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Edited by Jan Bremmer

CROOM HELM London & Sydney

Oedipus and the Greek Oedipus Complex 41
Jan Brtmmer
~. Wolves and Werewolves In Greek Thought 60
Rit:hard Bwtton
5. Orpheus: A Poet Among Men 80
Frilz Crrif
6. Reflections. Echoes and Amorous Reciprocity:
On Reading the Narcissus Story 107
Ezio P,liizer
7. Greek Myth and Ritual: The Case of Krenos 121
H. S. VerSlili a. Spartan Genealogies: The Mythological Representation

of a Spatial Organisation 153

ClaIIIk Calame

9. Myths of Early Athens 187
Robert Parker
10. Myth as History: The Previous Owners of the:
Delphic Oracle 215
Cllristian, Sourvinou·lnwood
11. Three Approaches 10 Greek Mythography 2+2
12. Greek Mythology: A Select Bibliography (1965 -1986) 278
Jan B,m"",
Notes on ContributoR 28+
Index 287 • D. Beadey, AUlC Blt#k-Flgurt Vast P"i~1m (Oxford, t956)

L lIurn and R. Glynn (eds), &azIe;yAddmdtJ.

AddilirnuJ! RejtrmUs 10 ABP; ARV & Para/lpo_ (Oxford, 1982)

Ammcan Jour1lIll of Arduuology

J. B Pritchard, The A~dm/ N.ar Em/ in Piaures IUkuing 10 th, Old Teslamenl (Princeton, 1954 (Supplement 1968»

J- B. Pritchard (ed.) Aru:itnt Near Emltm Tats Relating to 1M Old Tull.lmml. lrd edn (Princeton, 1969)

J. D. Beazley, AUi, R,d-Figure Vast-Pain/trs, 2nd edn (Oxford, 1963)

Bulldin dt CtmtspontUmct HtlliniqlU

Bulldin of tht Inuuut« of ClaIsical Studies III tilt Universi!y of London

W. Burkert, Gr ee /c R./igroft. Archai< and Classical (Oxford, 1985)

-- Homo Necans. The AnlhropDlogy of And"", GmI< Stu:rificiol Ritual and Myth (Berkeley.

Los Angeles, London. 1983)

-- Die oritnll.llisiumdt Epoeht ;n dtr gntchisdlnl R,ligion und Litmuur, SB Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philcs.-hist.

Kl. 1948, 1.

_- Slrurtur. and History in G,,,Ic Mythokg and History (Berkeley, Los Angeles. London. 1979)

Calame, Choturs C. Calame, Les Chtlli-rs iii jeuna filllJ III Grit

archaique, 2 vcls (Rome. 1977)

CQ Classiral Quarttr/y

CR Cltl.Jsicai Rroilw

Detienne, Dlon)'sos M. Detienne, DrQ'!)'soJ mis Q ,,",,, (Pliri 1971)



Burkert, GR





vol. t, ed, B. ); vol. 3, ed. S. Radt

. S. Radt (1977) ,:r1~I~lr~' .. w~:.fIJi'1'iIJ1~rogu UIId Epigraphi!

~ oollBdion of original studies offers new interpretations of ~e of the beat known characters and themes of Greek mytho~&gy. reflecting the complexity and fascination of the Greek imagination. Following analyses of the concept of myth and the influence of the Orient on Greek mythology, the succeeding chapteo shed new light on the threatening appearance of wolf and werewolf and on such familiar figures as Oedipus, Orpheus and Narcissus. The puzzling relationship of myth and ritual is illuminated by a discussion of the ambiguities in the traditions surrounding Kronos. Where does myth end and history begin? Studies of the first Spartan and Athenian kings demonstrate ways in which myth is manipulated to suit history. and an examination of the early stages of the Delphic oracle shows that some history is actually myth. Finally. an analysis of Greek rnythography illustrates how myths were handed down in the Greek tradition before they became part and parcel of Western civilisation. The volume is concluded with a bibliography of the best mythological studies of recent decades. AU chapters are based on the most recent insights and methOds, and they display a great variety of approaches.

Tbe volume would never have materialised without a chance l1Jeeting with Richard Stoneman, Senior Editor at Croom Helm. I am very grateful for his most pleasant co-operation in the prepara tton oftbi3 book. I also owe grateful thanks to Sarah Johnlton and k~ Dowden, who were willing to shoulder the dJllicult tuk of l'eVlelllg meat of the tranalalions Kees Kuiphof skilfully,. iltIJ'tolraphic:a1 lLtSiBtancc

Finally, a Dutch inItiative in mythology would ha !Jread

: . ~~:!==~~!~~~:~~~:;IIi:ryth~:?l In the past, many solutions to this

, but in the course of time an have

be·hi"UiIl1tillfilctory.2 The most recent analysea stress that miH:b:"bI!~lUJtltB to the more general class of traditional tales. For IOOttfiple, Walter 'Burkert, the greatest living expert on Greek idigiol1, ba5 stated that 'myth is a traditional tale with secondary. pattial reference to something of collective importance'P This definition raises three important problems that we will discuss briefly in this introduction. First, how traditional is a Greek myth? Second, to what degree does Greek myth contain matter of collective importance? And finally, if myth is a traditional tale _ What then ill the difference between myth and other genres of 'fraditional tales, such as the fairy-tale or the legend?

1. How Traditional i. Greek Myth?

It is I!1Ctremely difficult to determine the age of the average Greek myth. Many tales were recorded relatively late. and therefore we cannot I!S<:extain the precise date of their origin. Yet Homer liTteady refert to the Tbeban Cycle. the Argonauts and the deed8 of lftrli.lcW Moreover, there are a number ofvlgnette-lik p .... ges 1'1) hi, poems il'l WhICh he briefly mention. heroe 8U h :ippokoon, Phorbas and Anchilea, all of whom are I«.ted In th

I!I°POJInue and IIrtI aleo found In mamland tracllt Hom

:ao ~ea fleeting ~ferencc to detaib that apparend h lltitted frim little known laps that range In om

language; organisations of poets ~":t~~:Ij[oaI~id.i .of·Cllio. Qr the Knophyloi of Samos would of thiB poetk: tndition.5 Investigations into

~loe~IbJ._ mythological theme. have been less successful. itbnc of IndD'"European mythology, which Max _Ii !til OIHltomporaries erected in the course of the nine~~ bad.alrcady ro1Iapaed by the end of that century. ~ .. m~~ lltood the tellt of time. The myth of Helen, for ~. has been ebown to have close analogies in Vedic and f4tvim mythOlogy. In Sparta, Helen Willi worshipped as the _iIilIIlUWh,o t.U.plll'Yieed the life of girls between adolescence and IJli~CdlIllOJIt. At die wedding alao play. an important role in Vedic ,.IlCtI~.n tJraditionl. the proto-myth of Helen was probably part .'.~_~lOJIlWJ,~ding poetry. 6

flUther? Burkert recently has studied which were hidden in a cave, from a

_" .. I!IPll"llllmlt. This capture, as he ,hOWl, is closely .'CI!HI"'CIltlJC·J.IIIIira'. fight against the demon Visvarupa, ......... _ abo hidden his cows in a cave. But lWI_a·libal there De elate analogies for these fights .. rif,lIf'."'NII~1i hunting peoples of Siberia and the

tfr a'lioh J'ipn.t at til Yllter. NaltOr'. t.i;d~ lliiiimilllr initiatory tradition. More~1f;;'''.I[gtU'OJl'ean people. the storming of a ,·_ ...... ",,,"u .. , ¥Gang men'. rltuals, AI Fritz Grar

~)tJilijpj:LveJl!lJtlnCe of Greek and Irish tradition strongly Iro:fD:.Eu.1'Ollean epic tradition closely connected with

ailli'''rap~i.cll:'8'.initiation. Myths associated with the central tlI[liru[iJ.lfunlh~r archaic societies, such as the wedding and the rites with matte" of vital concern. such as the quest for '(H.er~lkIllS and Indra), have a much better chance of sur-

~lIIIj"Jm~..., .. , than myths connected with more temporary institu-

as the foundation of clans or temples. In the ease of initiation, a poetic tradition is all the more probable because some Greek poets (still?) acted as initiators in the archaic age.B The close association of poets with initiation can also be found in The Boolr. of Dttk Kor/rut, a collection of tales set in the heroic age of the Oghuz Turks, who in the course of the ninth and tenth centuries emigrated from Siberia in the direction of Anatolia. Moreover, the tradition of the Trojan war finds a close parallel in Caucasian myths. in which a hero besieges a king who has offended his honour, and takes his castle through a ruse; the storming of a castle is also part of Caucasian folklore. Do we perhaps encounter here mythical themes of Eurasian pastoral peoples that reach back into time immemorial?9

On the other hand, myth was also often untraditional. The suitors of Penelope request the newest song (Odyssey 1.352), and archa!c poets regularly stress their own originaliry.!? In fact, many mylhQI clearly are not very old Hesiod derived pan of his theogony from the Orient (cf. Burkert, this volume); the epic of the NOSWI, t~e h~mecoming of'the Trojan heroes, presupposes Greek colon is. ~on 10 Southern Italy; and the myth of Theseus' foundation of

ernocrllcy illustrates the decline of the aristocracy'S power in tbe

late archaic age Th . di

I . e respective au iences of these mylNlI mUlt

~urlt y hlwe recognised the novelty of these tale. at the time of th Ir .Irst performances, even though they loon became In orpot.l~ mto the t ad·· al

OPlln.ende~ Ilion corpus of myths. Mythology, then. wlla n

sy'tem. All haa been pointed out recently 111 p Y


.~cl~8IId tbe''iIh!lJachlrIDf -lflt Statu. of the poet, the

!t\t!J.\)o'jUJ,a,·UIC nature of the poet's audience As IhOW,rl;!;tbe MulM!.f pJa.yed an increaaingly subare~c poetry. This declining position, as he Jm;W;Brll"JreIJleCllen the poet's more secular role in ,~.tl'I;ll~-g .tlionlK:HJUSne:u of his own creativity, More~:{~i",:i~f~fJll"'l'IivaJ~()JfJi:ter,acy enabled intellectuals to fix and scrutitiijt lite tntdition. The traditional myl/wi now came under attack ~M philollophers and historians - authors who wrote in prose gad wh¢did not subject their opinions to the censure of the comm1.(nitv in public performance. At first sight. the myths' audience #mained the same, as the poets continued to perform in aristoQ1"tic circles, but their patrons were now in the process of losing PIlt! of their political power - a development that must also have had repercussions for the poet's position in society. These developments accelerated in the course of the classical period, although poets still continued to relate myths (tragedy!), and in the Hellenistic age the poet's function in society had largely been lost to philosophers and historians. The versions of myths that Oallimachus and his friends wrote were no longer directed at aodety at large, but rather primarily at a small circle of literary

friends. Post-Hellenistic travellers, such as Pausanias, still recorded the archaic myths connected with the temples they visited, but these tales now had lost completely their erstwhile relevance to the comrnuniry.It

In one area, however, certain aspects of myth continued to prosper. The Greek colonisation of the East promoted feverish ~tivity in the invention of mythical founders and genealogies, and m the explanation ofsrrange names. In general, however, the new myths, which were mostly bri,o/agos of the old. established ones. no longer were composed by poets but by historians, who wrore in prOse and did not claim to be divinely inspired. The populariry of myth lasted well into the Roman Empire, but the "9'Moi. which QJlCe helped men to understand Dr order the world. now ~unctioned primarily as a major part of a cultural tradiuon whuse Im~rlilnce increased as Greek independence dlmllll5hcd vanOUl cities Iosr their political significance, it was their mythical

p~~ that could still furnish them with an idl.'DtllY and h Ip Ih m I dlstlllguiah them.elve. from other cines Myth. then meam Ih r



lli proe, they

_"lQIIMI.CO time 1lIld place. and origin of its ".~~",~~Md~~·wbh~~~g1h~·oneeupon

;JI!11ll"Uil'GliiDl'-:we,lUlmhear in which country or in "'fi}i.,.j$U'friifuIlll1!U::y04:11le thiJrcfore exiata In isolation, m)'tbs In which the same ~1~."ih"j'u.'h1lvo1_II!lla aimOit true that every Greek myth -,it_tll •• 1iy ormnected in • dtaiD: of USOCIation with every other

0teaIl ~ Mowover. fairy-talCliIlfC told not to order or explain .. ~ bitt to 1IJjle1UUl their audience, although moralistic ~ \WIllI! ofteQ lntroduced.

tat £na1ith word lepnd' oompriacs two genres of tales that in ~ ate diaUnpiahed .. Ugtrr4e and Sace. The L.gmdz is ~ ,. hagiosnphIcaI legend. " story in prose about a holy J*'*QD Who. JIle !a .Itld up to the community with the exhorts.don to IIDd do J.ikew.iee'. These stories, then, clearly were .1IIIIIW!d or told by the church to influence the lives of the faithful. _..... they;are mtrieted in ICOpe and also are typical products dlamDlOfuerary ap- 'legend' comes from the Latin l.gmda, or tltinp1D_ reed'.

ftlf .. u: • lagend that explains buildings or stresses the ~~ man iUld animals (cr. Buxton, this volume, ·"Ip!''hc¥~IIIlICDilIl"for extraordinary events and catastrophes; and .A~"~ ... ~~idpilQp1ed bYlllpiritJ and demons. For those who

"'il!IiI~_~JePIllll,.'lIJ:£m will have functioned very much like And just as my/hoi helped to bolster the

UI1CIer the Roman Empire, Sagm acquired a ~p~lIBIle-lin the 1ater nineteenth century when they bourgCOleie in Karch of a common


[Juv_ ........ " ... dbwn in prole, in archaic Greece ··.~~chllhle territory of poets. It is true that dis- 1,\t:hqlat'B. such as G. S. Kirk, have made use of the ... 11 .... 1 .. , .... explain motifs of Greek myth, but it must such tales simply are not attested in archaic

exactly is a Greek myth? We started this chapter with Burkert'll definition of myth as 'a traditional tale with secondary, parhal reference to something of collective importance'. This dermition has proved to be valid for the whole period of Greek history. At the same time, however, we have seen that myths are not always traditional tales, nor is their collective importance the same during the whole of Greek history. Perhaps one could propose a slightly simpler definition: 'traditional tales relevant to society'. It is true that to us the appearance of gods and heroes is an essential part of Greek myth, but the supernatural presence is only to be expected when religion is embedded in society. 18 Western secularised societies have nearly abolished the supernatural, but they usually still have their favourite (historical) tales that serve as models of behaviour or are the expression of the country's ideals. It is their relevance to Greek society that makes the mylhoi still fascinating today. for however different the Greeks were from us, they were also very much the same. t9


I ~'b The notes are confined to the most recent Iiterature. I am tn gener I rnu{h n 2" ~«Ito Fritz Graf, G""Ai1<hr MYlhola,1t (MUnich and ZUrtch. 19115)

,.,;., or 0 ,"rvey ofth. various explanations. see G, S Kirk. M:fIA tu M .... ., .. J 1970;'~ ';I.4on,.1 Myth.loU .ruJ 01"" C.lluw (B.ruley Lo Anlld. 1 ndnn LIII101", -. (~ i- Burke ... 'My,ho. und My,hololl"." .n Prof>. 1_ C;, AI AI

3 T.:a..' or m, 1981) 11-35, Craf, Myllrolo, .. 15-51

(li.·rman ''',mal ,aI .. , Kirk, M)'Ih. 31-41 and 1M NM." if Q 4 M

4 pre-two:r'h: 1914) 23 37; Burken. Sl!IH. 23, Gr.f MpIJ.1 • 7 Ii"';kllra .;me"c mylhololY: Gr.f, MpIJ.h.,.., ~8 68' Myc n an I. (1981) 5~_6:~C ~%"e before Homer", MHI NHI .. U W., Aft! Utln4 N H

, a110 A SnodS'r&'., 'Poet and Pault.. In 1':, h'h AI


or embedded religion, ... R C. T Porker, 'Greek HUlin] tiffh, Churl,.1 W.tld (Oxford, 1986) 2H-74 .

.. ili'fi:>tmalioD. comments and correction of the English I am mdebted tl(J w, ... ·,,· ... • .. - Horsfall, Sarah Johnlton. Andrl! Lardinoil, and Prefessce


"-~~id&111t1I:mt':1lfe.1lOII1IttmlTl of h'!!lltIJlQt:'bri)Jim:ant fact, and the concept of

But Indeed, OJ! account of "-'1i'fiI,.d*d:ft) ·hilltoll'kldl ... unique organisations or even ~~_ijit~lJUle'IlIf'thlS assumption would dispose of an ''riftairatfitlrll!Yths' were it not for migrating societies; th: /t'~.iI!.l1i"JiJIr>,·,vorshi:PPE:d their Ajax as they had in central

··;mll'il~!.1~tl'i'lh1rg..s", ... priests of the Anatolian Mother Goddess the .1IIliMl~I'fIli: b.ro·ught ritual castration and the corresponding Anis mytltto ~e Greek and Roman world. S But these are special cases. :iYet'if,'t1i clear that Greek mythology spread widely throughout thu Mediferranean, dominating in particular the imaginations of

the Etruscans and Romans; to explain this diffusion as either a wries of misunderstandings or a schoolchild's memorisation of literature, rather than as an example of living and 'genuine' myth, would be much too simple. But if it is granted that Greek myths 'migrated' to Italy, then not even Greek myth can be assumed to have arisen spontaneously from uncontaminated 'origins'; it arose within a society that formed itself in intense competition with older, Eastern civilisations.

Myth, in fact, is a multi-dimensional phenomenon, and although its function is most vital in closed archaic societies, it should be seen and investigated in all its various aspects. There are two main dimensions of myth, corresponding [0 the well- known linguistic distinction between the 'connotative' and 'denotative' functions of language;5 there is a narrative structure that can be analysed as a syntagmatic chain of 'rnotifemes", and there is SOme reference, which often may be secondary and tentative, to phenomena of common reality that are thus articulated, expres se d and communicated; this reference is most manifest in the use of proper names. In most mythical texts, both dimensions intertwine and influence one another; their dynamics, however, are quite dif· ferenr, The narrative structures are based on a very rew general human or even pre-human programmes of action, and thus are quite easily understood and encoded in memory, to be reproduced, or re-ceeated, even from incomplete records. This IS [he flllCination of a tale to which we all are sensitive One Iavourue tale type II the 'quest' - the subjece al Vladimir Propp's M.rp/I. lOIfJl '!11M Folkl4i,. Its ubiquitous subtype II the 'combat tale': alb,er types include 'the girl', tragedy' and 'sacrifice and relmuuon


dto:diatinction made by Alan 'tnotifemea' and motifs: :., .... ~~ .... 'CA:a~ra'tbiW tal.,. oon818tl of a well· structured • .. ot~I_I.·. ~ of which has its necessary and .... IiIIt'f!1UBi ~ arc .110 emglc surface elements that are _:~"~.~:."'blI,"\jUt~' from one talc to another, especially if .of one catches the imagination, like .e,ttpti ... 'tIi·~"~:''Ptlll>Jldnlf between chromcsomes. Thus, certain :_~~IeCl~Ulfmlatqlbcll1td1!~\II'Orlld. or at any rate this is the impresTbompson'. indispensable Motif-lndtx.1O

,,; r,aJtitti:ttjl:al diKulion has occurred even at the level of

,,·~~~~!!IdIl._.,tUtpJleatjol~~:·But it is a question that must be 'migrating myths', the concept _"~ •• raplliU'~U:llaIirafe:r·~'fA narrative chain and thus also, ~~!!JllliIIfI"'&lklnU81.\:jIlf.'lapplica1iQn'. or the menage of the myth.

Greek' the specialist still hears _.tIIIlI!UJIIH~_i!o1agicaJ circumspection encourages li.L\CI-.c~ftj·ili!l"'tI(:IculnulatIQn of evidence, however, ",.<IIi!A'llJlG!'flimrce'·'liJ)CII!k literary culture did not thrive

Ql.~~.il!~~~tbaldol'1i of older civiliutiona, assumS'eady at hand. II The term lIIlr_9JIl"_'IUluillJt.i'~nI.bJej it ilB label that all 100 1JID",~ic:!.P@I"P~ivl!. of 'Westerners' and _~!Ill·.gu_ !diffen;nt civilisations existed

ftc._~:b1I'n:l'Ulr~.IilU1lll:tl:lillJ.!h!., Mesopotamian ~t& . .w~:hC!wjitdll,btltli the Mediterranean and the During the second millenium there [ljj"~~IIl.JadJlltlmt civilisations each of an individual type, of cultural pride with the rise of the '·,':':.f4~iAJJ"'lIv.1;y,cerla~ian civilisation. This civilisation, unfortunately,

lullflllEO.fitm)dtlccdany extant literary texts as yet and thus must still ~ background as far as myth study is concerned. More flrtile archives are provided by the continuing literature of Egypt l:II~ Maropotamia, or come from Syrian Ugarit-Ras Shamra and ftorl) Anatolian Hattusa-BogazkOy_ Bronze Age traditions end abtuptly in both places, as in Greece, at about 1200 BC. After the 'Dark Ages' there emerge, in addition to some relics of Hittite tradition in Southern Anatolia, a lively and varied urban civilisa-

tion in Syna and Palestine, which can claim the decisive invention ofthe 'Phoenician' script. and also the 'miracle of Greece' , which asserts its status through the poetry of Homer and Hesiod. This contribution was to endure, whereas, of the Syrian-Palestinian literature, only the Hebrew Bible was to survive later catastrophes.

What is left, thus, is a chance selection taken from much richer literatures and, presumably, oral cultures, which can be the basis for a comparis-on of 'oriental' and Greek mythology: Sumero Akkadian and Egyptian sources are rich but geographically distant from those of Greece; Old Testament texts are of a very peculiar type. There remain the fragmentary tablets from Bronze Age Hattusa and Ugarit; the Phoenician and Aramaic literature from Iron Age Syria, which must have been closest to that of the ?reeka, has vanished completely, as has the Phrygian and Lydian hterature of Anatolia, if indeed it ever existed.

There are two main periods when cultural contacts between thr !aet and Greece apparently were most intensive: the late Bron

ge(14/13th century BC) on the one hand (to Cyrus Gordon i du the concept of an 'Aegean Koine' for this period! ) and the 817th ce:tury BC, when Phoenicians and Greeks were to pen [rilh! th ~- ole of the Mediterranean in a competitive elTon The Ilitter h.

.... en clllled Ihe I • aI" .,

eaJ hac crrenr ISlng period by erchaeologi II It hilI

kground is the military expanllon of AllYn. thai brou,ht

twidtmc:e became available, striking the Herakles figure have been ~"";-~!i'''''''''''' representalion8 are S[i11 turning IIft.J·.Iaf,lI~~.aI~aiO. One important Sumerian-

the Aukk,,' J WM finally published in

bmI~ght, .. o·,t~'d~ ~ .wild bull flr bison, a.~ DIp gpda' and abov, all a'RYeD" anraoted attention most of aU J;8lIIIm)lp~.n[Jrw:Jl"~"'" tlmtS and pictufo" The series has :L:-"l~:t(l~pt:I'eS, of Ninurta'. An enumeration of twelve .j;ibo.lU1.ii~thP'.-~ntaine~d in King Gudea's description of the temple .If:~nglltl!\l at Laguh, known as Gudea's 'Cylinder NY An hUlOlIll)U!te' list occur. in another Sumerian - Akkadian literary llQWpoiition. 'The Return of Ninuna to Nippur' ,18 None of the (~, 80 far, gives an elaborate narrative account of Ninunai Nlnginru's 'trophies', they are just mentioned as if they were a well-known series, The epic texts may be somewhat later than King Gudea's reign, which is dated to c. 2140 BC, but dearly betollg to tbe epoch of 'Sumerian renaissance' (22/2ht century Be). Consider that, in addition to 'twelve labours', Ninurta is a son of Enlil, the storm god, the ruling god of the pantheon, that he is said to have' brought' the trophies to his city, 19 that he is usually identified with the figure ofa god with dub, bow and animal's skin on Mesopotamian seals,20 and the association with Herakles becomes inescapable. Levy and Frankfort, impressed by the seal picturing the fight with the seven-headed snake, have already Stated that this must be a case of migration of myth from East [0 West (n 14); van Dijk is positive about the connection, 100, ~though he prefers to hypothesise a 'common source' in prehIStory.

As one looks more closely at details, however, the outlines of the mytha become leu distinctive, and peculiarities come to the fore ~un~ that make the 'parallels' less striking It is not only th I the

trophlcs' are . th ..

, nOI quae e Same in dlfferenl texts (the sam IUl be

said ~or the laboufB of Herakles), but also that SOme of tb m

~DJllln qUite obscu 21 d h '

'iYPl.l.Im' • re, IUl even t oae readily undenlood 1II Iud

r.....-t illI~ Itrong COpper', demon. difficult to lmajpn III n

•• _ auon With Herald Wh .

myth. of N' . ~8. at II more Imponanl It that

811Jt1e th murtftlNmgu'lIu are deeply e.nrooted In th world

t, II cult. and the temple.. Gudea'. Cylinder A


_Pplli.cacte'1rtlattt'li1'l further, there are other identifications for ilitliiiJlltalllmd Her.ak1es In the dialogues of East and West: the •.• ~Belr In 'Ninurta and the Asakku' couples with a ~FAiWJlg a brood of formidable stones that frightens parallel to the Hittite myth of

UlliJI:uJl~mj, the diorite monster destined 10 l{,lWm;pt,i, in tum, is understood to cor res_dlJnikulm81i to Typhon, then the cham?i~n with Ninurta and the HJllltC !Ii1iil:hl!!ltirul.il~lte!ld of Herakles. [0 fact, Ninurta, aU the equipment of a weather god, me thunderbolt. When, on the other was transmitted from _~"Nl:WiW'bi the fifth century, Ninurta'.

~QIt.Ql',':J;_Y1~' 'WID_ •• 111101l'1li1111 baE fI;hiJi_.l:1$E~tto1i)r granttId tbt many ceuturtu,-

iWli&JiilltiilB,,1he .rQle in coloniaation, OJ' the tiu:t

.@J~",.jmlD.llmliiE~' through fire? Another, much db-.!d:i:jI~~tWJ!;"'II<!1OItni[d at Tarsus in Cilicia, where Santaal >iI~Ioll."I1n'dtlret<xn:I~to represent Herakles, again, as It seems,

ritual?-9 This syncretism in no way can be .JJ1I1Jl11W~~~LW't&/Ningir81il. There is, moreover, an identification A~PJllII.U wiiI'I N'ergal. the Mesopotamian god of the NetherWQrld,!III whose kPnography includes club and bow. It has been au~,IDat lIVeR Herakles' name can be derived from that of ~Nergal,Sl but such suggestion rests on uncommonly BliPi*Y grounds.

Thus, the real problem is not a lack but rather a surplus of intermarions. Similarities within the myths and iconographies of a luge group of divine figures native to several adjacent CIvilisation Of language groups seem to be 'family resemblances', but there i not a lingle clear line that ties one element to another and to nothing else. There is no single "Herakles myth' that could have been passed. like a sealed parcel, to new P08SesSOrs al a certain nme and place. Communication i. broad but indistinct.

In fact. we are dealing here with the most general type of tale. the 'quest' and 'combat tale'. The snake or dragon is suited ideally to play the role of the advenary in this context, 2 as i. the hon In more beroic variant •. Even a widely aignificam number such III

twolve could recur in different cultures independend An

eo~ection with the twelve signa of the zodiac, incidentally h uJd be dl8Cal'dad lUI flU' as the older period is concerned

And yet the para1Iel. between Ninurta and Herakle m

and P-OJ'VUive. Their queau, fulfilling the bulC goal r :tiIIf'. 1lerV8 thCJ communi tiel by milking the IUrroU

UJnan.ly mll-nas_ble, by turning 'nature' In! ultun: L_

tllnllJlI • -

Niml .. animal. or by dllcloltDg mineral. Both H J

Ut Jta; 8lII culture herocl a romp.mon f Ih t :1ie;:"lllalIOI1 by platUl, th .. 'peclfi roI ollb

n with

".f<tai'Omtk studies of this century can rival the impact 1950. There had been signals before, but ~ifij~!!$in.I'brulk"lK~mJllrllj of 1946, made widely known by Albin

othera,411 that defmitely drew the attention of Hittites. At nearly the same time the epoch·l!11!ak'int!;'.d'~ci.1J1h,:J1J:reIlt of Linear B engendered a general enthufor the Bronze Age, and BogazkOy-Hattusa and Mycenae

began to be viewed as partners, not to forget Bronze Age Troy.

The Hittite text that has been called 'Kingship in Heaven' offers parallels to Hesiod's Thtogony so dose in outline and details that even sceptics could hardly object to their connection. Both texts present a sequence of divine dynasties, each being overthrown by the next, until the ruling god of the pantheon, the weather god, fmally a~8umes control. The god 'Heaven' himself, Anu/Uranos, IS yan~~lshed ~Y means of castration, performed by Kumarbi in the Hltble version, Kronos in the Greek; the castrator is an inter~edlate fi.gurc, who rises to power only to lose it again. His peclallty IS SWallowing what he cannot contain: Kumarbi swallows the 'manhood of Anu' and becomes pregnant with three ::' am:!i :em the weather god; Krenos swallows hIS own Pl!r_:ln, u ng the weather god Zeus. These chronoJoglcaJiy

COntspondenatl of e t I

daUb! th h x reme y strange events leave no

at t III texts are relat d i I .

eviler b e intImate y, the Hittite text beIng

di.fferell~ 9~=ted 500h years. It is possible, of course, to treu the

-... 81 t e common fe t U • F

1IQmt to 'uneo . h a urea, or In a reudian vein to

h ~ ... nSCIOU8 uman des' • d I'

ut 1hat diffUsion n Ires un er ymg both verSIOn I, ...

bllt not bGel1 .eri~u.=:d' ~rrowmg of myth dId OCcur In thl ale

Th -1 enied

bo "midn problem th

!'tQwlnlf took place d at stemed to remain w.. wblch euda

urlQg the Bronle Age or later duri he


;-:~~~:tijlfllJd1t.·Gf borrowing, however, does not explain why

;.:.~~·.tll.,.b:lOay1loC1l$Ct. the dragon fight at Lerna, a place of ':.',':)~.jlJj'i~cift!i'_luiraFI'I developed into a water snake, hydra, or .Bfdu!~_i''',anl:U,[)la.uB' participation in the combat, or ·'tftlJltllfeorl~. to Nemea. Local, perhaps prehave been overlaid by oriental

IIIllrSlC::ble .... ilailrned that we are tracing only single :bII~~nbaai(;aO.y sirnilar yet separate mylhi- 1M~!.IW.""'mlma tORlJlletely in the dark all to the ques'twelve labours' ever was transIitl .. ·.,:a,mlid.el· labours in Greece can be Iraced i.e Wortott about 600 BC, transmission

daii" •• 'filllllIlIl·'IlOlIl1JjIIlt(, hGwevu, as it is realised that iIIIIltii:tl .... -it,;iUrot,enlmllib,100.-npare one Hittite text with ·1i.1_~"-:lhlioClia order toeatablish B OlU!-way connection. As .~ ....... of the H1!l1IkIei :theme., there exist. quite a family of HllfiiduXltuhat ft9%'CIC'Dt _vera! civiliutionll and literatures; it

.... ~eto identify definite channels in a complicated ~ KiDpb:ip 111 Heaven' hu. kind of sequel, 'The Song of ~ 46 Kumarbi, dethroned. takes his revenge by copu~'With a mr:k and enpndering the diorite monster that is to ~ the fIOlb. Thi. 3tory mdently corresponds to the Greek ..,.ofTyphoeuaIT'YPhon, who challenges the reign of Zeus after the Tit:iuaa defeat. The connection is made certain by a detail of 1D~ dte P in 'Ullikuml' assemble on Mount Casius in ~ _ it 1& Gn thiI very mountain that Zeus fights with 1ippium. IlCCDtding to ApollodoruB.·7 The reference to a region ~ Hittite. Hunitc and Upritic influence meet could not be .....,.

.. ~~ vcnion of the Typhon fight bears still w aaocher Hittite text, 'The Myth of

..... __ ~l",irJwAlaU:b a dnlgon fisJItl the weather god. In both i. defeaued by hill adversary in the Iirst :.> •• lUIIiltii.il*italipllIJU1m biB body are taken from him - heart r- ... djlittite.t13it, .mews in Apollodorus - which must

~"rfi1Jfl1l'lhjc"rm order that the weather god may resume _.If.IqpN~:.P.rjicN •. Uluyankas ia a 'snake', Typhoeus is ;~_ •• IbeJad. PI Heaiod and haa a snake's tail in .I'illli.Ultlil-c.enI:urv iconography.t9 Typhon, thus, ~l!lJI"doJloj;Ul.ll1llni and llluyanka.:i, although

Ofigin Of (heek tQ l'lU'ajIbt'llst: a weIlto Sumerian~ BabylonEgyptians.

