11. The Performance of Drama and Epic in Late-Classical Athens

11.1 The Reforms of Lykourgos

The convergence between rhapsodes and actors was in evidence toward the end of the fourth century BC. Just as rhapsodes were relying increasingly on scripted rehearsal and memorized performance—with a drastically reduced extemporaneous creativity and textual variation between successive performances and competing performers—so also at the revival of the old plays actors often felt free to modify their scripts so as to give greater scope to a show of histrionic ability. It is possible that now and then a line spoken on the stage to great dramatic effect occurred to the actor on the spot and was then added to the script for future reuse. Other changes must have been planned and rehearsed in advance. This source of textual instability (if I may call it thus) was of a different order than the extempore recomposition of the traditional rhapsode. But, to the degree that the latter used transcripts, the parallel between the bard and the actor was a similar attitude towards the written word as guiding, but ultimately not constraining, the future performance. Scripted recitals must have left behind numerous written copies of portions of the Homeric poems that would in turn resurface in various social settings (schools, symposia, public speeches, and so on) and may have seen their impact augmented by copies for private use and Athens’ book trade. At the same time, the expectation of textual fixity and the desirability of a comprehensive canonical version that reflected the most successful recitals (in sum, ‘Homer’s original’) must have encouraged a regulation of festival performances that would be all the easier to conform to and enforce, insofar as one could readily control the standard selected for rehearsal and memorization and judge the delivery against an authoritative script.
Between the battle of Khaironeia and the Lamian war Athenian public life was dominated by Lykourgos, a statesman whose cultural policy not only reflected the convergence between the dramatic and rhapsodic professions but may even be said to have hastened it. This period, so aptly called “Lykourgan Athens” by Mitchel 1973, was characterized by Lykourgos’ drive to recover the splendor of Periklean Athens in what must have been the self-conscious emulation of that golden era of imperial glory. An ambitious public building program, the reinvigoration of local cults, the spirited public defense of old-time Marathonian morality, [1] the establishment of new festivals, the reorganization of old ones—all these classisizing endeavors with a view to crowning as normative the accomplishments of the past brought in a silver age of peace and prosperity that left its mark on the Athens of Hellenistic times. To all this Lykourgos added a keen interest in drama and epic poetry on account of their didactic potential, [2] especially the models of virtue they held out for imitation and their power to shape for the better the character and behavior of his fellow citizens. It is no coincidence, then, that his famous statement about Homeric performance in Against Leōkratēs §102 follows a long citation from Euripides’ Erekhtheus that casts Praxithea as a paragon of sacrificial love for the city. [3] Then comes the one and only explicit testimony to the exclusivity of Homeric performance at the greater Panathenaia:
βούλομαι δ’ ὑμῖν καὶ τὸν Ὅμηρον παρασχέσθαι ἐπαινῶν. [4] οὕτω γὰρ ὑπέλαβον ὑμῶν οἱ πατέρες σπουδαῖον εἶναι ποιητήν, ὥστε νόμον ἔθεντο καθ’ ἑκάστην πεντετηρίδα τῶν Παναθηναίων μόνου τῶν ἄλλων ποιητῶν ῥαψῳδεῖσθαι τὰ ἔπη, ἐπίδειξιν ποιούμενοι πρὸς τοὺς Ἕλληνας, ὅτι τὰ κάλλιστα τῶν ἔργων προῃροῦντο. εἰκότως· οἱ μὲν γὰρ νόμοι διὰ τὴν συντομίαν οὐ διδάσκουσιν, ἀλλ’ ἐπιτάττουσιν ἃ δεῖ ποιεῖν, οἱ δὲ ποιηταὶ μιμούμενοι τὸν ἀνθρώπινον βίον, τὰ κάλλιστα τῶν ἔργων ἐκλεξάμενοι, μετὰ λόγου καὶ ἀποδείξεως τοὺς ἀνθρώπους συμπείθουσιν.
I also wish to bring Homer to your attention in praise. For your ancestors considered him a poet of such worth that they passed a law calling for rhapsodic performances at every penteteric Panathenaia of his poetry alone, of all the poets, demonstrating to the Greeks that they preferred the noblest accomplishments. [They did so] fittingly; for laws, being terse, do not instruct but enjoin what one must do; whereas poets, when reenacting man’s life, single out the highest accomplishments and with argument and demonstration win men over by persuasion.
Unfortunately, this famous passage does not make clear whether the lesser Panathenaia featured no μουσικοὶ ἀγῶνες—or at least no rhapsodic competition [5] —or else rhapsodes did compete but they were free to declaim other poetry (Hesiod, Arkhilokhos, etc.). [6] It is hard for me to imagine that the lesser Panathenaia could have been devoid of poetic declamation, but one cannot entirely rule out that at one time or another in its long history there may not have been official contests. We face here the additional difficulty that the point of view is that of the 330s BC, and although Lykourgos emphasizes that it was the forefathers (οἱ πατέρες) who had passed a law (νόμον ἔθεντο) to the effect that Homer alone be declaimed at the greater Panathenaia—laws that ever since the great period of codification at the turn of the previous century must have provided reliable archival testimony about the past [7] —some degree of uncertainty always remains as to how far back we can project that state of affairs. And we cannot even be sure that this restriction was still in force at the time of Lykourgos (he might be speaking only of past history for its exemplary value, regardless of the situation current at the time of the speech). [8] But if it is true indeed that the great statesman established a canonical version of the great tragedians and made the performances of their plays conform to that canonical text, we can safely guess that, had the practice of exclusive declamation of Homer at the greater Panathenaia lapsed before his ascendancy to power, he would have moved its readoption. Although I have called Against Leōkratēs §102 the only remaining explicit statement of the exclusive declamation of Homer at the greater Panathenaia, I should add that the so-called succession rule of Diogenes Laertios 1.57 and [Plato] Hipparkhos 228b8–c1 [9] also attest indirectly to it; for if a succeeding rhapsode was to take up wherever the previous had left off, should any of them declaim the poetry of Homer it is hard to imagine under what conditions the rest could fail to perform more of the same. Thus, if there were other authors included in the repertoire, clearly they must have had their own particular competitive events.
Lykourgos was not only concerned with the exaltation of Homeric poetry as ennobling. He was also instrumental in the construction of the Panathenaic stadium and its θέατρον, [10] and responsible for a financial re-organization of the lesser Panathenaia that secured an adequate level of public display [11] and a proper supply of oxen for the sacrifice. [12] When we add to this his comprehensive concern for Athenian festivals (including the Dionysia and the new Amphiaraia), [13] one cannot rule out, even if lacking explicit testimony to this effect, that he may have undertaken the regulation of rhapsodic performances at the Panathenaia. Perhaps, as noted above, if the exclusive rhapsodizing of Homer had lapsed before his time, he might have brought it back and enforced it. And if we can trust the tradition that he had standard editions of the three canonical tragedians compiled and that he made sure that stage performance did not diverge from the official text, we might well assume a similar tendency to standardize in some way the text of the Iliad and the Odyssey, at least by depositing into the archives of Athens written copies of them, if this had not already been done before. [14]
As just noted, Lykourgos’ concern was not limited to the excellence of Homer, but also embraced the Dionysia and its dramatic performances (both tragedy and comedy). Once again, the scope of his reforms was comprehensive: he finished the Theater of Dionysos, only half-done when he took up the project, [15] building in stone what until then most likely had been simple earthen embankments and wooden bleachers; [16] he revived the contest for comic actors, to be held in the theater at the Χύτροι, making the victor eligible to participate at the City Dionysia (which was not allowed before), [17] thus taking up an agōn that had fallen out of use (Lives of the Ten Orators 841f); he honored the three great tragedians with bronze statues (841f); and, most significantly for our present study, he had state officials write down a standard edition of their tragedies, which were publicly kept and enforced on the acting cast at the time of performance: τὰς τραγῳδίας αὐτῶν ἐν κοινῷ γραψαμένους φυλάττειν καὶ τὸν τῆς πόλεως γραμματέα παραναγινώσκειν τοῖς ὑποκρινομένοις· οὐκ ἐξεῖναι γὰρ ⟨παρ’⟩ αὐτὰς ὑποκρίνεσθαι (841f). As Sickinger (1999:134–135) writes, ἐν κοινῷ is unlikely to denote the place of storage (as, for example, ἐν τῷ δημοσίῳ sometimes referred to the Metroon), for we would then expect the use of the article. But even ἐν τῷ δημοσίῳ could denote at times more broadly ‘in the public domain’, [18] and glossing ἐν κοινῷ along these lines as ‘publicly’ would adequately express the contrast between the textual transmission, until then largely in private hands, and the state tutelage and patronage that would now apply. Some seize on this insight to suggest that Lykourgos was not concerned with actors so much as with the deterioration of the paradosis if left to private hands. [19] But, if we are to believe this conjecture, how should we imagine that the citizens of Athens became collectively aware of this alleged deleterious transmission and were persuaded to support remedial legislation, unless in fact such privately held texts had been used for public performance? We are thus cast back on the inescapable fact that it was to actors that the law bore primary relation. The secretary of the city was to ‘read [the tragedies] along to the actors’ (παραναγινώσκειν) [20] to secure a performance faithful to the script. [21]
This testimony by [Plutarch] derives support from Galen, who reports that Ptolemy Ⅲ Euergetes had used a ruse to acquire the official Athenian scripts of the three tragedians. [22] We do well to be somewhat sceptical of the anecdote’s veracity. After all, as far as Hellenic cultural history was concerned, Alexandria portrayed itself as the natural heir to the city of Athens. This meant not only attracting and retaining a distinguished immigrant intelligentsia from the Ptolemaic possessions and beyond, [23] and designing a robust festival calendar of competitive events that would give expression to the royal patronage of the arts and sciences; [24] it also called for a vigorous reappropriation of the past in the tradition of peripatetic scholarship, i.e. based on the study of sources and public lectures, activities that centered around the Library and the Mouseion. [25] Against this intellectual background, it is only natural that the Ptolemies, in open competition with Attalid Pergamum, would emphasize the acquisition of texts, the preeminent cultural artifacts, as a key to cultural supremacy. Ownership of the iconic state scripts would have been a powerful index of the unique authority of Alexandria’s dramatic performances as Athens’ heir, of the prestige of the royal patron, his Library, and the scholars resident at the Mouseion. Thus, we cannot be entirely sure that a story so obviously favorable to the Ptolemies might not be self-interested, false propaganda. But the singling out of Aiskhylos’, Sophokles’, and Euripides’ works would be hard to understand unless there was some reason to expect that of their works alone did Athens have an official, uniquely authoritative script: no similar story survives about Homeric or Hesiodic epic, Aristophanic comedy, etc. [26] This leads me to conclude that, whether the anecdote actually happened or not, there must have been a widely circulating report of the existence of a standard edition of the three tragedians, precisely what Lives of the Ten Orators 841f tells us Lykourgos did with the most important works of fifth-century BC drama.
Recently Bollack 1994 has subjected this passage to a probing analysis. Reviewing the history of interpretation, he concludes that the variously emended οὐκ ἐξεῖναι γὰρ αὐτὰς ὑποκρίνεσθαι points not to a prohibition of performance that might deviate from the officially commissioned text—which casts actors as destabilizing textual forces—but rather to an open recognition of the importance of public performance: without the activity described by the previous clause as τὸν τῆς πόλεως γραμματέα παραναγινώσκειν τοῖς ὑποκρινομένοις, the texts drawn up might have lacked information essential to performance (musical notation, marks apportioning the lines to the various characters, etc.). In other words, the grammateus would have contrasted his text with the ones used by actors with a view to including theatrical cues and textual aids to performance. This is an interesting suggestion, but in the final analysis I find it unconvincing. It does not improve upon previously offered translations of the emended clause, for he too must read it as “for otherwise (sinon) they could not perform them” (my emphasis). [27] The question remains why it was not otherwise possible to perform them. Ultimately, one cannot be dogmatic about the meaning, but several details, I believe, support the modern consensus. One is the verb παραναγιγνώσκειν, whose usage points to reading something aloud with the aim of comparing it to something else. [28] In forensic contexts, the grammateus simply reads aloud, without making corrections or modifications to the substance of his text. In later usage, it may denote an editor who reads carefully against other sources and when he finds discrepancies enters corrections; [29] but if there is truth to the account, in its fourth-century BC setting one must conceive of the procedure along the established lines of forensic practice. [30] And for this, examples such as Demosthenes’ On the Crown 267, or Aiskhines’ Against Ktēsiphōn 201 and On the Embassy 135 must be of primary significance. [31] This tells against Bollack’s interpretation that the grammateus would have annotated the state script with histrionic cues. Depending on whether we follow early or late usage, the dative τοῖς ὑποκρινομένοις might mean ‘to read aloud and compare with [the lines spoken by] those acting the plays’ or simply ‘to read aloud in the presence of those acting the plays’. [32] Though we cannot put much weight on this, the use of the participle (as opposed to τοῖς ὑποκριταῖς) might indicate that the action of the secretary takes place as rehearsal is in progress. One could envision a sort of dialog between him and the acting staff at particular points in the performance, whenever the grammateus might detect a divergence or the actors might need prompting from the official script. Those who prefer a less directive process may follow Cameron (1990:124), who writes that the secretary might have read out the text in advance to allow actors to correct their own copies against it. [33]
To me, the most persuasive reconstruction takes into account Arnott’s suggestive study on the use of prompting in classical drama. [34] Arnott built on an “excursus on the prompter” by Page (1934:98–100), who noted the astonishing absence in sources earlier than the first century AD of any figure that might suggest a prompter. The first occurrence is the word ὑποβολεύς in Philo of Alexandria. [35] But, as Arnott (1967:45) correctly observes, the loci adduced by Page do not so much suggest one who reminds of what has been forgotten as one who teaches what to say: “it is an instructor, not a remembrancer.” Aiskhines’ On the Embassy 35 and the acoustics and design of the classical theater all but prove that there was, in fact, no prompter at the time of the performance. And the meaning of ὑποβολεύς, ‘instructor’, who, Plutarch teaches us, [36] was indeed involved in dramatic production, suggests his equivalence with the διδάσκαλος of classical times. This means that he would be responsible for training the acting staff by cuing them during rehearsal, reading out loud their lines for them to repeat after him and memorize in the process. Arnott’s description makes this scenario persuasive: “In the modern Greek and Italian theatres the prompter … is a vital factor in the rehearsal. Actors do not attempt to learn their parts beforehand. At the rehearsal the prompter sits in front of the cast with script in hand. A scene is then rehearsed by the prompter speaking several lines and indicating the actor who is to say them; the actor repeats after him, and so on through the scene. This method may sound incredibly slow and clumsy, but in fact it is remarkably efficient for actors who are trained to it” (Arnott 1967:44). If this was the ancient practice, it explains the absence in our classical sources of any reference to the ὑποβολεύς: he was no other than the poet/producer of the play (who of course would have done more than simply cue his troupe); it also dispenses with the difficulty of supplying the cast (actors and chorus) each with his own copy of the play or at least the lines to memorize; and it readily explains the role of the Lykourgan city secretary: he was to act, in effect, as the textual didaskalos at the time of rehearsal, with the producer presumably taking care of all other aspects of acting and production. [37] It is ultimately hard to imagine the mechanics of the procedure, but what the law envisions is clearly state control over the performance of the three great tragedians and the public elevation of their plays to the status of exemplary documents of foundational significance to Lykourgos’ policies of cultural revival. [38]
Whichever reconstruction one finds plausible, attention must be paid to the syntactic structure of the report about Lykourgos’ law, for it further illuminates the nature of its impact on actors. Bollack would have us believe that the clause οὐκ ἐξεῖναι is merely an editorial explanation of the charge to the secretary. An earlier comment (about the Χύτροι) is clearly demarcated as such by its form, an accusative absolute (πρότερον οὐκ ἐξόν). The ἐξεῖναι, however, depends on τὸν δὲ [νόμον], and it reports the law’s content where its force would be imperatival: [39] the author of the Lives, it is true, has partially turned the text of the law into a comment, inserting γάρ (with the subsequent loss of παρ’) and substituting οὐκ for what must have been an original μή. [40] In other words, the οὐκ ἐξεῖναι κτλ. reports an explicit prohibition in the Lykourgan law, not merely an explanatory aside to the effect that, without the grammateus reading the text and providing histrionic cues to those acting, performances based on the Lykourgan state script would not have been possible. [41]
The intervention of the Athenian state in the performance of drama is made plausible by testimonies about histrionic interpolations in the texts of the plays. [42] Thus, the epitome of Phrynikhos’ Praeparatio sophistica (p. 69 de Borries) preserves the following comment on the comic line ἐπικαττύειν καὶ πτερνίζειν: [43] τὰ παλαιὰ ἐπισκευάζειν. ἡ μεταφορὰ ἀπὸ τῶν τοῖς παλαιοῖς ὑποδήμασιν ἕτερα καττύματα καὶ πτέρνας προσραπτόντων. λέγουσι δ’ ἐπὶ τῶν τὰ παλαιὰ τῶν δραμάτων μεταποιούντων καὶ μεταρραπτούντων. To this Vürtheim (1928:232) writes: “Die alten Dramen wurden wie Schuhe den modernen Füssen passend gemacht.” That this was the case with comedies is generally accepted (so Kock and Bergk 1872–1887:3.70n242). But I find no grounds to dismiss it, with Hamilton (1974:400), as “the common practice of Roman contaminatio.” [44] Note in particular the use of μεταρράπτω, which, at home with the cobbler, also draws on the metaphorical world of rhapsodic recomposition. Already in antiquity there were times when the scholar, on stylistic grounds, would condemn a verse or passage as not genuine. Thus, for example, the second hypothesis to the Rhesos contains the following remark: καὶ ἐν ἐνίοις δὲ τῶν ἀντιγράφων ἕτερός τις φέρεται πρόλογος, πεζὸς πάνυ καὶ οὐ πρέπων Εὐριπίδῃ· καὶ τάχα ἄν τινες τῶν ὑποκριτῶν διεσκευακότες εἶεν αὐτόν. Such stylistically based comments offer no certain proof that any one particular passage is a histrionic interpolation, but the implication that actors did at times modify the authorial text is hard to dismiss, and this lends credence to [Plutarch’s] report about Lykourgos and the consensus interpretation above. This is precisely what one would expect from the scattered comments in the literature about the social standing of actors. Two tendencies can be distinguished: the contempt of the learned man, to some degree shared as a stereotype by the populace, and the adulation lavished on the individual star. It is not hard to see how both contradictory impulses might coexist, if we only think of our own culture and the scorn and admiration heaped by turns on modern actors. Plato’s strictures against dramatic mimesis for its corrupting potential are well known, but it might be thought exceptional and unrepresentative. Thus, more interesting are the comments by Aristotle and his circle, which likely reflect popular sentiment. The philosopher decries, for example, that ‘in the contests actors are now more important than poets’, [45] a comment that can be read against the criticism of Poetics 26; contemptuous also is the popular designation Διονυσοκόλακες of the τεχνῖται of Dionysos, who include actors among its performers; [46] and the pseudonymous Problems poses the question why the artists of Dionysos are for the most part bad characters (πονηροί). [47] We also remember Demosthenes maligning Aiskhines on the grounds of his early stint as an actor (Demosthenes 18.262). The rise of the professional of the stage is a fifth- and fourth-century BC phenomenon (cf. Rhetoric 1403b22–24 and Plato’s Laws 817a–d), for which the institution of a competition for actors at the City Dionysia in 449 BC provides a convenient terminus ante quem. So, if there is truth to an anecdote told by Plutarch, it is significant that already in the times of the Spartan king Agesilaos Ⅱ the actor Kallippides was famous and respected by all the Greeks. [48] That Aristophanes lampooned actors as readily as other well-known citizens (Frogs 303, Peace 781–786) proves that, from very early on, some at least received much public recognition. We also note the involvement of actors in high-stakes international politics, [49] largely motivated by the delight of the Makedonian ruling dynasty in the performing arts. [50] It is understandable that performers might develop an exaggerated sense of their own importance and, in consequence, seek to modify plays to give greater salience to their roles on stage. This was possible because, starting in the fourth century BC, old plays were revived at the Dionysia, [51] well after the author’s passing, a fact that precluded authorial control. Thus, we should not be surprised to read in Aristotle’s Politics that Theodoros would not allow ‘cheap’ actors to be brought on stage before him, ‘because the audience endears itself to what it hears first’. [52] As Hamilton (1974:401) says, the wording suggests that accommodating Theodoros forced modifications of the plays that went beyond “scenic effects.”

