Mary Ebbott, Imagining Illegitimacy in Classical Greek Literature
Introduction. Metaphors of Illegitimacy
1. Where the Girls Are: Parthenioi and Skotioi
2. Teucer, the Bastard Archer
3. Images of Fertility and Sterility
4. Euripides' Hippolytos
About the Author
Chapter 1. Where the Girls Are: Parthenioi and Skotioi
Marriage and legitimacy are inseparably linked in ancient Greek thought. Not only is the legitimacy of children determined by the marital status of their parents, but marriage is defined in terms of legitimate children.  The often quoted line from Menander’s Perikeiromene Ταύτην γνησίων παίδων ἐπ' ἀρότῳ σοι δίδωμι ‘I give you this woman for the sowing of legitimate children’ indicates that legitimate children are not just the result, but indeed the express purpose of marriage.  Marriage in ancient Greek society is also viewed as a civilizing force, one that controls sexuality, especially female sexuality. Through marriage and a tight control of women’s sexual behavior, men attempt to ensure that they truly are the fathers of the children of their wives and that therefore the oikos, the family and household, is perpetuated through legitimate (gnêsioi is the Greek term) offspring only. The forms of sexual relationships outside of marriage that could produce children are multiple and include adultery, concubinage or slavery, and prostitution. In this chapter, however, I propose to look at the imagery of nothoi in narratives that deal with a particular type of illegitimate child: one born from a woman who is appropriately eligible for marriage (unlike a slave, concubine, or prostitute) but is as yet unmarried when she becomes pregnant. This is a particularly potent situation for the production of metaphors.
The story of Danaë and Perseus can serve as our point of departure, as a narrative concerning a child born from an unmarried woman. The basics of the story are as follows. Danaë’s father, Akrisios, consults the oracle in Delphi about a male child and is told that he will not have one, but that his daughter will. Then comes the bad news—Akrisios will die at the hands of his grandson. So Akrisios tries to prevent the conception of the child destined to kill him by locking his daughter up, thereby preventing any man from gaining access to her. But Danaë becomes pregnant anyway (more later on who the father might be), and Perseus is born. When Akrisios discovers the child, he asks Danaë who the father is, and does not believe her when she claims that the father is Zeus. He then encloses his daughter and grandson in a box and throws it into the sea (of course, when Perseus has grown up, he does accidentally kill Akrisios, and so the oracle is fulfilled).
This narrative has many fascinating details, but here I focus only on the double imprisonment of Danaë and how this imagery relates to her status as an unmarried girl—indeed, as a girl whose father wants to prevent from ever getting married. The story is related most fully by Pherecydes (as reported in a scholion to Apollonius 4.1091) and by Apollodorus, who records a variant of the identity of Perseus’s father. First, here is the narrative as told by Pherecydes: 
Ἀκρίσιος γαμεῖ Εὐρυδίκην τὴν Λακεδαίμονος· τῶν δὲ γίνεται Δανάη· χρωμένῳ δὲ αὐτῷ περὶ ἄρσενος παιδός, ἔχρησεν ὁ θεὸς ἐν Πυθοῖ, ὅτι αὐτῷ μὲν οὐκ ἔσται παῖς ἄρσην, ἐκ δὲ τῆς θυγατρός· πρὸς οὗ αὐτὸν δεῖ ἀπολέσθαι. ὁ δὲ ἐπανελθὼν  εἰς Ἄργος, θάλαμον ποιεῖ χαλκοῦν ἐν τῇ αὐλῇ τῆς οἰκίας κατὰ γῆς, ἔνθα τὴν Δανάην εἰσάγει μετὰ τῆς τροφοῦ, ἐν ᾧ αὐτὴν ἐφύλασσεν, ὅπως ἐξ αὐτῆς παῖς μὴ γένηται. ἐρασθεὶς δὲ Ζεὺς τῆς παιδὸς, ἐκ τοῦ ὀρόφου χρυσῷ παραπλήσιος ῥεῖ· ἡ δὲ ὑποδέχεται τῷ κόλπῳ· καὶ ἐκφήνας αὑτὸν ὁ Ζεὺς τῇ παιδὶ μίγνυται· τῶν δὲ γίνεται Περσεύς, καὶ ἐκτρέφει αὐτὸν ἡ Δανάη καὶ ἡ τροφός, κρύπτουσαι  Ἀκρίσιον. ὅτε δὲ Περσεὺς τριέτης ἢ τετραέτης ἐγένετο, ἤκουσεν αὐτοῦ τῆς φωνῆς παίζοντος· καὶ διὰ τῶν θεραπόντων μετακαλεσάμενος τὴν Δανάην σὺν τῇ τροφῷ, τὴν μὲν ἀναιρεῖ, Δανάην δὲ κατάγει σὺν τῷ παιδὶ ἐπὶ τὸν ὑπὸ τοῦ ἑρκίου Διὸς βωμόν. μόνος δὲ αὐτὴν ἐρωτᾷ, πόθεν εἴη αὐτῇ γεγονὼς ὁ παῖς. ἡ δὲ ἔφη· ἐκ Διός. ὁ δὲ οὐ πείθεται, ἀλλ' εἰς λάρνακα ἐμβιβάζει αὐτὴν μετὰ τοῦ παιδός· καὶ κλείσας καταποντοῖ. καὶ φερόμενοι ἀφικνοῦνται εἰς Σέριφον τὴν νῆσον. καὶ αὐτοὺς ἐξέλκει Δίκτυς ὁ Περισθένους, δικτύῳ ἁλιεύων. εἶτα ἡ Δανάη ἀνοῖξαι ἱκετεύει τὴν λάρνακα. ὁ δὲ ἀνοίξας, καὶ μαθὼν οἵτινές εἰσιν, ἄγει εἰς τὸν οἶκον, καὶ τρέφει ὡς ἂν συγγενεῖς αὐτοῦ ὄντας.
Akrisios married Eurydike, the daughter of Lakedaimon. From them, Danaë was born. When Akrisios asked the oracle about a male child, the god in Pytho [Delphi] answered him, that there would be no male child for him, but there would be one from his daughter at whose hands he would be killed. Akrisios, returning to Argos, made a bronze chamber in the courtyard of his house underground, where he led Danaë and her nurse. In this he guarded her, so that no child would be born from her. But Zeus fell in love with the girl, and he poured down like gold through the roof. She received him in her lap. After he revealed himself, Zeus had sexual intercourse with the girl. From them Perseus was born; Danaë and the nurse raised him, hiding him from Akrisios. When Perseus was three or four years old, Akrisios heard his voice while he was playing. Summoning Danaë with her nurse through servants, he killed the nurse, and he led Danaë with her child to the altar under the statue of Zeus of the Household. Alone he asked her from where this child was born to her, and she said, “From Zeus.” He did not believe her, but put her in a chest with her child. Once he closed it up he threw it into the sea. Carried along, they arrived at the island Seriphos. Diktys the son of Peristhenes drew them out of the sea while fishing with a net. Then Danaë begged him to open the chest. After opening it and learning who they were, he led them to his house and took care of them as though they were his relatives.
The story continues, of course, with Perseus’s adventures when he is older. But the details of the underground chamber and the chest, along with the emphasis on the father’s house and the protective household deities, point to the illegitimate nature of Perseus’s birth. The sexual relationship is illicit by default because, first and foremost, it does not have the sanction of the girl’s father, who would act as her kurios (‘guardian’) in giving her in marriage.  An unmarried girl’s sexual behavior is supposed to be controlled by her kurios (her closest male relative)—only he, and not she, can give consent for approved sexual relations. A hint of the illicit nature of Danaë’s behavior is also recorded in a variant reported by Apollodorus. His version of the narrative is as follows: 
̓Ακρισίῳ δὲ περὶ παίδων γενέσεως ἀρρένεων χρηστηριαζομένῳ ὁ θεὸς ἔφη γενέσθαι παῖδα ἐκ τῆς θυγατρός, ὃς αὐτὸν ἀποκτενεῖ. δείσας δὲ ὁ ̓Ακρίσιος τοῦτο, ὑπὸ γῆν θάλαμον κατασκευάσας χάλκεον τὴν Δανάην ἐφρούρει. ταύτην μέν, ὡς ἔνιοι λέγουσιν, ἔφθειρε Προῖτος, ὅθεν αὐτοῖς καὶ ἡ στάσις ἐκινήθη· ὡς δὲ ἔνιοί φασι, Ζεὺς μεταμορφωθεὶς εἰς χρυσὸν καὶ διὰ τῆς ὀροφῆς εἰς τοὺς Δανάης εἰσρυεὶς κόλπους συνῆλθεν. αἰσθόμενος δὲ ̓Ακρίσιος ὕστερον ἐξ αὐτῆς γεγεννημένον Περσέα, μὴ πιστεύσας ὑπὸ Διὸς ἐφθάρθαι, τὴν θυγατέρα μετὰ τοῦ παιδὸς εἰς λάρνακα βαλὼν ἔρριψεν εἰς θάλασσαν. προσενεχθείσης δὲ τῆς λάρνακος Σερίφῳ Δίκτυς ἄρας ἀνέτρεφε τοῦτον.