In this perspective, which mIght be instead of being judged in its own by what was to take its place in later IS not to deny that the stories of procreation and ·(lIJmoal~:fln.at make up the narrative structure of mythical cosmopliy'ehow remarkable speculative energy and acquire a unique appeal by means of the repercussions of the vast and wondrous

OJUectto which they are applied. But at the same time, co.mogoniCIll mytbB. just as other myths, have settings and function. defined and particularised by the time and place in which their archaic community of origin exists, In the Near East. cosmogony had special relationships to ritual. It was the discovery that Enuma ,iish was recited at the Babylonian New Year festival that triggered the 'Myth and Ritual' movement.s! the exaggerations of which should not obscure the basic facts. Older compositions such as Lugal-. no less clearly refer to festivals; /iluyankas is explicitly called the cui! legend for [he Purulli festival of the Hittites.62 Theodor Gaster may have gone [00 far in construing just one pattern of dramatic festival to which the myths should be reiated.6J But it is evident that stories about the generations of gods and their final fight for power were understood to reflect and comment upon the establishment of power in the city, which was renewed periodically at the New Year festival, Ritual is the enactment of antitheses, from which the thesis of the present order - the status quo - differs; and myth tells about distant times when all the things we take for granted and consider self-evident or 'natural' were 'not yet' there: the past reflected by ritual presents alternatives, inchoate and perverse in contrast to what has been achieved It is most remarkable that Greece, unlike other ancient societies. did nut ulilise these applications of cosmogenic myth in permanent msn tutions. The festival of Kronia,M fittingly placed before the New ~e~ .festival, could be compared, but it remained rathe inSignificant in the sequence of celebrations. Zeus' fight wlIh the ~itllns and Typhon, as far as we an see, never dire, tlv ent re f ritual; they were used freely, however, in art and poetry ret 111111 a melSage of sovereignty against debased nermes; rhu T ph


1l\J~!I'.I)d'ri1tW1~i·'we'Rknown IlII 'Orphlcs': it "1M'~IH!llalr$lUti,m myth, can be found iC~~rt'1J~tLlm!lri01W1 Qrphic myth of anthroii:I •• 'i_iIldn~lRlfoi)dle IDOt of the Titans who had 1Iio;.,. .... '~ ... JlL .... 'II1 .. DV in Mesopotamian myths DliJ!r6MRdu!~:b1lmXt.of·reibeIliO\18 gods, slain in

.1Idl11idil1ri1t;lumm.aJlv Fl'Jjill in the dark for a lllIiiml::>thiH It !tot direetly aeceuitJle, one: form of If"IJPftlIlfll.totl\e ~II'. jt is especially rich and influential

its time and place of origm i~ usually .fUl1R\llIlbI.e:,littl piict()rla1 tradition. iconography. Picture. or sculpYIilM 'ilitY auMve fur millenia; pictures easily jump language ~ If mythll are expreased in pictures, these play a fundatfd!ntal role in the fixation, propagation and transmi •• ion of those m}ltlU' haven't most orus formed our concept of 'dragon ' from the pictures we have seen, probably at an early age?

In fact it is neither natural nor necessary that pictures should 'refer to myths or tales. Judging from present evidence there were no representations of this kind in Mycenaean art.67 Yet Sagmbi/tUr make their appearance in Greek art about 700 Be and have played a prominent role ever sinee;fi8 and there were precedents both in Mesopotamian and Egyptian art. Of course, our knowledge is largely dependent upon the physical properties of the materials used: some, such as textiles69 or paintings on wooden tablets had hardly a chance of survival; there was just a sligbt chance for some of the most important, wall paintings and metal reliefs; stone sculptures are most durable, but least transportable; the richest corpus that remains is seals, especially the typical Mesopotamian cylinder seals and their impressions preserved in clay.70 Painted ceramics were not used for pictures of this kind in the East.

Yet mythical picture books must be used with special care.

Pictures are just signs, although we habitually give them some signification. This signification often may be some definite action. such as greeting, fighting, love-making, and this makes correspondence with a tale possible, as any narrative structure consists of a sequence of actions. Combat scenes, especially, can hardly be misunderstood. The sequence, nevertheless, cannot be contained 10 one picture; the production of a sequence of pictures to illustrale one tale is a rare and special development It is equally imposslbk for a simple picture to give the kind of explicit referent roal language affords by proper names. Thus on principle it 15 unclear whether a picture refers to an individual myth. mad ... specitlc by the proper names con tamed in it, such 113 'HerakJrs' Of Achil] Again, to add names by writing, or to work OUI a spe iflc anon of


.[i:lijiiilrD!.~·~ •• "':iji.ilII'''''\¥ild man, represented IIdI:amK"fU!lWY 8OnllJpjil~. on his kneel in the .t eseape. This rype liijllilllsm'flld·,Ba1I:tYl.oDiiai:l times and continues to

~·,At!IJ'l'iiJp.\ud·IJ_'Balbyl!onian epoch. spreadaftd Galilea,71 There is be called Gilgamesh, GilgamtlSh Tablet III to the woods, and there is ._"'latl1l\QitibJllm:it cthl:eat~lm:d by a frontal grim "1~'e.:J.~'>flilidt:~1lItifiitatiori of the 'wild man' at the

nulaM-ll11:e face has usually been

1tIt1bMlilt (Ilfdl1ci~plreelenltatiion8, It is almost the iO.1M.~JGtilthlian iconography that thus can text; normally glyptic art . ..".~licor rimali.tic.

than enee that in Greek art this BUltrut'tJ'.e Gorgo' _7~ at the centre is the IIj"griNiftltf'tiu:e of a 'wild' creature, in Perseus and Athena - 1I"Il_~,tJ.J'UHl monlter. Even the detail WJ_~¢IIl1, that Perseul should turn his _",t)1l1ClIW pl1BCCdeltttl. In theBe, the

om: wearing a long

~1lC1l ~·~~.m.1I11i,ha"'4.IIMoriemal models of the

~1iI,t)I' lQl~r:ll.ure form of Beale or metal relieft. clear that thi. transference of a mythical -.:",ftDtoonl1.lllllte a transxnissic)Q of myth. There is not ;'IlttA~.lt,6,millu~er!l&allding either, however: the signification of dI1Ji.tllGtrlbalU~I:I!l1[e', two fighters helping each other against a 'wild' ~ hlb been understood clearly. Yet the contexts do not ",ingle, lbe Humbaba fight belongs to the exploits of a cultural fu:ro~ Gilgamesh secures the access to the 'cedar forest' in order to procure timber for the city, a feat analogous to Ninuna's fighting the monster of the mountain. The tale of Perseus, on the other hand, has clear characteristics of an initiation myth: the hero travels to marginal areas to get hi. special weapon that commands death. The most striking detail, the hero turning his face away from the enemy, proves to be a creative misunderstanding: on the oriental prototype the hero is looking for a goddess who is about to pass him a weapon; Greek imagination has a monster instead with petrifying eyes. Details of the Gorgo type, incidentally, have their special iconographic ancestry; it cannot be derived fully from Humbaba.74 The new creation, for the Greeks, is an iconographic sign without special ties to rituals or local groups, to be used freely in an 'apotropaic' sense on pediments, shields, or in other contexts, a terror to scare away mischief from temples or warriors.

There is a curious seal from Cyprus belonging to this context that deserves special mention, 7; It differs from the type in so far as it has only one champion. He is decidedly turning his face away from the monster, which he is seizing with his left hand while raising his weapon, a harp" with his right. The monster, en Jat:t and in 'Knielauf, has Egyptianising locks and something like diffuBf' rays stretching out from its head - for Greeks, these would be the snakes surrounding the Gorgo's head - and the feel are huge bird's claws. This detail is securely rooted in Mesopotamian iconogmphy. where Lamashtu and Paauzu, dreaded demons, are represented in this way. Both, incidentally, have some further trans in common with the Gorgo (n 74). The picture W8.B published nl the beginning of this century in Roscher'. LfXiJcon d#r gn«Mschm .M IT/1fWchl1l M)lhologr, as being a clear iIIuilration of the Pereeu SIIl1)'; Pierre Amlet, on the other hand, haa recently Interpreted


It'l'lb.~an ~

1JIDl~II,U(CU1 have ~

,tbU'lmilctllt,·jM'lIidin: the victim is seen from both side., Yet the victim 18 oftbrone and sceptre, which Aigisthos the tricky garment used to suffocate added, This ill a deliberate composition, :o;jilt11i&ti.I'~,1l famous Greek tale, but the iconographic OUI.i'lfn.e8;hill~e 1I ..... ,,,,};,,,,,,,, .. ,,,,,,rI from the oriental prototype; remodelling .be!l,(l· ;i(;9l1llpJ.ete success. As to the contents, there appears b) Ifc no at all: Agamemnon is not a 'wild man' , Yet the;e ;llIt1Y be unknown intermediates, It is striking that on some oriental exemplars, especially one that comes from the West SAinitieoagibn, Tell Keisan in Galilea,82 there is a fourth person lidded to the three-figure scene, a smaller female raising her hands an a gesture of'mourning. For the Greeks, this will be Electra. This would 8uggeS! that even in this case of creative misunderstanding, there was not just one chance event that has to account for the transformation, one artist in Gortyn stumbling on an oriental model while trying to illustrate the tale of Agamemnon, but multiple channels of communication.

!tV~lu!Qi_ent a ccnstellarion, as paralleled on IiDJUI1IilIlBl1vdu_ are 'seven stars'): the Greek m:"mD'::tiXI,ktbeID for stones and placed the IIRIlV·HIWtIllJ du,cllaJ:npion's feet. We thus separation: the story, the

•.. ~!!!$~r" but the parcel is untied, the l.ka&iie'4:Oi!nternovcl combinations so that r . .a.:mIld)mlil::111 replica of its antecedents.

produced another ,...."..,1""~. the .oJdest representations of K:lytaimnestra and Aigisthos '"fbi. a clay plaque from IlAr~, fur III .trong Eastern

TIllS essay has been neither systematic nor aimed at complerene ss , entering, as it does, a field where much is still to be explored, I I has been restricted to connections with Mesopotamia, while similar observations of equal importance could be made with regard to Egypt; suffice it to mention Amphitryon.83 The examples adduced here may serve to establish some more general tenets, however: 'Oriental' and Greek mythology were close enough in time, piau: and character to communicate with each other. More than casual parallels are evident; sparks Jumped from one 10 the other repeatedly, There are fundamental similarities, for Instance in the quest of the culture heroes be it Ninurta or Herakles: there wa

d'ffi . ' •

I usion or motifs such as the lion fight or the seven-headed snake;

more profound Influence came about with the adoption of COSm?gonic myth; there was also an impact of Iconogr phy especIally In the oriental Ising epoch, which howev r Icfr room for many creative re-Interpretations. It is not or nor )' r po Ibl

t ' I ,.

o ISO ate specific occasiom or slOgle routes of Iran f r On


Figure 2.3: Seal from Cyprus: Hero Fighting Monster. (See note 75. p. 39)


Figure 2.7: Seal from NiomJd: God Fighting the Snake. (See note 79, p. 39f)

J+ (1974) 137 -96: 'h< rull."

Burkert, OE 22f.

~,n""I"V, Cr.t/r; Epir 1'Htt7 from EIlllU/l}J 10 J>.u.]<Um "",""11.53-63,82.

MJ1A .......• hum/II'1om K_. (Zurich, 1946) Heaven' (Laroche, O~, DO. 344; ANET 1201) and 26). The di",overy had been SIgnallEd by E. Forrer In ·~~~~~;'l~~~~';~l{Jjirw .. ell.t, 1936) 687-113, cf F. Darn.eiff In L'AIII,,".,;

1 Lesky, Gu"",,,,,," 8.Mj ... (Bern, 1966) 356-71 (lSI

~~~~l~ ...... n.eUlllCt'''. 'My1hologi.che VO ..... llungen d .. AltEn Oriente tm II Ut·I.CI~C11"u.n, Gym_.um, 62 (1955) 508- 25; P. Walcot, H.,.od ""J

(Card ill. 1966); M. L. W.", Hui.d Thull"ny (Oxford, 1966).

43 M. P, Nil •• on, Gw:huhtt riD gnuhiseh .. Rtligion, Srd edn, vet. I (Muni<h, MIG?) St5~ 5« also Kirk, Myth, 214-20; Burkert, S&H 20-2.

-1+ E R. Dodds, 1M GnL and Ih. Irrali."'" (Berkeley, 1951) 61.

45. Tranemieeien via Late Hittites and/or Syria was Heubeck's thesis; d.

Burkert, DE, pauim. Wal<ot, Hesiod, 127-9 and We." Thugnn), 28f argued lor transmission in the Mycenaean epoch. Survival of the Hlnlee Iiluyankas myth into late Hutile limes i!l usually inferred from the Malatya relief; see above, n 35.

46. See above n 26; on Caucasian parallels, W Burkert, 'Von Ullikummi rum Kaukasus: Die Felsgeburt de. Unhelds", W"rz~ jnh,b NF., 5 (1919) 253-61. 4-7. ANETI23; Apollod, 1 (41) 6.3.7. The IJiadh .. Tvphceus .. A7Im."{2.7B3.

d. Hee. Thtog. 30'1). which might be the first Greek reference to 'Aramaeans'. On Typhoeu. in He •. TAmg. 820-80, see Welt, TAtDgo'!!.

48 Laroche. QuoIDg"" no, 321; ANET 125f; cr. Burkert, S&H 7 -10. An Independent variant of the myth still recurs in Nonnos 1.154-62. d. M. Rocchi, SludiMu .... oJ E.g.o-AlU1Jolici, 21 (1980) 353-7~.

~ H es. Tioeog. 824-6, sptirai Apollod. I (42) 6.3,8: Chalcidian Hydna in Mumch: K &ch.fold, F.riJJogri«histht 8ag<nbjlder (Munich, (964) pl. 66

50 BfJd/ ~dPU"(J 'Lord or the North', is attested at Ugarit and in tbe rrearv of I!aarhaddoD with Tyro (ANET 534); of E=lru 14.2; ! i e. <fnd ""II appear as t In Aram.e"", of. SO, (Ug.ri,ie, Hebrew) - Tyros. See O. Ei .. Ieldt., Beal Z.ph •• L"" K""", und riD DIU<h<ug d .. I., .. IIIln J""hs M", (Helle. 1932): E. Henigrnann in RE 4A (1932) 1576£; F. Vian in ElbrmrIJ .' .... ,.we Ja", t. "/igl" l'«q"' •• 0"''' (Paris 1!lli0) 26-8

51. Ullikummi iii-c, ANET 125.

I 52 T~. In ~H 790; 0 Els,reldt repeatedly advocated the aurhL'tmcilY or the ,~antltllm.'o~ traditio~' RIJS 8,/t4mr. u.dS.",hlUlj.'.n (Ho.II., 1939]75 9S' id.IIl,

Muloound SanchU1\Jaton', Siuu.p,," 8,,1i.(1952), I The now wmm.n,.ry by ~ I Baumgan.n, 771, Ph .... " •• HUI.')! oJ Phil •• j B,b1r4 (Leiden. 1981) {Unci u "" t 01 Philo ,. beuer ex plained in non-Ugantic ' er m •. S ee ala" J Ebsch. ~ 11<,,1 '~og."" K.II .... twlttlrmg Wi PI .. ,.,..,. Byblos (Srullgart, (919)

i F M Corn(ord, Prim:.fJ.U17I Sap .. ", ... (Cambrtdge 19 2) <I~ (

£11 ~aJ2~Y'h and Ritual', 225 38. and 'Th. Hymn 10 M.rduk and th H IIIn I

b ~' • 49 This book w .. edited pcathumouslv; the ch pI h d n w II n

• 5:" :e Ku~a.rbi di'covery, 00<: E. R Dodd.'. ncte, p 49

·w edll.on of the cuneiform text. W G Lomb ert and S II I' k


Atr48ct that Ibc myth 'Gaia aa a Previous Owner' contains ~ ~ of I11l'1tift ed notiona which appear in a ~ Wilder) form in the HtJrrwrie Hymn's dragon-killing, _ ~~~dabotat •• acculturated. version of that myth. ....,~ fortbepJelUmption, enunciated earlier on, that the ~1l8OWDM'II myth was t_r than 'Apollo's foundation of the


fin 6»Ipid.es' IT, 123+-'83 Apollo took over Thernis' oracle ..,kiIlmc dae' drapn who guarded it; to avenge her daughter. "';lID1 P'lJPhebC night dreams which made Apollo's oracle ib!IIan~"", wbo~ help Apollo sought, removed the night ..... ~ IUld restored men's confidence in Apollo's ":11,,--; ~ «!IIVellge and the Apollo-Gaia conflict are also t.lJIlbl'PiItubar;m ITche oracle's owner is Themis, who, though .. '!1iI .... 1iI1111C1I:ki1ol and GaiaJs daughter, is associated with Zeus' ":.JiQtlij_';·.t*itb'Apollo - in myth (Hom. H. Ap. 123-5) and

:,>_1111'*1"''' ··~ml!_I. then, waa a symbolically mediating figure In one variant the oracle passes from M~_.iUD .. J.'IJc,.6$ ltJ transfer ftom Gaia to Themis is a

~jfjJ*,"~:Ii";pt'mOrtjial BJJd often savage goddess to one jultic:t!; that from Themi! to Apollo a .~_.~[tui.t:bull)'JDboJica1ly superior) lawgiving and 1iii'I.t.\4I~>,_" order. When contrasted to Apollo.

.... ~CIl~IIt.\ViI .. symlJOli:tlIdly. .... born. and 80 ~uld not

~w~d.(,~de"Kq~ad~p~Apollinepa~me "~;a:JImLCe· for art intetmediat« figure, dBflned by the ~illi.~:Il)'~(lett'gocideB' somehow aasocia«:d with Gaia' (for the .UCllfmiIJl!:SIlllIllIll8WIlB 'ApollO' replaces and older goddess', and iU_lJblish<ed:fov.m involved Gaia), and (b) 'figure associated with values pertaining to Zeus' order'. This space corresponds to Themia' persona, and, in my view, it is in this context that she became a Previous Owner of the Delphie oracle.65 This variant stresses the oracle' 8 close association with Apollo and Zeus, and its high claims to justice and order, and thus also its important role in establishing them. In some ways, "Themis' ownership' can be seen as an elaboration of the formulation in Alcaeus' hymn 'propliitm[donla dilr:in.lcoi Ilwmin', which describes Apollo's mission to Delphi and expresses the same perceptions of the role of the Delphic Apollo and his oracle. Given the model of a violent takeover leading to a higher order in Hesiod's ThlQgony. the violent transfer schema was one potential articulator of Apollo's takeover of Themis' oracle (cf. Apollod. 1.4.1). But the pull was towards the friendly transfer, with the conflict gravitating towards Themls' mother, Gaia. Themis and Apollo were positively related. The myth's structure creates a contrast between them - at the same time as it brings out their similarities; but the value of the Apollo- Themis relationship in this myth is also determined ~rou~h their relationship aa a pair to the pair Gaia Apollo which 18 th~lr aI~ernative. When related to the Gaia-Apollo pair, the r",.lallonshlp between Thernis and Apollo drifts towards the ~;ndly pole, with Gaia-Apollo occupying the hostile one, aa In

In the IT version another set of relationsbips also come. Into play: the pair Gaia-Themis is implicitly compared wuh and pl'f:Ben~ed as inferior to, the pair Zeus-Apollo Zeu I' the

sovereign thul hi "". A

m th" 18 Onaprlng, polio, wins ThiS i. one f!he

y 8 meamngs. Gaia was a guarantor of the old order, but 1M II


Ul'Ucilll "_'''IQPY"ll1n~ltnl~'''linl:e it lug_",.",uuni ApollO-'f I'.lIdlUlc:e mVV¥'I1:lIliU, tba"IDnI1l'. the Previous

!tiI.raI.lM •• ~ ..... diJJiI.tnOIt IM*ntly. For it say. _"_-''',!J1IIolaltlUl.dby Zeul. which is equlvalent WIll right, that they vJQl"U"_IVI]tof the oracle in the myth, which 1II1 .. .., .... blildmllelltofa.!JPOrior cult, fo_hadow. - and thus

~ di...-eri_. and will 1ft ita tum be characterised by .. _:.filM: play the'Vtolent takeover of an especially holy MtiIe an41he _abliahtnmt of a new, superior, civilised, cult - ..,~ -r..u.opolol presented as IUl acculturated version of the ... GJk 6Ii Prophecy i. an important theme in IT, as in the 1!hwiOu. awne... myth It is mysterious and in some ways ~Dg _ .. well a8 order-Cl'eating and helpful; it is also IllUMl"tllin and vulnerable to misinterpretation. In IT these upIIw dlaracterianc. gravitate to Gaia's prophecy, which is defutt=d In the myth and alm proved fiillacious within the play - fot Iphlpncia misunderstood her prophetic dream (which only taW. P'l't J)f the truth); they are also limited, and offer no CIIikPoe i7 In &1: myth the prophetic dreams sent by Gaia are ~v:dy dlaraeterised: they are born of malice, they come ...waden-.(aod 1IIte thus not controllable), and they are associated, "mtI"~!I.JJgl;lJlire and wntent, with darkness and night. Thus, In

,'pUl.~lJ'!Iil\jIIM;~ilY. the da,rk Bide of prophecy drifts to Gaia, and prophecy to emerge as wholly po~itive. been artieulated, but, because It was

:,'~ ••• "';to:lbJ~dl~e;atc:dand8upeneded Gaia, it has not contami·

the contrary, that oracle has contribu.ted

and is thus presented as its oppoSite,

.~"'.I;.,J_l, wlIIlIlso .baped by, and ellpressed, a be:i:~ •• :!;W •• :ll1'.~IQIPU:'.Il. and in prophecy, the instTUmen . 1t .. ~~ ... IP.'l- QWl and gods. It reaffirms the DelphiC

f.iir!Jtct!!"'it.otfjill*llPlidam:c • ..w. ... elt1Ie¢tlI_tjOJ~"andJed tl)"dll: to~ Ut·blWd~·QriOlti)rI' time. Thi.f_dnunati,,~raDd

rif?~Ote.'tlnIY"'1J condllJlsed. and fONlihadowed, in the F.c:vioUil

.".~n..:mytbjJ!r 1234-8:J· .

~n8 to Acsch.i £tun. 1-8, Gaia gave the Delphic ~racle to

:n._ succeeded with her cooseDt by Phoebe, who gave It to her d':o Apollo OD hill birth. That this friendly transfer fore=OWtthe play's conclusion has been noted by o~erB .• as hili the

assage's relationship with Hesiod's ThtDgony.6Il Since m thl: early ~d\h century the established srherna for the replacement of a primordial deity by a youngel' god was the violent transfer of ~e TIito§O'V"s sueeesaion myth - through which Apollo replaced Gaia _ the friendly transfer variant was perhaps created - in the context of the play's needs and aims - by Aeschylus. This would explain why there is, uniquely in his version, an extra mediating figure, Phoebe, whose close kinship with Apollo allows a friendly power-transfer from an older goddess to a younger god, through the schema 'gift on a special occasion' (compare, e.g., Diod. v.2.3). Phoebe is also a representation - in this play where malefemale family relationships are an important issue - of a positive relationship between Apollo and the maternal side of his family - perhaps a symbolic counterweight to Orestes' matricide and Apoll~'s role in it and in its aftermath. The Aeschylean myth's meamngs are a more ethical, 'civilised' version of the Violent variant~, ascribing a higher ethical tone to the oracle (and itl god) - !lgam represented as instrumental in establishing order and

aymbolically homologou8 to Zeus' reign of justice '

T~n~ Ephoros fragment (FCdH 70 F 31 b) tells us that Apollo and humml~ founded the oracle together, to guide and willie p anid Ity: another (F 150) that Apollo ebtained Delphi £rom

08Q on In I!xdt;mgefi T T .

tw . or amaron. he reiauonuup between th

o IB unclear (cr. FOrH lle, 49). They could be harmoniHd If


i!d1ild~."'.tQ ~pl1.llU: 'J'u~ pt'ellllIlCe:of certain signibelonged to rll!lJHllilti'IPlrkiip{n:ttlk:8l1.radli~ll'ttlq\la1I:eS, may also have

: ..... li .... _.rtbat _l'ca,9lUm on the locality. Apollo and to the symbolic pole of in the Delphic oracle -

·~ .. .,.'.d f1Iu!:,t'!'I.llt .• 'hm",. - Poseidon and his values are

. Poseidon and Gaia are

~:::=:r:i;~:=. at her oracle', (Paul,

III Thlllnl! prophlllying on the

~tb these two goddU3CS, ascribe this lS correlative: with, and 80 aniculates bet~n on the one hand the: prophetic ,lIll~&lt,~dtJr-C:lr~atin.g funct~o~ ~d Apollo the civilising god of ~tJ Md on the other a divination rite involving disorder lth ...... ". • t' ) 74' e "'1'_1110 * ecsta ie state, a mystenous access to the divine will a

tsntJ1QiWY and partial blurring of the limits between mankind and tIuI goda. Like Gaia, the Pythia is an ambivalent female figure who OVlltll.eps the normal limits; this, the myth implies, is because she il a legacy from Gaia, but now she operates under the control of Apollo the god of order, who has tamed the previously disordered -;and fearsome - divination rite.

Thus, all variants of the Previous Owners myth are shaped by, and express, positive representations of the Delphic oracle and its god, and of the role and nature of prophecy, and also perceptions pertaining to the ritual and to relationships between deities - and through them also to the Greek conception of the coarnca. The Previous Owners myth, then, which does not fit the facts of. and therefore cannot be explained as, cultie history, makes perfect sense as a myth, expresses, and is structured by, significant Greek collective representations. In this sense, this myth is 'true"."

Appendht: The Omphalos - Some Further Remark.

An important transformation of the Minoan ritual nexus 'oval stone, eagle-hawk and young god' in Delphic cult is the nexus 'omphalos, eagles and Zeus' 76 in the story that the omphaloS marks the centre of the world, which was determined by Zeus, who released two eagles, one from the East and one from the We", who met at Delphi (cr. Pind. fro 54). Here th~ god connecte~ WIth th~ omphalos is Zeus; it is therefore interesting that the MInoan go

. . . had·b t d - or rather. hIS later

Involved In that ritual nexus cootn u e . h

h . f Zeus' (c.peclally I e

transformations did - to t e creallon 0 11

A II' Thus the facI that I e

young Zeus') perBonal1 a. well as po 0 s. .

t . buted 10 the creallOn

Minoan god connected with the "tone con n hal '

of both Apollo and the young ZeUS is reflected '~ rhe om~ ::~ assoeieticn in the Delphic cult of the histOrical pm


, the ff)i!~~~iIJ.l:eA4i<tlf0.tlli·''''~'~riuch is the .~.~'.Ill'4tn11~·d.ltI)lltin:i",fthe mytheme we are

... ~~·~iJtl.~bh··.itlHilf a mythological transformation storte and the Minoan god young Zeus' persona; for in ~t.';·~_~"'J6l1tll1eo!.:ADJlrtlritl1iililtld in the Greek myth) there is a

,'·'i:~~I&,:.eqP"4zct~between the god's symbolic death and a is the fact that Apollo prophesied at authority, which entailed an associaand the sovereign god. Finally, Delphi's ;"".*,'-4Ilr..,.:ftII1ijIJr·'PIl.1Id1I~c:niu BlInC1:uary created the symbolic could be connected with Delphi,

<~=;=:=::::j:: fur !he. sema of Zeus' victory.

:1 ompb.aJol can be made sense of if we

oto_it:IJn&Uluuoolrmati.on of the Minoan stone (the was reinterpreted so as to fit the ~i4IilC'~~.~'I1Wojth Zeus' serna being another such trans-

~~.1_1fAI~.,c,I;tht:~vorid mterpretation and the myth of elaboration ~ in interaction with "'l~II,Ol._'ne't IPIOCtauo", with eagles - of the HIlla marking hiB sovereignty at cco.mic dimension to the notion of a "ClliBtre of &he world'i - an enlarge~~ICIdI""-.~oeJ by JkIphi's central place in in tbie (centre"eagles) story the

supports the 'a'(ed'1rt1D).f'mIlwtr.n!t of O1It earher cult funerary interpretattons8\! n!lIulted from

the Minoan stone'l funerary conneetions83 of Delphic myth and cult - which Jo'iliY'OIftd""onv"". 111'id the Python, On this view, the Minoan $Q'O:e save rillt to different cult objects, associated with different 1fn~and rituals, through the interaction between, on the one ~, die mythemes and ritualemcs associated with that stone wi. it entered Delphic cult, and on the other the 'spaces' in Delphic cult and myth - Ill! they were developing in response to the needs which the oracle and its god fulfilled in archaic Greece. Th@ugh fission and conllation these transfonnations were appar-

ently distributed between two physical objects: the omphalos in the adyton and Zeus' sema,


• 1 am vcry gril,eful to Professor C RoHey for discussing this pa-per whh me at great length. Profu!lor H. W Parke was kind enough (0 di!5CU5S Gaia with rne, despite our disagreement.

1. Th. myth: Aeseb. Eu. 1-8; Plnd. fro 55, Eur.IT 1234-83; Eur. 0. 161-;·

Ephonll FOrH 70 I' 31B, f 150; Ari!lonoo., P"'IVII. Apollo (M G. Collin. F •• ili" iii Dllplw Ill. Epilf'.phi, vel, ii (Pam, 1909-11» no. t91, ili; Pam. 10 ~ 6-7, 24.4; Died. 16.26; Plul.l7lh. "IIC. 0!02C- E, Schul. Eur. 0, IH; PhDlIUS, l.u. s.v lAtmisltUlin; Pind. I'yIk. Hypolh. " Apollod. I 4.1; Monandor, RAil. G,. ed Spongol, iii, pp. 441-2, The<lpompul FOrH 115 F 80; Orph H 79· HYK,n FO!. III; Lucan 5.79-81; Ovid. Mrl. 1.320- J, 4.64]. cr. abo Plu. !hI ... , 414A-B.

2. See, e.g., H. W. Park. and D. E. W. wormell, Th« !hlpl>« (flacu. '01. i, HI Humry (Odord, J955) 6-13. H. Gallr::1 de Sameere, DtI(J5 I"",uhu tf GFJMH/Wl (Pam, 1958) 150-1; M Delco"rt, L'."",I, dr Dt/plu, (P ans. 1955) 28-12, R. Ma n in and H. Metzger, r", R,I"",n f'''q'''' (Vendomr 197bl I~, 2,8-33, , Biquignon, 'De quelqaee Ulurpl!l1LUnS d'Apollcn en Grhl" [('ntralf" d epree d n.h."'h.ar~cenle,', H,. A .. h. (1949)62-8. G. Roux, Dtlpllt, S ••• u 'of '" (P.,,", 1976)21-H, H .V. Herrmann, OmpA.I ... \Mun',<T (959) IOU I. H ,_ Herrmann 'Zur Bedeulung de. drlphUlchC'n DrtlrUlar:,', &,"'. (198 1 ,. bb 8 C Dietrich, 'RefieclIonl on the or_gln .. 01 the or.cullllf Apollo' B/{; 19) ~ s..:pti<allagain" M P Niluon, G"d"hl. dn f',,,AurA,. RII, ... I, rd

(MUnich, 1961)171-2; C Rolley, Fo.,lh, '" !hlpills ~ r I1tp..JJ. I

(Parll, 1911).,7 8, J Fomenrcee. TIl, IJtlf1l1" 0. ... 1, (Bcrk 1 r Lu. 111 London, 1978) I; 4, P Amendry, LA M,,"q'" .,..11,.""", DtlpIwo j."rllo."""",t J,I'.""J, (Pa.h, 19~)214


M;','O'!md·Jlltlttl ...... , La __ nliguwoi """ t.s J Chadwick, TIu: ~ WOTU 4*,364 n 1" 13!1, 403 n 3.

'1!'i!Widl!f~lI, 'Uourp3llioll.', 66-7. H •• bin'" Mycenaean Gaia else had • • he later Apollo oan •• uary

["'" 0mnUi (Verona, 1!I15) a9. Ot. abo Hemnann, 0..,6"'."


'ill 'l!J 24 Burkert, GR, 136; again" the e.ymological ar gumenr also Chadwi.k,

M'J<IIl<U"II WtWtd, 86 - 7.

25. Burkert, GR, 136-8.

76, Cf. G~!1lrd·Rou ..... u, M..uiMU, 184-5; Chadwick, Mycm .... W ... U.94-5. 21. The date of the lItatue bues; on the la.tter. P. de la CO$(e--Mc:sflelim and R.

Fl.ceh~~, ·Un. SI'a,ue de la Terre A Delph .. '. BGH, jl (1930) 283-95; AmiUldry, Mantiq", 208 n 3.

28. Metz.ger and Manin, RI/igion, 30, 33 acknowledge that there is no archaeologacal evidence to support the priority of Oaie'e oracle.

29, Plut Pylil .• ,"', 402 C-D; E. B<>urguet, F ee ili ss Jz D<lpiuJ JlJ V EP'll"pIo" Lu _pus d. IV. ,i .. 1< [Paris, 1932) 25 col. III. A, 3-+; on G.i.', sanctuarv:

Bourguelt ap. cu., 12911 1; J. PouiUoux, FftrJllks th IkJ(JIt«J II. TO/JdlrtJ/Jltlt tIMC/III","". La rig ..... ,d d. ,,,,,,,,,,,itt (Paris. 1960) 96; M. F, Courby. F •• ,Ilr> tit Ddplon Jl. ropol"'/J6i," ."hulCl.". La T ... "". du _pit [Paris, 1927) 183-4.

30 Concise his(ory of the site: P de la CD11e·M('!I!lifli~re. 'TopographiC: delphlque'. RGH, 93 (1969) 730-58. On this point d. also P. Amendry, 'Chron.qu. delphiquo (1970-1981)', BGH, J05 (1981) 677-9.

31. Cf,. eo.g .• Ocueby, TmllU. 201; P de 18 CDsu:-Me~lSeh~rcl Au Mtu tb D.lphu (Pari., 1936) 69-72; ",'ra: Amandry, M.rUlI/"" 210 n 2

32. Sonte have argued that the bases had been moved there from a .. hfff"rrni

loeatien (cr .• hcrt dieeueeien with bibliography· Am an dry, M •• ,oqlU. 208 n J) 33 On .hlS building: d. I. Co5t.·M .... lih., "Tcpographte'. 734.

34. cr Martin and Me .. ger, R'/'glo., 14- 5,28

35 On Didyma, Cleroe and Ptoicn, H'~ Manin and Mtlzger, R,(I,r It, 5 43-53, ~3-60, Burkerl, GR, 115; B. F.h" 'Zur Geschi<hl' do ApollunhrihKIUIl .. yon Didym.', M.,h Wi .. ulm ProV. 197112, 14-59; G. Gruben, 'I) ... ",h., h. Didyma.Dn', jdJ, 78 (1963) 78-177; E. Touloupa, "The oncIU."" of Mounl Pto~on in Boectla", in E. Melu (ed.), Tmt/1uJ ud s,,,,rtll4ntJ oj .4....-l1li1 G, (London, 1973) 117 23 At Dldvme a laurel + .prong «>mb,naIlDn .s ., Oelphl The hyporheaia [eee, e g-, MarCin and Mt:'ugn. 8,1.,1011. 4+) lha[ rhese ApoUm oracles aUQl:iauon. with apringa are a legacy of rarher Gaia eult ft"plru:: J b Apollol for whidllhere is ne evidence WhallM'Ver. IS another txarnpl ul eh r .. u JIl.I dil<u...,d

36 O. I. COI.e-M .. ",h~re, 'ToptJgupbl ". 736 31 On which: 0. I. Co .... M .... libre, Ibid n6


the ItJpod origin.led 'ft the th~t e- ltll!l~ thnmelehatr. wh_ oc<uparrt he Mtlllult -. lib(l11IeI1I w"nhiplpet~ at Mycenaean Delphi. In myth py.hia elrt ... g em .he lripod. Apart

~~~~.~~!:~~~~i~I~,.'iflicalion of the tripod w,th the bigh·backed

-: n:liancc on the Circular 'Mycenaean GaUl at

invalldal'" hi. case. Arnandry' •• ugges.ion (R.. EI c.., 97 owe .hi. reference to Professor C. Koney» tha. the Pythia·. P.n:IPO""""1""U (whidt. he saYII, had not been seen by the ancient writers and

who spoke of, or rep reee n •• d it) may have been not a proper tripod but IIOm.thing relal.d ID the three-legged Mycenaean thronc (.urvival of a tradi,ion or pretlcrvllwn ofa "'lie) is, in my view, wrong: (1) Though 'he Pythia was probab~y net in view when proph.nying. we cannot know that the part of the adyton In which her tripod .tood was no. visible at other times. (2) There is no reason to scppoee that the descnption of Ike instruments of divination would be kept secret .. ...... the ""nlullation procedure was spoken off re ely. (3) The Dclphian priesthood cer.ainly did know what the prophe'ic .ripod looked like, and i, is highly implausible that Ihey would have allowed its rDurepCCs.enfalion on. e. g , coins (e.g Delphic Amphic.yony coinage: C. M. Kraay, Arrha;, ""d Class,«1 Gmt C."" (London. 1976) 122, pl. 22 no. 41+: ApeUo. omphalos and 1,"",1, and wi.h them, and ~hus part or the cull (which identifies it u the prophetic ITipod) a normal tnpod). (On lbe Delphi. tripod: Burken, HN, 121- 5; Park. and Wormdl. 0,,,,,1,, 24-6; Rnux, Dtlphts, 119-23; F. Willemsen, 'Der delpbiscbe D...,ifu se •• IJJ. 7Q (1955) as-1M.)

