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It is possible to date some alterations to the years (i) before traditional
material began to be transmitted in writing or (ii) after that. No
alteration, to be sure, is marked in any way so as to connect it directly
with either oral or written transmission. This connection can only be
made indirectly, through one or more chronological points of reference
which in turn are datable to before or after the widespread use of the
alphabet around 700 B.C.

I. The traditions that have come down to us about the founding of
cities in Ionia present as historical, personages that belong to the sphere
of the mythical. Neleus, said to be the oikist of Miletos and leader of the
common "Ionian colony", and Pelops and Theseus, presented as oikists of



Smyrna, were all three originally divinities.1

Aipytos, oikist of Priene,

was a divinity akin to Hermes.2

Athamas, oikist of Teos, was the

eponymous hero of the Athamanians.3

Manto, thought to have been the
founder of the oracle in Klaros and connected with the settlement of the
Kadmeians in Kolophon, was a mythical figure.4

Neleus, Pelops, and
Theseus have become men in the Homeric epics, as have other figures
that were once divinities, such as Agamemnon,5



Odysseus, Hector,8

and Helen. It follows that the transfer of figures from
the world of religion and myth to that of history happened before the mid-
eighth century when the Homeric epics were composed.

II. Securely datable to after 700 are the narratives or those elements
of narratives that (1) speak of some act of the Delphic oracle, (2) show
some degree of erudition, or (3) serve some political purpose.
1. The influence of the Delphic oracle first made itself felt in the
eastern Aegean some time around 700 B.C.9

Before then, it is unlikely
that anyone would have thought of attributing the foundation of an Ionian
city to a Delphic command. That Delphic involvement in the establish
ment of the Ionian cities is fictitious is evident also from the fact that the
information is imbedded in totally spurious narratives. Here are some

We are told that Medon and Neleus, the elder sons of Kodros, king of
Athens, fought over the succession. The Delphic oracle was consulted
and pronounced in favour of Medon. Neleus and the other sons of Kodros
made for Asia Minor.10

Yet both Kodros and Neleus were legendary


In another story, when the Epigonoi had taken Thebes, they took their


M.B.Sakellariou, La migration grecque en Ionie (1958) 49-54, 205-207, 227-230.


M.B.Sakellariou, op. cit., 89-90.


M.B.Sakellariou, op. cit., 176-179 and passim.


M.B.Sakellariou, op. cit., 164-166.


M.B.Sakellariou, op. cit., 116-122.


M.B.Sakellariou, op. cit., 265-266.


M.B.Sakellariou, op. cit., 58-62.


M.B.Sakellariou, op. cit., 192-197.


M.B.Sakellariou, op. cit., 153, η. 4.


M.B.Sakellariou, op. cit., 40-41 (evidence and discussion).



prisoners to Delphi. One of them, Manto the daughter of Teiresias, was
ordered by Apollo to cross over to Asia Minor. Pausanias is the only
author to say that Manto was followed there by her people. Other
versions given by our sources are of no interest here since they seem to
have developed in some environment or other that had no genuine
recollections. Besides, neither Manto nor Mopsos, said to be her son,
were historical figures. Rhakios, the husband of Manto and father of
Mopsos, in addition to not being historical, gets confused with one
Lakios, an historical figure of the 7th century B.C. In those narratives,
Manto appears as the founder and first priestess of the oracle of Klaros,
near Kolophon, Mopsos, as a famous seer and her successor. Clearly this
is fiction invented for, or at least accepted by, the priests of the oracle at

