Hour 13. A crisis in reading the world of heroes

The meaning of krinein

13§1. The key word for this hour is krinein, the “middle voice” for which is krinesthai, and the meaning of which is ‘judge, distinguish, make distinctions’. Here are words that derive from it:
krisis, ‘judgment, crisis’
kritērion, ‘criterion’, for judging, distinguishing, making distinctions
kritikos, ‘critical’, in both senses: ‘crisis-related’ or ‘criticism-related’.
13§2. Such words are used in prose, not in poetry. And, in fact, the first attestation of krinein that we will examine is found in prose. But, as we will see later, this word krinein can also be found in poetry.
13§3. A derivative of krinein that we will examine later on is hupo-krinesthai, ‘respond’ - in the sense that a seer ‘responds’ to a question about a vision seen by someone else.
13§4. Another derivative of krinein that we will examine still later is dia-krinein, in the sense of ‘settling’ a dispute.
13§5. But let me start with my choice attestation of krinein, which is found in a work of prose. This attestation exemplifies most clearly what I want to show in this hour, that krinein can be used to distinguish a way to understand the world of heroes from the inside, which is separate from the way this world is understood from the outside.

A story about the meaning of olbios in the Histories of Herodotus

13§6. The story that is told in the passage I quote below is about a cult hero. I have already referred to this story in Hour 11§§17-20, where we saw that both meanings of the word olbios, ‘blessed’ and ‘fortunate’, are being used by Herodotus (1.29-33) in his overall narrative about an encounter of Croesus the king of Lydia with Solon the Athenian lawgiver. The story I am about to quote comes from the first part of that overall narrative. Testing Solon, Croesus asks him to name the most olbios person on earth (1.30.2), expecting that Solon will name Croesus himself (1.30.3). To his great disappointment, Croesus is told by Solon that an Athenian named Tellos is the most olbios of all humans:

Hour 13 Text A

|1.30.2 “Athenian guest [xenos], we have heard much about your wisdom [sophiā] and your wandering [planē], how you in your love of wise things [philosopheîn] have traveled all over the world for the sake of a sacred journey [theōriā], so now I desire to ask you who is the most olbios of all men you have ever seen.” |1.30.3 Croesus asked this question expecting the answer to be himself, but Solon, instead of flattering him, told it as it was and said, “O King, it is Tellos the Athenian.” |1.30.4 Croesus marveled at what he had said and replied sharply, “In what way do you judge [krinein] Tellos to be the most olbios?” Solon said, “Tellos was from a prosperous city [polis] and his children were good and noble [agathoi]. He saw them all have children of their own, and all of these survived. His life was well off by our standards, and his death was most distinguished: |1.30.5 when the Athenians were fighting their neighbors in Eleusis, he came to help, routed the enemy, and died most beautifully. The Athenians buried him at public expense on the spot where he fell, and they honored [tīmazein] him greatly.”
Herodotus 1.30.2-5 [1]
13§7. So, we see here that krinein refers to the act of ‘deciding’ or ‘judging’ whether to say one thing or another thing. And, in this case, as we will see, it also refers to the act of saying something on one level of meaning or saying it on another level. First, Solon has to decide whether he will say the truth or not. For him the truth is that the most olbios person is Tellos, not Croesus. Second, Solon uses the word olbios in one way, to mean ‘blessed’ like a cult hero, while Croesus uses the same word in another way, to mean ‘fortunate’ - that is, to be endowed with wealth, power, and prestige. One meaning belongs to the sacred world of cult heroes, while the other meaning belongs to the non-sacred world of ephemeral mortals. As we saw in Hour 11§17, the first meaning applies to Tellos the Athenian, who is honored as a cult hero, while the second meaning applies to Croesus - however temporarily. As the story implies, only those who are initiated into the mysteries of hero cult can understand the sacral meaning of olbios. And, as we saw in Hour 11§18, this implication about a deeper level of understanding, made available only to initiates, is most evident in contexts where the word olbios refers to the bliss of initiation into mysteries of immortalization in general. I cite once again the use of this word with reference to the Eleusinian Mysteries: [2]

Hour 13 Text B = Hour 11 Text D

Blessed [olbios] is he among earthbound mortals who has seen these things
Homeric Hymn to Demeter 480
I find it significant that the figure of Tellos in the same story as I quoted it in Text A is connected with the prehistory of Eleusis (Herodotus 1.30.5), the site of the Eleusinian Mysteries.
13§8. And there is another revealing word in the same story about Tellos, Text A, that has two levels of meaning: it is the verb tīmazein, ‘honor’ (Herodotus 1.30.5), derived from the noun tīmē, ‘honor’, referring to the honor that Tellos receives after death in Eleusis. As we have already seen, tīmē can refer to the honor of hero cult that a cult hero receives after death. I cite again the example of the cult hero Demophon of Eleusis, who receives the honor of seasonally recurring athletic contests that are held at Eleusis and that re-enact a ‘war’:

Hour 13 Text C = Hour 8 Text C

|259 I [= Demeter] swear by the implacable water of the Styx, the witness of oaths that gods make, as I say this: |260 immortal and ageless for all days |261 would I have made your dear [philos] little boy, and I would have given him honor [tīmē] that is unwilting [a-phthi-tos]. |262 But now there is no way for him to avoid death and doom. |263 Still, he will have an honor [tīmē] that is unwilting [a-phthi-tos], for all time, because on my knees |264 he had once sat and slept in my arms. |265 At the right season [hōrā], every year, |266 the sons of the Eleusinians will have a war, a terrible battle among each other. |267 They will do so for all days to come.
Homeric Hymn to Demeter 259-267
13§9. Once again, as already in Hour 8§20, I highlight here at verse 265 the noun hōrā (plural hōrai) , ‘season, seasonality, the right time, the perfect time’, as I defined it in Hour 1§§26-29 and analyzed it in Hour 1§49 and then again in Hour 8§§20-21. As we see from the context that I just quoted here in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, this noun hōrā marks the seasonal recurrence of rituals honoring cult heroes. And the Eleusinian Games, which are the rituals in this case, may be related to the prehistory of the ‘war’ that had led to the death of Tellos in Text A (Herodotus 1.30.5).
13§10. Yet another revealing word in the same story about Tellos that has two levels of meaning is the name Tellos itself. It is derived from the word telos. [3] As we will now see, this word telos can refer to ‘initiation’ into the mysteries of hero cult. So, far, I have been consistently translating this word as either ‘final moment’ or ‘fulfillment’. In the Core Vocabulary, telos is defined as ‘end, ending, final moment; goal, completion, fulfillment; coming full circle, rounding out; successfully passing through an ordeal; initiation; ritual, rite’. In terms of these definitions, telos has basically two levels of meaning:
1. the end of the line, as in death
2. a coming full circle, as in immortalization after death - or as in an initiation from one state of existence into another state of existence. [4]
As I have argued in Hour 11, the idea of heroic immortalization after death was a traditional teaching that the worshippers of cult heroes learned in the context of initiation into the mysteries of hero cult. And, as I noted already there, the actual procedures involved in such initiation will be explored in Hour 15. For now, however, I continue to highlight simply the existence of these mysteries. The evidence, I repeat, comes from traditional wording that refers to initiation into mysteries concerning the immortalization of heroes.