!t2. If Themis was an owner oflhe oracle in Pi. P. 11.9-10, which ie unlikdy [the c •• e again .. : H. Vas, Thnnis (Assen, 1956) 62-3 wi.h bjbl.}, the twu versions could be hannom.sed if in Ie. 55 Gaia waa , as in Eor. JT, avengmg Therma The Gaia-Apollo eenllict abo in Theopompos FC,H 115 f 80

53 On Gaia: M. B. Anhur, 'Cultural Str ate gi •• in H •• iod·, Th.agony' Law. family. socielY', A,tih",., ts (1982) 64. 65, 66, 70-1. 76; Nilsson. G" ,h"thm Rrl.,; ••• "~6-61; L. R. Farnell, Till Culls oj iii. G"d Sull .. , vol. 3 (O.ford. 1'ffi7) 1-28,307-11; L. Deubner, Aujs<~r FISI,. 3rd edn (VIenna. 1969) 26-7.

54. s.eJ .. P. Verneru R,I,,;o. Plttl"" rrligi.", .,'iq ... ' (Pans, 1916) 23.

~5. On Zeu!iol conque_S( of 5Ovl:'teignly: Detienne and Yernanr, RYII • 61 I~" 6. cr. Vernot, RrllglDn grtt9w. 25~6 on Hermes-Hesrie

57 See Burkerr. HN, 121~ ThaJrnann, Coru ... ' .. '.!i ...... 72; J Fcneenroec, P)I1t i'I (Berkeley, Loa Angel •• , London, 1959)13-22.71-93,

F 5~: J Trilmf: 'Stadlgr(indung und Dr ac henkampf". H""" . 86 (1958) t . 59'·.' La 0", ..... '" Thib". Cod",., 'II" SP4'I" (Par ... 1963) 9. 113

. . The momt~r'. rotting corp.se gave Delphi loe name Pvtho and Ap{lII(, h ep;:::cti::hian (Ho," H, Ap. 372-4) (CumplUT Eur 1 •• 989 11191

ODn, d •• """, 10 and n 89. (In the H... H AI' the c1r.~ w

lII':IC":.d';hb a .pTlng (300» In Bur IT the mon .... ,. mal .. and G ... guard I~' 0 "" ... ~ •. r Rb.,o r a nd In Pind PylA Hypolh a, lb. draall"

racle. an the lancr It UIUrp' n and In the fom1u H dr IlII

LklNd·,To" ••. JiuI,(O. 6-7. 84) enhanced her rh., nr;ori, •• 1 meaning of Ihmu'" Mii!n,t!Illlm~'. ~"'i!W.l'Jjrillliotll'ioem;'nt's· (Ite Vos, nmm, V"", Thlmis. 62-5; t1l~IIiIiNj~Iti6I .. ,:,&I). fl'l'[)d,rlliiir ',ill. Gala was more important than

gild whose penona contamed transformed elements of the young god I.lbe god who became the dying DionY50s, and whom w. may call, Jilr @!Ly'lllit:Il~'. aab. DionysollZagreuI Thus il cannot b. excluded that (the dying} DrOAY"'" aosociation wilh the Delphic omphalol which i •• aid '0 b. htl graye In Tatian, Ado Gr,,"_ 8 may be another transformation or the assocraucn between the Itone and the godl to who se persona the (t ra n.formation. of the ) MlDoan. god had cOnlribu •• d, eapeaaUy since, as We saw (cf .• ext) •• h. funerary C<Q~et'tlima of the omphalDi correspond to similar connotations of the stone in the Monoan ntual

?9. Unworked ':'001 waa placed on i. (Pau s. 10.24.6), a3 on the omphalos. A. r .. c~.ohau., 'a.iIlge Stillen in Delphi', Ath. Mu., 35 (1910) 271- 2 saw this seene u !Ii. omphalos' 'Vorbijd'.

tg:~'~?o~ whIch cr. R. F. WiII."s, c .. ta. Cults and Ft1Ii""ls (London, 1962)

~~.:: o~ this Burke~, RN, 127, who notes ,hal the image of tho navel

82 p :. ropom~rphl~Y lb. concepi '<ontre of .he world'.

sf 11;. yt ns or Dlonyoo. tomb (referenc es in Parke and Worm.lI, 0. .. 11. 14

83. Stc ,."t above.

::':1~t~=~~~~=:~~:~;$ go back te) the genealo-

and local historians (e.g. the Atthidographers,

:BJj'ie:S211a~1I34) of the- fifth and fourth eenturie8 BC. Asdepi.ades of: TraglJul, a pupil of Isocrates, compared the mytha of Attic uagedy with earlier treatments.3 But the main rnythographical wllections date from the Hellenistic or early imperial period (c. 250 BC to AD 150) and fall into two broad categories. One .approach was to collect relevant myths as background material for the explanation of major authors such as Homer, Pindar, the tragedians. and the Hellenistic poets. The ancient acholia to Pindar, Euripides, Theocritus, Apollonius of Rhodes and Lykophron are particularly rich sources of mythographical information. ~ The moet remarkable corpus of myths in this category. both for its importance and its inaccessibility, are the my thographical acholia to the IlifltJ and OdYS!9. which contain several hundred 'mythical narratives' (histone,,). This vast collection of myths, collectively known as the Mythographus Hemericus since 1892, circulated as a separate book in antiquity (at least from the ~rst to the fifth century). but it has never been published u a ~tngle entity in modern times.5 The second category compnses mdependent collections of myths organised around a Uniform theme, such lUi the star-myths ascribed to Eratosthenes (bdow sect' 3) th '

~on , e love stories collected by Parthenius, or the lranlr.

~al1~n myths (melfJnwrphOsns) of Antoninus Liberalu Outstanding ~ thl8 category as the principal po8t-Hellena.tic handbook of reek myths is the Liol'tlry ascribed to Apollodoru. (fint or HCOnd century ,AD), which il arranged genealogically by mythical famille aOnd wkhll;:b lerved u the model for many modem COlJectlOnl ( 1'IIe myths.8

The beat' od .

on th !nIl UCllOD to the nature of Greek mythograp.h

e at ellannnel lpecific problema of authonlup cW."'I


collection fI.1ll,~_:dT;'~j&·lhe only Greek !1'YlhograpJ!er 2ihbtl~#.1at1jfOi'm theme nor a r.erognisablc principle ""' ....... :h1;~WilJl'k. Myths which deKribe the founding of _~~inliltiW~'1·ot 1_ cults or whim explain the distant < .iI161l':ii1Ili1(11O·IP"",h8!al nama 1Ind popular proverbs alternate with :1gI~iIblltit!" irlVCIllvinjt. mythical 01' historical characters, with iII'DltdiSlto Gr plIl'aenetic talea, and with stories about incredible .vena Mia collecrion is a microcosm of Hellenistic mythography in thllt It reprellenta the type& of myths most favoured by the IllSdinS',cholar-poets iIlId antiquarians of the preceding centuries, who collected and disseminated them. He records more than ~ foundation myths (lctisru), for which he had the same preferenee as Callimachus or Apollonius of Rbodes.P His interest in the aetiology of out-of-the-way cults matches that of CalJimachus in the Aitia.l1 Although he was not as fond of mythical love stories as Parthenius or Ovid. he shares with them several memorable portrayals of pathetic love, all of which were inspired by Hellenistic models.1~ Since many Greek proverbs are incomprehensible without exact knowledge of the mythical figures and events to which they allude, the provinces of mythography and parcemiography occasionally overlap, as they do in the case of the two pmverhs explained by Cooon.13 Also included in his collection are three repom of incidents contrary to the laws of nature. No modern reader would classify these stories as mythological. bUI they illustrate the facility with which certain stories passed from ~aradoxography to myrhography, two narrative traditions that m~erac:t~ freely throughout antiquity. 14 The extreme rauonalism With which Conon glosses over the more fantastic aspe.:n of some

of his m"·!., is '. f . il ..

1"' reminiscent 0 81m ar explanauons In PalKphatus

C,,:ho ~ay have written in the early Hellenistic period) and DlooYllUS Scytobrachion (third century Be). U Once or tWice ?I)non makes use of the novella and the 'hidden meua ..... · (4111OS)

ill ill! ch" .. -

ar &lalng vein which takes us beyond the Hellenut periOO

and back to th .

tell" e narratIve modes of Herodotua and JonlUl ltIry

mg In genllral.16 CODBpicuou. by their abacnee. how r III'I!

di!k,ed:lit:tlaiIClm:D'. mUS" ~ .. 4WO"

