You are on page 1of 25

Athena and the Mastery of the Horse Author(s): M. Detienne and A. B.

Werth Reviewed work(s): Source: History of Religions, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Nov., 1971), pp. 161-184 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 30/10/2012 23:09
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .

JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact


The University of Chicago Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to History of Religions.

M. Detienne [Translated from the French by A. B. Werth]


The first step, when setting out to define the gods in their reciprocal relationships and situate them with respect to one another, might be to take the various complementary features which two divine powers have in common and the differences which set them apart on the triple plane of cultic practices, mythic traditions, and figured representations.' In the Greek case-as in others-conditions are most favorable to this type of analysis when there exists a close relation between two powers within the confines of a single field of action.2 But here, as elsewhere, structural analysis only
The analyses herein were set forth initially in a paper presented to the Association des etudes grecques at a meeting held on Monday, December 4, 1967. I subsequently developed them at greater length in my seminar at the Ecole pratique des hautes etudes. 1 As G. Dumezil's interpretation of Indo-European pantheons develops and deepens, multiple models for the structural analysis of the powers of a pantheon emerge. Between 1966 and 1969, at least three works have proved the efficacy of a method which the adversaries of Dumezil persist in confusing with the "theory" of the three functions: La religion romaine archaique (Paris, 1966); Mythe et epopee (Paris, 1968), vol. 1; Idees romaines (Paris, 1969). Among analyses which have long demonstrated, as Dumezil does, the value of a structural definition of the divine powers in ancient religions, mention should be made of: Louis Dumont, "Definition structurale d'un dieu populaire tamoul: Aiyanar, le Maitre," Journal asiatique (1953), pp. 255-70 (developed in Une sous-caste de l'Inde du sud [Paris, 1957], pp. 396 ff.); and Jean-Pierre Vernant, "Hestia-Hermes: sur l'expression religieuse de l'espace et du mouvement chez les grecs," L'homme III (1963): 1250 (reprinted in Mythe et pensee chez les grecs: etudes de psychologie historique [Paris, 1965], pp. 97-143). 2 For example, apropos Hermes only, his collusion with Apollo in the practice of soothsaying, his complicity with Aphrodite in marriage ritual, his association with Hestia in the domestic sphere, etc. 161

or to admit. although one is more important than the other: R. Athena is characterized by a plurality of functions and diversity of aspects. Dumezil when he wrote that a god's mode of action is more significant than the list of the places or occasions of his activities or services. which proceeds from etymology and seeks to define a god by his essence. both of them equally undemonstrable: to postulate.5 In a study of the origins 3 Cf. 179 and 229. To understand what Athena. La religion romaine. in all the contexts which lend it significance. in failing to distinguish the fields of activity proper to Athena and the modes of action utilized by this divinity." History of Religions V (1965): 133-63. "Symbolic Elements in the Cult of Athena. equally. this analysis is the first essential step in the direction of a complete definition. 99 26 ff. the traditional form of analysis. the existence of two distinct but complementary Athenas. initially. Poseidon. "La structure et la forme: reflexions sur un ouvrage de Vladimir Propp. claim to disclose the structural definition of each of these divinities. 4 Two examples will suffice. in no case. the combination of which must account for the most important functions of this power. but they err. Luyster. with special reference to all situations germane to the powers to be described. 527-44.3 A structural analysis limited to defining two powers in their relation to one and the same concrete object can.Athena and the Mastery of the Horse attains its end by defining each term-in this instance. This distinction is very clearly illustrated by the analysis made by Dumezil in the same book (pp. In the face of this polyvalence. Yet partial and incomplete though it is. Like most polyhedral divinities." Gymnasium 70 (1963): 394-418. we shall be unable to do more than outline a structural definition of Athena. Potscher. "Athene. or Hermes signify in the system of Greek religious thought necessarily involves considering each power of the pantheon in all the positions it can occupy. pp. would seem to have a choice between two solutions only. and W." Cahiers de l'Institut de science economique appliquee. each divine power-in relation to the system of compatibilities and incompatibilities characterizing it. 208-45) of the god Mars in Rome. pp. Claude Levi-Strauss. from the outset. One example selected from the myths of Athena will show the import of the distinction drawn by G.4 All these genetic interpretations not only make the mistake of seeking to define Athena as a power apart from the other gods. either a warrior divinity or a fertility power whose traits are progressively modified. no. especially since both are complex and polyvalent figures. which can only be attained by making an exhaustive study of the same texts. As opposed to those whlo expound on Mars as an agrarian 162 . With our premise. (March 1960). 5 Dumezil.

of course. declaring to all who would listen to her that the gift of Demeter would only bear fruit if men had recourse to her invention. In the Attic land which first received the gift of Demeter. scienze morali e storiche 89-90 (1956): 433-54. Thilo ed. transformed into an ant and condemned to stealing a few grains of wheat in order to live. Dumezil has shown conclusively that Mars was never a power of fecundity. manual dexterity and practical intelligence: she makes the instrument. though Demeter and Athena share the same field of activity here. But Milyrmix. one of the principal arguments advanced by the Italian scholar in support of his theory is a myth transmitted by Servius in his commentary on the Aeneid. U. and she wanted to show the inhabitants of Attica how to obtain the wheat from the earth more rapidly. Athena here figures as a divine power concerned with the work of the soil or. Demeter herself brings. lies hidden behind Athena the virgin and warrior. their respective means of action. his modes of action. Athena therefore invented the swing plough. as Pestalozza affirms. One day this fondness gave way to hatred.7 There lived once in Attica a young girl called Myrmix. 6 U. 402. Athena held her in great esteem both because she was a virgin and because she was clever with her hands. their modes of intervention. But is she. even when he intervened in the domain of agriculture and breeding. even in a rural context. 7 Servius. IV. the whole of this mythic tale offers evidence that. along with cereal plenty. a mother-goddess. Pestalozza. What does this myth mean? Incontestably. Athena intervenes as a power endowed with sollertia. There is. are radically different. alone capable of turning the earth and facilitating the groNwth of the wheat. Now. a power of fertility and fecundity ? On the contrary. more precisely.. "Le origini delle Buphonia Ateniensi. the technical means for rapid harvesting of Demeter's wheat. 1:536. Here is why: Athena had seen Demeter invent wheat. Athena represents the artifice and technical invention which serves to complement the activity proper to the corn goddess. Aen. 163 .History of Religions of the Athenian Bouphonia6 (sacrificial ceremonies)." Rendiconti dell'Istituto Lombardo. who knew of Athena's invention. In certain mythic traditions. a god whose vocation is decisively martial. no question of a hard-and-fast or permanent division of labor. Let us pass over Athena's anger and the punishment of Myrmix. Pestalozza has endeavored to demonstrate that a mother-goddess. had the audacity to steal the handle of the instrument and bring it to men herself. designate him as a combatant ever ready to destroy the enemy. therefore. who symbolizes the cultivated and fertile earth. As opposed to Demeter. with ploughing and its fecundating action. with the swing plough as her attribute and tilling as her primary activity. classe di lettere. in Vcrg. the instruments which power.

