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The Devotio of Xanthippos.

Magic and Mystery Cults in Olbia Author(s): Andrei Lebedev Source: Zeitschrift fr Papyrologie und Epigraphik, Bd. 112 (1996), pp. 279-283 Published by: Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, Bonn (Germany) Stable URL: . Accessed: 06/06/2011 15:03
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The Devotio

of Xanthippos.


and Mystery


in Olbia

1. The Xanthippos Graffito

the foot of a black-glazed kylix of the fifth century B.C., found near the supposed now in the Archeological mes at the Western t?menos and Aphrodite of Olbia,1 of Sciences, Kiev, the graffito reads as follows: Ukrainian Academy On Hav0i7i7i;(?c (sic) Af|jLir|Tpi n?pc?(p?vr|i 'Iokxcoi, then ?i8rj|ir|tpio. sanctuary of Her Institute of the

Ki to?/ ' *? \j(y

^/?s A t?&L ^/

?w^ OlPn This *ext *s followed by unintelligible signs. Under there appear the lettersHA/AAN0IEA A, ^ r Eav0i7C7i(?c or w^^ ^solution of the firstmonogram EANAAN 0IEAA. According toRusyayeva and Vinogradov,
Xanthippos is the name of the person who dedicat

-t ^
^5-r^ ^ v~

ed the kylix for the Eleusinian triad "to the temple

of Demeter": stood.2 But oi Ar||Lif|Tpiov with ?c omitted or under there is more than the Eleusinian triad:

t> r) *>) Aj -1^

without (omitted comments) by Rusyayeva are good stands for Ai<i> or Ai<ov6ccoi>. There to believe that this graffito is not an or

Xft^^W dinary dedication, but a magical defixio (in broad modern sense of theword) or'to be more Precise'a Fig. 1.Ostrakon fromOlbia devotio: ?l >note the circular scn^ Wlth ma?ical Drawing by A.S. Rusyayewa, siSns after o^Wtpiov.3 (2) the letters HANAAN Zemledelceskie kulty v Ol'vii (Kiev 1979) 46
with insertion of the magical monogram A,4 from Olbia: the combination graffiti deities reinforces name ?IE A A represent a scrambling of Xanthippos' framed by the letters delta and epsilon which are attested of the letters of the name of the cursed with ini the devotio.




in other magical tials of chthonic

(3) such long lists of chthonic deities are presumably not for for votives. the (4) magical spells, typical ordinary graffito was found in one of the small pits (apparently near a chthonic sanctuary) which contained unbroken pots (a well known magical practice); thus the kylix was not intended as a temple dedication. There are two possibilities of construing the text: (1) E?v0i7C7ioc and Demetrios is a cursor (seil. ?vi?po?) Ar||Lif|Tpiov (m. ace.) Af||nr|Tpi etc., in which case Xanthippos is his victim; (2) Xanthippos to Demeter etc. by an anonymous is the victim consecrated name proves that he is the (2) is almost certainly correct: the scrambling of Xantippos' of the cursed is a magical is written as usually in the beginning rather of Xanthippos himself unlikely. I propose in defixiones. Once it is accepted a than of the kylix by dedication Ar|jLir|Tpio(ic) (se. 0?Oic) where Deme

enemy/magician. victim. The name

that the graffito devotio the Xanthippos, reading Ar||if|Tpiov becomes


princeps: kul'ty


Zemledel'cheskie Hermes

Rusyayeva, v Ol'vii dogetskogo

"Kul't Kori-Persefoni vremeni (Kiev 1979),

v Ol'vii", 46,

Arkheologia ? 1. fig. 27, Nr. "Kalendar' 20ff.;

1971, Nr. (Kiev) N. Ehrhardt, Milet

cf. eadem, 4, 28-40; und seine Kolonien

(Frankfurt 1983) 169; J.G. Vinogradov, Politicheskaia

istoriia Ol'viiskogo polisa (Moscow 1989), 130. Description of the

Rusyayeva, (Kiev 1980) summary v Ol'vii", i kul't Apollona in: Issle in A.V. Lebedev, "Pharnabazos,

and Aphrodite in: J.G. Vinogradov and A.S. complex antichnoi Prichernomoria dovaniiapo arkheologii Severnogo the Diviner of Hermes", above pp. 269-278. ^ and i kalendar'", Vinogradov Rusyayeva,"Kul't Apollona

51, n.


