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Gloria Ferrari is pro[ssor emerira ofclassical archaeology

and rr ar Hatvrd U:riversicy. She is rhe author oI Materiqli

el Musco Archeologico di Tarquina XI: I vasi attici a
e rosse
del perioclo arcaico andFigures oJ Speech: Men and Midens in
Arcient Greece,tlelaner publislred by the University ofChicago
P.ess a,rd he zooz recipienr of theJarnes R. Wiseran Book
Award from the Archaeological Irrsrirute ofArnerica. Her articles
have bccn published irr a tange ofscholarlyjournals, including
Opuscula Ronrcna, Metis, d Classical Phlologl.
The Univetsity ofChicago Prcss, Chcago 6o637
The Univcrsity o Chicago Press, Ltd., London
@ zoo8 byTbe University ofChicago
All tighcs reserved Published zoo8
Ptinre d in rhe United Scaes of America
t7 16 t5 t4 13 Lz tr to 09 oB r z 3 4 5
ISBN-r3: 978'o'226'66867
-3 (clorb)
ISBN-ro: o-zz6-66867-3 (cloch)
Thc Univcrsity oIChicago Prcss gracefully acknowledges rhe getetous
supporr ofHarvatd Universitys Loeb Fund ofche Deparctneut ofrhe
Classics towrrd che publication ofthis book.
Library of Congress Cacaloging-in-Prrblicarion Data
Fcrrati, Gloria, t94 t-
Alcrrau anc{ the cosrnos oISparra / G[oria Ferai.
Inclucles bibliograph ical rcferences and index
ISBN-13: gz8-o-zz6-66867-3 (lrrrdcove. ; alk. papcr)
ISBN-ro: o.226'6686?-i (bardcovet : alk. paper)
l. Alcnran-Criticisrn and inter.recarion. z. Cosrnology, Ancient
5oo' I.Title'
PA386z.A5F47 zooS
@ The paper us"d r dris publication rneecs che ninitnutn requiements of
rhc Arerican Nacional Standard for Infotrarion Sciences-Permanence of
Ptper for Princecl Library Matcrials, ANSI Z9.+8-Iggz.
:=:l: -::iil-Iffi.:,:,iti:,a [Fir
lZftEn@:ffii K-i ;l
intellectual support a clifficult project needs in order to move forwarcl.
Her studies of allusion in Horner and particularly of the concept of
lneasure in Hesiod ancl the Presocratics have shaped my interpreta-
tiot'r of the cosmological elerrents intltePartheneion.Just as important
have been her responses to this study as it tooi< shape-unfailingly
generolls, illun-rinating, and substantial. From the title page to the last
footnote, her presence is writ large on the pages that follow.
For their assistance in the nal preparation of the manuscript I
thank Teresa T. Wu, Ivy Livir-rgston,
L. Ferriss, and Melissa
A. Haynes, I gratefully acknowledge agrant toward the cost of photo-
graphs ancl eclitorial assistance from the Clark Fund of Harvard Uni-
versity, ancl a generous publication subsidy frorn the Loeb Fund of the
Departrrrenc of the Classics.
Finally, thanks are due to Susau Bielstein, Executive Editor at the
University of Chicago Press, for supporting this project from the
start; to Anthotry Burton; and to Sandra Hazel, whose courteous,
attentive ecliting greatly improved the manuscript.
In a societl where musc, song and ance re all-pervasiue,
at ll publc and private occsions, in all cuhs an
JestivIs, Jolk-rt
ancl high art blen. and pass ittto ech other witb no
sharp dividinglne.
Extant texts of ancienr Greek choral Iyrc are the bare bones ofpro-
ductions that fused poetry and music with dance.l The songs came
alive in performance, which included much else that is not in the text,
namely, setting, costumes, props, and lighting. The element of spec-
tacle, which was as integral to choral lyric as it was to drama and a vital
part of the audience's experience, is all but lost to us. We especialiy
register the loss in the case of the earliest substantial example of the
genre, Alcman's Louvre Pftheneion, composed in the late seventh cen-
tury BCE for a Spartan festival.2 The text consists of a long fragmenc
preserved in the"Mariette Papyrus," P. Louvre E
which rernains
our principal source for the poem and its accompanying scholia. Litcle
survives of the rst part, which presumably contained the invoca-
tion to the Muses and at least two mythical narratives, one of whicl-r
Ep igr pb - D ale s 6 9, t 57.
r. Over the past thirry years srudies ofGreek poerry concerned witb the nacure and context
of its performance have made us sharply aware of chis facc. Most relevant to the topic of this srudy
are Calame 1977; Herrgton 1985; Nagy t9go6, ryg6; D. Clay r99r; Stehle 1997; Peponi zoo4.
Se e also Dale ry6g, 156-69 ("Worcls, Music and Dance"). After Henrichs
g4n4) I
too occasionally borrow the term'dance-songs" (Tanzleder) from Wilarnorvitz-Moellendorf
z. Alcman l PMGF (= 3 Calarne). On the dace of Alcman see West 1965, 188-94; Calamc
1983, xiv-xvi. The lyric genre to which the song belongs is an uuresolved question; see Calane
t977,t:t49-T6.Partheneionhasbecome the traditional tile for Alcman I PMGF and I continue
ro use ir in a purely conventional sense. But there is no evidence rlrat ic lvas includecl aorong
the songs of Alcman that we.e classified as partbeneia,"maiden songs.'' In any case, rve knorv
essentially nothing regarding either the subject matter of such songs or the occasion for their
performance, beyond that they were songs composed for choruses of taidens.
G rr eNIrs / viii
involves the saga of tl-re Spartan prince Hippocoon ancl his sons. For
ve ofthe eight partially preserved stnzes, representing halfthe esti-
lrrated rnaximum length of the poem,3 the chorus gives what emounts
to an ecphrasis of its own performence tht repeatedly appeals to the
sense of sight. Not only do the singers describe their own eppeater'ce
and actions, but they ernphatically point to wirat they see and turn to
the auclience with direct questions, eliciting ocular responses.a The
issue of what the original audience woulcl have seen, along with the
audiences that followecl tl'rrough centuries of repeated performances,
is crucial to the interpretation of this difficult text and one that has
never been satisfactorily answerecl,
Taking my clre frorn the chorus's invitation to visualize what it
does ancl see what it sees, I open this study of the Partheneion not
by turning directly to the text but by preselltirlg an image-one that
comes from enother tirne and place but ultimately appeals to the same
conceit. This is a picture painted on four sides of an Ear|y Classical
Athenian vessel from tl-re workshop of Sotades, molded in the shape
of ar-r oversiz ed. astragalos, a knucldebone (plates I
- 4).5
The mouth of the container opens orlto one of its long sides
(plate r). The oper-ring rnay be an integral part of the gural scene thet
unfolds ro its right, since its irregular contolrr suggests a rock forma-
tion or the rnouth of a cave,Next to it a man confronts a le of maid-
ens or rlyrnpl-rs cngaged in a ring dance, holding one anorl-er by dre
hand. There are three of thern, but the third gure's being partially
cut offby the edge of the vessel asks us to imagine that the chorus
extends beyond the picture eld.6 The man is decidedly unheroic in
z), while Crlare (1983,
3l-rz) envisioned dre possibiliry tht the poem in its entirery
consisrecl of cighr stanzas only.
4. Ocutar c{eictics in he P,rl:cre ior are the sulrject ol' Peponi zoo4.
5. Britislr Museum E }oq; ARV2 765.2o; Baazlry Acldetrla 286. For a summary of inter-
preratio:rs, see HofFrurn (tggz, toz
who reads the scene as that of a shaman placing his
fenralc [ollowers in state of nystical levirarion. Hcnriclrs (9961c, z9) has already pointed to
thc an alogy bctwec n rhc image of rhe Piciades r tlte Pqtlcneion and the dancers suspended in
midair on hc Sotac{es Painter's a-<lragaios.
6. Ctrrcius 1923, rc.F. Hause r (in FR 3:9r) was the 6rst to suggest tlrat the opening repre-
scnts rhc rnouth of a c,rve, fror which rhe man has ernerg.'d; Ire iclenriEecl the female figures as
type, acaricaturei thin and bent, with a snub nose ancl a sPerse beard,
and a cloak tied around his waist. He motions with his right anl
toward the dancers while his extended left arrn points emphatically
upward, directing their attention to e secottd chorus, telt lneiclens
wlro dance suspended in the air (plates z-4). These PPea.r on the
other three sides of the strgalos in various dance steps, some i1 slow
motion, others twirling with arms extended and the sleeves of their
dresses billowing like wings, the way maenads sollecitnes do when
they clance.T The picture thus juxtaPoses an ethereal chorus to one
with its feet firrnly on the ground and, by the man's gesture, iuvites us
to draw a relation between the two. But who is he, and who are the
clancers? Stackelberg, who rst published the vase n t837, identied
the airborne dancers as stars, narnely, the Pleiades and the Hyacles.s
For this he offered no explanation, trusting, perhaps, that his reasolt-
ing would be plain to anyone familiar with classical texts.
Indeed, the picture on the astraglos may be unique, but the idea
that the constellations in the night sky are dancing choruses of rnaid-
ens is cornmonplace in Greek thought and literary imagery.e Tire
Pleiades in particular are archetypal dancers, They were the inven-
tors of the choral dance and the
performed at night under
the starlit sky, when they were maidens and before they were placed
in the heavens,l0 There rhey continue to dance. Together rvith their
sisters, the Hyades, they gure in the picture of the sky on the shield
of Achilles in Euripides'Electra:
r, E
rartrcr:re oarcet gaOov
rcrlo ioto
t trr tpo ooaL
d.orp,'t r' aiOpLoL
dancers,"wie die atrischen Nymplte. drei Mdchen im Reigentanz." See also Robertson 1992,
- 9o.
7. Prudhommeau (1965) actempts to identif, the dance steps (captions to frgs.353,355-58,
8. Srackelberg r8n, pl. 4.
9. For an overview, seeJ. Miller 1986, I9-8o.
ro. Scboliurn to Theocritus IyIk ry.25 Wenclel, rptor E' rct
rcci tavvri.\c
o vt eorilcat t o rapOveouocL.
rNTRoDUcrroN / z
rNTRoDUcrroN /
lI'eL6e'TEe, f"ErctoPo
Iu the center ofthe shield
the sur bright circle
was shining on wirrged horscs,
and the heavenly clroruses of srars,
Pleiacles, HYades,
briL-rging defeat to tl-re eyes of Hector'
Among the poets, Euripicles is particularly fond of this figure, to
which lre rurns again n tl:re Ion, wl-rere the chorus thinks of the new-
comer ar the Eleusinin night ritual;
T e rco At rtotePt'xr
avePeuoer criO11P,
Whcll Zeus's star-eYecl sl<Y
has begun its chorai clance
ancl the moon dances.
Bur the cosrnic clance, of which tl-re Sotades Painter gives a playful
picrure and which Euripides uses ro dramatic effect, is more than a
".o.^tiu" flourish, It is grounded in a particular archaic cosmology,
attacl-recl in Greek rradition to the fabulous leme of Pythagoras: the
norion tlrat the tovelllenrs of the heavenly bodies produce sounds in
musical concc.,rdance. There is, ir-rcidentally, no better candidate for
the iclentity of the slrabby cl-roreographer painced on the astragalos
thar-r Pythagoras Leger-rcl has it that he made his home on
Samos in a cave, where he spent much of his days and nights'12 For
his disciples, we are told, he composed hymns and melodies, but"he
alone could hear and undersrancl, so he indicated, the universal har-
mony nd concord of dre spheres, ancl rhe stars moving through them,
which sound a tune fuller and more intense than any mortal onesj'rl
Our figure nds a match not in that Pythagoras, the object of wonder
and veneration for all ages, but in the caricature of the Pythagorean
on tlle Athenian comic stage: tl're unkempt, malnourished vegetarian
in a threadbare cloak, engagedin abstruse
The Pythagoreens are widely credired with the theory that
movemert of the stars produces a harmonyi'in Aristotle's words'r5 As
for so much else, our best sources are Athenian and classical in clate.
A fragment of Critias vividly evokes the cosmogouic context of the
dance ofthe stars:
o tl a'roqu4 tv r ai0ePk

g q r'a'.rr,o't goLr Pfl !r'0
Iz. Iambliclrus Ott tbe Pytbagotean Wa1 oJ LiJe z7;Potphyry Lfe oJ Py'thagoras 9' citing an
otherwise unknown Anciphon, author of tlre teatise On MettExcellingit Virtuc.Burkett(rg7z,
97 -
Io9) has a helpful discussion of Iamblichus! sources'
r3. Iamlrlichus On thePytbagorean Wy of LiJe 6a-65; trans' Dillon and Hershbell I99r' Sce
in the Cloud-, is a debared issue; se e Melero Belliclo lgzz; Butkert tgTz' z9tn73
r5. AristotLe Or tbe Heavens zgobtz'23"
The Pythagoreans are natnecl at zglaS. Franklin (2oo6, 51-63)
traces the <levelopmenc oFa"prc-
Pythagorcan' music cosmology co Bronze Age and Mesopotamian sources'
rNTRoDUcrIoN / 4
rNTRoDUcrIoN / 5
v:tpL pv gr;,LPt E'pgval
'r,! aiolpto rcpttor' orP.v
Xlo errEeleXt^r

arg LXo peeL.
(I cnll on) thee, rhe self-r-nacle, who hast woverl
ire uaturc of all things in the ae cherial whirl,
rouucl whom Liglit, and c{usky NTigl-rt
rvith shitnt-nering colour, and thc innumerable
thror-ro of tlre stars, For ever clauce.'t'
Plirto givcs us the fullest ancl ffrost striking statements of this con-
cept, Ir tlte'l-inaeus the stars ancl the planets are divine lvng crea'
tures ancl tlreir nrovements choral clances (lthoreias).r7 IntheRepublic,
the rnytl-r of Er imagines the costros in the sl-rape of a whorl spun
by Antl<, Necessity. f'he vzhorl itself consists of eight concentric
circles, eacl-r enclowecl with its appropriate lnotion:
Up on rop of eech of the circles ricles a Siten, cat'ried arouncl with
its revolution, cach giving oul a single souucl, a single pitch
arrcl flom chcsc souncls, eiglrt in all, is macie rhe concorcl of a single
hrntonia. iour-rcl alout ar etlua distances are seated three otlrels,
each on a throtre, the Fates, claughters of Nccessity, clothed in whie
arrcl r,vith garlancls on theil'heads.rB
Obscrving tlrat eight uotes tnake up a complete cliatonic scele,
M, L, West argr-recl th:rt"tire Sirens appear as
of the astronomi-
cal scheme or.rly because the rnusical scale hrrs been enshrined in the
heavcr.Ls."'e The iclea was later cllrrent in Pythagorean dlought buc it
musr be olc1er than PythagoL-as, since the melodious sirer-rs already
eppear irr Alcrrar Louvre Partbeneion. L.t.leed, in the last, fragmen'
16. Critias,rg 4.'ll'GF.l'rans.
ljrcctrarr t948.
17. PIatoT0rlcr,,4.oc.ScctlsoEpirrottrisgSzet'AndthuschcTatureofthestarsisthefait-
csc to lchol.l, for tltcy.lence tl.c fritcsr nd lrrQsr tragni6ccrrr
and choral claDce oall
lre choruscs i r[c rvorld .. arr.l acconrplish wlretcvcr is reeclcd for all livillg creattlres,"Tr1]s.
rS Phto r7a/ic 6r7b-c; cran.s. BaLke r r989,58.
I9 We st 1967, rz; t9gz, zz,.
tary lines the chorus compares its song to that of rhe Sirens, whicl-r is
cr ET
song] of the Sirens incleec{ more 1116in,,c Fn" rLo,,
Although he found other correspondences between Alcman ancl the
Pytlragoreans in Alcman's'tosmogony" (Alcman
PMGF),Wesr saw
no further reference to the mr-rsic of the spheres in the Partheneiott
beyoncl the use of the Sire ns' perfect rnelody as a ternl of comparison
for tl-re chorus.In the chapters thet follow I hope to show rhar cosr.nic
imagery is not so limited bur runs througl-r Alcmar song and govems
rrs sraglng.
In being concerned with the cor-rditions of the perforrnance in
irs cultic sectil-rg, rny approach is in line wich rnuch recent
addresses allcienc Greek choral lyric in tenls of ritual poetics. The
current trend emphasizing the context of production in all of its cli-
mensions owes much to Claude Calare's pioneerir.rg study of the
morpl'rology and function of the lyric chorus, one rhat wrs centerecl
precisely on Alcmans Louvre Prtheneion, The two volumes of Le-s
choeurs de jeunes
en Grce a.rchclIque, published in tg77, bolclly
turnecl the spotlight onto the choral dance as'locial
tl7 is, onto
the ritual and social circumstances surrorlnclillg the performance. The
sructy producecl an illuminating and influenrial denition of the struc-
ture of the lyric chorus, In dre interpretatiorl of the text, however; it
failed to put to rest crucial questions. In tl-re past thirty years lively
debate has continued regarding the identity of thc divinicy presicl-
ing over the festival; the relevance of the rnyth of Hippocooll to the
gllome that follows it and to the rite performecl by chorus; and the
Iogic of the series of metaphors-if that is'"vhat they are-stringing
zo. Alcman r.96-98 PG.V[F; West 1967 rr, r4-15.I follorv Wesr's reading of rhese lines in
adopcing Von der IVIhlli suprlernent c8ci ar 97 atd understanding }1pr[i]Eor as i posscs-
sive genitive Hutchinson (zoor, roo-ror) also leans toward this rcading
rr.rrRoDtJcrIow / o rNTRoDUcrroN /?
1-.5 Eft -: i lawaM P: tr:l]s] ! & w!91 Llls M ;Hl !f, -@
rogether gures of horses, stars, and birds, with which the performers
describe thernselves and what they see.2r
It is a truisrn tl-rat the subject of tI'e Partbeneion andits ritual func-
tion, far from beir-rg recondite or riddling, were farniliar and, at some
Ievel, perfctly accessible to the entire audience for which the song
was composed. The point is nevertheless worth stating because it calls
attentior-r to the fact that tl'rat audience, d-re participants in a festival,
ws potentilly the entire crtzenry of Sparta' We should therefore as-
sume that the irnagery and sentiments with which the rext confronts
us were part of the cultural patrimony of the comrnunity at large, in
which they will have l-racl curtency in various forms-visual as well
as verbal, and across articial clisrinctions drawn between high and
Iow art. A comprehensive account of that kind of local knowledge is
beyond orlr gresp. There is, however, rnuch to suggest that Alcmans
Spartan audience ws conversant with currents of thought and ar-
tistic movements that operated on a Panhellenic scale. Literary and
archaeological sources paint a picture of Sparta in the seventh century
ancl che frst prt of the sixth as a pl osperous, outward-looking intel-
lectual arrd artisric center, very ifferent Frorn the proverbially austere
city of the centuries that followed. As regards its material culture,
excavtiors have revealed a lare-blooming but vigorous Orienralizing
phase in the seventh centttry, marked by an increase in the produc-
tion of luxury goocls, such as bronzes and ivories, as well as painted
porrery,zz Their distribution allows us to meP their reach across the
llediterranean, from dre Black Sea to Spain, documenting a taste for
things Laconian. As one might exPect, concentrations of pottery oc-
cur t sites linked t Sparta by direct or indirect ties ofcoloniz::tior.,
such as Taras and Cyrene. Yet tl-re large quantity of Laconian
tery, ir-r aclclition to ivories and bronzes, recovered in the excavations
zr. Scc,cg.,thcseriesolqucstionsposedbyD.ctay(r9gr,48-5o)andrhecharacterization
of the poem by Tsitsibakou-Vasalos (r993, rz9) as'tryptic" and'dark an ar places impenetrable"'
Peponi (zoo4, 295)
cornpares our posirion vis vis the text to being confronted with
"ri.ldling srarerne,rrs fro,. a firsc-person speaker who persists in anchoring her poetic message
ro a couruutrication situation irrcvocably inaccessible ro usJ'
zz. scc Frrsch zoor For an exhaustivc analysis of rlris phenornenon; e succinct overview
in Frrscb 1998. For a gcneral account of the qualiry of Spertan material culrure in dris period,
see also CartLc.{gc zoot
on Sarnos points to the"special relationship" between che two cities,
which Cartledge has painstakingly reconstructecl.23
The traclition that Lycurgus brought from Samos che Homeric
poems, which he obtained frorn the corportion of rhapsodes de-
scended frorn Creophylus, is but one indicatior-r of the ernergence of
Sparta onto the international stage.2a Wesc writesr
the light of the
evidence at our disposal, Lesbos and Sparta stand out as the gret
cerltres of musical excellence in the seventh cer-rturyJ'25 At the head
of the long list of songwriters from other Hellenic cities who were
active in Sparta at thet time is Terpander of Lesbos, to whotn
tributed the pathbreaking invention of the seven-string lyre and d-re
establishment of the citharodic no1rres.26 Both his name and that of
the legendary Arion are tied to the celebration of the great Spartan
festival of the Karnea, in which they competed, contemporary with
the Twenty-sixth Olympiad (e7a-a7).27 Thaletas of Gortyn deliv-
ered Sparta from a plague with his songs, according to one source.
According to another he instituted choral performances that put an
end to civil strife in the city.28 Legend has it that Pythagoras, who
visited Sparra to study its laws, used to sing the paeans of Thaletas
in the belief that they engendered serenity.2e And since at least the
fourth century BCE scholars have debated whether Alcman himself
was Laconian or a Lydian from Sardis,30
While the speci6c Sparran institutions and the festival, ritual, and
historical circumstances constituting the context of performance of
rhe Partheneion'd our attention, we should be attentive as well
23. Cartleclge 1982.
24. Arisrotle frag. 6Ir.lo Rose; Plutach Llcurgus 4; see Nagy ry9a6,7+, On recitarions of
Horner in seventh-century Sparta, see Gostoli ry88,42-J3.
25. Wesr rg9z, 334. See also Ca|ame rg77, 2,33-37.
26. Sec D. A. Canpbell :988, zt2g4-3t3 Nagy (r99ob, 86-9o) argues that the traditions
concerning Terpander's inventions reflecr a process of "Panhellenization" of lyric
27. Hellanicus FG rHist +F8s,6y way of Athenaeus 635e; on rhe lame of Arion, t[:e invenror
of the dichyramb in Corinth, see Herodotus I z3.
28. PMG 7r3
(iii); Plutarch Llcurgts +l-2
tt5-I6 of the present rexr.
29. Porphyty LiJe oJ Plthagoras 32,33.
3o. Apparenrly Aristocle believed thac Alcman was Lydian; see P Oxy 2389, scholiun IV
to Alcman 16 PMGF (= 8 Calame). On this old controversy see Page t951, 168-7o andJanni
rNTRoDUcrIor / 8
rNcRoDUcrroN / 9
l-T-;E__ _-j5;Er,[r.rq:-Jj:-=Ti:lE8f,!fi,1l-:lil:tr:DE1:Lfltrii-.iasG
to this other contextl the live strealn of song-making
within which
Alcman cotnposed, consisting of his predecessors
and his competi-
tors, with whorn his audience would be equally acquainted'3l
poetic rraditions were arguably Panhellenic in character' I use the
t"r- ir-t the seuse developecl by Nagy to mean treditions of poetry'
song, and rnyth that arise in the eighth century and are part of apat'
tern of integration at the level of cults ancl fesdvals emong the Hel-
lenic city-stes. With regardto the cleveloPment and diffusion of
both epic and lyric
he writes,
By Panltellenic
theu, I mean those kinds of poetry and song
rhat operatec{ not simply on che basis of local traditions suited for lo-
cal audiences. Rather, Panhellenic poetry would have been dre prod-
uct ofan evolutionary sylthesis oftraditions' so that the tradition
thac it represents cotlcenlrtes on traditions that tend to be common
to trost locales and peculiar co t1ot1e'J2
By virtue of the fact that all-rsions to it are far removed from one
it'r space and time (Alcman at SPart' the Pythagorean teach-
ings on Samos or in Magna Gtaecia, Plato at Atl-rens)' the rnention
of'the song of the Sirens at lines 96-98
stauds to be a fragment of
ptecisely ,.r.1-, tt overarching tradition' A rst premise of this study
is tlrat rlte Parthcneion adclresses the particular requirements
of the
Spartan ritual within a broader Panhellenic
frame in terms of for'
f"otr.t."r, lythic llarratives, and sets of beliefs'33 Like the song of
the Sirens, other elements of Alcman appeal to enduring and wide-
sprea,J. notions and images; these range from philosophical
to the imagery, ir't.pi."d y festivals and songs' that appears on painted
A second prernise of this study concerns the dramatic dimen-
sion of .llor"l p"rfo,nances'
With one excePtion' interpreters
of the
I(utkc (zoo5,8z) wartrs ag;rinst ptivilcging the ritual context in the interPretation of
choral lyric ovcr poecic tra'Jicions'
Nagy r99ob, chaps. z an' 3, the quotation kom p' 54; tggg' 7'
The phenom-
eron ws iclentiGccl mainly on
grount{s n Snodgrass tgTrt +rg-2r'
as one of
33. Hirrge (zoo6, 324- a8) argues chat the lmgu"ge of Alcman is Panhelle nic in terms of
'cleep structurc," althouglr epichoric at rhe level ofperformance'
Partbeneion have assumed that here the actor and her role are one
and the same, in other words, that the chorus
of themselves
as themselves"l3a Spartan maidens engaged in a particuler SPartan
ritual. This is in line with the longstanding belief dlet, whereas che
choruses of Athenian tegedy, comedy, and satyr play enact specic
and ctional personae,
of a civic chorus, by contrast, pre-
sent themselves in their own personl's5Theintroduction of stage cos-
tumes-the mask in
accordingly viewed as a uew de-
velopment, taking place in the late sixth century BCE, and es a rnejor
difFerence between Athenian drama and the choruses of rirual. In the
case of the P rtheneion, this perspective has had the effect of identifi'-
ing the chorus members, the sentiments dley exPress, and the actions
they describe with actual historical
and practices. Frorn the
strt, the chorus's hyperbolic praise of the beauty of individual mem-
bers and of Hagesichora and Agido has been taken es the exPression
of personal erotic feelings and has prompted corLparisons with Sap-
pho and the thiasos over which she allegedly presided.36 That is to say,
the song would be not only sung by madens, but 6rst and foremost
and bout rnaiens,
That all performance fundamentally entails rnimesis invites scru-
tiny of this shaky tenet. Evidence that lyric choruses could, and did,
play the part of mythical or epic characters is in fact both abundanc
and well known. One might begin with the statements in Plato's
important treetment of the dance in the Lws that
choric art
34. R. Parke cited in Carter t988,98'
35. Lonsdale 1gg3,7i \ote, howeve har elsewhere Lonsdale freely admits o[ rimesis in
choral perfo.mance:"Many dance performances were thetnselves representarions, arld it is ofteu
impossible ro distinguish for cerrain berween ficrion and real performance" (II), See also pp. r7,
3r, 98 - 99. Calam e tgg+- g5, tlzi'lin the choruses of drama] rhe I<bore rni are no [onger only ad-
dressing the gods in a cuhic acrion and representing parricular members ofthe communiry rhey
are also masked acrors playing out scenes ofa heroic action onstagel'Bu, as Kowalzig (zoo4, 4r)
observes, the relacionship of dramatic choruses to rhe lyric ones is an unresolved quesrion'
36. See,e.g.,Diels r896,352-53; Wilanowitz-Moellendorf I8g7,26o; and lately Hutchin-
son 2ooI, gr-g4.P^g.95t,65-67) takes a more skeptical view'Thc analogy was elaborately
restated by Calame (ry77, 2:86
rg97, zo7
- $),
who sought to ground che function of the
lyric chorus in general (and the production of dre Partlteneion in particular) in female rics of
initiation. See also Clark Ig96 Stehle (rggz,
argues against the view that the
chorus maidens express erocic feelings for one anorhet; rarhe tbey would represenc rhernselues
as desirable porenrial lrides for the young men in rhe comrnuniry'
rNTRoDUcrIoN / lo
rNTRoDUcrIoN / ll
as a whole consists of clance an.l song" and that
"what is
irrvolvecl in choric performance
is imitations of characters
trol1onl,apearing in actions and eventualities of all kinds
which each perforrner goes through by means of habits and imitations
The Homeric llyrnn to Delian Apollo offers a prime
example of mimesis inl<borei, The sir-rget evokes
gfeat festival of
tlre Ionians on Delos r'rnd describes the choral dance of the L<.ouri
Dlia'les, a phrase which is usually translaced as
Maidens" but
can equally appropriately yield
"Delian Nymphsl'These are histori-
cally well-attestecl cult atteudants of Apollo and Artemis on Delos,
whose main cluty wes the performance of the dance-song honoring
the two gods.38 But what the singer, who himself weers the rnask of
Homer, describes is not just trouPe of skilled dancers. The Delia-
des are
wonderi' m.ega tbauma, whose'loryi' I<leos, is immor-
tal. They enchant the tribes of rnett and know how to reproduce the
voice and clattering speech of all men:
would say that he hirn-
self were 5igit-rg, so perfe cdy hartuonious is their beaudful song:'3e
Tlrese procligious qualiries properly belong to the divine archetype,
whicb scasonally recurring perforlnances reenacted: the clance-song
37. PlttoLows6sql,ass;crarrs.Barkerlg34,l:l4r,r4l.OnthispassageseeLonsdaleIg93,
3 r
- 33, wo conclu.les tba r'tlrc
in archaic rituals, u' ith or withour the help of rnasks
ancl cosnrmc, behrvc as if they rvcr e the'orher'- as if thcy tvere gods or anitualsl'
38 Brune:ruI97o,36-37; Flenrichst996t,56_59.Ctlarnc(t997ro4-Io)
a g.ou, of
"prolcssional dancers," implying chat rlrey are fir,,damenrally differenc in narure from
[e civic choruscs sc:rt by rhc Ionjan cities and Atlrens to perforrn in the Delian festival' It is
prefcrablc to think ofrhem as cult personnel and, in rhat sense, as equally'rofessional"as the
Delphic Pyrhia, pid servxnts o[rlre god, who rook ou and perforrred an ancient role.
19. Iloneric I I1'ntr, t-rru-uo. Most scholars ral<e ntneistlt' at line I63 (t6z-64' ratrut
of the Delian NyrLphs, Numphi Dliades.
learn from Callima-
chusls Hyrnn to Delos ("SS-
that tl-rese were p1.eser1r at the birth of
Apollo, where they performed"with far-sounding voice the holy song
of Eileithyiai'which thebrazenvault of the sky echoed back.aO
In the written sources, evidence of costumes for the lyric chorus
is scant but not entirely lacking. Plurarch, citing the Atthidogra-
pher Demon, clescribes the procession ar rhe Arhenian festival of rhe
Oschophoria as a reenctment of Theseus's return: rhe two youths at
the head of the procession were dressed in womers elorhes, irlper-
sonating the two boys whorn Theseus had substituted for two of the
girls he took to Crete. Female characrers caI\ed Deipnophoroi irnper-
sonated (apomlmoumeni) the mothers of the boys and girls destined
for the Minotaur. Led by the two yoLrths, the chorus perforrned sor-rgs
called askhopboril<a, which were akin ro, or a subser of, partbenei.a\
One can only speculare as ro what kind of cosrurne was involved in
the performance of what Plato (Lws Br5c) calls Bacchic clances, ir-r
whiclr the chorus impersonated (nmountai) Nymphs, Pans, Silens,
and Satyrs.
Costumed choruses perforrning to the aulos are rhe subject of a
good number of Athenian painted vases from the mid-sixth cenrury
onward-"knights" riding men dressed as horses,
stilts, heroes riding dolphins, and more. Such pictures now are callecl
predramatic, alabel implying chat they nricipare larer clevelopmenrs
and, therefore, represent deviations from the normal practice in the
staging of choral lyric.azThere are two examples, however; which can
be idenried as representations of costumed choruses and are mucl-r
too early in date (67o-66o BCE) to be dismissed as mere enricipa-
tions. These are two Middle Protoattic stands, allegedly from a tomb
4o. On tlre Delian Maidens as archerype, see Nagy l9 g 6, S6 - Sl, Z
y H.eLrrichs r996a, 57. See
pp.125-26 of the present texr.
4I. PlutarchTheseuszT.3-4;PhotiusBil,liorleca3zza,:.l1b,32oa,3zt^:sceCa)amer997
42. Webster r97o, rr,20-2r,93; these are collected and aoalyzed in Greer 1985; Sreinha.r
zoo4, 8-3r. Csapo (zoo3) argues ha ir visuaI as well as lirerary represenrations, dolphins ancl
Nereids are quintessentially dancers and that the latrer in parcicular are associatecl rvith rhe
performance of rhe clithyramb in Dionysiac rirual.
rNTRoDUcrIoN / tz
on Aegina, which were once in the collection of the Berlin Antiquar- Websrcr recognizecl in the scene on the conical body of the
rst, A
a representation of a choral performance. It shows a le of
nine men, all in the serrre pose, each l-rolcling a staff, dressed in elabo'
rately patterned tunics and rLantles. The two gures at the head of
the procession, of which only the lower part remains, are identifred as r e pl ty er and au ulo s play er.a
Berlin A 4t bas a companion piece in the second stand, Berlin A
The sir-nilarities are plain to see, in spite of the fact that in
the latter the cornposition is abbreviatecl and includes no musicians.
The rnain scene shows a procession of frve meu, idendcal in hairstyle
(long locks falling onto their shoulders), beard, dress, and stance, each
holding spear. The row of evenly spaced gures is interrupted by a
large bircl (of which only part of the feet remains on the baseline),
above which is a painted inscription giving dre name of Menelaus in
Doric dialectr Menelcts. On an Athenian vase, the Doric spelling calls
for an explanation. AssunLing thac this is a"label" for the gure it pre-
cedes (or follows), scholars have hypothesized that either the painter
came frorn Aegina, where Doric was spoken, or the series of vases
in che Proto'rrtic Black and White style, to which the stand belongs,
was made on the island rather than Athens.a5 An explantion exists,
however, that accounts at orlce for the use of Doric dialect and for
the choruslike eppeerrce of this seqlrence of gures. Rather than a
label, the inscription belongs to a genre that, although less common,
is nevertheless well atrested on Athenian painted vases: phrases that
introcluce ir-rto the gured scenes excerpts of dialogue or song, entire
Iines as well as single words. A late sixth-century psykter by Oltos, to
give just one il-rstnce here, has a Ie of dolphin riders, each uttering
epidelphinos, which rnay be the title of the play to which the chorus
+. Be rlin, Antiquarium A 4I and A 42, both destroye.l in World War II. CV,A Berlin r,
Gcrrur:ry t (q8),4-24,tls' jo;34 (A 4t) andza-25, pls. 3r-33
(A +z). O" the provenience,
sceMorris t98+,7,45 C.Deh-vonKaenelinCV,ABerlin6,Germanysz($86),tz-t+.
44 Welstcrr9zo,9;R.Eilannandl(.Gebauer,CVABerlinr,Gernanyr(t918),4-24,
also iclcnri[, tlr.' [r agtncntary gurcs rs trrusicians.
45. Jcffery(t9a9,26)raisedtheissuc.Forareviewofhedebae,seeMortist984,9t-9znz;
Ferrari r98z t8o. Morris vigorously argrred rhe case fot en Aegineran prodttcrion'
belongs.a6 Likewise on Berlin A
4z the dipinto Menelas should be
understood as a quoterion, the title, as ir were, of the song the chorus
performs. And the form is Doric for the same reason rhar ar Euripides'
Rhesus 257 tl'e chorus sings heloi Menelan the use of the non-Attic
Iong alpha is required by the poeric genre, rhr is, choral lyric.aT Com-
positionally, bird and inscription mark a break in the o"rclerly sequence
of tlre gures. Visually, they take the place of d.,.e ulosplayer ancl, iike
him, introduce into the picture the notation of sound.a8
The Menelas stand gives a picture not of a procession of Homeric
heroes but of a chorus performing a song on a heroic therne. This
genre of lyric is best known ro us from rhe poems of Sresichorus, of
which large fragments That it was in exisrence at least by
the seventh century, howeve is made clear by the notorious story in
Herodotus of the attempr made in rhe early sixth cenrury by Cleis-
thenes, tyrant of Sicyon, ro deprive the hero Adrastus of the ances-
tral honors that were rraditionally accorded to him. These included
the performance of
choruses" (tragikoisil<horoisi) rhar corre-
sponcled to, or represented, his sufferings (pros ta pathe),50 The im-
portance of the Menelas stand and its relevance to an investigation
of tlre role of the chorus in Alcman's Prtheneion have ro do with the
fact dtat this is not simply an ensemble of citizens in festival garb.
46. New York, Mettopolitan Museum of Art L.1979 .r7.r; ARV2 zz-44bl; Bezle1 Ad,
clenda 3; Green 1985, or. On rhis rype of painred inscriprion, see Kretsclrner rig4,90-g3i
Imnerwahr I965, r53; Ferrari r987 r8r.
+2. Ferrar 1987; Snodgrass tggS,toz-1i Sreinharr (zoo4,zt) expresses sl<epricism ofchis
hypothesis. Wachter (zoor,26, AIG r) lists the dipinro as Aeginetan, atrhugh be doults lrat
the vase iself was made on the island.
48. Thefunctionofthebirdremainsunexplained.Note,howevethatalargeswanlikebird
appears in other representations of choral performances, e,g., on a Geomerric fragnrenr frorr
Argos, next to a striding 6gure, who rnay be rhe los player (Websrer r97o, g. r). On an Actic
amphora of the 56os BCE in Achens, National Museum 559, an atios player performs in rhe
presence ofthe bird and cwo listeners; ABV 85.t; Beazley Aua 23. Papaspyridi-I(arouzou
(t9l1,495-5or) identies rhe nusician as rhe myrhical los player Olympus.
49. Downplaying rhe Herodotean story, Burkerc (rg8z, +s,5r-54) urrderstancls the cmcr-
gence oflyric poems with a myth-epic thene as an innovarion ofSresichorus.
5o. Herodotus 5.67.5; Nagy (r99ob,
a3) emphasizes the mimeric characte of the song-
dance for Adrastos 6y tatslacing pros ta pathea as
to his suFerings," Likewise
z5z-54) undersrands rbe Sicyonian choruses as "reenacring clrrough mimeric
representations rhe heroic acrions and sufferings ofAdrasrus" (z5z).
rNTRoDUcrroN / l INTRoDUcTIoN / 15
The spear is an element of costume that gives them a role, that of a
chorus of
that is erninently suitable to the theme of
their song. Casting about for parallels, one thinks of the Myrmidons,
wlro are characrerizerl as'pear fighting" at Odyssey
and prob-
ably constituted the cl-rorus in Aeschylus's tragedy by that title; or the
troop of Abantes, erce speartnen with long hair on their shoulders
(Ilid z.5az- a,3),
As to Sparta itsell the historian Polycrates, writing in the second
century BCE, details choral performances t the Spartan festival of
the Hyakindria that include high-girth tunics for the boys, as well as a
parade on capalisoned horses and specially decorated wicker cars for
tl-re maidens.5tThe perfonnance of Bacchic choral dances is attested
by a gloss of Hcsychius that identifes the Dum.ainai-rhe name of
a chorus tlrat aLso petformed songs of Alcman-as maenads, bk'
Lhi, and"choral dar-rcersi'Lhoritides, in Sparta.52 A fragmenr of a song
of Alcman, which clescribes a female character milking a lion on a
mourltaintop, strongly suggests a. Dionysiac theme and might have
been perfornrecl precisely by a chorus The
excavation of the sanctuary of Artemis Orthia uneerthed thousands
of fragments of [erracotta masks, amounting to l-rundreds of complete
examples, which range in clate frorr about 6go BCE to the fth cen-
tttry,sa T'hey represent youtls and young warriors and several gro-
tesqlre cypes, including the saryr,5s That these masks represent char-
acters of choral performances is matter of conjecture,56 but at the
5r. FGrJs 58BFr
(in Arhenaeus r39e); on this passage see Nzgy 1996' 5t - 5+.
52. Hcsychius s.v clunainai; c (r997 r54-56) argues that Hesychius identi6cation
of tlre darccrs bal<bqi is erroneous. The cborus of Dnruii is mentioned in Alcman frag.
ro (b) e-g PMG-F (= Bza Calarne) arrd Alcman frtg.5.z, col.I, z4-25 PMGF (= 8r Calame,
col. z, z4-25).
53. Alcnran freg. 5 6 PMGF (
rz5 Calarne) ; see.Websrer t 97 o, 53; Calame 1983, 5zo-26. On
Dionysiac danccs in Sparta, sce Constautinidou I998, patticularly pp' zI-23.
5+. Dicl<ins tgzgi Carter (I987)
co tlrc sirrilarity between the Spartan masks
and Ncar Eastcrn
"rrococyres," to suggest rhat the cult oIOrthia may have been founded by
55. The saryr urask is not one of the twenty-ve cornPlete examples recovered from the
seventh-ceIrury levels bu is u,cll represented in sixth-century coltextsi see Dickins 1929, r8z,
56 Dickins 1929, 175,"d.ancing masl<s." Bosanquec (lqo-6, 33s-43) idenriEed one of the
grotesque types as
Womq ri'and connected ic to a Laconian dance mencioned by Hesychius,
very least they attest to the fact tl-rat since the sevenrh century Sper-
tans were well acquainted with rhe use of masks in a ritual context.
In tl-re chapters that follow I argue rhar,jusr as rhe Deliades reellacr
in seasonal performences the dance-song of the Delian Nymphs, the
clrorus of the Partheneion too teke on the role of archerypal clancers,
in their case a chorus of stars. At the heart of the argument is the
identication (chapter z), in the cluster of astral notarions at lilres
6o-63, of a momentous event in the night skyr the cosmical setting of
the Pleiades and the Hyades, Its signicance, wiclely recognized from
Hesiod to Aratus, is that it marks the beginning of winter. On the oc-
casion of a major state festival celebrating the cycle of the seasons, the
chorus dances the Hyades and points co the Moon, Dawn, and Night.
Altlrough it is performed by maidens, che Partheneion is not about
maidens but about kosmos, both in the sense of political order-tbe
constitution of the state-and in that of the order of the universc.
Within this frame of reference, it becomes possible co explain tl-re
role of the mythical llerratives, which are the subject of the rst parr
of the Prtheneion.The incerpretation offered in chapter r hir-rges on
the identication at lines r5-19 of broken but unmistakable refer-
ences to the path of the Sun and the rnyth of Phaetholl. From this I
conclude drat in adclition co the saga of Hippocoon the rst, largely
lost, ve stanzas also narrated the fall of Phaethon, Each is myth of
succession, in which an illegitimate son claims his father's function.
The two are brought into confrontacion with each orher as paradig-
metic exempla of disintegration of the estabiished order-one in the
polis, the other in the heavens.
The structure of the song rests upon the hornology escablished
between the two realms. Chapter 3
explores the ways in which a belief
in the correspondence of these two orders of d-rings, such that one
s.v.bnlll<listai,which was performed by"men wlro donned the masks oIugly rvonren and sang
hyrnns." As Carrer (1987
356) poinrs our, holvevcr, the masks in question do not seetn to be fe-
male. Projecting rhe possibiliry ofa connection benveen poctry and masks before tlre advent of
tragec{y, Carter (r988) proposed rhac AlcmasPdrtbeneion sraged a sacrccl marriage ofOrthia, in
which thc clrorus played the part of Orthiat atendans. Naerebouc (ry97,254-
55) is slcepcical
about che use of the nasks in dances.
rNTRoDUcrIoN / 16
rNTRoDUcrroN / rz
HrppocooN AND HIs SoNs
Tlre frst thirty-ve surviving lines of the Prtheneion are too badly
broken to allow the reconstructiou of a continuous text, The frag'
ment opens with a list'of names, followed by a moralizing conmen-
tary (r-zr):
orir 1ur.1v rccroor v rcarootr c,r
'Ev]pogpol te rc Zppov noErr1
te tv ptatr,
ropuarv 5
Ereipq te
a r' loov
{ rLoir^rv
] rycv
Eputv te
-- -,'..
*^i--, ,.
uHru rw5
fap -F,Ioaravr'v
:r]eEo rc.
tiv] Opnorv tirpovv rotrj o0r,r
yatr tv Agpo8irav
11 :rai8a.
0e l\to oopol,
Epigrapb Stesiclrorus Gerloneis, fag. uPMGF; trans. Canrpbell I988.
I clo not counr Lycaethus among rhe heroes
ancl Enarsphorus and Thebrus swift of foot
and mighty
ancl the helmetecl
and lorcl Euteiches and Areius
and best of demigods
and e hunter
and mighty Eurytus
and the most valianr
] fwe
shall not] pass over.
measure of all
most ancient
',nF..r^"- ^;-l',
of mortals fly to the sky
to rnarry Aphrodice
or child
Graces the palace of Zeus
In the rst line rhere is menrion of one of the Dioscuri,
followed by a roster of the dead. The rst is Lycaethus, whom the
schoiium identies s a son of Derites, adding that Alcman here men-
tions by name Derites'other sons.l The orher names belong to sons of
Hippocoon: Enarsphorus, Thebrus, Areius, Euceiches, and Eurytus.
Evidently the preceding rexr deak wirh the feud between Tyndaricls
and Hippocoonrids. The function of this myth within the economy
of the Partheneion andirs relevance ro rhe gnome that follows at lines
I3-2r continue to be the subject of speculation. Moreover, ir has
proved difficult to reconcile the blood and gore these names evoke
with the seerningly lighrhearted spirir of the second half of the song,
r. Scholium A r. Apollodorus includes Lycaerhus among che Hippocoonrids. All wc
know of Derites is that, like Oebalus, he was a grandson ofAmyclas (pausanias
cHAPTER oNe / zo TH My rtts / zt
The widely shared assumption that the Hiprocoontids, in contrast
to the Tynclarids, here have the role of transgressors who are eventu-
ally broLrglrt to justice overlooks a more cornplex state of affairs and
runs againsr the grain of the text. The epithets lend their names an
epic tone and pathos rivalecl only by the roster of the Persian dead in
Aes clryl us's P e r s i n s :2 uro E rr1, s wift-fo oted;

