Hour 7. The sign of the hero in visual and verbal art

The meaning of sēma

7§1. The key word for this hour is sēma (plural sēmata), meaning ‘sign, signal, symbol; tomb, tomb of a hero’. An important word that derives from this noun sēma is the verb sēmainein, ‘mean [something], indicate [something] by way of a sēma’. Modern words that derive from sēma include semantic and semiotic.
7§2. As we saw in Hour 6, Achilles and Patroklos live and die the same way. As we will see in Hour 7, this pattern of identification is not terminated by death. Once these two heroes are both dead, those who are still living will remember them the same way. That is, both Achilles and Patroklos will be remembered as cult heroes. And that remembrance is indicated by the word sēma, which is the ultimate sign of the hero.

The sign of the hero at a chariot race

7§3. I concentrate here on the use of this word sēma in two verses, Iliad XXIII 326 and 331, concerning the sēma or ‘sign’ given by the hero Nestor to his son, the hero Antilokhos, about the sēma or ‘tomb’ of an unnamed hero. The two verses come from a passage where Nestor gives instructions to Antilokhos about the driving skills required for a charioteer to make a left turn around a landmark. As we will now learn from the context, this landmark is meant to be used as a turning point in the course of a chariot race that is being planned as the culminating athletic event of the Funeral Games for Patroklos in Iliad XXIII. In the words of Nestor, this landmark is either a sēma, ‘tomb’, of an unnamed hero of the distant past (XXIII 331) or it was once upon a time a turning point, a nussa (332), used for chariot races that must have taken place in such a distant past. As I will argue, the master narrative of the Iliad shows that this sēma or ‘tomb’ is to be understood as the tomb of Patroklos himself, which he will share with Achilles once Achilles too is dead. To understand this is to understand the sēma or ‘sign’ given by the hero Nestor:

Hour 7 Text A

|326 I [= Nestor] will tell you [= Antilokhos] a sign [sēma], a very clear one, which will not get lost in your thinking. |327 Standing over there is a stump of deadwood, a good reach above ground level. |328 It had been either an oak or a pine. And it hasn’t rotted away from the rains. |329 There are two white rocks propped against either side of it. |330 There it is, standing at a point where two roadways meet, and it has a smooth track on both sides of it for driving a chariot. |331 It is either the tomb [sēma] of some mortal who died a long time ago |332 or was a turning point [nussa] in the times of earlier men. |333 Now swift-footed radiant Achilles has set it up as a turning point [terma plural]. |334 Get as close to it as you can when you drive your chariot horses toward it, |335 and keep leaning toward one side as you stand on the platform of your well-built chariot, |336 leaning to the left as you drive your horses. Your right-side horse |337 you must goad, calling out to it, and give that horse some slack as you hold its reins, |338 while you make your left-side horse get as close as possible [to the turning point], |339 so that the hub will seem to be almost grazing the post |340 - the hub of your well-made chariot wheel. But be careful not to touch the stone [of the turning point], |341 or else you will get your horses hurt badly and break your chariot in pieces. |342 That would make other people happy, but for you it would be a shame, |343 yes it would. So, near and dear [philos] as you are to me, you must be sound in your thinking and be careful.
Iliad XXIII 326-343 [1]
7§4. The sēma that is the ‘tomb’ of the unnamed hero at verse 331 here is also a ‘sign’ of that hero’s cult, as signaled by the sēma or ‘sign’ that is conveyed at verse 326 by the speaker. That is what I once argued in an essay entitled “Sēma and Noēsis: The Hero’s Tomb and the ‘Reading’ of Symbols in Homer and Hesiod.” [2] As I pointed out in that essay, we know from evidence external to Homeric poetry that the tomb of a cult hero could be used as the actual turning point of a chariot race: in the historical period, starting with the adoption of chariot racing in the athletic program of the Olympics (this adoption has been dated at around 680 BCE), the turning-point of chariot-races could be conceptualized as the tomb of a hero, whose restless spirit was capable of “spooking” the horses at the most dangerous moment of the chariot-race, the left turn around the turning point. [3]
7§5. According to the wording of Nestor in the passage I just quoted, however, there seem at first to be two different interpretations of the landmark that he is showing to Antilokhos: what is being visualized is either a tomb of a cult hero from the distant past or it is a turning point for chariot races that must have taken place in such a distant past. The landmark is an ambivalent sign. At least, it seems ambivalent, short range, on the basis of Nestor’s wording in this passage. Long range, however, on the basis of the overall plot of the Iliad, this wording will lead to a fusion of interpretations. And the sign that seemed at first to be ambivalent will become clear. Long range, the tomb of the unnamed hero from the distant past becomes the same landmark as the turning point of a chariot race from the distant past. [4] That is because the unnamed hero from the distant past becomes a named hero from the immediate present of the Iliad. That hero is Patroklos, and he died just now, as it were, in Iliad XVI.
7§6. But Patroklos dies not only in the present time of the Iliad. He also did die a long time ago, from the standpoint of later generations who are listening to the story of the Iliad. So, the storytelling of the Iliad makes it possible for the athletic event of a chariot race from the distant past to become the same thing as the athletic event of a chariot race that is being held right now, in the same immediate present time of the story, in Iliad XXIII. And, as we will see, this race is intended to honor Patroklos as a once and future cult hero.
7§7. The ambivalent wording of Nestor that leads to such a fusion of interpretations qualifies as an ainos. In Hour 2, I offered this working definition of the word ainos: it is a performance of ambivalent wording that becomes clarified once it is correctly understood and then applied in moments of making moral decisions affecting those who are near and dear. That definition, which I first applied to the words of Phoenix as spoken primarily to Achilles, applies also here to the words of Nestor as spoken to his son Antilokhos. We can see this application more clearly by reviewing the three qualifications that the ainos requires of its listeners:
1. The listeners must be sophoi, ‘skilled’, in understanding the message encoded in the poetry. That is, they must be mentally qualified.
2. They must be agathoi, ‘noble’. That is, they must be morally qualified.
3. They must be philoi, ‘near and dear’, to each other and to the one who is telling them the ainos. That is, they must be emotionally qualified. Communication is achieved through a special sense of community, that is, through recognizing “the ties that bind.”
7§8. As we will now see, the hero Antilokhos proves by way of his epic actions that he fits all three qualifications:
1. The mental qualification of Antilokhos is shown by his understanding of the sign given by his father. When Nestor says to his son, ‘I will give you a clear sign [sēma] which will not get lost in your thinking’ (XXIII 326), the idea that this sign ‘will not get lost in your thinking’ (οὐδέ σε λήσει) is expressed by way of the verb-root lēth-, which means ‘mentally disconnect’. [5] The idea that you must not be mentally disconnected from the sēma, ‘sign’, shows that this word sēma has to do with a state of mind, a mentality. Antilokhos is visually cued by his father about a landmark that may have been a nussa, ‘turning point’ (XXIII 332), in chariot races of the past. And it will definitely be the terma, ‘turning point’ (plural τέρματ’, XXIII 333), in the present, during the chariot race in honor of Patroklos. [6] According to Nestor, when Antilokhos takes a left turn around this nussa, ‘turning point’ (XXIII 338), during the counterclockwise chariot race in which he is about to compete, he will need to be more impulsive on his right side and more restrained on his left side by goading or whipping the horse on the right with his right hand while reining in the horse on the left with his left hand. This way, he will be making the most successful left turn possible. On the elaborate poetics of describing the left turn around a turning point in chariot racing, which requires a perfect combination of impulse and restraint for the successful execution of such a left turn, I am guided by the detailed analysis of Douglas Frame. [7] But there is a twist here in Iliad XXIII, as Frame points out: after the chariot race is underway and the time finally comes for Antilokhos to make his move, he does not interpret literally the visual cue or sēma, ‘sign’, that had been given him by his father. Antilokhos makes his move not at the turning point but at a narrow pass, where he impulsively decides to overtake the chariot of Menelaos that is racing ahead of him: at this point, seeing the visual cue of the narrow pass, Antilokhos even says to himself that his cue ‘will not get lost in my thinking’ (οὐδέ με λήσει XXIII 416), as expressed by way of the verb-root lēth-, which as we saw means ‘mentally disconnect’. And now he impulsively drives past the chariot of Menelaos, nearly “fishtailing” it and thus almost causing both chariots to collide and crash - if Menelaos had not slowed down to avoid a collision (XXIII 417-437). [8] Antilokhos here is more impulsive than he is restrained. His action is a balancing of impulsiveness and restraint that favors in this case the impulsive side, which is the right, more than the restraining side, which is the left. That same kind of balancing would have been needed to make a left turn as well, but Antilokhos had redirected his strategy.
2. The moral qualification of Antilokhos is shown by his understanding of the same sign after the chariot race is over. This time, he shows his understanding by way of his behavior toward Menelaos. The impulsiveness of Antilokhos during the chariot race is now counterbalanced by his restraint in the way he speaks and acts after his prize is challenged by an angry Menelaos (XXIII 586-597). And this restraint of Antilokhos gets rewarded: in response, Menelaos is flattered into voluntarily ceding the prize to Antilokhos (XXIII 598-613). [9] This behavior of Antilokhos may be interpreted as a show of mental agility, [10] but it is also in keeping with moral proprieties. [11] Although the original sēma, ‘sign’ (XXIII 326), given by Nestor to Antilokhos was specific to the chariot race to be held in honor of Patroklos, the actual interpretation of this sign about the best way to make a left turn around a turning point was not specific but general, even metaphorical. (For my usage of the term metaphorical here, I refer back to Hour 4§32.) For Antilokhos, as the narrative of the actual chariot race in Iliad XXIII elaborates in detail, the sign of Nestor was not only a lesson in chariot driving. It was also a lesson in sound thinking about the management of any crisis in life and about the moral need to balance impulse and restraint. [12] And, at this particular moment in the life of Antilokhos, the balance of impulsiveness and restraint now favors restraint. In terms of this balance, the restraint is now dominant and the impulsiveness is recessive.
3. The emotional qualification of Antilokhos is shown by his ultimate understanding of the original sēma, ‘sign’ (XXIII 326), given to him by Nestor as an indicator of a ‘tomb’ belonging to a hero from the distant past: as we have seen, the word for this ‘tomb’ is likewise sēma (XXIII 331). And, as I have argued, the hero from the distant past to whom the tomb belongs can be seen as Patroklos, since this hero did in fact die a long time ago, from the standpoint of later generations who are listening to the story of the Iliad. But the ultimate meaning of the original sēma, ‘sign’ (XXIII 326), given by Nestor to Antilokhos can go even deeper here: this sign can refer not only to the tomb of an unnamed hero who turns out to be Patroklos but also to the tomb of another unnamed hero who will at a later point turn out to be Antilokhos himself. The cue for this extended identification can be seen in the wording used by Nestor in instructing Antilokhos how to be sound in his thinking and how to be careful in his actions: in this context, Nestor addresses his son as ‘near and dear’, philos (XXIII 343). There is a lesson to be learned here about being philos, and the traditional poetics of this lesson will reach far beyond the narrative of the Iliad itself.
I say what I just said because the sēma, ‘sign’, given by Nestor to Antilokhos (XXIII 326) points not only to the immediate epic narrative about the chariot race in honor of Patroklos but also to an ulterior epic narrative mentioned in the epic Cycle (plot-summary by Proclus of the Aithiopis by Arctinus of Miletus p. 106 lines 4-6; there is also a mention in Odyssey iv 186-188): in this narrative, best attested in a retelling by Pindar (Pythian 6.28-42), Antilokhos himself dies in a chariot fight, giving up his own life while saving the life of his father Nestor, whose chariot had been immobilized. [13] Once again we see the mentality of choosing to die for someone else: I will die for you. For Antilokhos, then, the highest point in his ascending scale of affection proves to be his immediate ancestor, that is, his father. And, in the master Narrative of the Iliad, such a ranking is relevant to Patroklos himself, since, as we have seen, the name Patrokleēs means ‘the one who has the glory [kleos] of the ancestors [pateres]’.
7§9. By now we have seen that there is a visual cue, as expressed by the word sēma, for each one of the three qualifications that Antilokhos must have in order to understand the meaning of the ainos addressed to him by Nestor:
1. When Antilokhos sees the turning point of the chariot race to be held in honor of Patroklos, what he sees will become the same thing as the sēma or ‘sign’ that he hears spoken to him by Nestor, which is the code that will enable him to win a prize in the race. That is how Antilokhos will become mentally qualified.
2. This sēma or ‘sign’ that Antilokhos sees is not only a code for driving his chariot successfully. It is also a moral code that teaches him to balance his impulsiveness with a sense of restraint. That is how Antilokhos will become morally qualified.
3. This sēma or ‘sign’ that Antilokhos sees by looking at the turning point will become the same thing as the ‘tomb’ of a hero. By understanding this equation, Antilokhos will live up to the instructions embedded in the ainos that he hears from his father Nestor, who addresses his son as philos, ‘near and dear’, in instructing Antilokhos how to be sound in his thinking and how to be careful in his actions. That is how Antilokhos will become emotionally qualified.
7§10. So, unlike the other example of ainos that we considered in Hour 2, where Phoenix was speaking to Achilles, our new example of ainos conveys its meaning not only verbally but also visually. That is to say, the ainos spoken by Nestor to Antilokhos conveys its meaning not only by way of its wording but also by way of a visual cue that we find embedded in that wording, and the word for this visual cue is sēma.

The sign in the visual arts

7§11. As we have seen so far, then, sēma can mean picturing by way of words. Poetry can do that kind of picturing, as in the words spoken by Nestor to Antilokhos in Iliad XXIII. And I invoke here a relevant saying attributed to the poet Simonides (whose life overlaps the sixth and fifth centuries BCE), as mediated by Plutarch (On the glory of the Athenians 346f): as the saying goes, painting is silent poetry, but poetry is talking pictures. [14] Of course the concept of “talking pictures” is most familiar to us from that moment in the history of filmmaking when the “audio” of recorded speech gets to be finally integrated with the “video” of film. So, we may say that Simonides anticipated such a concept, even though the required technology was invented only two and a half millennia later.
7§12. But the sēma in ancient Greek song culture works not only as video embedded in audio. It can work also as video pure and simple, in the form of images produced by way of visual arts. I am about to show and to analyze copies of nineteen such images, all of which were originally produced as paintings on vases (the one exception is a bronze plaque featuring in relief a scene that is parallel to a scene painted in one of the vase paintings). The copies that I show here are line drawings of the original images. Every one of these nineteen images, as we will see, qualifies as a sēma in the sense of a ‘sign’. Further, any picture that is embedded inside a painted picture may qualify as a sēma, once again in the sense of a ‘sign’. In Image D of the inventory, for example, we will see a picture of a lion that is painted as a device on a shield, and we know from the evidence of poetry that any device displayed on the surface of a warrior’s shield is known as a sēma; a celebrated example is the array of devices displayed on the shields of the Seven against Thebes in the drama by Aeschylus that is named after these seven heroes. [15] So, when we see a picture of such a sēma or device that is painted on the picture of a shield that we see painted on a vase, what we are seeing is a sēma inside a sēma.