For circular script inmagical graffiti from Olbia see, e.g. I. Tolstoi, Grecheskie graffiti drevnich gorodov Severnogo Prichernomoria (Moscow-Leningrad 1953) Nr. 63; 2); see also above (n. 1) on the Pharnabazos' and Aristoteles' curse
letters. Also attested in Tolstoi, Nr. 66 and the Pharnabazos' graffito, see above, "Pharnabazos, the Diviner of Hermes", pp.

269-278, especially p. 270.


A. Lebedev

trioi corresponds unknown The

to to?c 7iap?c Af||Lir|Tpi (0?Oic 7taci) DT, 7.12

in defixiones.5


is very

rare in defixiones is preferable.

te kt?. (fromAttica). Since Zeus is virtually Audollent, DT, Nr. 76 KaTayp?((p(u)E??x%coiX?f?[p]coc?

in magical resulting E(xv0uc7tc?c spells (Audollent, text reads as follows: is uncertain), the supplement Ai(ovucc?i)

(se. 0?o?c nac? (sic) Ar||Lir|Tpi, Il?pc?(p?vr|i, 'IaKxcoi, Ai(ov?ccdi), Ar||ir|xp?o(ic) Vel ??pOC ?CTC?).6 ?CV?CKEITOCI The lettering can hardly be earlier than fourth century B.C. The name Xanthippos is elsewhere


an Athenian Ol'vii Nr. 5 in which tested only once in Olbia and the North Black See area: in Nadpisi 7i?vTcov xpri^axc?v by the axekzia Eav0i7C7coc ApicxocpcovToc 'Ep%i?ii)c is granted 7cpo^?v?a, noXmia, The proxeny is dated by the editors to the first half of the fourth century B.C. demos of Olbiopolites. of dates, the identity of our the exceptional Given rarity of the name in this area and the proximity of NO 5 seems possible, with the Athenian the son though not demonstrable.7 Xanthippos Xanthippos, of Aristophon, may have been an Athenian merchant (e.g. involved in grain trade with Olbia). Presum success in Olbia and social "devoted" his commercial provoked cp0?voc of a business rival who ably, and well known competitor.8 It is conceivable deities to get rid of a too successful that was a at t?menos to buried the Western direct with the fatal the hon "response" kylix spell t?menos near the temple of Apollo Delphinios.9 erected at the official Eastern orary stele leukolithos on the assumption that the name of the cursed was The form E?v0i7C7ccoc in the spell may be explained him to chthonic the black copied hand, it appears in dative by an illiterate person from the stele where itmay indicate an early confusion between long and short vowels. 2. The Kabeiroi This Graffito kylix of the location and Eocv0?7nrc?i, but on the other

appears on the foot of a black-glazed graffito first half of the 4th century B.C., found at the same now editor

in the Archeological Institute of Ukraine, Kiev.10 The first of the kylix to the listed deities. But takes it as a dedication the formal similarity with the preceding leads to the con graffito

from Olbia Fig. 2. Ostrakon recto and verso. 0-72/252: Photograph by A.S. Rusyayeva,

too. The name of the victim that this is a magical devotio, in the damaged area before AH. Rusyayeva _ was probably written ^ V~ datives Ar|(|nr|Tpi), Il?p<c?(p?vr|) , K?pr| correctly supplements clusion takes AI and oi Koc?ipoi as invo (dative), but then, surprisingly, Kabeiroi in nominative cation of Zeus and ^ (Zemled. Kulty, ^ two serious possibiMes: 4g) ^^

Zemledelceskie kulty v Ol'vii (Kiev 12?1979)

5 dead"

" or (ft)Af?i Ka?ip?i {M^m for A{m Ka?ipcot) (b) Aio{i}M>c?i>, Ka?ip?i (orKa?ipoi(c) ).
are the deceased (KoXccC?jievoi, DT 3 A, 12-13).


DT, 943 b.

