sacrificialani1s
tnal," rhe initiate remains clothed in the symbol of the sacrifice.
Whatever these sp_ecific
parallelsprove or make probable, more
important yet is the fact that the structure of odysseus, ,,sufferings" quite obvior ^ly correspondsto the werewolf pitt".., that turns
up again and again from Delphi to Mount Lykaion. Odysseus,life
reachesa turning point when he witnessesthat "unspeaiable,,cannibalisticmeal in the cave, far from human civilizatibn. In a series
of parallel versions, the hero is forced to share in the meal of human flesh''6After con-tinuingas a symposium, the gruesomefeast is
swiftly and violently brought to a closl by fire undth" invention of
man'sprimordial weapon,
fhe spearhardenedby fire." odysseus escapesbeneaththe fleeceof the ram, but his homecomingis now delayed.Like the Delphic boy, he too must go far u-uy; ur,jlike the Arcadianwerewolf, he must Jinger
in
unknown
lands
for
nine
years
beforebeing able to return home. The fact that odysse.rr, ."r..r"
u.the Cyclops' curseand poseidon,s
angea
an
incompre_
IT-y'r:ron"s
nenslble
moral paradox, rests on a ritual foundation.
The
raft
carries
Odysseusto new shores, and, finally, homeward through
the sea.
His arrival
establishes
a
new
order
in
ilace of cha os,"atthE waning of
the old moon, and the start of the new,, 1sThe king
regains po*". ut

Osterr.lahresh.
++(rSSg),712- 47.At Erythrai, Heraklesappearedon a ole6rla: paus.
7.5.5.

tOt
..IO,. portraysthe Cyclopesalreadyas smiths;the relationshipof theseCyclo_
3:t with
pe^s
those of od. is an old
ody.se,-,,
9
already
ii1n'pa.
appears
with a p'os on the
re8of a tripod at
Olympia
ca.
6oo
n.c.:
see
Schefold
(ry6g
tig.
zg
p. 7r.The man who
vanquishes
the
ogre is, in many parallelversions,a smith (#+6,
+2, f, 6j, 64,73, 74
Polyphimsag:e),
and the blinding is often carriedout with morten rnetal;the
Xackman,
\ablri
are smithv-eod.s.
Dso
with the pitreJs,
sometimes
called
galerus,
of
the
lramenDiaus:see Varro in Geil.
10'ts 3t; suetoniusin serv._a.ct.Aen.2".6g3;Festus
s.rr.arbogarerusp.
ro M.; E. samrer,
ramilienfeste
derGriechen Rijmer(reorl,
und
ia_3,r'.
t",.ut and cf. #8, :'9,
58,7t, rro Hackman, poly1tnsasage.
"1l."_] (1196),zg _ 85.
oiu.."u.,
ua. r4.t62, 79.Jo7.

733

til
)

/rlr "'l

1t

li',1
1,,

lh,

I lil,lI

Ir

[,tr,

WEREWOLVES AROUND THE TRIPOD KETTLE

the festival of Apollo,'n by fighting with his bow In his transformation, Odysseusjburneys between the antithesesof Poseidon'srealm
and Apoilo's. Opposing the wild and far-offlands is the power of justice at home; opposing the man-eater'sgreed, the cruel but just vengeanceiopposing the predator'sattackat closequarters, the technol6gy of *eapo.rs lhat cun be used at a distance.In either casethere is,
oI.onrr", lilling, whether it be that of Poseidon'sson or that in the
grove of Apollo. Evenculture, in its antithesisto anti-culture,is based
on sacrifice.
Eduard Meyer2odemonstratedlong ago that a whole seriesof cultic reminiscenceslink Odysseusand Penelopewith Arcadia. There,
too, in the cult, we find the antithesisof Poseidonand Apollo, an
antithesis also present in one version of the Delphic legend'" The
connectionsthat have cropped up simultaneouslywith the Cabiri,
Samothrace,and Troy point to pre-Helleniccultural levels,remnants
of which persistedboth in a non-Greekform in Samothraceand Lemnos and in a Greek guise in Arcadia and Delphi. It is hardly feasibleto
try to determine a more specificnationalorigin, for if we find tracesas
far back as Qatal Hriytik and beyond, then the patterns themselves
must be older than any national differentiationaccessibleto scholarship. what we find is the antithesisof agricultureand city culture to
the societyof the predator,which breaksin upon the everydayworld
on sacredoccasions,only to disappearagain:humanity assertsitself
againstthe wolves, and civilization risesuP out of perversion,as day
follows night. For that very reason, daylight PresuPPosesthe existenceof night. Ritual must constantlyreestablishthe deadly outdoor
realm of the hunting era within the circle of civilization, both to call
that civilization into question and to renew it. Both are divine, and
perhapsboth aspectsof sacrifice,the dread of death and the certainty
of life, are subjectto the samegod.
t'Od. zo.z76;cf . 18.6oo,zo.t56,z5o,zt 258-59;Wilamowitz, Llomerische
Untersuchungen
(n.ro above),1.77-14.
nHermes (1895), 261-7o;E. Wtist, RE XVII agro-t'2. Cf. PR II 1o5o-59' For the
3o
horsesof Odysseusat Pheneossee Paus. 8.r4.5, and cf. 8.44.4;in addition see the
strange genealogy of Penelope-Panin Pind. fr. roo.
2rForthe myth of Thelpusa see Paus. 8.25.4-5; there is a correspondingmyth ot
Poseidon(*hol. A lt. 4346) and cult of Apollo (Strabo9 p- 4t:'; Hy. Ap. 244-76'
j75-8il at Boeotian Tilphusion; see also Burkert i97g) rz5-tzg. For Poseidon as the
patron god of the Delphic oracle, who exchangedDelphi for Kalaureia, Eumolpia,see
Faus.ro.5.6,2.33.2;Callim. (r. 593.For an altar of Poseidonat Delphi seePaus'70'24'4'

134

il. DISSOLUTIONAND
NEW YEAR'S
FESTIVAL

We have traced the two-sided nature of sacrifice-the encounter


with death and the will to live-in a group of rituals characterizedon
the one hand by the act of cooking a ram in a kettle, and on the other
by the oppositionsamong the participantsand the play between exclusion and membership. A similar dramatic structure occurs when
the two parts follow sequentially; only the terrifying central act answeredby an affirmation of order must be constant.In one group of
rituals
centering
on
the
sacrifice
of
a
bull,
women
and
girls uis,rrn" u
specialrole in
which
they
move
from
lovely
to
gloomy
ispects. Here,
,,act,;,restitution
the three parts of the
sacrificial
action-preparation,
-are expandedinto three related festivalsthat can be
characterized
as.:(r) a symbolicsacrificeof a girl; (z) an "unspeakablesacrifice,,;and
$) a sacrificeof renewal. The rhythm of anticipatory renunciation,
followed
by
the
savage
"act"
artd.,iinally,
pleasurable
fratification, reuects
the
age-old
situation
of
the
hunter.
In
the city-culture,however,
tj_t..ty-|glically
year'sfestival following a
transformed
into
a
New
period
of
dissolution,
that
is,
a
breakdown
of
the normal order. The
same.structure
appears
in
Dionysiac
orgies,
almost as an atavisticregression.And, further
on,
we
encounter
the customs of fishermen
w-ho, although situated
somewhere
between hunting and city culrures, adapted themselvesto
the same tradition. Thr6ugh changing
economicand social conditions,
the fundamental structure of rituar
remains.

135

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

to the
r. FromOx-Slaying
Festiaal
Panathenaic
DIPOLIEIA

THE PANATHENAIC

FESTIVAL

'A$fiu'4cru
Schol.Aristoph. Pax 4r9, just as the puzzlingp"erard p.vorilpn (Deubner
[r91zl 16.) in the samescholioncomesfrom pax 4rgwith its scholion.
3Nab'
984-85 dpyo,ia ye xai auro\uit}q xai rertiyav duap.eora xcd K4xel6ou xai pougovi-av.The myth attributes
the
sacrifice
to
Kekrops
(Euseb.
Hieron.
chron.
a.
Abr.
472;
Hsch.Ads Bdxor.)or Erechtheus(paus.r.z8.ro). For the oldestinscriptionalsource
see
lG I'?839: LSSz (ca.5oon.c.).
'Cf.
n.
8.
sPaus.
r.24.4,z8.ro; for a calendarfrieze seeDeubner :
zy
pl.
t;'z)
39.
Abst..z.z8-1o;tracedback to Theophrastusby J. Bernays, Theophrastos'
Schrift
,.|..p-h:
uw.
frdmmigkeit(1866), 127_24;cf. F. Jacobyon FGrHist
3z4F 16 (Supplement: Notes
Pritscher,Theophrastos
LEPI EYL'EBEIA2 es64), 84-86, tz}-32. Following
l:?11t
rrott,
Deubner (1932),who felt ill at easewith this text, discountediis importance
"skrupellos
fingiert"
r69.
This
skepticism
is
refuted
by
newfound
evidence
!1ol7o),
o-r,
rather,by evidencethat Deubnerdid notiake into account;cf. n.
7 below.
on a seriesof black figure vasesby the Geta painter (ca.
lD^:Yt:j:,
5rol48on.c.):see
t-ook
III (r94o)
G. Bakalakis,
AK
(ig69),56-6o.
tz
58r-82;
Further,
H.
Oliver
read in
J.
a rragment
of
the
Nikomachean
calendar
(see
n. r above),IG lr gg : Hesperia
4 \a%il,
3z ciz<i.rdszeprel,[cloeos] t6v hiys r6u nporlftov (with
doubts, Sokolowski, LS t) to
*t.h it now added rtptfef)tfaivew Hesperia
37 e96g), 267: 29 ,rn.
r1.O..efersto an altar xpt&as. . . pteptylttuaszupois; porph. Abst.2.29rc a
,I111."t
tre}auiv xai gatara z.3o; rotravov Schol. (VR)
;T::!?'
:ll -: 1atrr4s rpazr6,{r1s
Nub.
:
Hsch.
Suda
B
985;
Androtion,
Bousrizra;
FGrHist3z4F t6; rap+Z+
;::t:Pi
"ut' ztaAordsPorph. Absf.z.ro. On re\auos seeStengel
egro) 66_72.

dle of the month, by its high location, and by the name of the highest
god, was anything but bright and cheerfully devout. Its very name
iugg"rtr what the ritual subsequentlymakes tangible: a guiit-laden
crime-but one which could not be taken seriously,and so becamea
farce which seemed to fit neither Zeus, nor the Acropolis, nor the
prytaneum, Tgr-y"Ja glorified picture of the primordial age. yet people kne* and felt that the custom was old. Ai early as Ariitophanes,3
ihe epithets "Dipolieia-like" and "full of Buphonia,, signified antiquatedhabitsand old-fashionednonsensethat modern youths wished
to discard.But (though modified in its details)'the Dipolieia survived
until the time of the Roman emperors.s
Thanks mainly to one report, probably going back to Theophrastus,5we can trace the details of this sacrificein a way that is seldom
possible.A whole group of oxen would be driven up to the Acropolis. As always, the processionincluded water carried by young girls
(66po96pot),sacrificialgrain, and the sacrificialknife. At the saired
place,the sacrificialanimal would not immediately be placed at the
center.Rathe.r,the oxen had to circle the altar' on which the grainsacrifice-a kind of meal or cake-had been set (seeFigure 6).; One
would think the god was being offered the fruits of agriculture.There

lOn the Athenian sacralcalendar,recordedby Nikomachosat the end of the fifth cenHistoricalSociety7r (tgSllSZ), 3-36; Hesperia
tury 8.c., see S. Dow, Proc. Massachusetts
3o (196r), 58-71.
20. Band, De Diipoliorum sacroAtheniensium$87); Smith (1894) 3o4-3o6; H' v'
r87-zo4; Farnell I (t896) 56-58,88-91; Nilsson (19o6)r4-$;
Prott, RlrM
5z(t8g),
(rg5) r5z-55; Harrison (rgzz) rrr-t3; $927) r4z-5o; Deubner(rg1z) t'58-74;Cook lll
DasWort
ggais 57o-s71;Meuli (1946)275-77;w. F. otto, Paideuma
4Og5o),ttt-26:
der Antike Q96z), r4o-6u U. Pestalozza,"Le origini delle Buphonia ateniesi," Rend'
I (1968),274-BJ'On the name
deII'Inst.Lomb.89l9o(tgS6),+ll-S+, M. Mauss, Oeuures
Lmo|ieta (on Ardzrotrr.eisee Deubner lrq6zl r58) see IG I'?841 : LS 17 Ab (taken from
the official festival calendar recorded by Nikomacnos; cf . J. H. Oliver, Hesperia+Itglr/l,.
y); lG 12r88 : LSSro A 16 (IG I'?839 : LSSz Ac is uncertain;Aristoph' Pax 4zoshodd
Nub. q8+).For the date see lS r79; Schol. Aristoph'
iead Arno)rlet';but cf. Arzrotrrrir6,
Pax 4rg; Et. M. zro.3o= Et. Gen.(ts' ratherthan t6' An Bekk.48'zr)' The idea that the
'A1rtvq, Schol. Aristoph. lVrb.
of
985, is a misreading
Buphonla were celJbrated,
d1

137

The polis of Athens plays a unique role in Greek literature. This


city, with its love of writing, has left us by far the greatestnumber of
inscriptions. For a time, it attractedthe best artists, and it dominated
the production of painted pottery for centuries.Thus, nowhere are
cults so well documented.But the confusingvariety of religious phenomena makes us all the more consciousof the limits of our knowledge. People talked about far less than they experienced-either
becausethey thought it self-evident,or becauseof a certain apprehension. Moreover,those books that dealt specificallywith Attic cult
survive only in a few fragments.Our picture of festivalsin Athens is
richer and more varied than that of festivalselsewhere,but for that
very reasonit is more confused,and it is still only fragmentary.
In Athens, almost every day had its festival or sacrifice.lOut of
all these sacrifices,one stood out by virtue of its singular, even grotesque, features:the Buphonia, "ox-slaying," for "Zeus of the City"
(Ard[Io),r.ei).This occurred on the fourteenth day of Skirophorion in
midsummer, at the altar of Zeus on the highest spot of the Athenian
Acropolis.'The festival, though distinguishedby its date in the mid-

a36

il
/1li , , 1

Nr
rim

II
]II
;l
t'

DISSOLUTION

AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

was indeed a time "when people shrank from eating oxen, and offered no animals in sacrifice,but, rather, cakesand the fruits of the
earth soakedin honey and other such pure sacrifices"'-or such was
the conclusion drawn already by Plato and more consequentlyby
Theophrastus from the introductory part of the sacrifice' Yet this
"pure offering" was merely a prelude, if not actuallyan excuseor bait
for the violent act. By now the axekept in the shrine would have been
polished with the water brought for the occasion.[t was simply a
question of waiting until one of the animals turned to the altar and,
following its instincts,ate the grain. The ox itself thus broke the tabu "'
and sinned against the god and his altar. After this, the "ox-slayer"
would swing his axe, the bull would fall. There are severalversionsof
the legend telling how the first "ox-slaying" resulted from the spontaneous rage of a devout farmer when a greedy ox disrupted the sacred act. The killer's name varies-Thaulon, Sopatros,Diomos-but
the motivation and the act remain constant,for they are played out in
the ritual." To Aratus. this bull-sacrificemarked the closeof the Silver
Ag";" the seeming idyll ended in "sacred" bloodshed.We know today that Theophrastus and many other romantics were deluding
themselvesabout the development of mankind: it was far more a
question of old hunting instincts breaking through the thin crust of
civilization. Aggressionhad long been held back behind the sacredness of the altar-sacrifice was expectedand finally done.
But this new step recoiled at once upon the actors. The "oxslayer" (Bovrvros) who administeredthe fatal blow then threw away
his axe and fled. Pausaniasdescribesthis as the normal custom, as

88

'Plat. Leg.78zc.
roThesacrificialbull for Zeus Polieuson Cos is chosen(rprrlels)from many which are
driven through the marketplace:SIC ao25= LS r5r A r9: Bietat 66, ai p"67xa iro'
xi$et r&t,'loilat; this is usually understoodas though a secondsacrifice,for Hestta,
But the larger
were inorganicallyinserted(E. FarmerCraik,Par.del Pass.zz11967),442).
contextof the festivalfor Zeus Polieussuggeststhe translation"it is sacrificedif it bows
its headto Hestia,"i.e., turns toward the statehearthat the market.Afterward, "Hestra
is reimbursed"(z) for the price of the bull, that is, the sacrificialanimalis bought from
the goddess(L 5. n. 38above).In this interPretationwe must accePta doublet, 20-22 +
49-.54,in which the ytptl areoncepresentedbriefly, oncein detail.
ttFor Thaulon see Androtion, FGrHist
3z4F 16 with the parallelscited by lacoby; for
SopatrosseePorph. Abst.z.z8-3o; for Diomos seeibid. z.ro, repeatedin 2.29,which,
for Heraklesat the Diomeia (Aristoph
howevet belongsclearlyto the cattle-sacrifice
Everysacrificeof a bull is a "primeval crime."
Ran.65r;Steph. Byz. s.u. Kynosarges).
r2Aratus7Jr-J2. To kill a plow-ox was considereda crime at Athens:Ael. VH 5.74;Co'
lumella 6 praef. 7; Schol. Od. 12.351.

I
Itrr
ill

THE PANATHENAIC

FESTIVAL

doesthe legend, whether speakingof Sopatrosor Thaulon.13Banish_


rnent had been the price for spilling blood since ancient times; the
Greekscalled it "flight," 9u74. Thus, the biologicalmechanism that
rnakesaggressionchange to flight was institutionalized as law.'nAt
the Buphonia, the one who performed the sacrificial"act" would run
away and not return. The remaining participants,happy to be rid of
him, could now enjoy the fruits of his action: after the animal had collapsed,the''carvers" would skin it with a knife, cut it up, and remove
its bowels. The meat was evidently roastedand eatenit once. In this
way, all participantswere irrevocablyimplicated in the sacrifice.The
most detailed of the etiological legends, however, was unable to
stomachthis meal. In this version, Sopatros"buried,, the bull whole,
but the full offenseappearsonly in what follows: an oracleinsertedin
the narrative ordered the Athenians not to atone for the crime, but
insteadto repeatit and, what is more, to eat the sacrificialanimal.'sBy
making the "act" a collectiveundertaking, Sopatroscould ease his
Thus, everyonenow participatedaccordingto his group,
conscience.'6
which represented one of the old Athenian familieJ: the ,lvaterbearers,"the "goaders" driving the ox to the altar, the ,,ox-slayers,,,
and the "carvers."1'ZAllwould work togetheraccordingto theirioles;

r3Paus.
r.24.4;
for
the
legend
see Porph. Abst.z.z9; Thaulon guTa6eurleisschol. T I/.
18'483'on ritual flight after the sacrificesee Tenedos,IIr.4.n.zobelow; Delphi, II.s
'6iuypa;
fithorea, Paus. ro.3z.r7;Tegea,paus. 8.53.3;Thesmophoria,Hsch.
1.58;
Crete,Zenob. Ath. 2.7 = Zenob. Par.5.5o (paroem.Gr. I r+r); tl.
3/4 below. In paint_
ings, Hephaestusfleesat Athena'sbirth: seecook III (rg4o) 656-726-philoktetes
flees
after_having
lit
Herakles'pyre;
(r94o)
Cook
III
5t6 = ARV, r-4zo.5.ForRome see the
Ke$tugium and Poplifugia.Cf. Meuli (1946)277;Burkert, Historian (t962),
36g_69.
rites concerningBuzygesand the palladion processionat Athens: Burkert,
:91' lh:und Geistesgeschichte
zz (rg7o), 356-68, reflected in the ,,flight,,
::t:schrif:..fiir.Religio.nsano
purificationof king Demophon.

Abst. z-zgl"rclc.1"irors rt. rott reBveuros xai p.i1 xrtrrrcyoiotv-"to restrain


i}tqL,
oneself"
(xo.raoaeiv)or abstainis explicitlyforbidden at this sacrifice.Deubner
found
tnts "ungeheuerlich"(t6Z;
cf.
n.
6
above).
toino rp<r{enu ravres . . 6eiv xaraxoriluat
porph.
Botu trorfrs rro},ears
lrt:..:.li
^ost.
2.zg)z.to: nuvepyoisyap \aBdu rousri)\trous.

Abst'z.3o (end) is probrematicto the extent that


,l:ryn
BovtizrorandEarrporcrearry
ctesigrrate.functions,
noi families;but Kleidemos, FGrHist)2J F
5, seemsto have at:-'":^,ud these very functions to the EleusinianKerykes (cf. JacoLyad loc.);the Key(Porph. Abst. z1o) are explained in phot.'as follows:
KevrpLalat. r.,rprd
n.?rp:", "family," see phot. Eip.o\ri6ar r:otrpLd,APilurlorz).porphyry,s
"r-t:3,
lt:
rrEophrastus')
.i#"":J
referenceis thus linked to Atthidographicaltradition. In /G I ?g43 = 15
OI aIITOAIETIOII: it is uncertain#h"*,". it is the family or just some
^''Pu'(aswho
;:::^"-Yt*
are participating.There is a competingassertionin Androtion, FGrHist

r39

DISSOLUTION

AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

r40

r.zS.rooEizetrerusrc.pavrtxad.gd}tlxplt}eisxaieisro6edvar,elvttosxptvetat.
The pounlros is "not known": see Paus r'24 4'
rrCook III
both zitrerus and ptllarpo. Both
[rg4o], 585. Porph. Abst. z.1o mentions
the court at the
upp"u. o. ui"lief-depicting a sacrifice: Cook III (rg4o) z8 fig' 7 On
knife see Eur' Hik
prytaneion see Demosth. i3.76. For the burying of ihu ru.*i.ial
Izo8.
rz,<-r52oThisonly in Porph. Abst.z.zg, 3o.A pou{irnls i( dxpono\eas is mentioned in Aristro'
Serv auct Aen 4'4oz' For
Or. z I zoDindorf. For Athena as inventor of the plow see
at the Altaic horse'
spreading out the skin of the sacrificial victim: Scyihians' Hdt' 4 72;

Ir94ol,z77-$;Hsch.(9au\ros,Cd.Oo0g'os'z)@aulos"'{p4sNlaxe6dutos'(Dcu}ta'
How this competition between the two families is to be smoothed
iopr1.Toporrivot...\.
(1889)' r49*58; Cook
over is stiil a problem: see A. Mommsen (1898), 521'-22i Toepffer
has probably been
III (r94o). 596'.97. Hsch. pour4s' 6 rois Atzotrlors ra Bougovn 6priu
During the Roman
.onf.rsea *ith Bor",ltos (Deubner lr91zlt6z; Cook lll [r94o] 589)
lIlIIl2 zrz8.z, ztzg.z, ztg.'a.^. F<>r
Empire, a ie peis Bourinros Aaxparci6ris is attested: 1G
a seat [epdos ALosflo)rrios in the theater, see IC ll/lllr 5oz4'
t8Porph. Abst.2.1o, and cf. Ael. VH 81 (probably taken from Theoprastus); Paus'

18'483; Eust r156 59; Hsch (Dautrovidat; Suda r9 67)'


1z4F r6(cf. Agallis Schol. T Il.
in Thessaly: cook III
which links the Bouriros to the Thaulonidai (cf. Zeus oautrtos

all ate the meat except the one who killed. The bones were subsequently burned on the altar; only the skin remained'
releThere followed an epilogue emphasizing the event,ssocial
state
vance. A trial was held ai the center of the polis' that is' at the
altar'
hearth in the prytaneum, for the crime of having kille-dat the
"Here, the women water-bearerschargedthat those who had sharpthese in
ened the axe and the knife were more guilty than they' and
the
i.tt" .nutg"d him who had handed them the axe' and he charged
the
man whJhad cut up the ox, and he who had done this charged
knife which, sinceii could not speak,was found guilty of murder'" "
The "ox-slayer," who would otherwise have been the first to be
blamed, naa Rea and could not be found' Allegedly' no one-knew
him. According to Pausanias,the axe was made to stand trial' but acquitted; accordingto porphyry the knife was castinto the sea.These
two acts seemmore complementarythan contradictory'Both the axe
and the knife play a part in the sacrifice:"the knife alone cannot kill
the bull, nor tlre u*" rkir, it. Becausethe life-forcesseemto ebb away
with the blood, it is natural that the knife should be found more guilty
than the axe. The knife was, moreover,smaller and more easily obtainable.The axewould presumablyhavebeen kept elsewhere,in the
the
shrine, as a primordial iymbol of consecratedviolence' A plow'
on
primordial piow of its inventor,was said to be kept in just this-way
ih" R.ropoiis. The stuffed ox_skinwas spread out in front of it, and
thus the iacrificial animal had "risen from the dead."'oOstensibly,the

"1,

IHE PANATHENAIC

FESTIVAL

pre-sacrificialsituation was restored.But even if the famous mealsin


ihe prytaneum were essentiallyvegetarian,2'nobodycould forget that
he was no longer living in a Golden Age.
The extraordinary featuresof this sacrificialfestival seem to require extraordinary interpretations:is this bull a totem animal, or a
vegetationdemon which must be killed at the harvest festival, or Perhaps even Zeus himself?" There is doubtless some truth in all of
theseexplanations,but by following any one of them, we risk becoming entangled in the religious-historicalproblem of what something
ti"t'_-vrrd is that not simply inventing a new mythology to explain
the old? Evidencefor the identity of the god and the sacrificialanimal
can be adducedfrom the outer limits of the Greek world and, in allusions, even from Greece itself. But in this case, as long as Athenians spoke Greek, they referred concretelyto an "ox" that would be
"killed" for "Zeus of the Crty," LLi flo),rei.
Karl Meuli lodged a strong protest againstisolating the Buphonia
ritual and interpreting it in exceptionalways," for he saw that the festival'sbasicrhythm was absolutelyparallel to that of a more straightforward, "normal" sacrifice, from its "beginning" with water and
grain to the final "setting-up" and consecrationof the remains, The
comedyof innocencewas merely broader-a fact which incidentally
confirms that something very ancient and fundarnental is surfacing
here, not a "new custom," the creation of a refined sensibility,as
Deubner2n
claimedin reactionto the bold theoriesadvancedby historians of religion.
The strange and eccentriccharacterof this ritual remains," but

sacrifice,UdG IX 287;at the bear festival,Meuli (1945)zz9, and cf. Cook I (r9r4) r85.
The Coan LexSacradictatesthat iu6opa Euitperat, on which see Stengel(r9ro) 85-9r.
SinceIG I':843 1: LS r7) mentionswood in connectionwith KHPYKEI and Dipolieia,
the remainswere probablvburnt.
2'Ath.
r37e, u.rd .i. .r. 48 telow.
zFor "the
specialdeity of an ox-clan"seeFarnellI (1896)58.For the vegetationspirit see
W. Mannhirdt, Mytiotogische
(fi84), 58-7t; GB VIII 4-7. fo, tne Uutt :
Forschungen
z.eusseeCook IIf (r94o)6o5-6o6,and cf. P.Philippson, Thessalische
Mythologie994$,
5r-53.
8i946)
275-76.
2o(tg1z)
r71.
b.Hunters
and nomads too, besidestheir "ordinary" rituals, have extraordinarysacrificial
festivals
at
which
the
acts
of
incurring
guilt
ancl
making
reparation
are
played
out in
detail;this appliesto the elephantfestivalimong the Pygmies(seeI.7.nn.44, above),
!r
Uu". festival(seel.z.n.5 above),the horse-sacrifice
among the Indo-Europeanpeollu
ples,
the Altaiansand the Mongols (seeI.7.n.5oabove).

L47

ii
ll

ii,l

rlill

llli
l

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

we can come closerto understanding it by taking a look at the officia


Attic calendar.The Buphonia fell on the fourteenth day of Skirophorion, at the full moon in the last month of the year' It was thus the
year's last major festival. Since the calendarat Athens, as in many
parts of Greeceand the Near East,was ordered accordingto the agricultural year-wherein the New Year comes in the summer, in the
interval betweenharvestand sowing time-the celebrationof the DiBut the predominanceof
polieia presupposesthe end of the harvest.26
such paradoxical,uncanny featuresat a "harvest festival,"where gratification and joy would ordinarily prevail, cannot be explainedas agricultural. We must look, rather, to the very serious concept of an
"end."
Even for modern man, the end of the year, hovering between
transitory past and uncertain future, is a peculiarly stirring experience. Its impact on ancient man as a time of transition, uncertainty,
and crisis was far more immediate. Ever since calendarswere invented, the beginning that accompaniesthe New Year has been simultaneously actedout in city government. In Near Easternmonarchies, for instance,the king temporarily abdicated." In the Greek
polis, new officialscame to power-at Athens, this means the archon, the king, the polemarch, as well as the guardiansof the laws
and the generals.Trials in criminal court-the most stirring eventsin
the field of law-could not be carriedover from one year to the next.28
There was a caesura.The new archon began by proclaiming that
"whatever possessionsanyone held before his entry into office, he
shall have and keep until he stepsdown from his office."'"This proclamation of such continuing security simultaneously curtailed and
limited it to the archon'sterm of office. It almost sounds as though
anything was allowed in the break between the old and the new:
whatever anyonecould quickly snatchup, he could forthwith keep;
and the remnantsof such customsdo indeed exist.m
26Theconnectionwith the harvest is more evident in the sacrificeof a bull for zeus
Sosipolisin Magnesia,SIGr589 : LSAM 32, inasmuchas the bull is brought beforethe
god "at the start of the sowing" in order to be sacrificedin early summer (after the
harvest?);seeNilsson$95) t55-56.
27Forthe BabylonianNew Year'sritual see ANET yr-14; S. A. Pallis, TheBabylontan
Akitu Festiaaljgz6).
'z6Antiphon
6.4r,
44.
n Arist. Ath. PoI.
56.2.
sThus, Ptolem'ylV absolvedall debts and gaveamnesty for all crimeson New Year's
Day (Oct. 91, rb6" c., after the victory and birth of the successorto the throne' The
a42

THE PANATHENAIC

FESTIVAL

Even when civic life becametoo stableto permit such legal vagaries, the cleft between the old and the new remained; ind"eed,it
was ritual that marked it out. In the Inws, plato wanted the last
month of the year dedicatedto Pluto, the god of death. He too had to
be honored, for dissolution is no less good o. necessarythan new
life.3'what in Plato'shands becamea belief in individual immortalitv
was first applied primarily to society,which renewed itself through
periodic dissolution. Such an act of "dissolution,,was performed 6y
the_com,munity
in the ceremonyof slaughteringthe ox, where, at the
end of the agricultural year, the farmer's animal helper becamethe
victim. Here, far beyond the capacitiesof normal saciifice,the ritual
illuminatesboth the horror of killing, from which man tries to escape
by fleeing or throwing the blame on others, and the sacrednu."rrity
that is ineluctable.All must play their parts until the communal meai,
for life can assertitself only through food taken from life: hence the
blood spilled on the heights in honor of Zeus of the City.

SKIRA

The contextin which the Dipolieia festivalis thus set extendsyet


further. At Athens, the last month of the year was not called Buphonion32but skirophorion, after the skira festival.33
It was cerebratedon
the twelfth day of Skirophorion, i.e., immediately precedingthe Buphonia;y and, on closeinspectionit turns out that the skirais almost
the mirror-image of the Buphonia. To be sure, the former refers to
Athena, Erechtheus,and Demeter,and the latter to Zeus, but it will

new order of law in the ancientmonarchieswas thought to start with the king'saccession to the throne, which was renewedon New yeari Day; cf. L. Koenen, Aich. pa_
f.
pyrusforschung Q96o),r r - 16.For five days' dvopia at the deathof a persian
17
king, see
Sext.Mafh. z111,;
Stob.4.2.26.
3tLeg.
8z8c-d.
32For
the month Buphonion on Delos see IG Xl z.zo3 A
32, 5z;on Tenos see 1G XII
5.842.r,826;
at
Karystos
see
IG
Xll
9.2o7.39.
$C.
Robert,'Athena
Skiras
und
die
Skirophorie
n,,,
Hermeszo(18,85),
)4g-7g;A. R. van
der Loeff, "De Athena Scirade,"Mnemoiynen.s.
44 (1916),7o7-72;,,DeSciris,,,ibid.,
322-37;E. Gjerstad,"Das attischeFestder Skira,,,ARW z7 ,.9z), rg9_z4o;Deubner
(193-2)/
Burkert,
Hermes
40-50;
94 eg66), 4-24; all sourcesin Jacobyon FGrllisf 3zg F
t4 (III B Supplement286-89).For the date see
Schol.Aristoph. Eccl'.rg.
t: oJtena free day betweenconsecutivefestivals(forthis principle at Romesee
, Il":
fl:to], r99): the middle day at the Thesmophoriais free-N4o""io, preparatron
TT"
or
the KcA,lttTiy*a sacrifice(Deubner 'rq6zl
5z).

443

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR'S FESTIVAL

not do to separatethe festival rituals accordingto the individualized


namesof the gods. only the ritual'stotal rhythm can communicateits
message,just as it takes the totality of gods to make the world.
The most prominent featurein the Skirais a processionwhich, in
its way, is once again peculiar. Beneatha canoPy,"the priestessof
Athena and the priests of Poseidonand of Helios set off from the
Acropolis toward a place called Skiron. The Eteobutadaicarry the
canopy."" The priests are those of the central gods of the Acropolis:
Poseidon-Erechtheusand Athena Polias. Accordingly, the priestess
and the priest enjoyed a specialposition-the latter always belonged
to the family of the Eteobutadai.After being destroyedin the Persian
Wars, the joint temple of Athena and Erechtheuswas finally replaced
by the Erechtheum.Already in the Odyssey,Athena was said to have
entered the "house of Erechtheus."" The Skira procession,by contrast, is strangely reversed. It does not go toward this most holy
shrine, but away from it to Skiron, on the city limits in the direction of
Eleusis.The priests walk beneath a canopy,conspicuous,sheltered,
and isolated. The king and the goddessof the city forsake Athens,
leaving it abandoned.The fact that the priest of the sun accompanies
them may be a Hellenistic innovation, yet it is even more an exPression of the idea of departure: the summer solsticeis past and Helios
begins to decline;the year is gradually drawing to a close.About the
same time, the emperor Elagabal,a Syrian sun-priest, celebratedhis
main festival with a processionin which the sun god departed from
his main shrine in the city and moved to one outside it'3'At Skiron
3sLysimachides, FGrHist
: Harpokr' s.a 2xipov, who found mention ol2xipov
366F 3
in the orator Lykurgos (tr. a7 B.-s.). schol. (R) Aristoph. Eccl. tS2xipa Eopril iortu ri1<
'Ar94uris
. . . oi 6i Lilpqrpos xcd Kdp4s- iv i1 6 tep6ys roil'Epeyfltas giptt
lrrpc!$os
<rxcdietov )teuxov.. . . The explanation in both cases that the parasol is called axipor
(because of the association with cxtt,p6u) is not believable, since the festival is calle.l
lxlpa (Deubner [1932] 49) and the place name, Skiron, is explained in another wa1':
"sancs e e P a u s . r . 3 6 . 4 ( n a m e d a f t e r t h e d e a d s e e rS k i r o s ) . P a u s . r . 3 7 . 2 t h e n m e n t i o n s a
tuary of Demeter and Kore" where'Athena and Poseidon are honored as well"; iai
2xipq, iepotrotia fls strabo g p. 3gJ.The (Eteo-)Butadai provide the priest of Erechtheus: see Toepffer (fi8g) tr4-:-7; for a seat [ep6as Boirou at the Erechtheum see 1G ll/
lll? 5166.
vOd.7.8r. The state of things on the Acropolis between the Mycenaean royal palace
,,old
tempte" of the iixth century which burned in 48o, has not been entirt'lr'
and the
clarified.Ch.Kardara'sconiecture, Arch.Eph.$96o\,t65-zoz,thatthe"houseofErectrtheus," including the image of Athena, is to be found in a Mycenaean/post-Mycenaean
shrine in the Nike-Pyrgos, must be rejected; the cultic monuments on the height are
certainly older than Solon. Cf. n. 98 below
3THerodian
For a similar pro5.6.6 (cf . Hist. Aug. Eliogab.8.1; Aur. Vict. Caes. z1.t).

L4+

THE PANATHENAIC

FESTIVAL

there was a shrine of Demeter and Kore and one of Athena. There
rnust have been some sort of ram-sacrifice at the skira like those often attested for the cult of Kore, for those leading the procession,
the Eteobutadai, carry the mysterious "ramskin of Zeus,,, the Aros
xQitov, in which the complex of guilt and purification seems to
crystallize.38
The few remaining descriptions of the festival agree, inasmuch
as they point to a dissolution, an inversion of the normal order. Skiron was proverbially the site of dice-games and general licenser'-in
this way the men would while away the hours in the period of fasting,^ for dice is of course a men's game. The Skira was an even more
exceptional time for women. It was one of the few days in which they
were allowed to leave the isolation of the women,s quarters and
gather "according to ancestral custom"or at one of the special female
shrines. They formed their own organization, to preside over which
was the greatest distinction possible to a woman. They sacrificed and
feasted, all at the men's expense. The fact that they ate garlic in large
quantities so as to be odious to the men is, as far as the explanation is
concerned, a scurrilous feature, but it fits well in a day when all is
reversed: the domestic and the family orders are abolished, marriage
suspended.o'?InAristophanes, the women seize the opportunity provided by this day to hatch their plot for overthrowing male domination with an "assembly of women."n, The name Skira was associated

cession among the Hittites see o. R. Gurney, The Hittites


og5+I, r55. It could be an old
ritual that the king-priest walks backward in front of the wagon
of ihe gods in the procession, and as a comedy of innocence it may be distantly related to thelrick
of Hermes
the cattle-thief
sPaus.
Att. 6 18 Erbse (: Suda 6 rzro, etc.); cf. Nilsson (1955) tro-r1;11.4 above; V3,
p,' 267' n. rz below. 'EpcxDei dpveos is the dictate
of the sacrificial calendar of Nikomacnos at an unknown date for the fifth of a month (IG
IVIII , ry57a : LS q B 5)
FGrHist rr5 F zz|: Harpokr. 2xtpcrgn (dice games iz lxrp<p); poll.
]Ttreopompos,
9.96 (ixiBeuou iri2xip<p 6u re rils I,xrpc!5os 'A&qu&5 uerp);phot. o*rpog"rcli
An. Bekk.
3,*..r1, Et M.7r7.28;Eust.
497.24; Steph. Byz. lxlpoe. oxtpogopos . . . 6 cnlp.aiul;trdv
qKo..orou
xai xupeurfiv. Nilsson (ARW ft[ryt1\,1t6t7) deduced a dice-oracle from
nsch.
oxecpdpavzs,
Phot.
(Steph.
oxrpoz
Byz. Iripos. topuat instead of pavre'r' is
although
Hsch.
is
speaking
of
augury
from
the
flight
of
birds.
;:rruPt),
,-tot. r.94 on the "invention"
o
f
d
i
c
e
p
l
a
y
i
n
g
a
m
o
n
g
t
h
e
L
y
d
i
a
ns.
{.l_
r
at yvvalxes xaro ta rarpta IG lllltl, .tr77 : LS
)6.ro_tz. The meeting^:::!X"rr",
at the Piraeus is the Thesmophorion. Cf. Aristoph. Thesm. 834_35;
[iil
lo...*o-en
"ren. tprtr. 522-2); Pherekrates fr. 4r (CAF I io6) = phot. cxipou.
FCrHist 328 F 89 : phot. rporqh6. iu 6i rois lxdpots r!1 6opri1 iiohtov
]fflto5lro-ros,
v(opotia
6utxa tois dn|,yenflat dgpoioiav, 6s civ
1ti1Lt{pav dzrotrv|,orcv.
"Eccl. rg.