When Akrisios asked the oracle about the generation of male children, the god said that a male child would be born from his daughter who would kill him. Fearing this, Akrisios built a bronze chamber underground and guarded Danaë there. This girl, as some say, Proitos [Akrisios’s brother] corrupted, which caused a conflict between them [Akrisios and Proitos]. But, as others say, when Zeus changed himself into gold and poured through the roof into the lap of Danaë, he had intercourse with her. When Akrisios later perceived that Perseus was born from her, and not believing that she was corrupted by Zeus, throwing his daughter with her son into a chest, he tossed it into the sea. When the chest had been carried to Seriphos, Diktys, having picked it up, raised the boy.
In the variant reporting in which it is Danaë’s uncle rather than Zeus who fathered Perseus, the result was a stasis (‘conflict’) between the two brothers, which again indicates that such a sexual relationship is not sanctioned by the girl’s kurios (‘guardian’)—in this case, her father—and is generally problematic.  Even when the father is Zeus, the situation for Danaë hardly improves. In both Pherecydes’ and Apollodorus’s versions, Akrisios does not believe that Zeus is the father.  His disbelief signals again his disapproval.
This disapproval of his daughter’s sexual relations is not just directed at specific sexual partners, however. The chamber is built to prevent her from entering any sexual relationship at all, so that she may never conceive the son whom Akrisios fears. An underground chamber (thalamos), as bizarre and specific to this story as it may seem, in fact taps into imagery associated with a girl before she is married.
The girl of marriageable age can be imagined as a treasure laid in store in an underground vault when she is betrothed by way of enguê. Gloria Ferrari argues that the imagery that underlies the term enguê, a marriage agreement between the girl’s kurios and the prospective husband, analogizes the betrothed girl to capital withdrawn from circulation and placed in a vault, and the moment of the ekdosis is a “withdrawal” of this capital from the underground treasury. Moreover, this metaphor of the bride as buried treasure informs the part of the marriage known as the anakaluptêria. The “uncovering” implied in this word refers to the metaphorical emergence of the bride into sight from the seclusion in her ‘vault’. 
The image of the ‘vault’ for an unmarried but pledged girl thus informs the underground thalamos in this narrative. Thalamos, the term used in both versions we have examined, has several meanings. It is used for inner rooms of the house, a meaning that will be important later in my consideration of another related image.  It is also used specifically for a bedroom or bridal chamber,  and this meaning is obviously a charged one here. Danaë is not supposed to have a bridal chamber, and yet, her underground room becomes one when it is the site of her intercourse with Zeus.
Thalamos can also, however, be used to denote a room where valuables are kept.  In the imagery of the vault where the unmarried girl is kept, both meanings converge, for she is treasure kept safe, to be brought out for one purpose—to marry the man to whom her kurios has chosen to lend her for the production of legitimate children.  She is valuable for her potential fertility, as the means by which the husband-to-be’s oikos will be perpetuated. She is kept safe by her family until the transfer, however, as her value for both oikoi depends on her chastity. The bride-to-be as stored treasure is buried treasure. 
Within the narrative, then, the underground (κατὰ γῆς, ὑπὸ γῆν) chamber taps into the imagery of secluded unmarried girls, who are held in reserve and out of circulation.  The details of the chamber being made of bronze and Zeus appearing as a shower of gold may also allude to the treasury aspect of this “maiden vault.” In both narratives it is stated plainly that this structure was meant to “guard” Danaë (ἐφύλασσεν in Pherecydes, ἐφρούρει in Apollodorus), making explicit that she, like the girl promised by enguê, is being kept safe from the possibility of sexual encounters with men.
In the usual course of events, such a girl would eventually be led out of the vault to be given to the man to whom her father has promised her. In the story of Danaë, however, this sequence is disrupted because of her father’s attempt to keep her unmarried forever. Danaë is withdrawn from circulation permanently in order to prevent the birth of her son. Ferrari has argued for a similar use of this imagery as a sustained conceit in Sophocles’ Antigone, in which Antigone, the bride-to-be, goes into the underground vault never to return instead of emerging from it for her impending marriage to Haimon.  Indeed, Sophocles himself draws a comparison between the two myths. As Antigone is led off to her vault, after her famous speech, the chorus says that Danaë, too, suffered leaving the light in her brazen court (αὐλαῖς), but was hidden (κρυπτομένα), confined in her tomblike thalamos (Antigone 944–946).  The comparison is one between these two unmarried women whose kurioi are trying to prevent them from ever getting married. 
As the chorus of the Antigone goes on to say, Danaë did succeed in conceiving a child, however. Yet, she still remains in her vault, and her child is in there with her. The child of the illicit union remains with his mother and is associated with her in her enclosed space removed from sight. This narrative feature of the child’s sharing in the characteristics of his mother is a key to the poetics of illegitimacy, and one that will show itself in several forms as we continue to explore it in this chapter. I mention this feature now as a placeholder while I continue to draw out the imagery from this narrative.
The child remains undiscovered for some time (in Apollodorus this time is indeterminate, in Pherecydes, three or four years), but when he is discovered, mother and child are brought out of the underground chamber. In Pherecydes’ version, Danaë and Perseus are taken to the altar of Zeus Herkeios, or Zeus of the Household, where Akrisios asks her about the father of her son. Aside from the apt coincidence that the cult statue portrays the father, the mention of this altar, which would be within the confines of the house’s courtyard, reveals the importance of the young woman’s sexuality to the oikos. Danaë’s thalamos was supposed to ensure her permanent virginity, but the confinement of Danaë is the extreme of the norm of the girl who is kept safe until a marriage sanctioned by her kurios. 
Although Danaë and Perseus are removed from the vault, they merely trade one enclosed space for another. When Akrisios refuses to believe the “legitimacy” of Perseus as son of Zeus, he puts mother and child into a larnax (this word is used in both versions).  This double enclosure of the unmarried woman and of her child confirms the illegitimacy of the sexual union and of the resulting child.  A woman so enclosed is supposed to be untouched and untouchable, yet the presence of the child exposes the fact that this is not the case.
As we saw with thalamos, the word larnax also has more than one meaning. It can mean a chest or coffer for valuables.  It can mean a coffin or funerary urn.  Significantly, it is used by Apollonius for the chest in which Hypsipyle places her father and sets him adrift at sea to save him from being killed by the other Lemnian women.  The word is used elsewhere by Apollodorus for the ark of Deucalion (1.47) and for a chest in which the egg that will become Helen is given to Leda, who keeps it until it hatches and calls Helen her own daughter (Apollodorus 3.10.7). It is also the word used for the chest in which Aphrodite places the infant Adonis and entrusts him to Persephone (3.14.4) and for the chest in which Althaea puts the log that embodies her son Meleager’s life.  These meanings indicate that a larnax, like a thalamos, is a place to keep something safe, whether it be material goods, or the bones of those who died in war, or even a person. Once again, Akrisios has it backwards—he uses something in which valuables are normally kept safe in an attempt to destroy them. The larnax lives up to its billing and preserves Danaë and Perseus, but, like the thalamos, it is an enclosed space where the two are kept until someone else (Diktys in this case) takes over the care of them.
The larnax is thus a kind of second thalamos, another enclosure for the unmarried woman and, in this case, for her son as well. It has been argued that certain images of Danaë in vase painting represent her dressed as a bride in the larnax. Such a representation suggests that the chest in this story is a functional equivalent of the vault from which the woman would emerge for her wedding.  The use of larnax in Apollodorus’s story of Arsinoe also shows that, similar to thalamos, this enclosure is associated with an unmarried woman. As Apollodorus relates, after Arsinoe’s brothers have killed her husband (who had married a second woman), they “reclaim” her by enclosing her in a larnax and taking her home (Apollodorus 3.7.5). Thus the natal family’s recovery of the woman puts her into a vaultlike structure once again, where she would symbolically remain until ready to be led out again in another marriage.  The dictionary of Hesychius makes clear the connection between this type of chest and illegitimacy: one of its entries reads “out of the larnax: illegitimate” (ἐκ λάρνακος · νόθος). The child who emerges from a larnax is a bastard.
The double enclosure of Danaë leads us to the first of two terms used for an illegitimate child that will be discussed in this chapter: that is, parthenios, an adjective formed from parthenos, the term for an unmarried girl.  The very term parthenios, however, provides clues to the conceptualization of women’s sexuality as well as of children born out of wedlock. The other term we will be looking at, skotios ‘dark, shadowy’, has certain metaphorical associations in common with parthenios, including the darkness of the underground space in which the parthenos is envisioned.
Let us start with the use of parthenios in Homer. This narrative appears in Iliad 16, when Achilles is mustering his Myrmidons to accompany Patroklos into battle. He chooses five leaders from them, and we are given detailed accounts about the parentage of the first two, Menesthios, and the second, Eudoros, who is the one called parthenios. It is illuminating to compare these two narratives, because of their similarities and differences. Both men are children of an immortal father and a mortal mother, conceived before the mother was married, and each woman is subsequently married to a mortal man, who gives plenty of bride gifts to get her. Yet only one of these sons is called parthenios. 