1 -12; Sometimes





Plut. Mor. 6 To account


the final

nu one might

try to read Ar|jLir|Tpi(oic)

"Ov( vn.i).


and Tonnes


the names



Kabeiroi in theMilesian cult. 7 Rusyayeva admits thatXanthippos was an Athenian visitor without identifying him with Xanthippos NO 5. Vino gradov's objections to this (ibid.) are based on the assumption that the graffito was written by Xanthippos himself, and so are

M?gica Hiera ed. by Chr. Faraone and O. Obink (New York-Oxford parallels see Chr. Faraone, in J.G. Gager, Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from theAncient World (Oxford 1992) 15 Iff. 9 The Xanthippos stele was found east of Delphinion, Nadpisi Ol'vii, p. 17.
10 Editio princeps: A.S. Rusyayeva, "Kul't Kori-Persefoni v Ol'vii", Arkheologia (Kiev), 1971 Nr. 4, 28-40;

8 For

1991), 3-32;

cf. eadem,

Zemledel'cheskie kul'ty v Ol'vii (Kiev 1979) 47, fig. 28, Nr. 12. Less probably Aioi(c) Koc?ipoi(c). Dual Aioiv Koc?ipow might be considered only as Atticism. Supplement Ako
CKOUpoiO would be too hazardous (cf. Ai?cKODpoi Kot?eipoi in D?los, S.G. Cole, Theoi Megaloi: the Cult of the Great

Gods at Samothrace (Leiden 1984) 78ff. and Appendix I,Nr. 25ff.).

The Devotio

of Xanthippos.


and Mystery


in Olbia


(a) A?oc Kd?ipoc the elder Kabeiros. In the Theban alone Zeus graffito stands

the same as Ai?c Kd?ipoc, i.e. Pais, or "The Divine Kabiros", i.e. In favour of this the with the (b) possibility speaks parallelism Xanthippos graffito. as Kabeiros the pair was distinguished Kabirion and his Pais (Paus. 9.25,5), i.e. Kabeiros either Schol. What follows 1,917 gives their names Apoll. Rhod. after Koc?ipoi is uncertain, the comparison as follows: text, then, can be established of the Theban with pair as the Xanthippos

can mean

for Kabeiros-Father.

and Dionysos.12 suggests

[A]r||Lir|Tp[ioic]. The

(? ??ivoc) Af|(|ir|xpi), Il?p(c?(p?vr|),K?pT),Aio{i}(vt)c?i), Ka?ip?i,

7iaa ?v(XK?iTai

[A]r||ir|xp[?oic] (seil. 0?o?c

vel i?p?c ?cxco). of the magical The meaning letters ir| (?) in the middle calls for ars nesciendi.. the isolated However, letter after K?pr|, if epsilon, may be interpreted as fE(Kaxr|i) or (E(p|nfii). The lettering is similar to that of the curse against Pharnabazos which I attribute to the magician Aristoteles and date to c. 400 B.C.13 The occurence It was of Atticisms a common the similarity even more striking. to bury magical practice of the ancient magic and Kore.14 This text suggests temples of Demeter makes sanctuaries, spells near chthonic that the Xanthippos graffito was the Demetreion of Olbia. Hence

near particularly found near the chthonic

and Kore-Persephone, sanctuary of Demeter Iakchos and Kabiroi of our texts were worshipped in the same sanctuary at the time of Xanthippos. Al on much has been written the cult of in the of the localization of his Olbia, though Dionysos question clarified. If our restoration of the name of Dionysos in the two graf sanctuary has not been sufficiently fiti is correct, The the answer in the Demetreion lies at hand: at least from the late fifth century B.C. Dionysos at theWestern t?menos. was worshipped

with Daughter is an exact counterpart of the cult of the Father (Demeter-Kore) with Son (Zeus-Kabiros and Dionysos-Iakchos). This parallelism is reflected in the iconography; cf. the on of Demeter with small Kore the shoulder the with similar of the Kabiroi figurine figurine pair.15 The cult of Mother elder Kabeiros may have been identified in Olbia with Zeus, while his Pais was identified with Iakkhos to the new Eleusinian in a kind of assimilation of the old Milesian of Kabeiroi cult introduced worship

