Part Two: Interweaving metonymy and metaphor

2§01. I come back to the point in the Introduction where I started to argue that metonymy and metaphor interact with each other as mental processes—and that this interaction can be seen as a coordination of a horizontal axis of combination in the case of metonymy with a vertical axis of selection in the case of metaphor. So far, in both the Introduction and in all of Part One, I have confined myself to the basic idea that metonymy and metaphor are coordinated with each other, without yet explaining the rationale for thinking of metonymy as a horizontal coordinate and of metaphor as a vertical one. Now in Part Two, I will offer an explanation, focusing on a metaphorical system that actually operates on the idea of an interaction between horizontal and vertical coordinates. And this metaphorical system, as I will show, pictures metaphor itself in a special moment. It is the moment when metaphor is caught in the act of interacting with metonymy.
2§02. Such a picturing is at work in the word interweaving, which I use here already in the title of Part Two, “Interweaving metonymy and metaphor.” This word interweaving is itself an example of the metaphorical system that I have in mind here. Given that the craft of weaving is a process of coordination between horizontal and vertical threads, the word interweaving is itself a suitable metaphor for the coordination of metonymy and metaphor. Moreover, as we will soon see, the meaning of this word interweaving is actually built into the word coordination, which is derived from Latin ōrdō, meaning ‘a thread on a loom for weaving’.
2§03. But before we can delve into the metaphorical world of weaving, I need to step back and review the ancient Greek terms for describing metonymy and metaphor, since the meanings of these descriptive terms are themselves coordinated with each other.

Starting over with the relevant Greek terms

2§1. Although we find no explicit statement in ancient Greek sources about the coordination of metonymy and metaphor, I have argued in the course of Part One that we can build a model for such a coordination by analyzing the terminology developed by Dionysius of Thrace for describing metonymy together with the terminology developed by Aristotle for describing metaphor. As I have shown, the relevant Greek terms are oikeio- ‘familiar’ in the case of metonymy and allotrio- ‘alien’ in the case of metaphor. In Part One, I have already followed through on the concept of tò oikeion, ‘the familiar’, in analyzing examples of metonymy. Now in Part Two, I intend to follow through on the concept of tò allotrion, the ‘alien’. In this case, the examples I analyze will involve not only metaphor but also another kind of comparison, simile. As we will see, a paired analysis of simile and metaphor together will help clarify the coordination of metonymy and metaphor.

A further rethinking of metaphor as a coordinate of metonymy

2§2. In the Introduction (0§01), I initially defined metaphor as an expression of meaning by way of substituting something for something else. Then I rethought that definition in order to show more clearly the coordination of metaphor and metonymy. Given that metonymy is a mental process of connecting something that is familiar with something else that is familiar (0§3), I started thinking of metaphor as a mental process of substituting for something that is familiar something that is not familiar, alien (0§2). In such a process of substitution, one way of looking at things is replaced by another way that is alien to the previous way. But now I need to rethink even further this definition by readjusting the idea of the alien, tò allotrion.
2§3. Although the Greek word allotrio- ‘alien’ is the opposite of the word oikeio- ‘familiar’, it does not follow that the alien is completely different from the familiar. In some ways the alien is different, of course, but in other ways it can be similar to the familiar. And in fact similarity is the primary feature of metaphor, while difference is only secondary. To make a metaphor is to make a comparison, and similarity is what drives the making of comparison in the first place—while the differences we see in the process of making a comparison become the markers of what is alien in a metaphor.
2§4. So, to rethink even further my definition of metaphor, I start by highlighting a basic fact: that the making of metaphor depends primarily on an awareness of what is similar to what. With that awareness in place, we can become aware of what is different from what, and it is this difference that creates the sensing of what is alien as opposed to familiar.
2§5. In Greek, the word that conveys the meaning ‘similar’ is homoio-, and Aristotle actually uses this word is describing the essence of metaphor. I already quoted his description in Extract 1-A of Part One, and now I quote it here again in Extract 2-A of Part Two:

Extract 2-A (repeating 1-A)

But the greatest use of words is the use of metaphor [tò metaphorikon ‘that which is transferable’]. This is the only thing that cannot be learned from someone else; and it is also a sign [sēmeion] of a good quality that is inborn [euphuia], since the making of good metaphors [eu metapherein ‘good transference’] is the same thing as the contemplation [theōreîn] of what is similar [homoion] to what.
Aristotle Poetics 1459a5–8 [1]

Models of similarity and the meaning of the word simile

2§6. This word homoio- meaning ‘similar’ indicates an act of comparison not only in the making of metaphor but also in the making of what we in English call the simile. This term simile is derived from the neuter form of the Latin adjective similis meaning ‘similar’, from which the English word similar is in turn derived. In English, a simile is signaled by expressions such as like or as or similar to. As for Greek, the primary word for signaling a simile is homoio- in the sense of ‘similar to’. As we will now see, the meaning of homoio- ‘similar’ is essential for understanding how to make a simile—not only how to make a metaphor.
2§7. The etymology of homoio- shows that the meaning ‘similar’ derives from a more basic meaning, ‘same as’. [2] From the standpoint of Indo-European linguistics, the Greek adjective homoios (ὁμοῖος) derives from a prototypical form *somo-, meaning ‘same as’. [3] The English adjective same is derived from this same prototypical form. Another derivative is the Latin adjective similis, meaning ‘same as’ or ‘similar to’. In the usage of both Latin similis and Greek homoios (ὁμοῖος), the same semantic principle applies: for A2 to be similar to A1, it has to be the same as A1 in some respect, which is X. Further, for A2 to be the same as A1, it has to be one with A1 in respect to X. That is because the Indo-European root *som- of *somo- ‘same as’ means ‘one’, as we see in such forms as the Latin adverb semel ‘one time’. And the idea of ‘one’ in words like English same has to do with an act of comparing. When we compare things, what is the ‘same as’ something else in some respect becomes ‘one with’ that something in that respect. That is how a word like Latin similis, deriving from the concept of ‘one’, means ‘similar to’ in the sense of ‘one with’. What is similis ‘similar’ to something else in some respect is ‘one with’ that something in that respect. Similarly in the case of the Greek adjective homoios (ὁμοῖος), it refers to something that is ‘one with’ and therefore ‘the same as’ something else in some respect. And, as we will see later, if something else is not the same, then it is alloios (ἀλλοῖος) ‘a different kind’, which is the opposite of homoios (ὁμοῖος) or ‘the same kind’. As we will also see later, the extension -ios (-ιος) of the two adjectives homoios (ὁμοῖος) ‘the same kind’ and alloios (ἀλλοῖος) ‘a different kind’ is parallel to the extension -ios (-ιος) of the adjectives hoios (oἷος) ‘what kind’ and toios (τοῖος) ‘that kind’. [4]
2§8, For illustration, I will now analyze some contexts of homoios (ὁμοῖος) in Homeric and Hesiodic poetry. And, in analyzing these contexts, I start with a basic observation. When homoios (ὁμοῖος) as an adjective describing a noun A2 is combined with the dative case of a noun A1, then A2 is ‘the same as’ A1 with respect to X. Another way to say it is that A2 is ‘equal to’ A1 with respect to X. And the ‘X’ can be indicated in any one of three different grammatical ways: an accusative of respect, an epexegetical infinitive, or a prepositional phrase. [5]
2§9. So, I begin with three examples that match these three different ways of setting up a comparison (Extracts 2-Ba, 2-Bb, 2-Bc):

Extract 2-Ba

Back then, there was nobody who would set himself up as equal to [homoios] him [= Odysseus] in craft [mētis], | no, nobody would be willing to do so, since radiant Odysseus was so much better.
Odyssey iii 120–121 [6]

Extract 2-Bb

Never before had there been a mortal man who was equal to [homoios] him [= Menestheus] | in marshaling [kosmeîn] the horse-drawn chariot teams and the shield-bearing warriors.
Iliad II 553–554 [7]

Extract 2-Bc

My dear friends! You who are top-rank among the Argives, and you who are middle-rank, | and you who are of lower rank—I say this because it has never yet happened that all men are equal [homoioi] | as men in war—now is the time when everybody has work to do.
Iliad XII 269–271 [8]
2§10. As we see from each of the three examples I have just quoted, each occurrence of homoios, which I translated each time as ‘equal’, has to do with an act of comparing, where A2 (and we may add A3 and A4 and so on) is compared to A1 in respect to X. And, in each of these examples, the point that is being made is that someone is superior to all others, who therefore cannot be that someone’s equal.
2§11. Claims of superiority can be contested, however, as we see in the following three examples (Extracts 2-Ca, 2-Cb, 2-Cc):

Extract 2-Ca

... so that any one else will draw back | from saying that he is equal to [isos] me [=Agamemnon] and from making himself equal to [homoios] me face to face.
Iliad I 186–187 [9]
Here we see Agamemnon in the act of showing off his political power to Achilles and threatening to show off that same power, which is based on his social status, to anyone else who dares to challenge him. The adjective isos (ἴσος) here, which means ‘equal’, is synonymous with homoios (ὁμοῖος), which I translate also as ‘equal’ here. The point being made by the figure of Agamemnon is that nobody is his equal, not even Achilles. To put it another way, we can say that Agamemnon is claiming that nobody is his peer, that he is peerless.
But this claim of Agamemnon can be contested, as we see from the next example, featuring words spoken by the figure of Nestor:

Extract 2-Cb

Don’t you, [Achilles] son of Peleus, be quarrelling with the king, | force against force, since it is never an equal [homoiē] thing, I mean, the rank inherited | by a king holding the scepter, to whom Zeus has given a luminous sign of sovereignty. | Even if you [= Achilles] are as mighty as you are, born of a goddess, | nevertheless, he [= Agamemnon] is superior in status, since he rules over more subjects.
Iliad I 277–281 [10]
By implication, Nestor here is recognizing that Agamemnon is actually inferior to Achilles in warfare, even though he is superior in social status. So Agamemnon is not peerless, as he claims to be.
Achilles himself questions Agamemnon’s claim to be peerless. Speaking to his friend Patroklos, here is how Achilles lays claim to his own social status as a peer of Agamemnon:

Extract 2-Cc

But I have this terrible sorrow that has come over my heart and spirit, | seeing as I do that the man [= Agamemnon] is trying to deprive a man who is equal to [homoios] him | and to take away the prize of this man [= Achilles], just because he [= Agamemnon] is ahead in power.
Iliad XVI 52–54 [11]
In this last example, equality in respect to social status is seen as an acceptable alternative to superiority.
2§12. Equality in most other respects, however, is merely a foil for the superiority of whatever or whoever is being highlighted. Here are two examples featuring the word homoios (Extracts 2-Da and 2-Db):

Extract 2-Da

Of all these women, not one knew thoughts equal to [homoia] the thoughts that Penelope | knew.
Odyssey ii 121–122 [12]

Extract 2-Db

Then Zeus the father made a third generation of radiant humans, | making it a bronze one, not at all equal to [homoion] the silver one [that came before].
Hesiodic Works and Days 143–144 [13]
In the first of these two examples, Penelope is incontestably superior to the other women, and, in the second, the bronze generation is incontestably inferior to the silver.

Making similes

2§13. Continuing my survey of examples where the adjective homoios is used in comparisons, I now turn to a distinct subset of examples that will prove to be basic for my argumentation. [14] In the examples that belong to this subset, the act of comparing by way of the word homoios takes the form of a simile. When X is said to be homoios to Y within the framework of a simile, the comparison allows for translating not only as ‘A2 is equal to A1’ but also as ‘A2 is similar to A1’ or as ‘A2 resembles A1’ or even as ‘A2 looks like A1’. That is because, as we will now see, the making of a simile is primarily the making of a visual comparison. And what I have just said applies not only to homoios (ὁμοῖος) but also to other words used in the making of similes, such as isos (ἴσος) ‘equal to’ and enalinkios (ἐναλίγκιος) ‘looking like’.
2§14. Before I show examples of homoios (ὁμοῖος) as used in the making of similes, I propose to show two comparable examples of isos (ἴσος) ‘equal to’. I take these two examples from a study of mine that centers on the making of similes by way of this adjective isos in sacred contexts where a comparison is being made between a human and a divinity. The sacred context in both examples is a ritual. Specifically, it is a wedding. In the context of such a ritual, the comparison between the human and the divinity is visualized as a fusion of identities between the two. [15]
2§14a. In the first example, the gambros ‘bridegroom’ is envisioned as isos Areui (ἶσος Ἄρευι) ‘equal to Ares’:

Extract 2-Ea

Here comes the bridegroom, equal to [isos] Ares, | bigger than a big man, much bigger.
Sappho F 111.5–6 [16]
2§14b. In the second example, we see again a bridegroom, though the identity of the third-person ‘he’ in the wording that I quote is not explicitly identified as a bridegroom. In any case, the ‘he’ here is envisioned as isos theoisin (ἴσος θέοισιν) ‘equal to the gods’:

Extract 2-Eb

He appears [phainetai] to me, that one, to be equal to [isos] the gods, | that man who ...
Sappho F 31.1–2 [17]
In this second example, the envisioning is expressed by the word phainetai (φαίνεται) ‘he appears’. Appearances become realities here, since phainetai means not only ‘he appears’ but also ‘he is manifested in an epiphany’, and this epiphany is felt as real. [18]
2§15. Just as the bridegroom can be equated with the god Ares in the wedding songs of Sappho, the bride can be equated with the goddess Aphrodite. [19] Relevant to the second of these two equations is the Greek word that we translate as ‘bride’—which is numphē in Homeric usage and numpha in the poetic dialect of Lesbos, as in Song 116 of Sappho. In my earlier study, I made the following relevant observations about numphē/numpha:
This word, as we can see from its Homeric usage, means not only ‘bride’ but also ‘goddess’—in the sense of a local goddess as worshipped in the rituals of a given locale. And, as we can see from the wedding songs of Sappho, the numphē is perceived as both a bride and a goddess at the actual moment of the wedding. Similarly, the bridegroom is perceived as a god at that same moment. These perceptions are mythologized in the description of Hector and Andromache at the moment of their wedding in Song 44 of Sappho: the wedded couple are called [i]keloi theoi[s] (line 21) and theoeikeloi (line 34), and both these words mean ‘looking like the gods’. [20]
2§16. This idea of ‘looking like the gods’ in the context of a ritual is evident in the Homeric usages of homoios (ὁμοῖος) in situations where a hero emerges from a ritual bath in a sacred basin called the asaminthos. Here are two relevant passages:

Extract 2-Fa

He [= Telemachus] emerged from the asaminthos, looking like [homoios] the immortals in size.
Odyssey iii 468 [21]

Extract 2-Fb

He [= Odysseus] emerged from the asaminthos, looking like [homoios] the immortals in size.
Odyssey xxiii 163 [22]
And here is a parallel usage of the word enalinkios (ἐναλίγκιος) ‘looking like’:

Extract 2-Fc

And he [= Odysseus] emerged from the asaminthos. His dear son [= Telemachus] marveled at him, | when he saw him, face to face, looking like [enalinkios] the immortal gods.
Odyssey xxiv 370–371 [23]
In the example that we have just seen (Extract 2-Fc), the visual aspect of the simile is made explicit with the phrasing ὡς ἴδεν ... ἄντην ‘when he [= Telemachus] saw him [= Odysseus], face to face’. In this example, then, Odysseus is quite literally ‘looking like’ the gods, as expressed by the adjective enalinkios.
2§17. In the next example, which is far more complex than the other examples we have seen so far, it is the adjective homoios that expresses the idea that Odysseus is ‘looking like’ the gods when Telemachus sees him, face to face. In this case, the divine looks of Odysseus are caused not by a ritual bath in the asaminthos but by direct physical contact with the goddess Athena herself:

Extract 2-Fd

|172 So spoke Athena, and she touched him [= Odysseus] with her golden wand. |173 First she made his mantle and his tunic to be cleanly washed, |174 she made it be that way, what he was wearing over his chest, and she augmented his size and his youthfulness. |175 His tan complexion came back, and his jaws got firmed up, |176 and dark again became the beard around his chin. |177 Then she [= Athena], having done her work, went back where she came from, while |178 Odysseus headed for the shelter. His dear son [= Telemachus] marveled at him, |179 and, in his amazement, he [= Telemachus] cast his gaze away from him, in another direction, fearing that he [= Odysseus] might be a god. |180 And he [= Telemachus] addressed him [= Odysseus], speaking winged words: |181 “As a different kind of person [alloios], stranger, have you appeared [phainesthai] to me just now, different than before. |182 You have different clothes and your complexion is no longer the same kind [homoios]. |183 You must be some god, one of those gods who hold the wide sky. |184 So be gracious, in order that we may give you pleasing sacrifices |185 and golden gifts of good workmanship. Have mercy on us.” |186 And he [= Telemachus] was answered then by the one who suffered many things, the radiant Odysseus: |187 “I am not some god. Why do you liken [eïskein] me to the immortals? |188 But I am your father, for whom you mourn and |189 suffer many pains, enduring the violent acts of men.” |190 Having said these things, he kissed his son and let fall from his cheeks |191 a tear, letting it fall to the ground. Until then he had persisted in showing no sign of pity. |192 And Telemachus, since he was not yet convinced that he [= Odysseus] was his father, |193 once again addressed him with words in reply: |194 “You are not Odysseus my father. Instead, some superhuman force |195 is enchanting me, and it makes me weep and mourn even more. |196 I say this because no mortal man could craft these things that are happening to me, |197 no mortal could do these things by way of his own devising, unless a god comes in person |198 and, if he so wishes, easily makes someone a young man or makes him an old man. |199 Why, just a little while ago you were an old man wearing unseemly clothes, |200 but now you look like [= perfect of eïskein] the gods who hold the wide sky.” |201 He was answered by Odysseus, the one with many kinds of craft, who addressed him thus: |202 “Telemachus, it does not seem right [= perfect of eïskein] for you to be amazed at your father who is right here inside [the shelter], |203 for you to be amazed too much or to feel overwhelmed. |204 There will never again be some different [allos] person who comes here, some different Odysseus, |205 but here I am such [toiosde] as I am. I have had many bad things happen to me. I have been detoured in many different ways. |206 But now I am here, having come back in the twentieth year to the land of my ancestors. |207 I tell you, this was the work of Athena, the giver of prizes, |208 who has made me be such [toios] as she wants me to be, for she has the power. |209 One moment, she has made me to be looking like [enalinkios] a beggar, and then, the next moment, |210 like a young man who has beautiful clothes covering his complexion. |211 It is easy for the gods, who hold the wide sky, |212 to make a mortal man become exalted with radiance or to debase him.
Odyssey xvi 172–212 [24]
2§18. In this example (Extract 2-Fd), we see that Odysseus no longer looks the same when his complexion is changed by the goddess. His complexion is no longer homoios (ὁμοῖος) ‘the same kind’ (verse 182). That is why he no longer looks the same. Now he looks different. He is now a different kind of person. At the beginning of this analysis, I noted that alloios (ἀλλοῖος) ‘a different kind’ is the opposite of homoios (ὁμοῖος) ‘the same kind’. In the example I have just quoted, we see this meaning of alloios ‘a different kind’ in action (verse 181). I also noted that the extension -ios (-ιος) of the adjectives homoios (ὁμοῖος) ‘the same kind’ and alloios (ἀλλοῖος) ‘a different kind’ is parallel to the extension -ios (-ιος) of the adjectives hoios (oἷος) ‘what kind’ and toios (τοῖος) ‘that kind’. In the example I have just quoted, we also see this meaning of toios ‘that kind’ in action (verses 205, 208).
2§19, In this same example (Extract 2-Fd), it is said that Odysseus looks like an old man or looks like a young man, whatever a divinity may wish (verse 198). But when he looks like a young man for Telemachus to see, his son needs to avert his eyes because he sees what he sees (verse 179). What he sees is that Odysseus at that moment looks not only like a young man but also like a divinity. When Odysseus asks his son, ‘Why do you liken [eïskein] me to the immortals’ (verse 187), Telemachus can rightly answer: ‘but now you look like [= perfect of eïskein ] the gods who hold the wide sky’ (verse 200). And, in terms of the ritual transformation of Odysseus by way of a sacred bath in an asaminthos or by way of a sacred contact with the wand of the goddess Athena herself, this mortal not only looks like one of the gods but he actually becomes a god in the ritual moment marked by the similes that liken him to the god.
2§20. I offer at this point this general formulation: for a mortal to appear like an immortal to other mortals is to become a divinity in a ritual moment of epiphany—as marked by the similes that make mortals equal to divinities in that ritual moment.
2§21. Similarly, when the divine Muses so wish, words that appear to be true can really be true, as we see from the words spoken by these goddesses in their dramatized encounter with Hesiod:

Extract 2-Ga

Shepherds camping in the fields, base objects of reproach, mere bellies! | We know how to say many deceptive [pseudea] things looking like [homoia] genuine [etuma] things, | but we also know how, whenever we wish it, to proclaim things that are true [alēthea].
Hesiodic Theogony 26–28 [25]
2§22. In this example, what is deceptive is not that some things ‘look like’ other things. Rather, what is deceptive is that pseudea ‘deceptive things’ can look like etuma ‘real things’. And even these deceptive things that look like real things can still be equal to real things, the same as real things. As we saw earlier, for example, Odysseus is really ‘equal to the immortals’ when he looks like an immortal in ritual contexts. If Telemachus is deceived by the looks of Odysseus in such contexts, then the deception is in the eyes of the uninitiated beholder who cannot yet distinguish between what is deceptive and what is real. Similarly in the Hesiodic Theogony, the figure of Hesiod has been such an uninitiated beholder before his poetic initiation into the art of the Muses. After his initiation, however, he can now envision what is real even when he beholds things that can be deceptive. [26]
2§23. The same principle holds whenever Odysseus utters words to be envisioned only by those who have already been initiated into the art of the Muses of poetry:

Extract 2-Gb

He made likenesses [eïskein], saying many deceptive [pseudea] things looking like [homoia] genuine [etuma] things.
Odyssey xix 203 [27]
2§24. In this example as well, what is deceptive is not that some things ‘look like’ other things. Rather, what is deceptive is that pseudea ‘deceptive things’ look like etuma ‘real things’. And, once again, even these deceptive things that look like real things can still be equal to real things—the same as real things seen by those who are initiated into the art of the Muses. [28]
2§25. The art of the Muses is the art of poetic imagination, which can make even deceptive things look like real things, be equal to real things, be the same as real things.
2§26. Such is the art that is borrowed by the alluring figure of Helen when she makes her voice identical to the voice of any wife of any Homeric hero:

Extract 2-Gc

She [= Helen] was making her voice like [eïskein] the voices of their wives.
Odyssey iv 279 [29]
2§27. Helen’s voice, borrowed from the poetry of the Muses, has the power of conjuring the voices of the wives themselves. And, by extension, her poetic voice has the power of conjuring the very images of the wives.
2§28. True, Helen means to deceive, but her deceptive words in this narrative frame are the same as the real words of Homeric poetry in the overall narrative frame of that poetry—real words that activate visions of the real things of Homeric poetry. These real things are whatever is real for this poetry, which is figured as true. For Homeric poetry, whatever is divinely true can contain deceptions and still be true.
2§29a. A salient example of such deception contained within the overall framework of divine truth is the moment when the goddess Aphrodite appears in an epiphany to the young hero Anchises, looking like a young girl:

Extract 2-Ha

Like a virgin unwed, in size and in looks [eidos], that is what she [= Aphrodite] was looking like [homoiē]. | She did not want him to get alarmed when he with his own eyes perceived her.
Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 82–83 [30]
2§29b, Later on in the same narrative, when Aphrodite reveals herself as a goddess to Anchises, she says:

Extract 2-Hb

And now you should take note whether I look like [indallesthai] the same kind of person [homoiē] | as the kind of person [hoiē] you first saw when with your own eyes you perceived me.
Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 178–179 [31]
2§29c. In response, Anchises claims that he knew all along that the beautiful young girl was Aphrodite:

Extract 2-Hc

The moment I saw you, goddess, with my own eyes | I just knew that you were a goddess.
Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 185–186 [32]
2§30. Whether or not Anchises knew all along that the girl was Aphrodite, it is all in the eyes of the mortal viewer, the sameness or the difference. But the divine vision, either way, is true in the long run, and this truth is mediated by the poetic art of the Muses.
2§31. Despite the seemingly easy equivalence of immortals and mortals in these last three examples (Extracts 2-Ha, 2-Hb, 2-Hc), there is a fundamental difference between gods and humans that proves to be a fatally serious difficulty, as we see elsewhere in the ominous words of Apollo when the god warns the reckless hero Diomedes:

Extract 2-I

Take note, son of Tydeus, and draw back. Do not try, with regard to the gods, | to think thoughts equal [isa] to their thoughts, since our kind and your kind are not at all the same [homoion], | I mean, the lineage of the immortal gods and the lineage of humans who walk the earth.
Iliad V 440–442 [33]
2§32. I bring this analysis to a close by showing three more examples of similes activated by the adjective homoios:

Extract 2-Ja

She [= the goddess Athena] came into the private chamber, with its many adornments, where the girl [= Nausikaa] | was sleeping. Like the immortal goddesses, in shape and in looks [eidos], she [= Nausikaa] was looking like [homoiē] them.
Odyssey vi 15–16 [34]

Extract 2-Jb

And they [= the horses of Rhesus] were whiter than snow, and they were like [homoioi] the winds, the way they ran.
Iliad X 437 [35]

Extract 2-Jc

And they [= the goddesses Hera and Athena] went along, like [homoiai] tremulous doves, the way they went.
Iliad V 778 [36]
2§33. All three of these examples (2-Ja, 2-Jb, 2-Jc) show the power of poetic visualization, even though only the first of the three is explicit in expressing the use of eyesight in the visualization. In a simile, when something is like something else, the likeness does not have to be a permanent resemblance that links one noun visually with another noun. The likeness can be a momentary resemblance between any overall visualization and any other overall visualization. For example, it is not that Hera and Athena always look like tremulous doves. [37] But there are moments when they can be envisioned that way. One such moment is when you see them in motion, when you see them fluttering like tremulous doves.
2§34. Concluding this survey, I propose to say more generally what I said earlier with specific reference to Odyssey xvi 172–212 (Extract 2-Fd). When anyone in Homeric narrative is deceived by the looks of something or someone, such deception is in the eyes of the uninitiated beholder who cannot distinguish between what is deceptive and what is real. Similarly in the Hesiodic Theogony (Extract 2-Ga), I argue, the figure of Hesiod is such an uninitiated beholder before his poetic initiation into the art of the Muses. After his initiation, Hesiod can envision what is real even when he beholds those things that may be deceptive. In translating pseudea ... etumoisin homoia (ψεύδεα ... ἐτύμοισιν ὁμοῖα) as ‘deceptive things [pseudea] looking like [ homoia ] genuine [etuma] things’ at verse 27 of the Theogony, I highlight the idea that whatever things look like etuma ‘genuine things’ in one given localized poetic version could look like pseudea ‘deceptive things’ in a rival localized poetic version; each locale could have its own poetic version, and all such local versions show relative truth values—in comparison to the absolutized truth that is signaled by the word alēthea ‘true things’ at verse 28. [38]

Back to metaphor

2§35. From these examples of similes introduced by words like homoio-, the meaning of which is ‘similar to’ or, more basically, ‘same as’, we can see that the act of comparing by way of similes is selective. When A2 is being compared to A1 in a simile, this A2 can be similar to or even the same as A1 in some selective ways, but in other ways it can be different from A1, even alien to A1. For example, mortals may become the same as immortals in special sacred circumstances, but they are still mortals in other circumstances, since immortality in this life does not belong to mortals: it is alien to them. Here I return to the word allotrio-, meaning ‘alien to’ or ‘belonging to someone else’, as opposed to oikeio-, meaning ‘familiar to’ or ‘belonging to the self’. And I return also to Aristotle’s working definition of metaphor.
2§36. At the beginning of Part Two, in Extract 2-A, I had started by repeating from Extract 1-A the formulation of Aristotle concerning the function of metaphor in selectively expressing what is ‘similar’, homoio-. Now, in Extract 2-K, I will repeat from Extract 0-A the formulation that Aristotle had devised to describe the function of metaphor in selectively expressing what is ‘alien’, allotrio-. Here again, then, is that formulation of Aristotle, embedded in his working definition of metaphor:

Extract 2-K (repeating 0-A)

Metaphor [metaphorā] is the application of a noun [onoma] that is alien [allotrion], by transference either from the general [ genos] to the specific [tò eidos], or from the specific [tò eidos] to the general [tò genos], or from the specific [tò eidos] to the specific [tò eidos], or [it is a transference] by way of analogy [tò analogon].
Aristotle Poetics 1457b5–9 [39]
2§37. This formulation of Aristotle, as I quoted it again here in Extract 2-K, needs to be integrated with his other formulation, quoted earlier in Extract 2-A, where he says that metaphors, like similes, are selective about making comparisons—indicating what is similar to what. Complementing that observation, his formulation here in Extract 2K says that metaphors are also selective about making distinctions—indicating what is different from what. When A2 is being compared to A1 in a metaphor, A2 can be similar to or even the same as A1 in some ways, but in other ways it can be different from A1, even alien to A1. For example, when we say that the sky is weeping, the image of raindrops pouring from the sky is figured as similar to the pouring of teardrops from the eyes, but the sadness of weeping is selectively alien to the sky—unless we participate in a premodern system of thinking that connects the sky to a sky god who has eyes and who occasionally experiences feelings of sadness about mortality.
2§38. In the case of the weeping sky as a metaphor, the mental transference of what is alien to the sky, what does not belong to it, is achieved by way of analogy: if weeping is to the eyes as raining is to the sky, then weeping is alien to the sky. So here we have an example of metaphor as a mental transference by way of analogy—which was the last of the four criteria for metaphor as defined by Aristotle.
2§39. And now I offer three further examples of metaphor, showing mental transference corresponding to the first three criteria in the definition of Aristotle: (a) from the general to the specific, (b) from the specific to the general, and (c) from the specific to the specific:

Extract 2-La

And he [= Achilles], addressing her [= Athena], spoke winged words.
Iliad I 201 [40]
Words can travel from one person to another in any general way imaginable, and so the picturing of words flying on wings is a more specific way of imagining how words travel. But the idea of flying on wings is alien to words.

Extract 2-Lb

Then they went on board and started sailing along the watery pathways.
Iliad I 312 [41]
A pathway is a specific way to travel by land, and so the picturing of travelers sailing along the pathways of the sea is a more general way of imagining a pathway for traveling. But the idea of a pathway is alien to the sea.

Extract 2-Lc

And the ship ran along the waves, on its pathway leading to its destination.
Iliad Ι 483 [42]
A specific way of imagining, say, a speeding woman is to picture her running, and so a comparably specific way to imagine a speeding ship is to picture it too as running. But the idea of running is alien to a ship.
2§40. In all such examples of metaphor, as we can see, the selective application of something that is allotrio- ‘alien’ is part of a broader and more inclusive mental process, which is the act of comparing—whether the comparison is a metaphor or a simile. And, in the mental process of comparing one thing to another, the new thing that is being compared to the previous thing will be allotrio- ‘alien’ only in some ways but oikeio- ‘familiar’ in other ways. That is, when you compare a new thing that is A2 to a previous thing that is A1, some aspects of A2 will be different from what we see in A1 but other aspects can be the same as in A1. In the case of similes involving the adjective homoio- ‘same as’, as we saw earlier, the differences between A1 and A2 are shaded over while the similarities or ‘samenesses’ are selectively highlighted. But it is the other way around, as we have just seen, in the case of metaphors: here it is the ‘samenesses’ between A1 and A2 that are shaded over, and that is why Aristotle in his working definition highlights instead the differences, concentrating on what is selectively alien about A2 when you look back at A1. So, the metaphors of the weeping sky and the winged words and the watery pathways and the running ship highlight what is alien, not what is familiar, in the overall mental process of comparison.

Revised definitions of metonymy and metaphor

2§41. I come back to the point in the Introduction (0§04) where I started to argue that metonymy and metaphor interact with each other—and that this interaction can be seen as a coordination of a horizontal axis of combination in the case of metonymy with a vertical axis of selection in the case of metaphor. Having just reviewed the ancient Greek evidence for understanding how metaphors work, we can by now visualize more clearly the process of selection in the making of metaphors. As with the making of similes, selection is part of a broader and more inclusive mental process, which is the act of comparing. And the mental process of comparison requires primarily the perception of similarities. The perception of differences is only a secondary requirement.
2§42. That said, I am ready to rethink my earlier formulation by saying it in a new way: metonymy and metaphor are coordinated respectively along the lines of a horizontal axis of combination and a vertical axis of comparison involving a selection of similarities and differences.

The craft of weaving as a metaphor

2§43. I am now ready to argue that such a coordination of metonymy and metaphor is analogous to the interweaving of horizontal and vertical threads in the craft of weaving. And, in making this argument, I will focus on metaphors that actually compare verbal art to weaving. Such metaphors will be essential for my argumentation, since metonymy and metaphor are aspects of verbal art—and of language in general.
2§44. Already in the title of Part Two here, I used the word interweaving with reference to the coordination of metonymy and metaphor. That is because, as I noted from the start, the word interweaving is itself an example of a metaphor for such coordination, given that the process of weaving is a process of coordination between horizontal and vertical threads.
2§45. In a book that goes by the title Plato’s Rhapsody and Homer’s Music, I argue that weaving is a process of coordination between a horizontal axis of combination and a vertical axis of selection. [43] In the first edition of that book, published in 2002, I did not say explicitly that the mechanical coordination of horizontal and vertical axes in the craft of weaving is analogous to the mental coordination of metonymy and metaphor in verbal art—that is, in the craft of making song, poetry, and prose. Back then, all I said was that the craft of weaving is analogous to verbal art—as also to language in general. Returning to my formulation as I had originally constructed it, I now intend to put together a restatement. Before I can do that, however, I have to produce an inventory of relevant terms.