τῆς μὲν ἰῆς στιχὸς ἦρχε Μενέσθιος αἰολοθώρηξ
υἱὸς Σπερχειοῖο διιπετέος ποταμοῖο·
175 ὃν τέκε Πηλῆος θυγάτηρ καλὴ Πολυδώρη
Σπερχειῷ ἀκάμαντι γυνὴ θεῷ εὐνηθεῖσα,
αὐτὰρ ἐπίκλησιν Βώρῳ Περιήρεος υἷι,
ὅς ῥ' ἀναφανδὸν ὄπυιε πορὼν ἀπερείσια ἕδνα.
τῆς δ' ἑτέρης Εὔδωρος ἀρήϊος ἡγεμόνευε
180 παρθένιος, τὸν ἔτικτε χορῷ καλὴ Πολυμήλη
Φύλαντος θυγάτηρ· τῆς δὲ κρατὺς Ἀργειφόντης
ἠράσατ', ὀφθαλμοῖσιν ἰδὼν μετὰ μελπομένῃσιν
ἐν χορῷ Ἀρτέμιδος χρυσηλακάτου κελαδεινῆς.
αὐτίκα δ' εἰς ὑπερῷ ̓ ἀναβὰς παρελέξατο λάθρῃ
185 Ἑρμείας ἀκάκητα, πόρεν δέ οἱ ἀγλαὸν υἱὸν
Εὔδωρον πέρι μὲν θείειν ταχὺν ἠδὲ μαχητήν.
αὐτὰρ ἐπεὶ δὴ τόν γε μογοστόκος Εἰλείθυια
ἐξάγαγε πρὸ φόως δὲ καὶ ἠελίου ἴδεν αὐγάς,
τὴν μὲν Ἐχεκλῆος κρατερὸν μένος Ἀκτορίδαο
190 ἠγάγετο πρὸς δώματ ̓, ἐπεὶ πόρε μυρία ἕδνα,
τὸν δ' ὃ γέρων Φύλας εὖ ἔτρεφεν ἠδ' ἀτίταλλεν
ἀμφαγαπαζόμενος ὡς εἴ θ' ἑὸν υἱὸν ἐόντα
Menesthios of the shining breastplate led one regiment,
the son of Sperkheios, the rain-fed river;
whom the daughter of Peleus, beautiful Polydora, bore
for tireless Sperkheios, a woman sleeping with a god,
but in name she bore him for Boros, son of Perieres,
who married her publicly, offering countless bride-gifts.
Another, warlike Eudoros commanded,
the child of an unmarried woman, whom Polymele, beautiful in the dance, bore,
the daughter of Phylas; whom powerful Hermes, the Argos-slayer,
loved, when he spied her with his eyes among the dancers
in the chorus honoring Artemis who shouts in the hunt with her golden bow.
At once taking her up into the upper rooms he lay with her in secret,
Hermes the healer, conceiving with her a splendid son,
Eudoros, extremely quick in running and a skilled warrior.
But after Eileithuia of the birth pangs
led him out into the light and he saw the rays of the sun,
Ekhekles, son of Aktor, strong in his power,
led her to his home, when he had offered myriad bride-gifts,
but the boy the old man Phylas raised and reared,
loving him as if he were his own son.
The key difference seems to be that Polydora, Menesthios’s mother, was married before he was born, and so even though the river god Sperkheios is his father, he is called the son of his mother’s husband, Boros, and seemingly raised as such. In the second narrative, Hermes is attracted to Polymele while she was dancing in a chorus of girls in honor of Artemis. Her membership in a chorus of girls clearly and strongly marks her as a parthenos.  The child from this union, Eudoros, is identified as a parthenios (16.180). The union with Hermes is marked as secret (16.184). Polymele gives birth to Eudoros before her marriage to Ekhekles (this sequence is made clear at 16.187–189). A public acknowledgement of Eudoros may be indicated in the description of his birth into the light of the sun (16.187). Ekhekles still gives many bride gifts to get her, so there seems to be no penalty attached to her premarital motherhood in this case, but the child is left in his mother’s natal oikos and is raised by his maternal grandfather.
In the narrative about Eudoros, the child is associated with his mother and is tied to her oikos. (A similar arrangement hypothetically could have happened in the case of Perseus, but Akrisios obviously rejected both daughter and grandson.) The comparison between the two narratives in the Iliad reveals that the status of the child can depend on the timing of the subsequent marriage of the mother who conceived the child as a parthenos. Although the social system operating in these narratives is different from those we find in classical poetry,  they nevertheless point to a distinction that continues in the representation of women’s sexuality. That is, a woman’s sexual activity before marriage can be kept secret, sometimes even with the birth of a child.
The case of Kreousa in Euripides’ Ion is likewise instructive. In the account of the conception, birth, and exposure of Ion in the prologue of the play, the fact that she kept her pregnancy and the birth of Ion secret is emphasized.  Her family is seemingly unaware that she has been raped, is pregnant, and gives birth.
Tellingly in this regard, Kreousa is called a parthenos when she is exposing Ion: the exposure obviously occurs after she has given birth, but she retains her “maiden” status. Similar juxtapositions of the terms parthenos or parthenios and pregnancy or birth are also seen in two examples in the poetry of Pindar. Pitana ‘hides her maiden’s birth pains in her folded robe’ κρύψε δὲ παρθενίαν ὠδῖνα κόλποις (Olympian 6.31), and Coronis is called a parthenos as Artemis kills her even though she is already pregnant with Asklepios (Pythian 3.34 for her status as parthenos, 3.15 for her pregnancy).
Giulia Sissa has produced a thorough study of the label parthenos applied to unmarried girls who are nonetheless mothers.  About the Ion, she remarks, “the continuity of an unalterable name appears to depend on secrecy, on the absence of suspicion in the minds of others, for whom nothing has happened either in or to the girl’s body. In the eyes of the world Creusa never lost her virginity.”  Kreousa lost her virginity biologically, but not socially. Her sexual encounter with Apollo was “officially nonexistent.”  Under such circumstances, Ion could not possibly be considered legitimate; and, as an exposed child, he, too, is publicly nonexistent.
The public invisibility of the illegitimate child also finds expression in another term, skotios. The term is usually translated ‘dark’ or ‘shadowy’, but, as we shall see, skotios, like parthenios, conjures up associations with women’s space, lack of visibility in the world of men, the illicit nature of the sexual union that produced the child, and not, as I will argue, a dark color, but rather colorlessness. These associations are also, like those of parthenios, connected with women’s sexuality. In particular, the visual images conjured by skotios have to do with the social and familial sanction of sex within marriage and with the legitimacy that results from this sanction—or rather, in these cases, the absence of such legitimacy.
As early as the Iliad, skotios is a term denoting an illegitimate child. In Iliad 6, Euryalos is pursuing twin sons of Boukolion, and we are told that Boukolion is the son of Laomedon:
Βουκολίων δ' ἦν υἱὸς ἀγαυοῦ Λαομέδοντος
πρεσβύτατος γενεῇ, σκότιον δέ ἑ γείνατο μήτηρ·
Boukolion was the son of illustrious Laomedon
his eldest child, but his mother bore him as skotios.
Although we hear no more about Boukolion in the Iliad, the scholia to this line make clear that Boukolion was born an illegitimate child.  One scholion explains the use of skotios this way: ‘Because those born not from a visible coupling, but a hidden mingling, are called skotioi, and the same are called parthenioi’ (ὅτι τοὺς μὴ ἐκ φανερᾶς συνουσίας, λαθραίας δὲ μίξεως γεγονότας σκοτίους καλεῖ, τοὺς δὲ αὐτοὺς παρθενίους [cf. Π 180], Σ A). Another says, ‘One from a wedding without torch-bearers, a bastard’ (τὸν ἐξ ἀδᾳδουχήτων γάμων, τὸν νόθον, Σ bT).
The first scholion equates skotioi and parthenioi, and there is little doubt that Boukolion is illegitimate (and, perhaps, since he was eldest son of Laomedon, this status is mentioned as a reason why he was not king of Troy). The only occurrence of skotios in the Iliad is this one, but these scholia use words that help us understand why skotios, a word meaning, as I mentioned, ‘dark’ or ‘shadowy’, is used metaphorically for “illegitimate.”  The key words are φανερᾶς (‘visible’), λαθραίας (‘hidden’), and ἀδᾳδουχήτων (‘without torch-bearers’). These terms point to the need for a marriage to be public and visible for the legitimization of the children.  Skotioi are defined in the negative in both cases, defined, as it were, against the norm and against public expectations. The fact that we do not know any more about the particular circumstances of Boukolion or his mother fulfills the meaning of skotios—except for this brief mention, they are “invisible” within the narrative of the epic. As we shall see from other examples, too, the metaphorical expression skotios contains the idea of a lack of public visibility.