145

li

tlt
',ri'
|{l,,,,,
'
{lfi1

lr
irl'''l

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR S FESTIVAL

with "white earth."* We do not know in what form the "white earth"
indicates;at best, there may
was "carried," as the name Skirophorion
be a clue in the etiologicallegend of how Theseus, when leaving
Athens, had a small plasterstatueof Athena made, which he carried
along with him.ouThe namewas alreadya mystery to the ancientcommentators,who hit on the thought that Skiron could mean that strikWhatever the name means, the
ing canopy,or any sort of parasol.nu
function of the Skirais clear:it marks the dissolutionin the last month
of the year.
The Buphonia continuesand supplementsthe Skira-it virtually
inverts the inversion. The priest of Erechtheusand the priestessof
Athena, standing, respectively,for the original king and his goddess,
would leavethe Acropolis.Two days later a sacrificetook place there,
though not to Erechtheusor Athena, but to Zeus; and not in "the
solid house of Erechtheus,"but in the open air. Whereasthe priestsof
the Acropolis would go off in the direction of Eleusisto the Athenian
city limits, those who "goaded" the oxen onto the Acropolis two days
later belonged to the great priestly family of Eleusis, the Kerykes.
'A34ua
sIn the explanation of the place name, An. Bekk.|
. . . azro rozrou
3o4.8lxerpas
rpos
. . 6, 6 yn itrapyeL treux4, as in the epithet, Athena Skiras, Schol. Aristoph.
below);however,
Vesp.9z6:'AfqvdZxtppas,iirty!1 fti1 Cdd.) Ieuxg ypittat(c|.n.45
Deubner jyz)
46 (with n. 7) in conjunction with van der Loeff ("De Athena Scirade")
tries to separate the festival 2xipa(i is certain because of Aristoph. Eccl. t8; Thesm,834;
Men. Epitr. 54; Et. Cen. p. z67Mlller) from the place Lxipou and Athena Skiras. Iripos
or oxippos meaning "white stone," "plaster," "stucco" is well attested; yi tl-xrpas IC lll
lll'? 1672.:.96;Schol. Aristoph. Vesp.926. Long iota, i, according to Herodian, Gramm.
G r . I I I r . 3 8 5 , r - 4 ; l l l 2 . 5 8 ' t, z z - 3 r ; S t e p h . B y z . 2 x i p o s ( p . S Z 6 z M e i n e k e ) . B u t , a s i n t h e
case of orpos "silo," we may well have to reckon with changes in quantity, especialiy
since even the vowel seems to change: oxupos "white stone," "paving-stone" (Oros El.
M. 7zo.z4 : Et. Cen. on the island Skyros), trxupoioSac. oxup66r7s, oxupura 66os
Pind. Pyth.5.93. This brings us quite close to Skiron, who hurled travellers from the
cliffs, and the Skironic Way. Cf. Brumfield .r98t) 156-58, who suggests that orlpo may
have been "the preservative lime mixture which was used to line the pits and cover the
seed" (r73) for storage. Against Deubner, see also Jacoby on Philochoros , FGrHist 328F
14. facoby connected the seer Skiros with Athena Skiras, iust as Schol. Aristoph. Eccl
18, Phot. 2xtpogoptritv connected the festival with Athena Skiras. There was another
shrine of Athena Skiras at Phaleron, administered by the Salaminioi (LSS tg.:.o, 52.92),
who also sacrifice to Skiros (92).
{sSchol. Paus. r.r.4 p. zr8 Spiro (cf. Wilamowitz, Hermes z9
lr894l,241):Zxtpogopn
rapa ro gipetu cxipa iv awfl rou @qoea i) yi{tov, 6 ydp Oqceis dtrepyoptuos xara
roi Mwaraipou rfiv'Afir1v&v troti1oas drd yurpouEBacrtaoeu (Et. M. 7l.8.6 : Et. Cen'
is corrupt, as also then Phot. lxrlpos : Suda a 6z+'
p. 267 Mlller perdMwuraipou
which thereby turns Theseus' departure into his return).
sN.
35 above; Poll.7.t74; Attic gloss in Schol. T Il. 21.13r; Schol. Theocr. r5.18lqb:
Phot. lxlpos; Suda o 624; An. Bekk. | 3o4.1.

r46

r7 uborre.

THE PANATHENAIC

FESTIVAL

And, at least accordingto one tradition, the Kerykeswere connected


with the ox-slayersand carvers as well.47This reciprocal arrangement between Eleusisand Athens goes yet further. In the myth it is
claimed that Celeos of Eleusisfounded ihe prytaneum,o'ani it is a
fact that the famous meal there, a vegetarianfeastin the spirit of Demeter, was presided over by the Eleusinianhierophant. it was also
there that the extraordinary,scurrilous trial took place after the Buphola' Though the Kerykes traced themselvesback to Hermes, the
herald of the gods, they consideredtheir human ancestorto be one of
the daughtersof Cecrops,sayingthat the god mated with her-thus,
once again the Eleusinian family derives from the Acropolis.a,with
the evidenceat hand, we cannot tell how old this deep involvement
betweenAthens and Eleusisis, nor whether it developedgradually or
was in^stitutedby a consciousact.s.It already existed, ii u.,y .ur",
when solon codified the sacrificialcalendar.]ust as the festivalsand
namesof the months antedatesolon considerabry,so the interaction
between the two neighboring cities may well have stretchedback to
very early times. The citiesunited preciiery for the strangeyet necessary sacrificethrough which the "dissolution" at the eni of th" y"u,
cameabout. Erechtheusset out against Eleusis,and
in
his
place
the
Eleusiniansbrought a bull to the heights of the Acropolis ftr an
extraordinary
sacrifice.
At
skiron
itself,
lhere
is
a
coincid-ence
of
shrines
to Athena and Demeter.
It
is
tempting
to
assume
that
the
cattle
were
brought directly from
skiron,
afier
"sacred
t"he
plowing
at skiron,,
was over," but there is no
solid
evidence.
In
any.ur",
t"h" Butades,
"neatherds," left the Acropolis; the ox-slaye.,
iame in their place.
Suchis the extent of the comedy of innocence.
exchangeof roles between the Acropolis
and
Ereusis
finds
.-Themythical expressionin the legendof the war between
Erechtheus
and
Eumolpus,s'the leader of the Eleusiniansand first
ancestorof the
family of hierophants. Erechtheusdied in this war,
and yet was vicntN.

cona'667d;for the hierophantat the head of the rirotzor(deicnot)see


Jty.l ,9
1GI,
n, \fiIl'?678.:'2,t773-76, r78r-82,
1794_98,r8o8;n. ur above.
ryBB,
rygz,
'il.:tff*
('1889)
8r-85; Hellanikos,FCrHist 74aF z4,Androtion, FGrHist
1z4Fr;Eur.
t rechtheus
fr. 65.t t 3- t 4 Austin.
$On
the history of EleusisseeMylonas (196r);
Ch. V below.
5fFor
sacredplowing ir;iZxiptpsee plut. praec.
coni.
r44a.
,,-r""""",.t:T*.,t8z9\ zo5-r4; Engelmann, RMLI n98-t3oo, r4o2-1.4o3;
ch. picard,
.&csruttesprmitivesd'Athdnesetd,Eleusis,,,
Rea.Hist..,66e93t),r_76(largelyhypo_
metical);as a fixed part of Athenian
history ,"" ur."uJy Thuc. z. r5. r; then prat.Menex.
239b;Isocr.
4 eanig.) 6g; tz (panath.),91; ,,D"^.,, 6o.g. For Erechtheuskilline Eu_

r47

I'
l

1l
I

li

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR'S FESTIVAL

THE PANATHENAIC

FESTIVAL

9.rr; Fehrle :9rc) 95; Ker6nyi (t952) zo-zt; from the family of the
ll^",, .tlr"
creooutadai,
see Drakon, FGrHist1'44F r : Harpokr. 'Ereopouraiat;Apolloi.
3.196;
u . M L e w i s .B S A ( t 9 5 ) , r _ 1 2 .
5o
-P_aus.
r.26.5;
iepeJs
llooer6itvos'Epeylios
IG
IIilII.
y1g,
4o7r;,,piut.,,Vit. X or.
r; for consecrationflooer66vr'Epex,tei-see,"'rz
58o,but re flooerllll-t,lth:!ug,
rrir'Epc[xDeill lll2 tr46, and cf. 5o5g.Hsctr. 'Epelrger]s.
flooer.6ri,y6'v'A}trviflvt^xa!
qts;
Cook lll e94o) r2.1.

torious. To be sure, the ritual could not easily be transformed into a


consistent quasi-historical narrative; moreover, details from three
separate festivals-the Skira, the Boedromia,53and the Mystery prosgssislsa-1,yere woven together to form a seemingly unified account.
But poets and local historians agree that this was the first war that
Athens had to win, that the Eleusinians posed a serious threat to the
city, and that Erechtheus mysteriously died in battle, rammed into the
earth by Poseidon's trident. Athens was victorious, but Eumolpus
must have penetrated deep into the city, for the tomb of his son, Imarrhados, was regularly pointed out in the Eleusinion beneath the
Acropolis, high on the Panathenaic Way." Could the mark of the trident, that little bit of "sea" in the Erechtheum, perhaps be the place
where Erechtheus sank into the earth? There was, howevet also a
story about the seer Skiros, who, together with Eumolpus, led the
Eleusinian attack. His grave was pointed out "at Skiron";'o thus, the
battle must have taken place there, just as the stele of the seer
Megistias could be seen at Thermopylae." The place and mythical
name Skiros point to the procession of the Skira. Erechtheus set out
from his "house" on the Acropolis to this place to fight the Eleusinians, and he subsequently disappeared. Euripides described the
events leading up to Erechtheus' death in the tragedy Erechtheus,the
conclusion of which has recently been discovered on a papyrus."
Athena herself resolves the play at the end when she addresses
Erechtheus' widow, Praxithea, saying, "and for your husband I command a shrine to be constructed in the middle of the city; he will be
known for him who killed him, under the name of 'sacred Poseidon';
but among the citizens, when the sacrificial cattle are slaughtered, he
m o l p o s s e e A p o l l o d . 3 . 2 o 3 ; S c h o l . E u r . P h o e n . 8 5 4 ;k i l l i n g I m a r r h a d o s , s e e P a u s . r . 5 . 2 ,
27.4,
cf. Agallis Schol. T Il. 18.483, Schol. Eur. Photn. 854.
38.1;
5rPhilochoros,FGrHist
3 2 8 F r j ; A e l . A r i s t i d . z z . : z K e i I ; P a u s . r . 3 r . 3 ; E t . M . z o z . 4 9 ;P R
| 261.1.
vPaus. r.38.3; Schol.
E u r . P h o e n .8 5 4 . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , t w o s e p a r a t eE r . i p o t r r o rh a v e
been posited ever since Euripides (Erechtheusfr. 65. tcro-rro; Andron, FCrHist tctF rj;
Istros, FCrHisl 314F zz); cf. Jacoby on the Marmor Parium, FGrHist 49 A t5.
ssCfem.
P
r
.
3.4s.t.
5 o P a u s .r . 3 6 . 4 ; n .
35 above
5'Hdt.
7.228.
sColin Austin
, Recherchesde PoTtyrologieq (ry6il; Nttz,aFragrnenta Euripidea Q968), fr.
6 5 . 9 o - 9 7 .O n t h e d a t e o f t h e E r e c h t h e u s ( 4 z 3 o r 4 z z n . c . ) s e e WM
. .Calder, Greek,Roman
and Byz. Studiesrc (1969, 147-56 and ibid. o (r97t\, 485-95; M. Treu, Chiron rz (r97t),
'Er,
govaiot povz\iroLs in Euripides (9+) can
r3r. On the Erechtheum see n. 98 below.
hardly be an allusion to the Buphonia; ct. Eu eovais Sqpoxrrizots Eur. Hel. t54.

149

'Erechtheus.'To
you, however, sinceyou have re_
shall also be called
built the city'sfoundation" (Praxitheahad given her assentto the sacrifice of her own daughter before battle), "I grant the duty of bringing in preliminary fire-sacrificesfor the city, and to be called my
priestess."Thus, the founding of the Erechtheumand the institution
bf the priestessof Athena coincide.
The marriage of Erechtheusand Praxitheacontinuesin the combination of the cult of Poseidon-Erechtheusand the priestess of
Athena. And in fact, the priestess was always a mature, married
or widowed woman.unHer connection with Erechtheusis manifest
above all in the Skira procession.There, the departure from the
Acropolis and the journey toward Eleusisrepeat Erechtheus,march
againstthe Eleusinians,toward Skiron and death. With the ,,dissolution" in the last month of the year, there is, mythically speaking,the
mysterious yet violent disappearanceof the first king-a ,,king,s
death." In ritual, this correspondsto the act of killing, the intense,
disquieting sacrificewith its inversions, its peculiar assignment of
parts, drawing each-if it can-to his particular place in the circle of
participants. Thus, inasmuch as sacrifice is an act of killing, it is
propel to speakof a king symbolicallykilled at the end of the year.
That Poseidonand Erechtheuswere merely two names for a single god, a fact that is statedby Euripides, is also clearlyvisible in the
cult. In the temple itself one altar stands for both; there is only one
priest; consecrationsand sacrificeare dedicatedto ,,poseidonErechtheus."d An historian would say that a Homeric, pan-Hellenicname
has been superimposedon an autochthonous,non-Greekname. The
myth distinguishes between the two as victor and the vanquished:
Poseidon with his trident, against Erechtheus who sank into the
depths. Yet in Euripides' play, the conflict produced a paradoxical
identity.
The
victim
issumed
t-he
god's
name,
and
destruction
became
a blessing.
Whereas
the
mythogiapher
made
a
clear
distinction
betwgen the
god
and
the
hero,
thelragedian
recognized
the
unity in the
-higher,
polar tension of sacrifice. Here, igain, the
,rrru*big.ror*
Poweris the female divinity, the ,,city goddess,Athena.,,

148

it

';1il

ll
ll

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

ARRHEPHORIA
The ritual arc extendsto yet another festival, indeed, the first attested for the month of skirophorion, coming right at the start-the
Arrhephoria.u'Thepreparationsfor sacrifice,which the myth depicts
as the death of the king and father, hint at a drama of sexualityand
incest in which the king's daughters become the victims. The Arrhephoria takes its name from two small girls, aged sevento twelve,
chosen by the "king" himself from prominent families. During the
year, they lived in a houseon the Acropolis, playing and starting to
,""u,u" the peplos of Athena.u,They would probably have helped in
sacrificialduties as well, and in caring for the olive tree' "But when
the festival comesround, they perform the following rites during the
night. They carry on their headswhat Athena's priestessgives them
toiarry and neifher shewho givesit nor they who carry it know what
it is shl gives them. Not far away in the city is the sacred,precinctof
Aphrodite in the Gardens,'with a natural entranceheading undergrbund: this is where the virgin girls descend. They deposit there
iuh"t th"y were carrying and take something else and bring it back
coveredup. They are then sentaway,and other virgins are brought to
the Acropolis instead." Pausaniashimself, in describing this ritual,
We can only guessat what
statesthit it is little known and obscure.u3
was contained in the coveredbaskets, the xicrat, that the girls carried down and what it was they brought back covered.Even if Arrhephorosmeant "dew-carrier,"il this clue does not take us very far'
However, the date at the end of the year makes one Point clear: in
sending thesegirls, or "virgins," to Aphrodite and under the earth at
night, Jomethingendedwhich had endured over the courseof ayear;
an order was broken.
(r94o)r65-88; Burkert, Hernes
"rHarrison11922)aja-)4; Deubner(1932)9-ry; CookIII
"or there94 0966), r-25; Brelich i96g) zz9-18. The date, the third of Skirophorion
deducedby M. jameson, BCH89 (t96), t57, from the Erchiacalendar(LS
"bo.rl,"'-ut
t8); cf . Hermes$966), 5.2; 6v2xtpogopr'6vr,
1t'qvi Et. Gen.(R Reitzenstein, lnd' Rostock
[r89/9r], g); Et. M. r49.r1.
52Callim.fr.
Suda a 7848'y
5zo; Harpok r. dpprlgopeiu;Et M' t49.t8; An' Bekk'I zoz'3;
in orthography' riP35; Aristoph. Lys.64iwith Schol.The Grammarians note variation
ptlgopeiv'and ipprlgopeiv; the dedicatoryinscriptions on the Acropolis have' with two
exceptions, only ipp4gopilcaoav; tor a detailed treatment seeHermes(t966) 3-d'
ur.zZ.3.The conjectureoix is &rqwa\s) yu<itptp"a
is confirmed through 5'18.4,9'256
(Hitzig-BltimnEradloc,,contraryto Hermesi9661,z.r)nDscussed in Hermes(t966),t6-17.

150

THE PANATHENAIC

FESTIVAL

Excavationson the northern slope of the Acropolis have allowed


us to follow the path of the Arrhephoroi over a steepstairway that in
late Mycenaeantimes led to a spring, but in historical times led over
the slope to a small shrine of Eros nestled among the crags of the
northern side.'u The myth tells how the daughters of CecropsAglaurus, Herse, and Pandrosus-could not restrain their curiosity;
one night, by the light of Athena'slamp, they opened the basketthe
goddesshad entrusted to them. Inside they saw the mysteriouschild
Erichthonius and a snakeswiftly darting up toward them. In horrot,
they leapt to their deaths, down the steep northern slope of the
Acropolis.* In the fall of the king's daughters, the myth obviously
mirrors the ending of the Arrhephoroi's duties on the Acropolis, as
well as their journey underground. Moreover,the image of the snake
and the child Erichthonius points to the contentsof the basket.Erichthonius was born in an unheard-of way: he was begotten by Hephaestus,who, while chasing after Athena, dischargedhis seed on
the virgin goddess'sthigh. After Athena had wiped off the seedwith
wool, she hurled the wool to the earth, which subsequentlygave
birth to the child." The etymology of the name Erichthoniusgiven
here-"wool" and "earth," Epiov and ldrirz-likewise points toward
cult. Hephaestus, the power of fire, is present in Athena's temple,
harnessedin the form of the eternally burning lamp whose woolen
wick is kept alive by Athena's oil.* The fire is renewed only once,
most likely at the end of the year, when the new oil stands ready.
Elsewhere,wool and oil were among the sacrificialofferingsthat were
carried solemnly in the kernoi, earthenwarevesselswith many small
cups fitted to the rim.6'Perhapsthere was oil and wool in the kistai,

60. Broneer.Hesperiar
Q93z), j7-55; 2 (tg1), 329-4rZ; + Uglil, ro9-88; 8 (tSlS),
)r7-4)1; G. P Stevens,Hesperia
s Ggl6), 489-97.
6PR I r98-zoo; ll
and the ThreeDaughtersof Cecrops
47-4o; B. Powell, Erichthonius
(19o6);]acoby on FGrHisl 328 F ro5 (Supplement +24-zZ\; for depictions in vasepaintings see Brommer Q96o) r99-zcn; M. Schmidt, AM 81 Q968), zoo-zo6; Eur. lon
2L-26, t427;Apollod. 3.r89.
6TDanais
fr. z : Harpokr. ariz<irlozee;cf. the TabulaBorgianap.4 Kinkel, Epicorum
Graecorum
Fragmenta
QSZZ)= lG XIV rz9z.For the throne of Amyklai seePaus.1.t8.4;
Eur. fr. 925 : Erat. Cal. 13;Amelesagoras,FGrHist33oF t; Callim. fr. z6o.19;Nonnus
Dion.4;l.64yap,ir1v
... i6p<rqv,clearlyalludingto ipprlgopor;Apollod. 1.1886piq
drop.ataoardu yovov eisyilv Epptge;Cook III (r94o) l8r-237.
qPaus.
r.26.6-7; Strabog p. tg6;Plut. Nlna 9.rr; Euphorion fr. 9 Powell, followedby
Nonnus Dion. t3.r7z-7g, 27.tr4-75,3zo-23 with the "mystic lamp" beside "Erechtheus." Cf. R. Pfeiffer,"Die Lampeder Athena," Ausgew.Schr.(q6o\, r-7.
aPolemon
in Ath. 478d.

151

l.l

Il]

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

the remnants of the purification of the sacred lamp. Yet both ritual
and myth add a terrifying dimension to what would otherwise be
harmless-a dimension about which neither Athena's priestess nor
the virgins may know. Of course, the life-force of fire is experienced
again and again as sexual and phallic, and the snake, that terrifying
animal which excites fear even in primates, probably instinctively,'0
also represents phallic impregnation. Fascinating and dreadful at
once, this animal belonged to the virgin goddess Athena, and it was
both stated and believed that the snake on the Acropolis was actually
Erechtheus or Erichthonius; it was also said that Athena made the
snake dwell with Cecrops' daughters, or that one of the girls on the
Acropolis spent the night with the snake." In the realm of the powerful virgin goddess, sexuality took on a terrifying dimension. But how
could the child emerge if the "basket" remained closed? The young
girls' way of life had to end, and the priestess herself sent them away
to Eros and Aphrodite beneath the earth'
The encounter with death, ending the sheltered life of the "virgin," may be interpreted as an initiation ritual, the exemplary consecration of a maiden in the middle of the polis." The facts that necessary transitions in life are here played up into deadly crises, however,
and that the "virgin" faces death derive from the more general function of sacrifice in society. The drama of the maiden's initiation performed as a symbolic maiden-sacrificeT3opens the great sacrificial festival that embraces the end and the beginning of the year at Athens.
Animal-sacrifice was undoubtedly part of the ritual in the nocturnal festival. Varro mentions a most unusual goat-sacrifice on the
Acropolis: it was customary "that no member of the goat family be
sacrificed to Athena on account of the olive, because it is said that any
olive tree which they bite becomes sterile; for their spittle is poisonous to the fruit. For this reason they are not driven onto the
Acropolis at Athens except once a year for a necessary sacrifice'""
70A. Kortlandt and M. Kooii, Symp. Zool. Soc.London rc i96),
7o; Batdy (t98o) z9t'
7 \ P a u s .t . 2 4 . 7 ; H y g . A s t r . z . r 3 ; P h i l o s t r . v . A p . 7 . z 4 ; t h e a n c i e n t c o m m e n t a t o r s o n 6 p c l x au),os Soph. fr. 643 Radt.
zJeanmaire (ry9) 264-67; Burkert, Hermes (t966\, 13-zr; Brelich (t96$ zz9-18'
t3SeeL7 above.
7aR. r. r.z.zo . . . praeterquamsemelad necessariumsacrificium. For the prohibition, without mention of the sacrifice, see Ath. 587a; Pliny NH 8.2o4. The priestess of Athena
does not eat cheese (strabo g p. 3g5;Ath. 375c), probably because it is made with rennet
from a goat,s stomach. Horses may not enter the grove of Diana of Aricia (Yetg. Aen.
horse-sacrifice took place
Z.ZZ8-ig; Ov. Fast. 3.266) precisely because an exceptional
(Ambros. Virg.3$.

a52

THE PANATHENAIC

FESTIVAL

Once again the tabu and its infringement are connected.Becausea


goat is never otherwise allowed on the Acropolis, the sacrificeassumesa disquieting gravity; its "necessity"is stressed.The olive tree
the sanctuarybeneaththe winof Athena standsin the Pandroseion,T'
dows of the Erechtheum, which in mythology was connectedwith
Pandrosus,the daughter of Cecrops. The arrival of the olive tree,s
enemy, and its death in sacrifice,fits well in the crisis-reflected in
the myth of Pandrosus' sisters-that the religious servants on the
Acropolis.undergoat the Arrhephoria. A goatskin, the aegis, is the
terrifying armor of the warlike virgin Athena. It is clearthat the memory of a real goatskin,hung after the sacrificeon a sacredtree, or pole,
or roughly carved wooden image, is preservedhere,76even though
genuine goatskinswere in historical times no longer hung about the
ancientwooden image of Athena Polias.At the Plynteria, the ,,washing festival" a few days before the Arrhephoria, this statue'sclothing
was removedand washed. Athena got a new cloak(gdpos)..It would
thus have been appropriate to have given her a new aegisas well. In
Corinth too, young boys and girls from prominent families servedfor
a year in the temple of Hera Akraia until the sacrificeof a black goat
terminated their duties.78In the myth, this appearsas the death of
Medea'schildren. Everything suggeststhat-along with the journey
beneath the earth-an extraordinary goat-sacrificeoccurred at Athens once a year, at the end of the Arrhephoroi's duties. According
to one myth Athena, after having killed Gorgon, skinned her and
plunged into the battle againstthe giants wearing the aegis she had
thus newly acquired.'nThe goat-sacrificeis a mere prelude to subsequent acts that are greater and more deadly. The first war in early
Athenian history was the battle of ErechtheusagainstEleusis.Here,
too, Erechtheus'death was precededby sacrificeof a maiden-the
sacrificeof his own daughteiat his own hands. There is, of course,a
greatabundanceof such myths describingthe preliminary death of a
girl, and the connectionbetweenmyth and ritual is flexibie. If, for in-

ttPaus.
r.z7.z.
roSee-L7.n.39
above;for the aiTle as made of plaitedwool (ir rCov
rrrep.p.araur\typ.a)
seeHarpokr. ai7ds,Suda ar 6o.
ztfs
ro A 5 seemedto establish-against Deubner e93z) rg-the zgth of Thargelion
as the date of the Plynteria,but cf. Mikalson
., and the Lexsacraof rhorikos
e97) r6,off
Stves."skirophorion," zPE 25 F97il,2,45 line 52. The palladionprocessionto phaleron
rs to be kept distinct: see Burkert,
ZRGGzz (rg7o), 356-6g.
n_Phot..ed.
Reitzensteinaiyds rpotrov;Zenob.Ath. z.3o p. l6rMiller; Markellosin Euaar. Marc.t.1; Burkert(1966)rtg.7t.
l.b.
DSee
L7.n.39above.

r53

il

t ,,1'
l

DISSOLUTION
AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

stance,the deaths of Cecrops' daughters becamethe mythic equivalent of the Arrhephoria, Euripides could shift the deaths of Erechtheus' daughters to the cult of the Hyakinthides, which was located
elsewhere.e In any case, the anticipatory function of the maidensacrificein guaranteeingvictory is certain.slThus, the Arrhephoria
points toward a greater"act of killing" through which the dissolution
at the end of the year comesto a climax. Perhapswhen the girls carried back from the depths something covered like a baby it was meant
to signify birth-giving in the mature woman, and so balancethe masculine "act of killing."
PANATHENAIA
The Panathenaiacelebratethe birth of the polis Athens at the end
of the first month of the Attic year.82
Whereasthe previousmonth had
brought dissolution, the Panathenaiareestablishedorder. To be sure,
the period over which this occurred was unusually long: forty-five
days separatethe Skira from the New Year'sfestival. Moreover, the
dissolutionwas repeatedin anotherway at the Cronia,83
on the twelfth
day of Hecatombaion,when the order of master and slave was reversed in a lighthearted festival. But it may be that these are compromisesbetween rituals of different origins in an already pluralistic
urban society.They could exist side by side so long as they performed
a similar function, especiallyas ritual inherently fostersrepetition.
Once again, the complexity of the Panathenaiapreventsus from
being able to reconstructit in all its details. Every four years, starting
in about 57o, the festival would be magnificently enlarged into the
GreaterPanathenaiawith its pan-Hellenicagon.* The basicelements

THE PANATHENAIC

FESTIVAL

regrrlationof the LesserPanathenaiasee lS 33 (: IG II/III, :1J4+ Hesperia


z8
l-f:rln"
It9s9l, z)g\ B 3z-J+.
esee
Lippold
(r95o)
148-5r.
e-Phifochoros,
FGrHist328F 9 : Schol.Aristoph. Vesp.544.:
Xen. Symp.4.t7.For the
armed
dance
of
the
z.ai6ss
see
Aristoph.
Nub. 9ggwith 6chol.;for tire thck garments
of the ephebesseePhilostr.V.Soph.z'.t.5(l59
ed. Teubn.;.SeealsoI.5.n.7jove.
sLS
33 1n.85 above)B 16;more than 16ocows could be bought for 4r minai.
eAristoph.
Ran. rc9o-g8 with Schol.;the one who comesin last gets beaten.
90n
cxapt1 IC ll/lllr 3198: S1G3g94;Strattisfr. p (CAF I7r9); Deubner
t:tav,adnvdis
je #32; Himerios 47..12-17.
On the goddess,s
arrivatin the ship see
i1?:1 ll-f.o,.t
Durkert
(1967\295_96.
'A}qua
u
ll'
2.55t>:
}i1xea
Biovtw.
we
fi1
do
not
know what position was oclf?tl"J,
cupiedby the sacrificeof "bullsand
rams" to Erechtheus,
rt.2.55o,at the panathenaia.

of this celebrationinaugurating the year must have been appropriate


to the Lesser,annual Panathenaiaas well. It consisted,natuially, of a
sacrificialprocessionand an agon.
Before this, however, there would be a preparatory festival at
night, a Pannychis. By contrast, the main procession, which was
enormous, formed "at dawn."s In the parthenon frieze, this great
pageantof the polis at its festival was transformed into an enduring
work of art.e Every member of the community had his place herel
from the youthful horsemento the elders "beaiing branches,,,"from
the young girls, who were carrying the sacrificialtools, to the matrons' Above all, even in the
Lesser
Panathenaia,
procession
the
included over a hundred sheep and
cows
bound
for
sliughter
at the
"great altar."88Thus, there was enough meat to give the
popu_
"rrtlre
lacea portion, its festival meal, at the marketplace.
It was the beginning of something new. Starting at dawn, a run_
ner would bring new fire in a torch from the grove of Akademos to
the Acropolis.se
rhe processionwas accompaniedby a ship on wheels,
upon whicf the now-finished peplos of the goddess *as brought,
like a sail, to the Acropolis.'The coming of something new, the arrival of a goddess in a-ship-these are primordial -otifs stretching
back over thousands of years and echoing even today in song as the
theme of advent. A whole seriesof detailJ shows how the fesiival sequence-Arrhephoria, skira, Buphonia-points to the panathenaia,
which in turn correspondsto and fulfills the previous festivals.Even
the choice of sacrificialanimals was not arbitrary.Neither goats nor
rams nor bulls joined in the procession,but, rather, ewes and cows.er
The proud horse was there as well, as no one who has seen the parthenon frieze can ever forget, but not as a sacrificialanimar.The horse
was a living symbol of speed and strength, the essenceof ready
Power.The young men, the ephebes,stood out as those actuallysup_

t3SeeDeubner
r5z-55.
Qq6z)
&Pherekydes,FGrHist F z; Euseb.Chron.a. Abr. r45r (566u.c.); Schol.Aristides p.
3
323.29Dind.; dedicatoryinscription of the first Agonothetai(. . . rou dfy6fva 86,cpv
rp6ro[r,] y],ou[x]<izr.6rxopfct), A. Raubitschek, Dedicationsfrom the Athenian Acropolis
(r94), #326. On the PanathenaicamphorasseeJ. D. Beazley,AIA a7 g9a3\, 44t-65;
D. A. Amyx, Hesperia
z7 Q958),178-86.The first LesserPanathenaia
were tracedback
to Erichthonios:see Arist. fr.637; Marm. Par., FGrHist49 A ro; Hellanikos, FGrHist
34aFz;Androtion, FGrHistlz4Fz;Philochoros,FCrHist328F8;Erat.Cat.r3;Schol.
Plat. Parm.rzTa;Harpokr.,Phot., Sudaflavaflilvcra. Lessoften they are tracedbackto
Theseus;seePaus.8.2.r; PIut. Thes.24.j.

r55

eSee
I.7.n.33
above.
8lThe
Attic
their oath at the shrine of Aglauros:seeI.7.n.32above.
ephebes
swear
82A. Mommsen (1898)
41-t5g; Deubner Q93z\ zz-35; Ziehen, RE XVIII z (tg+g),
457-93;J. A. Davison, IHS 78 (1958),z3-42;82 (196z)r4t-42; H. A. Thomson, ,44
(t96r), zz5-y.

754

il

,dit.i,
iir*lrl
,ll'lt
ri"
1,,,

FESTIVAL

the easternpediment, with the flight of the axe-bearer,looks down


on the altar of the Buphonia.'6The contestbetween Athena and po_
seidon for AtticaeTon the western pediment-the first sight greeting
the visitor as he approachesthe temple-embodies the sameconflici
that is acted out in the ritual and marks off its beginning and end.
Two cultic monuments made the sanctuary toward which the prothe first was the bit of ,,sea,,,the
cessionmoved, peculiarly sacred:es
depressionmade by Poseidon'strident and filled with salt water. Locatedin the northern hall of the Erechtheum,yet exposedto the open
air, it was the site of "sacrificiallibations."'The second is Athena,s
olive tree in the Pandroseion,upon which the western windows of
the Erechtheum seem to look out. The "sea" and the olive were the
pledgesthe two great gods offeredto the city as proof of their power.
Poseidonlost by the decisionof Cecropsor Zeus; yet he-or, rather,
Erechtheus-was as much a part of Athens as was the goddess
Athena herself.In cult, Poseidonwas identified with Erechtheus.The
myth turns this into a temporal-causalsequence:in his anger at losing, Poseidonle.dhis son Eumolpus againstAthens and killed Erechtheus.'mEven here, the correspondencebetween poseidon,sdefeat
and Erechtheus'sinking into the earth was perceived.It was said that
Athena expressedher gratitude to her father Zeus for his favorable
decision by establishingthe Buphonia on the Acropolis'nr-yet another reflection of the sequenceskira-Buphonia.Thus, the mythical
contestbetweenPoseidonand Athena merelyvariesthe basicthemetransposedto an Olympian level-that set the tone for the ,,houseof
Erechtheus"already in the most ancient tradition: the theme of the
goddessjuxtaposed with a god or ancestralking who is active as a
victim in the bowels of the earth. At the city'shighest point, atop the
Acropolis, there is also that bit of sea that lurfaies in the sanctuary.
Likewise, the Babylonian temples contained a bit of Apsu, the primordial Ocean,'o,who was murdered by his son Ea so that Ea could

THE PANAT}IENAIC

porting the community. On the peplos begun by the Arrhephoroi


(who in the meantime had been dismissed)were woven pictures of
a triumphant reminder of the crisis for which
the gigantomachy,n2
Atheni armed herselfwith the skin of the Gorgon-goat'Likewise, the
myth of Erichthonius spansthe two shoresthat embracethe abyssof
"dissolution": it tells of the child Erichthoniuswho brought death to
the Cecropids, and of the adult Erichthonius who establishedthe
Panathenaia.Erichthonius had, it was said, inventedthe four-horse
It was this
chariot, which he drove in the first Panathenaicagon.o3
that was the most characteristicand distinctive sPort at the Panathe leap of the armed
thenaia: chariot-racesincluding the apobates,
warrior from his moving chariot.'nIn this way the warrior and king
took possessionof the land at his advent.
and Erichthoniusareobviously merelyvariants.'5Only
Erechtheus
is used in cult, as it is the original, probablynon-Greek,
Erechtheus
name. Erichthonius,who is "peculiarly of the earth," is a Hellenizing
neologism, perhaps taken up in Attic epic becauseof the etymology.
The myth then differentiatesbetween the two by telling of Erichthonius' birth, but Erechtheus' death. So, too, the genealogiesmade
Erechtheusking after Erichthonius, who, as the "earth-born" child,
had to come at the start. In the festivalcycle,the mysteriouschild and
the king's sacrificialdeath confrontedeachother in the last month of
the year. The new king was inaugurated at the subsequentPanathenaia: Erechtheusis dead, long live Erichthonius!What the Arrhephoria, the Skira, and the Buphonia had dissolved,the act that celebrated the polis'sbirth restored.
Above the Parthenon frieze, with its Panathenaicprocession
winding around the cella,abovethe battlesceneson the metopes,the
pedimental sculpture portrays the epiphany of Athena in and for
Athens. It is hardly accidentalthat the depiction of Athena'sbirth on

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

ezEur. Hec.
des
466-74 with Schol.; Arist. fr. 617; Orig. Cels 6 4z; F Vian, La guerre
gtants (t952), 251- 5i.Since the establishment of the greater Panathenaia, the peplos
was apparently woven only every four years; see Deubner (tqz) 3o; Davison, /HS 78
(rg58), z5-26; the custom itself is certainly older.
esSee 84 above.
n.
qDion.
Hal. 7.73.2-3; Harpokr. dnopctrrls; Reisch, RE I z8r4-t7; on the pictorial tradition see Metzger Qg5t) 359-6o; (t965) 7r-72; already on late Ceometric Attic amAthenians dedicated the
phoras, AA 78 (rg$), 27c'-25; Philadelphia Jo-3)-1)).The
place where Demetrios leaped from the wagon to Zeus Kataibates:Plut. Demetr. rc'

r57

%On
Athena's birth and cow-sacrifice see
(r94o) 656-62.
Cook
III
tPR
I :oz-zo4; H. Bulle, RML III z86r-66; Apollod.
).a77-7g.
$Hdt.
8 . 5 5 ; S t r a b o p . 3 9 6 ; P a u s . t . z 4 . j , 2 6 . 5 ; J . M . p a t o n , e d . , T h e E r e c h t h e u m( 1 9 2 7 ) ,
ro4-10; N. M. Kontoleon, To 'Epelrlercv
dts oixo66pqpa Tfovias Larpedas (Athens,
1949);
Bergquist
(:196:) zz-25.
eBop.ds
fi BueX6lG l'? 172.79,zo3; theater seat, /G Il/lll'_roz6: Bwlyoou.
nrur'
Ereclilfters; a vase-painting depicts poseiclon and Eumolpos riding toward
rrtnena nd the olive
a
tree: L. Weidauer, AK rz (t969), 9r-93, T.4t.
torHsch.
Alds rgdxor.
*E.
Dho.m", Les religionsde Babylonieet d,Assyrie
eg+g), )2. For a,,sea,,-basin in the
rempfe
at
Jerusalem see I Kings 7:23-z6,ll Chron. 4:z-6. For lclopo beneath the temple of }iierapolis,
see Luk. Syr. D. tz,.
'5PR I r98; E. Ermatinger, "Die attische Autochthonensage bis auf Euripides," Diss'
Z u r i c h , r 8 g 7 ; E s c h e r , R E V I 4 o 4 - r r , $ g - 4 6 . F o r E r e c h t h e u sa n d E r i c h t h o n i o s o n a n
Attic bowl (with inscriptions) see Berlin F 25i7 = ARV? rz68; F. Brommer, Chatites
L . I - a n g l o t z( 1 9 5 7 ) , t 5 z - 7 , p l . z t .

15b

ii'l

'
Jitrut'l

r lll ,,,1

1'

iillr

]"

DISSOLUTION

AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

build his palaceand temple on toP of him. Ariel's song, "Full fathom
five thy father lies,"'03seemsto echoaround this temple. Over that bit
of seaihe olive tree of the goddessgrows, eternally 8reen, surviving
the courseof generationsand providing food.

EXCURSUS:THE TROJAN HORSE


According to Attic tradition, Troy fell on the twelfth day of skirophorion,'* the day of the skira. Among the Dorians, the lliupersiswas
ionnected with their specialfestival, the Carneia.'o'Theseseem no
more than arbitrary, unverifiable conceits, but, considering that ancient etiologistscould at leastbegin from personalexperienceof their
festivals,it might ue well to askwhat thesebold assertionscould mean.
In point of fact, the Skira is a festival of "dissolution'" The city
goddesi and the king disappear;in their place appear hostile neigh6ors, the Eleusinians.In the myth, Athens comes to within a hair's
breadth of being conquered.And in the ritual, the EleusinianKerykes
do indeed scalJthe Acropolis, bringing a bull for sacrificeafter Athena's priestess leaves the Acropolis, bound for Eleusis' If a "sacred
city,, can be conquered at all, it is only during this period of crisis at
year'send.
Troy was similarly forsaken by Pallas Athena when Odysseus
and Diomedescarried off the Palladion.'* However, a strangeanimal
went ahead of the Greeks who conquered Troy, a sacrificialanimal for
Athena, madeby the goddessherself:the wooden horse.The Trojans
themselvesbroie through the walls to consecratethe animal to the
goddesson their u..opolis.'o'Indeed,a priest drew near the horse and
Jtro"t it with u tp"ui on the side, the priest Laoco6n,who quickly
r03W.Shakespeare, TheTempest,
I.z.
leClem. strom. r.ro4. Becausethis month existsonly in Athens (RE III A 547;for the
cleruchy of Lemnos see ASAA 315lrg4t l 411,76), it must be an Attic tradition.
rEEvidentlyalreadyin Alkman 5zPage;Demetriosof Skepsis,in Schol.Theocr.5'8'zb'
Theocr.5.82b-c, etc')
and cf. d; the Carneiawas linked toihe Doric conquest(-Schol.
(rgoo,t
and to the founding of Cyrene (callim. Hy. Ap. 2.65-96); see generally Nilsson
rr8-29. On the date of Troy'sdestructionseePR II rz88-89'
16F.Chavanne.s,"De Palladii raptu," Diss. Berlin, r89r; PR ll rzz5-27' t'213-)7' D'
Ziehen, RE XVnl z.r7t-89.
w PRll rzzTto be found tn
1(., 7237-54.New fragments of stesichorus' lliu Persisare
being
POxy 26r9,lv1.L. West, ZPE ai969),45-42, with a descriptionof the horse
taken into Troy, rpds va6v is dxplottoft w' . . . dyvdv rilo,l'p'a Oe&sz'6' to'

158

THE PANATHENAIC

FESTIVAL

paid a dreadful price for his act.lmHis gruesomefate notwithstanding, the Trojans went on to hold a collectivefeastlasting well into the
night. Thereupon, warriors climbed out of an opening in the horse,s
side and killed the defenselesscelebrants.
Ever sincethe eighth century n.c. the Trojan horse has been depicted as riding on wheels.'@To this extent, this, one of the most iliustrious themes of the oral epic tradition, is quiie comparableto the
fantastic-and technically impossible-escape of Odysseusbeneath
the ram. But the relics of other versions remain: according to apocryphal traditions, Odysseushimself was turned into a horse."oThis
looks as though the rrrdtcnoprlos, the sacker of Troy, was actually
identicalwith the Trojan horse. Odysseusdied when his son Telegonos stabbedhim with an extremelyancientspearof the Upper palaeolithic type-according to one version,r" while Odysseuswas still a
horse.This is clearly the tale of a sacrificein which u horr" was killed
with a spear.
Preciselythis form of sacrificewas customary in Rome, in the
sacrificeof the Equus October,',2the striking featuresof which have
long fascinatedstudents of religion. But little attention has been paid
to the aition of this sacrifice,even though it was already attestedby
Timaios:stabbing a horse was how the descendantsof Troy avenged
the fall of their ancestralcity, destroyedby a horse.whatever the real

tGPRII
rz46-52;
Verg.
Aen.
z.5o-56;
cf
.
Od.8.5o7.
roR. Hampe, Frilhe
griechische
Sagenbilder
in B\otien eg16), pl. z; Schefold (196g pl. 6a.
rroSextus
Math. t.264,2.67;PtolemaiosChennos,phot. Bib. r5oar6.
urServ.auct.
A e n . 2 . 4 4 ; o n T e l e g o n o s ' s p e a r s e e s c h o l .O
Hd
e. r r . r 1 4 ; E u s t . t 6 7 o . 4 5 ;
Burkert
285-86;
A.
Hartmann,
intersuchunpenirberdie sasenuom Tod desodusQ96)
seus(rgr7). Ed. Meyer (Herntes
3o [1895],263)saw tiat the metaniorphosisinto a hoise
ts connectedwith the horse-shapedPoseidonin Arcadia(paus.8.25.5);poseidonHippios and Athena Tritonia were lionored on the acropolis of pheneos;there was a herd
of horses,allegedlygiven by Odysseus,at the sanctuaryof Artemis Heurippa: paus.
t.r4.4-6,
poseidon
and
cf.
the
in HNl 452.F Schachermeyr,
coins
und dieEntslehungdes
grtechis-chen
cdtterglaubens
(r95o),r89-:.o3,thinks thatihe Trolanhorse = poseidon,the
8od of the earthquakethat destroyedTroy VI; such nature-allegorydoes not explain
the ritual detailsin the mvth.
'DTimatos,
F C r H i s t 5 6 6 Fj 6 : P o l y b . r u . 4 b ; t h e c o n n e c t i o n w i t h t h e E q u u s O c t o b e r i s
confirmedthrough the etiologicalderivation
from the Trojanhorse;it w;s still believed
oy_the"vulgus" in the time of Verrius,
Festusr7glgr M. polybiuspolemicizesagarnst
by pointing out that many barbarianpeopleswho had nothing to do with
Hlt_Yi"*
jl_"J,|"y" horse-sacrifice,and precisely when going-off to war. U. scholzlstudien zum
und altrdmischenMarskultund Marsiythoi 1rg7oy,89-9r,wrongly concluded
T'l!!,r:,r!*
nom this that Timaioswas likewise
speakingof a sacrificebeforegoing of io war in the
una not of the october-Horse.see a'isoI.7.n.48above.Ar the Taurobolion,the
llf1s,.
vuu
ts killed with a spear:see prud. peristeph.
7o-.7o27.

a59

It

il

lii r,,i
I

'
Itlrlrl
I

l,rl

ililr

l;1,

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR'S FESTIVAL

were celebrating the Aphrodisia at the end of their term of office


when the conspiratorssmuggled themselvesin, disguised as hetaerae.They then unveiled themselvesand killed their unsuspectingvictims. Another, more realistic, tradition was briefly cited by Xenophon, but he preferred the mythical versionwhich set the calamitous
in the context of a festival of dissolution.
'peripeteia
A particularly strangelegend tells of the foundation of Erythrae
by conquestthrough Cnopus,son of Codrus."nCnopus had brought
alonga priestessof Hecatefrom Thessaly,who now preparedto sacrificea bull in full view of the enemy, the former Erythraeans.After its
horns had been gilded and its body adorned with fillets, it was led to
the altar. However, the bull had been given a drug provoking madness:it tore itself loose and ran toward the enemy,bellowing loudly.
The enemy unwittingly seized the bull and sacrificedit themselves,
using its meat for their feast. They were thereupon all struck mad,
easyprey for the attackingCodrides. Sacrificersand eatersmust succumb to those practicing renunciation and aggression. The guilt
causedby sacrificesignalsan end and a fall-for others; a victoryfor one'sown triumphant order.