An inventory of terms relating to the technology of weaving

2§46. Here, then, is a brief inventory of basic terminology relating to the mechanical process of weaving as a technology. In this inventory, I draw heavily on my original wording as published in the first edition of Plato’s Rhapsody and Homer’s Music. [44]
2§46-A. Weaving is a specialized form of interlacing or plaiting. The Greek equivalent of the archaic English word plait is plekein. Whereas plaiting is basically the process of joining two lines of thread—or whatever other two sets of elements—in an over-under-over-under pattern, weaving superimposes a frame on this process. I quote the expert wording of Elizabeth Barber:
Weaving, in the narrow, technical sense, involves two operationally different sets of elements: a pre-arranged and more-or-less fixed set, the warp, and a second set, the weft (or woof), interlaced into the first set. Weaving differs from plaiting and basketry partly in the differentiation of a weft from a warp, partly in the fixed nature of the warp, and partly in the extreme length and flexibility of the typical weft. [45]
2§46-B. The frame for the warp and the weft is the loom. [46] For reasons that I will explain at a later point in my inventory, I give here the equivalents of these three English words in French: warp = chaîne, weft = trame, and loom = métier.
2§46-C. I will focus on the single-beam warp-weighted loom, [47] not on the ground loom [48] or on the vertical two-beam loom. [49] That is because, as we will see, it is the single-beam warp-weighted loom that figures as the primary point of reference for the ancient Greek and Latin terminology related to the traditional process of weaving.
2§46-D. In terms of this single-beam warp-weighted loom, which I will hereafter call simply the loom, the set of threads called the warp is vertical, hanging from a single beam or crossbeam, and the set of threads called the weft is horizontal. The rod that separates, in an over-under-over-under pattern, the odd and the even threads of the warp is the shed bar (shed is cognate with German scheiden). [50] The shed bar guides the shuttle, the word for which in French is navette. [51] Besides the shed bar, there exists a differentiated type of rod known as the heddle bar. [52] As for the direction of the whole process, “the weaving started at the top, and the rows of weft had to be packed upwards, against gravity.” [53]
2§46-E. Here is the pertinent terminology in ancient Greek: histos is the loom; mitos or stēmōn is the warp, while krokē or rhodanē is the weft; kerkis is in some situations the shuttle. [54] The kanōn, as in the description of a weaving woman in Iliad XXIII 760–763, is commonly interpreted as a shed bar, [55] though the word may be referring in this context to the more differentiated concept of a heddle bar. [56] The pēnion is the bobbin or spool that guides, by way of the kanōn, the horizontal threading as it travels over and under and over and under the vertical threading. [57]
2§46-F. I must qualify what I just said in the last sentence. It is rarely the case, in the process of weaving as we see it described in ancient Greek contexts, that the weft is taken over and under and over and under the warp threads directly. The more usual procedure is that the warp threads are separated from each other to form a shed, which is the actual passage for the weft. [58]
2§46-G. Here is the pertinent terminology in Latin, with special reference to a passage in Ovid Metamorphoses 6.53–60 describing a primordial weaving contest between the two prototypical female weavers par excellence, the goddess Athena and her rival Arachne. The two rivals set up their looms or tēlae. The threads of the warp or stāmen (collective) are stretched vertically, attached from the single beam or crossbeam, that is, from the iugum. The shed or comb is the harundō. The transverse thread of the weft, or subtemen, is attached to the shuttle or radius. [59]
2§46-H. We may note some important semantic convergences and divergences in the Greek terminology for weaving. First of all, huphainein ‘weave’ is a specialized kind of plekein ‘plait’, but there are contexts where plekein can be used as a synonym of huphainein. [60] Also, the process of uniting, by way of weaving, the horizontal weft with the vertical warp is described as sumplokē in Plato Politicus 281a; the same word sumplokē describes sexual union in Plato Symposium 191c. [61]
2§47. I will now analyze some semantic convergences and divergences in English and other languages. In undertaking this analysis, I will apply the distinction between marked and unmarked members of an opposition—to use the terminology of Prague School linguistics. [62] Here is an admirable working definition of these terms:
The “marked” member of a pair carries greater semantic weight, but can be used across a narrower range of situations, whereas the unmarked member—the more colorless member of the opposition—can be used to denote a broader range, even that range covered by the marked member: it is the more general term. [63]
2§48. That said, I highlight the English word web, which can be used as a synonym for the words weft or woof. Such a use of web is restricted to the marked sense of this word. In an unmarked sense, on the other hand, web designates simply ‘fabric’ as an entirety, consisting of both warp and weft. Similarly in Latin, tēla in a marked sense means ‘warp’; in an unmarked sense, however, tēla means ‘loom’ as an entirety, consisting of both warp and weft. French trame, as we have seen, is the weft. Metaphorically, however, trame in French means the plot of a narrative.
2§49. This metaphorical meaning of French trame as the plot of a narrative turns out to be my main reason for having highlighted this and other French words referring to the craft of weaving. It is because the meaning of trame as plot goes to the heart of the metaphorical world of weaving as applied to verbal art. In my other project on the craft of weaving, Plato’s Rhapsody and Homer’s Music, I offer this formulation:
As the metaphor of trame implies, you cannot have a plot in a story, a horizontal weft, if you do not have a framework to begin with. That framework is the loom, which must start with a vertical warp, which in turn makes possible the horizontal weft. Further, from the standpoint of working at the loom, you cannot start the horizontal weft without first attaching the vertical warp from the cross-bar. The English word web, as we have seen, can mean the entire fabric by default, not just the horizontal weft, but that entirety still depends on the warp to start it off. Similarly, the Latin word tēla may mean the entire loom, not just the vertical warp, and the horizontal axis of the weft depends on the vertical axis of the warp to give it a frame. [64]
2§50. My reference, in this quoted formulation, to the coordination of vertical and horizontal threads is the centerpoint of my ongoing argument about the coordination of metonymy and metaphor. To highlight the centrality of this point, I now quote another formulation of mine that immediately follows what I have just quoted:
Let us apply here the Prague School construct of a horizontal axis of combination interacting with a vertical axis of selection. From the standpoint of working at the loom, you cannot move horizontally from one point to the next unless each given oncoming point has already been set for you vertically. [65]
2§51. In this follow-up formulation as quoted from my other project on weaving, I compare the technical coordination of horizontal and vertical threads used in weaving at the loom with the mental coordination of two kinds of thinking in language—and when I say language here, I include the various specialized languages of verbal art.
2§52. In that other project, I go on to analyze some ancient Greek and Latin metaphors that compare the mechanical process of actually beginning and then continuing and then finishing the work of weaving a fabric with the mental process of beginning and then continuing and then finishing a given string of words in language—especially in the various specialized languages of poetry. [66] Here I highlight one single detail in that analysis, since it concerns the centerpoint of my present argument. This detail is the fact that Latin ōrdō, from which the modern word coordination is derived, has the basic meaning of ‘a thread on a loom’. [67] With this detail now in place, we can see, finally, that the idea of interweaving is actually built into the modern word coordination, which is derived from the idea of weaving a fabric by interweaving the vertical and the horizontal threads on a loom.
2§53. That said, I offer here a synthesis of the two formulations that I just quoted from my other project related to weaving:
The mechanical coordination of weft and warp in the craft of weaving can be pictured as a metaphor for expressing the mental coordination of metonymy and metaphor in verbal art—that is, in the craft of making song, poetry, and prose—as also in the production of language in general.

Weaving a song

2§54. The wording of the synthesis that I have just offered is designed to account for the existence of an ancient system of metaphors that compared the verbal art of song, poetry, and prose to the craft of weaving. As we are about to see, the most ancient way to make such a comparison was to focus on the making of song. In ancient Greek songmaking, for example, metaphors that compare the making of a song to the weaving of a web are in fact so old that we can trace them back in time to prehistoric Indo-European poetic traditions. [68] Here is an example:

Extract 2-M

I weave [huphainein] a patterned [poikilos] headband [of song] for the lineage of Amythaon.
Pindar Fragment 179 [69]
2§55. As we see from this wording, song is being visualized here as a web, a fabric, a textile. The modern word textile, I must emphasize, is derived from Latin textilis, meaning ‘woven’, which is derived in turn from texere, meaning ‘weave’. Relevant here is another modern word, text, which is derived from Latin textus, meaning ‘woven fabric’, which is derived in turn from the same word texere, meaning ‘weave’: in this case, as we can see clearly, the modern word has lost its force as a metaphor. [70]
2§56. In Greek poetic traditions, a traditional epithet for the skillful handiwork of weaving is the adjective poikilos ‘patterned, varied’, as we see it applied to a most famous prototypical fabric in myth, the peplos or ‘robe’ that the goddess Athena herself wove with her own divine hands once upon a time, in a primordial moment narrated at Iliad V 734–735 (πέπλον ... | ποικίλον). [71]
2§57. I am about to analyze in some detail the relevance of this robe, situated in the world of myth, to a set of rituals celebrating the goddess Athena in Athens. In this analysis, I will focus on the special meaning of the adjective that describes the fabric of this primordial robe. That adjective is poikilos, for which I have initially given the translation ‘patterned, varied’. It is this same adjective that we saw a minute ago in the Pindaric reference to song as a fabric that is poikilos, ‘patterned, varied’. As we will now see, poikilos refers to artistic variations achieved by way of a special kind of virtuoso weaving, the technical term for which is pattern-weaving. [72]

Metonymy and the artistry of pattern-weaving

2§58. So far, we have seen how metonymy can be pictured metaphorically as the threading of horizontal threads, that is, as the threading of the weft, in the process of weaving at a loom. A case in point is the metaphorical meaning of the French word trame as the plot of a narrative, to be contrasted with the non-metaphorical meaning, which is weft or transverse threading. In this case, the plot of a story can be seen metaphorically as a metonymic process, since the making of a plot is a combining of a sequence of narrative elements ABC … XYZ, “from A through Z,” in a narrative. But now we will see how this metonymic process of combination along a horizontal axis can be varied by way of a metaphorical process of selection along a vertical axis, so that the elements ABC … XYZ in a given metonymic sequence may become interchangeable with other elements that are variants of ABC … XYZ. To say it another way: the elements of a given metonymic sequence ABC … XYZ in a given story or description may allow substitutions, so that a variant A0 or A1 or A2 or A3 … may be substituted for the element A, and a variant B0 or B1 or B2 or B3 … may be substituted for B, and so on. Here I will argue that this kind of variation, as it operates in metonymic sequences found in verbal art, can be pictured metaphorically as a special process of artistic weaving, known as pattern-weaving.
2§59. To say it still another way: pattern-weaving is a metaphorical way of picturing virtuosity in the making of metonyms. Such virtuosity is perceived as an artistic ability to produce a variety of patterns, and such variety is conveyed by way of words like the Greek adjective poikilos, which I have so far been translating as ‘patterned, varied’. As for the actual patterning, it results from the varying of patterns in the process of threading the horizontal threads.

A brief history of the author’s encounters with the idea of pattern-weaving

2§60. My interest in this special technique known as pattern-weaving started when I was studying the word poikillein as we see this word deployed in two passages of Plato, Euthyphro 6b–c and Republic II 378c. For the moment, I will leave this word untranslated, noting only that it is a verb closely related to the adjective that I have just highlighted a moment ago, poikilos. In a book entitled Plato’s Rhapsody and Homer’s Music, which appeared in 2002, I published the results of a study centering on these two words, showing that both the verb poikillein and the adjective poikilos actually refer to pattern-weaving. [73] Here I will expand on that study, with special reference to the two passages from Plato.
2§61. Back when I was beginning to trace the meanings of the words poikilos and poikillein, I was also getting interested in pattern-weaving as a metaphor. Homeric poetry, I found, actually compares itself metaphorically as a verbal art to this special technique known as pattern-weaving. My interest in pattern-weaving as a metaphor that actually refers to Homeric poetry slowly developed into a general project of major proportions, one part of which made its way into the Sather Classical Lectures that I presented in the spring of 2002 at the University of California in Berkeley, under the title Homer the Classic, while another part got integrated into the Martin Classical Lectures that I presented in the spring of 2003 at Oberlin College, under the title Masterpieces of Metonymy. Eventually, the 2002 Sather Lectures were published as not one but two books, which I can describe metaphorically as “Siamese twins” separated at birth. One twin book, under the title Homer the Preclassic, was published in printed form by the University of California Press in 2010 and in online form by the Center for Hellenic Studies in 2009, while the other twin book, under the title Homer the Classic, was published in printed and in online forms by the Center in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
2§62. Those two twin books complement each other in presenting parts of the big picture, as it were, concerning pattern-weaving. But now, in my book here, I present a part that has up to now been missing from that picture. This new part of the big picture is what I had presented “live” as the second of my four Martin Classical Lectures of 2003.
2§63. So, here in Part Two of Masterpieces of Metonymy, my analysis of pattern-weaving completes the analysis that I started in Plato’s Rhapsody and then continued in Homer the Classic together with Homer the Preclassic. There is some overlapping with the previous three books, but even the overlaps contribute to highlighting something new—something that I have just described as a new part of the big picture.

Words for pattern-weaving

2§64. My use of the expression the big picture in saying what I just said about pattern-weaving is in fact relevant to the technique required for the practice of this special form of weaving. That relevance comes alive in the Latin word pictūra, from which the modern word picture is derived: this word, as we will see, means not only ‘painting, picture’ but also ‘pattern-weaving’. Moreover, the element pic- of the noun pictūra in Latin originates from the Indo-European root *peik-, just as the element poik- of the adjective poikilos in Greek originates from that same root. And, as we will also see in due course, this Greek word poikilos, which I have been translating as ‘patterned, varied’, likewise refers to pattern-weaving.
2§65. An example of pictūra in the sense of ‘pattern-weaving’ comes from the use of the verb pictūrāre ‘pattern-weave’, derived from the noun pictūra, as used in a remarkable passage that I am about to quote from the Aeneid of Virgil. In this passage, we will see once again the sad figure of Andromache. By now she has broken free from the degrading captivity that had become her cruel destiny after the capture of Troy, and she has even emerged as the ruling queen of a “new Troy” situated near the coast of the Adriatic Sea, at Buthrotum in Epirus. The wandering hero Aeneas and his young son Ascanius have come to visit her there. We join the action at a moment when the visit has almost come to an end, and the visitors are in fact already about to depart from “new Troy”—but not before Andromache together with Helenos, another survivor from Troy, brings parting gifts to the youthful hero Ascanius:

Extract 2-N

|482 Next [= after Helenos had given parting gifts], Andromache, mournful over the final parting of company, |483 brings fabrics [vestis plural] that are pattern-woven [pictūrātae] with transverse threading [subtemen] of gold |484 to Ascanius, and also a Phrygian chlamys—she is second to none in honoring him [= Ascanius]— |485 weighing him down [onerare] with a mass of woven [textilis neuter plural] gifts.
Virgil Aeneid 3.482–485 [74]
2§66. The participle pictūrātae ‘pattern-woven’, applied to the plural form of the noun vestis ‘fabric’ here at verse 483 of Aeneid 3, highlights the artistic virtuosity of patterning in the process of weaving. We see another example of such patterning in the text of Apuleius Florida 15, where we read the wording tunicam picturis variegatam ‘a tunic variegated with pattern-weavings’ [pictūrae]. [75]
2§67. This kind of pattern-weaving is achieved by way of a subtemen, and we have just seen this word being used at verse 483 of Virgil’s Aeneid 3. This noun subtemen (/subtegmen), which means ‘transverse threading’, is derived from the verb texere ‘weave’ and refers to a process of interweaving the horizontal threading or weft with the vertical threading or warp, thus creating the ongoing foregrounded narrative of the pattern-weaving. In this case the foregrounding is golden in color, while in other cases it can be purple. For a case of foregrounding in purple, I cite the wording we see in Tibullus 3.7.121, fulgentem Tyrio subtemine vestem ‘fabric gleaming with Tyrian transverse threading [subtemen]’. [76]
2§68. As we learn from the context of the wording I quoted from Virgil, the vestēs ‘fabrics’ that had been pictūrātae ‘pattern-woven’ by Andromache were originally meant as tokens of love for her husband Hector—and then, once Hector was killed by Achilles, for her son Astyanax. But now, since Astyanax too is dead, Andromache gives the pattern-woven fabrics to young Ascanius, who will take the place of Astyanax by receiving tokens of love that connect with the epic past of Troy. [77]
2§69. Virgil’s use of the wording pictūrātae vestēs ‘pattern-woven fabrics’ in the Aeneid connects with the Homeric use of the word poikilos in describing the fabric that Andromache was pattern-weaving in the Iliad. And Virgil’s wording highlights this connection, as we will now see, by way of directly evoking the relevant passage from Homeric poetry—from Iliad XXII, to be precise. I quote here a portion of that Homeric passage, starting with a span of time that elapses just before the terrible moment when Andromache learns the piteous news that her husband Hector has been killed by Achilles. Within this span of time, Homeric narrative catches Andromache in the act of weaving a fabric, a web:

Extract 2-O

|440 She [= Andromache] was weaving [huphainein] a web in the inner room of the lofty palace, |441 a purple [porphureē] [78] fabric that folds in two [= diplax], and she was inworking [en-passein] patterns of flowers [throna] that were varied [poikila].
Iliad XXII 440–441 [79]
2§70. As archaeological research has shown, the artistic technique that we see represented here is not embroidery, which is commonly assumed, but pattern-weaving. [80] A narrative sequence is being pattern-woven, by way of transverse threading, into the web. In this case, the dominant color of this transverse threading, as we read at verse 441 of Iliad XXII here, is porphureē ‘purple’. We may compare the wording I already cited in Tibullus 3.7.12, where the color of a weaver’s subtemen or ‘transverse threading’ is purple. I should add that, according to a variant reading found in the medieval manuscript tradition of Homeric poetry, the transverse threading at verse 441 of Iliad XXII is not specifically purple but simply marmareē ‘gleaming’ in general. [81] As an epithet, marmareē refers to the luminosity of a color like purple, not to the color itself. [82] In making this point, I am guided by the observations of my friend Susan Edmunds, a master weaver as well as a master classicist, and I quote what she wrote to me about the visual effect of luminosity:
Luminosity in weaving is the illusion of light created by judicious placement of light, medium, and dark colors. Luster is another quality that thread can have (like fine silk, or wool prepared to preserve that quality in it). The luster in the thread will appear or not depending on how the fabric is woven (think of damask in white linen, for instance, where pattern is made by contrasting shinier weave with more matt weave). [The epithet marmareē ‘gleaming’] may describe one or another of these effects or, perhaps, the ‘brilliance’ of the overall effect of beautifully chosen colors and patterns.
Susan Edmunds per litteras 2007.02.27 [83]
2§71. There are three words referring specifically to the process of pattern-weaving in the Homeric passage we have just read about the web of Andromache. The first is en-passein, at verse 441 of Iliad XXII, which means that Andromache is ‘inworking’ or literally ‘sprinkling’ various different patterns into her web by way of pattern-weaving. [84] These varied patterns are called throna, again at verse 441, which I have translated as ‘patterns of flowers’. So, now we have just seen the second word used here for pattern-weaving, since this word throna can refer to floral patterns that are woven into the fabric. [85] Finally, we come to the third word for pattern-weaving in this same context, which is poikilos. As I have emphasized already, this Greek adjective poikilos, which I have been translating as ‘patterned, varied’, is cognate with the Latin noun pictūra in the sense of ‘pattern-weaving’. And, here at verse 441 of Iliad XXII, the throna or ‘floral patterns’ woven by Andromache are described as poikila, which I translate as ‘varied’. So, Andromache is weaving varied or variegated floral patterns into her web.

Artistic variation in pattern-weaving

2§72. In this picture of a weaving Andromache, I see a pointed display of artistic variation as a driving force in the patterning of flowers that are literally ‘sprinkled’ into the weaver’s variegated web. To make this display more visible, I need to explore here in more detail the meaning of the word throna. So far, I have limited myself to the translation ‘floral patterns’, but throna can mean also ‘love charms’ or ‘enchantments of love’ or even ‘erotic incantations’.
2§73. In the wording of Theocritus 2.59, for example, throna refers to some mysterious kind of floral substance that helps you create a magical effect if you sprinkle it secretively while chanting erotic incantations. Such magical throna have the power of attracting the love of an intended lover. That is, they have the power to enchant.
2§74. This magical power of erotic enchantment is visualized in the combination of the verb en-passein with the noun throna as its direct object. Here I repeat my translation of Iliad XXII 441: ‘and she [Andromache] she was inworking [en-passein] patterns of flowers [throna] that were varied [poikila]’. Literally, the element -passein of en-passein means ‘sprinkle’. Metaphorically, then, the weaver is ‘sprinkling’ flowers into her web. Relevant here is a technical term for this kind of weaving, which is, scattered flower style. [86]
2§75. The erotic connotations of such a sprinkling style are still visible in the meanings of two nouns derived from the verb passein, which as we have seen means ‘sprinkle’. The masculine noun pastós and its feminine counterpart pastás both mean ‘bridal chamber’ or ‘bridal bed’, while pastós also means specifically ‘bridal bed curtain’ (Pollux 3.37). [87]
2§76. So, there is an erotic as well as a magical effect created by the artistic variation of the throna ‘flowers’, described as poikila ‘varied, variegated’, which Andromache en-passei ‘sprinkles’ into her web. And such an aphrodisiac effect comes to life in the epithet poikilo-thronos, applied to the goddess Aphrodite herself. [88] This epithet appears as the first word of the first line of the first song of the ancient collection of songs attributed to Sappho, where the goddess is invoked as poikilo-thronos (Sappho Song 1.1). Translated literally, poikilo-thronos means ‘having love charms [throna] that are varied [poikila]’. Interpreted more fancifully, poikilo-thronos would mean ‘Our Lady of the varied pattern-woven floral love charms’. [89] In terms of this epithet, the love charms or erotic enchantments conveyed in love songs are exteriorized as variegated floral patterns that are woven into a fabric. And it is the song itself—in this case, Song 1 of Sappho—that weaves these variegated floral patterns into the enchanted fabric. Once the singing begins, this fabric is ready to wear for the enchanting Aphrodite. Conversely, the variegated floral patterns or throna that Andromache weaves into her own enchanted fabric as described at verse 441 of Iliad XXII are interiorized as intimate love songs that are meant to attract the love of her beloved husband. And what we see at work in the creation of such enchanted fabrics, I maintain, is a kind of virtuosity that I describe here as artistic variation.
2§77. In Homer the Preclassic, I attempted an analysis of such artistry as it comes to life in the pattern-weaving of Andromache. Focusing on verse 441 of Iliad XXII, where the narrative catches Andromache in the act of sprinkling the patterned flowers or throna into her variegated web, I described in the following words the enchanting display of her artistry as a master weaver:
Each flower in the sequence of flowers woven into the web is a love charm, an incantation that sings its own love song. Each flower is different from the next, and the sequence of flowers becomes a variety of love songs within a single sustained narrative, a single love story, which is the pattern-woven web in its entirety. [90]
2§78. As I went on to argue in Homer the Preclassic, the sequence of throna or ‘floral patterns’ as pattern-woven by Andromache is telling its own love story, but this story is overtaken by the overall story of the Iliad, which is far more than a love story: it is a story of terror and pity, a story of war, an Iliadic story in the making. [91]
2§79. This overall story is already in the making when another major figure in the Iliad, Helen herself, appears for the first time in the narrative. I have in mind the passage in Iliad III 125–128 where we find Helen in the act of weaving her own web. Here I return to what I argued in Homer the Preclassic about this passage. I said there that Helen too, like Andromache, is pattern-weaving in this scene. But the difference is, the patterns that Helen weaves into her own fabric are not throna or ‘love charms’ that thread a story of love. In the web of Helen, the varied patterns are most tellingly pictured as athloi ‘ordeals’. In other words, the transverse threading here is telling a tale of war. It is the tale of the Trojan War. [92] Here, then, is wording of the passage:

Extract 2-P

|125 She [= the divine messenger Iris] found her [= Helen] in the palace. She was weaving [huphainein] a great web, |126 a purple [porphureē] [93] fabric that folds in two [= diplax], and she was inworking [en-passein] [94] many ordeals [athloi] |127 of Trojans, tamers of horses, and of Achaeans, wearers of bronze tunics [khitōnes], |128 —ordeals that they suffered at the hands of Ares all because of her.
Iliad III 125–128 [95]
2§80. As with the web of Andromache, the narrative sequence woven into the web of Helen is created by way of the transverse threading, described here as either porphureē ‘purple’ or, according to a variant reading also found in the medieval manuscript tradition, marmareē ‘gleaming’. [96] But Helen’s transverse threading, unlike Andromache’s, is telling not only her own tale but also the tale of the whole Iliad, which centers on all the ordeals suffered by all the heroes of the Trojan War.
2§81. At this point, I find it most relevant to compare the two meaning of the French word trame, which as we saw refers literally to the transverse threading or ‘weft’ of a loom and, metaphorically, to the ‘plot’ that drives a story or a description. From a comparative standpoint, these meanings fit the description of Helen’s web in Iliad III 125–128, in that her weaving can be seen as a metaphor for creating the overall plot of the Iliad. This plot moves along a horizontal axis of transverse threading, which is the weft of the loom. Meanwhile, the vertical axis of threading, which is the warp, gives variety to the plot. And the variations produced by this variety make it possible to show the many different ordeals suffered by the many different heroes of the Trojan War.
2§82. The one thing that all these sufferings have in common is encoded in the transverse threading. When this threading is suffused with purple dye, as overtly signaled by the variant reading porphureē at verse 126 of Iliad III, the color itself can track all the blood that was being shed by all who were killed or wounded in the war they fought for the sake of Helen. At a later point, when we consider the traditional pattern-weaving of another tale—about a primordial battle between Olympian gods and Earth-born Giants—we will see a comparable use of the color purple, signaling in that case the blood that is shed by the Giants in the course of their disastrous defeat by the Olympians.

Pattern-weaving as a metaphor for Homeric poetry

2§83. The web of Helen is not just a metaphor for the overall plot of the Iliad. By extension, this web is also a metaphor for Homeric poetry itself. To make this point, I start with the idea of the Iliad itself as ‘the tale of Troy’—which is in fact what the name Iliad means. Given this fact, we can think of the web of Helen as a metaphor for the telling of the tale. Similarly, the web of Andromache is a metaphor for telling a part of this tale, focusing on those precious few moments when the pleasure and the beauty of love are temporarily dominant. And then, once the weaving of Andromache is interrupted when she hears from outside her private chamber the wailing of women who already know the news about the death of Hector—news still unknown to Andromache—this part of the tale is rapidly overtaken by the overall plot of the Iliad. Now the dominance of war can once again be reasserted.
2§84. Here is another way to say what I just said about these two webs pattern-woven by these two main characters of the Iliad: the web of Helen is a fully-formed metaphor for the Homeric narrative that draws attention to it, while the web of Andromache is at least a partial metaphor for this same narrative. But there is more to it. The pattern-weaving that creates these webs is a metaphor for the verbal art that creates Homeric poetry. In other words, Homeric poetry can actually refer to its own creation by way of this metaphor.

Artistry as variation

2§85. Such a Homeric self-reference, then, is defining a special kind of verbal art that is modeled on the art of pattern-weaving. Before we consider further this verbal art in terms of such modeling, however, I first need to concentrate on the artistry of the actual pattern-weaving. In particular, I need to consider how this artistry depends on the weaver’s ability to create variation.
2§86. Minutes ago, I referred to “a single sustained narrative” in describing the sequence of throna or ‘floral patterns’ woven into the web of Andromache. And I showed that a comparable description applies to the web of Helen, where the sequencing of athloi or ‘ordeals’ is likewise a sustained narrative. Each one of these two narratives, as we will now see, is actually created by the sequences of patterns woven into the fabric, and such sequencing is the metonymic logic that drives the narration. Here is what I mean when I say metonymic logic: the entire process of narration in each case of weaving is a metonymic sequence ABC … XYZ, which is a story that runs “from A to Z.” But the process is more complicated. In the case of each one of these two webs, what makes the whole sequence a work of art is not only the sequence itself but also the variation that is added to the sequence by way of pattern-weaving. The artistry depends on this variation.
2§87. Here is how the variation works: the metonymic sequence of elements ABC … XYZ allows for substitutions, so that a variant A0 or A1 or A2 or A3 … may be substituted for the element A, and a variant B0 or B1 or B2 or B3 … may be substituted for B, and so on, from A through Z. Such substitutions are guided by the vertical threading of metaphorical selection, meshing with the horizontal threading of metonymic combination. And it is this kind of variation in pattern-weaving that makes the whole metonymic sequence ABC … XYZ a work of art. Such a work of art, in terms of my overall argument, is a masterpiece of metonymy.

A new way of looking at masterpieces of metonymy

2§88. For the very first time, I have applied here this term masterpiece of metonymy to works of art produced not by way of song, poetry, or prose. Instead, the masterpieces of Helen and Andromache are produced by way of weaving—specifically, pattern-weaving. And, by taking a closer look at this medium of pattern-weaving, we can see for the first time that a masterpiece of metonymy requires a kind of artistry that is not—and cannot be—restricted to metonymy. Instead, the artistry coordinates metonymy with metaphor. That is, a masterpiece of metonymy in pattern-weaving actually coordinates the process of making metonymic combinations on a horizontal axis, which is the primary process, with the secondary process of making metaphoric selections on a vertical axis. The actual coordination of a horizontal axis of combination and a vertical axis of selection is what produces the kind of variation that is so prized in the art of pattern-weaving. In terms of this medium of art, then, a masterpiece of metonymy is really a masterpiece of metonymy coordinated with metaphor.
2§89. This formulation brings me all the way back to the Introduction to the book (0§04), where I had already described in terms of variation the coordination that we see at work between an axis of combination and an axis of selection:
The axis of combination in meaning can be seen as a horizontal movement connecting elements A and B and C … to each other in a sequence that proceeds all the way to … X and Y and Z; correspondingly, the axis of selection in meaning can be seen as a vertical movement that varies the elements in the same sequence by allowing substitutions of one variant for another, so that the element A can become A0 or A1 or A2 or A3 …, or the element B can become B0 or B1 or B2 or B3 …, and so on.
2§90. By now we see that the poetics of variation, as initially formulated in the wording I have just repeated here, can be metaphorically modeled on the mechanical process of pattern-weaving.

On the meaning of the Greek adjective poikilos

2§91. In my analysis of the Homeric reference in Iliad XXII 440–441 to the web of Andromache, which is poetically displayed as a masterpiece of pattern-weaving, I have already shown that the adjective poikilos, when it applies to the floral patterns that are worked into such a web, means not only ‘patterned, varied’ but also ‘pattern-woven’. [97] What I have not yet shown, however, is that this meaning applies not only to masterpieces of pattern-weaving but also to the virtuosity of the verbal art that compares itself to such masterpieces. To make this point, I return to a passage that I quoted when I gave my first example of the word poikilos:

Extract 2-Q (repeating 2-M)

I weave [huphainein] a patterned [poikilos] headband [of song] for the lineage of Amythaon.
Pindar Fragment 179 [98]
2§92. Already when I first quoted this passage, I translated poikilos as ‘patterned’. But by now we see that this word means, more specifically, ‘pattern-woven’. In other words, the metaphor for song here is expressed not generally in terms of weaving but instead, more specifically, in terms of the specialized technique that I have by now identified as pattern-weaving. That said, I can proceed to reword my ongoing argument in terms of this word poikilos, and my new wording goes like this: just as the virtuosity of pattern-weaving produces a web that is poikilos ‘patterned, varied’, so also the verbal art of a virtuoso singer is poikilos, that is ‘pattern-woven’ as well as ‘patterned, varied’. And such verbal art, as we will see, can be treasured as a masterpiece of metonymy, just as the ancient world treasured the artistry that went into the making of a pattern-woven web.

A prototype of pattern-weaving

2§93. In the passage I just quoted again from Pindar, we saw a form of verbal art compared metaphorically to the craft of pattern-weaving. Later on, in passages still to be quoted, we will see a number of other such comparisons to pattern-weaving. But now I highlight another kind of comparing, where pattern-weaving is actually a model for comparison. And when I say model here, I mean an absolute model, a prototype. As we will see, the idea of such a prototype actually existed in the world of ancient Greek myth and ritual.
2§94. The prototype I have in mind is signaled in lines 734–735 of Iliad V: in these two lines, we catch a glimpse of a peplos or ‘robe’ worn by the goddess Athena herself, which is described as poikilos ‘pattern-woven’ (πέπλον ... | ποικίλον)—and which she is said to have woven with her own divine hands in a primordial moment. It is this peplos, as the narrative of Iliad V indicates in the context of these two lines, that Athena wore before she started to arm herself in preparation for fighting against the Trojans in the Trojan War. In Part Three, I will examine the entire Homeric passage that includes the full text of the two lines that I am now highlighting, but for now I quote only the relevant wording in these lines:

Extract 2-R

|734 the robe [peplos] … |735 [the] pattern-woven [poikilos] robe, the one that she herself [ = Athena] made and worked on with her own hands.
Iliad V 734–735 [99]

The robe of Athena as a perfect masterpiece of metonymy

2§95. Viewed from the perspective of ancient Greek myth and ritual, this robe that was pattern-woven by Athena herself in Iliad V 734–735 must surely be a masterpiece. In the logic of myth, a piece of art produced by a divinity is absolutely the best piece of art—the perfect masterpiece. So, the robe produced by Athena is a perfect masterpiece of pattern-weaving. And, by extension, this robe of Athena is also a perfect masterpiece of metonymy. I say this because we have already seen how the process of pattern-weaving is actually driven by a metonymic way of thinking.
2§96. I add here a qualification. In the art of pattern-weaving, the artistry actually coordinates the process of making metonymic combinations on a horizontal axis, which is the primary process, with the secondary process of making metaphoric selections on a vertical axis. So, in terms of pattern-weaving, a masterpiece of metonymy is to be understood more fully as a masterpiece of metonymy coordinated with metaphor.
2§97. With this qualification in place, I can continue to describe the robe woven by Athena as perfect masterpiece of metonymy, not only as a perfect masterpiece of pattern-weaving. And both these descriptions merit the addition of the adjective perfect because, as we will see, the masterpiece that Athena created by way of pattern-weaving her robe was understood to be not only a model but also an absolutizing prototype for any and all other such masterpieces.