Scheer ed. my "Le navire d'Athena. Quandt ed. Athena and Poseidon. and. where she is called Boudeia and quality Boarmia (Schol. p. Alex. 226. including those which are purely technological.10 * * * 8 Demeter and tillage: Orph. I hope to have given proof of this in a study devoted to the mode of action of Athena in the domain of navigation. as well as in the fitting of the various pieces of the framework. in Lycophron. 1471. col. R. XL (1954): 698. 40. we shall take as our point of departure a mythic discourse centered around two divine powers. finally.v. "Le cyc6on. is a technical power who is capable of intervening in the agricultural domain. by prudence in the ancient sense in the art of squaring and binding. 164 For the analysis of Athena. (1938). and the burnishing of the planks. whatever the extension of her domain. Demleter and grinding: Polemon ap." Bulletin de la classe des lettres de l'Academie royale de Belgique. These passages tally exactly with the indications given in the Iliad and the Odyssey. 109A. G. with the comments of A." Real-Encyclopddie der Altertumswissenschaft. Whether it be a matter of constructing the chariot. but of an essentially technical nature. to "dovetail" the piece of curved wood (yi's) to the end which bears the ploughshare.Athena and the Mastery of the Horse facilitate agriculture and permit the consumption of the cultivated plants: she gives man both the plough and the mill. However. in particular. 1914). s. 9 The Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes provides a basis for a definition of the different modes of intervention of Athena in the construction of a ship: I. 5. Cf. breuvage rituel des mysteres d'Eleusis. Verse 8. In her aspect as the great divinity patronizing agricultural life. s6r. II. Athena intervenes in the different phases of working the wood: in the choice of species. In emphasizing the part played by phronesis. Demeter's mode of activity always remains the same: it is fertile and fecundating and never specifically technical.8 But these instruments. for the commentary. on the contrary. Mazon ed." Revue de l'histoire des religions CLXXVIII. are in this case but important adjuncts of agricultural life. and the texts cited by A. 359 and 520. Athenee. revealed to man by Demeter herself.9 In showing Athena as the inventor of the instrument of tilling. no. to fix it in place and adjust it to the beam. who puts this evidence to the record of the "Mediterranean" Athena (Pestalozza. Athena. for which this divine power is responsible. 18-19. the dual of Athena in Boeotia and in Thessaly. or the boat. the Latin myth of Servius stands directly in the line of archaic Greek myth: in the Works of Hesiod.. Her mode of action is not of the fecundating type. 551. "Pflug. Tzetzes is indisputably right as against Pestalozza.. to her skill in the construction and guidance of ships. 10 See Hesiod Works 430 ff.. 106 ff. the felling of the trunks. 444). it is the "servant of Athena" who alone is competent to make the peasant's swing plough. Hymn. 723-24. (Paris. Demeter can represent all the aspects of grain cultivation. There is. P. who share the same sphere of activity- . 526-27.). 1187-89. Delatte. Drachmann. Other arguments could be developed. the plough. and 416B. 4 (1970): 133-77.

his dream became reality. harnessed or mounted.D.. 14 H. Jeanmaire. What differences can be discerned in the resemblance between the cultic and mythic image of Athena Hippia and that of Poseidon Hippios ? Of all the places where a cult common to Athena Hippia and Poseidon of the horse exists.. XIII. 13 Pindar Olymp. 25-27 of the same article. in his burning desire to tame Pegasus. cunning) of the ancient Corinthians as well as their warlike virtues. Roux ed.13 As Henri Jeanmaire has already indicated14 and as Jean-Pierre Vernant and myself 165 . to show him the result of his adventure. with her own hand. the son of the Gorgon crowned with serpents. Pausanias noted the presence. While visiting the city in the second century A. according to his words. 1.. like a golden diadem. until Pallas brought him the bit. to erect an altar to Athena Hippia . after having sacrificed the powerful quadruped to the god who supports the earth. offering him the sacrifice of a white bull.. and.. Bellerophon. in the stadium and at the pentathlon. Then the warrior Bellerophon impetuously seized the winged horse. Jeanmarie has given information which we have noted on the thirteentli Olympian ode. the Tamer of Horses. the thirteenth written in 464 to celebrate the double victory. applying to his jaw the instrument which rendered his mount docile [pharmakon prau]. come."12 The myth to which Pausanias alludes in this fashion is perfectly familiar to us through the detailed account which Pindar gives of it in one of his Olympian Odes. more particularly in delivering Pegasus to him after having. the use of the horse. He sprang up. G. near the spring. n. it is said. 49 ff. The seer enjoined him to obey this dream without delay. not far from the tomb of the children of Medea. 135-36.. of a famous Corinthian: At one time. entheisa aute toi hipp5i chalinon]. he had gone to sleep for the night on the altar of the goddess and how the daughter of Zeus. 1955).. Damaios. had given him the gold which subdues wild force [damasiphron]. hippeion]." This is what Bellerophon dreamed he heard from the lips of Athena of somber aegis in the night of his sleep. Korinthiaka (Paris. tamed and subjugated him to the bit [cheirosamene. saying: "You are asleep. 12 Pausanias II. Will. the son of Coiranos. went to visit the local seer. the daughter of Zeus spoke to him. and recount how. in his joy. "of the bit.ll Corinth is the most striking. and. of a sanctuary dedicated to Athena Chalinitis. On pp.History of Religions namely. the God armed with lightning." The Periegesis [Description of Greece] gives this brief commentary: "Athena was. "La naissance d'Athena et la royaute magique de Zeus. seized the marvelous object [teras] which he found near him. receive this instrument which will charm your horse [philtron . was striving in vain. 4. go then and present it to your father." Revue archeologique XLVIII (1956): 12-39. 4. In a flash. The general significance of the myth is explicitly stated by Pindar: it is to eulogize the metis (wisdom. 11 See the list prepared by E. royal son of Aeolus. the divinity who offered Bellerophon the most active assistance. for drawing chariots or for riding. pp.

as in Sparta. 1802. the metis of the Corinthians. pp." Melanges Marie Delcourt (Brussels. with its particular type of objects and modes of action. 166 "philters. 443-50. and M.15 metis is a form of intelligence which comes into play in areas as widely diverse as hunting and rhetoric and including war. indeed to such an extent that I owe him an incalculable debt. seems to tally with the mythic account of Athena's discovery of an instrument capable of taming the horse and subjugating him to his rider." La parola del passato (1965). 260: Od. 19 Metis: Hymn. Orph. the magician. 38-69.19 Athena is eminently endowed with a form of practical and cunning intelligence which is applied in great part to the world of technology. It is also inventions due to the metis of this same Prometheus (Prom. 85) designates the . From the outset. where the epithet for Athena is "the bronze sanctuary" (chalkioikos). sophismata. "Le phoque. 18 Polymetis: Horn." Revue des etudes grecques LXXX (1967): 68-83. pp. Sophisma is part of the vocabulary of mletis. LXXXII (1969): 291-317. Hymrn. XVI. there is the enumeration of a series of technical inventions which establish the glory of Corinth. artifice which Oibares invents to have Darius named as king of the Persians. Pap. is significant. A series of indications. 32. XIII.. polyboulos: Il.17 And there is finally. but it is one in which the accent is always placed upon practical efficacy and the striving for success in the given domain of activity. Prom. le crabe et le forgeron. V. 158. 1970). III. Since I first put before him the general plan of this analysis of Athena. medicine. enable us to describe the nature of the cunning intelligence. the indication is given by Ox. 54 in XV (1922). It is. 219-33. it is necessary to cite: "La metis d'Antiloque. Daughter of Metis and Zeus. Detienne. contained in a detailed study of deities characterized by metis. each of us has published independently certain results of research on different forms of reitis: J.(at I ff. sophos. p. It is this same form of intelligence which explains the reference to two mythic figures. 459)." ibid. I have benefited constantly from his suggestions and his remarks. Vernant. XIII. Olymp. and games. the two heroes of Corinthian mythology 15 Among studies produced by the research carried out in close collaboration on the subject of metis. the crafty device which permits Prometheus to extricate himself from his unfortunate situation (Aesch.-P. 16 Pind. 470).16 Then there is the evocation of Sisyphus. Sisyphus and Medea. I benefited from the collaboration of Jean-Pierre Vernant at different stages of the survey. First." Melanges Marie Delcourt (Brussels. for example. and of Medea. 10. 282. Olyimp. 1970). The same text indicates that Oibares is clear sighted. Pindar's expression. The expression ao'raoa tjL juXavdaOat (Hdt. "Le navire d'Ath6na" (see n. interspersed in the form of allusions throughout the accounts. and "La metis du renard et du poulpe. described as polymetisl8 and sometimes even called Metis. and that he disposes of 17 Pind. 18-22. For this analysis of Athena. Apart from this.Athena and the Mastery of the Horse have shown in a series of studies. the praise of the metis of the Corinthians and their ingenious inventions. "Th6tis et le poeme cosmogonique d'Alcman. the presence of Athena. For Sparta. pp. 52-54. at the core of the myth. the highly astute (puknotatos palamais). sophismzata. Athe." a'pjCLaKa. "La prudence d'Ath6na. 9 above).