ARGOS AND ARGEIPHONTES

r6r

t or; seenow Burkert (gZq Ss-6+,72-77, wherethis pattern is discussed


i,-l1f:.
the
"Transformationsof the Scapegoat.,,
heading
To the sending away of the
:]::t
{aPeSoaton the
one side correspondsthe festivalJf dissolutionon the other.

custom.Even the
sailors'revels
(Plut.
An
seni785e;
Nonposse
ro97e)have their tradi.t, the-Argonautson Lemnos(Burkert
[t97o]8-l;.. A quite similar story of a young
111
disguiseshimself is a girl rn ordei io assissinatea tyrant is the aition of a
I_11 ih.
restival
at
Thessalian
Melite: seeNikander in Ant. Lib. 13.There is a similar aition for
re\erai, the Boeotianfestivalof Dionysus,in Heraclidesfr. r55 Wehrli; cf.
iilinJ"-:
'u.7.h.24below.

Nowhere in Greecehave traditions survived in such detail as at


Athens. For other cities we often have no more than a few scanty,
scatteredindicationsabout cult, and the literary myths that were able
to achievepan-Hellenic status. But even fragmentscan be evaluated
and classifiedif we have a fully preservedmodel. The rhythm of dissolutionand a new start, which it Athens leadsfrom the Arrhephoria

2. ArgosandArgetphontes

connectionsbehind the old Trojan tradition among the Etruscansand


Romans,"' the fact that Troy's fall, at the fateful feast when the Trojans acceptedthe wooden horse,was linked to the sacrificeof a horse
by means of a spear"oatteststo a deeper understanding. Although,
over the course of many generationsof singers, literary epic transformed the cultic elementsinto a mechanicaltrick, an inkling still remained of what had once been a sacrificeof dissolution-perhaps
even at Troy-Ilion-with the stabbingof a horse.
The well-known legend of Gyges"ualso depicts how one who
climbed out of a horse seizedpower: contrary to all custom, the queen
removed her clothing in front of Gygesand then aided him in killing
the king and wresting his power away.She is obviously a manifestation of the king's divine lover, whom the Greeks called Aphrodite.
The Greeks still knew of stories about Gyges' deified hetaera."oIn
Abydus, there was even a shrine of 'Aphrodite the whore," "7 whoin spite of her name-was duly worshipped and had a festival. There
was, moreover, a story of how the city was once freed from evil tyrants: these tyrants offered up a sacrifice,feasted,grew drunk, and
slept with their hetaerae,one of whom thereupon opened the gates.
The armed citizensthen rushed in and slew their defenselessoppressors.Normal order and morality could be restorede contrarioprecisely
becauseAphrodite had dissolvedthem at her festival.
When Pelopidasmurdered the Thebanleaderswho were loyal to
Sparta, thus overthrowing the government in 379, his contemporariestold the story accordingto the samepattern:"'the polemarchs
rrrA. Alfdldi, Die troianischenUralurcn der Riimer (1957), demonstrated that the tradition
goes back at least to the fifth century B.c.
lraLater, the Greeks occasionally associated 6oupetos iz'n'os with "speat," Eur. Tro. t4;
but in the oldest literary source, Od. 8.491, 5rz, the idea of a wooden horse is already
long established.
tt5Plat. Resp.
35gc-6ob, on which cf. W Fauth, RhM tr1 QgTo),'t-42; the horse in the
Gyges saga was linked to the Trojan horse by P M. Schuhl, RA 7 Qy6), r83-8t{;
G. M. A. Hanfmann, HSCP 61 j958),76-79; Fauth, op. cit., zz. Cf. also G. Dumdzil,
j95o), 55-78.
Le problime des Centaurs (1929), 274; N. Yalouris, MH
7
116On'Erarlpr;s p.ufip.a see Klearchos fr. z9 Wehrli = Ath.
57)a; Strabo 13 p. 627;Fauth'
RhM n1 $g7o), 38; cf . W Fauth, Aphrodite Parakyptusa[Abh. Mainz, t966], 6.
'Eraipa
rrTNeanthes, FGrHist 8+ F g : Ath.
at Ephesus see Atn'
57ze-f. For Aphrodite
57ze; at Athens see Hsch. Phot.'Eraipos tep6u.
1 1 8 X e nH
. ell.
5 . 4 . 4 - 6 ; n o t i n P l u t . P e l o p .t 9 , G e n . S o c r . 5 7 7 c . l t i s t h e r e f o r e c o n t r o v e r s r a r
whether the Theban festival of Aphrodite is historical, and whether it was a privatt'
celebration or an established custom; see Nilsson i9o6\ 374-77. Plut. Comp Cin tt.
Luc. t'Agpoii<rta itu ro\6pau xai crparq"yt6:u d.yttv speaks, rather, for an established

r6o

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

through the Skira and the Buphonia and finally to the Panathenaia,is
anything but unique. Though greatly expanded, it basicallyfollows
the "normal" sacrificialsequence,from the preparatorydrama of the
maiden, through the uncanny sacrificeof the bull, to the crowning
feastin the "hecatombs"of the New Year'sfestival' The samefestival
rhythm appears in many other placesand in the cults of other city
gods. To be sure, we must reckon with different forms, local variants
and combinations,but the basicstructuresare analogous,and details
often show a striking correspondence.The rnyths representingthe
oldestliterary tradition are especiallyilluminating' Once one has recognized the various stagesof sacrificethat organizetheir peripeteia,
they becometransparent.
Becauseof Sparta'ssuperior power, the city of Argos' was relegated to a secondaryrole in the history of Greece,while its cultural
significancewas overshadowedby that of Athens. Accordingly, the
strong developmentof Argos from the Geometricto the Archaic period contrastswith the stagnationand constantcrisiswhich besetit in
historicaltimes. In the Homeric epic, the Greeksare simply calledAror Danaans,and a particularly large array of Greek myths fogirses
cuseson the Argolid. There were three Mycenaeanpalaceshere in
closeproximity: Mycenae,Tiryns, and Argive Larisa. There are even
tracesof more ancient,Neolithic traditions here. An important settlement, for instance, was Lerna,' site of myths and mysteries,which
may have derived its name from Anatolia. Another Neolithic settlement was locatedon a hill which, in historicaltimes, becamethe site
of the central shrine of the Argolid, forty-five stades from Argos,
and actually closerto Mycenae:that is, the Heraion,'the major sanctuary of the goddessHera already in Homer. The goddessis called
'Apyeiq, just as Pallasbelongsto Athens, flatrkis
ArgiaeHera,"Hprl
'A$qvair1.
The main festival at this shrineo-one of the greatestfor the city
rM. Mitsos, llotrr.zr4 ioropia roil " Apyovs(rg45)iApyoXtxi1rpotrazroypapia (1952).
'147-77;z6 (t957)'
'?|.L. Caskey,Hesperia
4 0954, |-Jo; 24 $95), z5-49; z5 Q956),
14z-62;z7 j958), r25-44; z8 (t95$, 2o2-2o7.
3Ch. Waldstein, TheArgiueHeraeumllll (tgozl); C. W. Blegen,Prosymna:
TheHelladic
SettlementPrecedingtheArgiueHeraeumOnZ); A. Frickenhaus, Tiryns I ltgtz\, n4-zo'
aSchol.Pind. Nem. ro inscr.;Schol.Pind' Ol. 7.r5zc-d,9.r3za; Schol.Pind. Pyth'
8.rr3c; Schol. Pind. Nerr. rc.)5, :19;Nilsson i9o6) 4z-45. A. Boethius, Der argiaische
Kalender(uppsala universitets Arsskrift tgzz), r, found it probable that the Heraia occurred in the month Panamos(66).An inscription shows, surprisingly,that this was
the first month of the year: seeP Charneux, BCH 8t (t957\, zoo; 8z (1958)7. In Ept'
daurus, the month Panamosis precededby Agrianios:SamuelQgTz)9t.

t6z

ARGOS

AND

ARGEIPHONTES

We know that it
of Argos-was called both Heraia and Hecatombaia.
included a sacrificialprocession,moving from Argos to the shrine,
with the priestessof Hera riding in her ancient ox-drawn cart. Our
knowledge comesfrom the story of Cleobisand Biton, who, in place
of the oxen, pulled their mother, the priestessof Hera, all the way to
the temple.sAlready by 6oos.c. this exampleof Argive piety became
known throughout Creece, becausethe Argives dedicated Kouroi,
imagesof the youths, at Delphi. As Callimachustells us,uthe Argive
maidens also wove a peplos for Hera, and the presentationof this
As at Athens, the
peplos formed a part of the Hecatombaia-Heraia.
processionwas followed by an agon that took place inside the city
limits. It is mentioned severaltimes by Pindar, even though it never
becamea pan-Hellenicagon of the first order. The prize was a bronze
shield.'
This links the agon to the procession,for there a shield was carried along: "Those who had spent their boyhood purely and blamelesslytook up a sacredshield and thus led the procession:this was
their honor."8Boyhoodwas over;it was time to beararms.Thus, the
festivalprocessionmarked an initiation. The ephebeswere now capable of bearing arms; the agon repeatedthe process.It is not known
where this shield was stored and from whence it was "taken down"
for the procession.The only certainty is that it was sacredto Hera. It
becameproverbial to call someone"proud as one who has taken on
the shield in Argos."eAccording to a myth, Lynkeus gavethis shield

'Hdt.
r.3r; for the statues see Lippold Q95o) z5; SIG35; cl. Paus. z.zo.3; for coins see
I m h o o f - B l u m e r ( 1 8 8 5 )) 2 , T . K . X X X I V ; M . G u a r d u c c i , S t u d i L I . E . P a o l i , t 9 5 ) , ) 6 5 - 7 6 .
Cf. also Palaiphatos 5r and Aen. Tact. t7.
oCallim.
fr. 66; Agias and Derkylos, FGrHist )o5 F 4.Demetrios Poliorketes celebrated
his wedding at the Heraia: Plut. Dem. 25.
'"O
lEu "Ap7er 1a),x<is Pind. Ol. 7.81; dydtv d 1c!trxeo56dpov |rpivet roti Bovtvoiav
'Hpas
<iir}trrou re xpicw Pind. Nem. ao.z2-2); Schol. Pind. OI.7.r5z, and cf. Schol.
Pind. Nern. ro.39. King Nikokreon gave bronze; see Kaibel Epigr.846:
IG IV 581; in
the stadium by the Aspis, Paus. z.z4.z. For the myrtle-wreath see Schol. Pind. Ol.

7.r5zc. For coins see Imhoof-Blumer (1885) 4r, with shield and wreath. For victory inscriptionssee r4z B("Apyous dcri\a IG Il/lll': y62,3t6g,3158; IV
589,59o,5g1,597,
6rr;Vr.658;VII
4 9 ; X I V n 9 , 7 4 6 , 7 4 7 , 7 r o 2 , r r r z ; S I G s t o 6 4 . 9 ; f o ra t r i p o d f r o m V e r g r n a
see Proc. Brit. Ac. 6S
GgZg\,365. See now P. Amandry, "Sur les concours argiens," BCH
suppl. 6 (r98o), zrz-51.
8Plut.
r . 4 4 i n P a r o e m .G r . I 3 2 7a n d c f . Z e n o b . P a r . 2 . 3 ( l 3 z ) ; D i o g . t . 9 z ( l r 9 5 ) ;A p o s t o l .
1 . 2 7( I I z 9 z ) ; D i o g . r . 5 3 ( l l 9 ) ; M a c a r . 8 . 4 [ l z t ) .
'Callim.
fr. 683; Zenob. Par. 6.52 (l rZil : Bodl. 959, Suda o 245. The shield of Euphorlikewise displayed in the Heraion: see Paus.2.r7.3; Nikomachos Porph. V
:os.was
I ' Y t h .2 7 = I a m b l . V . P u t h . h .

r6j

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR-S FESTIVAL

to his son, Abas, when the son announcedthe death of Danaus.r('


Lynkeus thereby becameking of Argos, supportedby the armed.companies of youths. A new king following the old, a shield transferred
from father to son: these reflect the situation of the New Year'sfestival, which the Heraia sharedwith the Panathenaia'The coincidence
is no accident.The myth
of the names Hecatombaia/Hecatombaion
makesLynkeus' wife Hypermestraa priestessof Hera." The new order in the polis Argos cameabout under the power of Argive Hera.
If the Heraia was a New Year'sfestival, it must have been precededby a festival of dissolution, perhapsin the form of the sacrifice
of a bull. There is little more than allusions to this in Argos. Pausanias, for instance,mentionsa spring calledEleutherionon the road to
the shrine of Hera, which the priestesses"use for purification of the
sacrificeswhich are not spoken of ."'2 Thus, there were unspeakable
sacrificesfor which water had to be carriedup from this source.Varro
mentions an Argive hero who corresponds to the Attic "yoker of
oxen," Buzyges. His name is 6poyupos,"he who goes along in the
circle,"'3 which recalls the manner in which the bull was "driven
around" the altar at the Buphonia, especiallyas Buzyges was also
linked to the sacrificeof an ox. But given the abundanceof parallel
cults in a city, it is impossible to isolate any combination with certainty. The myth, however,takes us further. Just as the Attic Buphonia was depicted as a primordial crime, ending a Golden, vegetarian
age, so, too, the Argive myth included a primordial crime, namely,
the first murder among the gods, when Hermes killed Argos, guardthis
ianof Io, thebelovedof Zeus,whowasturnedintoacow.'aThus,
)oHyg. Fab. t7o clipeunr quen Danaus consecrateratlunoni . . . reftxit et donaoit Ahanti
"ApTet (i.e.,
qui quintL)quoqueawlo agu,rtur, qut appellantur dryris Ev
ludosqueconsecraztit
the foundation myth of the Heraia agon; missing in Nilsson 119o614z-45\; similarly'
H y g . F a b .2 7 1 .C f . S e r v . a u c t . A e t t . 1 . 2 8 6 .
r t E u s e b . H i e r o n . q . A b r . 5 8 z f o l l o w i n g H e l l a n i k o s , J a c o b yl - C r H i s f I a 4 5 5 .
t2Paus. z.r7.r. It is uncertain whether Hera's bath in the spring Kanathos, whereby she
becomes a virgin again (Paus. 238.2-1; "Ilpa[lc.p9evio Schol. Pind. Ol. 6.1499), has
anything to do with the Heraion. For Hera Akreia at Argos see Agias and Derkylos'
FGrHist Jo5F 4; Callim. fr. 65;Paus.z.z4.t.
13Varroin Aug. Cia. Dei fi.6; R. r. 2.5.4. Cl. Z$s yupa'ltrcsat Chios, Lycoph' fi7 wtth
Schol.
laPRIlg4-g7;Ilz51-66;8.
r l t e n G e s c h i c h t Ie ( 1 8 9 2 ) ,6 7 - t o r . F '
M e y e r , F o r s c h u n g e n z uA
alWehrli, lo. )irhtrrrg und Kultlegende(, K Beih. 4, 1967\, 196-9g. The myth was told
ready in the old epics at least four times, in tne Danais, the Photronis(fr. 4-5 Kinkel, and
cf . Klnkel p. r.t r; Pho.oneus founds the cult of Hera in Hyg. Fah z74, r43), the H"tiodic
-*'), then in
Aigimios (ir. 295-96 M.-W) and the Hesiodic Catalogues(fr. rz4-26 t
'
Akusilaos, FGrHist zF z6-27; Pherekydes, FCrHist 1F 67; Aesch Hik' z9r-1o5, etc
and cf. nn.zr, zt below.

164

Figure1. Sacrificialprocession:goddessAthena (damaged);priestess;altar with


wood and fire; sacrificerpouring a libation; maiden carrying basket, attendants
with branchesdriving bull. sow. sheep;flute-player. further participants.Attic
black-figurecup, about 560 BC. Private collection, photo D. Widmer. Munzenund Medaillen AG, Basel,Auction 18 no. 85. Courtesy. H. A. Cahn. (Seep. 4.)

Figure2. Preparationfor sacrifice:fluteplayer,attendant holding ram, sacrificer


washinghis hands,altar with wood and fire, and with marks of blood, bukranion
above, attendant holding water vesseland tray of offerings, dignitary (seer?)Attic red-figurebell crater by the Kleophon painter (ARV, 7749.g),440/30 B C
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts 95.25, Catherine Page Perkins
Funcl. Courresv,
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. (Seep. 4.)

.,tt,t,tt

:.':.', ' ' ' ' l '


:i r. ,l::l]j,:,,
iii: t:li

ti$;.r,'

. $..\

men hunting stag and boar.


, . r \ 1 r . l l . t , t r f! - 1 , \ ' . , l : , 1 ,,
Iames Mellaart.

(See p. 15.)

llr

.Il

.*.i.1::-rl.

bI
F i g u r e4 . s a c r i f i c i a l e a s ti n h o n o r o f D i o n y s u s :r o a s t i n g . r at n a l t a r a n d c o . k i n g i n
a tripod kettle. caeretan hyclria,about 530 B.r . Museo Nazionaledi Villa citrlia.
Rome. Courtesy,Museo Nazionaledi Villa Giulia. (Seep. g9. n.29.)

-----

from a tripod cauldron (PeloPsi


Figure5. Warrior with shieldand sword rising
Crete, a b o u t 6 3 0 u . C C o u r t e *
Lion on either side. Bronze mitra from Axos,
Museum of Iraklion. (SeeP. 9 9 . 1

Figure6. Buphonia:bulls strollingaround an altar. Attic black-figureoinochoeby


the Gela painter (ABV 473.785),510/480 n.c. Munich 1824' Courtesy, Vereinigung
der FreundeAntiker Kunst, Basel,and Staatlich Antikensammlungen und Clyptothek, Munich. (Seep. 137,n.7.)

I lJl

'
l,rl
hr

offerrr
'Lenaia vase': mask of Dionysus fastened to a column' table of
Figure 7.
the Vr
by
wine' Attic red-figure stamnos
with two stamnoi, woman tasting
Arts 90 l
450 B C Boston' Museum of Fine
Giulia painter (ARV'61,I.34)' abo"t
p'
of Fine Arts' Boston' (See 235 )
anonymous gift. Courtesy' Mu*turn

altar, priest
Figureg. Mystery initiation:pig sacrificebv Heracles(lion-skin)at a low
Terme'
with offering tray pouring a libation. Lovatelii urn, Museo Nazionaledelle
Rome. Courtesy, DeutschesArchliologischeInstitut' Rome' (Seep' 257')

r,l I

veti' 't
by a priestessholding a liknon'
Figure9. Mystery initiation: purification
Lovatelli urr' Mus"'
fl*t" (nott beneath his foot)'
initiand seatedon u.,*''
Deutsches Archiologische lnstrttrt
Nazionale deile Terme, Rome. Courtesy,
R o m e . ( S e ep . 2 6 7 . )

ARGOS AND ARGEIPHONTES

epoch-makingact of violencewas associatedwith the Heraion. "When


Hermes had killed Argos, the guardian of Io, at Zets' behest,he was
brought to trial. He was arraigned by Hera and the other gods becausehe was the first god ever to be stained with death. Now when
the gods were holding this trial, they were afraid of Zeus, for Hermes
had acted on his orders. They wanted both to remove this stain from
their presenceand acquit the god of murder: agitatedas they were,
they threw their voting pebbles at Hermes, so that a pile of stones
grew at his feet": thus Anticlides following Xanthosthe Lydian.'u
'The killer is freed through symbolic stoning. Thus, the pile of
stonesin which Hermes is present atteststo the first bloodshed and
how it was overcome.'uLikewise, in the HomericHymn bearing his
name, Hermes is the inventor of sacrificeand is calledBov96uos.'7
the Greeks believed that his
Starting with the Hesiodic Catalogues,
epithet, Argeiphontes,was won by killing Argos. Modern skepticism
concerningthis interpretationlshas arisen partly becauseof the problem of word formation, but aboveall becausethe "killing of Argos" is
taken to be insignficapt,a minor detail. The myth, however,adds another dimension to this act, surrounding this first divine shedding of
blood, i.e., the first sacrifice,with a typical comedy of innocenceincluding trial, sentencing,and apparent stoning. On Tenedos,at the
sacrificeof a calf for Dionysus Anthroporrhaistes, the participants
shower the killer with stones "in order to remove the stain from
themselves."" In Aeschylus' metaphor of the Sipta Ireioclt'ov,the
"sacrificethat ends in stoning," there may be a hint that such occurAbove all, the courtroom comedyrecalls
renceswere not infrequent.'?o

r5Xanthos,
FGrHist 765F z9; Anticlides, FCrHist r4oF 19; Eust. r8o9.38-43.
ItOn
Hermes, the pile of stones, see Nilsson I OgSil, 5o7-5o5;1.6.n.29 above. The Argives held trials at a place where, according to the saga, traitors had been stoned: see
Deinias, FGrHist 1o6 F 3. Voting with stones at a trial can probably be traced back to
stoning rituals.

" 4 1 6 ;c f . I . z . n . r 3 a b o v e .
I8P
Chantraine, MAL O. Naaarre (tglil, 6g-ZS (Pre-Greek); J. Chittenden, AIA 5z
(1948). z4-28 ("dog-killer"); A. Heubeck, Beitr. z. Namenf. 5 U95d, 19-3r ("Im Glanz
prangend"). Argos ("plain", Callim. fr. 299.2; Strabo 8 p. 172) and the eponymous
Argos can hardly be distinguished; the fact that the mythical character changes over
into the o-declension causes no problem (cf . Aiohos beside Aioheis); however, the word
formation is problematical. The epic epithet comes perhaps from the locative (ll. 6.224,
t4-rr9; Od . r74) " shining at Argos," then the "killer at Argos." Ever since the lliad, the
4.
latter part of the word has, with certainty, been understood as "killer" (like riu6Peryovrns. floXugovn1s).
teAel.
Naf . an. 12.J4)III.4.n.zo below.
eAesch.
Ag. rrrS; Burkert Q966) rtg.

165

',ilili
rli
,,1
il,
*tfii1"t1
l

ljllrrtI
'rrfit
i1

I,

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

the Attic Buphonia. There, in Athens, Hermes' descendants,the


EleusinianKerykes, are the ones who kill the bull. Correspondingly,
the act of HermesArgeiphontes,"killer of Argos," reflectsa Buphoniarite at Argos.
Moreover, the myth identifies Argos, the "neatherd," as closely
'Argos killed the bull that ravaged
as it possibly could with the bull.
Arcadia, and clothed himself in its skin."" In severalvase-paintings
he can be seen wearing the bullskin. The conqueror of the bull becomesvirtually identical with his victim by covering himself with its
skin. Hermes, the "ox-slayeg"thereupon lulls him to sleep and kills
him, as the myth relates,2'byhitting him with a stone.Thus, the subsequentstoning was payment in kind. To sacrificea bull, one needs
an axe, an instrument once made of stone.
Hermes' act-because it is linked to the myth of lo-is, once
again, combined with the preparatory drama of a maiden. Io, the
king's daughter and beloved of Zeus, was confined within Hera's
sphere of power, guarded in the Argive Heraion, chained to the sacred olive tree.a With Argos' death, these chains were broken: and
the cow fled into the wide world, goadedto far-offlands by the sting
of the gadfly.There seemsto be a twofold cultic reality underlying the
mythical play between the daughter of the king and the cow: already
was a priestessof Hera. And the priestess's
in Hesiod'sCatalogues,Io
place is in the sanctuary tending the eternal flame of the sacred
lamp'o-this, too, is common to the Heraion and the Erechtheum'But
if at the Heraia the priestessis led in solemnprocessionfrom Argos to
the shrine, we must assumethat she previously left that shrine in an
act of "dissolution." Was the lamp extinguishedduring her absence?
The drama is played out in a more sharply articulated,drasticform on
the animal level: when the bull dies in the unspeakablesacrifice,it
leavesthe cows in its herd without a leader.Peopleat Argos spokeof
the "cattle of Argos" which were "sacredto Hera." The hill on which
'rApollod. 2.4;Schol.Eur. Phoen.rr16. For vase-paintingswith Argos in a bullskin see
the black figure amphora BM B :^64= 13y 148.2, Cook III (r94o) 632; lor red figure
hydria, Boston o8.4r7 : ARV'1579.84, Cook III (r94o) 661; for rdd-figure-crater from
Ruvo, fatta 498 : ARV'r4o9.9, Cook I (r9r4) 46o;for a catalogueof depictionsof
Argos seeR. Engelmann,Jdl 18(ry3\, 17-58.
zApollod.2.7.
sApollod. 2.6; Pliny NH 16.49; cf. black figure amphora, Mtinchen 5n l. = Cook lll
(r94o) pl. 49.4 red figure stamnos, Wien 3729= ARVz288.r, Cook III (r94o) Pl. 49 2'
"Hpas
For lo is a priqrtess of H"tu see Hes. fr. rz4 M.-W. = APollod. 2.5; xLn}oixov
Aesch. Hik. z9r; Hellanikos, FGrHist| ^ P. 455.
2rPaus.
2.t7.7,and cf. 3.15.6.

t66

ARGOS AND ARGEIPHONTES

the Heraion was set was calledEuboea.2.


The cattlewere ,,setfree,,to
be caught for sacrifice.At the bull's death-for thus we may conclude
from the myth-a cow would be chasedaway ,,asif it were mad.,,But
even the mad cows did not escapethe festivil of the Hecatombs.
The processionat the Heraia responded in a specialway to the
sacrificeof the bull in the "dissolution." It does so by means tf a singular feature:the act of bearing the sacredshield. In historical times,
of course,as we know from Pindar, at leastthe shields that servedas
prizesin the agon were made of bronze. They were hoplite shieldsof
the sort common after approximately7ooB.c.lts more lncient predecessor/howevet would have been a shield made of cowhide, which
thus, in its source, was so directly linked to the cow that in an especially ancient Homeric verse the shield is simply designateduy ine
Indo-Europeanword for cow, B6v.ru One musf kill the bull ii one
wants the shield. But preciselyin this form-as a stretched skinthe Bo0sassumesa new existence,becoming the warrior's trustiest
comrade-in-arms,a protectiveskin for his own skin. Thus, the dead
bull is security for the living; and thus, in taking up the shield, the
young man who has outgrown boyhood entersthe-shadow and the
shelter of the dead. To this extent the armed warrior himself plays
the role of Argos, who killed the bull to wear its skin.
away, then,
the
power
and
order
of
Argos
the
city
are
embod_
ied in Argos the neatherd,
lord
of
the
herdlnd
lord
of
the
land,
whosename itself is the name
of
the
land.
In
the
myth,
Argos
is
Zeus,
oPponent,but it has long been seen
that
he
is
nonetheless
closely
identifiedwith Zeus.2'fustas Argos is called,,panoptes,,,
the one who
-is
"seesall," so Zeus, the omniscient sky-god, invoked as Zeus pa_
noptes.
just
And
as
mythographers
describe
Argos
as having four
eyes
or
three,
so
there
was
an
image
of
Zeus
ui Argos with"three
eyes."In the countless,starlikeeyesof Argos,2e
poets ,i* ur, imageof

6Paus.
z.t7.r. The name Nemea was etymologized from the ,,grazing,, of Argos, cattle:
see-A'rrian,.FGrHist .^56F 16 = Ef.
M. r76.y (it would be temp"ting t6.o.,.,"Jt the altar

theEndof the

meirtioned
herewith <ieer"g*.,t.r.".);"r"j,;[;;;i.'iror.3,
llt:t_oon"tys
Et M' &n 23;schot.Pind.III
Diod.4.15.4mentionsa herdof horses
3.23Drachmann.

A. snodgrass,EarryGreek
Armourandweapons

sacred to Hera, which


existed until the time of Alexander.

Bronze
from
ill to
7'')tt-cf.
t78e
600B.C. (1964\,
r7o_7t.
17_69,
E-.Meyer, Forsch.
z. alten Gesch.
I (figz),72, is criticalof this view; rirZeu
lln.t nO.u
Eum. rc45. For an altar AIFO: IANOIITA at Argos seeBCH y gcr),
;:T:l,t",r.n.
ar);
\-oor(I (1914)452_62;lll (ry4o)gr.
with.four eyessee,,Hes.,,Aigimiosfr. 294M.-W.;two-headed
on vase_paint,qrES,
l":t 1f::
sblack figure amphora, BM B tZa (n. zr above),
bell_craterfrom Ruvo, Genoa

167

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR'S FESTIVAL

the universe-just as Zeus himself was the universe. Moreover, this


two-faced quality of Argos recalls the myths of double beings who
had to be killed and cut up so that our world could come into exisIndeed, in the context of the city Argos, the mythical Argos
tence.3o
was virtually the embodimentof the cosmos,the all-embracingorder.
This order, so as to endure, had to be securedwith a death; it was
dissolved for the sake of being reestablished.Argos died in the unspeakablesacrificeof the bull so that the youthful warriors might
carry the sacredshield on their shoulders,thus carrying the city'soret fata
der on into the future, like Aeneas: attollensumerisfamnmque
nepotum.st

3. Agrionia
In the myth, Argos' death causesIo, the king's daughter, to be
driven off into distant lands as a mad cow. This pattern of kings'
daughters roaming like cows, distracted,through forest and mountain, is better known through a myth from a place directly adioining
Argos-Tiryns, where Proitos was king. Here, too, Hera is active,
Hera of Tiryns, whose small seated statue made of wood from the
pear tree was reckoned among the most ancient and venerableof
Greek statuesof the gods. When Argos destroyedTiryns, the image
was brought to the Argive Heraion, where Pausaniasstill saw it set up
ARV') ro54.48, Cook II (1924) 18o. Marduk has four eyes and four ears: see Enal4i:
uma Eli5, ANET 62. For Argos with three eyes see Pherekydes, FGrHist 3 F 66 (the third
is on the back of his head). For Zeus with three eyes (the third on his forehead), allegedly Priam's Zeus Herkeios, in the temple of Zeus Larisaios at Ar8os, see Paus'
2.24.).
ra p,iv civ &crput' itrso\ai<vtu dtrtpara B),Etrovra ta 6i xpir'

EEur. Phoen. nr6-r7


rovta \uvovrav pirc.

rln identifying
Janus with Chaos, which had by then been divided, Verrius (Festus 5z
M.) and Ovid (Fasf. r.ro3-r4) are applying a cosmogonical idea to )anus that was already in the background of the anthropogony in Plato's Symposium(r89d-r93d). At the
New Year's festival at Philadelphia, Saturnus aPPears as a mask with two heads, representing the period of dissolution before the new beginning: see Lydus Mens. 4.2 p' 65
Wuensch.
3tYerg. Aen. 8.73r.

r68

AGRIONIA

on a column. The periegetefound it "insignificant,"r and it was perceivedso already in the fifth century,when legend had it that proitos'
daughters had mocked the wretched image and thus incurred the
goddess'swrath.2Hera'sanger was sometimesascribedto other motivations, but it was always the encounterwith Hera in her sanctuary
that suddenly wrenched the daughtersof the Tirynthian king out of
their shelteredexistence.The goddessdrove them to "frenziedroaming," fiLooiz4, accordingto the HesiodicCatalogues,3
causingthem to
break out of the sanctuaryand city and to wander the earth. There
were stories of "all sorts of indecent behavior,"a of shamelessnudity
and of the madnessthat causedthem to take themselvesfor cows and
roam the Peloponnesusmooing.' Our oldest source, the Catalogues,
presentsa somewhat different picture: "becauseof their loathsome
lewdness, the goddessdestroyed the tender flower of their youth,"
"over their headsshe poured a dreadful itching substanceand spread
white leprosy over their whole skin, and now the hair fell out on their
scalpsand their beautiful headswere bald."6This is both lust and the
repulsivenessof sicknessand old age,a radicalantithesisto the image
of lovely and modest virgins-redolent of a witch's sabbath. The
myth of Pandareos'daughters,to which the Odysseyalludes, is comparable: their girlhood, which had stood under the protection of
Athena and Artemis, comes to a violent halt when, shortly before

'Paus.2.r7.5,
8.46.3.On this image seeAkusilaos, FGrHistz F z8; Demetriosof Argos,
FGrHist 3o4F r; Simon (1969)3zo.z9.The fact that the image was made from the wood
of the pear tree probably has to do with the festival of the ,,pear-throwers,,and the
myth of the pear as the first food after the great flood: seeplut. e. Gr. 1qa-b. At Tiryns
therewas a hero
named
Argos
with
a
sacred
grove,
Argos:
seeHdt. 6.ZS-9o.For Argos
as the donor of the imageof Hera seeDemetrios,FGrHist
3o4F r. Cf. A. Frickenhaus,
Tirynsjgtz), T.z; F. Oelmann, Bonn.lbb.
ry7 e95), :.8,pl. r, 3ta.
2Akusilaos
of Argos, FGrHistz F z8; cf. Bacchyl.rr.4o-58, Bz-trz; accordingto Serv.
alct. Ec/.6.48,they took the gold of Hera for their own use, i.e., they probablydressed
them_selves
up like Hera. The Arrhephoroi of the goddessat Athens got gold jewelry:
see Harpokr. dppqgopeiv.
3Hes.
fr. 37.70-75, and cf. fr. go-33 14.-W.;J. Schwartz, pseudo-Hesiodeia
eg6o),
cf. PR II 246-52;F Vian, "Melampous et les Proitides," Reauedes
!9.n,545-48;
ztudesAnciennes
67 (1965),2j_Jo.
'Met'
dxocltic,s<ttrac4sApollod. z.z7; yup"vai Ael. VH
3.42.The proitids are perhaps
in the
metope
from Thermos (seventhcentury n.c.) in which young girls are
lorlrayed
oaring
their
breasts:
seeSchefoldOg6+)lS fig. 6;1. Dilrig, AM 77 eg6z),7:-9r; doubting, Simon (.969)
3zo.z9.
tserv
and Prob. on Verg. Ecl. 6.48; for the metamorphosisinto cows seeschol. stat.
Theb.
3.+st.
'Hes.
fr. r33. It is clearfrom Philodemosthat Hera is the subiect:seeM.-W. on fr. rrz.

r69

i,,ll
L

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

AGRIONIA

and testimonia is, however, most uncertain; cf. R. pfeiffer, Ausgew.Schriften


e96o),
t" any case,the separationof the myths of the proitids unJ M"lu-prr, (Nilsson
lo-11
U9551611.2)is disprovenby Hes. fr.
37.
"Hdt. 2.49.
kAP-ollod.
2.28,1.37 tovg ittpaorriious Eyoucatzoldasrris oapxas aitiaui<-rnoiuro.
ut. Paus.2.r8.4;Nonnus
47.484-95.

their weddings, they were abductedby the Harpies and given to the
"hateful Erinyes" as servants.'Thedaughtersof Proitoswandering in
the wilderness also becameErinyes-likebeings.
Athenian critics found a similarly affectedrepulsivenessin the
gatheringsof the garlic-eatingwomen at the Skira.8In Aristophanes'
Lcclesiazisae,the realization of the plot hatched at the Skira is dominated by the image of a lasciviousold hag' Old age, repulsiveness,
throwing custom to the winds, and deviation of all kinds belong to
the period of dissolution both in the Attic ritual and in the myth of
the daughtersof Proitos.Accordingly,the latter probably reflectsthe
The description of the dreadful transformation
ritual of a weiberbund.
of the daughtersof Proitosis basedon the symptoms of real illnesses,
and thesesymptoms are imitated in the ritual, where virgins must actually appear covered with white soot. "Rubbed down with white
meal like the basketcarriers" is how one comic playwright in Athens
describesit, referring to somesacrificialritual.'Likewise, accordingto
the Homeric Hymn to Hermes,the prophetic Thriae, servantsof Delphic Apollo, are "virgins, their headsbesprinkledwith white meal."r0
According to the cult-legendof Letrinoi, Artemis of Alpheios and her
nymphs maskedthemselveswith clay.The grotesquemasksfrom the
shrine of Artemis Orthia at Sparta confirm that this reflectsa ritual
custom, and similar maskswere found in the Heraion of Samos'The
oldest representationsof the Gorgon are the larger than life-sizepotshaped masks, which were votive offerings to Hera of Tiryns." The
transformationof the daughtersof Proitosis a ritual masking, forced
on the virgins by Hera.
Hera'swrath, howevet competedwith the Power of Dionysus in
this myth-and here again the authority cited is a sourceas early as
MelamPus, the prophet and
Hesiod, presumably the Melampodia.'2
'/Od. 2o.66-78-an isolatedbit of the tradition for this story; the scholionto v' 66 calls
the "sickness"of the daughtersof Pandareosxuvc, which W. H. Roscher(Dasaonder
KynanthropiehandelndeFragmentdesMarcellusaon Side,Abh. Leipzig r7.3 lr897l) con'
nectedwith Kynanthropy; cf. M. C. van der Kolf, RE XVIII z, 499-504.
8See
III.r.n.az
above.
'Hermippos fr. z6 (CAF |
4t).
toHy.Merc.
Sfi-55.Cf. the Graiai in the myth of Perseus.
rrFor Artemis Alpheiaia see Paus. 6.zz.9; cf. Harpokr. dtop'arron, fiIretgovyap rtp
For Artemis Orthia see /HS Suppl' 5 $gzg)' 161'
a4)rQ rai rQ rrtpq rois 1.tuou1t'ivous.
pl. 47-62;Nilsson (1955)16r. For SamosseeH. Walter,Dasgriech.Heiligtum{196), z8'
For Tiryns see RE VI A 1465;Pickard-Cambridge(1962)pl. XII b.
r2Hes.fr. r3r = Apollod . z.z6;1. Liiffler, Die Melampodie,versucheiner Rekonstruktion
des
lnhalts(rg$), )7-Jg. The reconstruction on the basisof the various Hesiodic fla8ments

477

purifying priest, was also considered to have been the founder of the
iutt of Dionysus." In this version, Dionysus struck the daughters
of Proitos with madnessbecausethey were unwilling to accept his
orgies.Yet the presenceof the Dionysiacelement is not radicaliy different here, but is only a slight changeof emphasisin structurescomrnon to non-Dionysiacrituals as well. The dissolution of the normal
order, which otherwise signifiesthe wrath and alienationof the great
goddess,is here transformed into a show of strength by the god of
rnadness.This madnessbecomesambivalent:is it a blessingor a curse?
The Melampodiais probably later than the Catalogues,
so it permits us
to tracethe inroads made by the cult of Dionysus in the sixth century.
And yet the new interpretationfollows the old rhythm of dissolution
and new beginning.
Whether causedby Hera or Dionysus, raving goeshand in hand
with sacrifice.This is evident only in the Melampus version of the
saga,in which the madnessis raisedto a secondlevel. Proitosrefused
Melampus'first offer to cure his frenzied daughters,whereupon,,the
maidensgrew even more frantic and were now joined by all the other
women as well; for they too forsook their homes, killed their own
children, and ran off into the solitude."1aThus, once again, an unspeakablygruesome act took place-the murder of one's own children. Dissolution turns into perversion,and in addition to the antithesisof the lovely virgin comes that of the loving mother, for she too
has becomea witch, murdering and even eating her children. In the
"slaughteringof the bull" which we saw reflectedin the myth of Argeiphontes, the ancestralking or universal father
was
the
victim.
Here, it is the child. Yet this distinction is in fact part of a polar
re-between
lationship. Patricide and infanticide are the two variants
which the unspeakablesacrificecan shift at any time. Thus, we can
postulateeven now that a young animal, a bull-calf instead of a bull,
could be used as a substitutein the ritual.
Once again, it is the Melampus versionthat givesa full accountof
.
how this dreadful tale could yet end happily: "Melampus took along
the strongestyouths and puisued the women and giils with battlecries and a specificecstaticdance, out of the mountains and on to

170

ill

It'

Jt,r,,t
l
l,$tl

llii

il

II

brl,i

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

Sikyon."'s Strange,how the myth here leaps from Tiryns to Sikyon.