Another story about the meaning of olbios in the Histories of Herodotus

13§11. There is a story that expresses both these levels of meaning of telos, and it is linked directly with the story about Tellos in Text A, Herodotus 1.30.2-5. In fact, this story immediately follows the story about Tellos:

Hour 13 Text D

|1.31.1 When Solon had provoked him by referring to the things that happened to Tellos, saying that these things were many and blessed [olbia], Croesus asked him [= Solon] what person he saw as the next one after him [= Tellos], since he [= Croesus] quite expected to win second prize. Solon answered, “Kleobis and Biton. |1.31.2 They were Argive by birth [genos], and they made a living that was quite sufficient. And, on top of this, they had such great physical strength! Both were prize-winning athletes [āthlophoroi]. Here is the story that is told about them. There was a festival [heortē] of Hērā in Argos, and it was absolutely necessary for their mother [= the priestess of Hērā] to be conveyed to the sacred precinct [hieron] [of Hērā] by a team of oxen. But their oxen had not come back from the fields in time [hōrā], so the youths themselves took the yoke upon their shoulders under constraint of time [hōrā] and started pulling the wagon, with their mother riding on top of it, transporting her [their mother] forty-five stadium-lengths until they arrived at the sacred precinct [hieron] [of Hērā ]. |1.31.3 After they [= Kleobis and Biton] had done these things and had been seen [op-] doing these things by everyone participating in the festival [panēguris], [5] the very best fulfillment [teleutē] of life now happened for them. And in all this the god showed that it is better for a man to be in a state of death than in a state of life [zōein]. [6] For the men of Argos, standing around the two youths, declared them blessed [makares] for having such physical strength, while the women of Argos declared the mother of the youths blessed for having such children as these two. |1.31.4 And the mother, overjoyed [perikharēs] about what had been accomplished and about what had been said about the things that had been accomplished, stood before the statue [= of Hērā] and prayed on behalf of Kleobis and Biton, her two children, who had so greatly honored [tīmazein] her. She prayed that the goddess [= Hērā] should give them [= the two youths] the very best thing that can happen to a mortal. |1.31.5 After this prayer, the people sacrificed [thuein] and feasted [eu-ōkheîn], and the youths went to sleep [kata-koimâsthai] right then and there in the sacred precinct [of Hērā]. And they [= the two youths] never got up [an-histasthai] again, but were held still [ekhesthai] in this fulfillment [telos]. And the people of Argos made likenesses [eikōn plural] of them and dedicated these at Delphi, saying that these were images of men who had become the very best of men.”
Herodotus 1.31.1-5 [7]
13§12. We just saw two key expressions in this text, which both apply not only to the meaning of the story of Kleobis and Biton but also to the meaning of the name Tellos in the preceding story. The first expression was this (1.31.3): ‘the very best fulfillment [teleutē] of life now happened for them’. [8] I could have translated teleutē as ‘final moment’, but this word is related to telos and shows parallel patterns of double meaning: like telos, teleutē can be a ‘fulfillment’ as well as a ‘final moment’. And the second expression was this (1.31.5): ‘they [= the two youths] … were held still [ekhesthai] in this fulfillment [telos]’. The moment is like a snapshot, and the person who is taking your picture is saying to you: “hold still!” In order to explore the double meanings of teleutē and telos as ‘final moment’ and ‘fulfillment’ here in Text D, I now offer further analysis of the story itself.
13§13. While all the sacrificing and the feasting is going on, the two youths fall asleep inside the sacred precinct of the goddess, and the euphemistic wording that describes this sleep highlights a sacred idea. Here is the idea: these two youths will now be permanently encapsulated in the perfect moment that they had just reached at this climactic point in the story of their lives. As the story says, ‘they never got up again’ [9] (1.31.5). That is, the two youths never got up again in this world of mortals. Now they will ‘hold still’ forever in another world, in exactly the perfect moment that they had just achieved. Let us look back one more time at the expression (1.31.5): ‘they [= the two youths] … were held still [ekhesthai] in this fulfillment [telos]’. [10] The verb ekhein, ‘hold’, in the middle voice, ekhesthai, is used here in the sense of capturing a snapshot moment, as I said a minute ago. Another way to say it is this: “hold it right there!” [11] In other words, the two youths die at the perfect moment in a perfect pose.
13§14. My choice of the word pose here is based on the meaning of the noun derived from the verb ekhesthai, ‘hold still’, that is, skhēma, which can mean the ‘pose’ of a dancer or even the ‘pose’ of a statue. [12] So, we see the two youths settling into a perfect and eternal pose, which becomes a visible sign of their telos. And this telos in the sense of ‘fulfillment’ really is the very best teleutē - again in the sense of ‘fulfillment’. That is what is predicted earlier in the story, as we saw in the expression of Herodotus: ‘the very best fulfillment [teleutē] of life now happened for them’ [13] (1.31.3).
13§15. So, now, I am ready to go beyond the translations of telos and teleutē as either ‘final moment’ or ‘fulfillment’. To these translations I add another: ‘coming full circle’. In terms of a straight line, telos is the ‘end’ of that line; in terms of a circle, however, telos is a ‘coming full circle’. [14] In this light, I come back to a formulation I introduced in Hour 1§49, where I said that the unseasonality of the hērōs in mortal life leads to the telos or ‘fulfillment’ of hōrā, ‘seasonality’, in immortal life, which is achieved in the setting of hero cult. Now we have finally seen such a model of achievement in the two parallel stories of Herodotus about cult heroes, and in both stories a key to the meaning is the word telos in the sense of ‘fulfillment’, even ‘coming full circle’. In the first story, as quoted in Text A, Tellos achieves the telos of a cult hero even by way of his name, which is derived from telos. And, in the second story, as quoted in Text D, Kleobis and Biton achieve the best teleutē by ‘holding still’ forever in the telos of a perfect moment, which is the telos of the cult hero.
13§16. Here I come back to another most telling part of the story of Kleobis and Biton in Text D (Herodotus 1.31.2): ‘their oxen had not come back from the fields in time [hōrā], so the youths themselves took the yoke upon their shoulders under constraint of time [hōrā] and started pulling the wagon’. [15] In other words, the oxen who were destined to pull the wagon that took the priestess of Hērā all the way to the precinct of Hērā, which was forty-five stadium-lengths away from the city center of Argos, were simply not on time. They were untimely, and the timing or hōrā was off. But the youths who took their place were perfectly timely: they were on time, since they were constrained by the timing or hōrā of the festival. If the oxen had been on time, they would have been slaughtered as the prime sacrificial victims of the sacrifice to the goddess Hērā in her precinct. But they were not on time, and so the youths had to be on time. And the youths died their deaths in place of the prime sacrificial victims.
13§17. This crisis of hōrā in the story of Kleobis and Biton is relevant to the goddess who presided over the whole chain of events in the story. That goddess is Hērā. And, as we saw in Hour 1§27, Hērā was the goddess of hōrā (plural hōrai). And, as we also saw, the two forms Hērā and hōrā are linguistically related to each other. Hērā was the goddess of seasons, in charge of making everything happen on time, happen in season, and happen in a timely way. But then there is the hero. As we saw in Hour 1§28, the word hērōs (plural hērōes) meaning ‘hero’ is related to the words hōrā and Hērā. But heroes, unlike the goddess Hērā, are not timely. They become timely only when they die. The precise moment when everything comes together for the hero is the moment of death. The hero is ‘on time’ at the hōrā or ‘time’ of death. Before death and in fact during their whole lifetime, however, heroes are not on time: rather, they are unseasonal, as we saw first and foremost in the case of Hēraklēs in Hour 1§39.
13§18. Being on time for death is precisely what happens to Kleobis and Biton, sons of the priestess of Hērā in the story I quoted in Text D. Their timely death marks them as cult heroes, and the word that expresses this timely death, which will lead to timeless immortalization, is telos. And it is most appropriate that Hērā, the goddess of timeliness, presides over the telos of heroes: as I noted in Hour 1§49, the connection of Hērā with the idea of telos is evident in the adjective teleia, derived from telos, which is a cult epithet of the goddess Hērā. [16] Combined with the name of this goddess, teleia can mean not only ‘bringing fulfillment’ but even ‘bringing perfection’. If striving to achieve a telos is a process, then the achievement itself can be seen as the perfecting of that process. [17] Such an idea of perfection is built into the word hōrā: in Hour 1§§26-29, I analyzed the meaning of this word (plural hōrai) as ‘season, seasonality, the right time, the perfect time’.
13§19. In the case of Herodotus’ framing story about Solon’s story about Kleobis and Biton, Text D, the framing story reaches its own telos or ‘fulfillment’ in an aetiology (1.31.5). By aetiology here, as I repeat from Hour 7a§15, I mean a myth that motivates an institutional reality, especially a ritual. In this case the aetiology has to do with the rituals and the ritual objects connected with the hero cult of Kleobis and Biton at Argos. The ritual objects are the statues of the two young men, and their status as cult heroes is evidently visualized in the form of these statues: ‘And the people of Argos made likenesses [eikōn plural] of them and dedicated these at Delphi, saying that these were images of men who had become the very best of men’ [18] (1.31.5). As we learn from Herodotus, the outcome of the story of these two young men is formalized in these statues. The perfect pose of their perfect moment, rigid to the point of rigor mortis, is captured by the creation of their statues. And the two statues have actually survived: you can see them today in the Museum at Delphi: [19]
[Poly]medes of Argos, “Kleobis and Biton.” Marble, free-standing, height approx. 2.2 m. Archaic, ca. 580 BCE. Delphi, Archaeological Museum, 467 and 1524.
13§20. In the context of the Herodotean narrative, a perfect moment of happiness was experienced by all who took part in the festival of Hērā, and this moment became concretized in the form of the statues of Kleobis and Biton. [20] The stylized death of these two youths is a dramatization of the perfect heroic moment - especially since they are sons of the priestess of Hērā herself, who is the goddess of that perfect moment.
13§21. Back when we started this hour, I noted the differences in the meaning of olbios for those who were initiated into the mysteries of hero cult and for those who were not. These differences are relevant to this riddling statement in Text B: ‘and in all this the god showed that it is better for a man to be in a state of death than in a state of life [zōein]’ [21] (1.31.3). For the uninitiated, this wording means that you are better off dead - that you might as well choose to be put out of your misery instead going on with life. For the initiated, this same wording means that a life after death will be better for you than the life you are living now.
13§22. From my study of such words as olbios and tīmē and telos during this hour, I conclude that the cult hero is literally defined in terms of one’s ability to krinein, ‘judge, distinguish’, which as we have seen is the power of discerning the true from the untrue.