31-32. 145 ff. 22 Od. His analysis summarizes the essential traits of Poseidon Hippos and Hippios:26 the horse as a chthonian power. 26 In addition to Schachermeyr's work. Gotternamen (1895). Severyns. L. Schachermeyr. IV. According to Hesiod. pp. Schachermeyr. 247). in technical intelligence. By his wiliness. 160 ff. J.History of Religions possessing the highest degree of metis. "Die grossen Gottinnen Arkadiens: der Kultname 'Melainai Theai' und seine Grundlagen. Poseidon und die Entstehung des griechischen Gotterglaubens (Munich. 1965).. Sisyphus. "El caballo en las Creencias griegas y en las de otros pueblos circummediterraneos. 227. Death. C.. which he penetrates as the lightning and thunder bearer of Zeus. and Death (cf. love potions. and violent magic. is celebrated for his adventure with Mestra. his art of glossing over his promises as well as changing the form and color of herds stolen from his neighbors. Stiglitz.22 she indicates the importance of a more somber side. Medea is described as polypharmakos. and the resume he gives of them in "Points de vue corinthiens sur la prehistoire du culte de Pos6idon.. it is necessary to mention the analyses of Will. "PseudoHesiodeia" [thesis. Cf. the interpretations of which are highly contestable (cf. 442 ff. Will." Oesterreichisch Archdologisch Institut. As for Medea. Usener. ("Comment. that the invention of the bit and its victory over Pegasus must be viewed.. Blasquez. pp. and pp. in an oceanic landscape where the waters of hell gush forth. verse 2. 23 Hes. Paris. p. Arising from the beheaded neck of Medusa on the frontier of the night. 27 This problem has recently been taken up again by J.24 whose mythic image appears in a series of archaic representations extending from the Gorgon with the horse's head to Demeter Erinys of Thelpousa.. cunning of a technical and magical character. M. in pharmaka metioenta." Bulletin de la Faculte des lettres de Strasbourg (1954-55). his verbal wit. 174-88. the thundering horse associated 20 Sisyphus. M. underlines the share of malice that enters into cunning. Sonderschriften 15 (Vienna. pp. In Phyth. 280-83. It is in this context of metis. 233. Le cycle epique dans l'ecole d'Aristarque [Liege and Paris. 25 The factual data are assembled in B. 309 ff. West-Merkelbach ed. my summary in Revue des etudes grecques [1967]. Perimedes. Theog. 1948). (3d ed. 1950). pp. pp. 124 ff.27 representing the infernal world and the forces of fecundity concealed in calm waters and gushing springs. aiolometis (Hes." p." Revue Belge de philologie et d'histoire XLV (1967): 48-80. and A. fr. 167 . IV. 24 F. West ed. 559 ff. and other similar names.25 In the bound which carries him from the depths of hell to the celestial vault. pp. Pegasus is a creature of Poseidon. 326. Autolycos.). Pegasus displays the complete spectrum of representations of the horse established in the analysis of F.21 first in a line of women experts in poisons.23 the horse which resists Bellerophon is a marvelous animal: Pegasus is the son of the Gorgon. clearly indicates the relation of Medea with the blond Agamedes. Polymedes. Dietrich. as it were. R. pp. a magical component. 391-93). Fate and the Gods (London: University of London. 204 ff. 1967). 578-83). 1960]. Schwartz.. 276 ff.. 1928]. pp.20 the Death-Dodger. 10. 21 H. 407 ff.

from which I have drawn in making the comments which follow. which reveals the domain of demonic forces and discloses what Xenophon. 192. 31 P. 29 Xen. terrible. the bellicose horse. Hippol. Dictionnaire etymologique de la langue grecque (Paris. 237-38. 6. 281-85. it is wholly unambiguous. p. Chantraine. which transforms a human face.v. the demonic laughter of the horse. the sweating of his coat-the horse appears as a mysterious. Jeanmaire gives information on the demonic symbolism of the horse. in the same treatise. a demonic force. I. and the possessed-as Jeanmaire36 has already noted. 36 Dionysos. As one lexicographer notes.37 the inarticulate sounds emitted by certain epileptics are reminiscent of neighing. Delebecque ed. In his treatise on the Equestrian Art. 1968). p. Equestrian Art XI. 30 Pollux I. pp. there are very marked affinities between the horse full of furor. Xenophon used the epithet gorgos for a nervous and impetuous courser-that is. and storms. clouds.29 composed at a time when hippology constituted a purely technical science." 32 Eur. the military force.31 such as the flash of arms. the reference to the Gorgon28 might remind the spectator or the reader of Pindar of yet other images which indicate a model for the horse of archaic times. Suppl. 13. F. 37 Eur. cf. his neighing.33 and the warrior's fury. is one of the qualities of the racehorse. a super28 In his Dionysos (Paris. no. his fits of frenzy. As Xenophon writes. a terrifying voice. 1963).34 Gorgos is the image of a Gorgon's look. the Gorgon. 168 . In this equestrian context. indicating that it is herein that the risk in equestrian art resides. blemma gorgon. 35 Xen. Apart from these Poseidonian attributes of the horse Pegasus. his unpredictable reactions. s. the froth at his mouth.35 calls a ti daimonion. "yopydq. 34 Eur. 1936).Athena and the Mastery of the Horse with the winds.30 an eyeful of fire. Equestrian Art X. Robert. Collection Froehner. n. 328. All this suggests that the Gorgon expresses an essential aspect of the horse in Greek thought. disquieting. Robert's Noms indigenes dans l'Asie mineure greco-romaine (Paris. Andromaque 458. 17.32 the dazzling virtuosity of the athlete. 1951). The possessed person is straddled by a mysterious power which "unbridles" him (anaseirazei). 233. disquieting animal. E. "the possessed manifest the monstrous expressions of the Gorgon. Inscriptions grecques (Paris. But the same adjective also has other connotations. I:159. In every aspect of his behavior-his nervousness. his uncertain temper. 4. Bethe ed. 33 L. and their convulsed faces seem to bear evidence of the Gorgon's mask. In religious thought. 284.

destined to frighten the horses of Oinomaos.History of Religions human strength. The traditions which Pausanias has assembled about Taraxippos tend to indicate that Pernice is correct in his interpretation of the Corinthian slab. It is thus that one must understand yopyoTepov. pp. pp.: it is a Penteskouphia slab representing an ithyphallic gnome perched on the tail of a horse. 234) has clearly indicated the presence of the Gorgon behind the adjective gorges. who represents a fundamental aspect of Poseidon Hippios ?40 It is indeed at the turning point where the disturbing power of the demon to whom charioteers made sacrifices before the start of a race in the Olympic games is exercised. (p. The same tomb was thought by others to be the burial place of Alkathos. in revenge. in the Revue archeologique (1937)." in Festschrift Benndorf (1898). Taraxippos is likened to a flame-colored stone (chroan purras). the Frightener of Horses. the text notes more than a simple relation between people possessed and the frenzied horse. 40 Cf."39 This time. "Ein korinthischer Pinax. killed with his horse in a warrior expedition. Schol. at the turn of the road. 10. through its rattling and its shadows. The second piece of evidence has been analyzed by E.. On the one hand. The first was published by K. Charntraine (p. Noo. Sympos. 245-47. but Zeuxippos. 136. Will has refused to regard this as a representation of Taraxippos. 42 Tzetzes. pp. baskanos. Korinthiaka.42 Others speak of a charm. 78 ff. or of a driver overturned by his horses. maintains that this represents not the Terrifier of Horses. These images of panic recur in several mythic tales. VI. writes that "the root [of gorgos] implies suppleness and agile vigor. Pernice. pp. Alex. I ff. 3 (1935): 167-213: a fragment of a sarcophagus of Clazomenes representing a little personage installed on the shaft of a chariot. suddenly swerved aside.s8 indigetes.. In his Korinthiaka. 42. Will. Picard.. Scheer ed. F. on the pretext that the latter is too "Poseidon-like" to show himself in such banal guise. According to some. 15-19. Around Taraxippos. 20. Pausanias41 assembled a series of legendary traditions bearing on two distinct but complementary themes. the harnessmaster. a victim of Oinomaos. 189-90. in Lycophr. 7. he speaks of himself as being swept away by fiery horses: "It is as if my horses. had become the evil eye." 39 Aeschylus Choephor. The landmark of the Frightener of Horses was thought to be the tomb of one Dameon. 169 . 159). sisters of the Gorgons. all containing the image of a coachman killed along with his team."38 When Orestes feels menaced by the obscure presence of the Erinnyes. Robert. buried here by Pelops. is supposed to strike horses with terror. Johansen in Acta Archaeologica VI. n. whose dazzling light throws the horses into panic. p. 189. who. On the contrary. 34. I. But C. reports a similar tradition: a laurel planted upon a grave the leafage of which. 1022-23. there are two pieces of pictorial evidence showing Taraxippos. 138 ff. how can we fail to recognize the man named Taraxippos. 191. In the double indication of a driver losing control of his horses and a team that misses the turn and flies off the track. for 38 Xen. there are those which emphasize the magical character of the fear which Taraxippos evokes in horses. no. 41 Paus..