11.2 Demetrios of Phaleron and the Rhapsodes

11.2.1 Rhapsodes and homēristai

The next defining stage in the cultural history of Athens arrived in 317/16 BC with Kassander’s installation of the pro-Makedonian Demetrios of Phaleron as governor of Athens, a position he held until the liberation of the city in 308/307 BC by Demetrios Poliorketes. [53] His most important reform for our purposes is mentioned in passing by Athenaios 14.620b on the authority of the historian Aristokles (FHG Ⅳ, p. 331), [54] a passage that examines the contribution of rhapsodes to symposia. I quote it in full: [55]
οὐκ ἀπελείποντο δὲ ἡμῶν τῶν συμποσίων οὐδὲ ῥαψῳδοί. ἔχαιρε γὰρ τοῖς Ὁμήρου ὁ Λαρήνσιος ὡς ἄλλος οὐδὲ εἷς, ὡς λῆρον ἀποφαίνειν Κάσανδρον τὸν Μακεδονίας βασιλεύσαντα, περὶ οὗ φησι Καρύστιος ἐν Ἱστορικοῖς Ὑπομνήμασιν ὅτι οὕτως ἦν φιλόμηρος ὡς διὰ στόματος ἔχειν τῶν ἐπῶν τὰ πολλά· καὶ Ἰλιὰς ἦν αὐτῷ καὶ Ὀδυσσεία ἰδίως γεγραμμέναι. ὅτι δ’ ἐκαλοῦντο οἱ ῥαψῳδοὶ καὶ Ὁμηρισταὶ Ἀριστοκλῆς εἴρηκεν ἐν τῷ περὶ Χορῶν. τοὺς δὲ νῦν Ὁμηριστὰς ὀνομαζομένους πρῶτος εἰς τὰ θέατρα παρήγαγε Δημήτριος ὁ Φαληρεύς. Χαμαιλέων δὲ ἐν τῷ περὶ Στησιχόρου καὶ μελῳδηθῆναί φησιν οὐ μόνον τὰ Ὁμήρου, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰ Ἡσιόδου καὶ Ἀρχιλόχου, ἔτι δὲ Μιμνέρμου καὶ Φωκυλίδου. Κλέαρχος δ’ ἐν τῷ προτέρῳ περὶ Γρίφων “τὰ Ἀρχιλόχου, φησίν, [ὁ] Σιμωνίδης ὁ Ζακύνθιος ἐν τοῖς θεάτροις ἐπὶ δίφρου καθήμενος ἐραψῴδει.” Λυσανίας δ’ ἐν τῷ πρώτῳ περὶ Ἰαμβοποιῶν Μνασίωνα τὸν ῥαψῳδὸν λέγει ἐν ταῖς δείξεσι τῶν Σιμωνίδου τινὰς ἰάμβων ὑποκρίνεσθαι. τοὺς δ’ Ἐμπεδοκλέους Καθαρμοὺς ἐραψῴδησεν Ὀλυμπίασι Κλεομένης ὁ ῥαψῳδός, ὥς φησιν Δικαίαρχος ἐν τῷ Ὀλυμπικῷ. Ἰάσων δ’ ἐν τρίτῳ περὶ τῶν Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἱερῶν ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ φησὶν ἐν τῷ μεγάλῳ θεάτρῳ ὑποκρίνασθαι Ἡγησίαν τὸν κωμῳδὸν τὰ Ἡσιόδου, Ἑρμόφαντον δὲ τὰ Ὁμήρου.
(Athenaios 14.620b–d)
Neither were rhapsodes missing from our symposia. For Larensios took pleasure in the poetry of Homer as no other did, [so much in fact] as to show up Cassander the ruler of Makedon as a trifle [in comparison], about whom Karystios in his Historical Commentaries says that he was such a lover of Homer that he had the greater part of his poetry constantly in his mouth; and that the Iliad and the Odyssey had been written down by him personally. That rhapsodes used to be called homēristai too is reported by Aristokles in his book On Choruses. But those called nowadays homēristai Demetrios of Phaleron first brought into the theaters. Khamaileon in his book On Stesikhoros says that Homer’s poetry was also set to music, and not only Homer’s but also Hesiod’s and Arkhilokhos’, and even Mimnermos’ and Phokylides’. Klearkhos in the former book of his work On Riddles says that Simonides of Zakynthos used to perform as a rhapsode the poetry of Arkhilokhos in the theaters, sitting on a stool. Lysanias in the first book of his work On Iambic Composers says that in his performances Mnasion the rhapsode used to deliver some of the iambs of Simonides. And Kleomenes the rhapsode rhapsodized the Purifications of Empedokles at Olympia, as Dikaiarkhos says in his Olympic Discourse. Jason in the third book of his work On Alexander’s Offerings says that Hegesias the comic actor delivered the poetry of Hesiod in the large theater in Alexandria, and Hermophantos that of Homer.
This passage, with its mention of rhapsodes and homēristai, raises the question of the relationship between the two. To approach this matter aright it is vital to notice that Athenaios avows his intention to speak about rhapsodes: ‘Nor were rhapsodes (ῥαψῳδοί) missing from our symposia’. Should there be any doubt about the kind of professional he has in mind or the nature of his contribution to the symposium, he adds that Larensios delighted in Homer as no other, reducing Kassander to a trifle by comparison, who so loved the poet that it was reported he knew by heart most of his verse and owned manuscripts of the Iliad and the Odyssey written in his own hand. [56] It is clear from the contrast drawn that Athenaios’ focus is on the text of the poems, and thus, whatever else may be said about the rhapsodes that attended his symposia, at the heart of their performance must have been the epic verse of Homer. This is so, whether they declaimed, employed recitative, or sung his lays; whether they used the accompaniment of an instrument; whether they also acted, and, if they did, acted alone (adopting the persona of the character speaking at each point in the narrative) or with others (in semi-dramatic set pieces). Otherwise the comment about Larensios and his comparing favorably with Kassander would be out of place. The sentence that follows makes clear that in Athenaios’ mind there is a difference between rhapsodes and homēristai. There are, on the one hand, ‘the present-day homēristai’, οἱ νῦν Ὁμηρισταί, and, by implication, on the other, an older kind of homēristai, no longer called by this name. Who are these old-time homēristai? The answer is: the rhapsodes who are the focus of the section, for Aristokles in his work On Choruses had stated ‘that rhapsodes were also called homēristai’. [57] Doubtless some of these old-style ‘homēristai’—or Hellenistic rhapsodes—adopted new performance practices that suited the preferences of their time. Such was their ‘setting to music’ the epic verse of Homer and Hesiod, [58] a late realization of the old melodic potential that inhered diachronically in epic poetry. [59] The late fourth-century BC Peripatetic Khamaileon draws attention to this potential when he ascribes the practice to Stesikhoros. [60] Underlying this performance modality is the notion of ‘singing melodically’, a mode of delivery that only expresses the potential diachronically intrinsic to the poetic medium. Stricto sensu, understood as an extrinsic imposition on the poetic medium, the alternative translation of μελῳδεῖν used above, ‘to set to music’, is anachronistic.
Why does Athenaios introduce the homēristai at all, if the (for him) present-day type does not correspond to the rhapsode? This must be because he goes on to describe the public performances of rhapsodes, presumably as illustrations of the kind of entertainment that, with the proper adjustments to the setting, they enjoyed at their symposia. [61] But the public performances he adduces had taken place in the theaters and, thus, they invited comparison with the most theatrical of all performers of Homer, the homēristai, who at their showiest joined in small acting troupes to mime scenes from the poems, usually bloody fights from the Iliad. [62] Athenaios wants to keep rhapsodes and homēristai apart and to prevent confusion feels the need to mention the older kind in passing, since the old were once called by the same name as the new. And so we learn the crucial detail that it was Demetrios of Phaleron who ‘first introduced the present-day homēristai into the theater’. [63]
Now, on the face of it, this statement must be wrong. For there is nothing in the testimonies from the late fourth century BC to suggest the existence then of anything like the homēristai of late Hellenistic and Roman imperial times, as will become clear below when we examine what the homēristai did for a living. And I find it implausible to think that Demetrios might have devised de novo such a colorful profession, without precedent at the time. But, as I noted above, Homeric poetry had great dramatic potential, acknowledged for centuries; and the rhapsode, sensitive to his material, had made increasing use of it, exploiting it for good effect before adoring audiences. So we should not be surprised if he eventually developed a ‘subspecialty’ that made the acting of well-known episodes the main fare. Thus, the rich robe was exchanged for a proper costume, and the staff for a fitting prop—perhaps a shield and a sword or a spear. In all likelihood, work as a homēristēs called for a less prodigious memory, and certainly for little powers of extempore composition. For this loss he compensated with a greater flair for the dramatic in his deportment and a full use of the all the available resources of stagecraft. And in the earliest stages of his development, as he gradually came to be distinguished from the rhapsode by his peculiar emphasis on acting, a clear point of contrast must have been his altogether more slavish dependence on a script for his performance. Thus, to the degree that the rhapsode still recomposed any of his material in performance, it is right to see him at one end, and the average homēristēs at the other, in a spectrum that spans the variable degree to which slavish memorization and reproduction—and hence strict adherence to a performance script—and a measure of extempore recomposition were combined in each individual professional declaimer of Homer.
So, how should we envision the homēristai? What do we learn about them from extant sources? Three are the main literary ones, to which a few papyri and two inscriptions add a small but significant contribution. All of these witnesses date to Roman imperial times. LSJ s.v. ὁμηριστής cites Artemidoros Oneirokritika 4.2 and Akhilleus Tatios 3.20, for which the gloss correctly says ‘actor of Homeric scenes’. In the first passage Artemidoros draws a parallel between the surgeon, whose cutting draws blood but is not fatal by design, and the homēristai, who wound and draw blood but do not intend to kill. [64] As Jones (1991:189) notes, we are surely dealing here with the theatrical antics and stage devices of actors who specialize in Homeric combat, poking each other with their make-believe swords and drawing false blood. Their exaggerated battle miming (πολλοὺς τιτρώσκειν) corresponds to the surgeon’s many operations (πολλοὺς ἐχείρισε). As to Akhilleus Tatios, he mentions homēristai at 3.20, when Satyros tells the story of a ship attacked by pirates that held among the passengers ‘one of those who performs orally (τῷ στόματι δεικνύντων) Homer’s poetry in the theaters’. [65] It is important to note the phrase τῷ στόματι δεικνύντων, which makes clear that, from the author’s perspective, at the heart of this performer’s trade was the recitation of Homer, even though it took place in the theaters and—it soon becomes clear—involved acting out battle scenes. [66] Therefore, still at this late date homēristai need not have been seen primarily in their capacity as stage actors, and a focus may still remain on the poetry itself. A third and earlier instance of the term, this time the Latin homerista, occurs in Petronius’ Satyricon 59, when Trimalchio brings in a band of homeristae to entertain his guests. [67] In the Roman setting of Petronius’ satire, the boisterous acting is exaggerated for comic effect: the clashing of spear and shield, the shouting, Ajax’ raving attack of the boiled calf with unsheathed sword. But, significantly, even here the declamation remains an emphatic component, and the retention of the original Greek verse is striking: ‘[W]hile the homeristae talked to each other in Greek verse, in their usual excessive way, [Trimalchio] intoned the libretto in Latin’. [68] Starr 1987 remarks that homeristae were not normal party entertainment among the Roman rich, and that Trimalchio substitutes these low-class performers for the more normal comoedi, an improper social dislocation that parallels his use of comoedi for Atellan farces (53.13). This transposition is significant in light of the gloss omeristai for atellani in the Corpus Glossariorum Latinorum (=CGL; see below, §11.2.1).
Besides the passages reviewed above, we possess other documentary evidence: four papyri from Oxyrhynkhos and two from the Faiyūm, one inscription from Aphrodisias in Caria, and one other from Noricum. [69] I print them here for the ease of the reader before I discuss them.
1. Ⅱ AD: P.Oxy. Ⅲ 519 (see line 4) = Wilcken Chrest. no. 492 = Feste 36 [70]
          (ὧν) ἀπεδόθη
          Μεχ(εὶρ) κγ
          μίμῳ (δραχμαὶ) υϙϛ,
          ὁμηριστῇ (δραχμαὶ) υ̣μη,
5        καὶ ὑπὲρ μου[σ]ι[κῶνa (δραχμαὶ) . . . ]
          [ὀ]ρχη̣στῇ [(δραχμαὶ)] ρ̣[ . ]δ
aμου[σ]ι[κῆς] G[renfell]-H[unt].
2. Ⅱ–Ⅲ AD: P.Oxy. Ⅶ 1050 (see line 26) = Feste 39 [71]
          λόγ(ος) (δραχμῶν) υ.
          ἱερεῦσιa (δραχμαὶ) ξ,
          Νείλῳ (δραχμαὶ) κ,
          θρόνῳ (δραχμαὶ) κ,
5        ἱπποκόμ(οις)b (δραχμαὶ) . ,
          κήρυκιc [
          ξυστάρχ(ῃ) [
          Ὡρείωνι [
          Σεουήρῳ [
10      Βελλαρείνῳ [
          βραβευταῖς [
          πανκρατ(ιαστῶν) ζε[ύγ(ει)
          σφαιρομαχ(ούντων) [ζεύγ(ει)d
          ἄλ(λῳ) ζεύγ(ει) παν[κρατ(ιαστῶν)
15      Κώφῳ πύκ̣(τῃ) [
          φύλ(αξι) θεάτ̣[ρου
          παν . [
20      αὐλητ̣[ῇ
aϊερευσι Pap. ‖ bϊπποκομ Pap. ‖ cFirst κ of κηρυκι corr. from ϊε ‖ dσφαιρομαχ(ούντων) [ζεύγ(ει) vel σφαιρομαχ(οῦσι) [ Poliakoff, σφαιρομάχ(οις) [ H. ‖ eμανγανα[ρίῳ] or μανγανα[ρίοις Schmidt, μανγάνα[ις Vandoni, μανγανα̣.[ H. ‖ fϊεροδ[ Pap.
Col. Ⅱ
25      μίμῳg [
          ὁμη̣ρ̣ι̣σ̣ [τῇ
gμε̣ι̣μ̣ω̣ Pap.
3. Ⅲ AD: P.Osl. Ⅲ 189 verso, lines 11–13 (see line 12) = Feste 13 [72]
               Παχ̣ὼ̣ ν̣ ι͞δ ἐπι . [                              May  9
          ι͞ϛ ἀπόδιξις Ὁμηρι[στῶνa                              May 11
          ι͞θ ἀγὼν ποιητῶν                                   May 14
aor Ὁμηρι[στοῦ E.-A.]