r a.v, mighty ;
't r'c ,
lord Areius; \oo:u r1loov, supreme emong the heroes;3 and the un-
translatable ropuotv. The eflct of Alcmans song is to confer kleos,
glory, upon these ancient warriors.4 The historical truth of their he-
roic status is attested by the fact that, on a pr with the Dioscuri,
they were inclividually honored with shrines.5 As in other cases, the
colnmeroration of the fallen heroes signals that tlteir struggle was a
foundatior-ral event in the myth-history of Sparta, one that had politi-
cal import in the presenc of the seventh century. For this reason, the
myth of Hippocoon and his sons deserves full attention, once more.
The earliest representtion of the myth known to us, after Alc-
man's, occurrecl on the lost Throne of Apollo at Amyclae, whose
gural clecoration included the cornbat of Tynclareus with Euryrus
In EuphoriosThrhis the Hippocoontids had
the role of
stitorsi' ntimnstres, of the Dioscuri.6 In itsell such
a rivaky irnplies no misconduct on the part of the Hippocoontids.
Intimations of violence, however, surface in the story that Tyndareus
entrustcd the young Helen to Theseus, fearing that one of thern,
Enarsphorus, would rape her (Plutarch Theseus
A connected
narretive is not attested until Roman times. The focus is on Heracles'
exploit-the cause of. the feud, the wound that Heracles received,
z. Acschylus Pcrsians 3oz-3o; on the implications oIkleos in this passage, see Ebbott
zooo; Hutchinson (zooI, 8o) notes the relcvatrce of rhis passage to che roster of fallen
3. Calarre (1983,316) notes the epic connotations ofthe expression. In Homer, as well as
Hesiod a n<l Sirno nides,be mitheo rcfers to the generation of the heroes; see West r978, t9I;J. S.
CIay r996; Crrrtie zoo5, 64. On the promisc ofdcath and inrtnorraliry after death thar rhis term
implies, see Nagy zoo5,8i-89.
+. D. C.ny I99r, 53. Too (g97, rc) sees irony in the use of epic epithers in reference ro men
undeserving of klcos. Ou tlre exclusion o[ Lycaethus from he heroic status accorded rhe Hip-
pocoontids, sec pp. ro9-rr ofthe present t"xt.
5. Sce p. rzz of rhe present text.
6. Eurhorion [rag. z9 Powell.
the slaugl-rter of the offe.ders.7 Diodorut (+.r) relares the folrowing
myth. Tyndareus, sorl of ICng Oebalus, was expelled by his brodrer
Hippocoon and wenr into exile. Some time iater, the sons of Hippo-
coon, t\/enry in nurnber, killed Oeonus, a yourlg cousin of Heracles,
who then mounted ar-r expedition against them that included vari-
ous allies, of whorn only lphicles, the Arcadian ki'g Cepheus, ancl his
severlteen sons are specically menrioned. In the ght rhat followed.,
Hippocoon diecl together with ten of his sons and a
(pmpletbek) of other Spartiates, Havir-rg corrquered Sparta, Heracles
placed rynclareus on rhe rhrone, to be held by his clesce.clanrs u^,
til a descenclant frorn Heracles would ciair it. Heracles'co'quest of
the city tl-rus laid rhe groundwork for the claim of the Heraclidae to
the Spartan kingship, which rhey wre.ched from Ti.sar-nenus, the lsr
king of the line of Pelops.
Pausanias is our most valuable informant, because he had access ro
dre local tradirio'. He species his source (3.r.r) at the very begin.i.g
of his cornpendium of spartan history, which is srrlrcrured accorcling
to dre king lists of the rwo royal houses. I(ng Oebalus marriecl rhe
Argive Gorgophone, daughrer of Perseus, ar-rd had a son frorn her;
Tyndareus, as well as a daughter, Arene (+,2.+). Hippocoon contesred
Tyndareus's succession after the death of Oebalus, arguing thar he
himself was rhe rightful heir, because he was Oebalust elclest son.
With the aid of Icarius and his parrisans, he made Tyndareus fear
for his life a.d forced him into exile (3.r.a). Heracles'hostility roward
Hippocoon and his so11s came about s the result of their refusal to
purify him for rhe murder of Iphitus and was compounded by rheir
assault on Oeonus (z.ts.z-s).t Oeonus was attacked by a dog as he
passed the palace of Hippocoon. When he srruck the dog dead with
a storle, the sons rall our and clubbed him to dearh. Heracles imme-
diately attacked the Hippocoonrids, apparently by hirnself, bur was
wounded and fled. He was healed at the temple of Asclepius Cotyleus
7. Derailed analyses of tlre mydr are in Davison 1938; Page r95r,30-33; Calatte ry,77,
ztsz-59; Robbins 994, rz-r+.
B. Apollodorus(2.7.3,
possible rcason for Heracles'wrarh, narnely, that the Hippocoontids had sided rvirb Neleus. He
assigns Hippocoon twelve sons, whom he names.
CHAPTER oNe / zz THE Mvrss / >3
(t.2; cf.
time (Apollodorus 2.7,), he returned with an
ermy to exact his vengeance.
None of these versions exectly matches the cast of characters as it
survives in lines t-n of thePrtbeneion, but that is not enough reason
to conclude that Alcman offered a substantially different account or
a reworking of: the myth.e Given the state of the text, not much can
be macle of the fact drat Heracles'name does not ePPeeL Moreover,
we learn frorn Clement of Alexandria and his scholiast that Sosibius,
the Laconiar commentator of Alcman, melrtioned that Heracles was
r,vouncled by the Hippocoonticls, and so did Alcman in the rst book
of lris songs.l0 This suggests thet the narrative of the Prtheneion did
not substantially cliverge, as regards the sequence ofevents, from the
one we nd in Pausauias. Mention of the sons of Derites and, most
of all, the sons of Tyndareus, with Polydeuces, may point to greater
emphasis on Sparcan heroes and internal strife, as one might exPect
in local The sons of Derites, however, can easily be accom-
modated in the"multitndd'of other Spartiates mentioned by Diodo-
rus. Ancl it may be passecl over as a given that Tyndareus and his sons
joined Heracles' rrnada,whicl-r would bring them to
No one is in a position to claim the moral high ground in this
tale-not the Dioscuri, cattle rustlers and chemselves abductors of
brides.12 Tl-re clisproportionate violence with which the Hippocoon-
tids responcl to tl-re killing of their dog is no more reckless than the
blooclbadr co which Heracles subjects the cicy in revenge for the death
of one man. \Mhat petmeetes the mydr is tl're force of destructive eris,
9. l)avison (tsze, 4+ suggested tbat ernphasis on Heracles in later sources is tied to a
desir e ro strengthen the l-lcraclid clairn to the kings[rip, wlri [e i,r Alcmani treatment Tyndareus
and his sous played nrajor roles. Since, holvever, by the tire of Alcman the Heraclids were safely
insralled on the throre, it is harcl ro see why a need rojusti$, their rule would not arise until Hel-
leniscicti:res Ara.licallydifferentversionisproposedbyRobbins(ry94,12-),whoimagines
that thc nryth told i rlc Partbettciott is the .ape of the Leucippides by rhe Hippocoontids, with
tbe Dioscuri in the role ofgallanr rescuers.
ro. Clcrne nr of Alcxaodria Prof rcp ficus 36.1-nMarcovirch
(= Sosibius FGrHist 5qsFrl)
with sclrolia.
l. Davison t938, 441-+3.
lz. For sorne rexsorl, nrost interpretcrs casr the ole of the Dioscuri in their feud with the
Aplrarcticls an d thc rapc of the claughters of Leucipprrs in a positive ligllt; see, e.g., Celeme 1997,
r87-9I; Robbins I994; Genglel I995.
strife that brings about bitter feuds and then war, rst arisir-rs over the
epporrionmenr of the kingship. Like dre Theban legenc{ oiEt"o.l".
and Polynices, the myth confronts the issue of legirirnate succession.
Neither Pausanias nor any of our other sources address the
of Hippocoon's claim, but every narrative irnplies that Tyndareus
was the rightful heir. The quesrion of Hippocoon's legitirnacy is cen-
tral to undersranding rhe narure of the conflict he unleashes. why
should he 'd himself ghting for the ki'gship? As the erdesr son,
according to sparren custoln he sl-rould succeed his fadrer wirhour
question. The problem lies with Hippocoo'! pedigree. Apo[odorus
reports conflicting traditions. In one, Tyndareus, Icarius, Aphareus,
and Leucippus are all sons of Perieres and Gorgopho.e, while the
other makes of Perieres the father of Oebalus, who, in rurn, begets
Tyndareus, Hippocoon, and Icarius by a Naiad nymph called Batl.t,
Pausanias's genealogy is in substanrial agreement with yer enorler
one, reported in the scholi'-- to llid 2.5 and rhe scholium ro Eu-
ripides Orestes
45T,ThereTyndareus, fcarius, and Arene are Oebalus,s
legitimate children, while Hippocoon is nothos,the bastard son born
of a certain Nicosrrare. The fact that Pausanias's elliptical narrarive
only me'tions Tyndareus and Arene as the children of oebalus and
his wife Gorgophone indicares that his source/ roo, made Hippocoo.
the child of a different modrer.ra
Illegitimacy explains why Hippocoon's positior,r is problematic.
His situation is like that of the Trojan prince Bucolion, so described
at Iliad 6.23-z4t
Bourcolrv E'{v ui 7uou orEovtog
rp,rarcyevefr, orrLov E
7evmo r1qp
Bucolion was rhe son of brillianr Laomedon,
the eldesr by binh, but his mocher bore him s/orios,
t3. Apollodorus Lg.5,, On rhe various genealogies of Hippocoon and Tyn-
dateus, see Ftazer t9zl, zo-zt.
I4' calame (r987 r7o) notes the macter of Hippocoon! illegirimacy, albeit as an incidenral
element in the saga. I am unable to veriS, the statemenr thar"Gorgophone gives Oibalos rhree
sons who will be in conflict the moment rhe problem of their father's succession arises.', No
source, to my knowledge, gives Gorgophone as the mother of Hrppocoon.
cHAPTER oNp. / z4 THE My rtts / z5
Tlre sclrolia explain that skotios,'darli'or"in the darki'is the term
used for bastards, children conceived in secret without the benet
of weclding torches. What these lines imply is that, although he is
the elclest, Bucolion can never be king. In her
stucly of
this nretaplor, Ebbott l-ras shown that sLotios signies not only the
unrecognizecl nature of the union that brings anothos into existence,
but the overarching quality of his existence, in the shadows.l5 lden-
tied with his mother, the bastard is'bbscure" in the sense that he
lacks tlre cap'.rcity to cote of age and become a citzen, and so ro
emerge onto the public stage of the political realm with the
liance" of his father. BLrt Hippocoon is' bastard who thinks he is
legitirnatei' as Phaeclra's nurse sys of Hippolytus (Euripides Hip'
polytus 3o9).
By claiming that he cau succeed his father, he violates a
fundarnental principle of political order, u,l-rich is therefore thrown
ir-rto chaos ancl can only be reestablished after he and his descendanrs
are destroyecl.
The possibility of conflict rnight have arisen again with the twin
sons ofTyndareus, Castor and Polydeuces, who form a pendant of
sorts to Tynclareus and Hippocoon. While the latter two had the
same father but different nlothers, making the one legitimate and
tlre oher a notbos, the former l-rave the satrre rLother but different
fathers, rnaking one clivine (ancl a notbos among the immortals) and
the other mortal. In their case, the possibiliry of conflict is defused
by their sl-raring one life between thetl, alternately spending one day
beneath the earth ancl the other among tlre living.r6 This arrange-
ment, a kincl of shared rule, prefigures the ultimate solution to the
problern: the Spartan dual kingship't7 The
of strife, pitting
brother against brothel flares up with a vengeence in the succession
of Aristoclen-rus, the rst Heraclid on the Spartan throne. He died
shortly afterwarc{, just after his wife Argeia had given birth to twin
r5. Ebbotr zoo3, chap t, particularly
16. Homet Orl'-r cJ t.2g8-3o4 Pindar Ncrrean to'55-56; Apollodorus 3 rI'z'
r7. AccordingtotheLaconi:urtraclirionreporteclbyPausanias3.r.S,theDioscurireignedac
sparta bcfore Menclaus. on tlre Dioscutj as tlre model for the Spartan kings and rheir procec-
rors, sec Carlier l98+,298-3or'
cHAPTER oNr / z6
THE Mvt:r.s / z7
boys. Herodotus (0.52) tells the following story, specifying that chis
ws the Lacedaemonian version of events and no one elses. Argeia
wants both boys to be king. Knowing that the elder would be chosett,
she pretends not to know who was born rst, which leaves the rnag-
istrates in a quandar y.They turr to the oracle at Delphi. Tl-re Pytl-ria
pronounces that both boys should be king, but the rst sl-roulcl re -
ceive special honors. By a stratagem, it is discovered that Eurysthenes,
from whom dre Agiads woulcl descend, was the rstborn; Procles, the
head of dre Eurypontid dynasty, came second. The twins were bitter
enemies all their lives, but their mutual hatred had no dire conse-
quences for the city.
The relevance of the myth of Hippocoon to Alcrnan's Sparta re-
sides in the position it occupies in the etiology of tl-rat uniquely Spar-
tar-r institution, the dual kingship, which would be enshrinecl in the
Great Rhetra of Within that tradition, its function is that
of a paradigmatic exemplum of the disintegration that woulcl follow
the accession of a bastard ir-r the hereditary chair-r of succession to the
throne. In so doing, the rnyth articulates the belief of a direct conuec-
tion between dre legitimacy of the king's birth and the integriry of tl-re
state, belief that rernained fundamental to the Spartan ideology of
kingship throughout the city's l-ristory. In what Carlier expressively
calls la clcasse aux btrds in the royal houses, the charge of bastardy
was leveled at several contenders for the throne, therelry barring
tlrem from power.te In +gt Demaratus was accused of being nothos
(falsely, according to Herodotus 6.61-zo) and deposed; at the end
of rhe century, Leotychidas was excluded frorn the succession for the
same reson (Xenophon, Hellenica z.l,z);
in 243-+2 King Leonidas
II was removed on the grounds that he had married an Asian wolnan,
with whorn he had two children-something that a Heraclicl
forbidden from doing.2o
r8. Plutarclrl;,crn'gus6.Onthepolicicalimpottofthemyrh,seeCalamergTT,z:53.
r9. Orr clre Spartarr obsession with the puriry of the royal lines, see Carlier t984, zgz-96;
Ogenry96, z5z-62.
Ir; see Carlier ts8+,29+-95; fuchcr 1998, t7z-76.Sce p. ro7 in clte pres-
Tlre drircl surviving stz:za of the Parthene ion presumably concerns
a diflrenr rnyrh fcruring a combatr
rr,-rv E'ci7o iL
] roprpar
ev AtEa
ciaota E
roo't rcarc
of whom one with the arrow
with marbl millstone
in Hades
things never to be forgotten
they suffered for the evils thr:y plottecl.
Not enough remains to identify the battle with certainty, bur rhe
choice of weapons and rhe cast of multiplc offenders point to the
batrlc of dre Gods ancl rhe Giants.2l In this regard one should grant
particulr authority to the evidence of the lost Throne of Apollo at
Amyclae, which is our only Archaic source, not fer removed in date
f-om the Prtheneion, as well as our only Spartan source. On it Pau-
sanias ( saw ancl described all too lrriefly, as though they were
placecl sicle by side, Heracles'ght with Thurius in the Gigancomachy
ar-rd that of Tynclareus with Eurytus, one of the Hippocoontids
natrre.l by Alcrnan. The pairing may be signi6cant, if it also occurs in
rlte Partbcncion.
The foregoing inrerpretation of the rnyth of Hippocootr makes
tlre relevance of the gnorne that follows it in the Prtheneion even
r-r-rore problematic, In what sense does the warning"not] to fly to the
sky" and the refcrence to a tnarriage to Apl-rrodte (t6-ry), together
zI. FollorvirrgDielsA8g6,l+6-+z),Page(t95r,a3)anrittedthepossibilityrhattheselincs
efer to tlre Gigantonracby; see also Farina tg5o,20-zr. Celame (r9zz, z:65-66: tg83, 3zo-zt)
leans orvarcl thc n ych of O ros rnd Ephialtes, followingJa ni t965, 68- 7t, Gengler (r995) iden-
ti6es in thc conrbat tlrc quarrel bcrwecn rhe Dioscuri and the sons ofAphareus.
with tlre nentions of 'llotrnent"
isrt, artd"patb,"
ros, collstitlrte the loral of dris storyi In en ettempt to reconcile
the sentiment expressecl in these lines lvith the
of the sons of
Hippocoo', scholars have argued thar Alcman emphasized rhe amo-
rous rivalry pitting the Hippocoonticls againsr the Tyndaricls.22 We
l<now a parallel story, tlat of the co'test lretween rhe Dioscuri a'd
the two so's of Aphreus over the claughters of Leucippus, which
ends witl-r the death of borh Apharerids and of castor. If the quarrel
was over wolnen, the argurnenr goes, the warr-ring about rot rnarrying
above one's station becomes less obscure. The erotic subtext of the
quarrel would bring the spectacle of the heap of corpses, which thc
rst extant lires preserr us, in line with the tone of the seco'd part of
the song, and provde a useful a'd relevant conrrast to the fe'rinirc
grace that pervades the latrer. But the rgL'nent is weak. There are,
for one tl-ring, too rnany Hippocoonrids ro rhe rwo Tyndaricls,
to the fo'ner o.e sho'lcl add the sons of Derites. There is rnoreover
uo evidence that ar-ry of ther ever ttempteci to marry a gocldess, let
alone fly to the s As Page pur it (albeit ro argue that the vanished
rnyth was that of the rivalry in love), since nothi'g in rhe story of
the sons of Hippocoon rnakes rhis moral appropriare,
adnir rhe
likelihood thar a differenr srory, of which fragmerts are ro be fou'cl,
and with which rhe moral can easily be reconcilecl, formed the rhe're
of tlris
,art of Alcrnanls Partheneionl'23
Paru RNo SrcN
The rnissing story, ro which the rnoraiizing reflections at lines 13-r9
apply, is the mydr of Phaethon, as I hope ro dernonsrrare by a some-
what laborious analysis of rhe wealrh of allusio.s these lines conrain:
yepar, 'roL
zz. Page rysr, 3o-3, Calane 977, zt52-52; Rollins r994, l-i ancl, rnore waril
Tsjtsibakou-Vasalos r993, r33-35. Hutchinson (zool,8o) corsiders a"rornric rnorivario^'' for
the feud unlikel
4. Page r95r,33-
cH.^PTER oNs / zB THE / zg
v] Opnor, tirpovv notr''1 oOu-r
tv AgpoEitcrv
( ttr,'
i1 naiE Ka)
Tlre text nelltions is,"allottnent" or'ineasu rei' atlne rJ, nd dte lost
part of litre 14. or t5 contained rhewordytoros,"pathi'a word the scho-
lium glosses widr a reference to Hesiods L<hos, itt connection with
With the exception of the fable in Platot Symytosum (zqb)'
Paget conrmentaty of
knew of no other instance of poros as a
persolri6catioll or an gent that could be calied oldest. He explained
ics rrrerrtion tn tlte Parthen.eion in relation to the fate of the Hippo-
coor-rticls: a moralizing reflection on the fact that their allotted time
had corne to an eucl,25 In dris view,ytoros ndisa are two words for
rouglrly the sar.e concept, Since thenporo-s has made another aq2eer'
ance, orlce nrore in Alctnan, ir-r the company not of isabu of tekmor,
tl-re publication of P.Oxy z39o produced a new fragment con-
sisting of brief citatious contaiued in an exteusive conlmentary:
col. II
. . . .]
r Mo]oc :rep
. [ ] 1atp'
tt1 tfv
]vlEov 9u][ . . ].p
ura[...' v E]tc-
t r t4 r L
L A] rcv guo
(1'et)' ] r01 -
6] orcowt r,1
friv r]er
tov'oLnr,.r' ]pa. frl
}vya.pag Mirvepr
t lefvea-
24. Scboliuru A 3 ro line 14, tr tv lpor epllrce rr arv r<t> to'Hor6o(u)
vot Xer.
Page! iclcntifction o( isa tod
as personihcation s (tgSt, ll- lz)
iut{eccl diviniries, resrs on r1o firm cvidcnce but has gaincd wide acceptance. See, e.g, Calame
1983, 3r8; Most 1987, t4:
"Poros, rhat dread aDd ancienc gocl." Voelke (1981, zz) argue' tbar potos
and rcl<not are divinities bccause one of cherrr is called,ur c-,g'< in Alcrnan frag. 5 PMGF
25. Ptgar95r,36-37.
col. III
rc E <,; z[
rcrarp 7veto t[
ro[. ]
vteoOev er
tropo turyrop
[.. ] . I
fip\arc 11 rctorceu[o0r,ar
y ero xo p o