cols. R. as it were. s. see the remarks on Siculo-Punic coins in J. fr. For the image of the horse ready to bite and without bit.v. wanton female.v.R. Anim. Korinthiaka. representing a destructive force. which. The magical values of hippomanes are analyzed by Stadler. 5. Apollodorus II. XV." Real-Encyclopddie der Altertumnswissenschaft. having been devoured alive by wild horses that he himself had fed with human flesh.A. 8 (with the notes of Frazer in his edition). The second myth tells the story of the horses possessed by Diomedes the Thracian. and the texts cited by Weicker. Hippomenes had shut her up within the four walls of an isolated house in the company of a stallion wild with hunger. 170 .. H. s. 45 Eitrem. guilty of allowing herself to be seduced. Mette ed. 1888..v.Athena and the Mastery of the Horse all teams of horses. A strange punishment. these mares were devourers of human flesh. son of Sisyphus. Still others claimed that Taraxippos was the name borne by Glaucos. 439 ff. proclaim the monstrous 43 Cf. Will. 188 ff. (1913). 1053.47 they were subjugated to the yoke in order to be handed back to Eurystheus. Bayet.45 the horse is the instrument for the punishment inflicted by one of the Codrides on his daughter. "Herakles. (1910). col. before their escape and flight into the mountains near Olympus. Supplementband III (1918). These aspects of the horse are further emphasized by two other myths: that of Hippomenes and Leimone and that of the mares of Diomedes. O. Melanges de litterature latine (Rome. held by Acastos in honor of his father.46 Leimone is condemned to being devoured by the animal. and." Real-Encyclopddie der Altertumswissenschaft. But this Corinthian Glaucos43 appears to be the double of a Boeotian Glaucos who died a tragic death. 255-80. 1412-13. R. (1913). son of Ares. J." Real-Encyclopddie der Altertumswissenschaft. col. who was killed by his horses in the Isthmian games. "Glaukos. Cf. 25. 47 Aelian H. pp. 571b. mare in heat. "Hippomanes. pp. which is the symbol of her seducer but which also signifies all the horror of the powers of the beyond. cols.. 1967). 46 Aristotle Hist. Born on the banks of the river Kossinites. Gruppe. s.44 The image of a horse devouring and crushing the flesh of its master between its teeth represents the culmination of a series of representations indicating the disquieting aspect of the horse and showing it to be in league with the infernal powers. where they were cut into pieces by carnivorous animals. s. In the first myth." Real-Encyclopddie der Altertumswissenschaft. 44 Aeschylus. They were captured by Heracles in one of his labors. In all these myths.v. but one which appears less so when we remember the insulting epithet that the Greeks applied to lascivious and profligate women: hippomanes. whose waters make the horses which drink of them full of savage fury. R. 1879-82. "Hippomenes.

called desmos in II. . The rope bit worn by all harnessed or mounted horses appears as the equivalent of the magic potions. 131-32. pp. Cf. agrupnos. in reference to the horses of Diomedes. and mysterious preparations used so skillfully by Medea-evoked immediately after an allusion to the metis of the Corinthians-in order to give Jason mastery over the bulls in the ploughing test. 465. rreXAwp pp. 53 In the same manner as the halter. Les ETmaLTOlLEtV.53 Pindar 48 Euripides Heracles 382. harness-broken. we know that the expression "fixing the bit" to a horse. Son of flame. Alcestis 492 ff. 279). images d'Aristophane [Paris. Gernet. drugs. we have concentrated on that aspect of the horse that most requires taming. Taillardat. the chalinos is a product of metallurgy.51 it is a living being who never sleeps. 2. based on the study by Osthoff. the action of the bit imposed on the horse's mouth is directed against the savage force of this animal. Philtron and pharmakon specify this essential trait of magic power. teras (verse 73). a hindrance to his violence. These horses without bits are opposed to philenioi horses. VI. 206. the bit placed in the horse's mouth acts on him like a magic hold. XV. 1968). Teras49 conveys the idea of something exceptional and mysterious and. In Pindar's myth. it is no mere accident that. Thus. van Nes in Die maritime Bildersprache des Aischylus (Groningen.067: the bit emits 52 Ibid. Religionsgeschichte. the mysterious violence that relates it to the possessed and the Gorgon. 49 Cf. On the other hand. purigenes50 or purigenetes. 171 lightning flashes (a&uTpdrrrTe Xatvo's). this is precisely what resists the efforts of Bellerophon. "Etymologische Beitrige zur Mythologie und und repas. and the notion of metra (verse 20). 51 Aeschylus Sept. Prom. Anthropologie de la Grece antique (Paris. pp. In another connection. at the same time. Euripedes expressly indicates that they have not known the bit. This reading of MSS fvtrvos is defended by D. A whole series of terms taken from the thirteenth Olympian Ode define the mode of action of the bit: philtron (verse 68). indicates that there is some mysterious force or supernatural efficacity concentrated in the bit. L. qualified by the epithet damasiphron (verse 78).52 a metallic object fabricated and animated by the power of the smith. 264. Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 1. 50 Euripides Hippolytus 1222-23. It is a shackle. Cf. pharmakon (verse 85). 1963). can signify "verbally mastering an opponent" (J. Similarly.4s Man-eating horses are the precise opposite of harnessed horses.History of Religions character of a domestic animal for which man naturally feels confidence and friendship. by the metis of Hephaistos. or to enable him to subjugate the monstrous serpent guarding the golden fleece night and day. that they are achalinoi. p. of Aesch. 105-8. 1965]. 507." Archiv fur Religionswissenschaft (1905). 52 ff. On the one hand. 203 ff.