IIW~tdythogiapll'etil(Jcmcn !lifters not only numeWU8 at least three myttt. that are found

~~~~;~~:~:::~~ Ilf Olynth08; the origin of the cult of

J unattested) at Ephesus. and the aetic-

of the' trlItIsition of the control over the Didymean ~ of Apollo from Branchos to the ~uangelidai.lg I~ matters of colt, Conon provides valuable details about the ritual abuse (illsChrology} customarily exchanged between mal~ an~ female worshippers of Apollo AiglataslAsgelatas o~ the. tm: Island of Anaphe.w And finally, without Canon social hlstonans would never know the full story of the famous homosexual courtship to which the author of the Eudnnian Ethics (fourth century BC) alludes It is about a Cretan named Promachos who undergoes numerous and dangerous tasks (alMa) to please the boy Leukokomas with whom he is in Jove, only 10 find himself rejected. When the disappointed lover ostentatiously courts a rival, the boy kills himself.21 Canon's version of the story is particularly instructive. Even the IJames of the two men are significant of their respective status: adulthood versus adolescence. This is not a myth in the full sense, but many Greek myths convey exactly the same message.

Canon is only one example or the many unfinished tasks in the field of Greek mythography that are still waiting for their heroes, Some of the others will be more difficult, if also more important a full-fledged commentary on the Library of Apollodorus, not in th manner of Frazer's ~elightful farrago of unorganised parallel paa ~es and old-fashioned armchair anthropology but mQI'\'

Informed approa h th n ,.'

c at re ects the relationahip of the Library to th

fest of the my tho hl aI dl

grap IC tra lUon and to the pnmary poeti

source.' a complet diti b

of th M ho e e man, ased on the MSS u well as the papyn

editl:n a:~ graphus H~mericu8; and, not an enviabl tm an

Gregory of ~ur~e analysIs of all the mythological Gre k h n

of these toob ~~a;:u. by I,he so-called Pseudo- Nonnu 11

ing "ct· en available to me, the research f, rtf,

10ni Would have been easier.


itl!"'IijJ1Ul1i~h~dllDn:tr;·a~.mILl versions of the tm.lt!elmwulflJ(Jftl~ offer.new or different names, 1fi..~Ih~I~_tl.(J'liBtittmon the part ofhards, poets

lli!iiQ_tiitllf::;:~Ih·.~2!Ctin' .. ,*myth had entered the literary ;.tj.l~b.Ull&DltilmUld still undergo serious deformaet!Il1tlltriC$ of written transmission. But it 1II1II familiar names that were most j~.t$:l •. e'.;llf.i*'~otjrQ.tpriiJD:tg. therefore, that the nomenclature of a &tate of flux. These fluctuations

~~;.:::>';. ,~;~~t,ijloti"IiUe~ll'riili4JlJl'~ iliB'varj,ant l'1caciinlgll and certain types of fur a proper assessment of manu-

:,.".~"~U\i.t'tr.:llijrid_affiliauon8. the incidence ofmythologi·

:{,;:t~~~I"llAldulir~f.r'CImI~erltin a given mythographical text often UJ1lk1!tJillue 1iIl"a11O~1I'tfl and make it easier to define its place m,.flfadlM'oiotm::e8. The following examples, which are of the ways in which individual

iIIi!J~IlV!'whDle catalOgues of names affect our under:UiJIMItO~ira.,lhit:al tradition.

Women il a genealogical poem of the

'lII.li".wI~l:,dl~J)end!I!IO heavily on the prosopography 'haiw:neters composed of two, three and

.... ""., 'M In itl complete form ~e

!< .... HJ;; ;..CI)JIIltitl~t.ed the large.t non- Homer~c

inherited from the archal,c Iit16iaPlimltaJ'Y'1Ita!~ In which WI! read it today It

fri~~PIlJl1Il'UII'I'ra!!lJIon.enl:,liemiC nOl1lenclature, Ita "'Plrw:fIl\~-:JlIotn"::flili'l~~i;ru~lu. and scatto:red quotations

~ c:onllibulion to the study of Greek

":==::; ~~ 'I I'I!!ant decades.2S Because of its systematic a by ~ythlcal families, the Cal4/ogut has done more tt'l!1Ift.1\Il'!· ... 'tIth.!r epic poem to shape the mythographical tradition of lilfet periotU. Its genealogies and list. of names arc freque II edioed in the Lilnary of ApoUodorus, In more modest num::e:a rtiU'rtes derived from the CrJ/tJ!ngut have occasionally <orne to light in rathi:r remote corners of the mythographical landscape, The five daughters of Doros, whose names Once appeared in Book I of the CritrJlogru as unlikely mothers of the mountain nymphs. Satyrs and Kouretes, have re-emerged in a Vienna papyrus which li.ts various mythical families and their progeny,a4 An even more revealing instance of Hesiodic influence on later mythography is the dictionary of metamorphose. on a Michigan papyrus of the imperial period,2~ It describes the transformations of mythical ligures whose names begin with the first letter of the alphabet. Three of its five extant accounts (hislorUzi) are attributed to Hesiod, The source for the entries on Aktaion and Alkyone, daughter of Aiolos, is explicitly identified as the Hesiodic Cala/ague, In all three cases the source attribution. which are appended to the actual transformation stories repeat traditional formulas, 'as Hesiod recounts (his/om)' or 'as Hesiod say. in the Calaiogur qf W.mm'. Similar attributions occur frequently in the Mythographus Homericus as well as in most of'rhe transformation myths collected by Parthenius and Antoninus Liberalls. Bu.! the papyrus dictionary is unique in that it combines atmb,utlOo. of ,the standard type with mythological accounts arranged in alphabeucal

order according to the names of their prota~niSlS, .'

The Hesiodic CrJ/aJogue is not the only epic p<>cm which tS no

, ft stiD be traced In later

longer extant but whose 10 uence can ,

mythography. Mythological names derived from epic ,ou",~~ more elusive than the Cala/ogue sometimes find their wa~ m varieus kinds of my tho graphical papyri, where they are noth way.

, if h usual or not or .ewlse

easy to recognise, espeCIally I t ey are uo. h

attested Such is the case with the Koan gUlOt Astero., W 0 was

. d of Athens All we saw

rescued from oblivion by Apollo orua " • tallOIll from

'26 th C I a rus contammg quo

earlier. When e 0 ogne p PY, beheved lhat An.roo

the Mnvpis was published III 1976. 11 was


ckrivllf fRill! th!: particular kmd of O1l~,,'\\'hitib dmdaled under thIS name. of Mu Ii

lIi\iilf'·''''tlli.. .. ,lii., ... 'WQ ltill '1 • 01

aval able to Paulanias IS It i.

and pnealog.cl offered by the papyrus are ,JUt"'I.tI~IOil:t.¢lDllI~c;tiion; let alone a mere school text or writing exe rely: at itt edirtlrs suggested. This catalogue ofEleusinian names i. ~,.bly more valuable. It alfords a rare prosopograpical g1~st' ~!; a P~~~larb local.mythology which was once so popular It! .. eusl .... an erreiea ut which perished in later antiquity.

Before ~ can proceed to more conventional catalogue. of m.ythographlcal names, we must first consider some complications which have to do with homonyms and variant names and which often arise in this connection, Different persons of the same name are as abundant in Greek mythology as they are in real life. Prose writers no less than poets add the rather's name or use other means of identification to distinguish namesakes. Apollonius of Rhodes and Hyginus, to name only these two, go out of their way 10 differentiate between Argonauts of the same nam e. 36 But homonyms that were handed down without any specification could easily turn into a source of confusion, especially if unresolved questions of mythical chronology made matters worse, as in the case of the alleged homonyms Telamon and Chalkodon discussed by Pausanias.31 He concludes his discussion with a sensible remark which suggests the dimensions of the problem: 'Obscure persons who share the same names (homiinymol) with more illustrious men tend to be as common in all ages as rhey are in my owo lime.'

Variant names for one and the same person an usually easier to deal with than homonyms. In most eases they amount to nothing more than minor variations of the same name, such as Bury tel Eureite38 or the alternation between Antiphemos and Antio· phemos noted above. Occasionally the twa farms are farther apan, as in AmphidamaalIphidam~9 for the son of Busiris, Dorykleu", Dorkeus40 for one of the sons of Hippokoon or Epika,lelJoCiUle"

ph. Btfull

for Oedipus' wife and for the mother of Tro omos. .u d';

fledged alternate names, such a. Iphigeneiallphianassallphlmede,

. d bAn are usually foun In

for the daughter sacrifice Y gamcmno,

aI di . where they aften rarse

early Btagel of the mYlhalogic tra iuon,

questions that are difficult or impossible 10 answer , d' 'dual

The number of possible variable! rises sharply wh.nfi:" IVI (I

, 1 r II of up to Illy nam

names arc II rung together 10 torm ong II


,~~:~lV8lyll,lulrt·IiSU of genealogically related names are com~ mythology, but they frequently ButTer abridgement wll.~ JJl$gt:d with more comprehensive catalogues. Various tats wW4J. lial the sons of Hippokoon (Hippokoontids) or the som of T.hOlrtioa (Thestiadai) are revealing in this regard. Both groups are ~tinnlld in connection with the Calydonian boar hunt, and 5O.me of their members double as Argonauts. The treatment of their names by poets and mythographers is far from uniform. Unlike the Hippokoontids, the Thestiadai are as often mentioned 1m bloc, 'the sons of Thestios', as they are by their individual I)ames, depending on the preference of the author and on the context in which their names occur.50 Authors mentioning the Thestiadai as part of a long catalogue of Calydonian hunters usually prefer the brevity of the generic name, whereas the individual names prevail in texts that are primarily interested in family history.5) All told more than fifteen different names are attested. They tend to occur in certain fixed groupings which seem to reflect distinct traditions. Klytios and Prokaon are grouped together in the earliest texts, as are Kometes and Prothoos.52 Later sources, however, ignore both pairs. Plex.ippos and Toxeus form another pail', which cannot be traced back beyond the Hellenistic period.5' A. usual, the fullest catalogues can be found in three of the later sources. They quote from four to seven names each, only three of which are identical in all three lists. 54 The ultimate origin of these lists must he sought in early epic treatmentS of the Meleagros myth. 55 For once the Hesiodic CalaiDgue can be ruled aut as a source. The extant fragments suggest that the sons of Thestios must have been passed over in favour of his daughters. ~ All thmgs considered the names of the Thestiadai illustrate the unpredictable alternation of long and short lists of related names in our primary sources, an alternation which is still echoed in the m¥tho-

graphical tradition.

The Thesnadai are securely placed in the earliest non-Homem


Ql!la;I6''tltltteUJllltll~ names, Sebros, mtlbt11l~~tl1ill'in the prose account of "~"'i#J.~~.~ •. a\lld~ that this picture reflecl8 the t1eparate traditions: a local

.~IIJI. idlir.1_lIe_ipf.1tb.t~ f1[jpJ[iOItOillntiidi which is still available in liWother more 'Panhellenic' catalogue may hlw bean dclnved from genealogical poetry of the


TJ&edollftUdy of my;hoJogkal names and their transition from .. fICIiSiC into the lIlytliagraphical tradition is admittedly tedious. ~ UlleUt 0Vf3 the tedium Df the various catalogues itemisiag~9fAktaion·. doge provides a measure of the distance ~ ~ !epic. decol\lm and the mark it left on ancien! ~~.l1i.Jldty~ our own aesthetic aensibilities.62 At the same ·.:M!!'iJtli1$ildl'fllitaJiJgJJ.!l8 eentinue to be of interest as valuable heuristic

:.!'QI.1Jjbitlb ~llaJ~ u easier to see how specific mythological data .~rJID~~1QD ~ accounts of the archaic or classical period ;:_~=:!:;~~ ~tMy entered the mainstream of Greek mylho·

QiilI,4IIt'II16.r.pb.y: The Kallilto Myth

"'~iQ1~W .......... ",.a", .. genealogies deserve their share of

are 0(1 longer the be-all and end·."'l of

ilJ'ii •. ·;~"Q'.k;tll)'1tholloirY' In the nineteenth ce~IUryf .~.",~»!,,""when 'mythologists' of the calibre 0 .WI1I~4lI~1ia fl1l1t 1868) and Hermann Usener

fUl:iionllblc: Col' em\mIDt

t'UilM:ulBiolll, including Karl Otl'ried MiUln von WilamoWlu-Moellendorff (1848- theU' efforts on heroic familiea and to treat :Mi'dlI~ilwtKaillif it were tantamount to a historical record, fun of ~_~,.~ .. ''''~ •• (actual reminiscences of the distant past.63 Nowadays

Ylli~il!Jil( el1frno1c.gi.:s of divine and heroic names which were SO hotly debated are all but forgotten, and myth is widely recognised as an autonomous mode of Greek thought and sellel(prea8ion, distinct from historical memory and largely independent from it, even though myth often served as a substitute for history. Since the torn of the century the former preoccupation with isolated facets of Greek mythology has given way to a growing interest in myths all coherent narratives whose ritual and social significance transcends the literary context in which a given myth has been transmitted. In recent decades the foremost analysts of Greek myths have approached each mythical narrative as a cohesive and organised whole composed of constitutive elements which contribute to its overall structure and which are designed to bring out its inherent meaning. For all their differences, the dominant schools have much in common. 'Ritualists' like Walter Burkert tend to emphasise the social relevance of cult-oriented myths; 'structuralists' like Jean-Pierre Vernant read mythical texts as social documents that mirror the external and internal organisation ofan entire society; and 'narratologists' who follow in the footsteps of Vladimir J. Propp (1895 -1970) analyse the recurrent com ponents of mythical narratives in terms of their sequential function,fit What underlies their different approaches is a shared concern for the whole of the mythical narrative in relation to it constituent parts, and a willingness to pay equal attention 10 both This new orientation has advanced our understanding of numerous Greek myths, But like any other method, it also has lIS pitfalls lIS practitioners do not always seem to realise that it is impossible to determine the overall structure of a particular myth. I I alon II presumed meaning, without acquiring fll'lt as romplet and d AI" ~ understanding of itl Iranlmillion in antiquity as potllbl Thi " where mythography comes in. Given the present t nd n explore each conceivable facet of a given myth and to wrmll

E iii ..






:> .E :I:



> .E

.. ..















~ ..






... 1

A vugm Qfmph and fellow huntress of Artemis, KaiJisto was _u.ced by Zewi. While pregnant she was transformed into a After the had grven birth to Arkas, she was shot to death ":·ArWl~:'aud placed among the stars by Zeus.

It:('pIIIW'tlf)c8l:CUtil~lt. In the ~ dt d[dt;jlMmtllBy unaWillllle. it u oleI!l ~1~~""Whlml1:r'lJb:eIWe]gefI authOrity ~ the SIJU1'CtI of IIlrl<';,il~'rI!U!l1!Ilj~ol"o1te Dl'two particular detail., or ~ ~,.'jlNhii)i1Cl'tlil8t"io'i.llrOi may have told a different veRian of h ~ mYth ~J:l1 &llilIto mytJ:l is a conspicuous cue in POUlt 1h!I:iluI8 of the wide chronological distribution of its prinClpai S()iJi<;IIB. at:Id (he number gf its varlants, not to mention the serious dltficuldes which they raise, this myth has been a favorite battlepound for modern 'mythographers' , who have concentrated most (If .thei .. efforts on the mechanical reconstrution of lost versions, those of "Hesiod' and Callimachus in particular, without reaching much agreement.65

At the centre of the ongoing discussion lies a conglomerate of different versions of the story of Kallisto and Arkas which are recorded in various Greek and Latin collections of eonstellation myths under the two neighbouring constellations of Ursa Major and Arktophylax (Bootes).66 The Greek conseellation myths are mainly found in MSS of Ararus, where they occur in two forms, either as a separate anonymous collection (Catasr.) or interspersed with the scholia to Aratua proper [schol. Arat) The mythical 'tales' (hislorial) of the Mythographul Homericus provide an e SCI parallel for this type of transmission. The Latin collecuons are represented by the Arlnm6171)' of Hyginu8 (Asl,), the so-called Aratul Latinus (Arat. Lat.), and the scholia to Germanicus Latin adaptation of Aralu. (achol. Germ.). Most of these lexta wen: published synoptically by Carl Roben in 1878 and Ernst Ma In 1898.67 But additional Greek sources have come to light In the meantime, and their unpcetance II such that a new diuon (h complete catutcrlsmographic dossier II needed It I I! nil , Ien.ow that these texts fall Into two f&lrly dlilin I upt IRe

ptlnclpallOUl'CIII (Group A) offer a (uUer tut than lhe w

.uttered conJIderable abbreviation during th hi! r l1li

:.~ The abbreVlllted texll (Group 8) omit,

IOSI, not only Ilui Amphll VerllDn 0 the Kallllw OJ th

Ura MlIJor bul alto the problemat rei I H

!6', fight hAnd column) under Arktoph WI 80th

o~ from. common an I r a H colI .. _


ntludea the iiIfi~-~"."'''-- 'II~',~"-im:l'\ but unfonu..... ~tt:Jlt"lr&)\JfIbllnhm' kroew the Amphis ........ 1r.ttil j_:t,;ite1llld~bOt heaitate to amgn it to jlillM,.._O ••• ;III He:wD rishtt but it wae not until 'i4I!tH"IUlltltj_~ii'v_htn waa fim pbblilbed in its Greek form

filltil't'WInllltlHlf ll~typjcaJ MSS (If the ac:ho!' Ant., both of which _._1Drmtlhklio'D mythl that show dose afTmities with the ,GlWk •• 'WeJlUltftlt LatiJI repreaentatives of Group A.70

.. ~ 1nnlminwn of the various forms of the Kallisto cnjdl III dte ~lIDOgraphlC tradition must be the starting fll)imlor uylltt$llpt to recoDltruct th:e pre-Hellenistic versions of

1bfih and to Ulcerpm their meaning. The earliest known __ D)d, apart fwm the pu:oling account in Euripides' Helm 375ff whNe&.allilto'.animal tnInIiormation seems to fmc«k her mating with .. ., arc sacdy thOle which the Greek ancestor of the extant ~flfC:OnJtella.tion mytlu ascribed to 'Hesiod' (under Ursa Ml8o~ 1IDd Amph18. The aame ancestor contained numerous ....... ~ to early or rare authors and their works, including _~-(Jf Aplthenes {FGtH 499 F 1-3}, the Hera/des of "'a$iIlaMli'(ft. 24-A Oaizzi). the Eitgia CoR(;mzing Eros of Artemifro 214 Woyd-Jones/Parsons), the Nm.esis of IV, P t79}, the On Ju.sI.i&t and the Erotilr.os of ::,JJr.-IdiI .. :laIltic:u,{fr, 51 and 66 Wehrli), an unknown work by >l.i1fti1ih"ltfl4elhr.INl.a(PGrH 471 P 15). the Herakltia of Panyassis ~LtdlteW'B) and of Peisander (fr. I Kinkel),

MlMff~.e/1.~.:dJ·ilk~', the Cmi" ascribed to Epimenides M~~';.~'RJuil3.l} 'flu: nature and range of these quota· the compilation was made in the early 1kIJ1l""'VlIl''*'Idl~''ld Alexandrian scholar who is often Ofrene (third century BC) for ~_"VlidentJuullablle but far from compellingY

.~iJl'r_:Mnp11iiJ!~igbrvliJUllikc:ly) ot" to both, or whether it was In the absence of more explicit

1W14ltl:i~,~'ii1lia,\lJlrt,llt, JlII certain milt the cataAterism wall already ~te !oHdlod' (i.e. that it is pre-Hellenistic), nor i. it safe to 1IIJ1!.dud#. fI'oJd 1M dubious reference to Callimachus in version V tha KaIlilto't transportation into the skies was treated by him in d..u let-alone that he invented it.'5 Regardless of its date, the OI1ta11teDsm is the most extraneous aspect of the myth. It has long been recognised that the story of Kallisto's offence and punishment must have existed prior to its connection with the constellation.76 The original story pattern will have comprised, at the very lell8t, the two elements which appear consistently in the written sources, the 10Sli of virginity and the bear transformation. The eataateriam, on the other hand, is an accretion of a well-known type which adds nothing of substance.

As told by the catasterismographers, the circumstances of the catasterism arc extremely far-fetched and designed to explain the apparent pursuit of Ursa Major by Arktophylax in the sky. Some time after her transformation Kallisto was hunted by Arkas and took refuge in the sacred precinct (abatOR) of Zeus Lykaios. When the Arcadians prepared to kill them both, Zeus intervened and turned them into stars. Ovid (VI), who had access to a Greek collection of constellation myths similar to the ancestor of the extant CallJSterismr, naturally made the most of the near-fatal confrontation between mother and son.77 To complicate matters even further, Kallisto' s ultimate fate is related twice in most branches of the catasterismographic tradition. In the second account (under Ar~tophylax) the catasterism of Kallisto and Arktoe has been aru-

fiCially combined ith th . "

h ~ WI e notortous cannibalism committed by

er father Lykaon Th " . A k .

Z . C Victim IS r as, who 18 restored to life by

b~uS .BO that he can hunt his mother the bear. ThiS cuneus om

illatIOn of the Lyk d Kall'

e1scwhe' 80n an Isto myths, which II urultle ted

re, IS hardly mo.re than mythographica1 palchwork


Wltit~"'iiIiIlruJ •• liiPul:"""~t Hlesil~dic vcl'llions .""ltOiOfII&·!w$Jj~Or the 9thor with any confidence . • 'jj~.dble, ;fJblIIwtbIM., to dtltermine: to what extent ! •• _~~.~IIIIJ'JlCIIf.'Qrdiffaoed Merkelbach and West ~~U·qk).RJ IU.aII !Well 88 the Lykaon/KaJliBto myth

~ omrllr-Add:bphy1ax to the CIIl4lttgw (fr 163) rather than ~ But Wert now seems to think that the catasterismo~ ftrnoWtld the .tll1t7lt1J"9" If SIJ, we know abllOlute1y nothing .tIIkIut the KaIliIIta of the CoItzIIJlUI, except that she was' one of the ..,.pIu' (Apcollod. 11.100) and therefore presumably not the dIlughter of Lykaon. Faced with such insurmountable difficulties, atudentll of the KaJliato myth who take the concept of applied mythGgraphy teriouely will have to think twice before they recon-

ttruct 'dle original myth· from the elusive Hesiodic versions.81 Even though the myth can be traced back to 'Hesiod' in the late

arcbaic ~od. it does ODt fully emerge from obscurity until we mme 110 Amphis in the flI'll half of the fourth century. It is hardly ~ to dwell on the Amphis version, which gave a decidedly ~IUDO_ twist to the myth. According to Amphis, Zeus disguised bimJIIlf 111 ArtemiJ when he seduced Kalllsto, who later blamed the ivif!Jin gaddeu for the pregnancy for which Zeus was responsible. ODe would like to know more. Is it at all conceivable, even in 't!D.Inedy, that Zeus managed to conceal his true identity during the IJIltWd Japf!. or is it more likely that Kallisto recognised her ~r but l'IJaliciouaIy chose to accuse Artemis of something ..... CUllUltrary to the goddeu's own nature? In Ovid's clever .iIl I .... (\1.lIa) che truth surely comes out in flagro.ntt dtliclO, as __ ~. But then OVId'! Kallisro doe! not put th~

_.It.,,:4«.cmit Apart from its adaptation by Ovid, Am~h~5 Y1 __ ."'jj~w marginal interest for the study of the myth III It>


====::=::==~:::::;~::! shown that

••• ~IflIiI._*l!bditlil"Cliiil'~IIiII:I~talielydetaclted &om the main story ~,...6tiuift '\lDd by Zeut ta> deceive Kallisto (II 2,

.. ~. t1te upIa:rtatiOll for Artemis' wrath lIS found in

~:(U 4); dl1l"jea1b'usy 1)f Hera (V -VII 4), and her active role .iWl6ll1uiiJnaJ: ll'8D!lfimnllrion (V - VII 3) and eventual death (l4J \11 ill) -oCKalliIlln; and finally, Zeus rather than Hera as the .. of _bear metamorphosis (IV 3-4), a variation which 'bttp1iI!II HaM'. jealousy ed foreshadows her revenge. 8~ The ~ (16- VII) , however, which forrns the conclusion of the ~'JIIl<Ouitbe-tWD earliest vellllians (1-11), is inseparable from ~$J:iIItIO'a1JlGqnion of KaUisto'. ultimate fate. Yet it too JiiIllIIIf __ aaide, 88 :we have seen, III an accretion, the kind of

....... 1N!IieJi. dUll myth shares with all the other constellation tii".L.I(J.IJtae.thl_embelli&hments have been removed, the sub.llIiltf,lffllltl: myth n:m.ama. Apart from Zeus, who acts as a mere iliilllllftlliHrhec<IIi.emial component. have to do exclusively with .~lIhM!lleiJ:dt. Their relationship is described as a series of 1I41 __ DDtIdl!!Il CYeQtII. all (Sf which affect Kallisto more

.. d lU2iliJ1~ 'the loll of virginity. the bear transform a-

.~:_.'~ ihwdr- 11uIIe tlvee elements have been the

lnterpreters for the past 160 y(!llfB.

ifl'i$Q1CI1cdillmt'differ aubstantially, they all put t~e __ ,_ ...... nt,h .. '., on the transition from virginity

_.r4ilpdjlk:arwe: of the bear (arklos), either as a ~1IJ.."ItIf.,:a. cb$iomorphic symbol of a particular

on- 1he eoni:qn1lal link

r:E~;;;;~~:;~~ and death.

:; .. and KaIlisto it widely seen as

1n~IACiOD of female adolescenta into Sillijt¥,d:Iil[(':'1ltltllitf by lIIIalogy W1th the AttiC 'belQ"-rilua]' (a,kttia) >-dIlll!l~I-'WiIi.11lb groupe of prepu~"nt girls would 'play the bear:

W_""JI})n various sanctuanes of Artemis. Unattested m the Ql,Qe,J)t. 8OUl'ce8, the oon~ection between the arkki. and the Kalh.to mYlb. though hypothetical, rests on close structural similaritie s. i!6 'l"be caB~ has been strengthened by the recent discovery of an Attic 1I,ut:! which shows Artemis shooting an arrow on one side and a ma,UlnI woman and a younger man both wearing bear-masks on ma other side.B7 This vase has the same shape as the numerous vases with representations of the ritual 'bear-girl.' (l17k1oi) that were found in temples of Artemis throughout Attica. If the

masquerade had both a ritual purpose and a mythical reference, it is tempting to connect it with the Kallisto myth and 10 assume that her bear transformation was re-enacted in the context of the ilrklnD_ The woman would represent Kallisto, the bear-mother, and the young man would impersonate Arkas, the eponymous 'bear-man' .

While the my tho graphical approach cannot contribute directly to the process of extrapolating the meaning or function of a given myth from its narrative content, it can and must serve as a safeguard against interpretations which are based 011 distorted conclusions drawn from incomplete evidence. The lack of consensus concerning the death of Kallisto illustrates this point. Most interpreters assume that Kallisto's animal transformation functions aR a prelude to her execution by Artemis. If Kallisto·, death does indeed constitute the climax of this myth, it must by definitiDIl belong to the earliest-known versions. For this reason 115 occurrence in 'Hesiod' is often taken for granted, and rightly so, even though there is no direct proof. ss Against this it has been argued that the form of the myth 'in which she was both changed [into a bear) QIId shot was late', and what is more, that her death at the hands of Artemis is, strictly speaking, incompatible with her I£anoformation into a bear by the same godde ss. 8~ The lint obj.ctlon, raised by Sale, begs the question as long as Kalli.to'. ultimate fate in the pre-Hellenistic venian. of the myth r.mllln. unknown Those who wish to argue, as Franz and Sal- did. that in 'Ihe


IiiI~HJ,ri'IIp r:oBection of .... terisnit iii I_~ mm .1Im ....... the V1ew thar the bNr ~ly'~[8!adls>ble from the actual kiUl~ In

~lWlItf'ltlUt·(:Q'mlllinc:d mythographical and lconogmpht_".1' .... , .... ·~tginedtllry and inoonsi9tent, seems to bear wtinhave always insisted on a dose connecnon . " ..... "." .. Ti"-I',,·· ... ,,·bear tranafonnation and her death as a bear.

:rJlJiO preceding studies, however limited in scope, illustrate three d.iffet1mt but connected aspects of Creek mythograpby: the nature of the relevant sources, the heuristic value of mythographical names, and, as the ultimate goal, the concept of applied my thography, which is instrumental in establishing the essential elements of a given myth. Large areas of the history of Greek mythography are still unexplored, and several important collections of myths lie ignored. Modern interpreters of Greek myths must constantly re-examine and strengthen the old foundations. If not, they build castles in the air.


I P K01n III t 26 - H L1oyd-Jon ea and P. Parson •• Soppltm,., ... Hrll .... ,,,,,,,, (Berlin and New York, 1983) no. 903A. Cf. Lloyd·Jon .. , "The M.ropi, (SH 903A),. Alii dtlXV/l C •• gr",.I_iD .. lt of; Pap".l.gr., I (Naples , 1984,1+1-50, A. Henrichs, ·Philod.ml De Pietete at. mytholJTOph"ch. QueU.', C....dt. E,colo .. si, 5 (1975) ~-3B; below, note 27.

2. Cf. C, W.ndd. 'My'hographie'. RE 16.2 (1935) 1"l5 -7+ U. v Wilamowi,z. 'Die gnechi"'he Heldenaage I-II', XI,,., Sd"ift'" \ 1 (B<rlln, 19] ) 51 126, R. Hiusdtr. 'Crund.u.gr antjker My(hographu~·. In W Kilty (fd ) MyIkogrdpitU dtr.frUJrm Nfl,,"" fA .. A.""" .... g " tU" K""",", Wolfrnbllllrl. Fersehungen, 27 (Wi<llboden. 1984) 1-23 (with u",lul b.bhoR",phYI

3 IlGrH 12. Asclepiades' T~rurrtJUJ 11 a diltanr anC'~IIDr of the anonvmou plot summaries (hypo/lIIslt!) ror the major rragediam: which hav ... CORlt' HI hMhl papyrus and which are an nnpertant source Ier Ihr 1I1'J'lhulugy 01 the i hiD I period 80. now P. Oxy. 52.3650-3; R. Kusel, 'Hypothe ,', In \'II JAn (dl). &It.li. S,"",. D Hoi_do ob14r. (Groninll"n. 1985) 5:1 ~

4 C Wendel. ·Oberher.,ung und En",.hung der I h ok u- hull K •• ca. WOlf GOlf,.,.,.. Phd ·h .... KI.. N F 17 2 (11.,11.. I 201 p!lll

5 Cf mOlt recently F. Montlilnarl, Revisiune dl P&tol I 182 I

1000ul ..... , omeneh.au pap,w'. on All, "'I XVIf C "l'".looI.,., 1'IIpo,

(Naple •• 1984, 229 42, II Kramer and 0 H_dvnI e" ry,

tIM U,,;Htm.'JbrbIUJlh,l Hdmb~rg, Papyroluliischc ru.lC' und Abh Ii! n r (Bonn. 19at) 25 3t (wllh full bIbb"" phy,

6 Edited by R Wagner III volume t ef In M Le ip.,g. 192ti), The most u.dul mYlho ... phl AI com


tbo! ",,1!riIi* fill OrpIHlIt; 11<11

l'Il<'t.1t8lrillJ~~ 1'1.""""" tIrlt StiufjtJfGmk R". 3rtt (""lit 01' A"IIJIJO AlgIe_ on Anaphe. founded IIy 19 lIIId 21. Ap. R.hod • UIMIf;

OtltlO", 'lpp~"". 10 11."" UJed local hilfD"'''' rather ".~~_crllillicllUS{ Irfw:hiclh .• , .... hl« hdbrmallOll on Greek milliOn .1 pamcutarly

{(aflDO •• DIq. 2; P""h. 81'6'. Palh II; Ovid Milt 9.45t-66S;

, lila. 30 ct. F. Bom P. o.lJIiu.r Nua. M~ Slid Vlll-IX

(liJ.eid,!IbI:'Ii!; 1977) tilt: Pallene ""d Kleito.: Dire· 10; Parth. 6 - H.ges.ppul

2 (below, nete 17). Omene and Paris. Diq. 23; Panh. 4. Ovid H,. ~.

Apollad. !.15+r. h

19. D;,g. 28 ('Tennes' axe'; Paul. 10. 14.3fgives the same combination of my I aI1d proverb as Conan). 3+ (,Diomede.n prenure·). cr. ~ ", Leuteeh and F. G. Selm.ldewin, Ow/II" Por«mi.gtdplwm .. G,autl1Ul1l. vol. I (G<iumgtn. 1839) Ind.x 499 and 517, vol. II (1851) Index BOO and 827; Hesych. D. 188~. T +73, 0 Cruliul, 'Pa.memiographica. Textgcschichtlkbes. zur allen Dl~htung und Religion', SB Kii •. S.y. At. Wi ss " Phil.-hi"" KI, 1910, +, Abh.; W, Buhl er , z.",,611 Arh., ItoDttbio, vel. 4 (Gouinsen, 1982).

1+. DUg, 5 (a cicada ... i ... a citbera-plever: cr. Thnaeus FerH ~66 F +3). 22 (a snake ..... ils master; cf. A.1. V.,.. Hiu: 13.+6); 43 (the Ieve or M, Aeme .pa,.," two pioUJi sons; see W. Theiler, PtMl;dort.Ws. Dil FTtIgm,,,.le, 2 (Berlin and ~~ York, 19112) 53 on F 42). cr. A. Giannini, P.radDxogrtJ/III .. wro c. .... """ nl'l[ll.ar (Molan. 1968); C.Uim, fro +07 (a collection of regional porod""", preserved by Anligonu. or Cary!itul!. a younger contemporary of Callimachus).

15, DUg. I (Mid .. ' gold and long ears); 37 (Ih e ea rthbom Sparroi of Thebes): 40 (Andromeda's sea-monster was a ship named Ketoe whose crew we rigid wnh rear ofP.rltul, whence the my.h of Go,!!,,', pe.rifying head; cr, Pal.aph 37), S.., J. S. RW"n, Di •• ysllu &'IJJhr .. himo, Papyrologica Coloniensia. 10 (Opleden, 1982) .. p. 931T; Palaephalu. Ptri ApisIJJ. has b ee n edited by N F •• 'a. MJIhopoplor G".. 1II 2 (Leipzig, (902).

16. Di". 36 [abnut a banker who tricil in vain to cheat a friend out of tUt deposit; cf. Hdt. 6,86); 42 (SI •• ichorua' ., •• , about the power of the tyrant, cf Phili"u. FarH 556 F 6; Ario.o,l. Rh." 2 20, I 393b9f1).

17. 00 Conon'. Thracian ccnnec •• on see Jacoby on FGrH 391, R B Elan 'A.neal a. Ain.,. and V.rgil'. AiMd'. PO/iji' C ..... , nil.WD, 9 (19H) 37 47 Hat'fer, KOJlIlm, S:I-68 &lSlgncd eight ofConon',s Thradan slonel to HegetlppuJ, on<luding the Ieve "Dry of Pall.ne and 10 ••• 0. aloo told by Panh.mul [abeve nOle 12). In the eingte MS of Parthenlue, twO source. arc liven ror tbl .. ory Heg ••• p~u.' PolkroioJu. (FarH 391 F 2) .. well aJ Theageu •• (774 F 17), au.hor 01 Md:tdDJUhr The Source ucrtplioru in PanhenJUA, Like Ilmilar Qwl".,...,." U1 o,h.r my.hographcrs luch a. the Mythograpbu. Hemerlcus (.bov •• no, ). a~ nat nll:crllarily reliable. In the ca.f of Parthenlu., hewevee, tMy n unU,Juall IIP-eClfir;:, and most scholBrt act:ept ehem .. accurate rrfeft'nt'H to text n which ,b

mYth iQ quc.tion was dllCusled, wIU:!!lher ParlhenlUS K'tuaUy used .heom IOU

;~r~Q~ or C Wend.l, c;"""",., 8(1932) .t8 ~+. V Banal .... , Rn (I til)

• ,K .... I. l1li ... Mus. 117 (1974) 191


wil~l~iIcI>. eM.USI! .... di",,"'Dn .... F. Grar, BIt..u Q1Id di4 '"'~ ni •• ,,,,,, Ar. IJt .. "",ImsIII.Iw &it (Oerlin and New Yor.k, 1974). Gnd' t~ 'IP!"red the Cornoll papyrul and iu ..,ealogies, seVeral of whIch accord well wnh h,. general

t1ieoi., . • d f he

33 Gra! Et.wU, 121-6 on Rhadamanthy. ond Trlptolernos as JU 1"00 I

dead The Bo...lian Trophonio.look.like an iruruder in this E1eusinian company, bul b. loa <auld hav~ been drawn intO Ihe circle ofOrpheu8 or Musaiol befere Ihe HdlenlSric period and without Ihe knowledge of Pausanias, who ill our princlp.J IIIU ree on TtophoDios (9.39.5-14) Demeter surnamed Eumpe wa. known at 1;ob.dtia as Trophonios' nurse (Paus. 9.39 5). If this connection II old, it could h ••• facilitat.d tlte induction of Tmphoniol inlo E1eusinian Iiterature.

54 Ora£, BWsi.I, 1511-181; cf. M. Olender, 'Aspects de Daubll', R •• Hili Rd, 202 (1985)3-55, •• p. 13f and 28-30 Dysaules and Daube are hu.band and wife in A.clepiad es FGtH 12 F 4 (of. Palaepba'us FGrH 44 F I) Their relationship" perhap. implied by Clement of Alexandria Pro". 2.20.2 (- Orph. fr. !l2 Kern) where Baubo, Dy sa ul .. and Triplol.mos appear as a connected se ri .. or names in a Ii.t of ElwolI,ian aUlod'thDna Blrl.uro in the Cornell papyrus i. probably a mistake for Baubo, whith may have been caused by (onfu.ion with Br.uraD In ~lUClt ~amou! for itl cult of Artemil. The onJy attested bl:&rer of the name Brauro IIlhe wlf~ of the Edonian king Pillakal (Thu •. 4.107.3). If Tbracian, however tho new name Df 01 .... 1 •• ' wife could be interpreted 1lI further evidence or Th •• Ian anD ce a.ors In Eleusinlan genealogies; cl. Orpheus, MUlBiol and Eumolpos U n


u3r;; .. The epic I~dllng Antiop"emo.o in Pau •. 10.S 6 a"d 10 12.11 (In both

7 133 ~r O~Mu""P') and more appmpriately In Orflh Ar,. 310 ...,.all, H.rocIolU A".I ph' VI .~ Anttphemol 'he founder of Gel a (el Pau. 8 46 2) ap ...... u

u emo. In all MSS. r-

36 Por illllt...,.., t h'ld

•• nllll lpll,k]QI tb th I ?". son of Phylako. (A R. I +5 - 8, HVI I''' ,+

"-'._c.. • •• lIad (A.R. 1.201 HyS "IlIJ a 17) cr 0 J Ii

"'_ .. <111410, .... ATgD""_ (0 8 I

Argonaulenkat III H 19.. er In. 1889) C Roben

hill Kl. (19J8j 4 g 'n _ yg,"1 Fabc:lbuch', Nodtr K.w a .. It1 GOa. Phil.

;~. ~.u •. B 15:fi~. 300, M W H.&lam on P Olty ~3 3702 f

39 "POll:;::. 1 ti3 and H,". fr. lOa 49

40. ,,:?tod' ; :!! andd Ph.recyde. FG,H 3 f 17 . ,T an Pau. 3 I!U


u luIOwo lro!n Cbd"" Vallcanu. gr. 1087 misc. (from which WliI'IilOjlII!llI_ above. nob: 51), published by A. Rehm, E,.'.'~ VdIQlllll_ Programm des K. humenistiscben '8cltu1jahr 1898/99 (An.b~eh, 1899). and from two

233 (Q) and SCOl"lalensis}; III 3 (S). publi.h.d by " ....... !II.SlII''''' .... _, 7+-5 (S) ""d 90 (Q). Amphi.· name il menlioned ven.on .appeaR out Dr order and b~ illdr, i ',t"; the full entry, i.e. I-Ill. bUI nrmts Arnph .. in S and lOme of those in Q seem to denve

.of oonetellatton myths which is the anreatur of U-ta.etcnsIJ'lJ which arc lacking in cod. Val. gr. of Una MajDr.

and 2,7 -48, who argu •• fee EralDllhene, ."h.

c Knaack, REG.I (1907)377-81 .ndO. A.

I~;::=~~ SlmIIiidtlung (Dill. Zurich. 1946) 11l-28 l' ll.ehm, GurkoIT and 8olm"n before

lV.i~"jll!ll~(J~UIP". 168) Ibal the loot Greek original w8.,h. -'1IIh.u.fhJ na.me or Erato.thene. nor the current IIIie'

~~~~~E,~~t~::=;~:~: of the reI_t

~; in Hellod • If ......

by the wne author'. ·Calli.CI> and the (19650) 11-35

the ututerum (rem hll Hmoo •• M)'llJuJlI'IIPlUis,'" U_=4...,... iiblr gritdtu<~ SIfrIuagm (D'" 18!~ !E,~4l"'illiilllted Ir .mpbatic:ally to Hesiod; Raben. E,,,,,,,I/o.. 238r

~:::~;!~: ~~':~!I~': hea.lransfonnation was conceplually inoeparabl" From the ., and that her cataaterism was indeed Hesiodic; Sal e,

slrictly on methodological ground. thRt the myth all told in 1h,~.})I~iiQdiiCJb" ... ,"9' mayor may no. have ended with the catulEri!lm. Franz's Idea that CaUimethus invented il i. utterly unfounded. Cellimechus menuon. the 0_ Beat mono tb"" once end ceaneere it with Kellistc (HJ'7It~ 1.41. Pfciffi:ron fro 632. SlIHt HilI fr_ 250.9f Uoyd-)oneslParsons). Such casual referencea may Olf)llain why v .... lOn V i. attributed 10 CalIimachul by the Mythographu.s Homtticus (above, note 5), whose alCripfioDS must never be taken at face value.

76 K O. MiiD er, Prolq._ zu oi_ UJisuru,h.ftlidrm My/h."', .. (Gouin""n. 1825) 73-6 and 193(; cr. the poeibumoue second edltlcn of DUDo,,,,. published ... c"dilltU1t IItllmisdur &.".,., unJ SIMl e, II (Br ea lou. 18+4) 376~ VinuaUy all interpreteR follow Mull er and dClach the ceteeteriam from the myth proper.

77. On ehe Kallialo myth in Ovid •• e R. Helnae, 'Ovid •• I.gische En:ihlung' (1919). rep. in V.", C.isr tkJ RammlmlS. Awg ....... I'" A1ifm... Jrd edn (Darmsradr, 1!IB0) 308-403, esp. 385-8; B OUo. O.it! as •• Epic Po" 2nd edn (Cambrtd"" 1970) 379-89. .,

18. Boegeaud. p"". :;or •• ",.11 as Burkert, HN, 86Cand 91 make 100 mud. or,h. ~mbmed..ltories. In particular, the phrase 'Arka.s married hi. mother unwLUlfisly' gil<e ~IPU') in Carast, Exc. (above. note 68) is no. remolely lU "gnilic&nl U /rken and. foUowing han, Borg •• ud [p, 55) .usge.1. 1 he word 'm ar ried' ,.

<moM.rably a .cribal Interpolalion, as tb. publicalion ofS (above nolo 70) h nawh ~nfirmed. According (0 the: origmal text of Calut Arka~ 'chased hll ::\0': 2~As" and Aral. Lat.] On Lykaan see Bu.,,,". ;hlS volume. Ch f

79 Sale 'SI • 125 33 .

80 w' Dry. -. and 'CaUIiIO and Anem,s' 22 -.5

.. I. Hfliwlu C.r.Io, ... 9 J 3 '

H:':~dS(fra:-t~)F'G~F III. p 216) sUllg •• CI ,hA' Aeschylus ·m.y hay I 1

IWo word, (F 98)'''-r:'" I~agedy /(011.., •• the centene DC wh,eb .. unknown. .1" Ii"

82. KaJUlto's I~d II II 10 explain ,,~,ul1 .. n fin Gb~"fUllU

achal ClIlbm H uel,an by Zeul POling as Anemll reappean tn Apollod 100

"_"'rio""" lur" I +1 and Nannu. D... 2 122f. IYIJ M

knQwledge orlh. A IWI~,? "/"'""'" LXV r arguealhat Nonnu •• lilI Ovid hI

,he P"uh~r d.talu ':f ';;e Y~r.lOn tD th. cOlutcnorn"llraph, I &dIllon I ubi t

non«llllll onnlll I . mph .. Yen,Dn can be .. rely ,nl rpreted

• IOn "leo InYolY'og female homaaeJluallly 'n lhe h


11 I (1984) 'Art.mi" _r •. UIIIf, ~ •• "'.JA, D Tr£ndall). and Arrigoni, 'JI .t.N ijh~IIU!JQI oan be fQund.

,.fRY$)+ 31; E. LOwy,jd/. 17

M~Jl3II1iII'W!:1nB ,elm III • woman carrying a baby


~~i~~;:~===:~i::,:::~::n:::I:~O~ Vllllt literature on Greek

~ of the 1960& when the new

;\ttl~t4l"1i»Uintli:tu'rBlimlllJld l'um:tlOnahlm began to supersede parllCligm .. developed by Mannhardt and older and still valuable studies have nOI

tiM been included here is designed to give :to lIB bat or most mapiring recent studies; those interested ~ _plete 1iatinp should consult L 'Annie phiiowgique.

M.1I1t, HarmondBWorth.

WId Mytholo".', in 1toi',I'" Guchicntt 'IT Lilmlor,

tk ill mJlhokgu, Pari •. (No .. also the review' by $/tiT II 94{1982) 78+-1 and C. Gronanelii, Hu' .J Rd"


2, MpbJ and Mythical Theme.

Arrig~>ni, G, (1977) 'Atwanta. u cinghialo bianc:o.', Smpq i'ltiu.Wga. 1.9-4' Bou"Er, D. and Moreau. P. (1983) 'Phmee ou le pl:rc avcugle ., I. marltr' e

••• uglantc'. Ro. /ldg< Pl<i/. Hut .• 61, 5-19.

Brelich. A. (1956) "Theseus i suo; avvenari', SMSR. 27. 136-H -- (19SSI7) 'Le, monOiandal .. •• La. ND.utlIt CliD. 7-9. 469-'8+

--(1958}GI ....... ,,,..... Rome, .

== (:958) ·U~ milo "premeteico'";' SMSR, 29. 23-40. ( 969) Paitlu. f!DtIIr .... ,. Rom e, (Initiation.)

-- (1969) 'Symbol or a Sy bol' . J M

MJI/ts fI1III S_".bou SltJIi. 7t. . on. . K,lagawa and C, H. LolllI (eel.)

w:riijc •. ) I .. ", '''''"'·IM EI,mII, Chicago. 195-207 (Human

--(1969) 'Nireu,., SMSR W 115-50

- (1970) 'La eo re di p' ..

23.-42. na I rnmetheu •• in H"",""'I" <l M Dr/n"". 8 .....

---- (1972) 'N.""la di miu' R t, .

8rtmme',J.(1978)'Heroea R' ;,,_, .. i.il,.. 2, 7-80. (Eleu.i.)

5-38. • IIU •• and lh. Trojan War', Studl SIomo-R .. "-'-"

-(19B3)'Sq . _....-,,2.

and ritual) p&goat R,tual. In Ancient G_c.', HSCP, 81. 299

_ (198+) .O .... k M . 320 (Myth

Dn''''n, L, (1976) i.f MJI:::h~~rh aeeon.iderod'. 2PE, ,55, 267 86

B (1982) PlIIIOI! ill I 1111. Lelden

B ~'II. v.d. (1972) n.~:.'L In "'.1Iha, Par ..

ur <It. W (1966) 'II. ~H' of"" I'4twrW. kId

_ (1970) " ekroptdenlag. und Ar'.c en.

_ (1979) -:.~n. Hypo.PYle and N "phona ,H....., Jot

... rll<l.,. IIfIII ' ew .-1Ie •• Lemnot

Anltlet, LondQn HIJ~ .. CrnA MJlIIsot.,y """ CQ. I,

'-;;.:/::2) 'G~tlehPi.1 IIJId GOlle Rw..t .......

1'1"011 • &._. 'i J riu.,I." Ul lIItann~"-"-

'" , J,335 67 ---.


DMrrltka' ZPE ss •

Oolr:t'~.n \'lira .• .43-S4

221- 3l ... un Ln:llle h.,l!iu .. hen

Lidn. h.lhUiJcl1en Quanen' A A

I ,'_ "' HIIIIf.

mf18'1 'CI ..... kM .. n.dl'III from 01 m I

';"!:';Q~:.;;;.1JJ();.,t\I.oin Arragoni (<d.l. Lt tiD"; P UIO M .. oaIin.', HSCP. 82.

UI em •• (Rom. and Bari, 1985)

_'"."'U88') 'Human s"crifi« in Cre.k RcJi 10 • Th

. H'lIfht 11. Geneval 195- 242. g n. ICC CIlIe Studie:," Enlrttrnrs

HeNer, H (1973) 'Th ... ue", RE. Suppl 13, 1045 _ 236

a-~. t1 (196S) AIId"m"dJJ .. d rllfPtio. Moi •• nh,iID.·

Lefk.o~Il!;, M R. (l936l W...", in G,,,k MJIh. London and Baltimore. Lloyd Jon .. , H. (1983) An.m" and (phlgencia' JHS ]03 81 102 u.xaw<. N. (1981) Les Erifonu d'.dl.! .... Paria. • • . - -- (1982) 'Co que vit Ti,Esi.,·, L 'Ee>iI du ""'p, 2 99-116

-- (1982) ·H.~~o: I e s unnAl e e I I. feminin':R;' j. d.

697-729. AI.., In R. Schlesier [ed.}, !,,,,,jlldJ ... <kJ M'M":: 198:~""""\ jld6. 167-208. -r • troemre ,

Mauen'liol M. (1970) CuJIuro. t aisi /JmMllnltt: to '.unia- dioniriata, ROome-

Matth •• , J (1970) Dn, Wah .. iM im grit<hiJ,h.. M:1Mos, "C" Heidelberg

Nagy, J. F. (1981) The deceptive gifl in G.ecl< my[holo~' A.u.\

191-204. ". ure, If,

Nilsson. M. P. (19701 TIlt My, ....... o.;&, •• j r;,,,. Mythology. 2nd edn, B"kdcy. etc. (To be read with L. Gerner. La Grtrs SllIUffl!flU'll, Paris, 1982, 99-1CK, and Gr.f. M'1I~.I.git. 68-70.)

Panrel-Schmiu, P. (1917) "Athena Apatnuria c:t la celnrure', An:nM ESC, 32. 1059-73.

Parker, R. C. T. (1983) Mi4rmo, 315-92. Oxford. [Exile and purification of the killer in myth.)

Pelltaer, E. (1982) h .. t. d'iI!mI;I' - F.,~J, d, fJ<= a, Rome.

__ (19B3) "Tre cavalli bianehi ed un (;8\1'3110 bigio', In E. Pellieer and N Zorzeni (edt), L2 fHJlUa rlti /JOdn nlfia ronda "n,ild t mtdimJr. 29-46. Rome and Bari.

Picca]up. G. (1968) Lyt ... , Rome.

__ (1974) Minwalt Rome. [Love between god!. and mortals, Persephone,

Adonis, Mclanion and Timon.)

Prinz, F. (1979) Crulld •• K,mylh", usd s.,,,,,kro •• I.g,,, Mumol>.

Rubin. N. Felscn and De.aJ, H. M. {I 980) 'Many meanings, one fonm.lb&. and die

myth of the AJoade-s'. SmuDliC4, 29. 39-52.

Rubin. N. Folson and Sal •. W, M. (1983) 'Meleager end Ody".uJ;" Sm",.,"1 and Cultural Study of the Greek Huntit)g·MalunHion M)'th\ AfllJjW,1I1, 16,


Rudhatdl, J. (1971) lAl""."/. 1',..pr;m.,dUlJ, do", Is m" •• I.g;' f"<9 '" · ~,nJi' --(I98') 'Du mytht, de I. religion grecque col de lacamprthtllUOO d au RtrJ .ur til. uintal lit" 19. no. 58_ (Myth, Prome"lheu" PerRphop-t) AQrtlii

__ (1982) 'De t'Inceue dens III m),wotogie grC'Cqt.lr", BID J"~( .It In!' I

*6, 731- 763 118 26~ 84

Sale. W (1975) "Temple Lcg.ndlof,h<Arkl .. " R.n' M.,.) S ~"m .. ,d ,b, Seglll, C. (1983) 'Grcek M)'lh ,n a SenuDlIt end SltutlUra r

Problem of Tragedy'. ,01,,,.,,,'. 16. 111 - 98. p

Se,gent.B (1984) L·H.m.' .... J'r;dJJOJ In "'_,,~.I.I'(rtrqUl' = ... 1 Siegmund, W. (ed.] (1984) A.".tIt M.1lAor I .... _ M.n',..