In the most common versions,the daughtersof Proitosare purified at
yet a third place, the sanctuaryof Artemis Hemera in Arcadian Lusoi.'6The myth seemsto combine various local traditions; there must
also have been a Tirynthian conclusion,'7or at least a closing rite at
Tiryns which, of course, could not have survived the annexationof
Tiryns by Argos. In any case, the raving of the maidens and the
women is merely an exceptionalstatefollowed by the reestablishment
of order in the polis, the antithesis of perversion. The women who
have gotten out of hand are made to feel the men'ssuperior strength.
It is the youths, the ephebes,who prove themselveshere, and their
leader, Melampus, thereby becomes the new king." He forthwith
marries one of the successfullyhealed daughters; thus Dionysus'
priest returns again to Hera'ssphereof power, for she is the goddess
of marriage. Demetrios Poliorketescelebratedhis marriage in Argos
at the festival of the Heraia."
But even this last phasedid not occurwithout sacrifice:"Iphinoe,
the eldest daughter of Proitos,met her death in the pursuit." Her
gravewas pointed out in the marketplaceat Sikyon.'oNaturally,there
was as little question of an actualhuman sacrificein the ritual as there
had been in the infanticide. The fact that the raving daughter identifies herself with a cow makes it probablethat a cow-sacrificeaccom'sApollod. 2.29.
'oBacchyl. ar.)7-)g; Eudoxos fr. z617 Cisinger : Steph. Byz.'A(auia, Pliny NH
1r.16
(cf. Theopompos, FGrHist rr5 F 269; Phylarchos, FGrHist 8t F 63; "Arist." Mir. ausc
842b6; Paus. 5.5.10); Callim. Hy. 3.23-s; Paus. 8.18.7-8; R. Stiglitz, Die grossenGdt'
tinnen Arkadiens (1967), 1o1-1o5. For the purification at Elis see Strabo 8 p. 346; Paus.
5.5.70.
rTThe numerous votive statuettes of women with pigs that were found at Tiryns indicate a rite of purification (cf . V z. nn. 3 - 5 below) : see A. Frickenhaus, Tiryns | (r9rz) ' t7
For a sanctuary of Artemis in the Argolis founded by Melampous see Soph. fr. p9P.:
Paus. 2.25.1; Steph. Byz. Oiua.
rsApollod. 2,.e9; Schol. Pind. Nem.
9.3o; Paus. 2.18.4; PR II z5z. Only Pindar (Pae.
4.28-J5) has Melampus turn down the kingship.
' e S e eI I I . z . n . 6 a b o v e .
rApollod.
the
of
Iphinoe
with the inscription at the marketplace of
z.z9;
for
tomb
SEG 15 ig58\, #t95. For dramatic pictorial repreSikyon see Praktika OgSz), lg+-gS:
sentations of the purification of the Proitids through the sacrifice of a pig, see the crater
from Canicattini, Boll. d'Arte 35 Q95o\, 97-to7; E. Langkrtz and M. Hirmer, Die Kunst
der Westgriechen Q9$), z4; Trendall (t96) 6oz #toz; AK t3 Q97o), 67, pl. 3o.z; on which
cf. a vase from Naples (H. t76o) and a cameo, RMLII 2571. On purification through
Melampus see also Alexis fr. tz (CAF II 337); Diphilos fr. rz6 (CAF Il 577); Bucriats te
dnoppfirots xai xaSappoi.s Paus. 8. r8.7.

172

ACRIONIA

panied-the_rescueand the cure. Thus, the circle of correspondences


with the Hecatombaia-Heraiais closed. The ecstaticdance of the
led by Melampus is obviously a ritualized hunt to help catch
ephebesthe wild animals. The hunt is repeated and fulfilled in the inimalsacrifice,which marks and surmounts the crisesof society.The myth
of Proitos' daughters is the story of an initiation, the paih from the
virgin to the queen, in the course of which the old order is dernolished in a transitionalperiod of madness,and one must passthrough
death before reaching one's goal. In overcoming perversion, the
youths establishthemselvesand their king.
Our only evidencethat the myth of proitos' daughterswas con_
nected with a festival is a gloss in Hesychius: 'Agrania, festival in
Argos in honor of one of Proitos' daughters." "Honoring,, a heroine
presupposesher death: the festival was thus for lphinoe, whom
Melampus and his ephebeshad killed, nay, sacrificed.In the same
breath,Hesychiusnotes the 'Agriania: festival of the dead among the
Argives."2lAt a festivalof the dead, a Nekysia,the spirits or masks
swarm up, dema4ding their rights for a certain time, but then give
yay to normal life again. One must propitiate them so that they will
leaveone in peace.Frequently,various meansare used to chasethem
away.22
The exceptional period in the myth ends with the death of
Proitos' daughter in the wild hunt; and an exceptionalperiod recurs
annually "in her honor," only to be overcome.Thus, the antithesisof
death must aid in establishingthe thesis of life.
Agriania/Agrionia is one of the most widespreadof all Greek festival names, in many placeseven lending its name to a month, Agrionios.23The evidence is especiallyplentiful in Boeotia,and a Boeotian, Plutarch, has provided us with somecharacteristicdetails of the

21'Aypavn.
6opr.i1 Ev "Apyet, Etri p.r,Qt6v flpoirou Bvyar|puv.'Aypnun.
uexiota
napa'Apyeiots xai dyioves 6v @i1Ba'f-.
2See
IV.3 below.
aNilsson
(ryo6) 277-74, who would like to make the festival, as a,,gathering,, of the
clead, parallel to the Anthesteria; more likely,
however, is the .onn".iion with dypros.
'-,rlpLa@v
(Thracian
tribe'Ayptd.ves,
Hdt. 5.r6). For the Agrionia at Thebes see n. 21
above;.IG YII 2447;L. Robert, BCH
59 eg5), ry-9g (in honor of Artjyuoos Kcl6petos);
at Orchomenos see Plut.
Q. Gr. zg9 I.; ui-Cnaiior,"iu see plut. e symp.7rya; IG vll
3348; etc. For the month-name Agrianios/Agrionios see Samuel (tg7z)- Ind,ex
s.a.;
'Ayeppavt'os
at Eresos (cf . rleppap.is instead of priamos, Arcaeus
4z.z Lp); see 1G XII
45; Ltovuoos t)pqc.rrTs xai dypuivtos plut. Anton. 24.5, and cf. Dionysos
i2:? !,
\-'mestes
at
Lesbos
besides
Hera and Zeus, Arcaeus tz9;'Aypt<itvw xoi Nuxritrta plut.
z9ra.
On
Cos,
Agrionios is the first month of the year, in late autumn, see
LTrt
\.
trerzog, Abh. Berlin
\tgzg), nr. 6, +9f.

773

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,s FESTIVAL

ritual. At Orchomenos,an accompanyingmyth directly paralleledthe


myth of Proitos' daughters.In Boeotia,of course,Dionysus took on
the most prominent role. There were storiesof a Dionysiacepiphany
and frenzy, in keeping with the central role of the priest of Dionysus
in the cult.
Orchomenos,the city of Minyas, is yet another place with especially old traditions. Here, it is the daughters of Minyas who are
driven to madness and infanticide before their frenzy is calmed in a
no less frenzied pursuit.2a"The only ones to abstain from the Dionysiac dances were the daughters of Minyas, Leukippe, Arsippe,
and Alkathoe. . . . But Dionysus was angered.And they were busy at
their looms, vying with each other in their work for Athena Ergane,
when suddenly ivy and grape vines began to coil around the looms,
snakes were nestling in the baskets of wool, and milk and wine
The epiphany of Dionysus brings about
dripped from the ceiling."'?s
Dionysiac madness: "They threw lots into a pot, and the three of
them drew lots. And when Leukippe'slot appearedshe spoke, vowing to bring the god a sacrifice.And she and her sisterstore her son,
Hippasos, apart"26"like a fawn," 2' "and then dashed off to the original maenads, who chased them away, however, because they were
polluted with murder. Thereupon they turned into birds"'8-into
owls and bats, animals of the night.
The unspeakablesacrifice(rl0;.ra),offered at the peak of madness,is here in every way a Dionysian sparagmos.Maenadswith dismembered fawns were a frequent subject of vase-paintings."The
gruesome act causesa rift: in the face of this deed, the Dionysiac
horde splits in two, with the "original members,"the pure ones, repudiating the polluted ones. The myth closeswith a metamorphosis
in which the situationof flight and pursuit is forever fixed in an image
from nature: the creaturesof the night are alwayshated and pursued
bv the birds of dav.
tnR"pp,R.&lLII
25Ael. VH
3orz-r6; PRI69o.
7.42.
26Ant.
following Korinna (665Page)and Nikander. 27Ael. VH. 3.42.
Lib.
ro.3
'?6lbid.;cf.Plut. Gr.zgge-f;Ov.Met.4.tgg-4r1'.
ThenamesofthethreeMinyadsare
Q.
Leukippe(Leuconoe,Ov. 4.168),Alkathoe(Plut., Ant. Lib.) or Alkithoe (Ael., Ov )and
Arsippe (Ant. Lib., Ael.) or Arsinoe (Plut.);Ant. Lib. endswith the transformationinto
wxrepis, y[afi{, pnfa (a kind of owl), Ael. with xoptivr1,7Xa0(,vuxrepis;Ovid speaks
only of bats. Aeschylus' Xantriai dealt either with the myth of the Minyads or of the
Proitids.
nE.B.,
u
skyphos,
Athens 3442, Harrison Qgzz) 452;cf. H. Philippafi, ReuueBelgede
=
Philologie
9 (19jo), 5-72.. For Donysus tearing apart a deer see a stamnos BM +lg
ARV'z298,Harrison Q.gzz)45o.

a74

AGRIONIA

Plutarch explicitly links the myth of Minyas' daughterswith a ritual that included pursuit. "The husbandsof the daughtersof Minyas,
becausethey wore black clothing in grief and soriow were called
'looty,' rlotrdecs,
but
the
Minyads
themselves
were called Oleiae, the
'rnurderesses.'And even today the people
of Orchomenosgive this
name to the women descendedfrom this family; and every other
yea\ at the Agrionia, there takes place a flight and pursuit of t'hem by
the priest of Dionysus with sword in hand. Any one of them that h-e
catcheshe may kill, and in my time the priest Zoilus killed one of
them."s ?recisely the role that Melampus played in the myth_
namely, that of archegeteof the Dionysian cult-is played here by the
real priest of Dionysus at Orchomenos.Like the armed ephebei, he
carriesa sword; and the act of killing a woman of the oleiae correspondsto the death of Proitos' eldestdaughter.The seriousnature of
the ritual is here raised to the highest pitch of intensity. plutarch subsequently describeshow this, our one securelyattejted instance of
human sacrifice, led to a crisis, indeed, to reform of the custom.
Zoilus died a painful.death, and the people of orchomenos, after internal disorder,deprived his family of the priesthood. with the fanaticism of a zealot, Zoilus apparently failed to recognize the theatrical,
playactingnature of the ritual and thus pursued it adabsurdurn.
In the
Dionysian realm, as elsewhere,animal-sacrificeguaranteesthat the
ritual functions sensibly.we can gather from the myth that a mysterious_andunspeakablenoctural sacrificefor Dionysus-the eater of
raw flesh and nocturnal god of the Agrionia-preceded the flight of
the "murderesses,"and, likewise, thal the puriuit culminated in an
animal-sacrifice.
The-communityis divided into two groups at the Agrionia sacri..
Itce, each serving Dionysus. The opposition of the sexes,of women
and men, is emphasizedby the men being called "sooty," pointing
Deyonclthe mourning custom to a ritual masquerade,whereas the
leader the women is named Leukippe, .n"arri.,g ,,thewhite mare.,,
of
this way, Melampus, the "black foot,,, puriued the daughters
11Lttl
of
Proitos, who
had
covered
themselves
with
white
meal-a
i,.,*mery of black soot versus
one
of
white
meal,
The
fact
that
those
with
the light color are actually stained,
and
those
who
are
sooty
and
black
ate actually pure inside-an inversion of interior and ext-erior
qualittes-reflects
the
polar
tensions
that
find
expression
here. The one
would be unthinkable without the other; indeed, the
one embraces

In^
-Toepffer_(1889)
:99e-f.
r89-9o defendedthe text Ado,\eiaragainstButtmann,s
'o)reiat,
tun;ecture
"j,_"1
which, however,is supportedby plutarch'setymllogy oioy <iAoris.

175

l,,l
fl
j ,

li

iil

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR'S FESTIVAL

AGRIONIA

tll.
6.r1o-4o;
EumelosEuropiafr. ro Kinkel : Schol.A IL 6.4'; thereafterthe Lykurgia
by Aeschylus, fr. 69-roo Mette; Soph. Ant.
955-65; Hyg. Fah. 242, 732;Apollod.
3f'.4-)j; hymn to Dionysusin Page,LiteraryPapyri(ry41, 52c-25 = fr. 56 Heitsch, Die
griech.Dichterfragtnente
der rdm. Kniserzeit('961); PRI 688. For vase-paintingsseeBrommer (196o)
for
mosaics
see
P
Bruneau
and
C.
Vatin,
go
BCH
(tg66),
355;
39t-427; Ior a
new mosaicfrom Trikka, see BCH (tg69), 867-88.It was disputed whether
9z
Bour)\4{
,.rtt was an axe(Leonidas
pai.9.35ri
Ant'h.
ora
whip:
see
Schol.
T
!!.
sWilamowitz
(rgjz\ 65f.; Nilsson I (rSSS)565,6rr-rz; Harrison (r9zz)
369; Rohde
II
interpretsthe myths of the proitids and the Minyads in this way, but
11U98) 39-43
leave out Lykurgus (4o.2).Besidesthis, it was fashionableto interpret the
::-1,,t.,"
myth
in terms of nature, with Lykurgus representingwinter (pR I 6g7-gs) or ihe heat
ur summer (Rapp, RMt ll zzq) in
opposition to the vegetationspirit.
* F. Otto (1931)roo on the sacrificeat Tenedos(III.4.n.zobelow): ,,DerSinn des
l,t::
Mythos
ist, dassder Gott das Furchtbare,
das
er
tut,
selbst
erleidet.,,
3'Eur.
Bacch.8zr- 35,and cf. E. R. Dodds, Euripides
Bacchae
(r96oz)on g54-55.

lnurderous Lykurgus; while Dionysus in terror dove beneath the


ocean waves, and Thetis took him to her bosom, frightened, with
strong shivers upon him at the man's threatening ihouts.,,. An
armed man bursts into a Dionysiac sacrificeprepared by the women
who protect and care for the frenzied god. He pursues them to the
sea, swinging the axe as one would to kill a cow-later versions depict him pursuing the frenzied god, himself in a frenzy, and, in this
state,cutting down his own childrenwith the axe:a victim for a victim. In the logic of the story Lykurgus is Dionysus, enemy, and Di
omedestells the tale in the lliad to warn of the dangerswhen men try
to fight with gods.
The myth of Lykurgus has often been interpretedas testifying to
the resistancemet by the expandingcult of Dionysus,3'butwhen related, as it surely must be, to the Agrionia ritual at Orchomenosand
the myth of_Melampus,we find that Lykurgus actually occupiesthe
position of the priest of Dionysus. Thus, it is not an historicaiconflict
that is attestedhere, but the polar tension between divine madness
and human order as acted out in a single ritual. The antagonistsare
linked to one another by serving the same god,3uor at least at the
same festival, the different stages of which could be named after
antithetical gods. The Minyads, who had struggled against Dionysus, becamehis priestesses,performing the dreadful sacrificein his
honor. Those,in turn, who chasedthe Minyads away were Dionysian
maenads.Pentheus,the enemy of the new god, is himself made to
take on the appearanceof Dionysus,3'onlyto be torn to piecesby the
raving Bakchai.In one version of the myth, Lykurgus too is torn to

3tSeeIILr.n.87 above; also the victory of Melanthios over Xanthos (on which see
P Vidal-Naquet,Proc.Camhridge
Philol.Soc.t4 [t9681,49-64)
3'Q.symp.
7t7a.
33Forthe tombs of the "AtrrarseePaus.z.zz.r; for the tomb of Xopeia seePaus.z.zo.4;
for the tempfe of DionysusKresioswith the tomb of Ariadne seePaus.2.21.7-8, referring to Lyseas(FGrHist3rz F $. The detailsof what Deinarchosof Delossaidare uncertain (FGrHrsl)ggF r), but the testimoniaspeakof the god'sdeath (cf. II.5.n.4r above).
Accordingto Schol.T II. t4-1tg, Perseushurled Dionysusinto the lake at Lerna. Nonnus 47.475-74rcombinedthe Perseusand Melampusversions;it is uncertainto what
extent he is following. Euphorion (fr. 18 Powell).

177

the other. Those in white turn into flying creaturesof the night, yet
the triumphant daytime order still preservesthe memory of darkness.The Attic ephebeswore black robesat the Panathenaicfestival,r'
and Theseus returned from Crete with a black sail, thus becoming king.
It is alwaysastoundinghow much light the report of a contemporary can shed on rituals still activein his time. Plutarchspeaksbriefly
of the Agrionia festival in Chaironeia, his home town. "In my own
region at the Agrionia, the women searchfor Dionysus as if he had
run away; then they stop and say that he has fled to the Muses and is
hidden with them; a bit later, after the meal has ended, they ask each
other riddles and conundrums." According to Plutarch, this means
that, becauseof the presenceof the logos, "the wild, frenzied behavior is hidden away,kept in the kindly careof the Muses."" Here, everything happens between women, and they themselvesdirect the
shift from wild behavior to that controlled by the Muses. Wildness
and frenzy have disappeared;the restlesssearching,as after something lost, has ended, resolvedunexpectedlyinto a "meal," a sacrificial feastin which oppressiveanxiety givesway to cheerful sport. We
do not know in what way other societalgroups took part in this festival, but even Plutarch'sbrief sketchrevealsthe samefamiliar pattern
of dissolution followed by the order of the Muses.
In Argos there were tales of king Perseus'deadly pursuit of Dionysus and his femaleservants.Peoplewould point out the gravesof
the fallen maenads, the "sea-women," sometimeseven speaking of
the death of the god himself. Yet this event was linked to the founding of Dionysus' temple and his cult.a'As early as the lliad we find a
description of the flight and disappearanceof Dionysus. The powerful Lykurgus, son of Dryas, once "drove the nurses of raving Dionysus over the sacredplain of Nysa, and all of them scatteredtheir
sacrificialimplements on the ground, stricken with an ox-goad by

a76

t,,l

rl'i
r Sii,,ir

i$r't'
'illi,i

',],

DISSOLUTION

AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

bits as a victim for Dionysus. In the ritual, the roles are variable. As
Strabosays,some actually identified Lykurgus with Dionysus.$ And
as late as the Roman Empire we still find a Dionysian mosaic with
Lykurgus in the middle, striking his daughter with the axe,3e
for this
act of violence is also a Dionysian sacrifice.
Dionysus' nurse being pursued with the axe, and the leap into
the sea, are the motifs that determine the other Dionysus-myth
known to the Homeric epic, the myth of Ino-Leukothea. Formerly
the mortal daughter of Cadmus but "now" honored as a goddessin
the sea,she savesOdysseuswith her veil.The transformationof the
king's daughter into a goddessis alwayslinked to the birth of Dionysus in Thebes:Ino took careof the young Dionysus and brought him
up. To avenge herself for this, Hera struck Ino and her husband
Athamas with madness.The story normally goes on to tell of a double infanticide, through which the family of Athamas was annihilated. Athamas slew his own son, Learchos,"hunting him down like
a stag."n1Ino then fled with her secondson, Melikertes-alternately,
she killed Melikertesherselfin the boiling water of a tripod kettle and
fled Athamas' rage with her dead child;n'zin any case, she finally
threw herself with her son down a steepcliff into the sea.
Once again, a child is sacrificedin a moment of madness,with
flight and pursuit coming after. The motif of the tripod, the stag comparison, even the namesAthamas and Ino establisha closelink with
the werewolf motif from Lykaon to Phrixos.a3"Wolf's madness,"
)titcca, is at work here, as it was with Lykurgus. And as with him,
Athamas wields the double axe in his pursuit. Moreovet as before,
the nurse and child leap into the sea.
There can be no doubt that there is cultic action underlying the
sStrabo 70p.
471;Arabia:Nonnus zr.16of. For dedications&eQ lrilxoitpyqtseeD. Sourdel, Lescultesd'Haurand I'epoque
romaine(1952),8r-88; for an altar of Au]xoi,p7osfrom
Cotiaeum (Phrygia)seeJournalof RomanStudiesry Qgz), rg-64, pl. zz.
sCuicul
(Algeria),
in
Nilsson
Qg5) tr4.
*Od.5J33-j5; Alkman
5ob Page;Evr. Med. n8z-8g with Schol.Hyg. Fab.z;Ov. Met.
4.539-42;Apollod. 3.28;PRl6ot-6o5; Schirmer Rlll II zorr-r7; Eitrem, RE XII (rgzl)
zz93-4c6.
f''Os ildpou OqpeirrasApoltod.
3.28,and cf. Schol.Od. 5.ll1; Schol.Luk. p. 266.t1;
Ov. Fasl.6.48r,-98;Serv.
Aen.5.z4r;vase-paintings,
AK z1 Q98o),31-43.
oApollod.
3.28, and cf. Eur. Med. n84-89; Schol. Pind. III p. 192.8, r94.zz Drach'
mann. A peculiar dedication is that of one Menneas rleg Aeuxorldg 2eyeipav with
reference to his great-grandfather, rci dno$eutiutos iv rQ LdBryt, 6t' oi ai oprcti
d"yavrar,OGI 6t: the lebes, as a funerary urn, signifies both death and deification.
sSeeII.r-4 above.

r78

TEREUS AND THE NIGHTINGALE

myth. of Leukothea. Leukothea was a goddessworshipped in many


temples,* but preciselybecauseher cult was so widespiead, stretchng far beyond the Greek world, its contours are indisfinct. It is hard
to say for which local cult the most common version of the myth was
intended' (of the return of Melikertes-Palaimonat the Isthmiin sancruary, more later.)asXenophanesmentions what seemed to him a
sffange combination of sacrificeand mourning in the Elean cult of
Leukothea,* which was perhapstaken over from phocaea.He mocks
this paradoxicalcombination, although in its tension between killing
and surviving it is the direct successorto the hunter'scomedy of innocence.on Delos we find the sanctuaryof Leukotheacombined with
Above all, Megaralaid claim to Leukothea:Ino,scorpse
phallagogy.oT
was said to have been found and buried there, and that was wh-ere
shefirst receivedher divine name, Leukothea.srhe rocks from which
she leapt were pointed out not far away.Moreover, there was a ,,white
plain" through which Athamas had pursued her..'From the standpoint of the story setting the pursuit within a fixed area is paradoxical, but it makes'senseif we are dealing with a ritual analogousto the
Agrionia of Orchomenos, where the release of aggressi,onis kept
within set bounds. The pursuit across the "white plain,,, projected
into the cult of the "white goddess,"provides the link to the daugh_
ters of Proitos,to Leukippe-perhaps indeed to the Skira.

andtheNightingale
4. Tereus

The abominationof a mother killing her own child, projectedinto


the bird world, as with the Minyads, iJthe subjectof the myth of the

t1rem, RE XII zz93-23o6. Nilsson does not discussLeukothea, even though


]_Se1
cunctaGraecia
(Cic. Naf. deor.3.39)worshippedher.
'sSee
IIL7.
{VS
zr A rJ = Arist. Rhet.rtoobf,.
ttSee
I.7.n.54above.
sPaus.
r.42.7;Zenob. Par.4.38.Motroupisrltpapaus. a.44.2-g;Schol.pind. lll p.
ry4.9
Dachmann;'Schol. Lyk. zz9.
sAeurdu
ze6loy Schol. Od. 53J+;Eust. 1543.:.6;Nonnus rc.76; Et.M.
56r.44;Steph.
Byz. lepave.rc.;probably : roi4s Dpdpoepiut.
e. cona. 675e.

179

lllr
rlir
I

,,i
'l{,,,.
'rilrl
rfll

,ir

iri
I

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

nightingale, which, like those of Lykurgus and Leukothea, already


appearsin the Homeric epic. The nightingale mourns incessantlyfor
Itylos or ltys, the son whom she killed with her own hands. Nightingale poems have appearedin an unbroken stream from Homer up
until modern literature.And sincethey have in large part shapedour
conceptions,no one has had any difficulty imagining that "the beautiful but sad song of the nightingale" "could stir one to thoughts of the
bird's heavy guilt and deep sorrow"' Nonetheless,it requiresonly a
little objectivity to realizewhat a misunderstanding,indeed, what a
perverse supposition this is on the part of the human fantasy with
respectto the song of the bird. This conceptionwas not drawn from
the reality of nature, but from the human tradition of horror in a nocturnal ritual.
In the Odyssey,Penelopeturns to the myth of the nightingale as
the primordial image of mourning: 'As when Pandareos'daughter,
the greenwoodnightingale,perching in the deep of the forestfoliage,
sings out her lovely song, when springtime has just begun; she varying the manifold strainsof her voice,pours out the melody,mourning
Itylos,son of the lord Zethos,her own belovedchild, whom sheonce
killed with the bronze when the madnesswas on her."' Pherekydes
supplementsthe story, expanding it to include Zethos' brother Amphion of Thebesand his wife Niobe.'Seething jealousyover Niobe's
greaternumber of children drove Aedon, the wife of Zethos, to murder. One night she took up a weapon to kill one of her nephews, but
in the dark she struck her own and only child. Her flight after the
deed and her transformation into a bird was presupposed in her
name, Aedon, "nightingale."
The form of the myth that joins the swallow to the nightingale is
yet richer in charactersand relationships.It becamethe canonicalversion at Athens, though it had alreadybeen part of a work ascribedto
Hesiod,npresumably the Ornithomantia.As early as the seventhcentury 8.c., the metopesin the templeat ThermosdepictedAedon and
Chelidon with the child, Itylos, betweenthem.5Hesiod and Sappho
knew the swallow as the daughter of Pandion,oand "many poets"
called the nightingale Daulias, as Thucydides attests.'In his Tereus,
rRoscher,RML I85, and cf. ibid. II
569-71;Hofer, R.LILlll 444-48,Y 17r-76; PRll
t54-62; Sophocles,Fragntnts,ed. A.C. PearsonII (r9t7\, z.zt-18; for vase-paintings
seeBrommer(t96o)j7z, esp. ARVr 456.ro.
3FGrHist n4.
zOd. g.5r8-21; translationby R. Lattimore.
1F
sSchefold(1964\
aFr.
1114,T.2o.
1rz M.-W. : Ael. VH rz.zo.
'Thuc. 2.29.
cHes. Erga
Sapphor35 LP
_168;

r8o

TEREUS AND THE NIGHTINGALE

which influenced most of the later sources, Sophocles probably did


not introduce many innovations.8 Tereus, king of Daulis and a Thracian by birth, was the son-in-law of Pandion, king of Attica, having
rnarried his daughter Procne. The fateful tale begins with a maiden's
ftagedy and a king's guilt. Procne's virgin sister, Philomela, came under the power of Tereus, who raped her and cut out her tongue so
that his deed would remain secret. He imprisoned her on an isolated
farm.'There Philomela wove a peplos in which she depicted the story
of her sufferings. When she was finished, the peplos was brought to
the queen. In this way Procne learned of the crime, which led to an
uprising of all women and a reunion of the wife and the dishonored
maiden. Their victim, however, was not the father, but the son. Ityshis usual name in this version-was torn to pieces, partially boiled,
partially roasted, and set before his father for supper. When Tereus
afterward discovered what had been done to him, he grabbed a double axe and pursued the dreadful sisters-at this moment, the story
shifts to the bird realm: Procne becomes the sorrowing nightingale,
Philomela the swallow which, because of its maimed tongue, can only
twitter. Tereus, however, the wielder of the axe, turns into an "epops,"
the woodpecker-like bird that can split wood'o and which is usually
somewhat incorrectly translated as the "hoopoe."
It is patent that flight and pursuit are being staged here, as in the
Agrionia ritual. And in fact, the myth is rooted in the Dionysian
realm: Ovid describes how the women's nocturnal rising occurs on
the pretext of being a festival of Dionysus. Procne comes to philomela
as a maenad." The horrible meal corresponds to a Dionysian sacrifice
in the detail that the meat is "partially roasted, partially boiled.,,',
This is just what the Titans did to the child Dionyius after thev had
killed him. Thus, among Dionysiac-orphic initiatbs it is forbidden to

8Fr.
58r-95 Pearson.Cf. Aesch. Hik.6o-68;fr. 6o9Mette; Apollod. ).7g)-g5;Hyg. Fab.
45. Among the Romans(Philokles?seeRadke,RE XXIII z4g-5o),philomelaturns rnto
the nightingale.A peculiarversionof the Aedon myth is found in Ant. Lib. rr, quoted
trom Boio.
e,'Eri
r6v yupiav Apollod. 3.194; 'i6puneviv xrit1t"71
puiaKiv TLvdn..p..K..r.,criloas Liban.
Narr.
18
(VIII
45 Foerster);stabulaOv. Met. 6.52t, S7), 59t..
top'Arcy
Thompson, Glossary
of GreekBirds e936r),95-1oo.
uOu..
Met. 6.587-&t5. The Donysian elementis certainly there alreadyin Sophocles;
ct' Acc. trag. 642.L. Koenen,in Studien
zur Textgeschichte
und Textkritik(iestschr.G. lach\o,n [tgSgl, 8l-BZ\, accordingly conjectures Spuq i-y6uu' ix r6n 6p7iav Aristoph.
Ao. 16.

]]Ou. t.t. 6.645-46 calls it a "sacrificeaccording to ancestralcustom,, (648); see


I I . r . n . z qa b o v e .

r8r

'ffit'
I

,11
l

ifiiui

;lll
l,ffill,
ll
il
1l'

l,t

DIssoLUTIoN AND NEw yEAR's FESTIvAL

"roast that which has been boiled." The samemotif accompaniedthe


unspeakablesacrificesof Lykaon, Thyestes,and Harpagos.
Preciselybecauseof the myth's wide circulation,it is difficult to
localize the corresponding rituals. Pandareosbelongs in Miletus,
Zethos in Thebes,Pandion in Athens, and Tereusin Daulis. But the
hadition clingsto this last placewith particular doggedness.This was
where the gruesomemeal took place, Pausaniasassuresus,'3and his
referenceto the ornithological miracle that swallows do not nest at
Daulis indicateslocal tradition. When he adds that this meal "started
the defilementof the table among men," he raisesthe Daulian meal to
the status of a primordial crime, to the very first meal of meat. This
thus competeswith the myth of the Attic Buphonia, of Lykaon and
Tantalos,of the killing of Argos as the first murder, and probably reflectsa local Daulian claim. Furthet Pausaniasmentionsloa sanctuary
of Athena at Daulis where the most ancient cultic image had been
brought by Procnefrom Athens. Procne,the queen,thus appearsas a
priestessof Athena at Daulis, just as queen Praxitheahad in Athens.
Philomela'swork on the peplos belongs to the realm of Athena Ergane, to whom the Minyads had likewise been so exclusivelydedicated. The Arrhephoroi worked on a peplos as well, and the end of
their duties in the encounter with the snake of the Acropolis corresponds to Philomela'sfall.
Through his connection with the family of king Pandion, Tereus
is also linked to Athens.lsAdmittedly, virtually nothing is known of
the Attic festival,the Pandia,exceptthat it followed closeon the heels
of the Great Dionysia.l'This could just be coincidence,especiallyas
there is a sacrificeto "Epops" attestedfor the fifth day of Boedromion,
in the fall." There is an even closerconnectionof the cult of Pandion
and Tereuswith Megara, about which Pausaniasprovides us with a
few details.There was a memorial to Pandionat Megara," and he was

TEREUS AND THE NIGHTINGALE

toPaus.
r.48.8-9.and cf. I.r.n.16 above.Strabo 9p.423 knows of a MegarianTereus
hadition, which he incorrectly ascribesto Thucyiiies
12.29,y.
bAel.
N a f .a n . 7 2 . J 4 ;N i l s s o n ( r S 0 6 ) f o 8 - f o 9 ; ( r g S S ) 1 5 6 ; C o o k l ( r 9 r645) 9 ; I l | 1 9 2 4 )
o-54-Ti.Euelpis of Karystos spoke of human sacrificeat Tenedos:porph.
Ahsl. 2.55.
2tPlut.
Anton. 24.j.
aHsch. 'Ez<iar\
s' zeis, and cf. stesichorus z8o page; Hsch. 'Etto{ttos. zeis xai'AroitAorvand cf. Hom. Hy. Ap.496; cf. Callim. Hy. r.8z; Apoll. Rhod.
z.:_tz1;tor sacrificeAci
'Etrri'nerfs.
Zeis r.o,pd'Atqvaio's. Cf. pR I rr7.z.
,1rynerci see LS r8 f zo; Hsch.
nsch. iao$. itrorrqs. . . On Tnpeis-rnpeiv see Schol.
Aristoph. Aa. rcz; Et. M.
757.45,and cf . dtrotrro.sxai rqpqrds Et. M. 65.44.

the obiect of a cult there. The grave of Tereuswas likewise located


there, and it was connectedwith an especiallyodd sacrificalcerernony: "every year they offer him a sacrificeusing pebblesinstead of
barley-grains."" We are ignorant as to how, and on what sort of sacrificial animal, these pebbles were thrown, but this much is clear:
although rendered harmless, this is a symbolic stoning ceremony,
showing that guilt was incurred and pardoned. In just this way, by
symbolically stoning Hermes, the gods extricated themselvesfrom
any guilt for the killing of Argos. In Megara, too, Tereusis linked to
an unspeakablesacrificethat appearsin the myth as the primordial
guilt that establishedkilling and the eating of meat among men.
At Tenedos,a newborn calf was sacrificedto Dionysus Anthroporrhaistes,the man-destroyer,after cothurnoi were put on its feet,
apparentlyin order to identify it as closelyas possiblewith the god of
tragedy.The sacreddouble axe was used to slaughter it. The sacrificer,however,then fled to the sea,pursued by the participants,who
hurled stones at him, thus purifying themselvesof guilt.r0For plutarch, Dionysus Omestesis identicatwith Dionysus Agrionios.rl The
circleof comparablerituals thus comesto a close.
According to the myth, Tereuswas a Thracian.But the namesbecome transparent from the perspectiveof Greek: Epops, the ,,overseer,"is certainly the name of a bird, but it cannot be set apart from
such similar forms as Epopetesand Epopeus.All thesenamesappear
as epithets of Zeus" and indicate an "overseeing"universal god or
sky
god.
At
Erchia,
sacrifices
were
made
to
Zeus Epopetesin exactly
the
same
way
that
they
were
to
the
Epops.
Thus, fromthe standpoint
of the name, Tereus
the
Epops
becomes
the exactequivalentof Argos
Panoptes.Even the name Tereu.s
begins to sound so Greek that it
could be taken for a translation or paraphraseof Epops. He is the
"watcher,"guarding Philomelaas Argos did with Io. He is the custodian of power who, like Argos, is nonethelessdestined to fall victim
to an uprising, a dissolution. Does the name Philomelapoint to an in-

rsThere
was
a
Procne with ltys by Alkamenes on the Acropolis: Paus. r..z4.l;
statue
of
G. P. Stevens,Hesperia
ry $946), to-tr.
'5Phot. flcivdto; Deubner (ry32) 176.
rTIn the sacrificialcalendar of Erchia, LS r8 A zo, E t z.
rsPaus.
jg.+,
the shapeof a waterfowl
r.5.3,
+t.6 at the cliff of Athena Aithyia, who in
'Ev 6'Ai0ur.a).Cf . 1.7.n.54
carried an Attic king under her wings to Megara (Hsch.
above;III.6.n.8 below.

183

'3ro.4.8;cf. Skabo g p.
Apollod. 3.r95. On the
42, Et. M. z5o.r;Steph. Byz. Aa0)rr.s;
other hand, 6cir)rovis explained as a "thicket" (Paus. ro.4.7). Hsch. Ac0)tr.s'6opri iv
'Ayyet, pipnpo
rfis flpoitov rpds'Axpiotou p"ayr1sindicates a sacrifice with mock
combat.
t':o,4.g.

r8z

i,i

il

lll''
li,.i,
,,1|.l'l'

' I
r'li

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

troductory sheep-sacrifice,just as a preliminary sheep-sacrificewas


linked to Pandrosus, the daughter of Cecrops?" There can be no
peplos without wool. And ltylos, this more anciently attestedforrx
of the name, was already connected with the Latin aitulus, "calf.,"
irdros, "bull," the word that gave Italy its name. The boy's name
would then be an indication of the animal used in the unspeakable
sacrifice,the bull-calf.Admittedly, if this is so, we cannot clearup the
question of which non-Greek language forms the background for
the myth.'?n
We have seen how the rituals of the Agrionia correspondto the
rhythms of the New Year'sfestival in the citiesof Athens and Argos.
In the myth of Proitos' daughters, as in that of the nightingale, the
Dionysian element is presentonly in the later versions.Here we can
probably grasp the growth of the cult of Dionysus starting in the seventh century s.c., which followed in the footstepsof the old ritual.
We now find the private group, the familial order, rather than the
community as a whole, coming to the fore, just as we saw the bull-calf
replacethe bull; private groups could alsomore easilyafford a smaller
victim. Although the festivals of the polis seem older, this does not
excludethe possibility that cultic societiesrevived the clan traditions
of the pre-polis era.
What sets Dionysus apart, even in a predeterminedframework,
is the "frenzy," the individual experienceof ecstasy-which, of course,
is not clearly distinguished from drunkenness.It occurredin the sacrificial ritual, during the transitional period when the normal order
was inverted and there were wild outbursts.The god here desiresthe
rupturing of the establishment:it is his epiphany.,sIt is still linked
with sacrifice,but this appearsas an initial step to ignite the frenzy
which is then experiencedfor its own sake.
In the private sphere,marriageis the principal order that is overturned. This is repeatedly stressedin the myths. Out of loyalty to
their husbands, the Minyads refused to follow the horde of mae'?rHarpokr.
itiBotou:
Philochoros,
FCrHist
328F ro,
'z{The
gloss
tra).os,
oiirovtros
was
known
the Creeks at least since Hellanikos
to
(FCrHist
F
rrr).
Timaios
said
that
the
word
was Greek(FCrHist 566F 4z),others that
4
it was Etruscan (M. Pallottino, Testimonia
linguaeEtruscaeIryS+], #839); cf. M. Leu'
mann, Glottaz7 jg18),9o. The version in Ant. Lib. r1 suggestsLycia, whereasthere
may be a Phrygian variant in the Bixxos story (Schol.Aristid. lIl 36r.t3 Dind.; Egyptianized Hdt. z.z), inasmuchas the mute nurse at the isolatedfarm recallsPhilomela.

184

5D. Sabbatucci,Saggiosul misticismo


greco(196),55-68, also brings out the distinction between possessionthat is perceived as an illness and "mystical" possessionthat
is perceived as salvation. The identification of Orphic with "mystic" (65) is, however,
questionable.