Variations in discriminating between the real and the unreal

13§23. Now we turn to a derivative of krinein, which is hupo-krinesthai. I focus on an attestation in the Homeric Odyssey, where Penelope is speaking to the disguised Odysseus. She is testing the hero by challenging him to interpret a dream:

Hour 13 Text E

Come, respond [hupo-krinesthai] to my dream, and hear my telling of it.
Odyssey xix 535 [22]
13§24. Here Penelope challenges Odysseus to respond to the omen of her dream about the killing of the geese in her courtyard by an eagle that swoops down on them: the verb hupo-krinesthai is used here in the imperative, with the word for ‘dream’ in the accusative. [23] Within the dream itself, the eagle says to Penelope that he is Odysseus and that the geese are the suitors, who are to be punished for their unjust behavior. The disguised Odysseus responds to the convoluted words of Penelope by saying that her dream has already interpreted itself and that no response is needed from him - except to say what he has said, that the dream has already interpreted itself (xix 555-558). This way, Odysseus postpones identifying himself to Penelope, but at the same time he shows his good judgment in discriminating between what is false and what is true about his own heroic identity as defined by his sense of justice, which is being challenged by the injustices inflicted on him by the suitors.
13§25. In this light, we can see further dimensions in the meaning of krinein, from which the compound form hupo-krinesthai is derived. This verb krinein, in the active voice, can be translated as ‘interpret’ when combined with the noun opsis, ‘vision’, as its object (Herodotus 7.19.1-2) or with enupnion, ‘dream’, as its object (Herodotus 1.120.1). [24] It is a question of interpreting-in-performance. In the middle voice, hupo-krinesthai suggests that the performer is interpreting for himself as well as for others. [25] The basic idea of hupo-krinesthai, then, is to see the real meaning of what others see and to quote back, as it were, what this vision is really telling them. [26]

Variations in discriminating between justice and injustice

13§26. In discriminating between what is heroic and what is unheroic, derivative forms of krinein can refer to moral questions that shape the very foundations of poetry. There is a shining example in the Hesiodic Theogony, describing legal actions taken by an ideal king:

Hour 13 Text F

|81 Whosoever among sky-nourished kings is honored [tīmân] by these daughters of great Zeus [= the Muses] [27] |82 and is beheld by them when he is born, |83 for such a man they pour sweet dew upon his tongue, |84 and from his mouth flow sweet words. The people, |85 all of them, look towards him as he sorts out [dia-krinein] the divine laws [themis plural] |86 by way of straight judgments [dikai]. And he, speaking without stumbling |87 and with his powers of understanding, can even put an end to a great quarrel [neikos]. [28] |88 It is for this reason that there are kings, kings with good thinking [phrenes], namely, because when people |89 are wronged in the assembly [agorā], they [= the kings] can turn things right around for them, |90 quite easily, speaking in a deflecting way by using soft words. |91 And when he [= the just king] goes to a gathering [agōn], the people turn to him as if he were a god, |92 because of his gentle command of respect [aidōs], and he stands out among the assembled. |93 Such is the sacred gift of the Muses for humankind. |94 For it is because of the Muses and far-shooting Apollo |95 that there are singers [aoidoi] and players of the lyre [kitharis] on this earth. |96 And it is because of Zeus that there are kings. Blessed [olbios] is he whom the Muses |97 love. And a sweet voice [audē] flows from his mouth.
Hesiod Theogony 81-97 [29]
13§27. As we have just seen at verse 85 here, the ideal king dia-krinei, ‘sorts out’, what is themis, ‘divine law’, and what is not. And the king can do this, as we read at verse 86, by way of his dikai, ‘judgments’. This way, as we will now see in the Hesiodic Works and Days, the ideal king is the representative of Zeus on earth, since it is Zeus himself who ithunei, ‘makes straight’, the themistes, ‘divine laws’:

Hour 13 Text G

|1 Muses of Pieria, you who make glory [kleos] with your songs, |2 come and tell of Zeus, making a song about your father, |3 on account of whom there are mortals both unworthy of talk and worthy, |4 both worth speaking of and not—all on account of great Zeus. |5 Easily he gives power, and just as easily he ruins the powerful. |6 Easily he diminishes the distinguished, and magnifies the undistinguished. |7 Easily he makes straight the crooked and withers the overweening |8 - Zeus, the one who thunders on high, who lives in the highest abode. |9 Heed me, seeing and hearing as you do, and with justice [dikē] make straight [ithunein] the divine laws [themis plural]. |10 While you do that, I am ready to tell genuine [etētuma] things to Perses.
Hesiod Works and Days 1-10 [30]
13§28. At verse 9 here, we see also that Zeus is straightening the themistes, ‘divine laws’, by way of his own dikē. In this absolutizing context, both the short-term meaning of dikē as ‘judgment’ and its long-term meaning as ‘justice’ are fused in the absolute figure of Zeus. Only for Zeus is a ‘judgment’ the same thing as ‘justice’. And this absolute model can now absolutely validate the figure of Hesiod himself. As we have just read in Works and Days verses 9-10, the dikē of Zeus is in action while Hesiod talks to Perses. So, the action of Zeus is the same thing as the speech of Hesiod. That is how Hesiod becomes the ultimate master of the speech act. For background on this term speech act, I refer back to Hour 2§§41-43.
13§29. In the Works and Days, it is actually Hesiod who becomes the hero of the speech act, since the blessing that the Muses give to the ideal juridical speaker suits him more than any other mortal, even more than any king: as we have just read in the Hesiodic Theogony (96-97), ‘blessed [olbios] is he whom the Muses |97 love’. [31] And that blessing, marked by the word olbios, signals the making of a cult hero.
13§30. The validation of Hesiod as the ideal juridical speaker is indicated in another way as well. We can see it when we consider what is missing in the picture of an ideal king. And this thing that is missing can be described as a significant absence. The one thing that is missing is a skēptron, ‘scepter’, which is traditionally a primary marker of kings who have the authority to make judgments at councils of kings (as in Iliad I 279, II 86); when the Achaean kings make dikai, ‘judgments’, at a council of kings, the protocol is for each king to hold the skēptron, ‘scepter’, when it is his turn to speak. [32] In the Theogony, however, someone else already has the scepter. That is, Hesiod himself receives a scepter from the Muses. Here is how the persona of Hesiod describes the moment when he receives this gift from the Muses, who offer to teach him how to say the absolute truth:

Hour 13 Text H

|22 [It was the Muses] who taught me, Hesiod, their beautiful song. |23 It happened when I was tending flocks of sheep in a valley of Helikon, that holy mountain. |24 And the very first thing that the goddesses said to me, |25 those Muses of Mount Olympus, those daughters of Zeus who holds the aegis, was this wording [mūthos]: [33] |26 “Shepherds camping in the fields, base objects of reproach, mere bellies! [34] |27 We know how to say many deceptive things looking like genuine [etuma] things, [35] |28 but we also know how, whenever we wish it, to proclaim things that are true [alēthea].” [36] |29 That is how they spoke, those daughters of great Zeus, who have words [epea] that fit perfectly together, |30 and they gave me a scepter [skēptron], [37] a branch of flourishing laurel, |31 having plucked it. And it was a wonder to behold. Then they breathed into me a voice [audē], |32 a godlike one, so that I may make glory [kleos] for things that will be and things that have been, |33 and then they told me to sing how the blessed ones [makares = the gods] were generated, the ones that are forever, |34 and that I should sing them [= the Muses] first and last.
Hesiod Theogony 22-34 [38]
13§31. This skēptron given to Hesiod by the Muses is a symbol of the authorization inherent in the poetic form of the Theogony. From an anthropological point of view, a theogony is a speech-act of authorization. But Hesiod’s theogony authorizes not kings. Rather, it authorizes Hesiod himself as an overarching representative of authority. Hesiod is a master of truth, absolute truth: that is the essence of the word alēthea, ‘true things’, at Theogony 28. [39]
13§32. So, both in the Theogony and in the Works and Days, Hesiod figures as the absolute master of the speech act, as the master of the absolute truth. His status as cult hero is based on this mastery. Hesiod is programmed by the Theogony and by the Works and Days to become such a cult hero.
13§33. There is historical evidence for the worship of Hesiod as a cult hero, and there is even an allusion to such worship in the History of Thucydides (3.96.1). [40] In this connection, I should also note, there is historical evidence to show that Homer too was worshipped as a cult hero. [41] Limitations of time and space prevent me, however, from exploring here such external evidence about Homer as well as Hesiod, and I confine myself to highlighting the built-in references that we find in Hesiodic poetry about the status of this poet as a cult hero. [42]
13§34. I return to the verb dia-krinein, as we saw it attested in the description of the ideal king in Theogony 85-87. At verses 85-86, we read how an ideal king dia-krinei, ‘sorts out’, what is themis, ‘divine law’, and what is not, and how he accomplishes this ‘sorting out’ by way of his dikē, ‘judgment’. By doing so, the ideal king can bring to an end a great neikos, ‘quarrel’, as we read at verse 87.
13§35. In Works and Days 9-10, we saw that Zeus straightens themis, ‘divine law’, by way of his dikē, ‘judgment’ - while Hesiod speaks to Perses. The speaking of Hesiod, as a speech act, takes place in the context of a neikos, ‘quarrel’, as we read at verse 35, between Hesiod as the just brother and Perses as the unjust brother. And here we come to a most striking attestation of dia-krinein - this time, in the middle voice. Hesiod calls on his brother to sort out with him, as expressed by way of dia-krinesthai, in the middle voice, a resolution of the quarrel:

Hour 13 Text I

|35 … But come, let us now sort out [dia- krinesthai] for ourselves the quarrel [neikos], |36 with straight judgments [dikai], which are the best when they come from Zeus.
Hesiod Works and Days 35-36 [43]
And such a sorting out actually happens in the course of the Works and Days, as I analyzed it in Hour 12, especially in §11 and §36. [44]
13§36. This kind of sorting out does not happen in Homeric poetry. As we saw in Hour 12§34, Homeric poetry does not address the problem of justice, that is, it does not judge what is right and what is wrong. The one place where an opportunity arises, this opportunity is not taken. It is a litigation scene portrayed as a central picture worked into the cosmic artifact known as the Shield of Achilles:

Hour 13 Text J (including Hour 8 Text L)

|497 Meanwhile the people were gathered in assembly, and there a quarrel [neikos] |498 had arisen, and two men were quarreling [neikeîn] about the blood-price [poinē] |499 for a man who had died. One of the two claimed [eukhesthai] that he had the right to pay off the damages in full, |500 declaring this publicly to the population of the district [dēmos], and the other of the two was refusing to accept anything. |501 Both of them were seeking a limit [peirar], in the presence of an arbitrator [histōr], |502 and the people took sides, each man shouting for the side he was on; |503 but the heralds kept them back, and the elders |504 sat on benches of polished stone in a sacred [hieros] circle, |505 taking hold of scepters [skēptra] that the heralds, who lift their voices, put into their hands. |506 Holding these [scepters] they rose and each in his turn gave judgment [dikazein], [45] |507 and in their midst there were placed on the ground two measures of gold, |508 to be given to that one among them who spoke a judgment [dikē] in the most straight way [ithuntata]. [46]
Iliad XVIII 497-508 [47]
13§37. We see here an unresolved tension between dikē as ‘justice’ in the long term and ‘judgment’ in the short term. At XVIII 508, we see a contest or debate that centers on the question of the ‘straightest’ possible formulation of dikē - in the context of a neikos, ‘quarrel’, as mentioned in XVIII 497. And we see that the people who have to make up their mind about the big question of justice in the Iliad are described as a crowd standing around the central scene of the litigation. That crowd, as I have argued, can be imagined as the timeless audience of Homeric poetry. [48]
13§38. By contrast, the narrative of Hesiod is the narrative of a crooked line becoming a straight line. By the time we reach verse 275 of the Hesiodic Works and Days, dikē has shifted from a relativized concept of ‘judgment’ to become an absolutized concept of ‘justice’.

Heroes as exponents of justice in poetry after Homer and Hesiod

13§39. I bring this hour to a close, but not without leaving open a window into the historical age, that is, into a post-heroic age that we associate with the historical period of Greek civilization, starting around the seventh century BCE.
13§40. By the time we reach the historical period, of course, we find no ultimate city of dikē, no ultimate city of hubris. Such cities exist only in poetry, as in the apocalyptic vision of the Hesiodic Works and Days. But we do find exponents of justice who become cult heroes by way of their poetry. By now this comes as no surprise, since we have already seen in §§32-33 of this hour that Homer and Hesiod are both worshipped as cult heroes. And there are exponents of justice who are worshipped as cult heroes in individual city-states. Some of these heroes are viewed as lawgivers or quasi-lawgivers.
13§41. When a hero is viewed by a city-state as its lawgiver, he can also be viewed as the author of that given city’s customary laws. In myths about lawgivers, such authorship is traditionally correlated with some kind of fundamental crisis that afflicts the given city.
13§42. Here are three examples of such heroes:
Lycurgus of Sparta
Solon of Athens
Theognis of Megara.
13§43. I choose as the final texts for this hour two pieces of poetry attributed to Theognis. [49] In these two poems, we see variations on ideas that will recur - and recur often - in the remaining hours.

Hour 13 Text K

|39 Kyrnos, this city [polis] is pregnant, and I fear that it will give birth to a man |40 who will be a straightener [euthuntēr] of our base hubris. |41 The citizens [astoi] here [in the city] are still moderate [sōphrones], but the leaders [hēgemones] |42 have veered so far as to fall into debasement [kakotēs]. |43 Men who are noble [agathoi], Kyrnos, have never yet ruined any city [polis], |44 but when people who are base [kakoi] decide to behave with hubris, |45 and when they ruin the community [dēmos] and render judgments [dikai] in favor of the unjust [= persons or things without dikē], |46 for the sake of private gain [kerdos plural], and for the sake of absolute power [kratos], |47 do not expect that city [polis] to be peaceful for long, |48 not even if it is now in a state of great serenity [hēsukhiā], |49 once the base [kakoi] decide on these things, |50 namely, private gains [kerdos plural] entailing public damage. |51 From these things result acts of discord [stasis plural], killings [phonoi] within local groups of men, |52 and one-man rulers [mounarkhoi]. May this city [polis] never decide to accept these things! [50]
Theognis 39–52 [51]

Hour 13 Text L

|1081 Kyrnos, this city [polis] is pregnant, and I fear that it will give birth to a man |1082 who will be a hubristēs [= perpetrator of hubris], a leader [hēgemōn] of dire discord [stasis]. |1082a The citizens [astoi] here [in the city] are moderate [sōphrones], but the leaders [hēgemones] |1082b have veered so far as to fall into debasement [kakotēs]. [52]
Theognis 1081–1082b [53]
13§44. Although the poetry attributed to Theognis can be traced back primarily to one specific social context, which was the metropolis or ‘mother city’ of Megara and its daughter cities, most of this poetry is composed in such a generalized way that it can apply to a wide variety of other social contexts in other cities. An example is the set of two poems I just quoted. Both poems apply to historical situations and events that can be localized not only in Megara but elsewhere as well, including the city of Athens in the age of Solon the lawgiver, who was active in the early sixth century BCE. For the moment, though, I will concentrate on those features of the quoted poems that show parallelisms with features we found in the Hesiodic Works and Days.
13§45. The speaker in Text K as quoted from Theognis (39–52) is expressing his pessimism about an ongoing struggle between men of dikē and men of hubris within his city, and he is railing against the elites of that city, accusing them of becoming morally debased by hubris. This debasement is pictured as a physical degeneration from a higher status of humanity to a lower one. It is as if hubris had degraded the genes of the elites from nobility to baseness. Such degeneration corresponds to the successive downgrading of humanity from gold to silver to bronze to iron in the Hesiodic Works and Days, as we saw in Hour 12. In Text K, this metaphor of genetic debasement is applied to the moral degeneration of the elite. So, those who used to be socially agathoi, ‘noble’, have now become morally kakoi, ‘base’. And even if they are still socially noble, the elite of the city have nevertheless lost their moral claim to be hēgemones, ‘leaders’.
13§46. Meanwhile, hubris brings sterility, as we saw in Hour 12 when we were reading selections from the Hesiodic Works and Days - and from the works of prose writers who specialize in botany. So, if the city is to flourish like some fruit tree, it will have to be pruned. And now the city is pregnant, as we see in Text K (39), and it is about to produce a leader who will become the euthuntēr or ‘straightener’ of the hubris (40). As we saw from the testimony of botanical experts, a traditional metaphor for pruning is euthunein, ‘straightening’. So, the future euthuntēr or ‘straightener’ will prune the vegetal overgrowth that is hubris. Not only that: this euthuntēr or ‘straightener’ will give the city a sense of direction, directness, directedness. He will become the ultimate Director. He will be the exponent of dikē, which is seen metaphorically both as a straight line and as a flourishing field or garden or orchard or grove or vineyard or any other such place where vegetation is cultivated. But why is the speaker afraid of the coming of this Director? It is because he himself is a member of the elite. Although he rails against the elite for becoming moral degenerates, he is still one of them, and so he fears that the future Director will prune ‘our’ base hubris.
13§47. The situation has radically changed for the speaker in Text L as quoted from Theognis (1081–1082b). Here the future Director will be no exponent of dikē. Rather, he will be a hubristēs, a perpetrator of hubris. He will be a dictator, that is, a tyrant. So, now, the pregnancy of the city becomes a monstrous exercise in sterility. There will be no flourishing at all for this city, since the only thing that sterility can produce is sterility itself, as we will see all too clearly when we read the Oedipus Tyrannus of Sophocles in Hour 19.