Ii iIoi Ttrriftl.,. (lAnhll 197&) 'lJI'li2:t=~' 1,"11IgiC:.W'ID.;!!lf anlluopllJogy. interpret.n .. "n.. 23(1982) 92-122; S M""Cormack,

&. Jhl~IIlll".J\ltr"':f: A llei:olllideTanon or F"rutr". a.ldm &l1li> ,

C8Jlcik. 'Die GOtter Oriechcnland. 1929 W. F

p~=;:ri~~~~!~ und Thoalog. am Ende du W",marH

" a_Ill, 27 (19Bt) 151-76; ,dem, 'Diony_

Relil!io~swi_nocilaru.r und Theelol!" am End. der R. Farber and 8.. Schl""ie. (ed!), DII R_WII Ur 10~-23

C. Humphrey', APllb .. poIDgJ .ru1 tilt Gr.du (London, 106, 283-8; 8.. di Donato, 'Un. Oeuvrt:, un itiniraire', in L

Oeme', lAs Gm, _s m", .. h (Pam, 1983) 403-20.

Dumtzil, 0 (1890): C. S. Latleton, TIl, N"" C.m/H'1.1i .. MJIA.ftI0, 3rd edn (Serkeley, ere., 19B2): A. Momigliano, 'Prerne .. e per una dio<u .. ion. IU Geo ... o..m6.i1', Dpw, 2(1983)329-.1 and RiD. Si<>, 11,95(1983)245-60 Breli"", A. (1913-1977): A. Brelieh, Si<>,w ddt. .. lip"i. ,_~p (Nap!", 1979) 21-115. (A movingaulobiography.)


!'"'r.J..Ol'''''' b. 19+2, is Eliot Professor of Greek Literature .:~~ii~fIIl'inlrnhlmrity,. He edited Dit Plwiniklka des Lollianu.r (1972) Koenen) the Cologne Mani Codex (ZPE 1975-82).

nU:merolLS articles on Greek religion and its study in modem times include 'Loss of Self, Suffering, Violence: the Modem View or Dionysus from Nietzsche to Girard', HCSP88 (1984-) and 'Der G{mlb6 tIIr Htllerul: Rdigionsgeschichte a1s Glaubensbekenntnis und Kulturkritik' in W. M. Calder III d at. (eds), Wilamowitz nat:h 50 Jtthtn (1985).

Robert Parker, b. 1950, is Fellow or Oriel College and Lecturer in Greek and Latin Languages and Literature at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Miasma: Polhuio« and Purification in Early Oruk R,ligion (1983). He has also published 'Greek State. and Greek Oracles' in Crux. Studiu (lTtSenltd 10 C.E.M. de Su. Croix (1985) and 'Greek Religion' in The Oxford History oj Ihe Classiml World (1986).

Ezio Pellizer, b. 1942, is Professor of Greek at the U niversiry of Trieste. He is the at Itor of FaDou d'idnrlila - Favole di (laura (1982) and co-editor (with N. Zoretri) of La (laura tin padri nslla Ioa.la anljed e mtditvalt (1983). He has also published various article. on archaic Greek poetry, notably 'Per una morfologia della poesia giambica arcaica' in AA.VV. I Canoni l~tUran' (1981).

Christiane Sourvinou-lnwood, b, 1945, is a former Lecturer in Classical Archaeology, University of Liverpool. She 15 the author of Theseus as Son a.nd Stlpson (1979). Her articles on Gr«k religion and iconography include 'Persephone and Aphrodite at Locri: A Model for Personality Definitions in Greek Religion', ./HS 98 (1978) and 'To Die and Enter the House of Hades: Humer, Before and After', in J. Whaley (ed.), MirrofI of M~lla1l1y Slud~J I~ !h, Social History of}),QJh (1981).


~jlorl66 Aglao.th.n .. 260

Aglautut 195-1

"S"(Ulture 159, 161


Alsi'lh ... 28t, 50

Aiolol rss-s, 249

Aipylo> 2.

:tJodIroJagy 241

Ajax II

Akuta. 252

Akri.ioo 165, 175

Aktaion 13, 266


AI.", ... 2, 1611, 172, 177, 254 At.yo,", 108

AlkaiQ, 156, 21Gt Alklll.n.172


AU>ad .. 281

Am.""n.2811 AmoIDUu107-IJ

Amphiuaul gt

A",phidamu :151

Amphls a59C

Amphlllyo. 29

AmyId4i 154-7& /I<IUinI Amylc1u 154-811 p.wiIn ""'YIII .... 2.



And ... i" 1&0, 162, 169', .83 (a)

1M (31) •

~01-19 pauim A"lhe~142r AIItigon .. +tf Am...ebta 45 AI'lIi(o)pll~ ... 250r Antioth ...... 260

Al'IlOnmUI Liber"It. 243, 249, 252 Anu 123

Apalu,;" 26& (9)

Apharelid. 172, In, 177 Aphareuo 15t, 169, Inr Aphrodil. 122, 161

Apollo 80, 85, 93r, 96, 101, 114, 133, 154, 164, 191,263; Alglat ..... Asll"latas 247, 268 (11); and Claros 268 (II); and Crete 225; and !klphi 2151T; BJld Oidyma 241,268 (II); and goats 238 (47); and 1011 201; and Po"",don 232, and slon.s 225; and water 222, 237 (35); A. Daphnephorue 224; A. Delphinio. 225; A Gypaieul 247,269 (II); A. Lykrioa 63; A. Patroo. 21l (80)

Apollodorus of Athens 2+2, 2f6, 250, 2611 (6)

Apollodoru., Pseudo 243, 246, 2611 (6)

ApoJloniu. llhodiul 95, 97, 245,


Apau 21 Arachne 13 Aratus 259

Aread ... 65-79, 1M Arcbilochu. 101

A .. io. 273 (61)

Arellhooo 2

A",u ... 273 (61)

Aren. 169, 172

A .... 46, 100

Amha .... 210 (25) A'II_ U+, 1611 184 (3t) A ..... 17$

Aralope 82


139. 141

l!IIl1Ie'.!Iy CoDon 87C. 92. 101. 108. 118,


Comwrd. F. M. 21 l»PJIOgany 19-24. 29 Crv.llnUll 260 ~"'1I8.206f

Creuu:r, F. 282 CuOb .. laion II

aWlUJ"C hero .. 17f Cybele 100

Cydopu 123. 144. 280 C)Tu, ttf

DIIot)'). 92.95

Dudsl u , 280



Danaql iss, 184 (30) Ilcl eeu rt, M. 42 PeIoJ 200. 211 (57)

Ddpbi 41. 43. 45, 123. 202.

215-41 pas""' 2 2bO' at

J:lfupelu 48f. 50,91, 12. ' 211

Ph_' 268 (II); OJ EuroP'


ecuad ...... """" ",~. l!lc.:trr..~9. BleutJn"", rny1hoI08Y 250f,219 Elouai. 169f, 201-'4'

Elillde, M l~B

Ejki6 ..

BlV-illm 140

l!mP«lacl •• 49, 125. 128. 139 EnaoaimU&'M'3 (!i1) EnJUlphorol 273 (61) Bnvelildu. 193


&"""ulbh 21, 23

Bpho 92,98

Bpi Urlil. 251

Bp;'n~nid .. 260

Ei'a1O.ih.JI .. 8~. 260

B .... hthe .. m 202 l!toclllh.W:!iichlhonlul 187-21+

./HUIim; lind POlOldon 202, 20 .. ; ~·uahl'" Qf 197, 212 (66) Ens01It 275 (12)

Brmyea U. 1~2

Bro. 101«, 26HIll

~.'~blhob 200, 211 (57)

ElieDlU 96

I!IlUhem"""96. 129, 14-0 1lO'I.loa 153

Eur'l'lZlJ[lu.1I173 ~5B) gurypylo. (54) EUl')'lItblll1u 175 EurytclEun:tU 251 lIuryto. 213 (58) Evadne 1M ."JlOSUre +3f

fairy'lale sr, 98

Flooo 161. 18' (19) Fanuna Primigenia 14+ faslerage +~. 54 Fran~oi. vase 252

Frazer.J. O. 121,135-7,2+7. 268 (6).283

F,..,ud. S. 41, 53-5, 118 funeral gam ... 52

Gaia 2151T Oasler, T. 23

Ge 122. 250. 271 (31) genealogy 153 - 86 O.nguigulatago 47f Gemel. L. 41. 283 gift 281 Gigantomachy 192 Gdgarnesh 16, 26f Gluckman, M. U6f Glaucus 96

Gold.n Ago 121-47 ",.,"111 Gorgo 261, 16, 65, 269 (15) Oorgophone 154, 166 70 180 Graf, F. 3

0", •• myth"ll'aphy 2+2 - 77' U1d paradrurogr.phy 245, and paroemlOgraphy 245

Greek mythology ... of I 4 and cult 223; and genealogy In ."dhillOry 215 17, ud Iconography 25 30; IUtd

10-80; and til" lradillanal

6r, and ftllUI! 2 '.. I ,

'fQ)""u)~ lfO J.~.'. 164 Ja~1IJI l~~, 124 ll:I~ 17!f ~1lII96

~ 154. 170, 185 (40) 1Illlfl',fllw 20

iJl1:U1 49-n, WI Inik>.Eumpeart mythology 2 lJl<lra 2f

inflUltitide 12+

initiation 3, 27£, 47, 53£, 70-2, 80' - 106 PIUS;"'; and KaJlino ~79-81


1<11) 206

Ionia and Athens 206 Iphianasoa 2S 1

Ipbiclus '7,271 (36), 272 (5~) Ipbidamas 251

'l'hisen.ia 251

Jl'b,mede 251

Juno I08f

ralOn 73

Jacoby, F IH, 2« Juon 52, 95 7,281 Jeanmalre, H .. , J""s~ "7, 51-+, 251 JullJll1125


SItU. ti. 205

It5 23.127-31

KJ:anos 16-22 palSl"" 121-52

""mm, 197, 2$4

KUlDlIrl>i 16- 22 fJ<U, ... , 123, lS3 Kynonas Ut, Uili II, 184 (lit} KJpria 173

lCyrene llit

Labc!1IOU.142 53

t.a:io. n-5

bak.dumon 15+-80 pos .... 4tni.4ti

l.a!Ig, A< 13~

L"',.m..,.i, V 138

Lanth"" 156

Lop,th •• 165

Lap,th. 160, 16S

LallU~ 50

18uOO 22+, 237 (35) Leda 171, 176, tao legend 6t

Lel'lta J 5+ 83 (9) /'Om", Lalex IS4-8Q {ill"'''' Lemn,.., women 122

Lan" dauShttro .. ' 197 I...ma 18

I..e'bo. 9~

I..e!o 66

Macmblus 131

mlll:nad. 8M. 279, 281 magic,aJ18 9tf

1II1l11j" 100

Marduld7, 21, 28 marriage 153-86 pamm Marsya.73

maternal uncle 91 Medea 96

Medusa +Ii

M.kionik. 164 M.lanthOl 268 (9) Meleager 97, 252£, 281 Mel.,. 107-11

Melqart 17

Men.lao. 154, 160, 114 M.mpe 45

Mmpis 2.~f, 249f

M .... ne 160, HiS, 168f. 178 1&0 M.li.191

Meuh, K 97-9, 102 (6), U 137 Meyer, Ed 134

M,d 269 (15)

Min 162

mitro, 112, 114 .......... 1o.9B MOniZ. K. Ph 2B2 MOPIOl,96f moun'4tn. 44, 87 Mull .. K 0 Mull., M 48 Mu_ .. 99 101 M ... 4( 9 101


PJI\IlI'IlIf$llU.l!OO l'helhiU'lOD Phetlljjfd .. U2, 208 Phil_50 PhIIOc:bo.ru.95, 198 PhihKlcmu. 242, 1150 PbiJottratus 92f Phin.ua 205, 279 Phoebe 17:3, 225,231 Pborlm 1


lind ... 24, 96r, 123, 125, 163, m,

193,282 PWIlII.163f

PlaID 5+. 81, 86,11+,117,140,153

Pimppoa 253

Philo 85, 139

pocl. and Greek mythology 2-+

PollIO< 170, 119r


PoJYUon 154-69, 118 PoJ)'lI~OCI+l l'nlfphemu. 98

PIltCidou 1.22, 124, 130. lH (29), JH 16+ and Apollo 292; and M1~ iSls-wo, 203f, 232; .,

rol,,_01:181 135-4,2 Romulus and R.cmu. 7, .... e

ritual, as symbolic language 74; of ",,,.,naI135-+2; "' shu Greek mythology

fB~ (111) Telesonus 51 Teleldeid ... 159 Telemsches 51 Tern.nes 154. 175 Thamyris 99 Th.ban Cycle I

Thebes 41-56 pan"", 162 Th.bros 117:' (61)

Themi. 122,215-40 I-sim Thera 164, 169

Therapne rsor, 164, 116

Theseus 3, t7, 187,190,279 82 Th •• tiadai 253

The.tia. 170, 253

Thompoon, S. 112

Thrace and Eleusis 203f, 271 (34); and hero-cult 268 (11), and Orpheus 86-92. 991 three-Iuncrional ideology 178f

Thy ee , es 50 Tiamal28 Tlmagoras 107 -13 Tiphys 97f Titanomachia 174

Titan. 20-4, 122£, 173f. 192 TOll.u! 253

trickery 6H, 175

Triopas 160, 178

triple ceo .. road. 45 Triptolemol 250

Triton !IIi

Trophamoa 250f

Tynd .... ul 15+, 170 •• 179f. 18t (25)

Typhoeuofl"yphan 16 20 3 1 19tf, 227f

W.,,_ 51

Tyrtatoa 15~ 177

ncrlfice, of cak •• 128, of maidens

212 (66)

SamothrllCC 92, 96 Santas/Sandon 17

Sargon ....

Saturnalia 136, 1 .... 'S.turnoliau' fcativab 129-31 SJllurllu. 125-9, 131. 145

S ....... 249

Sryna 4,6

.. aft


Semele 263

shamanl.m 82-101 pomm .hepherd. Hf

Simonid .. 84

Sitem 46, 96 - 9

Skir. ItS, 204

Inako 193, 196

Soiler, K W F 282 Sophocl .. *3(, 125, 205 Sot.ira 196

Spartan. mytholoiIY 153 - 86 SPilrle 154-80~Slm Sph]"" 46 8

8tetll;hor~. 168

Brunner igyptischen

R. Merkelbach, Dr< decIsive motif. the old.,.t G_k sources, be prouppo •• d on the

Paul. 5.18 3}: see also

Jan Bremmer

Oedipus is one of the few figures of Greek mythology whose name is still a household word. Hi. fate has inspired playwrights, librettists, film-makers,! and attracted the attention of Freud and LeviStrauss, the founding fathers of psychoanalysis and structuralist anthropology respectively (d. below). In spite of the enormous interest, a satisfactory interpretation of the myth has still not been arrived at. The following inquiry does not pretend to present the last word about Oedipus, but it hopes to show that historical, sociological and structuralist approaches can all cast J!ght on one and the same myth - and sometimes have to be employed simultaneously. Only an eclectic analysis makes the best use of the riches of the mythological tradition.

The Oedipus myth has been discussed in various ways. Older scholars tried above all to recover the myth's earliest stages. They compared its various versions in epic, t ragedy and later Greek mythography, and in this way they were able to demonstrate that in the course of lime important changes had occurred. For example, originally Delphi was absent from the story, and Oedipus remaJ'l'i~d after his wife's death. Only in classical umes did the poets' interest shift from the family to the individual; in archaic Greece an AntICO"' was unthIDkable.2

The most recent, structuralist approach has proceeded regard less of these chronological considerations. In a noteworthy analy IiI. Claude Uvi-Strauas compared the relationship between Kadmos and his sister Europa to Antigone'! attitude to Polymces corpse, and concluded that these incident. have aa a common feature the overrating of blood relation. In addition, he drew


aI~itjl{f!Mbl~:fitfth c:mtoty, vatimu vertioo. I'lf the IlUlftJIr. In Aeachyltls' &vm t1ft1ifUI

IbbiC:QIi'IUII. wam. the Theban king Laios that he will dies childless. In Sophocles' O<dipur RDt the the newborn SOD will kill his father, but in ~;··;"lIIt:dtk~ l'llDlPlfasM the oracle takes place before Oedipus" birth. hardly be due to chance. The very beginning of ~th WIIS' an area where the poets could freely exercise their l11genuity without altering the traditional plot of the myth. Both Q~and prophecy will not have been introduced into the myth before the eighth century, since that was when Delphi first rose to fame and the Greek polis came into existence. The oracle probably replaced a seer: a poet could hardly get Oedipus away from Thebes and ignorant of his true parentage without a prophecy (however given). Even if there is an answer to this problem for the pre-history of the myth, for the classical period the presence of the oracle is most important because it introduces such motifs as human v. divine intelligence, vain attempts to escape from oracles, limitations of human understanding and fate - motifs which evidently fascinated the classical audience. 8

In order to forestall the outcome of the oracle, King Laios had Oedipus exposed. The myth indicates two locations of the exposure which are not as different as they might appear at first sight. According to the first version, Oedipus was exposed on Mt Cithaeron and found by a shepherd from Sicyon. The tradition of Oedipus' discovery near Thebes by a Sicyonian shepherd is an interesting glimpse into the sparsely documented activities of Greek herdsmen. Undoubtedly, hi. presence is a nice example of transhumam:e - the system by which herd. graze In the mountains in the summer, and in the valleys during the winter. A detailed e>cpo.ition of the myth may well have elaborated the dim culties experienced by the shepherds in bringing the foundling home!9 According to the second version. Oedipus was put In a chest and thrown into the sea. Fortunately, he was rescued by the queen of Corinth (or Sicyon) who was doing her laundry at the seashore. Washing clothes may not seem II very royal acl~YllY. but in the OdyISI)' Nausicaa too departs on a wuhlog expedItion, the motif will predate the Cla.uical Age when the enclolure of women

_MiIPIil_fodJ.iIJ fdlt were mutilated. Vladimir ~~_fOl~.~'~!Wt··tb1J.r. in many legends the

.1lJi~1ed", 1J~.IlQI(W.l alae be the explanation 1'''-f:baJ''~I\U)!ded IMt meant a rk jo&w keJ.MIIWQleJ~iJijJodd about this motif. .~_~, ooulld anyone h&v~ expected the. mutilation is actually

~_IIJJJPt,.(lQ"" in thoae vertlion. where

.~~(II:,plil1Clp Jlet hie hero limp in eKuciaed an

MlOmliUiPDI8dW:Qrdir:lgto their ~1OiII~~ned it M a sign of

~'ot~QI1i.bltI~atiiJrlkllh\J:revll!"'" of good k'ngAD these explanaORdt way or playing with names. confirm the values already ascribed to they do not produce these values. In other

... nllW''iIt)'1!lIOI.,giai iD~rprelation is always secondary, and main key in decoding the mythY l'rlJ~h"lhcahllPh.ero:l$had found Oedipus, they brought him to the lulUit of King Polybul. The king's name is fixed in all versions of thtMrariitiOD, but the name ofbis wife varies; she is called Merope, P,riboia, Medusa or Antiochis. Evidently, changing women's names was one of the poetic means of giving a story a new look. 18 ]!Nen though the royal couple pretended that Oedipus was their own son, his education at another court can hardly be separated from fosterage, the initiatory custom according to which Greek and other Indo- European aristocratic children were raised at a court or family different from their own. This once widespread custom lasted until the later Middle Ages, and in England became transformed into the institution of the public school.l? The exposure myths could easily incorporate initiatory motifs, since boys usually had to spend some time away from home during their dtes of puberty; Cyrus' and Romulus and Remus' growing up among their contemporaries also reflects Persian and Roman rites of initiation. It was normal for the young aristocrat to return home when he had grown up in order to pass through the final puberty rites. Similarly, Oedipus lcft the court when he had reached adulthood.2O

We need not analy~ the reasons why Oedipus left his fosrer parents, or why Laios left Thebes in order to consult the Delphic oracle. Moti ... ations were typically a territory where poets could use their imagination. It is far more interesting to inquire why Oedipus killed his father at a triple crossroads. Carl Robert spent much effort on local ising the scene of the crime, and even published photographs of it,21 but it seems more important to observe that the Greeks considered a triple crossroads an ominous spot. It was the place where ghostly Hecate was worshipped. wheN: Plato wanta corpses of parricides to be stoned, and w~e~ m La~~ Antiquity the poet Nonnus still has women commit murders Evidently I mythopoeic imgination did not chose its .cenery at random but deliberately.


~!~"~~~'~I~nlOU.ili81;)I~.~·~lu~c~dramatise ••• m.t.ii(b11lnr!daI~'·.~c1tllial,;Qr acropolis of Thebes.24 wM. but it may seem curious .~.JIIml*a~PI1ipby· the Sphinx ia virtually always ,.. ... .., ...... an onanising Sphinx

·Tlllilllli'Il8ICr!.,.fCl1QA].e,'-lelt.4""Wl in well with the Greek ":IIlII1UIi __ ')IJI.I!'nateQI u iemale, in particular as girls l~_"f".II4JIil1IW .. ,ed by the CIIkS of the Medusa, ....... ' .......... "' .. .,.., .... " .. Sir~. Erinyes. Scylla and

• .llWt._IiSlIOJiIll1,fiC(~lm.likeB to represent the ultimate space, male Greek imagination iII;Id!ht1:N:ltIiat.iltpplmte au.~

_Jt\J';bcI6n<"gul~ that the episode with the Sphinx is a

bc.·;Oe,dilpt"lItc)FY, since there is no unanimity Hera. Am and Dionysas are mentioned; as abSCllt from similar folktales. This Pint, Huiad (Th. 326) knows of the

~kUl~"" Thebam. IWd parts of the riddle' & text ti.,f;iDm. PU:blillhed,U¢h-.century vase; allusions ~ut~m.·illlU:Iy .tilln ... rel1lw1ry literature. This chrono-

.lJi"~!)ti'PQ!Je')1 the claim that the Sphinx i, variable in poetic the «ImparilOn with other

UIi"-4IIIIIIII~1Ui1 IDW the abacldel of a primeval .. amUll Ule m.1Oriea1 tradition but hllll to ,. $'ftiliom. There is no reason,

1I1I!f;all9ib 'the Odyss(JI vemon of the that C"IIl8ti Btrellllell the role of :iD!Jibiil'jlMltri:a~e: 'abc who had married her son' _Y',,'IIIE ruitor8 of Penelope were waiting to see [1fll1'l!!l~L~'®J.J'J;b'oOlIE to many These myths presuppose a in which gaining the hand of the queen-widow ","ll)nj,UCI$(lICi:!Jpllticfn of the throne. The same system could be found

···~$IN,h.l!Cl'-·,Ji,eril'doltu8 relates the gripping story of Gyges and the king Candaules; another Lydian king was also ructlleded by a subordinate who married the adulterous queen. In Persia, the Magus Smerdis married Cambyses' widow Atoosa, who was incorporated into Darius' harem after Smerdis' death. and - a very late example - in the eleventh century, the Scandi-

navian Knut married the widow of Ethelred, the defeated English king.l7

If Oedipus' wedding had been the end of the myth, the result of the analysis would have been obvious. In the 19305. Louis Gernet had already compared Oedipus' confrontation with the Sphinx with ordeals of other heroes such as Theseus, [amos and Pelops, and interpreted these tests as an 'initiation royale'. The pioneer of the study of Greek initiatory rites. Jeanmaire, also recognised in this part ofthe myth 'Ie theme d'avenement', but at the same time he wondered about the link with incest and parricide. Could these latter two motifs really be connected with the theme of initiatlOn?28

There can be no doubt, in fact, that parricide can be brought into the orbit of puberty rites. as is illustrated by the" Theseus myth. Scholars have Jong recognised thai the Attic version of the myth reflects an initiatory scenario: the prince who is educated away from home defeats the monstrous Minotaur and returns home to become king. In the case of Theseus, the king is not straightforwardly murdered, but his suicide IS caused by Theseus forgetting to change the sails. In other words. in this particular tale myth hu mitigated parricide. In its undiluted form. the crime Octurs in a Baroro myth. A boy named Geriguiguiawgo raped hi mother and waa therefore abandoned by his father. After the performance of a series of hunting feats, he return d, provided h tribe with fire and killed hi. father. The rape of hi. moth r .yro boJiaQ ecpar.tion from the world of women The killing or h ..


Iiliiilri1jtvJ""(diI\'.lJIkV • l»tt1parabJe 'ftructure: a defeats a monster, kills and becomes king (or ~~Ii't!.r:nlli!rtif.2and318 different in the case of

("iltitlio~ M via ritual prove to be unsatisfactory: the IItriking combination of panic ide and m.~~j_!llq!B. tie rewarding. We start with a closer look W:liIilOO:i-.lIfQliern Western society has become dlffe~ntlated to ;.jllilill!~P!~c~lmt few people are dependent on their fathers for are fathers very dependent on their children ·.«Jo.v,miUiUi:J.r care in their old age. Consequently, parricide does ~tiplay a.major rQle in the modern imagination. It is therefore mil to J;J:IJ'D.I:mber that in ancient G~ece sons were totally de pendInt on their fathers for their later status, and that parent. looked to tlteir children as a kind of pension. The great stress Greeks laid

on bonouring parents is a dear indication of a situation in which JUl. unde,rlying tension between fathers and sons must always have cllisted.32 An ever-present possibility, parricide was considered to be one of the most appalling of crimes. One of the signs of the rule of Hate, as envisaged by Empedocles, is the murder of the father, fGlIowed by the consumption of his flesh. Imputation of parricide was one of the 'unspeakable things' which could well result in legal action; even the word 'parricide' was only mentioned with reluctance, if at all."

Incest was equally appalling, even though the Greeks did not have a specific word to denote the practice; nor did they condemn sexuel relationships between relatives to the same degree as has been U8Ual in the modern Western world. Marriages between ulJcle/aunl and niece/nephew were relatively current in both Ih archaic and classical period. Marriages of first cousins' and those blltween half-brothers and half-sisters were also not uncommon J. Tho~ ~tween brothers and slsrers seem to have been just beyond the hmJt8 of the admissible, although Cariane, Egyptians and the Ptole~ie8 permitted them.3~ The Od)lm) can still describe th ma:nage of Aeolus' chil~n without comment, even though II i& IQCllted on an island cutside normal civiliaation. In He 100' 7n1lll<'''Y, brotherlaiater maniilges among the gods are evidenu not conlide~d to be a problem. but such marriage, DC ur m m I mlltil.ologiM of the world without a.ny apparent condemn&Holl In


if".~Ii"·.tII~bl(JtlIIliJuli &uilt. ,ppricide .Ikt"4!IUd:llbtiJruL;Whjch ~ar~ mr the

TtanSJliessions in these par- ( _;.~, .. ·",~irtl~ ascribed to' ih~ ~tlmwJ"1 the one

r.diIdl~,·biulaeJf01utside normal society. These were propagated by the CyniC9 in their oppcsi-

,,,"PI,, ..... rn' .. of the polis. CannibaUsm, incest and G"IIJleytere also the crimes which the Greeks ascribed to in order to stress the superiority of their own were not unique in this attitude, though.'9 incest were also standard accusations levelled by !&u:opeenB against inhabitants of countries discovered in the early modern age; indeed, these imputations seem to occur all over the wodd.fiI

We can now see that there is a strong moralistic flavour about these stories, since the monstrosity of the transgression is commented upon by letting the protagonist commit a further monst:rosity. Whoever commits incest is prone to become a parricide or cannibal as wen. Or, whoever commits parricide will become incestuous and consume human flesh. The coronary must be that Oedipus' incest is not a pre-Freudian reflection on his relationship with his mother but a comment on his parricide. The lack of any profound interest in his mother is confirmed by the variety of her names' epic poetry calls her Epikasre, tragedy Jocaste.41

There are two more aspects to be considered. First, those who break the great taboos sometimes experience an abnormal end, as two further examples may illustrate. A late archaic poet related how Odysseus' son by Circe, Telegonus, unknowingly killed his father. Subsequently he married Penelope, and his brother Telemachos. in a way his double, married Circe. Both sons, then, married the wife of their father who was not their awn mother - a

'soft' .

version, so to speak, of the myths we have been discussing.

After the wedding all the protagonists were immediately removed to the .hleR. of the Blessed. The heroisatien shows th t people who COmmit Crimes like parricide or incest acquire a Itatus beyond ~f~ h~manl, although they can abo become infra human The bo InllJlI~ poet Boi08 told a siory about Aegypw, a The ... hAll u: ,who l~~verlently slept with his mother, Boulls In !hie

culprits were changed into birds aile lut example The


Rutnlno'wtJ.to us.

IIHLJ'teert,ain.ty about the myth 'II orlgin we would like to i'IIor ..... >l.,,' ... I,'h a suggestion regarding its meaning and place ~f:u'f!iGitJUiclrt, in the early archaic age. In the classical period, Oeaipug> life had become part of the tragic chain of events of ~lIai:uB' doomed house, but his life is still considered in its own right in the oldest version of his myth (Odyss9' 11.271-80).

Oedipus' father was the king of Thebes, and Oedipus himself, as the Otfyssry notes, 'continued to rule' after his mother's suicide _ thus sovereignty is singled out as his most important quality. Like many other archaic myths, the myth of Oedipus is concerned with the succession to the throne.t"

In this case, however, the myth relates the story of a pmm1~d succession - the incest being the narrative expression of society's disapproval of parricide: Oedipus is a model of how not to succeed

to the throne. In the classical period the aspect of succession no longer appealed to the poets, but in the early archaic age this aspect must have been highly relevant. Considering the impor· tance attached to sovereignty, it is not impossible that at one time the myth was told to princes during their puberty rites, By growing up, princes form a threat to their fathers whose throne they WIll one day have to occupy. In a way, the Oedipus myth can be read J u a warning to the younger generation: 'You have grown up but you must continue to respect your fathers.' There is something Freudian about this myth.

2. A Greek Oedipul Complui'

Freud proposed a different solution. Havmg observed that neurotic children may be in love with their mother and want to luU their fll~t:r, he stated that the same feelings, although leu cleM and lell Intense, can be found in normal children; the Oedipus myth IlUpported this observation The the Iii hu rI!lhtly been


.. theft were n:moved ;;.:I:..iii_ ........ 1'h~ ... '''_.''1'.r mill.tol'}' education. _....,,1i_*Zt~bid:. I'lrJlti~,'1VarilldlotillU life in which up to .,,_ted .. 1Ily eoWdlfn*I,'mlix with males. In the course of .~di:llIIIiJ:d:a.D,pll(O!.:place, Exteptin certain Dorian com-

,'ii_lid, ... til euuoJOa:ry "tal of lnttiation gradually disappeared,

IIl1uCwl1b.wted to lepar8te thetr women from the presence of 1IMII • 'MIlO tpIendid ia&lation became the rule.47

TIl_ dumpI n'IWIt have had a conlIiderable impact on the ~ ftolatioDih!p. We may compare developments in IIimd.IIr.n 0Nek vlll .... Since: the ttacton have removed working ~ froat die field., women are leading a much more restricted 1ite lit iwme. The pampenng of their sons has now become one of 'CIUt ofthBit life Thesame development will have taken place in __ cal 0.- The women of the upper classes had to stay at -. • .uu:I tbet- not ftal allowed to dine with their husbands ~OIh.r IbliIJJ were prelent. Raising the children now became 'Of'lh*fll8in IiOhVltics In PI.to's Laws, the Athenian stranger ·~.ldcont:d1at b dtildren are under the care of their nurses and ·c·';:"ilQ_hllll1l1i1 they come into the hands of teacher and paidngogoi. :;.:.}~' ;~IBt·Jm.(iWlluIIN[1ID of Theophrastus even has to ask his host to ~':;·1~"'lber~~".~~Idr<en,join them for dinner, The consequent dose !ldlen and brother. enables Electra to say to ~'1fi-t.-~4" .... .di"t.beholliehold raile you: I was your nurse'. We do ';:!Idi,..,.!luo.h ..... !ong a boy remained under his mother's 1Pc11'.iIu!-wem:altwollin .. up to the liberation of Thebes a Theban brought his fifteen-

~.~JMfDI.,ot ('llI,aoiiled by one of the pro-Spartan t·tiiMt'1laI1Je: from the women' 8 quarters.48

1:tri'i~iur8lill tlf!l!iatme rC!!ltrkfed in

dis ~upled

ti we know it today; generated ~~bt,l~tllt\\~JliC:h: pf'ilduced the feelings observed by YC~111US complex has a history, 50

1 cr L, Edmunds, OuJ;pus. TIre AlI£itnI L<gmd and Ju UUtT A""logws (Baltimore IlId London 1985) 3-6 (with earli er bibliography); add C. O •• nla, 'Edlpo • tlgioni di Stato'. u« 11., 39 (1982) 482-505; H. Schrnita, 'Oedipus bel Dijrrenmalt', £!1m>WIum, 92 (1985) 199-208. Edmunds's study is v<ry infer- 111111 •• regarding the later analogues bUI 10 •• samfaclory in its treatment of the

Greek myth, see my review inJHS, 106 (1986). .