4. Late Ⅲ AD: SB Ⅳ 7336 (see lines 26, 29) = Feste 44 (cf. Wormald 1929) [73]
          [ὑ(πὲρ) λη]μμάτων ἐνεχ(θέντων) καὶ ὑ(πὲρ) ι[a
          [Ἀμε]σ̣υσίωνb τῶν κυρ[ω]θ[έντων
          [ . . . ]κλαρίῳ [ἐ]λθόντ̣ι̣ ἐκ [
          ὑ[(πὲρ) ὑ]πολόγουc [
5        κ̣[ήρ]υκι ὁμοίως [
          σαλπικτῇ ὁμοίως [
          αἵματος μόσχου [
          Ἥρωνι ὁμοίως [
          Σφόγ’γῳd ὁμοίως [
10      κ̣ωμῳδῷ ὁμοί(ως) [
           ̷ε₎ — 〈 τπ Lνε ——[e
          [τ]οῖς Σαραπείοις ὁμοί(ως) νομ[f
          [σ]υνηθείας ὁμοίως [
          ἀναλόγουg ὀρχηστοῦ [
15      [ . ]η̣ ραρίῳ ὁμοίως [
          [Ἀ]μ̣οιτᾷ εἰς σ̣υ̣λ[ . . ]ιμ̣ου [
          [Ἥ]ρωνι τιμή[ματο]ς̣h [
          π̣ανκλυστῇ [
          [θυρ]ωρῷ Σαραπείου [
20      [Σαραπ]ίωνι καὶ Ἀμοιτᾷ πανκ[ρατιασταῖς
          [ἀλεί]πταιςi γ̅ τιμήματος [
          [κ]ωμῳδῷ ὁμοί(ως) [
          κήρυκι ὁμοίως [
          ξένια κυνώπουj [
25      ἀνδρεοκαταμάκτῃ [
          ὁμηριστῇ τιμή(ματος) [
          τῷ τοῦ ὀρχηστοῦ δραματοθ[έτηιk
          ἀναγνώστῃ Σαραπᾷ [
          [ἄλλ]ῳ ὁμηριστῇ [
30      [ . . . ]γ̣ύλλῳl τιμή(ματος) [
aἰ[δίου λόγου Tedeschi ‖ b[Διο?]ν̣υσίων Wormald, [Ἀμε]σ̣υσίων Bonneau ‖ cυ]πολογω Pap. ‖ d sic ‖ e(γίνεται) ἐπ(ὶ τὸ αυτὸ) (δραχμαὶ) τπ (ὀβολοὶ) νε–[ Vandoni, (γίνονται) ἐπ( ) (δραχμαὶ) τπ (ὧν) νε–[ Tedeschi, ἑ (=αἱ) π(ᾶσαι) Bilabel; L=ὧν ‖ fνομ[ίσματα? Bilabel ‖ gἀναλόγου Bilabel, αναλογω Pap. ‖ hτειμη[ματο]ς̣ Pap. ‖ i[ἀλεί]πταις Wormald, [αλι]πταις Pap. ‖ jκυνώπου Wormald, κυνοπου Pap. ‖ kδραματοθ[έτηι? Bilabel, prob. Lewis ‖ lγ⟨ρ⟩ύλλῳ? Tedeschi
5. Late Ⅲ AD: P.Oxy. Ⅶ 1025 (see line 8) = Wilcken Chrest. no. 493 = Feste 26 [74]
          Αὐρήλιοι Ἄγαθος γυ(μνασιάρχης)
          ἔναρχος πρύτανις καὶ
          Ἑρμανοβάμμων ἐξηγ(ητὴς)
          καὶ Δίδυμος ἀρχιερεὺς
5        καὶ Κοπρίας κοσμητὴς
          πόλεως Εὐεργέτιδος
          Αὐρηλίοις Εὐριπᾷ βιολό-
          γῳ καὶ Σαραπᾷ ὁμηριστῇ
10      ἐξαυτῆς ἥκετε, καθὼ̣ [ς
          ἔθος ὑμῖν ἐστιν συνπα-
          νηγυρίζειν, συνεορτάσον-
          τες ἐν τῇ πατρῴ̣ᾳ̣ ἡ̣ [μῶν
          ἑορτῇ γενεθλίῳ τ̣ο̣ῦ̣ Κρό̣ν̣ο̣υ̣
15      θεοῦ μεγίστου ἀναν̣ . . . . [ .a
          τῶν θεωριῶν ἅμ̣’ α̣ὔ̣[ρ]ιον
          ἥτις ἐστὶν ι ἀγ̣ο̣μ̣[έν]ων
          ἐπὶ τὰς ἐξ ἔθους ἡμ[έρ]ας,
          λαμβάνοντες το[ὺς] μισ-
20      θοὺς καὶ τὰ τίμια.b
m2      Ἑρμανοβάμμων ἐξηγ(ητὴς)
          ἐρρῶσθαι ὑμᾶς εὔχομ(αι).
m3      Δίδυμος ἀρχιερ(εὺς) ἐρρῶσθ(αι) ὑμᾶς εὔχομ(αι).
m4      Κοπρίας ἐρρῶσθαι ὑμᾶς
aἀναγομέν[ων] Tedeschi, cf. Schuman 1980:15n ad no. 5, l. 24 ‖ bτειμια Pap. ‖ cσεσημ(είωμαι) Wilcken, σεσημ(ειώμεθα) H.
6. Ⅳ.1–2 AD: P.Bodl. I 143 (see line 3) [75]
                                                     ]η̣ ψ . . . 
          . . . . . . .] . ν . . ος̣ νομ(ισμάτια)   ϛ 
          ἀννωνῶν ὁμηρικῶν δι(ὰ) 
                    Σουχιδοῦ ἐπὶ λ(όγου)        νομ(ισμάτια)   ϛ 
5        ταμιακῶν α (ἔτους) Ψενύρεως δι(ὰ) 
                    Κυρίλλο̣υ τρ̣(απεζίτου) vacat (τάλαντα)   τκα 
          Ἀκυσιλάῳ τρ(απεζίτῃ) [τι]μ̣ῆς κριθ(ῆς) 
                    ὑπὲρ (ἀρταβῶν) κε vacat (τάλαντα) τ 
          κα̣ὶ̣ ὑπὲρ ναύλου κριθῆς              (τάλαντα) σξϛ (δηνάρια) Γ 
10                ὑπὲ̣ρ̣ ἄνθρακος κεν(τηναρίων) ιβ (τάλαντα) φ 
          . . . ] . ι̣ Ναμεσ̣ί(ωνος) λ(ιτρῶν) ϛ καὶ ἐρί[ων] 
          λ(ιτρῶν)] ι̣δ   vacat 4.6 cm   (τάλαντα) σν 
          ὑπὲ]ρ χρυσίου̣ . ιηπων (τ̣ά̣λ̣α̣ν̣τ̣α̣) τ 
          γί(νεται)] ὁμοῦ νομ(ισμάτια) κ καὶ (τάλαντα) [ . ]ψλη 
15      . . . . ]αεως γ (ἔτους) εξ(  )                (τάλαντα) η 
          . . . . ] α (ἔτους) Νεμεσ̣ᾶς        β (ἔ̣τ̣ο̣υ̣ς̣) Νεώτερος 
          . . . . ] γ (ἔτους) Φίλιπ̣πος   vacat
1. Late Ⅲ AD, theater at Aphrodisias in Caria, room 6 behind the stage front (Roueché 1993:18)
          a.        Δημητρίου ὁμηριστοῦ
                    Α⟦ . . . ca. 9 . . . ⟧Σ
          b.        Ἐγ̣ενήσθη Ἀλέξανδρος
2. Ⅱ AD, from Virunum, Noricum (Heger 1980 and Leppin 1992:194)
          T(itus) Flavius
Papyrus 1, a fragment from an account of expenditures for theatrical performances at Oxyrhynkhos on Mekheir 23 (February), shows the payment of high sums to a mime (496 drachmas) and a homēristēs (448 drachmas), as well as an allowance for μουσικοί. Papyrus 2 does not preserve the amount paid to the homēristēs (or homēristai), but here too this specialty follows the mime in the list of expenditures. It records, however, that the priests received 60 drachmas, far less than the mime and homēristēs of Papyrus 1. In fact, the υ in line 1 suggests an account total of 400–500 drachmas. [76] From the same papyrus we also learn about the various kinds of entertainers who participated in the public festivities. It is important to note that Papyrus 1 reflects the engagement of a single homēristēs. The same may be true of Papyrus 2, if the identity in the relative order between him and the mime can be extended to the number of artists. It is hard to imagine how a specialist in the dramatic reenactment of fighting scenes from the Iliad would have been able to perform alone, unless the theatrical element had been subservient to declaiming the poetry. But if Homeric verse was the focus—complemented, to be sure, by costuming, gestures, and whatever else might contribute to a strong stage presence—his performing alone presents hardly any difficulty of execution and is unlikely to have disappointed the expectations of his audience. Husson (1993:97) well realizes this and defends, for example, the restoration of a plural in Papyrus 3. The editors, however, offered in the notes the alternative Ὁμηρι[στοῦ (Eitrem and Amundsen 1936:269), and there is no compelling reason for the printed plural other than the prejudice, disputed here, that a plurality of performers is a priori more likely. Husson cannot account, however, for the inescapable singular of Papyrus 1 and the likely one of Papyrus 2. Furthermore, by pairing the ὁμηριστής and the ἄλλος ὁμηριστής of Papyrus 4 (lines 26 and 29), she elides the independence of their respective performances implicit in their separate listing, with two other items intervening. [77] Husson attempts to tie them more closely together by arguing that ‘to the reader Sarapas’ designates a reader of the text mimed by the actors. But, as Petronius illustrates, we are dealing with mimes who themselves recited their lines, not with pantomimes: Trimalchio’s Latin reading does not support Husson since it was designed to render intelligible in real time to a non-Greek dinner audience the boisterous Greek declamation of the homēristai themselves. Nothing of the sort would be feasible in a festival context. Nor do I think plausible, despite Nagy’s approval, her later suggestion that the ἀναγνώστης may have been a souffleur for the homēristai (see Nagy 1996c:177). A performance by homēristai was doubtless too humble an affair to call for such elaborate help. Moreover, if one insists on relating the ἀναγνώστης to the homēristai, one would also have to assign the δραματοθέτης to the same production. We should therefore expect ‘of the dance’, not ‘of the dancer’. [78] A show that involved the hiring of a choreographer and a ‘reader’ seems too grand an event to account for the anticlimactic ‘for another homēristēs’, which reads like an afterthought. Why not just use a plural to start with? Or at least make the second homēristēs immediately follow the first? Hence, we must simply own that we do not know what Sarapas’ role as ‘reader’ was.
The services of a βιολόγος and a lone homēristēs—also by the name Sarapas—are engaged in Papyrus 5 for the festival of Kronos’ birthday at Ptolemais Euergetis (i.e. Arsinoe) in the Faiyūm. Singular, too, is the occurrence in Inscription 1. As I emphasized above (see p. 452 n. 66), the text of Akhilleus Tatios explicitly states that there was only one homēristēs on board the ship. Since he traveled alone, we must presume that he was a solo performer. That he is able to arm ‘those about him’ (the precise number is not given) only means that his equipment included an array of weapons. This is hardly surprising if his repertoire was broad or his practice was to alternate or act out in succession more than one part in performance. At all events, that he should possess a plurality of weapons adds realistic color to his characterization: over the course of a life-long professional practice any man is likely to build redundancy into the tools and accessories of his trade. One need not conjecture against the text that the homēristēs was accompanied by a troupe that is never mentioned; or that, although alone in his journey, his equipment actually belonged to a troupe that had not joined him. [79] Such convolutions, which flow from a discomfort with the evidence for the solo performance of the homēristēs, are simply unnecessary. Similarly unwarranted is the supposition that, even though Papyrus 1 mentions only one homēristēs, the magnitude of the payment proves that he stands in the account for his troupe as pars pro toto. [80] If this were true, why write ὁμηριστῇ instead of ὁμηρισταῖς? If an explicit singular stands unaccountably for the plural with such ease, why should we prefer the plural ὁμηρι[στῶν over the singular ὁμηρι[στοῦ in Papyrus 3? And why should the author of Papyrus 4 have taken the trouble to list the second homēristēs and not rather subsume him under the first? There are, moreover, more plausible explanations for the high sums in Papyrus 1 that do not require us to assume the silent existence of a troupe. As Collart (1944:143) remarked, since we do not know the duration of the festival neither do we know what the daily pay was. [81] Note that the same document stipulates a payment of 100 to 200 drachmas (specifically, ‘1[ . ]4’) for the dancer. In the event, only Petronius’ Satyricon provides explicit support for the view that homēristai acted together as a troupe. [82] I do not doubt that this elective mode of performance was occasionally realized. But there is no warrant for the common scholarly prejudice that downplays or rejects solo performance. The record arguably makes this mode of delivery the more common alternative, and in so doing plainly exhibits the centrality of recitation to this most histrionic of Homeric performers.
Having demonstrated that homēristai often (if not ordinarily) performed alone, it is time to return to a descriptive survey of the evidence. Papyrus 3 is a calendar, though too fragmentary to discern whether it included accounting details or merely a list of competitive events. Each of the three lines 11–13 takes place on a different day: May 9, 11, and 14. May 14 featured a competition for which poets presumably contributed their own original compositions. As the editors note, the ἀγὼν ποιητῶν apparently belonged to the same festival as the ἀπόδειξις three days earlier. As I emphasized above, despite the plural restored by the editors we simply do not know that said ‘display’ involved more than one homēristēs. Robert (1983:184) underlines the distinction between an ἀγών and an ἀπόδειξις. [83] He points out that in Hellenistic times there were cases in which even the verb ἀγωνίζεσθαι need not have implied a competition against other participants. So, for example, in SIG 3 738a (whose text should be compared with Robert’s own in Robert 1929:34–36) a χοροψάλτρια by the name of Polygnota is said to have ‘competed for three days’ (ἀγωνίξατο ἐ[πὶ ἁ]μ̣έρας τρεῖς 7–8) at a time when the Pythian games could not be held because of war (Robert 1929:34; cf. lines 5–6 of the inscription). [84] All the same, such ‘displays’—the use of ἀγωνίζεσθαι shows—were never entirely non-competitive, as might be expected from the close ties between entertainment and competition in the ancient festival setting. The crowning, the recourse to ἀγωνίζεσθαι, and the frequent mention in honorary inscriptions of the approval of the audience [85] all point to the ideology of competition underlying the honorary decree. True, the performer at times may not have competed against other rivals, but, even when there was no tangible prize, he would have certainly striven to gain the favor of his audience. [86] The stakes would have been the bestowal of honors at the pleasure of the officials who acted on behalf of the city. If we bear this in mind and accept ex hypothesi that the ἀπόδειξις of Papyrus 3 did not involve several rival homēristai in competition (or groups of them), it remains the case that only an artist whose performance had won the loudest acclaim would have his honors recorded for a permanent witness. At any rate, Robert’s distinction [87] will not decide whether one homēristēs or more might have taken part in the ‘display’. My study has made clear, however, that ἀπόδειξις cannot be reduced to dramatic production, but encompasses a wide range of public performances, including the declamations of rhapsodes and public lectures by sophists. Still Robert is right that there is a distinction of emphasis between the poets’ ἀγών and the ἀπόδειξις of the homēristēs (or homēristai): the latter put more weight on the opsis of the stage.
As I already observed, although Papyrus 4 mentions two homēristai, they appear individually as two different line items. This strongly suggests that they gave two independent performances, which undercuts the notion of the homēristēs as a mime specializing strictly in Homeric fights. Indeed, commenting on Papyrus 4, the editors of Papyrus 3 noted: “ἄλλ]ῳ ὁμηριστῇ—the recital from Homer to be continued after a pause?” [88] Individual performances signal an enduring emphasis on the declamation of poetry. In Papyrus 5 officials from Euergetis engage the services of a biologos [89] and a homēristēs from Oxyrhynkhos, both regulars, to participate at a local festival (the birthday of Kronos). As I anticipated above, the pairing of these two professionals recurs in the CGL Ⅱ p. 22, 40–42: “Atellani: σκηνικοι· αρχαιολογοι· ‖ βιολογοι· ωσδεοβοι· ‖ διος ομηριστην· δη ‖ τοι· νυχοροι.” Despite the textual corruption, [90] we can tell that the homēristēs is clearly on a level with the biologos and the atellanus. Papyrus 6, a list of expenditures from the Faiyūm dated to the first half of the fourth century AD, records ‘Homeric annonae’, which the editor has glossed as “allowances for Homeric actors.” By Homeric actors he means homēristai, whom he describes after Husson as “actors … who mimed Homeric battle scenes on the stage.” [91] Granting ex hypothesi that ὁμηρικῶν refers to homēristai, the fact that their expenses are lumped together does not prove that they acted together as a troupe. Although possible, this view remains conjectural. The payment of six solidi amounts grosso modo to three hundredfold the average daily salary of a worker at that time. [92]
As to Inscriptions 1 (a and b), Roueché (1993:19–20) suggests that it was cut on the wall of the doorway to room 6 at the back of the theater stage to mark it as reserved for a Demetrios. The word homēristēs is in a different hand (cursive, not square) and apparently was added to identify him further by his trade. (Traces of other inscriptions, surely of previous users, are still visible.) Inscription 1.b is harder to interpret: if it meant ‘ Alexander’, why the wish to give his birth name? And if it means ‘he acted Alexander’ (the Paris of the Iliad), why the prominence of that one role? (hardly a martial paragon befitting the stereotype of a bloody homēristēs). [93] Inscription 2 witnesses to the vitality of the profession, spanning several centuries, and, in the case of Virunum, extending the declamation of Greek Homeric verse even to provincial cities where—if Petronius’ text can serve as a reliable guide—few would have been able to understand it.