tr o lore pXr1. Tly et
ov Arcrrr t1.u L1ll tr.tlruv t-
p ay y-v r1.r rcai dr'ory o.,t
eIr a
o0ar rLv grloLrr'v rcaroreu &llo.,tra
ratrca, elt ytvoOar
pov, too
pou napelOvto naro).ou04
["or'] f-
rrarp. rca.t (orLr,)
:rOpo oiov irpr1, t E t-
rcpc,rp olove to. 11 @tr8o
g.t1 tpy\ rc r[l]o[ tatsrfar'rru.v -
yvefr]o, r r
t4v goLv t4r ro
111, r1 6
@tr r[4 L] ro reXrt-rov, E rrpo rca
rcop rrlr pXr1 t rca rL rl1.
E( ,ivG) rcutpeop&1.
rcairpto orcto
6t r
u1Ezra'l l1te
..- rL ELrpLt[o]v (elvr)
t]r, tir1v.1vovto ov ro.
[. ] .
po rca trro.rp rca orcr[o
. . . ] [ [e.
te rai oe).v
tp'ror orto} t
^taprapuy ].
arap o rJrr.r rl
ov q),[c,rr'r
zrpT epov r1v orcro
Erta Larcpr0[vto]. crrou
cHAPTR oNr / 3o
THE Mvrus / 3r
In this song (25), Alcman speaks about nature. We shall set forth
our intcrprctatou afcer the attetnpts of all others' He (calls) the
Muses the daughtets of E,artl-r, giving tl-rem rlrc same genealogy as
lrorn thepI
came into being
[ ]
drence (5)
poros from
[ ]
for when rratter began to le formed aporos c nrc
into being as a lrsr principle. Alcrran cl-rerefore sys that clre tnatter
of the univetse ,,vas ch,rotic atr.{ unfortned, and chac then someone
cme irto being (ro)
lvho gave form to the universe, nextPoros came
ir.rto being, and tenr followed closely upon the appearance of
Andoro,, is in the natwe of ar\<h., telzmor in tl-rat of elos' Once The-
tis came into being (I5) such arlth ard lelos of the universe catnc ino
being, arrd the uature of the uuiverse is analogous to che material of
bronze, chat of Tl-retis to thar of thc craftsm,rn, and chet of
telutr to arl<h e and telo s.
P resgus : ius tead of p re sb utes (old) ( zo).
And thircl darkncss: lrecause neither sun tlor moon had come into
being but nltter ws still undifferentiated. J'here came inco being
| )
poros and telunor and darkr-ress
[ ] [..
Ancl day and moon ancl
chirc{ clarkness the briglrt-glearlir.rg: day not by itself but wirh the sun.
First there was only dat'laness, aftetwards this having been separarecl . .
Extricating AlcLrran from his comment;ltor is not all esy matter.
Evidently by the secorlcl centrlry CE this text
its leaders
with di{ficulties and hacl been the subject of repeated exegeses. Since
this commentator allnounces tlrat he will put forwarcl one of his own,
we shoulc{ look here for a nouel inrerpretatior, orle that hacl escaped
previous interprcters. The argument, contained in the commentery to
the rst lernura (III,
is structured into four steps, each rcPe tir.g
z6 Lobcl er tL 1957,52-55i rcx cied afer Calarnc r983 (Alcrnau ftag' 8I Calame
[= 5
cr-TAPTER oNe / p THE Mv.rrts / 33
widr furher elaboration the information given in the prececling
It begins with what seelns to be a paraphrase in the fragmer-rtary lines
3-6, which introc{ce tel<"ntor and probably includecl n erylnol-
ogy of dre worcl poros (iil, o). There follows e rsr level of elucic{ador-r
7-S), Iocating the emergence of
ytoros tis, in rhe conrexr
of tlre differentiatior-r of prinlal lnarrer, hul, and explaining rhat this
poros s ar arkhe. Together wth telos, which is nlenrionecl in the lines
tlrat follow, bul and arhh belongro the Arisrotelian terminology, ancl
we shoulcl expecr them to be used in their specific sense of
rnatter,""efficient cause," and"6.nal causei'All we can infer frorn thc
corrulerltry so far is that Alcrnar* text inclucled mentions of poros an7
teknor,z7 It is uncertain whether there was as well a rernl that could be
interpreted as hule,If there was, it nlay have have been some inflection
of pant, which is eqr-rated wirhhul below (III, 17-rs). This line of
thinkingleads on to the amplication of III,8-15, where it is arguecl
("thereforei',[7eL] our Ar<rv) that whar Alcran says is rhat in the
beginning there was primal lnattet then carne a clemiurge who fash-
iorrecl tlre universe, then carne poros, followed by teknror. Lilce that of
III, S (:rpo tL,' certain poros"), the iclerrtity of tl-re clcrniurge
at first is left unspecied, the n'rasculine gender being used in rhc un-
narkec{ sense that accomrnodates the feminine as rveli,'someone r,vho
sl-raped all thingsi'tru gotv tv rcrcorcu allotral:rvtcr (III, rr
The cornnentator reveals tl-re identity of he de rniurge in the nexr and
nal interprecive move (III,
whicl-r may be where his original
contribution lies: in the poem, the 6gure of Thetis as bronze r,vorker is
an allegory for tl-re cosmogony he has just ferreted out of rhe texr.
Most has shown beyoncl doubt that this interpretation belongs to
the traclition of allegorical readings of archaic poetry. This approach,
which purportecl to uncover a philosophy of nature undemcath tlre
rnythical narrative, rvas applied to Horner in particula and was fa-
vored by writers anc{ scholiascs of Roman imperial date.28 We may be
27. AsRicciardelliApicella(r979,r9-zo)nores,poro-ranc{tclnrrvcrecercainlynrenrionec
in the poem, altbough the commentacors dcEnicion is probab\, his own. Or drc Arisrocelian
casr of dre co r menraror s pl:raseology, see Wesr 1967 4 - 5; Calame r 933, 44r - 43. Steincr (zoot)
argucs rlrrc rlrc lrnguagc is Stoic-
28. Most 1932 6-g,18-tg; see also Penrvill 1974, 13.
sure tht the text of the poem rrentioned bronze working and prob-
ably Theds. But no part of the cosmogony that the commentary out-
lines car-r be assignecl to Alcman with ar-ry coufideuce.2e In tlre end, the
ctefinitions of ytoros and tekmor it oflers may be no more deserving of
our trnst than rhe equatiorl of
with Hesiod'skhaos proposed by
schoiiast A on line ru of th,e Louvre Partheneiott.3o In addition, Most
rightly r.rotes that tl-re poens inclusion in the rst two books of the
Alexanclrian eciition of Alcman, which contained what we caIl"prthe'
neioi' andits being a choral song lead us to exPect that a mythical nar-
rative wiil follow the invocation to the Muses, as it does in the Louvre It is oue thing, however, to say that the subject of the
sorg was not a cosmogony but a rnyth artd quite nother to exclude
tl-re possibiliry drat that rnyth might have cosmological implications.32
In early Greek poetry myth nd plrilosophy ere not so easily disen-
tangled. One thinks of the legend of Phaethon, for instance, or the
role of the Heliacls in the proem of Parmenides'philosophical poem
On Nature, both of which r,vill be discussed later. In Alcman 5,
ence to a coslrrogorly is cliscernible, not ir1 the commentary but in the
sclai;s of text it preserves, namely, in rhe troubled lines III, z5-27:
re Kq olvcr rca tpitov or<'ro t.
And Day
and Moon and third Darkness rl-re
29. 1'his was alrcady Page's conclttsion imrnectir te ly Following the publication of the
PaPyrus \r959,2r1.
3o. Wcst (r963, r55) and Most (I987 r3) point out rhe parallel.
3r, Most r987, 6
2. Tbis is what Most'. notion of "straightforwarcl nryth" as opposed to a costlogonic nar-
racive secms ro irnply (r937 rr).
his passrge is riddted wirh dilhcuLtics The tpitov orcro was rnentioned above (III,
zr) a,rd mey be an inrerpoletion hcre, as Calame (1983, ++O) and others lelieve, although Page
(t959, zo) put [orwarcl good rcasons to think that it belongs h ere. The gramrnatical relacionship
oft pppnpul to the test of tbc scntencc is obscLrre; but rhe word probably appeared in rhe
poc rrr, sin cc, es Pe Dvill (t974.,3ztttg) observcs, ir explains rrorhing and is itselfin need of a gloss.
Tbc corrrre,rraror tel<cs
ro refer to rbe sun (lalsely, according to calarnetgSl, +so),
cH^PTER oNE / 34
TtsrE Mvrts / 35
Darkness gures in the poem in close proximiry to Day ancl
Moon poir-rts to the plimorclial division of clay from nighr that is a
xture of Greek and Babylonian cosmogonies.3a In rhis scenao,ytoros
and tel<mor have their place, ancl so does is.
In botl-r literal and gurative :u'sage,
for , w ay. l'emr bas the obviously inrerrelrecl rneanings of
ar yi"' frxed p ointi' and
ign i'35 The lo gic b inding p o r os,'h e patl-r," ar-rd
telunor s cornplementary: tekmor is a xecl landmark along rhe path.36
Botlr worc{s are usecl in the description of astral phenomena,
clenote dre daily course of sun ancl rnoon ancl rhe xed stars, teknor
of the stars s signs in the sky.37 The only path involvecl in the alter-
narion of r-right and day is tl-re one merked by rbe fxed stars, along
which the sun ancl the rnoon travel. Another fragn-rent of Alcman, a
singleton, probably refers to this as well
the parl-r anc{ rnerci-
less Anankei' which evokes the figure of the whorl of Annke wirb
its Sirens.38 Rather than in a lrroad conceptual sense, poroi in asso-
ciation wth teL<mor or aisct shoulcl be unclersrood in a spccically as-
tronomical sense to mean what wonld be iclentiecl as the zodiacal
belt. Appropriarely, in his analysis of Alcrnan
PMGF, Vernar.rt
cites the cosmogony wl-rich Olpheus sings in Apollonius Rhodius's
He sang of holv the earth, the heavens, and rhe sea-once upoll a
time utlited with each other in a single forrn-r.vere sunclerecl aparr
by d,eadly strife; andhowapositior.r frxelteknarl for cterniry in thc
sky is lreld by the srars and the journeys
of rhe moon atrcl
the sun.3e
and in this he may be right.
is uscd ofthe brilliancc emanering frorn Apollo in the
Homeric lr),rrn to Apollo (Honteric H1,nms 3-263).
34. Wesc l63, rs5- 56t Calame 1983, 438 - 4o.
35. Penrvi[1 (t974, 17-zo, zz-24) aoalyzes the eryrnologies and usagcs o[1'oro-< and
teluuorftekttn; Tsitsilakou-Vasalos (r993, I3r-32) reviews previous interpretations ofrbe
meaning ofporos in the Louvre Par llencio
36. Burkerr ry6i,SzTjCaiarre 1933, 448.Scealso Detienne r998, r17-18.
37. Vernant r97o, 46 - 5t; Calare r gU,
4+7 - +8.
38. Alcma:r tozPNTGF (= ro3 Calame). Both Garzya (t963,za z5) ancl Calamc (r977
z:6o; t983, 5a+) recognized hcre an ccho oI the con-jojnccl roriors ofci-crr arrd
os in tlre Louv re
39. Apollonius Rhoclius rgorcr!tici t.496-5oo; rra:rs. Hunte r r993, rnodilicd
It is a long way from Alcman to Apollonius Rhodius, but Mes-
oporamian sources attest thar knowledge of the fact that the sun,
moon, and pl:rnets follow one and t[-re sme colrrse through the xed
strs ws clrrfeltr well before tl-re late sevenrh century. Our pair- the
position' ancl thc
"path"-nds precise correspondence in the
m a nz d zLt (n n za ztt)," statio ni' an b ar r an u,"
of which the B ab y-
lonian creatior-r myth ancl asrronornical texts In the Enwna
Etish (5t-z),Marcluk"fashio[ed the srrions (manzz) for the great
gods. l l 1-he stars, their likeness he set up, the constellationsi'A pro-
loguc ro rlre oLnens of the Enufi,ta Anu Enlil -,elares l-row Anu, Enlil,
and Ea arranged the sky:
WIlcrr Arrtr, Errli[, ancl Ea, the g':eat gods,
hcavcu tr.l earth bui[t, 6xcd the astrononrical signs;
establisltccl the stellar-pos irions
fnaanz,zzal, lse)cfasc
the stellar-
locatiotr s;
the gocls o[ the nigl.rt they
.]. , clivide cl the paths
The MUL.APIN, a late eigl-rth-century Babylonian astronomical
compcncliur-r rilat iltcorporates earlier sou-r'ces,42 divides the stars iuto
three patl-rs that belong to Anu, Enlil, an,i Ea, respectively' Across
rhesc runs rhe Path of rhe Moon, which is aiso the road thac the Sun
and the planets The road is definecl by the stars
whose regior-rs Che Moon in the course of rr month
and whom
he tot ches"; in other worcls, it is a path through and past xecl points
)t_ 12, lB_:.B).It
is intriguing that Mesopota-
rnian astronon'rers engagecl in matlrernaticrll exerciscs tlrat calculated
4o. Sce -sslricr DicLionary lo.I, s.v"tranzazu" (5); 6, s u"'hntranu" (e)' Orr varianr uames
for the Path of rhc Sun, Moon, atrcl planers, Horowitz I99S,256-57'
4I. I-lororvitz t998, 146
- +7.
cnAPTEJ oNs I 16
TH Mvr:es / 37
distances between cor-rstellarions, s rhe Pythagoreans would later be
imaginecl to have clone.aa As in Greek cosmology, the gods presided
over the orcler of the cosmos to prevent transgressions that woulcl
plunge the universe back inro chaos.a5
Although its cosmogonic implications are nor always in evidence,
the irnage of tlre path of the sun and moon through dre xed srars oc-
curs in ancient Greek rexts and monuments of all periods. There may
be mention of the"roacl of the sky" itself, as inJocasra's acldress to the
Sun at the opening of Euripides' Phoenician Women (t_3):
r; r o'cpot opro rl;arr Ev
rpep EigpoL
0o1'r.otot,t ei),ooov gl1a
O you who course heavens road rhrougl-r che srars,
rnounted on a chariot inlaid wirh golcl,
Helius, whirling our your flame with swifr mares.a6
The Sunt journey describes an arc in rhe sky as the chariot rises ro
the highest point, then begins irs descent toward Ocean. On the sarre
road and by the same means travel Nighr, Dawn, and Moon.aT
Horses and chariots domnate the visual as well as the literary
44. The"Hilprechc Textj'a Middle Babyonian tablet frorn Nippuc presenrs che disrarrce.s
between scars as a matbemarical problern; see Horowicz rgg8, rjg-Bz, Sources of Hellcniscic
and Roman date attrilute to Pythagoras calculations ofdistances ofrhe heavenly boclies frorrr
one anothe in an atteurpt to detecmine heir harmonic rearionship. See, e.g., Pliny Narrl
Historl 2.83-84; Alexander of Aphrodisias Arst'otle's Metaphysics 4o (translared wirh coL-
mentary by Dooley r989, 65
66). These have been dismissed, probably co rrectllt o Lr rhe ground
that no mathernatica-l astronomy could have existed before Eudoxus; see Burkerc r972,35o-57;
Freyburger 1996.
45. In tbeEwnna EIisb,Y -s, tbe star of Marduk, rogerber rvith he stations of Enlil ancl
Ea, is charged wich rnaintaining ord er; i.n Tbe Exltqtion oJ Ishtar z7
- 3o, the lVloon and the Suu
seem ro have the task"to lceep all the srars in place as i a furror, f f to make the gods a rhe forc
keep to tbe parh like oxen." See Horowicz ryg9, 14+
- 45-
+6. On dre neaning oftrvov here as
your wey, see LSJ, s.v rro \/Izb. For
a comprehensive survey of literary sources for tlre course of the Sun, see A. Rapp in ,lL l.z
47. lTotneric Hyntns 3r.t5-r6iHomer Oclyssey rz 38o-8r. For rhe cbarioc of Eos, see Od,-,sc1
23.243- 46; for tbat of Selene, Horr eric Hlntns 32.7 -t.Peusamas 5.r r.8 describes Selene riding
a horse among the gold guces ou the pedestal oF tlre statue of Zeos at Olympia, and 6-rrrher
refers (as nonsense) co a story according to which she rides not a borse but a nule.
irnagery of the patl-r of the Sun. What sr-rrviv"s of the melerial re-
corcl, mainly Archaic and Classical paifrted vases,
us wich
two ,.no.lels for the rept'esentation of the succession of day ancl night'
By far the lrost col1mon is that of the celestial bodies riding in suc-
cession, as in the tatleaux of the night sky on the tapestry thac formed
the roof of thc festival tent in Euripides' Iorr. Helius sets, followed by
Nighi, Moor.r at her full brilliance, and"lightbearing'
Dawn, who chases the stars ftrom the skyl
Opav Opoi(ov otp''t aiOpo rcrorL'
n:tou pv rilau'u' te'eutolav
9rcov lrrprr'Eo:rpou
pelrzred'o Nr)[ osipotov (u1oi
Xr1r' :raD'er, otpo E' rapteL 0eaL'
Ei ai0po
OPir^rv, neP0e 6
Aprcto otpgouo' opia
r<rclo S ncrlotr1,o r'1rcv'rt(' rivco
pqv LXr1 pr1,'TEe're, vau'rtot
aaqia::.liott o1teiov, r1 te goropo
ELtbrcouo' co, pa
Heaveu was tnusteriug the stars in the circle of the s Helios
was driving his horses toward his nal glearning, bringing on tl-re
brightness of llveningstar' Night, robed in black, was making l-rer
chariot, clrawn by a pair with no crace horscs, swing forward, and
thc srars wcre accomPanying the gocldess' The Pleiades were passing
tl-rrough r-ni.l heaven ancl so was Orion with his sworc{, while above
rl-rem the Ber rurnecl its golden rail abou r l-re Pole. The circle ol the
full riloon, as at rnicl tnonch, clarced her beams, and there were the
Hya.1es, clearest sigr-r for saiiots, ancl Dawn the Daybringer
the stars to flight'a8
Lt thc monumental arts, the sculptures of the Parthenon
rwo insrances in which a mythical nerrative is inscribed widrin the
48. Euripicles lort,rt47-581 trans. I(ovacs I999.
ctt^PrER oNe / 38
THE Mvrns / 39
i.-ragi'ary arc clescribecl by rhe claily course of the su.. o' rhe easrern
pedi.'rent, tl-re horses of the chariot of the su' risi'g above the waves
of ocean, ancl those of Nighr plu'ging clownwarcl, fra're the scene of
dre birdl of Athena. o' the norrhern meropes rhe gure of a risir.rg
chariot (Eos's or Helius's) at rhe easter' e.d thar of sele.e ser-
ti'g towarcl the west e'close the .nal *omerts of dre sack of
As she
cloes i' the vis*al traditio', sele.e ricles o.
back'5' what remai.s ir-r the archaeological record for the nrosr parr
are pictures tl-rat begin ro epper on Arhe'ian vases early i' the fifth
century BCE and exrencl into the fourth with painti'gs on Apulia.r
porrery. The sequence of Nighr, Moon, ancl Dawn, which the rpesrry
c-iepictecl intlte Ion presents to us, is reprocluced, for i'sta.ce, o' the
cover of a classical pyxis (plate 6).5r wi'ged Nyx leads a fo'r.-horse
chariot at a gallop, a'cl behincl her is selene or-r horseback, lrer heacl
turned towarcl Eos, who follows on a two-horse chariot, wearirg a
cliaclern of
Sters, rendercd as dor-rosetres, shi'c
sele'e while the solar disk above Eost head sig'ies the lighr of daw^.
The gures race roward a pillar rhat arises atop a coL-i'thian colum'
(of whiclr only the upper porrion of rhe capital is visibie) i^ fro't of
a clun-rp of leaves. Like the terma of ahippodrome, in this picture tlre
pillar on colurn. marks the turting posr il rhe ethereal,
that is, the poi'r ar which the su. ppers ro reverse the direcrio' of
its risi'gs alo*g horizo..52 Another pyxis lid shows Eos foliowecl
by Helius; before he sele.e on her horse disappears lelolv rhe arc of
49 Bronrrner rg7 9, 5z- 5 4, pls. qz, r43; 3o - 3r, pls. 38, +4, 4 S.
5o. On rhe iconography of Selene, sce Lacroix tgz4, gB-gg, rozn3; S. Karusu, _LI.VIC z
U984)t 9ag-r?.
5r. Berlin, Staarliche Museen F zSrg; CVA Berlin 3, Gerrran y zz (rysz),23, pI. r38; LIfC
z (r984), s.v'Asrra" no. 8 (= l9). The astral clisk has led to rhe idenriGction oftlre rhirc [rqurc
as Helius (Roberc r9r9,48; Papaspyridi-Karorzoq t945-47,3o-3r; and L.1.,\4C
le<ythos by rhe Sappho Paintcr (plates ro-II), cliscussecl bclor rvhere Eost nare is iscribed
ebove tbc fgure, c{etnonsrrates tha he disk is appropriare o her as rvcll. The 6gure diflrs nor
at all in dress and hairsryte from rhe preceding one, and norhing indcares rhat i is urale. The
scquence of Nigh t an cl Moon appears also on rhe cover of che pyx
Brirish Muscum T3
r5 r4
(E 77e), LIMC z (re84), s v.'Astra" no. e
(= 2e;.
52. Forafullerdiscttssionof thisandorherrepresentationsof rhcsite of rhe u'opailseliou,
see below, pp. t4o-44,YaIouris (198o,
3r3-14) relares lre colun that appcars in rcpresenra-
tions ofthe astral lodies o Anaximanders conception oFtbe eath as a cylindcr, rcsenrbling r
colunrr c{rum (frag.
I D-l().
the sky, her hancls raised in a gesture of arve at the dawning light (plate
Tbe rising and setting of celestial bodies rnay be depicted along-
side a rrrythological flerrative,naway that is particularly appropriate
on the Blacas krate where the subject is the rape of Cephalus (plates
3-s).to Eos, ou foot, pursues the young huuter; above and to the left
Selene, on horseback, sinks below the horizon (plate
on the other
side Helius in his chariot rises above the waves of Ocean (plate s)'
Athenian vases illustrate a second model for the celestial ride, one
in which Night, or Selene, and Day, or Eos, do not follow each otl'rer
but move in opposite directions. The sceue painted on a modest Athe-
nian lekythos of the early fth century ofFers a clear example'The sub-
ject is an adventure of Heracles (plates Io-tl).55 In the area under the
handle, arguably the"back'ofthe vase, the hero crouches on a rocky
spur above a cave, which holcls alarge snarling dog, roasting meet on
spits upon an altar. The main picture eld is given over to a rePre-
sentation of suurisel Helius rises in his chariot, while above him, on
either side, two trrore chariots move in opposite directions, ernerging
from black srrealrers that reach clown to join the outline of the cave.
Their drivers are Nyx, on the left, ar-rd Eos, on the right' The name of
each gure is inscribed and, for good meas.tre, each is surmounted by
all astral clisk. Iconographically, the scene is related to a short-lived se-
ries of representetiorls of the rnyth of Heracles and the Golden Bowl
of the Sr,rn, although; it has been arguecl, the cave and the dog may
point in this case to the cPture of Cerberus.56 The lid of a Classical
pyxis in Athens offers a comparable scheme; awnged, astral divinity
on a chariot, presurnably Eos, looks back at the horse of Selene, which
rnoves iu dre opposite direction and disappears into a sPce marked
with a triple line. On the other sicle, Helius rises (plate rz)'57
s British Museum zt.c ARV} n|zl; LINIC z (t98+), s v"Astra'no' 4'
5+. Britislr Museurn E q46:FF.l43-16,p[. rz6; Lactoix tgz+,to+-5,Pls'l+- LIMC I
(1986), s.v"Eos" no. rlo (='Ascri'zz).
55. Metropolitan Museum of Art 4tl6'29; ttributed to the Sappho Pa*er, ABV 5o7'6;
ABL no-24, a.p. tt, no. 6, pL 3z,4 CVA Gallatin and Hoppin Collections z (USA 8' rg+z)'
PI. ++, t; LIMC z (r98a), s.v'Astta'no' 3; Cohe n zoo6' zo6- 8'
56. Ferrari Pinncy and fudgrvay I98r.
57. National Muscunt t7 9$; ARV
tz\z.z; LI MC z (1984), s v"Astra' no' 7'
cHAPTR oN / 4o
THE Myr:r,s / +t
These images do not contradict the notion expressed by the more
colnnon repfesenrarion of rhe cavalcade of celestial bodies in suc-
cesson, but underscore d-e poinr of arrival and departure a.d their
alterrration. Access to heaven's road is through gateway,which both
Homer and Hesiod locare ar the end of the earth. In the Odyssey,, the Gates of rhe Sun ete pert of the landscape rhrough
which Hermes shepherds the souls of the Suitors on rheir way ro
Hades, on the far side of Ocean:
rp E' iov
r eur 6a r&pr,,
11E zap"He),ioLo :r), r E4ror'Oveipo;v
ifio a.u' ahl a E' ircorrto rat' og oEe),v leLrva,
v0 t vaiouottluTai, ei8o.a rcarvrr,rv.
They went pasr the streans of Ocean and rhe Whice Rock,
pasr the Gares of Helius and rhe counrry of Dreams.
Presendy they arrived ar rhe meadow of asphodel,
And chere che souls dwell, irnages of the deacl.
IntheTheogoy of Hesiod,744-56,this is rhe geteway to rhe House
of Night, to which the Sun rerurns after his day's journey.5s Moon
and Eos movi.g in opposite directions illustrate the notion drar their
journeys begin and end, obeying rmly established allotmenrs of
tire. It is in this regard that the concept of rneasure, netra or isa, is
a governing principle in the order of the universe.
Mens u ns
In relation to poros in the sense of rhe path of rhe sun and the moon,
is has a specic meaning and a 6guracive dimension. A key rexr in
this regard is Parmenides' poem, fragmenrs of which survive under
the title On Nture, Writing in the early frh century what would
be hailed as a new and revolutionary onrology, Parraenides appeals
to the tradition of wisdom poerry representecl by Homer, Hesiod,
58. See also Stesichorus frag. Sr7 PMGF.
E.,imcr-riclcs of Crcte, and Pytiragoras.5!t He cloes so, to begin with,
by writing in hexaLrrete rs tl-rat show a cotrtrivecl,
use of
He sioclic ancl, rnost of ali, Horne ric diction.60 The model of Hesiocl's
encourlter with the N4uses aud, even tnor:e, that of Epimenides'dream,
in which he couverscs with the gocls ancl Truth andJusdce, slancl be-
hincl dre reprcsenttion of this inquiry into the nature of knowledge
ar-rc1 being as a level:rtion at thc hancls of an unnamecl goddess'61 Tl-re
proel-r tells the myth of the journey to place where the revelation
occurs, nalratecl in the first person by the protagonist. He is likewise
n,rrrreless l.rut characterized as a
kouros,u'What concerlrs us
l-reL'e is iclcntity of the path he f-ollows.
T'hc yonng he ro finc{s himself traveling in a chariot drawn by mares
chat arc"'"vise i'polul2brastol
(a), on a rorr.l"frrr removed fron-r the paths
tlrat rrrcn rrer1" (27).Thc roac{ leacls thtough the Gates of Night and
Day, r,vhich are cor-rtrollecl byJr-rscicc, T['re House of Nighc gures as
well in this lanclscare, witl.r which we are fan-riliar from Homer's and
Flcsiod's cosr.nologies. It is the dwelling frorn which the Heliacls, the
clar-,ghters oIthe Sun, best known for their role in d-re myth of Phae-
thon, emerge to guicle tl-re chariot to its destination. The appearance of
thc lleli,rcis signals that Partneuides frarnes his inquiry in mythologi-
cal [e nns, coulormiug to the pr:rctice of clre natural philosophers who
prececlcd hirn.63 In aclditior-r the proern holcts a wealth of allusions that
reveal the nlythological, concepcual, an.1 fgural background of Par'
me niclcs' narrative.6'r The 6gure of the roacl recurs insistently. There is
s9. Scc Dcichgrbcr r958, 63+; Guth: ic t965, to; L)cticnne tgg6,36-37, t3o-34; Burkerr
t969,3,)6-tg, z9; Corclcro zoo4,t4 15.
6o. On Prcniclearr stylc ancl diction, see Mou.elatos t97o, chap' r; Coxon 1986,7-tr,
r56-256 passirrr Co.ron (:986, rr) notcs:"in view ofPrrurenicles'Pythagorean associatious it is
wrr[wltilc to bcar in mind the expless srrre le]lr of I,r,rrbliclrus that the Pythagoreatrs'made
uscoIexprcssi,rnsoIHomcr anc{Hcsiodcirosenlorrhcinrproverrentofthe sottl"'(Iarnblicbus
Ott tht P1thaplr catt lYal oJ LJc tn, 4).
6r I lcsiod Thcogony r rr5; Epirrrcnidcs freg. I D K. See Dolin 196z'
62. Corrl o[ting rhc question
"u'hy a kocnos?'' Co,.{cro (zoo4, z4-25) and Conche (1996,
57 59) roint
rt tlrc fect tht onc! yourlt is rhe timc firr lcarrling. Most other interFretes as-
srDrc rlr rhe cttarrctcrizaion is autobiographical C,rsgrove (r974) oFets a useft l analysis of
63 Scc Slrr<irr 2ao4,26.
64. Iscrjrctcrrollr-iorinrbcmarkcclscrrsccsrrirlislredbySlatlcinI99r:'Allusions..'are
higlrly charUc.l aDcl re.ay scr utirry lor thc rnychs whosc rcsonance or'reverbcatiotl'thcy catry
cFr^P'lER or r. I 4z
THE Mvrus I 43
the one irnaginecl as an ctlral road, albeit clivine, on which the youth
travels. Metaphors of the road confrgure in the speech of d-re godde ss
the available padrs of philosophical inquiry, only one of which leacls
to'I'ruth.65 The hypothesis that rhe roacl of the youth's journey is tl-re
path of the Sun, as a number of scholars have prorosec1,66 aflorcls
a wey to understenc{ the relationship between the narrarive ancl the
netaphoricel use of this image in the poenl, along with irs relevance
to the cosrnological import of ineasurei'Alcmant is.
The proern of Parmenides' poem lingers on rhe fearures of the
chariot ancl of the road that leads ro the gocldess:
gpouoLv, oov t'rc 0ur ir<voL
rgror, Lreig' v proav no).gr1rorr ciyouoa:
Ealrovo, 11 rcar na.v tcr. rl gpeL eiEta grot.
rr1 geprr1v, t 'yap
rp pa tLT aivouo1, rco pL 6' Ev r11erveuo.r,.
ritt.rv E' v
i<eL> opLyyo ul;
niOrevo, Soroi
zreiTero Srvoroiorv
rrclo L ar.g otp to 0 ev, rt oxepXoitr o nr:rerr
rcopaL rpolLzooaL Erara vurcr
ei g co
c opevcL rp t a,v furo yep o\ ratrinr p a.
The mares, wl-rich carry me as far as my spirir rnighr reach,
specl me on, after they brougl-rt me and placed n'Le upon rhe daintn's
of many sounds, which stretched over the worlc{ carries the r,viness
On tl-ris I was carried, for on this road carried me rhe wise rlares,
straining at the chariot, while the maidens led th. rury.
Ablaze in the naves the axle sent forth the shriil souncl of the pipe,
for it was urged on by two rounded r,vheels at eitl-rer errcl,
ino the narrativc as a whole, signaling a constellation ofhe:nes rhat establish bearinqs for rlrc
poerr as it unfolds ancl linking it concinually to orhe raclicions and
nd o a rvider
mythological rerrain" (roB).
65. Orr rhe irnage of the roacl in Parmenidcs, see C ordero zoo4, 19-23.
66. l{ranztgt6,\5g. See also Gigon 1963,246-+j; Cornod 1952, lSnr; Grrtbric r965,7;
Burkert 1969, 7 z3
evel s the uaiclen daughters of tlre Sun hastened to escort ne
toward the light, l-raving left the House of Night,
pushing away veils from their heads with their hands.
(Frag, r.r-Io Coxon)
This translation anticipates collclusiolls I draw fron-r the argument I
am alout to presellt. At present, there is little agreement mong schol-
rs as to tlre clirection of thcjourney ancl the meaning of epithets such
aspoluytl:cntos (z) of the roadandpoluplv'stoi (+) of th"horses.Wrile
the larte r rnay be understoocl in tl-re sense of
"experienced" to
say that the horses know the way, the ureaning of poluphcnos relnains
ttrirc{ line of the
in palticular has long rep-
resented au interpretive stumbling blocl<. At issue are rhe identity of
rhe dimn whose road this is, and the meaning in line
of the cluster
tlrat I tran scr
as tuv rarl. The role thac eidot phta-"the one who
knowsi'as the phrase is generally transl:rtecl-plays in dris context is
the thorniest problern. If gt is ut-rderstood to mean"manl"'mortali'it
carr refer only to the yor-rng narrator, sincc we learrL larcr (t'27) from the
goc{dess thrt this road is"far retnoved irdeed from the step of menj'But
how can the narrator describe hirnself as lEt,'bne who larowsi'when
he is just on his way to receiving that krrowlec{gei68 How woulcl this
charrcterizatior-r of the road-populate.l by divine charioteers, full of
souncl, the way of knowledge-strike an auclience able to appreciare its
nuances? For it is precisely that common furld of traditional knowledge
thrrt Parureuides addresses in a stucliecl nranipulation of epic language'
Lexically ancl gr,rmtnatically, ei8ta gt may be two clifferent
things, It is either the masculitre eccusative singular of eicl
mrn who knowsi'or the neuter accusative plural of t ei8
corrtr'rcted f:orm of the Ionic ancl epic
The latter tneans
in general :rs well as r^y of the sun or the moon, yielding in this case
67. Coxtn tgl6,r57i'tItcway rvith urrc[ discourse";TatI l965,to:"urteringmanythings";
concirc (r990, I A )
explans thc rror,1 in lighr o Parmc:ricles frag. 8.2-3,"0 rhis way rhere are
vcLy rrany signsJ"I'r'eos. Coxon t986.
68. Sotrrc scholars (c g., Bowra 1937 Io9-ro; Burkcrt t969,5; Coxon 1986,158-59) talce the
expre.ssiorr to charcrcrize r rcligiorrs expcrience, such as rhat of the initiate in a mystery culc'
Mns[clc{ (96a, zz9_ y) nd cordero (zooa, z6) bclicve rhar he rraveler is on his way back
fronr thc goclc{css ancl rha rhc narrrive of lle ercourrcr is a flashback'
cH^P'r'ER oNr. / ++ rHE rvtvr:e.s / 45
k'owi.g lightsJ'.e Because they rnay rake idencicar forrns, gr,.,
a'd r gi^r lerd thernselves ro pun'i'g r,vorclplay, Take, for i.srance,
creusa's exclarnarion, where g sigr-ri6es both dre right of the su'
and the n'rortal child lon:
dr go
rcpelooov i1lou
O son, o light dearer to a mother than thac of rhe sun.
(Eutipicles Ion
while i' Attic tragedy the use of the co'tracted for'-r of go is the
rule, we expecr Parre'ides to follow epic usage, He makes exceptions,
though, for special effecr, dre rnosr remarkable of which involves pre-
cisely g as the conrracted forn-r of go.
Parmenicles fuag,4 is a singleton that describes rhe moonr
vurrt g a rc.p\ y al,t a, prer ov a)J,tp Lov g r,r