2. See the balanced apprai •• 1 by E. L. de Kock, 'The Sophoklean Oidipus and II. Antecedenl.·, Ada C/4< s. , 4 (1961) 7 -28 (with earlier bibliography) and Acla elMr. j (1962) 15-31; see also W. Potschcr. 'Die Oidipu.·Gcstall·, Era •• r, 7/ (1973) 12-44; T. Stephanopulos, Umgtsl.UWlI du Mylh., du"h Eunpidu (At hens. 1980) 99ff; W. Burken. 'Se ve n egainet Thebes: an Oral Tradition between Babyloman Magoe and G .... ek Literature", in I pormi tpin rtJp,odi" non om"," , '"

fraliz , ... Il (Padua. 1981) 29-48; J. -P Vernanr, Oedipe", in Y. Bonnefoy.

D;d """, dl! MylluJlogltS II (Pari., 1981) 190-2; R. C. T. Parker, Mil.." ....

(Oxford, 1983) 38~r.

3. C. Uvj·Slra ..... SI,,,,1"'61 A.thropol.gy I (Hermcndsworth, 1912) 21] - 18 lsi edn(1955). C.III,.: E. Leach, U."SI,ausr(London 1970) 62fT" Detienne Dio.""' 19f • , ,~,

+ M Delcoun, Otdi/>< au ta IIgmtk du t •• quirlJJtl 2nd edn (Pari. 1981)' V J ProPP. IEdip v svete folkJora", mln)t zapub I Lnm.graJ.sklJgo ;sudlJrst~.,."ofO j;;lmllltfJJ. Ser. m. 72 (1944) r .. e. 9, 13B-7!"> - V J. Propp, EJ,po .lIn 11M, tM ;,!" (Iurin, 1975) 85-137 - L. Edmunds and A. Dund .. (~.). O'd," ... · A

• ot. LollltIJ .. t (New York. 1983) 76-121

65 C1• Uvi-SlrauOl. Anlh,a/JDl.l't1Irw:llm/, II (Pari. 1913) 175 - 2:13 will only gi.. Ih Id ' . .

Otdip 2: e eo er seurces. For an exhausrive s.udy see C RI)btf1

876'_~02 .~I~Btrlln' 1915) and DII g"uh,sch, H,Irb>u.gt i (8 er 10" 1'111 IbytU1(Pa; S ;:U;:d •• OnilPlU, 6-17, add Ihe rd'''''nce to Oedipc on". ,n 8,.", ... , l..4mP;;~1J t;8~" 222); P J. Parsona, ~PE, 26 (1977) 7 16 and J M

7 IrollowhereC(S )355-71 onSte"rhorus ve rsien of eh Orulpu. m h 65 n 68 who hili . dauNlnou.lnwood. TIotltIU IU tw ••• d Su/UJ> (I n on 1 'I to •• ~ '~IJ ve"'ID~:tflro U;;d the nOllon afthe 'origInal pattern' of.h rnvth Ih., I the "'Ylh was .uU o~ whole the mentahty which op.ralrd on .h "" I

.... 1uo~ ill il. oW ~ we ~nd Oprrall." so .hal the myth w und I

8. cr J l'iInl.n::nnl

96-100. se, n.. Detp/tu: Ortuh (B.rk.l~y and 1.0


c lOlL 28, L Gerner and A Baulong<l', u GIn .. 1''' iUM '" "I'g"'" 2nd edn (P 19'10) 77f; H. J.anmain, He I'MI., 21 (1947) 167; Delceu n, O<d,,,, and p~~" 'Bdip', also suggested a cenueedcn with initiation. I P

29. TheRUI and initiBtion: H. jea.nmBirc, Coami tt call1iUs (Litle, 1939) 243-:; 338 63, F. Grof, MH, 36(1979) 13-19. Inreepretaticn of parricide: SeurvinouInwood. ThtmlS'. 15. quoting Leach. LiDi-SJr-aw5, eo. BOTQro myth: Burkert. S&H. 1+; C Li\Oi·Strau •• , Th. Raw anr!th, C .. ~ (London, 1970) 35-48.

30 For a critique of Propp, 'Edip", see A. Taylor, "The Biographical Pattern in Traditional Narrative'. J. F.Il<I. Isut, J (1964) 114 - 29

" Ettono.· Ly.imacho, FG,H 382 F 2. cf. Robe rt, Q,d,pus I. 44; Burkert, 'Mythos und Mythologi.·, in Pr.!>)'I .... G"(h,,',, drr L,tffllJur ! (l!.,hn. 198!) 11-35, esp 19. L. Farnell, G",k H"" C.11s aM Ida,..J lmmc"."1J [Oxford. 192J) 334 had already noted: • Hie [Oedipus"] cuh is extraneous and cannot be dated 10 ill very early period.' L. Edmunds, 'The Culls and the Ltogend of Oedipus". HSCP. 85 (1981) 221-38. is not convincing.

32. Hcneurlng part:nts: K_ J. Dover, Gn,k PO/JIJ/nr ,'Jo,o.lity In thr T"~ 0/ Piala •• r! Arisl.,I. (Oxford. 1974) 273 -~. Father/sen relationship: S. Bertman (ed.). 1" ConjllClo/Gmnations inA1l£lrnJ Gr«t:i!(urd Ro.ntI{Amslrordam, 1(76)~ A. Maffi, 'Padn e figli fra dinne positive e diriuc lmagtnarlo nella Grecia dassica'. in E. Pelheer and N. Zorzeui [eds), lit ptJW'Q. dti plld" rrd/tJ mn,t?J an/rCll , mtdilt'iIlt (Rome and Bari , 1983) 3-27.

33. Parricide: Parker. Milllfflo.. 124, Hate: Empedokles B 137 DidslKranl.

Unspeakable: D. Clay, 'Unspeakable Word, In G"",k T ra gcdy'. Am j Phil. 103 (1982) 217 -98

34. UncJtlaunt and niece/nephew' Bremmer. ZPlJ:. 50 (1983) I/~ n IJ. lSI n 43. Ftn:t cousins: W. Thompson. ITh[' Marriagro cf P)rSI Cousins in Arheman SocIety', !'A. •• ix, 21 (1967) 273-82 Hlllf-brothers/.IS,." W Lacey. n,F.,.<iy," CI .. "i.al Gruel (London, 1968) 106; A. R W. Harrison. Th, Low .j Alh"" T (Oxford, 1968) 22r.

35 Cariane: S. Hornblower, Maw.l", (o.rord, 1982) 358-63. Ptclemies .nd Egyptians. K. Hopkins, ·Brofh('T.Si.~u:!r Marri.agr- in Ruman Egyp,'. CD iff', Srw In &'e, o.ruJ Hul • 22 (1980) 3D3- ~+. It is nntewcrthy thai incC'PlI bc-""..~en bnnhers and sillers is nut mentioned in the Egyptian. l!llt Hellenistic (cf L. Koenen. ZPIi. •. 4 (198.) 9-13 and in Sludi. H.U",is'ica. l'7(L,uven. 1983) IH-89) Po"". 0.",1, ahhough in JaUr apocalyptic literature sex I.J.r~WCt'"fI Sibling" Irrqur'l1rJy 15 a :SIgn or [he end of the world- c( K Berger Die gnK/us,", Da'IIi/·DI~tS' (Leiden, 1916) 89r

36. Aeolu5: ad. 10.5-12; of. P ·Vidal.Naquel. L, Chou,., n," 2nd .d~i;·;;. 1983) 53 Impu.a.iono: H M.ttingly, Ttu U.",,,,.,y.j LedI R,,,,,w. 14 (I ) {Ol".con menticning Cimon], cf Park.r M,.,m •• 98, I.y •. I~ lH (AJ"~~. Phil.I .. : Parthen. 2 Leuetppus- Parth 5; d. E p.Uiur, i_Ito iJ .. ",,,


Wi'dcl;l1·itiij,oJm~t, Dit /0',... - A ... h_loguo Home,ka IJI R

19. Inillotlon: Breli<h, GII .... II''''' 174-8. La V .. tmu a Is ntsI H"",_ .. Jrm ....

eM' (A''''''~n.~''',,"~, 1963) 121f, 141-4 Rai.ong child .. n· Plate £1 1143-8, Plul. Ptl 9.5, M., ~95b. For Indebted to M. Golden,A..,,"Is~Childh..J." J 981) 268 - 71, 'a wham ,h •• uder is ref.""d for a rin~$,iJ.fllcailed di"~liol e n or th ... p .... g ••.

n. N.w Rtpobll<, BJuly 1985, p. 30: 'Clinic;r] Freudianism, .... i,h """ ... ~" •• , C'arly incestuous experiences (real or imagined], and the Increasingly like the product of a Victorian. central mi,ddl .e- el .... male chauvinist society, Some of its major hYpclthtsu

~ppll' to other lime. and other pI .... '

information. comments and cerrecden or the English I would like to tlllUlk RicjJ.rd Bux'on, Claude Calame, Alben Henrichs, And.. Lardtnoi •. "lasd",. Ma<Oonald and Robert Park.r. lowe •• pedal debllOj,·M. Morel for ,b. gt'nemus and lim ely gift of hi' splendid Ordi/H.

um,,:~~:ryj' IIPl'l.a d~in. i~ the ppp:ulatt4l~t..t~~iau¥ caribou). have contributed ~1~p.arabJe though I_ drastic sequence of :W~"'~~~"'Ui".> By 1800 WOlvC8 were extinct in the a majOl' investigation published in

llltetr.tati.Qn:al Union for the Conservation of Nature wolves are now extinct in France, .;~AIth'=rJl~CI8. Denmark. East and West Gennany, !Jq",·~!o'~l."" and Hungary; virtually extinct in Finland, ;;~~"'\'iI.~ and Sweden; and endangered in Portugal, Spain, Italy, ,\llt9.,lgl\rn~,. Czeclloalovakia, Poland and the USSR. To judge by

JAIIPJ:eIl·.lIlr wolf kills, the population of wolves in Greece is fairly ;Kills stand at about 600 - 700 per year. the bulk of them \;!eing in Macedonia, but some also in Epirus, Thessaly and Thrace. Unfortunately no reliable inference can be made about

the size of the whole wolf population of Greece on the basis of figures for kills.

The animal responsible for the decline of the wolf is man. Why this human hostility to the wolf? Normally wolves prey on large, hoofed beasts - the ungulates: caribou, bison, antelope, deer, moose, elk. When these are scarce the wolf turns to smaller mammals such as mice and rabbits, or to man's domesticated herds. It is the fact that since the Neolithic period man has raised stock which has brought him into conflict with the wolf

It is no surprise, then, that in classical antiquity we find numerous references to the wolf all a cruel, predatory enemy Plutarch (Sol. 23.3) reports that 'the Athenians were from of old lP'eat enemies of wolves, since their country was better for pasturage than for growing crops'. So Solon introduced a law that 'the man who brings in a wolf is paid five drachmas; for II wolfcub, one dracluna'. 6 (According to Demetrlos of Phaleron, five draclllnas was the price of an ox, one drachma that of a sheep) Wolves were proverbial for cruelty; hence Orestes' word. abQul his Own and hi88i8ter', implacability: 'like a raw-minded wolf. our di8POJition. which we get from our mother, cannot be appeased' (Aead\ OIuJ. 4-21- 2) Already in Homer the wolf I' _n u deadly IIIUlbloodthiJ1ty, u in me famous .imile about the Myrmidol1l(11 16. 156ft).


.,tfdlrllltClpratl~··wolf. the wolf as aumder has a grounding \Uilill~r!I!lIlbll~l't,alillt. Not only do wolvefl in general roam in area , " ~diti~I.m;1O·,l11lmaln8 to be outside the confines of human territdt:9'.;,:bw:~tb"'~~MWt'lt- - having dropped our of or been expelled

IWltn .. pllclc- u a n:81l1t of wounding in a fight or infinnity, and thu, being a kind of outsider even amongst a community of OUIlidm - i8 a recognised part of wolf ecology, known to antiquity as to us (e.g. Aristot. HA 594a30). However, as with co-operation, the point is developed so that the wolf becomes a powerful image for the man apart from other men. In his poem about a person in exile A1kaios writes as follows: 'I live a life in the wilds, longing 10 hear the agora ... I am in exile, living on the boundary ... here I settled alone all a {)Ikaimiais' (Lobel/Page 130.16-25)_ The last word is a pusele, and the interpretation 'a wolf-thicket man' is far from certain. It But for an association with exile, wildness and solitariness a compound of {)Ikos. 'wolf', is highly appropriate.R There is a .similar logic in Pausanias' aetiology for the shrine of Apollo LyklOll at Argos, according to which, when Danaos arrived as an outsider in Argos, he found a wolf killing the leader of a herd of cattle. 'It occurred to the Argives that Gelanor' - Danaos' rival for the throne - 'was like the bull, and Danaos like the wolf; for as the wolf will n t r . th

r . 0 rve WI men, so Danaos up 10 that time had not

IVed With them Ii.e. the ArgivesJ' - because he had come from ~Pt (2.19.3-4).13 Another mythical exile who had to do WIth :::8h ~aa ~thamas (Apollod, 1.9.2), Having killed hi. son told bi a era s madness and been banished from Boeotia, he waa be Y'; ?rac1e to dwell where he should be entertained by wtld am~:g' t thhll he duly did when he found wolv • 'di tnbuunll

a em.elves port' f h 'H

repJace sh . Ions 0 8 eep. ere II. human Id~ nl

preli B h al'lng·botween-wolvc8. Thus on .the one hand wol

the 0: hum~~~~Clety. to ahlU'e 1$ to be part ofa mmunu On

an ..... y COntra, with II at barbarity eonb'ut with

Antipatllr in hia book On Animals asserts that wolves give birth at ~tilllewhen trees that bear nuts or acorns shed their flowers When they eat these, their wombs are opened. But if there 18 no mpply of these flowers, their offspring die within them and tannot see the light. Moreover those parts of the world that are not fertile in nut-trees or oak-trees are not troubled by wolves (Qu. NIlt. 38)

This is a Hne example of how Greek thought could combine a traditional pattern of ideas with shrewd empirical observation Our first' reaction is perhaps to find a 'logic of myth' behind Antipater's accounr, aince there was in at least one region an acknowledged religious link between acorns and wolves. Arcadia Arcad~ans are perceived as acorn-eaten, hence as pre-eivilised: ~rcadianB are also wOl'llhippera of Zeus Lykaioa, in whOle cult d ~ w~lves and oak-trees figure (lee below); wolves are OutJlde b vilisatlDn, and so are associated with scorn-eaters who are 8~re it. But there is BOund lIoology here too. Wolve.' do Indeed

a habitat with nut- and oak-treea Good yean for nu and :: mean ~entiful 8upplies of the small animals aren by

litt • Ban.d thl. plenty means In tum that WoNe. produce tA,-

hi~~;p~t w~en food is Bcarce, there ill in foxe. and rabbit • it II like! :;rtton of aborted foetuae. than in t1m" of pi nt

thUB Y Ilt the aune is true for wolvu Antlpate ... enion

tradit,,::1de• evidence for a remllllcabJ llIe

\Ve mish7'd ernplri~ mod" of thought «cpecr II /1riI»i that if any uclent -Ilthor

that the lituation is idmtlcal today: we know ~i:".'-·:=:t~:'!: tht exact birth·pe~ods of European wolves; but it is ' tertaitt that there will be a restricted period for birth iI;tI1l. is is JUl/ilcl(, IIuu this wiU In more !han 2 -3 weeL. As ~th AmdJillter's assemon mentioned above, the coincidence between

myth _and empirical ~b8ervation is notable; and 80 tDO is the abiliry o£ Ariltotle to set himself apart from the tradition and to reflect p,ritically upon it.

A few conclusions may be drawn from the material presented in this section, (1) Sometimes Greek perception of the wolf directly reflect! the facts of human and lupine existence: humans compete with wolves for food, so wolves appear in myth as cruel foes, (2) In other respects traditional thought works on reality by selective emphasis and • clarification': wolves share a kill equally; they are all alike. (3) The tradition is not uniform: in different contexts different aspects of the wolf are stressed, though within the broadly similar image shared by all. (4) Aristotelian zoology represents a marked contrast to the mythical tradition. But the distinction between folklore and zoology is not rigid: we find excellent zoology in anecdote, and mythological patterns and concerns in zoology.

2. The Werewolf of Arcadia

Having tried to give a general overview of the place of the wolf in Greek thought, I turn now to one particular aspect of the subject: the cult and myth of the Arcadian werewolf. This complex of religiou~ practice and belief constitutes the single most striking instance or the wolf as 'good to think with' surviving from ancient Greece.

We begin with a point of terminology. It seems sensible to distinguish between werewolfiam and lycanthropy. The fonner Dlay be defined as the belief that people lire able to tum into wolve>; the latter denote. a psychotic diacrder according to which one believes that one has oneself turned into a wolf.2) Compared WIth the enor mOlll number of werewolf and lycanthropy cases recorded for


that ever since the time of Lykaon a man was always lii;)b'A~'l'Jeld-iJntO a wolf at the sacrifice to Lykaian Zeus _ but not for f.i;.hillfibt)lelllk; because if he: kept off human flesh when he: was a olf, he turned back into a man after nine years; if he tasted

hwnan flesh, he stayed a wild beast for ever. (8.2.6)

Whc wolf stands for one who by hi. behaviour has set himself b!!yQnd humanity: 80 much is clear. But why did the Greeks enact tbi.s ceremony of ritual exclusion? Before we can attempt an answer we must consider a ritual which sounds remarkably similar to the Lykaion ceremony. Pliny the Elder reports that, according to the Arcadians, a member of the family of Anthos was chosen by lot, left all his clothes on an oak-tree, swam across a pool. wen! away 'Into a deserted area', and turned into a wolf. After nine years, provided he had eaten no human meat, he swam hack across the pool, took up his clothes, and resumed human shape (NH 8.81). A similar version is given by Augustine (citing Yarra), though he refers more vaguely to 'the Arcadians' instead of to a specific family (Civ. Dei 18.17). Two questions present themselves: (1) How do we interpret the ritual described by Pliny? (2) How does it relate to the ceremony mentioned by Pausanias and Plato?

(1) Pliny's ritual centres on two symbolic gestures: stripping, and crossing water. Both mark the transition from inside [Q outside, human to animal. Stripping is associated with animal metamorphoau both in antiquity and later. Pamphil e and Lucius in TIu Goldin Ass strip before their metamorphoses take place (3.21,24). The werewolf in Petronius removes his clothes before changlDg mepe; and the crucial importance of the clothes for the tranaition i. mditated by the fact that the werewolf 'fixes' them by unnallng around them, &!tel' which they turn 10 atone: (62). Numerous mediClval werewolf legend. confirm the: role of cloth" u


......,£O~1IBan if,~""\111ie.t1l'.liHi'l!Vf(fent1¥,not initi~, while t&Ge_mcuuftll11r1rt1UllldiJtg birth, marriage tUld ritual. the pattern of but were equally cerilt:jiftifia~bl')I';jn the way that. say, the tplubtia Willi. Yet in d~~:;tbl)1If reservations it seems to me likely that the ritual :f,~1ib~rdllY Pliny was indeed initiatory; at least, the evidence we &1I:1'I::ill COtl1lpatibile with such a hypothesis, A man - probably, as 'I'll:' .mall see, a young man - underwent a rite of separation, left lOcill:ty and became temporarily a non-person, subsequo::ntly rctumm and, after a rite of reintegration, rejoined the com-

munity. presumably with a different (? adult) status, The negative imagery (wolf; in the wilds) characterising the liminal period is just what we should expect, given the anthropological parallels,fO One aspect of the symbolism is particularly interesting: abstention from human meat, The 'wolf" must retain one link with humanity if his eventual return is to be possible,


(2) There are obvious similarities with the Lykaion ritual: the avo,idance of human meat, the metamorphosis into II wolf, [he period of nine years. At the very least Pausanias and Pliny were reporting rituals which shared some of the same symbols. But were they relating different aspects of the same ritual?! Perhaps the m?8~ persuasive account is that of Burkert, according to whom the ~hman version reflects a watered-down, 'civilised' form of the rlt_ual.which became confined to a single conservative family,42 On

thiS View we should irn ag' I·'" .

, , me an ear ier situalion 10 archaic Greet:

In which a whole f

A cad, age-group 0 young men were initiated 1010

r Ian ad It '

.L ~ society, Before they became fuUy-fledged dU:r.ens

""'Y were obliged to d . ,

'wolves' ' , un ergo a penod of separatIon from sooety all

aclulth~dl~. O~t8lden, When they reached the age of full !OCtal

Pausani ey ~me true deecendanta of Arw, 'The Bear'

skim of ~ conv~DJently teUs UI that Arcadian warriors wore the the in.itiatlo: :,un:, ~~ wolf and the bear (. 11 3) Supporllnl and Augu,tine)ro/::: IB the ~tory (recorded by Pauaani .. , Plmy

Arcadllm Who returned after a nane-yeu



~ make a similar point; I'unith-

-or UaJugrelllion agaill8t the gods from lhern (Hlppolyto~, Pentheus) to IlI-advi3ed M~yat) to figurative or real violation ·.·r«~~onir~:J'eUmaa. Ision). More ~cifically. the Lykaon myth

~ the IIOnsequenc« of abusmg hospitality, and here it ftIhUlbl~ dt~s~ory ofTantalos, another who was host to the gods

.bi;~lbah8tu: feast. But Lykaon is a bringer of culture as well as • ~~. and the whole narrative in Pau.anias is from another pomtef vtew the story of the origins of civilisation in Arcadia: after wanng what Pelasgos and Lykaon did he tells us that on f Ly~n's deacendants, Arkas, will invent agriculture, br;a~mhakmh g and: w~aving (8.4.1). However, the myth also make. dear t at umamty s c~t~ral progress is not unalloyed: part and parcel of the human condition as we know it is that we no longer eat with the gods.

There is a close analogy with Healed's account of what happened at Mekone, where Prometheus' attempted deception of Zeus resulted in a definitive end to the commensality of men and gods (Tluog. 535f1). But the difference is as striking as the similarity: in the Lykaon story the rupture between men and gods is far more drastic. This becomes evident if we look at some of the variants - another fruitful way of uncovering the logic of myth. According to Apollodoros Lykaon's sons are the guilty ones, and they (except the youngest) and their father are rhunderbohed (3.8); while Hvginus speak. of Lykaon turning into a wolf and his sons being thunderbolted (176). The implications of the equivalence between thunderbolting and metamorphosis into a wolf have been drawn by BOl'geaud.50 In the case of thunderbolung, Zeus' power is completely manifested (ef. the fate of Semele); in the case of metamorphosis, the guilty party is not simply banished from Zeus' table, he is banished into animality. Coupling the IwO versions we arrive at II doubly radical break between men and god: men recede below humanity, god's divinity is unanswerably affirmed. Only in future generation. will human/divine relations be on II firmer footing - at a more respectful distance.

Another significant theme i8 the metamorphosis Itself." Not only is Lykacn like a wolf. he is, permanently, a wolf. Here again i. an enormously common pattern in Greek myth II dcpartulT


the ancientdlita lIlay hlt\re i18·w.tda .... a we have an accurate and It. 18 true that in this century the made quite extraordinary strides· and

t;f~:Il'behaYiclur are no exception to this generalisation " of such matters is very thinly diffused. In the • at any rate, the wolf is present largely as a image. And m the mind as in terms of actual seems to be on the deeline: in urban folklore, as the 'ftlJOkll1\\'lI.Y has replaced the forest as the location of danger so th pl1antoll1 hItChhiker threatens to oust the werewolf. ss But the ~

.. ulari f con tll),umg pop w:ty a were~olf films and literature~7 perhaps

~ggelt& t~at this beast remains good to think with, since it calls mto question the boundary between human and 'bestial'. Even ordinary wolves still cause public and media terror if they gel out of place. Above all there remains a fascination - the lupine equivalent of the debate over cannibalism - with the question, 'Do wolves make unprovoked attacks on human beings?'58 The evidence seems in fact to be that, while rabid wolves will indeed run amok and bite at random, normally wolves are too terrified of man to attack even when hungry. It is of course hard to substantiate this, since it is often impossible to decide whether any given report, particularly if it is not contemporary, involves a rabid or a nonrabid wolf; and, to add to the confusion, feral dogs CaD easily be mistaken for wolves.)9 In any case, such cool evaluations of the evidence seem flimsy when confronted with a powerful folklore image. Whether that image will diminish or grow when all the real wolves have been exterminated is beyond even guesswork.60


_~"'_~4I111N.Ali:Iotltltld the far from simple about and empirical ",w.ty. My Invoking of

I. C. UVI-l!,r.UII. TA, So..,. MInd (Eng. or. London, 1966)

2. On Ike p~ig",. of ,hi e e 'pre"lon 'see G. E. R Lloyd, So"". FoIUm.>III [delloD (Cambridg., 1983) 8, n 1.

3. for ~n.ral diE,,"iDnl ••• L. D. Meeh, 1M W.lf 1M £,oI.D.>III 1kM ...... , .. E.~'" Spi<iu (New York, 1970) and E. Z,m.n, T/U W.lf Hi> pw. ,. ,u Noltu.1 W ... 'd(l!ng. tr., London, 1981).

4 cr A. DonI, um &4Su.j BriJ.i. (London. 1974) 99-134 5 W.I..".d D. H. Pimloll (Morgel. 19H)

6 R.ew.rdJ ofTcRd in 1110' eishlet:nlh-cc:n&ury fo'ranr;c are ~l aUI In A Mobnl r and N Molinil! r- Meycr. '.8nvU'OnnemHlt '01 haltou'r Ie. loop. ~. I humm en


~I, 1M A.oJIuOPOlogy qf A.1Ilito. Crm. (En~. tr., LiAarrague, Ieoncgraphie d. Dolon I. loup , Rru. 1~"'\!l'!f'_:._P1 *'r Molmddi L '/rntJgt. 20, 10 explain away the

IIIlllp~!!Jl_~~~ B ~1I.

~ 828 Cf Mainoldi, L'r""" •• 187-200, 1977) 65-7.

2011-10. n 12.


500b23 (p<ni');

fl)pU'e 4if 301000 mil aNt tile )ft"IOe,$lDlflJetlttfiin early modem Europe lee L Han.

;NftI1)ljIlI_ iIIullIll'e>" d", thtorh!s chmien_ de fa du Icup-gatnu', A. .... tu I;;SC, fO (1985) n,' J1'IYtI'DIIl1 (Landan. 1933). may IlilI be corLIlllted. ;~~1tIi'gr.!.'llrcw!lIp .. :'latI.

, XIX, 719; teXt of Mark.Uco in W. H. "1~Y<lantb .... pie' hand.lnd. Fragrnenl del M ..... II ... von

Khigl. $8tlu. Gu. ,phil.-hi.t. CI., 17 (Leipzig, 1897) 79-81.

lyc"III:~""PY' G. Pitcalu!!", LyhJD.: WI .""" milia (Rome, 1968) 601f; M Werwolf. BIn griechisches Sagenmotiv in arabischer Verkl~idung'. WIiIiW fi dU 11: .... Ju M.,gm""""', 68 (1976) 171-84; Burkert, HN, 89 wl,h n 28. Bllrklm righlly sta'ea,h., lycanthropy I. culluraUy determined, bUI hi, Vlew IhM It 'no lan~r play! a role in modem psychiatry' needs repbnslng ali "a tip!JU:lvct role', cf. my n 23. Petroniu., &a!p. 51 ~2.

26 Of. T E. J. Wiedemann, 'Between men and be .... : barbarian. in Ammianul Mareellinu.', in Past Pm/>«till<S, ed. I. S. MOKon. J. O. Sman and A.J. Woodman (Cambridge. 1986) 189-201. On the 'other' In Herndotus aee f. Hartog, r." Miro" d'HirtJthJ~ (Paris, 1980)i on perceived euhural dirrc.rem:ell between 'same' and 'ether' see T. Tcdcrcv, LD. CO"'1rdttdt {~AmiriqlU (Paris. 198'2).

21. Of. K. Mouli, o.lam,..lI.. SrArijI", (B .. I., 197~), vol 1. 160.

28. s.. Borgeaud, R«httchu, 19 - 23.

29. W. Arens, ~ M •• -E,.,iog M,1l! (New York, 1979).

30. EpA. Ar< •. (1904) 153-214, at 169. More On the excavanen at Eph. Art. (l!l{)S) 161-18; PnJr./,1r. (1909) 185-200.

~1. Burke rt, HN, 90.

32. Biselavl'ec. S. Batlaglia, III mUD del licantropo neJ Bisdtf(J'~ di Mana. di francia' In hiR 14 '{JuintztJ klttf'aria dtl mniifHoo (Naples, 1965) 361-89; M Bambeck, 'DI15 WerwolfmOflv im BISc/tJvr~t'l Z,itsch,. J Raman. Phi/at. 89 (1973) 123-47; F. Suard, "Bi.scllJlI7t1 (S,C] et lee centes du lcup-garou: essar d'intt:rprera

tion', in MilQ.,U .• fIrru. Ch. Foul,., vel, 11 (Liege, 19BO) 267-76.

33. Dr '" t/Jmo"""",ni, itt ,ord", (Paril, 1580) 99.

3 ... Por the werewol(-rab~~5 equation lee Ch. 12 of I woodward's lund book ~ Wmwoif D.lu.w. (New York, 1979).

35. Equally beside the POlDt ia the attempt to explain the rehg'ou.J phrnomrnnn of werewolfilm by reference to iron-deflctency porphyria (NtW SCimlUI, 28 On 1982, 244-5). On. may compare C Ginzburg, TA. NIght &Jlu, (Eng rr , London. J983) 18, on tbe need to explain the beliefs orth~ Fnulian hn:Jll1itMm/l '011 the baits of the hi,tory of popular ccligiusiCy not on thai of phermarclogv 01 p.ychl.try' .

36 See M. Nlnd, D .. &d,ut.ol <11, Wos,m 'm K.I, •• d L,,,," dtr Ali,., 1'It,1.r.,IU SUpplbd 142 (Le'p"g, 1921) 1481T, for the role of water In mYlh"a1 metamDrphosf:a-.

37 Death R. GinOUY~', &o1_Ill/AI (Pari •• 1962) 239-6+; R P rk« M' ...... g> .. ford• 1983) 35-6 Birth: Cinouvh 2l~-8, Parker, 50 1 M.u I G~nouvh, 265 82. Prayer, eaerlflee: Ginouv~s. 311 18 Prupht y, ~n["ub. IOJ'

1nouyb, 327-73. My ... n •• · Ginouv ••• 375->Hl4

C~8. Th ere IS a .triking parallel with the rue of .dull bapllSm In Ih •• rly

I .~tch. Many fDnu had thr •• "'PI I •• dmg down from on. ld and Ih p1I

.... nlf up OUi of the other .id.: the ini"." Ihu. ere od Ih. IOnt ( A


~~I~~~~.Amm~~m.t~~w,.n&~4S~~.b t8t1 In .IX French ~ 11telt would anaclt child..... upetiaU

Uilume<n .... w •• wen: altwed; and, aeee .. hng to t"Bur all .dullS faralJy wounded or wolve. The authors cstimote .tat .... limn mOR dangetou. than .he non-rabid wolf have been read at loannina, Bru:lol, O~rotdl m ...... ng of tfoe Clauical AlOociation ., NottlDgham I

who offered advice and criticism on each Qr 1;IIJ~~~I!"~I •. -,~_~~~'ID. mo.. grateful for help _e.ved from don R.nato l)" and the editor of llIi. volume .

• ,,:, ... ,"J .... - •• lI.lI the need not ro ·<>f;pla\lI.IiibiliW·. in such marten. cuh activity on

;~~~~~~~:;~:: ..,bJ~t index ill 'aequa:

II o_.zealous.

enter the precinct of Zeu.

man or be.,[. did enter. variant alia recorded by within a year.) PolybiUi story. Evidently it marks boundary. Bu, i. there two pillars' toward. the 7). The de.ail i. enigma,.,e

like the rain, )Dust remam

cndiJlg is in Plato's j •••• ;~~,m~}"'JIA;;1Jr.ra'tne~ sUfPrising form. The god., P1a,to riiuiliS'l"hlllidJllls say, deceived Orpheus by not giving him bis wile ;l'.ll~I~}I!'lJIpwinl! him an apparition, pluuma, of her, l1li a punish~tIilr biI--..c:o;wardice: had he not been a coward, he would have

dilld to-follow her, as Alcestis had done who died out of love for her b.u~ Tbi& variation certainly is Plato's - but he variCII the ~onu;at folm with its unhappy ending.

The IlvidCl;tl:il before Plato is less clear. The first reference to the myili-occur8 in Euripides' AktSlis, performed in 438 Be. Alcestis, whQ thOSlt t9 die instead of her husband Admetul. takes her .flIrewelit in a long speech, Admetus expresses his grief and promises to loye her for ever - and if he had the power of ~1I1l.11~ .lie would go down to entice Persephone and her husband to~v"':him hack his wife. and neither Cerberus nor Charon could ~p bito b;n:k. 'befare I would bring back thy lire to the laght' ,(a~ 62). Tlut WQNS are ambiguous, and it does nat ner:euari.ly fOllRw: *at PJ:pheu8 had been 8Uccesaful. One might even argu thatO\<iJ!lI!t)J1I hllpes to have more success than hi, f.mlluB prede 1iftBOr, whom ClIl:"bcrul Illlll Charon had kept back • Nor do" a ~~ q).d.\ng fallow from a pauage in laocratea' .Bwi1i$ (8) :CI:~I:~ !-:'Q,l' C£lllJ~ BUMS 'whD kilhtd lbe UVIIl, before

\!Fha> II rph~1 Who brought back tJu: dead from Hadel

• nuttte.fll. the dev

~ hi. eaa· er contrast, and lsocratu at all event QY

1fIh~ It~; SJru;e ~" mues Orpheus bring back the dud "'" QJ.lI~ m rd not dlmcult to IICtI that he did not ment U.