,il,'il

ANTIOPE AND EPOPEUS

Aedon, the nightingare,incurred the wrath


nads.26
of Hera in boast_
ing that hermarriage was-happierthan that
of
the
quee.,
oiihe
goas..
whenever the human order is consideredso stable,it will all the
more
certainly be broken by a higher power and changedinto ils opposite.
Dionysus provides the antithesisto the family: i,h"."u, u-*il -,rr,
tend the house, the maenadsroam the wilderness;whereasa wife is
modestlydressed,the Dionysiacmob ravesin wild, lascivious,shame_
Iessnudity; whereasu,*if: must work, especiallyat the loom, bio.,y_
sus scareswomen and girls "away from the looms and the spindle;,;
whereasa wife must love her husband and provide for her.iita."r.,,
in the night of the Agrionia the
mother
kills
her
child
to
*o""a
n",
husband' Hate and murder, instead of affectionut" ,rr,ioi,-i-,t"
trru
night, which revealswhat the day-suppresses
and hides. In precisery
this way, the frenzied outburst leads to a
,,foadness
purification.
delivershim who was maddenedaright and p'ossess"a
r.o^
rri, t.orrbles."2.If Hera and Dionysus becom6antagonists,they
are
nonethe_
less mutually determinant.
The
maiden's
tiagedy
becomes
an initiation, a preparation for marriage. The battle be"tween
^". urrJ
-,r.n".,
at the Dionysia on Chios ended
in
a
marriage
which,
accordins
to
the
legend, produced the most famous
of
ail
bhianr,
H;;;;l;^fnu
r"rtival room at the villa dei Misteri at pompei was adjacent
to the matrimonial bedroom.{

5. AntiopeandEpopeus

At Sikyon, the mythicalking Epopeus,


whose
name
so clearlyre_
callsthat of Epopsu.,d Zuv, Edp"Ar;;;;worshipped
as a hero. His
Sravewas in the sacredprecinci of Athena, beside'*r" jral"rrt
"r-

j.1etvrr3.4z.PriestsofDionysusandHera-"."ffi
anl .;. ; Kotn.z9ra.
;':_": "-,.lrn*s: seePlut.f.. t57s"r,auu.r,,

"Ant. Lib. rr.r.


aPlat. phdr.
z44e
,'sefe.ukos
in Harpokr. 'Op.4pi6at(missing
in
Nilsson
. . . ,iyvvaixee rote
iv Arowcloc trap...qp.ovil.,a",atei5payrlu Ir9o613o6):
1l:r{Aors
I*
i1)r*ov rois dv'p.,.,t,xad 'dyzes
<ipqpa vup,giovs xat vttp"gas ir61i14auro.
f,
-n the Bacchicrites of
^
the Vilra as
an
initiation
into
nutronastatus
seeo. Brendel,/dI
or
(1966)'
zo6-6o'
esp' 258-6o' rn" crri*ir""'r"["
Medea, which berongedto a
"r

r85

lil
li,,,r, 1
$fll
. lhr
ll:jl

iil

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

hero is
tar.l The combinationof the goddess'scult and the graveof the
The anreminiscentof the relationshlpof Attic Athena to Erechtheus.
Olympian
cestral king who was killed itands beside the victorious
to the
eoddess, i, tft" act of propitiating the dead is iuxtaposed
6f y^pi"" fire-sacrifice.E.ec'hthe"slshrgely identicaliill lt^::Jd"t
double
of
the
I" it myth, however, Epopeuso{ Sikyon is virtually
EpoZeus," thus confirming the unity of the series:Epops' Epopsios'
petes, EPoPeus.'
In th. corn-on version, howevet Sikyon is linked to Boeotia
through the marriage of Epopeus 1nd- Antiope,. a king's daughter
from boeotian Hyrii, whosi ions, Zethos and Amphion' built the
walls of Thebes.,whether this indicatesan historical connectionbet*""n Hyria-Thebesand Sikyon or whether epic singers.combined
thesestoiies and namesaccordingto their own fantasiesis impossible
and
to say. In our oldest sources,thi connection between Boeotia
Sikyon is not present.Thus, in the catalogueof women in-the OdysAntiope is the daughter of Asopos, wife of Zeus and
sein Nekyia,o
A dimother of Zethos and Amphion, in a purely Boeotiansetting.
gressionin the Cypriastellshow "Epopeul lost his city in war because
te had seducedthe daughterof Lykos'" The fragment does not even
by contrast,
mention the daughter'sname. In the Hesiodic Catalogues,
Antiopewasthe"subjectofherownEhoie,which,alongwiththeplay
summary'uHere'
by fuiipides, presumably
^Sikyonian determined Apollodorus'
elements are linked, as is assumedby the
Bteotian and
bore
sixth-century poei Asios.'There Antiope, daughter of Asopos'
Zethos and Amphion, "pregantboth by Zeus and Epopeus' the peoof a virgin, regtfestivalof Hera Akraia, alsodepicteda.woman'srevolt, with the killing
(tg66\ r:l7-9, and cf
cide, infanticide and finally ti,e *oma.t', flight: see Burkert
lILr.n.78.
r85;
rpaus.2.rr.r,6.3.Cf. P. Odelberg,sacraCorinthiasicyoniaPhliasia(tJppsala,t896)'
H. Skalet,AncientSikyonQ9z8),t71.
2SeelII.4.n.zzabove.
3PRII rr4-r9; Cook I (r9r4) n4-J9.
ood.tt.z6o_65'ThetwoversionsofthefoundingofThebes-ZethosandAmphionon
ways: see Phe'
the one hand, Cadmus on the other-were reconciled in different
de Thibes(tg$)' 69-75'
rekydes, FCrHist3 F 4r; Apollod. l'4o; F Vian, Lesorigines
5Prokl.Chresl' ro3.zoAllen.
P.
Euripideum(r9t1),9-zz;
,Hes. fr. rgr-82; Eur. Antiope;
H. v. Arnim, supplementum
The Paestancalyx'
eptlr.a. 3.41-+4,.td.f. Hi;. Fab S; Schol' epoh nnoa' 4 rogo
by Euripides' For
crater,Berlin F 3296,RMLII'iI86, Trendall\196') 2ol' was inspired
Hellenistic relief cups see U. Hausmann, AM 71 Q958)' 5o-72'
7Fr.r Kinkel : Paus' 2.6.4-

r86

ANTIOPE AND EPOPEUS

ple's shepherd." Euripides is the first sourcein which the Dionysiac


ntmosphereplays a part in the myth of Antiope, and it was perhaps
invented by him in honor of the god of tragedy.
In spite of the story'scomplexlayers, the familiar basic structure
is preservedintact. At the start is the maiden'stragedy:Antiope loses
her virginity in Zeus' arms and then marries Epopeusof Sikyon. In
the Dionysian version, Zeus himself appearson Mount Kithairon in
the shape of a satyr.'The realisticepic has Epopeus,unattended by
any divine double, as the seducer.Whether seducer or savior, the
6ale partner who seizesthe maiden thereby sealshis own fate. Antiope'srelative-either the father Lykurgos, the father Nykteus, or the
uncle Lykos'-marches against Sikyon and conquers it. Epopeus
falls, and Antiope falls into the hands of the "wolvish" powers. She
secretlygives birth to twins and exposesthem. All that is left for her
is slavery dishonor, and abuse. At this stage in the story her Iife is
governedby a witchlike stepmother,Dirke, the queen,who in the Dionysian interpretation is seen as an initiated maenad'owhose duty it
is to lead the young, uninitiated woman through a course of sufferings to a final goal. Antiope's passionends with a dramatic inversion
of roles:just as Dirke tries to kill her with a wild bull, Zethos and Amphion, now grown into youths, storm the farm. Now Dirke in turn is
chained to the bull and dragged to her death. Lykos then abdicates
and, with the kingship now falling to them, the twins take power and
build the walls of Thebes."
Whereasin the Agrionia myths the maidensand women banded
together to rise up against the men-Proitos' daughters with the
women of Argos, Philomela with Procne-here, the wild women,
with Dirke as their leader,direct their aggressiontoward a young girl,
a slave. Similar things occurred in ritual. A slave would be led by
women into the shrine of Mater Matuta; they would "box her earsand
beather with rods." " A beatingwith a rod is depictedin the Villa dei
Misteri. In this way a young woman would be introduced into the cir-

EEuripides
according to Malalas p 49 ed. Bonn. (TGF p.4ro); Schol. Apoll. Rhod.
4'1o9o;Ov. Met. 6.tto. For two mosaicsfrom the RomanEmpire seeCook lll (r94o) 467
Pl' 4@; rationalizedin Kephalion,FGrHistqF 5.
'Antiope's
father is called Lykurgos in the Cypria,Nykteus in Euripides. The latter
makes
Lykos
the
cruel
king
in
interregnum.
the
'"Hyg.
Fab.7 baccha
to Antiope'srefuge (accordfuerat;8:Dirke comesperbacchationem
ln8 to Euripides);Paus.
9.17.6.
rrFor
the closingsceneof the Euripideandrama seePPetr.1 = p. 27vonArnim, and cf.
h. 6 above_
trPlut.
Q. Rom.267d.On the Villa dei Misteri seeIII.4.n. 3o above.

a87

It

i!r,,,
rl]lll

j
J,ltl.t'l

I
I

DISSOLUTION

AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

cle of matrons. ln the myth of Antiope, this abuse,which can alsobe


an initiation, occursat an exceptionaltime. Nykteus and Lykos, "the
nocturnal one" and "the wolf," are in power, but in the time of the
wolf, the woman Dirke is likewise active and dangerous.Her end,
the end of the reign of women or witches, leads to the foundation of
the city and reestablishmentof the daytime ruler. The sons of Zeus
Opposedto them
are calied"those of the white horses,"l\euxot<iX|lD."
is the bull, as the agent of the last sacrificein the intermediateperiod.
The transition to the new stageis marked oncemore in the opposition
of bull and horse.
A passingremark by the BoeotianPlutarchgivesus someinsight
into just how closely the myth of the young, warlike riders taking
power correspondsto the military organizationof the polis of Thebes.
The grave of Dirke is, he reports, "unknown to any Theban who has
not served as hipparch. For the retiring hipparch takes his successor
alone and shows him the graveat night; and after performing certain
sacrificesthere in which no fire is used, they cover up and obliterate
1o
all trace of them and return their separateways in the dark." A secret sacrificeat the secretgrave of Dirke is the act through which the
old hipparch hands on his office to the new. What had been covered
up must be exposed;there must be bloodshed;an animal is torn to
pieces and buried. This nocturnal killing repeatsthe violent act by
means of which "those of the white horses" seizedpower.
Nothing elseis known of the rites of this period of transition, except perhaps for a remnant transformed into magic. Pausaniasmentions the graveof Amphion and ZethosbeforeThebes-a not particularly large burial mound surrounded by stonesthat have barely been
worked.'5At the beginning of summer,when the sun was in the constellationof Taurus,the men of Tithoreawould try to stealearth from
the mound. During that time, the Thebansstood guard there in order
to prevent this from happening, for it was said that this earth would
bring fertility to either Tithorea or Thebes. Thus, two grouPs were
at oJds, the alien Tithoreans and the native Thebans, robbers and
guards, almost certainly at night, at the grave of the mythical riders
lrTdrAeuroz6)ro Eur. HF zg; Phoen.6o6;Hsch. Ar.osxoi,por.Aeuxd zrci\o Eur. Antrttltt:
PPetr.r.7t, p. zz v. Arnim.
,aGen.Socr.578b.
The method for coveringup the tracesof a sacrificeis describedin HV'
Merc. r4o. Oedipus'tomb at Kolonos Hippios at Athens was known only to Theseus
and his followeis (Soph. OC ryfi-y), and that of Sisyphusat the Isthmus was also
below).
secret(seeI11.7.n.39
V (1898),57;Cook l(rgt$716'
"g.t1.4-7, and cf. J. G. Frazer,Pausanias

r88

ANTIOPE AND EPOPEUS

beforethe city, in the sign of the bull. This can hardly be unrelated to
that other solitary nocturnal rite, the hipparch'sinauguration at the
tomb of Dirke, who was killed by Amphion and ZethoJ. so, too, in ail
[kelihood, at Lemnos digging up earth with curativepowers was part
ef a festival of renewal.'6At Athens, the skirophoria seemsto have
involved "carrying white earth." None of theie associations,however,can be conclusivelyproven.
The cultic situation at sikyon is perhaps clearer.Epopeus dedicatedthe temple of Athena, which "su.pussld all other templesof the
time in sizeand ornamentation,"tzwith a victory sacrifice.The valiant
gikyonianssaw a reflection of themselvesin the image of the armed
goddess.But next to Athena's altar is the tomb or tni founder, Epopeus, and close at hand the "gods who ward, off," the rleor drrorpowere worshipped. "In front of them, they perform the rites
lfo.LoL,
that are thought among the Greeksto ward off evji,"'s gloomy sacrifices,apparently,expressingvexation and anxiety.Dang-erand death
were signalled beside victory and immortality. f'he cul't would have
performedits.functionof renewing life and viial energiesby stressing
the sequencefrom the king's death and warding olr of evit to the
triumphal sacrificefor Athena. The analogy with Athens, with the
festivals involving Erechtheus and Atheni polias, bears up under
analysis' whereas at.Athens the myth split up a single figlre into
Erechtheus,the dead king, and Eric-hthonius,the fouid", Jf th" punathenaia,-the Sikyonian story is somewhat more complex, accom_
modating both stages.in the-life of Epopeus: first he was mortally
wounded, then he celebratedhis
triumph
and
died
of
his
wound
thereafter.'nEpopeuscould be at once thf victim and the founder
of
the cult.

There was a statue of Antiope at Sikyon in the temple of Aphro_


temple so important thai in the Classicalera a .nryr"tupt ur,_
$]:,'ia.
trne statue
of
the
goddess
was
made for it. only one priesiess,an elqrly woman, was allowed
to enter the temple itself, with a maiden
annually and given the titre of Lutropioros.This recallsthe cult
lfoj""
ot
Zeus Sosipolis at Olympia,2' and perhaps the statue of Antiope

is the nephew of

r6Burkert
Q97o) ro;lll.6.nn.zr, zz below; III.r.n.44 above.
l7b
2 . 1 1 . 1 .F o r a S i k y o n i a n c o i n o f A t h e n a s e e I m h o o f _ B l u m e r
(rgg5) 3r.
tr t. rP- a u s .
z.rr.r

r
, Sikyon is the son of Erechtheus in Hes. fr. zz4, b'the
E p o P e u si9n a n o t h e r
genealogy (paus. 2.6.5).
"3::,
D
Paus.
z.ro.a.
2rSee
II.z.n.49 above.

r89

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

is an indication that there was a similar polarity at Sikyon between


Antiope/Aphrodite and Epopeus/Athena, i.e., the feminine realm
against the masculine. The sacrificesof the men, establishing the order of the warlike goddess,obviously could not exist without the
power of Aphrodite constantly creating new life. The end of the vir_
gin's duties, the advent of an exceptionalperiod, the death of the
king: these were the conditions for the younger generation's accession to power.

6. TheLemnianWomen
Just as, in the figure of Leukotheaand in the name Skira, the festivals and myths of dissolutionpointed beyond the bordersof Greece,
so the most famous myth of a femaleuprising takesus back to a city
in which the pre-Greekpopulation and culture remained independent until the sixth century n.c. and continued even longer in the
cult, that is, in Hephaestiaon Lemnos,the city of Hephaestusand the
Cabiri. The Greekscalled the inhabitants Tyrsenoi.They spoke and
wrote an unknown language, presumably of the Anatolian type.
Even their defeatat the hands of Miltiades and the colonizationby
Attic kleruchs was not sufficient to break all continuity.r
'Of all
legendaryevils, that of Lemnos comesfirst": so sang the
,
chorus of ChoEhoroiin Aeschylus.,But the story of the man-killing
Lernnian women had long been known through the legend of the Argonauts. It starts in the typical way, with adultery. This time, howtOn the history of Lemnos
seeC. Fredrich,AM 3t (lqn6), fu-86, 24a-j5; F. L. W. Sea.
ley, BSA z1 Q.9r8lrg),148-74;C. Fredrich,Ic XII 8 pp. z-6; RE XII r9z8-3o. The ltalian excavationsbrought to light important new information: seethe preliminary report
in ASAA rylfi Qgz/33), but they were interrupted in 1939;cf. EAA lll z1o-y, l\l
542-45.On the Athenian conquestseeHdt. 6,117-4o;cf. Philochoros,FCrHist SzBf
roo/ror.
2Cho.63r; cf. PR II 8+g-Sg.On
reconstructing the ancient Argonaut myth see P. FriedLaender,MM 69 (t9r4), zg9-y7 = Studienzur antikenLiteraturund Kunst(tg69), :19-11;
K. Meuli, Odyssee
undArgoruutika(r9zr); U. v. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Hellenistische
Dichtungll(r9zg,4z-48. Forthe myth as relatedto the festivalseeF. G. Welcker,Dre
re*hylixhe TrilogiePrometheus
und dieKnbirenzoeihe
zu bmnos (r1z4), 755-304;G. Dumdzil, Iz qime desLanniennes(1924);Burkert (r97o).

rw

THE LEMNIAN

WOMEN

evet the entire male population_isimplicated. The wrath of Aphrodite-here taking the place of Hera, tire goddessof -urriue"_falls
upon .the womery who develop a sickering body ;;, i;:i drives
away tl: -:r,.'th-"I, tl turn, tlke up withihruc"an slave_gi.ls,un_
affectedby the goddess'sanger.The
women
then
form
u
.J.,rpi.r.y
that erupts in a nocturnal uprising. In
a
single
bloody
nighi they
murder the entire male population of the
islind,
pJ-?i" n"r"ot than procne,s.
bandsbut fathersand sonsas wel,o an act more radical
The island henceforth berongs to the women, who govern it like
Amazons' Yet, this can onry be a transition, an intermJdiary period.
Only one man has a specialfate, the one who acfually."p'r"ru.t,
the patriarchal society, king Thoas. He is saved by his au"ghi", Hypsipylg, who hides him in a wooden, coffinlike.r,!st
*rrict
rraprlij,
Hypsipyle-alone, or with
the
aid
of
those
trying
to
discover'her
secret-pushes into the sea.uvalerius
Flaccus
fiits
iln
the
detail
that
the
king was first hidden in the temple of Dionysus, beneath the
god,s
robes,and then led to the sea,in ihe
mask
ofihe
god,
uy
,t
u-iut.nui
uldel Hypsipyle'sguidance.5Itis impossible
to
saly
ho#*".n
of tni,
reflectsthe more ancient local tradiiion, but as early u,
Euriplau.,

to Dionysus_indeed,
n" iJ ti" gJt ro.,.,

IT,t.ll ll'lately,tinked
Lunously,
the death of osiris is tord in preciserythe same"wav:
seth
lockshim up in a larnax
and
the
N'e
carries
hfu
il;;u.;'ny,rr"
fiffh c-enturyu'c., the Greeks
considered
osiris
and
Dionysus
identical' Things both sacredand evil disappearmysteriously
in the vast
reachesof the sea.
As the king disappearedat sea,so from the seanew
life returned

3Kaukalos?
FGrHist
Apollod.
Schol.
J8.z;
Apoll.
Rhod.
r.6o9
(Apollonlos
hi-T
^r.r14;
6uoa,6ta);
schoi.n ,. irr'. e;z,Zenob.
Ath.r.re
^rIr'
r'19 p.
Mrller;
l51 Mileu
ii,:1":::::.":ilngihe
P 35r
Errst.r58.17;Dio. Ehrys. or. y.5o;see
at
n.
,oiaorl'Ls'vu'
'[7&v
dpcvev6uoi yeuocAooll. Rhod. r.6rg; ,,fathers
and husbands,,Apollod. r.rr5; for
the most detalledaccount'see
Stat.Theb.S'.gS_ll+;Vul. Flacc.Arg. 2.7o7-422.
sApoll.
Rhod. t.6zo-26:Theolytos,-FG
rHist 47gF3, Xenagoras
, FGrHist z4oF 3r, and
Kleonof Kurion,
Schol.
Aooft.
Rt
oa.
r.6z116a;
cf
.
iu,r.
Hypstpyle
fr. 64,74_g7,rc5_trt
Bond (1963);schol. Pind.
III p. :.g-r3 oiu.t*".,.r. por the)wpva{on the
-n.n
red figure
Dowl Berlin
=
ARV2
4n
4a9.$, s; c. rta. a.
ftr, The Furniture of thc Greeks,
Etruscans
and
Romans
{ro66), 3-g5.This is nortie
fL."," dear further with the widespreadmotif of the
ark [Dunu", Auge, Tennes,Osiris, etc.).
z.z4z-3o2,and cf. lmmisch, RML V g06.
,4r8.
nypsrpyleft. 64.ttr, and
cf. H.
Lloyd-Jones
in
G.
W.
Bond,
EuripidesHypsipyle eg6),
AP
For
the
Euneid.ai;
3'ro'
piiests
or
oi""yr",
:27ft'!
Merpomenos, at Athens as descendants
of Jasonand Hypsipyle seeToepffer
frdAq)',S, _roO.
rtut' Is'
356c'osiris : Donysus in Hdt. z.4z and probablyalreadyin Hekataios.

r91

rl

lr

i.i,

ri
I

DISSOLUTION

AND NEW YEAR'S FESTIVAL

to Lemnos. one night, the ship of the Argonauts-the primordial


ship-on which the most valiant men of Greecewere united, appeired on the coastsof Lemnos.'Its arrival transformedthe would-be
Amazons' hatred of men into its opposite. According to Aeschylus,
they made the Argonauts, even before landing, swearto help them
."rri,o"the work of Aphrodite.'oAn agon in honor of the dead was held
The Lemnian women proto test the strength of the living successors.
vided a prize foi the winner-a cloak.'rThe attire is linked with marriage or, rather, a disorganizedmasscelebrationof the nuptials, endin{ e contrariothe period of hate between the sexesand the lack of
min. Already in the lliad we hear of Euneos,Iord of the "good ship,"
son of fason and Hypsipyle and ruler of Lemnos."
Once again, it is only by a coincidenceof locality-and that in
late antiquity-that we are informed about a ritual celebratedannually "because of the crime of the Lemnian women against the
mer,,;' a festival of purification and new fire. The myth gives the
aition of the rite and reflectsthe detailsof this festival.Philostratusof
Lemnos provides us with an eyewitnessaccount-for at Hephaestia,
he himself or a close relative was "the priest of Hephaestus, after
whom the city is named"-"Lemnos is purified at a certaintime in the
year and the fire on the island is extinguishedfor nine days. A sacred
ship bri.,gs fire from Delos, and if it arrivesbefore the funerary sacrifices are over, it may not be brought to anchor on Lemnos; rather, it
rides on the open sea before the promontories, till, accordingto sacred custom, it is permitted to sail in. For at this time they call upon
subterraneanandlecret gods, and thus, as I think, they keep the fire
pure on the sea.But when the sacredship has sailedin and thev have
hirttibrt"d the fire for all other necessitiesof life and especiallyfor
the crafts that need fire, they say that from then on a new life begins
for them." "
'Apoll. Rhod. r.61o5z;Stat. Theb.5'r5- 47.
r0Fr. Mette, and cf. Pind. Pyth.4.254;Herodoros, FGrHist3r F 6. Thenceltfiputar'as
40
a title and theme in comedy:-Aristoph.fr. )56-75; Nikocharesft. rt-r4 (CAF I zzz);
Antiphanes fr. 144-45(CAF II 7o), and cf. Alexis fr- 44(CAF II 345);Diphilos fr' 14
(CAf II 558);Turpilius 9o-99 Ribbeck.
Apoll. Rhod. 2.)0-32, ).7204'
"simonides 547Page;Pind.Pyth. 4.zy with schol.; cf.
tzo6, 4.421-14.
t2II. 21.747;cf. 2t.4t,7.468-69, a4.2)o;n. 7 above.
,rHer.p. z3z Boissonade(Paris 1806)= p.325 Kayser (Ziirich 1844: r853'z): ed
reubn. lrair; ll zo7: L- de Lannoy,ed' Teubn' (rgn) P' 67'7' On the corrupt passage
Wien
xai xcrB'Evarofrdrousagainst A. Wilhul- (xafl' Evarou irous, Anz- d' Ak' d' Wiss'
(?); cf' xal' Eua xar'pov
|19191, 4r-461, see Burk-ert(t97o) 1: xatpdv xanl'6va toi irous
192

THE LEMNIAN

WOMEN

This is one of the clearest,most impressivedescriptionsof a time


of dissolution and exception,in which normal life almost comesto an
end: there is no fire, no normal food, no sacrificesto the gods, and no
funeral pyre; the bakers and smithies lay down the tools of their
trades,and the family breaksapart. The Hellenistichistorian Myrsilus
of Lesbosclaimed that Medea casta spell on the Lemnian women out
of jealousy of Hypsipyle, "and to this very day, there is a certain day
every year on which the women keep away from their husbandsand
sons on accountof their sickening smell."'aThe fantasticstench that
broke up all the marriageson Lemnos returns regularly every year;
the most grotesquefeaturein the myth becomesreality.This is clearly
a ritual that belongs to that exceptionalperiod. We can gather how
that sickeningsmell cameabout by turning to the parallelof the Attic
Skira:there, when the women gatheredtogetherthey chewed on tarlic "in order not to smell of salves."ls Whatever their Lemnian sisters
did to produce the same effect,1uthey too disgusted the men and
drove them away, the wives their husbands, the mothers their sons.
In the myth this is raised to the level of a man-killing hatred, transforming a day on which the sexesare separatedinto a transitionalperiod of matriarchy.
This links the Lemnian festivalto the Skira;and what the myth of
Thoasimplies is attestedin ritual at Athens-that is, the departure of
the king.l' To be sure, the road to Skiron is less dramatiCthan the
coffinlikechest on Lemnos. We do not know what actually happened
at Lemnos-,but perhaps the phallagogy at the Delian Dionysid'presentsanother possibleway in which a disappearancecould be ritually
enactedat a Dionysiac sacrificialfestival. In any case, sacrificewas
clearlya part of the exceptionalperiod at Lemnos, sacrificewithout
tue, so that one could eat at most only raw piecesof meat, burying the
rest o1 throwing it into the sea.Subterraneanpowers seemto rise up
out of the sacrificialpits into which the blood flo*s, powers that tak-e

U, lSod (:
FGrHist6o9F zz).Cf. Nilsson j9o6) 47o-7r.For the priest
11".,;
!ray9!rro,
or Hephaestuscalled
Philostratossee IG Xll g.z.t.
ttFcrHist
477F r.
'5Philochoros,
FGrHist3zgF g9:seelll. r.n.4zabove.
glossin Antig. Mir. rr8 = Myrsilos, FGrHist477F tbmentions ri1^yavov,
,j.m*sinal
dn
herb_whosesmell
repels
snakes(Arisi. Hist. an.6nazg) and causessexualabstirence-(schol.
Ni-k.
A/ex.
4ro); perhapsthis herb was used in the Lemnian rituar,,ust as
accordingto Schol.
Nik. ,Alex.-4roiiwas used in the mystenes.
"SeelII.r.n.ts above.
tts"u
I.7.r,.5j uborr".

193

It

ll
I

11t

I
I

fli r,,i
'$rl

,l i

rh

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR-S FESTIVAL

over the island. A pacing ram is often depicted on the coins of Hephaestia;" it may be assumed,then, that sacrificeof a ram formed a
part of the city'smain festival' Erechtheus,too, is offereda ram.'o
The act of digging sacred"Lemnian earth," as performed by the
priestessof Artemis at Mount Mosychlos, where Hephaestusfell to
earth, played a specialrole in Lemnos. "Lemnian earth," slabsof redt
dish cliy stampedwith the picture of a goat,was reputed to have medicinal properties useful for many different ailments,and continued
to be so viewed in the Near East until the twentieth century.2'Galen
personally travelled to Lemnos to observe the mining of Lemnian
earth.'In modern times this took place on the twenty-eighth of August, under the supervisionof the localpriest. Dioskouridesmentions
a goat-sacrificeat this occasion,2'butby the time of Galen the Lemnians no longer had anything to do with such a practice.The connection between the digging at Hephaestus'mountainand the festival of
fire in Hephaestus'own city is indisputable.The fact that a priestess
of Artemis participates,instead of Hephaestus,indicatesthe absence
of the god, the transitionalperiod in which the subterraneanPowers
are conjured up. Moreovet the festival occursin August, at virtually
the same time as the Attic Skira. Even the name Skiradenotesa sPecial white earth that is carried.
When the intermediary period ended, the men crowded at the
shore to keep watch for the ship bringing back new life, the new, pure
fire: thus, Hephaestusreturned to his city. So, too, Argo, the primordial ship, brought new life back to the land of women' Above all, it
was the fire-using artisans, as Philostratusstresses,the bakers and
the smithies, who got a share of the new flame. According to myth,
the Cabiri, the children or grandchildrenof HePhaestus,were themTheir shrine, the Cabirion, has been excavatedon
selvesartisans.2o
Lemnos not far from Hephaestia,and the continuity of cult from the
pre-Greek to the Greek era is astounding' A community of initiates
DKoniglicheMuseen zu Berlin, Beschreibung
der antikenMiinzen(1888),279-83; HNr
z6z-63; Cook III (rg4o) 43-14; Hemberg (tg5o) r6t, and cf' roz, 284on Samothrace'
20See
above.
IIl.r.n.38
2rC.Fredrich, AM
Ill
1r (rg6), 7z-74;F. W. Hasluck, BSA16 (t9o9lto), zzo_3o;Cook
(r94o) zz8-14.
zXII 169-75 Kiihn.
u j.ttj.

2nAkusilaos,FGrHistuF zo; Pherekydes,FGrHist3 F 48 For the excavationreport see


ASAA tlz (r99l4o) 22)-24; 114Qg4tl4p.),75-toJ; :'5lt6 (r95zl5$, J77-4o;D. Levt tn
A.K. OrlandosIII (Athens, t9f6), r:,o-32; Hemberg Q95o)t6o-7o'
Charisterion
L94

THE LEMNIAN

WOMEN

(r95o)Passim;F.Chapoutier,
LesDioscoures
au seraice
d,unediesse
(ry35),

KclFerpot.

would gather there for secretcelebrationsin which wine played a mal"r,:?)_":_o:,::::f i p pers of t h e m y t h i caI sm i t h i es, t n *!."' f robabry
"y according
"
which modeled itself on a smithy guild.
6 Mannerbund
to
the myth, the Cabiri fled from Lemnos in horir at the women,s
abominabledeed.'uBut if their cult survived, they must rrarre,eturned
when the fire was brought back and the artisins courd go tack to
work. The Dioskouroi were among the Argonauts, and as Great Gods
they have been compared to the Cabiri time and again, even to the
point of identification.'?6
Hephaestus,the Cabiri, tne biostouroi-and
odysseus-wear the circurar peaked cap (zrir,os).The leader of the
Argonauts is Jason,whose name can hirdly be distinguished from
Iasion,the husband of Demeter,and lasion, the brotheiof Dardanos
on samothrace.2'The Argonauts' goal was to retrieve the fleeceof a
ram mysteriously
sacrificed
in
the
land
of
the
sun.
Just as the herald
who conductsthe negotiationsbetweenthe Argonauts and the
Lemnian women is calledAithalides,28 ,,sooty
the
orre,,,
so
Lemnos,
as
the
islandoJHephaestus,is called
Aithale.
such
are
the
intimate
links
between the detailsof the Argonaut sagaand Lemnos. From the
standpoint of the cult and the pre-Greekperspective,
the
Argo
is
the
ship
of the.Cabiribringing new fire and new rife. According io pindar,
the
Lemnianagon was won by the white_hairedErginor,
,,*o.tur,,,
ti"
ut
whom the others had laughed.r, Here, thougt in
j"ir",
Greek
i,
u
Hephaestus'victory in his own city tJthe
\i"t:l
of
ritua-llaughter
"..o-pu"r,ir.,ent
such
us
was
required
by
medievar
custom
at Easter..
In spite of the similarities
between
the
Lemnian
festival and the
festivats
at
Athens,
Argos,
Thebes,
and Sikyon in the
::]::r_!.idlng
rnythm
ot dissolution and starting
anew,
there
is a charactlristic dif_
f:l"l:". At Lemnos, the masculi"neorder
was not reestablishedby
shield-carriersor white riders-i.e., not
ty
a
miritary
orgu.,irutior.,perhaps tt i, *u, why Lemnos
lut !r an artisan society.
feil to the
Greeks.Yet there were powers at work
in the lower crasses-as seen
from the perspectiveof thu Greek
aristocracy-that found a certain
resonanceeven among the Greeks
and playei a part in the socialcribPhot.
25r,

alro the Cariancitv Iasos.

Oliill"tt
tCf.

Rhod. r.64r-5:; Pherekydes,FGrHist


]fn(]tt
3F rcg:Schol. ad loc.; Ai2,.1ri.'polyb
Steph.Byz. n;ua,ra.
::,:'.0,
4 19-23; cf. Schol.3zc;Callim. fr. 66g.
$vr
r : s a r t o r i ,S i t t e u n d B r a u c h l l l ( r 9 r 4 ) , 1 6 7 . C f . M a n n h a r d t ( r 8 7 ) 5 o z _ 5 o g ; G B X r z r _ r r

795

ilt

ll|frir

sis and reform of the polis. Besidesthe ram mentioned above, the
coins of Hephaestia dilplay the felt caps of the Cabiri, the herald's
staff of Hermes Aithalides, and grapesand vines as well." That the
Cabiric element is closely related to the Dionysian, indeed, that it
overlaps with it smoothly, is shown by the drinking cups from the
Cabiribn at Thebes,r'and also by the Lemnian myth which so closely
connectsThoas with Dionysus-osiris.Hephaestus'return in the
Dionysiac processionwas one of the most popular themes in vasepainting,r.itarting when the aristocraticgovernmentat Corinth gave
way to lyran.ry. Alcaeus of Lesbosintroduced the theme into literaturl, echoing i., a characteristicallyGreek fashion a theme from the
non-Greekisland of Hephaestus.

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR S FESTIVAL

THE RETURN OF THE DOLPHIN

7. TheReturnof theDolphin

r97

'!K. Schneider,
REIX zz48-55, supersededby O. Broneer'sexcavationof the sanctuary,
Hesperiazz (t9y), t8z-95; z+ (ISSS), tto-47; z7 9958\, r-37; z8 (rg5q,, 29814i,; y
(196z),r-25; Roux (r95g) 9j,-1,o3.
3Pind.
fr. 56;Arist. fr. 637;Prokles(a studentof Xenokrates)in Plut. Q. cona.677b;Musaios,FGrHist455;
Aristid.
Or.6.1z-35
Apollod.
Keil;
Schol.
Pind. III pp.r92-g4
3.29;
Drachmann;Schol.Eur. Med. e84; probablyalreadyin Eumelos,
Jacobyad FGrHist45r
F 4, A. Barigazzi,Rio.di Filol.
94Q966),tzg-4$ on "Dio.," Or. 17.tt-t4.
"Paus.e.r.8, 3.4. For coins seeImhoof-Blumer(t885) ro-rz,T. B I-XII; cf. Philostr.In.
16(ll
ed.
Teubn.
r87r).
362.24
'P-aus.
z.z.r; Imhoof-Blumer(1885)T. B XI-XIil; Hesperta
z7 eg58), ,r5- r7; b. Robert,
Thymdli
156-59;
Roux
(1958)
aoo-ao2,fig. rr; O. Broneer, Isthmiall (r97),
Qy9,,
t"?tf', lC IV zo3. Philostratos(II
162.27)hasPoseidonhimself dig up the subterranean
aOrr7or/
fgr Palaimon.
uSee
n. 3 above.
7Thes.
z5;cf. pworilpnliban. Or. 14.j.67;raipov pl\avaphilostr. Im.363.r;tatpogovtlt
tpt"erqpiil
Pind.
Nen.
6.4o.
For
coins
on
which
a
bull movestoward the palaimonion
seeImhoof-Blumer(1885)pl. B. XI, XI[; philostratosII
363.r mentionsa herd of cattle
oelongingto Poseidon.

status.2For the most part, its cult legend was linked to Leukothea,s
leap into the sea:here, at the Isthmus of Corinth, the body of young
Melikertes had been brought ashore by a dolphin. Sisyphus, the
shrewd founder of Corinth-and coincidentallythe "inventor" of the
burial ritual-buried the dead boy, who was henceforth known as
Palaimon,and establishedthe Isthmian gamesin his honor.3The boy
on the dolphin was a frequent subjectin sculpture, and he appeared
on Corinthian coins as the emblem of the Isthmian games-sometimes as a limp corpse, sometimesas a merry rider.oWas it possible
that a hero worshipped in his own shrine, the Palaimonion, could
really have died?
As often, there are two cult centersthat give the sanctuaryat the
Isthmus its shape: that of Palaimon and that of Poseidon, the hero
and the god, chthonic versus Olympian ritual, the tholos and the
temple. Between the two, the stadium for the foot-racebegan and
ended. To be sure, the tholos in the Palaimonionwhich Pausanias
saw,and which was depictedon the coins of the Roman Empire, was
first built in Roman times,sand in the processa new stadium was constructedover the old. Thus, it is not known what the original precinct
of Palaimonlooked like. But we can tracethe cult of Palaimonat least
as far back as the etiologicallegend in Pindar, and it is likely that it
appearedas early as the ancient epic of Eumelos.6Perhapsat first a
simple sacrificialpit was enough for the nocturnal sacrificialritual.
For a black bull was slaughteredat night for Palaimon. And to
Plutarchthis seemedmore a mystery initiation (re}.err1)than an athletic and folk festival.?Philostratus mentions an ecstaticdirge like

Again and again the path from destruction to a new beginning


leads through the sea,perhapsmost clearly on the island of Lemnos,
but also in Leukothea'sleap into the seaand Lykurgus' pursuit of Dionysus. The Attic etiologicalwriters even thought that the Skira reflected Theseus'departure for Crete.' This connectionis quite natural
for those who live by the sea:so many things disappearinto its vastness never to return again; other things wash ashore,bringing unforeseenbenefits. The fear of death and happy deliverance,loss and
recovery,are closelyrelated.Wheneverthe seareceivesthe unspeakable sacrifice,purity and innocenceseemto be reestablished.And yet
there must be consequences:the sea is just; it receivesand it gives'
The return from the sea was almost stereotypicallyaccompaniedby
the image of the most beautiful, the nimblest, the most nearly human
of all the inhabitantsof the sea-the dolphin.
Although they were only fourth in importance, the Isthmian
games at Poseidon'ssanctuary near Corinth achieved pan-Hellenic
Trilogie'
" Seen. r9 above;mentioned alreadyby Welcker,Aeschylische
Aus'
r2P.Wolters and G. Bruns, DasKabirenheiligtum
hei Theben(rg4o); Neuedeutsche
grabtrngenQ95$, 47-48; Hemberg(r95o)r84-zo5; G Bruns, AA (t967\, zz8-71'
33F.Brommet
Alcaeus149
Jdl 5z (rg), r98-z:^z;A. Seeberg,IHS 85 Q96), ro2-1og;
L.-P
tSeeIII.r.n.45above.