Selected examples of signs in the visual arts

7§13. In the images that we are about to see, we will find one particular figure that qualifies as a sēma in a double sense, both as a ‘tomb’ and as a special ‘sign’ in its own right. Already in Image A1, to which I now turn, we will see this figure. By way of this figure, we will see that the video of the image corresponds to the audio of the ainos told in Iliad XXIII by Nestor, the father to Antilokhos the son.
7§14. As we have seen before, Antilokhos succeeds in understanding that the ‘tomb’ of a hero is being signaled for him by a ‘sign’ that is made, verbally, by his father. So, also in Image A1 and in other images that we are about to see, the ‘tomb’ of a hero is being signaled for the viewer by a ‘sign’ that is made, visually, by the painter. This visual ‘sign’, as we will see, is not only the tomb of a hero: it is also the turning point of a chariot race. And the meaning of this visual ‘sign’ is to be understood, as we will also see, as an ultimate form of meaning, in and of itself.
7§15. We will start with a line drawing of a picture painted on a kind of vase known as a hydria. [16] This hydria was produced in Athens at some point during the last few decades of the sixth century BCE and is now housed in the museum of the university in Münster. [17] From here on, I will refer to this vase as the Münster Hydria.
7§16. The original painting of the Münster Hydria was done in a style and technique that art historians describe as Black Figure. In fact, all the paintings we are about to see are Black Figure. The pictures painted on the Münster Hydria have been analyzed in a monograph by Klaus Stähler, whose perceptive observations have strongly influenced my own analysis. [18] Let us begin, then, by looking at a line drawing of the picture that was painted on the body of this vase:

Image A1

7-a1
Hydria; Münster, Wilhelms-Universität, 565; painting on the body of the vase; I will hereafter refer to this painting as Image A1 on the Münster Hydria.
7§17. The two-dimensional limitations of the line drawing here create the optical effect of flattening the curvature of the round surface on which the vase painter has painted his picture. But we can see some things more clearly from such a flattened perspective. In particular, I draw attention to the fact that the left and the right edges of the painting have suffered considerable fragmentation. Whereas the dark gray background of the line drawing represents the burnished red color of the fired clay that serves as the background for the black and white colors of the figures that are painted on the red surface of the vase, the light gray background at the left and at the right edges of the line drawing represents the areas of the burnished red background where the paint used for painting the black and white figures is eroded. As for the body of the other half of the vase, it has broken off for the most part.
7§18. The picture is framed by vertical margins painted on both the left and the right, corresponding roughly to the vertical margins that frame the line drawing that we see. The vertical margins are coordinated with the horizontal margins at the bottom and at the top of the picture. The line drawing as we see it shows the horizontal margin at the bottom, under which it shows decorative patterns of leaves repeated in a series; as for the margin at the top, it corresponds to a horizontal zone where we can see the body of the vase modulating into the shoulder; later on in my analysis, I will show a line drawing of the picture painted on the shoulder of this vase, Image A2.
7§19. So, the vertical and the horizontal margins framing the picture we see in Image A1 create a window effect. It is as if the viewer were viewing a scene by looking through a window. In a short while, I will show another clear example of such a window effect.
7§20. Although the paint at both the left and the right edges of the picture we see in Image A1 has chipped off, we can still make out the essentials of what is missing:
At the left edge of the picture, in the area next to the margin, a missing part is the figure of a charioteer standing on the platform of a chariot. Because most of the paint has eroded in this area, all we see of the chariot is a trace of a chariot wheel. The chariot is being drawn by four horses, fully visible, running at full speed.
Another missing part at the left edge is the head of a figure that is shown running on the ground at full speed alongside the speeding chariot; also missing is the left side of his body (here and elsewhere, in referring to the left and the right sides of human figures, I follow the left-right orientation of the viewer who is facing the picture). It is a male figure, as we can see from his coloring. In Black Figure painting, male skin is ordinarily painted black, while female skin is painted white.
As for the area at the right edge of the picture where the paint has eroded, the missing parts are the head and most of the body of a female figure that is standing in the way of the speeding horses. We know that the figure is female because we see a trace of one of her hands, painted white, near the snout of the horse that is farthest away from the viewer.
7§21. The horses driven by the charioteer are shown making a left turn around a tomb, which is pictured as a shining white egg-shaped mass rising out of the earth. We can see that the heads of the horses on the right side of the yoke are positioned further downward while the heads of the horses on the left side are positioned further upward. These positions correspond to what we can visualize in Nestor’s words of advice in Iliad XXIII about the most successful left turn in a chariot race: driving two horses yoked to the chariot, the competing charioteer has to impel the horse on the right side of the yoke, forcing it to go faster by whipping or goading it, while he has to restrain the horse on the left side, forcing it to go slower by reining it in (XXIII 334-338). Unlike what we see in the chariot race depicted in Iliad XXIII, however, there are four rather than two horses that draw the racing chariot here in Image A1. I will return at a later point to this discrepancy.
7§22. The tomb is being guarded by the figure of a fierce lion, the black color of which is foregrounded by the shining white background of the tomb. The appearance of this tomb corresponds to what archaeologists describe as a tumulus covered with white stucco. [19] In Black Figure vase paintings, the tumulus of the generic cult hero is conventionally painted shining white, foregrounded against the burnished red background of the fired clay. [20] As we will see, this shining white tumulus as pictured here in the visual art of the Münster Hydria corresponds to the turning point for the athletic event of a chariot race as described by Nestor in the verbal art of the Iliad (XXIII 331-332).
7§23. Levitating over the shining white tumulus in the dead center of this picture is the miniature figure of a fully armed warrior who is shown running at full speed in thin air. The movement of this miniature male figure - from now on I will refer to him as a homunculus - mirrors the movement of the male figure who is shown running at full speed on the ground, alongside the speeding chariot.
7§24. Even the appearance of the homunculus running in thin air mirrors the appearance of the male figure running at ground zero. The homunculus is fully armed, equipped with helmet, shield, spear, sword, breastplate, and shinguards. [21] So also the male figure running alongside the chariot is fully armed: although the image of this runner is fragmentary, we can see clearly his shield and the hilt of his sword. We can also see clearly one of his legs; and the wide space separating this leg from the other leg, occluded by the legs of the horses, shows that this runner too is running at full speed, mirroring the momentum of the running homunculus. [22] As Stähler demonstrates, and as we will see for ourselves in what follows, this figure who is running at ground zero here is Achilles himself. [23]
7§25. As we will see, the image of the homunculus represents the spirit of a cult hero whose tomb is marked by the shining white tumulus. Positioned directly above the tumulus and to the right of the homunculus is a painted sequence of five consecutive letters ΦΣΥΧΕ running from left to right and signaling the identity of the cult hero: these letters spell out the word psūkhē, which I will translate for the moment simply as ‘spirit’. As Stähler argues, this word here refers to the spirit of a cult hero, and the cult hero here turns out to be none other than the dead Patroklos. [24]
7§26. In making his argument, Stähler compares the picture we have just seen, as painted on the Münster Hydria, with other pictures featuring remarkable parallels. Foremost among these other pictures is one that is painted on the body of another hydria, housed in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; from here on, I will refer to this other vase as the Boston Hydria. This vase was produced in Athens around the same time as the Münster Hydria, that is, at some point during the last few decades of the sixth century BCE. [25] Here is a line drawing of the picture painted on the body of this vase:

Image B1

7-b1
Hydria: Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 63.473; painting on the body of the vase; Stähler no. 15; I will hereafter refer to this painting as Image B1 on the Boston Hydria.
7§27. The picture we see here in the line drawing, Image B1 on the Boston Hydria, has been analyzed by Emily Vermeule, whose observations I will follow closely in my analysis. [26] Here too in Image B1, as in Image A1 on the Münster Hydria, we see a tomb in the form of a shining white tumulus highlighted against the burnished red background of the fired clay. As in the case of Image A1, the appearance of this tomb in Image B1 corresponds to what archaeologists describe as a tumulus covered with white stucco. I note here in passing an interesting variation on a theme: whereas the tomb in Image A1 was being guarded by a fierce lion, the guardian of the tomb in Image B1 is a snake, and its black color is foregrounded by the shining white background of the tumulus.
7§28. Variations aside, an essential fact remains: here too in Image B1, as in Image A1, we see the figure of a homunculus hovering over a tomb shaped like a tumulus. And the homunculus of Image B1 is wearing a full set of armor, just like the homunculus of Image A1. Unlike that other homunculus who levitates above his tomb in Image A1, however, this levitating homunculus in Image B1 is endowed with a pair of wings. So, with the addition of these wings, the theme of levitation in thin air above a tomb can be made even more explicit. And, unlike that other homunculus in Image A1, who is labeled as ΦΣΥΧΕ, that is, as a psūkhē or ‘spirit’, this homunculus in Image B1 is actually identified by way of the lettering painted on the picture of the tomb: we see here a sequence of eight consecutive letters ΠΑΤΡΟΚΛΩ. These letters, running from left to right, spell out Patroklō, signaling the name Patroklos (in the dative case: so, ‘for Patroklos’).
7§29. As Stähler argues, the homunculus labeled as psūkhē or ‘spirit’ on the Münster Hydria (Image A1) has the same identity as the corresponding homunculus labeled as Patroklos on the Boston Hydria (Image B1). [27] That is, both of these homunculi represent the spirit of Patroklos as a cult hero who is hovering over the tomb that contains his corpse. It is this same tomb, as Stähler argues further, that will in a future time contain the corpse of Achilles as well; the argument here is based on the fact that Homeric poetry makes explicit references to a tomb that contains the corpses of Patroklos and Achilles together (Iliad XXIII 83-84, 91-92, 125-126, 245-248; Odyssey xxiv 80-84). [28]
7§30. By contrast with such a future time when Achilles, once he is dead, will share the tomb of Patroklos, Achilles is not dead but still very much alive in the present time of the narrative encapsulated in the picture painted on the Boston Hydria. Image B1 shows Achilles near the center of the left side of the painting, at a moment when he is either stepping on or stepping off the platform of a speeding chariot that is taking a left turn around the tomb that contains the corpse of Patroklos. At this point in my argumentation, I cannot yet say for sure whether the figure of Achilles is stepping into or out of the chariot here.
7§31. I focus here on a most telling detail we see in the picture: it is the naked corpse of Hector being dragged behind the speeding chariot. We know it is Hector because the consecutive letters painted over the corpse spell out ΕΚΤΡΩΡ, that is Hektōr (the superfluous -Ρ- in the sequence is simply a mistake in the spelling of the name). We know from two passages in the Homeric Iliad (XXII 395-405, XXIV 14-22) that Achilles, infuriated over the killing of his dearest friend Patroklos by Hector, tries to avenge this death by fastening the ankles of his slain enemy behind the wheels of his chariot and then dragging Hector’s corpse behind his speeding vehicle; in both Iliadic passages, Achilles himself is shown driving the chariot. In Image B1, by contrast, the chariot is driven by a driver who is represented as a generic charioteer.
7§32. In the second of the two passages in the Iliad where Achilles is pictured in the act of dragging the corpse of Hector behind his speeding chariot, we see that he drives this chariot three times around the tomb of Patroklos (XXIV 14-18), and the word referring to the tomb here is sēma (XXIV 16). At an earlier point in the narrative of the Iliad, this tomb is described as incomplete: it will not be complete until Achilles himself is buried there together with his best friend Patroklos (XXIII 245-248). [29]
7§33. Keeping in mind this Iliadic detail showing Achilles in the act of driving around the tomb of Patroklos three times, I turn to corresponding details in Image A1 of the Münster Hydria as also in Image B1 of the Boston Hydria: in both images, the four horses driven by the charioteer are shown making a left turn around the tomb of Patroklos. Applying the verbal narrative of the Iliad to the visual narrative of Image B1, Vermeule has made this observation about the technique used in the visual narrative: “The technique gives the impression that the myth is circling around in another world, outside the window frame through which the spectator views it, in endless motion which is somehow always arrested at the same place whenever we return to the window.” [30] I have already noted the same kind of visual technique when I was analyzing the painted scene we saw in Image A1: there too, as in Image B1, the vertical and the horizontal margins framing the picture create a window effect. It is as if the viewer were viewing a scene by looking through a window. Every time we look through the painted window that frames the painted scene that we see, we return to precisely this same moment.
7§34. Such a moment interrupts a circular motion that could otherwise go on forever. As we have just seen from Vermeule’s description of the scene in Image B1 of the Boston Hydria, the chariot of Achilles seems to be circling the tomb of Patroklos endlessly, but its circular motion is arrested at whatever moment the viewer returns to the picture by looking through the window.
7§35. This arresting of motion by way of a stop-motion picture can be compared to what happens in the epic narrative about the dragging of the corpse of Hector behind the speeding chariot of Achilles. As we know from the narrative of the Iliad, the speeding chariot of Achilles will ultimately stop, since it is a moral imperative in this epic that the dragging of the corpse of Hector simply must stop. Such a moral imperative is in fact signaled in the Iliad immediately after the description of the dragging of the corpse of Hector three times around the tomb of Patroklos (XXIV 14-18). While the god Apollo uses his healing power to keep on preserving the corpse of Hector from the disfigurement intended by Achilles (XXIV 18-21), the other gods too are feeling pity for Hector (XXIV 23), and a proposal is made that Hermes the divine messenger should hide Hector’s body (XXIV 24), thus preventing for good the attempt of Achilles to disfigure it by dragging it behind his chariot (XXIV 22). All the gods are in favor of this proposal (XXIV 25) except for Hērā, Athena, and Poseidon, who are opposed (XXIV 25-30), and their opposition leads to further deliberation in what is clearly understood to be a council of the gods (XXIV 31-76).
7§36. At this final council of the gods in the Iliad, the decision is made to send the goddess Iris, messenger of the Olympians, on a double mission: first she goes off to summon Thetis (74-75), who will be asked by Zeus to persuade her son to return the corpse of Hector to Priam (75-76); then Iris is sent off to Priam, who will receive from the goddess a divine plan designed to make it possible for him to persuade Achilles to return the corpse of his son (143-158). The ultimate outcome of this double mission is that Achilles will finally take pity on Priam and release to him the body of Hector; the elaborate narrative that culminates in this outcome takes up over 500 verses (XXIV 189-694). [31] Once the double mission of Iris is accomplished, Achilles will never again drag the body of Hector.
7§37. By contrast with the Iliad, however, where we see an elaborate and lengthy narrative about the double mission of Iris, the corresponding narrative in Image B1 of the Boston Hydria is simple and brief, virtually instantaneous, and this narrative is about a single mission accomplished by Iris. This goddess, the female counterpart of Hermes as divine messenger of the Olympians, can be seen here in Image B1 at the precise moment when she descends from the Olympian heights and signals, even before her delicate feet have touched the ground, that the dragging of the corpse of Hector must stop. And so the chariot, which is still speeding ahead, must ultimately stop.
7§38. In Image B1 of the Boston Hydria, the signal for ultimately stopping the chariot is a gesture of lament: the goddess Iris is shown raising her arms, indicating the need for pity. And, as we remember from the narrative in the Iliad, the emotion of pity was in fact the first reaction of the Olympian gods as they contemplated the dragging of the corpse of Hector by Achilles (XXIV 23). It was this emotion that led to the decision, at the final council of the gods in the Iliad, to stop the dragging of the corpse of Hector by Achilles. And it is now this same emotion of pity that Iris is signaling in Image B1 of the Boston Hydria. Further, this signal of pity is picked up by the parents of Hector, Priam and Hecuba, who are seen standing in a portico at the far left of the picture of Image B1: they too make gestures of lament, corresponding to the gesture of Iris. [32] And this signal of pity emanating from Priam and Hecuba is then finally picked up by Achilles himself, who now turns his head toward Priam and Hecuba as he proceeds to step off the chariot. [33]
7§39. In terms of my interpretation, then, Achilles here in Image B1 of the Boston Hydria is stepping off his speeding chariot. According to an alternative interpretation, however, Achilles is at this very moment stepping into the chariot, not out of it. [34] In what follows, I will defend my interpretation by surveying other pictures that show details comparable to what we see here in Image B1 of the Boston Hydria. And, as we will see from these pictures, the turning of the head of Achilles in Image B1 is not directly related to the act of stepping on or stepping off a racing chariot.
7§40. I offer already now a hint of things to come. The fact is, the turned head of Achilles is a detail that relates directly to the perspective of the narration in Image B1 of the Boston Hydria. I highlight here an unrealistic detail there: it looks as if Achilles were holding his shield with his right hand. But in “real life” a warrior holds his shield consistently with his left hand. To represent that, however, the painter would need to show the outside of the shield pointing away from the viewer. So, instead, the painter paints the upper part of Achilles’ body, not only his turned head, as pointing toward the left, shield and all, while the lower part of his body, visible below the shield, is pointing to the right.
7§41. But I start with the picture painted on the shoulder of the Münster Hydria:

Image A2

7-a2
Hydria: Münster, Wilhelms-Universität, 565; painting on the shoulder of the vase; I will hereafter refer to this painting as Image A2 on the Münster Hydria.
The scene that we see here is a council of the gods, parallel to the final council of the gods in the Iliad, where we saw that the Olympians took pity on Hector as they were contemplating from on high the dragging of his corpse by Achilles (XXIV 23). Attending the council of the gods in Image A2 of the Münster Hydria are Zeus and Hermes at center left and center right; the chief of the gods is shown wielding his thunderbolt, while the messenger of the gods holds his heraldic staff or kerykeion. Further to the right of Hermes is the goddess Athena, armed with shield and aegis. As for the divine figure situated to the right of Athena, we cannot see who it is because of a break in the painting. At the extreme left is Dionysus, wearing a garland of ivy and holding a grapevine. [35]
7§42. Between Dionysus and Zeus is a goddess, and she is making a gesture: one hand is uplifted, while she holds a rod with the other hand. I conjecture that this goddess is the goddess Iris, female messenger of the Olympians and counterpart of the god Hermes as their male messenger; and I conjecture also that the rod she holds is a kerykeion corresponding to the one held by Hermes. In the case of Iris, however, the kerykeion is turned downward, and we cannot see the tip because of a break in the painting. In another picture that we will see later on, however, the downturned kerykeion of Iris is clearly visible in a comparable context.
7§43. These details in Image A2, as painted on the shoulder of the Münster Hydria, are compatible with the details we already saw in Image B1 as painted on the body of the Boston Hydria. In Image B1, the goddess Iris is at the point of accomplishing a mission that was ordained at a council of the gods as pictured in Image A2. And the mission of Iris, as we see it pictured in Image B1, is to stop the dragging of the corpse of Hector by Achilles.
7§44. Here I must stop for a moment to make a clarification. It has to do with a remarkable omission in the picture painted on the body of the Münster Hydria. As we can see in Image A1 of this vase, the corpse of Hector is not pictured. So, the council of the gods, pictured in Image A2 as painted on the shoulder of the Münster Hydria, is less well understood if we connect it with the picture of the speeding chariot team in Image A1 and better understood if we connect it with the corresponding picture of the speeding chariot team in Image B1 of the Boston Hydria, where we can actually see the dragging of the corpse of Hector behind the chariot of Achilles.
7§45. This kind of omission will be more understandable when we view the evidence of other relevant pictures. As we will see, vase paintings of such scenes from Greek myths are selective in what they include and exclude. And here I can offer a general observation: there is no such thing as a complete picture of any single myth in any single vase painting.
7§46. That said, I am ready to move on to the next picture, which is painted on the shoulder of the Boston Hydria:

Image B2

7-b2
Hydria: Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 63.473; painting on the shoulder of the vase; I will hereafter refer to this painting as Image B2 on the Boston Hydria.
This picture painted on the shoulder of the Boston Hydria, Image B2, is relevant to the picture painted on the body of the same vase, Image B1. Here in Image B2, we see on our right the figure of a chariot driver wearing the generic full-length white gown of a charioteer and driving a four-horse chariot at full speed, while a figure in full armor is running toward the center of the picture, brandishing his spear. On our left in this same picture, racing after the chariot we see on our right, we see another speeding four-horse chariot, and this one is driven by none other than the goddess Athena herself; meanwhile, another figure in full armor is running toward the center of the picture, and he too is brandishing a spear. This fully armed running figure on our left, as we can tell from the lionskin he wears, is none other than the hero Hēraklēs, son of the god Zeus; as for the fully armed running figure on our right, he is the hero Kyknos, son of the god Arēs. The story of the mortal combat in chariot fighting between Hēraklēs and Kyknos is recounted in the Hesiodic Shield of Herakles, where we see that both Hēraklēs and Kyknos leap to the ground from their chariots and then run at full speed toward each other (verses 370-371). I highlight here a detail: both combatants leap from their speeding chariots (verse 370 θόρον, from the verb thrōiskein, ‘leap, jump’). Meanwhile, the charioteers driving the chariots of the combatants drive on, keeping as close as possible to the combatants running on the ground (verse 372 ἔμπλην, ‘closely’).
7§47. Similarly in Image B2 of the Boston Hydria, the drivers are keeping their speeding chariots close to the running combatants. Though it seems at first as if Kyknos were running in the opposite direction of his chariot team, this optical effect is deceptive, since the charioteer of Kyknos is making a left turn here, thus starting to circle back along the curvature of the vase’s round surface - and thus resuming the direction in which Kyknos is running. In fact, both charioteers here are making left turns and circling back counterclockwise toward their runners. We will soon see comparable pictures of speeding chariots making left turns in the course of their counterclockwise trajectories. Meanwhile, at the center of the picture here in Image B2, we see a figure who seems to be intervening exactly at the point where the two running warriors will come to blows, that is, at the dead center of the painting; on the basis of other paintings that picture the mortal combat of Hēraklēs and Kyknos, we may infer that the figure in the center here is the god Zeus himself. [36] And while this intervention is taking place in the picture painted on the shoulder of the Boston Hydria, Image B2, the figure of Iris is intervening at the center of the action in the corresponding picture painted below on the body of this same vase, Image B1. [37]
7§48. The picturing of fully armed figures running at full speed alongside their speeding chariots in Image B2 of the Boston Hydria brings us back to what we saw earlier in Image A1 of the Münster Hydria: there too, a fully armed figure is running at full speed alongside his speeding chariot, which is making a left turn around a shining white tumulus. As Stähler has demonstrated, this fully armed running figure is Achilles himself, who is mirrored by the fully armed running figure of a wingless homunculus levitating over the tumulus, who in turn is the spirit of Patroklos; and the tumulus over which this spirit of Patroklos levitates is the tomb that he will one day share with Achilles himself. [38]
7§49. This same tomb, as we have seen, is pictured in Image B1 of the Boston Hydria, and the winged homunculus who levitates above the shining white tumulus in that picture is actually labeled as Patroklos. And, there too, the speeding four-horse chariot team of Achilles is making a left turn around the tumulus.
7§50. But the focal points are different in Images A1 and B1. Whereas the shining white tumulus is the center of attention in Image A1, it is off-center in Image B1; similarly, whereas the wingless homunculus and the team of speeding horses are situated at the center of Image A1, the winged homunculus and the speeding team of horses are off-center in Image B1. In the case of the horses, they are not only off to the side: we can only see their hind-quarters as they make their left turn around the tomb of Patroklos. Conversely, occupying the center of attention in Image B1 is the figure of Iris, who commands the attention of Achilles indirectly by making a gesture of lament directed at Priam and Hecuba, who in turn make corresponding gestures of lament directed at Achilles. So, Achilles now turns his head around and looks back toward the lamenting parents of Hector, thus looking away from the tomb of Patroklos and away from the spirit of Patroklos, who levitates over that tomb. And I have already argued that the entire upper half of Achilles’ body, shield and all, is pointed to the left, toward the lamenting parents of Hector, while the lower half of his body is pointed to the right.
7§51. In Image A1, by contrast, the head of Achilles is unturned: although the head itself is missing, Stähler has noticed traces of the hero’s beard in this badly fragmented part of the painting, and the beard is pointing to the right. [39] So, Achilles in Image A1 is looking straight ahead, in the direction of three details in the picture: (1) the shining white tumulus, (2) the spirit of Patroklos who levitates above the tumulus, and (3) a female figure who is situated at the extreme right of the picture. As I have pointed out already, the fragmentary picture of this female figure in Image A1 shows traces of one of her hands. I now add that this hand is lifted in a gesture that parallels the uplifted hands of the goddess Iris in Image B1. Here too in Image A1, I argue, the female figure who is making such a gesture of lament must be Iris.
7§52. As we will now see, comparable pictures show a wide variety of focal points that preoccupy the attention of the viewer. And, as we will also see, these focal points will even preoccupy the attention of Achilles himself. In other words, the visual art of vase painting can represent Achilles as a viewer from inside the picture; this way, Achilles as a viewer from the inside can become a participant in the outside viewer’s act of viewing the picture. And, in most cases, the head of Achilles is turned in the direction of the focal point that most attracts him. Here is an example:

Image C

7-c
Amphora (neck-amphora): London, British Museum, B239; Beazley ABV 371, Leagros Group no. 147; Stähler no. 1.
7§53. Here in Image C, as in Image A1, we see a fully armed Achilles running alongside a speeding chariot. The hero is bearded, equipped with helmet, breastplate, shinguards, two spears, and a shield featuring the picture of a tripod as its device. The speeding chariot, driven by a figure wearing the full-length white gown of a charioteer, is making a left turn around the shining white tumulus of Patroklos, which is guarded in this case by a snake, not by a lion as in the case of the tumulus pictured in Image A1 of the Münster Hydria.
7§54. In the logic of the left turn that is being made by the charioteer here in Image C, the speeding chariot will be circling counterclockwise around the tumulus. And the fully armed Achilles who is running alongside the chariot is likewise circling counterclockwise around this same tumulus. Such a circular trajectory is reflected here in the visual effect of showing the extended leg of Achilles running in the foreground while the tumulus is in the background, but the upper part of his body is in the background while the tumulus is in the foreground, as if he were already on the other side of the tumulus, having run half-way around it. While Achilles is running on the viewer’s side of the tumulus, he is heading toward our right; while he is running on the other side, however, he is heading toward our left. And in fact the head of Achilles is facing toward our left.
7§55. From what we have seen so far, the shining white tumulus is clearly the center of attention for the outside viewer. But what about the viewpoint of Achilles as an inside viewer? For an answer, we need to look at the sum total of the details we can see here in Image C.
7§56. In Image C as elsewhere, the picturing of the myth is not the complete picture. Parts of the myth are excluded. For example, the spirit of Patroklos is not pictured here. And we can see no Iris. What is very much of a presence, however, is the corpse of Hector, which is being dragged behind the speeding chariot. Remarkably, the painting of Hector’s corpse extends outward to our left, well beyond the left margin of the picture, so that this gruesome sight is actually painted outside the frame of the picture. This exclusion from the frame is comparable to what we saw in Image A1 of the Münster Hydria, where the dragging of Hector’s corpse behind the chariot was excluded altogether from the picture, not only from the frame of the picture. The significant absence from the frame of Image C corresponds to the significant absence from the entire painting of Image A1. Either way, then, the dragging of the corpse of Hector by Achilles is evidently an absent signifier in these paintings. And, in the case of Image C, the exclusion of Hector’s corpse from the frame has the effect of ostentatiously drawing attention to the act of dragging the corpse. In making this argument, I highlight the fact that the head of the running Achilles in Image C is turned toward the excluded picture of the dragging of the corpse of Hector.
7§57. The details that we have found in Image C are most readily comparable with what we see in the next image to be examined:

Image D

7-d
Amphora (neck-amphora): Berlin, Staatliche Museen F 1867; Beazley ABV 371, Leagros Group no. 148; Stähler no. 2.
Here in Image D we see once again the fully armed figure of Achilles in the act of running alongside a racing chariot team that is making a left turn around the tumulus of Patroklos. In the logic of the left turn that is being made by the charioteer here in Image D, the speeding chariot is once again circling counterclockwise around the tumulus, as in Image C. And the fully armed Achilles who is running alongside the chariot is likewise circling counterclockwise around this same tumulus. But Image D shows this circular trajectory in a way that differs from what we saw in Image C. This time, the figure of Achilles is running from our right toward our left, as if he had already made the left turn that the speeding chariot is only now about to make. Also, the extended leg of Achilles is in the foreground while the running horses and the tumulus are the background, but his extended arm is in the background while the running horses are in the foreground, as if he were already on the other side of the tumulus. And Achilles is running in the same direction as the winged homunculus who levitates over the tumulus. This homunculus, fully armed, is once again the spirit of Patroklos in his role as a miniature body-double of the fully armed Achilles who is running on the ground.
7§58. Besides the points of comparison with details we have seen in Image C, I must also compare further details that we saw earlier in Image A1 of the Münster Hydria, where the spirit of Patroklos is a fully armed but wingless homunculus who is pictured as a miniature body-double of the fully armed Achilles who is running on the ground alongside his speeding chariot. In Image A1, the levitating figure of Patroklos is running in thin air, heading from our right toward our left, whereas the figure of Achilles is running on the ground, heading from our left toward our right, since he has not yet made the left turn that the speeding chariot is about to make.
7§59. So, as I analyze further the picture we saw in Image A1, I am now ready to say that the fully armed figure of Patroklos running in the air is a model for the fully armed figure of Achilles running on the ground, since the running Patroklos would already have run half-way around the tumulus if he had been running on the ground. In the case of Image C, by contrast, Achilles himself has already run half-way around the tumulus. As for Image D, as I have been arguing, Achilles has at least already made the left turn, even if he has not yet circled half-way around the tumulus. [40]
7§60. Finally, in Image D as well as in Image C, the tumulus is guarded by a snake, not a lion. We do still see a lion in Image D, but only as a picture within the picture. That is, we see a lion featured as the device on the shield of Achilles. Later on, when we consider Image K, we will see that snakes too can be featured as devices painted on shields.
7§61. And here I must recall what I noted earlier about the embedding of a picture inside a painted picture: such an embedded picture may qualify as a sēma in the sense of a ‘sign’. And, as I also noted, we know from the evidence of poetry that any device displayed on the surface of a warrior’s shield is known as a sēma; so when we see a picture of such a sēma or device that is painted on the picture of a shield that we see painted on a vase, what we are seeing is a sēma inside a sēma. And what we are also seeing is the interchangeability of sēmata or ‘signs’ in these pictures. Just as a lion or a snake can be the guardian of a sēma in the sense of a ‘tomb’ that signals a dead hero in a given picture, so also the picture of a lion or of a snake can be a sēma in the sense of a ‘sign’ that serves as a device for signaling the identity of such that hero, who can be either Patroklos or Achilles in the set of pictures we are now considering.
7§62. Similarly, the device of a running leg painted on the shield of the winged spirit of Patroklos here in Image D is a sēma or ‘sign’ for identifying Achilles, not Patroklos, as the hero who is best known for his swiftness in running (a distinctive epithet of Achilles in the verbal art of epic is podas ōkus, ‘swift of foot’, as at Iliad I 58). In Image B1 of the Boston Hydria, there is a corresponding picture painted on the shield of Achilles himself: we see there a device that features three running legs stemming from a center and seemingly spinning clockwise around that center. This triple-leg device conveys a semantic intensification of the quality of swift-footedness already conveyed by the single-leg device.
7§63. Next I show a set of six pictures in a row, each one of which is painted on the smaller surface of a smaller kind of vase, the lekythos:

Image E

7-e
Lekythos: Borden Wood; now at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; Beazley ABV 378, Leagros Group no. 259; Stähler no. 3.

Image F

7-f
Lekythos; Louvre CA 601; Stähler no. 7.

Image G

7-g
Lekythos: New York, Metropolitan Museum 25.70.2; Stähler no. 5.

Image H

7-h
Lekythos: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale 11078; Stähler no. 6.

Image I

7-i
Lekythos: Naples, Museo Nazionale H 2746; Beazley ABV 378, Leagros Group no. 258; Stähler no. 4.

Image J

7-j
Lekythos: Krakow, Czartoryski Museum 1245; Beazley ABV 380, the Leagros Group no. 291; Stähler no. 9.
7§64. In Image E we see once again the corpse of Hector being dragged behind the speeding chariot team, which is once again making a left turn around the tumulus of Patroklos, whose winged spirit levitates above it. Once again the fully armed Achilles is running alongside the chariot. And I note here a detail that we have not seen in the other pictures: a fully armed warrior is being trampled by the galloping horses that draw the onrushing chariot. This detail will be relevant to Image H. Another detail to be noted here in Image E is the picturing of grapes growing on vines to our right; in Image A2, as we saw earlier, the figure of Dionysus is holding a grapevine. [41]
7§65. In Image F, we see another heretofore unseen detail: it is a second fully armed warrior who is running alongside the speeding chariot. The first warrior, whose head is turned back, corresponds to the figure of Achilles in the other pictures being compared here.
7§66. In Image G, I note a detail that we have by now seen several times already: the fully armed figure who is running alongside the speeding chariot is shown with his head turned backward, to our left. So, the runner is facing the act of dragging the corpse of Hector behind the chariot - an act that we already saw being excluded from the frame of another picture, Image C - and excluded altogether from the picture in Images A1 and D. The vision of this act of dragging is fully included, on the other hand, in Images B1 E F, as also here in Image G.
7§67. In Image H, the action is moving exceptionally clockwise, not counterclockwise as in the other pictures being compared here. The speeding chariot team is taking a right turn rather than a left turn around the tumulus of Patroklos, which is situated to our right in this picture. The fully armed figure who is running alongside the speeding chariot has already completed his right turn, but the galloping horses that draw the chariot are only now starting to make the right turn. The fully armed figure standing to our left seems on the verge of being trampled by the onrushing horses. In Image E, we have already seen a moment where a fully armed figure is being trampled by the galloping horses that draw the onrushing chariot team.
7§68. In Image I, the action is moving from left to right again. In this picture, the painter has painted no tumulus. So, in this picture the chariot team is making a left turn not around a tumulus but only around the round surface of the vase itself. The fully armed figure of Achilles is running at full speed from left to right alongside the speeding chariot, but his head is turned around and facing toward our left. And, at the extreme left, we as viewers from the outside can see three details that are also to be seen by Achilles as the viewer of the picture from the inside. These three details are arranged along a vertical axis of vision. At the upper third of this vertical axis is the figure of Patroklos as a homunculus running in full armor and levitating in thin air. At the middle third, where we might have expected the placement of a tumulus, we find instead the figure of a snake that seems to be levitating in thin air. In other pictures we have seen, this snake would have been positioned as a guardian in front of the tumulus of Patroklos; in this picture, however, as we have already noted, the painter has painted no tumulus. Finally, at the lower third of this vertical axis of vision, we see the naked body of Hector dragged behind the speeding chariot. So, the view of Achilles is directed at three vertically interchangeable visions in this picture. (Relevant is the term vertical axis of selection, as I use it Hour 4§32.)
7§69. Image J is like Image I in omitting an important detail, the tumulus of Patroklos. Otherwise, Image J is most rich in details. [42] And some of these details are most relevant to what we saw in Image B1 on the Boston Hydria. As in Image B1, we see once again here in Image J the figure of the winged goddess Iris descending from on high and about to make a landing in the midst of the action, thus blocking the momentum of the onrushing four-horse team drawing the chariot that is dragging behind it the corpse of Hector. A fully armed Achilles is running at full speed alongside the speeding chariot. He is looking straight ahead, with Iris in full view. The goddess here has been described as “hastening towards Achilles with the kerykeion [or ‘heraldic staff’] in her left hand and her right hand raised, admonishing him, as it were.” [43]
7§70. But now I need to ask: does Achilles comply or not comply with the admonition of the goddess Iris? This question can be linked with another question: is Achilles stepping out of or into the speeding chariot? We can see that his one foot is virtually on the platform of the chariot while his other foot is running on the ground. Either way, whether he is stepping off or stepping on, Achilles is doing so at a run. If he is stepping off the speeding chariot, he has to “hit the ground running”; if he is stepping on, he has to be running at full speed after the speeding chariot in order to leap into it.
7§71. The same two questions apply to the moment that is captured at the center of Image B1 of the Boston Hydria. Here too we see that one foot of Achilles is on the platform of his speeding chariot while the other foot is running on the ground. So, once again, I need to ask this question: is Achilles stepping out of or into the speeding chariot? And I ask once again the other question as well: does Achilles comply or not comply with the admonition of the goddess Iris?
7§72. Before I can answer these two questions concerning this most critical moment in the visual narratives of Images J and B1, I first have to adjust the formulation I quoted about the “admonishing” of Achilles by the goddess Iris. As I have shown already, the gesture of raising the hand is a signal for pity. So, Iris, following the instructions she received at the council of the gods, is admonishing Achilles to show pity by stopping the mistreatment of his enemy’s corpse. In Image J, we see a detail that enhances the sense of pity elicited by the gesture of Iris: in a moment of pathos, the painting shows the long hair of Hector trailing behind him as his corpse is being dragged behind the speeding chariot of Achilles. There is a comparable moment of pathos in the verbal art of the Iliad, where we see once again a highlighting of the long hair of Hector as it gets disheveled during the dragging of his corpse behind the speeding chariot of Achilles (XXII 401-402). [44] That said, I am ready to answer the two questions.
7§73. My answer to the first question is that Achilles will in fact comply with the admonition of Iris: he will show pity by stopping his cruel mistreatment of Hector’s corpse. And my answer to the second question is an extension of my answer to the first: such compliance, as I will argue, can come about only if Achilles is stepping out of his speeding chariot instead of stepping into it.
7§74. To make this argument I will use the evidence of four images, which I will now show in a row. In each one of these images, we see moments where the chariot of Achilles has stopped and his horses are standing still:

Image K

7-k
Hydria: Hermitage ST165; Beazley ABV 362, the Leagros Group no. 31; Stähler no. 12.

Image L

7-l
Lekythos: Delos, B 6137.546; Stähler no. 13.

Image M

7-m
Amphora: London, British Museum 1899.7-21.3; Beazley ABV 330, Priam Painter no. 2; Stähler no. 10.

Image N

7-n
Hydria, painting on shoulder: Munich, Museum antiker Kleinkunst 1719; Beazley ABV 361, Leagros Group no. 257; Stähler no. 11.
7§75. Image K shows the goddess Iris, raising her hand in a lamenting gesture of pity. She has stopped the chariot of Achilles. That is my interpretation, which as we will see can be reconciled with the overall myth. When I say overall myth here, I include all the variations of the myth as represented in the visual narratives of the four pictures I am showing.
7§76. On the shoulder of the vase featuring Image K, I should add, we see a picture of a chariot in motion, and the charioteer is shown in the act of either stepping on or stepping off the platform of this chariot.
7§77. I note here two other details about Image K:
- There is nonce lettering painted between the figures. [45]
- We see here Achilles, fully armed and wearing a helmet, as he leans over the naked corpse of Hector. He is holding a shield over the corpse. Over on the side, to our left, we see a helmet and a shield, without anyone to wear it. My conjecture is that this levitating helmet and this levitating shield stand for the armor that had been stripped from the corpse of Hector when Achilles had killed him. And the levitating shield features as its device two pictures of snakes, one at the top and one at the bottom. Meanwhile, Achilles is shown looking downward, directly at Hector. My further conjecture is that Achilles here, in an act of pity, is now covering with his own shield the naked body of Hector.
7§78. In Image L, we see again that the goddess Iris, shown here with wings, has stopped the chariot with her lamenting gesture; and again it looks as if Achilles is now attending to the corpse of Hector. There is nonce lettering painted over the corpse. Achilles here is facing not only the corpse of Hector but also the tumulus of Patroklos. Levitating over the tumulus is a winged homunculus who stands for the spirit of Patroklos. There are in fact two winged homunculi painted here at two opposite sides of the vase, who are levitating to the left and to the right of the tumulus. Conforming to the curvature of the picture painted on the round surface of the vase, the two winged homunculi provide a single vision of the spirit of Patroklos as seen from the two opposite sides of this vase.
7§79. In Image M, as well, we see that the winged goddess Iris has stopped the chariot, though the fragmentary condition of this part of the picture prevents our seeing her actual gesture of lament; and once again it looks as if Achilles is now attending to the corpse of Hector. He is looking directly at him. The figures here in Image M are identified by the lettering painted next to them. As we start looking from our right, near the top, the painted letters identify the figure of Patroklos (Π<Α>ΤΡΟΚΛΟΣ) as the wingless but fully armed homunculus levitating over the tumulus, which features the picture of a guardian snake on its surface, as if this picture were a device on a shield. Further below, painted letters identify Achilles (ΑΧΙΛ[Ε]Υ[Σ]) and then Hector (HΕΚΤΟΡ); further to our left, the charioteer is identified as Konisalos (ΚΟΝΙ[ΣΑΛ]ΟΣ). Secondary figures are also identified: the hero standing in front of the horses is Odysseus (ΟΛΥΤΕΥ[Σ]), and there is even a hunting dog named Phaidros (ΦΑ[ΙΔ]ΡΟΣ). Only Iris is not identified here by way of painted letters: evidently, she needs no identification.
7§80. Finally, in Image N, we see once again the winged goddess Iris; here she is holding the heraldic staff or kerykeion, which is shown pointing downward. Iris is standing in front of the chariot team, which is at a dead stop. Once again, Iris has stopped the chariot. Behind the chariot stands the fully armed Achilles; he has turned away from the chariot and has turned toward the tumulus of Patroklos, which shows again the picture of a snake on its surface, as if this picture were a device on a shield. Levitating over the tumulus of Patroklos is the running figure of a fully armed homunculus representing the spirit of Patroklos. Achilles is facing three visions. They are, from top to bottom: (1) the homunculus, (2) the tumulus showing the picture of the snake, and (3) the corpse of Hector. In Image I, we have seen Achilles facing the same set of visions in the same order, except that the tumulus was not pictured in that image; still, the snake was positioned in exactly the same space where it would be protecting the tumulus - if the tumulus had been painted in that space.
7§81. Having offered my interpretation of Images K L M N, I need to mention an alternative interpretation, according to which the chariot shown in all four of these images has not yet started to move. [46] In terms of this interpretation, we would have to say that Achilles has not yet mounted the chariot in order to drag the corpse of Hector behind it. [47]
7§82. In terms of this alternative interpretation, the four pictures we see in Images K L M N are based on “departure scenes,” where a warrior is about to mount a chariot with one foot still on the ground while the other foot is already planted on the platform of the vehicle. [48] In Images O and P, I show two beautiful examples of such “departure scenes.”
7§83. In Image O, we see the hero Amphiaraos leaving his family to fight in the war of the Seven against Thebes:

Image O

7-o
Scene from the “Amphiaraos Vase,” found at Cerveteri: once Berlin F 1655, now lost
The family left behind by Amphiaraos (labeled ΑΦΙΑΡΕΟΣ) includes, from left to right: the wife Eriphyle (ΕΡΙΦΥΛΑ), who is shown holding a tell-tale necklace given to her as a bribe by Polyneikes in return for her persuading her husband to go to war; a nurse (ΑΙΝΙΠΠΑ) carrying an infant (Amphilokhos); two daughters (labeled ΔΑΜΟFΑΝΑΣΑ and ΕΥΡΥΔΙΚΑ), and a son (Alkmaion). The charioteer (labeled as ΒΑΤΟΝ) is about to start driving the chariot; standing in his way on the ground and facing him is a figure (labeled ΛΕΟΝΤΙΣ) who is gesturing toward the departing driver and rider. Standing in front of the chariot team is a male figure (labeled ΗΙΠΠΟΤΙΟΝ), and, seated on the ground behind him is another male figure (ΗΑΛΙΜΕΔΕΣ). The scene also features various animals signaling various omens: from left to right, we see two lizards, a hedgehog, a hare, an owl, a scorpion, a snake, and a bird flying from right to left. [49]
7§84. In Image P as well, a hero is leaving his family to fight in war. In this case, we cannot be certain about the identity of the departing hero, but he may well be Hector, making gestures of farewell to his wife Andromache and to their infant son Astyanax:

Image P

7-p
Bronze sheet no. M78, Olympia Archaeological Museum
7§85. Although Images O and P are parallel in some details to Images K L M N, the parallelism breaks down when we consider one essential detail. Whereas the hero is mounting his chariot in Images O and P, there is no indication of any such action in Images K L M N. Here I return to my interpretation of Images K L M N, each of which shows the chariot of Achilles at a dead stop. In terms of my interpretation, Achilles is not about to mount the chariot in any one of these four pictures. In three of the pictures, Images L M N, he is in fact turned away from the chariot, and he is evidently preoccupied in one way or another with the corpse of Hector. Likewise in the fourth picture, Image K, Achilles is preoccupied with the corpse of Hector.
7§86. And what about Images B1 and J? Are they parallel to Images O and P? In one detail, they are. In Images B1 and J, as we have seen, Achilles is shown with one foot on the platform of the chariot and one foot on the ground. To that extent, Images B1 and J are parallel to Images O and P. But once again the parallelism breaks down when we consider another essential detail. The chariot in Images B1 and J is speeding ahead, whereas the chariot in Images O and P is standing still. And it makes good sense, that the chariot in Images O and P is not moving. We would expect a departing hero to mount his chariot while it is still standing and before it speeds off. By contrast, the chariot is speeding ahead in Images B1 and J. And why would Achilles be stepping into a speeding chariot at the same moment when Iris makes her appearance in order to stop the dragging of the corpse of Hector? If Achilles were only now stepping into the speeding chariot, he would not yet have started to drag the corpse of Hector.
7§87. So, in terms of the narrative about the dragging of Hector’s corpse, it makes sense for Achilles to be stepping out of his speeding chariot, not stepping into it, at the moment of reacting to the arrival of the goddess Iris. By contrast, in terms of narratives about departing heroes, it makes sense for the hero to be stepping into a chariot that is still standing and not yet rushing ahead at full speed. So, the same pose that shows one foot on the chariot platform and one foot on the ground means two different things in two different narratives: in narratives about the dragging of Hector’s corpse, Achilles at the moment of this pose is stepping out of his chariot, while in narratives about the departures, the departing hero is stepping into his chariot.
7§88. The use of the same pose for freezing a moment in two or more different narratives is a common occurrence in the visual art of vase painting. My favorite example is another vase painting that shows a scene that is by now becoming quite familiar for us. In this painting, we are about to see once again the frozen motion picture of a homunculus running in full armor while he is levitating over a shining white tumulus, which is his tomb. In Images A1 B1 D E F G H I L M N we had seen the spirit of Patroklos pictured in such a pose. But that same pose, used in the narrative about the dragging of Hector’s corpse by Achilles, can be used in an altogether different narrative. I have in mind the scene that is narrated in the picture that I will now show:

Image Q

7-q
Hydria: Berlin, Antikensammlung F1902; painting on the body of the vase.
7§89. On the shoulder of this hydria, we see the image of two racing chariot teams taking a left turn. But I focus here on the image painted on the body of this vase, where we see a picture highlighting a famous scene in myth: it is the moment when the Trojan princess Polyxena is about to be slaughtered after the capture of Troy by the Achaeans. An epic version of this myth, where the human sacrifice of Polyxena takes place at the tomb of Achilles, is attested in the epic Cycle (plot-summary by Proclus of the Iliou Persis by Arctinus of Miletus p. 108 lines 5-8). [50] We find a comparable version of this myth here in Image Q, where we see the figure of Polyxena being led by her executioners toward the tomb of Achilles; also, we see here the figure of a homunculus in full armor running at full speed in thin air while levitating over this tomb, which is pictured as a shining white tumulus. The homunculus is the angry spirit of the dead hero. And the dead hero here is not Patroklos. He is Achilles himself.
7§90. So, the pose of such a running homunculus as it levitates in full armor over a shining white tumulus can signal different narratives in different pictures. In Image Q, this pose signals a narrative about the slaughtering of Polyxena as an act meant to assuage the angry spirit of Achilles, who is already dead but still very angry about his own death. In Images A1 B1 D E F G H I L M N, by contrast, this same pose signals the dragging of Hector’s corpse by Achilles, who is still very much alive here and already very angry about the death of his other self, Patroklos. In Image Q, the pose of the homunculus signals a story that has a negative outcome, since the cruel act of executing the princess will not be stopped: in the end, the executioners of Polyxena will not obey the moral imperative of showing pity. In Images A1 B1 D E F G H I L M N, by contrast, the same pose signals a story that does have a positive outcome, since the cruel act of dragging Hector’s corpse will in fact be stopped: in the end, Achilles will obey the moral imperative of showing pity.
7§91. Similarly, the pose of a hero with one foot on the platform of a chariot and one foot on the ground can signal different narratives in different pictures. When we see the chariot standing still, as in Image Q, the hero is stepping into his vehicle as he departs for war while he bids farewell to those who are near and dear to him. When the chariot is speeding along, however, as in Images B1 and J, I argue that the hero is stepping out of his vehicle.
7§92. In terms of my argument, what happens after Achilles steps out of his speeding chariot in Images B1 and J is obvious: he runs alongside his vehicle. That is what we see is happening in Images A1 C E F G H I. And Achilles keeps on running until his momentum is spent and he finally stops. That is what we see has happened in Images K L M N. By this time, now that his momentum is spent, Achilles can finally bring himself to show pity for the hero whose corpse he has been dragging around the tumulus of Patroklos.
7§93. I conclude, then, that the pictures we have seen in Images A1 B1 C D E F G H I J K L M N are telling a consistent story about the furious retaliation of the hero Achilles in response to the killing of Patroklos by Hector. And this story is comparable with the corresponding story about the retaliation as told in the Iliad. What is most similar about these two stories is the ultimate outcome: the fury of Achilles will be assuaged, and he will ultimately show pity. But there are significant differences in detail, and I have focused on one difference in particular:
When Achilles is dragging the corpse of Hector in the Iliad, he is driving his own chariot. In the pictures we have seen, by contrast, Achilles leaps out of his speeding chariot and then runs alongside it while his charioteer drives on, continuing to drag the corpse.
The question remains, why is Achilles doing this, and how does his action lead to his ultimate change of heart?