~~o e~ '«>. avoldudanpnng hy reeherc:M mpalUOA

~ JW'n.1Unda, the two ..re ID It«JlIQiIfJe


IW'-lUft"'IIttcliltaitlon itMlB tIC At to 11'8 age I'l\f]Ull"·llfIIltall'altll:e', we 'Unply lack lnfol'lll.uall 1iII,·IIIlb.GlIIU1~·alltrillJUted to it a hoary antiquity It wu DJJ"f'··1he lJII~lItljgni!iiClUlt ... elemenr that can be COrn·~~iIb·,toli"batnllllic ideology and technique' 6 The problem, ~~gk;;il. IOJm:wtlatmote complex than this.?

¥ttlt in dispute that among the mosr important tasM a has to perform is the ritually enacted journey to the

!Hyond to get information Or to fetch back a soul; he does th;, on behalf of his community. He is helped by his drum, without which he would be helpless, and by his spirit, both of which he had acquired during his period of initiation. The myth of Orpheus thus could be viewed as renecting shamanistic ritual - there are even shamans who use a stringed instrument instead of a drum.8 Th e changes - that Orpheus is a master-musician, not a healing priest, and that he acts out of his private love - are undemandahle as adaptations to the level of classical Creek culture.

Complications come with a whole body of stories aptly labelled 'The Orpheus Tradition', most of them from North American Indians, some from the Pacific rims of Asia and fromPolyne .. a." In these stories, a man (rarely a woman) goes to the world of the dead to fetch back a near relative - wife, husband. lover, brother or sister. He/she overcomes the difficulties or this alien world. IS helped by its inhabitants and rulers and is given back his beloved - under conditions, though, which may resemble rhnse of the Greek myth (not to look back or not [0 touch the beloved on the way up) or may concern their life afterwards (never to srrike her. among other things). In moat cues, these conditione are brok n (!hi. ia, after all, their narrative function), and the que I flul

The attestations of these stories present some lornudabl prob lema of origin and diffusion Their closene .. on both SIde ". the PacifIC make. it likely that they originated from nne source. p lumably in Asia; in any event, the story mull have e I led km before the lut Indian crossed the Bering Sirlut IKlm rune bc-Iw n 10,000 and 2 500 DC when we lind the aide I EaqUIITI(I cuku In

• , I J

thelt: paru' the Blquimoel show no traas of thll wry or II

orilin, the c10aeneu 10 mamlUlilti exp.men I' baa oft n IlJ'eued, and Alte H ultkrantll .UlIlI"fted thai II nu

record of an actual lhamanutu: tUnce altilDu h in

C:UC" IUId never in America, u the Orpheus lip • IIham


1tII~_illQ(U!(~ have..m:cn claimed. In the

and magician

~"''''''''''iw hill marvellous song (,onto MolU(01'IIIl'flMn'pe:an poetry IJ3 well as in

~"fH'I''' (lltilq. A ritual background is

_iIQlliQ,;jtf~~IE8allthrough music before UIf,1j._!JlJ~,B1~"lain, ihI: problem

l1~thcme is the death of Orpheus. Two main traditions are ptNelM!d; in one, Orpheus is killed by ordinary Thracian women, lit tlui other by maenads, mythological beings. The Romans, Virgil and Ovid, blend the traditions, making the maenads ThtaCllan women - CiI:onum maJru (Georg. 4,520) or nlmlS (Mel. liLB). 'mothers (viz. daughters) of the Ciconians'; Thrace, to them. <is a country with mythical dimensions. A third tradition is local .. and has Orpheus killed by lightning: it goes back, as 1. M. Unforth convincingly argued, to pro-Thracian myth-making at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War.16 The maenads arc attested earlier: Aeschylus in his Bassami is the first to introduce them.11 The motivations for their attack vary, but it is always, in 80m!! way or other, the wrath of Dionysos which sends them (except in Virgil and Ovid who motivate from purely human retiOn8). The Aeschylean account is preserved in the remnants of Eratosthenes' narration of how the lyre became a constellation. It had been invented by Hennes and handed over to Apollo (this story: is known since the Homeric Hymn to Hermes), then to OrphllWl; after the latter's violent death, Zeus set it among the stara Eratosthenes gave as motivation (in Martin West's reconstruction) that Orpheus in his journey to the Beyond had a re~cliltion which made him convert from DionYS08 to Hellos Olonysol, thus rebuked, took his revenge. Hyginua in hi, ASmlJlllmiea (2.7) alTers a different reason' when singing in prai.e of the S?da before Pluto and Persephone, Orpheus forgot DionylOl ~ this I~ II common motif, most prominent in the myth of the

n:dollllUl Hunt, when Oeneua forgot to aaeeiflee to Anemia

w lelAt the boo.... to punish him.18 The other motivation "

,==== pd-

iii .NIlil._ .... lPlfthellll) may be

their mpoctive authol'!l; a by HylitR*' {.bfll)ll 2 7 Aphrodite, ••• ~ftt!.h'"ofMlQIft, made IiIl the women mad with

t~~ ... ftirO"'lIUIf dtlIlClY WI'IGG,Dll:rt to piCl:el when they tried to

.:::.t.b .... ar~!IIIIJ 'tlltber1ike . .,1111d,jollci: I).ed on a well-known

:;'l""Itiit'\Il,UJ'etihtf' aplllMhODI .gree in the fact that the women ~J!I_t!IId~ beaaue he bpt away from them - either he .. ye6 1IWCf &om humlUl bainge completely (Virgil) or he ~ Cl81y the men cound him or he even introduced ~ love.l9 Attie ted.flJUrad VIIl~ £rom the 480s onwards tdwaJI d.epitt the attack by Tbrac:ian women, and never by lfI-.eudI, 'YUl!I of the aamc period mow him singing among the men outy - but in one cue armed women lurk in the J:adcpvund.'" Thil, then, is the ~ Orpheus died at thehllllda Gf'Ib.racian women because they were angered about his ISaotbUli The v_ thow that tbia vulgate preceded Aeschylus in ldIIel be ah-eady knew a story where Orpheus came to grief in 'l1mIc:e, at the banda of women. He also knew about a special l'8lalicIuIIalP betw~ Orpheus and Dionysos. The only such !I1ODtmlUon wolmow of is attested later: Orpheus is the poet of the 8ucbiempterlee, expJicidy stated in a host of later texts, this is dudedto In the.un somewhat enigmatic bone-tablets from Olbia, &tcIII:ID chclattier half of the fifth century.21 The Bassami brings .. ~ IIp (0 the 470. or 4601; a few vases attest it for the ~'8f&ceabUy(1I 20). Orpheus is not only a powerful poet, .. ~ PI*I'Y it. at an early stage, connected wid! Bacchic ~"Wkt

~".~t1I"~"'IIVIJ a· TJuoacian. Three localisations are men· ~r,plIali,.IIltj~". nol nec:ellllri1y Heraclides Ponticu9,


'thli~n'i:ljeilradldnb same region Mimi tcxr.a '11u!ace, around Mt

1A:isl:ih~hl& iifth!i,H,wimu made the mountain the place iJlhliICnadi-tlf1tad[ed and killed the singer (see n 17) a Ciconian: it is a purely pcetical IccalisafII>""deJlivi:lll!!"Ji"iOItt Homer's knowledge of this tribe.23 Another tfl1:.e'()q,hIlIIiS is connected with are the Odryseans: they became pronunent in the years between 450 and 330, when Teres and his lIOn Sitalces founded the Thracian empire which was, during the Peloponnesian War, an ally of Athens. It was presumably during thi' period when this localisation of Orpheus originated.24

But neither the interior nor coastal Thrace could show a grave of Orpheus. despite his presumed death on Mt Pangaeurn.F' A grave, or rather two graves, are attested in a third region: Pieria, to the northeast of Mt Olympus. The region is, in historical times, Macedonian, but Thucydides and Strabo preserve the tradition of an earlier, expelled Thracian population. Archaeology confirms this change in population and dates it to the early archaic age.26

The central site for Orpheus is Leibethra, on the foothills of Mt Olympus. The town possessed a statue (xoanon) of Orpheus. carved out of cypress wood: it had sweated when Alexander set out on his campai~n, t.o foreshadow the sweat Alexander's exploits would cause historians and poets.27 The town also had a sanctuary of Orph~u8b~here he received Olympian sacrifices and which women

were lor idden to t C h

be. . en er. anon, w 0 collected the story at the

ginmng of the Chri t' dd .

26 F 1 45) 0 .8 Ian era, a s the aetlological myth (FG,H

Maced~ni~ nd certTh ain :~s, Orpheus assembled the warriors of

an race In a buildi II .

tions (kula;\' wh eJ b' ng we equipped for iniua

',. en c e raung these it al h h

weapons outside Th nUB, I ey ad to leave rh ir

also, Conon add he WOmen resented being excluded Perhap interested in th .8, It ey resented the fact thaI Orpheus W8,l nOI them their ehanelr ove. The weapons outside the buildin .. ga

. ce: one day th k ..

lng, kiUed whoever 0 sed ey too them up, em red the bUild

threw the limhs into ppo them,. tore Orpheul to pi and oraclo which the Lei~m:a. IneVitably. a plagu en ued fh

ana conlulted ordered them to bu


t"'!l,JtiftU ..... ·.fbt--tldr dff\

lClAlJtpfHiiQ:: . wlill31 the- WI»D«h it linrp1y _riled It _'JV'''"!ID PaUBaJliu' own attempt to 1lI'1M'f1:1kof Orphe",,' death with the ffionUJllent

1BIl1W'!H:ll'i:lt".at ansr rate, he knows of a grave at this place.

Leihfltlnra out in Pausanias' time it had ceased to .~. '1UN"'''··I,fI'·· .. teIl,Q ill Lariu had told him why. The Leibethreans 1I~;Jm:ivcidllt1 oracle that a BOW (lIys) would destroy their city if Im",LlU'«!,W(UI'1!e the bones of Orpheus; understandably enough, _ didtIi t worry much about this. But one day. a shepherd slumbllllld at the base of Orpheus' monument, and the buried hero matle: him play so sweetly that a crowd of shepherds was attracted: in their eagerness to be as close to the music as possible, they toppled and broke the urn. Thus, the sun could see the bones. The following night a rivulet, the Hys, swollen because of heavy rains, overflowed and destroyed the town. It never was rebuilt, and the people of Dium brought the monument into their town.

This story is clearly an alternative explanation for the monument at Dium. That it was fetched from Leibethra is incompatible with the idea that it still marks the very spot where Orpheus died. Neither does the story square with Conon' 5 description of a INntnoS and a monument under which Orpheus' head was buried; but Pausanias is talking about something which no longer existed in his time, and his friend projected the monument of Dium into that ofLeibethra. The whole story is an invention with a dear bias against Leibethra, the most prominent place in Orpheus' mythology. Much earlier, Strabo had heard another story at Dium. The Thracian (Ciconian) Orpheus spent his time in the village of Pimpleia near Dium, acquired many followers through hi. music, prophecies and rituals, and became a political power, till some of those whom he had scorned (h.ypidommous) killed him (7 fr. 18). This looks like the transposition of the usual story into another frame. that of political power play and intrigue. Dium, at any rate. had its own tradition as weU.

There is more to this story. It is surprisingly dose to the account of how the Pythagoreans (or, as other sources unhistorically relate, Pythagoras himself) came to a violent end in Croton Pythagoraa, as much priestly figure as philosopher, coUected many (ollowen, and the group gained political power. until their opponentt art

a precise localisation. But he does: the grave "~;JU1kUlill OD -top containing the bones of .it .... Jva'" pljI.CII whCll'e the women killed

..... ~~tdll. Helicon or Baphyra.s,


monuments at a time when pllllt, and when they also 1I:I:I~Wi:J:.:uIO\l'etjGr.llCee. It is strange, though,

_ .... u .. ,~u. IIOmewhat different from to now: a leader and initiator ~~bi"i!t&i~_81 rituabJ in It tI/utmQrr or roaming a priestly leader of a men' 8

I1aNI of a local, indigenous

"~"':<IJOt'YtJ'rhli1fW.' OI'1)b"UI built hi& INsttritJn and in mil famoua story Herodotos 'lUIaUt~;e;.llllDIOIIii •• !he ~acian slave of Pythagoras. 37

OIlt,'ollOll . hiS nanve tribe, built amen's house

... ~~nbJled the erIunent men of the tribe feasted and .·tj]"lIU"hw.l~tbat life was in store for them aft~r their death l1~l':dllr~J'i.POiint., he disap~ared into an underground chamhe~

aecfI!tly built. The tribesmen mourned him as dead _ but .tier three yean he returned alive.

The Slozy points in two directions. On one side is Thracian Rlliglrm. Usually. Zalmoxis is considered a divinity who acted divine initiator in a secret cult. 38 But it had a political side a. W~lt alluded to already in the Herodotean account- that he invited the most prominent men of the tribe (tOn astOn tous prol<Jus). Other source~ say that he had been councillor to the Thracian king before becommg a god (Strabo 7.3.5 p. 298, after Posidonius] and that he was a lawgiver among Thracians (Diod. 1.94.2): his mysteries were no marginal eschatological cult, but had to do with the centre of power. and the priests who performed them were considered his successors and at the same time royal councillors - most prominent being Decaenus, the high priest in the reign of king Burebistas (Strabo, loe. cit.). The institution is reminiscent of the role the warriors' secret society developed into in the Iranian kingdom, where the initiated warriors became the closest followers and vassals of the king; the former secret society retained rhe political and military power of the kingdom.l9 An ancient etymology for Zalmoxis' name points the same way. It derives the name from :eairrwI, 'bear's hide', because as a baby Zalmoxis was enveloped in such a hide - but the bnserlcir, • Birenhiiuter', i. a Nordic ecstatic warrior clad in a bear's skin.411

On the ather side is the Pythagorean connection, well known and often discussed.·' Herodotos attribute. the stratagem of Zalmoxis to the fact that he had learnt such wisdom from PYlhagoraa. A very similar account of a trick Pythagoras prrfonned is told by Hermippus (fr. 20 Wehrli). W. Burkert con' c:Juded from it thaI Pythagoraa had the aspect of a 'hietophant In the cult of Demeter',t2 that is, again, of an rmuaror. The Pythagorean society was not onJy a political club, but also a cult


"ilIl'J\Ilt.'lallilIilWtlt4M CoDOn, the legends about the head of .....,_ot·' .... m .. ot·· one place, the island of Lesbos.

lIIi~lMda.rur.hi8tl)rilUl,loeatei ita grave near Antissa: it is ~iiit'_¥'~11i .!liJihd:qalcri of Antilla ling much more sweetly .11 , 2). Other authors make it the ability of the Lesbians, without

_ml:Ol't!le gnlYe.*

r;4.,:lWo OfllCle9.~j\0I~1I1 ... uttl!Nd llik-af'Jm.:,. erutth! (In koilJi fi¥ g;IJ perhape a '".~fic:tit:iou.lI: O"tIe i. uttered at the lime of the nfl!u!t'·i";gi1fen to Cyrus. of Persia If we combine the aracle in tile Baccheion of Antll!sa, was destroyed in about 167 Be and its iW(ab~).,'trllmfen'cd tIJ Methymna (LlVY 43.31.14 and Pliny """' •. ::1 •. ..,],,..,,, in a temple in that city: both LUCIan and Philostratus ~ritiag well after the disappearance of Antissa, Methymna had

,Jiimou. cult of Dionysos Phallen whose strange statue was carried 8J:J)und during his festival; it consisted of not much more than a he.ul and perhapa a phallus . .a Fishermen had once fished it out of the sea The two legends are very close, the one perhaps modelled on the other; yet, the Orpheus myth is not devoid of meaning. There exists a whole body of legends about how an object was brought from the sea. It was always rather strange, and it always caused a cult with certain peculiar features to be instituted _ in 001: case, a legend from Ostia, an oracle of Hercules. ¥.I At the same time, these strange arrivals inaugurate something new, not yet existing. The other story, how the head of Orpheus brought about the musical ability of the Lesbians, would thus conform as well W

The literary texts range from the early third century BC to the early third century AD. Somewhat earlier is a group of pictorial representations. A red-figured hydria in the Basel museum, from the 4405, shows the head somewhere lower down' to the left and 8ligh~y higher up is a bearded male with a wreath 'and two spears, bending' towards the head. The res! of the picture is filled with Muscs. The identily of the man is unlmown, but he seems 10 be the fmder of the head.51

D Not ~ery much later are two other red-figured vases. A hydna In unedlll shows Orpheus' head confronted by Apollo and al1aln

.UlTOunded b ' CI

d y two females, the Muses. The head on the ground

:a Apollo seem to be conversing. 52 A cup in Cambri~ again

'..1. the goq confronting the head. This lime Apollo Ilandt t the n ... t, .'retching t hi . h

lyill, on tho ,ro o~ II rardlg I ann ove~ ~e head, whlc:.b ag.1ft III

lIddr IUl ,tow S II youth Iltlmg to the left The head

lillie, the young man Who busily wntCi down lUi utterancu.


1IQ1',1IImaPJIJ",UOl'wn on .ableta aft mentioned a!

ClIlnlH'k. cup WAIl painted. In his ~:.~4J •• "ll\Idpld •• _k*.~f'tllnldl'llll,letII(_du) on which the voice \.' .... I&it(O"..jfl)iJ) h .. written down mcdicina 118 strong as •• ~t4itcda .4Kf1OlI1G JuId .verI to the 10M of AIclepius (966 - 71) - lid!~lMII1I!IIl1heyftll bnng the dead back to life. The 'voice of ~ writi#t own It II .. strange expression, even for a

'QII_~ .r ,.n", aod the Idea of dictation is not far off. The tablets, diea ataiB m~ JIIapD for healing. This is nOI very far from o8deI are, among other things, concerned with the heIditl, Df aIneIa both private and epidemic. Apollo is the healer well .. me Grade-giver; Atclepiul heals through dream-oracles; ___ great healing-hero is the seer Amphiaraus.

Tb.ete IS more In some paAagCs in the Greek magical papyri, dIeperill"ll1C11'ofa magical ntual has to keep a writing tablet ready ua CO wnUl dtnm whatever the gOO reveals during the ritual or in ....... ~ chrough the ritual: what is thus written down is ~ a rea~ or lin oracle. 55 The magician busily writing ~ 'III4lat-rlul god Or demon dictates comes very close to the vase ~ ~re, there exitt numerous gem-stones with the ~~II:Il:~~ofa dictating head and a scribbling youth, all from _",~:..uI.(lQIelI. dl~ to the third century Be. Furtwiingler con&l'''·<lNi11h !he myth of Orpheus, Today, archaeol~gist.

;~j.~._ &nucaJI demon Tagee revealing the dJSClpllna ,.J.! •• ~l~~ the tninoruhow that the myth of Orpheus' head In the fourth century, and the iconoIIIo'JIlllllII>ilJ'IllI)( far from that of the vases and mirrors, I'IIII.iI»;lUtmltMheJl'C in the background - a magical •• '_''_-Us amuletJ.S7

serifl and could point to the ~ '~riolli'()I".'ha'il'c'al:tOt:beI'meaninl. yet to be found_ 511

,.' ,._,n.· these lcgertda have been connected with shamanism' rlrm litO mamanistic stories of prophesying heads. 59 But aw:h 810riea are .pread more widely than the narrow area of shlUJl8A'> Ism, and there are even Greek examples without any further panibJe shamanistic trait. Again, the evidence for an Orpheus myth with a shamanistic background is ambiguous. at best Orpheus the magician and oracle-giver. the mIJ1IJU (seer) as PhHochorus of A!hcns calb him (FOrH 328 F 76). could as well originate in the rites and ldeologies of men's secret societies tbe D~18, the initiators of Orpheus (note 45), are well vencd 1ft ma~: the member. of Iranian secret 80cieties were thought to be m~~s ~ well, and the Gennanic Wotan/Odin. who pruidea over Uut.Rtl0_PS and ecstatic warriors' societies and whOle name .1 connected With 'wuot', fighting ecstlllY. is also a sorcerer 60


There is ODe theme left Orph

slve b\lt rather lat ' eua the Argonaut Two comp,reben back to tbe myth" accounts exllt, one in Diodonq SlCulu. IOlDI century Be th :rapher DionYliu8 ScytobraclllOD In the third time U In A-~'~ . er,of Apolloniu. of Rhodes at abo t .L_

m' I:"WODlUI l .. ,ul'thy . Orph U UIC

.rillllllout lin- h --"e' epIC, OIU ia "PNIeDaed

been the . ..~. w o.e art chann im~l~

WlllIlllllllaUt Chi • IU\ ... aad aU IUBIU'e b ....

a!JIon'the crew: h. WIll ron who adYi.tedJ __ to rUe

the only ORe to ovelCOlN .. UIJ_III


Illllm,'.u ..... ' century 62

... icnalUliAlrAl1cl exclude. most fairy-tales •• IbI __ '" lIlu.eiltl,. foIklWllt of Euhemeros The supernatural .MII.~hiHuilUll4'Ol-"I- hiB as. gift of the Samothracian _IiUl_Ie4D1y'blitlata aboar:d ahip he 111 (DlOd. 4,43.1}. By virtue ot'iJd.di_IlCli~. he iIille the atomu through his prayer to them moue oCthe tea-god Glaucus (4A8.5-7).

it acanty. In the earlier fourth century, the hi __ HanIcioto. knows that it was Chiron who sent Orpheus, &eoaate of the fiimlr (FGdl31 F 43a). This eplscde might even be actes&od much eadicr On.an Attic black-figured vase in lkIdlil1beq (580 .510) a linger is depicted, standing between two IimDJ: hehubecn calIed.orphCU8.63lt cannot be totally excluded _ on dliI OrifIntalisiQg friese, the juxtaposition of two Sirens _Ih ...... has no d~ meaning. Still, the image is isolated, arrd the-mterpm&tion tempting.

IJiripidu in hill HJ/lsipyl.t. the Itory of the Lemnian princess and ...... OfJIIIOD. JIIIIntioned Orpheus among the Argonauts; his ~b twice JUnong the extant fragments. He was the 4f Ule.Argo ... in ApoUoniua; after the death of J awn, he _"_diu ,two «Ina by Hypaipylt:. and educated Euenus in .in amI •• M Again, Orpheus is only the

LDUlWOJl"""""""1U one Pindar, in his fourth Pythian ode tb mt of the Argonaut. (v. 170fl). Besides .uV,"""JWIJ[). dare are lierakles and the Di08curi, lfj;,'C._Il'_', IIOJ1I Buphemu8 and Periclymenus, and Kalaia. the Boreads, and "!~'_""''''Ol!J!heU8 it the 'lyre-player, father of

"'th"'lifelrl~i'.tld'MtJ,pllCilt" tht' teet \Wie IliiD ., ..... rl$J]._A:..,., .. ,.....HtI"."., .. ~ to overeotne the SirfdIw' to' the oldest stratum ot the ...•• 'If~,ilI1'Iltii'l~Mieu1~ shoWed, antedating the teXt Gfthe Od;pney. &1 It fair guess mat Orpheua had hem introd\KlCd

~l'liatil\l"VJltY.m'11,to~!l!dlerwilth the Sirens (this ws& the opinion of Me'till) were it not that the second singer on the Sicyoman metope m:ak&s such a conclusion appear somewhat hasty. But even if (!)l'pbtlllSWas a later addition to the story, eclipsing his predeeeseer, thl!'Ilnknown singer on the metope, he was included specifically 118 a singer.

This is at variance with - again - the shamanistic theory. To those who hold it, the voyage of the Argo is a shaman's voyage Into the Beyond, with Orpheus as the leading shaman.68 This 18 untenable. Neither is Orpheus the leader of the band, not even the splritualleader, not is the trip of Jason and his crew a shaman a voyage. The parallels point in another direction.

It 15 well known that the list of the Argonauts varies from author to author. Like other stories of this sort, notably the Caiydoman Hunt, it offered itself as a focus for different traditions. There I • however, a common denominator among the participants. They are young, adolescents rather than adults - 1Iftli, MUrllI, 1i1/wp • as ApoUonius often says. The very few older men among them have an Interesting position. One, Iphiclus, is the maternal un Ie of Lason, another, an Iphiclus again, is the maternal uncle of

tle.ger.1I!! In many archaic societies. Greece not excluded the maternal uncle is . t . • do th qUI e unportant. He haa to mitlllte the nephew

you e ;nl of AUlolyeus, the brothers of OdYIBeU. m lh r Ih "" .. ~g d}'lltelU.70 ApoUoniUI also lay' that many of th put!

1"-'. Were sent by th· ~.L d Pin

olbgy th ,,11' lamers, an dar usee umil.,. ph

lrilett~ ri: IIJlght be an old featun; of the myth and penn

«I fathert felt in the partiCipation of th II' n J


_.,"_lblllti'"~Ia_'tmd beloved

rDi~';.:''''.''i hili it. the Lapith eveD though these

ilmft' ... ~~~, .. trt'lold_lIt1llm,'f)j thutory, they fit ~ __ ."rou.d. ,'Illle,b&'LlI:t&Jry lina between IUch a

"'-~=:t==~!::~ Wlll'riDI'i JI wry narrow, if they sland

: All the Arronawa certatnly do. And behind

"iW~II.Ui_.dll.'\I~l!N'C:Ilr, and the Arcadian Ancaeus who is '!IIfl_iIIiI,a,iIIlolI"~.hlde. IIPPflIU' .,.un the Nordic CCIItatic warriors ...... tJiDdIar blmdB Tt

ilI'ama ~ eftII mbre IPlICulative side, a similar result ~ MeW. CORIUICted .ute myth of the Argonauts with a ~ ~e plll:tm:l. called after the Grimm brothers 'Die ~ BtQdcr' A YOWlg hero performs difficult and ~ .. teAl to,pln a princeu or a treaaure or both, and he is tie1p8d by a IfOUP ofapecialiata. often brothers - one runs swifter __ die IWiad (~ the Boreads among the Argonauts), ~ miramllously far (Lynceus), and 10 on; Orpheus and ~ IIOldd. fit iBto the pattern. Meuli derived this tale from an ~ III*~ ont:, die 'HdfenniI'chen', where the hero is ~'IIDt by tlQDWl Ipecialiats but by animals. The structural titI.CIIiIIIlI je ~))VlOCIIlJ, the evolutionary paradigm might be

•• ,.1'0 to ~ More important, though, Vladimir Propp :"""~WI./i~.Ife!I'miin:hl!lll' from the scenario of initiation rituals. for the .tructuraUy equivalent human of the Argonauts. 7~

• 1iI.ni1Jtil~'bl~grolUllil, then,lies behind this myth, but lIJt~itilw'1«UuLlh- more specifically, the initiation .... _,M, .. Tlli .. backgroul1d is at leut as widespread ao.d oit iJ preaerved at the time of Ephorus ~. JIMt where Orpheus comes in, is


~iJI!jJ"~ ....... , .... , he primarily was the most gifted musician and Sinpr. potent enough to overcome the Sirens and th~ ~s of the IIli!1lre:tWorld, to transcend the boundaries of humanity In charmbJg animals, erees and rocks, to inaugurate the musical ability of the Lesbians. and of their nightingales. He was considered an author of theological poetry, and as early as Aeschylus he was connected with the cult of Dionysos. This connection must stem from the fact that he wrote texts for these mystery cults (later, other cults attracted him as well). Additionally, he or rather his head was the author of powerful spells - poetry and sorcery are not all that far apart. 76

Deeper down in time and structure, there might be some elements common to shamanistic narrations. But none is so marked that it pn:supposes direct contact with a shamanistic culture; all could have travelled as stories without rituals over countries and ~~~uries. Much more prominent are elements which belong to an UUllatory society of warriors, a phenomenon well attested among the Indo-Europeans and slilllingering just beneath the surface of some archaic Greek institutions.77 The Leibethrean cult if we are ~o be~ieve Conon, was among them. This might be another reason

lOr h .. assoe···th . . .

. latlon WI the secret socienes of Bacchic mysteries. 78

~ot~lIn~9Io0ks very Thracian. Why, then, is Orpheus a a ach Ian. The answer can only be tentative and sketchy .

rp eua lirat of all . hi' .

rtgard d .' 18 not t e on y mythololPcai Imger who II

(thou~ hlU a foreigner. Thamyris is II Thracian too, IU is MuueUi ~lIJe Cro~ ;~ra'::~fha~ f~rmed after Orpheus); even tbe MulCt

bel'Cld w . 1IUI Plerla. Olen, whose hymn. Otiol remem

, liS colllJdered a Lycian. Only Linoa wu • Greek (fmp


IM.,a!PllllUa,.nd,hisIeUow-singcrs belongs to is mousw, ';2~;,~~~1iiiIi1,,,,.,.1M,jn tkit Jl(Il'Ilpecti've, their foreignness must

congruent with the daily life of the ~!Ilt~"'Uil~_blfelt in relation to poetry and music, and l!fil."qlt1tDillltl an: ",me IDdications of this, on different .*':ot; ...... =.Plato who puts poetic inspiration under nwineu (PIuudrus 2~5 A). But showed, does not necessarily

Wi~;,Q!l4I!iIId_; -in ~ Jeo violent form it is already bae a special relationship with at the IIlUIlC time sets him 1fJ!1""''''~.,.61I:wtY·~~DlI'ck,c:u. and Phemius in

,. aun.g sacn-

;Wl1'keiiit);IHJ1I)1Il daily life - see, fill: l»Iiarnple. the

...... , •• " ... "·.h .. n~" ..... =<UL youths to propitiate Apono's wrath the het:atomb and the communal meal, 'all young men of the Achaean! propitiated the god With ~te 1dJd jong (mofpi}, singing the beautiful paean' (1.4· 12f). And Il9Wdll the. religious occasions proper, the prominent place ror poetry was the symposion, another occasion marked off as sacra Iised by introductory and dosing rituals.86

.wo need, then, to look for a special reason for Orpheus' Thracianness. Neither his association with Dionysos or with other mystery-cults caused it, nor is there any reason to read his myth only in a historising way, as previous generations of scholars did. Rather, his fame as a poet made him - or kept him, if he really was a hero or god of the Pierian Thracians - a Thracian: it is, we n;call,ju8t this role as a poet which we met in all his myths. As to the baclqp-ound of secret societies we found in his Pieri an myth, we ~ot be absolutely certain whether this is a projection of his role II). Bacchie societies Dr rather preserves traces of a ritual origin of <?rph~us. But since Conon's account preserves genuine- looking Amal mformation, since the details in Pausanias fit in, at least in a iI:nllra! way, with what Conon says. since Bacchic societies are ~wlwe in Greece all-male groups but rather female NlOela

lions 97 and sin Ii all di

'. ce, ID y, aceor IDg to some scholars the poets of

~aJ(;: ~~ce show features which make them come close 10 :!:t~r8, It leell_lB plausible to credit Orpheus with a genume aeksround In such secret societies.89


K C. Guthrie. 19~2} 511. A sham.n III,I;.~""IL HII ............ _ ... Llu Aim tks K,t""""'" In Greeee before the • ilid'llobli"",riiI"' ... ' ........ , .. piIiI .... """. YO!. I (Rom e, of ohman,': E. R Dodds, Tkt ""..,..t{l.iDl~r.I,~llI47 ... )themQII r .... ionable ,de. nowaday s,

~~P "II~bliiQJi*Jlli1y bI W H Sdtll®hardl, Du O,plwu",/;'j (Stullgart. .... ~n" .... 'n.HujImIJ,:11 (1952) 47-82: E. B. Harrison. ibid. 4()1-~; E Langlo'. in FUIgIJINJo/ta""" Str •• b

and .bamanllm was Karl Meuli in an intra·~IIIIIIW,tA.'iIR .... IIIIJW<l ... ~of~Ie.JrwOWl/G(BaIIe. 1940); see hi. Gttammtlrt Sobn]1m IlIOIe IIlftllMlial beeame E. R. Dodd •• Ttu Grub ond tb, lJiade ............... lire"'", Ttdmiq .. of E"wy (London.

'!I1tJ ,""':U~·L.1III_ with IIlAadvelllllrous the.i., Orp!uIlJ, and most re conely

• .Jlllr,.; .... ~,"'rl*l, 1IJ,.Q~~.,l!_,«)xj',>rd, 1983)3-7 (henceforth cited .. W est , 01'). urgent beauac contemporary anthropologist.s. 100", tcnnioology, are bringing back the concept of JilnCliarud approach; see, for a .hon survey, J. N. 1fIII1Mlw..l,c.._ oJIh<&tul(Pnnt:C1on. 1983) 25-48 ••• p. 411. n 95. 168-80 {dnun}: D. SchrO<!er. in C. A. Schmll' J964} '12-4 (Ipiri •• ): H. Fromm. DIu

-:~~=:~~:£~ (siring inetrument.).