The visibility that skotioi lack is quite significant in Greek wedding ideology. There were two public elements to the Greek wedding: the enguê, or ‘betrothal’, and the ekdosis, or the transfer of the bride from her father’s house to that of her new husband.  The enguê is the observable agreement between the kurios of the prospective bride and the prospective bridegroom. This agreement usually would be witnessed by a group of friends and family, and it does guarantee the legitimacy of the children of the union.  The woman does not have to be present for the enguê, and so she herself is not necessarily visible at this point, but for the legitimacy of the children, the compact between the men must indeed be visible. The enguê may occur a short time or perhaps many years before the couple live together as husband and wife, and it may never result in the sunoikein (this word for “marriage” literally means ‘to live together’) of the couple. Regardless of the length of time between the betrothal and the wedding, after the enguê has been made, the bride-to-be is metaphorically placed in a vault until her wedding day. The metaphor of the vault is what we saw brought to actuality in the story of Danaë.
The bride emerges from the vault for the ekdosis, when she is “leased out” to the groom.  The ekdosis, or the giving of the bride away in a ceremony that accomplishes the actual transfer of the woman to her new husband’s house, is the beginning of the cohabitation of the couple, and thus precedes and includes the official beginning of their sexual relationship. The basic elements of the wedding typically include a feast at the bridal family’s house, the presentation of the bride to the groom at nightfall, and a procession from there to the groom’s house. The bride is protected during this procession by friends of the groom. At the end of the procession she is received at the groom’s house and at some point led to the bridal chamber. 
Most of these events occur within the houses of one of the couple’s families. This procession from the bride’s house to the groom’s, however, is necessarily a public event; the procession allows an even wider set of the community to witness the sanctioned union of the couple.  This procession occurs typically in the evening, but it is lit up—that is, it is made visible and conspicuous—by torches that are carried by the mothers of the nuptial couple and/or by others in the procession. 
The torches of the procession are a metonym for the wedding and the marriage in which it culminates, as is evident in both images and texts. Torches are a prominent element in several vase paintings that depict wedding processions.  However closely these images may or may not correlate to actual wedding practices, what is important for my argument is that torches are part of the image of weddings. In the “language” of the iconography of vase painting, torches carried by women who are presumed to be the mothers of the bride and groom or by others in a procession aid in identifying a “wedding” scene. When a wedding is imagined or depicted, torches are a typical element in that mental or visual picture.
The same is true for the use of torches as a marker of weddings in poetry (or, in tragedy, sometimes the inversion of a wedding).  Torches figure in poetic descriptions of weddings as early as the Iliad. The weddings depicted in the City at Peace on the shield of Achilles include brides being led from their chambers under the light of torches (δαΐδων ὕπο λαμπομενάων, 18.492). In tragedy, wedding torches are mentioned in a variety of contexts, such as servants recalling that they held the torch in a wedding procession, as in Euripides’ Helen (722–724), or mothers worrying that they will not have the chance to hold the wedding torch for their children, such as Clytemnestra in Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis (732). Torches are a significant symbol for the wedding because they are fundamental for the public nature of the marriage being made.  The fact that mothers, in poetry and images, are the ones to hold the torches signifies the familial consent to the marriage. Along with the singing and dancing of attendants during the procession, torches announce the man and woman in the procession as a married couple; torches in particular, however, make them visible to all as properly married.
A sexual union without benefit of marriage is thus pictured as one without the torches that signify the public, sanctioned union that marriage creates and without the visibility that is required for that sanction. Like the “torchless wedding” we saw in the scholion to Iliad 6.24, Kreousa in Euripides’ Ion also describes the circumstances of the nothos Ion’s conception with this same image: “Not under torches or with dancing was my wedding, dear child, that produced you” οὐχ ὑπὸ λαμπάδων οὐδὲ χορευμάτων ὑμέναιος ἐμός, τέκνον, ἔτικτε σὸν κάρα (Ion 1474–1476).  Apollo’s rape of Kreousa and her resulting pregnancy are marked as outside marriage by both Kreousa herself and by Hermes in the prologue of the play. Hermes speaks of the gamoi between Apollo and Kreousa twice in the prologue, but each time the word is qualified, once with bia (11), that is, a “wedding by force,” and, the second time, with kruptoi (73), that is, the wedding was “hidden,” and so most definitely not visible. Kreousa’s resulting pregnancy is described as ἀγνὼς πατρί ‘unknown to her father’ (14)—her sexual activity obviously did not have the consent of the kurios that typifies a marriage with enguê.
This lack of consent on the part of both Kreousa and her kurios (but especially on the part of her kurios) is another association brought out by the word skotios within the narrative of the Ion. When Kreousa begins to tell the story of her rape to the chorus, she describes the encounter in terms of darkness: “How shall I bring to light the dark bed, and fall short of shame?” πῶς δὲ σκοτίας ἀναφήνω εὐνάς, αἰδοῦς δ ̓ ἀπολειφθῶ; (860–861).  The adjective skotiê implies not only darkness but the illegitimacy of the sexual encounter and is here applied to the “bed,” a metonym usually signifying a wedding bed but here applied to the place of the rape, which occurred in a cave. What was not in the public view will now be brought out to it by Kreousa’s revelation.
In a choral ode later in the play, the same adjective is also used of a place that evokes the location of the rape. The chorus is singing that it has no means of escape after Kreousa’s plan to poison Ion is exposed, and asks rhetorically: “By what winged flight or under what dark caverns of the earth can I go?” τίνα φυγὰν πτερόεσσαν ἢ χθονὸς ὑπὸ σκοτίων μυχῶν πορευθῶ (1238–1239). The mention of dark caves brings to mind the very one where the rape of Kreousa occurred, and the use of skotios points to its illicit nature.  The use of the word mukhoi for caves is also significant. Paired with khthôn it must mean caves or caverns, but in other contexts it can mean the inner rooms of a house. Again we see the visual and linguistic connection between a hollow in the earth and the imagined space in which a woman lives, and we shall see more connections to women’s space again later.
The implication of violence, of nonconsensual sex, in these passages of the Ion is also seen in uses of skotios in another of Euripides’ plays, Trojan Women. In the prologue of this play, Poseidon explains what has happened to the Trojan royal family now that Troy has fallen. About Cassandra, the one daughter left, he says, “Neglecting the gods and what is sacred, Agamemnon will marry [her] violently in a dark [illegitimate] bed”: τὸ τοῦ θεοῦ τε παραλιπὼν τό τ' εὐσεβὲς/ γαμεῖ βιαίως σκότιον ̓Αγαμέμνων λέχος (Trojan Women, 43–44). The mention of violence (along with the comment that he is taking Cassandra contrary to the gods and any holiness) leaves no doubt that the relationship is marked as not sanctioned, and not just occurring in a dark room.
Talthybios later describes what is in store for Cassandra in similar terms. He has said to Hecuba that he will tell her which Greek has been allotted which Trojan woman, and she asks about Cassandra first. When he says that Agamemnon has chosen Cassandra, Hecuba’s reaction is horror that she is to be Clytemnestra’s slave (247–250). Talthybios corrects her, saying: “No, rather, [she was chosen] for dark [skotia] nuptials in bed” (οὔκ, ἀλλὰ λέκτρων σκότια νυμφευτήρια, 251).
The bed, which is a metonym for sexual activity but also for the marriage that is supposed to accompany such, and the so-called ‘nuptials’ are both described by words related to skotios, a term that, as we have seen, carries connotations of “illicit” or “illegitimate.” This label reveals that this is no marriage at all, but rather an inversion of marriage. The sexual relationships between Apollo and Kreousa and between Cassandra and Agamemnon are furtive and without consent. Although Euripides (through the speeches given by Kreousa and Cassandra) emphasizes in both cases the lack of the woman’s consent to the sexual relationship, the crucial element for society, the permission of the woman’s parents, is also lacking. As we saw with the story of Danaë, this lack of consent of the kurios disqualifies the relationship and any resulting children from legitimacy.
The approval required for a legitimate union of man and woman, one that will produce legitimate children, is encapsulated in the imagery of the torch-lit wedding. Euripides plays on this symbolism in the Trojan Women by having a frenzied Cassandra enter with a torch to announce her “wedding” to Agamemnon while singing a hymenaios, or wedding hymn (308ff.). Hecuba’s response shows clearly that the marriage symbolism is inappropriate in this case. She addresses Hephaistos, the god of fire, saying that in mortal marriages he carries the torch, but now he raises a mournful light (341–342). She even mentions that the “bride” Cassandra (who, as bride, would not be the one carrying the torch anyway) cannot hold the torch straight (348) and has it taken away (351–352). With Cassandra’s prophecies (especially those at 404–405 and 445–450), it becomes clear that her torch is not a wedding torch at all, but rather the torch of an avenging Erinys. 
Cassandra’s prophecies of Agamemnon’s destruction come all too true, of course, and Cassandra dies as well, with no illegitimate children produced. In the case of Kreousa and Apollo, however, Ion is born. As the product of an illicit sexual union, he shares in the qualities associated with the metaphorical meaning of skotios. That is, in addition to being illegitimate, the child of this non-marriage is shadowy, out of the public eye. And in Euripides’ tragedy, Ion asserts that he would prefer to keep it that way. When he believes that he is Xouthos’s son, he counts two factors working against him in Athens: one, that he is a stranger’s son and, two, that he is a bastard. And he cannot win. If he remains outside of power (ἀσθενής), he will be accounted as nothing. If he does try to gain power, he will be hated by the powerless. He concludes, “For having power is troublesome”: λυπρὰ γὰρ τὰ κρείσσονα (Ion 591–597). In this speech, his reluctance to lead a prominent life is linked specifically to his status as a bastard. (The fact that he is a foreigner’s child only compounds this status both from the contemporary view of the audience and also within the context of the plot, in which Kreousa is the last of the autochthonous rulers of Athens.)  His attitude reflects his “shadowy” status as a child of Kreousa’s “torchless wedding.”