Hour 7a. Myth and ritual in pictures of chariot scenes involving Achilles

7a§1. According to an alternative interpretation of Images B1 and J, as I already noted, Achilles is stepping into his speeding chariot, not stepping out of it. But how, then, could we imagine the dragging of Hector’s corpse? We would be forced to say that Achilles, after getting into his chariot, will be riding along with his charioteer as the dragging of the corpse gets underway. But the images we have seen show that Achilles is never left standing on the platform of his chariot during the dragging of Hector’s corpse. Rather, as we have seen in Images A1 C E F G H I, Achilles is consistently running alongside the speeding chariot. And, as I will show, the act of dragging the corpse and the act of running alongside the speeding chariot are two details that are integrally related to each other in the visual narrative. As we are about to see, one detail belongs to the world of myth, while the other detail belongs to the world of ritual.
7a§2. Only in the Iliad is Achilles seen standing on the platform of his chariot during the dragging of Hector’s corpse. And that is because this epic pictures Achilles himself as the chariot driver, not as a chariot rider. It happens in Iliad XXIV (14-18), where we see Achilles in the act of dragging the corpse of Hector behind his speeding chariot: he is said to be driving his chariot three times around the tomb of Patroklos, and the word referring to the tomb here is sēma (XXIV 16).
7a§3. As we have already noted, the dragging of the corpse of Hector is treated as an act of utter cruelty in the narrative of the Homeric Iliad, and this cruelty will lead to a call for pity from the Olympian gods themselves as they deliberate in the course of their divine council at the beginning of Iliad XXIV. What we have not yet noted, however, is that the actual driving of the chariot around the sēma of Patroklos is a vital aspect of a recognizable athletic event. That athletic event is chariot racing.
7a§4. I have already noted a climactic moment in such an athletic event: it is the making of a left turn around a turning point. We have seen this moment described in the narrative about the Funeral Games for Patroklos in Iliad XXIII. And we have also seen that the turning point in this narrative becomes equated ultimately with the tomb of Patroklos: the key to this ultimate equation is the sēma or ‘sign’ given by Nestor (XXIII 326) about a turning point that may or may not be the same thing as the sēma or ‘tomb’ of an unknown hero (XXIII 331). At the time of Nestor’s speaking, the equation of the turning point with the tomb is still an uncertainty - and the identity of the hero is still an unknown. By the time the chariot race is over, however, this equation has become a reality. That is why, by the time Achilles himself is driving his chariot around the sēma of Patroklos (XXIV 16), the equation of this word sēma with the tomb of Patroklos is already taken for granted.
7a§5. In Images A1 B1 C D E F G H as well, we see an equation of the tomb of Patroklos with a turning point for the speeding chariot of Achilles. As we have seen in most of these images, the horses drawing the chariot of Achilles are just now at the point of making a left turn around the tomb of Patroklos; and this tomb, painted shining white, is shown as a turning point for the counterclockwise course of the speeding chariot team (only in Image H is there is a clockwise right turn instead of a counterclockwise left turn).
7a§6. To be contrasted is the implicit equation we see in the two verses of Iliad XXIII (326 and 331) concerning the sēma or ‘sign’ (XXIII 326) given by the hero Nestor to his son, the hero Antilokhos, about a landmark that may or may not have been the sēma or ‘tomb’ (XXIII 326) of an unnamed cult hero. This landmark was to be used as a turning point in the course of the chariot race that became the culminating athletic event of the Funeral Games for Patroklos in Iliad XXIII. But this landmark was ambivalent. In the words of Nestor, it was either a sēma, ‘tomb’ (XXIII 331), of an unnamed hero of the ancestral past or it was once upon a time a turning point, a nussa (XXIII 332), used for chariot races that must have taken place in that ancestral past. So, the equation of a hero’s tomb with a turning point for a chariot was only implicit here in Homeric poetry, whereas it is explicit in Images A1 B1 C D E F G H.
7a§7. The implicitness of such an equation in Homeric poetry extends even further. In the actual narrative about the chariot race held in honor of Patroklos in Iliad XXIII, the moment when the competitors in the race have to make their turns around the turning point is never even shown. After the initial mention of the turning point by Nestor in his words of instruction to his son, there is no further mention of it ever again in Iliad XXIII. And there is no need for any further mention, since, as we have already seen, Antilokhos will not interpret literally the visual cue or sēma, ‘sign’ (XXIII 326), that had been given to him by his father about the most successful way to turn left around a turning point. As we also saw, Antilokhos will make his move not at the turning point but at a narrow pass, where he impulsively decides to overtake the chariot of Menelaos that he sees racing ahead of him (XXIII 417-437).
7a§8. That said, I can now highlight a major difference between the narrative about the dragging of Hector’s corpse in the verbal art of the Homeric Iliad and the corresponding narratives in the visual art of Images A1 B1 C E F G H I J K L M N. The difference is this: whereas the chariot that is dragging Hector’s corpse is driven by Achilles himself in the verbal narrative of the Iliad (XXII 395-405, XXIV 14-22), the corresponding chariot in the visual narratives of Images A1 B1 C E F G H I J K L M N is being driven by a driver who is represented as a generic charioteer.
7a§9. On the François Vase, produced by the painter Kleitias and the potter Ergotimos around 570 BCE (Beazley ABV 76 no. 1), we see a picture of the chariot race held at the Funeral Games for Patroklos. The narrative in this picture shows significant differences from the corresponding narrative in Iliad XXIII:
- The five competing heroes in the visual narrative of the François Vase are driving four-horse chariots, while the five competing heroes in the verbal narrative of Iliad XXIII are driving two-horse chariots.
- The lettering painted over the competing chariot teams in the visual narrative of the François Vase labels the chariot drivers as the heroes Hippothoon, Damasippos, Diomedes, Automedon, and Odysseus (spelled ΟΛΥΤΕΥΣ). The ascending order in which I list these heroes here corresponds to the order in which their chariot teams are pictured from left to right as they race toward the finish line that is situated at the extreme right, which is where Achilles in his capacity as the marshal presiding over the race is waiting for the finish. [51] As for the chariot race in the verbal narrative of Iliad XXIII, the competing heroes are Eumelos, Meriones, Menelaos, Antilokhos, and Diomedes. Again, the ascending order in which I list these heroes here corresponds to the order in which their chariot teams cross the finish line, with Meriones in last place and with Diomedes in first place. [52]
7a§10. What the two different narratives of the François Vase and of Iliad XXIII have in common, however, is more important for now: in both the visual and the verbal narratives of the chariot race held in honor of Patroklos, the heroes are driving their own chariots. Moreover, the picture of the chariot race as painted on the François Vase shows clearly that the competing heroes are wearing the generic full-length gown of a charioteer, not the armor of a warrior.
7a§11. So, the full-length gown of the charioteer in the visual narrative of the François Vase is a clear sign that the event being narrated, the chariot race in honor of Patroklos, is an athletic event. So, also in the visual narratives of the pictures we have just surveyed, we see the charioteer wearing the same kind of full-length gown, most prominently in Images C D G I J K L M N; in Image B2 as well, the two drivers of the speeding chariots are wearing the generic full-length gown of a charioteer. So, though it is true that in other pictures, including B1, the charioteer simply wears the armor of a warrior, the fact remains that the charioteers we see in pictures that tell about the dragging of the corpse of Hector do not necessarily wear the armor of a warrior. This fact squares with what I am arguing, that the event we see being represented in all the pictures showing the dragging of the corpse of Hector is really an athletic event.
7a§12. In pursuing this argument, I now highlight an essential detail that we see in Images B1 C E F G H I J showing the dragging of the corpse of Hector: the speeding chariot that drags the corpse is circling around the tomb of Patroklos in these images, just as the chariot of Achilles is circling around the same tomb in Iliad XXIV (13-18). This detail, as we find it in the visual narratives and also in the verbal narrative, indicates that an athletic event is being represented.
7a§13. Granted, in the case of the verbal narrative in Iliad XXIV (13-18), our first impression is that there is nothing athletic about the cruel act of dragging the corpse of Hector behind the speeding chariot that circles around the tomb of Patroklos. But, as I have just argued, the circling of this tomb by the speeding chariot is in fact a primary characteristic of a chariot race. When Nestor gives his advice in Iliad XXIII (326-343) about the best way to circle around a turning point in a chariot race, we have seen that this turning point is ultimately to be understood as the tomb of the hero Patroklos. Also, as I noted earlier, we know from historical evidence that the tomb of a hero could in fact be used as the turning point of a chariot race: in the athletic program of the Olympics, for example, the point where the racing chariot teams took their left turns in chariot races could be conceptualized as the tomb of a hero. [53]
7a§14. In the course of my arguing that the act of driving a chariot team around the tomb of Patroklos in Iliad XXIV (13-18) as also in Images B1 C E F G H I J is an athletic event, I have to emphasize that such an event is in both cases being polluted by the cruel behavior of Achilles, who drags behind his racing chariot the corpse of Hector. Such a pollution, as caused here by the hero Achilles, is typical of aetiologies linked with athletic events.
7a§15. When I say aetiology here, I mean a myth that motivates an institutional reality, especially a ritual. [54] In the logic of aetiologies, a ritual practice can be polluted by a hero in myth, and then this pollution will need to be eternally purified by succeeding generations of ordinary humans who participate in that same seasonally recurring ritual practice. [55] Typical of such ritual practices are athletic events held at seasonally recurring festivals such as the Olympics. I cite as my prime example a myth about the victory of the hero Pelops in a four-horse chariot race held at the prototypical site of the Olympics. This myth is an aetiology for the athletic event of four-horse chariot racing at the Olympics, as we see from the artful retelling in Pindar’s Olympian 1. [56]
7a§16. From another retelling of this aetiological myth, we learn that the basic motivation for the athletic event of the four-horse chariot race at the Olympics was the need to purify the pollution caused by the death of the hero Oinomaos while he was competing in his prototypical four-horse chariot race with the hero Pelops (Phlegon of Tralles FGH 257 F 1 lines 8-9).
7a§17. In this case, the myth shows that the athletic event of four-horse chariot racing, viewed as a seasonally recurring ritual practice that was destined to last forever, was needed as an eternal compensation in order to purify a prototypical pollution: as we learn from yet another retelling of the myth, the hero Pelops himself had caused, wittingly or unwittingly, the death of Oinomaos in the course of their chariot race with each other (Apollodorus Epitome 2.7). [57]
7a§18. So far, I have argued that the circling of the tomb of Patroklos by the chariot team in Images A1 C E F G H I is an athletic event, just as the circling of this tomb by Achilles driving his chariot in Iliad XXIV (13-18) is an athletic event. And I have also argued that both of these athletic events are polluted by the cruel behavior of Achilles in dragging the corpse of Hector behind his chariot. But now I must emphasize that these two athletic events are not the same: whereas Achilles himself is driving his chariot in the verbal narrative of Iliad XXIV, he is definitely not driving it in the visual narrative of Images A1 C E F G H I. As we have seen in these images, Achilles here is running alongside his chariot, having stepped out of his speeding vehicle, and it is a charioteer who is driving it.

Hour 7b. Apobatic chariot racing

7b§1. I have reached the point where I can now describe a different kind of chariot race, featuring not one but two athletes. Just as chariot drivers competed with each other in the kind of chariot race that is narrated in Iliad XXIII, so also chariot riders competed with each other in a different kind of chariot race, aspects of which are pictured in Images A1 C E F G H I. As we know from ancient sources, the climactic event in this different kind of chariot race is the critical moment when the chariot rider, wearing a helmet and carrying a shield, suddenly leaps out of his speeding chariot and “hits the ground running” in competition with other chariot riders. Such competing chariot riders were known in the ancient world as apobatai, meaning ‘those who step off’. [58] In Athens, the word apobatai referred to athletes who competed in this special kind of chariot race, and the competition of these apobatai was an integral part of the ritualized athletic program of a seasonally recurring Athenian festival known as the Panathenaia, celebrated every year in the late summer. [59] After 566 BCE, a large-scale version of this festival started operating in the late summer of every fourth year, matching the four-year cycle of the older festival of the Olympics, but the smaller-scale version of the Panathenaia continued to be celebrated in the late summer of the other three years. Whereas the large-scale version of the Panathenaia is known as the Great Panathenaia, which became a rival of the Olympics in the sixth century BCE, the smaller-scale and far older version of the festival is known as Lesser Panathenaia. As we will see later, the competition of the apobatai took place at the Great Panathenaia. From here on, I will refer to the athletic event of the apobatai at the Panathenaia simply in terms of apobatic chariot racing.
7b§2. As we know from evidence that I will now examine, the act of ‘stepping off’ in apobatic chariot racing at the Panathenaia was a spectacular sudden-death feat of athletic bravura, and here is the way I once described it:
We can imagine all eyes focused on the action that leads up to that moment when the competing athlete, riding on the platform of a four-horse chariot driven at full gallop by his charioteer, suddenly leaps to the ground from the speeding chariot. [60]
Another aspect of this chariot racing, I should add, is that the apobatai could leap into as well as out of their speeding chariots. [61] The timing of a leap back into the chariot is not made clear by the ancient sources.
7b§3. Highlights of apobatic chariot racing are depicted in the relief sculptures of the Panathenaic Frieze of the Parthenon, created in the 440s BCE, where we see twenty-one apobatic chariot teams on display, with eleven chariots featured on the north side (North XI-XXIX) and ten on the south side (South XXV-XXXV); in each case, the chariot is shown with four horses, a driver, and an apobatēs, who is wearing a helmet and a shield. [62] The apobatai are shown in a variety of poses: stepping into the chariot, riding in the chariot, stepping out of the chariot, and running alongside the chariot; in two cases, the apobatai are evidently wearing a full set of armor. [63]
7b§4. What makes the feat of leaping into or out of a speeding chariot so commandingly distinctive is that the apobatēs executes his leap in the mode of an epic warrior. While the fellow athlete who drives the chariot is standing on the right side of the vehicle and wearing the full-length gown of a charioteer, the apobatēs standing on the left side wears a helmet and carries a shield. I focus here on the critical moment when the apobatic athlete, holding on to the shield with his left hand, starts loosening the grip of his right hand on the rail of the speeding chariot and then suddenly leaps to the ground:
Weighted down by all this armor, the apobatēs must hit the ground running as he lands on his feet in his high-speed leap from the platform of his chariot. If his run is not broken in a fall, he continues to run down the length of the racecourse in competition with the other running apobatai, who have made their own leaps from their own chariots. [64]
7b§5. I have already noted the fact that the apobatai could leap on as well as off the platform of their speeding chariots. Given this fact, I must now ask again the question I had asked earlier about Images B1 and J: is Achilles leaping into or out of the speeding chariot in these two pictures? On the basis of further evidence that I am now about to present, I can reaffirm the answer I gave then: Achilles is leaping out of his chariot.
7b§6. I start this part of my argumentation by returning to Images C E F G H I, where we saw what happens after Achilles leaps out of his speeding chariot: now he runs alongside this vehicle, drawn by a team of four galloping horses driven by the charioteer around the tomb of Patroklos (counterclockwise in Images C E F G I, clockwise in Image H). And, while Achilles is running alongside the speeding chariot, the corpse of Hector is being dragged behind it. Achilles here is running like an athlete in the athletic event of the apobatai. And, except for the fact that he is polluting this athletic event by dragging the corpse of Hector, the hero is going through the motions of performing the athletic feat of an apobatēs. Similarly, except for the fact that Achilles is dragging the corpse of Hector in Iliad XXIV (13-18), he is going through the motions of performing the athletic feat of a charioteer.
7b§7. Such a pollution, as I argued in Hour 7a, is in both these cases an aspect of an aetiological myth that is linked with the rituals of athletics. In the logic of aetiologies concerning athletics, as I also argued in Hour 7a, the ritual practice of a given athletic event can be polluted by a hero in myth, and then this pollution will need to be eternally purified by succeeding generations of ordinary humans who participate in that same seasonally recurring athletic event.
7b§8. Next I focus on the sheer spectacle of seeing an apobatēs step off and then run alongside his speeding chariot at the seasonally recurring festival of the Panathenaia in Athens. We find an eyewitness description of this spectacle in a work that may or may not have been composed by Demosthenes; in any case, the work is contemporaneous with Demosthenes, dated to the fourth century BCE (“pseudo-” Demosthenes 61.22-29). The speaker in this passage refers to the athletic event of the apobatai as an agōn, ‘competition’, that is highlighted by the act of apobainein, ‘stepping down’ (τοῦ δ’ ἀποβαίνειν … ἐπὶ τοῦτον τὸν ἀγῶν[α] 61.23). This athletic event of ‘stepping down’ from a speeding chariot is singled out as the most similar, among all agōnismata, ‘forms of competition’, to the experiences of warriors in the life-and-death struggles of combat warfare (61.24). As a spectacle, the event of the apobatai is described as matching most closely the grandeur of the gods themselves (61.24-25), and thus it is deserving of the greatest of all āthla, ‘prizes won in contests’ (μεγίστων δ’ ἄθλων ἠξιωμένον 61.25). The speaker views this kind of competition as the closest thing not only to combat warfare in general but also, in particular, to the scenes of heroic combat as narrated in Homeric poetry: as the speaker says explicitly, ‘one could adduce, as the greatest proof, the poetry of Homer’ (τεκμήριον δὲ μέγιστον ἄν τις ποιήσαιτο τὴν Ὁμήρου ποίησιν 61.25). That is why, the speaker goes on to say, only the greatest cities of the Hellenic world, such as Athens, preserve the tradition of such agōnes, ‘competitions’ (61.25-26).
7b§9. Then the speaker goes on to tell about a spectacular feat once performed by the athlete he is praising (“pseudo-” Demosthenes 61.27-29). Though it is difficult to reconstruct the details of this compressed narration, it appears that our athlete, having leapt from his speeding chariot and running with all his might, was almost run over from behind and trampled to death by horses drawing the chariot of a rival team that was heading full speed toward him. We are reminded of the scene in Image E where an armed figure is getting trampled; and Image H shows a similar scene in the making.
7b§10. I now highlight the critical moment in the narration of the speaker where he in turn highlights the critical moment in the apobatic competition that he is narrating. Instead of losing his nerve, our athlete somehow managed to surpass the momentum of the oncoming chariot team that almost ran over him. That is what we are about to read at the critical moment of the speaker’s narration about the apobatic chariot race held at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens. I now quote the original Greek text of that climactic moment. In this quotation, we hear the speaker directly addressing as ‘you’ the young athlete whose glorious athletic feat is now being brought back to life in the present time of the narration:

Hour 7 Text B

When the [chariot] teams had started and some had rushed ahead while some were being reined in, you, prevailing over both [the faster and the slower chariot teams], first one and then the other, [surpassing each chariot team] in a way that was most suited [for each situation], seized the victory, winning that envied garland in such a way that, even though it was glorious enough to win, it seemed even more glorious and dazzling that you came out of it safely. For when the chariot of your opponents was speeding toward [enantion] you and everyone thought that the momentum of their horses could not be resisted, you, aware that some [runners], even when no danger threatens, become overanxious for their own safety, not only did not lose your head or your nerve, but by your courage overcame the impetus of their [chariot] team and by your speed [as a runner] passed even those contenders [= the other runners] whose luck had not yet had any setbacks. [65]
“pseudo-” Demosthenes 61.28 [66]
7b§11. This athletic event of the apobatai as held at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens was in one way more conservative than the athletic event of the chariot race as held at the Funeral Games for Patroklos in Iliad XXIII. In that chariot race, there were only chariot drivers, without chariot riders accompanying them. By contrast, as we have seen, there was a chariot rider standing to the left of each chariot driver on the platform of the speeding four-horse chariot in the Panathenaic chariot race of the apobatai, and this chariot rider or apobatēs would then leap out of the speeding chariot and back into it in death-defying maneuvers. As we will now see, such maneuvers re-enacted the leaps executed by chariot fighters who were fighting in chariot warfare.