To summarize the results of my survey: Husson (1993:93) was right to follow Robert (1936:237n4) in criticizing those who made no distinction between the rhapsode and the homēristēs. But my analysis reveals as overdone the emphasis placed since then on their stage acting to the detriment of their recitation. The homēristēs, to be sure, may have dressed to impersonate a Homeric character, and his stage delivery, as to voice and gesture, must have exceeded anything a classical Athenian audience ever witnessed. But even the most satiric of all literary sources firmly attests to an on-going declamation of the poetic Greek text, and this, even where comprehension was far from guaranteed. [94] The papyri also show us, in all likelihood, individual performers who, thus unable to place a heavy emphasis on the choreography of fighting scenes, must have made the spoken word a vital ingredient of their successful demonstrations. [95] The word ἀπόδειξις, which has survived in one of the documents, further ties their performances to the long-standing rhapsodic and rhetorical traditions of public displays. This makes it likely that the statement by the late fourth-century AD grammarian Diomedes, [96] which casts rhapsodes as reciters in the theaters under the name ‘Homeristae’, is not a misinformed inference from early sources, but a true reflection of the central role that the declamation of the poems (in their original Greek) held even among performers who in time became notorious for their exaggerated stage antics, especially their choreography of battle scenes. [97]
Now, the very name homēristēs must have had its origin in the context of the increasing specialization of performers in Hellenistic times. [98] It is then that we find among the αὐληταί the ἀσκαύλης, καλαμαύλης, θρηναύλης, and χοραύλης; among string instrumentalists the πανδουριστής and σαμβυκιστής; among ὀρχησταί the κορδακιστής and παντόμιμος, sometimes referred to as τραγικῆς καὶ ἐνρύθμου κινήσεως ὑποκριτής or μύθων ὀρχηστής; among acrobats the κοντοπέκτης, σκανδαλιστής, and καλοβάτης; among the μῖμοι the κίναιδος, μαλακός, μαγῳδός, ἀρχαιολόγος, and βιολόγος. [99] Such terms could be multiplied. In this cultural and professional context, it is only natural that the ὁμηριστής too would find his place. [100]

11.2.2 The reforms of Demetrios of Phaleron

My survey, then, puts the rhapsodes of the classical era in continuity with the homēristai of Hellenistic and Roman imperial times. There are points of continuity and discontinuity, but it is possible to establish lines of gradual development that lead from one to the other by an increasing emphasis on the dramatic potential of the Homeric poems and a corresponding exploitation of voice, gesture, and dress in their performances before an audience (cf. Nagy 1996c:171). This serves to return us to the text of Athenaios 14.620b and its report about Demetrios of Phaleron as the one responsible for the introduction of the homēristai into the theater. It is undeniable that the governor of Athens had a live interest in Homeric poetry: Diogenes Laertios 5.81 includes a Περὶ Ἰλιάδος α β, a Περὶ Ὀδυσσείας α β γ δ, and a Ὁμηρικὸς α. [101] The first two must have been hypomnēmata; about the latter we can only guess. [102] Thus, he continued the time-honored philological interests of the founder of the Lyceum. Building on Lykourgos’ broad restoration of Athens’ cultural life, Demetrios was instrumental in bringing about a reorganization of the social mechanisms of dramatic production. [103] In particular, he abolished the χορηγία, which Aristotle in the Politics 1309a14–20 had criticized as exacerbating useless spending, harming the fortunes of the rich, and doing little to prevent the unequal prospering of the polis by sections. [104] Lykourgos, too, expressed particular resentment at liturgies that purported to be for the public good (khorēgia among them), but benefited only the reputation of the sponsor (Against Leōkratēs §139). To these, he opposed truly useful services such as trierarchies. Demetrios adopted this policy in an effort to curtail conspicuous consumption, also legislating limits to funerary spending. [105] One of the few preserved fragments in his own voice expresses his criticism of the khorēgia: [106] καὶ τούτων [sc. τῶν χορηγῶν] τοῖς μὲν ἡττηθεῖσι περιῆν προσυβρίσθαι καὶ γεγονέναι καταγελάστους· τοῖς δὲ νικήσασιν ὁ τρίπους ὑπῆρχεν, οὐκ ἀνάθημα τῆς νίκης, ὡς Δημήτριός φησιν, ἀλλ’ ἐπίσπεισμα τῶν ἐκκεχυμένων βίων καὶ τῶν ἐκλελοιπότων κενοτάφιον οἴκων. τοιαῦτα γὰρ τὰ ποιητικῆς τέλη καὶ λαμπρότερον οὐδὲν ἐξ αὐτῶν (Plutarch De gloria Atheniensium 349b1–6). [107] Instead of the khorēgoi, a state official, the ἀγωνοθέτης, was henceforth in charge of the festival, not only of the Dionysia but also the Lenaia and the Thargelia, [108] but not the Panathenaia; [109] and the people were to be the notional khorēgos. [110] The effect of these reforms, which probably took place towards the beginning of his tenure, [111] was that from then on actors were the employees of the state. And so we should expect that, with the abolition of the khorēgia, Demetrios must have also pursued a more formal arrangement between the polis and the professionals of tragedy and comedy, paying the cast directly in return for making their service at festivals predictable and stable. This would have gone a step beyond the Lykourgan control of the text of the plays through the grammateus. [112]
It is ultimately in such a management model—one in which the city formally contracts with her actors and other dramatic staff as a whole—that an important impetus must lie towards the founding of the synod of Dionysian artists sometime later during the third century BC. Doubtless we must credit other factors: economies of scale; the synergism of, and the flexibility offered by, complementary specialties; the ability to negotiate better terms of employment or to secure immunity; a more effective match of supply and demand; etc. But I believe that it must have been the management model first established by Demetrios what proved so convenient to the professionals of drama and others that it was soon to be made permanent in the autonomously organized and self-ruled synods of τεχνῖται. The terminus ante quem for Athens’ own is the amphictyonic decree IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 1132 (cf. Aneziri 2003:347–350), dated 279/78 or 278/77 BC. That the Athenian synod was probably the first in existence is admitted by many authorities. This chronological priority both explains its superiority and legitimizes its claims to preeminence vis-à-vis the Isthmian koinon, a claim famously upheld by the amphictyonic decree FD Ⅲ 2, 69 (=SIG 3 704e) of which IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 1134 is a copy (cf. Aneziri 2003:368–372). To be sure, its mention of Athens’ priority is couched in anachronistic language that projects the situation that obtained ca. 117/16 BC back to archaic and classical times. [113] But all the same, the language would hardly be defensible in the polemical setting of inter-synodical rivalries unless the cultural preeminence of classical Athens had been further buttressed by her pioneering establishment of a koinon of Dionysian artists. It is not likely, however, that the Athenian model would have succeeded in the long run and enjoyed as witness to its success the establishment of rival associations in the Corinthian Isthmus, Ionia, and Egypt, had not many of the Hellenistic rulers offered them protection and robust patronage (a practice continued with distinction by late republican and imperial notables and potentates). [114] No longer did ‘Dionysiac’ contests take place only at a festival to Dionysos; they could also be organized for the festivals of other gods, and even in honor of rulers. Artistic specialties and their representative performers became unmoored from their original settings and transportable to new ones. The dominant factor henceforth was to be the artist himself, his professional persona. This was not, however, an entirely new development. That performers already during the fifth and fourth centuries BC might have enjoyed a loose association of sorts to defend their common interests, and that they had at least the consciousness of a shared professional identity, might be inferred from the (otherwise clearly anachronistic) language of Athenaios 9.407b about Hegemon of Thasos and the passing comment in Aristotle’s Rhetoric 1405a23–24. Demetrios’ alleged reorganization of the performers cannot be proved, but the environment was certainly ripe for it, and all the circumstantial evidence suggests that it must have taken place.
Although very likely, then, given the abolition of the khorēgia and the assumption by the state of the exclusive sponsorship and financing of city festivals, we do not have any explicit mention of a corresponding reorganization of the actors themselves. But we do steal from Athenaios’ remark about Demetrios and the rhapsodes a passing glance at his comprehensive concern for the performing arts of the city he ruled. That this cannot have meant a radical change in the fourth-century BC character of Homeric rhapsodic performance, I have argued above in my discussion of the homēristai: to be sure, the rhapsode’s flair for the dramatic can only have been encouraged by the move, but this would have been merely another step in the gradual march towards the ever increasing influence of scripted acting on what had once been the extempore recomposition of Homeric poetry in performance without mimetic costuming, voice, and gesture. [115] Granting then that there was a change in setting, what did it consist in? One possibility is that it was into the Dionysia itself that Demetrios brought the reciting rhapsodes (with Athenaios’ τὰ θέατρα standing not only for the place, but metonymically for the preeminent festival celebrated there). But I believe that this is not very likely: no known inscription so much as hints at the performance of rhapsodes during the feast of Dionysos. And only on the assumption that the performance of the rhapsodes in their new setting was very close to the much later acting of the homēristai—an anachronism I cannot accept—is it plausible to imagine them as furnishing ἐμβόλιμα between acts or plays. On the other hand, if they kept their character primarily as reciters of Homeric epic and still did take part in the Dionysia, we would have, in effect, a θυμελικὸς ἀγών. [116] But as Pickard-Cambridge (1946:168) once said, the term θυμελικός was never used for an Athenian competition; perhaps unsurprisingly, for we might expect a city with such long-standing festival traditions, especially after the conservative turn of the Lykourgan era, to have usually respected the broad characteristic outlines of each of her feasts and their peculiar customs. The other alternative, then, is to assume that Demetrios moved the rhapsodic competitions from the odeion of Perikles to the theater of Dionysos. [117] The reasons for this move are not hard to understand: after Lykourgos rebuilt the theater, the site must have been used with increasing frequency for all sorts of assemblies. It was now a convenient, solid, and safe structure, situated in the heart of the city (as opposed to the slightly more peripheral Pnyx). [118] Capacious, it had the convenience of its unimpeded view and its semi-circular shape. The odeion, on the contrary, in all likelihood neither intended nor designed originally as a music hall, [119] was proverbial for its many interior columns (πολύστυλον) [120] and ‘many seats’ (πολύεδρον). [121] It was a square-shaped building whose ‘many seats’ must have been wooden bleachers (ἴκρια) built between the columns. Performers must have stood on a wooden platform built for the occasion. [122] Its views and perhaps acoustics were less than ideal, [123] a state of affairs that might well be justified for the similarly constructed Eleusinian Telesterion, for which secrecy recommended roofing and illumination by torches and the columns supporting the roof might be a necessary nuisance. But only a departure from its original purpose would explain why Perikles made the odeion the seat of rhapsodic and perhaps other ‘musical’ competitions. [124] With the newly refurbished theater of Dionysos available, where already in times past occasional meetings of the ekklēsia had been held, [125] at last the Periklean tradition might be relaxed and all competitions other than athletic and equestrian might be held there. [126] With this, Hesykhios Ω no. 39 s.v. ᾠδεῖον agrees: τόπος, ἐν ᾧ πρὶν τὸ θέατρον κατασκευασθῆναι οἱ ῥαψῳδοὶ καὶ οἱ κιθαρῳδοὶ ἠγωνίζοντο. [127] Davison (1958:35) assumes that Hesykhios’ theater corresponds to the structure that stood in Perikles’ lifetime (built ca. 470 BC, he says). The odeion (whose roofing he assigns to Themistokles) was not in use then, either because the ‘musical’ contests, if ever housed there, had been transferred to the theater, or simply because they had been discontinued at some earlier point and were not held until Perikles refounded the μουσικῆς ἀγῶνες and returned them to the odeion. [128] But I think that Robkin’s analysis [129] makes the hypothesis of a Themistoklean construction of the odeion (based on Vitrivius V 9.1) very unlikely, [130] and that it is therefore better to take Hesykhios’ note as the transference of the ‘musical’ contests, or at least the rhapsodic ones, from the odeion to the theater after Lykourgos’ reforms, [131] a move at least began (if not entirely carried out) by Demetrios of Phaleron. It is clear, at any rate, that during Hellenistic times the theater of Dionysos increasingly became the preferred meeting place. [132]
The translation of ‘music’ contests to the theater need not have been complete. It is possible that the meetings at the odeion continued during the greater Panathenaia, but may have been transferred to the theater for the lesser Panathenaia. [133] This is on the assumption that μουσικοὶ ἀγῶνες were held at the yearly festivals too, a matter that is contested by some scholars. Unfortunately, it is hard to settle this question with certainty, since the celebration of the greater Panathenaia is, to a large degree, involved in resolving calendrical matters, with the result that, starting with the Eusebian date of 566 BC, the date of any epigraphical or literary instance of the festival that is associated with ‘musical’ performances is eo ipso adjusted to a year away by some appropriate multiple of four from 566. A case in point is IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 784, a decree from the archonship of Athenodoros, whom Meritt had once dated to 240/39 BC [134] and more recently redated to 256/55 BC. [135] In either case, the significance of the year is that it corresponds to a lesser Panathenaia (566-240 is not divisible by 4); and since the inscription deals with a μουσικὸς ἀγών, [136] this would seem to prove conclusively that Davison (1958:26) was in fact wrong when he wrote that “it is reasonably certain that the individual competitions [i.e. ‘music’, athletics, and horse-racing] were instituted in the sixth century and confined to the ‘great’ Panathenaea.” Meritt (1981:82), however, noted that Habicht (1979:137), whose arguments prompted the higher redating, had suggested a “Panathenaic year” (i.e. a year when the greater Panathenaia was held) because the decree mentions athlothetai, who many believe were not involved in the lesser festival. [137] Thus, Habicht only considered the Panathenaic years 258/57, 254/53, and 250/49 for Athenodoros’ date. [138] The same rationale was accepted by Osborne 1989: “Athenodoros … needs one of the Great Panathenaic years” (227). [139] I note with interest that Tracy (2003:84) now gives the date of Athenodoros as 238/37 BC, [140] and, for a rationale, the terse statement, “Steinhauer, Νεότερα στοιχεῖα 47, places him without discussion in 238/37 and indicates the date as certain” (Tracy 2003:2n6). He is referring to Steinhauer 1993:47. That there is no strong consensus emerges from the latter’s table on page 36, but I suspect that, in the end, he assigns Athenodoros’ archonship to 238/37 on the grounds that, if ‘music’ was included in the Panathenaia that year, it must have been a greater Panathenaia: the closest fine-tuning of Meritt’s original date (240/39) would adjust him up to 242/41 or down to 238/37. Perhaps a more reliable indicator is Lykourgos’ Against Leōkratēs §102, where the Athenian fathers are said to require Homeric rhapsodic performances καθ’ ἑκάστην πεντετηρίδα τῶν Παναθηναίων. [141] Admittedly, it would be odd to speak thus if in fact such contests were held yearly. But other interpretations are possible: perhaps the yearly Panathenaia did include contests of ‘music’ but did not enforce on rhapsodes the exclusivity of the Homeric repertoire; or else the point may be that in the time of the fathers rhapsodic performances during the greater Panathenaia were exclusively of Homeric poetry but this was no longer the case. If so, the comment would have no bearing at all on the lesser Panathenaia. Even if we take the position that in Lykourgos’ time no contests of ‘music’ were held at the lesser festival, nothing hinders the notion that during his tenure as governor of Athens Demetrios of Phaleron might have added them, or at least performances by rhapsodes, as part of his populist policies, which Walbank (1967:358, ad Polybios 12.13.10) has characterized as “cheap food and … entertainments, panis et circenses.” This might have been the norm henceforth, a norm still observed in 256/55 according to IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 784 (if this is its correct date!).
Whatever the view adopted, we can agree that the new theater setting must have encouraged the tendency to dramatize the delivery of Homeric poetry, and encouraged even further the dependence of rhapsodes on a carefully rehearsed script such as would maximize the dramatic impact of the performance. The kinship of Homeric epic and tragedy was at last given free course and wide scope, enhanced by the identity of setting—certainly of location if not of time. In what was to be a prelude to the joint participation of actors and rhapsodes in the synods of the artists of Dionysos, both performers were brought into a much closer contact than they had ever enjoyed before, and it is likely that their performances were regulated with similar care by Demetrios, the epimelētēs of the city. Nothing would have pleased him better than a heavy dose of theatricality. During his archonship of 309/308 BC he was responsible for the πομπή of the Dionysia, [142] which he gave in great style: a self-moving snail that spewed saliva led the way, and donkeys were marched through the theater (fr. 132.10–11). [143] Demokhares derided him for these (ἐπὶ τούτοις αὐτὸν οὐκ αἰσχύνεσθαι), but Walbank (1967:359) is surely right to conclude that “they were presumably a part of the grandiose show put on by Demetrius and not of any other significance.” [144]

11.3 Actors at the Panathenaia?

Answering to the introduction of rhapsodic declamation into the theater, there was a reciprocal inauguration of a dramatic event at the Panathenaia. Relatively speaking, this development was much later in coming, a fact that speaks perhaps of the more traditional character of this old feast and the correspondingly greater reluctance to adopt in it the cultural eclecticism of the more recently founded festivals. The one literary testimony to the innovation comes from Diogenes Laertios 3.56, where we learn that, according to Thrasyllos (the astrologer friend of Tiberius) Plato published his dialogs as tetralogies after the manner of the tragedians, who competed with four plays ‘at the Dionysia, Lenaia, Panathenaia, and Χύτροι’. [145] To this we can now add two inscriptions. One is the first-century AD IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 3157:
          [   ca. 8   ]αν ἀ[γωνι]σάμενος κ[υ]-
          [κ]λ̣ί̣οις χορο[ῖς] ἀνδρῶν Κεκροπίδι
          [φ]υ[λ]ῇ αὐτὸς χορηγῶν καὶ διδάσ-
          [κων, κα]ὶ τραγῳδίαν Παναθήναια τ[ὰ]
          [μεγά]λα καινὴν διδ[ά]ξας κα[ὶ   ca. 5   ]
          [.]αστ̣α τρία v Ἀθηναίο[ις].
The other, the much earlier SEG 41.115, contains an entry at the end of the Panathenaic victor lists for the year 162/61 BC, which records that Zeuxis staged dramatic contests (Tracy and Habicht 1991:189, col. Ⅲ lines 39–43):
          τοὺς δὲ σκηνικοὺς ἀγῶνας π̣[   ca. 10   ]
40      ⟨Ζ⟩εῦξις ἐποίησε καὶ τοὺς ἐν τα[    ca. 10   ]
          σαις τοῖς εὐεργέταις ἡμέραν [   ca. 10   ]
          ἀγωνισαμένους εἰσήγαγεν̣ [   ca. 11   ]
          τῆς πανηγυρέως ἐπέθηκε [   ca. 12   ]
For line 39 the editors suggest a supplement π̣[ρῶτος πάντων] or π̣[άντας καλῶς]: the fragmentary nature of the text does not allow us to determine if this might have been the first time the contests were held (although they cannot have been introduced much earlier). [146] Since Zeuxis’ name is inscribed without patronymic or demotic, he must have been mentioned in the preamble to the inscription, now lost. The editors are surely right in suggesting that he must have been the agōnothetēs and a man of great influence who either added drama to the festival or staged it with great extravagance. With the restorations καὶ τὰς θυσίας for line 42 and ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων for 43, the following tentative translation is offered: “Zeuxis staged the dramatic contests [admirably?], sponsored? those who contested (on) the day [added?] in th[e ________] in honor of the benefactors of the city, [and] provided [the sacrifices] of the festival [at his own expense]” (Tracy and Habicht 1991:204). [147]


[ back ] 1. Against Leōkratēs §104 illustrates this commonplace of Athenian public discourse.