L96

)1,I

!{,,

J,'gll

il

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR'S FESTIVAL

those in the mysteries,'and Aelius Aristides speaksof "initiations"


and orgiesand, prior to that, an "oath." nPausaniasrefersto the Palaimonion as the site of sacredoaths;'othe oath that the contestantshad
to take before the gamesmost probably occurredright there-an encounter with Palaimon at night in the underground vault preceded
the days of competition. Here, too, the path leads from grief to vitality, from death to the order of life, from Palaimon'ssacrificialpit to
the altar of Poseidon.
The god of the seapresidedover the placewhere searoutes and
land routes cross. The dolphin and the dead youth came from the
sea.The myth, then, makesthe Isthmian gamesonly the last step in a
tragedy whose gruesomecentralact it locateselsewhere,in the house
of Athamas and at the Molurian cliff near Megara." As in the caseof
Antiope and Epopeus, the wandering bards presumably combined
various local traditions. In that case, we should postulate an unspeakablesacrificeat the Isthmus itself on the shore,to which the return of the dolphin-boy would then correspond.
And in fact, on the beachbelow the sanctuary next to the altar of
Melikertes, a spruce would be pointed out which was linked to the
This Siniskilled his
story of Sinis, the "spruce-bender,"pityokamptes."
sacrificialvictims by tying them to a spruce on either side and then
letting the treessnap back up, thus tearing the victim apart or smashing him. This went on until one day Theseusdid the same to Sinis,
and "becauseof" this bloody victory, this killing of Sinis, Theseus
founded the Isthmian games,at leastaccordingto a tradition with Attic bias.'3A victim torn apart and hung on a tree that bearsno fruit is a
terrifyingly clear image of an unspeakablesacrifice.Indeed, such a
sacrificialritual using two recoilingtreesis actuallyattestedin Gaul."
(Poets and interpreters, of course, preferred to substitute another
story at the start, the story of Leukothea.) The victor's prize at the
Isthmian gameswas a spruce wreath. Following the example of Ne8HerIIzo7.zt ed. Teubn.(r87r): p.
3u5ed. Ztirich (1844: r85l').
'Or.
46.4oKeil.
\ o2 . 2 , 1 .
rrSeeIII.3.nn.4o-42.
above.
r2Paus.
2.r.3-4; cf. Bacchyl.17.r9;Eur.Hipp. 977-78;Diod. 4.59;Schol.Pind. lll 191.1'
r95.3 Drachmann.On the pictorialtraditionseeWcirner,kMLIY gzr-34; Joh.Schmidt,
RE III A 48-44; Brommer(196o)r89-9o.
'3
Marm.
Par.',
FGrHist
239
zo;
A
Plut.
Thes.
z5;
Schol.
Nik. A/er. 6o5.
taComment.
Lucafl.7.445;E. Thevenot,Hommages
d W. Deonna(ry57),++z-49. Alexander had Bessoskilled this way: Plut. Alex.43. Cf. the fir tree of Pentheus,Eur. Bacrh
to64 ff .; for imagesof Dionysusmade from this fir tree seePaus.2.2.7.
198

THE RETURN OF THE DOLPHIN

6ea, the sprucewreath was replacedby a celerywreath from Classicaluntil Hellenistictimes.'sLater,the sprucewreath, the wreath from
t'mystery-like"
1[e sacrificialtree, was restored. The
dirge for palairnonalwaysremainedpart of the Isthmianfesiival.
Releasedfrom this gloomy background,the cheerful and liberati"q 1."9""9.of the sixth century further developed the image of the
dolphin-rider under the colorsof the renewedcult of Dionvsus, even
usingalmostthe samelocation.In this version,Arion, the Dionysiac
poej, is rj":d PI a dolphin and comesashoreat the sanct.ru.yof po_
seidon.corinthian sailorshad wanted to rob him of gold and his life
while he was travelling with them from Tarentum to Corinth. In full
singer'sgarb, Arion plu{"g. his las-tsong on the cithara and sprang
into the sea,where a dolphin suddenly appearedand carried hi* to
Tainaron.There-surely in the famous sanctuaryof poseidon-Herodotus saw the statue of a dolphin-rider. The itory actuallv ends.
howevet in Corinth, where Arion goesto the palaceof the tyiant perianderand provides testimony to convict the iriminals. According to
Herodotus,this story was told by both Corinthians and Lesbians.,"
It has long been recognizedthat this pretty tale has a most spe_
_
cificmeaning."
As
Herodotus
attests
pinin
this
context
and
as
even
dar alreadyknew, Arion is the "inventorof the dithyramb.,,r8
This in_
troduction of Dionysiac choral songs cannot be separatedfrom the
:mergenceof Dionysiac motifs, of the thiasoi of padded dancerson
corinthian pottery starting preciselyat the time of periander.reAfter
the fall of the aristocraticr-egimeof ine Bakchiadai,who claimed that
they were the direct descendantsof Dionysus,2.the cult of the god

fr.5e;Schol.Apoll.Rhod.3.rz4o.remporarilyreptaced
by

,o1f;f3ttin
Nent.
isthnt.,.r0,'a
o+l"ruLi."';;;:'il;":;#';:J
+.88;
"ojT:!.:::r; ,Pild-o{ t3.33;
lTi"):^:

Schol.6o5;Schol.pind. Iip. .rg3.rr.


cf. the alleged
poetae
song
of
thanksgiving
by
Arion,
Melici
Graeci
g39l,age.
,rldl
.t _a,
"G. M.
Bowra, 'Arion and the Dolphin,,, MH zo (1961), t27_)4: On
CreekMargins
(rg7o), roa-8r.

O, 13.r8-19
with
Schol.;
Hellanikos,
FGrHist
4 F 86; Arist. fr. 677: p1or1.
Dikaiarchosfr. 75 W.; Schol. plat. Resp.
"l*
3g4c;Tzetz. ad Lyk. p. z.r5
,Lffesf.lzoa3r;

PTne, Necrocorinthia
(t93t),
ug-24:
F.
Brommer,
Satyroi
(t97), zo_zz;L. Breit_
:Y
donscheFarceirn griech.Mutterland(Goteborg,
ry6o);Webster in pickardlltj,"-?1.
,;;:'lt'rloge.(r962)roo- ror, ryr-7). For paddeddancersat Athens seeA. Greifenhagen,
schwarzfig_urige
Vasengaitungund die Darstellungdes Komosim 6.
.,t::" ^onrgsberg,
l;tl-t.h:
Jh.,,,
"$s'
ry29; H. seifert, "Dithyrambos und Vasenmilereiin Athen,,, Diss.
J-u?burg, t97o. For the picture of Dionysuson the amphoriskoswith the return of
dePhaestus,
Athens
N.M. ro9z, see G. Loeschcke,AM t9 jg9$,
5ro; payne#rc71;
ti, Websterin Pickaid-Cambridge
1i962;,'Listof Monuments #38.
;:::^"t
ratyros POxy 2465fr.
3 col. II; H. Lloyd-Jones,Cnomon35 1915), 454.

Lgg

.t

'1i11
tl
ilii"l'
'iln+it'r
,lilr
lri

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

had to develop new and more democraticforms. It is quite conceivable that a Lesbian poet and musician establishedthe musical forq
for these crude folk-dances.On one of these vases,the dancersare
busy with a dolphin. Is it wine that they are pouring into the water?2'
In any case,the associationof Dionysiacdancesand dolphins is thus
attested to virtually within Arion's lifetime. A bit later, in the early
forms of Dionysiac comedy, dolphin-riders and dolphin-masks became popular at Athens as well."
Whereasthe Lesbiansand the Corinthians told of the adventure
of Dionysus' poet, the HomericHymn makes the hero the god Dionysus himself. He is seizedby Tyrrhenian pirateswho want to enchain
him while at sea.But the chainsfall off, vines start to sprout and wind
around the mast and sail, and the mast is coveredwith ivy. The sailors leap into the seain terror and are transformedinto dolphins. Only
the pilot is spared by the god, for he alone had spoken against the
pirates;indeed, the god makes him "entirely happy" by putting him
in the god's own service."
Our earliestsourcefor the accompanyingritual datesto the Roman Empire: in Smyrna "in the month of Anthesterion, a trireme is
raised up and carried to the marketplace.The priest of Dionysus
steersit like a pilot as it comes from the sea, having cast off." 20The
image of the ship of Dionysus, carried or driven on wheels, is known
2rParis,Louvre MNC 674; Payne#98g; Websterin Pickard-Cambridge(1962)t7z, List oI
Monuments #43.
zSee a black figure skyphos, Boston zo.r8, in M. Bieber,TheHistoryof the Greekand
RomanTheatreQ96r), fi.g. rz5a; black figure bowl, Louvre CA ry24, AA tg4z, 7t pl. 3;
black figure lekythos, Kerameikos, ibid. pl. 415;red figure psycter, New York, Norbert
Schimmel Collection:G. M. Sifakis, BICS 14 i96), 36-37, pl. VI-he susPectsthat
the inscription EIII AEAOINO! is the beginningof a choral song. For satyrsand dolphins see,e.g., the black figure rylix, Louvre F r38 = ABV $5.14.
BHy. Dion., esp.53-54; then Pind. fr.216;Eur. Cyclopsrr; Aglaosthenes,FGrHist 499
F 3; Apollod. 3.J7- 38;Ov . Met. 1. 582-69t, etc.; cf. the Lysikratesmonumentat Athens:
r (r98o), 1o1-J4.
H. Herter Archaiognosia
2 a P h i l o s tVr .. S o p h . t . z 5 . r , l l
i dr.' q 6
4 2 . 2 4 - 2 Z , a n d cIfI.5 4 . 8 e d . T e u b n . ( r 8 7 r ) ; A r i s tO
Keil = I 373 Dindorf (with a characteristicaition: the hostile Chians intended to conquer the city while the people of Smyrna were celebratingon the ntountain, but they
tiremselveswere destroyed together with their ships by the returning Smyraeans:for
the Donysia as the retakingof the city seeIII.r. Excursusabove,esp. P. rou^);Or' zr'4
Keil : I 44o Dindorf. Nilss-on Qgo6) 268.On coins from Magnesia, four men are de'
picted carrying the bow of a ship with the child DionysuJ (?): M. Bernhatt, lb l'
t (rg+g), zz. Karaytit:|lrr of Dionysus are attested at Miletus'
Numismatiku. Geldgesch.
LSAM 48,at Priene: S/G'roo] = LSAM 37, at Ephesus:Acta 5. Timotheied. Usener
(Progr.Bonn I1877];Nilsson lt9o6l 4r6.5with ritual combat). For the arrival of the dol'
phin-rider and the founding of the city in the Tarentine tradition of Phalantos-Taras'
especiallyon Tarentine coini, see RE IV A zzfJ6-87.For Dionysia at Tarentum seePlat'

THE RETURN OF THE DOLPHIN

to us already from the sixth century B.c., from a Clazomenianvase


found inEgypl,zs with men dressedin strangely EgyptianJike aprons
carrying the ship, and from three Attic vases, dated to between 5oo
and 48oB.c. In the latter, the ship has a very ancientkind of wheel.26
flre sacrificial bull that is led along in the procession suggests a
dithyramb at the festival of Dionysus. The Greater Dionysia were
foundedat Athens in the courseof the Dionysiacreforms around 56o,
and were subsequently expanded.,, Ultimately, the dithyramb acquired its classicalform near the end of the sixth century through
Lasosof Hermione. To be sure, the god of the Dionysiais Dionys,rsof
Eleutherai in Kithairon, and to begin the festival his image would be
carried in once again from the direction of Eleutherai. But the advent
of new life, with all its high spirits and voluptuousness,is so graphicallyembodiedin the image of the ship that, at leaston occasion,the
centralplace in the processionwas held by the wagon-ship, which
was even introduced into the Panathenaicprocession.2'Indeed,the
image of the god surrounded by dolphins on his ship of vines is the
epiphanyof the "god who comesfrom afar" par excellence,an image
most beautifully depicted on the eye-cupby Exekias.,n

kg. 617b;for Tarentum: SatyrionseeDiod. 8.zr; Verg. Aen.7.Bor;prob.Georg.2..197;


Steph. Byz. 2ariptov.
aOxford
J. Boardman,IHS78 (rg5}), z-rz; pickard-Cambridge(1962)84, List
ry24.264;
of
Monuments
For
#82.
men
carrying
a
boat
in
Egyptian
art
see,
AOn 494,4gZ;for
".g.,
the wagon-ship see, e.g., AOB ry9; E. Panofsky,Grabplastik096a\,
fig.8. Foi the god s
arrivalon the ship seealso ANEP676,677,686;Burkert eg6) 295-96.
bBlack
figure
skyphos, Acr. rz8ra. Pickard-Cambridge(1968)fig. rz; black figure skyptros,
BM
B 79, Pickard-Cambridge(196S)fig. 13, Deubner e9\z) T.r4.z; Utit nguie
Bolognar3o, C. H. E. Haspels, Atiic Black-FigureaLckyttroi(ty6), 253#r5,
lkyphos,
Pickard-Cambridge
(1968)
r3,
(r
Deubner
932)pl. n.r; ci. alsothe black figure amphoiu
rn Lorneto," ldl z7 Qgrz),76-77: Tarquinia
678,Simon j969) zSafig.276,where the
samestatuesque,seated,outsizedDionysusis depictedtravellingin the ship. Because
of the
parallel
from
Smyrna
(n.
z4
above),
the processionwith the *ugo.r-ri,ip i, ,rr.rauy assignedto the Anthesteria (Nilsson
{ryo6) 269;IrgSSlSZz,5g3;beubner [r93zJ
hesitantly,Pickard-Cambridge[1968] rz-4), even though the festival at
::2-1o3;
is called Dionysia and the Dionysia at Priene (SIGJroo3.zo-24)do not take
:Ty.l"
Pfacein the month Anthesterion;A. Friikenhaus, ldl z7 .lgrl,Zr-69, and E. Bethe,
et-)tez6'1,463, ar}ue in favor of the Greater Donysia. on the primitive "cross!yn2
oar-wheel"seeH.
L. Lorimer,
CirildeinC. Singer,E.J. Holm_
JHS4egq),42-5r;G.
yard, and A. R. Hall,
A Historyof fecttnotog1
I (tSS+),2r4; Burkert 6{e71 295.
ba
,nu Dionysia see Deubner (ry32)
48-42; pickard-Cambridge(1968) 57_7or;o
, Yl
rasos
see Pickard-Cambridge
(196.2)
rz-r5.
BSee
III.r.n.9o above.On pegasosof EleutheraiseeI.7.n.53above.
"Mi.inchen
=
2c,44
ABV
t46.zr;
.
cf
n.
z6
above;
Hermippos fr.g (CAF I 243);Nilsson
\r$06) z7s; {. Lesky, Gnomonz6 (1954),zrr. On Dionysus
as the ;,god who c-omesfrom
qrar"see
Otto (1933)75_gr.

1,,rr
,rl

iit

I,, r

DISSOLUTION

AND NEW YEAR'S FESTIVAL

Arion camefrom Lesbos,and a myth locatedin Lesbosdescribes


how, after a bloody catastrophe,new and consecratedlife arosefrorn
the sea.According to the story,after Orpheus had been torn apart by
the Thracianmaenads,his head and his lyre floated acrossthe seato
Lesbos.There, fishermenfished it out of the water and depositedit in
an underground caveat Antissa, "there where now there is a sanctuary of Bakchos."'o(Jpon burying the head, which had been torn off in
Dionysiac frenzy,there was a celebrationin which the dead man'slyre
would sound anew. The story of Terpander,who brought Aeolic music to the Greek mainland in the seventhcentury was linked to Antissa.3'And, as the vase-paintings show the Lesbian tale of Orpheus was known at Athens starting at leastas early as the fifth century n.c.32
A parallel legend reflecting a neighboring ritual leads us to Lesbian Methymna. There, fishermen netted a strangestatueof the god
made of olive wood-a phallus and a head at once. With an oracle's
approval, it was given a cult and sacrificialfestivalsas Dionysus Phalten. a bronze copy of the log was seenby Pausaniasat Delphi.'3"Carin a Methymnian
rying the god'simage at the Dionysia" is mentioned
insciiption.'Did they fish it out of the seaevery year?Although the
idea of a head or phallus, the personalityor fructifying force of the
dead man, raisedto the core of new life, is cruder and lesssublimated
than the Antissan tradition of orpheus, the two are nonethelessmost
rLuk.
r Diehl/Powell : Stob. 4-2o.47= OF
fr.
Phanokles
T.rr8;
tog:
OF
Ada.
ind.
Gsr ,H i s t 4 T T F 2 , a n d c f . P h i l o s t r . H e r . 5 . S l l
T.77;forthedistrictofAntissaseeMyrsF
ilo
r7z.tz ed. Teubn.), ro.7 (11t8l..r7); V.Ap. 4.t4; Aristid. Or' 24.55Keil : I 84r Dindorf;
Resp.lrT4Kroll: OFT.rrg;Nlk. Harm.Exc.tpp z66.8-nJan=
Hyg. Astr.2.7;Procl.
Deonna, REG38 (tgz)' 44-69;
Oi1.fi1. On the motif of the prophesyingheadseeW.,186),
r49. Seegenerally PR II
in a secretcult in New Zealand-(r864)see Globus7
'12.9).
4o6-4o8; Ziegler, RE XVIII 7242,
3tPhot.perd l\icrBtovtir6du: Arist. fr.545.
3?See
two red figurevases,ARV2rr74.r (CookIII [r94o]pl. 16)and ARV2r4or'r lCook
III Ir94o] ror), Brommer(196o)358;a red figure hydria in Basel,AK t5 QgTz),rz8'17
Cf. Cook III [r94o] 7o7-7o2,pl. 17, t8.
33Paus.ro.r9.3 (Adwoov Kega\fiva Mss., Oa),tr424Lobeck [1829]ro87);cf Nilsson
Wormell
US55)5gJ.6;Oinomaosof Gadarain Euseb.Praep Ea. 536.r-3: Parkeand
(1958)fi37: Qc.\)oydv rtlt'irrvtL,tavuootoxap1uov.On fantasieswhere phallus = head
see Herter, RE XIX t7z7-28. For an image of Dionysus coming frorn the sea at Dionysopolis(Pontos)seeSkymnos 753-54;yet there are other divine irnagesthat come
from the sea: see Nilsson i9o6) zz6 1Cf. J. Kroll, "Das Gottesbildaus dem Wasset
y-6o'
F. uonderLeyenQg66),z5r-68; G. Beccatti,Boll.d comm.67iy),
Festschr.
,IG XII 2.5o3;Nilsson (19o6\ z8z-83;on coins from Methymna and Antissa see HNt
s6o-6r; Imhoof-Blumer,Zeitschr.
f . Numism.zo (1897),285,pl. X 414'

THE RETURN OF THE DOLPHIN

intimately related on a structural level. Inversely,a legend at Ainos


speaksof an image of Hermes driven acrossthe seafrom the Troad to
Thrace."lt is found by fishermenwho tossit backinto the sea,only to
catchit a secondtime. They thereupon sacrificethe first fruits of their
catchto the image while passingit around from man to man. Finally,
they "set it up" in a temple in the city. The act of "carrying around"
seerrs to provide an especiallyclose link with the Phallen of Methymna. The cult's lower-classmilieu extends to Ainos as well, and
this prompted Callimachusto use the legend.
'pricisely
The story of the death of Hesiod leads us back to the realm of
high poetry and to a gloominesscomparableto the myth of Palaimon.
His death in a sanctuaryof Zeus Nemeios, not far from Oineon and
Naupaktos,was already known to the Athenians at the time of the
Transferredto the sacralsphere,the story of his
PeloponnesianWar.36
deathbecomespart of the pattern of sacrificialritual. It starts with a
maiden'stragedy.The poet was accusedof having disgraceda virgin;
her brothers slew him in the temple of Zeus and hurled him into the
sea.On the third d.ayfollowing, however, just as the Locrians were
going toward the sea at Rhion to celebratethe festival of Ariadne, a
schoolof dolphins brought the corpse ashore.37
Hesiod'sbody was
then depositedin the sanctuaryof Zeus Nemeios-though the location of his gravewas known only to initiates.38
The murderersfled but
did not escapepunishment. WhereasPausaniasspeaksof a festival of
Poseidonat Rhion, the festival of Ariadne suggestsDionysus:the legends of Palaimon and Arion were likewise shaped by the polarity

$Callim.
fr. r97, above all the Diegesis; for Ainos as xritrp.aMtru\quaiav
xaiKupairirv
see Strabo
p.331
fr.
7
52. On coins from Ainos see H. A. Cahn, Schweiz. numismat.
Rundschau31 (1944,
59-63; cf. Nilsson (1955) 8r-82.
sThuc.3.96.r.

eCertamen
Homeri et Hesiodi 14, p. 4z Wilamowitz:
p.234 lines zz4-53 Allen, followtng Alkidamas (M. L. West, CQ
ry 1ry671,446)and Eraiosthenes (fr. ry-zt powell); plut.
uona. sept. sap. rbzd; Paus. g.jr.6. On the fate of the murderers see Plut. De
soll. an.
P o l l . 5 . 4 2 . T h e f e s i i v a l o f A r i a d n e i s m e n t i o n e d i n t h e C e r t a m e n ,p . 4 2 . 1 1
3f2e, f8+d;
= t 234 Allen; Plut. r6ze
speaks of i1 ritv'Piau fvoia, a festival for poseidon
Iil.
(r?us.
10.r1.6;
Arcviota
of the Nauzrclxr.or are attested in Schol. Aristoph. Ach. ry).
On Poseidon-Dionysus see also
Taras (son of poseidon, Arist. fr. 59o, and ,,Satura,,,
Antipater Ir. j5 Peter, Historicorum Romanorum Reliquiae).Cf. Nilsson (19o6)
:fl.v . W i l a m o w i t z - M o e l l e n d o r f f , D i e t l i a su n d H o m e r e 9 $ ) , 4 o 6 - 4 ,
E. Vogt,
llL.80,U.
roz (1959\, rgg-zoj; R. Merkelba ch, Miscellanea
A. Rostagni(1963),5r9-zr. In conffM
rrast
to
Thucydides,
Plutarch, and Pausanias, the locale in the Certamenis the land of
the Opuntian
L o k r i a n s a c r o s sf r o m E u b o e a .
oPlut.
,6ze-f. A tomb of Hesiod was, however, displaved at Orchomenos: see Arist. fr.
5 6 5 ,C e r t a m e np .
42.2JWtl. : 1.247-5j Allen.

203

J
il

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR'S FESTIVAL

of Dionysus and Poseidon. At the Isthmus, too, there were secret


gave the
graves.3'Thus,the death of the poet who with his Theogony
Greekstheir gods was subsumedinto the structureof the sacredand
of sacrificewith its ambivalence.In the end he found pardon and permanencein the sanctuary.Indeed, his fall assuredhim of a successor,
for the product of that deadly union was/ according to the story,
Stesichorus,the next great molder of myth.4

8. FishAdaent
In Greek myth, the dolphin of Poseidonis a symbolicemblem:it
is the sea-god'sattribute, an expressionof playful, elegantbeauty and
friendly companionship.At a deeper level it perhaps symbolizesthe
mother's womb, receiving and bringing to birth.l The fish has a far
more concretesignificanceas fish in the Anatolian-Phoeniciancounterpart to the myth of Leukothea,the myth of Atargatisand Ichthys.
Already in the fifth century Xanthus the Lydian told of how the evil
queen Atargatis "was captured by Moxos the Lydian and becauseof
her haughtinesswas drowned together with her son, lchthys, in the
lake of Askalon, and eaten up by the fish."'|ust as Athamas had
3ePaus.z.z.z: Eumelos, FGrHist
45rF 4 on the tombs of Sisyphusand Neleus; cf
III.5.n.r4 above,the tombs of Dirke and Oedipus.
{Philochoros, FGrHist
328F zr3. The dead man's return from the seaas a sign of Dionysus' favor appearsalsoin the legendof Alexanderof Pherai,who was killed in 358:
seeTheopompos,FGrHisttr5F 352-Alexander especiallyhonoredDionysusPelagios
of Pagasai;following the god's instructions,a fishermanfished the bones of the dead
man out of the seaso that they could be buried. Accordingto a cult legendfrom Brastat
(Lakonia),Semelewas washedashorethere in a larnaxand was given a solemn burial;
Donysus, however,was brought up by Ino in a cave(Paus.3.24.3-4 without details
concerningrites);for the cult of Myrtilos, washedashoreat Pheneos,seePaus.8.r,q.tr;
for Knopos at Erythrae,seeHippias, FCrHist4zr F r.
tE. B. Stebbins,"The Dolphin in the Literatureand Art of Greeceu.d Ro-"," Ditt'
Baltimore, ry29; M. Rabinovitch, Der Delphinin Sageund Mythosder Griechen(t947).
'zFGrHist
765F t7: Ath. j46e. The form of the name, Moxos, going back to Xanthos'
ct. FGrHist9o F t6, fits with the Hittite MuksusiMuksas;cf . H. J. Houwink Ten Kate'
TheLua,ianPopulation
Groupsof Lyciaand CiliciaAspera1lg6t),44-5o. On Atargatissee
P. Perdrizet,MilangesCumont$y6\,885-9t; P Lambrechtsand P Noyen, Nrur. CIto
6 (rgS4, 2j8-n.
204

FISH ADVENT

driven Leukothea and Melikertes into the sea, so here the king had
both mother and son thrown into the sea.And like Leukothea,Atara goddess becauseof her sufferings:she
g"rir ::qr,T::.l1tll".."me
becamethe Great Goddessof Askalon. The Greeksalso calledher
Derketo.Her sanctuaryis rocatedby the lake of Askalon, u.,d
"uu.u
fish it contains is sacredto the goddess.3Ktesiasfurther neile"izei
the myth and rendered it harmleJs:Derketowas not eatenby the fish,
but was instead savedby them when she hurled herself inio the waters in shameand despair after the birth of her illegitimuie J"ugt t".,
semiramis.since she was carried ashoreby a fish,"all fish aie sacred
to her: the syrians may not eat them. In thii context,Ktesiasattests_
asLukian did later-that the goddesswas portrayedas half-fish, halfhuman.o
The Syrian fish-tabu was-noted by the Greeks time and
again.s
patara
The.detailedreport g-rven
by
Mnaseas
of
proves
,rruiir,i,
-u,
not just a-simple prohibition but, rather, the typical ambiguity of
sacredritual. "-Everyday the priests"
of
Atargatis
",bringto tfie goaaess
real fish and set it before her on a table,
nicely
cooried,
botfi
boited
and roasted, and then the priests of the goddessconsume
the fish
themselves."6For, accordingto Antipater o"fTu.r.rr, ,,Gatis
the
q,.,een
of the syrians was such a gourmet that she issueda
proclamation
forbidding anyone to eat fish without Catis',.7or, as Mnas"*
p"ii,, ,n"
decreed"that no one might eat fish, but, rather,must
brint itloi". ir",
the temple'" Thus, it is
not
that
one
may
not
eat
fish
becarisethey are
holy; rather, they are holy because
theyire
eaten
in a sacredsacrificial
of Atar-Gatis,
jry com.pany_
the
Great
Goddess,the mother of
T:.lil
ure, nsn," lchthys, herself. Mnaseaseven
goes on to say that her
son'sdescendantswere the fish Galene,
Myiraina,
and
the
Elakate_
fish, prized for eating.sThey weri presumablykept
in the
l-.,t ,tirq"
sacred
lake.
In the temple of the Syrian Goddessat Bambyke_Hierapolis,
too,
there was a pond with saired
fish.'Their astonishingtamenesswith

3Dod.
:.4.3.
'Ktesias,
FGrHist6ggF r : Diod. 2.4; Strabo16 p.
sEver
7g5;Luk. Syr.D. t4.
since xen. Anab. t.4..9,;LSS_54;
wachter (ryro) 97-98;cf. R. Eisler, orpheusthe
rtsher(r9:r)passim;
F.
l.
Dolgea
titilrysllrgroi,ir|_ar;II(rgzz),175_4476ln
Ath. 346d-e. ,ln Ath.
346c_d.
-ln
Ath. rord.
'Luk.
Syr.D. rt, as-r8: Ael. Nai.
NH
t\tesias(FGrHiri
relerrngto
3z.t7.Diod.2.4.2,
o8-gF r). speaksofT:r1.1;pliny
,,Eratosth.,,
the lake
at
Askalon,
Catast.3g p. fio
notrertof the
lake at Bambyke.Thereare fish that .o,,",",o sacrifice
to the sound of the

zo5

11

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR S FESTIVAL

the priests-did they pressup willingly for the sacrificialmeal?-was


famous. Sacrificeswere brought down to the lake, and it was told that
Hera led the way, holding back Zeus so that he wouldn't seethe fish,
since otherwise they would die.'oThus, for the king of the gods this
sacrificeis hidden, it is a sacrificeof aversion,frightening yet necessary the domain of the divine wife. Nonetheless,we can still clearly
make out the pattern of the unspeakablesacrifice,here performed at
the lake of the sacredfish. The Greeksequated the Syrian Goddess
with Aphrodite. It was said that an egg fell from heaveninto the Euphrates and that it was carried ashoreby fishermen and hatched by
doves. Inside the egg was Aphrodite." There was also a story, elaborating on Hesiod, that dolphins and escortingfish, Top"ni\ot',"wers
born togetherwith Aphrodite from the blood of Uranos": ''?the epiphany of the goddessthus coincideswith the arrival of the sacredfish.
There is almost no need to call attention to the structuralidentity
between the Syrian fish tabu and the normal bloody sacrificialmeal:
that which is consecratedis used for food, and thus the meal itself is a
strictly regulated, sacredact. For the Syrians, every meal of fish becomes a sacrificialmeal, just as each act of killing is a sacrifice.And
just as every dinner of meat is precededby the bloody businessof
killing, so the ostensiblybloodlessact of catching fish PresuPposes
violence and death, above all in the plunge into the watery depths.
The myth of Uranos reflects the castration of a sacrificial animal
whose genitals one would throw over one's shoulder into the water
flute at the sanctuaryof Apollo at Sura near Myra in Lycia: see PolycharmosFGrHist
77oF rlz: Ath. 333d-f;Plut. 5ol/.an.g76c;Pliny NH 32.t7;Ae|. Nat.an.8.5,rz.r. For
"Lydia" see Varro R.r.3.r7.4. The well-known fable of the piper and the fish comes
from a relateddistrict: see Hdt. r.r4r; Ennius Saf.65 Vahlen.Fora pond with sacred
fish at Smyrna see SIG3997.
toLuk. Syr.D.
47.
1'NigidiusFigulusfr. roo Swoboda: Schol.Germ. pp. 8r, r45 Breysig;Hyg. Fab.t97
Others told of how Aphrodite leapt into the Euphrateswhile fleeingTyphon (cf. Pind
fr. 9r), and changedinto a fish: seeDiognetosof Erythrai, FCrHistrzo F z = Hyg. Asv'
z.3o;Ov. Met. 5.33r; Fast.2.459;Manrl.4.579-82.At Aphakaby the Libanon,there
was a sanctuaryof Aphrodite with a sacredlake in which sacrificialofferingswere submerged (Zosimosr.58; those offeringswhich are pleasingto the goddesssink, as rn
"lnot water," Paus.3.21.8);on the festival day fire falls from the mountain into the
river Adonis, "this is Aphrodite Urania" (Sozomen.2.5.5;Zosimosspeaksof a fire-ball
in the air). The mention of the mountain insteadof the sky revealsthe true characteroI
the rite: a fire-wheel would be rolled down the mountain (see Mannhardt | 118751
5o7-5oB).
t:Epimenides, FGrHist
s6
45TF zz = Ath. z8z,e-f. On the birth of Aphrodite seel. T n
above.

zo6

FISH ADVENT

laA. Leskv

ThatattatrrOrl, ,-r,

""r. O_*

withorrt-turning around to rook. At Bambyke, the sacrificiaranimals


were led to the lake. In the myths of Askalbn, too, submerJ., ,, p."_
supPosed.When rationalized,this npp"urs to.be
tui
ieeding
"otning
the fish, but the sacred,festivarchaiacterof the action
;;;;be
de_
rived from this function. Rather,in this fishing we see
*,"p.o;".tror.,
of somethingdevelopedin another sphere:*r! u"urote" tiua"ition
or
hunting and sacrificingritual in whiih the.prerequisitefor
acquiring
food is the guilt-ridden act of kilring. And in fact, in tne t isio.y
or
mankind, fishing is far more recent"than hunting uig
;urr,;";,
though it is already
the.Uppe. palaeitthic,lnJor "rr"r,
y_r:,Tll""lin
great
importanceby the Neorithic. As a rule,'only a meal of meat *a,
consideredsacralby the Greeks.Fish was the iveryday, profane garnish
for Demeter'sbounty. whire this reflectsthe tradiiion li'i-,?.,igrun,
peopleswho originally lived far from the sea,'athe
coastar
inhabitants
around the Mediterraneansacrarizedthe meal of fish itserf.
As fishing
supplantedthe hunt, hunting customs turned into fishinj.rlto-r.
Preparatorymaiden-sacrificesare documented in fishing
?rrt*."r, u
girl would be thrown into the seaat the start of the
seasJn,,sand the
terrifying act of symboric parricide or infanticide
is found r,"." u,
a preparatoryevent. (There.is no
analogy,
however,
to
the
peculiar
structureof the "exceptionar"period.)
ffotn",
and
son
*r"
catastrophe,throwing themselves to the fish,
but tn" ""itilr,
^ott",". or
he11e]fresponds.by sending forth the
bl"ssi.f
o7
1i1als
ment,
to which she herself gives birt-h,for Atargatis
"o.r.tn_
is tie rnother
of
the fish.
what we have encounteredat Bambykeand
Askaron readsus to
the high civilizationsof the ancie"t
N;;;ii;rt, but arsoto various customs
amons
the
fishermen
of
Greece.In the Babyronian-iu.r,ir" or
Marduk, sacredfish were brought
,,Weid_
u,
off"rir,g,
to
the
god.
The
ner Chronical" relates how "tf,e
fishermenof
Esagia,,
set
forth
to
catchfish "for the tabreof Bel";
an evil
king
tried
to
prevent
them,
but
U,"'.r"gave the fishermenbread, gave
them
water,,,
5l
and
therefore
Marduk
made Ku-Ba'u queen.ruwhe"therqueen Ku-Ba'u,
the fishermen'sfriend, has something
to do with the goddessKubaba,Kybebe_
''Mtiller-Karpe
(t966) fiz
'"See
I.7.n. z4 above.

u.ri .o--".tary
see
H.
G.
Giterbo
ck,
Zeitschr.
.,f11_tt1rf"1ir.r
f . Assyriol.
+z (tg3d,
l-!-5s Forpicturesof the sacrifice
of thesacredfish
on
cylinder
sears
seeF.J. Dorger,
I (r9ro),
;;ntnvs
t8; n. Eiri".,"b)pneus
qreteeding 4u8-zo;IIr (r9zz).p1.
theFisher
(t9zr), pr.zz; ror
- ttsrer of thefishseeibid.,pl. zo.Forp.i"rt, ar"rr"a r,rn1"" iig",, rtrrpi ,r.,
pf. r6;Dorger
lt pt.ry.\tz.cr. ooig";ill5_3r. ",

207

TT
I'l'
dr Llr

.rr
:lrl,,

''lil{lr
,l!l

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR-S FESTIVAL

Kybele, is a matter for debate." In any case,at Babyloncatchingand


offering fish in the temple was a centralact of piety without which no
governmentcould endure. A bit later in the "Chronical,"another fisherman who catchesa "fish as a gift" for the "great lord Marduk" becomesking himself.
A similar system is presupposedin the myth of Adapa for the
temple of Ea at Eridu.'8 Adapa, createdby Ea as "guardian of the
rites," "went fishing for Eridu as prescribed"; "he caught fish in
the middle of the lake for the householdof his lord." He then did battle with the South Wind and broke his wings, for which he had to
defend himself before the court of Anu. In mourning robes he did
penance, until finally, newly attired and anointed, he became the
priest of Ea at Eridu. Here, though abstractspeculationis combined
with poetry to produce a complex and ambiguousepic/ it seemsthat
the theme of the fisherman as priest, of the priest as fishermanin the
context of guilt incurred and expiation, points back to the sacrificial
rites of the temple and to the theme of sacrificeas a whole.
In Ugaritic, Athirat is called"mistressof the sea,"and her servant
Qds-w-Amrr is a fisherman, the "fisherman of mistressAthirat of the
sea."" Nothing is known of the appertainingritual. But even the title
links the goddessboth to the sanctuariesof the Syrian Goddessand
to the temple systemsof Mesopotamia.
Among the Greeks,correspondingcustomsare to be found not
in the great templesbut in the geographicaland socialfringes of the
Greek world. fust as the fishermen of Methymna or Ainos pulled
their Dionysus-or Hermes-logout of the sea,there was another place
where Dionysus was annually immersed in the sea.This place may
have been Halai Aixonides in Attica'o where, when tuna-fishing began, the first tuna would be sacrificedto Poseidon,that is to say,eaten
by the priest and distinguished citizensin the sanctuary.2l
'7Cf. W. F Albright, Arch. . Orientforsch. (9z1lz9), zz9-3t; Th. jacobsen,TheSumer5
f
ian King-List (t939), ro4-ro5; E. Laroche, in Eldmentsorientaut dansla religiongrecque
ancienne(ry6o), r 4 - z8;R. Gusmani, Kadmos8 (1969),r 58- 6r.
t8ANET1o1-1oJ(thequotes:
Ag,t5; B 5o)= 491 14J-46;cf. ANETAddenda6Tt-72'
the possibility of identifying Adapa with the fish-man Oannes in Berossos,FGrHist 68o
F r.4, is discussed.
reM. H. Pope and W. Rollig in Wdrterbuch
derMythologie,ed. H. W Haussig,I Qg65)'
246-49; M. C. Astour, Hellenosemitiu(196), zo6.
zoOracle
in Philochoros
, FGrHist32.8Fr9t: Schol.T l,1.6.ry6andPlut. Aet.phys.9t4d;
'Atrar.ei,orv
Wilamowitz and Maass'
Schol., dX,;aiawPlut.,
cf. |acoby ad loc. (atrtever.v
'A)trcisat Argos should also be considered,seeSteph. Byz'
and cf. Jacobyad loc.;b:ut
'Atrreris,"
Philologus
s.u.);K. Tilmpel, " Alovvcos
48 (1889),68t-96
2lKrates, FGrHist
16zF z; cf. Antigonos of Karystosin Ath. z97e.Thetunafish hunt

zo8

FISH ADVENT

A
19Ro1tby Hegesandrosabout Apolronia,on the peninsuraof
chalcidike by Lake Bolbe, exhibits a stiange correlation
of
funerary
sacrificeand fishing. The lake was named ifter Bolbe,
tt
moilre.
or
"
olynthos by Herakles. orynthos' tomb is on the otyr,tt,iu.
nirr"a
which flows into Lake Bolbe.In the months of Anthesterion and Elaph:bgfio,":,in.spring, the peopleof Apollonia sacrificeto their dead,
inctudtngrherrHero, at his tomb by the river. Then, they say,,,Bolbe
'broiler'
to olynthos
sends a
and
at
this
time
countlessfish go up
from the lake into the Olynthiac River .
, and all the inhabitants
from the surrounding a1el cal put
up
as
much
preserved
fish
as
they
The goddessof the rake wiir send the peopruu-piu?ood
need.."22
if
they honor her dead son with sacrifice.The groornyrituar J^ ,ior" i,
answeredby the advent of the fish.
The peopleof Lesbos,in legend, sacrificeda maiden to poseidon,
Amphitrite, and the Nereids. A youth, providentiary calredEnaros,
"m11 of the-sea," jumped down with her into the sea; he
survived,
and later, when he went to the shore, a huge wave brought forth
a
crowd uis octopuseswho willingry followed him to the"sanctuary
9{
of Poseidon23-f6 sslys for a meal, nb doubt.
In ClassicalGreek literature
,,net_man,,,
we
encounter
Dictys,
the
the fishermanon the island of seriphos
who
one
diy
netted
a
chest
in
which Danaeand the young perseuswere
hidden.'Mother
and
child
had been hurled into ihe sia, just rike Ino and
Merikertes,
just rike
Atargatisand Ichthys-except ihut h"r" the coffin-chest,
which arso
lPPearedin the Lemnian myth, becomesthe ark that savesthem.,nIn
lrc Diktyoulkoi,the "net-drawers," Aeschyrus
translatesDanae,sarrival into- a Dionysian
milieu:
wine-growers
and
coal
burners surby satyrs draw
the
net
out
oJ
th"
water.,,
The
arrival of the
lo",lq"d
too-s bride and the divine child
in
the
ark
has
been
taken simply as a
story motif, but the myth of perseus
had
a
more
concretesignificance
for the fishermen of seriphos. a..o.Jr"g
to Aerian, they made it a
point never to catchu rp""ifi.
kind of fishlthe r6rrg ivaxios,and if it

beginswith a prayer,
as
it
stiil
does
today
in
sardinia:
Aer.
Naf.an. t5.1-6.rne triaent
z 5r .5 \ ; A p o s t . 8 . 9(6p a r o e m . G r . t l
I l i " , ,II.l.n
? , d _ t : r d u n i i n g t u n a : s e e D i o g . 5 . i z ( p a r o e m .I G
459;
3o-above]For a vase-pictureof a tuna-sacrificesee Detienne urrd v".rru.rl
r197il t7g with fig. 16.
'Hegesandros
in Ath. rrae; the word dr6truptsfor Iish-sacrifice
appearsin the coan
tnscription
SIC. r ro6 :'Li
oz.
ry7.az,
'Plut'
Cozu. sept.sap. $3a-d,; cf. Myrsilos,
FGrHist 477 F a4; Anticiides, FGrHist
r4o F a.
uo,n
Ou*" seeHes. fr.
45.3-5; RML | 946-49;lll ry86-zo6o;pR ll zzg_33;Brommer
(1960)2os_206
8Fr.
464-74 Mette.

2o9

;tli
rl

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR'S FESTIVAL

got caught in their nets, they threw it back into the sea:"they say that
the fish are the playmatesof Perseus,Zeus'son."" A specialrenunciation distinguished the fishermen of Seriphos from any common
fishermen, and this tabu was linked to Perseus,who played among
the fish, a fish-prince among the denizensof the sea.It is surely no
the
coincidencethat fish-sacrificeis attestedfor the cult of Hekate,27
daughter of Persesor Perseus.To be sure, this leads us once more to
the fringes of the Greek world: Themistokleshimself would have languished in obscurityhad he been born on Seriphos."
Pankrates,a poet of the secondcentury A.D., narratesa legend
who was especiallyhonored
about the sacred"escort-fish," zrop'nOtos,
gods." During the goldenage, Epopeus,a
among the Samothracian
fisherman from the island of lkaros, caught thesesacredfish, and he
and his sonsate them in a festivemeal. Shortly thereafter,a seamonster swam up to the old man'sship and devoured Epopeusbefore the
eyesof his sons. He who eatsthe sacredfish is himself eatenby a sea
monster-this is an inversion of what, in the recurrentcycleof ritual,
is understood the other way around: becausethe old man sank into
the sea,fish can be caught and eaten.Once again, the mention of the
Samothraciangods takesus beyond the limits of the Greekworld. A1ready Hipponax combinedthe Cabiri, soot, a period without fire, and
a particular fish, d.Bepiv4,although we cannot make senseof all the
fragment's details.r And judging by pictorial representations,fishsacrifice played a special role in the mystery cult of the Thracian
riders," which seems, in turn, to be related to the Great Gods of
Samothrace.
Among the Greeks themselveswe find the remnants of a leap
z6Nat.an. t3.26. Cl. Paus. z.r8.r: Perseus tyet . . . ttp"as . . . peyioras Ev re \epi6qt
l.at.an.3.zS.Thepicturesonthe
. . . . F o r a f i s h c a l l e d l l e p o e u s i n t h e R e d S e a s e e A eN
coins of Tarsos are peculiar: for Perseus with a statue of Apollo Lykeios facing a fisherman, see F Imhoof-Blumer, IHS 18 (1898), 177-78; RML III zo59; P. R. Franke, Kleinasien zur Ritmerzeit(tg68) #t27. For Perseus with a tuna on the coins of Kyzikos see RML
III 2o58.

