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HMERA APOFRAS Author(s): Jon D. Mikalson Source: The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 96, No.

1 (Spring, 1975), pp. 19-27 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: . Accessed: 14/04/2011 09:53
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'HMEPA 'AInOcPAM Lucian, irascible and always quick to challenge an opponent, was in the midst of a holiday walk with friends when he chanced upon Timarchos, a rival sophist.' He greeted the unexpected appearance of Timarchos with these words to one of his friends: "It is time for us to avoid this ill-met sight, (a man) who, having To appeared, may well make this most pleasant day aznoepQad." this the hapless Timarchos retorted rhetorically, "'Anrocfpda,Tt 6E TOVTOEaTor;xaQJr6o TI; io pOTaovri TtI i axEvio;'" Timarchos' reply, and his further admission that he had never heard the word, laid him open to one of the most bitter and abusive invectives in the history of scholarly disputation. Lucian felt that his knowledge of Attic Greek had been challenged, and entitled the entire treatise devoted consequently debasement of and to a mock-tragic systematic Pseudologistes the learning and of the morals of his rival.2 The central issue which precipitated this fierce attack was the question of the meaning and proper usage of the adjective &docpodg. The discussion of this question reappears in a somewhat sporadic manner throughout the Pseudologistes. It is disturbing to find in this treatise that the Atticist Lucian has in fact failed to understand the proper Attic meaning of the adjective da:ocpfd. Lucian (Pseud. 12) defines I7ueQaadrocpQd as follows: orav UlrTEat aQxal X1 QOaTlCwaot Ul T Eltaycwytiuo at 5[;xat (ot UrTe rTa teQdaleQovQy7Tlrat ,rtij' O,oXCTl TWoV ataliwv TerTrat. At least two elements of this definition are faulty, for

we know from other sources (to be discussed infra) that in Athens legal cases dealing with homicide were judged on ?lueatl
&dnopQdecg, and that at least one day of religious rites in

' Whether either Lucian or Timarchos deserves the title "sophist" is questionable. See G. Bowersock, Greek Sophists in the Roman Empire (Oxford 1969) 114-16. Lucian's occasional references toTimarchos as a 'sophist" are all sarcastic. The only possible exception is Pseud. 8. 2 This treatise is a vivid demonstration of the extremes to which professional quarrels between sophists could reach. For a general discussion of such quarrels, see Bowersock, 89-100.




Athens, the Plynteria, was apparently an 1ut?Ea arocpQg ;. These errors must not be viewed as minor oversights by Lucian, because these two elements form the very essence of the /x,gQat dropQd6ec; in Athens of the classical period. Lucian has defined not an uIega ad:ropQa;, but a dies ater. The characteristic features of Roman dies atri were (1) that legis actiones were forbidden, (2) that they were unlucky and that therefore no project should be initiated on them, and (3) that no rites of either public or private cult were to be practiced on them.3 Lucian's definition ofiruaeQa suits perfectly the d&aroqQe Roman dies ater, but contradicts the nature of the Athenian ijtega adrocp; c;. There are two other indications in the Pseutdologistes that Lucian is confusing Athenian and Roman religious practices: he once terms the Roman Kalends the Noumenia (Pseuld. 8), and secondly, and more importantly, he states that one reason for making a day &nopQac;was that a major military defeat had once occurred on this day (Pseud. 12-13). There is no evidence that the Athenians made a day CnocpQc; for such a reason, but it is a well-attested practice of the Romans.4 as a translation of the Lucian has clearly used Ou/eQa azrocQC)g Roman dies ater. Modern scholars, unfortunately, have failed to realize that when writers such as Lucian use the term acrocpQc;they may be referring to Roman practices. As a result scholars have attributed to the Attic ,ueCti dainopQdeca ; all the features of the dies neflasti and dies atri as described by late sources. This is clearly reflected in the most commonly proposed definition of a:troqQd':"'nefastus, a day on which neither legal nor legislative assemblies could be held.''5 Such a defini3 For an excellent discussion of the dies atri. the dies religiosi, and the dies lneftsti see A. K. Michels. The Calendar of the RomnanRepublic (Princeton 1967) 61-68. The proper relationship between these days is somewhat complex, and in the empire even the Romans themselves often failed to distinguish properly between them (Michels, 62). 4 Michels, 63. P. Stengel, RE Vol. II (1895), cols. 174-75; H. Frisk, Griechisches etymololgisches Worterbhuct(Heidelberg 1960) Vol. 1. p. 125; P. Chantraine, Dictionnaire etvmologique de lialanlgle Grecque (Paris 1968) Vol. I, p. 99; and by implication. W. S. Ferguson. Hesperia (1948) p. 134. This confusion can be traced back as far as F. Passow. Handi,r(irterbuch der griec(hischen Sprache (Leipzig 1841), s.v. .(;roqri(.