Re-enacting in ritual a prototype in myth

2§98. Once again I am making a distinction here between model and prototype. And that is because, to repeat, a prototype is understood to be an absolute model in the world of myth and ritual. By contrast, non-prototypical models are not necessarily absolute. A model is meant to be imitated, but a prototype is meant to be ritually re-enacted, not just imitated. As we will now see, the pattern-woven peplos or ‘robe’ of Athena in Iliad V 734–735 is a perfect example of a prototype in myth that is meant to be re-enacted in ritual. And, as we will also see, such re-enactment takes place by way of rituals involving the process of pattern-weaving.
2§99. Already when I first drew attention to this poikilos peplos or ‘pattern-woven robe’ of Athena in Iliad V 734–735 (πέπλον ... | ποικίλον), I noted that I will analyze in detail the relevance of this robe, situated in the world of myth, to a set of rituals celebrating the goddess Athena in Athens. Now I am ready to present such an analysis.

The relevance of Athena’s robe to rituals of re-enactment

2§100. I start, then, with the wording of the passage in Iliad V 734–735 describing the primordial act of pattern-weaving performed by Athena. As we know from the words I already quoted from that passage in Extract 2-R, Athena produced a primordial robe that was ready to wear. This detail about divine wear has a direct bearing, as we will now see, on a set of rituals that I am about to analyze. These rituals will show how Athena’s primordial act of weaving a robe for herself to wear was seen as a prototype, in the world of myth, for the re-enacting of this act in the world of ritual.
2§101. The historical setting for this re-enactment was the city of Athens, where the goddess Athena was worshipped by the Athenians as their all-important deity. In this city, there were seasonally recurring rituals that re-enacted the primordial weaving of the robe that the goddess wove for herself to wear. And these rituals were connected to an Athenian myth that explained why the goddess Athena was all-important to the Athenians. To understand the meaning of this myth, as we will see, we need to understand the meaning of Athenian rituals related to the robe worn by Athena.

A charter myth for the Athenians

2§102. This Athenian myth about Athena as the all-important divinity of the Athenians is a charter myth. In anthropological terms, a charter myth is a myth that is so central, from the standpoint of a given society, that it becomes the foundational statement about the identity of that society. [100] I give here a brief synopsis of this Athenian charter myth, tracing its evolution from prehistoric times all the way into the historical era of the sixth and the fifth centuries BCE and later.
2§103. This myth, as we know from ancient sources, was about a primordial battle of the gigantes ‘Giants’ against the celestial gods, who were led by Zeus and by his daughter Athena. That battle was called the gigantomakhiā or Gigantomachy. [101] The myth, as it took shape in the historical era of Athens, told how the Giants, generated from and by the primal goddess Earth, rebelled against Zeus and Athena and all the other divinities who dwell on Mount Olympus. The Giants attempted to overthrow the gods of Olympus by piling up a mass of rocks, or even mountains on top of mountains, in order to reach the celestial heights. But the Olympian gods defeated the Giants in battle, thrusting them back down into the Earth. After their divine victory, Zeus and Athena and the other Olympians could finally re-establish cosmic order. [102]
2§104. In the narrative of this charter myth, the goddess Athena was born on the same day when she joined the other Olympian gods in the battle against the Giants. On that primordial day, the goddess was born fully formed—and armed—from the head of her father Zeus. The primary sources for this event are Hesiod Theogony 886–900, 924–926 and the Homeric Hymn (28) to Athena 4–6. It is important for me to emphasize here, in the context of my mentioning Hesiod, that Hesiodic poetry—not just Homeric poetry—was an integral part of the repertoire in the performance traditions of the Panathenaia in Athens during the preclassical era of the sixth century BCE. [103]
2§105. Athena’s birthday, then, was understood to be simultaneous with the primordial day of the Gigantomachy. [104] It is vitally important for my ongoing argument to stress here the mythological synchronicity linking the sacred day of Athena’s birth and the primordial day when she and the other Olympians defeated the Giants. [105]

A charter ritual for the Athenians

2§106. The same primordial day when the goddess Athena was born, proceeding immediately to join her father Zeus in defeating the Giants, was equated with the climactic last day of a festival cherished by the Athenians as the greatest of all festivals. Known as the Panathenaia, this festival was celebrated every year in the late summer on the 28th of Hekatombaion, which was the last day of the first month of the Athenian year. [106] In terms of my ongoing argumentation, this date marked not only the victory of the goddess Athena in the Gigantomachy but also her birth from the head of Zeus, since the victory and the birth were synchronized by the myth. [107] So, this day was the sacred annual birthday of Athena. [108] And there was a most special event that marked this most special day: it was the Panathenaic Procession, a spectacular parade that culminated in the presentation of a newly woven peplos or ‘robe’ to the goddess. This procession, culminating in the presentation of the robe, was a ritual that matched the charter myth of the Athenians, that is, the Gigantomachy. In referring to this ritual here, I coin the term charter ritual.
2§107. Here is what I mean. What happened on the primordial day of Athena’s birth in the world of Athenian myth was re-enacted on that same day, as it were, in the world of Athenian ritual. And, just as this ritual of re-enactment was thought to be sacred, so also was the birthday of Athena.
2§108. I draw attention here to my use of the word sacred in describing ritual. In saying that such a charter ritual of celebrating the birthday of Athena was sacred, I do not mean to imply that whatever happened at the celebration was exclusively solemn. As we will see in Part Four, a festival like the Panathenaia was also the occasion of festive merriment. Nor do I mean to say, I should add, that anything we may describe as sacred cannot be at the same time practical, ideological, and even political.
2§109. That said, I repeat the essentials of the sacred charter ritual of the Panathenaic Procession. Every year in Athens, a new peplos or ‘robe’ was to be woven for Athena to celebrate the occasion of her cosmic birthday, which as I said was the climactic day of the festival of the Panathenaia. This day was marked by a spectacular pompē or ‘procession’ that culminated in the presentation of the newly woven peplos or ‘robe’ to Athena in her role as Polias, meaning ‘goddess of the city’. [109] Here is a prosaic but accurately programmatic description that survives from the ancient world:

Extract 2-S

For Athena the city-goddess [Polias] there was a robe [peplos] made. It was completely pattern-woven [pan-poikilos]. And it was ritually carried and presented to her in the procession [pompē] of the Panathenaia.
Scholia for Aristophanes Birds 827 [110]
2§110. I highlight in this programmatic statement the epithet pan-poikilos, which describes the peplos or ‘robe’ presented to Athena Polias. Earlier, I had highlighted the epithet poikilos ‘pattern-woven’ describing the peplos made by Athena herself in the passage I cited from Iliad V 735. I interpret pan-poikilos as ‘completely pattern-woven’, just as I interpreted poikilos as ‘pattern-woven’. These two words, as we will see, are germane to the identity of the goddess Athena as an ideal pattern-weaver—a model for all other pattern-weavers. [111]
2§111. To these two words poikilos ‘pattern-woven’ and pan-poikilos ‘completely pattern-woven’ I now add two more, poikillein ‘pattern-weave’ and poikiltēs ‘pattern-weaver’. The verb poikillein, which I have not translated till now, is a synonym of en-huphainein, meaning ‘weave patterns [into the fabric]’. [112] As for poikiltēs, it is an agent-noun derived from this verb poikillein. So, from here on, I will translate poikillein as ‘pattern-weave’ and poikiltēs as ‘pattern-weaver’. I must add that the plural form of poikiltēs, which is poikiltai, refers to a special category of professional male weavers in Plutarch Pericles 12.6. [113] The significance of this word poikiltai will soon become clear in the course of the argumentation that follows.

The weaving of Athena’s robe for the quadrennial and the annual Panathenaia

2§112. A minute ago, I said that the robe for Athena was woven every year to celebrate the festival of the Panathenaia. But now I need to make a distinction between two kinds of Panathenaia. In 566/5 BCE, a large-scale version of this festival started operating in the late summer of every fourth year, while the smaller-scale version of the Panathenaia continued to be celebrated in the late summer of the three other years. The large-scale version of the Panathenaia was the quadrennial or Great Panathenaia, while the smaller-scale and far older version of the festival was the annual or Lesser Panathenaia.
2§113. There were two kinds of weavers weaving the robe of Athena for these two kinds of Panathenaia:
On the occasion of the quadrennial Great Panathenaia, professional male weavers were hired to weave a spectacularly elaborate and oversized peplos destined for formal presentation to the goddess Athena. These workers can be equated with the poikiltai ‘pattern-weavers’ mentioned in Plutarch Pericles 12.6. As my argumentation proceeds, I will show evidence that backs up the formulation that I have just given here.
By contrast, on the occasion of the annual Lesser Panathenaia, specially selected non-professional female weavers performed the ritual procedure of weaving a peplos for Athena; in this case, the fabric was considerably less elaborate in its specifications and perhaps smaller. [114] There are surviving ancient references to these non-professional female weavers of the annual peplos, who were known as the Ergastīnai, and to their primary representatives, who were specially selected young girls known as the Arrhēphoroi. [115]
2§114. How, then, are we to visualize the peplos of Athena? On the basis of the few surviving references from the ancient world, I offer a brief inventory of details about the quadrennial peplos, and then a comparably brief inventory of further details about the annual peplos.
2§115. In the case of the peplos featured at the quadrennial Panathenaia, we know that it was a web of truly gigantic proportions. On the occasion of the spectacular quadrennial parade known as the Panathenaic Procession, this peplos was displayed as an archetypal Sail rigged to the mast of a float that re-enacted the archetypal Athenian Ship of State; this float was rolled on wheels along the Sacred Way, from the Kerameikos through the Agora, all the way to a sacred space known as the Eleusinion (scholia for Aristophanes Knights 566). [116]
2§116. As for the peplos featured at the annual Panathenaia, it was displayed as a robe or dress to be worn—or, at least, notionally “worn”—by an old wooden cult statue or xoanon of Athena Polias, which resided in the old temple of Athena on top of the Acropolis. [117] This old temple, containing the old statue, must not be confused with the new temple of the goddess, known as the Parthenon, which was the residence of a colossal new gold-and-ivory statue of Athena. This statue was created by the sculptor Pheidias and inaugurated in 438/7 BCE under the supervision of the statesman Pericles. [118] I have already highlighted in Part One what I described there as the theo-eroticism of this spectacular simulacrum of Athena in the Parthenon. [119]
2§117. I will not delve here into debates about distinguishing between the “dress-peplos” presented to Athena at the annual Panathenaia and the “sail-peplos” presented to her at the climax of the Panathenaic Procession that took place on the last day of the quadrennial Panathenaia. [120] Instead, I assert one general observation that is relevant to such debates: I find it less than useful to make distinctions between “sail” and “dress” in considering any ancient references to any fabric that qualified as a peplos. In general, this word peplos was appropriate for designating masterpieces of weaving that were meant primarily for display, distinguished by the patterns of images woven into them. To say it another way: peplos was a specialized term having little to do with everyday wear in the ancient Greek world. And the relevant terminology focused on the art of weaving, not on any utilitarian aspect of the fabric that was woven. [121]

The eternal sameness of an eternally rewoven picture

2§118. Essential for my overall argumentation is the detail I just highlighted about patterns of images that were woven into fabrics. Technically speaking, I prefer to call these images pictures, in the sense of Latin pictūrae or ‘pattern-weavings’, as we saw them described in Virgil’s reference to the sumptuous fabrics woven by Andromache. Here, then, we have finally reached the point where we are ready to consider the actual picture that was pattern-woven into the seasonally recurring versions of the peplos presented to the goddess Athena at the climax of the Panathenaia. This picture, as we will see, was notionally always the same picture, just as the peplos of Athena, as rewoven year after year for the festival of the Panathenaia, was notionally always the same peplos.
2§119. To highlight this notional sameness, I will now introduce a special format for referring to the Panathenaic peplos. I will hereafter spell the word for this special peplos simply as Peplos, with a capital P and showing no italics, to distinguish it from other peploi. In Part Four, we will consider a notable example of another such peplos as it figured in myths and rituals involving a goddess other than Athena, Hera.
2§120. That said, we are ready to consider the picture that was eternally rewoven, year after year, into the Panathenaic Peplos. On the occasion of each and every yearly recurrence of the Panathenaia, the picture that was eternally rewoven into the Panathenaic Peplos was supposedly retelling, for all eternity, the myth of the Gigantomachy. In terms of this formulation, each new reweaving of each new Peplos on the occasion of each new seasonal recurrence of the Panathenaia was not only a ritual celebration of the victory of the Olympian gods over the Giants: more than that, each and every seasonally recurring version of the rewoven Peplos was also a ritualized retelling, by way of pattern-weaving, that enfolded the entire myth about this cosmic victory. [122]

A reference by Plato to the pattern-woven robe of Athena

2§121. As we have already seen, the myth of the Gigantomachy was the equivalent of a charter myth for Athens. That is, the narration of the Gigantomachy was considered to be a foundational statement about Athenian identity—the ultimate statement. [123] And, as we will now see, the ritualized process of pattern-weaving the robe or Peplos of Athena was the equivalent of actually narrating this charter myth. [124] That is to say, the narration of the Gigantomachy as a charter myth was literally woven into the Peplos of Athena. A vital piece of evidence comes from a passage I am about to quote from Plato, whose wording refers specifically to the weaving of the quadrennial Peplos. I quote here that passage, joining the dialogue at a moment when Socrates has this to say to Euthyphro:

Extract 2-T

|b So, do you think that there really was a war among the gods with each other, and that there were terrible hostilities and battles and many other such things as are narrated by poets—sacred things [hiera] that have been patterned [kata-poikillein] for us by noble |c masters of visual arts [= grapheus plural], in particular the Peplos at the Great [= quadrennial] Panathenaia, which is paraded up to the Acropolis, and which is full of such pattern-weavings [poikilmata]? Shall we say that these things are true, Euthyphro?
Plato Euthyphro 6b–c [125]
2§122. We see here an explicit reference to the pattern-weaving of the Gigantomachy, as a sacred myth, into the Peplos rewoven for the quadrennial or Great Panathenaia. And we also see that the weaving was done by male professionals.
2§123. In my initial formulation about the weaving of the quadrennial Panathenaic Peplos, I had already asserted that its weavers were male professionals. And now the evidence of Plato’s wording here backs up that assertion, since the word he uses with reference to the weavers of the Peplos is the masculine plural noun grapheis, meaning ‘masters of the visual arts’. This noun, which is grapheus in the singular, is relevant in other ways as well. For example, grapheus can mean not only ‘visual artist’ in general but also ‘painter’ in particular, as in Plato Phaedo 110b. Further, we have already seen the related noun graphē used in the sense of ‘painting’ when we were reading a passage about Pheidias in Strabo 8.3.30 C354, as already quoted in Extract 1-M. The meanings of these words grapheus and graphē as ‘painter’ and ‘painting’ are also relevant to pattern-weaving, since we already know that the idea of painting can overlap with the idea of pattern-weaving, as in the case of the Latin noun pictūra. Even more telling is the Greek verb en-graphein, which is actually attested in a context that refers specifically to the weaving of patterns into the fabric of the quadrennial Peplos (scholia for Aristophanes Knights 566). [126]
2§124. Here I draw special attention to a word used in the passage I just quoted here Plato with reference to the Peplos of the goddess: it is the noun poikilma, derived from the verb poikillein in the specific sense of ‘pattern-weave’. So poikilma in this context means ‘pattern-woven web’. A perfect match for the meaning of this form is the form poikiltēs, which as we have seen means ‘pattern-weaver’ in Plutarch Pericles 12.6. [127] So, by now I have evidence to back up my assertion that the web of the quadrennial Peplos was woven by professional male weavers who were actually known as poikiltai ‘pattern-weavers’. And, in a minute, we will see further evidence.
2§125. Now I can highlight the overall significance of the passage I have just quoted from Plato. [128] What Socrates is staged as saying here is significant politically as well as philosophically. By disparaging the narrative of the Gigantomachy as a quaint invention that cannot be true for a philosopher, Plato’s Socrates is subverting the charter myth of the Athenians and, by extension, he is subverting the state of Athens itself. [129]
2§126. The subversion is all the more telling because the wording of Socrates as staged by Plato is most accurate in conveying the central importance of this myth of the Gigantomachy to the Athenians. As Socrates himself admits in the passage I quoted, the things that happened in the course of the battle of the Olympians and Giants were hiera ‘sacred’ (Plato Euthyphro 6b). Not only was the content of this myth sacred for the Athenians: so also, by extension, was the form of telling the myth.
2§127. As we see from Plato’s wording, then, the primary form of narrating the Gigantomachy was to pattern-weave the sacred myth into the Peplos of Athena, which was then carried up to the sacred space of the goddess on top of the Acropolis at the ritual climax of the Panathenaic Procession. [130]