61 Two remarks are to be made on the subject of the goddess Athena. Nuees 967). When one wishes to speak of Athena's intelligence and technical skill. it is her hand that one praises (Anthologie palatine.Iavaixes voaoot. the bit must in some sense be of the same nature as the horse: it must itself possess a mysterious force. 58 The scholiast who comments on Oedipus at Colonus. pp. Thomas W. glosses 'iKea?Trpa by owapovtarrjs and notes that the bit acts after the fashion of the remedy which calms the . on the other. 1967). 49. The second remark relates to the intervention of Athena in the work of pottery. the good potter must recognize the moment when the pottery is baked to perfection-neither too little nor too much." p. 115 (and Servius). fr. "aKos. All this shows clearly that.v.56 "whose function is to calm.Athena and the Mastery of the Horse describes the bit as damasiphron54 that subdues fire. the remarks of N. an instrument of measure and moderation. to curb its disquieting power. It represents. is identical to that of a miraculous plant sprung from the same earth and possessing all kinds of medicinal and magic virtues. Fab. be covered with a beautiful black glaze. Rose ed. Cf." cols. The poem is reprinted in the West-Merkelbach edition of Fragmenta hesiodea (Oxford. 94. V. Sophocles has recourse to the same image in calling the bit akester. "Athena.61 Following this first part 54 Poseidon and Damasippos. the artisan who possesses mastery. 59 Virgil Georg. First. s. shown by Pernice. 55 Cf. 714. Val. on the one hand. 75-80. H.60 The poem begins with a prayer to Athena requesting that she stretch out her hand over the kiln in order that the vessels may be baked to perfection. Yalouris. There is an archaeological document that corresponds to these verses of the potter's song: a slab of Penteskouphia. R. Flaccus Argon. on this craftsman-like hand: Athena the technician is no mere artisan (fdvvavoso). reprinted in 1965 [Amsterdam]. Krischan. 603-4. 270-71. and. Lucanus VI. p.v. 302.the disorder of madness. J. and bring a good price when sold.58 The same link between the bit and magic seems to characterize the Thessalonian tradition of the Lapithae of the Pelethronion. verse 3. 396 ff. "Pelethronios. (1912).55 which tames. with the comments of Jebb in his edition (1899. Real-Encyclopddie der Altertumswissenschaft. but also because it defines this aspect in relation to Athena. (1937). as praus. CCLXXIV. 57 Meaning is given by Chantraine. a kiln and. Allen ed." Museum. 121). VII. Pelethronius. the first horse sprung from the earth was thought to have been tamed by a Lapith whose name. a gnome holding his phallus in his two hands and exercising an 172 . 60 Homeri opera. metaphorically.. Hyginus. III. Helveticum VII (1950): 30-46."57 to act like a drug or medicine. This hand stretched out over the kiln is the sign of the mastery which Athena exercises over the kairos. als Herrin der Pferde.. just like Athena (Schol. verse 1). vol. 2.she is always a foreman (Xctpcdva). 5:212. 70. J. the moment of the opportunity to be seized. 56 Oedipus at Colonus 714. Arist. This is a potter's song contained in a biography of Homer attributed to Herodotus. who stretches her hand out over the kiln. in order to act upon the horse. as metra.59 In that part of Mount Pelion. One last piece of evidence is worth adding to the precedingnot only because it confirms the magical aspect of the horse. s.

Sabaktes. the raging fire that causes the pots to be broken. 121-22. 203-8. the Cracker. This uproar and fury of the horse are evoked by Aeschylus on two successive occasions as an image of death and destruction. Asbestos. the poisons of Circe. and the disquieting noise made by the horse's jaw. 64 Verses 15-20. and the pottery demons.. Although it is not central to the poem. the creaking of the axles. this description of a voracious and devouring horse whose angry mouth spews forth the noise of the jangling of the bit. Homer. they will cause the pots to be smashed to smithereens. protectress of the kiln. and that of the horse in its state of unbridled fury and turmoil. an opposition is implied between the figure of Athena. 63 Verse 13. brukoi de kaminos"63 [let the kiln send forth the noise of the horse's jaw]. The menace is made even more precise in the following image: "hos gnathos hippeie brukei."65 And further on. 66 Ibid. between Athena and the kiln demons. between Athena. pp. represented by the symbol of the evil eye along with all the misfortunes it brings in its wake. an equivalence is established among the demons bent on destroying. On the latter level. the Inextinguishable. 62 The poem has recently received the attention of a historian of ceramic techniques who has given a commentary on it with a translation (Joseph Veach Noble." And an additional series of images reinforce the first: the magic of Circe with her violent poisons and the raging beasts known as the Centaurs. 1965]. envisages what would happen if potters did not pay him for his trouble. When the Seven Chiefs encircle the city of Thebes. "between the horses' jaws. "Fear grew in hearing the clatter of chariots. marked by the potter's song. the irruption of the Centaurs. there is a second section in which the author of the song.History of Religions of the poem. a bit imbued with the disquieting images of the fire which evident fascination over a man shown opposite him. The Techniques of Painted Attic Pottery [London and New York. appendix III. These are not simply two different forms of the baskania. ceaselessly moving in the horses' mouths. and the noise of the bit. the bits sound the knell of massacre. 102-13). Syntrips. between pottery baked to perfection and broken pots. 65 Aeschylus Sept. symbolized by her owl. but the depiction of the opposition. born of fire. assisting the potter to master the disturbing power of fire. He then invokes a whole series of kiln demons: the Breaker. most likely the potter.64 The whole of the poem is constructed upon a dual struggle: on the concrete level. Smaragos."66 Surely. 173 . and the one who causes pots to fly into pieces. and on the religious level.62 As the names of their functions clearly indicate.

whereas in documents prior to the sixth century the bit and harness are crudely depicted in the rest of Greece. N. the horse of Bellerophon adds his own animal power to the martial strength of his rider. The myth is wholly dominated by the Athena "of the horse. is not completely identical with this boisterous horse of which the potter's song speaks. p. the instrument which subdues the horse. the respective roles of Athena and Poseidon are distinctly outlined and their means of action clearly distinguished. The image of Athena Hippia in Corinth seems. of the same nature as the Hippeis and the Hippobotai of other cities of the seventh cen67 The war-horse. in Corinth these same elements are designed with the greatest care. As soon as Bellerophon. we acquire a definite picture of the technical object. 69 Yalouris. makes him execute a war step (evodrrXa iralewv). qualified by karteros. for the former is ambiguous in character. For the enemy. constitutes an inverse image of the horse subjugated to the bridle by the will of Athena. are situated with respect to one another in their common relation to the horse. as an Athena "of the bit. we reach a preliminary definition of the intelligence applied by Athena in her influence on this animal. Athena "of the bit" makes her appearance in a society dominated by the Bacchiades. to be intimately related to the invention of a more effective bit and the development of hippological lore. 4. We can now endeavor to define how the two divine powers." Athena Hippia. We owe our knowledge of this subject in part to an excellent study showing that the Corinthian legend of the invention of the bit recounts a precise occurrence in the history of technology. pp. while the coins of this city demonstrate the existence of a cult of Athena Chalinitis from the seventh century onward. a kind of pyrrhic dance. 372. Thereby.Athena and the Mastery of the Horse gave it birth. 19-101. clad in his armor of bronze. who is defined." Athena Chalinitis. 68 Wilamowitz. the martial dance invented by Athena and danced by her both before and after combat. evoked by Aeschylus. (Berlin. For the cavalier who rides him. the same horse is an animal whose disturbing strength and whose gestures of impatience and nervousness serve to reinforce the martial power of the armed man astride him. he is a tame horse who responds to orders.67 Through the ambiguous relations between the horse and the bit. the chalinos. by her insertion in the cultic sphere of Corinth. strong and valorous. whom this rider is striving to terrorize. In the Pegasus myth. 1922). The myth of Pindar lays equal stress upon this latter aspect. has received the bit from the hands of Athena. Trained as it is. presented to us by Pindar's myth. and at the same time. Pindaros n. the hippic Athena takes her place wholly on the side of the bridle. Yalouris69 has shown that. a landed aristocracy. then. he leaps upon the horse Pegasus and. 174 . Taking up a hypothesis initiated by Wilamowitz68 associating pharmakon prau with the invention of a less primitive bit.