42o-47; D. Tudor, Corpusmonu'

27Eust.87.3t, 71,97.2);Apollod., FGrHist z44F tog: Ath.


lz5a-b. For Hekate llepolis
see Hes. according to Schol. Od. r.o.r19; Apoll. Rhod. 3.467, etc., flepatus tap9tvos
Lyk. rr75. For the fish-sacrifice of a masked woman to Artemis or Bendis on an Etruscan stamnos see G. Schneider-Hermann, AK t1 i97o), 5z-7o' For a phlyax player eating a fish on an altar see A. D. Trendall, Phlyax Vases(t'967'z)pl. 4c.
'zEPlut. Them. :'8.
"ln Ath. 283a.
rFr.
78 Masson-West, and cf. fr. 43'F. Dolger, lchthysl(rgto), t41-5o,
4$-46;ll(t9zz)
J.
mentorum religionisequitum danuainorum Q969I 75)'

270

FISH ADVENT

into the_water,though in humorous guise. At Hermion,., people


,,Dionysus
spokeof i _dry]ngcompetitionin the cult of
of the black
Melanaigis- The expression "Deiian diver,,.. suggests a
[oatskinl'
iimilur situation on the island of Apollo-on the FranEois"iase,a
swimmer or diver accompaniesTheseus'ship as it lands. The myth of
Theseus'leap into the sea to retrieve the ring reflectssuch a ji.ri.rg
test.v At the Maiuma in ostia,3sa boisteroui festival celebratedb|
provincials but attended by genteel Romans as well, participants
ihrew each other into the water.
Analogous motifs frequently surfacein Greek myths. skiron fell
from the skironic rocks into the sea and was eaten by an enormous
tortoiser-indeed, the tortoisewas so important to the coastalinhabitants that Aegina took it as its emblem. Andromeda and Hesione
were set out almost like bait to lure the great sea beast, the Ketos,
whom the hero then slew.3'At Tanagra, the women,s procession
down to the beachprovoked an attackby the seamonster,ihe Triton,
who was subsequentlycaught with wine and killed in a Dionysiac
hunting ceremony.3s
The imageof the Ketoswas presumablyinspired
by seal-and whale-hunts, hunts for a sea mammal with ,-"d, *ur,,'
blood.'eThis brings us back to the dolphint realm. Of course, the

.:rn,51nu.tin pAmh.(A.Erman,oie t;t'eiiturair'Agy7,t';'Ire41,

IP_a_us.
2.35.r, and cf. z.34.ro-rr: cult of poseidonand Aphrodite frouria
xai h,tpevi"a
at Hermione.
$sokrates-Apophthegma
Diog. Laert.2.22,9.72;Herondas
1.5r. Cf. the pictureon the
FranEoisvase(ABV
e.g., in Schefold(r96a)
76.t),
pl.
5ra.
3Bacchyl.
rp Brommer e96o)165,rg5. The
Glaukosis, in the myth, the meta""u-god
morphosisof a fishermanwho
pR
leapt
into
the
,"u]
I6rc_1.3)
nUf
l
rc7A_AO.
sCod.-lust.
'.46;Lydos, Mens.4.gop. r33 Wuensch;Sudap
Festus
4Z;.piscatoriilr,rli
238M.
$Apollod'
Epit. r.z; Diod. 4.59;in vase-paintings,with rheseus overthrowing
skiron
lr'96o1fio-62. r9o-9r). At Elis, Aphrodite Urania setsher foot on a turtre:
!T.:tI"'
co.nt.r.4zd;Is 38re;Paus.6.25.r.It was saidthat Lais
was beatento death
:.::i ,:.*':,
"ttrt tur's"i Ath' 598a;Schol.Aristoph
. prut. t79. For the turtreas the enemyof and
for Re in Egypt seeH. G. Fiscler, Buil. ietr. Mus.
z4 e966), r93.
;".:::"
542.5? The myth of Andromecta,set near Jaffain palestine(Konon,
',ii,l!^117:ort
urnrsr26I r.4o;Strabo$p.
Belt.lud.3.42o;paus.4.35.9;pliny NH5.69, rz8)
759;Jos.

ff_T lgtrJ'T

ilql{j::

versionor a caanXnite
myth

Bibtiotheca
Orientatis
g
S.
Morenz,
l1g52l,8z_85;
Folschungen
und
i"irJi:,,r,i T . "1,,"r
'wrLrcnntte
t6 Iro6.zl_?'ot_3o9):yam, the sea, demands tribute; Astart"
go", do*n

.:".

lJ.-evidentry
il,.-|" :^"1_::.,^l
""'Esffii".
aDove). lbr a Hittite
counterpart see
J. Friedrich , Architt Orientdlni ry e949),
;;;_;.1,
*-Paus'
9 ' : o 4 - 5 ; c f ' D e m o s t r a t o s - i nA e l . N n t . a n . r 3 . z r ; E p h o r o s F c r H i s t
-Tanag.a
,
7 o Fz z 5 ; A t h .
Tritons on an ancient
clay
figurine
f.om
see RML y n64.
m o t h e r o f t h e s e a l sa n d t h e E s k i m o m y t h
o f t h e s a c r i f i c eo f t h e v i r g i n , 1 . 8 . n . 2 7
:::

;t;j:"

hlr

DISSOLUTION AND NEW YEAR,S FESTIVAL

Greek myths and a large share of major Greek cults have become
characteristicallydetached from the fisherman's everyday Pragmatism and needs, playing out their socio-psychologicalfunction in a
purely symbolic fashion. However, such culturally refined developments are always in danger of growing anemic'
We have seenthat the samestructureof sacrificialritual presents
itself at different levels. The most detailed picture of the New Year's
festival of the polis, with its dissolution in the unspeakablesacrifice
and its restorationof order in the festivefeastand agon, was provided
by Athens and Argos, but we were able to detect hints of it at Sikyon
and Thebesas well; in the non-Greekrealm, there was the parallel of
the Lemnian fire festival, where an artisan guild supplantedthe customary Greek military organization.The samestructureswere given a
new emphasis in the expanding cults of Dionysus, in the Agrionia
type on the one hand, where the period of exceptionbecamethe setting for ecstasyand the sacrificialsparagmosoutdoors, and in the
type of the Dionysian advent on the other, where the god enteredthe
city from the sea.Fishing rituals and legendscameinto play here too,
especiallyin non-Greek areas.The sacrificeof the maiden and the
plunge into the seaare answeredby the arrival of food from the sea.
It is impossible to trace just how the rituals of hunters, fishermen,
nomadic animal-breeders,and city dwellers Brew apart, influenced
eachother, and overlapped.We may thereforewonder all the more at
the structural unity that rendered that reciprocalexchangepossible.
The basic structure of sacrifice,with its preparations,bloody central
act, and restitution, grows into a great arc of myth embracing the
maiden's tragedy, regicide/parricideor infanticide, and the younger
generation'saccessionto power. Nourishment, order, and civilized
life are born of their antithesis:the encounterwith death. Only homo
necanscan becomehomosapiens.

272

ry. ANTHESTERIA

L. Testimoniq
and
Dissemination

The importance of the Anthesteria, celebratedin the spring in


honor of Dionysus, is immediately shown by the fact that it lent its
name to a month, and not only at Athens; the name of the month
Anthesterionis attestedfor the entire Ionian region, for Eretriaon Euboea,for the island Tenos,from Miletus to Prieneon the coastof Asia
Minor, Ephesus,Teos,from Erythrai to Smyrna, and in the Ionic colonies of Thasos,Kyzikos, and Massalia.'This agreementwas noted alreadyby Thucydides, who drew the conclusion,still irrefutable, that
this festival and the name of this month must antedateIonian colonization of Asia Minor.' That makes the Anthesteria one of the earliestattestedof all Greek festivals.And inasmuchas the festival deals
with Dionysus and wine, one may conclude that the wine-god Donysusmust already have been long familiar by rooo n.c. The Linear
B texts from Pvlos that refer to Dionvsus'befoie 12ooB.c. make this

f
See
Samuef (1972)Index s.a.) for the festival at Teos, see SIGs 38.11; SEG4.598;
r n a s o s , L S S 6 9 ; S m y r n a , P h i l oVs.tS
r .o p h . t . z 5 . r ( l I 4 z . z 4 e d . T e u b n . ) ; l a s o s , B u l l . e p i g r .
r97l nr. 7o;Massalia,Just. 43.4.6(lV3.n.rz below). For Syracuse,seeTimaios, FGrHist
566F r58; Diog. Laert. 4.8;Antigonosin Ath. 437e.Cf. FarnellY (r9o9)zt4-24, i77-2o;
r\usson,
Studia
de
Dionysiis
Atticis
(Lund,,
rgo),
tr5-38; idem (19o6)267-7r. For the
rinthesteriaand the Aiora see Eranos14 (1916),
r8r-zoo = OpusculaI ,l95:r), 745-61:,;
GSSS),S8z-8+, 5g4-g8; Foucart Qgo4) ro7-63; Harrison
egzz) 3z-74; egz) 275-94;
r-tubner jglz)
,1969\r-25.
93-rz1; van Hoorn (r95r); Pickard-Cambridge
-rnuc.2.1j.4 with the ScholiaPOry YIp. o4 #853;Deubner(t932)rzz-23.
'PY
Ya roz; Xb 4t9; Gdrard-Rousseau(1968)
74-76;L. R. palmer, TheInterpretationof
MycewaanGreekTexts(rg$), z5o-58. Of no less importance
is the excavation of the
rernPleat Agia Irini
on Keos:sincer5ooB.c. it was continuouslyused as a cult site,and

243

Ilii,

ANTHESTERIA

that the god's


conclusion easier to accept, even if it is conceivable
festival' The Creeks
name may be a secondaryaccretion!o tfe. wine
ut*uy,connectedthenameAnthesteriawith,,blossoming,,,inparticuno reasonto deviate
lar with the blossom of the vine,oand there is
from this simple interpretationof the-name'
^^material to
O^." uguir,, only ,tthens provides us with enough
Here, in addiform a comirehensi,J",aetaitea'picture.of.thefestival.
by Attic poets' we
tion to accountsby local historians and allusions
the Choes
have the evidenceof a clearly delineatedtype of pottery
doubt that it was used on the main day of
fit.f,"t-'fnere can be no
the."pitchers'"
the festival, whose very name was Choes, the day of
festivalevents'
it p"ir,ti.,gs on thesepitchersare also relatedto the
" of the-evidenceisioncentrated in the fifth and fourth centuries
Mosi
later times as
8.c., but there are isolateddocumentsin Hellenisticand
well, so we know that this festival spannedover 1/oooyears'
fell on the
Thucydides tells us that the *iin day.of the.festival
the most
twelfth day of Anthesterion.'This was the day of the Choes'
seeJ. L' caskey,Hesperia
1
sinceArchaictimes the cult was certainlythat of Dionysus:
j964), 126-15; Simon (tg6g) 289.
alstros,FGrHistSl4FrJ=HarPokr.'Av$eonlpttilz;cf.Macr.Sat.t.tz.4;Et.M'
"Avrltos IC
Stovvcros
rog.rz; An. Bekk.| 4o1'32;translited "Floralia" by Just' 41'4'6;
tz' and cf Euand Paus' r.3r.4. L. Eiavtltls Phanodemos'FGtHist325F
llllll2
{J56
6' 218;.'Av.BLorlp
unth"si-s the father of lhe'6ver of wine, Maron, Od. 9-:.97;Hes'
'z\' Unconnectedwith Dionvsus
ihera tC Xll 1329( "BekranJer," Wilamowitz lr91zl77
are'Hpa'g,rit"tc.-,'Hpoctiuten,duf'eo96potatArgos(Nilsson119o61357),dvBetrgopot
Hsch avfleanlpLa}es'An
in Sicliylnol. t37),'Avleorpl8es in Rhodes(LSS96'and cf +dva-rgioooorlat(A' W
S,ek*.iri...d), "f,r1eroat Paiania(LSS18) The derivationfrom
be rejectedalreadybecause
Verrall,iHS zo Lgrr|, t5-17; Harrison lgzzl +Z-+g)must
the suffixfor festivalnames
of the apocope,which is preciselynot Aiticlonic ']no'o as
itre1"o"parilpn G6rard-Rousseau
(1968)2o7-20)'
go"s back toMycenaeantimes'
sstudied by Deubner (t912) 48-47, and comprehensivelyby van Hoorn (r95r); see
"Choes"' AlA5o(t946)' 722-)9;
J. R. Green, B/CS8 (196r), 4lz7' Cl' S' P' Karouzou' ,'946)'
"Ein
Simon'
E'
245-tu;
Cnyt.oi," TAPA 77
H. R. Immerwahr, "Choes i.i
55-76;E Sv
des Polygnotos," AK 6 i9$),6-zz;Metzger (tg6)
Anthesterien-Skyphos
'Attische.FesteA Rumpf'
mon, Gnomon4z(t97o), Zto-ii' For a skepticalview see
by no meansall' depicAttische Vasen," Bonn. lbi. r6t (t96tl, zo8-r4' Many' though
confirmedby a Choes
tions on Choes pitchersrefer to tie Anthesteria.This is often
painting itself:one chousevenhas a grafhto XOITI
pitcherbeing depictedug"*i,tlhu
-ft
of the Anthesteriaon other sortsof vases
fnlectr1r9Sz[3o7.,. 1791. ure are depictiois
an Anthesteriain southern
as well. Typicalchoes pitchersindicatethat there was also
Cf n'rabove;IV'5'nrr
Italy:seeu"r,Hoo..,(l95tl 5o-52;I' McPhee,AKzz(tg7g)'38f
below.
and;acoby
62.t5.4; ri1 6a6exat71isdeleted as an interpolation by Torstrik' trd"'
in POxy^853and thus
(FGrHisttII b Suppl., Notes PP. r6-6t), but appearsalready
by A' W Gomme' A Htsrepresentsan anoent traditioi; the received text ii defended
ll (1956),52-53'"Demosth'" 59'76'
on Thucydides
to)icalCommentary
2a4

TESTIMONIA AND DISSEMINATION

no9ulat and often the only part of the festival that is mentioned. It
Lr^isprecededby the day of "opening the casks,"the Pithoigia,on the
day of Anthesterion, and it was followed by the day of the
"i""enttrthe Chytroi, on the thirteenthday of the month.?One must
i,notr,"
,Icall that, accordingto the old religiouschronology,sundown sigand night were reckoned as
nufedttt" end of a day and that evening
of the following day. Thus, the Pithoigiaand the Choes meet
,f,"
"u"
on the eveon the eveningof the eleventh,the Choesand the Chytroi
distinction occanine of the twelfth. Already in antiquity, this hazy
sionallYcausedconfusion'
"iasks," "pitchers," "pots"-the earthy, popular characterof this
was a
festivalmay be seenin thesedesignations.Indeed, this festival
for the financesof the polis' when comparedwith,
auantittnigligeable
sav,the Panathenaia,the Mysteries,or the GreaterDionysia' It occurred largely on the level of folk custom, in contrastto the more recent Dionysia, which were establishedin the sixth century by the
tvrants and the polis. Moreover, the sanctuary of Dionysus in the
trarshes,' which Thucydides consideredto be one of the oldest in
Athens, was apparentlyuntouchedby the monumentalbuilding program at Atheni. It has not been identified with certaintyand had apof Pausanias-perhaps it
larently already disappearedin the time
*ur r"plu."d by the pii.rute cult site of the Iobakchoi.It probably languisheddue toan especiallysacredcommandmentthat was enjoined
ipon it: it could be opened only on a single day in the year, the day

TPhilochoros,
FGrHist 3z8F 84 (cf. Jacoby ad loc.); Cal1m. fr. r78; Apollod., FGrHist 244
F rj3; S.hol. Thuc. p. rzr.zo Hude; cf. Nilsson (rg5il SS+.Aristoph. Ach roT6 rind rous
Xoas Tzlp xai Xritpous led Didymos (Schol. ad loc., Suda 1 6zu) to claim that the Choes
and Chytroi were on the same day.

8In
the account of sales of sacrificial hides, 1G llllll2 1496,the Lesser Dionysia brings in
3rr Dr., the Greater Dionysia 8o8 Dr., the Anthesteria nothing'
'Called
rti (ro0) iv ltipvats Arcvicrou Thuc. 2.r5.4; Isaios 8.35; "Demosth'" 59'76;Philochoros (?), FGrHist 3zBF zz9; Callim. fr.3o5; Strabo 8p 161; Schol. Aristoph' Ran'
z16 (iv dr xai oixos rai vetirsro0 rleoi'); Steph. Byz. lripvat' Not mentioned by Pausanias, who describes the shrine at the theater of Dionysus as the oldest shrine of Dionyroi ALpvatou;
s u s : 1 . 2 o . 1 .P h i l o s t r . V A p .
l.t4 also mentions an riTaApa roi Jtovioov
cf. van Hoorn, RA z5 j9z),
1o4-zo. The fact that there were no marshes at this sanctuary is discussed by Strabo I p 16l and Schol. Thuc. POry Yl #8y. W Dorpfeld excavated a small shrine between the Areopagus and the Pnyx, which was later the cult site
o f t h e l o b a k c h o i ( l G I I i I I I ' : r 3 6 8 : s I G 3 1 1 0 9: L s 5 r ) l t h a s b e e n h y p o t h e t i c a l l y i d e n t i tied with the Limnaion: see AM zo (1895), r6t-76;46 (tgzr) 8r-96; Judeich (t91r) zgt96; Pickard-Cambridge (1968) zr-25. G. T. W Hooker, /HS 8o (rq6o), 7't2-'77, pleaded
for the area u.o,r.,d ih" llissos; Gu6pin (1968) 283 seeks to locate the Limnaion in the
Ilissos temple (V.3.n.2 below). There may be a picture of the temple on the Chous:
Mtinchen r+e+; uutr Hoorn (r95r) #699pl.6t.

245

ll

ANTHESTERIA

Dionysusin the
of the Choes. Another riddle is posed by the name
scarcelybe
lvlarshr;in historical times, marshesand swamps could
foundinAthens.lfitcorrespondssopoorlytoAthenianconditions,
There is no
ii r.,rrt have come from a more ancient, alien tradition'
such thing as an autochthonousorigin for religion'

z. PithoigiaandChoes
The Anthesteria has lcng attractedattention for three reasons.
all threeThe first is as a children'sfestial.' On the day of the Choes'
fo".-y"ar-old children were given presents' The depictions on
tablos' and
".,J
,tr" ti,,t" bho", pitchers of the cfiildten, their offertory
for the histoys are a unique record of Athenian private life' Second'
of the
i;i-" of religion, the Anthesteria was fascinatingas a festival
from the
dead: it wasiaid that ghosts or spirits of the dead emerged
be chased
underworld on theseiays and entered the city' only to
marut the end of the festival'' Third, referencesto a "sacred
"queen" of
"*uy
iiug"" at this festival have provoked great curiosity: the
Dionysus tn
Itfiu.,r, wife of the archon basileus,was presentedto
into play'
marriage.3Thus, animism and fertility -magicboth came
as well
olr"rrhldor"ing that which, judging by the namesof the days
the central
as by the statementsof the Athenians, was fundamentally
' opening the casksand drinking the new wine' These simple
the
"*r"ri
actionswere h"eregiven a set, ritualizel form, and in interpreting
Anthesteria, our main goal must be to understand this ritual'
'At Athens, ,n" p""opf" start with the new wine on the eleventh
the day pithoigia." so Pluday of the month Airthesterion, calling
;And
tl"y h,1:
ago
long
since
tarch, who adds a pious interpretation:
and prayeo
uppa."r,tty porrr"d a libation of the wine before drinking
rather' be
that the use of this Jraught would not harm them' but'
on this
g..a i". th"*."0 Thus, itTs the wine caskswhich are opened
tSee n.z7-29 below.
ad,See
the Anthesteria as a festival of the dead was
of
interpretation
The
below.
IV.1
(rgSS\ Sg+-sZ,' yP
vanced mainly by Harrison (rgzz) 3z'49; cf' Nilsson
it^::Tt";i
extrinsicbutveryoldconnectionbetweenDionysusandthefestivalotthesouls\)Y/''
3See IV.4 below
oQ. cona.655e.For the month fltfioryuiv at Peparethos see IG XII 8'6+S'S'

zt6

PITHOIGIA

AND CHOES

day,or, more precisely, the great clay iars (niflot), which were sealed
after the wine had fermented. The rule that the wine must then lie
untouched for several months until spring is certainly strange and ar$ficial, but it was observed even outside of Greece,among the Rornans.sDrinking the wine is not left to the whim of the individual; the
gernmunity comes together and celebratesthe god. The beginning
seemsbound up with danger:it was possiblethat this drinking could
"4sharrfl." Even today, the growers of wine follow set customs,starting
- the harvest together, pressingtheir wine together.
Here, tasting the new wine is a collectivecelebrationwithin the
of the Atthidographer Phanodemos can only
sanctuary.The report 'At
the temple of Dionysus in the marshes,the
referto the Pithoigia:
Athenians mix the new wine which they bring from their casks for
the god, and then drink it themselves.Hence Dionysus was called
the god of the marsh, becausethe new wine was mixed with water
and drunk on that occasionfor the first time. . . . Delighted then with
the mixture, the people celebratedDionysus in song, dancing and
calling upon him with the names Flowery, Dithyrambos, the Frenzied
One, the Roarer."u
It is unthinkable that wine would be mixed and poured out to the
wine-godat a closedtemple. For this reasonalone,Phanodemosmust
be referring to the Anthesteria. However, the temple iu Adpuarswas
open only on the Choes, on the twelfth day of the month.? The fact
that the eleventhday was alreadycalled "the opening of the casks"is
due to the sacralchronology. In the evening, the day of the Pithoigia
Passesover into the Choes, so that the caskswould have been opened
iust beforenightfall, and the temple would have openedat sundown.
Plutarch attests that, in his native Boeotia, the new wine would be

sThe
Vinalia on the twenty-third of April are degustandis
uinis instituta:Pliny NH r8.287,
and
cf.
Varro
r.r.6.:16;Festus65 M.; Ov. Fast.4.863-9o<;;
Wissowa(r9rz) rr5.8.
6FG/Hrst
125F tz = Ath. 465a: r.pdsre iepe 9t1<rttoi 6v Lip.vcLtsLtouioov rd 7)rer)ros
wpovaas rois'Asnuo.iovs ix rdu riB<ov tQ fleQ xtpvavat, eir' aiirois trpoagipeaBat.
r_tno1
rd i.epovJacoby,with the consequencethat the date of the opening, "Demosth."
59.76,has to be changedllII b Suppl. Notes p. 16r). If Dorpfeld'sidentificationof the
Lhnaion is correct(seeIV.r.n.9 above),only a few
peoplecould enter the shrine at the
sametime. K. Kernyi, Symb.Oslo (196o),5-tt,-con.lrrd"s
from the word 7treOxos,
36
_must,"that Phanodemosis describingan autumn festival. But Plut. Q. cona. 655e656bevidently
identifies
with vrios o'lvos:16 y)\ei,rog iixarrra p"efioret 655t;
7)reOrcos
c"t<hors
ri
vios
pe[icxet
oiyos
oi
656a;c(. sapaOv. Fast.4.7b. f ]reOxosof course also
Irteansrapejuice (zeorgAizrrqt
it6 yXeixer Nik. A/er. 299;; the change brought about
;ltough fermentationis not marked in the language.Fordepictior,t 6f th" ofening of
the
caskseevan Hoorn (r95r) #611 pl. tt, * rle pl. tz.
t,,h
^_nemosth."59.76.The shrine of Dionysus at Thebes(Paus.9.16.6)is likewise open
oruy
on one day; cf. Paus.2.7.5(Dionysusat Sikyon),7.zo.r (Patrai).

277

1.1

,rl

iir

ANTHESTERIA

opened in honor of the Agathos Daimon "after the evening wind.,,'


Throughout the day, people flocked together from vineyards all over
Attica: freeholderswho seldom enteredthe city, slavesand laborerss1
the landowners who lived in the city-a colorful crowd of strangers
and friends with greatzlrlor loaded on clatteringcartsdrawn by don_
keys: they gatheredat the placein front of the temple, waiting for it to
open at sunset, and to pour the first libation to the god from the
newly opened casks.After holding out for months, despitelongings
and anxious curiosity,they finally broke the resinatedseals.The ten_
sion of testing the results of a year'swork dissolvedinto pleasurereasonenough to praise the god of wine.
The fact that the wine-tasting grew into a drinking competition
on the following day of the pitchers, and that everyonegot his own
jug-slaves and laborers, too, indeed, even children-seems to be
such a simple form of collectivemerriment as to require no explanation.e In Aristophanes' Acharnians,the good fortune of the peacemaking anti-hero, Dikaiopolis, culminatesin a drinking bout at the
Choes. Here too, Dikaiopolis wins and gets a wineskin as a prize,
enough to fill dozens of Choes pitchers. Thus, the guzzling is selfperpetuating-no wonder scholarshave been satisfied to state that
the Choeswas an undeniably merry festival.'0Yet the backgroundfor
this day'smerriment seemsstrangeand even uncanny.
There is unambiguoustestimony that the day of the Choeswas a
"day of pollution" (p,npa iptpo).r, People would start the day by
chewing-contrary to all natural predilection-on leavesof a particular hawthorn variety,pap"vos,which were otherwise used to ward off
ghosts.l?Doors would be painted with pitch-a normal way to water8On the sixth day of
the month Prostaterios: Plut. e. conu. 655e.
'Procl. Schol.
Hes- Erga 368, on Pithoigia: oire oix6r4u oilre pto\arou eipyep ris
dnoXauoeug roi oilvou Bep,ndv iyv . . . Cf . Antigonos of Karystos, Ath.
437e. That is
why the "black" day of the Choes is a "white" day for slaves: see Callim. tr.
ryg.2. On
the children see nn. 27-29 below. For expenditures for state slaves at the Xdes see /G
llllll'
fi72.2o4.
l0Aristoph. Ach.
t o c n - r 2 1 4 . " T h e A n t h e s t e r i a . . . p l a i n l y a c h e e r f u l f e a s t , , :p i c k a r d Cambridge (1968) r5.
ttPhot.
,nrapzi ilpttpa' iu tois Xouoiv'Avfeo"zlpiovos
1,tt1vos.More concisely Hsch,
pnpai i11t"ipat' toi'Av&ennlpuituos p.nv6s (cf. Eust.
456.6). There is a tendency, contrary to Photios' clear indication, to treat the Chytroi as the actual p.npd fip.epa: see
Farnell V (tgog) z16; Pickard-Cambridge (1968) 14.
1'zPhot.
t'ap.vos' pwou 6 iv roi.s Xouoiy 6s d[e(tgdpp"axov |p,aodvro 6a\eu; Phot.
p.capa fip.6pa. On t'aptuos see Nik. Ther. g6t-62: p,oivq yap v.fioretpa
Bporiov ano
xipas Epixet (862) with Schol. 86o = Sophron fr. 166 Kaibel, Euphorion fr. r17 Powell;

zrB

PITHOIGIA AND CHOES

when all the doors o{ the city shone, sticky


pl"gl ,l^" I::1,:::l
and
black, so that a door-co rld be opened only with care, it was a most
sfiking expressionof a diesater. All temples were shut on this day ro
so that normal life was largely pararyzed:since there corrlJ-be ,,o
oaths sworn in the temple, no important businesscould occur, no
marriagebe settledon. There could be no "normal,, sacrificeat any of
the altars' Nevertheless,jhe tempreswere not barricaded,j"rt ,rr.roundd with ropes. Each individual had to construct the symbolic
boundaryin his mind:.on this day accessto the gods was inte-lrupted.
onlythat temple which was otherwiseshut waJno* open-the temple of Dionysus iz Aipvats.
In observanceof the diesater,far from the gods, people gathered
behind.dogrgfleshly coveredwith pitch to eat togeihei u.,i, above
all, to drink.'s rhe family, incruding ail relatives-itnorgh
frouuury
without women-assembled at the house of the head oFth'e family.
officials gathered at the office of the archons,
the
Thesmotheteion
near the Areopagus.'urhe "king," basileus,
would
preside.
The
people probably came.togetherat the usual mealtime, in the late
after_
noon. what followed, however, was the clear antithesis
of
the
usual
festivalmeal' Each
participant
had
his
own
tabre,''
and
whereas
wine
and water were norma,y served in a great mixing bowl
out of
which
the wine-pourers would fiil
the
cups"ail
around,"each
participant
at
,h:.9h.o".r.-_usgiven a pitcher that
would
be
f,ir'foreue;-rh"
61""r,
which held about two and a half ritersof mixed wine.,8
This is the pre-

L 4 o s K o r .r . 9 o ; O v . F n s t . 6 . r z 9 - 6 g o n
s p i t r oa / b a ;R o h d e ( r g 9 g ) I z l z . , ] ; H a r r i s o n ( r 9 z : )
39-40.
'3Phot'
frlpruos' ' ' xai rrirrTl iypiovr<t
ra
phot.
'dpara
r<rtip..'.raCd.);
ptapt)
t11tepa.
rlt Jtpas
Exptov.
On
the
use
of
pitch
see
the
Uuilai.g'u.;iunt
;;^: i"d T:r:!
from
t'teusis,
lC illlll: $7z.t7o zrirrrls xeptiltLa
niureiir,,lro,
ras
dpo,pas
rui.l,)rrurrtyiou
'.'
'
tai
rcis
0ripas.
The priest at the baiylonian New year,s festivar
paints the doors of
the shrine with
cedar-res in: AN ET jy.
f{Poff
. 8.r4r rept..xoruioo

,""pr,u.,oi"*x","f;":;;r;?:;:ii,i::,;:#:r:::iliJ,i""l'i;,,J,ii:f.::1ff*

613b;
Alkiphr'4 t8,tt;cf Arist AthPol.,l.5;
Aristoph.Ach.rzo1,rzz4

* hg67l, r7s-g8 (who incorrectly speaks of the ..chytroi,,).


l,'is,tJ'
..r-neSuests brought food in baskets;.seeAristoph. Ach. rcg5- rt4:r,
qrfferent
Schol. ad,96r; for a
view seetratosthenes, I GrHist
z4 r F r6.

;,ilti.?"i"'

64)a;Eratosthenes,
Q. cotrz,.
,,i:: lry !u, non,Plut.
FGrHist
z4rF ft.
tpn laur'
q6o:phanodemos,

^-"''
9s\,
FcrHist
rt;Apolrod.,
\Jn.the
1z5F
FcrHistz44Ft11.
pitcher.r"e (rut", in
Ath.
At
Ath;;
495b.
they
'{Y-lax
were sold at the choes: see
rrz
on a sacrificiaraninral, iip,aprou;J;;""
5
for the stateslavessis xdas see
,r,Ifllll2
t67z.zoa.

219

';,1

flr,.,,

lliltl .
'',Jlll

ANTHESTERIA

requisite for the notorious drinking competition: crowned with ir,y


wr'eaths,"the people would wait for the trumpet slsna-l'iblown frorx
the Thesmotheteionat the king's order to initiate the drinking. Then
all those assembledwould drink "in silence,"" without a word or q
song-indeed, apparently,without prayer-filling and refilling their
titt the Chous was empty. glt oj all the odd customs on this
",rpi
"d'ay of pollution," the silencewhile drinking probably seemedthe
most peiuliar to the loquaciousAthenians. To them, wine and song
went iogether, and drinking to one another with song and speech
was a highly refined socialgame.on the day of the choes-,people sat
togetheiunder one roof but as if enclosedby invisible walls: seParate
known
tailes, separatejugs, and ali surrounded by a-general.silence
otherwise only at sacrificewhen the herald callsout his eigrlp'eire.
The languageof the ritual is clear:the so-calleddrinking competition bears th" Jtu*p of a sacrifice.The peculiaritiesof the Choesdrinking are the noim at the bloody sacrifice:not just the silence,22
but theindividual tables'3and the distribution in portions as equalas
possible;r,aboveall, the atmosphereof pollution and guilt. From this
perspective,the drinking competitionrevealsits original function: evstarts together so that no one can say another_startedfirst.'?s
"ryotru when the day begins, the act of chewing the leavesto avert
Lilewise,
evil, rather than carrying them or hanging them up, is a cathartic
preparation for the ruitud meal, handed down from hunting rituals''u
rrAlkiphr.
IV.4.n.zbelow
4.r8,tr; frequentlydepictedon the Choespitchers-cf.
20Aristoph.Ach. roor; cf. IV.5.n.15below.
,1pfut.
to Phanodemos,
Q. cona. 6r1b, 641a;Eur. Iph. Taur.g5r. The prize, according
Aristoph' Ach' rooz, rzz5 has a wineskrn-a
FGrHist3z5F tr, was a cake (zr)\axo05);
of the drinking competition:besidesthe Chous, Dikaiopolisimmecomic
"*agg".ation
doxos
diately dririks a bowl of unmixedwine (ruz9); he thereupon receivesa whole
on a
For lriike with a Chous-i.e., victory in the drinking competition-depicted
' Simon, Gnonron
4z (r97o)' 7rt"
Chous seeWiirzburg 4917: ARV'?87t'.95;E
2zEigqpeiv:seeStengel(tgzo) ttt; among the RomansseeG. Mensching, DasHelig!
gen (t 926\, tor - toz
Schwei
23Movogayotin
at Aegina, xao' airois i9' i11t'ipas6xxai6exa pera
Poseidon
of
cult
the
Plut. Q. Gr. 3ord-e Gf. etn. 588e);riz6paxcisxof4pezos Aesch'
otuzrils 1.,rtCour,.t
(cf
Ag.,5g5 at the feast of Thyestes-the text, howevet'is fragmentaryand corrupt
E. Franekelad loc.).
'Irro8alr4s'
2oA,tovuoog
iooiaittls Plut De E 389a,Harpokr', Hsch'
,5For,,dividing up the guilt" in sacrificialritual seeMeuli (t946)zz8; at executions'see
(r9zz)' zz6' zz8;at a Plot
K. v. Amira, "GermanischeTodesstrafen,"Abh.Mi)nchen3t'3
of murder, Hdt. 5.92y4'
26Forlaxativesand the like, see GB VIII 81;beforethe "festivalof the first fruits" (lndians)seeGB VIII n,75-76.

PITHOIGIA

AND CHOES

eating food, one incurs guilt which must be distributed equally


Sy
-uinonsall.
And only_thosewho receive their share can belong, bound
by the act they have committed.
together
For preciselythis reason,the meaning of the Choes touches the
hvesof children When a child was no longer a baby, at the age of
tyee, it would be presented to the family clan, the phratry ur,a it
participated in the Choes festival for the first time that same year.r,
iqrtth, Choes, adolescence,and marriage,,za
are the basic stagesin
the development of a young Athenian. The child was given a wreath
of blossomt his own table, and his own pitcher, of a size appropriate
to his age. Sharing in the wine signified the first step toward shlring
in the life of the society,in adult life. A little Choes pitcher was placed
in the grave of any child who died before it was three, so that if could
at leastreach the goal symbolically in the next life which it had failed
to reach in this one.2eThis was analogous to the placement of the
Loutrophoros, the water jug for the bridal bath, on the tomb of one
who had died before marriage.sMost of the Choespitchersthat have
survived come from such grave offerings, a custom which appears to
havebeen especially fashionable for a time in the second hlfu of the
fifth century.
This interpretation of the Choes ritual as an initiation, a bond
madeby-symbolically incurring guilt, is confirmed by the etiological
flths tgld by the Athenians to explain the customs. ihough *ruryirrg
in detail, they agree in speaking of a murder and blood glritt tt t"it
its mark upon the drinking of wine. And they forged"a link "iwith

TPhilostr.
Her. tz.z(rlr87.zred. Teubn. fi7r)'A*"ilut]trr,voiraiies iv 1rr]ui'Auheot4pti'tvt
ota?avoivrat
r6ry
dv06av
rpir<|t
yeveds
drd
tret.
For
membership in ttre phratry
in_the"third or fourth year" seeProcl. /n Tim. I88.rg Diehl;
Deubner^eg1z),i0,44.
yewiloerl,s, yo,bu, EgrlBeias:see IG lIlIIIl
468.4o; cf. the relief, KoumanouItau"ov'
Deubner
(1932)
pl.
16.r
with
the
epigram
6
6i
iaipav
EgBaflrxtas
Xotxi,tv,
1!t llq-l
oc
tois Xoi,s(#r57 Kaibel = /G Illlll'? r3r39). On the wreath of blossoms
and oftertory
t:u.uuiHoorn (r95r) passim. The oft-depictedlittle cart was given to pheidip11,-"
the Diasia (Aristoph. Nub. 864),but an Athenian terracotta has a silenus puillt:::
*t.t, *F Eckstein,and A. Legner,Antike
Kleinkunst
im
Liebieghaus
(Frankfurt, ry69i, pl.
4r.The insqliption'Axpitrrot 6 narilp on a Chous in Baltim;re,
Cjy USA 3o6.3,shows
presentfor a child. For teachersreceivingpresentson the day of the choes
H'lt Y":. i
'e_hubulides
fr. r (ClF II 43r). on Keos, one could only drink wine once one had
qurried:
seeArist. ft. 6tt.zg.
Re-

H : ^ T t : u r o " , A l A 5 o ( 1 9 4 6 ) , r z 6 , t 3 o ; A . R u m p f , B o n n l.b b . : 1 6 r ( : 1 9 6 r ) , 2 7 i _ 7 4 ; v a r .
'ruorn
(r95r)
:TMH

44.18,1o;Eust. rz93.g;Cook III (rg4o) 37o_go.

TI.Q.HNHXPH>TH is shown holding a Cirtes pitctrer on heigrave_stele:

#rt9, for instance,comes from the tomb of a child; #n5; fig.l5 por_
;goJd-.,u.r",,
illlj^i.,eJ:-y":'-,:.1:l
!{ !!: stoneChous,Deubnereyz) pt. r5. rhe

;::
-w

r4rnosth.

lr

ANTHESTERIA

heroic epic by introducing orestes: after killing his mother, Clytaernnestra, Oresies cameto Athens pursued by the Erinyes, in searchof
the supexpiation. Demophon, the Athenian king, did not dare turn
q11iptilnt away, but ire had to avoid polluting himself and his fellow
Hence the
lens through contactwith one who was himself polluted.
given his
curious ,oiirtior,t Orestesmight enter the house' but was
Both inown table and jug of wine, and no one said a word to him'
cluded und e^iuled at once, Orestescelebratedthe first Choes fesiival together with the Athenians.3'All behavedas though they had
been stiined with murder, and on this day all Athenians are Oresteioi.3,As artificial as the inclusion of Orestesin the Athenian custorl
may be, the ritual,s inner tension is appropriately expressedin the
.o.rfli.t of duties and the shrewd solution found by the king: a communal meal in which community is simultaneously abolished;the
murderer,stabu, paradoxicallyextended to all Athenians. The murderer may not enter the tempies-on the day of the-Choes,the temples are llosed; the murderer must be kept 1ryuy ft9*. hearth and
iable-at the Choes, people eat at separatetables;it is forbidden to
speak with the murderer-the Athenians emPty their pitchers in sinfepalence. The day of the Choes is a "day of pollution-,"..1'r't'apa
aboveall, the murderer is the one who is "polluted," p'capos'"
The new wine is imbibed as though it carried blood guilt. This is
the
expressedeven more forcefully in another etiologicalmyth about
Choes festival, in which the wine is brought to Athens by Aetolians'
be esThey were killed, and the oracleordered the Choes festival to
least
tablishedin atonement.vAetolia was a centerof viticulture, or at
of myths about wine: the ruler there was Oineus, the wine-man'
3rEur.Iplr. Taur. 947-6o-Phanodemos,FGrHist1z5F rt = Ath' 4l7c-d is the one rvho
z11I j.?:t
mentions O"rnopiion; cf. Plut' Q. cona' 643a,6t1b' Apollod ' FGrHist
'dlil'*t'",#';:;;"
F rr, III b suppl
on
tZ';, E4.e5 speaksof Pandion; cf facobv 325
zz Marm. Par',
p. rg4. For Orestes,tril at etier* seealso Hellanikos,FGrHist 3z1aF
S.hol. Lyk' 474' lt
FGrHist49 A 25.For the connectionwith the Anthesteriu,"" uiro
centuryand that
is assumedthat the Orestes-aitionfor the Choesgoesbackto the sixth
lll b Suppl ' Notes
Aeschylus, Eum. 448-52,474-75,implicitly rejlcts it: see Jacoby
(r9zz), 7o4-72'
pp. z8-zg; cf. R. Pfeiffer,Kallimachossludien
32Callim.tr. t78.2.
des
swachter
dansIa pensteet ta sensibilift
igro\ 64-76;L. Moulinier, Le pur et l'impur
silenceseeAesch
grecs(r95o),8r-92; esp. Soph. OT 236-41-;-PlatEuthyphr'4b; on the
"eu^.
rr5 B (Cyrene)'
54
44il;Eur. HF rzig; Or. 75; tr. 427;LSS
vAel. fr.
=
Schol.Aristoph. Ach.96t.fn"t" it ^,tfli73 Hercher Suda 9 428,X364;cf.
ru'
goat-sacrifice,at
lar story about the death of a pii"st & Dionysusas-the aition of a
lanctuary of Leukoniai: seePaus.9.8.u"slavesand Aetolians" are "xcl"ded from the
thea at Chaironeia:seePlut. Q. Rom'z67d'

PITHOIGIA AND CHOES

whosegrandfather,Orestheus,planted the first vine, the offspring of


It has rightly been suspectedthat the Attic myth of the
o'bitch.35
it o"r festival confusedOrestheusand Orestes.*Beyondthe similar,r' in nu^"t, however,they are linked by the theme of bloodshed.In
tlie uerrior,of the myth that points toward Aetolia, the Athenians are
not just Orestes'companions,but the murderers' descendants,sharitt" guilt for his act'
ine
" There was a parallel myth from Ikaria, the modern Dionyso, an
Attic village famous for its vineyards and the customs of its vineqrowers.Dionysus himself cameto the house of Ikarios,bringing him
ihe vine and instructing him in cultivation, harvesting,and pressing
of the wine. Ikarios happily loadedthe casksfull of the god'snew gift
ontohis cart and brought it to his fellow villagers.But the "opening of
the casks"turned into a disaster:when the revellers,unfamiliar with
wine, grew drunk and sank to the ground, Ikarios was suspectedof
havingpoisonedthem. The angry crowd thereupon killed their benefactorwith clubs, and his blood mixed with the wine. His daughter,
Erigone,led by her dog Maira, searcheddesperatelyfor her lost father
till she found his body in a well; she subsequentlyhanged herself."
Thus, in the land of wine, in Attica, the myth of the wine overflows
with gruesomedetails:this wine is a very specialjuice and anything
but harmless.