An alien iighc wanctering ctarkly bright around rhe earth.7o

Allotrion,"alen" or"foreig.," refers to the fact that the moor-r procluces
light of its own bur reflects dre light of the su'.'Arie'right," there-
fbre, is correcr lireral translatio' of llotrion phs. Ir fails ro acknorvl-
edge, howevet rhar the expression poir-rredly echoes the lJorneric
frn-Lula allotrios phas, wl'ich sig'ifes srra.ger, as i'
address to her son:
ral rcv tr gar1 yvorr prevr pou r,Ep,

rccr rilo ppevo, aD.rpro g.
One who sew you, sorle outsider, viewing your size ancl beauty,
would say you were the son born of a prosperous man.7r
If the Horneric allusio. has been recognized by rnoclcr' co11'err-
rors, we can be certain that it would not have escaped the audie'ce
Parrnenides had in mind. Its effect is to characterize the light of the
69. so far as I know, o*ly Eisler (r9ro,3ss) translares si8rc goa as'hlr-k^orvi.g lisrrr.s."
7o. Pannenides frag. r4; trans. Coxon r986.
7t, Honrer Ocllssey t8 2r8-r9; rrans Lattinrore 1965.
lrroor as alicn to it ancl, t the serne time, as a"strangeri' an alien pres-
ence in the niglrt.72
T'he phrase eiEt gt'rt is a cornparable exercise in ct'eative ambigu-
ity. eiEta may be taken in two distinct but comPlementary meauings.
As a singular qualilring gc,rta in the sense of
it refers
to Sun.s cai;acity as ytanopts,"all-seeingi'to know or, beter,"wit-
ness" all that happens o1r ealth.73 For that resott, Helius is invoked as
tlre witness par excellence, as he is by Lyssa in Euripides' Hercles;
upreoOa Epo' Epav o pol'or1.
I ca[ the Sun to wituess thrt what I ar-n doing I do agairrst my will!7a
Taken as a phrral qualifying gt-rta in the seuse of
ei8ta re-
fers to the rnerls by'which the Sun sees. For his authority as witness
depencls or the rays, which reach all thir-rgs, The Homeric hyrnn to
Derlete r nakes tl-ris explicit. The goddess turns to Helius for help
ancl says,
you from the bright upper air look upon all things on
e arth and r+)on the sea with your raysi'75 Wl-rat is impenetrable to his
lighr,phaos, remrins hiclclen frotn the Sun-the Cirnmerians,for in'
starlce, r,vho livc uude r a blanket of fog and clouds (Odyssey rr.r4
Accordingly, Zeus persuades Hera to lie with him in the open on
Mount Ida with the following argulnentr
p{re 0etrr t
!reo0ar' :'olt :,ot ey vgo crrgLrcatrrfuur
72. Coxon1986, lI,z45:"P!phrasctprorrgoisaplayonHorner!r7e0orccrclo
pptro otrtpto
(o zr9), prornpted perhaps try thc participle irltevov, since a vagabond
is an aien; an a)rprov go is rhcrefore a liglrt not orieinaring in the places th.ough which it
travcls," Scc also l)icls r897, l;o; Guchr ie r965,66; Mourclatos r97o,224-25.
T,l llorrrcr llid l.zzl; Llcsiod Wories atdDal's 267-68;AcschylttsProtnetbessBoundgr
rvrarrrv rcr<.or r]).iou,"tLrc all.sccirrg orb of rhe sunl'With .egard to Xenorhanes frag.34
D-l(, Frnkcl notcs rhat the,rrchaic usc oFeilcrc fttll), rctains tbe sense of"knowingby expeti-
encc" rhrough
aving witIesscd" soflrcth i ng, as is wel] illusn rred at llid z.485, wbere o "knowi '
cidclci, rcans to"[re
Frnkcl r968,,5- 36', r975, 342- +5.
74, EuripidcsHcrtclcsS5S;rratrs I(ovacslggS.SeealsoEurpidesSpplintsz6o-610
tercc7ivr{vrerupgporoev // L\nypoeratprup'riloute9,'tallingthegocls,tlte
carh, De,.rccr thc rorchlcaLer, ancl tlrc igltt ofthe Sun ro witness" (trans l(ovacs 1998)'
75 Ilantcric L[yntns z 69-7o; sce also Flesiod Tbcogorry 76o.
rv vr EraEprcor'HL tep,
o te ra !T a'rov:retat go eioopao1at.
Hera, clo not fear that any mortal or any gocl
will see, so close shall be the golden cloud rhac I garher
about us, Not even Helios can look at us through ir,
although beyond all others his light
has the sharpest vision.76
The wordplay dlat g|r allows enables tl-re expression ei8r gc^rr
to signify both the Sun! power of vision, which resides in his rays,
and his role as quintessentil witness, In the latter, absolute sense, one
shor-rld also understand the striking reference ro sunrise in the Louvre
Partbeneion (ls-+l),"
yv E'ei8o.r
1\Trr To
y' rr' ii\to.t, v:rep rrv
I sing
che liglrc of Agido. I see rt
like the sun, whom
Agido summons to appear and
witness for us.
In the proem, tl-re relative clause r'1 Ko.t r"ctr tatrl gper ei8ta
once'tarries the rays rhat witness" and'tarries rhe one
who knows"-species the sense in which the road belongs to tl-re
imon:7s it is the road he travels with his light. Hesiocl's Tbeogotty
76. Honer lliatl ry.1+z-+5; trans. Latrimore r95r. See also Aeschylus Pronte tbeus Bound
796 -97:
t ot9' i\Lo rpooEprcercL rcricrv o0' 11 vrcepo
ror, "neirber does rhe sur rvih
his rays look down upon thern, nor ever nocrurnal moon."
77. SeePager95r,84-
78. I follow l(ranztgt6,u5gtGigon1968,z46-47;Cornforry52, rrSnlj Gurhrie 1965, j;^
idenrilyirrg the dainon wrh the Sun aod in understanding /:orlol as the antececlenr ofthe pro-
noun tlra follows. Burkerr
$969, 7, zB) also wonders if the road in qucscion is rhat of he Sun.
Note, lrowever, rhar che majority of incerpreters idenci$, in th,e dinn che Godcless. See, e.g.,
cLr^PTER oNe /
THE / +7
offers a compr:1ble inrage ir-r Day holc{ing olrt to mortals'll-seeing
light," gclo noluEeprc, 01 the roac{ tirat crosses tl-re thresholcl of
the Gates of Niglrt ancl Day.7e The Kctr cLv'ratl, which
is thc one transmitted in all the tr-Lanuscripts,s0 substantially cor-
lesrorrc{s to Wilarnowitz-Moelienclorf's emendation Kc.-' r.cwrc.
<taty'1>.81 Its sense,
over the world," is an apt charac'
terization of the road of heaven, It is thc image of the roacl of the
Sun that ilr frag, B structures the metaphor of the way
that alone leads ro true knowledge-as one'long which are tnany
signs"-with a phrase that evokes the falliliar pair of poros and
Finally, irr rcgarcl to the road of the Sun, dre acljective poluphemos
l.ras a particular chargc. It occurs twice in I{orneL; where it unequivo'
cally lefcrs to souncl-the
"many-voicecl" assernbly Odyssel 2.150,
and Plre mius, the singer'bf many sougs" at Odyssel 22.776,82 Making
the roacl orre of inany songsi' polupbmos, together with the musical
not:rtion of the souncl of pipes arising from the axle of the chariot, sets
Unterstcirc 1958, [xi; TaLn r965, lI; GalloP :98+,4g; Coxon t986, r57; Concbe ry96, 4+-45;
Corcrt zoo4, z6-27
79. A corrparrblc cxpression is usccl oillos at l-lesio.l
+st'-lhe commentatot of
Alcrlrn 5 PlG-l rrry have hr,l suclr an iLrragc il lind rvhcn he wrote'day notby itself but with
thc srrrr"(co. III z7
sec p,3t-32 of the
esetrt rext.
8o, Coxorr 1986 givcs thc fof lowing mannscript reaclirrgs: nrt' cir4 N, lvtr L, lcivrc t
E Thc crr oncous r eaclirg rr,r' ctotrl u,as rvidely regarclc. as the rnost acceprable undl Coxon
(r968) tliscovercd tlrat it aprcars i:r tro tlatrusctipt; Lesltcr: (r994) reProPoses it as an emenda-
tion. Arrayse s of rhe t'any ct'ctr<lations that lravc bce rr
be fou'd in Diels r897
48; Untcrsrcircr rq8, lii-liiinq; Pclliccie r988; Conchc 1996,44-45
8r Wilrmou,itz-Moellcnclorf gg, zoJ- 4. tat,
"stretchect," is applied to uemberes
in Aristotlc HisLory o.l'Anintols 5rgt3z.Thcrc
may bc arr lllusiorl to tbe road of the Sun in a
fragrrcnr of Enrpcdoclcs, r35 D-l(: clrtra r pv ncvrcur rttov 6r r' epurEorrto // aijipo
rlverco rrcrcr Er r' clrou c14, "buc that wlrich is [u,ful for all extcnds conrinuously
rlrrotrglr tlrc br:oe.l-ruling Air arrd througb thc boundlcss Liglrtl' Trans. Free rnan tg+8. Teini
rrrav be srjc{ lircr,rlly o[ roads, as at Plaro Laws 763c. F-or a l]ctaPhotical use of this irnage itr
In pbilosophical rcxrs, to
,ucans"tlte wholc" in the s.'ilsc ofuniverse, world; sce, e.g., Aris-
tptor, cprorrr,"[or, as rhc Pyrhagorcans sry, tlre world an.l all [rat is ir it are determinecl by rhe
nunbcr tirrcc."
8z Ontlrispoint,sceMourclatosrgTo,4r.nPintlsthtniotts.5B,poluphantosisrheclirge
"oImeny voices
cH^PTER oNz / +8 THE Mvre.s / 49
offpowerful reverberarions. It is a' allusio' to thcory, possibly
attributed to Pythagoras by this rime,83 thar the lnovelnenrs of rhe
heave'ly boclies produce solrlds thar resul i' musical harr'ony. Thc
allusion is not surprisi'g. Pa.rre.ides' e'gagerne't with
cloctrine is atrestecl by sotion's restirxony and by refere^ces to it i'
other fragrnents of the poern,sa
Next in rhe proenr
Qr- 4) comes the arrival ar rhe Gres of Nighr
i' a passage thar obviously looks back o' rhe followi.g clescription i'
tlte Theogony:
r< Nurct pepvrl oiKq EeLv
o.n1r<er reg rcercaLurvc rcuavoL.
tv:tpo0"Iaxoo ttt er opavv epv
oq rcega,1 re rai ircaryot
.ogio, 01 Nt te rca'Hpp1 rg ooar
aD,r1 npooerrov perprevaL p7crv oEv
X).rceor.r1 rv
oo rcataroar,r1 E Opa(e
.pXercr, oE not' rgotp po vr p1er,
ri,* ai rpr1
rc,-rv rroo0ev ouoa
yaatt xtorp.getaL, 11 E'r5 Erou r,r ouoa
rilv arfi ropqt Eo, or' cr, rcrcrL.
:rLX0oroLoL go zro,uEeprc ouoct,
ov get t
o, rcao1.r, r.rov @ avro r o
There stancls the arvful home of murky Night wtapped in dark
clouds, In fronr of ir the son of Iaperus srancls imrnovably upholding
the wicle heaven upon his head and unw-earying hands, where Night
and Day being on eirher side of it greet one another as tl-rey pass rhe
great threshold of bronze: and while rbe one is abour to go clown ir-rro
the house, che orher co'es out at the door, A'd tl-re house never holcls
them boch witbirr; but alivays one is r,virhout the house passing over
83. Bowen (1982) poinrs our rhar rhe analysis ofhorv sound is proclucecl in Archytes (rrao
Bl D-K) is casily applied to the heavens.
84 Diogcrres Laertius livcs oJ the Philosorbcrs
9-zr On Parrrerriclcs' Ferniliaricy rvirlr Py-
ry6S,j,zoU Couloubaricsis 19g6,32
33; Coxon r9S6, n,ry-t6,
38- 39, z4o
- 42; Cordero zoo4,
the earth, wlrile the other sceys et home ancl waits until the time for
her journeying come; and the one holds ail-seeing light for them on
erth, but the ocher holds in l.rer arms Sleep the brocher of Death.85
While te Odyssey
speaks of the
of the Suni' in
rhe Theogony the gateway belongs to the House of Night, situated
above the chasnr that holcls theTitans.The"House" of Night gures
as well in Parmenides'proelrr, as the place frorn which the Heliads
effrerge (9), and is mentionecl, as we shall see, also in the Prtbeneion
(73). Since the two are never on the same side of the threshold, the
journeys of Night ancl Day are distinct. Accordir-rgly, they may be spo-
ken of in tlre plural, l<eleuthoi.There is, however, only one road, dre one
that leacls to the gate.86 As their paths cross, Night and Day greet each
other, moving ir-r opposite directior-rs. Tlris image has caused some
perplexity, because it is nor easily reconciled widr the idea that Night
follows Day upon he same path, as Dawn, the Sun, and the Moon
a,re envisioned cloing on the monlrlnents and vases mentioned earlier
ir-r this clra',ter. It has a parallel, how"v"r, in a passage of the Odyssey
which describes the country of the Laestrygonians. Thet is the region
near the paths,l<eleuthoi, of Nigl-rt and Day,
one herdsman,
driving his flocks in hails another, who answers as he drives his flocks
out,"87 so that a man who could do without sleep could earn double
wages. The vignette has a proverbial cast. The picture on dre Sappho
Pairrter's lekythos that r.vas examined above, not far n darc from Par-
rnenicles, seens to conrm that the notion of Night and Day trading
places ha.l wide currency.
Like l-lesiod, Parmenides rnakes the point that Night and Day are
never together orl the.seme sicle of the thresl-rold but alternate:
vOa :trar vurc, te rca

pr eiot rcetreOov,
rcal oga :rp0upov arg XeL rccrlwo oE,
85. FlcsiodT/rcogory744-56itrarrs.Evelyn-Whiterg36.TherextisfronWestIg66,except
for line 748, where I prefer rlre variant mnusctipt reading cir ooat because, as West noes,
it was probably the one known to Parmenidcs (pp. 166 -
62). West considers lnes 7+o- +5 an
interpolation (pp.3s8, 16l). Parmenides, however, later idcntiGes the house ofNight as the
dwellingof Day and Niglit ([rrg. r.3z).
8c. Deicbgrbcr r g58,662;Yos
ry6f , zr,-22.
87. Homcr Ody-s-sL'y Io.82-86; trans. Lattimore 1965. See West 1966,366.
cHAPTER oNp / 5o THE Mv r:r.s / 5t
ata 6' i0 Lyat rr,rcr
LoL 0u ptp o L.
tv E Eiru1 ro.rroLvo XeL rc.416a aroLpo.
There are the gates of the paths of Nighr and Day, whom linrel keeps
apart ancl threshold ofscone, The gaces drernselves, reaching to the
sky, are blocked with great doors, of which mucl.r-punishingJuscice
holds the alternatingkeys. (r,rr-r4 Coxon)
Tlre plrrase anphis ekhei
echoes c,mphis eousi at Theogony
with che same rneaning; the threshold rnarks rhe bounclary that keeps
Nigl-rt ancl Day apart.88 A second specic allusion to the Hesiodic
pssage is amoibous (ra), which recaLls nreibomeni at Theogonl,
The same figure is implicit in both. The latrer srresses thar rhe gures
exchange one realm for dre orher by crossing the chreshold. rcl4l8
oto,"alternating keys i' is ahypallage, which rra,nsfers wl-rar prop-
erly belongs to Night and Day-alrernarion-to rhe keys that open
and close the getes and so ler the one in and the orher out.8e
Like the notion that the path of rhe sun, moon/ and planets winds
its way through the signposts of the xed srars, thar of the gateway
through which rhe sun sers and rises is also well attesred in Mesopo-
tamian cosmology.eo There occurs as well dre 6gure ofJustice at the
gate, but as the minister of The task of opening rhe cloors
of heaven belongs primarily to Sama himself a,rd, in aclclition, to
the gods that are the other heavenly bodies.s2 It is noteworrhy thar
che Greek tradition, upon which Parmenides draws, places the keys
instead in the hands ofJuscice. It is she and not the Sun who enforces
the rules and threatens punishmenr. This capacity of
88. I underscand oga in reference ro Nurr re rc"Hcr; see Fcrrari Pinney and fudg-
wey r98t, r+2.
89. Deichgrber(tg58,659)noresrhararroi6otJcannreanonlyrheakernatio:rofopening
and closing in regard ro rhe exchange of Night and Day. For another inscance of a transfered
epithet in Parmenides, see fragrnenr 9.4, p1,c re rcrc),oro reo repigortc oeLr,v1 ('ncl you
will learn of rhe migracory deeds of the round-faced moon," rrans. Coxon 1986), rvhere rhe
moons capaciry to move, or revolve, becomes an etaribute ofher'dceclsl'
9o. Hcirnpel \986, ryz- 40; Horowirz 1998, 266-62; correspondcrrces rvich rhe proern of
Parmenides are noted in Burkerc 1969, ro, r8; Sccele z oo2, 58+-85.
9r. Babylonian"Sunset Prayer"; see Heimpel r986, rz9; Steele zooz, 585-86.
IJ-;,--^ t^aa t,^
regard to the Sun himself is iu eviclence in a fragn-rent of Heraclitus,
with which these lines of Parrnenicles are frequently glossed:
oX nepprioetat ptttpa'ei 3
{,'EpLve rtv
:rircoupo r leuprloouotv.
T'he SLrn r,vill not trensgress his rreasures; otherwise the Furies,
rlinistcrs ofJustice, will find him ou,er
Burkert sew tht in Parr-r'renicles, as in Heraclitus,Justice has rhe task
of keering Nigl-rt an.1 Day to the
n'tetra, of tirne allotted
to eaclr.ea He cites a passage of Euripides' Pboenicitt Women that ex-
on the salne point, whereJocasta tries to persuacle Eteocles to
share thc throne with Polynicesl
ptp'a'u0p:toLot rca
or1 & a\e rap L0 pv E L p toer,
lurc' t'agery p),gapor
te gta
ioor po8(et rv vtasto'u r<rc,or,,
r<oEtepov tr,-rv g0r,o'ir et vLrctevov.
elO' r1).to
rt te Eoulet
o E'orc vtr1L 6ortt-rv Xt"rv ioov;
tt,rtE' anovelrat; rcLttr no brLl 11 Ercr4;]
In fct, it is Egturlity tlrat has established rl]eeslrres and weighrs for
rnankind :rncl given theu t-tttrnber. For Nightt rayless eyelid walks an
eqnal portior.r of the yearly rouncl with the liglrt of Day, and neither
of the nr fcels envy when lested. So tbcn, when Sun and Nigl-rt are
subjcct to meslrres, r,vill you, l-raving ar-r equal share of the house,
refuse to :rccord it to this mer? Where then is justice?e5
93. Frag sq D-K (52 Marcovich), trans. Freenran I948' See \{ranz t9t6, t6o-6u Unter-
stcincr t958, lxxvij Gigor I968,246; Conche I996,5o, zo6.
94. Ilurkerrr969,ro-u.Mtcovch(zoot,z75-76) understandstretrzintlresenseo['!pa-
inl Llcasurcs,"'brlit."
95. lrur ipiclcs PbocniciLn Wowctt 54t- 48; traus l(ovacs zooz, modified. I print the texc in
I)igglc 994, rvhich aclopts Wcil! crcrrctarion
ec line 546 for thc ppotoi of dre mann-
scr irts, wh ilc bo th l(ova,:s anc{ Mestt onardc (r994
rctein ppotoi. Apart Forl the fact that the
cH^PTER oNe / 5z THE Mv rtts / 51
speech holcls out the"'reasures" drac ensure rhe equitable
alternation of ight and day a'd the orderly succession of tl-," r"^ro.r,
as the paracligm of the kind of fair apportionmenr rhar u'derpi.s a.
orderly sociery.e. rn rhe Prtheneion, it is asa tltat signies rhe cos'ric
irnport of
In conjunction widr
tlTe roacl of heave',
is has the rnarkecl se'se of rhe rime allotted to clarkness ar-rc{ light,
respectively, a ser portiolr that was assig'ed forever ar rhe moment
of their prirnorclial seprarion. The ki.d of violario' that Heraclirus
envisio.s would throw the u.iverse back into chaos, as would a^y
deviation of the stars fro.r the established path, I. mydrical thouglrt,
that threat to the balance of narure is emboclied in
for that reason is an ideal foil for the irnage of a harr-'ro'ious *niversc,
suclr as one nds in Alcma''s Partbeneion and
allusio. to Phaerhon in rhe latter has long bee. recog.izecl in rhe roie
assig'ec1 to his sisters, the Heliads,eT The sisters, in one versio' of the
story, yoked the chariot for the fatal ricle, and at the e'd thev famo'slv
rnour'ed his death. In signicanr ways, rhe hero of rhe proem is cast
es ar anti-phaetbo..e8 He too is akouros,a youth entering upo. mal-
hood, drivi'g a chariot pulled by im'rortal mares ar a gallop, o' the
road of the S*n. But he escapes Phaetho.'s tragic fate, because Law
arrdJuscice vouch for his legitimacy (t.26_ zB).
r tl'te Partheneion references ro Phaethon, the exe'rplum of whar ca-
lamity woulcl e'sue should the charior of the sun cleviate fro'r rhe
prescribed path, follow on rhe heels of the menrion of poros a d clisa
passage is all about fair apporrionm ent, docleuei has sucr abject connoratio ns ofserviru<le as to
rule out the
drar ir relers ro che relacionslrip ofdivine bei'gs ro morra[s.
96 See slackins characrerizarion oF this concepr i' Hesiod (zoo4, 47)i' Drc measure ancl
righr season are invesred with an erhical dimension, mosr fully realized as rhe basis for the
operations ofJusrice."
97. Bowra 1937, to3- 4; Burkert t969, 7.
98. cordero zoo4, z6:"Phaethon becomes a negati'e irnage of the
whosejourney does lave those elements tha were absent fom the unfortunatc chjlC of rhc
suni feckless dasb, (r) rhe guarancee o[ righr andjusticc . . . and (z) nraiden guicles rvho knorv
rhe right direction."
ciru]Eo cr),r<.
cir,] 0prc,;'v p vr; :rotr1 o0c,,r
]pr1ro 7crr4v
tv l\gpoEtav
ri tw'
11 7[CrOr. . . Kd
Le:rvir.rg aside, for the monteut, the supplements tht l-rave been pro-
lor Itnes 16-r7,I trauslate r
u:rlcrtercd nriglrr
ofnrortals I1y to tlre sky
to nrarty Aphroc{ite
j uristrcss or: solrc
child. . ,
f'lre two ir.nperativcs at lines 16 anc{ 17 llave been iuterpreted in
terrns of seutentious uroralizing, warning men not to oversteP their
bouncls. Page, fbr instr1ce, translates:
soaring valour of man
take r,vir.rg to Heaven,
tty to mrry Aphroditei'
ancl Calame r'i , . lr vaine rsistance. (Quucun) parmi les houmes
nspire au cicl, (quucun) ne tente cl'por-rser Aphroclitei'ee But fly-
ing to thc slcy ancl marrying Aphroctite are disparate kinds of trans-
grcssions, ancl thc logic according to wlrich they are paired here is
not apparent. Moreover, wirile drere are no tales of meD assault-
ing Aphro.lite, thcre are sevcral of A.thtoclite abducting or seduc-
ing r.nortals, namely, Anchises, Adonis, Phaon, an.{ Phaerhon. Like
Eos,t00 Apluoclite is preclator, not prey, ancl both godclesses reverse
tl're famili;rr paracligm of male gocls in pursuit of beautiful and re-
c:rlcitrant yoLrths aud maiclens.tot When it cotles to sexual matters,
A,hroc{itc is in charge, ancl she eccourrts as well for the mortal loves
olt the goc{s, Phaethons uatne cloes rot apper in this extremely Ia-
cunose part of thc text, br-rt the allusion is as untnistakable as the
99 )aqc r95r, zr; Calrrrc r983, z7o.
roo. On thc loves oIEos, scc C. V/ciss, I-iMC I (r9so): 758-79; Stewarr r995, 86' Nagy
(9goa, 246
- 54) strcsscs thc parallcl istrrs betwcett [ios arrd Aphrodirc.
lor AsM/ilarnowirz-Nlocllcn.lorf(183,ql) renrarl<ecl,moralscannottnarryAphrodite;
et nrosr ir is slre rvho clocs thc nrar rying. On rhe nror rll Ioves of Aphrodite aud che structural
sinri ritics of rhc scories of Phae th o rr, Phaou, and A.lo rr is, see Nagy t99oa passin
crr^PTER oNe. / s+
THE Mvrss / 55
reference to Prometheus would be in dre phrase
no man steal
re or cheat the gocls of their sharel' Only in the myth of Phae-
thon do flying to the sky and the prospect of marrying Aphroclite
Across variant tellings, the constant elerrents of the story ale as
follows. Phaethon is the son of Helius and an Oceanicl (or a Ne rei.l,
ol a nymph). Upon coming of age l-re claims the right to clrive his
farher's ery chariot across the sky. But he cannot cortrol the Sun's
horses, which veer offthe establisheci patlr ancl, cot-nitlg too close tc'r
tlre eartlr, scorch it with re.Zetsputs an encl to this by striking Phae-
thon with a thur-rclerbolt. Phaethon plurntnets into the Eridanus; on
its bank, his mournful sisters are turned into black poplars, e ven rrow
inconsolably weepillg tears of amber. There exist two rnyths of his
ur.rion with the goddess. In rhe TheogorDr,Pheerllou is the chilcl of Eos
ancl Cephalus, whom Aphroclite carries offin the bloorn of l-ris youdr
to le the keeper of her templel
'istp rot I(egtrr gtroaro gErrov uir,
g 0 rror
0eoi nLeircelov ci'r,Epo'
r.pev civ0o ort' ptruSo
aiE' arcl gpovovta gopperErl AgpoEirrl
t:pr' ,uqe\rapt.v1, rai
(cr0oL v'ur1oi
loLrloato, Earova Elov.
Then to Cephalus sl-re bore a splenclid son, st1'or1g Piracthou, a rnan
resernbling the gods, whor-n, a boy in the tender blooLn of:glorious
youth, his rnind chat of a child, laughter-loving Aphroclite seizct{ ancl
carried away. She made hin-r the hidden stewarcl irr her divirre rcnrple,
a divine spirit.
The Hesiodic corpus contains nother reference to Phaetl.ron.
In a fragrnent of the Catalogue of Wonen, the so-called ges periodos,
the mentions of
anci'deep-flowing Eridar-rus" aliucle to thc
roz, Nagy
brirrgs to lighc thc signi6cance of Aphroclire's rolc in tlre storl'
of Phaethon and the cosmological implications of this solar rryr[:. Diggle (r97o, a-32) oflcrs r
cornplcte survel' of sources.
Ianrcrrt oF tl-re Heliads over Phaethor-rs body.103 H.Iies ws the title
Aeschylus g;ve to his tragedy about Phaethon, and their myth has
no existcnce outside that narrative' Substantial fragments survive of
Euripide s'Pb ael:hon.There he is the son of Clymene, an Oceanid, and
Helius. Ilis irrpending marriage to Aphroclite is at center stage. Phae-
thon has been raised in Aethiopia, on the banks of Ocean and not
far fom thc palace of Helius, as the son of Clymene ancl old l(ing
Merops. Ir is apparent that at the opening of the play (a5-62) bs
rnother has tolcl him that his true father is Helius; she now urges
him to go to the palace of the Sun and ncl out the truth of her claim'
Phaethor-r wavers, His decision, it seems, depends on a meeting he
will lrave rvith Merops. The couversatiou takes place against the back-
ground of preparations for Phaethons wedding ceremony, which are
in fr,rll swing. In the parod.os, the chorus sings of the coming day, in
lrtjcipltiol oF rhe festivitics
1tl U,
A i
rp E'er rcegal
lItre L[E,,rv
3 EvEpeoLtrerr-
v 18v appoviav
"Irov "l'rur ol.0
E' opLptat
rcrvootr lotnl ltat,
'ypo.vrcr. E'el
ntrov ou\uyiar
rjE E'ei pyatcu'v'
yo oteiXouow 0rpogvo.,
ayatr' '
rcrcvo uXei.
ro3. Frag. r5o Mcttcelbach and Wcst. Digglc (r97o, ro-27), arternpting ro discredit every
source rvhich arccsts that Hesiod knew the Phaethorr srory, emphasizes rhe fact that Phae-
tborx nalrre clocs not arpear in this vcry fragmentaty tcxt. Bur in this contex (a description
of the Iends ovcr u,hich rhc Boreads [1y i[
o[ rhe Harpies) one hardly expects the full
Already Dawn courses over the earth, ebove our heads the Pleiades
. ,] and in rhe trees che nightingale sings her trernulous melody,
mourning at daybreak Itys, Itys much latnented, On rhe molrntains,
shepherds rouse their llock at the souncl ofthe Pan-pipe, pairs of
tawny colts awake to the pascure, Alreacly the hunters, killers of r.vild
beasts, set out on their pursuits ancl on the strearns of Ocean tlle
sweet-sir-rging swan wails.roa
This aubade is laced with dark forebodings.l05 In itself,, the space
allotted to the description of dawn breaking draws out the tcnsion
becween the cholust expectation of a day like any other and what thc
audience knows is to come. At daybreak, the Pleiades re still visible
overheacl, the nightir-rgale sings, rnen begin to sti6 and on the streams
of Ocean the swan utters its cry (63-78).106 Many have remarkecl that
the song of the r-rightingale, a mother rnournfully calling her dead son's
narne, prefigures Clymene's sorrow.1o7 TI-re image of the swan is di-
rectly relevant to the present inquiry because it recalls the last surviv-
ing lines of rhePrtbeneion (too-ror);r03 n Zo,!0a
the streems of Xanthus the swani'In Hellenistic and Roman tra-
ditior-1, both literary ancl visual, we nd the slvan rrnly entrenched in
tlre Plraetlron myth,r0e In Ovid's Metantorpboses (2367
king of the Lygurians, appears in the 6nal scene. He is a kinsnran
ro4. Euripicles Pbqethon 63-78. Numeration ancl text cited afer Diggle r97o, rvitb slight
emenclations as discussed below.
ro5. Reckfordry7z,428n25 Webster(t97,zzz-4) andDiggle(r97o,roo ro4) reedno
more into this passage rhen notations of natural phenornena tbar signal darvn. Note chac rhe
swan's song is absent from the cornparable clescripcion ofdaybreak in the R/rcsrr,s 528-35.
lo6. Mention o lre Pleiades following the expression'hbove ou headsi'rp E' c
regl, at Euripides Pbaetbon 65 suggests thar, as at Rhesus 529 3o (lrclopoL ller3e
heir seven paths the Pleiades high in rhe sky"]), rhe Pleiades are srill visible. This
argues against Diggles supplemenr in the line thac follows (lleLafEov rgeu1s
notations of clawn lisred here nd parciel bur signicant corres.onclenccs in rhose given in
rhe Pat tlteneion;sec p loo of the pr"se.t texc.
roz. Digglc (r9zo, too-,ot) remitrds us that rhe lirst ro do so was Goctle See Vo]rrer
r". Dggle ry7o, to3
- 4.
ro9. Tlre earliest extant source secms o be Phanocles frag. 6 Porvell. Pausanias (1.3o.3)
mentions the metamorphosis oICycnus inro tlre swan [ry Apollo, rvich no re fcrencc to Phachon.
The srvan is a Exture of the representation of the fall of Phaetbor on Romar sarcopltagi; sce
(ry9a), s.v. "Phaetlron" n os . g, Lr, Lz, L+- tg
cHAPTER oNle / s6
THE Mv:rrts / 57
of Phaerhon on his r-r-rother's side anc{ dcar to hifir, who mourus his
cleath until he rlrrns into the swan. Philosrratus rhe Elder, in the ec-
phrasis of a p:lintir-rg of the fall of Phaethon, projects the role that the
swans of thc Ericlanus rvill have in perpetuating the nythl
[-or swans scatterecl about, breathittg sweet notes, will hymn the
you th; an.1 flc,cks of swans r:isir-rg aloft will sing the story to
ers] Caysrcr and Istcr; nor will ar-ry place f,ril to hear the strange scory'
Ancl thcy r'vill have Zephyrus, nimble goc of wayside shrines, to ac-
cornpny thcir song, f'or it is said that Zepltyrtts has macle a comPect
rvith thc swans to join them in the music oF the dirge.lrO
It is irnpossiblc to say whether or rot Cycnus had a place in the ar-
chaic vcrsions of the legend' Given the fragmentary nture of our
soLrrccs for that periocl, all rglunelll- frorn silence is uo argument at
all against dre possibility that ir clicl ancl rl-rat, in the Partbeneion as in
rl.'e Pbae tbon, the swa ns song is more than a clich.
middle of the play is largely lost, leaving us uucertain as to
precisely how tl-re acrion developecl afier rhe conversation between
nrother atrcl sou an.{ what determinecl Phaethon's decision to go ro
Helir-rs. Thcre reuraius, however-, evideuce of a clash between Phae-
thor.r anc{ Merops, which rnay have to clo with successiou to the king-
ship and certainly has to clo with the marriage. It is clear that Phae-
thon's r,ec{cling is not at the planniug stage, but being carried out'
The clrorus stntes that
day is rnarkcd for the fulllment of rhe
lllarriage" (95) anct proclainrs,"lec there go forth the fullhnent song
of rrr,lrriagc" (lor). The heralcl who follows them calls the people to
assenrbly ancl solemnly announces Mero-rs, stating,
and son
decrccing that marriage shall cotne to
uPo11 this day" (u6-18)'
That fathcr aud sot-t ate in agleement, howevet is belied by uncor-r-
necrcc{ fi.agmcnts of rhe heated exchange between Merops and Phae-
tholr that f-ollow at sonle distance:
(n.) e0tpo E' v 6ol ott tou lXou,
lenpavov t otJcr rr1 geprr Xtov.
(mtp.) v toioL
tout''ytb rcpirto
to. []hilosttatts InoQitcs t,tt z-4; trans. Fairbanlcs I93t'
clrAnrrn oNa / 58
THE Mvrrls / 59
ort narp La rcrro
gporroorv erj
11 rco nolT cu:rapc.Eioo' \ouoia,t.
( ta.