Another reference by Plato to the pattern-woven robe of Athena

2§128. Elsewhere as well in the works of Plato, the verb poikillein in the sense of ‘pattern-weave’ refers specifically to the act of weaving the narrative of the Gigantomachy into the robe or Peplos of Athena. In Plato’s Republic 2.378c, the expression muthologēteon ‘to be mythologized’ is made parallel to poikilteon ‘to be pattern-woven’, and the subject that is being simultaneously mythologized and pattern-woven is none other than the Gigantomachy (here Plato explicitly uses the noun gigantomakhiai, in the plural: ‘gigantomachies’). [131]
2§129. The evidence of this wording provides further support for the argument that the poikiltai ‘pattern-weavers’ mentioned in Plutarch Pericles 12.6 can be equated with professional male weavers who were hired to weave every four years the elaborate and oversized robe or Peplos destined for formal presentation to the goddess Athena on the occasion of the quadrennial Great Panathenaia. [132]

A spectacular picturing of Athena’s robe

2§130. I will now quote the most detailed surviving description of the actual narrative of the Gigantomachy as it was woven into the Panathenaic Peplos, that is, into the quadrennial robe of the goddess Athena. This description comes from a poem entitled Ciris, preserved in the Appendix Vergiliana, a collection of anonymous Latin poems that were eventually attributed to Virgil. On the basis of the details that we find in this poem, we can be sure that the composition of the Ciris is referring to a celebration of the quadrennial or Great Panathenaia, instead of the smaller-scale annual Panathenaia. And, again on the basis of the details, the historical occasion of this celebration can be dated to the first century BCE; in particular, the details can be matched with the historical realia of any one of the following years when the festival of the quadrennial Panathenaia was actually celebrated in Athens: BCE 74/3 or 70/69 or 66/5 or 62/1 or 58/7 or 54/3 or 50/49. [133]
2§131. I proceed, then, to quote from the Ciris a description of the Gigantomachy as a myth that was actually pattern-woven into the Panathenaic Peplos. I start the quotation at a special moment in the poem when the poet, who cannot be identified for certain, creates a metaphor for the words that he addresses to his patron, who likewise cannot be identified. The creation of these words, the poet says, is like the creation of the pictures that are pattern-woven into the Panathenaic Peplos:

Extract 2-U

|21 But (I am) weaving (you) into [in-texere] the great—if it is sanctioned to say it—Peplos |22—the kind of peplos that is carried in the city of Erekhtheus, in Athens, on the ancient occasion |23 when vows are kept by offering gifts that are owed to virginal Minerva [= Athena], |24 when the period of four years comes full circle as it slowly nears the oncoming fifth year, |25 when the light Zephyrus wind accelerates in its rivalry with the alternating Eurus wind |26 and drives forward the Vehicle, weighted down with its buckling load. |27 Blessèd is that day. That is what it is to be called. And blessèd is that year. |28 Blessèd as well are they who have seen such a year, such a day. |29 Thus does the weaving [texere] take place, the weaving that narrates in their proper order [ōrdō] the battles of Pallas [= Athena], |30 and the great folds of the Peplos are adorned with signs that signal the moment when the Giants were turned back, |31 and terrifying battles are rendered in color [pingere], with the color of a dye that is blood-red, |32 and added to that is the picturing of the Typhon repulsed by the golden tip of the spear. |33 He is the one who made the aether concrete by using the rocks of Mount Ossa, |34 piling them on top of the peak of Emathia [= Pelion] to double the height of Olympus |35—such is the Sail [= the Peplos] that they [= the Athenians] carry for the goddess on that solemn occasion, |36 and it is by way of such a ritual that I would want (to weave) you (in), O most learned of young men, yes, exactly such a ritual, |37 so that you may be enveloped by the purple flashes of the sun and by the incandescent beams of the moon |38—beams that pulsate against the orb of the world with the galloping feet of the two blue horses drawing the moon’s chariot. |39 Yes, I would want to weave (you) in [in-texere], into the great papyrus rolls of the Nature of the Universe, |40 so that a name conjoined with the ever recycling song of personified Wisdom |41—your name—may be spoken by my page through the ages as they grow ancient.
From the Appendix Vergiliana, Ciris 21–41 [134]
2§132. I will now weave into my analysis a line-by-line commentary on the complex wording of this poem. [135]
|21a weaving in [in-texere]: The Latin word in-texere expresses explicitly and accurately the technique of pattern-weaving, which refers here metaphorically to the process of narration as performed by the poet.

|21b Peplos: In this line, the Peplos refers metaphorically to the piece of narrative that is being narrated by the poet, who is dedicating his poem to his youthful patron. In the next line, we see that the metaphor for this poetic process of narration is the technical process of narrating what is pattern-woven into the Panathenaic Peplos. Evidently, there were poetic precedents for the use of such a metaphor as we see it at work here in this anonymous poem, the Ciris. The poet’s reference to the Peplos of the goddess Athena as displayed at the festival of the Panathenaia in the city of Athens was probably influenced by an earlier poem featuring references to the peplos of the goddess Hera as displayed at the festival of the Heraia in the city of Argos. Such references to the peplos of Hera were featured in a lost work of the poet Calvus, the Io. [136] I will have more to say about the peplos of Hera when we reach Part Four.

|22 Erekhtheus: In the historical phases of Athenian myth, this hero was said to be a prototypical king of Athens. So the city of Erekhtheus is Athens. In a prehistoric phase of Athenian myth, as we will see when we reach Part Three, the hero Erekhtheus was both the son and the sexual partner of the goddess of Athens, Athena.

|23 virginal Athena: In the historical phases of Athenian myth, the goddess Athena was of course a permanent virgin. As we will see when we reach Part Three, however, Athena was a mother goddess in prehistoric Athenian myth.

|24 when the period of four years comes full circle: Highlighted here is the seasonal recurrence of the festival of the Panathenaia, notionally ongoing for eternity. The reference to the fifth year, in terms of the inclusive numbering used here (which is typical of a way of thinking that has no concept of zero), signals explicitly the celebration of a quadrennial form of the Panathenaia.

|26a the Vehicle: The currus or ‘vehicle’ in this description of the Panathenaic Festival is the Athenian Ship of State, which as I noted earlier was paraded on wheels along the Sacred Way during the Panathenaic Procession that culminated in the presentation of the Peplos to the goddess Athena. That presentation, as I also noted earlier, was the ritual climax of the whole festival of the quadrennial Panathenaia. Rigged to the mast of this Ship of State, as described here at line 26, was a Sail, described later at line 35. This velum ‘sail’ at line 35 was the gigantic pattern-woven Peplos of Athena. [137] In the ritual context of the Panathenaic Procession, the Vehicle and the Sail must have been viewed as prototypical, just as the Peplos was supposedly prototypical.

|26b weighted down with its buckling load: This ‘load’ was the massive velum or ‘Sail’ that was hanging down so heavily from the mast of the Ship of State. We have already seen a reference to the heaviness of pattern-woven fabric in Virgil Aeneid 3.485, quoted in Extract 2-N, describing the ritual act of Andromache in presenting to the youthful hero Ascanius a set of folded fabrics that she herself had originally pattern-woven in Troy.

|29 Thus does the weaving [texere] take place, the weaving that narrates in their proper order [ōrdō] the battles of Pallas [= Athena]: The process of narrating is equated here with the process of weaving, texere. So, in terms of this equation, the battles of Pallas [= Athena] are being literally woven [texere]. Enhancing the equation is the use here of the word ōrdō, which I translated as ‘order’. The modern term coordination, as I noted earlier, is derived from Latin ōrdō, which has the basic meaning of ‘a thread on a loom’. So, here at line 29 is where the poem actually begins to narrate the narration that is woven into the Peplos. And the poem ‘weaves’ the narration just as the pattern-weaving weaves the narration.

|30a and the great folds of the Peplos: The Latin plural pepla is a metonymic reference to the ‘foldings’ of the Peplos. [138] Given that the basic meaning of the Greek noun peplos is ‘fold’ or ‘folding’, we can see that the idea of folding a peplos is a metonymic way of thinking of the fabric itself as an object that is folded. For example, a peplos is traditionally folded in ritual situations of giving or receiving such a fabric. A most striking example is a peplos that is pictured in the relief sculpture of Block 5 of the East Frieze of the Parthenon Frieze. Later on in Part Two here, I will argue that this sculpted image of a peplos is in fact a representation of the Panathenaic Peplos itself. For now, however, I will simply focus on the fact that the peplos in this sculpted image is shown folded—and on the fact that the folding is multiple, as we can see by viewing the edge of the web, showing manifold layers of foldings. Correspondingly, the Latin plural pepla may convey the idea of multiple foldings—or perhaps the idea of a seasonal recurrence of foldings.

|30b the moment when the Giants were turned back: The narrative of the pattern-weaving is a freeze-frame picture that signals the turning point or tropaion of the Gigantomachy—and the poetic narrative here is imitating the visual effect of such a freeze-frame.

|31 and terrifying battles are rendered in color [pingere], with the color of a dye that is blood-red: I translate coccum here as ‘dye’, since this noun means not just ‘berry’: it can refer also to any organic substance that stains, like berries, and such substances include the purple dye that is extracted from the mollusk that inhabits the murex shell (Pliny the Elder Natural History 9.140). [139] The verb pingere can mean not only ‘render in color’ but also ‘pattern-weave’—a meaning that we have already seen in uses of the derivative noun pictūra ‘pattern-weave’, as in Virgil Aeneid 3.483, quoted in Extract 2-N, referring to the fabrics pattern-woven by Andromache.

|32 the golden tip of the spear: In the pattern-weaving of the Peplos, there is a visual interaction of the color yellow, whether it is gold as here or saffron as elsewhere, with the color purple. Depending on the mode of combining purple with yellow, the color purple is perceived as red in some combinations and blue in others. [140] In the present case, the combination of the yellow color of the golden tip of Athena’s spear here at line 32 with the purple color that dominates the entire battle with the Giants at line 31 creates the dominant visual effect of red—blood red—for viewing that battle. Here the purple that visualizes the blood that is shed by the Giants in the Gigantomachy corresponds to the variant reading porphureē ‘purple’ visualizing the dominant color of Helen’s web at verse 126 of Iliad III, as quoted in Extract 2-P, where the color itself can track all the blood that was being shed by all the Achaeans and Trojans who were killed or wounded in the war they fought for the sake of Helen.

|33 He is the one who made the aether concrete: The aether, which is conventionally imagined as a non-solid space separating the celestial and terrestrial realms, is here made solid in the Gigantomachy, since the gigantic enemies of the Olympians are piling up massive rock formations, one on top of another, in their quest to exceed the heights of Olympus.

|36 I would want (to weave) you (in): In my working translation, I have used parentheses to indicate a syntactical link that extends from verse 21, But (I am) weaving (you) into [in-texere] the greatPeplos, all the way to here at verse 36, I would want (to weave) you (in). Verse 21 already signals that the cosmic picturing of the Gigantomachy, which weavers weave into the Peplos of Athena as featured at the festival of the quadrennial Panathenaia, will be ‘woven’ into the papyrus rolls indicated here at verse 36.

|37 enveloped by the purple flashes of the sun and by the incandescent beams of the moon: Again we see an interaction between yellow and purple here. The visual effect of this interaction is a red look for the sun, shown in purple threading, by contrast with the ‘incandescent’ moon, shown in yellow threading.

|38 the two blue horses drawing the moon’s chariot: In this case, the interaction between yellow and purple creates the visual effect of a blue look for the horses shown in the purple threading, by contrast with the yellow threading that shows the lunar chariot pulled along by these horses.
2§133. I stop here to contemplate the dominant color scheme of this masterpiece of pattern-weaving. The narrative thread or fil conducteur of the pattern-weaving is purple, which as we have seen is perceived as the color of blood (31 sanguineo … cocco). This color is associated with the theme of war (31 horrida … proelia) in the context of the narrative that is pattern-woven into the fabric, and this narrative is the central myth about the victory of Athena and the other Olympians over the Giants (30 Giganteis … tropaeis). [141] I find it relevant that the primary opponent of Athena in the myth of the Gigantomachy, as narrated on the occasion of the quadrennial Panathenaia, is Porphuriōn, king of the Giants (Pindar Pythian 8.12–13, Aristophanes Birds 1251, “Apollodorus” Library 1.6.1–2). [142] Thus the cosmic figure who shares with Athena a central place in the narrative of the Gigantomachy is the very embodiment of purple—as pattern-woven into the Peplos of Athena on the occasion of the quadrennial Panathenaia. [143]

Variations on a theme of a colored robe for Athena

2§134. So far, then, we have seen that the purple threading that dominates the pattern-weaving of the quadrennial Panathenaic Peplos is a visual foregrounding of the bloodshed of war as a dominant theme in the myth of the Gigantomachy. And we have also seen a parallel visual foregrounding when we considered the purple threading that dominates the pattern-weaving of Helen at verse 126 of Iliad III, as quoted in Extract 2-P: there too, the dominant theme is the bloodshed of war. But the color scheme was different in the pattern-weaving of the Peplos of Athena for the festival of the annual or Lesser Panathenaia that was held on every year other than the year of the quadrennial or Great Panathenaia. In this case, the dominant color of the threading was yellow, not purple.
2§135. To show this difference, I start with the name given to the king of the Giants as represented in the annual Panathenaic Peplos. Unlike Porphuriōn, the name of the purple king of the Giants in the quadrennial Panathenaic Peplos, the name of the corresponding Giant in the annual Panathenaic Peplos shows that he was threaded in yellow, not in purple.
2§136. We learn from Aristotle (F 637 Rose) [144] that the festival of the annual or Lesser Panathenaia was aetiologized by way of a specialized myth that told of the primal killing of a Giant named Asterios or Astēr by the goddess Athena. [145] These two names Asterios or Astēr are most revealing, since both forms derive from the noun astēr meaning ‘star’: so the Giant is a ‘Star’. [146] The proper threading, then, for this shining Giant is not purple but yellow. [147]
2§137. Such a difference in the color schemes of the annual and the quadrennial Peplos can be correlated with another difference that I have already highlighted. Whereas the quadrennial Peplos, as I have argued, was pattern-woven by professional male weavers, the annual Peplos was the work of specially selected non-professional female weavers. [148]
2§138. Here I find it relevant to recall the fact that the peplos presented as an offering to the goddess Athena by the women of Troy at Iliad VI 295 is said to shine like an astēr ‘star’. According to one theory, this Iliadic simile was the inspiration for the naming of the Giant known as Astēr or Asterios. [149] I argue instead that the simile and the name are both cognate with a traditional iconographic narratology of star patterns woven into the Peplos of Athena at the Panathenaia. [150] These stars, as I once observed, are telling their own story. [151] And it is a story told primarily in yellow.
2§139. The mark of femininity in the accentuation of yellow rather than purple threading can be seen in references to the color of saffron in descriptions of the annual Panathenaic Peplos. I am about to show one such description, which I have extracted from the Hecuba of Euripides. And, as we will see in this example, there is reason to think that the dominant yellow threading of the annual Peplos was correlated with a feminized pattern of avoiding the grim theme of bloodshed in war, by contrast with the dominant purple threading of the quadrennial Peplos.
2§140. The example I have in mind here comes from a choral lyric passage in the Hecuba of Euripides. The dramatic time of this drama focuses on the grim aftermath of the Trojan War, and we are about to read words sung-and-danced by a chorus of captive Trojan women who are imagining their future as slaves living in the foreign lands of their Hellenic captors. [152] If they are to be taken to Athens, they imagine, their work there will be the weaving of the Peplos of Athena. Such an act of imagination, as I have argued before, is typical of the aristocratic ethos that characterizes Trojan captive women in both epic and tragedy. [153] Although their bad fortune has transformed them into slaves, these Trojan women still think and behave like aristocrats. [154] Even though they will be slaves of the Hellenes, these Trojan women retain their aristocratic charisma by pathetically imagining themselves in the act of performing a task traditionally performed by the aristocratic daughters of Athens. And that task is the weaving of the Peplos of Athena. [155] Here is the women’s description of the Peplos—and of the colors to be pattern-woven into it:

Extract 2-V

Or, in the city of Pallas [Athena], into [the texture of] the saffron-colored Peplos of Athena, shall I yoke beautiful horses to her chariot [harma], [156] matching the beautiful vehicle, [157] as I pattern-weave [poikillein] them [= the horses and the chariot] with threads colored by the blossoms of saffron, or [as I pattern-weave] the generation of Titans [158] who were put to sleep [koimizein] by Zeus the son of Kronos with a lightning stroke that had fire flashing all around it?
Euripides Hecuba 466–474 [159]
2§141. In this pattern-woven picture of Athena riding on a chariot drawn by horses, I argue, the dominant color of the horses together with their chariot is yellow. If this argument holds, then the flashing thunderbolt of Zeus would be yellow. And here the destruction of the Giants seems to be taking place without bloodshed, since they are ‘put to sleep’ by the radiant weapon of Zeus. If in fact the foregrounding of the luminous gods is pattern-woven in yellow, that is, in the color of saffron, then any purple in the background can now default to blue, matching the blue skies of a most successful cosmic outcome.