To this point we have seen that the term skotios can conjure associations of an illicit, nonpublic liaison, possibly a violent one, but certainly without the consent of the woman’s kurios. We must now add another component of the imagery of skotios: that is, a close association with one parent, especially one’s mother. In Euripides’ Alcestis, the adjective skotios is used three times, and I would argue that the first two set up the third, specialized use. The first instance comes at the news that Alcestis is dying, and the chorus sings that they wish Asklepios were still alive, that he could come, leaving behind the ‘dark’ locales (ἕδρας σκοτίους) and the gates of Hades (Alcestis 122–126). In the second instance Alcestis similarly says that she feels death coming on, and that “Dark night (σκοτία νύξ) creeps over my eyes” (269). Both of these uses are connected with death and the underworld: a lament in the first case that even a hero who raised others from the dead cannot raise himself, and a metaphor of dark night for death in the second.
In the third instance, the chorus is emphasizing that death is inescapable, and they sing, “Even the skotioi children of the gods perish in death”: καὶ θεῶν σκότιοι φθίνουσι παῖδες ἐν θανάτῳ (Alcestis 988–990). This line is often mistranslated, perhaps in light of the other two uses of skotios, to something along the lines of “Even the children of the gods perish in dark death,” transferring the adjective skotioi to thanatos.  Yet it is clearly the paides who are described as skotioi, and they are not “dark” but the illegitimate children of the gods. In fact, a scholion on these lines explains this use of skotioi along lines that we have already explored: “The children of the gods who are not legitimate die, those not born from two gods. Secret children are called skotioi and those from weddings without torch-bearers”: σκότιοι· οἱ μὴ γνήσιοι ὄντες τῶν θεῶν παῖδες ἀποθνῄσκουσιν, οἱ μὴ ὄντες ἐξ ἀμφοτέρων θεῶν. σκότιοι λέγονται οἱ λαθραῖοι παῖδες καὶ ἐξ ἀδᾳδουχήτων γάμων γενόμενοι (Σ AB, Alcestis 988–990). 
The associations with death and the underworld seen in the first two instances culminate in the third, the ultimate expression of common humanity: that those children born of a god and a mortal are themselves mortal (like Asklepios). This overidentification with one parent, and the seemingly “inferior” one, is another important component in an Athenian context after the Periclean citizenship law, where the child of one Athenian and one non-Athenian is considered non-Athenian. But we also see again an association with places underground, where people are not visible and are in the dark.
The overidentification with one parent of skotioi correlates to the identification with the mother that we have already seen associated with nothoi. Another part of the scholia to these lines of the Alcestis says that the Cretans call preadolescent boys skotioi (Κρῆτες δὲ τοὺς ἀνήβους σκοτίους λέγουσιν, Σ Alcestis 988–990). That is, skotioi is a name for an age class of boys who at least have not gone through the transition to manhood and are more likely prepubescent.  The youngest class of boys in an age class society reside with their mothers. In addition, the law code of Gortyn, a city on Crete, associates prepubescent boys with women and also calls this class of boys anêboi, the word that the scholion to the Alcestis uses. The law code seems to link these two groups because the boys are still young enough that women would take care of them and/or because at their age they have no agency of their own, and women also have no agency. Within the age class system, then, skotioi are associated with their mothers, and are associated with women’s status and physical location. This women’s space is the private space within the oikos, and I will return to the conception of this space shortly. Skotioi live in the world and space of women, and this space is itself not visible to those outside the family and is out of public view. 
In the Cretan age class system, the young boy moves gradually to the world of men. First he moves into the men’s quarters, but is still “invisible” in the world of men, acting as a servant. At some point, though, he might become quite visible as the object of the attentions of an older male (one who is still unmarried himself). These boys who are singled out for a rite of abduction go through an initiation ritual between childhood and adolescence.  Later in life, those who have undergone this initiation are known as κλεινοί: ‘those who have kleos (‘fame’)’.  The visibility that they attained as noteworthy boys entering adolescence is retained in adulthood.
The Athenians had a different age class system, but an analogue of the Cretan terms can be seen in the imagery of nothoi. That is, the later Greek culture retains some of the elements of the earlier meanings of the Cretan terms and merges them with the meaning of skotios as ‘illegitimate’, a meaning that is found in a panhellenic context as early as Homer.  Nothoi, like the Cretan skotioi, are identified with the world of women. As we have seen with the metaphor of the vault of the parthenos, this space belonging to women is conceptual. The Greek house, the physical oikos, does not seem to have had a designated “women’s room” (gunaikôn) that corresponds to the “men’s room” (andrôn) in which symposia and perhaps other kinds of receptions of men from other families were held.  But as Michael Jameson points out, the lack of physical distinction of men’s space and women’s space may sharpen the conceptual distinction of public and private areas of the house.  Lisa Nevett compares what we know of the Greek house to the use of space in a Muslim house in Tunisia and argues that instead of a strict demarcation of men’s rooms and women’s rooms, that is, space designated according to gender, we should think about space according to function. In this view, the andrôn is a space for receiving nonfamily members and is set off from the rest of the house so that the women of the household still have the privacy to move about freely in the rest of the house.  In other words, the house may include a “public” area, but the rest remains private. Nevett also argues that it makes better sense to think of the remainder of the house aside from the andrôn as the gunaikôn, “in the sense that in these other areas the women of the house are present, although they are in no sense specifically dedicated to female use.”  Thus, the space nothoi are imagined to inhabit is this private space of the oikos, always separate from any space in which interactions with the world of the polis may take place.
These spaces can be imagined to be dark because they are nonpublic. The conceptualized space of the oikos that is private shifts depending on the perspective of grown men, those who have a share in the polis. Pierre Bourdieu describes a system of perception of the Kabyle house, noting that during the daytime a man who spends time at home is “suspect or ridiculous.”  Thus, while it is light outside, the interior space of the house is defined as belonging to women alone. Yet when men come home, the space within the house is reapportioned according to what is appropriate for men and women. The male perspective (which changes with the movement of the man, at one time outside of the house and at another time inside) defines the space of the house, and the opposition of the internal house to the external world is the same relationship that divides the space within the house once the man is present.  Similarly in a Greek home, the space deemed appropriate for women, or the “private” space, could shift depending on the presence of men, especially men who are not family members.
Within the Kabyle culture, the play of sunlight within the house is also significant, and the man’s place is within the light inside the house, while the woman is seated with her back to the light while she is at the loom or she is otherwise in the shadows within the house.  I would argue that in the Greek house the play of light and dark is also conceptual rather than concrete. The space within the house that women inhabit is imagined to be dark, with the result that the women are invisible to the outside world. The conception of this space in Athenian culture can be seen in the assertion of the Athenian speaker in Plato’s Laws that women prefer their dark spaces. In their construction of an ideal society, the Athenian and Clinias are considering whether to institute a “public table” for women for taking meals as they have for men. But the women, the Athenian argues, will not want to leave their dark places and come out into public. He says that women are accustomed to living a “subterranean and dark” (dedukôs kai skoteinos) life, and would fiercely resist being brought out into the light to share communal meals (781c). This passage explicitly connects darkness (skoteinos) with women’s space (we have already seen women’s chambers depicted as “underground”) and with the oikos and the private nature of that space.
The visual element inherent in skotios is not, therefore, a picture of the nothoi being dark themselves, but rather one of them spending their lives in the dark—in the private spaces imagined to be inhabited by women, whether the vault of the unmarried girl, as we saw above, or the inner spaces of the house that were defined as appropriate to women. Women live, ideally, in the private rooms of the house, which are then pictured as “dark.” In the visual record, the fact that they are not out in the sun makes them white skinned, as is seen in the conventions of black-figure painting. There are also vases which depict very young boys with white skin, and Greta L. Ham has recently argued that the use of white paint is meant to indicate that the boys are still under the care of women, and have not yet made their first step into the world of men at the Choes festival and “constituted essentially cloistered, presocial beings.”  Grown men, who inhabit public spaces, are pictured with dark skin. Nothoi, who are imagined to be exclusively in the private space of the oikos are thus not pictured as “dark” in the sense of “dark skinned” when they are described as skotioi. Rather, they are imagined as “in the dark” and therefore pale and in fact colorless.  These color associations correspond to the public invisibility and lack of agency that we have seen associated with nothoi such as Ion.