Hour 7c. Apobatic chariot fighting

7c§1. The ritualized moments of apobatic leaps executed by athletes riding on speeding chariots in chariot races held at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens correspond to the mythologized moment of a corresponding leap executed by Athena herself as goddess of Athens. As we read in ancient sources reporting on the relevant local Athenian myth, Athena was the patroness and founder of the Panathenaia along with her prototypical male protégé, the hero Erikhthonios. [67] These sources indicate that the goddess and the hero were not only the founders of the Panathenaia: they were also the founders of the seasonally recurring apobatic chariot races that took place at this festival of the Panathenaia. Moreover, the goddess and the hero were even the first participants in the first apobatic chariot race ever held at the Panathenaia. At that chariot race, Erikhthonios drove the chariot while Athena made the first apobatic leap ever made. [68]
7c§2. And this first leap of Athena was not only the leap of an apobatic athlete. It was also the leap of an apobatic fighter. According to local Athenian mythmaking, the goddess Athena was the prototypical apobatic fighter: it happened on the day of her birth, when she emerged fully formed and fully armed from the head of Zeus and immediately joined the other Olympians in their primordial battle with the Giants. [69] This battle, envisioned as a primal scene of apobatic chariot warfare, was spearheaded by the goddess herself as the ultimate apobatic chariot fighter. [70] In terms of Athenian mythmaking, the apobatic leap of the goddess in the Battle of the Olympians and Giants was the same leap that she made as the founder of the apobatic chariot race at the Panathenaia. Her action as a prototypical apobatic fighter thus became a model for all apobatic athletes.
7c§3. The Athenian myth about Athena as an apobatic model brings into sharper focus the wording of the speaker in the speech I analyzed a moment ago concerning the athlete who won first prize in an apobatic race held at the Panathenaia (“pseudo-” Demosthenes 61). The speaker, as we saw, described the athletic competition of the apobatai as an event that matched most closely the grandeur of the gods themselves (61.24-25); and he went on to say that victory at this event was deserving of the greatest of all āthla, ‘prizes won in contests’ (μεγίστων δ’ ἄθλων ἠξιωμένον 61.25). In that same speech, moreover, the speaker described the athletic competition of apobatai as the closest thing not only to combat warfare in general but also, in particular, to the scenes of heroic combat as narrated in Homeric poetry. I repeat here his wording: ‘one could adduce, as the greatest proof, the poetry of Homer’ (τεκμήριον δὲ μέγιστον ἄν τις ποιήσαιτο τὴν Ὁμήρου ποίησιν 61.25).
7c§4. I have already noted how the ritualized moments of such apobatic leaps executed by athletes riding on speeding chariots in chariot races held at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens correspond to the mythologized moment of a prototypical apobatic leap made by the goddess Athena. But these ritualized moments correspond also to mythologized moments of apobatic leaps made by heroes fighting in chariot warfare as narrated in Homeric poetry. As we will see from the passages I am about to quote from this poetry, such heroic leaps happen at climactic moments in the epic narrative.
7c§5. Before I show the relevant Homeric examples, I start with two other examples I found in forms of poetry that are not Homeric and not even epic. The first of these two examples is a particularly revealing passage I found in the songs of the fifth-century lyric poet Pindar. In this passage, we are about to see the hero Achilles himself in the act of leaping out of his chariot and running furiously toward his mortal enemy, the hero Memnon:

Hour 7 Text C

And it [= the name of the lineage of the Aiakidai, especially the name of Achilles] leapt at the Ethiopians, now that Memnon would not be coming back safely [to his troops]. Heavy combat fell upon them [= the Ethiopians] in the person of Achilles hitting the ground as he stepped down [kata-bainein] from his chariot. That was when he killed [Memnon] the son of the luminous dawn-goddess, with the tip of his raging spear.
Pindar Nemean 6.48-53 [71]
7c§6. The second example comes from a passage we have already considered in another context in this hour. This passage is about the mortal combat in chariot fighting between the heroes Hēraklēs and Kyknos as recounted in the Hesiodic Shield of Herakles, where we see that both these heroes leap to the ground from their chariots and then run at full speed toward each other (verses 370-371). I highlight again a detail: both combatants leap from their speeding chariots (θόρον, from the verb thrōiskein, ‘leap, jump’, verse 370). Meanwhile, the charioteers driving the chariots of the combatants drive on, keeping as close as possible to the combatants running on the ground (ἔμπλην, ‘closely’, verse 372).
7c§7. Now I proceed to the Homeric examples. I start with this climatic moment of chariot warfare:

Hour 7 Text D

Hector leapt out of his chariot, armor and all, hitting the ground.
Iliad XI 211 [72]
In other climactic moments as well, Hector is described as leaping out of his chariot:

Hour 7 Text E

Straightaway he [= Hector] leapt out of his chariot, armor and all, hitting the ground.
Iliad V 494, VI 103, XII 81, XIII 749 [73]
7c§8. In comparable wording, Homeric narrative describes four other warriors at moments when they too leap out of their chariots: Menelaos (Iliad III 29), Diomedes (IV 419), Sarpedon (XVI 426), and Patroklos (XVI 427). In the case of Menelaos (III 29), he leaps out of his chariot and hits the ground running as he rushes toward Paris to fight him in mortal combat on foot. Paris does not meet him head on but keeps backing up until he melts into a crowd of footsoldiers who are massed behind him (III 30-37). In the case of Diomedes (IV 419), he leaps off his chariot as he hits the ground running, while his bronze breastplate makes a huge clanging sound upon impact as he rushes toward the enemy, who all shrink back to avoid encountering him in mortal combat on foot (IV 420-421). Similarly, in a scene I cited a moment ago (XII 81), Hector leaps out of his chariot and hits the ground running as he rushes to fight the enemy on foot, and, in this case, his fellow chariot fighters follow his lead and dismount from their chariots, since they too are now ready to fight on foot (XII 82-87). In the case of Sarpedon and Patroklos, we see these two heroes simultaneously leaping out of their chariots and hitting the ground running as they rush toward each other to fight one-on-one in mortal combat on foot – a combat that is won here by Patroklos (XVI 428-507). Later on, when Patroklos is about to engage in mortal combat with Hector, he once again leaps out of his chariot:

Hour 7 Text F = Hour 6 Text C

Then Patroklos, from one side, leapt from his chariot, hitting the ground.
Iliad XVI 733 [74]
What happens next, as we saw already in Hour 6, is that Patroklos picks up a rock and throws it at Kebriones, the charioteer of Hector, hitting Kebriones on the forehead and smashing his skull (Iliad XVI 734-754). And then, just as Patroklos had leapt out of his chariot, Hector too leaps out of his own chariot:

Hour 7 Text G = Hour 6 Text D

Then Hector, from the other side, leapt from his chariot, hitting the ground.
Iliad XVI 755 [75]
Patroklos and Hector proceed to fight one-on-one in mortal combat on foot – a combat that is won here by Hector (XVI 756-863).
7c§9. Having reached the end of this collection of apobatic scenes in the Iliad, I highlight the fact that Hector is featured far more often than any other Homeric hero in the act of leaping out of his chariot to fight in mortal combat on foot.

Hour 7d. Distinctions between chariot fighting and chariot racing

7d§1. The moments of apobatic chariot fighting that we have just surveyed in the Homeric Iliad differ in one significant detail from corresponding moments of apobatic chariot racing at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens. Whereas the chariots are drawn by two horses in epic scenes of apobatic chariot fighting, we know for a fact that the athletic event of apobatic chariot racing at the Panathenaia involved four-horse chariot teams. [76] I have already noted the evidence of the Panathenaic Frieze of the Parthenon, where we see twenty-one apobatic chariot teams on display, with eleven chariots featured on the north side (North XI-XXIX) and ten on the south side (South XXV-XXXV); in each case, the chariot is shown with four horses, a driver, and an apobatēs. [77]
7d§2. Now a two-horse chariot team, known in Latin as the biga, was more suitable for chariot fighting in warfare than a four-horse chariot team, known as the quadriga, which was more suitable for chariot racing. There is evidence for the active use of the biga in warfare already in the second millennium BCE. [78] As for the quadriga, visual representations of its use in racing are poorly attested before the seventh century BCE, but there are clear traces in the seventh; later on, by the time we reach the early sixth century, the visual evidence is ample. [79] According to Pausanias (5.8.7), the athletic event of racing in the quadriga at the festival of the Olympics was introduced already in the 25th Olympiad, that is, in the year 680 BCE. [80]
7d§3. In the text of Homeric poetry as we have it, there are two references to the concept of a racing chariot drawn by a team of four horses. The first such reference is in Odyssey xiii 81-83, where the speeding ship of the Phaeacians is being compared to a chariot team of four galloping horses. The second reference is in Iliad XI 699-672: this passage is about the disputed possession of a chariot team of four prize-winning horses. Since the action in this second passage takes place in the region of Elis, I subscribe to the argument that the Homeric narrative here is making a veiled reference to the competition in chariot racing at the seasonally recurring festival of the Olympics in Elis. [81]
7d§4. In sum, even though the older model of two-horse chariot racing is the dominant pattern in the narrative about the chariot race in Iliad XXIII, we have now seen that Homeric poetry also contains two direct references to the newer model of four-horse chariot racing.
7d§5. Moreover, Homeric poetry contains an indirect reference to four-horse apobatic chariot racing. It happens in Iliad VIII 185, where it is said that Hector has a four-horse chariot team. This detail can be linked with a fact I have already noted, that Hector is prominently featured as an apobatic chariot fighter in the Iliad. So, I am ready to argue that the narrative in Iliad VIII 185 is making a veiled reference to the competition in apobatic chariot racing at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens, just as the narrative in Iliad XI 699-672 makes a veiled reference to the competition in non-apobatic chariot racing at the festival of the Olympics in Elis.

Hour 7e. Homeric poetry at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens

7e§1. In arguing that Homeric poetry can refer, however indirectly, to apobatic chariot racing at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens, I find it essential to keep in mind a basic fact: this same festival was the primary setting for the performance of Homeric poetry itself in the sixth century BCE and thereafter. Just as there were seasonally recurring competitions in apobatic chariot racing at the Panathenaia, there were also seasonally recurring competitions in performing the poetry of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey at the same festival, the Panathenaia. Parallel to the apobatic competition, the grand Homeric competition was held only at the Great Panathenaia, which was celebrated only every four years.
7e§2. After its founding in 566 BCE, the quadrennial festival of the Great Panathenaia in Athens rivaled in scale even the Olympics, the official founding date of which was 776 BCE. A centerpiece of the Great Panathenaia was a grand agōn, ‘competition’, in mousikē tekhnē, ‘the art of the Muses’, the importance of which is signaled by Aristotle in the Constitution of the Athenians (60.1). Within the overall framework of this grand competition at the Great Panathenaia, there were separate categories of competitions in performing separate categories of mousikē. These categories included
(1) singing lyric songs to the accompaniment of a kithara, ‘lyre’
(2) singing lyric songs to the accompaniment of an aulos, ‘reed’
(3) playing the kithara in the format of an instrumental solo
(4) playing the aulos in the format of an instrumental solo
(5) reciting epic poetry without instrumental accompaniment.
At the Great Panathenaia, the performers who competed with each other in reciting epic poetry were called rhapsōidoi, ‘rhapsodes’, and, as we read in ancient sources concerning Athens in the fifth and the fourth centuries BCE, the epic repertoire of these rhapsodes featured the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey (Plato Ion 530a-b, 533b-c; Isocrates Panegyricus 159; and Plutarch Life of Pericles 13.9-11).
7e§3. This rhapsodic tradition of performing Homeric poetry at the festival of the Great Panathenaia in Athens stemmed ultimately from an earlier Homeric tradition. As Douglas Frame has shown, this Homeric tradition evolved at the festival of the Panionia as celebrated in the eighth and seventh centuries BCE at a centralized sacred space called the Panionion, which was shared by twelve states belonging to a federation known as the Ionian Dodecapolis. [82]
7e§4. The Homeric tradition became the dominant epic repertoire of the festival of the Great Panathenaia in Athens during the last few decades of the sixth century BCE. The critical moment arrived when the government of Athens, at the initiative of Hipparkhos, son of Peisistratos, instituted a major reform of the performance traditions of epic poetry. This reform, known as the Panathenaic Regulation, resulted in the privileging of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey over all other epics that had ever been performed before at the Panathenaia. On the basis of references in ancient sources (especially in “Plato” Hipparkhos 228b-c), it has been argued, plausibly, that the Panathenaic Regulation was started in the year 522 BCE, when Hipparkhos arranged for the first complete performance of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey by rhapsōidoi, ‘rhapsodes’, competing at the festival of the Great Panathenaia in Athens. [83]
7e§5. But here we run into a problem. Given the fact that the performance of Homeric poetry became a main event at the quadrennial festival of the Great Panathenaia, and given the parallel fact that apobatic chariot racing was another main event at that same grand festival of the Athenians, we might have expected to see direct references to apobatic chariot racing in Homeric poetry. But instead, we have seen in Iliad XXIII the narration of a non-apobatic chariot race that resembles most closely the chariot race held at the seasonally recurring festival of the Olympics. So, why was this non-apobatic kind of chariot racing highlighted in Homeric poetry, and why was apobatic chariot racing correspondingly shaded over?
7e§6. Here is my explanation. The fact is, apobatic chariot racing at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens was a competition restricted to Athenian citizens. This fact is indicated not only by ancient sources [84] but also by a mass of circumstantial evidence concerning the competition of the apobatai. [85] By contrast, non-apobatic chariot racing at the festival of the Olympics in Elis was a decidedly interpolitical athletic competition. By interpolitical I mean that the competitions at the Olympics were open to citizens of all Hellenic city-states or poleis. Accordingly, the prestige of the non-apobatic chariot race at the Olympics was likewise interpolitical, whereas the prestige of the apobatic chariot race at the Panathenaia was political, by which I mean simply that the prestige of this athletic event was the function of a single city-state or polis, Athens.
7e§7. As we saw in Hour 7c above, the ritual of apobatic competition was linked with a charter myth about the genesis of the city of Athens itself at the moment when Athena as the goddess of the city took the first apobatic leap ever taken, in the primal battle of the Olympians and Giants. Here I must add what is said in another part of the charter myth: after leaping in full armor from her war chariot, Athena performed a weapon dance, likewise in full armor: this dance was known as the purrhikhē. [86] The meaning of this dance in full armor is something like ‘act of fire’: in the case of the myth that links this weapon dance with Athena specifically, this meaning conveys the cosmic energy released by the goddess in performing her primordial weapon dance, which literally ignites the field of battle. [87] I highlight here this additional part of the relevant charter myth because there was a competition of dancing the weapon dance of the purrhikhē at the Panathenaia, and, like the event of the apobatic chariot race, this competition was likewise restricted to native Athenians. [88] So, both these events - not only the apobatic chariot race but also the competitive dancing of the purrhikhē - were markedly political and even politicized expressions of local pride at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens. [89]
7e§8. Another sign of the distinctly civic nature of the apobatic chariot race is the place where it was held: unlike the competition in non-apobatic chariot racing, which was held at the hippodrome, [90] the apobatic competition was held along the Panathenaic Way extending from the Dipylon Gate at the Kerameikos to the Eleusinion at the foot of the acropolis. [91]
7e§9. Standing in sharp contrast to the political (in the sense of politicized) orientation of the apobatic chariot race at the Panathenaia was the interpolitical or Panhellenic orientation of the non-apobatic chariot race at the Olympics. Even the elites of Athens recognized the Panhellenic prestige of chariot racing at the festival of the Olympics. As I noted earlier, the traditional founding date for that festival was 776 BCE, in comparison to the festival of the Great Panathenaia, the traditional founding date for which was 566 BCE. During most of the sixth century, which was the same era that marked the foundation of the Great Panathenaia, elite Athenian men were preoccupied with entering and winning the seasonally recurring competition in four-horse chariot racing at the Olympics. As we see from the formulation that I am about to quote, this athletic event outshone in prestige all other athletic events at all other festivals, including the apobatic chariot races at the Panathenaia. Here, then, is the formulation:
[T]he Athenian elite had […] enjoyed great success in the four-horse chariot event at Olympia, extending to a run of nine known quadriga victories in the twenty-six Olympiads between 592 and 492. Among these were the victory of the tyrant Peisistrat[o]s in 532, and Miltiades’ victory in 560 with his dedication, the first by a chariot victor at Olympia […]. Athens’ achievement is exceptional, amounting to about 53% of the total of seventeen known quadriga victors, or about 35% of the absolute total of twenty-six at Olympia in a period spanning virtually the entire sixth century. [92]
7e§10. Even if the athletic event of the chariot race held at the Olympics in Elis was more prestigious during the sixth century BCE than the corresponding athletic event of the apobatic chariot race held at the Panathenaia in Athens, there was another event at the Panathenaia that eventually outshone in Panhellenic prestige even the chariot race at the Olympics. I highlight here once again the non-athletic event of rhapsodic competitions in the performance of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey at the Great Panathenaia. In the last few decades of the sixth century, especially after 522 BCE, these two epics became the dominant poetic repertoire of rhapsodes competing at the Great Panathenaia, and, in the course of time, they eventually crowded out the other epics. Such other epics were more epichoric, that is, they were more localized, more Athenian, in their orientation. And, as I will now argue, the vase paintings that we were studying reflect the more localized traditions of such other epics. Conversely, the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey reflect epic traditions that were more Panhellenic and less likely to match the localized traditions of Athens.