A tension between sacred sameness and real differences

2§142. By now we have seen a variety of differences in descriptions of the patterning that was woven, year after year, into each annual and each quadrennial Peplos of Athena. But we have also seen that such patterning, which narrated the Gigantomachy as a charter myth for the Athenians, was nevertheless supposed to be one and the same narrative. There is an ideology of sacred sameness at work here. Notionally, the recurring picture that was seasonally rewoven into the Panathenaic Peplos was telling one and the same charter myth, which was considered to be sacred, as we have seen from the explicit wording of Plato Euthyphro 6b. So, we find a tension here between the notional sameness of the Gigantomachy as a sacred charter myth and the historical reality of differences that emerge in the seasonal reweavings of this myth into the Panathenaic Peplos.
2§143. But it is surely to be expected that the narration of the Gigantomachy as a charter myth for the Athenians kept on changing every year throughout the lengthy history of seasonally recurring pattern-weavings for each annual and each quadrennial occasion of celebrating the Panathenaia. We must reckon, I argue, with the historical reality of an ever-changing picture that counterbalances, by way of its ever-new differences, the notional sameness of the sacred Peplos.
2§144. In fact, as we see from the Aristotelian Constitution of the Athenians (60.1–3), dating from the fourth century BCE, the State of Athens actually regulated the form and the content of the pattern-weaving that narrated the myth of the Gigantomachy. The regulators were elected officials known as the athlothetai, meaning ‘ordainers of the competitions [athloi]’, who were directly in charge of all activities concerning the quadrennial Panathenaia, including the task of supervising the design for the quadrennial making of the Peplos. To quote from the Aristotelian Constitution (60.1): kai ton peplon poiountai ‘and they [= the athlothetai] are in charge of having the Peplos made’. Further, these athlothetai were in charge of approving the paradeigmata or ‘models’ of the patterns to be woven into each quadrennial Peplos (49.3). [160] Those woven patterns, to return to the wording of Plato Euthyphro 6b, were the hiera ‘sacred things’ that were narrated in the process of reweaving the charter myth of the Gigantomachy. The technique of narration by way of weaving such patterns has aptly been described by one expert as a story-frieze style of weaving. [161]
2§145. In the book Homer the Classic, I asked the question: why would such important elected state officials be held responsible for the narrative agenda of the story-frieze patterns woven into the Peplos of Athena? My answer then and now is the same: such explicit narrative agenda must have matched in importance the implicit political agenda of the State. [162]
2§146. That said, I am ready to put together a formulation that sums up my assessment of the tension between notional sameness and real differences in the seasonally recurring narration of the Gigantomachy—a narration achieved by way of reweaving this myth into the Panathenaic Peplos. Each time when this myth was rewoven, it had to be notionally the same, since it was after all a sacred charter myth, but it could also be different each time in its variations, which were conditioned by the vicissitudes of history.
2§147. Here, then, is my concluding formulation: despite an ideology of sacred unchangeability, there were in fact changes over time both in the telling of the charter myth of the Gigantomachy and in the weaving of this myth into the Peplos. And this formulation applies, I maintain, not only to the great Peplos of the quadrennial or Great Panathenaia but also to the smaller Peplos of the annual Lesser Panathenaia.