[ back ] 2. See above, §9.4.
[ back ] 3. In the light of Aristophanes Frogs, it is ironic indeed that Euripides would here be extolled as inculcator of civic virtue.
[ back ] 4. For my restoration of the ms. reading over against Conomis’s text, see above, §9.3 n. 61.
[ back ] 5. For a discussion of this point, see below, §11.2.2. That rhapsodes could be singled out from among the other competitors of μουσικοὶ ἀγῶνες is implicit at Iōn 530a5–7, where, to Sokrates’ incredulous question whether the locals have established a competition for rhapsodes at the Asklepieia of Epidauros, Ion responds, ‘Yes indeed, and of the rest of μουσική too’.
[ back ] 6. See also below, §11.2.2. Iōn 531a1 shows that Hesiod and Arkhilokhos belonged in the rhapsode’s repertoire at least by the time of Sokrates (cf. also 530b8–9). Athenaios 14.620c, citing Khamaileon’s On Stesikhoros, seems to confirm Sokrates’ statement. In all probability, he does not mean to add Mimnermos and Phokylides to the rhapsodic repertoire, as some think. I discuss below (§11.2.1 n. 58) Athenaios’ reason for mentioning them here. In the same passage Athenaios also reports that a certain rhapsode by the name of Mnasion used to act (ὑποκρίνεσθαι) some of Simonides’ iambs, and a Kleomenes would rhapsodize (ἐραψῴδησεν) the Purifications of Empedokles at Olympia. [The ‘Simonides’ of the iambs may be Semonides of Amorgos (West 1981:125 with Nagy 1990c:26n46 approving). On the confusion between Simonides of Keos and Semonides of Amorgos see, for example, Hubbard 2001:227.] I will have occasion to return to this text below.
[ back ] 7. On the reorganization of the Athenian law code between 410–399 BC and the founding of the Metroon, see Sickinger 1999:93–113 and the other studies cited there.
[ back ] 8. Cf. Frei 1900:63.
[ back ] 9. Note the ὥσπερ νῦν ἔτι οἵδε ποιοῦσιν (228b9–c1), which brings the practice down at least to the dramatic date of the dialog if not to the times of the pseudonymous author.
[ back ] 10. See [Plutarch] Lives of the Ten Orators 841d and the decree at 852c, to which the fragmentary IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 457 is a witness. Deinias of Erkhia (APF 3163) donated the land for the construction (Lives of the Ten Orators 841d) and Eudemos of Plataia the teams of oxen for the leveling of the ground (cf. IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 351 with Schwenk 1985:232–238 no. 48). On the basis of IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 351.16–18, which states that Eudemos’ oxen were ‘for the construction of the Panathenaic stadium and theater’ (εἰς τὴν ποίησιν τοῦ σταδ[ί]ου ‖ καὶ τοῦ θεάτρου τοῦ Παναθη[ναϊ]- ‖ κοῦ), Romano (1985:451) contends that “if one accepts that the stadium on the Pnyx hill is the Panathenaic Stadium, it follows that the assembly area can be identified as the Panathenaic Theater.” But this, in fact, does not follow. No one questions the need for a ‘viewing area’—i.e. a θέατρον—from which to follow the athletic events in the stadium. As Pickard-Cambridge (1946:137) long ago asserted, that provision was made for it is all that the expression τοῦ θεάτρου τοῦ Παναθη[ναϊ]- ‖ κοῦ requires us to believe. Whether or no this ‘viewing area’ was the assembly on the Pnyx is of little relevance to me. For alternatives, see Schwenk 1985:238 and Heisserer and Moysey 1986:182. Romano (1985:446–447) himself alleges the existence of embankments for viewing. There is criticism of his proposal in Stanton and Bicknell 1987:88–89, Hintzen-Bohlen 1997:36–37, and Shear 2001:838–840; and a reply in Romano 1996. My particular objection is to Romano’s further suggestion that in the late fifth century “the athletic and probably the musical contests” of the Panathenaia were relocated “as part of the logical trend to move to the Pnyx certain civic and religious activities which originally took place in the Agora” (Romano 1985:451). One looks in vain for evidence to validate this claim in Thompson and Wycherley 1972:48–52, which he cites in support of it: nothing other than the assembly itself was ever relocated to the Pnyx. At any rate, extant sources are silent about the conjectured late fifth-century transfer to it of the “musical contests.” (Romano 1996:80 softens the claim to “at least from the time of Lykourgos and possibly earlier.”) Later reports that point to a transfer of rhapsodic performances to the ‘theater’ never so much as hint that this theater was any other than the well-known one of Dionysos, magnificently refurbished by Lykourgos (see Heisserer and Moysey 1986:181n23). Romano (1996:78–80) does not deny, of course, that the Athenian statesman rebuilt the theater of Dionysos, and he fully recognizes that this and the Panathenaic theatron of the inscription are two distinct structures. But his proposal is uneconomical. The fact that the Pnyx itself was abandoned in favor of Dionysos’ theater not too long after Lykourgos’ time as the preferred place of assembly commends the view that the construction that occurred during its third phase was a final and short-lived burst of life that responded to the conservative turn of the Lykourgan era. (Rotroff 1996 and Rotroff and Camp 1996 strongly suggest that Pnyx Ⅲ should be dated to the time of Lykourgos; cf. Hansen 1996:23–24.) In the absence of incontrovertible counterarguments, one should therefore presume that it is the theater of Dionysos, not the assembly area of Pnyx hill, that sources refer to when they mention a Lykourgan-era θέατρον without qualification.
[ back ] 11. αἱρεθεὶς ὑπὸ τοῦ δήμου χρήματα πολλὰ συνήγαγεν εἰς τὴν ἀκρόπολιν, καὶ παρασκευάσας τῇ θεῷ κόσμον, Νίκας τε ὁλοχρύσους πομπεῖά τε χρυσᾶ καὶ ἀργυρᾶ καὶ κόσμον χρυσοῦν εἰς ἑκατὸν κανηφόρους (Lives of the Ten Orators 852b).
[ back ] 12. See IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 334, conveniently discussed by Schwenk 1985:81–94 no. 17 and Rosivach 1991. For further (and more recent) bibliography on this inscription, see below, §11.2.2 n. 139. On the interpretation of the disputed νέα see also Langdon 1987:55–57.
[ back ] 13. For this new quadrennial festival which, as one of ten epimelētai, he established in 329/28 BC, see Schachter 1981:1.19–26, Schwenk 1985:241–248 no. 50 (=EO 203–205 no. 298 = Manieri 2009:222–224 Oro. 4), Knoepfler 1993, Tracy 1995:92, and Manieri 2009:211–218. EO = Petrakos 1997.
[ back ] 14. As seems likely from court proceedings in the Attic orators, who often had the clerk read various passages of Homer. The procedure, however, remains elusive, and it is possible that plaintiff or defendant may have given the clerk, in advance of the proceedings, written copies of what he was to read. This might have been the case even with laws and decrees. The record that survives in forensic speeches shows consultation of public stēlai and visits to the Metroon (cf. Sickinger 1999:160–170 and the texts cited there). But regardless of the specific procedures, one must assume that effort would be expended by court officials to make sure that what the grammateus read to the jury accurately reflected the alleged sources.
[ back ] 15. ἡμίεργα παραλαβὼν … τὸ θέατρον τὸ Διονυσιακὸν ἐξειργάσατο (Lives of the Ten Orators 852c).
[ back ] 16. Cf. Pickard-Cambridge 1946:134–174.
[ back ] 17. καὶ τὸν νικήσαντα εἰς ἄστυ καταλέγεσθαι, πρότερον οὐκ ἐξόν, where εἰς ἄστυ refers to the Διονύσια τὰ ἐν ἄστει—also Διονύσια τὰ ἀστικά, Διονύσια τὰ μεγάλα, or simply Διονύσια, as opposed to τὰ κατ’ ἀγροὺς Διονύσια—an expression that gives rise to others such as ἐν ἄστει διδάσκειν or εἰς ἄστυ καθιέναι (cf. Pickard-Cambridge 1988:57n1). For the interpretation of this clause see O’Connor 1908:54–55 and Pickard-Cambridge 1988:15–16.
[ back ] 18. With the generic article; cf. Sickinger 1999:100.
[ back ] 19. Cf. Garzya 1980:5.
[ back ] 20. The παρα- conveys the idea of juxtaposition for the purpose of comparison. In the case of written sources it would apply to collation (cf. LSJ s.v.). Here, in turn, the idea is that the speaking actors are compared to the reading secretary, though the specific procedure remains elusive.
[ back ] 21. For the interpretation of this passage see Nagy 1996c:174–175, who observes that the conjectured ⟨παρ’⟩ is unnecessary, for γάρ, by itself, can mean ‘for otherwise’ (175n80, with a reference to Denniston 1954:62–63). But we cannot entirely dismiss Bergk’s emendation (1872–1887:3.71n247), which makes very good sense and is easy to defend on paleographic grounds: τοῖς δ’ ὑποκρινομένοις οὐκ ἐξεῖναι παρ’ αὐτὰ ὑποκρίνεσθαι, where παρ’ αὐτά means extempore (cf. Hesykhios A no. 8467 s.v. αὐτοσχεδιάζει). The more conservative, sole insertion of παρ’ allows the clause to draw directly on the text of the law and to reflect an explicit prohibition by the assembly (see below).
[ back ] 22. Galen Commentaria in Hippocratis Epidemias Ⅲ, 17a.607 Kühn (CMG ὅτι δ’ οὕτως ἐσπούδαζε περὶ τὴν ⟨ἁπάντων⟩ τῶν παλαιῶν βιβλίων κτῆσιν ὁ ⟨Πτολεμαῖος⟩ ἐκεῖνος, οὐ μικρὸν εἶναι μαρτύριόν φασιν ὃ πρὸς ⟨Ἀθηναίους⟩ ἔπραξεν. δοὺς γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἐνέχυρα πεντεκαίδεκα τάλαντ’ ἀργυρίου καὶ λαβὼν τὰ ⟨Σοφοκλέους⟩ καὶ ⟨Εὐριπίδου⟩ καὶ ⟨Αἰσχύλου⟩ βιβλία χάριν τοῦ γράψαι μόνον ἐξ αὐτῶν, εἶτ’ εὐθέως ἀποδοῦναι σῶα, κατασκευάσας πολυτελῶς ἐν χάρταις καλλίστοις, ἃ μὲν ἔλαβε παρ’ ⟨Ἀθηναίων⟩ κατέσχεν, ἃ δ’ αὐτὸς κατεσκεύασεν ἔπεμψεν αὐτοῖς παρακαλῶν ⟨κατα-⟩σχεῖν τε τὰ πεντεκαίδεκα τάλαντα καὶ λαβεῖν ἀνθ’ ὧν ἔδοσαν βιβλίων παλαιῶν τὰ καινά. τοῖς μὲν οὖν ⟨Ἀθηναίοις⟩, εἰ καὶ μὴ καινὰς ἐπεπόμφει βίβλους, ἀλλὰ κατεσχήκει τὰς παλαιάς, οὐδὲν ἐνῆν ἄλλο ποιεῖν, εἰληφόσι γε τὸ ἀργύριον ἐπὶ συνθήκαις τοιαύταις, ὡς αὐτοὺς ⟨αὐτὸ⟩ κατασχεῖν, εἰ κἀκεῖνος κατάσχοι τὰ βιβλία, καὶ διὰ τοῦτ’ ἔλαβόν τε τὰ καινὰ καὶ κατέσχον καὶ τὸ ἀργύριον.
[ back ] 23. Cf. Fraser 1972:1.305–312, esp. 1.306–308.
[ back ] 24. Unfortunately, we are not as well informed about the Alexandrian festivals as we might wish, but enough remains to point to increasing opportunities for competitive display, including poetry, both in Alexandria and in other Egyptian centers. See Fraser 1972:1.230–233 for the isolympic Ptolemaieia, the Arsinoeia, and the Soteria. See also Fraser 1972:3.37 s.v. “festivals.”
[ back ] 25. For the Mouseion as an institution founded on the peripatetic model of the Athenian Lyceum see Fraser 1972:1.315–318; for the library, Fraser 1972:1.320 (with n. 100 on Aristotle’s own collection). See also Weber 1993:74–82.
[ back ] 26. This implies that, if Metroon copies of the Iliad and the Odyssey existed, as we suggested above, they must not have been as emblematic and influential for the regulation of Homeric performance as the tragic scripts were for the Athenian stage.
[ back ] 27. Bollack 1994: “… et que le scribe de la cité compare le texte avec les acteurs: il ne serait pas possible, sinon, de les jouer sur scène” (13).
[ back ] 28. The comparison is sometimes tacit, as in Plato’s Theaitetos 172e4: the opponent at law reads aloud the ὑπογραφή, which is implicitly compared to the wider scope the speaker may wish to give to his presentation, thus effectively limiting what is admissible.
[ back ] 29. Such are the late examples in Cameron 1990, which he glosses as ‘check’ or ‘revise’, “so long as a caveat is added. There does not seem to be a single text [surveyed] that suggests revision in the sense of addition or expansion … [I]t would be a perfectly satisfactory word to characterize the careful reading and checking that went to produce the sort of editions here under discussion. It corresponds to the primary meaning of the Latin recognoscere, ‘to examine, check (a document), in order to establish authenticity, accuracy, etc.’” (125). It must be emphasized, however, that in the earlier (classical) usage, the grammatical subject of παραναγιγνώσκω does not modify the text he is reading, although the goal of the exercise is a contrast often with a view to correcting some excess or transgression. In other words, though many times establishing the comparison or proving the discrepancy is the sole goal, if a correction takes place, it is not the text read as comparandum that is changed, but whatever else it is contrasted with.
[ back ] 30. I am assuming that παραναγιγνώσκειν is the diction of the source used by the Lives of the Ten Orators, and that it is therefore to be read according to late-classical usage.
[ back ] 31. Demosthenes On the Crown 267: φέρε δὴ καὶ τὰς τῶν λῃτουργιῶν μαρτυρίας ὧν λελῃτούργηκα ὑμῖν ἀναγνῶ. παρ’ ἃς παρανάγνωθι καὶ σύ μοι τὰς ῥήσεις ἃς ἐλυμαίνου. Aiskhines On the Embassy 135: ἀκούετε, ὦ Ἀθηναῖοι, τῶν χρόνων παραναγιγνωσκομένων ἐκ τῶν δημοσίων γραμμάτων κτλ. And Against Ktēsiphōn 201: ὑπομνήσατ’ αὐτὸν [sc. Κτησιφῶντα] ἀθορύβως τὸ σανίδιον λαβεῖν καὶ τοὺς νόμους τῷ ψηφίσματι παραναγνῶναι. The examples in LSJ s.v. show that παραναγιγνώσκω can take the dative of the comparandum, and hence means ‘to read (aloud) and compare with’ (Isokrates 12.17 [cf. 4.120]; Galen CMG, p. 132 De Lacy; Polybios 2.12.4 proves that in later Greek (if not before) it might simply mean ‘to read aloud in the presence of others’, i.e. publicly, so as to inform an audience about the text of a document. For other instances, see Cameron (1990:124), who observes that “[i]n many of these passages there is a clear implication that the text is being read publicly so that everyone can check what it says.”
[ back ] 32. Bollack (1994:21) suggests the translation “‘face au texte joué par les acteurs’ si τοῖς ὑποκρινομένοις était pris pour un neutre.” Though this might not seem at first impossible, LSJ s.v. does not include any examples of the passive and I cannot turn up any either. One should at least say that, on the point of usage, the odds that ὑποκρινομένοις is a middle are overwhelming. (Even the aor. pass. and pf. pass. came to be used as middles.) But in the event, as Bollack (1994:21) notes, the meaning amounts to the same if one takes it, as most do, as a masc. pl. for ‘those acting’.
[ back ] 33. Anticipated by Garzya 1980: “[S]i tratta di un’operazione di collazionamento orale (il cancelliere legge, gli attori confrontano con il proprio il testo letto)” (4n6).
[ back ] 34. Arnott 1967.
[ back ] 35. E.g. Philo De migratione Abrahami 80: “καὶ ἐρεῖς πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ δώσεις τὰ ῥήματά μου εἰς τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ”, ἴσον τῷ ὑπηχήσεις αὐτῷ τὰ ἐνθυμήματα, ἃ ῥημάτων καὶ λόγων ἀδιαφορεῖ θείων· ἄνευ γὰρ τοῦ ὑποβολέως οὐ φθέγξεται ὁ λόγος, ὑποβολεὺς δὲ λόγου νοῦς, ὡς νοῦ θεός. And Philo De vita Mosis Ⅱ §37: καθάπερ ἐνθουσιῶντες προεφήτευον οὐκ ἄλλα ἄλλοι, τὰ δ’ αὐτὰ πάντες ὀνόματα καὶ ῥήματα, ὥσπερ ὑποβολέως ἑκάστοις ἀοράτως ἐνηχοῦντος.
[ back ] 36. Plutarch Praecepta gerendae reipublicae 813e10–f5.
[ back ] 37. This explanation agrees with Rhodes’s notion about the ‘secretary of the city’ (Rhodes 1993:604 ad Athēnaiōn Politeia 54.5; cf. Thoukydides 7.10).
[ back ] 38. Bollack’s interesting proposal is also doubtful because it is not easy to see what might move a statesman like Lykourgos to be so self-conscious about the minutiae of performance that he would call for its inclusion in the state script. What we know from ancient papyri (cf. Turner 1977:7) suggests that the book trade annotated scrolls sparsely, mostly with παράγραφοι, if at all, especially in classical times (it is unknown what histrionic scripts might have looked like in comparison), and one can only envision Bollack’s scenario after the ascendancy of philological studies in Hellenistic times (see Turner 1968:112–118 and Thompson 1912:60). At all events, for late classical times, Aristotle (Rhetoric 1407b13–18) mentions punctuating (διαστίζω) Herakleitos’ works, though it is not clear whether he is thinking of the scribe’s writing or the reader’s utterance. The εὐανάγνωστον of 1407b11 points to the latter (as Wilamowitz-Moellendorff 1910:128n9 and Kennedy 1991:233n73 think), but it is still possible that Aristotle is using the scribe’s hardship as an index of the difficulty the reader faces. The use of διαστίζω for a ‘punctuation’ that consists in verbal phrasing must derive from epigraphical practice, though (as Wilamowitz-Moellendorff 1910:128 notes) the epigraphic interpunctiones of the sixth century BC had all but disappeared by the philosopher’s time (cf. Woodhead 1992:28). Rhetoric 1409a20–21 also mentions the παραγραφή, which could be used to mark the end of a period (or, in dramatic texts, to indicate a change of speaker). Also witnessing to the use of signs at the beginning of paragraphs is Isokrates Antidosis 59. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff 1910:128 seems justified in saying that “in [büchern] ist dem leser fast nichts gegeben als die ‘elemente’, die buchstaben.”