:ra..rr Xov y e xarp\ rr p orcou o yl.
(Pb,) A' free man is the slave of rhe marriage bed,
once he has sold his body for the dowry.
(Mer,)Thrs I numler among the follies of mankind,
for a man to surrender a fathers authority to sons
who are incapable of reason, or power to the cirizens.
(Ph.) Any land that offrs nourishmenr is a homeland.
It is apparent that Merops has imposed this rnarriage on Phaerhon
and that tl-re latter rebels. When Merops insists on exercising his pa-
rental authority, which is somehow linked to his holcl on rhe rhrone,
old as he is, Phaethon contemplates finding lorher homeland- The
plot turns on Phaethon's fatal choice: he can either sray and obey his
father, consenting to a marriage that he nds repugnanr; or he can go
and ncl his other father by subjecting himself to a crucial resr rhar
will establish whether or not he is Helius's rrue son.111 The choice
hacl been laicl out at the start of tl-re play, with Phaethor-r's reply to his
mother's request that he go to rhe palace of rhe Sun,
ta'r 6' tr, o.t y ep at

:<r:rv :rati1 p
:rcr dpeirfrlr rca),you
),[q r rp r1r,
ro oou e),ylt,r,
p, ei oagei ),7or.
should my venerable father arising frorn his slumber
corne ourcloors and speak to me of marriage,
then I shall go to Helius's palace
ancl I shall nd out, mother, if what you say is true.
rrr. Diggle
Agzo, zg- +o,159 -
6o) imagines rhat, feigning acquiescence to Meropsi plans,
Phaetlron then cleparts for rhe palace ofHelius, osrensibly in search ofhis lride.
rrz. Lesky(tglz,8-g;followedbyDigglery7o,91-94andWebster1967zzz) arguedthat
ftat (5g) here is used in a purely chronological sense, es though Phaerhon rvcre keeping an
Dcbate ovcr the idenriry of Pl-raethon'.s bricle has centered on a
scene 1r.ear t[-rc end of the plair. Phaethon's bocly iras been brought to
the palace ancl is presurnably or-rstage' Clyr-nene mourns; then, seeiug
Mero-rs approaching with a chortts of mai.1ens, she locks the corpse
in hcr husbancl's treasure-house and departs, clenouncing Helius-
Apollo (zra- 26).The chorus sings a formal epidralamiurn hyrnning
Aphroclire ancl ber
colti'whom she hides in the sky in
l.rer starlike Ltnlace,l
Hymen, Hymen! We sing tl-re heaveniy claughrer of Zeus, the
mistress of loves, Aphroclire, who brings nupcials to maiderls. (z3o)
Mistress, for you I sing riris wedding song, Kypris, rhe rnosr beauti-
ful of the gods, ancl for your newly yoked colt, whom you hide in the
sky, the offsprir.rg of the ur-rior-r rhat you inspirecl. (45) The great king
of this city Aphroclite wec{s, ro be the belovecl mascer of the goicl in
her srar-faced palace. O king greacer ir-r happiness than che blessecl
ones (z4o), you will forge a familial bond rvith the goddess and alone
of rrortals will be hymned all over boundless earch as kin of rhe
saw that Phaerhont bride can be no one
but Aplrrodite.Ira The bride is a goddess, being called tbeo twice (24,
z4t), and the only goddess narned widr regard to this wedcling is Aph-
rodite. But for her, the sole menrion of the bricie in thc epithalarnium
would be the inciclental Oev at line z4r.rr5 The or.rly obstacle to tl-ris
identifrcation is that the chorus's acldress to her refers to rhe bride-
groorll as ov yguov'f.wcr) (45),"born of your union." The geni-
tive has invariably been understood es possessive and translated as
ofipring of your narriagd'in the sense of
own son." This
would rule out dre possibility thar'ewly-yoked colr" refers to Phae-
thon. We then rnust either iclenrify a different and equally unfortu-
nate bridegroon, a son of Aphrodite hidden in the sky, or envision
chat the chorus with these words addresses Merops-an a."vk."vard
solution.116 But a different reading is possible in lighr of role that
rI4. Wilamorvitz-Moellendorf r883,4rr-15. Diggle (ry7o,t55-6o) oflers ar exre nsivc refu-
tation of he argutnent; he endorses insread a rhought briefly enrerraincd by Weil (rSS9, 327),
rhar Phacthons elusive lricle is one of che Heliacls Tbe difEcuky rvith rbis hyporbesis is nor,
or not onl that the Heliads are Phaerhons sisters or half-sisters, or thar evidence of strch a
marriagc is entirely lacking (as Diggle acknowledges), but rhat, Uke Phrerhon, tlre Hcliads are
as norral or irnrnortal as he is-not an indifferenr poin in rhis play. The conceir of a fonal
rnarriage becrvecn a god and a mortal is nor nnique, as Diggle claims; sce Carson r98z on Pinciar;
Pltbian 9
(the rvedding ofApollo and Cy rene); and Oakley and Sinos r993, 35 - 36
( rlr e wcdding
of Hcracles a'rd Hebe).
Ir5. Huddleston (I98o, lr6; empbasis lrers) obscrves that' marriage song suug-r anvone
orhe. than the bride or groorn is unknown in Greek lirerarure."
rr6. Diggle
revives the hypothesis of Weil
rha rhc"neu,l'',yokcd
colt" is Hyrnenaeus, in spite of the fact that the larer is, by most accouncs, che son
rv r opdv[v ael8opev,
rv ptrol rtvtcrv, tov nap0r'ot
no'ntta, o.o'rE' 7 vugei' atEco,
Krilp L 0eruv rccrL\[ord,
_ t
TOr T lreolUlt OOL
rc,oLT r v ai0pL rcpa, et,
ov yatov
c tv
doEe :r),eco paor1 r,urgeetoL
tioteporcotoLv SrotoL
opv g ).orr Ag p oErct'
a0 artcor;
Ei a:relpova
0vat pvor1r.
appoinrrrrcnt:noti/,bur rrbclhjsf:arlrcarvalcesandspeakstohirlouthiswcclcling,Plraedron
rvill go ro thc pahcc ofl-lclitrs. Lr vicrv ofPhae tber's tnatriage
plens for lrirr, lrowcver, onc obtaitrs a urttch str
ditional clause'
rar, n,rrr,,,rlly l .s,:or.liio'al f,rtcc (LSJ, s,u); pidcs, i. which
rcv ar.i r\v ar c rLscc{ as crluivn Ic u t rc nns, see tphigen i a ir Atrl i s 928 -zg:
ra tol \rp eEat, iv
riTruvrcr rcct, tetopeOl t.rv E
rccl, o recotar
rt3. I rcrairr thc follorving readirrgs f:Lonr tlre originrl
vurgeetat (47),1puout
(z.a o)
cnAP',r'ER ONr: / 60
Tr{E MvrHs / 6r
Apirroclitc plays in all unions, be tl-rey mortal o. divine. She is, as the
clrorr,s says (z3o), gmlion,
In particular, she is respon-
sible lor the rnortal loves of the gods-sornedring that the Homeric
hynrn to Aphrodite strongly etnphasizes' Zets inspred her desire for
rcal ot' treu\a&1ein
taoL 0eooLrr
gopper8rl AgpoEil1
0eo ouvptle rcat0r,r1tot yuvatl
raT e rcata0vrT o oie trcov ii0avroLoLv,
ri te 0e1i avpL[e rcata0vrlroi av0pnoL.
Lcst lauglrter-loving Aphrodite should one .{ay softly smile arrd say
moclcingly mong all gods that she hadjoined the gocls in love
with rnoltal woneu who bare sons of death to the deathless gods,
and lracl uratecl the godclesses wich mortal lten']r7
Earth herself bore Typhoeus
golclen Aphrodite in
ing' intercourse with Tartarr,s.ll8 In Euripicles' Hppotytus +48-50,
Phaedras nurse expiains to enother yolrtrg tnan who rejects Aph'
is generated by her, she is the one who sows
ancl gives clesire, from which rll of us on earth existi'rle
Here too the"sowingi'solething that in itrtercourse is a function of
che rnale, is attributetl to the goddess' In this sense, all uuions that
involve bimeros r:nd philotes,love and desire, are Aphrodite's gmoi.
Anc{, jnst as rapcs rnay be calledPn.os garnoi, the"marrages of Pani'
inrercourses clriven b), l,rtt are
unholy marriages
lawless Aphroclitei'I2o Grammatically, the difficulty is easily resolved
by urlclerstarlcling the ov in ov
as an objective genitive,"the
aud on e o[ c[ e Muscs, rrd tlar there is no rrace of a story in which he was translated to rhe sky,
Wilanrowitz-Moe ilcndorf (r883,4r+-15) proposed that, in e switch of adclressee, ootr,ot atrd
otul yaol rrc clircctcd ar Merops.
t7. I7<vtte ric lJl,nuts 5.48-52i
trans Evelyn-Whire r936.
rr8, Hcsiocl l-lrcogot,yBzt-zz'.x.otmoltKetqi6a'fuptooftarelp1 //Tptpovt'
grrrr Et
rr,. Ebbott zoo3, 92'.
rejcctiotr of Aplrroditc is a rejection of sexual
rzo. Euripides _IIelcn t9o; Ion rogz-93:1agov // I(rp13o riorLro avooou. see also roz
I' dris scere Euripides cleploys rhe farniliar rrope of cteath as a
marriage by evoking the pageantry of rhe weclding, specically, thc
choral dance rhar was perfo'ned in front of the bridal chamber af-
ter the .ewlyweds had entered it ancl its doors were rockecl.l22 The
chorus approaches just after clyrnene has locked
in the treasure-house. clymene's poinred choice of worcrs or rhe one
ha^d aliudes ro the trditio'al rnarriage cerernony and or-r rhe orher
anticipates some extrordinary features of
rnarriaoe that
the clrorus will rnentiorr:
rcprfrar E vLv
Itoroiot Oalror, v0' pLciL rceltar noer
Tpuo, v
6 r), LOp' 1 ogpay(oar.
I shall hide him
ir-r the sl-riny chambers, where nly husban.i s gold
lies, bur I alone seai rhe doors.
Tlre functio' of the word thalamoi is pivoral, since irs senarric rnge
extends frorn inner room to bric{al charnber a'd,
tomb' Here the n'rea.i.g oscillates letween rhe la*er rwo, Like a
tonrb, the thala,ttoi hold the corpse of Phaethon; iike those of a bridal
char'ber, these doors are sealed, In fro'r of the closed cloors, as o^e
does at a weddi'g, the cho*rs sings rhe epithalamium. Aphrodite
rzr, Euripides Phaetbon z5r 9ea lpooeOelv tgevo ! pr stcor; see wilamowirz-
Moellendorf rss3,4r3.
tzz. On this stage of rhe wedding ancl its atendanr i:nagcr see Oakley and Sinos r993,
35-37. Phaethons end rnirrors rhe popular metaphor rhar casrs he death of a maiclcn oI
rnarriageable age as a rvcdcling in Hades or to Hdes birnself; on rhis trope, see Ferrari zoo4,
cHAprER oNe / 6z THE Mvrns / 63
"lricles" (rcpxret, 44)
Pbaetl'ton in the sky, while Clymene
(rcprfrt.r, 4l
ltim in the charnber. There, he oversees Merops's'old"
(Xpuo, z4), wl'tl\e, as Aphrodite's cotlsort, he is
of the
gold" (Xpuoc,.,',t, z3B).t23
These gures of counetnent, enclosurc, and concealment establish
an unetluivocal link between this Pl-raethon and Phaethon the son of
Eos, wlrom Aphroclite abducts inth,eThettgony.Thelatter is also hid-
den, mukhios,"innertnost/'invisible, and he too oversees the goddess's
riches as tlre".steward" of her temple.r2a Tbe scholium to Tbeogony 99o
explains wlry in tl'te Pbaethon the youth n-ray be said to be hidden irr
tlre sky, in the stellar palace of Aphrodite, by glossing (a9eoq v v4o
as followsr
tlorning star who brings the day and Phaethon is
AphrocliteJ'As Wilarnowirz-Moellendo rf argtedand later, on differ-
ent grouucls, Nagy, we have ttot two differcnt Phaethons but one aud
tlte san-re, whose legencl is part of a cosmological construct in which
lre becorrres Eosphorus.l25 That it is mentioned in the Partheneiott
further confi.rnrs that Phaethon's union with Aphrodite, by whicl-r he
clisappears, is not an invention of Euripides, altl-rough the conceit of a
fon-r-tal we.lcling rnay be'
There are substantial similarities betweeu dre legend of Phaethon
and that of Hippolytus in Euripides'plays.1'6 Each is beautiful and
willful ip his youth, eacl-r unjustly, albeit in different ways, forced into
exile by his farher, Borh die in horric charior crashes. Like Pl-raethon,
Hippolytr-rs opcr-rly loathes Aphrodite and dees her. The two share
arrother trait, u,hicfi lrletters with regad to thePttheneionbecause
ir also establishes a rhernatic link berween the myth of Phaethon and
drat of I{ippocoonr chey are the illegitirnate children of powerful fa-
thers, Plraethon is a'divine daimon" (Theogorty
As we learn from
Socrates in Plato's Apology, aimon is also a narne for the illegitimate
:23. Wilatrrorvitz-Mocllcndorf (rB83,415) and Huddleson (198o, u7) point to the tragic
irony ol tl:is juxtaposition.
rz4. In such a capaciry Iou served ltis farher Apollo ar Delphi iLr Eutipides'Ion 53-56:
of tlrc golc1,"
cra, a trusrcc{ sceward, ro(cv te vrv ntorv
lz5. Nrgy r99oa, 258-59.
tz6. For a cotrparison ofthc rwo myths, see Reckforcl t97z and Goh zoo4, clrap' 3'
(nothoi) chilclren of a god and a nympl or some odrer mortal, cor.r-
parable to mules, which are the offsprir-rg of a horse and an ass.127
Aldrough drey appear srrorlg a'd beautiful-ar"rd Hesiod does call
phaidimos (Theogony
986)-the fact tr-rat they
cennot artain adulr srarus and perforrn their fathers'function reveals
tlreir i.adequacy the falsity of their clairn,I2s Accordingly, tl-te no-
fbos is cast back into the secrecy rhar surrounded his birth, becorning,
in Plraetlron's case, hiclc{en and mukbios (Tbeogony ggr), acrearure of
interior spaces, out of the sunlight,l2e
If we now rerurn to li'es
ry-ry of tl'te
the forego-
ing a'alysis in rnind, it will be apparenr thar the rnoralizing reflectio's
they oflr are er-rrireiy appropriate to d-re rnyrh of
a'd i.-
directly relevanr as well to that of Hippocoon. The r-ne'rio. of
and aisa i'the gnome is highly relevanr, si'ce ir ws rhe youth,s in-
abiliry to follow the'ath" of che sun ancl thus keep to rhe"measure"
of the clay that resulted in disaster.l3o rhe section of Eutipides' play
that narrated the su.s chariot's derange'rent frorn dre path is mosdy
nrissing. A few lines remain, however, in which Helius instructs his
son, and these lines explicitly lnentior-r rhe course and the telunr, the
xed poinr toward which he musr eim: Ter E'g'r ll).era8cuv c.rv
prov (t7t),"go keeping the course drat leads ro rhe seven
In tlris scenario, the mentio. of :r]Eo dLra at line r5 ca' be ex-
plaired in refere'ce ro the horses of the su', rvhose"might"
was unable ro conrrol. nEo,'unsandaled," r-'ay convey the iclea
rz7. PIaroApologyz7d8-ro;seeEbbotr2oo3,73-74,Stesichorusfrag.Sr7pMGFoffersa
glimpse of the suns legitimare family, to which he rerurns after a days rvork, back ro his mother
Nigbt, his weddecl wife, and his beloved children.
rz8. On tlre rretaphor contrasting rrctboi wi,th gnsioi, Iegitirnare children, in rerrns of cou-
terfeit versus genuine coins, see Ebbocr zoo3, 95-ro5.
n9. Sec pp.z5-26, 63 ofrhe presenr rexc and, on chis sense of urrkbios, Ebbotr zoo3,25.
l3o. Tbe iclea is conveyed in the ecphrasis ofdre fall ofphaerhon by
rhe Eldec
Intgirres rttz:"At his fall the heave's are confoundecl. Look! Nigl:c is driving Dey fro'r tlre
noonday sky, and the sun's orb as ir plunges torvard rhe earth drarvs in irs train rc sars. T[e
Horae abandon their posts at the gates and flec torvard tlre gloom tlrat rises to lce tllenr."
Trans. Fairbanks r93r.
r3r. Tlre Hyades too nay have been mentioned here; see scholiurn to Aratus
tz z; DggIe ry7 o, 7 o, 17 6 -
cH,{PTER oNs I e+ THE Mvrns / 65
rhac the horses oIthe Sun re unshod because they tread on air, not
rlre gronrrd.r32 [t is possible, however, that rhis rare adjective here plays
on its etyrnol ogy frontT,ee,"shackle" or"feuerl'In the sense of
tered mighrj'rhe phrase refers to rhe fateful l1lomenr at which, unbid-
den, the Heliac{s released rhe divine horses from their constraints and
yoked thern to the chaL.ior.1r3 Finally, Phaechons
that a
nothos is his fathcr's crLte son is no less misguided than his belief that
he can escpe Aplrroc{ires c{esire-something nor even the imtnortals
can do, Accor.lingly, a f esrorerion of lines t6-t7 of the Partbeneiott
rnight reaclltr'l
tL d'u]0prov porv no, ilo0c,r
rot] pr'ttr
tr AqpoEitav.
Let no] mortal f1y to the skY
nor llec froml marrying Aphro.lite,
If all this is correct-, the rst rhree sranzas of the poem dealt in some
fashior., wirh rhe myth of Phaetl-ron, befole turning to the slaughter of
the Hippocoonricls. There is in Alcman's corpus a line that describes
Phaethons fall into the Eridanos:
rctogr r
he falls upon the insensible shore amoug the seclge'135
r3z Pagc(,ss',-s) indccdrookthcadjectivetosigrrify'tonveyedthroughtheairJ'Sec
Snryth r956,443. \,Vcbster (t967,zz|) pcrccived rbe ecbo oIthesc lines ofAlcman atPhaethot
- 35.
erer or proso.:liac + reizianun; see Pretagostitli tg?7,72-74 and Da[e tg6g,t78' In scansion it
is not i,tco,oratible rvitb thar of Alcnran 5 PMGF (= 8re Cetarle)' rap te rc oelc rcal tplror
orto; sce Calalr c t983, zzt.
cr-{APTER oNY / 66 THE M,r rus / 67
Tlre verse is merrically inappropriate ro rhe Partbeneion, but suirable
to the little that remains of Alcrnan
PMGF, the'tosmogony" dis-
cussed earlier in this chapter, whe re
appears agin, rogerher with
tel<mor,and so possibly also the legend of Phaethon. In other ways, the
theme of the order of the cosmos, which clepends on rhe Sunt strict
observance of ytoros and is, runs through the Prtheneion, wl:rcl-t
contains at least three more allusions to the tragedy of Phaethon.
THs TnnvArLS oF THE Csonus
The rst st^ze of the second half of the Prtheneio opens with a
moralzingreflection that suits any and all of the paradigms of mis-
guided arnbition that are the subject of the rsc partr
otL tt orr toL'
E'trpro ott egpov
There is such a thing as retribution from the gods'
H"ppy is he who, sound of mind,
weaves through the day
In the sixty-one lines drat follow the chorus sings of itself in the first
persol-r, states its ider-rtity, describes its actions, and maps its relation-
ship to three other female characters: Agido, Hagesichora, and Aen-
esirnbrota, The singers are maideus, who issue piercing cries in vaiu,
like owls; they ar:e engaged n
to which the goddess of
dawn, Aotis, will put an end:
1v pv at
r.apoe'ro yara't inr'
p'ua larccr'
7v E taL
Att ptrrota
p , rco't u,t ytP
rtv itop 7evto'
Epigrytb Sappho frag 34Yoigti trans. Carsou zooz.
cHAPTER Two / 70
THE cuonus / 7r
p a. E vev rEe
i pl a.r a

.p ar a hr at
I would say I myself
a maiden wail in vain from rhe sky,
an owl. But mosr of all I long
to please Aoris for she is ever
the healer of our labors.
- st)
The stage is setjust before sunrisel
7v 'eEr.r
A1Lr^r t gri. por
<ir' Ttot,, lnep d.rLv
I sing
the lighc of Agido. I see ic
like the sun, whom
Agido summons to appear and
witness for us.
\39- 43 )
The notation of dawn is given ollce rnore at line 6r, where rhe chorus
describes its performance es occurring when the Pleiades are visible
in the sky at daybreak, orthriai,
The passagejust cited is also rhe beginning of an elaborate clescrip-
tion of the beauty of three characrers, who are nor necessrily part
of the chorus dancing onstage, moving from Agiclo rc the l<horgos,
of the chorus," ro Hagesichora. Although the three ere con-
trasted with one another, they are noE compared in the sense of being
ranked, one above the other. The chorus honors with its song the
of Agiclo, but the l<borgos denies it the authority to proclairn
Agido sr,rperior, because dtekbora.gos is herself
r E'ot' tcrtvrlv
vLr r'evr
oE' rtr .r11.
[3ut the glorious chorus miscress
forbicls me to either praise
or llame her.
(+t- +)
The descriptions of tl-rese three beauties are couched in terms of fea'
tures that characterze three kinds of horses. TheL<horgos resembles
a por,verful steeci, which/ in turn, is a dreaml
Eorce1p i\pe'v am
rcrpeznl t tbrep a-ctg
v potol oroete',t'ittxott
na1r aeOo gp ov rccrr:roEa
tl roneT pLEitol velPc,rv.
il o pt1L;
For she appears to be
if uLtt)LllgtttS l
one placecl among a grtzing hercl
a pelfect [rorse, a prizewinner with resounding hooves,
one of the dreatns that dweli below the rock.
Dont you seei
This vision, theu, is qualied as an
courser, and in this re-
spect colrlpr:ed to Hageschora, although she is at rst cast in human
cI{APTER T\/o / 7z