in the last quarter of the fifth century B.C. The appearance of the name Persephone in the more be reflects Athenian influence.16 0?ol (which may recent) graffito Xanthippos possibly Ioc|i? 0pocK?c are attested in Olbian only from the end of the fourth century B.C.17 The original inscriptions in Olbia attested by monuments old cult of Kabeiroi from the sixth century B.C. almost certainly de It is remarkable from the metropolis.18 that the devotion formula ?cvcxT?0r||LiiA?|naTpi Kai K?pai Kai to?c Tcap? A?|iaTpi is found almost exclusively in the defixiones from Caria (Audollent, DT, 1-12). The rural population of the Milesian chora (Gergithes) was of Carian-Anatolian origin; its main gods rives were Demeter cal formulae and Kabeiroi.19 (with a sanctuary at Assessos) of devotio to Demeter, Kore and Kabeiroi were It is reasonable brought to Olbia to suppose that the magi in the 6th by the colonists

from Athens

12Cf. W. Burkert, Greek Religion (Cambr.,Mass.

13 Lebedev, "Pharnabazos, the Diviner of Hermes",

1985) 281.
above pp. 269-278.

A. Audollent, Defixionum Tabellae (Paris 1904) CXVI; for fourteen tablets with defixiones in the temple of Demeter
and Kore on Akrocorinth see D.R. Jordan, GRBS 26 (1985) Nr. 55; N. Bookidis and R.S. Stroud, Demeter and Persephone

inAncient Corinth (Princeton 1987) 30 ff; J.Gager, Curse tablets and Binding spells (above, n. 8) 18 and n. 92.
15 nomoria", Demeter Svod with Kore on shoulder: E.I. Levi 1970 and L.M. vyp. Tl-11, Slavin, "Terrakoty Rusyayeva, iz 01"vii. arkheologicheskih istochnikov, p. 33-54; Terrakoty Zemledel'cheskie Severnogo kul'ty Pricher n. 1), (above,

45, fig, 26, Nr. 2. Rusyayeva, op. cit. 47 fig. 28 collects 9 more graffiti with the name of Kore dated to the fifth or the first half of the fourth century B.C. some of which aremagical; there is only one with Persephone (ibid. 46, fig. 27, Nr. 2) and its lettering is
more recent. Iakchos appears on one fourth century graffito, Tolstoi Nr. 68.

I2 191;Nadpisi Ol'vii Nr. 67; S. Guettel Cole, Theoi Megaloi, Appendix I, Nr. 1-2 (with references to out dated editions and imprecise dates). 18Cult of Kabeiroi at Didyma: J. Fontenrose, Didyma (Berkeley 1988) 152ff. 19Noel Robertson, "Government and Society atMiletus", 525 442 B.C., Phoenix XLI/4 (1987) 356-398.



A. Lebedev

century B.C.20 And if so, they brought the cults of these deities, too. - 450 Balka in Zayachya the walls of Olbia outside (c. 525 B.C.) or Kabirion.21 The amazing quantity of animal and fish Demetrion in eating and, by implication, main ritual consisted drinking. Olbian century B.C. probably from the fifth century Demeter cult.

The mysterious chthonic sanctuary as has been tentatively identified bones found here indicates that its terracotta of the late sixth

figurines The fusion of Demeter and Meter is well attested represent Demeter Kabireaia.22 in Olbia in view of the Anatolian on,23 and it is especially plausible origin of her In a 4th century B.C. relief in limestone from Olbia Hermes Kadmilos appears as propo

two graffiti discussed above are of exceptional importance both and mystery cults in Olbia. They indicate that by the first half of the fourth for the history of magic a chthonic century B.C. at the location of or near the 1975 altar complex sanctuary must have existed triad Demeter, where the Eleusinian Iakkhos was worshipped and Persephone, together with Dionysos and so the sanctuary may have been known grouped as Demetrioi, as Demetreion. to Olbiopolites Bacchic initiations were performed here, as the clay phalli make it clear. at same was that Pharnabazos not This is in line with our hypothesis worked the (who location) only a but also an Orpheotelestes. and Kore temple was widely used as The t?menos of the Demeter magician, the Kabeiroi. All these deities a place for depositing defixiones. spells and other magical of Olbia. tentative The remarks clear by the excavators that the distribution of a can area more be used for localisation of the objects in this precise solution of this question should be left to archeologists. I will confine myself to stimulate identification of the 1975 altar complex does not seem to be the and proposed by Rusyayeva Vinogradov at two should distinguish least successive one.25 We stages. The as the Andokides to Apollo, to with dedication graffito Apollo Delphi further discussion. The It has not been made were

los of Kybele together with Hekate.24 The Let us draw some conclusions.