[ back ] 1. |1.30.2 “Ξεῖνε Ἀθηναῖε, παρ’ ἡμέας γὰρ περὶ σέο λόγος ἀπῖκται πολλὸς καὶ σοφίης εἵνεκεν τῆς σῆς καὶ πλάνης, ὡς φιλοσοφέων γῆν πολλὴν θεωρίης εἵνεκεν ἐπελήλυθας· νῦν ὦν ἐπειρέσθαι σε ἵμερος ἐπῆλθέ μοι εἴ τινα ἤδη πάντων εἶδες ὀλβιώτατον.” |1.30.3 Ὁ μὲν ἐλπίζων εἶναι ἀνθρώπων ὀλβιώτατος ταῦτα ἐπειρώτα, Σόλων δὲ οὐδὲν ὑποθωπεύσας, ἀλλὰ τῷ ἐόντι χρησάμενος, λέγει· “Ὦ βασιλεῦ, Τέλλον Ἀθηναῖον.” |1.30.4 Ἀποθωμάσας δὲ Κροῖσος τὸ λεχθὲν εἴρετο ἐπιστρεφέως· “Κοίῃ δὴ κρίνεις Τέλλον εἶναι ὀλβιώτατον;” Ὁ δὲ εἶπε· “Τέλλῳ τοῦτο μὲν τῆς πόλιος εὖ ἡκούσης παῖδες ἦσαν καλοί τε κἀγαθοί, καί σφι εἶδε ἅπασι τέκνα ἐκγενόμενα καὶ πάντα παραμείναντα, τοῦτο δὲ τοῦ βίου εὖ ἥκοντι, ὡς τὰ παρ’ ἡμῖν, τελευτὴ τοῦ βίου λαμπροτάτη ἐπεγένετο· |1.30.5 γενομένης γὰρ Ἀθηναίοισι μάχης πρὸς τοὺς ἀστυγείτονας ἐν Ἐλευσῖνι βοηθήσας καὶ τροπὴν ποιήσας τῶν πολεμίων ἀπέθανε κάλλιστα, καί μιν Ἀθηναῖοι δημοσίῃ τε ἔθαψαν αὐτοῦ τῇ περ ἔπεσε καὶ ἐτίμησαν μεγάλως.”
[ back ] 2. Again, PH 245 = 8§46n128.
[ back ] 3. The linguistic arguments are presented in PH 245 = 8§46n128.
[ back ] 4. HC 95 =1§49, where I also note that form from which Greek telos and related forms derive cannot be reduced to a single Indo-European root. As the discussion proceeds, we will see that there are two roots involved in the formation of telos and related forms: *k w el- and *te l-. The first of these two roots conveys the idea of ‘come full circle’.
[ back ] 5. The visualizing of this scene, as indicated here by op- ‘see’, is essential to the narrative. Relevant is the insightful analysis by Danielle Arnold Freedman (1998:11-13).
[ back ] 6. On the mystical subtext of this formulation, see PH 243-247 = 8§§45-48.
[ back ] 7. |1.31.1 Ὡς δὲ τὰ κατὰ τὸν Τέλλον προετρέψατο ὁ Σόλων τὸν Κροῖσον εἴπας πολλά τε καὶ ὄλβια, ἐπειρώτα τίνα δεύτερον μετ' ἐκεῖνον ἴδοι, δοκέων πάγχυ δευτερεῖα γῶν οἴσεσθαι. Ὁ δὲ εἶπε· “Κλέοβίν τε καὶ Βίτωνα. |1.31.2 Τούτοισι γὰρ ἐοῦσι γένος Ἀργείοισι βίος τε ἀρκέων ὑπῆν καὶ πρὸς τούτῳ ῥώμη σώματος τοιήδε· ἀεθλοφόροι τε ἀμφότεροι ὁμοίως ἦσαν, καὶ δὴ καὶ λέγεται ὅδε [ὁ] λόγος· ἐούσης ὁρτῆς τῇ Ἥρῃ τοῖσι Ἀργείοισι ἔδεε πάντως τὴν μητέρα αὐτῶν ζεύγεϊ κομισθῆναι ἐς τὸ ἱρόν, οἱ δέ σφι βόες ἐκ τοῦ ἀγροῦ οὐ παρεγίνοντο ἐν ὥρῃ· ἐκκληιόμενοι δὲ τῇ ὥρῃ οἱ νεηνίαι ὑποδύντες αὐτοὶ ὑπὸ τὴν ζεύγλην εἷλκον τὴν ἅμαξαν, ἐπὶ τῆς ἁμάξης δέ σφι ὠχέετο ἡ μήτηρ, σταδίους δὲ πέντε καὶ τεσσεράκοντα διακομίσαντες ἀπίκοντο ἐς τὸ ἱρόν. |1.31.3 Ταῦτα δέ σφι ποιήσασι καὶ ὀφθεῖσι ὑπὸ τῆς πανηγύριος τελευτὴ τοῦ βίου ἀρίστη ἐπεγένετο, διέδεξέ τε ἐν τούτοισι ὁ θεὸς ὡς ἄμεινον εἴη ἀνθρώπῳ τεθνάναι μᾶλλον ἢ ζώειν. Ἀργεῖοι μὲν γὰρ περιστάντες ἐμακάριζον τῶν νεηνιέων τὴν ῥώμην, αἱ δὲ Ἀργεῖαι τὴν μητέρα αὐτῶν, οἵων τέκνων ἐκύρησε. |1.31.4 Ἡ δὲ μήτηρ περιχαρὴς ἐοῦσα τῷ τε ἔργῳ καὶ τῇ φήμῃ, στᾶσα ἀντίον τοῦ ἀγάλματος εὔχετο Κλεόβι τε καὶ Βίτωνι τοῖσι ἑωυτῆς τέκνοισι, οἵ μιν ἐτίμησαν μεγάλως, τὴν θεὸν δοῦναι τὸ ἀνθρώπῳ τυχεῖν ἄριστόν ἐστι. |1.31.5 Μετὰ ταύτην δὲ τὴν εὐχὴν ὡς ἔθυσάν τε καὶ εὐωχήθησαν, κατακοιμηθέντες ἐν αὐτῷ τῷ ἱρῷ οἱ νεηνίαι οὐκέτι ἀνέστησαν, ἀλλ’ ἐν τέλεϊ τούτῳ ἔσχοντο. Ἀργεῖοι δέ σφεων εἰκόνας ποιησάμενοι ἀνέθεσαν ἐς Δελφοὺς ὡς ἀνδρῶν ἀρίστων γενομένων.
[ back ] 8. τελευτὴ τοῦ βίου ἀρίστη ἐπεγένετο.
[ back ] 9. οὐκέτι ἀνέστησαν.
[ back ] 10. ἐν τέλεϊ τούτῳ ἔσχοντο.
[ back ] 11. HC 94-95 = 1§47, with reference also to PH 38 = 1§39n111. Freedman (1998:13) describes this moment as “photographic.”
[ back ] 12. HC 95 = 1§47.