513-14. thanks to all the qualities we have noted in Pegasus: his appearance of infernal power. Thus. V. and all that which. Certain customs prevailing in this milieu of nobility help to confirm the preeminence of a divinity "of the bit:" on two successive occasions in the epic of the Argonauts. The horse is a creature of Poseidon. the bit. vols. 1968). Pindar. Cimon of Athens comes to lay on the altar of Athena. which Hephaistos might well claim as the fruit of his metis. the role of the latter is clearly defined. 316-19 (esp. "Fahren und Reiten. in a certain sense. p. Anderson. Three recent works throw light on the subject: J. on the eve of the battle of Salamis. F.72 In this technical sense. Will. the action of Athena is the more clearly defined through contrast with that proper to Hephaistos. because she is a power oriented toward artifice-both guile and technical skill-and. III.70 The cult of Athena is established in a social group of "masters of the horse. Ancient Greek Horsemanship (Berkeley. his bellicose strength. calls for the use of the bit. Indeed. I and II. It is perhaps essential at this stage to dispose of an interpretation which might otherwise prevail in view of the fact that Athena chalinitis can be linked with certain facts in the history of technology-that Athena signifies the culture which domesticates the 70 Cf. 71 Valerius Flaccus Argon." "cavaliers" for whom the creature of Poseidon is at once an instrument of war. born of flame. 2). 1968). In the face of this master of horses. The key to the mode of intervention peculiar to Athena lies in the mythical representation of this instrument.History of Religions tury. she is the divinity who confers upon men. P. 1. Jason offers a Thessalonian horse bit as a gift to his host71-a bit that. 72 Plutarchl CinmonV. I. because she acts from the outside. pp. 13-14. but a technical object which permits the domination of an animal of unpredictable reactions. and momentarily. and a sign of social prestige and political authority. the role of Athena seems doubly "artificial:" first. and J. Le cheval dans l'antiquite greco-romaine (Nancy. in the form of an instrument. n. an economic asset. Vigneron. on a concrete object which does not belong to her. Calif.. a power at once technical and magical over the creature of Poseidon. because she always operates alongside both Bellerophon and Poseidon Hippios. however. second. that of chalinitis." in Archeologica Holnerica (Gottingen. 317. K. 175 . 1961). his fiery spirit. one of those masterpieces that Hephaistos imbues with his demiurgic power. is a masterpiece of smithery. leaves no doubt on this point: the bit that Athena gives to Bellerophon is not a product of metallurgy. Wiesner.

79 for her competence extends equally to the chariot and the racing team. 393.76 It would be equally erroneous to relate Athena and Poseidon to different stages in the history of the horse. "to tame an animal. in the Argolis. This interpretation neglects certain important aspects of Poseidon-on the mythic as well as the cultic level-including the fact that the horse-drawn chariot belongs as much to Poseidon as to Athena. 75 II. as opposed to the attributes of Poseidon expressed through the horse. pp.Athena and the Mastery of the Horse horse. for example. p. 79 Delebecque. In the Iliad." Bulletin de la Societe linguistique 51 (1955): 22-28. 50-60 and passim." should make it possible to pinpoint the genesis of the taming of the horse and the beginnings of horsemanship. pp. More precisely. 485 ff. when this same hero is invited to pronounce a solemn oath. On the sacrifice of horses. Schachermeyr. one of his hands is placed on the horses. 62. 66-68.77 Even if it is proven that the bit is an instrument which was perfected in the training phase characterizing the use of the horse as a saddle animal. E. 307. W.74 Further. it is without doubt essential to accord great importance to these representations of a man placed between two horses. either held by a bridle or touched with the hand. it is in homage to this same god that horses in full harness (kekosmemenoi chalinois) are hurled into the waters of the Dine. 78 In a study entitled "Homophonies radicales en Indo-Europeen. 77 Wiesner. one with the chariotry characteristic of the Mycenaean world. and cultic notions relating to Athena. but the other firmly holds the coachman's whip. 581-84. 1951). La ceramique geonetrique de l'Argolide (Paris. 110-35. the other with the development of horsemanship. VIII. Poseidon. which extended throughout Greece at the beginning of the first millenium through the intermediary of peoples versed in the art of horsemanship. and the horse present 73 II. Benveniste shows that the appearance in the Homeric vocabulary of a second meaning of damao. pp. pp.. cf. * * * Several of the mythic representations. legendary traditions. in XIX.75 And finally. with Poseidon as witness. this refers to Zeus and Poseidon. Courbin. 76 Paus. 74 E. XXIII. has found only one mention of the bit in the Iliad. Koppers. 176 . 1966). P. cf.73 it is Poseidon who is presented as having schooled Antilochus in the art of using horses and chariots (hipposune). "to subdue through violence. 7. On the archaeological plane.78 Athena's action cannot be confined to her connection with the bridle of the riding horse. Religious tradition does not connect Poseidon and Athena with successive stages of technical development. Le cheval dans l'Iliade (Paris." Wiener Beitrdge IV (1936): 279-409. and 492 ff. Delebecque. 2. On Poseidon and the bit." deriving from a primary meaning of the same word in Indo-European. XXIII. "Pferdeopfer und Pferdekult der Indogermanen. Cf.

177 . 15. the drivers only tend the horses. Skillful though he is. Upon entering the sacred wood of Poseidon. Such was permitted to men by divine law from the beginning [hos gar ta prdtisth' hosie geneth']. the charioteer climbs down. 81 Roux. the horse in spite of the noise of the vehicle and the absence of its driver may retain its calm. having tilted it up. for the translation of verse 237 and the notion of hosie. If the chariot is broken in this wood thick with trees. the horses make the empty chariot rattle. The Homeric Hymn to Apollo describes the race in enigmatic terms :80 Forging ahead from there. of which only the second is explicitly described. for the strange Boeotian ritual introduces a clear-cut distinction between the team as a group of horses and the coachman in his role as driver.n. in particular. and lets the young horses free under the trees.81 Left to its own devices. Of these. It is there that the colt. Two outcomes are possible. 1969). in the second. though still charged with the weight of the chariot. II:202 ff.History of Religions a series of situations with which to test the definition of the means of action peculiar to each of these divine powers. has elucidated the meaning of the test to which newly trained horses were submitted in this land of horse breeders. and continues on foot. Benveniste. Once they are no longer held in check. The analysis of Roux. The translation we give is derived wholly from the interpretation given by G. we have adopted the meaning given by E. newly tamed [neodmes polos]. you have reached Onlchestos. Roux. takes breath again. "8uri deux passages de l'Hymne homerique a Apollon. no matter how skilled a driver he is. and bring the chariot safely home. p. Or else. though it postulates the existence of the first. that he is insufficiently trained and is nervous and capricious. that 80 Ho. and it is then for the god to protect the chariot [diphron de theou tote moira phulassein]. the splendid domain of Poseidon. " Revue des etudes grecqucs LXXVII (1964): 6-22. bewildered by its freedom and crazed by the din of the empty chariot. It is for this latter. Hymnn to Apollo 229-38. In the first case. leave the chariot [ta de klinantes eosin]. the driver leaps to the ground. The first example will enable us to define more clearly the modes of intervention proper to Poseidon Hippios. and the tale of the race between Erechtheus and Skelmis. situated on high ground. the legend of Areion. Archer Apollo. we shall quote three examples: the ritual of Onchestos. the horse proves that it is sufficiently trained to bear the noise of the chariot and continue on his own without being held in check. the easily frightened horse. and. However. Le vocabulaire des institutions indo-europeennes (Paris. The Lord is invoked. traverse the sacred wood without mishap. the horse may take the bit in its teeth and smash the vehicle against the trees.