tion is based solely upon Roman conceptions of the calendar, and, in reference to classical Athens, is wrong. P. Stengel (RE Vol. II [1895], cols. 174-75) in his full discussion of &aropgdi failed to distinguish between the later meaning of adroCpQd as nefastus or ater, and the earlier, specifically Athenian, meaning of the word. As a result he has included in his description of the 7f/uQat datorpQdbe the fact that the Athenian Boule did not meet on the day of the Kronia, that the Ekklesia did not meet on the day of the Thesmophoria, and that the Athenians smeared their houses with pitch on the day of the Choes. These features, like several others detailed by Stengel, have no place in a discussion of the Attic 1ueQat adrocpQd6e;. Stengel has included with nefastus them because he mistakenly identified arzocqQ6a and ater, and then erroneously applied the concept of dies nefastus and dies ater to the evidence concerning Athenian religious practices. It is the purpose of this study to determine the character of the Athenian u7E'Qat &droqQdecS,and to strip from them all the spurious features which have been given to them by those who have confused them with the dies atri and the dies nefasti. To do this, we must begin with a survey of the uses of adroqpQa in the classical period. Lucian's bold challenge to his rival to name just one ancient author who did not use the adjective daoqpgaC(Pseud. 15) has a fine rhetorical effect, especially following his haughty refusal to name all those who had used the word. But this challenge is quickly deflated when we find that only three uses of the word are attested from the classical period. The adjective is found in the Laws of Plato, in a fragment of Lysias, and in a fragment of Eupolis. By no account is the word as ubiquitous as Lucian would have us believe. The Athenian in Laws 800C-E deplores the choruses which defile the days of sacrifice by presenting gloomy and sad productions intended to move audiences to tears. He proposes that, if such presentations are necessary at all, they should be given oi'oTav qu eQat yj xaOaQai TtVEgaCiA da7ropQ6Ceg(otv. From this it is clear that an essential feature of the i/u-eat adropQd6e; is that they were [U xaOaQai. They are contrasted to the sacrificial days which were xaaQa[i. This alone is sufficient to distinguish them from the dies nefasti, which included



festival days of all types and which were characterized only by the fact that the praetor was "not to speak" law on them.6 Lysias (fragment 53, from Athenaios 12.551F) describes a group of young men who established for themselves the name Kakodaimonistai, because they banqueted on one of the juE'Qai :nropQdab6(/uiav re/Qav radatEvot r)v d:rocpQa&ov).The tUEQat datocpQdae; to which he is referring must be monthly, because the Noumeniastai, to whom he contrasts the young men, banqueted on the first day of each month, and such monthly banqueting fraternities were common.7 And thus from this fragment we may conclude that at least two and perhaps more /jueQatl roqQdbecSoccurred regularly each month. Eupolis' use of anroqpQdshows an extended and metaphorical usage analogous to the later extension of the use of nefastus ;8
vOQWT7o, da70ropoa, 'lOVTl UlOl CUVRlSTl1IXV1' xai p/3ATCwv aTlor(iav.

Edmond's translation (Fragments of Attic Comedy, Vol. I, p. 419), "a man accurst," has nicely captured the adjective's basic antithesis to xaOagog.9 We may summarize the findings from these three passages as follows: ijieCOatl ai:oodQaeg were distinct from the "pure" festival days, and at least two occurred each month. The adjective also could be given the metaphorical meaning "impure" in reference to a person. We must now examine the later evidence concerning the word, always taking care to avoid confusion with dies nefasti and dies atri. Plutarch used daropad; more frequently than any other author, and, considering the time and place of his writing, one must be particularly wary of Roman contamination. Plutarch
6 Michels, 66.
7 G. M. Calhoun, Athenian Clubs in Politics and Litigation (Austin, Texas 1913) 32-33. 8 E.g. Plautus, Poen. 584. ntam istorum nll/us nefastiust. See also Michels, 62. 9 Lucian, if he had known this fragment of Eupolis, could have used it as conclusive proof that he had correctly used arocpQvcd in reference to an individual. As it was, he was forced to use three general examples, two of which miss the mark entirely (Pseud. 16).



twice used the word to describe days on which cult activities were forbidden:
Alexander 14 Tr Oe 6e xQaaaOat (Alexander) pfovO6y,evo &6i arEQi tr; xai xara rZrjlxv'y!eQthv orQaretia, ,O0ev eic AzeEApo5g, v 6v aV ov, Elv6itratl OEclrTEv1tv dropQdbwv ofoQiv, De E apud Delphos 20 Polpov 6e b6jrov TO xaOaeQv xai dyv6v otl Taaitol Tdv Wvo6HaLov, (bg;Er OerTraAoi TOVg ltQEa; Ev Talt aroCpQadlv ,iEQaL;atrovT; Ep' cEavrTv'eoa)6aTQipovTa;, otlat, "fpotpovoelo?toat" Alyovatv.