[ back ] 13. τελευτὴ τοῦ βίου ἀρίστη ἐπεγένετο.
[ back ] 14. Again, HC 95 =1§49.
[ back ] 15. οἱ δέ σφι βόες ἐκ τοῦ ἀγροῦ οὐ παρεγίνοντο ἐν ὥρῃ· ἐκκληιόμενοι δὲ τῇ ὥρῃ οἱ νεηνίαι ὑποδύντες αὐτοὶ ὑπὸ τὴν ζεύγλην εἷλκον τὴν ἅμαξαν.
[ back ] 16. Again I cite the example in Aristophanes Women at the Thesmophoria 973.
[ back ] 17. HC 95 = 1§49.
[ back ] 18. Ἀργεῖοι δέ σφεων εἰκόνας ποιησάμενοι ἀνέθεσαν ἐς Δελφοὺς ὡς ἀνδρῶν ἀρίστων γενομένων.
[ back ] 19. HC 95 = 1§50. I add there that it does not affect my argument whether or not Kleobis and Biton were the original referents at the time when these statues were made. What matters is that they were truly the referents as far as the Argives were concerned, with reference to the time of Herodotus’ own narration.
[ back ] 20. HC 96 = 1§51.
[ back ] 21. διέδεξέ τε ἐν τούτοισι ὁ θεὸς ὡς ἄμεινον εἴη ἀνθρώπῳ τεθνάναι μᾶλλον ἢ ζώειν.
[ back ] 22. ἀλλ’ ἄγε μοι τὸν ὄνειρον ὑπόκριναι καὶ ἄκουσον.
[ back ] 23. HR 23.
[ back ] 24. Koller 1957:101.
[ back ] 25. Koller 1957:102.
[ back ] 26. HC 152 = 1§158, following HR 37-38.
[ back ] 27. Earlier in the Hesiodic Theogony (80), one Muse in particular, Kalliope, is described as the patroness of kings.
[ back ] 28. Compare the context of neikos at Works and Days 35.
[ back ] 29. |81 ὅντινα τιμήσουσι Διὸς κοῦραι μεγάλοιο |82 γεινόμενόν τε ἴδωσι διοτρεφέων βασιλήων, |83 τῷ μὲν ἐπὶ γλώσσῃ γλυκερὴν χείουσιν ἐέρσην, |84 τοῦ δ’ ἔπε’ ἐκ στόματος ῥεῖ μείλιχα· οἱ δέ νυ λαοὶ |85 πάντες ἐς αὐτὸν ὁρῶσι διακρίνοντα θέμιστας |86 ἰθείῃσι δίκῃσιν· ὁ δ’ ἀσφαλέως ἀγορεύων |87 αἶψά τι καὶ μέγα νεῖκος ἐπισταμένως κατέπαυσε· |88 τούνεκα γὰρ βασιλῆες ἐχέφρονες, οὕνεκα λαοῖς |89 βλαπτομένοις ἀγορῆφι μετάτροπα ἔργα τελεῦσι |90 ῥηιδίως, μαλακοῖσι παραιφάμενοι ἐπέεσσιν· |91 ἐρχόμενον δ’ ἀν’ ἀγῶνα θεὸν ὣς ἱλάσκονται |92 αἰδοῖ μειλιχίῃ, μετὰ δὲ πρέπει ἀγρομένοισι. |93 τοίη Μουσάων ἱερὴ δόσις ἀνθρώποισιν. |94 ἐκ γάρ τοι Μουσέων καὶ ἑκηβόλου Ἀπόλλωνος |95 ἄνδρες ἀοιδοὶ ἔασιν ἐπὶ χθόνα καὶ κιθαρισταί, |96 ἐκ δὲ Διὸς βασιλῆες· ὁ δ’ ὄλβιος, ὅντινα Μοῦσαι |97 φίλωνται· γλυκερή οἱ ἀπὸ στόματος ῥέει αὐδή.
[ back ] 30. |1 Μοῦσαι Πιερίηθεν ἀοιδῇσι κλείουσαι, |2 δεῦτε Δί’ ἐννέπετε, σφέτερον πατέρ’ ὑμνείουσαι. |3 ὅν τε διὰ βροτοὶ ἄνδρες ὁμῶς ἄφατοί τε φατοί τε, |4 ῥητοί τ’ ἄρρητοί τε Διὸς μεγάλοιο ἕκητι. |5 ῥέα μὲν γὰρ βριάει, ῥέα δὲ βριάοντα χαλέπτει, |6 ῥεῖα δ’ ἀρίζηλον μινύθει καὶ ἄδηλον ἀέξει, |7 ῥεῖα δέ τ’ ἰθύνει σκολιὸν καὶ ἀγήνορα κάρφει |8 Ζεὺς ὑψιβρεμέτης, ὃς ὑπέρτατα δώματα ναίει. |9 κλῦθι ἰδὼν ἀίων τε, δίκῃ δ’ ἴθυνε θέμιστας |10 τύνη· ἐγὼ δέ κε Πέρσῃ ἐτήτυμα μυθησαίμην.
[ back ] 31. ὁ δ’ ὄλβιος, ὅντινα Μοῦσαι |97 φίλωνται.
[ back ] 32. GM 52-53.
[ back ] 33. For commentary on muthos here in the sense of ‘wording meant to be remembered for the record’, see HQ 119-133, following Martin 1989.
[ back ] 34. For commentary on these riddling words of insult uttered by the Muses here as a test for Hesiod, see GM 44-45, 274-275.
[ back ] 35. For commentary on homoia ‘looking like’ in this context, see Nagy 2010c.
[ back ] 36. For commentary on alēthea ‘true things’ here in the sense of absolute truth, see PH 64-68 = 2§§26-32; also Nagy 2009a:275-277.
[ back ] 37. More on this skēptron ‘scepter’ in GM 49.