Ev1trrc, E
p aver[r
AyrlotTp by1
ro t' ,pypto,t trpoono.v,
ELagEav t toLl7o;
r1oLXpa rv
That one is an Eneric
courser, while che rnane
of my cousin
Hagesichora shines forth
like unalloyed gold.
Her face is silve
Why do I tell you explicitlyi
There is Hagesichora herself,
Next, Agido and Hagesichora are likened ro horses, which run one
after the other:
E Eeurp ne8'A7rE t
inno'Iprvr l(olaflo Epal1rL-
Next will run Agido, her appearance
that of a Colaxian horse followins an Ibenian.l
- ssl
r. I follow Garzye (tg54,
5r-52) end Calame (r983,
33o) in taking 8eurpa in apposi-
tion to Agido, who is the subject, and rE' as rhe producr of tmesis from Epal1rar, yield-
ing the sense "run a[ter." But I undersrand Seutp stricrly in a renporal sense, ro rneen
that Agido follows Hagesichora and is therefore "next," and I read t
in irs un-
marked meaning of "appearance" in reference ro rhe 6gure of rhe Colaxian horse. For
a discussion of rhese vexed lines, see D, A. Campbell ry87, 69-7r. It would be odd if
the chorus here proclaimed Agido (or Hagesichora) the winner in a beauty conesr, af-
te it has declared itself unable to apportion either praise or llame (o-lr). See also Wesr
1965, r9Z.
The precise meaning of this set of comparisons remains elusive in the
nearly total absence of inliorrnation about the attributes and respec-
tive rne rits of Enetic, Colaxian, ancl Ibcnian horses.' Close attention
to irrternal clues, however, rnay bring the interlocking metaphors in
tl.ris passage into sl.rarper ficus. The first horse is identiecl in two
strikingly clillelent \ /ays: s a clream and as an Enetic courser. There
exist two irrtelpretations of the phrase :lov r'onerpr8ov veparv, a
partitive gcnitive rhat identifies tl-re horse as belonging to a specic
group. l'her:e is no good reason to look past a literal reacling anc{ resist
tlre ic'lca that this is the herd of rhe oneiroi, the divne bearers of drearn
visiorrs,r For Flesiocl Tbeogony zrz, they are likewise a colleccivicy,
phalon, a race, One of the scholia to dte Partheneionlinks rlnonerptE[r,.rv
to the iclea that the oneit'oi dwell under a rock, The epithet may refer
not to a cave but to the topography of the
of clreamsi' which
Hotner (Ot11,s5"t z4'.rr-12, citecl by lre scholiurn) locates llear the
entrence to Hadesl past the White Rock and the gates of the Sun,a
Tlrelc is olre irstance in which dle oneiroi are saicl to feed like a hercll
in Moschrrs's Euroyta, the princess falls :rsleep at dawn, when"the race
of true clreams is lecl to psturej'5 Page championecl the ocher view
that the beaudful horse is not an oneiros but the horse
of your clreatns.6 The proper term for such a vision, the 6gure that
a'n oneiros conjures up, is actuaily en.upnion, but it is true that in post-
I-lorneric Greek oneiros rnav rrreell either the clream itself or what it
z, a'Itc I{oloxoios horsc is gcnenlly identiled as Scythian, because the name resembles hat
of hc first Scyrhian l<ing, Colaxas (Herodotus +.s,
q.z); in reference to horses, see Devereux
lgcg. Dicls (r896, 358-59) rst p.o,,os". rba Ibnos rueans
on tlre bass ofau entry
in drc geogreplrical c{ictionary of Stcphanus of Byzanriurn (s v- Iboioi boi kai lbeuoi), in whiclr
Ilcnoi trrc saicl to be botlr l-ydian and Ionian.
3. G. Trl< iu M I. 1 t (t897
19 oz) : 9oz, s.v.
4 . Scholium A 9. Ilinge (zoo6, z7s) notes that tlre sullx -iEto is usecl of places. Nagy
(r99oa, csp. z-z--r-34)
explains the rneaui'rg o[ rhe White Rock:
"the Wlrire Rock
is rhe boundar y dclimitirrg thc conscious nd the unconscious-be it a trance, sttrpor, slecp, or
evcn .lcarb. Accor.{ingl;,, rvhc tlre Suitos a.e lcd past dc White Rock (Odys-a1 xxiv rr), they
eeclr tlrc tnos outhon'Dstrict of Drearns' (xxiv rz) beyond rvhich is the realm of the dead
(xxiv ra
5. Moscbus Ettop 5t ere rcci irrperor zorgcr,rrar Ovo reipor. It is possible, tlrough,
tlrar t)rc 6gurc lrcrc is usecl merapho rically, as ar Aesch ylts Eumenidcs 196- 97, wlrcre the Furies
arc n 0ocl< rhrr grezes Sec M. Cam.bell r99r.
6 Pa gc 19 5 r, 85
87; tllowed by Ctltte t97 7, z:z(,2, 193j, 3zz,
cuAPTER Two / zq
TrrE / 75
bears. This interpretation requires taking rone.rprEor., as a nerarh-
esis fbr non'reptEa;v, rneaning"winged," and postulating an otherwise
unattested class of clream visions consisring enrirely of horses.
In either case, whether ir is an oneiros or a"winged dream-horsei'
ours is an imaginary horse, not the kind thar r-nortals breecl ancl ricle,T
Tlre plrrase v p otol,'rn ong e gr azinghercli' leaves unspecied'"vh at
kincl of herd this is. The word, however, cloes highlight tl-re specic
respect ir-r whiclr the horse dream differs, IJooi are beasts thar are pas-
tnred, the word retainirg the full force of bosk, meaning
stark contrast in this parricular regard are horses rhar feed nor tll
grass but on arnbrosia, because chey are clivine. For. instance, Ill,1
5,767 -77
describes Hera's arrival onto plain of Troy on her char-
iot drawn by wingecl steecls, to tl-re place where the Simoeis ancl rhe
Scamancler meet, Tllere she unyoked the horses'ncl for thern Sirrro-
eis brouglrt forth ambrosia ro pasture
(ZZZ),In Plato's
Phaedrus the l-rorses of the divine sonl are t nyoked ar-rcl given arnbro-
sia to eat and necrar to drink.e Ovic7, N[etrlorphoses
+.zr+- , nakes
the opposition of grss ancl ambrosia explicit: the horses of the Sun
eat heaverrly fbcicler, ntbrosian ytro granine ltabent (zr5). The f-ooc{
they eat is thus ar-r establishecl mark of civine horses, ar.rd it is explic-
itly or implicitly contrasteci rvith the fare of morral horses. The se nse
of the proportional metaphor at lines
+9 of rb,e Par th ete lor is that
thekhoragos stallds out amorlg the maidens of the chorus as much as a
clivine horse would among l-ris morral counrerparrs.l0 poinr there-
fbre rnay be that thel<boragos is immortal and the choms morral,
Whcr-r, in the next line, the dream-horse is compaleci to Hagesi-
chora, it is cailed an
coursed' one having attributes of an
actually existing race of horses-or people. It is debatecl r.vherher
7, Deverelx t965,t76
8. Chancraine I999, r85-36; Gatzytrg54,45-
9- Plaro Phoedns z4Te4
E arr1 r1vioo rp rrjr gcrvr' to rrou orrlotrc
rcppaev cppooiav re rc r' ar rrrcp lrtosv
i is rJrere, che charioreer sarions
his hoscs ar their rnanger, throwing rlrer amlrosia and giving tren nccrar to clri:rk"; trans
Rorve t999.
ro. Arcverseimage,asitwere,occLrrsnthedescriptiono[lrchorsesofAchil]esarHo:ner
lLiad-tq8-s+,wherePcdasus,'iortalashewas,ranbesiclerheirnrrrorralhorses"(r54) Trans.
LactimoLc r95r.
Paphlagonian or Aclriatic Eneti are meenf,, and in either case, we know
nothing at all about the aspect or qualities of their horses.ll But one
can again tease out of the other term of this comparison what specic
Enetic features serve as a foil for the beauty of Hagesichora. If Hagesi-
clrora is all silver and gold, her opposite in tiris regard should be dun
and dark.I2 Black seetns to le the color of Dreams, whom Euripides
describes as black winged.B As to the Eneti, a nugget of folklore pre-
served in Pseu.{o-Scymnus locates them in tl-re nal scene of the fall of
Phaethon, on rl-e banks of the Eridanus, and pictures then-L in black,
These are the Eneti who rnigrated from Paphlagonia to the Adriatic
r<Mrorov rierc, pov gpet,
gaoLv eivar Ercpuor nolt0orevov,
3 rau^ aty tip ru',t dro o ra\a1, ya t
1ouoL yp 611 rr rcepavo.rour:rpoto
lr tou
Er rca t :1140
ra.vra tt ohcltpov
te nev0uc t' Xetr orol.
Tl.rc Ericlanus, which carries che most beeutiful amber, which they
say is perrifrecl tears, he translucent weeping oFblack poplars. For
they say tl'rat it was there that Phaethon was struck down by the
thunc{erbolt, For thac resol, the entire rultitucle of the inhabitants
is clad in llack ancl wears the garb of
Color ancl degrees of brightness, rather than speed in a race, I will
argue,t5 rc the points on wl-rich tl-re series of equestrian metphors
turns; rnetphors that corrrpal'e the dreani-horse to the
the chorus" on the one hal-rd and to Hagesichora on the other, and
also tl-re latter to Agido. But tl-re Eneti also evoke, for the second time
u. On tlre dcbare,Pager95r,87-88.
rz- Wcs (r945, r95) Iil<ewise akes the epirlret Enetic Lo refer to rhc color of tbe horse but
undersran.{s that Ilagesichora is likened to the horse, not contrasted with it.
r3 EuripidcsllccrbTr.SecalsoOvidFa-ti+66r-62:"intereaPlacidamredimitapapavere
foncm // Nox vcnt, ct secum somuia nigra trehir."
r4 Pscudo-scymnus Pericgcsis 3q5-qoI Mller (= 39t-g? Matcotte). On this rradition,
see Marcotc zooo, zoo.
I5. Sec pp. o: - 94 ol the
cH^PTER Two / z6
THE csonos / 77
in wlrat rerrains of te Partheneion, the shadow of Phaethor-r. Their
mournful habic is woven into that rnyth, as we leaur frorn a fiagrnent
of Aesclrylus's Helids, which speaks of the grief of rhe rvornen of
The gleam of gold marks as well dre beaury of the chorus. Ll the
singers'case, however, it is not ir-rtrinsic br-rt rather the effect produced
by a battery of ornarnents, which are casr as a defensive panoply
(e o-77):
ta llehlEe
p0piaL gpo gepooL
vrc'ra Ei .ppooia.t cite )rlpLov
or p ot aurl popvaL
oyctp rtxopgpct
tooo rcpo o'r' apvaL,
ote noLrcio Eprca.rv
ryporc, o
u8a, reaviEcov
icrv o7
e g p c^rv ciyalpcr,
o ta Navv rcraL,
al* o E' Ap ta ote r Er1
oE Iular<.T e rccr I(eoLorjpa.
oE' Aivrorrpp
v0oon gcoet
",\oragi r .
rcr rrorLfltroL O ilu)a
L.ayp;,a t' para
a i\oLXpa pe teipeL.
For againsr us the Pleiades conrend 60
ar daybreak, carried aloft
like Sirius across immorral Nighr,
as we bring the season of the plow.
r6. Aescbylus Heliads kag 7r Tr-G-F,AEptcrcireTurLrerprov louoL7ov. Rcfcrerces ro
the llack robes won by the inhabiranrs of the Eiclanus shore in nroru nirg for Phaerhon alsct
irr Plutarch Morali 557,atPolybius 2 16 13-r5.
For surfeit ofpurple
does not help,
nor chased golden
snake-bracelet, nor Lydian
tata, pride
of violet-eyed maids,
nor Nanno's tresses,
not even godlike Areta
or Thylacis and Cleesithera,
nor will you go to Aenesimbrota's house and say:
Astaphis stand by me,
and let Philylla and Damareta 75
and lovely Hianthemis look upon me;"
but Hagesichora effaces me.
The chorus thus portrays itself as both intimately linked to Hag'
esichora and helpless before her. Calame has shown how this relation-
ship conforms to e particular model, that of a collectivity, or a sisterly
band of maidens of the same age, surrounding one who is patently su-
perior in all respects, chief among them in beaury. This template has
its paradigms in mythical and epic representations: Artemis among
her nymphs; Aphrodite among the Graces; Thetis and her sisters;
and Helen and her companions, as illustrated in the following lines
from Theocritus:
A avtltroroa rclv tgave rpocanro'v,
:rrvLa N[, r teleurv pyerya'vo t'vro'
tlE r tXpuoa'ET,'t Eregvet' v rirr.
Fair, Lady Night, is the fece thet rising Dawn discloses,
or radiant spring when winter ends;
and so amongst us did golden Helen shine.l7
The superiority of the leader of the chorus is expressed in terms of
precious metals, as at lines
and in terms of light and radiance.
The ultimate peragm for brillant light obscuring dimmer lights is,
g, Theocricus IdyIls .26
j+; trans. Gow 1953.
cHAPTER Two / z8
THE cr+onus / 79
of course, the moon among the srars, as in a fragment of Sappho,
where the stars ere eclipsed by the radiance of rhe moon:
rg rc.v oal).ra,,'
hl fururpmoLor gevvov eIEo
mro x\r10 o w g&Tto:o'gt1
Yd't) I
stars around the beautiful moon
hide back their luminous form
whenever all full she shines
on the earth
This image in turn serves es the metaphor on which Sappho relies
to describe the girl who stands our among the Lydian women. She
them, es the moon does the stars:
vv 8 6Lo w tttp rern
reoorv c zror' .e,<,r
Evro ppoEo8rctu),o <olavv>
ra:r'ra rep < p> Xo to' ot p .
But now she is conspicuous among Lydian women
as somemes at sunset
the rosyngered moon
surpasses all the
The 6gure of sruggle, which zeppXorq','bverwhelming' implies,
structures the double comparison of rhe chorus with the Pleiades
ra. Sappho frag. 14 Voigr; rrans. Carson 2oo2.
I9. Sappho frag. s6 Voigr, 6-ro; trans. Carson zooz.
on the one hand and with Hagesichora on the other. The metaPhor
begins with
at line g and comes into full focus in repet,
strategically placed at the end of the stanza, With few exceptions,
modern interpreters understand that tepo is being used here, as it is
elsewhere, in an erotic sense, meaning that the maidens are consumed
with desire for Hagesichora, who, they say,"wears me outj'zo Keeping
in mind the agonistic connotations of the relationship of the pteemi'
nent maiden to her companions, however, the expression may be best
understood to say thet, by comparison, Hagesichora's beaury makes
that of her companions look dim. Burnett points out that Euripides
similarly employs the metaphor of combat for the way inwhich the
members of a chorus of maidens vie with one enother in beaury.zl In
thelphigeni in Turis,the chorus wishes it could fy back home along
the route ofthe sun:
E' votalqv, 0tx
Jrrap?& o

np xo6' ei).ooou o g 1.
).rr,rv 0roou
. itt?a"aprca'v
&pporilororc yara eig pt'v
a zrotru roiri.a g ap ea
rc lorcrou :rep rpdo
I would take my place in the choruses
at noble weddings as when, a maiden,
at my dear mother's feet
I circle with the maidens
in their dance, I'djoin
that war of loveliness
where perfumed curls contend,
zo. Srehle(reezSr-82n35),whoprefersthepossiblealcernativereadingtlpei,"goardsmei'
correctly points out that repo has harsh connotations oflusr rhat are inappropriate to the situ-
adon envisioned here.
zr. Burnen1985, ro, 16o.
cHAPTn rwo / 8o
THE cxonus / 8r
I wear my best embroidered cloak
and lec my loosened hair
cast its shadow on my cheek!
Brrr.ritt', transletion, quoted above for lines 1146-51,22 retains the
brunt of words like r),,'tontests," and the epic-sounding .pw,
strifei'that are anelogous to
at line 63 of the Pqrtbe'
neion ad,like it, are hyperboles. The maidens of the chorus are com-
parable to the Pleiades and, accordingly, comPete with them.23 But
they cannot endure Hagesichora's brilliance, when she comes neer
them. Against it their resources-'vr/ealth of purple and gold, the
handsome tresses of Nanno, che sheer beauty of Arete,orThylacis, or
Cleesithera-are useless.The chorus will withstand the company of
other beautiful maidens that Aenesimbrota, who aPParently controls
its location, may be persuaded to place at its side, such as Astaphis,
and Philylla, and Damareta; but, it says,
"Hagesichora effaces me."
In other words, the entire stenz (e
is a priamel, which runs
breathlessly co its climax in the last
The naming of individual chorus members is highly unusual and
calls for an explanation. Does rhe poem really present us with aplay'
bill of sorts, the roster of historical persons who danced its rst per-
formancei That is what most interPreters of the Prtheneion htve
assumed until recently, but there ere reesons for doubt' It is unclear
whether the persons named at lines 7o-26
are all members of one and
the same chorus. Strictly speaking, the group that is defenseless be'
fore Hagesichora consists of Nanno, Areta, Thylacis, and Cleesithera.
Astaphis, Phila, Damareta, and Hianthemis, to whom they wish to
benear,may or may not be in their number.There is further the mat-
ter of the discrepancy in the qualiry of the names themselves, as well
as rhe uncertarnty rcgardingthe roles to which they are attached. It s
n. lbd.,t6onts.
27. Gxzyr (tg6l,
) and Robbins (rgg+, g) a-lso undersand g1otru at line 63 in the
meraphorical sense of
"compecei"'vie!' PueIma
977, 36n66),
D. Clay (t99r,58-63), Hen-
richs (rgg+-95, s3), and Bierl (zoor, a8-ag) undersrand rhe expression in reference to choric
24. Racet98z,54-55.
unclear whether thekborgos and Hagesichora are part of the chorus.
They are, however, in plain view, since the chorus points them out
ro the audien ce (5o,
may or mey not be visible to the
audiencs but she is wichin sight of the chorus (ao). Where is Aenes-
imbrotai The expressi on es Ansmbrots,"to Aenesimbrotas house"
(zl), tugg.tts that she is not part of the chorus.25 The ePPareft dif'
ferences in stage presence separating the chorus from these three, in
addition to differences as to rank and beaury, are comPounded by the
different qualiry of their names. Unlike the nymphlike names of the
chorus members, Agido, Hagesichora, and Aenesimbrota are speak'
ing names, designating a
capaciryt Hagesichora, of coursq
of the chorusl' Agido has suggested to many a connec-
tion with the Spartan ruling house of the Agiadei.26 But t may just
be another determinative epithet drawing ts meaning from the same
stem, gein,and meaning"she who comes rsi'or"leaderj'And Aenes-
imbrota may be understood as"she whom mortals praisel'27
A strong argument in suPPort of the view that these are ctional or
mythical rather chan historical maidens has to do with the quesdon
of the repeated performan ces of thePqrtheneion. Flerington observed
that it is unlikely that the text of the song would be preserved for four
centuries without the choral performance ever being staged ;.gain,z8
There is (admittedly meager) evidence that ancient lyric choruses by
Thaletas and Alcman continued to be produced into the Hellenistic
age.2e And a recurringperformance entails impersonation of the orig-
inal cast, who must therefore be more than mere names. Finally, the
mention of tbstra (sl) firmly embeds thePrtbeneioninrhecontext
25. Aenesimbrora has been variously identied as rheborgos ofa rival chorus (Kukula
tgoz, ztz-); he head ofa school for chorus sing ets (Pzge r95r,65-66); the mistress ofa circle
analogous co rhat alleged for Sappho on Lesbo s (CaJame 1977, zt95-97); a sorcttess who could
provide the lovesick meidens wirh love potions (West t965, tgg-zoo; Ptelma :977, 4o-4t
Robbins r99+, Ilnzs); and the morher or reacher of dre last fou named maidens (D' A' Camp-
bell I983, r59).
26. See CIame tgz7, ztr4o-42, wich bibliography; Nagy l99ob, 3+7-+8;
F{inge zoo6'
zl. Caltme t983, 425 -
28. Heringron I985, 54-55i see aJso Naerebouc 1997 zoo-2o2.
zq. Sosibius FGrHist g:F
(in Athenaeus I5.678b-c); Pluterch Llcurgus 28.5. See Hinge
cHAPTER Two / 82
THE csonus / 83
of a fesdval,3o that is, a recurring occasion. All of this argues in favor
of the hypothesis laid out by Nagy that the named characters act out
at the level of ritual the parts of figures which exist at the level of
myth.3r Nagy refers specifrcally to Agido and Hagesichora, whom he
takes to be the rwo choral leaders, and dentifies their archerypes in
the mythical Leucippides. Although much of the poem is about them,
however, neither Hagesichora nor Agido (not to mention the elusive
Aenesimbrota) have speaking parts. It is even unclear whether or not
they are onstage. At center stage is the chorus itself the protagonist,
as the attention lavished upon each of its members indicates.32 What
is its role?
PrrepEs, FIvlors, AND SInIus
The most revealingpiece of information about the stage idendry of
the chorus comes in the most tormented
of this section of
the song:
ta lle).rri8e yp rrv
p0paL g ap o

The meaning of several words here is in dispute.
means either
or'low' depending on whether its alpha is long or short
calls ic a bguer. On rhis poinr, see Calame tg77, z:u3- r4. See pp. lI4-r5 in the presenr rexc'
, Nagyggob,+5-+9i'Iseeno)uticacionforrreacingarextlikeAlcmmPMGifir
were a composicion inrended for a given group ofhiscorically veriable persons ar one d only
one occasion in ri
ryg6, Sl-SZ. Akhough he leaves rhe quesrion of the idenciry ofthe
chorus unresolved, Nagy stresses the drmatic chracrer of the performance:"The presenration
through the chorus is the r of the choral ensemble is nor
just the colleccivization ofp the rirual: ir is also the imper-
sonacion of characters thar resented in the rihral" (r99ob'
zoo6,zgzi'Der choeirer und der chor eines jhrlichen Festes sind foich keine
Individuen, sondern inszenierte Personikadonen fesrgeleger Rollenl'
32. Hutchinson zoor, 77""The crearion of a vivid bur generalized characcer for a chorus,
which concerns Pindar's maiden songs coo, connects rhe poem wirh Adreni drama: choruses
of old men, or girls, are obvious examples."
lltrr1 rEov itrl a'evi't zrrteD'orevc.rv
dpeo1' itpott, dpo:roto E Euoorer'orv.
When the Pleiades, daughters of Atlas, are rising begin your harvest,
and your ploughing when they are going to set.42
In the context ofthe year cycle and the agricultural calendar, Burneft
pointed out, there is another suggestive
in Hesi odlsWorks nd
Dys, apassage that contains reference to Pleiades, plowing, and the
notation of daybreak, orthrii:"when the House- carrier climbs up the
plants from the earth to escape the Pleiadesj'it is time for the harvest
and work at dawn, for dawn'uts yokes on meny oxe!'a)
Burnett's hypothesis points in the right direction, but has its own
difficulties, the principal one being that the heliacal rising of Sirius,
which occurs early in
is considerably later than that of the Ple'
iades: when the Pleiades rise at dawn, Sirius is nowhere to be seen.aa
The answer tothepuzzlelies in another passage from the Worfu nd
Dys,which also deals with a change of seasons, but a different one,
and includes mention of the Pleiades, the'low in due season," and
the star cluster often mentioned in the same breath as the Pleiades-
the Hyades:
arcp Layr 61
fltrrLEe 0'
te t te o0vo
Evr^row, tt' zrtw' dporou
But when the Pleiades and Hyades and the mighc of Orion begin to
set, then be mindful of the plow in season.
+2. HesiodWors andDys z9t-9+;
trans. Evelyn-White 1936'
+1, fbl,.,57r-8ri tr^ns. Evelyn-White I936. After Burnert, Stehle (gqz
poinced ro tlre nexus berween this passage md he menrion of the Pleiades nthePartheneon,
and explained it in reference to a change ofseason, the onset ofsummer
4+. On rhe date of che heliacal rising of Sirius, see Geminus Eagge eis t pbanomen
t7.39- 4r Atjzc, wirh rhe calendar (Cancer).
cHAPTn rwo / 86
THE cronus / 87
This is the beginningof wntegmarked by the cosmical seming of the
Pleiades and Hyades, which occurs, then as now, just before sunrise,
at the dme when Sirius is most visible in the skv-the star of Au-
tumn, in the Homeric phrase.a5
With,their mention of Sirius and the Pleiades at daybreak in
lines 6o-63, the dancers inscribe themselves into the congura'
tion in the night sky that heralds winter. They are the Hyades, the
sisters of the Pleiades and their rivals in the dance, who share with
them the task of marking the change of seasons.a6 The phrase's
we bring the plow" (or) is a figure of speech, in which'low" (9po)
metaphorically signi6es the plowing season and is rhe equivalent of
dporc n che Works nd Dys passage cited above (616
prou .
tpiov,'lowing in due season') and in Aratust Pbenomena (267,
repXorvou r' .proo,
coming around"). Crucial to this
reading is the meaningof uromeni,which most teke as a middle
voice, intransitive form, in the sense of
Infact, it is best
understood as passive, to mean
'iuspended," "hangingi' or
alofti' esit does in a beaudful passage of Euripides'Afcesris. Serendipi-
tously, like the Prtheneion, these lines describe a Spa:tan pnnukbis
that celebrates the cycle of the seasons. The chorus sings to the noble
oll o
rc40' hrc&to',t't r' Peia't
ev t''poL rcIovte n'or,
4s. Homer Iliad zz'25-29. On the erminology for the risings and sertings of the conscel-
larions, see Dicls ry7o, ry ttdBvats r9g8, tgo-97,
46. Kukula(r9o7zo9-to,zz1)cameveryclosetothisreading.Hesawthatitsrivalrywirh
che Pleiades idenriEes rhe chorus as rhe Hyades and furdter recognized in is mencion an allu-
sion to the cosmic dace. He stopped shon of casting rhe performance as a representation of
the cosmic dance, however In his view"Pleiades" and"Hyades" are rhe nam of wo compecing
semichoruses, which would chus be'tompared" ro rhe sras.
+2. Calemerg77,2t7+-75\55,tg83,:.i'4.G2rrye(tgs+,s+)andGianori(t978,268),how'
eve., observe that eporcL is not used intransirively in archaic poetry.
ltd1)1)Xo9 odlta,
op caoi t' v .p ar A0vt.
Poecs shall sing often in your praise both on the seven-stringed.
mounrain tortoise,shell and in songs unaccompanied
by rhe lyre
when at Sparta the cycle of the season of the month of Karneios
comes circling round and the moon is aloft
faeromenasJ the whole
night long, and also in rich, gleaming
.r "
,v E, opvr,, v O.aooav,
r l,rr, r' r,tt o eLt1,v
tilt1} ou oa.v,
-v E r lpea tontr, ra r, opv .oregd.v.;.rat,
ll4iri8a 0''T6 a rc rc oOvo

Aprrv 0]
ra l\rafv zrr].Iorv xalouorv,
i t' atou orp g er ra r,'Opic,rva oreeL,
oir E' rrrop orrloerpr,lr'f)rcecvoo.
He made the earth upon it, and the sky, and the sea,s warer,
and rhe tireless sun, and the moon waxing into her fullness,
and on it all the conscellations rhec fesroon the heavens,
che Pleiades and the Hyades and the srrengch of Orion
and the Bear, whom men give also rhe name of the Wagon,
who rurns abour in a xed place and looks at Orion
and she a-lone is never plunged in che wash of the
49. Ho mer Ili d t8.483
89; crans- Larrimore r95r.
cHAprER Tvr'o /
r-4. Aaic red-6gure vase in the shape of a knudlJebote, 47o-45o
BCE' London, Briish Mu-
seum, E 8o4. @ Copyright the Trustees of the British Museum.
23. Lucanim bell-krater, 4oo-38o BCE. Leiden, x*ksmuseum vm Oudheder Rsx 4. Used by
permission of fujksmuseum vm Oudheden.
ing the
same combination occurs in the tableaux of the night sky'
by the chariot of the setting sun on one side and Dawn chas-
sters on the other, in Euripides' ecphrasis of rhe tapesttY tha:t
the roof of the fesdval tent in the Ion:
Th. Pl.i"is were passing through mid heaven and so was Orion
with his sword, while above them the Bear nrrned its golden tail
about the Pole' The circle of the full moon, as at mid month' darted
her beams, and there were the Hyades, clearest sign for sailors'5o
heavenly bodies.
order, which bear the eloquent names of Agido, Hagesichora' and
Aenesimbrota. The chorus impersonates the star cluster of the Hy-
ades, making clear references to the id
and to its present ordeal. The Hyades
Hesiodic Astronoml, who gives them
our chorus girls, and they arejust as well dressed:
Euripides lon rt5z-57; ttets'Kovacs 1999' On this
PP' 37-38
ofre pres-
sectings of rhe 6xed strs.
THE csonus / 89
Xap reool yo1,
E Ifu pr.rv u otq ar o I(ler
L 0' lrepeooa r Eis6dspltanen)r.o,
'TrE rclouow n
gul" arrOp:rc,.w.
Nymphs like the Graces,
Phaesyle and well-crowned Coronis and Cleeia
and love Phaeo and Eudora ofthe flowing robe,
whom the tribes of men upon the eerth call Hyades.52
The earliest version of their transformarion into srars is the one
amributed to Musaeus by Hyginus.53 Together with the Pleiades they
formed a group of fiftee sisters, the daughters of Atlas and an Oce-
anid, whose progey included a son, Flyas. When Hyas, in the prime
of his youth, was killed in a lion hunt, the five sisters who would be
called Hyades cried for him inconsolably and died of their grief.Zeus
then took pity on them and placed them in the firmament, where
they continue to mourn and weep, their tears reaching the earth as
rain. Notoriously, their cosmical sefting togerher with the Pleiades,
signaled the start of rhe rainy season and storms et sea.54 The mage
of maidens engaged in lamentation explains the crying of the prtbe-
noithat is mentioned at lines 8S-8z.They cry nor from a roof beam,
as the widely accepted but improbable emendation :r[ O)pav pro-
poses, but from the sky. Blass's earler and rather obvious supplement,
the skyi'restores sense ro the
Lsko, the verb used of their wailing(lelk,86), denotes avarety
of animal and human screams, among them the piercing female cries
52. Frag. z9r Merkelbach and Wesr. The mythographic tradirion preserves rwenrf-seven
different names for the Hyades, eight ofwhich occur more rhan once, alchough no ser is ever
repeated their number ranges from wo o seven. On he varianc myths concerning the Hyades,
see P. Weizscke ML n (86-9o): z75z-56;W. Gundel, R-E 8.2 (r9r3), s.v."Hyadenl'
53. Musaeus frag. rz Kinkel (in Hyginus Astronomy z.zr). See also Ovid Fasti 5.164.T-
maeus (FGrHist
566F9r) gives welve as rhe rotal number of the daughrers of Aclas (Pleiades
and Hyades), as does Hyginus in Fbu[ae ry2,
54. See Hesod Tbeogonl615-zl; numerous later sources are cired in P.Wezscker, ML
rz (t886-9o): 2752.
55, Blass r87o, tg5-96, Blass corrected his own supplement in r878, z3-24. Hurchinson
7) prinrs
. . prui' zdding in che appararus, " n 9gvu legic Blass; o placet 0 non
of the formal funeral lament, as seen, for instance, in Sophocles'EIec'
tr t2t-23,
d r'car}vor'a.vor&ra
rL't d-eL
lorcet sE' itro p eoro't oiaya't

O child, child of a most wretched

mothet Electra, why do
w aiI
s] this insatiate lamentation ?
The verb is used for the lament over the dead in Euripides' Hecub
0eonrotEou Eer-rpo Koov8p
(Oe.) (ooav).trcra, tv 0vvta E' o ozver
rvEi ilt' Opr1ool orc
Hecub* Do you bring the body of prophetic Cassandrai
Sennt:Yorwul[lelkas) for one who is alive and dont lament
this one who is ded. But look upon the body laid bare.
In che same wey,irlthe Louvre Prtheneion (so-s7) the chorus refers
to its eternal lament over Hyas es lskein: rlqpo'to gwtv fur'
,trrc //
'y\ai:f,lmyself a maiden wailllelakl in vain from the sky,
an owlj'The adverb tntlt,"to no avali'in conjunction with lskein
has the same sense as ,koreston,"insatiate'or"insatiablei'has
in the
passage of the Electr quoted above: that of endlessly repeated action
that serves no purpose outside itself. Dirges are proverbially"nvai'
because the longing rhey voice for the dead can never be appeased'
Athenian writers used mtn (matn) in reference to he funeral Ia-
ment so frequently as to suggest that the exPression is conventional's6
56, See Aeschylu s Lbtion Berers 9z6: oLrc opvew (oa rp rppov
("ir seems
thar, chough I am alive, I mourn in vain before my grevd'), with scholia; Sophocles Ajax 852;
d, oriEv p7ov rra 0p4veo0r
("it is no use to wail in vain llke rhis"), Anttgone tz5zt
prv rotr pori ('much crying in vain'); Eurpdes Phoenician Women t76z:r\rara op4'vti xa
Epoar; ("why do I wail md lament in vain?"). See also Plaro Tmeus +765: 'uprevo
v Opvoi
and, in reference to griel Aeschylus ,Aga memnon 165: r
ofgriefin vain."
CHAPTER Two / 9o
TH crronus / 9I
The 6gure of the owl is entirely appropriate to the occasion. As it
evokes the somber, relentless qualiry of the nighr owl's hoodng, it also
calls to mind that that sound in fair weather announces the coming of
storms and the beginning of winter.57
The difference in quality between the nymphlike names of the
chorus members and rhe descriptive quaJiry of rhose of Agido,Hag-
esichora, and Aenesimbrota reflects the distance separaring rhe stars
from celestial divinities, namely, Dawn, Moon, and Night. The time
at which thePrtheneion is ser, as we have seen, is daybreak,and there
are intimations of Dawn herself-Eos, or rarher, Agido. The name,
who leads," is analogous to rhe Homeic Erigenei,"early bornj'
which is also used as a naming epithet. The course of action the cho-
rus projects offers the sffongesr supporr for an idendcadon of it as
the star cluster of the Hyades and of Agido as Dawn. The singers
refer to their present ordeal as ponoi,"labors," which is an odd way
to refer to a dance. In an astral sense, however, the term has a precse
parallel in a fragment of Mimnerm:us,whereytonos means the work of
the Sun in his daily rrack across the sky:
g,,t yp trv t.tott jparar.wa,
o zot' xav ot yfu etL oepr
rexl ax, ruiy po8orru,o'H
:rpo.Lrroo' opavr eiattafit.
Helios'lot is work che whole day long
nor is there ever any respite
for both him and his horses, from the dme rosy-ngered Eos
climbs up into the sky, leaving Ocean
57. Ariscotlefrag.z53-t5-qRose;TheophrasrusOzWeatherSigns5zSiderandBrunschn.
For a proverbial expression of rhe emblematic role of he owl as a sign of winter, see Appendx
proverbiorum z.7z Schneidewin-Leutsch, It may or may not be a mrer of coincidence rhar
Virgil uses"in vain I' neququam,for the caII ofrhe night owl rhac, as dre storm abares, announces
fair weather at Georgics t.4o3i'nequiquam seros exercer nocrua canrus"; see Mynors 199o, 85.
58. Mimnermus frag. z Allen. Remarkably, che notion that the Sun's course is his labor also
occurs in the Hlmn to Samai, +3-46, parts ofwhich may go back to Old Babylonian sources:
"To unknown disranc regions and for uncounced leagues // You press on, Sama5, going by day
and remrning by night. // Among all the Igigi rhere is none who coils but you, // None who is
supreme like you in the whole pantheon ofgodsJ'Trans. Lambert 196o, rz9.
cHAPTER Two / 9z
TH crronus / 93
Like Alcman, Mimnermus presents us wirh the image of toil and
release from toil. If one keeps in mind that the moment the chorus
describes is the dme of the cosrnical sefting of the stars just before
sunrise, it becomes clear why the singers welcome Dawn and sey that
Aotis, th dawn goddess, puts an end to their travails, as she always
does. Together with the Pleiades, these stars are about to set, that is,
to leave the whirl of the dance that is their task, escaping once more
the unsustainable brighmess of the moon.5e
Hagesichora is the Moon, who may herself be represented as a
dancer.60 As they claim at line
of the Prtbeneion, where they call
Hagesichora their cousin (anepsias),the Hyades have a tie of kinship
with her-although they are mortals and she is a goddess. Pleiades
and Hyades are the daughters of the younger Titan Atlas, son of Ia-
petus.6l The latter is one of the elder Ticans and brother of Flyperion,
who is the father of Selene.62 The best comparison for the chorust
description of Hagesichora's gold hair and silver face (lines
contained in the fragment of Sappho quoted eerlier in this chapter,
in a word deached from the main text that calls the moon'bf silver,"
drgurio. As for the sun, archaic poetry imagined the rays of the moon
as a refnlgent mass of hair: she is euplokntnos end eukomoios,"rch'
tressed," and, accordingly, described in the last surviving line of the
Prtheneion as
of the lovely golden hair."63 The devastating effect
that Hagesichora has on the chorus-eirei,"weers out, overcomes,
effaces"-has already been compared to the way in which, in another
sq- With Page t95t, 94-95 erd Calame 983, 34+,I ake lewo (e9) and &par (9I) as
gnomrc aonsEs.
6o. Euripides Ior Io78.
6r. Hyginus Astronomy z.zr (Musaeus Frag. Iz Kinkel), Fabule 9z; Timaeus FGrHist
62. HesiodTheogonl 37t-74; Homeric Hymns y.4-7; Apollodorus r'z'z'
63. Homeric Hlmns it.6,32.t7-;Epmenides
frag. z D-K. On chis poinc see W H. Ro-
scher in Ml z.z
s'v."Motgtrin"'Jurenka (1896, 16-r8) and Kukula (I9o7
zo8) recognized ar lines 5r-57 an a.llusion co che moon.Jurenka argued rhat in
arline 57,
arc, the e ofrhe papyrus should be read as long (as is the clse, e.g.' e +3' ++; see
Page t95r, 3; CaJame 1983, :orvi-xxix), Accordingly, he read, Aotp
chora is che moon herselfJ'This conjecrure has been dismissed (Page
89nz] quotes it deri-
sively and Hurchinson [zoor]
leaves ir out ofhis appararos). In direct reference o dre Moon her-
self, however,Jurenkat reading poinrs to rhe possibiliry ofwordplay by allusive homophony.
fragment of Sappho, the moon'bverwhelms,'
rhe srars.6a The vehicle
for these poetic metaphors is a phenomenon that is easiry observed:
the concealment of stars that occurs when the moon moves near them
and outshines rhem.65
Wichin this frame of reference, rhe mention of Aenesimbrota!
house ar line
73- es Ainsimbrotds-identifies
in Aenesimbrota
Night herself. As we have seen, her house, which Hesiod and
menides locate beyond the Gates of Night and Day, is a prominent
fixture of the topography of the cosmos and the place ,o *hi.h the as-
tral bodies rerurn.66 Here che stars consider, and dismiss, che possibil-
iry of appealing to her in order ro escape the proximir of the Moon,
once they reach her house (entbois,
73).In poetic imagery Nyx is
similar casr as rhe overseer of rhe stars. The stars are in Night! do-
main; they are her ornaments and her attendants,.T and they are also
imagined as her wards, for instancq in Euripides, Electr (54,), when
Electra calls Night'urse
of the golden stars.,,As rhe one
who has it in her power to errenge and,display,,the constellations,66
n the Partbeneion Nyxplays the authoritative role of hhorgo-s of the
dance -song of the Hyades (+s
- s o),n She is b or o s tti s, asshe is called
64, Seepp.77-79 of thepresenttac.
Alan Bowen has poinred ouc to me a descriprion of chis phenomenon, albeit in regard
to che sun, in Theon of Smyrna ,4s ects of Mthemitics IJseJuIJoi the Reading of
Hiller, where a disdncrion is nade berween'irccurtar;or"
(.p iprostxitai), ndkrupsk,
66. See pp. 4z- +3, 48 - 5r of the presenE rexr.
Euripides Ion rr5o-5r.
68. At Ararus ?Lenoneno
+zo, Night,ilsplaysi, epideiknut, he brillianc stars to man-
kind; ar 694-98, she'rags d.ownl'epbelketa, rhe consrelladon of Cenraur and,,brings down,
rhe role of Night as chorus misrress.
of rhe lacgely synooymous ver6 apo-
rganizes public choral performances at
the chorus' tre terms may be rendered
ioned at line 44 is Agido or Hag-
ro the same rore; see calame (above); Nag ree
t"tn tt"
vocabulary ofchoragic acciviries (tg97,
a3-66) is
in der-ermining which
of rwo possible m eaningskhoragos has here-one
s or one who leads rhe
cHAprER Two / 9+ THE csonus / 95
below at line 84, the one who
up'and instructs the chorus. Her
name,'he whom mortals praise," evokes the familiar notion of Night
the"giver of sleepi'as she is called in Euripides' Orestes 175-76.
With all this in mind, let us now return to the imagety of peev
less bear-/ties and exotic horses at lines
The image of Night
as a dream that is a horse and may be called Enetic and the frgures of
the Colaxian and Ibenian horses, to which Hagesichora and Agido
are likened, are not, strictly speaking, metaphors, but expressions
that compound synecdoche with metaphor.To The horse images ap-
peal to the notion, amply attest edby literary and visual sources, thet
Night, Moon, and Dawn, like the Sun, cross the sky one efter the
other, either in a horse-drawn chariot or on horseback, along the path
that runs through the constellations'7l In all three cases, the gure of
the horse stans,pars pro toto, for the horse-driven celestial body, to
which it refers. The ethnic epithets, on the other hand, are indeed
metaphors that ask us to visualize the ways in which Night, Moon,
and Dawn appear in terms of the differences berween Eneti, Ibenians,
and Colaxians. In other words, these epithets refer not to breeds of
horses but to stereo rypical' nocions about lands and peoples.
In the analysis ofthe pessege earlier in chis chapter, I suggested,
with regard to the Enetic horse, that the adjective refers to an iconic
property of the Eneci themselves, their black robes-black like the
color of the dream-horse. But this gure also direct refers to Nighr,
who is melit,"blacki' ar'd melmpeplos,"black-robed," like the
Eneti.Tz The Enetic-looking horse then becomes a foil for the radi-
ance of Hagesichora and points to the brilliance of the moon against
the darkness of the s The contrast of Colaxian and Ibenian again
hinges on color. If
a word for"Lydani'it may call up the
dce. Lare sources rrest ro che use of the rerm specically in Sparta ro designae rhe former;
see Arhenaeus r4.6ga-b; Pluarch Moralia ztge (cf. zo8d, l+qa).
7o. Devereu 196 5, tzz; Ro66ns tgg+, g,
zI. Seepp. 37-4r,t+z-44
ofttrepresenrrext.Burnett 96+,zz)
horse images at lines 58 - 59 wirh rhat of Eos t.aversing the s by charioc or on horseback. On
che chariot and horses of Eos, A. Rapp in MI- I.l (r884-86): e6o-6t, s'v"'Eos"; C' Weiss in
LIMC 3.r
(tg86): hl-SS s.r"Eos." For the Moon, see W H. Roscher in ML z'z (1894-97):
3t3g-44, s.v."Mondgnin"; F Gury in LIMC z
(tgg+): zog-tt,
72, See, e.g.,Homer Ili 54to; Aeschylus Eumenes 7+5;Pindar
Nemean 7'3' Nyx is called
melampeplos atEwripides Ion lr5o.
legendary abundance of gold for which Lydia was famous. A,olde,
horse aptly matches rhe metallic beaury of Hagesicho."_,brr-"lloy"d
gold, her face of silver" (s+-ss).If
of S.ythi_
anness, it may refer to an identiszingfeatureof
ians: the red color of rheir hair.z3 If so,,,Colaxian, aptly charactetizes
the crimson light of Dawn, who is rhododatulos,;rore-ngercd.i,
Homeric and Hesiodic diction.Ta The strengrh of rhis interf,retation
ultimarely resrs on the facr that it
fo, all the
of the elaboratetnalogy,in
which Agido, Aenesimbrot",
chora assume on the mythical plane aspects of rhe narural ph"rio_-
ena they embody. This consrrucrion
appeals to a fund of^.o.r."prc
and imagery that are both widespr""d
long-lived. Drawings on
Arhenian vases, parricularly the Berlin pyxis (lht. o) with its rep-
of Nighr, Moon, and Dawn riding in succession (bri"fy
considered in chapter r), afford us a glimpse of the cavalcad" of artr"l
bodies. The engraved and gilded fijur. of S"lene rding wichin the
disk of rhe full moon in the centrar medalion of a frfth- tury silver
cup suggestively evokes the golden quality of Hagesicho re.zs
The hierarchical scheme that the poem lays out thus configures
the sffucrure of the cosmos in rerms oid"gr"., of beauty and dltt"d
tasks and spheres of acdon. Night yields D"*r,, although they are
because the
of rhe day must be observed.. The
Hyades susrain the rivalry of rhe
bur are no match for the
light of the Moon. Nor can they avoid the Moon by asking Night to
place them somewhere elsg nexr to dimmer lights with *lorri.h.y
could compete, as Astaphis,
Damarera, and Hianthemis pre_
sumably are' The result would be to change the 6xed posirion of stars
and so to alcer the path of rhe sun and rhe moon. This is a rhird, veiled.
allusion to Phaerhon! disaster, which serves as a foil to rhe restored
harmony of rhe cosmos.
73. Herodocus
4.1o8-9; Xenophanes frag- t6 D_K; G al.en Mixtures z.6t8. See e.lso the red-
on dre amphora by che Beril
from he Fleischman collecdon (J.
Gecry Museum and Cleveland Museum ofArr r994,96_98 no.4o).
74. On che epthers for Eos rhar refer co che red.dening sky, see . R"pp, Ml r.r (r88a_86):
25. Soa, Archaeological Museum; Merazov 1998, r8r no. rr6,