All boys start life confined in the oikos, in women’s space and out of public view, but eventually they mature and emerge into the public world of men.  Nothoi, however, remain skotioi—they do not move out into the light. Their illegitimacy holds them in the dark world of women.  That is, when nothoi are described as skotioi, they are imagined as perpetual children, as boys who never become men.  Leonard Muellner has argued that the myth of Glaukos is an example of a narrative which portrays an unsuccessful transition of a boy to the next stage of life toward manhood.  The story is preserved in Apollodorus (3.17.1–21) and Hyginus (Fabulae 146), with variation between them, but the basics are as follows. As a boy, Glaukos, son of the Cretan king Minos and his wife Pasiphae, was playing ball or chasing animals, fell into a honey pot, and died. His parents begin a search for him, and the key to finding him is a riddle of a cow that is either tricolored (white, red, and black) or changes color from white to red to black. A seer, Polyidus, interprets the riddle, finds Glaukos and revives him. As Muellner persuasively argues, the colors of the cow, likened to a ripening berry, correspond to age classes in Cretan society, with the early stage (white or colorless) equal to the prepubescent age class, the red, or ripening stage, equaling adolescence, and black, or fully mature, equaling manhood.  The details of the story, Muellner explains, are similar to an initiation for Glaukos to the next age class, but he does not move to a new stage of life. Rather, once he is revived, he simply returns to his father without having made any progress. Skotioi, who, like Glaukos, are colorless (the “white” stage of the berry in the riddle) and hidden in dark spaces, similarly are unable to make this transition to full manhood.
The metaphor system finds its image of eternal boys in the social position, or, rather, lack of social position of nothoi in the institutions of the polis. Excluded from social and political institutions, nothoi do not take on the rights and responsibilities of grown men. Normally when a young man reaches eighteen years old, he is introduced to and voted into his father’s phratry and deme, and he then attains the rights to inherit property and participate in the political assembly, the basic rights of the oikos and the polis. Nothoi are generally denied both of these rights,  so no matter what their age they can be imagined as children or associated closely with women, whose rights in these areas are also restricted.
The notion of nothoi as perpetual children has another material dimension as well: in addition to the color associations with boys and women, nothoi would be imagined as lacking physical maturity, which was part of the ideal of the citizen adult male. As part of the procedures for being enrolled as citizens, Athenian young men who have been voted into their fathers’ demes then face a scrutiny (dokimasia) by the Boule.  In chapter 4 I will discuss this procedure in association with another metaphor, but here I wish to focus on the determination of the young man’s corporeal attainment of maturity, which nothoi figuratively never achieve. As implied in ancient sources such as Aristophanes’ Wasps (578) and as recently argued by Bruce Robertson, the scrutiny by the Boule included examining the bodies of the young men to see if they were the proper age (nominally, eighteen) to become citizens.  Robertson argues that reckoning of age was flexible and not a recorded fact as it is in our society. He concludes that young men were enrolled as citizens as an age class (that is, a young man was not enrolled on his eighteenth birthday; the ceremony was once a year, and so those approximately within a year of eighteen were eligible).  The youths’ bodies were thus the manifestation of their adulthood. We saw earlier that a young woman’s social status as parthenos did not necessarily correlate with the biological reality of her (non)virginity, and the same situation can apply to the adult status of the young men as well. The polis, through the institution of the Boule, determines whether or not the young man is truly an adult. As Robertson points out, “If … the candidate understood that the criterion of age was assessed through his physical attributes, his adulthood was not something which he already possessed before the dokimasia, but rather something which the dokimasia itself conferred upon him.” 
The Athenians were not alone in regarding polis-approved physical maturity as a necessary component of adult, citizen status. The Spartan festival of the Gymnopaidiai, the very name of which indicates the nudity involved, was an occasion of enrolling new citizens, and the focus of the nude sports were the young men who were making their transition to adulthood.  Regardless of true age, the condition of male adulthood (and the citizenship that inherently accompanies it) is not an intrinsic quality, but is determined by the polis. Women may give birth to both legitimate and illegitimate boys, but only the men in the polis can create other “real” men—that is, only they can confer manhood on boys.  Thus the nothos, who is excluded from the deme and the polis, will never become a confirmed adult.
The lack of rights in and responsibilities to the polis is thus closely related to our previous discussion of the idea of skotios as nonpublic. One who will never participate in the assembly is invisible in the polis, especially in a polis such as Athens. Compare, for example, Thucydides’ judgment about Athens, offered through Pericles’ Funeral Oration, that one who has no interest in the city’s business is not minding his own business (ἀπράγμονα) but, rather, is useless (ἀχρεῖον, II.40.2). These skotioi will never have the glory that kleinoi, the name of the most prominent adult males in the Cretan terminology, implies. They remain shadowy, invisible figures.  And, in fact, cognates of skotios in other Indo-European languages carry the primary meaning of ‘obscure’. 
The metaphor system underlying the terms parthenios and skotios is a complex one that partakes of and brings together ideas about women, sex, procreation, marriage, and visibility in the public realm. The illegitimate child born to a parthenos is called after the status of his mother in the word parthenios. And because the parthenos is herself pictured in an underground vault, the child is pictured there as well. The image of this vault is akin to the conceptualization of women’s space within the oikos (thalamos is used for both), a dark place where skotioi live, and from which nothoi do not graduate. The woman ideally lives in the shadows, out of public view. Because they live their lives in conceptually dark (and sometimes underground) places, they have no color themselves, and are thus represented visually as the opposite of men who are out in the daylight and have agency. A male child of (married) citizen parents would emerge from this obscurity and concealment when he joined the company of males. Since nothoi are imagined as not having a share of the city, the ultimate company of men, they do not emerge, but remain shadowy and nonpublic.
Both terms also point to an absence of sanctioned marriage, since parthenios reflects the unmarried status of the woman, and skotios connotes the lack of torches and therefore visibility and approval of the transfer of the woman to this man by her kurios. These associations have in common a lack of public acknowledgment of the relationship and concerns about women’s sexuality. As we saw in a distorted way in the narrative of Danaë, the possible procreation of children by the unmarried woman is supposed to be under the control of her kurios. Sanctioning the use of the marriageable girl for the production of legitimate children is why the kurios pledges and gives her out in the public ceremonies of the wedding (enguê and ekdosis) but, as we saw, the arrangements of the family are also a concern to the larger community, the polis, to whom the approval of the oikos is made visible by the torch-lit procession.  The interest of the polis in the sexual behavior of women insofar as it is tied to the citizenship of men increases the anxiety of the household over its control: if the legitimacy of the children might later be challenged in the deme or the courts, the woman’s reputation as well as actual deeds becomes paramount. 
The nothos is clear evidence that the restraints over the mother’s sexual behavior have failed. These controls are particularly important for daughters of citizens who are eligible for marriage, for they hold the potential to perpetuate both oikos and polis.  The imagery of invisibility, hidden places, and unrecognized marriage that is contained within the terms skotios and parthenios points to the community’s concerns about how to confirm the legitimacy of its citizens and the overall ‘legitimacy’ of the citizen body. The various procedures of presenting the child to social and political groups, such as the phratry and deme, confirm the interest of the polis in the production of legitimate children.  Narratives such as we have examined in this chapter are part of the ongoing negotiation of what legitimacy is and how it can be determined and proved. From the imagery we have examined so far, one answer of the polis seems to be that to achieve public visibility as an adult, that is, as a member of the polis, there needs to be public visibility right from the very circumstances of conception. Nothoi, however, remain in the private and conceptually dark space of the oikos. As far as the oikos as an institution is concerned, it seems that a nothos may or may not be a threat to the “legitimate” members of the household. But in a polis like Athens, where membership in the oikos is so closely linked to membership in the polis, the concern for legitimacy is shared and even augmented in each realm by the other. Thus the laws that separate the nothos from the oikos (such as the laws prohibiting inheritance by nothoi) suggest that the polis has an interest in cutting off all possible routes by which nothoi might gain access to the public space of citizens.
[ back ] 1. See the famous statement at [Demosthenes] 59.122 for the definition of marriage in terms of legitimate children. [Demosthenes] 46.18 defines legitimacy in terms of marriage with enguê (a ‘betrothal’, or attested promise between the bride’s guardian and the bridegroom, on which more below).
[ back ] 2. Menander Perikeiromene 1013–1014. See also Menander Dyskolos 842–843, Misumenos 444–445, and Samia 726–727 for similar sentiments and phrasing; in each case a dowry (proix) is also mentioned. Cf. Just 1989.46, who calls marriage with ‘betrothal’ (enguê) and legitimate (gnêsioi) children “reciprocally defined categories.”
[ back ] 3. Pherecydes, fragment 26 (FGrH), from the scholia to Apollonius Rhodius 4.1091. The translation is my own.
[ back ] 4. or παρελθὼν.
[ back ] 5. or κρύπτουσα.
[ back ] 6. Just 1989.46 defines the woman’s k urios giving her to the husband as a “fundamental principle of marriage by enguê” (a procedure whereby the legitimacy of the children produced from the union is ensured).
[ back ] 7. Apollodorus 2.4.1. Text is from Frazer 1921. The translation is my own.