[ back ] 39. The ὡς at 841f8 would be a result clause: ‘another [law], to effect that …’.
[ back ] 40. Just as the following clause in Lives of the Ten Orators: μηδενὶ ἐξεῖναι κτλ.
[ back ] 41. Instances of ἐξεῖναι in Attic decrees are common.
[ back ] 42. The best modern introduction is Hamilton 1974. Also read with profit is Page 1934, though frequently criticized as insufficiently mature and unfavorably compared with Jachmann 1982. See also Malzan 1908, Wilamowitz-Moellendorff 1910, Vürtheim 1928:231–248, Cantarella 1930, Reeve 1972 and 1973, Haslam 1979, and Garzya 1980. Falkner (2002, esp. 352–353) offers an interesting reevaluation of scholia that disparage actors and views histrionic interpolations as a struggle between the performer and the scholar for the control of the text.
[ back ] 43. PCG Ⅷ fr. 599 = Comica adespota fr. 46 Kock.
[ back ] 44. Quintilian’s words at Institutio oratoria 10.1.66, I agree, are confusing and offer little guidance. Cf. Cantarella 1930:57–58.
[ back ] 45. Rhetoric 1403b32–34: τὰ μὲν οὖν ἆθλα σχεδὸν ἐκ τῶν ἀγώνων οὗτοι λαμβάνουσιν, καὶ καθάπερ ἐκεῖ μεῖζον δύνανται νῦν τῶν ποιητῶν οἱ ὑποκριταί.
[ back ] 46. Rhetoric 1405a23–25: καὶ ὁ μὲν διονυσοκόλακας, αὐτοὶ δ’ αὑτοὺς τεχνίτας καλοῦσιν· ταῦτα δ’ ἄμφω μεταφορά, ἡ μὲν ῥυπαινόντων ἡ δὲ τοὐναντίον.
[ back ] 47. Problems 956b11–15: διὰ τί οἱ Διονυσιακοὶ τεχνῖται ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολὺ πονηροί εἰσιν; ἢ ὅτι ἥκιστα λόγου σοφίας κοινωνοῦσι διὰ τὸ περὶ τὰς ἀναγκαίας τέχνας τὸ πολὺ μέρος τοῦ βίου εἶναι, καὶ ὅτι ἐν ἀκρασίαις τὸ πολὺ τοῦ βίου εἰσίν, τὰ δὲ καὶ ἐν ἀπορίαις; ἀμφότερα δὲ φαυλότητος παρασκευαστικά.
[ back ] 48. Plutarch Agēsilaos 21.4: καί ποτε Καλλιππίδης ὁ τῶν τραγῳδιῶν ὑποκριτής, ὄνομα καὶ δόξαν ἔχων ἐν τοῖς Ἕλλησι καὶ σπουδαζόμενος ὑπὸ πάντων, κτλ. Cf. Polyainos 6.10.1.
[ back ] 49. See, for example, the second hypothesis to Demosthenes 19 (§2), Demosthenes 19.315, or Demosthenes 5.6.
[ back ] 50. E.g. Demosthenes 19.192; Plutarch Alexandros 10, 29, 72.1; and FGH 125 F4 (Khares apud Athenaios 12.538b–539a). Ghiron-Bistagne (1976:154–163) surveys the growing prominence of actors during the fourth century BC and their involvement with the Makedonians.
[ back ] 51. IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 2318 records 386 and 339 BC as the respective dates for the first old tragedy and comedy.
[ back ] 52. Politics 1336b27–31: ἴσως γὰρ οὐ κακῶς ἔλεγε τὸ τοιοῦτον Θεόδωρος ὁ τῆς τραγῳδίας ὑποκριτής· οὐθενὶ γὰρ πώποτε παρῆκεν ἑαυτοῦ προεισάγειν, οὐδὲ τῶν εὐτελῶν ὑποκριτῶν, ὡς οἰκειουμένων τῶν θεατῶν ταῖς πρώταις ἀκοαῖς.
[ back ] 53. For a comprehensive account of Demetrios’ life see Ostermann 1847 and 1857, Bayer 1969, and O’Sullivan 2009. Briefer treatments are Wehrli 1968a, Ferguson 1974:38–94, Habicht 1997:53–66, and Mikalson 1998:46–74. For editions of his fragments see Wehrli 1968b and Fortenbaugh and Schütrumpf 2000. (Pages 311–447 of the last item contain important essays on various aspects of his life and works.) For the impact of his philosophical ideas on his policies see Dow and Travis 1943, Gehrke 1978, and Williams 1987. Further bibliography can also be found in Williams 1987:87n2.
[ back ] 54. Not in Jacoby’s FGH. Of Aristokles, Müller writes: “Hoc tantum liquet, Aristoclem qui scripsit de musica chorisque, vixisse Alexandriae post regnum Ptol. Euergetae Ⅱ (146–117). Id enim colligitur ex Athenaeo (Ⅳ, p. 174, B).”
[ back ] 55. Aristokles’ remark, highlighted here, corresponds to fr. 33 Wehrli and fr. 55a SOD (=Fortenbaugh and Schütrumpf 2000) of Demetrios of Phaleron.
[ back ] 56. Or, less likely, Cassander had the poems “privately copied for him” (so Olson in his Loeb translation). O’Sullivan (2009:184–185) traces Athenaios’ source to Demokhares’ negative assessment of Demetrios. His mention of Demetrios’ role in bringing the homēristai into the theater “could conceivably have served … to underscore Demetrius’ relationship with Cassander, a relationship through which the city had been subjugated by a Macedonian overlord.”
[ back ] 57. The label homēristēs must have been coined during the Hellenistic period, when ῥαψῳδεῖν was readily used for the solo performance of any non-melic poetry, not just epic, and certainly not just Homeric epic. Faced with the increasingly specialized professionalism characteristic of the times, some—probably in professional circles—must have felt the need for a narrower term that would distinctly identify the one who focused his repertoire exclusively (or almost exclusively) on the Iliad and the Odyssey. If Petronius’ account is faithful, however, the homēristai of later times may well have adopted a somewhat broader repertoire (cf. Hillgruber 2000:65). For a different view on the origin of the word homēristēs, see O’Sullivan 2009:184n54. Nagy (1996c:178–179) shows that the agent noun formation in -istēs, which correlates with verbs in -izō, is already attested in the fourth century BC. This does not mean, of course, that the motivation specific to the coinage of homēristēs was also available then. It is unlikely that this technical designation, faced with the competition of the more popular ‘rhapsode’, ever gained much currency. But as the homēristēs, with roots in the reforms of Demetrios of Phaleron, grew clearly apart from the rhapsode by his emphatically histrionic delivery and the elective abandonment of solo performance for combined acting, the rarer label homēristēs was at hand to tell him apart from the conventional rhapsode. See further below, §11.2.2.
[ back ] 58. This fact motivates the citation of Khamaileon, who makes reference to the established trio (Homer, Hesiod, and Arkhilokhos) and for the sake of completion adds Phokylides and Mimnermos. Phokylides was best known as an epic gnomologist; whether he also wrote elegy is disputed by West 1978b:164n2. Perhaps he is paired with Mimnermos in the ἔτι δέ clause at Athenaios 14.620c4 as a representative of elegy, although other reasons for the pairing are possible. Arkhilokhos’ place in the rhapsodic repertoire was already secure in the classical period, but this does not mean, even if it is likely, that rhapsodes were specifically the ones who set and performed his poetry to music. That some of them did so with Homer and Hesiod is certain, for only this fact explains why Khamaileon’s observation is introduced at this point in the book.
[ back ] 59. Cf. Nagy 1990c:26–27 and Nagy 1996c:160n25.
[ back ] 60. Although Athenaios’ report is in the passive voice (μελῳδηθῆναι 620c2) and lacks an explicit agent, only if Khamaileon had believed Stesikhoros to have set ἔπη to μέλος would he have made the reported comment in his book On Stēsikhoros, and only then could Athenaios in turn have thought his citation appropriate to the similar practice of some Hellenistic rhapsodes. Cf. Burkert 1987 and Russo 1999, who variously cast Stesikhoros as a competitor or heir to rhapsodic performance traditions. See further above, §10.2.1 n. 72. μελῳδέω is found at Aristophanes Birds 1382 (1381 in some editions) in connection with Kinesias’, in Women at the Thesmophoria 99 with Agathon’s, lyrics. Dunbar (1995:208) ad Birds 226 suggests that “a wider meaning of ‘sing/recite to instrumental accompaniment’, not limited to lyric metre, seems possible here, as in the statement of Aristotle’s pupil Chamaileon cited by Athenaios (620c), were μελῳδηθῆναι is used of performing … presumably with lyre accompaniment.” Other occurrences of the verb at Plato Laws 655d8; Plutarch Moralia 389e9, 430a7, 623b3, 744c5, 1019a3; Lucian Phalaris I §13, De domo §19, Adversus indoctum §12, De saltatione §27, Dialogi marini I §4, Dialogi deorum Ⅺ §4; and Apollodoros Bibliothēkē 1.9.25 §135.2.
[ back ] 61. That the οὐκ ἀπελείποντο means that the performers themselves attended the symposia, as opposed to their being present as a topic of conversation, follows from the word used at 616e, ἀκροάματα, which LSJ s.v. glosses as ‘lectures, singers, or players, esp. during meals’. Cf. Robert 1936:236–237 and Jones 1991:191.
[ back ] 62. As my analysis below will show, I am of the opinion that the current consensus puts too much weight on the miming of battle scenes. The best current overviews of the homēristai are Husson 1993 and Hillgruber 2000. See, further, Calderini 1911, Kroll 1918, Heraeus 1930, Robert 1936:237 (esp. n. 4), Robert 1983:183–184, Roueché 1993:15–25, Perpillou-Thomas 1995:229–230, Nagy 1996c:158–182, Garelli-François 2000:504–506, Cucchiarelli 2006, O’Sullivan 2009:182–184, and Gangloff 2010:54–56.
[ back ] 63. Athenaios 14.620b: τοὺς δὲ νῦν Ὁμηριστὰς ὀνομαζομένους πρῶτος εἰς τὰ θέατρα παρήγαγε Δημήτριος ὁ Φαληρεύς.
[ back ] 64. Oneirokritika 4.2 Pack: καὶ τῶν τεχνῶν δὲ αἱ δυνάμεις ὅμοιαι, καὶ εἰ τῇ ἐνεργείᾳ εἶεν ἀνόμοιοι, εἰς ταὐτὸν ἀποβαίνουσιν. ὡς Ἀπολλωνίδης ὁ χειρουργὸς ὁμηρίζειν νομίσας καὶ πολλοὺς τιτρώσκειν πολλοὺς ἐχείρισε. καὶ γὰρ οἱ ὁμηρισταὶ τιτρώσκουσι μὲν καὶ αἱμάσσουσιν, ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἀποκτεῖναί γε βούλονται· οὕτω δὲ καὶ ὁ χειρουργός (lines 74–79).
[ back ] 65. καὶ γάρ τις ἐν αὐτοῖς ἦν τῶν τὰ Ὁμήρου τῷ στόματι δεικνύντων ἐν τοῖς θεάτροις· τὴν Ὁμηρικὴν σκευὴν ὁπλισάμενός τε αὐτὸς καὶ τοὺς ἀμφ’ αὑτὸν οὕτω σκευάσας ἐπεχείρουν μάχεσθαι (3.20.4).
[ back ] 66. This fact has not been readily accepted by all. Rightly viewing him as a homēristēs, an undue emphasis on his acting was placed by Mitscherlich, who removed τῷ στόματι from his edition, and Berger (apud Boden), who emended it to τῷ σχήματι. But Jacobs (1821:670) rightly comments: “τῷ στόματι delendum censet Bipont. [sc. Mitscherlich] aut cum σχήματι permutandum. Hoc Bergero in mentem venerat. Sed bene habet vulgata. Rhapsodus describitur, qui Homerica recitabat carmina, idque in scena, non, ut pantomimi, loquacibus digitis usus aut σχήματι, sed τῷ στόματι, versus recitando. De quibus recitationibus, quae non multum abhorrebant ab histrionum in comoediis tragoediisque arte, verbum ὑποκρίνεσθαι usurpatur” (his emphasis). Roueché (1993:15) clarifies the difference between mimes and pantomimes thus: “The pantomime, a solo performer, performed a dance, accompanied by music, but without words; the subject matter was drawn from mythology, but was essentially serious, and the pantomime’s art is regularly described as τραγικός. Mimes performed in groups, both of men and women, and used words and music to present scenes which were often comic, but also encompassed tragic subjects.” For bibliography see Roueché 1993:15nn1–2, esp. Reich 1903 and Wiemken 1972. For a related mention of ὁμηρίζειν in close proximity with ὑποκρίνεσθαι and ὑπόκρισις, see Akhilleus Tatios 8.9 with LSJ s.v. ὁμηρίζω Ⅲ and Nagy 1996c:164–165. Hillgruber (2000:67n19) has recently approved of Lurje’s emendation τῷ σώματι and its alleged support, Plato’s Laws 814c6–8. But this is hardly a valid parallel, since the passage regards wrestling (πάλη) and proper bodily movement (κίνησις τοῦ σώματος), for which argumentative clarity will indeed require, as the Athenian points out, that speech be joined by physical illustration. A comparable motivation is lacking in the proposed characterization of the homēristai as those who ‘exhibit with the body the verses of Homer in the theaters’. ‘With the body’ is simply too crude a description of a performer’s technique. On that count, τῷ σχήματι is a far superior alternative. Unfortunately, P.Duk. inv. 772 (formerly P.Rob. inv. 35), for which Willis (1990:82 in line 19) prints σ[τ]ό̣ματι, has a lacuna at that very point. Laplace 1993 accepts Willis’s reading. Although the papyrus may perhaps accommodate σώματι, it is hard to gainsay a unanimous medieval paradosis that, as I will now show, makes good sense. Hillgruber is doubtless right that the characteristic showmanship of homēristai motivates the use of δεικνύντων; mention of their professional setting, ἐν τοῖς θεάτροις, prepares the reader for the existence of the σκευή. But why τῷ στόματι? Doubtless because, ordinarily, vocal delivery was central to their success, and Akhilleus Tatios must have felt the need to clarify that with δεικνύντων he was not marginalizing the role of recitation. Incidentally, pace Hillgruber and others, I do not believe that there was more than one homēristēs on board the ship (he armed those who happened to be around him, τοὺς ἀμφ’ αὐτόν). Why else should the author have written τις … ἦν rather than τινες … ἦσαν? That homēristai often performed solo is an important clue to the nature of their performance. A solo performer cannot effectively play several parts in close succession (perhaps alternating them) without significant recourse to vocal delivery. In support of this observation I cite the epitaph of the mime Vitalis: “Fingebam vultus, habitus ac verba loquentum, | ut plures uno crederes ore loqui” (Anthologia Latina I.2.38 no. 487a.15–16; cf. Hillgruber 2000:68n27).
[ back ] 67. Satyricon 59.3–7: “‘simus ergo, quod melius est, a primitiis hilares et Homeristas spectemus’. intravit factio statim hastisque scuta concrepuit. ipse Trimalchio in pulvino consedit, et cum Homeristae Graecis versibus colloquerentur, ut insolenter solent, ille canora voce Latine legebat librum. mox silentio facto ‘scitis’ inquit ‘quam fabulam agant? Diomedes et Ganymedes duo fratres fuerunt. horum soror erat Helena. Agamemnon illam rapuit et Dianae cervam subiecit. ita nunc Homeros dicit quemadmodum inter se pugnent Troiani et Tarentini. vicit scilicet et Iphigeniam, filiam suam, Achilli dedit uxorem. ob eam rem Aiax insanit et statim argumentum explicabit.’ haec ut dixit Trimalchio, clamorem Homeristae sustulerunt, interque familiam discurrentem vitulus in lance du〈ce〉naria elixus allatus est, et quidem galeatus. secutus est Aiax strictoque gladio, tamquam insaniret, 〈vitulum〉 concidit, ac modo versa modo supina gesticulatus mucrone frust[r]a collegit mirantibusque [vitulum] partitus est.”
[ back ] 68. Hillgruber (2000:64.5) disputes the notion that Trimalchio’s liber was really a “libretto” of the performance. Whether or no the book closely followed the Greek of the homēristai, Trimalchio must have expected his guests to consider his words as their Latin equivalent. On the words “ut insolenter solent” see Cucchiarelli 2006.
[ back ] 69. Marek 1993b:144 no. 28 prints a funerary epigram for a Kyros from Lampsakos (date not specified). He suggests that Kyros was a homēristēs. I quote the relevant lines (7–12): εἰ δὲ θέλις γενεήν τε καὶ οὔνομα τοὐ- | μὸν ἀκοῦσαι, οὔνομά μοι Κῦρος, | πατρὶς δέ μοι Λάμψακός ἐστιν, | κεῖμαι δ’ ἐν γαίῃ Πομπηίου, φῶς τόδε | λείψας, πολλὰ κοσμήσας θυμέ- | λαις τὸν θεῖον Ὅμηρον. Vacat. Cf. SEG 43.920.
[ back ] 70. Wilcken Chrest. = Mitteis and Wilcken 1912:I.2; Feste = Vandoni 1964. See also Hunt and Edgar 1932–1934:2.522–525 no. 402 and Tedeschi 2002:176–177 no. 25. For editions of Greek papyri and other papyrological references see Oates et al. 2001. I print Wilcken’s text, except for the erroneously dotted σ of ὁμηριστῇ. Vandoni follows Wilcken but fails to dot several letters.