Broken as it is, the last stenze of the Prtheneion holds rccogniz'

able allusions to the occasion of the performance and to the measures
of the cosmic dance.
r ra)trt.y.p orlpopt
stnstp'tataL EXpr1
rciv v p.
. .... .. . .
E tv ZrlPrlvEr^rv
ooripap E1,
ta\ y.p, rivt[i E' v6era]
g0fl"etaL E.... rr Ev0o
rcrvo. . 6' bctt.pulr,0t rororct
To the trace-horse
to the steersmen must
on a ship too
the song ofthe Sirens
indeed more harmonious,
for tley are goddesses, instead of
children ten
sings . , . on the streams of Xanthus
the swan' She of the lovely golden hair. . .
The passage at lines gz-roo is a priamel,T6 in which rwo examples of
steering and control culminate in the third, that paradigm of orderly
76- Thesruccureofapriamelhas longbeen recognizedin lines gz-95'SeeDornseifft933,
tz|-zg; Yat Onerlo 1939-4o , t+8-52. Whether or nor they accepc the idenrificadon of the
passage as a primel, mosr inrerprerers a.gue thar whar would be the culminaring example in rhe
series is implied reEher th sEed. See, e.g., Calame tg}l, 3+5; Page t95t,96i'The race-horse
steers dre yoke horses and charioc, rhe helmsman steers dre shipr drese are obviously mecaphors,
or similes, for Hagesichora, who steers d leads rhe chorus." Accordingly, rhe subjecr rhat is
being compared to rhe Sirens ac line 96
( E) has been idenri6ed as eidrer rhe chorus itself(e.g.,
Pzget95t, gz-g;Hurchinson zoo, loo-IoI) or Hagesichora (see Calame I983,346, wiclr refer-
ences), whose performance would be characcerized as inferior Race (1982,
54) saw drar, iflines
9z-95 xeapriamel, rhe mention of che sirens tha follows (g6-roo) should be irs culmination.
cHAprER Two / 96 THE cnonus / 97
progression that is the movement of the heavenly bodies across the
sky. By andlarge,the sense is clear. At lines 94-95
the mention of the
shipt captain in the dative (9+) .ott"tponds to that ofthe trace horse
in the dative (92) andestablishes the analogy of chariot to ship.77 The
yoke horses, and with them the chariot, must follow the lead of the
steer horse; aboard a ship too the crew must heed che steersman's
commands; by their timely setting, the constellations obey, as they
must, rhe overarching authority of the Sirens, the chorus that sounds
(g011etr) a more concordant harmony.
The superiory of the Sirens is acknowledged in two ways, the
rst of which requires little explanation: they are goddesses, while
the stars of Alcman's chorus are only ytides-children or girls. The
second difference drawn berween the two apparently has to do with
uns5-sleven versus ten (9s-99): vtf E'verc] // xaE) import of
remains elusive, if this word in-
deed appeared in the text.78 In the context ofche foregoinginterpteta'
tion, however, and in view of the explicit mention of the Sirens and
rheir melody, it is hard to ignore the special signicance that the num-
ber ten held in Pythagorean cosmology and harmonics.Te The doxo-
graphic tradition attributes to Philolaus of Croton, aPythagorean
He left the issue unresolved, however, casting doubt on the available interprecations oflines
96-99 and questioning che relevance ofsuch a climu to the preceding examples' Adopring the
supplemenc p[v E] at line 97
(6rst suggested by Von der Mhl 1958, followed by West 1967
rr), I rake 6... qE to be the subjecr ofg0'1etct. On the use ofg0oTyri for the voice ofthe
Sirens in rhe Oclysser, see Diclson 1995, 196.
77. Van Groninge tgi6, r58 Page t9 5r, 95 - 96.
78. It is probable that Eer[c] (or 6erc[c]) is to be restored ac line 99. Page I951, Calame
1983, and Hutchinson zoo read cer, where Blass (1885, I8) had actually read 6erc. vEerc, on
the other hand, has been inserted in the cext enrirely on the basis of the scholium A zt (+- s),
riD.rrtv1op(v) tervrci raprar, rexi'gn(olv) orlvdvop1v ftelv]
ia r8eLv i, "but because the chorus (consisrs) somedmes of eleven, someimes of ten maidens;
he therefore says chat (subcracting) the chorus-leader ten sing instead of elevenj' We owe the
suggesrion that lev should be supplied after riv
o Brink 864, I37."The scholiasr
is evidently guessing," notes West (I9e7 IIn4), although he believes rhac"eleve'acrually oc-
curred n rhe rext. It is possible rhar, in his attempt co explain the meaning of"te'as a point
of comparison, rhe scholiasr soughr a number ro which it might be contrasted and, as modern
scholars would, arrived a! elevenby counring rhe names mentioned in rhe song-ten, if one
does noc coun! rheborgos,
79. See Burkerr rg7z, ]g- +o, 72-73, 467 -68.
cHAPTn rwo / 98
THE Cronus / 99
contemPorary of Socrates, the earliest and most exPlicit statement of
the idea thac the decad informs the structure of the universe:
OLtr.o ttup v
zrep t rcr,tpov
. . .
rep E toto Erc
ogar g0 aa
p eis evtt, o p t o4 to

e ztrarn r a,

oelr]r, r1v, g'
r 7r y
rv d'v r$Q ot a.
Philolaus maintained that there was 6re in the middle of the uni-
verse round about its centre.
..] Around it move in choral dance
ten divine bodies; the sphere ofthe xed stars, the ve planets, after
them the sun and beneath it the moon; beneath the moon the earth
and beneath that the counter-earth.8o
Reff.ecting on this notion, Aristode observed;
1ar E'ofov, :ret8rl ttreLov l Eerc eTvar Eorerlr'doa.vpre19vat
rv apr0r<,.tr gorv, rc t
epgr;varwtrv opvr' Erc
el'ta. gaow, vrol E vrra
ttiv gavepri.rl r toto Eert4v lrr'
vtX0ola notoorv.
Since rhe decad seemed to be a perfect thing and to comprise within
itselfthe whole nature ofnumber, they
Pythagoreans] asserted
that the planets too were cen, but as only nine were visible they
invented the counter-earth as a
As to the Sirens, we have seen that they appear in Plato's rePresen-
tation of the cosmos as a whorl consisring of eight concentric circles.s2
Each ofthese carries a Siren sounding a single pitch, and altogether
their voices in succession produce a concordant brmoni.If Placot
Sirens are eight in number, their connection to the decad with regard
to cosmic harmony is established by one well-known Pythagorean
8o. Stobaeus Eclogs zzt (= Aetius 2,2,7; Diels 1829, 6); rans' PhiliP 1966' rt3-r+' O
the aurlrenriciry of rhis testimony, see Huffman I993, 395-+oo.
8. Arisrorle Metapbysia9S6zS-12; crans.Philip ry66,78, Onthispassageseefutrher
Philip rg66, sz-g8n.
82. Placo Republic 6r76-c; see p. 6 of che present Eext.
r i.ort t.s v el,go
.vraott ;
rep .orltt 1.pgoa, v
ai Xerp4ve.
What is rhe oracle at Delphii
The tetrahtus,which is the harmony in which rhe Sirens are.83
Postclassical sources represent the tetratusas the central tenet ofpy-
thagorean doctrine. It is a formula, still largely unexplained, consisr-
ing of rhe
r, 2,
3, 4, which in the ratios
+:3, 3i2,2:r expresses
the basic harmonic intervals. The sum of the numbers is ro.
difficult"-writes Burkert-'to relate the ten revorving celesdal bod-
ies to music."8a Yet, it is clear that such a rerationship was drawn, and
that opens the possibility that the menrion of
99 of the
Prtheneion characterizes the perfecc song of the sirens in terms of
the perfect number.
In addition to stating that the chorus moves in unison with the
order of the universg the priamel resoneres with aflusions to
thon's disastrous ride, which in the lasr stenzesubcly draw together
the mythic and cosmic themes that run through the song. Although
the analogy of horses and ships is frequent inlyric,particularlyn
Pindac scholars cite as an authoritative precedent for Alcman's use
of this figure, and perhaps his source of inspiration, one rhar would.
certarnly be familiar to his audience as well, the priamel
at IIid
E' rire rcu pep.v1r1 ,t oi.votntro.tttr4
vra Oorv i0er peX0or .t1,,t a.votot
tttpt y\.vet ilvr1oro.
e' IamblichusontbePythagorenwyofLifesz.rz-r3;crans.DiilonandHershbeilrggr.
On the tetr.tus seeBurkerc
ry72,72-73, 186-BB,
on rhe andquiry of the tradicion
of qkousmata.Phrlp
ry66, 97 -gln5, on rhe conrrary, argues rhac rhis notio, h.d no .r.r.n.y i,
early Pyrhagorean thoughr.
84. Burkerr
ry7z,35r,John Franklin poinrs out (personal communicacion, November r5,
zoo6) thar the Pychagorean Nicomachus (via Boerhius, De insttutione musc t.zo Friedlein)
knew a tradirion according to which rerpander completed. rhe hepcachord in imicacion of rhe
seven planers.
cHAprER Two / too THE conus / roI
The woodcutter is far better for skill than he is for brute strength'
It is by skill that the sea captain holds his rapid ship
on its course, though torn by winds, over the wine-blue water,
by skill charioteer outpasses charioteer.s5
The Homeric passage lists examples of
"intelligent planning' metis,
skilled calculations that allow the woodcutter, the ship captain, and,
frnal\y,the charioreer, to prevail. But the reverberations that the echo
of this passage sets off in rhe Prtheneion depend not just on these
lines but also on rhe ones that foll0w and on rheir broadef context
(or-+).The heroes prepare for the chariot race in the funeral games
for Patroclus. After Menelaus, Antilochus draws up his chariol Close
by his side, his father Nestor instructs him on the appropriete m^'
neuvers and directs him to the signpost, sem,thatmarks the turning
point. Antilochus's horses are less powerful than rhose of the other
contenders; but the exercise of mtis will bring him victory, because,
Nesror goes on to say (3r9-zr),
ilf pv 0' otot ra aptaor,t ofor nezrot0
gpa8o oil'v ]'looerat v0 r v04,
:roL E tr ar,cnnar al Eprov, oE rataer
He who has put all his condence in his horses and chariot
and recklessly makes a turn that is loose one way or another
nds his horses drifting out of the course and does noc control them'
The relevant images here arerhat of the father pointing out the sm
along the rececoufse as his son sets out, and that of the charioteer
who fails to control his powerful horses and is thrown offthe track.
We do nor know whar form the Phaethon myth took in the rsc, lost
part of the Prtbeneion,but the episode in which Helius gives his son
directions on the route to follow is as integral to its representation as
ent and fall. Long before Ovidt retelling of
rs, as we have seen, in Euripides'Pbetbon,
uth to aim for aparticuler sma along the
85. Trms Lacrimore I95 I. S ee P zge t9 5t,
g6nt Ctme t97 7, z:83n7 t'
celesdal dromos, the seven Pleiades, and then rides behind him, at-
tempting to guide him at every turn.86
These two themes-the dawn that sees the orderly transition
from one season to the next and the tragedy of Phaethon-isss6
again in the gure of the swan upon the Xanthus (roo-roI). In the
parodos of Euripides' Phetbon the swan singing on the streams of
Ocean is one of the notations of daybrcak,which the chorus sings on
the morning of the fatal de (a3-a). The passage opens with the
vision of Eos coursing over the eerth and ends with the song of rhe
E'ei p.rcu,r-
yo oreXouoLrr 0r1 po grro L,
tytr' r('Areattoi
pel.rp rcrcrlo Xer.
Already the hunters, killers of wild beasts, set out on their pursuits
and on the streams of Ocean the sweet-singing swan wa-ils.
In addition to signaling the approaching dawn, it was argued above,
the swan's mournful song may allude to Cycnust lament for Phaethon.
Both connotetions are equally approprate to the bird's appearance in
the Prtheneion, which is set at daybreak. In the play, however, the
river in question is Ocean-understandably, since the great river is
the boundary of the land of the Aethiopians, where the accion takes
place. Ancient sources locate swans on all sorts of rvers,87 but what
determined the choice of the Xanthus n this particular cesei
It is signicant in this regard hac both the swan and the Lycian
Xanrhus have a strong association with Apollo.88 The tradidon,
which represents Lycia as a second homeland to the god, is attested
in sources of all periods, beginning with the epic.The Ilid repeatedly
86. Euripides PbaethottTr-?z;seepp.64-65 ofthepresent texc.OvMetamorpboses
87. See Page r951, roo-ror.
88. Nore especially thar che swan is invoked in hymns ro rhe god; see Alcaeus frag, toz
Yoigc; Homerc H1mfls zt.t-3i Callimachus Hyzns +.249-55.
proposes a special tie between Apollo and the Lycian heroes Sarpe-
don and Pandaros; at IIid 4.IoI
the god himself is called Lukgens,
l'9e Patara on the Xanthus wes the site of a celebraced
oracular sanctuary of Apollo.eo The ciry itselfl, according to Hecalaeus
(FGrHist/rFz56), was named for Patarus, the son of Apollo and'Lycia,
daughter of the Xanthus. Of partcular interest here is the tradition
according to which Apollo resides nLyciain the winter months.The
legend is explicitly recalled ar Aeneid +.rf -4+re1
qualis ubi hibernam LyciamXanthique fluenta
deserit ac Delum maternam invisit Apollo.
as when Apollo \eavesLycia, his winter seat, and the screams of
Xanthus and revisits his mother's Delos.
Virgilt testimony might be dismissed as a late invention, were it not
for the fact that the description of the oracle at Patara in Herodo-
tus (r.r8z) indicates that since the fth century, at the very least, cult
prectice conformed to this belief. Although he does not specifi, the
time of year at which the oracle functioned, Herodotus states that
the prophetess was active only at certaintimes, for the oracle was not
always available.e2
89. OnthisepichetseeChanrrainerggg,65o;Bryce(t9gt,t++-+s)arguesfordreopposing
readings "wolf-born' or"born oflightl' For Apollo and Lycian heroes, see Homer IIad 2.827'
4.119, 16,5zz-32,16,667
for eirecr associarion berween Apollo and rhe land and people of
Lycia, see also Homeric Hymns 3,r7g-8. Bacchylides Epirician n't+7-48;Pinder Pythian 49.
Bryce (tggt, t44-46) collects md discusses these and other sources in an arrempt to discedir
dreir testimony as ro the existence of the sancruary at Paera before the fourrh cenrury.
9o. See Parke r985,185-93.
9r. Servius's commencry on chis passage speci6cally menrions the o.acular sancilary ar
Patara:'am consrac Apollinem sex mensibus hiemalibus apud Parta, Lyciae civiratem, dare
..] ec sex aesrivis apud Delumj'See also Horace Oes 3.4.62-64
n 4-6.z6z" Phoebe,
qui Xanrho lavis amne crinis."
92. Herodotus r.r8z: rca rwa tep v flatpotoL ti .I\ur i tpotrt to 0eou, rev
yr4rar o 'p dn aLe otr
tOr ev E
tte v 1rcm4lrr r
vma oo v rtp v4Q, 'Just as also in Patara of Lycia the womm who is the propheric mouch-
piece of rhe god whenever rhe oracle is functioning-for rhere is noc an oracle at a-ll rimes
rhere-whenever it is funcrioning, then she is shut in for the night togerher with him in the
shrine." Trans. Parke 1985, I85. Regarding.Aene 4.t+3-4+, Parke (186-87) observes:
seasonal characrer of he cul ofApollo in Lycia had already been suggesced long before by
Herodorus in his empharic scacemenr char che oracle did nor funcron all rhe dme in Patara, but
If, together, the swan and the Xanthus bring Apollo to mind the
seasonal connorations attached to the god's presence inLyciaillumi-
nate the relevance of this image to the theme of Alcma,s song and to
the occasion of irs performance it is, I think, an anuson to the fact
that Phoebus Apollo resides inLycia,now that aurumn has turned
to urrntef.
reasingly he does not meke clear during what periods it was active." see also rhe commentary
on the Flerodotempassage in How and v/ells r9u8-The Homeric hymn to Apono may atready
conrain mendon ofrhe sancruary. The"pythian" seccion ofthe song which ,"ror.s th. foordr-
cion ofthe orade at Delph! opens widr trre invocation"o rord you-hold Lycia and rovery Maeo-
nia md Mletus, enchanting ciry by rhe sd (Homeric Hymns
3.t79-8o), Rather rhm ndicace
twge of "geogrzphical
preferencei'(4. M. Miler r9eo,i5-oo), these names probabry refer in
synecdoche to rhe drree great oracular sancruaries of Apollo in Asia Minor:
Cluus, and
Didyma."Mileus" appean in this sense in rhe list of sactuaries iq Aanius,s hymn ro Apollo
(ag. r West), which includes Clarus.
cHAprn rwo / o4
You cannot rgue with song.
The astral con6guration
the chorus
describes is a tekmr,a sign, in
the sense in which
uses rhe word when he d.escribes
he broughr
culrure to mankind..
Like writing and. animal husband.ry,
time reckoning
was one of his invenrions
and his gift to mortalsr
E' oEv ainoT ogeparorpap
ort, riv0erEor
po or e rptroo
0 .p ot:

p p ato.t, fu ep yv ti
r it na.
trpaoo,t, ote r oqw .,rco-, L,ydt
orpal Eetla . te Euorcprou
They had no sign either of wint er or of fl,oweryspring
or of fuit-
depend, but managed everything
them to discern the risings ofthe
dificult to distinzuish.l
By enacting
rhe dawn setting of
and Sirius,
season ac rhe rime of the full moon
sage rhar negoiares
a turningpoint
by the star caletdar.2
Ou, oi" conrinuous
flow of time as it is per-
ceiverl, the_dance-songproduces
the moment that separates
one sea-
son from the nexl the poinr ar which things change.3
As it marks the
Epigrcpb. Bloch
z+, zt.
; trans, Smych r9 zz, mod,i6,ed..
erween culturally defined and ricually marked
of rhe individual, or,,che clear-cur c".-ir"-
nning ofthe other,,versus
periods of,,,gap, or
/ ro6
RrruAL rN PERFoRrtr.lNcr / roz
community's observance of this rupfi.rre, the performance effectively
accomplishes the transition from one state to the other.a The day that
dawns will be the first day of winter.
Appropriately, then, the song is concerned with cosmic order,
which guarantees the timely succession of the seasons, upon which
cultivation depends and with it mankind's very existence in the Age of
Iron. It seems safe to surmise that the occasion of its performence wes
a state festival, which had the function of linking the orderly worhngs
of rhe cosmos to the well-ordered ciry. The Karneia, which included,
among other events, apnnukhis,was such afexival, as we learn from
the passage from the Alcestis quoted in the preceding chapter.5 A
pessage in Plato's Laws expLicitly connecrs to che welfare of the city
knowledge of the heavens, rhe establishment of the calendar, and the
celebrarion offestivals ried to the rhythm ofthe seasons, In the ideal
polis, citizens should learn
the revolutions of the heavenly bodies-the strs nd sun and moon,
and the various regulations about chese matters which are neces-
sary for the whole state-I am speaking of the arrangements of
days in periods of months, and of monchs in years, which are to be
observed, in order that seasons and sacri6ces and festivals may have
their regular and natural order, and keep dre ciry alive and awake, the
Gods receiving the honours due to them, and men having a becer
understanding about them.6
In no actual polis did the observance of astral phenomena play
e gret political role than at Sparta.T A late source, rhe Astrology
attributed to Lucian, even stetes that the Spartan constirution was
modeled on the heavens:
'overlap" (t73),which are times ofinsecuriry and danger"In a way,'he wrices,"che nral external-
izes dre unspoken fear abouc pasr md present even as outspoken hope fo. a new and bene.
period" (I74).
4. On the'erformacive' capaciry oFriroal in che sense deEnedin Auscin lg6z, seeTambiah
r979 and Rappap ort tgg2, 2st,
5. Pectersson (r99 z, chep. l) gives a summary of che evidence concerning the Karneia. See
pp.rzs-33 in the presenr rexr.
6. Plato Laws 8o9c-d; crans.Jowea 1953.
7. fucher (1998, chap. rr) examines in derail che role of astrology in che governmenr of
Sparra, particular as regards the ephors.
For the Spartans, Lycurgus drew from the sky his ordering oftheir
whole poliry and made it their law never
. .] to go co war, before the
moon should be at her full, for he thought that the porency of the
moon is not the same when she waxes and when she wanes, and that
all things are subject to her swa8
The veracity of ar least part of this sraremenr is borne out by a norori-
ous episode of the Persan wars, which Herodotus (6.1o6) reporrs.
On the eve of Marathon, the Athenians disparched Phidippides the
herald to Sparte ro requesr aid. The Spartans consenred in principle,
but could nor send an expedidon immediarely without breaking the
law, because it was the ninth day of the month and the moon ws not
full."Spartan moons" was proverbial for specious pretexts.e Thus the
moon in perticuler-Alcman's Hagesichora-seems to have played
a most importanr role in the Spartan poliry. The ephors consulred
her oracle et the sencruary inThalamae, where she was worshiped
as Pasiphae, and she allegedly presided over rhe full assembly of
In the Prtbeneion the homology casting the heavens and the state
as parallel universes is deployed in two ways rhematically and dra-
matically, Each in its own sphere, the narrative of Phaethon and that
of Hippocoon correspond to each other as examples of catastrophes
occasioned by crises of succession. Phaethon's assumprion of his fa-
ther's role throws the astral sysrem inro disarray and leads to his de-
struction. On the cvic srage, Hippocoon's ill-founded claim to the
kingship teers open a period of murderous strife rhat leads ro rhe
devastation of the city. The restoration of order, with the rerurn of
the legitimate heir, Tyndareus, requires thar Hippocoon die rogerher
with his sons. The correlarion berween disrurbance in the heavens
[Lucian] ,Asrrology z5; rens.Harmon 1936, modified.
9. Diogenianus Proemie ro.47 Lewtsch; see fucher 19 gB, tz1nrz3.
o. scholium to Thucydides r.67.3. Pausanias 3.26.1 identifies Pasiphae as selene. on the
oracle, see fucher
ry98, chtp. rz.
cHAprER THREE / Io8 RITUAL rN PERFoRn,Nc / lo9
and rhe threat of pollution in the royal houses was otherwise drawn
at Sperta in the procedure reported by Plutarch on the occasion of
the ousting of King Leonidas II in z+l I +2.11
Every eight years the
ephors trained their sights on the sky on e cle r, moonless night and,
if a star s'hot from one
of the vault to another, determined that
the king was hateful to the gods and should be removed. In this cass
the ephor Lysander tesdfred to having seen the shooting star; Leoni-
das's impious ect
to have fathered a tainted
geny by marrying
a foreign woman.
The Gigantomachy, tentetively idended at lines 27-35, would
provide the ultimate paradigm of all attempt at usurpation that leads
to momentary chaos. The Giants too are marked by their birth as
subdivine and uldmately mortal, by virtue of the fact that Earth con-
ceives rhem from the blood hat flows from the castrated member of
LJranus.lz To prevenr Earth from bringing her sons back ro life with a
plant that would revive them, Zeus extinguishes the lights of Dawn,
Moon, and Sun and culls the simple himself, This gesture, which
Apollodorust narrative of the myth
as a mere stratagem, in
effect erases the separation of Night from Day and throws the uni-
verse back into primordial darkness.
The homology becween the cosmos and the state laid out in the
mythical nefrecives of the Parth eneion isbrilliantly developed in rerms
of theatrical structure. The rcalizationthar the dance-song is dramatic
mimesis allows us to recognize, in what Clay and orhers have called
self-dram atizetior-of the chorus i'13
theway inwhich in the second
part of the song the performance itself becomes its theme, a feature
that also marks many choral odes of Athenian tragedy and comedy'
Bierl and Henrichs in parricular have called atrenrion to instances in
which the chorus members point to their identiry as performers, in a
meratheaffical turn rhat makes the spectators aware of the distance
n. Plutarch Ags II.4-5; see Carlier t98+,2g+-gs;Rjcher tgg8,t7z-76' Parke (1945) pro-
posed chat th"
procedure was followed in che ousring of Demaratus' See p' z7 in che
."*r. fucher (I998, r83-92) argues har che star in question is not a shooring srar' as
i. ge."rrlly assumed, buc Sirius, poinring ro Alcman 1'60-63 emong other evidence for che
prominence ofsirius in Spartan thoughc.
n. Hesod.T\eogory I83-86; Apollodorus r.6.r.
r3. D. Clay I99I, 63- 64; PePoni zoo+, z96,
between the"here and now" of their dance and the'there and then'of
the drama being This phenomenon, which has been termed
s elf - r ef er entialiryi' has b een interpreted in terms of perfo t met;v e v a-
lence, in reference to the ritual function of the chorus in the cultc
realm of the festivals of Dionysus.l5 A particularly striking example
comes in the second stasimon of Sophocles' Oedipus
ing the scene in whichJocasta rejects the oracles of Apollo. Faced with
the threat of collapse of divine order (9o9-ro), the chorus members,
who wear the masls of Theban Elders, ask (sgl-go):"Why should
I dancei" Since nothing in the dramatic action being staged explicitly
requires them to do so,'ihe dancing to which the Th eban elders rcferi'
writes Henrichs,
more properly, and more immediately, a function
of their choral identity than it is of their dramatic character-it takes
place in the concrete space of the orchestra where they perform, yet
it is simultaneously projected into the imaginary past of the dramatic
action, as if this chorus were dancing in Thebes as well as in Athens."
The effect is noc simply to shatter the"dramatic illusion'but to bring
to the fore the fact that the chorus has a double role, one that is both
the dramatic realm of the play and outside of it in rhe politi-
cal and culdc realm of the here and nowi"6 This insight of not only a
double role for the chorus but, correspondingly, of two distinct steges
upon which the performance is projected is a useful starting point
for an analysis of the dramatic structure of the Prtheneion end of its
ritual dimension.
In the Prtheneion, not every element of self-description lends it-
self to be interpreted as
in the sense outlined above.
When the chorus states
sing the light of Agidri' (lg-
wail" (so), when its members name themselves and describe their
dress, their location, their labors and desires, when they look forward
14. Segal ry82, chap.7; Bierl ry9 chap, +; Bierl zoor, rt-64 passim, 3o8-r4; Henrichs
t994-95,t996.The phenomenon is by no means limited to rragedy and comedy. Frnkel noted
some time ago thac in choral lyric che descriprion of che performance itselfdisrupcs the illu-
sion that the actor is idencical wirh the characer he or she impersonates (Frnkel I962, r8z-83,
quoted in Henrichs r996b, 3r).
r5. Henrichs r994
5, z o; Bietl zoot, 3z -
64, 3o8 -t 4.
16, Henrichs r99 4-95, 67.
to being released from the dance by Aotis (ez-gg), they remain well
within the dramatic persone of the Hyades, beaudful maidens who
mourn their brother and dance in the sky till dawn.l7 But in three
distinct ways the song forcefully draws ettention to the fact ancl the
circumstnces of its performance. The first is by a stetement whose
performative force stems from the euthority that the Muses confer on
rhe poet and from the contexc in which it is uttered'
I refer to the rst twelve survivinglines, which open with the scate-
ment or y-rr rctov v rcaroorv tr L7
do not count Lycae'
thus among those who struggled (or suffered)i'followed by che names
of ten sons of Hippocoon, each accompanied by a heroic epithet.The
passage closes with rcs itpiora /l
, .) nppote,'ihe most val-
anr //we shall
pass over" (tz).18 As is generally rccognzed,the
point is not that Lycaethus (and with him the other sons of Derites,
who may have been mentioned here) is alive, buc that he is excluded
from the list. In denying him what he grants the sons of Hippocoon,
Alcmant phrase has a precise parallel in an elegy of Tyrtaeus, which
denes what it is that makes a man a herol
or' d't p'vloailrv otlr' rrl7art vEpc trOerv
ote o8v per1 oihe raatoc'tt1;,
oE' ei Kurc.ov
vrrcur E 0c^rv @pnirctov Bop1v,
oE' ei Tr0ovolo gury
tir4p 'a9:^fuet v zro)'rcuL
pv go'vo't artwa,
ra E1 cov p'yott' 'yuOer, o:'ge't o.
rz. Noce, however, rhac Bietl (zoot,54-5a) inrerprets rhe rsc-person saemenc ac lines
as a performacive uEerance rhat consriflrtes rirual action: che maidens worship Aocis
18. Following Page (t95t,83), I assume rhar a negative such as o preceded raprlooe'
Calame (r9e3,
3r7) undersrood rhe latrer in reference ro t cipo in che sense of"we shall
pass over rhe mos valimrj'In this he is followed by Robbins (r994, u), who interprers rhe encire
lisrof names asapreeteritio.Hutchinson (zoot,8z) ob".rves ch."a-frer:jsitpiotu theword
cannor be scornful."
I would not mention or take account of a man for his prowess in
running or in wrestling not even ifhe had the size and strength of
the Cyclopes and outstripped Thracian Boreas in the race, nor ifhe
were more handsome than Tithonus in form.
. .J For no man is
good in war unless he can endure the sight ofbloody slaughrer and,
standing close, can lunge at the enemy.le
As for the man who does not finch in the face of death on rhe banle-
field, Tyrtaeus says:
o ore rlo