and the time factor. to VvAdaacLv. with the cult of Taraxippos83 that the Onchestos ritual presents the closest affinity. has proposed correcting vXAdaaeL pending on tfo pa. It is. phulassein. Roux. The structure of the two rituals is similar. or else the deima strikes him. the chariot is placed under the protection of Poseidon after the trial. the trial occurs in a terrifying place where the horse may well be struck with panicky fright: the coachman abandons the chariot the moment the horse enters Poseidon's grove. In the 82 Roux. It behooves us. and he topples his driver or breaks the body of the chariot. However insignificant it may appear. In the one. renders them closely complementary. while at Onchestos. the Frightener of Horses. The sacred grove of Poseidon is a place of the same nature as the bend of the dromos. taking the bend without panic. that is to say. who notes. everything happens outside the driver's control. The cult of Taraxippos and the ritual of Onchestos may be considered as the before and after of the same rite. the infinitive dep. far from differentiating them. 83 Cf. The action of Poseidon is much more limited: the god of Onchestos has to protect the team. p. to point out certain differences between the two: at Olympia we have chariots mounted by charioteers. In the second place. Taraxippos is invoked before the chariot race. Finally. 21. moreover.Athena and the Mastery of the Horse Poseidon is invoked: the chariot-not just the vehicle but the horse as well-is placed under his protection. Poseidon. In this Onchestos ritual. what Poseidon is explicitly asked to do is not to lead the vehicle correctly or to give the harnessed horse the strength and speed which will permit him to outdistance other teams. In the first place. 18. the trial is the same: either the horse remains calm. in connection with Poseidon Hippos and Taraxippos: "capable of spreading panic among them [horses]. this last difference reveals an essential aspect of Poseidon's role.82 Poseidon is invoked to guard the vehicle against a danger the threat of which we have already noted in the image of Taraxippos. and there is a team bereft of everything represented by a man standing upright in the chariot. indeed. while at Onchestos the vehicle is bereft of its driver. At Olympia. Poseidon of Onchestos and Taraxippos of Olympia are cast in the same mold. At Olympia and Onchestos alike. however. Poseidon's field of action has three important aspects. another facet of this same Poseidon Hippios. sacrifice is made to Taraxippos. before the race to request him to take the team under his protection." 178 . The coachman abandons the vehicle. that is to say. but also of keeping them from it.

referring to Areion. his horses. Invoked before or after. Wyss. he resembles Pegasus like a brother. Les legendes thebaines dals l'epopee et la tragedie grecques (Paris. he is bound to be victorious in the chariot race. Poseidon seems to have an essentially negative role. he succeeds in "cutting off" the horse immediately behind him and thus being the first to take the turn. profiting from a narrowing of the track. L.History of Religions other. from then on. that is. Areion is a creature of Poseidon: he is born of the embraces of Poseidon Hippos and Demeter Erinys. Legras. Like Pegasus. if he agrees not to frighten the team. 5. fr. pp. and a riding horse ? As to his lineage. Poseidon's field of action is then made more specific by the time factor which enters into the two tests. but.85 Areion plays an important role in one episode of the Theban epic. respectively. Poseidon still does not confer mastery over the horse and chariot. Cf. are defined. even if they set Areion of divine origin. not to make his creature manifest his disquieting power. VIII. thanks to the metis taught him by the old Nestor. 9. he remains outside the field of action that Athena appears to represent. 1905). Dieterich. the rapid horse of Adrastos. The field of action of Poseidon "of the horse" is thus denoted in two ways. though slower. of the equine head. For. will any longer be capable of passing and defeating you. Poseidon is invoked after the trial. 25. 79-80. without equal. 4-10.84 An extraordinary horse and "astonishing spectacle for men. The horses of Antilochus are not so swift as those of his rival. VIII. then. 179 . Nestor promises him. 87 Verses 345-47. 85 Antimachus of Colophon. guided by the 84 Paus. 86 Cf. If. cited by Paus. pp. He is the horse of Adrastos. 25. and 126 ff.86 There is evidence in the Iliad to show that the horse Areion belonged to Poseidon: the Antilochus episode in song 23. all that assures mastery of the horse."87 There is a clear contrast here between the horses of Antilochus. The second example. 108 ff." in the words of Antimachus. to take care of the team which has ceded to panic. 32. whom he brings back alive after the defeat of the Greeks before Thebes. will be able to outstrip the fastest of coursers: "No one. and not during its progress. This may appear at first glance disconcerting. Invoked before or after the race. indicates how Athena's means of action and those of Poseidon. to pursue you. for is not Areion a unique horse. There is first the fact that there is an alternative underlying both tests: either the horse remains calm or he takes the bit in his teeth.

Both were invoked no doubt because their divine complicity naturally corresponded to the link between the two horses. 180 . 25. Detienne. where there was both an altar common to Poseidon Hippios and Athena Hippia and a heroon consecrated to Adrastos in the company of Theseus. traditions.91 In this coach to which Areion and Kairos are harnessed under the same yoke. all the qualities designated by metis. had solemnly called to his aid the two hippic powers. Pirithous. 32. we find Adrastos as a charioteer. is added the maneuverability of the second." Revue des etudes grecques LXXX (1967): 72-77 (esp.v.v. may be qualified as hippometis. the second Kairos. 4. VIII. the horse of Poseidon. seemingly later. How. fast as the wind. A tradition of the Etymologicum magnum92 seems to confirm this interpretation. It is composed of two horses: the first named Areion. "'AOfiva'I7rrla". However. pp. Areion and Kairos. Paus. I. so essential in racing. Isthm. a simple epic hero. "'Inrtia". La prudence d'Athena. which emerges in the story of Pegasus. is thus made more explicit in the story of Adrastos with the two types of horses. mounted on Areion. that art. fleeting-occasion. cited by Paus. 89 Fr.Athena and the Mastery of the Horse driver's metis and Areion-horse of power.. In the epic cycle as a whole and in the Homeric epic. his skill as a driver. is a distinction drawn 88 Wiesner. a context in which Poseidon appears to play a more sovereign role. fleeing death. 1:350. and Oedipus. pp. that metis which defines the coachman's art. to the power of the Poseidonian animal. s. Wyss. There was at Colonus a celebrated place called Colonos Hippios. Anecdota graeca. in relation to the chariot. 9: Iolaos. J. 443-50.-P. 91 Pind. Vernant and M. Adrastos appears as a horseman.89 which might be translated as rapid-instant. of seizing the kairos. of bounding forward at the decisive moment :90 in brief. "La metis d'Antiloque. 111 and 113. pp. Detienne. we recognize the two aspects of the horse represented by the power of the god Poseidon and the metis of the goddess Athena. It was said that it was at this place that Adrastos. tamed by Athena's bit.88 But in other. the purely Poseidonian horse. The Thebaid of Antimachus of Colophon contains a description of Adrastos's team. Bekker ed. The antithesis between Athena and Poseidon. 90 Cf. 73-74). To the excellence of Areion. 30. Areion. VII. while Areion and Kairos are harnessed to a chariot. the most skillful of the charioteers. Poseidon and Athena Hippioi. this difference in formulation is paralleled in the different usages of the horses involved: Pegasus is a riding horse. s. 9. 92 Etymologicum magnum.

111:156. while the coachman is under that of Athena. It covers the whole system of controls which the chariot driver must exercise: he needs sharp eyes and quick reflexes and must keep a careful lookout for the horse's unpredictable movements. 54. heniochein. as a technical object. In the lengthy epic in forty-eight books. the animal belongs to Poseidon.95 and the art of guiding the chariot and horses belongs to Athena. and from Athena the art of guiding the team. The remaining case to be examined here will show us a fourth way of delimiting the respective spheres of the two powers in regard to their action on a single concrete object. it is less important here than in guiding the mounted horse. There various situations in which Athena and Poseidon appear in opposition in regard to horses are indicative of the different way used by religious traditions to denote the differences and similarities between two powers intervening in the same domain. It is not merely the rein (henia). 40. either each power is represented by a horse or the team is placed under the aegis of Poseidon. 95 Hesychius. The division is clear-cut: the teamed chariot belongs to Poseidon. What is the precise meaning of the action heniochein ? In chariotry.History of Religions between what belongs to Poseidon and what to Athena ? Besides the answer indicated by the representation of Adrastos's coach another broader and doubtless more general distinction has been indicated by a historian of the second century B. the bit to Athena.C. We have dealt thus far with three cases: when a riding horse is involved. This third formula serves to throw light on the image of the Onchestos ritual. harma zeuksai.. 94 Pind. but with different means of action. Mnaseas of Patara. in the case of a team of horses. composed to the glory of Dionysos by Nonnos of Pannopolis at the beginning of the fifth 93 Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum. fr. it is no longer the bit which gives control of the vehicle. which is indicated by the verb heniochein. for bumps on the ground and all obstacles which might alter the course of the vehicle. s.v. The role of Athena is wider and more important. in which the power of Poseidon over the team is denoted by the withdrawal of the coachman. a hippometis. who is just as much hippodromios94 as zugios.. would know how to utilize to his advantage. Mnaseas writes that the Libyans further claimed to have learned from Poseidon the art of harnessing the chariot. but which a prudent coachman." 181 . I. Miller ed. "brcacs. Isthm.93 Speaking of the chariotry which the inhabitants of Libya said they had invented.