Hour 7f. Signs of alternative epic traditions as reflected in Athenian vase paintings

7f§1. I start by reviewing the pictures we see painted on vases like the Münster Hydria (A1) and the Boston Hydria (B1). As I will argue, these pictures are interacting with localized epic traditions that were current in Athens during the sixth century BCE. Some of the details we find in these localized epic traditions tend to be excluded from the less localized and more “Panionian” epic traditions of Homeric poetry, which as I have been arguing became dominant in Athens only during the era that followed 522 BCE. For example, we will see that details having to do with the athletic tradition of apobatic chariot racing are excluded in Homeric poetry, even though other details having to do with the heroic tradition of apobatic chariot fighting remain included.
7f§2. In the main pictures painted on the Münster Hydria and the Boston Hydria, the representations of apobatic chariot racing feature Achilles himself as the prime apobatic athlete. In Image A1 he is shown in the act of running in full armor alongside his speeding chariot, while in Image B1 we see him in the act of leaping off his speeding chariot and “hitting the ground running.”
7f§3. In these pictures we see also another apobatic figure: he is the homunculus in full armor who is running at full speed in thin air and levitating over a shining white tumulus, which is his tomb. He is Patroklos, and the frozen motion pictures that show him running in the air match the pictures of the apobatic figure of Achilles running on the ground.
7f§4. Finally, we see yet another apobatic figure in Image B1: this third figure is Hector himself, who as we have seen is prominently featured as an apobatic chariot fighter in the Iliad. The irony is, this hero’s glory days of performing apobatic feats have already been terminated by Achilles, who can now take over as the ultimate apobatic model in this picture.
7f§5. Though we have seen several pictures showing Achilles as an apobatēs, I have all along been concentrating on only two of them, Image A1 of the Münster Hydria and on Image B1 of the Boston Hydria. Until now, however, I have not yet specified the dating of these two vases - beyond saying that both of them were produced in Athens within the last few decades of the sixth century BCE. In keeping the dating so unspecific, I have been following the lead of art historians. About the Münster Hydria, Stähler says that it must have been produced toward the end of the sixth century BCE; [93] about the Boston Hydria, Vermeule estimates that the date of production was around 510 BCE. [94] This dating may be valid from a technical point of view, but the details that we find in the narratives of these paintings must stem from an earlier date. In terms of my argument, the pictures that we see painted on these vases are interacting with an epic tradition that predates the establishment of the Panathenaic Regulation, which as we have seen can be dated at 522 BCE.
7f§6. Such an epic tradition that predates the Panathenaic Regulation cannot be described as older than the Homeric tradition that became dominant after the establishment of the Regulation in 522 BCE. It is simply more local, more in tune with local Athenian traditions. Conversely, the Homeric tradition of epic that became dominant after 522 BCE cannot be described as newer than the more localized Athenian tradition. It is simply less localized and more “Panionian.” As I said before, I agree with Frame that the Homeric tradition as we have it stems from Panionian epic traditions that evolved in the Ionian Dodecapolis during the eighth and seventh centuries BCE. [95]
7f§7. In pursuing my argument, I return to a basic fact about the vase paintings we have studied: in Images A1 and B1 as also in Images C E F G H I J, the narrative about the dragging of Hector’s corpse behind the speeding chariot of Achilles is evidently different from the corresponding narrative of the Homeric Iliad in the version that has come down to us. But the dating for this version of the Iliad, as we have just seen, cannot be pushed forward in time any later than 522 BCE. That is why I think that the narratives of the pictures painted on the Münster Hydria and the Boston Hydria date back to a time that is at least slightly earlier than 522 BCE.
7f§8. And here I must express my disagreement with those art historians who assume that the narratives we see being pictured on these vases were simply derived from the text of Homeric poetry, and that whatever divergences we find between pictures and text can be explained as haphazard improvisations made by the painters. [96] I disagree, arguing that the narratives of the pictures are just as systematic as the narratives of Homeric poetry. Where the narratives converge, the convergences are due not to some kind of direct borrowing from the verbal medium of Homeric poetry into the visual medium of the paintings; rather, what we are seeing is an interaction between the visual medium of painting with the verbal medium of epic poetry in general. Each one of these two media is drawing on its own system of expression. Also, where the narratives diverge, the diverging patterns in the two media turn out to be just as systematic as the converging patterns. In terms of my approach, then, the patterns that we see in the visual art of the pictures need to be analyzed as related to rather than simply derived from the patterns we see at work in the verbal art of Homeric poetry.
7f§9. That said, I now proceed to reassess the main convergences and divergences between the narratives of the vase paintings we have studied and the corresponding narratives in the Homeric Iliad:
1a. The narratives of the vase paintings visualize athletic moments that could actually be seen in apobatic four-horse chariot races as organized in historical times at the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens. The hero Achilles himself is shown participating in these moments as a would-be athlete in his own right: just like an apobatēs competing in an apobatic chariot race at the Panathenaia, he leaps out of his speeding chariot and runs alongside while his charioteer drives the vehicle around a turning point, which in this case is the tomb of Patroklos. At the same time, however, this athletic moment is polluted by the dragging of the corpse of Hector behind the speeding chariot. Some of the vase paintings, such as Image B2, show this polluting act explicitly, while others, such as Image A1, refer to it only implicitly by showing only the council of the gods, an epic event that leads to the termination of the cruelty being committed by Achilles; another vase painting, Image C, ostentatiously marginalizes this cruelty by situating the polluting act outside the margins that frame its narrative.
1b. The narrative of Iliad XXIII visualizes athletic moments in the non-apobatic two-horse chariot race as organized in heroic times by Achilles at the Funeral Games for Patroklos, and such athletic moments could actually be seen in non-apobatic four-horse chariot races as organized in historical times at non-Athenian festivals like the Olympics. The hero Achilles himself participates in the moments narrated in Iliad XXIII not as an athlete but as a marshal who presides over all the athletic events at the Funeral Games for Patroklos. Then, in the narration of Iliad XXIV, after the Funeral Games are already over, Achilles goes on to participate in an athletic moment as a would-be athlete in his own right: just like a charioteer in a non-apobatic chariot race, he drives his speeding chariot around a turning point, which in this case is once again the tomb of Patroklos, and he circles around the tomb three times. At the same time, however, this athletic moment is polluted by the dragging of the corpse of Hector behind the speeding chariot.
2a. The narratives of the vase paintings visualize the consequences of a decision ordained by a council of the gods (the council is actually shown in Image A2): the divine messenger Iris is being sent off on a single mission, to confront Achilles directly and to persuade him to stop the pollution by releasing the corpse of Hector to Priam.
2b. The narrative of Iliad XXIV likewise visualizes the consequences of a decision ordained by a council of the gods (the proceedings of the council are indicated in verses 31-76): Iris is sent on a double mission, first to Thetis and then to Priam, so that [1] Thetis may follow the Will of Zeus and persuade Achilles to stop the pollution by releasing the corpse of Hector to Priam (verses 75-76, 116) and [2] Priam may then successfully engage in a direct meeting with Achilles in order to bring about the release (verses 117-119).
7f§10. As I have argued in previous work, the divergent narratives that we see in the visual art of the paintings we find on vases like the Münster Hydria and the Boston Hydria are not at all incompatible with the verbal art of epic: they are incompatible only with the version of epic that we see in the Homeric Iliad as it has come down to us; and I argue that a different and even non-Homeric version of the Iliad was interacting with the art of the painters who painted the relevant scenes that we have been studying. [97] This different version, in terms of my argument, would have matched more closely the narratives we see in the vase paintings. [98]

Hour 7g. The apobatic moment

7g§1. In the painting on the Boston Hydria, as I have argued, we see Achilles at the precise moment when he cuts himself off from the act of dragging the corpse of Hector. This cut-off is synchronized with the precise moment when he leaps off, in the mode of an apobatēs, from the platform of the chariot that is dragging the corpse. The leap of Achilles here is the leap of the apobatēs. This leap, captured in the painting we see on the Boston Hydria, is what I call the apobatic moment. [99] As I will now argue, this moment can be understood only in the context of the poetic as well as the athletic program of the Panathenaia.
7g§2. A preliminary version of this argument has already been presented in my book Homer the Preclassic. I will now epitomize the relevant paragraphs, inviting the reader to review at the same time Images A1 and B1 as painted on the two vases that I have been calling the Münster Hydria and the Boston Hydria. This time, we will see these pictures not in the form of line drawings but rather as color facsimiles. I show these pictures back-to-back at the end of Hour 7g in an inverted sequence of Image B1 followed by Image A1.
7g§3. As we are about to view these two pictures once again, this time back-to-back, I recall the formulation of Emily Vermeule concerning the “window effect” created by the picture frame in both pictures. She had made her original formulation with reference to Image B1 only, but it applies to Image A1 as well. I repeat here how she said it: “The technique gives the impression that the myth is circling around in another world, outside the window frame through which the spectator views it, in endless motion which is somehow always arrested at the same place whenever we return to the window.” [100]
7g§4. I have this question to ask the viewer before the viewing begins again: as you are looking through the window, are you looking in from the outside or are you looking out from the inside? My own answer is that the viewer is on the inside looking out and seeing a panorama of a heroic world out there, which is a world so immense that it will never ever be fully visible in the interiority of one’s own small world of everyday experience. That heroic world is signaled, in both these pictures, by a sēma, which is not only a tomb for a hero but also a marker for the meaning of the hero. It is a point of concentration that directs the viewer into the world of heroes. We may take to heart what Nestor had told Antilokhos in Iliad XXIII: concentrate on the sēma. The medium of the tomb or sēma of the hero is the message of the sign or sēma of the hero.
7g§5. That said, I invite the reader to begin now the viewing of the back-to-back pictures here at the end of Hour 7g. This viewing can be coordinated with the following five paragraphs that precede the back-to-back pictures that are situated at the end:
1. By contrast with the narration of the Iliad, the divine course of action narrated by the painting on the Boston Hydria [Image B1] is explicitly direct: the goddess sent from on high will personally stop the dragging of the corpse of Hector by Achilles. The painting shows the goddess in flight, just as she reaches the moment of her landing on earth: her feet, gracefully poised as if in a dance, are about to touch ground at the center of the picture, and her delicate hands make a gesture of lament evoking pity as she looks toward the lamenting Priam and Hecuba, whose own hands make a parallel gesture of lament evoking pity as they look toward Achilles. The fierce gaze of the furious hero is at this precise moment redirected at Priam and Hecuba, who take their cue, as it were, from the gesture of lament shown by the goddess. The gaze of Achilles is thus directed away from the figure of Patroklos, who is shown hovering over a tomb that for now belongs only to him but will soon belong to Achilles as well. The charioteer of Achilles, seemingly oblivious to the intervention of the goddess, continues to drive the speeding chariot around the tomb, but, at the very same time, we find Achilles in the act of stepping off the platform. And he steps off at the precise moment when he redirects his fierce gaze from his own past and future agony to the present agony of Hector’s lamenting father and mother. Here is the hero’s apobatic moment. [101]
2. The pity of Achilles for the parents of Hector in the painting of the Boston Hydria is achieved by way of a direct divine intervention that takes place while the dragging of the corpse is in progress. I had written in my earlier work: “Once Achilles steps off his furiously speeding chariot, the fury that fueled that speed must be left behind as he hits the ground running and keeps on running until that fury is spent.” [102]
3. In the case of the main picture we see painted on the Boston Hydria [Image B1], the medium of the painting is evidently referring to a specific context, that is, to the festival of the Panathenaia in Athens, featuring the athletic event of the apobatic contest. The same can be said about the main picture we see painted on the Münster Hydria [Image A1]. Here too Achilles is represented as an apobatic athlete. He is seen running alongside the speeding chariot, having already leapt off its platform. [103] By contrast with what we see in these paintings on the Münster Hydria [Image A1] and on the Boston Hydria [Image B1], our Homeric Iliad never shows Achilles as an apobatic athlete.
4. In the painting on the Münster Hydria [Image A1], as also in the painting on the Boston Hydria [Image B1], a goddess directly intervenes. Though the figure of this goddess is just barely visible on the fragmentary right side of the picture painted on the Münster Hydria, we can see that she is standing in the way of the onrushing chariot. [104] As for the picture painted on the Boston Hydria, it shows that the goddess has just descended from the heights above in order to make her intervention.
5. It has been argued that the main picture on the Münster Hydria [Image A1] represents the notional beginnings of a hero cult for Patroklos. [105] I will reformulate this argument in Hour 8, arguing further that this hero cult was shared by Patroklos with Achilles, and that these two heroes presided as cult heroes over the athletic event of the apobatai at the festival of the Panathenaia.