The characteristic feature of the OlEdQat in these two adcoqpQdibe passages is that they were days of cult inactivity. Such cult inactivity is characteristic of the dies atri, not of the Attic ryEQat adroqpdeSg. In addition, Plutarch's use of this word in reference to the Delphians and Thessalians is suspect, because Lucian (Pseud. 12), if he can be trusted here, claims that the word is uniquely Attic. The same criticism might be leveled in Cam. 19, where he introagainst Plutarch's use of daropQda; and several of duces unlucky days and months examples lucky the and barbarians. His discussion Greeks, Romans, among there betrays throughout a conception of eQgaidarocpQadbes which is sometimes very general and sometimes specifically Roman. Plutarch's description of gates as da:ropQ6E; xal axvOeQw:ra (de Curiositate 6) shows a transferred use of dnocpQgcsimilar to Lucian's use of the adjective in reference to Timarchos. His discussion of these gates in Quaest. Rom. 27 indicates that he has in mind Roman, and not Greek, concepts. One occurrence of the adjective in Plutarch is particularly important, because it labels Thargelion 25, the day of the Plynteria, as an 1ijea dnrocpQa, a view which has been echoed by all modern scholars:0l
Plutarch Alc. 34 1 yaQg T r nTa vvTrrQLa 1 )/eQ,a xaTr2TEAevoEcv, Te1 E6QcrTO . C6Qabt

oQyta noQa~teQyi6at OaQyq)tttbvoS EXtr aO6ivovro5adiQQ)rTa, TOV re xo6oHov adpe.6vreT xal TO e6o05 aTaxaiVjpavrTe,. 60ev eV Tatl; aiOGlTa TWVadio(pQ6awv TYV HEoav TavTriv aaToaxTov 'AOrIvatot voHitovotv.
10 E.g. A. Mommsen, Feste der Stadt Athen (Leipzig 1898) 491, and L. Deubner, Attische Feste (Berlin 1932) 21.



It is important to note that the passage which formed the source for Plutarch's account here, Xenophon Hell. 1.4.12, also stresses the fact that no one undertakes any serious business on the day of the Plynteria ('AOr]vawitv ya& ovtei; Ev TravrTr r,T Ea o o'E v V To/UoJ1 at av aipaaOat). But ov6Bev6, oovbatov Xenophon, an Athenian, nowhere terms the day d&opadcg.One may suspect that Plutarch, noting that the day was characterized by inactivity, added the label anocpfQa as it was familiar to him, viz. it was for him a dies ater. One piece of evidence does, however, give some credence to Plutarch's claim that the day of the Plynteria was &aroqQd;. Pollux's statement (8.141), though based on a false etymology,
may be correct: :neQlatxovtvoa rTdieQa& Ei^yov EVTral danrogdot rTO dJropQgdaat, olov nIAvvTr]Qotg xa Tat; Trotavtrat; lUEQat;.

There are no signs here of contamination with Roman practices, and the weight of this evidence would lead us to conclude that Thargelion 25, the day of the Plynteria, was in fact an Athenian Plutarch's designation of it as such may have uxeIQa dnocpQa;g. than more been, anything else, a lucky coincidence.11 The citation for ,dueQaldatrocpQeaeS in the Etymologicum refers to Athenian Magnum (131.13) practices, and specifically shows no contamination with Roman conceptions:
&arofQd6e; andofQcabacta; yov ol 'A rrxol ra; acLTr'YyoQEv'Yva; /uEQa;, a; v7re,IdA6/3avovX?ieoQ 5eILvat rcv aiac wv ag 6i] xai ireltx66a,b xalovoi TOi cp8ivovrog iruqv6, TETcrdaa, Ti TQiTrlV, EVrTQav. i) rag; iEeQaS EvaiSgr&

(ovitx&; [ixa;S E6xaaov.

According to this definition the /uyiQaidaro(pQad6 have the following three characteristics: (1) they were assumed to be worse than the other days, (2) they included the twentyseventh, twenty-eighth, and twenty-ninth days of each month, and (3) they were the days on which the Athenians judged homicide cases. The first point is essentially correct, for it has were "impure." The been established that IueOa' da oqQod6ae; i second point, that the twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, and
'' It should be noted here that the day of the Choes in the Anthesteria should not be termed dToqfcd6. Besides the general considerations raised by F. Jacoby (FGrHist Illb Suppl., Vol. I, p. 365). there is no ancient source which terms it specifically daroTpfda.