.o0lr; d)Jttn a o E' vo y' rou,
til rr y{

:re p .s,r ybt et 0 ,,t :ro
Never do his name and good fame perish, buc even rhough he is
beneath the earth he is immortal
Remembrance denied is a'hot taking into accouni'(ot'll7c,rL
rt0e4r,), the same gure of reckoning that Alcman uses of Lycaethus
atlie z of the Prtheneion"I do not counr;' orc 71v . . . d\eya, al-
though slightly different in wording.2o Tyrtaeus and Alcman thus
assert their power to withhold or confer glory,kleos, since it is song
that through the generations will ensure that the name of some will
live on, while others are consigned to oblivion.2l In the Partheneion
the chorus engages in the apportionment of praise and blame, an op-
eration that has a distinctly social dimension. From Plutarcht Lrf, of
(t.z), we learn that this was e practice fundamental to the
conduct of Spartan society. In Lycurgust egalitatan state, the blame
attached to base deeds and the praise accorded to good ones would be
the only source of inequality emong the men. The exercise of praise
and blame was carried out primarily at festivals, in songs that were
r9. Tyrtaeus rz Wesr, r
- 5 and ro-rz; rrms, Gerber 1999; see Hurchinson 2oor, 80.
zo, ScholiumAr,3-4cothePrtbeneonparaphra,sesorc...lyoasovrarapr0r(rn),
See also Pindar Ollmpian 2,78,
zr. Derienne (r996, chap, z) brillianr demonstrares thar the poerics ofleos in archaic Greek
rhoughr are grounded in the opposirion offorgerring and remembering, lea ('bblivion') and
Ietheia ("ctuthl' expressed as"un-oblivio'), which scand one ro the oher as silence ro speech and
blame to praise. He identes in the phrase or' v1,7or lOeqv (Tyrtaeus rz.r) a case in which
the poet exercises his power as"masrer of Blame" (l55n5r). See further Nagy rygob, 58-6o.
/ II3
the most part praises
of men who had died for Sparta,
calling them blessed and happy; censure
of men who had
played the coward, picturing their grievous and ill-starredlife'izz
By the words
do not reckon' and
shall not pass over" the
chorus acomplishes a speech act, in which the naming of the action
is itself the performance of that ection it numbers the Hippocoon-
tids among the heroes and consigns to oblivion the sons of Dertes.
Its authoriry to do so rests not upon its dramatic identity es chorus
of stars, but upon its omciel role of ritual egent in a cultic settin& be-
fore the poliry formally assembled.23 In assigning praise and blame the
chorus points to the circumstences of the performence and sffesses
its choral identity. That authority,however, is denied them on the
mythical plane, as they state:
yv E'eior
tr' rtrrov, 'vnep pt"t
r rpdpetaL
gairv. r E'ot' ht'vr1'v
vw rclew
o6'r {r Eorce7p iige.r aina
I sing
the light of Agido. I see rt
like the sun, whom
Agido summons to appear and
witness for us. But the glorious chorus mistress
forbids me to either praise or blame her.
For she appears to be
^.,-^-^-l:-, ouEsrancung.
zz. Plut:rrch Llcurgus zr.r; trans,Perrin I9I4. See also t4.3, z5.z.Onte role ofpraise poecry
in Sparcan sociery, see Derienne r996,45-46iNagy t99ob,3gz.
23. Irefertothede6nirionofrheproperriesofthespeechacrinthecririqueofAuscin196z
in Benveniste r963.
Epinn and momsthai,"to praisd'and"to blame," are terms which
in Greek lyric belong to a particular
of discourse," in Nagyt
words-that of inos, praise poetry. Ainos is authoritative speech,'
marked speech-act, made by and for a marked social group" (rhe polis
in the archaic period), that chastises the base and proclaims the kleos
of the heroes. The subject of nos is the deeds of mortals; the exercise
of it always implies blame, since it involves pronouncing a judgment
and ranking some above others.2a At lines 43-44,the phrase'forbids
me to either praise or blame her" refers to the inos that the chorus
legitimately performed with regard to the sons of Derites and the
sons of Hippocoon. As mortals themselves, h owever, the Hyades may
honor in their song the immortals, with whom they share the heav-
ens, but they lack the authority to rank one above the other,25 To
the light of Agido'honors Eos but, the chorus hastens to add, is not a
performance of inos, since it in no way implies disparaging by com-
parison the powerful beauty of Night, who is'butstanding' herself.
The contrast of the rwo modes of song articuletes the rwo registers
along which atchaic poetry is deployed: celebration of the gods and
praise of the heroes.26
A second way in which the song calls effention to the distance be-
rween the"here'ofthe dance ofthe chorus and the'iherd'ofthe dance
ofthe stars is through exrensive use ofdeictic gestures. By using verbs of
sight and deictic pronouns and adverbs, the chorus establishes its own
spatial relationship and that of its interlocutor to objects, which may be
part of the physical context of the performance (ocular deixis) or
of the drama it enacts (ctional deixis).27 Sorting out which is which
requires some knowledge about the mise-en-scne of the dance. To be
sure, by reading the poem we cennot see what the festival audience saw
24, Nagy r99ob, r5o,3r; see also v7-50,428-io and Nagy 1999, zzz-24,25o.
25. Insightfully, Hutchinson (zoot,87) noces:"in rhis instance, the poem, so intensely hi-
erarchical, refuses to rank. That itselfis not an unhierarchical feacure,just as mortals should
decline ro rank gods, and not only for prudential reasonsl'
26. Derienne r996, $-+5.
27. Bhler (tya, pt. z, especia-lly 8o-8r, tzr-4o) gives the fundamenral de6nidon of the
three modes of linguistic deixis. Felson (zoo4) provides an excellent brief introducrion to rhe
suect with particular reference to Greek lyric poetry.
cHAPTER THRte / il4
in archaic Sparta.28 But at this point we may hazardan informed guess.
If the Partheneion was performed before dawn, as the chorus rePeat-
edly states, at a ytnnukbis, the archerype of its dance would have been
es present to the audience as the dancers themselves were.2e
Wha/the audience would have seen may be evoked by a fragment
14 ptl
gavet' d oe\a'v <''t> a,
ai 'ci:rep
The full moon shone brightlY and
The maidens took their stand around the altar.3o
ThePrtbeneion playsprecisely upon such ajuxtaposition of moonlit,
star-spangled night to dance floor, as would later, at a gteet remove
and in a different vein, the image on Sotades' astrglos, with which
we began. Against this scenery, readily and endlessly available for each
yearly performance, ler us consider the dramatic charge of deictics.
The chorus poinrs to the dark of night (5o), the moon (56
- 5 7),
rhe Pleiades (ao-a3))t all of which are actually visible overhead, but
invites the spectators to visualize them in the human form of a dark
beauty, a luminous dancer, and a chorus of maidens, resPectively. At
Lines 6+-Ti,the elaborate description of the dancers'appearance and
attire borh calls attenrion to the spectacle that is before the audience
and projecrs it onto the stars that are imagined to dance in the sky.
These gesrures establish correlarions berween distincr deicdc elds,
by pointing to objeccs and actions acrually
to the sPectators'
sight (ocular deixis) but con6guring them as objects and actions
which the spectators are asked to imagine (6cdonal deixis).In a con-
tinually shifting perspective, the audience is made aware of the chorus
28. D.Clayry9r,5t.
29. Bowra tg3+,+ot D.Clayl99I,52-t,,6r.Forrheview thacdtePartheneionwaspet'
formed in daylight, see Wilmowirz-Moellendorf I8 97, 255;Wesc t965, tgs'
3o. Sappho frag' I 54 Yoigc
3. Onrhedeicicforceofraiarline6o,seePuelmargTZ,Z+n64;Calame1983,33z;Pepoti
2oo4, JO3.
as performers immersed in the ritual situarion as well, as characters in
the drama it enacts.32
The metatheatrical turn becomes all the more intense when the cho-
rus flrrns to the spectetors with direct quesrions.33 This move, on which
the Brechdan Vrfremdung effecr famously relies, invites the audience to
reflect on the relation of the performance to the dramatic acrion ir srages.
When rhey dremeticelly point to Night and Moon-don'tyou see? (5o)
wby do I tell you explicitly? there Hgesicbor (56-57)-rhe dancers do
more thar expose the seam rhatjoins them as acrors ro their roleThey
effecdvely open' play within the pla'Ubersfeldt graphic de6nition of
this dramatic structure is eminendy suited ro the case at hand:
Ily a thtre dans le chtre quand il y a deux espaces embots
dont l'un esc reprsentation pour lutre. I1 fauc donc qu'il y air des
regardants et des regards, mme si les uns et les autres sont regards
par le public.3a
In the case of the Prtheneion, the s itself is e srage, which the full
moon traverses and upon which the Hyades dance. On the civic stage
of the sanctuary, Alcmani chorus presenrs the srar chorus wirh a mi-
mesis of itself. The double quality of the performence as spectacle
for the heavenly bodies as well as for the Spartan audience is demon-
strated by the gesture of the Moon, who musr be looking upon the
performance, because she applauds it:
0 a d1Va
cip' nan'rei.
32. Peponi (zoo4) pecfectly captures this eFecr, in which he audiencet perception'ton-
stantly alternates berween mere vision and imaginary visualizarion'(oz). Sh. inrerprers the
projecrions onto rhe imaginary plane ofthe drama as a series ofmecaphors.
33. On addresses a. specttores, see P6ster r988, 8r-83. On the identicadon ofthe audi-
ence in he addressee of the questions ar lines 5o md 56 - 57 see Puelma rg77,42177 andPepon
34. Ubersfeld r99 6, 97; for a general definition of"rhe play within the play," see also Pfister
t988,223-3o. Rosenmeyer (zooz,9-rc) briefly discusses rhe'lay-within'as regards Greek
drama. Hutchins on (zoot,78) notes rhat in thePrtbeneion"a kind oflittle drama, so to speak,
is sraged on the edge ofthe riruall'
Nor does Hagesichora
of the beautiful ankles remain in place
to Agido ...
andrauds our festival'
It is useful to ernlyzethis dramatic ,*"r.r, .hrough the focusing
lens of Tambiaht denition of the performetive capacities of ricual in
an influendal essay that opens with, but never fully develops, precisely
the question of the role of the dance-song in rirual:
Ricual action in its consticucive features is performative n these
three senses: in the Austinien sense of performative, wherein saying
somehing is also doing something as e conventionel act; in the quite
differenc sense of a staged performance that uses multiple media by
which the participants experience the event intensively; and in the
sense of indexical values-I derive this concept from Peirce-being
attached to and inferred by actors during the performance.35
Its identity as acrors consrirutes the indexical dimension of rhe chorus.
When it momentarily steps outside the role of Hyades, it stands re-
vealed in its other role, which is to
t, reenect, che community
of rhe polis," to which it has an exisential relation.36 The identica-
tion of choru swithpolis,of dance floor with civic space, was explicitly
made in Sparta, wherekhoros was r/hat the agor was called (Pausa-
Plutarch's Lfe oJ Lycurgus teveaJs e tradition according
ro which choral performences both preceded and embodied the Ly-
curgan laws and constitution, for which the name was ornos. From
his self-imposed exile on Crete, Lycurgus persuaded Thaletas to go
to Sparta. In Thaletas the practices of music and political acdon are
equated, in that his songs bring strife among the cirizenry to an end.
For that reason,
performed the part of one of the ablesc lawgivers
in the world" and"prepared the way for the discipline intoduced by
re a
36. Nagy I99ob, l4z. For a similar disrinction berween the dramaric role ofrhe chous and
irs choregic role, see Henrichs I996b, 56;Bierl
zoot, z9; Bierl zooT; Kowalzigzoo+' s+-55.
37. Herodorosr.65.4;Nagy1985,4o-4r;NagyI99ob,36z-68,followedbyTooryg7,r4-t5.
On the imporcance ofdance in Sparran sociery, see Constanrinidou 1998, l5-I7.
Lycurgusl'38 The reason Thaleras is like a grear lawmeker is that, just
as laws do, the performance of his chora_l lyrics enacts social order.3e
The double identity of the chorus in the
enables it si-
multaneously to embody the harmony of the heavens, signified in rhe
cosmic dance, and the harmony of the srare, which it also enacrs, as
the dancers ofthe songs ofThaleras had done before,
It is this capacia to represenr the polis indexically that enables the
performative function of the chorus, since performative speech is never
a mafter of words only.Its efr,cacy depends on the recognition by aJl in-
volved that the speaker has the authoriry to make such a starement ard
does so in re appropriare circumstarces.4o On the other hand, the dra-
matic action-rhe dance of the Hyades-frames and legitimizes the
rirual event at the symbolic level in rerms of a cosmology that projecrs
the order ofthe universe ard rhat ofthe stare as analogical structures.
The double role of the chorus appears to be a function-agairy in Tm-
biah's perspective-of"rirual's duplex existencg as an entity rhar sym-
bolically and/ or iconically represenrs rhe cosmos and at the same rime
indexically legitimates and reafzes social hierarchies."at In this case, it
does so by staging a conontation of the order of the cosmos wirh the
.osmos of the ytolis such thar they ate revealedro mirror each orher.
39. The srory ofThaletas reads like illustrarion ofBloch's conroversial rheses that rrual
speech is quinressentia.lly political and that daaced lyrics in parricular, where srylization s mosr
pronounced, are marked by weak propositional foce but high "erformarive
force-or o
recognized; see, e.g,, Rappaporc r99 g,fi8, tst,3o3.
4o. I rely on Benveniste's (1963) more restricrive de6nirion of che speech ac in answer ro
Ausrin's (1962) proposal, as well as on Bourdieu's analysis ofrhe speech acr in rirual discourse
(r982, ro3-r8),
,, 'r.-k;-L ,^-^ .--
+,. LaLLLwt4Lt L>/y, t>).
Trrr MouRNING VorcE
The correspondences between the Prtbeneion and tragey do nor
end with performative selreferentialiry. As we have seen, the song
as a whoie is marked by strong thematic consistency, which cencers
on the issue of legitimate succession as the guerantee of order, de'
veloped through a series of analogies and contrasts. Thejuxtaposi-
tion ofbloodshed, heaps ofcorpses, and Phaechon's crash on the one
hand to the feminine grace of maidens'voices on the other dramatizes
the tension berween the chaos of the past and the harmony of the
present,42 An effective element of continuity
a bridge, es it were,
between past and present-is given by a note sounded throughout
the text, which has so far gone undetected, that of lament. Indirectly,
the lines that seal the mythical narratives and introduce the chorus's
self-description refer to funeral lamentations:
traota 8

py a nao ot rar
orelo L.
att' n.
E'.pro otL egparv
chings never to be forgotten
they sufFered for the evils they plotted'
There is such a thing as retribution from the gods'
Happy is he who, sound of mind,
weaves through the day
42. Burneu(1985,r1)perceptivelyobserves,"rhetenscencedgirl-namesofrhepresent,when
rhey come, echo rhe ren blood-soaked masculine names ofthe myrhic past with an effecr thar is
clearly conrrived and markedly baroquej'
The fortunate man who is'unwepti' aklustos,is one whose day does
not come to a tragic end that calls for mourning, and he is implicitly
compared with the unhappy gures nor'lound of mind,,, who were
the subject of the preceding stanzas and for whom formal lamenta-
tions were performed. As Nagy observed, the phrase lst . . . ptson
(Z-lz) is akin ro the epic combinationpe ntbos lston,'unforgenable
griefl'a3In the latter the epirhet Iston,which properly applies ro the
hero's ordeal, is transferred ro the grief of those direcdy afected by his
tribulations and, ar the level of the communiry, to the ritual lamenta-
tions performed in his cult.
The legendary lament of the Heliads over their brother is nor ex-
plicitly mentioned in what remains of theprtheneion,butthere
is an
allusion to it, f have argued, in the gure of the Enetic horse, which
calls up the black robes of rhe inhabitants of Adria forever mourn-
ing Phaerhon's death.aa Cycnust lamenr for
as well near rhe end of the song by the menrion of the cry of the
swan at daybreak.The roster of dead Hippocoondds, es we have seen,
is explicitly framed in rerms of commemorarion.a5 In this perspec_
tive the expression en kmousin (z) takes on its proper significance.
in reference to the trials of athleres and the labors of he-
roes.47 In marking rhe difference between Lycaethus and the Hip-
pocoontids, enkmousin urns the spodight on the"sufferings,,of the
latter. That is what entitles rhem to be not'basse d over" and iusties
their heroic srarus. In the seme way, ,h. pr"."'luffered uforgr-
+. N"gy
l4 (with chap. 6 for rhe transformar or of che pentbos
alaston of the
hleos apbthiton at the level of epi c); Hinge zooe , 4a.
Calame (ts8r,
he acdve sense as "unweeping.,,
44. See p
45. See pp. zt-zz in rhe present rext-
46. LSJ,s.ukamno5,
47, Chancraine 1999, s.v. b.mno; see Calame 1983, ,5;Loreuxrggs,52_53.tNagy r99ob,
t38-39, t5r. In Pericles'Funera.l oraion (Thucydides 2.4t.5),kamnein sisnifies heroic dearh
in barrle.
cHAPTER / no RrruAL rN PERFoRt'eNcs / Iz
table things" (d\ao . . .r'Ao'.,16-y)-which may apply to all the
foregoing mythical transgressors orjust to the ones mentioned last-
points to the undying memory that is attached to such"sufferings."
How melody, choreography, and dance movements reflected the
theme of lament that is embedded in the text of the Pttheneion is
impossible to know, except to say thet the performing voice of the
chorus is'ihe mourning voice," as Loraux called it.a8 The Hyades are
archerypal singers of the dirge, their catasterism being the result of
the insatiable grief for their brother that consumed them. Moreover,
they explicitly characcerizether song as one ofsorrow by calling it
a wail (lelka) like the mournful call of the What to make of
so explicit a call to grief in a song that celebrates the harmony of the
universe as a new season beginsi W'e are infactvery familiar with the
mattage of what appear to be incompadble modes
the hymn with the thrnos-because that is the mark of the choral
songs of Athenian Most scholars interpret inflections of
lament in songs that are not dirges as a new development and the
distinctive featute of tragedy, which brought about a synthesis of
what had been hitherto disdnct lyric genres.51 That such a synthesis
appears abeady in the earliestlyric we have should be of interest in
future inquiries into what tragedy owes the lyric tradition.
As a choral dance-song that commemorates the ordeals of heroes,
not on the occasion of a rirual in their individual cults but on the
stage of a ciry fesdval, rhe Prtbeneon is not an isolated case. It nds
a patallel in the Herodotean story of Cleisthenes' attemPr to expel
from Sicyon the cult of the hero Adrastus. Herodotus states hat the
encestral honors paid to Adrastus included tragic choruses (ttgikoisi
kboroisi) that rehearse dhis ytthe,'iufferingsl'52 When the Pythia af'
+8. This is rhe rirle of Loraux's exploration of the mode of lamenr in Greek rragedy
49. Lines 85-87; seePP. 88-89 in chepresenrrext.
5o. For a review of che rich lirerarure concerning rhe elemenc oflamentarion in Arhenian
tragedy and ics relationship to Homeric epic on the one hand and to rirual lamenrs ar
on the othe see Du zoo6, introduction and chap. r, The seminal study ofAlexiou (t974, wirh
its second edition published in zooz) remains the standard source on the Greek lamenr'
5r. See, e.g., Segal tgg3, chap' z.
52. Flerodous 5-67.5; see again Nagy rggg, rt4.
firmed Adrastust claim to rhe cty,the ryrant transferred. the choruses
to the cult of Dionysus. wharever meaningis ro be attached to the use
of the term trgikos here, what is noteworthy and. relevant is Herod.o-
tust narrarive implying rhat the choruses for Adrastus continued. to
recounr and celebrate the hercis pthe, aibeit in rhe rirual context of
a festival of Dionysus. An even more strikingparallel is evoked n rhe
ing on a role that normally belongs ro women. In these rines'Alcestis
one of several allusions to the Trojan epic, anecho of Achilles'ad.d.ress
to the dead Patroclus (lHorrrer IIid
4.ry9):tp.tot, :flarpor),e,ri
eir AiEo Eroror, "fare-thee-well,
even in rhe house of
Hadesi'5a The chorus goes on to predict that her heroic death wiil be
in songs, including the"lyre-less hymns,,that were per-
formed in the course or agreat state festival in rhe month of Karneios:
zoD, oe
rcO' :rrrov,t r, i:pea.v
b r'ripot rc.ovte rvoL,
aery o
ra.,ttsots o.a,
\vrpaw t' v .pL A0vt.
53. On the play on gender roles in the,4.lcesris, see Se galry,5r_86;the quoracion is From
54. See DaJe 196r, 88 and Garner r988, particular pp. 6o
cHAprER / tzz RITUAL IN PERFORtttINCe / rz3
Poets shall sing often in your praise both on the seven-stringed
mountain tortoise-shell and in songs unaccompanied by the lyre
when at Sparta the cycle of the season of the monrh Karneios comes
circling round and the moon is aloft the whole night long, and also in
rich' gleamingAthens'5s
The ritual event that Euripides envisions bears an uncenny re-
semblance to the circumstances surrounding the performance of
the Prtbeneion, as they were reconstructed in the preceding chap-
ters aq)onnubbis marl<tngthe change of seasons. Here too the mode
of lament informs the celebration. The key phrase is v t' 'pot
rc}ovte rvor,
"conferring glory in hymns unaccomPanied by the
lyre J' In tragic dicdo n lur o s," w ithout ly r e i' is rmly and exclusively
associated with mourning and specically with the thrnos.56 Eu'
ripides uses it three more times, each time unequivocally in this
sense: in the lpbigeni in Turis, t46, the heroinet lamentations are
luroi elego; in the Helen, I85, Helent wail is en luros elegos; an
at Phoenicitt Women, toz8, luron qualifres the deadly song of the
Theban Sphinx.57 The gure of the tragic hymn appears earlier in
Aeschylus's Agmemnon,988-9r, where"the heart hymns the [yre-
lursl threnos of the Erinyesl'58 The point mad e at Alcests
is clear: Alcestis will receive thekleos bestowed by a genre
of songs that fused praise and lamentation and were traditionally
performed for the heroes at the Karneia. The e.cacy of this image
in projecting Alcesdst heroic status depends in no small measure
on knowledge on the part of the audience that che pnnukhis at
the Karneia included choral songs that celebrated the heroes-
in some sense-in the lyre-less mode that also marked the
55. Trans. Kovacs 1994, moded.
56. Loraux zoo2, 6t-62. In spite of rhis, inrerprecers of he Alcestis rejecr the possibility
thzr a[uros here has rhe meanng that ir has everywhere else. Dale (re6I), followed by Paduano
(r9e9), takes ic co denoce poetry spoken with no accompaniment or accompied by te aulos,
conErasred in a technical sense o songs accompanied by the lyre. On che"6gure ofnegared song'
see Segal 1993, 16
57. See aso Soph ocles Oeipus at Colonus rzzr-23; Alexis frag. 116z PCG.
58. At Aeschylus Eumendes t-33, che song of rhe Furies is a lyreJess [apbormingtos]
hymn, wirhering co mortal.s- The"tragrc oxymoron' of tagedy, to quote Loraux again,
charactezes as well the Louvre Prtheneion.
The strain of lamentation in the Prtbeneion, particularly as re-
gards the Hippocoontids, taps into the communityt emotionel con-
nection to its past.60 Its resonance with the audience may be gauged
by refl.ecting that hero-shrines of the sons of Hippocoon were promi-
nently located in the Spartan sacred landscape and presumably were
the site of periodic observances. Pausanias names the shrine of Alcon,
reportedly a son of Hippocoon, at the head of the Dromos, where the
athletes trained ro his day; near the Platanistas, the Plane-Tree Grove
where the violent hand-to-hand combats of the ephebes took place,
he notes the shrines ofAlcimus, Dorceus, Enarsphorus, andThebrus,
of whom the lamer two correspond co names that survive in the text
of thePrtbeneion. And between an area called the Sebrion, after The-
brus, and a shrine of Helen, not far from the heroon of Heracles that
commemorated his ght with the Hippocoontids, Pausanias sw the
tomb ofAlcman.6l
Alcman acquitted himself well in the task of grounding the song in
Spartan myth-history and ritual practice. But, like the myth of Phae-
thon, the outer frame of the Prtbeneion is Panhellenic in character.
As it throws further light onto the brillianr culture of seventh-century
Sparta, therefore, the poem also conrms the city's cosmopolitan
character. On the one hand, Alcman's cosmology echoes notions of
unfathomable antiquiry, which are attested in Mesopotamian sources
going back to the second millennium BCE, as well as in Homer and
Hesiod. That is the case with poro.s, the road of the Sun with its stel-
lar signposrs, which find parallels inthebrranu and mnzzu of the
59. Rutherford(r994-95,nr)admitsthepossibilitythatrhepassagerefersroaccualsongs
performed at che Karneia. Bierl (zoo7) shows rhar the choral song of the Spartan women at
the end of Ariso phznes' Llsistrata poinredly echoes che imagery and wording of rhe Louvre
Partheneion,in zway that suggests rhat at least dre educared members of the Athenian audience
would be familiar wich chis genre of Sparran lyric. See also Hnge zoo6,297
6o. On the emorional dimension of choral lyric in tragedy, see Laux zooz and Du's
perceptive observation (zoo6, 166):"The distance berween che world ofheroes in the there
and chen and the world of the audience in the here and now was bridged by rhe tragic chorus,
who maintained a physical connection to the audience (via dreir location in the orchestra) and
mediared between rhe rwo worlds."
6L Pausanias 3-r4.2, 3.5.t- J.SeePege tg5t, z6-27; Calzme tgzj, z:54.
Babylonian creation myth. By steging the dance of the Hyades and
by its mention of the song of the Sirens, the poem also bears witness
to the antiquity of the notion of the cosmic harmony and of the con-
cepr of a universe regulated by the musical scale, which later tradition
would atribute to Pythagoras.
The importance of Alcmant is reflects the role that che con-
cept of'due measure,"Justice, plays in Hesiod and pre-Socratic phi-
losophers. As Slatkin has shown, that is the principle that keeps the
processes and patterns of nature in equilibrium through a cycle of
exchanges that mirror the human condition. Likewse, Alcmant is
a universe in which stars labor and the Sun itself rises when sum-
moned, keeping to his course and setting when ic should; in Kahn's
words,'ihe universe governed by law!62 Anaximander gave this con-
ceit its clearest surviving formulation:
t E
4 ^'v.
otroi oor, rc trp g0opr, eiraurayfieo9t
rcat r
EtEvtyp ai:r Eir1, rc tlotl ril]'r]'oL tr aELx[
rct tr1v tou
Further, the source from which existing things derive their estence
is also that to which they return et their destruction, according to
necessiry; for they give justice and malce reparation Eo one another
for their injustice, according to the arrangement of Time'63
The phrase 8rEvcr7p at Eir4v ratorv,'ivejustice and makercPa'
radonj'belongs to the language ofthe law courts and casts the balarce
of the elements in terms of a cycle of offense and punishment.6a This
metaphor, which animares as well the fragment of Heraclitus dis-
cussed in chapter r, is at work already in the Prtheneion. Amoog dtc'
tion sounding a note sterner than one exPects on the lips of maidens,
ponon ("tollsi' 88) , irns ("respitej'
9r) , and tisis ("reparation' or"tetrt'
butionj'6) may or may not carry specific connotations' But thejudi-
cial metaphor is explicit in the remarkablemrtureti ("summonsi'42)
62. Kahntgg+, t66.
63. Anaximander r D-K; crans' Freemen 1948.
6+. Kahnrgg4,t68-69.
to eppear and witness" as in a court of law,65 to say that
Eos ushers in Helius.
The view of the cosmos that inform s the Prtheneion falls within
mainstream traditions of archaic wisdom poetry and philosophy of
nature.'We should expect tht it is representative of the landmark de-
velopments in the composition of choral lyrics that our sources locate
in the seventh century.66 In that respect, one of the most signicant
conclusions to be drawn from this study is to observe that for its dra-
matic nature and its exploitation of the mode of lament, for the very
marginality of the persona of the chorus, the song is profoundly akin
to the choral odes oftragedy. Far from illustrating the divergence of
the choral performances of riruals from the choral performances of
drama, the Prtbeneio documents continuiry, even in the face of in-
novetions in the late sixth century-and demonstrates that rinral is
drama, and vice versa.67
65. On this tse of marturoma wich the innitive, see Page tgst, 84-85; Calame 1983,
iz5-z6.On rhe Sunt role as witness, seepp.45-47 in che presenc text.
66. SeeNagyrggob, chap. l.
r Ri..l
cHAPTER THnen / n6
t Homerc Hlmns 3156-61;
rrans' Evelyn-Whice 193.
The previous chapter closed with the obsetvation that the inflections
of lament in the Prtbeneion look forward to a well-known feature
of the choral odes of Ath enian tragedy. Unlike the tragic choruses,
however, the dramatic
of Alcmant chorus plays no
the myths it narrates- excePt, of course, its own. Rather, its role is
a function of the event rhat the festival celebrates, that is, the orderly
succession ofthe seasons. In that its charge is to honor the gods and
to commemorate the heroes and heroines of the past on e yeatly re'
curring occasion, the chorus of Hyades is comparabl e to the ouri
D.Iides,so described in the Homeric hymn to Apollo:
np E t Ee gya 0 at: g, ou rctro outvor' )reka
rou paL Arfl rriEe Erarrl pelt ao 0 ep at'v at'
aT:-' L'el p rparo't
Azr)u-rl' rvrloarorv,
atr E' -t\rp re r Apteprv io'aqa'v'
vEpv te rrctt rv lE
rvov e6ouotl, Oouor E gol crrOpuran'
And there is this great wonder besides-and its renown shall never
perish-, the girls of Delos, hand-maidens of the Far-shooter; for
when they have praised Apollo 6rsc, and also Leto and Artemis who
delights in arrows, they sing a strain telling of men and women of
pst days, and charm the tribes of men.1
In che hymn, the description of the Deliades'extraordinary dance-
song follows the narrative of Letot travail and Apollo's birth on the
island. It is a hypothesis of long standing-the available evidence al-
lows no more-that the fesdval to which it refers celebrated the god's