Four of the sources we have on the foundation of Magnesia-on-the-
Maeander connect it with Delphi. In two of the four, the "Comments on
the Magnesians", attributed to Aristotle or Theophrastos and Strabo, the
Maeander Magnesians were Delphic colonists. The other two sources, a
2nd century B.C. chronicle of Magnesia, evidently official, and a
passage of Konon, have the Delphic oracle guiding the Magnesians in
their move from Delphi to Crete and thence to Asia Minor.2


examples of Delphic oracles may be omitted here.
2. Traditions showing some degree of erudition imply the dissemina-
tion of the information they give by means of writing. Here is an exam-
ple. According to Nikandros of Kolophon, it was from Ortygia Titanis in
Aitolia that the colonists left who settled in Ephesos, in Delos, and in a
tiny island off the Sicilian coast. For this reason, he says, all three places
were known as Ortygia. The connection between Ephesos, Delos, and
the islet off Sicily hardly stems from local traditions. For one thing, it is
unlikely that the Ephesians, the Delians, and the Syracusans had the
least idea about colonizing expeditions sent out by one of their home-
lands to other countries. For another, there is every reason to believe that
this information is scholarly in origin, based on the fact that the name
Ortygia was applied to a place in Aitolia, to a place in Rheneia or
Syros, to the island off Syracuse, and to the sacred woods near Ephesos


M.B.Sakellariou, op. cit., 148-160 (evidence and discussion).


M.B.Sakellariou, op. cit., 106-113 (evidence and discussion).



where Artemis was supposed to have been born.1
3. Political aims lie behind both versions of the idea that the Ionians
of Asia Minor shared a single home-land, Achaia or Attica. Since I have
dealt elsewhere with the entire subject of the geographical origin of the
Greeks who settled in Ionia, and have no reason to reconsider my
conclusions, I confine myself here to a few points pertinent to the present

The idea that the people who settled Ionia from mainland Greece
came from Athens is later than the Ionian revolt at the beginning of the
fifth century. It was invented by the Athenians who were eager to base
claims of sovereignty over the Ionian cities by means of kinship, all the
more so as they had probably run into difficulties in persuading some of
the Ionian cities to join their alliance. At this same time, Athenian
propaganda was busy creating genealogical ties between Athens and
Troy, and crediting Athenian oikists with the foundation of cities in the
Troad, Thrace, and Cyprus. The Athenian claim to the title of mother-
city of the Asia Minor Ionians had much to support it, especially in the
existence of the four tribes, common festivals and cults, such as the
Apatouria, the Anthesteria, the Thargylia, the Eleusinia, the cult of
Artemis Mounychia, and also a memory of Attic origin in a number of

The idea that the Ionians of the eastern Aegean came from Achaia
was an Ionian invention made to serve Ionian purposes. To be exact, it
will have been formed out of a need to give themselves a common origin
after they had acquired a sense of ethnic identity within the framework of
the Panionion or Ionian amphictyony, perhaps around 700 B.C. Why
Achaia? First of all, the Panionion had as its centre the sanctuary of
Helikonian Poseidon, whose epithet was connected with Helike. All the
Ionian cities had adopted this cult. In addition, the Ionian cities who
shared in the Panionion were twelve in number, exactly the same
number as the "parts" (μέρη) of the Achaian Confederacy.
Athenian fiction was in constant competition with the local traditions
of the Ionian cities, who, for their part, continued to refer to non-Attic
home-lands. A modus vivendi had to be found with those who made
Achaia the common origin of the Ionians. From the end of the fifth


M.B.Sakellariou, op. cit., 126, 131, 141, Î43 (evidence and discussion).



century on this led to a variety of fictions in a number of versions. Some
of these versions, while accepting that the colonists were not, indeed,
Athenians, claimed that they came through Athens where they were
joined by Athenians. In the same vein, the two theories about a single
"Ionian migration" were coupled: the Ionians of Achaia, expelled by the
Achaians, went first to Attica, and thence to Ionia. Another solution to
the problem was to omit from the "Ionian migration" settlers reported to
have come from other regions of Greece.
Other cases of politically inspired fiction may be recognized in the
traditions naming Athens as the mother-city of some of the Cypriote
cities: Aipeia, Chytroi, and Soloi.1

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