What we found expressed in the ritual is confirmed in the myths


of violence and murder surrounding the first wine: drinking the new
wine fulfills the function of a sacrificial meal, consecrated as something bizarre, a disastrous inversion of the norm, on this day when

$Hekataios,
FGrHistI F 15;Apollod. r.64.
3F.
G. Welcker, Nachtragzu der Schriftiiber die Aeschylische
Trilogie e}z6), :186,ztt; S.
Wide, Iakonische
Kulte(i8y1, 8z-Bj.
37The
later authors(esp.Hyg. Astr.2.4 : ,,Eratosth.',
Catast.pp.77-gr Robert;Nonnus
47'34-264depend for the essentialson EratosthenedErigone(fr. zz-26 Powell;R. Merkelbach,
Misciltanea
di
Studi
Alessandrini
in
memoriadi A. Rostagni[1961], 469-526). Dionysus'
visit
is
depicted
on black figure vases(Brit. Mus. B t+S : ABV 245.6o;
B r jJ =
^,Dv 243'45\
without
namesbeing inscribed;the host could thus alsobe calledAmphit<tyon(Philochorcs,
FGrHist328F5; Paus.r.2.5)or Semachos(philochoros,FGrHisi 3zg
ts206;Euseb.
Hieron.chron.a.Abr.54).ltthenappearsonaseriesofAtticreliefsinthe
rirteHellenistic
age (Ch. Picard,A.lA 18 [rgl+], t)Z-Sr; M. Bieber,TheSculptureof the
'arcIrcnstic
Age [19551,r54; EAA III rr4; interpretationdisputed). According to paus.
was introduced,the oracleof
f,];5; yhen the cult of DionysusEleuthereus(cf. f .7.n.-51y
(1545 Parkeand Wormell
[1958])referred to the god's arrival at the home of
ift_lhi
was thus takenas the oldestand decisiveeptphany.For a new mosaicwith
^Tllliill,:
qtut\Ylol
AKMH. IKApIo> and oI IIpoToI olNoN IIIdNTE: from paphos see
^rchaeology
zr ( I 96g)4g_5-1.
223

Tlfr'
r'il

I
1,,
'fil
''

ri l-ti.

''l i l { l
'lli

ANTHESTERIA

the normal order is inverted. The associationof wine and blood, especially around the Mediterraneanwhere red wine predominates,i,
natural and is attestedoutside of Greece,in the Semiticrealm.s J11,
is clearly not just a metaphor: the drinking of wine becamesacred
when a whole complex ritual of bloody sacrifice was transferred to
the laborsand pleasuresof the wine-grower.'eFor it is certain that the
sacrificial rites, rooted in the life of the hunter, are far older than
these, even though the history of the origin and disseminationof intoxicating beveragesin the Neolithic and in the early civilizations is
still unclear. Various kinds of beer, the fermented drink made fro6
barley,probably existedbeforewine; and we must considerthat other
kinds of narcoticsmay have served similar functions in the religious
ritual.{ Here, the male society discovered a new overpowering area
of experiencein which the burdens of reality were swept away by the
flood of something utterly different. And just as groups had always
found their identity and inner solidaritythrough a sacrificialritual, so
this new pleasurewas actedout as a secret,unspeakablesacrifice.By
simultaneously liberating and binding, the god of wine offered a new
and stable form of community.
Among the Indo-Aryans, the sacredintoxicating drink is called
Soma,a god who descendedfrom heaven, was mashed, trampled,
and squeezed-a sacrificialvictim, but still a god, regardlessof his
form-and leads the pious back to heaven.a'TheGreeks tended to
equate Dionysus and the wine already in Classicaltimes.' Conse$"Blood of the vine" in Ugaritic:BaalII iv
37, ANETr33; Gen. 49:tr;Sir.5o.r5. "Blood
of the earth," Androkydes, Pliny N.ft. 14.58.
sAbove all, pressingthe grapes turns into the bloody sacrificialact of tearing aPart,
!
alreadyamong the Egyptians:seeS. Schott,"Das blutninstige Keltergerdt,"Zeitscht.
iigypt. Spracheu. Altertumskunde74 Q918''1,88-93;D. Wortmann, ZPE z (1968),zz7-to;
Eudoxosin Plut. Is. )5)b-c; Israel,Isaiah63:z; then via the Apoc. ofJohn 14.r8-zoup
through late medieval depictions of wine-pressing;cf. Eisler j9z)
esp. zz6-35,
246-48,269-Z9, )J4-44. The Greek "eye-cups"are possiblya continuationof the Palaeolithic"skull-cups"(Mtiller-Karpe[t966] z4t; Maringer j9561t4-28, rz-5:still pres'
ent at Pompei).
sFor conjecturesconcerningbeer and Dionysus seeHarrison (rgzz)
-G. 4t1-25; for wine
made from sadar-fruit at Qaial Hriytik seeMellaart Q967\ 269.R.
Wasson, Soma'Di'aineMushroomof lmmortality(1968),tries to prove that "soma" was an hallucinogenrc
mushroom (fly-agaric);he is criticizedby J. Brough, Bull. School
Or.Afr. Stud.)4 Oq71t'
La
13t-62. For a detailed discussionof drugs and ecstasyespeciallyin America, see
Barre (r97o) 1$-49.
"Rig-VedaIX (for German transl. seeK. F. Geldner III Ir95r], r-rzo).
aEur. Bacch.284;Cyclops
519-28; Plat. Leg. V3d, (wine as patuop.euosde<is);PhanoK'
demos, FGrHist3z5F rz; Philochoros, FGrHist328 F 5. "Der Wein ist Dionysos,"
Schefold, MH z7 Q97o), rtg.
224

PITHOIGIA AND CHOES

qtently,the.drinker of the wine would be drinking the god himself,


,1d ttre.myths about the death of the inventor of wine came to be
of the sufferings,
death,
and
transformation
descriptions,
of the god
regard, the ClassicarGreekshad virtuaily
rrirnsetj'.J11his
ir,*.*o,rr,tableinhibitions:ever,sinceHomer, gods had been immJrtal bv iefini_
could a god die o.-be.orr,"the victim oif.Ji.,'iuurir_
tion. Hg_w,_then,
tic meal? Such myths become themselves,,unspeakabr",,,-'6,.O'prlros.
But there ryar u-single god of whom this story was told: Dionysus.
The Titans lured the child Dionysus away from his tni.i", i.rl r,i^

wecangatherfromallusio"r,,,*,ir*yit, up_

i"

il*_,Tl:::ij.
,lg.y" in the Orphic mysteries, was known
p_?r:ntty.nandecl
in the
fifth century even if it was officialry ignoied. To be sure, it describes
not the preparation ._f-.:h" *1","*:i:g.urdless of larer
interpretations- but, rather, a
"if"g.riri"g
broody
initi
ation
sacri
fice
*-irr,"ioiling
and roasting. The rite of the Anthesieria
impries
u
,o-u-hlt
differ_
ent, though largely analoous,myth
of
the
god
torn
apart,
*horu
blood is representedin the sacramentardrinling of thi
,i.,".* or

course/
thishypoth"rl:,i1-y,l.mayalwayshaveJxistJ

certain source known for the myth of Dionysus,


death is catim. frl

sionsanddisguises, whereas the story once again


""if
"ff"_
made
distinctions
betweenthe god and the victim. Nevertheless, philostratus
claimed
sThe oldest

iivuiit,gr i ri-*'";g.,"0
ov
wilamowitz
{ffijli;lJi,:lT1l":l;l
*':"1-ol,'l:'lG,
(re3z)
and,
arterhim,L. u""tt"o.r,"'drini,{',,)itirl^i'fi:;";1,
378-8o

classique
ugsi, +6-6. that
this
myth
was
invented in the earry Hellenistic age. But
thereare earrieratusions to it: (r)
rr 13).7.roLu(tuTa^.,Loi r6v'eos;cf. p. Tannery,Reu.Phitot.zt h*oo\, r.z9; !i1a
Fi.
Ror",
iinn'lZ
;.
Gg+r,
Uz. e)The identi(rcatron
with osiris, and Fierodotus'
emphatic sil"nce conJ".ning the
ta'tl
olosiris-which
wereby no meanssecret
in Egypt , er, ,3r,,
,
,ig,'uJ
.f.
G.
Murray
in Harrison 11927)
3lz-+t.G)Plat. Lec.ror,rTrr&r*t1 gt".rr'uni'i.Jir,,gopiltrtrns
(4) Isocr' rr (Bus
tuxrts rtlvyv<i1t4v.
)"rq.
{s)
Xenokrates
Ir.
tH;i;;;,
and cf. prat. Crat. 4ooc.Ancient
Philologists.o"i".trr."i-inat
the rnyth courd be tracea uu.t to onomakritos
o'37'5'probably
(paus.
forrowins
Arist.
fr.
7); a si*tn-ceni.r.ypoem courd perhaps underlie
{us coniecture
The DervJni pupyrrr, which has ieJsivery
changedthe situationcon-

ffi ;:;1',gT*:i#*x#fi',,"H-ff:?#ti*';:

rot the ra$q


of Dionvsus as.anallegory
of
wine_preparatron
rwr, ohd cf.4.5.r;
see Diod.3.62.7 : el
skori'onin plut. O.i;;;A;;:;"fu
pr"rr,.,g-rong seeschol. Ctem.

lfiFr*:#r?i.'"i,itT--r#r=**rfr#ii.

:ft;$"ru.,;;::"a-;nr,g:;1lii:xff
j
.."l,?Tf
::ff,ilff;""H:t

225

),,
:llir

ll|

ll

/i r .r ,
'iltrrt
.fr,r
i

ANTHESTERIA

at the Anthesteria' qtq


that the Athenians performed masquerades
and hoiai "amid the Orphictheology""u
fresented Bakchai,nymphs,
the orphic
of
h; was thinking of recitationsor performances
iil;;,
this evidenqs
;" the"day of the choe.s..Admittedlv,
il;il;d*
comesfromlateantiquity,'buteventhedrinkingcompetitionlf.Ctu'a symbolicreprise of a bloody
sicaltimes was an "initiation," re\eTi1'
guilt for death' to estabiish
,ii" p"if"t*ed in sacredsilence'incurring
the order of life.

3. Cariqnsor Keres
Whenmenbecamerambunctiousandtriedtoclaimastheirdue
one could rebuff them
what had been granted simply as an excePtion'
'tG-etout' you ' ' ' ! The Anwith the verse quoted from a comedy,
as precisely
thesteriais overJ" However, ot" so"ices do not agree -to
Some.speak
^haunt that "gel outt'".
which vocativedesignationaccompanied
the city at the Anthesteria";2
of "Keres," "as though dead souls
in the Anothers of "Carians,"ilu'u"s who were allowed to participate
the aboriginal
in"rt"riu by way of exleption, or elsew"'e cottsidered
part' Either way/ our
inhabitants of Attica u.td h"tt"" entitled to take
--,orrr"".areagreedthattheywereintimatelylinkedtotheAnthesterta'
both Otto Crusius and Ertrrfl.r"r,."a Uy the theory of animism'
,,dead
There
explanation.3
souls,,
win Rohde strongly ad,uocutedthe
soon a whole
was the immediateparallel of the Roman Lemuria,n-but
*V.
Ap.
4.2t. Cf. Luk. De salt.19.
tdr roi alrtr
rZenob. Ath. 1.lo p. 152Miller : Zenob. Par' 4'31,Psroem'Gr' I 91 irri
tn
quotationsfrom drama' often appear
ent(qrouuravravrote xo1"'Ba'"" 'Proverbs'as
, ' emakinS
.6-,7tc;bl
v e r s e , a b o v e ailnl t r i m e t e t e ' g ' , z e n o b ' P a r ' r ' 5 o ' ? " ' , ' ; ; : ' ; ; : U ' 8 6 ' o o . ' 9 2itr
,.noiu* we-reover-hasty
overlookingthe function of the verseas a proverb,
[1968]t4)'
Pickard-Cambridge
it into a ritual cry 1r"" O".,tt'"' lrg3zl ttl-r4;
t*ti;rii
,Mentioned secondin Phot. Bripa(a r&pes, suda o tni.:..*:j
+lt :.'.:
' '
Par' 4')J Cf' Hsch' Knp' VuXn'
an addition in some manuscripisat Zenob
tt-tt'
K."::"-'^'-Z,t:lt-o];.
derWissenschatten',:o
Enryclopiidie
in Al[gemeine
fffru.,u,
az-'+g;
l+-*'
,t48, 'ie', Rona" (1898)L',"l'iii'itt"-(tg22i
RVIL II 1136-66,
"rp.

CARIANS OR KERES

*.,.tg of relatedfolk-customswere marshalledand it was found that


/..&ult of the dead appearedtime and again in which the dead were
ilritaa in, entertained, and finally, more or less drastically,chased
"^^"^uagain.Thus, the Anthesteriabecamean All Soulsfestival; even
"conjuring up" of the souls,sand the
li" i,^i" was seen to reflect a
at.the.Pithoigiawas thought to contain the souls. In this
casLop"nea
il"w, wine and drinking becamestrangelyunconnectedaccessories,
aouUt arose whether to consider Dionysus here as the god of
""a
tn" ot as "lord of the souls'"
Against this, there were philological misgivings that the souls
of the dead were ever Keres, or the Keres souls of the dead, among
to be independent, "harmful
the Greeks.Rather, they were thought
u
demons,"or at most "spirits," for whom no connection with any
deadancestorswas attested.Moreover, it was pointed out that the
,'Carian"explanation,which had been set asidewith scorn, reflected
an ancientand securetradition, the only one to apPearin the old versionof Zenobius' collection of sayings.'Crusius traced it back to the
AthenianDemon, who was writing before Philochoros,in the fourth
cenfury n.c.'The "Keres" version, by contrast, was a late addition
which, accordingto Crusius, was a polemic againstDemon by Didymus.Thus, the Athenians themselveswere speakingof Carians, and
it is hard to explain how such a misunderstanding,if it is such, could
havearisen there.
The Paroemiographers'claim that there was an especiallylarge
numberof Carian slavesat Athens'is, of course,unsatisfactory.According to all other testimony, Thracian and Getan slaveswere far
morenumerous.But this approachtoo comesfrom the perspectiveof
theChoesritual: this "black day" is a "white day" for slaves'o-a sign
thatall is topsy-turvy-when they too may celebrateand participate
m drinking. Still strangeris the story attributed to Demon: "Once, the
Cariansin-habitedpart of Attica and, when the Athenians celebrated

227

'See
IV.r.n.4 above.
'Wilamowitz
(tg1r) z7z.
'&nob.
Ath. r.3o p. 352Miller : Zenob. par.
4.33 (n.rr below).
-A_talecta
criticaad Paroemiographos
Cralcos (r881; reprinted in Corpus Paroentit'tgraphorum
uroecorum,
Supplementum[i96r], II), 48-49, 146 "dremonis mira inventa" (+g). On DeFGrHist 327. The fact that the older tradition speaks of Carians was stressed by
;ro:see
'\obanszyniec,
Eranos45 g947), roo-tt1; M. H. A. L. H. van tler Valk, REG 76 (t9o31,
aro*2o,_tried
to show that Demon was wrong. Pickard-Cambridge (1968)r4-r5 and
'' srunel,
R P h4 t 1 9 6 7 1 , 9 8 - r o 4 , a r e u n d e c i d e d .
AU
r9
(n. z above); Zenob. par. 4.33 mentioned first.
zo
,ot^tut
*e IV.z.n.q
above.

.:,i:::,;f;,::1,!'oii,
u:u^,,l::,,o,r
:"::H:li:lilil1,13:1,-,:lll''::;::""T:*:
cit'; cf C'Dtmdzil' Lepro0L
II (r87r; r9t15), 4o;Rohde,Crusiu'' D"ubtt"t-opp
Centaurs(t929'1,3- 5z'

zz6

ANTHESTERIA

the Anthesteria, they made an agreementwith them, taking theh


into the city and into their homes. If, however, after the festival.
someoneshould meet such Cariansstill lingering in Athens, he would
say jokingly: "Get out, you Carians!The Anthesteriais over!" 1'
More important than the astounding claim that Carians ever inhabited Attica is the information concerninga custom which clearlv
underlies this report: during the festival, aliens, "aboriginal inhabi
tants," come to the city, indeed, they enter the housesas entitled fy
an agreement.But they may stay no longer than the duration of the
festival. Preciselysuch a custom is attestedfor the Anthesteriain t\s
city of Massalia." On this day, in accordancewith the "right of guest_
friendship," many Gauls living in the surrounding areascould enter
the city, and others smuggled themselvesin on carts driven into the
city from outside and clearly used for transporting casks.As it turned
out, this open-door policy very nearly proved the ruin of Massalia.
The motif of allegedly aboriginal inhabitants appearing on certain days only to be chased away afterward is found especiallyin one
areaof folklore-the masquerade.'3
By approachingthe problem from
this perspective,we can resolvethe contradictionsof the tradition. In
mask customs such as those practicedin isolatedAlpine valleys well
into the twentieth century the grotesquelymasked beings that invaded a village had, above all, the right to be entertainedas guests.
The respectaccordedto them was explainedby their statusas the ancestorsof the human raceor as earlierinhabitantsof the country.The
belief in spirits is intimately and reciprocally related to mask customs.
In the caseof Athens, this prompts the hypothesis that the "spirits,"
Kfipes,and the "aboriginal inhabitants,"K&.pes,who filled the city on
the day of the Choeswere identical.They were mummers-probably
called K&pes in Attic. It has been suggestedthat there may have existed an old inflectionKnp, Kcp<is,but this is doubtful,'othough there
nZenob. Ath. r.3o p.
352Miller has only this version,which appearssecondin Zenob.
Par.4.13.
l2Justin.
6q Fg67),
$.4.6; l. Brunel, "D'AthEnesi Marseille," ReouedesEtudesAnciennes
15-30, recognizedthe structuralcorrespondencewith the visit and expulsion of the
Carians,and also comparedthe legendof the murdered Aetolians(IVz.n.34 above).
z8 (r9z7lz8,\,
"K. Meuli, SchweizerMasken Qg43), r)-64; Schweiz.Arch. f . Volkskunde
2j-zg, esp. z7; on the "schurtendiebe" in the Lotschentalsee L. Rritimeyer, Ur
Ethnographie
der Schweiz(r9zg,
364.
I{E. Schwyzer, Glottan ,rg4), r7-t8; Ev
xaposakrn lt. 9378, the meaning of whicn
was disputed in antiquity (see Schol. AB, Eust. 757.te-'51jnsch. Krip); ciltlcism b/
R S. P Beekes,MSS 16 (rgZZ),5-8. As one meaning for Kap, Hesychius has nPo'
parov, thus forging a link with xdpvos, Kapueta.

zz9

fLayhave

CARIANS OR KERES

been dialect variants even within Attica. At


any rate, ,,harm_
"bogeyman" would fit the

mummers equally well.


tul'd"^on." .and
'ut*uy,
Th" i:tT1?.,:.i.Y^trl the barbarous Carians, however, *u,
eas!-to -jf": lt is.hard to say which way we should, for instance,
a Zeus Kariosrsor the aboriginalMegarian, Kar.,6
explain
The Attic Ktipes correspondat ieastin prrt to the Ionic Krpes, if
only becauseboth are "chased away.,,On ihe day of tf,u .i]f,u.,r,,,
the people chew on hawthorn, which keeps awiy the Keres.,'The
festivalnow becomescomprehensible:during the Anthesteria,masked
and menacing mummers il."u9" the city u.,d it, homes, .ornlnf f.ooutlying areastogether with the new wine-perhaps even ridi"ngon
the wlg-on+at carry the casks.At any rate, it is atiestedthat on the
day of.the Choes, mummers would ride around in the city on carts,
pursuing, with lewd jests, anyone
they
met.1s
rhe
Chols
fi,.n"r,
oftencontaindepictions of grotesque
misks
in
various
forms
that
in_
duced reactionsof terror and even aggression.',whereas the
more
artisticmasqueradebecamecenteredai the GreaterDionysia,i;;o*edy and tragedy,the Anthesteria remained a more pri^itirr",-i*pro_
visational,parodisticform of mummery.
The mixture of merriment and seriousnessis particurarly
striking
in the masquerade:wild laughter
is
acted
out
against
the backdrop of
terror and fright. To this extent, driving u*uy tlr"
alien ,,Cariarrrl,tit,

19 : paus. Att. r 4Erbse: iy t!1 r,itv yoCou


6opr71 oi
dtrcrvr(ovtas ioxatrrovre
rad iAol6<ip ow. rd 6,ai,rd
Harpokr. (phot,,
suda
r
zoz3)
s.u.zro,a.eras
speaks
therrce iv rois atovuntots App. prov.
4.8o (paroem.

for ApoiloKapw6s in the form of a pyramidar


stone

for Apolro Kriperosat Hierapolis


pugriesecarrateri, or^o-n*
see
G.
iHdt',.s'66;
\t961/6$' i5t-7o; for a tepdv roi Kapiiu at Torrebis/Lydia
see Nikolaos, FGrLIist
90 F 15.
ttPaus'
r'39'5; steph. Bvz. Kapia;
see Paus. a.44.2.
ttSee
IV.z.n.rz above.
tEPhot.
rci ix rdv dpat6tv. Suda r
xrolt"d(ovteg
iti
rirv duat:6u roig
xairois \nvqio's
tio'"'ooJ ioorouu.
of Ltovvctaxai toltrai,

8lti:1lt

l!:,&J,

oem.ostlr8.rzz;plat.r'{ otza,Men.perittthiarr.philemon
4;

rffi?.fi
aTiliir*,r*:rurirumi::nl
s,?;:fi,tiH
l*.llilifi;

fi6ov,oi41,o,o . .'. apa-

:*;Tol,f,T."l;,of
,l;B^ffi
*i::;;;;,:::,'ill?-,1'fi
il;,!;^,ii,',#;;
ui vv<bpLs'ot
vivu*o,' oaLr-,i airitv
f!"Y:{;;:::"::

r*i:t#;ft"'r**ffi
d,rffi##,;,*+t,l
229

i,

ANTHESTERIA

It is Precisely
in with the sacrificialcharacterof drinking at the Choes.
th.alone
in sacrifice,in the centralmoment of the unspeakableaction'
comedyof innofi"Jr ,n" intrusion of aliens,integratedas part of the
must therefole withcence,who seze a portion for themselvesand
the people s1
draw again. We may recall the bands of werewolves'
fust so at the sacramental
Oelpniit sacrifice,ind the hirpi Sorani.'zo
presentbeside
arinking of the wine, unfamiliai uncanny guests^were
day, no one
the frieids and family who had been invited. On this
yet eachman
-ignt be turned away,eachreceivedhis pitcher of wine;
Thus' one
,uiulor," at a separatetable, behind pitch-covereddoors'
encounteredthe sacredthrough that which is uncanny'
A pan-Heilenicmyth tells of anotheropening of a caskwhich likewise atiractedwild guests:Heraklesstoppedat the houseof Pholosin
bi* old
the Pholoe Mountains, and in his honor, his host opened the
down
caskthat was sunkin the floor. Thereuponthe centaursstormed
ended
from the mountains.They grew drunk and startedthe fight that
in their bloody defeat." T-hiswas a favorite theme in Archaic vasesubsepainting: centaurscomefrom outsideto tastethe wine and are
quently"drivenaway.ThismythisaPeloponnesianversionoftheAttic
nithoigia and Choeson a heroic level'

Marriageqnd
4. Sqcred
LCNAM-VASCS
with
Even though the topsy-turvy order of the day of the-C-hoes'
the goal
its license, its drunken'*o.tery was enjoyed io the full'
2oSeeCh. II above.

show that centaurs existed as masks: see his pl. r. This sort

,rApollod.
pRLt 499-5oz;
(tS!g)tfS-19.Dumezil
Brommer
2.81-85;
tlr:l.j:t,liwr"'
of animal masquerade'
tft" yt"tt-,n"titiifi
the animal's hind part fastened on, is now aiready attested through
lekythos from Je'*
of Qatal Hiiyiik (seeI z.n.rg,I.8.n.z8 above)'The Picture on the
bY
been coniured
(ARV'z76o.4t;Harrisonlgzzl 4) in which the ry'u1oi,which have

.ltygl th:,tu,tt":t-:i:f-1::::ir:ft
it"r^"r, swarmoutof th" iitt JJiur,Uuexplained

(tSrS),
Omphalos
Pl 5't
in H. V Herrmann,
fromFrankfurt

tol-t^1l,:-.",,,vases,or round clay rings, at libationsfor the dead; cf' the black f1gut"

1::*.i.1,1,?jl1'i:;;rt
wlth tne uru'
men (rgoo), pl. zo.1zi pace Harrison, this has no direct connectron
rtBoiyta.
2)o

SACRED MARRIAGE AND LENAIA-VASES

mustalwayshavebeen to overcomethe "day of pollution," to end the


neriodof godlessness:the Chytroi follows the Choes. Sundown on
[ne welfth of Anthesterion signaled the end of the "day of pollu1isn."Bf this time, the Choespitcherswere empty,but they could not
ft simply put away. At other festivals,after the drinking was over,
oiousrevellerswould bring the wreaths that they had worn to a temble and deposit them on a statue.rOn this day, however,the temples
i,vereclosed,exceptfor that of Dionysus "in the Marshes."Hence the
peculiarritual that closedthe day of the Choes.According to the tale,
it wur orr." again begun by king Demophon when he was entertaining Orestes:"He ordered that after the drinking was ovet they should
no"tdepositin the templesthe wreathswhich they had worn, since
thev had been under the sameroof with Orestes.Rather,eachshould
lay his wreath around his Choespitcher and take it to the priestessat
the temple'in the marshes,'and then perform the further sacrificesin
2
the sanctuary." Thus, on the evening of the day of the Choes, the
streetsand alleys of Athens came to life with people flocking to the
temple"in the marshes,"holding their empty pitchers,crowned with
wreaths.After drinking two and a half liters of wine, not every reveller was quite steadyon his feet, and there could be no more question
of sacred silence. Aristophanes has his watery chorus of croaking
frogssing of the eventsat the temple "in the marshes":"Let us strike
up the hymn to the sound of the flute, my lovely sounding song, koax, ko-ax, which we sing in the water to the Nysaean son of Zeus,
Dionysus,when the drunken crowd staggersin processionto my sacredprecinct at the sacredfestival of pots."3The word xpatna)toxa&os, "rambling in drunken revelry,"captures the mood of the evening. On a visual level, it is brought to life in the depictions on the
Choespitchers.4There we see thesomewhat unsteady figures, their

'See
Timaios, FGrHist566F r58.
2Phanodemos,
FGrHist325F n; Deubner 0%z) gg, roo paraphrasesthe last words,
erretta&tew iv rQ iepQra ini\onra, as "die Neige zu spenden"-but Buerz is not
ottdvtew.
3Rnn.
urr-r9.

lDgubler Q93z) 244;H. R. lmmerw atu, TApA 77 C946),247-5o;cf. van Hoorn (r95r)
Y6i 1t8 ry3; #385 fig.85; #328 fig. 5o1;#611 iig. qs;++o fig. 97; xs16fig. 88; pelike
qser
tr8. rog
#6oz
fig.
ro7; #65r fig. t68; #58t fig. 527,etc.; #B4z f\g. 87 : Deubner
(r9l:) pl.
9.: = Metiger
-E. eg65) 68.26:a "priesteis'; receiving *."uii-,, ior Basilinna
Donysus; cf. simon, AK 6 [rg({,j, zr?). Plato Critiai l;robsaysthat in Atlanll:iHtg
s tnbowls out
of which people drink at the sacrificefor an oath are consecratedin
qe
shrine.
For the breakingof pots in funerarycult seeW. Helbig, SBMiinchen(rgrn),
'u24.7-5t (against
this cf. LS 97.9;frcl 6e tilTTeio dnogtpurbal; in Hebraic sin-srurg,see
at Lev. 5: zr.

237

ANTHESTERIA

t. eii'ioPfi"l":'l,Ll':::l:"d

at

long empty) in hand or eventtung


wreath-coveredpitchers(obviously
torches' reeling and caper;; ,h" lyre, striding along by the-lighrof
theChvtroi'forwit\

;;;.f;l^g

rrts Li11't'qrposT6r p'e\6u ou.'o'*i[ii"av;

'Priasrc pt'hr1ottvl,elolsriveFio;Diod'
piet.2 P' 16 col' 44Gomperz
Cf '
cf ' ll'5'n'4t' above

the new phasehadalready begun


th"e
"'' evening
to the centralact
j;J;ahe
drinking at the Choescorresponded
the closingrltua-l'9f'thehunting
of the bloody ,r.'ifit",'*" '"tog"it"
evening assembly'Killing and eatand sacrificing compiex in thii
order to makea svmi;il"i""a uvg"ihering the remiins'in
;;;;;;
The sacredwine was distribbolic restitution anclu"p"tt"""!nt order'
portions: everyonehad the same
uted in the Choes p*["tt i" equal
gatheredtogetherat a conamount to drink. Now au theselugJwere
thJ remnantsof a victim torn
secratedplace.Time ;J ;"i" in ilytn
brought back to life in iust this way'
apart are collected,;;;;f;;e'
resardlessof whether the
Suchwas the story oidio"yt"t tornipart'"
oi *e'" mlved to Crete' Perhaps
eventswere said to occur ut O"tptti
tn" nameDionvsusin theMarshes'which
t'ap"L'iiv
;#;;;;;;,i""
conditionsat Athens: marshesand
seemsso inapproptlt"i" if1" focal
where
i"nuuitunt' the sea-are the places
bt in"
;;;t-;.,
"""'tut
miraculously'This is where victhings disappear uiJ *tfut" again
timsaresubmerged.rni'i'wh"erestoriesappearofthegod,sreturn
whcre Dionysus-revealshimself as
from the depths.'fitit it tn" phce
bloodshed,death' and the sacralmeal'
;;il;il
a priestessexThe tempte *u' ua^ittistered by a priestess-not
dosed' but by a woman
.f.rri""iy i , o*.,, fot tni' temple wasnormally
this daY'Fourteenwomen were
who assumedthe p'i"'tly dt'ties for
the"li"; ;i ; th"t-"nPl:
'v r'e
d by
ointe
apPornteq
app
:L
:1"-5'-:*L
' A r their
r " - "queen,"'
! ' e v the
r r L q v was
t
r r r s r r head
"}"JJ:::
eneraDle ones'
c a l l e d s i m p l y " t h e vT";;;;;;:;;;'Ai

;nli"*T;
mtxtu6'riad

up" (Plut'
andis "called
in LernaDionvsus.'ill-':'dreaPPears'

t.62.6
HiPP-9lvlu-'
fire"'pno'a*'i+za1' n56-7il'
osiris
ihe mythsof Aktaion(Il';;';t uuo""1'
" [o'" ''app'r4o-4iRobert)'
(Etr.Bacch't;-;ilo'pr't""J1'rlt
Pentheus

lltii'jl,'J#irring

cf' alsoIII 8 above'


tr.' lO+f., and .f. tlt-'3'n 33 above);
confirrnedthrough
sThe
yipatpalreminine of yepapos; ct' yipatpalltlt'opos)'is
form
tttnot
''-!
and *u' t"ua'ily"{Jtut;lit.",t
:1:
Art
inscriptions (/c II/II'? 6288;XII 3.42o)
at L't' Cen = t't M' zz7'35'and
A); it is transmittediwltfr-iifferini accentuation)

s.u. (Cd. yepatai o' ,"popii)'"Demosth'"

sg'zl' zailoll

(= Ael Di:t; , 7 E'bt";;t;h;"t9 9: : i:11


4i:t'0"n"
cf. 228.9
clasr z1t.1z,and
Bekk.
S'ro8;Hsch' (incorrectly

"tro

upp"u'"i"'tf'u

rit"l'.""a

ia'q")

fr' 652'
tottt"*t of a child's game: Men'

(p. zz5Lobeck),Aeliusrjt""y"YJtiil

Phrrnlchf,l
pacrir.,oca,which
:ffj1,::1Ji:ilil3lli*"i":?;;l;T'lit between
poirlrecognize'and7atrL'
)rtvva, which

2)2

SACRED

MAI(XIAGI,

AAIIJ

LE,I\I

*"rf:1,'51'$?l3i::',",ry,*H:'1"'.51trJ:ixr:
ii;

ff*;
fjiti::l;:n:'H:E1lIriHffiiX";H"Hf,T:li:f

together in love'.'o
fr". tnottut woman came
,n"'O"n
this occurred is not recorded.
*nrch day of the ,{nthesteria
,'d.ayof pollution" at least would be out
be clear that the
y"t i;ri;"il
the
to
-, +hpouestlon, anctsince the "qtt""ttt' was formally delivered
by
trii", there is no possibility of shamelesscoupling
:t^:';.til;
night' as do the works
9ll'*ir. t"rarriageprocessionsbelong to the
in nallt^",irr..ait". Now,'becausethe Pithoigia is clearly preliminary
possibletime left in the festivalis the night of transition
i,ii,t*
""ty
r'nmtheChoestotheChytroi.llThisisconfirmedbyvase-paintings,
Dioahoes pitcheiin New York on which the marriage of
:::":i;lil
of
*iuan"'is shown, framed by the revellersfrom the day
"?O
Choes pitcher.clearly.mark
":i*r
ii{"ino"r.,, The torch and the dangling
the "tipsy crowd" marched to
;'h; G" as night, at the start of whiih
it. t i^t uionlo celebratethe "sacredChytroi'"

Hsch Arozuooulap'os' That this act was


ro,,Dlemosth."
Sg.n,76; Arist. Afft. Pol.).5;

Ai selryz.8l'-1'.'"-1il:"'lljl::i:t^l-::"T:::::
(E,Bus.choL
a"ir,"rt".iu
p"*
"iii"
statingwhat wasrequiredof the "queen"
,iL i*, that the zdtrtos
ffi::ff#ir.^

f,

i;il;;

weddingof
sitg = env' to57.e.,AK 6 (rs$), pl. 5'r' rhe

open only on the day of the


was written on a stele kept in the Limnaion, which was
,,Demosth.,,
the oath of the Tiporpar menit o"r, ,""
ss.zs_26;likewise, the altar, for
tionedthereafter(79),cano.rtyU"theoneintheLimnaion'TheEleusinianHierokeryry
men(ibid.)assiststhe women at the (bloody) sacrificefor the oath On the rleocztd
tionedin the oath seeJacobyon FGrHisf,+F l'
(rq68) rr' conlra.Deubner
"Thus also E. Simon, AK 6 (rg$) rr; Piikard-Cambridge
(1932)rog, who suggests"d"., Vormittug und vielleicht den Beginn des Nachmittags"
cf'
of the day of the Choes. Fory.e}rlpepwoi yapotas scandalousseeDemosth' t8'tz9;
LSSrr5 A rr-14.
: Metzger (1965)
r2NewYorkMetr.
Mus. o6.rozr.r83: van Hoorn (r95r) #745 fig. ro5
6z-63, pl. 27.2.E. Sinron, AK 6it961\, rz, correctly comments:"Es gibt Szenen' in
Did""; i; tl.,r.n"iJ""g,
Ariadne oder Basilinna, nicht gefellt werden darf." For
onysus and Ariadne inlhe bower see Chous Leningrad zo74St' = van Hoorn #579'
Metzger(rqsr) pl. Xlll, r. For reveilerswith ChousbesideDionysus,Ariadne, F'ros'see

""ly;il
in VerDionyrus
on'in oi.'o.1toefrom the Villa Giulia: see L' Curtius
;;;;;r
"i;
nachin* aerintiiiir,rrt
(tgso), fig. 37- 4r;H. Marwitz, Antike und Abendlando(966)'
fig' z. For Dionysus rt"ppi"g towird a woman on a throne see the oinochoe (not the
normalform oltn. Cno,m)in the Brit. Mus., Deubner Q91z) 7oa-1'o2,Pl' ro For Dionysus, escorted by torchbearerswith Chous, moving toward a door behind which a
womanwaits, s"e caly,.-.ruterTarquiniaRC
= ARV'?ro57'96,
AK6(t96)' pl 5'1
4r.97
(of the Komos-"."n"'tuo",
r"" uu.t Hoorn Ir95rl #76 ftg' rr7, Immerwahr' !!nA n
Chous at
Ll946l,25o).For a satyr-childnext to a recumbentcouple on a South ltalian
Erhdisi see
Mitteitungen7o (r9$), 98, Pl' +l'An Italic v?se PorK. Ker6nyi, Rdmische
hayrng pionysus *itfi ih" ho.r,. of a bull beside Ariadne (E. M. w. Tillyard, TheHope

23J

Ifl

.t

ti,
il i
lr ;lr
r,ti

.
'illfi,{l
,llrr

ANTHESTERIA

The details of the sacredmarriagewere kept a secret,"unspeqftable." Our sourcesare uniformly silent and offer no assistancein de_
ciding between the two possibleexplanations:was there a symbolic
union with a statue, a herm," or did a mortal representthe god-most likely the "king" himself?'oEvenin one of the surviving speec\ss
of Demosthenes,that of the prosecutionagainstNeaira, which deah
with the scandalthat the daughter of a hetaera-herself not blameless-rose to the statusof "queen," we are provided with little more
than vague indications."This woman offeredup the unspeakablesacrifice on behalf of the city; she saw that which a non-Athenian should
not have seen;such a woman enteredthe room that none of the manv
other Athenians enters, but only the 'king's' wife; she administerei
the oath to the 'venerable women,' who assist in the sacred acts;
she was given to Dionysus as a bride; she performed the ancestral
customsbefore the gods on behalf of the city, many sacredsecretcustoms."'s In spite of its lack of clarity in the details,this report givesus
the outline of a set program. Enteringa placethat may not be entered:
next to the temple in the sanctuary"in the marshes"there was a subterranean "house"'u which obviously came into play here. Whatever
was carried down into it and whatever was then taken out of it-we
recall the night of the Arrhephoroi-it was followed by a sacrificial
oath by which the "venerableones" were bound together; the oaths
were taken "over the sacrificialbaskets."There were fourteen "venerable ones," corresponding to the fourteen Athenian altars of Dionysus." This indicatesa large number of sacrificesto Dionysus. The
Vases
lrgz3l, pl. 3r.zr8; van Hoorn [r9:r] p. 5r; Kerdnyi, op. cit.) has been linked with
the marriagein the Bukolion.H. Marwitz, AntikeundAbendland
rz(1966),97-tro, trres
to explain the 'Aldobrandicwedding" as referringto the Attic Hieros Gamos.
"H. Goldmann, AJA a6 Q94z),64-67.
raFarnellV (r9o9) zr7 (with doubts); Deubner (:'g1z) ro7-tog, r:.6-:.7; cf. GB Il r48
'fheseus:the
Against this cf. E. Simon, AK 6 (rg$), rz with referenceto the myth of
king must defer when Dionysus appears.In a similar way Oineus leavesDeianeirato
Dionysus: Hyg. Fab.rz9. The myth of Kephalosand Prokris (Pherekydes,FGrHist)F
34), however,containsthe motif that the king departsbut comesback in disguise.For
coupling with a statueof Leukipposbeforethe wedding at PhaistosseeAnt. Lrb. t'76
" jg.7), and cf. 85.
1 6 S eIeV r . n . 9 a b o v e .
t7An. Bekk.
4r.32; Ael. Dion. 7 7 Erbse(n. 8 above);it is not statednor is it probable
that all of these altars were in the Limnaion. Foucart @go4)r1B-4r brought orrt the
strangecorrespondencethat Osiris was torn into fourteen parts (Piut. ls.j58a; for zb
parts, cf. Diod. r.zr.z), and that accordinglythere were tombs of Osiris in equal nufltJ
ber. For two komasts-a woman at an aliar, besideher a man with two torcheso!1
Chous-see van Hoorn (r95r) #87o tig. 69;for ama