[ back ] 8. Danaë’s situation as the female child of a man who himself will not have sons puts her in the position of the epiklêros, a woman who passes on her family’s property to her sons. As an epiklêros, she would ordinarily be married to her uncle, as he is her father’s closest relative. See Patterson 1998.91–106 on the epiklêros, esp. 93 and 98 for the primacy of the father’s brother for marrying her in the legal systems of Gortyn and of Athens, respectively. Thus within the narrative Proitos may have claimed too early what he thought was his; the s tasis, however, shows that Akrisios was not yet ready to give his daughter away and disapproved of this sexual relationship.
[ back ] 9. For another case of a woman impregnated by Zeus whose relatives do not believe her story, compare the story of Semele at Euripides Bacchae 26–31, where it is her sisters who doubt her claim that Zeus is the father of her child. Dionysos, too, of course, has to “prove” his claim to legitimacy. In Euripides I on the situation of an unmarried girl saying that a god is the father is presented as a commonplace fib: Ion asks Kreousa if she was seduced by some man and then blamed it on a god, as parthenoi do (Ion 1523–1527).
[ back ] 10. Ferrari, Figures of Speech: Men and Maidens in Ancient Greece (manuscript), 385–399. Ferrari also suggests (399) that the gesture of the bride holding her veil or mantle out, a gesture seen in numerous vase paintings, is one that reveals the bride to the groom while shielding her face and eyes from other men present. Thus she is displayed for the groom’s eyes only.
[ back ] 11. Seaford 1990.78 connects the word thalamos to the interior rooms of the house in the lines about Danaë in the Antigone (944–946) in his argument about the connection of the unmarried girl to her natal family.
[ back ] 12. It is used repeatedly for the bedroom of Paris and Helen in Iliad 3 at lines 174, 382, 391, and 424 and for Iphidamas’s bedroom with his new bride at 11.227; thus, the use of thalamos for a room where sex is likely to take place is as old as Homer.
[ back ] 13. This meaning is also seen in Homer, for example, Iliad 4.143–144, 6.288, and 24.191–192. See Gernet 1968.93–137 for the important connection he makes between the thêsauros and the thalamos. Hermes as a child is kept in a thêsauros in Sophocles Ichneutai (fragment 314.282, Radt)—my thanks to Gloria Ferrari Pinney for this reference.
[ back ] 14. Ferrari, Figures of Speech, 388–389, emphasizes that the bride is not a gift, but a “conditional lease for the expressed purpose of producing children.” For another instance of thalamos in connection with brides-to-be, I note that in the wedding scene depicted on Achilles’ shield in the Iliad, the brides are described as emerging from their thalamoi under the light of torches. This description should mean that the wedding is in progress, and so these thalamoi cannot be the bedrooms to share with their husbands, but rather the rooms they emerge from for the wedding processions that will lead to the bridal chambers.
[ back ] 15. See Ferrari, Figures of Speech, 392–393.
[ back ] 16. It is interesting to note that in Horace Odes III.16.1, Danaë is held in a bronze tower (turris aënea). The associations of the underground vault in which unmarried girls and treasure are kept have been lost, and Horace instead translates the idea of ‘protection’ that remains into a culturally appropriate and comprehensible one of the tower, keeping the added detail of the bronze.
[ back ] 17. See Ferrari, Figures of Speech, 402–404. See also Seaford 1990.79–80, who adduces the additional example of Sophocles Electra 379–382, in which the never-to-be-married Electra will be sent to a place where she will never see the light of the sun. Seaford argues for a textual emendation that makes this place “within” (entos) the earth.
[ back ] 18. The way in which Sophocles is compressing the elements of the story is not entirely clear. The LSJ takes this use of thalamos to mean Danaë’s “ark,” from which I infer that it assumes that the aulai represent her chamber. Since I will argue that the chest (l arnax in Pherecydes and Apollodorus) is a doubling of the same image of the enclosed space of the unmarried woman, either interpretation of the thalamos in the lines of the Antigone, that is, either as Danaë’s underground chamber or as the chest, works with my argument. The adjective ‘tomblike’ (tumbêrês) to describe the thalamos and the fact that Danaë is hidden in it also works for either the chamber or the chest. See my argument on the larnax below.
[ back ] 19. See Seaford 1990, esp. 76–78 for his discussion of the comparison drawn between Antigone and Danaë by the chorus in the Antigone. His aims are quite different from mine: his argument concerns imprisonment of unmarried girls as expressions of their ties to their natal families. Seaford also compares the enclosure to a tomb in line with his reading of funeral imagery in weddings.
[ back ] 20. Reeder 1995.267 argues that “Akrisios’ strategy is, in fact, only an exaggeration of normal Greek custom, which was guided by the reasoning that to keep an available woman invisible was to keep her safe from other males.” Reeder is investigating metaphors of containers and the story of Danaë, but not the vault of the betrothed girl; nevertheless, Reeder and I share the emphasis on the invisibility of the girl. I argue also that this invisibility extended to the child of an unmarried woman.
[ back ] 21. Simonides (371.1, Page) also uses larnax in his portrayal of Danaë’s words to Perseus as they float along.
[ back ] 22. According to Pausanias (8.4.9), Aleos put his unmarried daughter Auge and her son Telephos in a larnax and set them out to sea as well. Pausanias (3.24.3) describes the same procedure for Kadmos with Semele and Dionysos as well. The repetition of this element indicates a narrative pattern in which unmarried girls and their sons by a god or hero are enclosed in this way. Reeder 1995.269 compares the action of enclosing Danaë and Perseus to the exposure of unwanted baby girls “in a pot.”
[ back ] 23. In Iliad 18.413, the larnax is a silver one where Hephaistos keeps his tools; in Herodotus 3.123, larnax refers to Oroetes’ false treasure chests.
[ back ] 24. In Iliad 24.795, the larnax is Hektor’s casket/urn. In Thucydides 2.34 it designates the wooden coffins of the war dead.
[ back ] 25. Apollonius Rhodius Argonautica 1.622. As with Danaë, fishermen drag Thoas ashore in the larnax and save him.
[ back ] 26. The larnax of Adonis may have an implication of illegitimacy as well, since he is the product of father-daughter incest. See Seaford 1990.83 on the association of father-daughter incest with darkness, a quality of the enclosure that I further explore later in this chapter. For Meleager, see Apollodorus 1.8.2 and Bacchylides 5.140–144.
[ back ] 27. Reeder 1995.268, 275 argues that on a hydria by the Danaë Painter (Boston, Museum of Fine Arts 03.792) Danaë is portrayed as a bride in a scene in which she is put into her larnax. Another vase painting, on a kalyx krater by the Triptolemos Painter (St. Petersburg, The State Hermitage Museum 1602), portrays Danaë in her underground thalamos on one side and in the l arnax on the other. This pairing of these images may also suggest a correspondence between the form of enclosure.
[ back ] 28. See also Seaford 1990.81 for his discussion of the larnax in this story and his argument that it alludes to a connection to the woman’s natal family. He interprets the enclosure as a way for the brothers to reclaim but also dispose of their sister, while I read it as a return to her unmarried status.
[ back ] 29. Ogden 1996.25 argues that parthenios should be considered a subcategory of nothos, but does not discuss the term further. Patterson (1990.50) differentiates p arthenioi from nothoi in her argument that nothoi are ‘recognized’ children of their fathers while parthenioi are not. Since I am not trying to determine the legal status of nothoi, there is no reason not to think of both terms as associated with illegitimacy.
[ back ] 30. Text is that of T. W. Allen 1931 (Oxford: Clarendon Press). The translation is my own.
[ back ] 31. See Calame 1997 for his seminal work on choruses of young women. Lefkowitz 1993.22 also points out that Polymele is “on display for mortal suitors” during her performance in the chorus. That is, Polymele fulfills the idea of a parthenos as not just unmarried, but also ready for marriage.
[ back ] 32. The conception of a child before marriage seems to cause much more consternation in Menander, for example. See Konstan 1994 on illegitimacy in Menander Epitrepontes. I note in particular his argument that it is the result of an illegitimate child, not the premarital sexual activity, that causes the husband anguish (224).
[ back ] 33. Euripides Ion 14–17; see also Kreousa’s accounts of the rape and pregnancy in 340, where it is a secret kept from her father, and 897–901, where she is afraid that her mother may find out, and possibly also 1489, although there are textual difficulties there.
[ back ] 34. Sissa 1990.73–123.
[ back ] 35. Sissa 1990.101.
[ back ] 36. Sissa 1990.90.
[ back ] 37. Hesychius, s.v. skotios: nothos is the first definition given. The contrast between the “illustrious” Laomedon and the “shadowy” Boukolion is striking. As the illegitimate child, he is not spoken of in the epics other than here, and so remains a “shadowy” figure indeed within the context of the Homeric epics.
[ back ] 38. Ogden 1996.25–26 briefly considers skotios as a synonym for nothos. He follows Willetts 1962.47 in understanding the term as “men of darkness” for young men on the verge of manhood and compares this to the Spartan krupteia. He does not pursue it further. Below I shall argue that nothoi can be pictured as unable to make this transition to manhood, and that the lack of transition relates to the idea behind skotios.
[ back ] 39. Compare the emphasis on the public (ἀναφανδόν) nature of the wedding of Polydora, daughter of Peleus, in Iliad 16.178, cited above. Her son is not called a parthenios.