Image B1

7-b1-end

Image A1

Footnotes

[ back ] 1. |326 σῆμα δέ τοι ἐρέω μάλ’ ἀριφραδές, οὐδέ σε λήσει. |327 ἕστηκε ξύλον αὖον ὅσον τ’ ὄργυι’ ὑπὲρ αἴης |328 ἢ δρυὸς ἢ πεύκης· τὸ μὲν οὐ καταπύθεται ὄμβρῳ, |329 λᾶε δὲ τοῦ ἑκάτερθεν ἐρηρέδαται δύο λευκὼ |330 ἐν ξυνοχῇσιν ὁδοῦ, λεῖος δ’ ἱππόδρομος ἀμφὶς |331 ἤ τευ σῆμα βροτοῖο πάλαι κατατεθνηῶτος, |332 ἢ τό γε νύσσα τέτυκτο ἐπὶ προτέρων ἀνθρώπων, |333 καὶ νῦν τέρματ’ ἔθηκε ποδάρκης δῖος Ἀχιλλεύς. |334 τῷ σὺ μάλ’ ἐγχρίμψας ἐλάαν σχεδὸν ἅρμα καὶ ἵππους, |335 αὐτὸς δὲ κλινθῆναι ἐϋπλέκτῳ ἐνὶ δίφρῳ |336 ἦκ’ ἐπ’ ἀριστερὰ τοῖιν· ἀτὰρ τὸν δεξιὸν ἵππον |337 κένσαι ὁμοκλήσας, εἶξαί τέ οἱ ἡνία χερσίν. |338 ἐν νύσσῃ δέ τοι ἵππος ἀριστερὸς ἐγχριμφθήτω. |339 ὡς ἄν τοι πλήμνη γε δοάσσεται ἄκρον ἱκέσθαι |340 κύκλου ποιητοῖο· λίθου δ’ ἀλέασθαι ἐπαυρεῖν, |341 μή πως ἵππους τε τρώσῃς κατά θ’ ἅρματα ἄξῃς· |342 χάρμα δὲ τοῖς ἄλλοισιν, ἐλεγχείη δὲ σοὶ αὐτῷ |343 ἔσσεται· ἀλλὰ φίλος φρονέων πεφυλαγμένος εἶναι.
[ back ] 2. Nagy 1983a, as recast in GM 202-222.
[ back ] 3. GM 215-216, with reference to Pausanias 6.20.15-19 and with further comments. See also Sinos 1980:48-49. For still further comments, see now also Frame 2009:134 (with n31) and 163 (with n54). Race-car drivers who race in the “Indianapolis 500” have a saying about how to win: “turn left and drive like hell.” Also, we may in general compare the metaphor of “sudden death” in modern athletic events.
[ back ] 4. GM 215-222; PH 208-212 = 7§§11-16.
[ back ] 5. This root is found in the mythological name Lethe, which is the river of forgetfulness. More precisely, Lethe is the name of a river in the underworld that separates the living from the dead, those awake from those asleep, those conscious from those unconscious.
[ back ] 6. The plural termata of terma ‘turning point’ here in Iliad XXIII 333 expresses the idea that the charioteers of the chariot race held in honor of Patroklos could make their turns around the turning point more than once in the counterclockwise course of the chariot race.
[ back ] 7. Frame 2009:133, 144-149, 153-156, 162-166, 331.
[ back ] 8. Frame 2009:166-168 gives a detailed analysis of the action.
[ back ] 9. GM 217.
[ back ] 10. GM 217n39.
[ back ] 11. PH 209 = 7§11.
[ back ] 12. GM 216-219; Frame 2009:133, 144-149, 153-156, 162-166, 331.
[ back ] 13. PH 207-214 = 7§§10-18.
[ back ] 14. HC 129 = 1§127. Nagy 1974:21. See also Lessing 1766 [1984] 4.
[ back ] 15. Nagy 2000.
[ back ] 16. Note the spelling: hydria, not to be confused with “hydra.” The second of these two words, “hydra,” comes from a Greek word for a venomous dragon.
[ back ] 17. At the end of Hour 7, I will attempt a more precise dating of this vase.
[ back ] 18. Stähler 1967.
[ back ] 19. HPC 170 = II§90.
[ back ] 20. Stähler 1967:19, with citations.
[ back ] 21. Close examination by Stähler 1967:13 verifies that the painting actually shows the shin guards, even though this aspect of the armor is not clearly visible.
[ back ] 22. Stähler 1967:12.
[ back ] 23. Stähler 1967:15, 32-33, 44.
[ back ] 24. Stähler 1967:13-14.
[ back ] 25. At the end of Hour 7, I will have more to say about the dating of this vase.
[ back ] 26. Vermeule 1965.
[ back ] 27. Stähler 1967:14.
[ back ] 28. Stähler 1967:14n7.
[ back ] 29. HPC 173 = II§93.
[ back ] 30. Vermeule 1965:45.
[ back ] 31. Friis Johansen 1967:143.
[ back ] 32. The scene is described by Friis Johansen 1967:150, who points out that Priam, shown with a white beard, is “leaning on a stick and raising his right hand,” while Hecuba is “beating her forehead in lamentation.”
[ back ] 33. HPC 172-173 = II§91.
[ back ] 34. Vermeule 1965:44; Friis Johansen 1967:150.
[ back ] 35. Stähler 1967:16.
[ back ] 36. Shapiro 1984:525 surveys the evidence of comparable vase paintings.
[ back ] 37. The parallelism that we see here between two scenes of divine intervention, one in the picture painted on the shoulder of the Boston Hydria and the other on the body of this vase, was noticed by Aliya Williams, who was working on a research project at the Center for Hellenic Studies in the spring of 2012.
[ back ] 38. Stähler 1967:14-15.
[ back ] 39. Stähler 1967:12.
[ back ] 40. Friis Johansen 1967:147 is unhappy with the fact that the runner in Image D is running “in the opposite direction of the chariot,” and he thinks that the painter’s represention of the scene in this image is “totally degenerate.” In making this assessment, however, he does not take into account the circular trajectory of the chariots as they make their left turns. It should be noted, moreover, that Friis Johansen at the time of his writing did not know about the Münster Hydria or about the book of Stähler 1967. My analysis of Image D differs, however, from that of Stähler 1967:50, 63.
[ back ] 41. Stähler 1967:16.
[ back ] 42. One detail of no importance is the nonce lettering that is painted on this vase: see Friis Johansen 1967: 147.
[ back ] 43. Friis Johansen 1967:150.
[ back ] 44. This detail is noticed by Friis Johansen 1967:150n228. I disagree, however, with his assumption that the painter was directly inspired by the text of the Iliad as we have it.
[ back ] 45. Friis Johansen 1967:143.
[ back ] 46. Friis Johansen 1967:139-144. His interpretation is based on a presupposition: that the painters of what I am calling Images K L M N are modeling their work on the text of Iliad XXIV 14-18.
[ back ] 47. Friis Johansen 1967:141: “Achilles is just about to begin his daily, macabre drive round the grave of Patroklos, dragging the body of Hector behind his chariot.”
[ back ] 48. Friis Johansen 1967:143.
[ back ] 49. The overall scene is strikingly similar to a scene represented on the Chest of Kypselos, no longer extant but seen and described by Pausanias 5.17.7-8: ‘The next thing produced [in the representation] is the house of Amphiaraos, and the infant Amphilokhos is being carried by some old woman or other. In front of the house stands Eriphyle holding the necklace, and near her are her daughters Eurydike and Demonassa, and the boy Alkmaion, naked. [5.17.8] … Baton is driving the chariot of Amphiaraos, holding the reins in one hand and a spear in the other. Amphiaraos already has one foot on the chariot, and his sword is unsheathed; he is turned towards Eriphyle and is so carried away in his passion that he can scarcely refrain from her’ (ἑξῆς δὲ Ἀμφιαράου τε ἡ οἰκία πεποίηται καὶ Ἀμφίλοχον φέρει νήπιον πρεσβῦτις ἥτις δή· πρὸ δὲ τῆς οἰκίας Ἐριφύλη τὸν ὅρμον ἔχουσα ἕστηκε, παρὰ δὲ αὐτὴν αἱ θυγατέρες Εὐρυδίκη καὶ Δημώνασσα, καὶ Ἀλκμαίων παῖς γυμνός. {5.17.8} … Βάτων δέ, ὃς ἡνιοχεῖ τῷ Ἀμφιαράῳ, τάς τε ἡνίας τῶν ἵππων καὶ τῇ χειρὶ ἔχει τῇ ἑτέρᾳ λόγχην. Ἀμφιαράῳ δὲ ὁ μὲν τῶν ποδῶν ἐπιβέβηκεν ἤδη τοῦ ἅρματος, τὸ ξίφος δὲ ἔχει γυμνὸν καὶ ἐς τὴν Ἐριφύλην ἐστὶν ἐπεστραμμένος ἐξαγόμενός τε ὑπὸ τοῦ θυμοῦ, <ὡς μόλις> ἐκείνης ἂν ἀποσχέσθαι).
[ back ] 50. An English-language translation of the entire ancient plot-summary of the Iliou Persis in available in the online Sourcebook (chs.harvard.edu).
[ back ] 51. On the significance of the order in which the competing chariot teams in the picture painted on the François Vase are reaching the finish line, see Lowenstam 2008:24.
[ back ] 52. On the significance of the order in which the competing chariot teams in Iliad XXIII reach the finish line, see the in-depth analysis of Frame 2009:131-172.
[ back ] 53. See again GM 215-216, with reference to Pausanias 6.20.15-19 and with further comments.
[ back ] 54. BA 279 = 16§22.
[ back ] 55. PH 117-135 = 4§§2-26.
[ back ] 56. PH 127-128 = 4§§15-16.
[ back ] 57. PH 199 = 4§6n15.
[ back ] 58. Photius Lexicon α 2449, 2450; Suda α 3250; Harpocration s.v. ἀποβάτης, with reference to Theophrastus Laws F 15 (ed. Szegedy-Maszák 1981); [Eratosthenes] Katasterismoi 1.13; Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 7.73.2-3. For an inventory of inscriptions commemorating the victories of apobatai in competitions at the Panathenaia, see Shear 2001:305n341.
[ back ] 59. Stähler 1967:15. Also GM 94n50 and 220n54; further details in Nagy 2009b; still further details in HPC 170-177 = II§§90-111.
[ back ] 60. HPC 172 = II§91.
[ back ] 61. Etymologicum magnum p. 124 lines 31-34 and Photius Lexicon α 2450.
[ back ] 62. Shear 2001:304-305. In another project, I will analyze further the apobatic scenes represented on the Panathenaic Frieze. There I will criticize the conventional use of the term “Panathenaic Procession” with reference to the sum total of events being represented on the Panathenaic Frieze. In the case of the sections that show apobatic chariot teams, I will argue that the stop-motion pictures capture not only moments when these teams are participating in the Panathenaic Procession but also moments of actual engagement in apobatic chariot racing.
[ back ] 63. Shear 2001:746.
[ back ] 64. HPC 172 = II§91. On images showing the apobatēs holding on to the chariot rail with his right hand: Shear 2001:303, 305.
[ back ] 65. As my translation shows, I disagree with those like Crowther 1992 who think that the athlete is the driver, not the runner.
[ back ] 66. τῶν γὰρ ζευγῶν ἀφεθέντων, καὶ τῶν μὲν προορμησάντων, τῶν δ’ ὑφηνιοχουμένων, ἀμφοτέρων περιγενόμενος ὡς ἑκατέρων προσῆκε, τὴν νίκην ἔλαβες, τοιούτου στεφάνου τυχὼν ἐφ’ ᾧ, καίπερ καλοῦ τοῦ νικᾶν ὄντος, κάλλιον ἐδόκει καὶ παραλογώτερον εἶναι τὸ σωθῆναι. φερομένου γὰρ ἐναντίου μέν σοι τοῦ τῶν ἀντιπάλων ἅρματος, ἁπάντων δ’ ἀνυπόστατον οἰομένων εἶναι τὴν τῶν ἵππων δύναμιν, ὁρῶν αὐτῶν ἐνίους καὶ μηδενὸς δεινοῦ παρόντος ὑπερηγωνιακότας, οὐχ ὅπως ἐξεπλάγης ἢ κατεδειλίασας, ἀλλὰ τῇ μὲν ἀνδρείᾳ καὶ τῆς τοῦ ζεύγους ὁρμῆς κρείττων ἐγένου, τῷ δὲ τάχει καὶ τοὺς διηυτυχηκότας τῶν ἀνταγωνιστῶν παρῆλθες.
[ back ] 67. See especially lines 1-3 of the Parian Marble (inscribed 264/3 BCE), IG XII 5 444 = FGH 239A, where the foundation of the Panathenaia is dated at 1505/4 BCE. See also Harpocration s.v. Παναθήναια, drawing on Hellanicus FGH 323a F 2 and Androtion FGH 324 F 2; scholia for Aelius Aristides 1.362; [Eratosthenes] Katasterismoi 1.13; Apollodorus Library 3.14.6; scholia for Plato Parmenides 127a.
[ back ] 68. Of particular interest is a picture painted on a vase produced in Athens around 510 BCE (oinokhoe: Painter of Oxford 224; National Museum, Copenhagen; Chr. VIII, 340; Beazley ABV 435, no. 1): it shows Athena as an apobatic athlete riding on a chariot driven by a male figure who is evidently Erikhthonios. See Shear 2001:305, 529; at pp. 46-48 she analyzes [Eratosthenes] Katasterismoi 1.13 lines 19-22, showing that the apobatic figure described as wearing a helmet with three plumes must be Athena.
[ back ] 69. The basic narrative about the birth of Athena, which happens immediately before the “Gigantomachy,” can be found in the Hesiodic Theogony (verses 886-900, 924-926) and in the Homeric Hymn (28) to Athena (verses 4-6). More on Athena and the Gigantomachy in HC 559 = 4§217.
[ back ] 70. Shear 2001:50-52 analyzes vase paintings that show a conflation of [1] scenes featuring Athena as an apobatic fighter in the Gigantomachy and [2] scenes featuring her as an apobatic athlete. In one painting (British Museum, London, B676, = Beazley ABV 555 no. 425), a turning post for chariot racing is positioned in the middle of the cosmic battle scene.
[ back ] 71. καὶ ἐς Αἰθίοπας | Μέμνονος οὐκ ἂν ἀπονοστή | σαντος ἔπαλτο· βαρὺ δέ σφιν | νεῖκος Ἀχιλεὺς | ἔμπεσε χαμαὶ καταβαὶς ἀφ’ ἁρμάτων, | φαεννᾶς υἱὸν εὖτ' ἐνάριξεν Ἀόος ἀκμᾷ | ἔγχεος ζακότοιο.
[ back ] 72. Ἕκτωρ δ’ ἐξ ὀχέων σὺν τεύχεσιν ἆλτο χαμᾶζε.
[ back ] 73. αὐτίκα δ’ ἐξ ὀχέων σὺν τεύχεσιν ἆλτο χαμᾶζε.
[ back ] 74. Πάτροκλος δ’ ἑτέρωθεν ἀφ’ ἵππων ἆλτο χαμᾶζε.
[ back ] 75. Ἕκτωρ δ’ αὖθ’ ἑτέρωθεν ἀφ’ ἵππων ἆλτο χαμᾶζε.
[ back ] 76. Shear 2001:48, 55, 301, 303, 309.
[ back ] 77. Shear 2001:304-305.
[ back ] 78. Scanlon 2004:67.
[ back ] 79. Scanlon 2004:67-69.
[ back ] 80. Scanlon 2004:67 finds this dating plausible.
[ back ] 81. Scanlon 2004:63-89.
[ back ] 82. HPC 22 = I§38, following Frame 2009:551-620. The twelve states of the Ionian Dodecapolis, located on the mainland of Asia Minor and on outlying islands, were Miletus, Myous, Priene, Ephesus, Colophon, Lebedos, Teos, Klazomenai, Phocaea, Samos, Chios, and Erythrai (Herodotus 1.142.3).
[ back ] 83. West 1999:382.
[ back ] 84. Harpocration s.v. ἀποβάτης reporting the testimony of Theophrastus Laws F 15 (ed. Szegedy-Maszák 1981).
[ back ] 85. Shear 2001:49, 53, 63, 67, 69, 231-232, 298, 300, 318, 323, 349, 515, 526, 562, 758.
[ back ] 86. Plato Laws 7.796bc, Cratylus 406d-407a.
[ back ] 87. Among the ancient sources that refer to the moment of ignition is Aeschylus Eumenides 292-296.
[ back ] 88. Shear 2001:42, 49, 67, 69, 231-232, 235, 515; unlike the apobatic chariot race, the purrhikhē was a yearly event at the Panathenaia: that is, the competitions were held at both the Great and the Lesser Panathenaia: see Shear p. 40.
[ back ] 89. Shear 2001:49 remarks: “to be an Athenian citizen meant not only dancing in the [purrhikhē] but also racing in the apobatic contest, while individuals from other cities watched them compete.” Shear p. 515 suggests that competitions of apobatic chariot racing and dancing the purrhikhē were integrated into the Panathenaia as early as 566/5 BCE.
[ back ] 90. Shear 2001:289, 314, 315-322, 612, 614. On the location of the hippodrome in the deme Xypete, see Shear p. 671.
[ back ] 91. Shear 2001:670, 679; also pp. 313, 314, 319, 610.
[ back ] 92. Scanlon 2004:83.
[ back ] 93. Stähler 1967:8.
[ back ] 94. Vermeule 1965:35.
[ back ] 95. HPC 22 = I§38, following Frame 2009:551-620.
[ back ] 96. An example of this point of view is the discussion by Friis Johansen 1967:138-153.
[ back ] 97. HPC 170-177 = II§§90-111.
[ back ] 98. HPC 176 = II§107.
[ back ] 99. HPC 173 = II§91.
[ back ] 100. Vermeule 1965:45.
[ back ] 101. HPC 174 = II§97.
[ back ] 102. HPC 174 = II§98.
[ back ] 103. HPC 175 = II§103.
[ back ] 104. HPC 175 = II§104.
[ back ] 105. Stähler 1967, especially p. 32.