magical Demetreion to some

as a temple

of Hermes

only possible 1975 altar originally belonged that was nios, Iatros etc. proves,

and Aphrodite or the most plausible

were worshipped found right under the altar. Hermes and Aphrodite here as theoi symbomoi of Apollo. This complex flourished during the first half of the fifth century and in the second half of the fifth century, most cults or magic. Sometime had no relation to either mystery probably chthonic in the last quarter, sanctuary described with was demolished the altar of Apollo of a vertical above. The demolition cult. The central position was based on Athenian model. a member of and the site was converted into the altar can be easily explained by its in new in sanctu of the Eleusinian triad the It is in the last quarter of the fifth cen The introduction of the League.

compatibility ary indicates

the new chthonic

tury that Olbia cult Eleusinian

that its organization becomes certainly in the cities decree

elsewhere "The Oracle

the First Delian

of symmachoi

propaganda. result of the Aparche 90

525 B.C.", 91 J.I. Kozub, (Moscow 1976) B.C. I am A.V. suggesting Lebedev,

It seems


was an important issue in the Athenian religious-political was a direct that the reorganization of the Olbian Demetreion very likely (416/415 B.C.).26 And it is in the last decade of the fifth century B.C. that
that Gergithes of Apollo may have been and the colonists who among the Democratic Revolution came to Low Bug in Borysthenes-Olbia region c. 550 after 494


in preparation. "Drevneishii Khudozhestvennaia Ol'vii", kul'tovyi komplex Demetrion the excavator hesitates between Kabirion, kul'tura (similar i arkheologia mira antichnogo or a sanc to the one in Nymphaion)


tuary of Aphrodite. 99 G.

Rusyayeva, Zemledel'cheskie kul'ty (above, n. 1) 95 and p. 98 fig. 46

Sfameni Gasparro, "Demetra nel coro dell "Elena", in: Hommages a Maarten J. Vermaseren , vol. Ill (Leiden

1978), 1148-1187; on Hermes 1168ff. 2 Vermaseren, CCC4 ,VI, Nr. 520-521; Rusyayeva, Zemled. kul'ty (above, n. 1), 112 identifies the triad as Kybele,
Kore-Persephone 25 hesitate and Hermes Kadmilos. On the type see M.J. Vermaseren, "Kybele und Merkur", in: Festschrift Dorner

(Leiden 1978) 956-966.

and A.S. Rusyayeva, J.G.Vinogradov their identification about themselves the 1975 cf. complex, 4,31; "Kul't Apollona when 16. Untersuchungen zur Religionspolitik und politischen Propaganda Athens im they i kalendar' that v Ol'vii" (above, n. acknowledge the temple of Demeter 1) 20ff. The authors must have been seem situated to

"not far" from

ibid. p. 51, n. B. Smarczyk,

IG 13 78,



Seebund, (M?nchen 1990), 167 ff (on the date 224ff.), argues for 416/5.

The Devotio

of Xanthippos.


and Mystery


in Olbia


that this unprecedented political symbols appear on Olbian coins.27 It is natural to conclude c. was at 410 Athens and in Olbia B.C. also from culth the of inspired Dionysos promotion of Dionysos with Kore and cult. The association of the Eleusinian by the introduction accompanied overtones and thus has transparent rather in the Olbian Demetreion Eleusinia Athenian) "Orphic" (or Bacchic provides a historical-religious context a of special investigation. subject for the roughly contemporary "Orphic" bone plates. But this is a

All Souls College, Oxford



97 Ll










22; Plate

III, Nr.