[ back ] 38. |22 αἵ νύ ποθ’ Ἡσίοδον καλὴν ἐδίδαξαν ἀοιδήν, |23 ἄρνας ποιμαίνονθ’ Ἑλικῶνος ὕπο ζαθέοιο. |24 τόνδε δέ με πρώτιστα θεαὶ πρὸς μῦθον ἔειπον, |25 Μοῦσαι Ὀλυμπιάδες, κοῦραι Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο· |26 “ποιμένες ἄγραυλοι, κάκ’ ἐλέγχεα, γαστέρες οἶον, |27 ἴδμεν ψεύδεα πολλὰ λέγειν ἐτύμοισιν ὁμοῖα, |28 ἴδμεν δ’ εὖτ’ ἐθέλωμεν ἀληθέα γηρύσασθαι.” |29 ὣς ἔφασαν κοῦραι μεγάλου Διὸς ἀρτιέπειαι, |30 καί μοι σκῆπτρον ἔδον δάφνης ἐριθηλέος ὄζον |31 δρέψασαι, θηητόν· ἐνέπνευσαν δέ μοι αὐδὴν |32 θέσπιν, ἵνα κλείοιμι τά τ’ ἐσσόμενα πρό τ’ ἐόντα, |33 καί μ’ ἐκέλονθ’ ὑμνεῖν μακάρων γένος αἰὲν ἐόντων, |34 σφᾶς δ’ αὐτὰς πρῶτόν τε καὶ ὕστατον αἰὲν ἀείδειν.
[ back ] 39. PH 59-61, 68 =2 §§22-23, §31.
[ back ] 40. For a survey of the evidence, see Nagy 2009a:304-308. For more on Hesiod as a cult hero, see Bershadsky 2012, especially pp. 19 and 22.
[ back ] 41. PP 113n33; see also PP 113n33 about the Homēridai ‘sons of Homer’ as continuators of a hero cult of Homer, with further analysis in HPC = 57-69 = 1§§138-167.
[ back ] 42. For more on such built-in references, see again Bershadsky 2012.
[ back ] 43. |35 … ἀλλ’ αὖθι διακρινώμεθα νεῖκος |36 ἰθείῃσι δίκῃς, αἵ τ’ ἐκ Διός εἰσιν ἄρισται.
[ back ] 44. Further analysis in Bershadsky 2012:24.
[ back ] 45. When the Achaean kings make dikai ‘judgments’ at a council of kings, as I noted earlier, the protocol is for each king to hold the skēptron ‘scepter’ when it is his turn to speak: see §30.
[ back ] 46. I have produced an extensive commentary on this passage in an essay that I cite at the end of the next paragraph.
[ back ] 47. |497 λαοὶ δ’ εἰν ἀγορῇ ἔσαν ἀθρόοι· ἔνθα δὲ νεῖκος |498 ὠρώρει, δύο δ’ ἄνδρες ἐνείκεον εἵνεκα ποινῆς |499 ἀνδρὸς ἀποφθιμένου· ὃ μὲν εὔχετο πάντ’ ἀποδοῦναι |500 δήμῳ πιφαύσκων, ὃ δ’ ἀναίνετο μηδὲν ἑλέσθαι· |501 ἄμφω δ’ ἱέσθην ἐπὶ ἴστορι πεῖραρ ἑλέσθαι. |502 λαοὶ δ’ ἀμφοτέροισιν ἐπήπυον ἀμφὶς ἀρωγοί· |503 κήρυκες δ’ ἄρα λαὸν ἐρήτυον· οἳ δὲ γέροντες |504 εἵατ’ ἐπὶ ξεστοῖσι λίθοις ἱερῷ ἐνὶ κύκλῳ, |505 σκῆπτρα δὲ κηρύκων ἐν χέρσ’ ἔχον ἠεροφώνων· |506 τοῖσιν ἔπειτ’ ἤϊσσον, ἀμοιβηδὶς δὲ δίκαζον. |507 κεῖτο δ’ ἄρ’ ἐν μέσσοισι δύω χρυσοῖο τάλαντα, |508 τῷ δόμεν ὃς μετὰ τοῖσι δίκην ἰθύντατα εἴποι.
[ back ] 48. HR 86-87. This argument is designed as the closure for my essay “The Shield of Achilles: Ends of the Iliad and Beginnings of the Polis.” The most updated version of this essay is embedded in HR (2003) 72-87.
[ back ] 49. As I noted already in Hour 10§14, there is no fixed date for Theognis: he is credited with the creation of poems that can be dated as far apart as the late seventh and the early fifth centuries BCE.
[ back ] 50. Commentary in Nagy 1985:42-45 = §§27-30.
[ back ] 51. |39 Κύρνε, κύει πόλις ἥδε, δέδοικα δὲ μὴ τέκῃ ἄνδρα |40 εὐθυντῆρα κακῆς ὕβριος ἡμετέρης. |41 ἀστοὶ μὲν γὰρ ἔθ᾽ οἵδε σαόφρονες, ἡγεμόνες δὲ |42 τετράφαται πολλὴν εἰς κακότητα πεσεῖν. |43 οὐδεμίαν πω Κύρν᾽ ἀγαθοὶ πόλιν ὤλεσαν ἄνδρες· |44 ἀλλ᾽ ὅταν ὑβρίζειν τοῖσι κακοῖσι ἅδῃ |45 δῆμόν τε φθείρωσι δίκας τ᾽ ἀδίκοισι διδῶσιν |46 οἰκείων κερδέων εἵνεκα καὶ κράτεος, |47 ἔλπεο μὴ δηρὸν κείνην πόλιν ἀτρεμίεσθαι, |48 μηδ᾽ εἰ νῦν κεῖται πολλῇ ἐν ἡσυχίῃ, |49 εὖτ᾽ ἂν τοῖσι κακοῖσι φίλ᾽ ἀνδράσι ταῦτα γένηται, |50 κέρδεα δημοσίῳ σὺν κακῷ ἐρχόμενα. |51 ἐκ τῶν γὰρ στάσιές τε καὶ ἔμφυλοι φόνοι ἀνδρῶν |52 μούναρχοί τε· πόλει μήποτε τῇδε ἅδοι.
[ back ] 52. Commentary in Nagy 1985:45-46 = §32.
[ back ] 53. |1081 Κύρνε, κύει πόλις ἥδε, δέδοικα δὲ μὴ τέκῃ ἄνδρα |1082 ὑβριστήν, χαλεπῆς ἡγεμόνα στάσιος· |1082a ἀστοὶ μὲν γὰρ ἔασι σαόφρονες, ἡγεμόνες δὲ |1082b τετράφαται πολλὴν εἰς κακότητα πεσεῖν.