'!l H~t., 1MN.,tltAmm, .. /ruli •• o,pltru.r

moB IU' D Page, FDIA:Jale$ 11'1 Homn'J' Od,ut)' R. SwanlOn, ElhrwlDl,Y, 15 (1976) IU-23.

;~~~~~~B:;and;i~'~U'l"d1ithl' lin Eskimos (Stullgart. 1965).

Tradition i. alJ the more slriking linc~

.ate weil at[elted in Eaquimo ,"uJturC':I;' (Dilud<Iorf and Cologn" 1969) no •.


!:lito an epigt'IIID abollt OrpbWl' death by Iighlning, lhe

"'''IiIh .• 'bSJ Rm.nllcen"". in another epi8""m In Diag Laeft."_ 7.617 ",hid> p. baellio Lobon of Arguo fr. 50B S"i'PI. Htlt;. hUI. 9.30.5-. TIu: int.rpretalicm m Linforth, 111'1.1 of o.piJ.w, 15f. .t.Ilk';';hncelO hlo earl;"r 'Iudy, T,. Am. Phil. Au., 63 (1931) 5 11.

82 Motte (cf. p. 138fR.adl); an ample diseu •• ion in M. L. Weot.

BICS, 7 .

18 West, BICS. 30 (1983) 66f.

19 Orpheus ..... mbling the men: Conan, FGrH 26 F 1,45; Paul. 9.30.5. mtmduclDghomoerolic love, Phanocl .. fro I Po_II; Ov. MIl. 10.81- 5; Hyg. ASlr 27.

20. F. M. Scholler, DGntJUmgrm tiD Orp/Kw in dn A.,it. (Di ss., Freiburg, 1969) 55-69, E. Il. Panyagua, HI/_tied, 23 (1972) 9O-lJ I; ,e. also F. Brommer, V_lisltrl ZIU grit</rur/rm Htldms."., Srd edn (Marburg, 1973) 504- 7 On. veee, A!II 1042. inf. 2 imeeduc .. Dionyso ... well, I •• Welt, BICS. 30 (1983) 81 11<11. lSi ICVt'raJ vases from tbe mid~fir1b cent. add a satyr to Orpheua' audience, Scholler S3 (inllllence from the .ta .. ?) .

21. See West. OP 17 -19, with the nee .... ry reference e.

22. S."ol. Eur AI. 968. Cob"t had conjectured Herakleitoa; Wehrli k..,po .h. tOllt OUt of his fragment. of Heraclidee Pontic us.

~3. The Cicon .. 10 Hom. II. 2.846.17.73; connected wi.h Orpheus, PI' ArtIlOI. fr. 641,48: Verg. Gto" ",520: 0 v. Mtt. II .. (but Ed •• i"'" ibid 69) Suid

0655. ••

s}!· ~g~fM""edOnlans and Odryliam. Conan, FGH26 F 1.+$; Odryslan

~. 656, Well, BICS. 30 (1983) 91, n 16, pUIS the connection 100 I.L •

cic 5. Th~ only (alimony ~ to a srave in Ciconian territory i. PI.·Anlwl loc 1. ., an~plgr.m wh".. wording com •• close 10 the on. ofLobon and whIch DID ~.ndam· gives ~o the grave .at Dium ( ... n 16). Ih. third epigram. the .pUlph In

c. &II~ gt1r'CI no local.latton.

26. Th. tcalome' ~ Pi . .

•• ~, . nln Or ula In a~,"mml Fr.gmnJ14 T 38 41 lir •• Iillhollsb

.... -. • .... IaIlPn II Bur ~ 560 Th .. I . f h T .

and Strabo 10271 . . . e .~p ..... on 0 I" hraClanl in Thuc 99

FG.H I F 1.&' io ,p .• 71: for Thracian lawn. more 10 the Non" H. H • .,.t ""

MIInI/imio, vol ' I (~~~~r:re~:;~~o::~ l,;""rd, N. G L. Hammond. A Hu,.",

27. Plul At... It 9 67' .

T 1~ ... 1 F, Aman. A.d. 1.11 2: more in ~ ,.,_,.

28 ObyioUl!y .. COlD •

hbl01ical and ..... hi~romue belween Ihe mythical lradttton and eo...... own

29. See lIG'.H-grap cal knowledge

30. 8ec N 0 ~ : .• Henrichl, th .. volume, ell II, IftlIOI\ I

Ute S"'YI'IIaean ri~er .:::""'-~d, M .......... , 129, n. Guthrie a.,._, pta m_e. unfounded con Iomonl


82 (1917) 1461: ~t b«ame lb. ','OID _. see e. g lIhlilln ,3til.·d .. ,,;,;, fUme objectlDns. the most importanr from Schmidt

:i:l!fd;'j\,ltli,WlIII>,Ap'lInlt .. Hloie VIlftIl trom the U:Xtl. '

. "., .• -,''''''~M4 VIII 90, XIlI91 c>t6.

A. Furtwingl er , DO, ."lIk", Gt.mro.,. (L.ip.ig and Berlin, 1900) ""I 3 ~~; - R. Herb'g. Jtll. 49150 (19+4-5) 1l3r· r.,.JOnabl b' .. ' Schmidt, ,b,d 1331. ,. 0 1"',on ••

li8 M. &:hmi~I. ibid. 132r, !hinla the fonde, waa the poet Terpander: " i •• gun •• She also thm"~ that the head was in a cave whtl"e one had 10 descend with the .help of rapet. which would n::call Phi1oztr. IhroIC. 28; bur the finder does not have ropu., but two :iipears, as far as 1 can 5«

59 Ded .... '17u Gnds, 147; Bllade, &lonuvtimo. 391; the prntest in J N Bremmer. EarlJlGmk COMept, 46f, with ample parallels; some: rnure in C G-J~n

Gr,..,.",.I .. Wb'U, vol. II (Zurich, 1963) 262 - 8. g.

60. Iran: G. Widengren. Im Ho,hgo''cfnu~, ,m aI',n hon (Uppsala and Lei 19S9) 324£; Odin: J. d. Vri es , AI'6mMn",'" 1U1i&>·."'Ii"oio,,~., vel. I 2ndP<J' (s..rlin, 1956) 499-502 (initiation.); vel. 2. 2nd edn (Berlin, 1957) nft':'.gici.n; 9~- 100 (ontn's lIOCitti es ). '

61, Diad. +.40- 56 5 J. Ruaten, D,ooysiw Sgl.b, aa bi.. {Opladen 1982) 1+4-68; Ap. Rhod. 1.23-32 and pa.ni,"; e .. K Ziegler. HE 18 (1939) 1255-7 62. P. Derv. in the preliminary edn ZPE, 7# (1982); hymns are mentioned 001 18.11i a theogony is cited throughout

63. H. Groppengie ... r, Arch. A"", (1977) 582-610.

6~. Eur. Hyfm'pyll fr. I, col. III 8-14 and fro 64. col "98-102 Bond. The Buenue story it. an aition for the Auic geno! of the Euenidai.

65. The epithet "",inmll remind. one of th •• pith.t u .. d by Ibye"' I, 306 Page.

D'ItrmI.t1JdY'DJ':' lack ef other distinctions of Orpheus. or a common epl'C tradItion? Onomdl1los would flr into a hexameter. See also n 71

66. Po.ill er th Drlphrs, vol. IV: I {Paris, 1909) 27 -30 [desrripnnn}; vol. IV (platn) (Paris, 1926) plol. 4.

67. MeuJi, S,lIrijlm, 593-616. a slightly abbrevsned version of hie doctoral di • serterion OJpsu.nd ArgoruzUl'M (B •• te, 1921); for Orpheu, .... ibid. 567

68. E. Robbins, in Ward.n, O,pluw, 7f.

69, Jason's uncle, Ap. Rhod. J .45~ Meleagu's, 1.201, he is arccrnparned abo by hi. rath.r'. brother, 1.191.

70. For G re eee, J. N. Bremmer. ZPE, 50 (1983) 173-86; for a wid" bock ground, idem, j'UflIol .j I.M·E ... ,_. S.wi",. I (1976) 65 -18; fee the inill.,uJ) baclc.ground of the Odyneus and Meleagee emrtes. N Rubin end W S"lr-, Artthosa, 16(1983) 137-71.

71. For another pcaeible hint of earlier EuditlOns see above, no.co ti~

72. A. Brelich, l.Il No.""II, 010' e, 719 (1955157) 4961T, see abo hi. GI, " .. ~'" (Rome. 1958) 220.

73. The clauicaJ account is H. Jelilnmalre, CtlHrrt' Ii Co,mt,J {Li Ie ) 9:)1:..1. t.::h b. cr. J N. Br.mmer, A",h .. o, 13 (1980) 279- 98.

14. Autolycul a. a wtrf'wolf: Burkert. HN 120, Buxton. Lhu v ... dum . Ch ..

Ant"aeul and bear., K. Mcouli, Srh,if'lm. GOlf (withaul, however. ronne lin!!:" 111 with the b erae rk.); ... J. N. Br.mmer. ZPIi. 17(1982) H6f

75. M.uli. Schriftm. 593-610; V. Propp. h"nh,'" io .. , wlkIJ .. , , ~,


Ezio Pellizer Translated by Diana Crampton

,,' Conon, INgtstir 24

There is in the region of Boeotia a town called Thespiae, nOI far from Mt Helicon, where the child Narcissus was born. He was very beautiful, but also disdainful of Eros and of those who loved him. Whereas his other lovers eventually stopped loving him, Ameinias persevered, constantly pleading with him. And, because Narcissus gave him no hope, and indeed sent him the gift of a sword, the said Ameinias stabbed himself at the youth's door, not without first invoking the vengeance of the god. So Narcissus, contemplating his own reflection in a spring, and contemplating his own beauty reflected in the water, absurdly fen in love with himself. In the end, Narcissus, in despair, admitted he had suffered a just punishment for the wounds inflicted on the loving Ameinias, and killed him se lf. From then on, the Thespians decided to honour and venerate the god Eros even more, not only with public sacrifices. but also with private cults. The people of the town think that the Narcissus flower first grew in that place where the blood of Narcissus was spilt.

n2 POlJSanias 1.30. J

The altar within the city called the altar of Anleros they say wILl dedicated by resident aliens, because the Athenian Mele •• spurning the love of Timagorae, a resident aben, bade bun IllCend to the highest point of the rock and Ca.lt himHlf down


:~;IrCUll1W1 from the river called _M41*,;gId.ilui~·J:ul !Would be forW;!I~',J""II4;UI hie belWty. The >;JBt_.,mp,~:,Q,jl1U1l, and, ull3ble to _'MII .... ~I11'~,,_ {rpm hill, repeating

mn able to ha~i1Y1ni:llbthrotlgh themounfains. It IlUI1Jof,her deJ~l1l1ji\!'shl~'w;uhidden in the not be "cn, but only heard. IriJi~Ute;.tMlI·JMs:ri:ill!lwl; for the extreme disdain and .~lWIrl''''J'l!:clt,[f. he waa made to fall in love with himself ._ ... , .• J'I .... is. the Fate who punishes the disdainful, so :;·,·~~I1lt·h'li'w~1l ClIJrUlumed by no lesser flame. So he reU exhausted

~'tht'Jn:mt by Ii fountain, and as he drank the water, he saw biRwn irltage. and believing it to be that of another, he feU in love. and was 80 consumed by his desire that he died. From his 1'1!mllins grew the flower that is called the narcissus by the

nymphs called the Naiades, who cried for the sad fate of their brother.


Conan's story (nl), as is customary, begins with a general utterance, functioning to situate the narrative events in a particular space (Thebes, Boeotia, etc.); there then follows a description of the character and qualities of one of the persons who will be involved in the events. In this case, we find Narcissus, extraordinarily beautiful and at an ephebic age, yet disdainful and intractable in his amorous adventures. It is implicit that our subject (SI) swims against the social, or rather the underlying psychological current, which is safeguarded by the god who presides over amorous encounters (Eros); in other words a young man of extraordinary beauty generally should not be averse to the attentions of hiB lovers, as such an attitude constitutes a violaticn of the amorous diu sanctioned by the god himself. I

The (aUowing segment introduces a second subject (Arn~iniu, 82) who, in comraat to the other muwi (lovers), soon becomes bored with courting the ungrateful.p1u1H in vain, and pent.t., with great t:Onetancy, in hi' desire for Narcissus. We may describe quue .imply a sllCOnd aeneral utterance, whereby 82 il m di ~uncllon


.~:=~:~:~;:~~~-:~and three complete narrative pro-

1 relief the very simple narrative structure of

tlliit;.W'I'."·wn:ICII is aljjculated in the modality of impassicned 'll!!mUnr. and p:reients in clIaracteristic fashion a specific recur~the addresser and addressee coincide three times, or at least tbe same working subject is the object of the action performed by il.eIf. This redundancy, or better, this manifest recurrence, times three. hlIII in the economy of the story the effect of showing the complex seme of/reflexivityl. In other words, a vast constellation of rcllCl'live actions seems to be derived from the negation of recipwcity in amorous relations.

Although the names of the characters are changed, and the geographical location is different, story n2 (Pausanias) appeilI'8 to be construeted according to a practically identical narrative structure' it varies only in some elements of detail, as a simple analysis of those segments constitutive to both stories may show.2 Further- 1U0re, the story of Timagoras' unhappy love for the young Meles provides I,IS with an interesting definition - both onomastic and morphological, as well as figurative - of the second contextual seme pertaining to these stories, as we shall see below: the winged figure of the god Anteras (brother of Er09,' and represented as his count~r and mirror image), a punishing demon (daimon altullJr) of ~IIl1lelP~tcd love, it must be admitted, il a most effective incarnation of the seme of lreciprocityl.

We aan '" how time di

Itnlc:tUret verse figura, at the level of dilCW'flV1l

, U'tl aemantically invtllied in lhtt ItOnet of unbppy Iovc



'1I1~.~"'M!l(I~ 'l1,q~n (1 chQBc. somewhat l'fillldomly, the stoJ!y .fiWD4iil);.~~~.~(Jt"iW4J~ft'1L180), Version 0.+ at by far the best ithc:Olllthol~t tbP Buropean cultural tradition, thank8 to and medieval mythographen and to Bocca"io It ~ ,~ !bIring the Renaiseance (Natalia Comes, ete.) to inllurmce the painting, the music and the literature of subsequent r;eilt1,lries. This story is constructed in such a way as to draw clearly into reI~f the coherence and homogeneity of the 'Narcissus story' in iUl entire system of variations. and it permits us to see how narrative mechanisms function, generating different versions of lI'!utarU;s, centring on a definite character - or, if you like, to see how the transformations of a theme are organised diac:hronically over a long period of time. In version nt, the figure of Ameinias: theuafortunate"arlllS, does not exist any more; hence the element of the ho~al relationship disappears. The person who plays ~ ~tial ~le corres~nding to that of the unhappy lover (A:me;aa or :I'Jmagoras In n1 or n2), going more or less along the =~e :ratlYe path' (PtWCflurs jigumlif). is now a nymph, of the

(remember the appearance of the silter in n3b) called ~~ryone know" Echo. In this nymph's name and virt~e8 it ~

....... J'IILf.(lo.casy to see her di ti . _L__ •

1!/Q.l;II]i~1 d IS mctive .......-actcnltic8, that i. to say

_ n ~ , ~oreover, IrefleJdvity/. In other words th; tPIlayPPY YJXiph In love, describlld by Ovid (by verbal _ .... th

ltiay appear to be in bad 8 .. __ es at

PfeMnce, and who idmti all taate) as a voice without a

hill, it Ilone other the.n ,~ Y re~ta the Ia.n syllablel presented eo thenby P~a.in. at thi ~u)ar vocality. Thil reJlected voc:ality _ries, to wbich 'h IS level of common isotopy to .. .--..I'R" Ihlm"_ , owever(even· . • ... - ....... _

IIjJ til thWl) it add In III tranaf"orrniUaonl and lftdeed

It.dlarelbrc .; a only the !Ierne of lvocalityl

~l.WJIJ Ul lt11C1:~llible to eondwle that & Ito". IU~ - ....... !ative modafuy (or IU1I.ply nvraa.d


f.~tINM Plt.to IfwCl now look through the vast amount ~ofhM UI by the ""'IfIIIZlrt of ancient Greece. searching Or ,... that ~y unifies the traits of complernen~ .fA rhe double pJl!tlC!d lftto ene, of reciprocity that com.... kIdf Ultlll utlity. of a JOrt of 'specularity' where the mirror ..... ,. belfto the refleered image (rather like the child who ~1Itda the tnm01' to the point of touching it, pressing his ~ &)IieItW it), we note that this figure indeed exists, even if it is ... *iII'oI:t CO JmIIine it, the reault. once visualised, may be

:;4j~kdlt, iI1iil.ftItICUI. The figure we seek is described in Plato, all the famoua Blory of Aristophane. about the ~~~!.(b:I.~c. Ariatophanel sayl, men had roundish bodies, i'flIlIit'lblullillll and fol.U" lege. two sexual parts, two faces attached ·;,·i.,,~.'JiI" IIUJ4 four eaJ'II. There were three genders, male, lI'!~1 ••• lIIttiiID-. pnder being detennined according to

""""', ,11' beings had two male sexual parts, tWO

........ i_hl.,.r'il'De male and one female part. And because ••• W11lO.Were 10 complete in themselves, were t~ W.ii.lJllllwhilt truculent, Zeue had to cut them In l'1111!_!(b.e'lIIiJl over the wound. tying it up at the 1IIIJI''''._IiIVC!,.nd begged Apollo to twist the head so

.000.tIDlU reeopri'Jc< that d:ris mlIlm18d0l1I'€If lit coinCidenCe of the -pmql

MWfi;al"iucdt'fII,b~gl:~y peninent to the entire system to reconstruct in the preceding

)l>I!l9Ji~MtItel:~v.c:ril,t pl~lae5 an extremely vivid picture of how it of the imttginaiTe. to reconcile somehow

.lJIil,QI~llr.,tne,lall'ntl'Y. the totality of the individual with comple'spccularity'. or duplicity - with, in a word,

An appanmdy clearly articulated underlying system can be perceived through this series of vivid representations, whether they are narrative or not. This system seems to be constructed according to a form of logic. We can see delineated, for example, in the v<:f'llinguistic formulation of the narrative disccurse, the specific function of some grammatical categories - for example the function of the, re~exive pronoun heawos. or the reciprocal adjective aJlthlu.s, which IS formed by doubling alios, 'twice other' and has :: nominativc. ~ese grammatical forms are, not sur~ri8inglY •

pe~ted several tunea, not only in the story of the androgynos, but a1lO In the. other stories examined. Furthermore, we can see how ~:~gurall~e - or narrative - exploration of passionate attitudes

f • paulon par ""limet) renders operative various ponibiJities

o rrspJnod1t11ltnl d' . .

diathes ~ JuxtapoSition of the two principal verbal

es, the active - which th . I di

CiIIIed __ ft;"ft.J_ I e ancient n Ian grammarians

tailed "_._"_"""""", • word for an other' - and the medium -

diath!:.::' w~rd for itself - whereas the pllUlYe Vi~w of the bi ~,llmply the active Been from the PQint of IWr~e re;.!~~;a~:.:z;; a ge,neral overview of thi •• ylltem of IOIQe logical tillego • ow., It acem. to me, the anicuJauon of lolh~fneuJ. which n;:: and reveals the Oppolilion lidentityl v G~llIMian wrI· ~ be represented IChematiWly by a (/l\!ln-i~t1lYI v • 1m w c:h a1ao an: orsanllfHl the ~

• non-othlmeu/ in the axia of die .....__._):


\~=======:;,::::~r~:!:~ hae taken us a long way and

::". 'have endeavoured to show Home of

b"'iml~tl ........... ...", .. these representations, articu)llluQIblialiion., in an attempt to condude iilfJei!w~.rIliJl'v;'lOD:Le form oflogic at the basis of tmtatively that, through the '*l_1I4111$J1;loJl~~n of the categories dealing indifference, c!elperatioll, ~t'*lj.lltl)'lIlJ.Oftll detpair and remorse, etc., «IIIIIlwJ'lC, aphoric and dYlphoric "~JWQ!:JfII[.PltJIJPI to aprc .. a Vall reflection

metaphoric image.

fn caneluaien, I would like to examine another short pa.ssage I'roml'llato, from the Pluttdrus, another dialogue mainly dedicated toa:amilling the passion of.love (255 c-e). Here Plato unites, in a rather impressive manner, a large number of the figurative "I.,.. mun!s that we have found scattered here and the", in the cou rse of our inquiry, principally using a metaphorical system, the similarities of which to that system revealed by the examination of the Narclssus stories are too strong to be me", coincidence or 'free invention' of the Athenian philosopher. Having ascertained thaI amorous desire is like a theuma, or current that Dows from the loved object, Plato adds that this current of beauty, like a breath or an ,dw (koimz pneurruJ , lis ekJw) reflected from a smooth and solid surface, bounces back to the point of origin, return ing to the loved one through the eyes, in a look. He then continues 'and like someone who has contracted an eye disease from someone else, he cannot explain how, but without realising it, !ee. hrmself in the loved one, lIS in <I mlNlJr [hos,," m kaJaptroi!'. And when the 10H" i far away, the loved one, now also In love in turn, 'desires and I desired, bearing <lnlmls as the reflected image of ""I', that is, he perceives the effect8 of passionate love in terms of "sperul r reciprocity

Plato ia, without doubt, principally interested in drliOlnl{ III oJh. by means of studying the effects love produc s in the I wbereal the preceding accounts attempt r ther III demo".lr t tht' eIi.astraus effects of refuamg reciprocity, which produce d" ur .. in the narcilSlItic circle of the self One realise howev r rh thi, impressive pal.age of Plato'., the re pp"aranc f the Ii u IllllIros, of amoroul rectprocity, of the stlf who m 1 h nthilll' IUId then return. to the sdf, of tb .. lindm n thi, bounce-back the Image of the e ho and th


I!)'II) 38 and Ii. Setanl, L 'HfImIISIJlUlllil# whIch JIlOVldeo " rich bibl,o' Iittie-'kn"w'.lllUdly by C. Diano 'L'erDI grctO', in tVlteJIZll. 1968) 161-83 - UIISSO, 18 (1955) 698


itttu.tlting ref1ectiOftI of L. Marin. lMasque et portran: sur dana qudqufla textes du XVIl~me eleele rranljais', In AliI i.~_tj.,"'" 'Nil sms. thlla""""""" .t. sm .. d. rrl4Jq""', Montccalini,

forthcommg. For mirror elT«[s In painting, cf Caterina L entani 11 fjUIJIfrD e il "'" diJpp" Effetti di s,",_bJnu. ""mII;va n.lbJ p,ttura j:m,.l" t oI4ntUIC (Mod.na. 19BI) (brought 10 my attention by Oddone Longo) and III gtntral J. Ballrula.m, Lt .",,.i, ,10.10,;.,,,, scimc.-fitlUnt d folillrits (Paris. 1979). On the mirror and maok in Greek mythology and cul~ure,. the reflections by J'P Vernanl in Ih • .tlHlWl'" du C.IUgt tU F, •• " 1979 - 80 R .. ~ drs COO" tI ".,,,,,,,, tS3"-66. have, as always, been most stimulating for me.

5 For Pauwpiu· anitude to myth eee P. Veyne, Us Grtn anl.its '"' Ii ilun ~'(Paris. 1983) 105 -12 and /NUnm.

Ii, The bond. of reciprocity and 'speculariry" that are formed m the psychology of two Iwin. (m this ea •• both male) are remarkably perceived and described in the n""" by Michel 'Iuurnier. Les MIIJo,,, (Paris, 1975).

7 cr Themist. OtrJl. 24, 305 a- b: '0 Aphrodite, your true son Era. may pel:haps haw: been bom alene, but cenainly he could not grow up alone; u is neces&ary for you alao to have Anteros, iryou wish that Eros may grow. And these two brothers will be of the same nature: they will each cause the growth or the other And lookillgrJl_h .lhn they will also blo .. om, bur 'hey will diminish, Hone (or the other) i. len alone.'

8. For example, OVId. MtI. 3.300-1:

rHw CHQJ1Iw!' ail, rudliqut libtntiw umqwzm rIJ/NJd.J1VG 10M rWfamWJ I rrllulil E,Iw •...

('Here Jet \II meet.' he ceiee. Echo. never to answer another sound more gladly. cnes: "Let UI meet ... ). There iii a doublrmltndrt in the veebe 'Olft, m('amOK 'to mC~t come together' and also Iota copulate'. On these playrul echo ~lTfct' ~n OVid see G Ro •• I1, No""", Pil""'I", .. (Florenc., 198~J 29-30; ... horrer vera ion 01 Ch I, 'NarcilD 0 l'iIlunone leuerari.' appeared ilZI 'Narciso 0 I'illuluonr d'1soha' 111 MIUa. 16 (1976) 83 -108

9, I shall limn my •• lftociting the "udy by L. Bruson, 'B; •• xuaJ,,~ et med, tinn en Crke anelenne', N ••• Ft •• psydtDon.I .• 1 (1913) 21- 48. Th •• nnee velum .n lb. tbeme Buu::rudjti., difllran tUs wrtS, i. of great mt ere " for Ihe study ollh problem •.

reiD A (tum bibhography on Narci .. u. would be In.ppropn.,elv I n m n de e=nCClIllDY be found en the notes in ROlati I NtJftUlbJ, and P. Had r, Le mylh 81_1~<U·· et son ",terpn!tluon par PIOI;n', N.. ,.. p.,.luuurl I (196 I't... Th~ entire volume IS dedicated to the Nam. u' them •• nd It m 'h .J Lo".::'v~III';;:d plyehOlogical a'poetl. Set howeYrr the nu' bl ,ud, b

(Lund. I~~): N.rms", n.m. in Will .... Lltnllu" ., 10 ,.. E I, 1m Ml

I wiIh ro oller " I

grale.u acknowlcdaemonllio Bruno Gen,d, Clau

JW!thod used in th.. article. - J. (F ..... 1976): Gtoupo d'Enlre.erR" .. ~,.#t_(Lyo" •• 1979); A. J Greim ... /)u ,lOS


'Myth, in my terminology, is the counterpart of ritual: myth implies ritual, ntual implies myth, they are one and the same"; thus E. Leach takes his stand in a discussion that can have no end.' At the beginning of that discussion stands myth, identified as 'mistaken explanation' of ritual, to use Frazer's famous phrase. An inverse relationship has been postulated by the myth-and-ritual school of Hooke and his followers: myth as the scenario for ritual. A third possible explanation for the link between the two was offered by Jane Harrison: 'They probably arose together. Ritual i. the utterance of an emotion, a thing felt in aaion, myth in words or thoughts. They arise pari passu ." One recognises expressions of this view in several more recent anthropological studies, On the other hand, in his fundamental critical work, G. S. Kirk argues that any monolithic theory regarding myth and ritual should be rejected: all three forms of interrelation do indeed occur, but it must be remembered as well that there are many more rites without myths and myths without rites than there are related rites and myths.

Kirk does have a point, of course, but that does not mean the end of the myth and ritual investigation. If 'myth and ritual do not correspond in details of content but in structure and atmosphere' ,2 it is worthwhile investigating whether there are indeed any examplea at all of a myth and rite operating /Jan passu as 'symbolic pro easee for dealing with rhe same type of .ituatlon In the same lIff'ective mode' (el. Kluckhohn). W. Burkert hllll done 110 In ~ent yean with regard to Greece, In his analysis of myth and ritual complelleB, specifically the Arrhephoria festival and the myth f


1~::~6!:~!~~: hl'llU&ht her last

hll hI! srew QP,bidderr in~

~~dtil.fa:IhI!l"'1 knowll:dge. Instead of the baby. R.hea ,",,'IVIIIl IJtDll£ wrapped in swaddling clothes. Once he had

,J(.il'f'\l~p.. Kronoa to r~gurgitate the other children'

which hall been displayed In Delphi ever sin~ (~&,.,lklJlI(VlllloU-IJl~'OOI~, thi. volume, Ch, 10, Appendix). After

!iber~tion. he freed Kronos' brothers, the Cyclopes, who had 'btIIIIn chained ~n the Underworld by their fa!her, Uranos (501); in murn for their rescue, the Cyclop"s gave Zeus his thunderbolt. The hundred-handed giants also were freed (652, 659) from their subterranean prison at the edge of the world (621/2), where they had been held in heavy irons (618), in order 10 assist Zeus and the other Olympians in their battle against the Titans. An interpolated passage (Th. 687-712) does, indeed, say that Zeus destroyed the Titans with his thunderbolt, but the authentic text ascribes the victory to the hundred-handed giants, who drove the Titans deep under the earth and bound them in strong chains (718). It is true that this part does not say explicitly that Krenos suffered the same fate, but a later passage, in which the monster Typhoeus (who according to the scholiast on 11. 2.783 is a son of Kronos) waylays Zeus, includes an interpolated line (85J): 'The Titans, in Tartarus, keeping Kronos company.'

In WOTks and Days 168. it is mentioned that Zeus settled the heroes after their deaths along the edges of the earth, where they lead carefree and happy lives on the Islands of the Blessed. where the spelt-giving soil yields a rich harvest three times a year. An interpolated verse (169) then continues: 'far from the immortal a. Among them Kronos is king', and in a subsequent interpolated passage it is stated: 'his bonds the father of men and gods had broken'. Although not Hesiodic, this version must have been known as early as the archaic era.5 Pindar is familiar with it (01.

2.70 v.). . .

Since the publication of the Hurrian-Hittite Kumarbi mYI~ In 19456 scholars have agreed all but unanimously that Hesiod indirectly must have derived important part. of the Kronos myth from this much older tale. For here Kumarbi caurat". hiS ~ ther Anu by biting off hi. genitalia and becomes pregnant by them wllh three (or five) children, among whom is the god o~ the storm., comparable to Zeu •. Kumarbi regurgitate. all the dllldrcn a£Cpt


~lntllf,Ull,ul A ,.n:IW~IllI:S~1U'11gl~le for power, a !DII ...... tanidllltdt, and lawlessness: all these ~~Bd_;ao:QUltin,ea- o:ondemned.9 Krenos' __ do._ ........ 'ihlv meaning 'with the curved

CIIlllmll,ly m1m,relted as 'wilh crooked

,..~ti.\Il~dJn~ription; hi, actions were part of his punishment seemed the oriental myth was IiiI_Qij~"Pf'pJtc-I3TI!ek signature, who no l,4',C!.ofl,ml imclrveJling god

/ _, ......... ~~·mIltCer There is another,

IIIj ~'.,l~1iI :Mptive picture. Kronos

i"",nm. 'lbolttwi. 1M king' II The • Heslod until late antiquity.

·C/lIlftmrru,!tI:I··];l. still roakt:s a distinction between

King Kronel and Father Zeus'. Krone! is one who introduced the principle of king- 4-86) ealls him 'the fll'llt king' and as late as art au~~ u_ys: 'Kronos introduced kingship.' :;."lliIlllltimilhiinl!l·nlegllthre II Implied by the term basikw is apparent

wugtlS (great), with which he is qualified in dJ.eWtiltil, lUI weU as by Hesiod_l2 On the contrary, Krenos' ,lrtIrgdom, which usually is visualised as existing on earth, was a iira1rh of peace, justice and prosperity. Pindar so Blrongly BlI'8aciated such benefits with human kingship that he calls the abode whither the pious travel after death, a king'. 'tower' (01 2.l25vv).13 Such references bring us to the topic of the famous S/lJrlr/Iia r6gna or 'life at the time of Krona.' , as the Athenians called the happy period under Pisistratos (Aristotle Athension P.liltia 17.5}, the Golden Age at the beginning of time, now irrevocably in the past. This image, too, is familiar even to Hesiod. In his description of the races of men, which perhaps also was derived from oriental myth and seems to have been a tradition unknown 10 Homer, he says everything began with the Golden Race (Work.< and Days 109-26); people lived like gods, without worry, exertion or suffering. They were not bothered by old age, their limbs were eternally young and they revelled happily (115). Death came like sleep. The earth yielded fruit of it. own accord. abundantly and plentifully, and people lived contentedly in the midst of peace and profusion. After their disappearance from the face of the earth they became good doimones, guardians of mortals and bestowera of

wealth (126). This marks the beginning of a rich tradition of utopianism and 'wishing-timeP with which Krenos i. closely associated; this, too, since Hesiod, for according to him the peuple of the Golden Race lived when Krona. was king in Heaven (Work.< and Days 111). The tradition of making this utopian IIm~ Krenos' era can be followed from the AlKmaeonu, via Empedocl •• and the Ineehos of Sophocles (alone among tragedies); the them. widens in Old Comedy as is shown especially in A[hrllaeus b 267E 11 ln

O ' . d f 'J d of ('tKka1Iln<' Id Comedy the motif of ahun ance, 0 a an

receives particular attention; [here are d<scTlprion. of prun val eras, of Pluto's underworld, and of the far Away land vf the