[ back ] 71. Schmidt = Schmidt 1911; Poliakoff = Poliakoff 1982:91. See also Tedeschi 2002:177–178 no. 26. I print Hunt’s text, emended as noted.
[ back ] 72. P.Osl. = Eitrem and Amundsen 1936. See also Tedeschi 2002:179 no. 28. I print the text as it appears in P.Osl. The provenience of this papyrus is unknown. I have followed Husson’s plausible suggestion and placed it under Oxyrhynkhos (Husson 1993:96).
[ back ] 73. SB = Sammelbuch griechischer Urkunden aus Ägypten (vol. Ⅳ is edited by F. Bilabel). See also Tedeschi 2002:179–181 no. 29. For the reading [Ἀμε]σ̣υσίων in line 2 see Bonneau 1981:55 and [ back ] Perpillou-Thomas 1993:81n72; for δραματοθ[έτηι in 27 see Lewis 1981:80. I print the text in SB Ⅳ 7336, amended as noted.
[ back ] 74. See also Hunt and Edgar 1932–1934:2.438–439 no. 359, Collart 1944:142–143, Perpillou-Thomas 1993:107–109, and Tedeschi 2002:168–169. I print Wilcken’s text, amended as noted (m2 = 2nd hand, etc.).
[ back ] 75. P.Bodl. = Salomons 1996. See also Tedeschi 2002:135n226. For the meaning of “1–2” in the dating see below, §12.3.1.
[ back ] 76. The editor translates, “Account of 400 drachmae.”
[ back ] 77. See below, §11.2.1.
[ back ] 78. But a choreographer, if that is what the word means (cf. Lewis 1981:80), would sooner belong in a pantomime than in a mime.
[ back ] 79. Cf. Hillgruber 2000:67n20.
[ back ] 80. Hillgruber 2000:68n27 after Heraeus 1930:401.
[ back ] 81. So also Perpillou-Thomas 1993:231.
[ back ] 82. The joint acting of homēristai may be reasonably inferred from Artemidoros, although the further notion that this was their only mode of performance does not follow. On the doubtful case of Papyrus 6 see below.
[ back ] 83. “D’autre part, le vocabulaire en ce qui concerne ces deux lignes du papyrus d’Oslo est, pour chacune d’elles, radicalement différent: l’ἀγὼν ποιητῶν est un concours traditionnel, à la fin duquel on proclame le vainqueur; pour les homéristes, il y a une ἀπόδειξις, c’est-à-dire qu’ils sont ‘produits’.” But there is no established technical use of ἀποδείκνυμι in the sense of ‘to produce (a play)’, and it is better to view ἀπόδειξις here in terms of its connection with ἐπίδειξις (see above, §9.4 n. 64).
[ back ] 84. Robert 1929: “Polygnota n’a pas concouru. C’est un usage qui se répand à l’époque hellénistique que les musiciens et les poètes ne se fassent pas entendre seulement dans les concours, mais donnent aussi des auditions (ἐπιδείξεις, ἀκροάσεις) soit en dehors de l’époque des concours, soit à l’occasion des concours” (38–39). Even a crown need not imply a previous competition (so SIG 3 450). Cf. Aneziri 2003:222n106.
[ back ] 85. εὐδοκιμέω, for example, in SIG 3 659.5, 737.6, or 738a.7.
[ back ] 86. Wörrle 1988:8, lines 44–46 records three days devoted to “mimes and performers and shows for which there are no prizes” when any of the other performers that pleased the city (τῶν ἀρεσκόντων τῇ πόλει) would also be admitted.
[ back ] 87. See n. 83 immediately above.
[ back ] 88. Eitrem and Amundsen 1936:269.
[ back ] 89. A type of mime. Cf. Robert 1936:239–241 and Hillgruber 2000:65n12.
[ back ] 90. h (=margo ed. Steph. Leid. 764.B.8, i.e. the annotations of Franciscus Junius the Younger, on which see CGL Ⅱ pp. xix–xx) offers “ὁμηρισταὶ δετοὶ σὺν χοροῖς.” Cf. Heraeus 1930:397 and Hillgruber 2000:65.
[ back ] 91. Both quotations are at Salomons 1996:265.
[ back ] 92. For the currency of fourth-century Egypt see Bagnall 1985:9–18, with his equation of νομισμάτιον and solidus at 16. Pankiewicz (1989:105) calculates the average daily base salary as 1/56 of a solidus. He arrives at this number by averaging amounts attested by several papyri and the Diocletian price edict (see Lauffer 1971). He uses not the Diocletian standard, which struck solidi at 60 to the pound of gold, but one that started in AD 309 at the mint in Trier, where 72 were struck. The devalued solidus was finally embraced as standard in 324 (cf. Crawford 1975:588–590, Bagnall 1985:15, and Pankiewicz 1989:81–82). The edict specifies 25 denarii as the daily pay for an operarius rusticus (7.1a Lauffer). The Edict of Maximum Prices (on which see Bagnall 1985:20 and Crawford and Reynolds 1979:197) states the price of a pound of gold at 72,000 denarii. This means that 25 denarii are 1/40 of the Constantine solidus. The other amounts are: 1/60 in P.Oxy. 1499 (three attendants of a public bath in AD 309 are paid monthly wages of one talent in all, i.e. 1,500 denarii, which must be divided by three and thirty); per diem payments to workers in AD 314 of 400, 500, and 650 drachmas (four to a denarius), i.e. of 1/65, 1/52, and 1/40, since by AD 314 (the date of the document) inflation had increased the price of gold by a factor of 6–7 from the original 40 or 48 talents/pound to 288 (see Sijpesteijn and Worp 1983:52–63 no. 22 at 55–56 for the papyrus; cf. Bagnall and Sijpesteijn 1977:116). The fraction of solidus for the daily salary during the first half of the fourth century AD remains within 1/40 and 1/65, with the lower range being more common.
[ back ] 93. Roueché (1993:19–20) also notes his likely association with a biologos attested in a stray find that probably belongs with the texts from the theater.
[ back ] 94. I cite as further, indirect support what Hillgruber (2000:72) writes of the Ennianista in Gellius Noctes Atticae 18.5, a performer whose trade name must have been formed after the pattern of ‘homerista’. That he was an ἀναγνώστης, an educated man experienced in declaiming the Annales (“non indoctum hominem, uoce admodum scita et canora Enii annales legere”), undermines Hillgruber’s argument that homēristai were nothing more than mimes largely unmoored from the original Greek texts who specialized in Homeric motifs.
[ back ] 95. Someone might object that single mimes too are sometimes mentioned in our documents. But this is a valid objection only on the (false) assumption that mimes always acted in groups. Csapo and Slater (1994:370) state that “mimes acted, sang, and danced without masks, either individually or in a troupe.” It is very unlikely that a city would supply with a supporting band of local actors a single out-of-town mime whose services it had engaged (as in Papyrus 5): Roueché (1993:52) is clear that, so far as we can ascertain their status, mimes were associate-performers. Prevented from competing at sacred festivals, their participation in synods of τεχνῖται was barred also (Aneziri 2003:331–332). Although some did form associations in the second and third centuries AD, they remained separate from the artists of Dionysos (332n77). Wiemken’s considered judgment is that “[ü]berhaupt … von stehenden Mimentruppen in der Überlieferung niemals die Rede [ist]; vielmehr waren die Mimen Solisten in ihrem jeweiligen Fach, die auf Tagesgage spielten und von Fall zu Fall herangezogen und zu einem Ensemble vereinigt werden konnten” (1972:182). Ad hoc associations, then, seem to have been the norm among them. This is quite different from views of homēristai, here disputed, that assume without hesitation that they must have always acted in troupes, a modus operandi seemingly required by the further assumption that their sole specialty was the staging of bloody fights.
[ back ] 96. GL 1.484 Keil: “rapsodia dicitur Graece ποιήσεως μέρος … vel quod olim partes Homerici carminis in theatralibus circulis cum baculo, id est virga, pronuntiabant qui ab eodem Homero dicti Homeristae.”
[ back ] 97. For the opposite view, cf. Garelli-François (2000:504n15), who thinks Diomedes to be wholly derivative of Athenaios 14.620b: he would have neither known what Garelli-François calls “the homēristai from the time of Athenaios” (whom she assumes to be very different from the rhapsodes of old) nor the ones attested during the first and second centuries AD (who, she thinks, may have disappeared by the time of Diomedes). I suggest instead that, from his fourth-century perspective, Diomedes incorporated in his synchronic description of rhapsodes elements that came from different stages in the diachronic evolution of epic performance. Ultimately, his words emerge from scrutiny innocent of serious distortion. He is obviously familiar with the theatrical setting for rhapsodic performance, relevant both to the post-Phaleronian rhapsodes and to the homēristai of later Roman imperial times; hence his “in theatralibus circulis.” The relative clause “qui ab eodem Homero dicti Homeristae” is similarly applicable to Hellenistic and Roman imperial performers of Homeric poetry (see above, §11.2.1 with n. 57). Given that he knew the term “homerista,” still in use about a century before his own time in connection with the histrionic homēristai, it seems to me improbable that he would nevertheless—ex hypothesi, if we follow Garelli-François—apply it without historical warrant to the older rhapsodes of Hellenistic times. It is more plausible that he understood the diachronic continuity between classical and Hellenistic rhapsodes and the Roman imperial homēristai; and that, therefore, after drawing a rather traditional picture of the rhapsode in performance, he did not think inconsequent to supply the word ‘homerista’ as his Latin equivalent. Perhaps unexpectedly, the resulting synchronic description is in fact rather accurate.
[ back ] 98. See above, §11.2.1 n. 57.
[ back ] 99. Perpillou-Thomas 1995:226–230. Cf. Bélis 1988 and Chaniotis 1990:90–92 (also table 1, pp. 99–102).
[ back ] 100. Nagy 1996c:178–180 argues for the late fourth-century BC origin of the term, for which Demetrios of Phaleron himself may be responsible. I agree with the connection between this label and “a decreasing flexibility in the inherited repertoire, … correlated with an increasing professionalism” (1996c:180). But, as argued above, I do not believe that Demetrios’ impact extended beyond a formal control of the performers by the state, i.e. beyond establishing official procedures for the supply, employment, and payment of performers (which might have encouraged further self-regulation and self-organization) and fostering the inherent tendency towards greater theatricality in the practice of Homeric rhapsodes (owing to the new performance venue and perhaps even a desire to indulge Demetrios’ delight in a ‘good show’). Assuming that Demetrios was responsible for the sobriquet would imply too radical a discontinuity in the performance tradition at the time, rather than the more likely gradual change encouraged by the implicit promotion of already existing cultural tendencies (cf. O’Sullivan 2009:185).
[ back ] 101. Fragments assigned to his homerica are 190–193 Wehrli or 143–146 SOD.
[ back ] 102. Wehrli (1968b:85) suggests a rhetorical declamation, such as he imagines Plato’s Ion boasted about when he compared himself with Metrodoros of Lampsakos, Stesimbrotos of Thasos, and Glaukon (530c9–d1). Cf. Bayer 1969:146–147. On Demetrios’ philological writings see, further, Montanari 2000.
[ back ] 103. See O’Sullivan 2009:165–195.
[ back ] 104. δεῖ δ’ ἐν μὲν ταῖς δημοκρατίαις τῶν εὐπόρων φείδεσθαι, μὴ μόνον τῷ τὰς κτήσεις μὴ ποιεῖν ἀναδάστους, ἀλλὰ μηδὲ τοὺς καρπούς, ὃ ἐν ἐνίαις τῶν πολιτειῶν λανθάνει γιγνόμενον, βέλτιον δὲ καὶ βουλομένους κωλύειν λειτουργεῖν τὰς δαπανηρὰς μὲν μὴ χρησίμους δὲ λειτουργίας, οἷον χορηγίας καὶ λαμπαδαρχίας καὶ ὅσαι ἄλλαι τοιαῦται. Cf. Politics 1305a3–7 and 1320b2–4.
[ back ] 105. Cicero De legibus 2.63–66 (fr. 135 Wehrli = fr. 53 SOD).
[ back ] 106. Fr. 136 Wehrli = fr. 115 SOD.
[ back ] 107. With the modern editors, I follow Reiske’s emendation ἐπίσπεισμα τῶν ἐκκεχυμένων βίων, which doubtless stands behind the awkward ms. reading ἐπὶ πεισμάτων ἐκκεχυμένον βίον.
[ back ] 108. Cf. Wilson 2000:272n33.
[ back ] 109. Pace Ferguson 1974:57 and n. 2. Cf. B. Nagy 1978 and 1992:62–65, esp. 64. Although a temporary suspension of the athlothetai’s responsibility for the Panathenaia in favor of a single agōnothetēs cannot be dismissed, it remains entirely speculative.
[ back ] 110. IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 3073: ὁ δῆμος ἐ[χορήγει … . Cf. IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 3074, 3076–3077, 3079, 3081, 3083, and 3086–3088. For more on the agōnothetēs see Pickard-Cambridge 1988:91–92, Mikalson 1998:54–59, and Wilson 2000:270–276.
[ back ] 111. An obvious date would be 317/16 BC, when he was nomothetēs. Cf. Wilson 2000:272 and 307–308 (appendix 4).
[ back ] 112. O’Sullivan (2009:181) suggests that Demetrios did not abolish the khorēgia but only “prohibited victorious khorēgoi from displaying their prize tripods in lavish shrines.” If so, he would only have helped indirectly the decline of the liturgy. O’Sullivan places its actual restructuring under the restored democracy in 307/306 BC. Whether during Demetrios’ rule or shortly thereafter, the socio-economic impact of the change would have been the same. Nonetheless, I prefer the traditional ascription to Demetrios. In the light of his far-reaching social concerns and indisputable policy reforms (on which see Wilson 2000:270–272 and the references above, §11.2.1 n. 53), O’Sullivan’s proposal that the introduction of the agōnothesia in 307/306 sought to enhance the prestige of the Antigonids as liberators, although possible, is less compelling a motivation than the Phaleronian’s own political project.
[ back ] 113. Surely the language—ἐπει[δὴ] γεγονέ[ναι κ]αὶ [συνειλέ]χθαι τεχνιτῶν σύνοδον παρ’ Ἀθηναίος συμβέβηκε πρῶτον … (11) and πρῶτός τε πάντων, συναγα⟨γ⟩ὼν τεχνιτῶν σύνοδον [καὶ ἀγωνιστῶν, θ]υμελικ[οὺς καὶ σκ]ηνικ[οὺ]ς ἀγῶνας ἐποίησεν (16–17)—is not intended as a description merely of the founding of third-century BC competitions, but, as the panegyric that follows makes clear, of the invention of all the arts by the Athenians (tragedy, comedy, and others).
[ back ] 114. See above, §11.2.1 n. 50. In places like Alexandria, which had not enjoyed, as Athens, centuries of rich cultural traditions and which, for this reason, was subjected by its rulers to a vigorous official policy of Hellenization, the establishment of a guild of artists had obvious advantages for recruiting performers and supplying newly established festivals. Here it was not merely a matter of regulating preexisting religious and cultural forms, but of founding entirely new festivals to give expression to the ideologies of power. There would also be the added benefit of evoking Alexander the Great as Dionysos in his patronage of the arts (cf. Diogenes Laertios 6.63 and Athenaios 12.538f). The respective termini ante quos for the non-Athenian κοινά are ca. 270 BC for the Egyptian, ca. 240 BC for the Ionian, and ca. 260 BC for the Isthmian. Following in Alexander’s footsteps, influential Romans, too, portrayed themselves in the guise of Bakkhos: so Mark Antony (Athenaios 4.148c) and Caligula (Athenaios 4.148d). By the time of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, it was no longer a personal claim, but an established honorific address: Ἁδριανὸν Καίσαρα Σεβαστὸν νέον Διόνυσον (Roueché 1993:226 no. 88 ⅲ.3; cf. IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 1350).
[ back ] 115. This evolution of the performance practice is reflected by late sources, e.g. the Suidas s.v. ῥαψῳδοί: οἱ τὰ Ὁμήρου ἔπη ἐν τοῖς θεάτροις ἀπαγγέλλοντες (4.287 Ρ no. 71.1 Adler).
[ back ] 116. Strictly speaking, θυμελικός referred to the μουσικοὶ ἀγῶνες in the setting of the theater. A mixed competition, with drama and mousikē (rhapsōidia, kitharōidia, aulōidia, etc.) would go by the fuller name θυμελικοὶ καὶ σκηνικοὶ ἀγῶνες (or, in the words of Vitruvius V 7.2.6, it would involve scaenici et thymelici artifices). Cf. Frei 1900:5–15. As Wörrle (1988:227) observes, later usage under Rome was less precise and sometimes applied to both the shorthand θυμελικοί in contrast to γυμνικοί.
[ back ] 117. So Shear 2001:368. For the odeion of Perikles see Robkin 1976 and 1979, Kotsidu 1991:141–149, Hose 1993, Miller 1997:218–242, Papathanasopoulos 1999 (non vidi), Mosconi 2000, Musti 2002, Papathanasopoulos 2003 (non vidi), Di Napoli 2004, and Lippolis et al. 2007:561–562. Kotsidu (1991:154) rejects the conjecture of a late fourth-century transfer of the rhapsodes from the odeion to the theater on the basis of IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 784, which is dated to the middle of the third century BC and mentions a Panathenaic ἀγὼν μουσικός. In her view, if the change of setting had already taken place, one should rather expect to read about a Panathenaic ἀγὼν θυμελικός. But this objection is naive and unpersuasive. At this early date a preference for the adjective θυμελικός over against μουσικός would entail the corresponding contrast, at least implicit, with σκηνικός—a contrast that did not obtain for the Panathenaia, but would have existed if rhapsodic performances had been included in the Dionysia. One must also reckon with the doubtless conservative epigraphic nomenclature, which if at all possible would have likely adhered to the traditional adjective μουσικός in preference to the innovative θυμελικός.
[ back ] 118. Thompson and Wycherley (1972:50) call the Pnyx “a tour de force and a freak” and note that “[i]n the end common sense prevailed” when “in the course of the 3rd century, the theater, already used for occasional meetings, became the regular place of assembly.”