Dionys. knows how to profit to the maximum from his adversary's errors and the vicissitudes of the race. 101 There is one text which seems strongly to contradict the interpretation I have just given. he thus cuts him off. Yalouris. Keydell. Two lines in the poem sum up the contest between Athena and Poseidon: "the intelligence of a driver full of metis is the veritable rudder that guides the chariot. This is the chorus of Oedipus at Colonus by Sophocles." appears to refer to an ancient cult of Athena at Marathon. lines 669182 . pedalion diphroio. the one belonging to Poseidon and the other to Athena. XXXVII. The chariot race presents two rivals who are to dominate the whole scene: Erechtheus and Skelmis. In lines 320 ff. The first. Cf. like the entire account of the race. the team of Erechtheus is designated by the "horse of which expression Marathon. 100Verses 221-22.97 The race becomes a contest of ruse against strength. is a protege of Athena.96 Erechtheus calls to his aid Athena hipposoos. he drives his horses forward until they are on a level with Skelmis's chariot. 98 Verse 622. R. From our point of view. 311-12. this makes it all the more interesting: the opposition described in the Iliad between the horse Areion and the team of Antilochus is matched by the antagonism between the two teams.. king of the Indies. is directly inspired by book XXIII of the Iliad. master of all hippic science.Athena and the Mastery of the Horse century A. without relying upon the strength of his beasts. aiolometis. This maneuver. book XXXVII describes the funeral games which took place after the death of Opheltes. felled by the blows of Deriad. Athena's team triumphs over the horses of Poseidon. the second is a descendant of Poseidon. Korinthiaka. whose chariot he drives over the sea. 310. who is full of crafty skill. and Will. hipposunes kubernetera.D. his horses being the swiftest. With a lash of his whip. 135 ff. 99 Verse 316. driving a team composed of Xanthos and Podarke. he gives a sharp pull on his rival's reins while inciting his own horses forward with great lashes of his whip.101 * * * 96 Nonnos. p. Erechtheus is hard on his heels. 97 Ibid. pp. taking advantage of his slight advance. Each invokes his protective power: Skelmis appeals to Poseidon. Erechtheus. Finally. and his metis wins the race.. ed. The whole episode demonstrates the superiority of the team whose driver. Erechtheus slides his chariot in front of that of Skelmis.98 plans an underhanded maneuver99 to triumph over a team swifter than his own. 62. Then. with his left hand. Skelmis is out in front in the home stretch."100 In using a new formula-two chariots brought face to face rather than two horses running side by side in the same team-this last example fully confirms the difference between the modes of action used by Athena and Poseidon in dealing with horses. who thrusts the horse forward.

On the first. through the mediation of a concrete object." The horsemen of Athens. tables 66-67]). resumed her place as mistress of the horse. who serves her as her driver. Athena and Poseidon. that the part played by Athena in the hippic domain is characterized by ingenuity and the technological principle. manifest their powers in turn: Poseidon makes the first horse spring from the earth. very rightly. in particular. In this mythic setting. Metzger. For the Athenians. the inventor of the olive tree and life based on cultivation. It is as though Athena. a Poseidon who is the inventor of the horse's bit.l02 which they are said to have in common. Athena is not connected with the bit of the horse. In conclusion.History of Religions Seen in relation to each other. separated from the olive tree. that Athena Hippia cannot be confused with a god like Poseidon Hippios and indicates. as all the great powers of the pantheon are liable to do. she is wearing a breastplate and is accompanied by Iris. "Meisterwerke frihitaliotischer Vasenmalerei aus einem Grab in Policoro. pp. 1951]. ed. Ergdnzungsheft XI (Heidelberg. Athena stands on a quadriga. over against Athena. 183 . On the second of these pieces of evidence discovered in the excavations of the ancient Heraclea (cf. 102 In his book Poseidon. All the facts about Athena Hippia show us that her attribute is mastery: mastery over the horse by means of an instrument endowed with efficacy. mastery in driving the chariot -whether it be a matter of keeping it straight without deviating 715. Degrassi. are clearly distinguished by their respective modes of intervention in the same field of activity. Slightly lower and to the side of Athena is an olive sapling. Ncutsch [Mitteilungen des Deutscher archdologischen Institut. clearly better situated to confound the ambitions of the Corinthians. The whole effect of this mythical model of the origins of the city is to push Athena over to the side of the olive tree. which depict the Athenian horsemen: "From all sides came the flashing of horses' bits. H." in Herakleiastudien. is opposed to Poseidon. N. the horse is first of all the animal of Poseidon. Schachermeyr points out. who represents the power of horses as well as the power of the sea. rapidly but pertinently. pp. the two divine powers are depicted arriving together on the field of combat: Poseidon is mounted on a horse. Athena. 217-21. he is armed with the trident and flanked by Hermes on horseback. confronting each other in a contest with which we are familiar not only from the texts. far from being confused vaguely in the status of Master of Horses. The existence in the Corinthian tradition of an Athena chalinitis invited the Athenians to put forward as their candidate Poseidon. Rdmische Abteiluyg. The first is that this part of the chorus of Oedipus at Colonrusis based on references to a mythical account of the origins of Athens. 152-53. he is engaging in imperialism. The second reason that one can advance in order to justify this division of functions is that it would be impossible to claim the invention of the bit for the Athenians if it was attributed to Athena. such as the famous hydria from the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad and the pelike of Policoro. come under the patronage of Athena on horseback. Athena and Poseidon. the protectress of olive trees. 324-26). by the side of Poseidon. Athena and Poseidon are here depicted as the founding powers of the city of Athens. which present. 1967). drawn up opposite each other. Two factors permit us to account for this "anomaly" and to explain why. from lines 1067-68. but also through several pieces of iconographic evidence. B. Poseidon can certainly delight in the galloping and whinnying of horses. But when he poses as the inventor of the bit. Les representations dans la ceramique attique du IV-enie siecle [Paris. while Athena causes the first olive tree to sprout (cf. the harnessed or mounted horse. pp. It should be added that the chorus of Oedipus at Colonus cannot be detached from the lines which follow and. the charging of the horsemen to worship Athena Hippia and the god of the sea who supports the earth. the beloved son of Rhea. here again. in this context.

Athena reminds her protege that he must render homage to Poseidon Damaios103 by presenting the harnessed horse-fitted with his bit-to the god and by sacrificing a white bull to him. their modes of action. or seizing the kairos. An incident in the Pegasus myth serves to show that Athena is familiar with this trait of Poseidon's character: when she invents the instrument which permits Bellerophon to master his mount. always. that of navigation. As opposed to this power. when they confront each other. at the moment when the first ship.104 With perfect correctness. where Poseidon and Athena also intervene side by side. in principle. is about to set off across the ocean (cf. 103 Pindar 01. Poseidon is shown as Master of Horses. indicate the role of Athena's metis. care must be taken not to usurp them. Detierme. 68 ff. the sea god. similar sacrifice in a parallel domain. jealous of his rights. taking advantage of a favorable moment. Cf. but his sovereignty stops. Whether the two powers collaborate or whether they clash. Lord of the Horse. Though he may sometimes concede his privileges of his own free will. 9 above). But. where artifice begins-that of the bit or that of the coachman. Athena renders unto Poseidon that which belongs to Poseidon. "Le navire d'Athena" (see n. XIII. technical. he appears as an owner. comparison with another. which confers mastery over the horse and chariot. Valerius Flaccus Argon. and magical. 104 This calls for 184 .Athena and the Mastery of the Horse from the route. her intelligence at once crafty. Poseidon disciplines the fire or liberates the violence of his creature at will. always remain distinct. in this context. constructed by Athena or with her aid. This is the sacrifice offered by Jason to Poseidon. I. All these are aspects which. 196-98).