adrnoqp6eoe twenty-ninth days of each month were ?^eEQat raises problems, however. M. P. Nilsson'2 assumes from this that the twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth,and twenty-ninthdays of each and every monthwere darocQa6es.But it is inconceivable that the major day of the Panathenaia(Hekatombaion28) and the day of the Theogamia (Gamelion27) were "impure." This can be explained, I believe, by reference to the third
were the days on characteristic, i.e. that )u/Qpat adrocepQa6es

which the Athenians judged homicide cases. The two statements (as 6?)xai . .6 evreav, and ?... I.. exaov), I propose,

stem from two sources which discussed the same subject, viz. the days on which the Areopagos council judged homicide cases.'3 One source stated that the days on which the A Areopagos counciljudged homicide cases were adroeQadec.. second source enumerated the specific days on which the Areopagos council could judge such cases, i.e. the twentyseventh, twenty-eighth,andtwenty-ninthdays of a month.That these were the meeting days of the Areopagos council for this purposeis establishedby Pollux 8.117, 'AQEto;5 :ryo ... xa6'
jrva rTttCv jFueQdv Ebtxa ov ecperS, TerdTr7 Exaorov6o6 qOtvovTro,rTQit, 6EVTEa. 14The compiler of the Etym. Magn.,

however, reversed the proper sequence of these two statements, and thereby gave the impression that the twentyseventh, twenty-eighth, and twenty-ninth days of the month If the above interpretationof the Etym. Magn. citation is correct, the following two conclusions should be drawn:a day on which the Areopagos council judged a homicide case was adropdag, a belief that is consistent with Greek religious and, secondly, the Areopagos council could judge practices;5S such cases only on the twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, and twenty-ninthdays of a month.
12 M. P. Nilsson, Die Entstehung und religiose Bedeutung des griechischen Kalenders2 (Lund 1962) 42. 13 For the specific jurisdiction of the Areopagos council in homicide cases, see G. Busolt, Griechische Staatskunde3 (Munich 1926) 1020, note 4. 14 Compare the scholion to Aeschines 1.188. 15 See E. Rohde, Psyche8 (translated by W. B. Hillis [New York 1966]) 174-82 and notes.

were always da:ropQdeaE.



The Areopagos council would meet, of course, only when cases arose. A day would be anropQa; only if the court were in session. If the court met only on one or two days, only these one or two days would be ajro dpg.16 The court obviously would not be held on days of major festivals such as the Panathenaia. The conclusion then is that these days were not arnocpQd6; per se. If, however, the Areopagos court were trying a case on one of these days, then that day became adnoQd;. We have thus established two types of Attic i/uieQat caroqcQdbe;,the annual one of the Plynteria, and the monthly ones on which the Areopagos council judged homicide cases. In both cases the days were clearly oi xaOaQa[, for the one entailed the purification of Athena's garments, the other the purification of the state from the pollution of murder. The question of whether or not the monthly juyEQat a:ro(QdecES were days of inactivity for the Athenian legislative assemblies is difficult to decide. The numerous meetings of the Ekklesia attested for the twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, and twenty-ninth days17 of the month would suggest that legislative assemblies did meet. But the strong possibility remains that on the specific days of these meetings the Areopagos council was not judging homicide cases, and thus the days were not (d:oqQecbS;. In general Greek religious scruples concerning the pollution of murder would lead one to expect them not to hold assemblies when this pollution was about, especially when such assemblies were held almost within earshot of the Areopagos. Such inactivity of the Athenian Ekklesia and Boule may be reflected in the phrase ar adzrryoQev,e vag; jeQa; in Etym.
16 Apparently the Areopagos council met frequently enough to provide a regular monthly banqueting day for the Kakodaimonistai. See discussion of Lysias, fragment 53 suprta. 17 Meetings of the Ekklesia are attested on these days as follows: for the twenty-seventh day, Hesperia (1946) pp. 201-13, no. 41, lines 76-78; IG 1I2849, lines 1-4; Demosthenes 19.60. For the twenty-eighth day, Hesperia (1957) pp. 63-66, no. 17, lines 1-4. For the twenty-ninth day, Hesperia (1932) pp. 45-56, lines 1-5; Hesperia (1935) pp. 562-65, no. 40, lines 1-5; Hesperia (1935) pp. 525-30, no. 39, lines 2-7; IG 112674, lines 1-2;Hesperia (1936) pp. 414-16, no. 12, lines 2-7; IG 112953, lines 1-4; IG I12483, lines 1-8; Hesperia (1940) pp. 126-33, no. 26, lines 1-4; IG 112850, lines 1-3; IG 112 892, lines 1-5; Aeschines 3.27; Hesperia (1963) p. 4, lines 1-7.



Magn. 131.13 and in the general inactivity attested for the Plynteria. There is an outward similarity between the dies atri and the ,juQat adnocpQed;. Both had an "impure" quality, and both may have been characterized by inactivity of legislative bodies. It was this outward similarity which led Lucian and Plutarch, as well as modern scholars, simply to identify the j7ueQat &dzopQedEs with the dies atri, and thus to burden them with many features not their own.