[ back ] 119. See, for example, Robkin 1979:10 and Miller 1997:232–235 (esp. 234). Miller notes that the odeion was “singularly poorly designed for such a function” (233). Mosconi 2000:243, which, atypically among recent studies, defends the—at least predominant—use of the building for musical performances, places natural but perhaps misleading emphasis on its peculiar name. Whether or not one agrees with Robkin, her hypothesis that after Perikles’ failure to convene the Panhellenic congress he made the staging of μουσικοὶ ἀγῶνες the structure’s first prominent use (Robkin 1976:95) would sufficiently account for the conventional name Ὠιδεῖον in contemporary sources. Given the purpose for which the congress was called (cf. Plutarch Periklēs 17), Robkin convincingly motivates the symbolism evoked by imitating the pavilion of the Persian king (an imitation that Mosconi 2000:244 declares illusory). On the historicity of the so-called ‘congress decree,’ see MacDonald 1982 and Stadter 1989:202–203. Miller notes that there are chronological stumbling-blocks to positing the construction (or completion) of the odeion in the early 440s BC, but she does not spell out what these are. The Panhellenic assembly must have been convened after the peace of Kallias (449?) and before beginning work on the Parthenon (447/46 BC). But so long as archaeology fails to illuminate the dating, Robkin’s review (1976:36–41) shows that a building project with a foreseeable completion date for the odeion soon enough to house the Periklean congress shortly after 449 BC—and in time for the Panathenaic year of 446/45—is not unfeasible. A doxographic survey of modern scholars confirms this impression: built “shortly after 450 BC” according to Boersma 1970:72, following Shear 1966:118 (“early 440s”); mid-440s in the opinion Camp 2001:101 (who ties it to the ostracism ca. 443 BC of Perikles’ opponent Thoukydides, which can only provide a terminus ante quem); before the removal of the mousikoi agōnes to it “in the 440s” according to Hurwit 2004:279n39 (a date apparently in conflict with the chronology of his table at 254); and, summarizing the consensus, Di Napoli 2004:593 writes “nel decennio 450–440.”
[ back ] 120. Cf. Robkin 1976:23–26.
[ back ] 121. Robkin 1976:26–28. Cf. Plutarch Periklēs 13.9–11. See also Theophrastos Kharaktēres 3.3.6–7. Mosconi (2000:234n49) is probably right to reject Miller’s novel interpretation of πολύεδρος as ‘polyhedral’ (Miller 1997:227).
[ back ] 122. Plato’s Iōn 535e1–2: καθορῶ γὰρ ἑκάστοτε αὐτοὺς ἄνωθεν ἀπὸ τοῦ βήματος.
[ back ] 123. We do not know what the acoustics of the building were. Miller (1997:235n207) hedges by calling them “unusual.” It certainly lacked the design that has made Greek theaters the world over famous for their ability to convey sound. The roofed enclosure must have helped to palliate its dissipation; but the return to a traditional shape for the auditorium in the construction of the odeia of Agrippa and Herodes suggests that the semi-circular stone theater surpassed what the Periklean odeion could offer. For an interesting exploration of the acoustics of the Pnyx and the corresponding limitations on the political process see Johnstone 1996a:116–126.
[ back ] 124. Whether the transfer applied only to rhapsodes or embraced all other performers of mousikē is open to question. Since odeion and theater were immediately adjacent, a division of competitive events between them would have been entirely feasible. It is possible that rhapsodic performances drew more avid audiences and that their solo delivery without melody and instrumental accompaniment commended the more acoustically effective setting of the theater. A measure of variability in the arrangements of venues from one Panathenaic festival to the next is also conceivable. IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 968 honors Miltiades, son of Zoilos, for his agōnothesia of the Panathenaia in a section (ll. 37–55) that refers to events that took place after the archonship of Theaitetos. The inscription notes that ‘what needed work on the Acropolis, in the Odeion, and in the Anakeion he got ready in a manner that was fitting’ (τά τε ἐν ἀκροπόλει προσδεόμε[να ἐργασία]ς καὶ τὰ ἐν τῶι ὠιδείωι | [καὶ τῶι Ἀν]ακεί[ω]ι ἐπεσκεύασεν προσηκ[όντως 47–48). We do not know what precisely took place in the odeion on that occasion, but it is clear that it must have served as one of the venues for the events on the program. The festival is assumed to be the penteteric one of 142/41 BC on the questionable grounds that: i) mention of the odeion entails mousikoi agōnes; ⅱ) and ‘musical’ performances were not held during the lesser Panathenaia (see Shear 2001:101, with the inscription at 1026–1027). See for further consideration §11.2.2 immediately below.
[ back ] 125. Cf. McDonald 1943:47–51 and Pickard-Cambridge 1988:68–70.
[ back ] 126. We learn from Hyperides’ In Defense of the Children of Lykourgos (fr. 118 Jensen) that the great Athenian statesman also subjected the odeion to construction. The word used, ᾠκοδόμησε, is applied also to the theater (among others). Thus it must mean not ‘build’ but ‘rebuild’ or ‘refurbish’, and the degree of construction and modification implied must be allowed to vary. (Cf. Lykourgos’ Against Kēphisodotos fr. 2 Conomis, which credits Perikles with the construction, οἰκοδομήσας, of the odeion). Robkin (1976:65) suggests that the work for the theater necessitated some modifications to the odeion: the crosswall that connects the west end of the north wall of the odeion to the analēmma of the theater, as opposed to the buttresses at the center and east end, may be one such modification. At any rate, no work on the odeion can have compensated for a design unsuited to ‘musical’ performances.
[ back ] 127. For a discussion, see Hiller 1873.
[ back ] 128. The survey of the relevant iconographic record in Kotsidu 1991:104–129 refutes the notion of a hiatus in the celebration of the ἀγῶνες (see her lists in 293–317).
[ back ] 129. Robkin 1979:8.
[ back ] 130. Pace Papathanasopoulos 2003. Cf. Mosconi 2000:250–270 and Musti 2002.
[ back ] 131. Davison (1958:34n17) observes: “It should be noted that Hesychius does not say to which theatre he refers; he might be speaking of the ‘Periclean’ (or even of the Lycurgean) one.”
[ back ] 132. Pollux 8.132.8–133.2 makes reference to this change: ἐνεκλησίαζον δὲ πάλαι μὲν ἐν τῇ Πυκνί· … αὖθις δὲ τὰ μὲν ἄλλα ἐν τῷ Διονυσιακῷ θεάτρῳ, μόνας δὲ τὰς ἀρχαιρεσίας ἐν τῇ Πυκνί (cf. Wachsmuth 1874:647n2). McDonald (1943:47–51 and 56–61), after examining the epigraphical and literary sources, concludes that starting in the times of Lykourgos’ reforms, after which the “[t]heater must have been much the best equipped meeting place in Athens for any large group” (58), regular assemblies there (flagged by the expression ἐκκλησία ἐν τῷ θεάτρῳ) slowly increased in number during the third century BC until the new venue entirely supplanted the Pnyx after the first third of the second century BC (cf. 57n74).
[ back ] 133. For other alternatives, see above, §11.2.2 n. 124.
[ back ] 134. Meritt 1961:234, revalidated in Meritt 1977:176. In agreement is Samuel (1972:215), who places Athenodoros on his second column for “those archons whose placement depends solely upon the reconstruction of the secretary cycle” (211). This was already the dating offered by the editor of IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 784.
[ back ] 135. Meritt 1981:79 and 82–83 (cf. p. 94).
[ back ] 136. IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 784.7–10: ἐπειδὴ v οἱ ἀθλοθέται ἐπεμελήθησαν [τῆς διοικήσεως τῶ]- ‖ ν Παναθηναίων v Ἀγαθαίου Προσπ[αλ]τ[ίου συντελοῦντος κα]- ‖ ὶ τοῦ ἀγῶνος τοῦ τε μουσικοῦ καὶ [τοῦ γυμνικοῦ καὶ τῆς ἱππ]- ‖ οδρομίας v καὶ τὰ ἄλλα ἅ[παντα κτλ. Cf. Shear 2001:1020–1021, who dates it to 239/38 BC. (She dots several alphas that Kirchner left undotted; otherwise, the text is unchanged and hardly in doubt.)
[ back ] 137. This matter is complex, since IG I3 370, with its ἀθλοθέταις ἐς Παναθέναια (line 67) in the section that regards 415/14 BC, the evidence alleged (e.g. by Meritt 1981:82n19 and B. Nagy 1992:63) to prove the involvement of athlothetai in the lesser festivals, was long ago argued vigorously by Davison (1958:32) to apply not to the festival that year but to the greater one that followed it (in 414/13). Davison’s view has found little favor and is rejected by Meiggs and Lewis (1969:236) among others. And for a good reason: we simply do not know enough about the financial arrangements—who was owed what, which expenses might be incurred on short-term credit, when payment was expected, etc.—categorically to declare the date of the disbursement “administrative nonsense” if intended for the Panathenaia of 415/14 (Davison 1958:32). If athlothetai were in charge of the lesser Panathenaia (not of the sacrifices and the procession, for which the hieropoioi continued to be responsible, cf. IG I3 375.6–7 and Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 334), this surely implies that this festival too must have included contests with prizes. We might then understand the extravagant sum of nine talents as perhaps “a specially luxurious celebration [of the lesser Panathenaia] after the troubles of the summer” (so Meiggs and Lewis 1969 ad loc.). As Rhodes (1993:670) writes, “the title of the athlothetae suggests that their original duty was to organise the contests.” This purview harmonizes with the testimony of Plutarch Periklēs 13.11, who reports that, after being elected athlothetēs, Perikles himself arranged the ‘musical’ contests. (The force of this observation does not depend on whether athlothetēs here has a technical or general sense.)
[ back ] 138. “[D]ie traditionelle Datierung auf 240/39 ist nicht nur zu spät, sondern auch deshalb falsch, weil Athenodoros aller Wahrscheinlichkeit nach in ein Jahr der Großen Panathenäen gehört” (Habicht 1979:137). “Es muß sich hier um die Großen Panathenäen handeln, denn die Athlotheten sind ‘eine Behörde der penteterisch begangenen Panathenäen’, während die Hieropoioi das kleine, jährliche Fest vollständig verwalten” (137).
[ back ] 139. Osborne (1989:213n14) rejects the ascription of IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 784 to a lesser Panathenaia on the grounds that the athlothetai were responsible for the penteteric, the hieropoioi for the yearly, festival. Faced with IG I3 370, he observes that “there is nothing to indicate that the athlothetai took over the organization of the lesser Panathenaia (as opposed to having a role in its celebration).” But what division of labor, if any, existed between these two sets of officers is precisely the point that should not be begged. Once we grant coordinate roles to athlothetai and hieropoioi, we must also ascertain—and not just gloss over—their respective spheres of responsibility. IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 334 cannot be adduced to settle the case for an exclusion of the athlothetai from the lesser festival. Its date falls between 336 and 330 BC, with preference for 336/35 or 335/34 (Lewis 1959:240). With this, contrast the fact that Rhodes (1993:56) dates Aristotle’s Athēnaiōn Politeia “towards the end of the 330’s” (with possible updates in the first half of the 320s). And yet the Aristotelian text (at 60.1) assigns the administration of the Panathenaic πομπή to the athlothetai in apparent contradiction with IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 334.B18 and B31–32. It seems perverse to hold that Aristotle would have failed to take into account a recent, significant festival reorganization when he heeds other near contemporaneous ones (cf. Rhodes 1993:52 and 610 regarding the Hephaistia). This suggests that the absence of the athlothetai from the inscription is to be attributed to its narrow focus on the sacrificial arrangements, naturally subsuming the procession of the cows under them; and that, where we read τοὺς δὲ ἱεροποιοὺς τοὺς διοι[κ]- ‖ [οῦντας τ]ὰ Παναθήναια τὰ κατ’ ἐνιαυτὸν (B31–32), we should understand a contextual restriction to sacrifices and the like. I wonder if the syntax of B5–6 does not hint at this restriction. It does not say τἆλ]λα … διοικῆται τὰ περὶ τὴν ἑορτὴν (‘so that all the other matters that concern the festival be well administered’), but τἆλ]λα … διοικῆται περὶ τὴν ἑορτὴν (‘so that all the other matters [that are the responsibility of hieropoioi] be well administered in connection with the festival’). If the pannychis was celebrated after the sacrifice on Hekatombaion 28, we may understand the hieropoioi’s supervision of it (at B32–33) as concerning the distribution of meat and the regulation of the ensuing feasting (cf. Pritchett 1986:186). The pannychis must have included a veritable spectacle of song and dance; cf. Plato Republic 328a and Euripides Hēraklēs 777–783 (in Euripides note the sequence of sacrifice first and then celebration, and the expression μηνῶν φθινὰς ἁμέρα, on whose meaning see Pritchett 1986:183 and the note ad loc. in Garzya 1958:117–118). Parker (2005:257) observes that it is hard to resist the implication that the sequence in B32–34 is chronological; if so, the meat would not have been available for the pannychis. But resist it we must. All-night merry-making as a vigil before the climactic procession constitutes distinctly poor timing and suggests weary rather than eager crowds for an audience. The Bendideia in Plato Republic 327a–328a sensibly featured a pannychis with a torch-race after the procession (cf. Clinton 1994:27–28 on the Epidauria). This must have been the Panathenaic order too (so Boegehold 1996:97 and Shear 2001:83 following Pritchett 1986). At any rate, if we hold firmly in view ex hypothesi that πομπή and sacrifice preceded the pannychis, the sequence in B32–34 would seem associative and unproblematic. Only to us, who are ignorant, would it seem chronological. (Boutsikas 2011:303 assumes without discussion a date of 27 Hekatombaion.) That the athlothetai are not mentioned among the officials to whom special portions of meat are distributed seems to me the more significant objection to their involvement in the lesser Panathenaia, at least as reflected by the inscription (cf. Rosivach 1991:440n32; that their office still existed then follows from the late second-century BC IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 1060, on which see B. Nagy 1978:311). Athēnaiōn Politeia 60.1 is explicit that athlothetai hold office for four years, so that their existence during the lesser Panathenaia (whether they received meat or not) should arguably be accepted. Rhodes (1993:606) reads Athēnaiōn Politeia 54.7 as precluding hieropoioi from involvement in any Panathenaia, and hence in conflict with our inscription; but one might read the exclusion πλὴν Παναθηναίων as ‘except the [penteteric] Panathenaia’. This compatible reading posits that hieropoioi took the initiative in, and carried the burden of, the administration of the lesser festival; whereas the athlothetai did so for the penteteric. All that this view requires is the relatively greater salience of the competitions during the latter and of the procession and sacrifices during the former. This still allows for a complementary and subordinate role at each festival for the other set of officers. It is perhaps the unusual prominence of the contests at the lesser Panathenaia of 415/14 BC that accounts for an involvement of the athlothetai more prominent than was customary (and hence their mention to the apparent exclusion of the hieropoioi). If this logic is right, the question may be badly posed from the start. One must not assume the absence of contests wherever only hieropoioi are mentioned. From Athēnaiōn Politeia 54.7 we learn that these yearly officials (ἱεροποιοὶ κατ’ ἐνιαυτόν) are to administer all penteteric festivals other than the Panathenaia. Among the enumerated are the Hephastia, the Eleusinia, and perhaps the Herakleia. For the sake of brevity and simply to make the point, I note that IG I3 82, a decree from 421/20 BC broadly agreed to be about the Hephaistia, explicitly places under the responsibility of hieropoioi not only the procession (τε̄ς δὲ πονπε̄ς hόπος [ἂν hος κάλλιστα] ‖ πενφθε̄ι hο[ι hι]εροπ[οι]οὶ ἐπιμελόσθον 24–25) but also the torch-race and the rest of the competition (ποιόντο[ν δ]ὲ [h]ο̣ι hιεροπ[οιοὶ hούτος hόστε] ‖ [τὲ]ν λανπαδ[εδρομίαν καὶ] τὸν ἄλλον ἀγο̄να γίγνεσθαι καθά[περ τοῑς Προμεθίο]- ‖ [ις τὲ]ν θέαν̣ [hοι λανπάδαρχ]οι ποιο̄σι 31–33). On this and the related IG I3 472 and the Hephaistia generally, see Thompson 1969, Parke 1977:171–172, Harrison 1977 (esp. 414), Simon 1983:51–54, and Saito 1999. If hieropoioi may and do run contests, there is no reason to conclude that the lesser Panathenaia did not have competitions on a more modest scale simply because we do not find athlothetai involved in their administration. On IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 334, besides the authorities cited above, see Parke 1977:47–49; Schwenk 1985:81–94 (with earlier bibliography); Brulé 1996; and Shear 2001:73–87, 91–94, 1054–1055, 1119–1122 (with discussion of the related IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 1496; she lists IG Ⅱ/Ⅲ2 334 as “Agora XⅥ 75”).
[ back ] 140. See Tracy 2003:165–168.
[ back ] 141. See above, §11.1.
[ back ] 142. Cf. Bayer 1969:70–71.
[ back ] 143. Fr. 132 Wehrli = fr. 89 SOD. Cf. O’Sullivan 2009:182 and 193n83. For the emendation ὄνοι for the ms. ἀνοῖ see Walbank 1967 ad loc. The expansion ἄνθρωποι seems much too weak without elaboration and cannot be accepted unless we assume in the text a lacuna that supplies further details.
[ back ] 144. See Athenaios 12.542e (fr. 34 Wehrli = fr. 43a SOD) for another report of the same occasion, according to which the chorus sang to Dionysos in verses that flattered Demetrios.
[ back ] 145. Θράσυλλος δέ φησι καὶ κατὰ τὴν τραγικὴν τετραλογίαν ἐκδοῦναι αὐτὸν τοὺς διαλόγους, οἷον ἐκεῖνοι τέτρασι δράμασιν ἠγωνίζοντο—Διονυσίοις, Ληναίοις, Παναθηναίοις, Χύτροις.
[ back ] 146. Cf. Balabanēs 2007.
[ back ] 147. These two inscriptions (with epigraphical commentary, bibliography, and an English translation) can be found in Shear 2001:1080 and 1110–1116.