[ back ] 1. πολὺ δὲ μέγιστον τὸ μεταφορικὸν εἶναι. μόνον γὰρ τοῦτο οὔτε παρ’ ἄλλου ἔστι λαβεῖν εὐφυΐας τε σημεῖόν ἐστι· τὸ γὰρ εὖ μεταφέρειν τὸ τὸ ὅμοιον θεωρεῖν ἐστιν.
[ back ] 2. The rest of this analysis derives from Nagy 2010c.
[ back ] 3. DELG s.v. ὁμός.
[ back ] 4. This paragraph and the connected paragraphs that follow derive from Nagy 2010c:153–157.
[ back ] 5. These three categories have been noted by Heiden 2007:156.
[ back ] 6. ἔνθ’ οὔ τίς ποτε μῆτιν ὁμοιωθήμεναι ἄντην | ἤθελ’, ἐπεὶ μάλα πολλὸν ἐνίκα δῖος Ὀδυσσεύς.
[ back ] 7. τῷ δ’ οὔ πώ τις ὁμοῖος ἐπιχθόνιος γένετ’ ἀνὴρ | κοσμῆσαι ἵππους τε καὶ ἀνέρας ἀσπιδιώτας·
[ back ] 8. ὦ φίλοι Ἀργείων ὅς τ’ ἔξοχος ὅς τε μεσήεις | ὅς τε χερειότερος, ἐπεὶ οὔ πω πάντες ὁμοῖοι | ἀνέρες ἐν πολέμῳ, νῦν ἔπλετο ἔργον ἅπασι.
[ back ] 9. στυγέῃ δὲ καὶ ἄλλος | ἶσον ἐμοὶ φάσθαι καὶ ὁμοιωθήμεναι ἄντην.
[ back ] 10. μήτε σὺ Πηλείδη ’θελ’ ἐριζέμεναι βασιλῆϊ | ἀντιβίην, ἐπεὶ οὔ ποθ’ ὁμοίης ἔμμορε τιμῆς | σκηπτοῦχος βασιλεύς, ᾧ τε Ζεὺς κῦδος ἔδωκεν. | εἰ δὲ σὺ καρτερός ἐσσι θεὰ δέ σε γείνατο μήτηρ, | ἀλλ’ ὅ γε φέρτερός ἐστιν ἐπεὶ πλεόνεσσιν ἀνάσσει.
[ back ] 11. ἀλλὰ τόδ’ αἰνὸν ἄχος κραδίην καὶ θυμὸν ἱκάνει, | ὁππότε δὴ τὸν ὁμοῖον ἀνὴρ ἐθέλῃσιν ἀμέρσαι | καὶ γέρας ἂψ ἀφελέσθαι, ὅ τε κράτεϊ προβεβήκῃ.
[ back ] 12. τάων οὔ τις ὁμοῖα νοήματα Πηνελοπείῃ | ᾔδη.
[ back ] 13. Ζεὺς δὲ πατὴρ τρίτον ἄλλο γένος μερόπων ἀνθρώπων | χάλκειον ποίησ’, οὐκ ἀργυρέῳ οὐδὲν ὁμοῖον.
[ back ] 14. What follows here derives from Nagy 2010c:157–167.
[ back ] 15. Nagy 2007c:28–29.
[ back ] 16. γάμβρος ἔρχεται ἶσος Ἄρευι, | ἄνδρος μεγάλω πόλυ μέζων.
[ back ] 17. φαίνεταί μοι κῆνος ἴσος θέοισιν | ἔμμεν’ ὤνηρ ὄττις ...
[ back ] 18. Nagy 2007c:28; further analysis in H24H 5§§36–48, where I argue that Song 31 of Sappho is morphologically a wedding song, and that the referent of the ‘he’ is the bridegroom’ while the referent of the ‘you’ is the bride.
[ back ] 19. Nagy 2007c:27–28; further analysis in H24H 5§§36–48.
[ back ] 20. Nagy 2007c:28; further analysis in H24H 4§§18–20.
[ back ] 21. ἔκ ῥ’ ἀσαμίνθου βῆ δέμας ἀθανάτοισιν ὁμοῖος.
[ back ] 22. ἔκ ῥ’ ἀσαμίνθου βῆ δέμας ἀθανάτοισιν ὁμοῖος.
[ back ] 23. ἐκ δ’ ἀσαμίνθου βῆ· θαύμαζε δέ μιν φίλος υἱός, | ὡς ἴδεν ἀθανάτοισι θεοῖσ’ ἐναλίγκιον ἄντην.
[ back ] 24. |172 ἦ, καὶ χρυσείῃ ῥάβδῳ ἐπεμάσσατ’ Ἀθήνη. |173 φᾶρος μέν οἱ πρῶτον ἐϋπλυνὲς ἠδὲ χιτῶνα |174 θῆκ’ ἀμφὶ στήθεσφι, δέμας δ’ ὤφελλε καὶ ἥβην. |175 ἂψ δὲ μελαγχροιὴς γένετο, γναθμοὶ δ’ ἐτάνυσθεν, |176 κυάνεαι δ’ ἐγένοντο ἐθειράδες ἀμφὶ γένειον. |177 ἡ μὲν ἄρ’ ὣς ἔρξασα πάλιν κίεν· αὐτὰρ Ὀδυσσεὺς |178 ἤϊεν ἐς κλισίην. θάμβησε δέ μιν φίλος υἱός, |179 ταρβήσας δ’ ἑτέρωσε βάλ’ ὄμματα, μὴ θεὸς εἴη, |180 καί μιν φωνήσας ἔπεα πτερόεντα προσηύδα· |181ἀλλοῖός μοι, ξεῖνε, φάνης νέον ἠὲ πάροιθεν, |182 ἄλλα δὲ εἵματ’ ἔχεις καί τοι χρὼς οὐκέθ’ ὁμοῖος. |183 ἦ μάλα τις θεός ἐσσι, τοὶ οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἔχουσιν· |184 ἀλλ’ ἵληθ’, ἵνα τοι κεχαρισμένα δώομεν ἱρὰ |185 ἠδὲ χρύσεα δῶρα, τετυγμένα· φείδεο δ’ ἡμέων.” |186 τὸν δ’ ἠμείβετ’ ἔπειτα πολύτλας δῖος Ὀδυσσεύς· |187 “οὔ τίς τοι θεός εἰμι· τί μ’ ἀθανάτοισιν ἐΐσκεις ; |188 ἀλλὰ πατὴρ τεός εἰμι, τοῦ εἵνεκα σὺ στεναχίζων |189 πάσχεις ἄλγεα πολλά, βίας ὑποδέγμενος ἀνδρῶν.” |190 ὣς ἄρα φωνήσας υἱὸν κύσε, κὰδ δὲ παρειῶν |191 δάκρυον ἧκε χαμᾶζε· πάρος δ’ ἔχε νωλεμὲς αἰεί. |192 Τηλέμαχος δ’,—οὐ γάρ πω ἐπείθετο ὃν πατέρ’ εἶναι,—|193 ἐξαῦτίς μιν ἔπεσσιν ἀμειβόμενος προσέειπεν· |194 “οὐ σύ γ’ Ὀδυσσεύς ἐσσι πατὴρ ἐμός, ἀλλά με δαίμων |195 θέλγει, ὄφρ’ ἔτι μᾶλλον ὀδυρόμενος στεναχίζω. |196 οὐ γάρ πως ἂν θνητὸς ἀνὴρ τάδε μηχανόῳτο |197 ᾧ αὐτοῦ γε νόῳ, ὅτε μὴ θεὸς αὐτὸς ἐπελθὼν |198 ῥηϊδίως ἐθέλων θείη νέον ἠδὲ γέροντα. |199 ἦ γάρ τοι νέον ἦσθα γέρων καὶ ἀεικέα ἕσσο· |200 νῦν δὲ θεοῖσιν ἔοικας, οἳ οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἔχουσι.” |201 τὸν δ’ ἀπαμειβόμενος προσέφη πολύμητις Ὀδυσσεύς· |202 “Τηλέμαχ’, οὔ σε ἔοικε φίλον πατέρ’ ἔνδον ἐόντα |203 οὔτε τι θαυμάζειν περιώσιον οὔτ’ ἀγάασθαι· |204 οὐ μὲν γάρ τοι ἔτ’ ἄλλος ἐλεύσεται ἐνθάδ’ Ὀδυσσεύς, |205 ἀλλ’ ὅδ’ ἐγὼ τοιόσδε, παθὼν κακά, πολλὰ δ’ ἀληθείς, |206 ἤλυθον εἰκοστῷ ἔτεϊ ἐς πατρίδα γαῖαν. |207 αὐτάρ τοι τόδε ἔργον Ἀθηναίης ἀγελείης, |208 ἥ τέ με τοῖον ἔθηκεν ὅπως ἐθέλει, δύναται γάρ, |209 ἄλλοτε μὲν πτωχῷ ἐναλίγκιον, ἄλλοτε δ’ αὖτε |210 ἀνδρὶ νέῳ καὶ καλὰ περὶ χροῒ εἵματ’ ἔχοντι. |211 ῥηΐδιον δὲ θεοῖσι, τοὶ οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἔχουσιν, |212 ἠμὲν κυδῆναι θνητὸν βροτὸν ἠδὲ κακῶσαι.”
[ back ] 25. ποιμένες ἄγραυλοι, κάκ᾿ ἐλέγχεα, γαστέρες οἶον, | ἴδμεν ψεύδεα πολλὰ λέγειν ἐτύμοισιν ὁμοῖα, | ἴδμεν δ᾿, εὖτ᾿ ἐθέλωμεν, ἀληθέα γηρύσασθαι. For other translations, I single out Pucci 2007:27.
[ back ] 26. On the theme of Hesiod’s poetic initiation, I have more to say, with further references, in Nagy 2009a.
[ back ] 27. ἴσκε ψεύδεα πολλὰ λέγων ἐτύμοισιν ὁμοῖα.
[ back ] 28. My interpretation of Odyssey xix 203 follows my analysis GM 44, 274. I consider my current translation, however, to be an improvement on the one I offered in that analysis: ‘He spoke, assimilating many falsehoods to make them look like genuine things’.
[ back ] 29. φωνὴν ἴσκουσ’ ἀλόχοισιν.
[ back ] 30. παρθένῳ ἀδμήτῃ μέγεθος καὶ εἶδος ὁμοίη | μή μιν ταρβήσειεν ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖσι νoήσας.
[ back ] 31. καὶ φράσαι εἴ τοι ὁμοίη ἐγὼν ἰνδάλλομαι εἶναι | οἵην δή με τὸ πρῶτον ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖσι νόησας.
[ back ] 32. αὐτίκα σ’ ὡς τὰ πρῶτα θεὰ ἴδον ὀφθαλμοῖσιν | ἔγνων ὡς θεὸς ἦσθα.
[ back ] 33. φράζεο Τυδεΐδη καὶ χάζεο, μηδὲ θεοῖσιν | ἶσ’ ἔθελε φρονέειν, ἐπεὶ οὔ ποτε φῦλον ὁμοῖον | ἀθανάτων τε θεῶν χαμαὶ ἐρχομένων τ’ ἀνθρώπων.
[ back ] 34. βῆ δ’ ἴμεν ἐς θάλαμον πολυδαίδαλον, ᾧ ἔνι κούρη | κοιμᾶτ’ ἀθανάτῃσι φυὴν καὶ εἶδος ὁμοίη.
[ back ] 35. λευκότεροι χιόνος, θείειν δ’ ἀνέμοισιν ὁμοῖοι.
[ back ] 36. αἳ δὲ βάτην τρήρωσι πελειάσιν ἴθμαθ’ ὁμοῖαι.
[ back ] 37. With reference to this example as well as to others I have already analyzed, my interpretation differs from that of Heiden 2007.
[ back ] 38. GM 44–46; at p. 44 I compare the use of pseudea ‘deceptive things’ in the Homeric Odyssey with reference to localized poetic versions of a “Cretan odyssey” as narrated by the disguised Odysseus in the form of “Cretan lies.”
[ back ] 39. μεταφορὰ δέ ἐστιν ὀνόματος ἀλλοτρίου ἐπιφορὰ ἢ ἀπὸ τοῦ γένους ἐπὶ εἶδος ἢ ἀπὸ τοῦ εἴδους ἐπὶ τὸ γένος ἢ ἀπὸ τοῦ εἴδους ἐπὶ εἶδος ἢ κατὰ τὸ ἀνάλογον.
[ back ] 40. καί μιν φωνήσας ἔπεα πτερόεντα προσηύδα.
[ back ] 41. οἳ μὲν ἔπειτ’ ἀναβάντες ἐπέπλεον ὑγρὰ κέλευθα.
[ back ] 42. ἣ δ’ ἔθεεν κατὰ κῦμα διαπρήσσουσα κέλευθον.
[ back ] 43. PR 79.
[ back ] 44. PR [2002] 77–79, where I already emphasize my reliance on the expertise of Barber 1991.
[ back ] 45. Barber 1991:79.
[ back ] 46. Barber 1991:80.
[ back ] 47. Barber 1991: 91–113.
[ back ] 48. Barber 1991:83–91.
[ back ] 49. Barber 1991:113–116. The idiosyncrasies of loom traditions in Egypt are connected to the restrictions in raw material used for weaving: unlike elsewhere, the Egyptian tradition concentrates on linen, not wool. See Barber 1991:211.
[ back ] 50. Barber 1991:82.
[ back ] 51. See Barber 1991:85n3 on the metaphors inherent in the words shuttle and navette. These metaphors picture a ship bobbing over and under and over and under as it makes its way through the waves.
[ back ] 52. Barber 1991:110.
[ back ] 53. Barber 1991:92.
[ back ] 54. Scheid and Svenbro 1994:21. More generally, as Edmunds 2012 argues, kerkis is a ‘pin-beater’.
[ back ] 55. For example, Richardson 1993:253.
[ back ] 56. Barber 1991:112, 267.
[ back ] 57. Barber 1991:267 refers to the pēnion as a weft bobbin, and she draws attention to the expression kata miton in the sense of ‘in due order’. For a semantic parallel, I suggest Latin ōrdō, the meaning of which I will analyze later.
[ back ] 58. Edmunds 2012.
[ back ] 59. I note that the woman described as weaving in Iliad XXIII 760–63 raises the kanōn to the same level as her breasts. This seemingly eroticized detail may be parallel to Ovid Metamorphoses 6.59–60: utraque festinant cinctaeque ad pectora uestes | bracchia docta mouent studio fallente laborem ‘Each one of the two of them went at it with speed, and, hitching their garments up toward their breasts | they set in motion their expert arms with an eagerness that gave no hint of any fatigue’.
[ back ] 60. Scheid and Svenbro 1994:35, 126n26.
[ back ] 61. Scheid and Svenbro 1994:21n21.
[ back ] 62. There is an extended discussion of these terms in PH 0§§12–16 pp. 5–8. See also Waugh 1982 (“Marked and Unmarked: A Choice between Unequals in Semiotic Structure”).
[ back ] 63. Martin 1989:29. See also HQ 119–120. Highlighting mine.
[ back ] 64. PR 79.
[ back ] 65. PR 79
[ back ] 66. PR 79–82.
[ back ] 67. PR 80.
[ back ] 68. PP 64. See also Schmitt 1967:298–300. As I argue at PP 64n22, it is not justified to claim, as do Scheid and Svenbro 1994:119–138, that the metaphor of singing as weaving was invented by poets like Pindar, who lived in the fifth century BCE. Nor, as I argue further at PP 64–65n23, is it justified for Scheid and Svenbro to claim that this metaphor is unknown in the poetics of the Homeric Iliad and Odyssey. In Part Three of my present project, I will go beyond these cited arguments of mine and argue further that Homeric poetry actually metaphorizes itself as a fabric that is in the process of being woven.
[ back ] 69. ὑφαίνω δ᾿ Ἀμυθαονίδαισιν ποικίλον ἄνδημα (cited at Schmitt 1967:300).
[ back ] 70. PP 64–65; see also Schmitt 1967:14–15.
[ back ] 71. Commentary in HC 4§§185–210.
[ back ] 72. In Part Three, we will also consider the verb poikillein, which means ‘pattern-weave’ just as the adjective poikilos means ‘pattern-woven’.
[ back ] 73. PR 91–94.
[ back ] 74. |482 nec minus Andromache digressu maesta supremo |483 fert picturatas auri subtemine vestis |484 et Phrygiam Ascanio chlamydem (nec cedit honore) |485 textilibus que onerat donis.
[ back ] 75. HC 1§201, following Barber 1991:359n2.
[ back ] 76. HC 1§201.
[ back ] 77. HC 1§202.
[ back ] 78. The medieval manuscript tradition of Homeric poetry shows a variant reading at verse 441 for porphureē ‘purple’, which is marmareē ‘gleaming’.
[ back ] 79. |440 ἀλλ’ ἥ γ’ ἱστὸν ὕφαινε μυχῷ δόμου ὑψηλοῖο |441 δίπλακα πορφυρέην, ἐν δὲ θρόνα ποικίλ’ ἔπασσε.
[ back ] 80. On pattern-weaving as opposed to embroidery, see HPC II§374 p. 274, with reference to PR 93, following Wace 1948. Also following Wace is Kirk 1985:280 and 1990:199.
[ back ] 81. Again, HPC II§374 p. 274.
[ back ] 82. For a general discussion of the color purple, see Lepschy 1998, especially at p. 54.
[ back ] 83. First quoted in HPC II§394 p. 284n39.
[ back ] 84. PR 93, with further references, including Kirk 1985:280, who relies (as I do) especially on Wace 1948.
[ back ] 85. HPC II§§376–377 pp. 274–275, with references.
[ back ] 86. On this style of weaving, see Barber 1991:366n7.
[ back ] 87. HPC II§377 p. 275n12.
[ back ] 88. Petropoulos 1993.
[ back ] 89. HPC II§381 p. 276. Details in PR 93; see also PP 101.
[ back ] 90. HPC II§376 p. 275 .
[ back ] 91. HPC II§382 p. 276.
[ back ] 92. HPC II§382 p. 276. See also Clader 1976:7n8 and Collins 1988:42–43.
[ back ] 93. There is a variant reading at verse 126 for porphureē ‘purple’, which is marmareē ‘gleaming’.
[ back ] 94. To repeat, en-passein is to ‘sprinkle’: PR 93.
[ back ] 95. |125 τὴν δ’ εὗρ’ ἐν μεγάρῳ· ἣ δὲ μέγαν ἱστὸν ὕφαινε |126 δίπλακα πορφυρέην, πολέας δ’ ἐνέπασσεν ἀέθλους |127 Τρώων θ’ ἱπποδάμων καὶ Ἀχαιῶν χαλκοχιτώνων, |128 οὕς ἑθεν εἵνεκ’ ἔπασχον ὑπ’ Ἄρηος παλαμάων.
[ back ] 96. HPC II§383 p. 277.
[ back ] 97. See also HPC II§392 p. 283, following Barber 1991:359n2.
[ back ] 98. ὑφαίνω δ᾿ Ἀμυθαονίδαισιν ποικίλον ἄνδημα.
[ back ] 99. |734 πέπλον … |735 ποικίλον, ὅν ῥ’ αὐτὴ ποιήσατο καὶ κάμε χερσίν.
[ back ] 100. PR 90–93.
[ back ] 101. Details and citations in HC 1§130.
[ back ] 102. On the central role of Athena in the Athenian version of this myth, see especially Pinney 1988.
[ back ] 103. HPC I §§171–177 pp. 70–73; E§71 p. 333; E§§83–94 pp. 336–340, E§§111–113 pp. 345–346.
[ back ] 104. Details in HC 1§131, 4§217.
[ back ] 105. Details in HC 1§131, 4§217. See also HPC I§201 p. 84n11.
[ back ] 106. See Rhodes 1981:693, who also considers surviving traces of fluctuation between the 28th and the 27th of Hekatombaiōn as the main day of celebration.
[ back ] 107. What I argue here is not incompatible with the argumentation of Pinney 1988 about the aetiological link between the mythical victory of the goddess and the ritual celebration of this victory on the 28th day of the month Hekatombaiōn at the festival of the Panathenaia. But I have added to Pinney’s argumentation the idea that the victory of the goddess is synchronized with her birth.
[ back ] 108. I am making a distinction here between one yearly birthday and twelve monthly birthdays for the goddess, since these distinct birthdays were apparently dated at different days of the month. It is reported that the monthly birthday was celebrated on the third day of every month in the year: see Harpocration s.v. τριτομηνίς and the commentary of Shear 2001:37n30. I disagree, however, with Shear’s argument (especially pp. 3, 29–30, 37, with bibliography) for discounting the rival testimony about the 28th day of the month as the monthly birthday, as reported for example in the Suda s.v. τριτογενής. Such testimony, I argue, stems from a misreading of earlier traditions about the 28th day of the month Hekatombaiōn as the yearly birthday of Athena.
[ back ] 109. Details and references in HC 4§§189, 194.
[ back ] 110. Τῇ Ἀθηνᾷ πολιάδι οὔσῃ πέπλος ἐγίνετο παμποίκιλος, ὃν ἀνέφερον ἐν τῇ
πομπῇ τῶν Παναθηναίων.
[ back ] 111. HC 4§195.
[ back ] 112. Barber 1991:359n2.
[ back ] 113. HC 4§199, with further analysis.
[ back ] 114. HC 4§206
[ back ] 115. Overview by Barber 1991:362, 377. I rely especially on the relevant work of B. Nagy 1972. I will have more to say later about both the Arrhēphoroi and the Ergastīnai.
[ back ] 116. Further details and documentation are provided by Barber 1992:114, especially with reference to Plutarch Demetrius 10.5, 12.3.
[ back ] 117. Ridgway 1992:120–123.
[ back ] 118. The source for the dating is Philochorus FGH 328 F 121, who lived in the fourth/third centuries BCE.
[ back ] 119. In HC 490–507 = 4§§97–124, I analyze the rationale that led to the commissioning of Pheidias to make the gold-and-ivory statue of Athena.
[ back ] 120. HC 4§207, following PR 90.
[ back ] 121. This paragraph is a rewording of an earlier formulation in HC 4§102, following Lee 2004.
[ back ] 122. In what follows, I collect some of the most telling pieces of evidence concerning the myth of the Gigantomachy as pattern-woven into the Panathenaic Peplos. From this evidence, we can see that this myth was pattern-woven into the annual as well as the quadrennial versions of the Peplos. Accordingly, I note my disagreement with Mansfield 1985, who questions whether the myth of the Gigantomachy could have been woven into the smaller web of the Lesser Panathenaia.
[ back ] 123. See also again PR 90–93.
[ back ] 124. PR 90–91. See also Barber 1992:114.
[ back ] 125. |b Καὶ πόλεμον ἆρα ἡγῇ σὺ εἶναι τῷ ὄντι ἐν τοῖς θεοῖς πρὸς ἀλλήλους, καὶ ἔχθρας γε δεινὰς καὶ μάχας καὶ ἄλλα τοιαῦτα πολλά, οἷα λέγεταί τε ὑπὸ τῶν ποιητῶν, καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν |c ἀγαθῶν γραφέων τά τε ἄλλα ἱερὰ ἡμῖν καταπεποίκιλται, καὶ δὴ καὶ τοῖς μεγάλοις Παναθηναίοις ὁ πέπλος μεστὸς τῶν τοιούτων ποικιλμάτων ἀνάγεται εἰς τὴν ἀκρόπολιν; ταῦτα ἀληθῆ φῶμεν εἶναι, ὦ Εὐθύφρων;
[ back ] 126. HC 4§204.
[ back ] 127. I cite again PR 92–93.
[ back ] 128. The observations that follow are based on my analysis of Plato Euthyphro 6b–c in HC 4§203, following PR 92–93.
[ back ] 129. PR 92.
[ back ] 130. HC 4§203, following PR 92–93.
[ back ] 131. HC 4§205, following PR 93. On the peplos of Athena and the gigantomakhiai or Gigantomachy woven into it, I find the discussion of Pinney 1988 indispensable (especially p. 471). I interpret the plural of gigantomakhiā as designating specific “close-ups” of the overall battle of the gods and giants.
[ back ] 132. HC 4§206
[ back ] 133. Shear 2001:629.
[ back ] 134. |21 sed magno intexens, si fas est dicere, peplo, |22 qualis Erechtheis olim portatur Athenis, |23 debita cum castae solvuntur vota Minervae |24 tardaque confecto redeunt quinquennia lustro, |25 cum levis alterno Zephyrus concrebuit Euro |26 et prono gravidum provexit pondere currum. |27 felix illa dies, felix et dicitur annus, |28 felices qui talem annum videre diemque. |29 ergo Palladiae texuntur in ordine pugnae, |30 magna Giganteis ornantur pepla tropaeis, |31 horrida sanguineo pinguntur proelia cocco, |32 additur aurata deiectus cuspide Typhon, |33 qui prius Ossaeis consternens aethera saxis |34 Emathio celsum duplicabat vertice Olympum. |35 tale deae velum sollemni tempore portant, |36 tali te vellem, iuvenum doctissime, ritu |37 purpureos inter soles et candida lunae |38 sidera, caeruleis orbem pulsantia bigis, |39 naturae rerum magnis intexere chartis, |40 aeterno ut sophiae coniunctum carmine nomen |41 nostra tuum senibus loqueretur pagina saeclis.
[ back ] 135. Much of this commentary derives from HPC II§§390–394 pp. 281–284.
[ back ] 136. See Lyne 1978:109–110.
[ back ] 137. Barber 1991:361–365.
[ back ] 138. HPC II§386 pp. 278–279.
[ back ] 139. Lyne 1978:114.
[ back ] 140. A distinction between red and blue as two different kinds of purple dye for wool is evident in Akkadian (argamannu and takiltu) and Hebrew (argaman and tekelet): see Lepschy 1998:54.
[ back ] 141. HPC II§392 p. 283.
[ back ] 142. HPC II§393 pp. 283–284n38.
[ back ] 143. HPC II§393 pp. 283–284.
[ back ] 144. The information comes from the scholia for Aristides p. 323 Dindorf.
[ back ] 145. Asterios according to one set of scholia for Aristides (Aristotle F 637 Rose p. 395.20). Astēr according to another set of scholia (Rose p. 395.5).
[ back ] 146. The wording of the second set of scholia is of special interest: ἐπὶ ᾿Αστέρι τῷ γίγαντι ὑπὸ ᾿Αθηνᾶς ἀναιρεθέντι ‘to commemorate Astēr the Giant, killed by Athena’. On the semantics of epi plus dative in contexts of aetiologizing various festivals, see PH 4§7 pp. 120–121; also 4§6n15 p. 119 and 5§12n38 p. 142.
[ back ] 147. HPC II§403 p. 287.
[ back ] 148. Again, HC 4§206
[ back ] 149. Scheid and Svenbro 1994:28n48.
[ back ] 150. HPC II§403 p. 288.
[ back ] 151. PR 93–94.
[ back ] 152. Here and elsewhere, I use hypenations in referring to the song-and-dance of choral performance.
[ back ] 153. HPC II§396 pp. 284–285, following Dué 2006:114, who says: “The sympathetic Trojans of Euripides are not a new phenomenon, but rather represent a continuity of treatment from the earliest Greek epic poetry onward.”
[ back ] 154. Dué 2006:27, 109.
[ back ] 155. HPC II§396 p. 285, where I note the relevance of the peplos presented to Athena by the Trojan women in Iliad VI.
[ back ] 156. In HPC II§396 p. 285n46, I offer arguments in support of the manuscript reading ἅρματι ‘to her chariot [harma]’.
[ back ] 157. I translate καλλιδίφρους, the epithet of the horses yoked to the chariot of Athena, as ‘matching the beautiful vehicle’ in order to convey a link between this epithet and the noun ἅρματι. I see a metonymic effect here. Further argumentation in HPC II§396 p. 285n47.
[ back ] 158. I interpret the reference here to Titans as a Panhellenic way of referring to the Athenian myth about the Giants who battle the gods for cosmic supremacy.
[ back ] 159. |466 ἢ Παλλάδος ἐν πόλει |467 τὰς καλλιδίφρους Ἀθα|468ναίας ἐν κροκέωι πέπλωι |469 ζεύξομαι ἅρματι πώ|470λους ἐν δαιδαλέαισι ποι |471 κίλλουσ’ ἀνθοκρόκοισι πή |472 ναις ἢ Τιτάνων γενεάν, |473 τὰν Ζεὺς ἀμφιπύρωι κοιμί |474ζει φλογμῶι Κρονίδας;
[ back ] 160. HC 4§208, following Rhodes 1981:671–672. For more on the interpretation of paradeigmata here as referring specifically to the patterns woven into the fabric, see Rhodes 1981:568.
[ back ] 161. HC 4§208, following Barber 1992:114–116.
[ back ] 162. HC 4§209. There are also some isolated historical occasions when the political agenda must have been featured explicitly, not just implicitly, in the narrative that was woven into the Peplos itself: I cite again Plutarch Demetrius 12.3; also Diodorus 20.46.2.