[ back ] 40. Ferrari, Figures of Speech, 385; Patterson 1991.48–53; Wolff 1944.44. Redfield 1982.186–188 discusses the two parts of the wedding as enguê and gamos.
[ back ] 41. Patterson 1991.51 argues that as an agreement between the parties the enguê would have been a private affair. She suggests that it would have occurred in the andrôn of the house of one of the two men. She also argues that the ekdosis (she calls it the gamos) is much more public. I also argue that there is indeed more public visibility to the ekdosis than to the enguê, since the wider community would be able to witness a procession, whereas those invited to witness the enguê would be philoi. Thus the difference may lie only in the terms “public” and “private.” (Compare Verilhac and Vial’s statement [1998.29]: “Le mariage était un acte privé à conséquences publiques.”) I am arguing that there would be witnesses to the enguê, making the agreement a visible event, even if only among friends at this point. It is important that there be witnesses, since they will give necessary testimony if the legitimacy of the person is later challenged. Just 1989.47–48: “In fact the formality of the enguê lay in the legal consequences which derived from it—i.e., the legitimacy of the offspring of the union—and from the public nature of the enguê in that it was performed before witnesses… The sole purpose of witnesses was to ensure the recognition of the progeny of the union as legitimate and therefore heirs to the oikoi from which they had descended.” See Demosthenes 41.6, Demosthenes 47.41, and Isaeus 8.14 for examples of witnesses to the enguê. See again Patterson 1991.52 on the need for witnesses to the enguê in courtroom cases. “The emphasis on the enguê in courtroom oratory has to do with its purpose rather than its form. The enguê was the legal means (kata nomon) of establishing that a woman would be the mother of a man’s legitimate heirs—and establishing legitimacy is precisely the concern of claimants to an inheritance.”
[ back ] 42. See Wolff 1944.48–51 for the term ekdosis as a conditional lease—the giving over of a person for a specific person, such as slaves given out for torture/testimony in law cases or children for apprenticeships, among other examples. See also Verilhac and Vial 1998.229–265 for their study of the terms enguê and ekdosis. They continue to argue as others have before them that the mental image of the term enguê is a handshake (252).
[ back ] 43. See Oakley and Sinos 1993.22–37 for their description of the typical wedding in Athens, and see Verilhac and Vial 1998.281–370 for a fuller treatment of wedding rites, especially 282–286 for their remarks on the evidence and on problems of methodology.
[ back ] 44. Verilhac and Vial 1998.312–326 describe the procession in detail, noting (320) that this part of the wedding holds a place of privilege in vase paintings. Similarly, Oakley and Sinos 1993.26 state that the procession “was the most conspicuously public part of the ceremony,” and later (28) note that the procession is the most widely represented scene from weddings in vase paintings. The procession seems to be an easily identifiable encapsulation of the whole wedding. The viewer of the painting is a spectator of the image of the procession in the same way that he or she might be for an actual wedding procession. Tyrell and Brown 1991.101 note that the wedding “publicizes the woman’s new status,” but add that she is considered a wife only when her husband continues to treat her as such, including when he “acknowledged her children as his own.”
[ back ] 45. See Oakley and Sinos 1993.26, 29, 31–34 on torches in the wedding procession and Verilhac and Vial 1998.320–322 for torches in the procession in vase paintings and poetry.
[ back ] 46. New York MMA 56.11.1 is an example of a procession on a black-figure vase. In red-figure, compare Berlin F2372, London 1920.12–21.1, and Toronto 929.22.3.
[ back ] 47. From Euripides alone, see, e.g., Alcestis 914ff.; Helen 722–724, 1477; Iphigenia at Aulis 732; Phoenissae 344–346; Trojan Women 343; 351–352.
[ back ] 48. Verilhac and Vial 1998.281 introduce their discussion of wedding rites with this assertion: “La céremonie nuptiale n’est pas seulement le dernier acte du mariage, le moment où s’accomplit le transfert de la femme de sa maison paternelle à celle de son mari. Elle en est aussi la façade publique.”
[ back ] 49. Note that Ion explicitly refers to himself as nothos in the line that precedes (1473). When he again questions his paternity (1521–1527), he says that he wants to ask his mother about it in private, using the noun skotos: “Come here, I want to speak the words in your ear and conceal these matters in darkness” (1521–1522). The question of Apollo’s true paternity is kept in the dark in the end, as well, when the public story is that Ion is Xouthos’s son. See chapter 3 for more on Ion.
[ back ] 50. A related image in these lines is that of aidôs (‘sense of shame’). As Gloria Ferrari has persuasively shown, the image of aidôs is that of a mantle, a veil, or some such covering (Ferrari 1997.5–12). A woman with proper aidôs covers herself when in public. Kreousa’s falling short of aidôs is thus figured as her throwing off what is covering or hiding her: she is exposing herself to public view.
[ back ] 51. I on 17, 892. Compare, in another culture, the cave as the place for the sexual union of Aeneas and Dido. When Dido calls their relationship marriage, Aeneas protests that he never held the wedding torch as a husband for her (see Aeneid 4.338–339: nec coniugis umquam praetendi taedas). I thank Richard Thomas for bringing this reference to my attention.
[ back ] 52. See Ferrari 1997.19–24 for the metaphorical link between torches and Furies in the Agamemnon of Aeschylus.
[ back ] 53. Hippolytos, marked as a nothos in the Euripidean drama about him, also disavows public life, and I will have more to say on his sentiments in chapter 4.
[ back ] 54. A. M. Dale, in her commentary ad loc., in fact argues that the adjective is better taken “proleptically” with phthinousi and thanatôi. She makes this argument on the basis of her assertion that skotioi is not used as a direct adjective with ‘children’, ignoring the use of the adjective with Boukolion in the Iliad (6.23–24).
[ back ] 55. Schwartz 1891 ad loc.
[ back ] 56. Lysias 14.25 uses anêbos for the “under age” Alcibiades junior. In Plato Laws 833c-d the term is used for girls under the age of 13. See Muellner 1998 on the myth of Glaukos, son of Minos, esp. 17n37 on skotios as a term for a Cretan age class. (See also Willetts 1955.14 for his discussion of the term skotios and age classes in Crete.) Muellner’s interpretation of the myth’s color symbolism shows that skotios can be classed with words like glaukos and albus in the sense of ‘gray’ or ‘colorless’ (17), and not ‘dark’ like the dark color of the mature berries in the riddle of the tricolor cow. This detail is helpful in imagining skotios not as literally dark, but rather, invisible.
[ back ] 57. See Jameson 1990.179–183 for the argument that the arrangement of the physical structure of the Greek house is designed to insure privacy: “That privacy, in effect being invisible to the outside world, was the major aim of these houses is strongly suggested by the remains and is confirmed by literary references to the impropriety or outrage of intrusion (e.g. Lysias 3.6, Plutarch Moralia 516E)… We should note, however, that at the same time that internal privacy was pursued the proximity of other households was not avoided nor buffered by open space” (183, my emphasis). Although the houses were in close physical proximity to one another, they were internally arranged to create a feeling of privacy and a lack of visibility to those outside.
[ back ] 58. See Willetts 1962.116–117 for his description of this abduction rite, reported by Strabo 10.4.21.
[ back ] 59. See Muellner 1998.16–20 for his discussion of this age class system in relation to the Glaukos myth.
[ back ] 60. Willetts 1955.15, “It is possible to find social features of greater antiquity in Crete [than in Sparta] if they are considered in isolation. But when they are examined within the more general context of Greek historical development, their apparent antiquity assumes relative proportions, and they can be considered not so much as survivals, serving little or no organic purpose, as important features invested with new content and new purposes.” I am indebted to Leonard Muellner not only for this reference but also for the important idea that Minoan culture is “resemanticized” in later Greek culture.
[ back ] 61. See Jameson 1990 for lack of physical remains that can be identified as a gunaikôn. Patterson 1991.51 suggests that the original agreement of the enguê would occur in the andrôn of the house of either the kurios or the prospective bridegroom.
[ back ] 62. Jameson 1990.190: “The small size and compactness of most of these houses makes the notion of the physical isolation of the andrôn not very realistic. The conceptual separation of this space from the private areas of the house may be all the sharper.” Jameson 1990.188 also points out that “Antisthenes the philosopher was quoted as saying that going from Athens to Sparta was like moving from a gunaikonitis to an andronitis (Theon, Progymnasrnata 251 Spengel).” This statement, even though Theon calls it “unbelievable” coming from an Attic man (ἐκ δὲ τοῦ ἀπιθάνου, ὅτι μὴ εἰκός ἐστιν, Ἀντισθένην Ἀττικόν γε ὄντα παραγενόμενον Ἀθήνηθεν εἰς Λακεδαίμονα ἐκ τῆς γυναικωνίτιδος λέγειν εἰς τὴν ἀνδρωνῖτιν ἐπιέναι) clearly suggests the conceptual nature of “men’s” and “women’s” spaces.
[ back ] 63. Nevett 1994.107–108.
[ back ] 64. Nevett 1994.108–109. She continues by saying that the idea of a special space for women does not seem likely in Greek culture: “In practical social terms such a form of organization makes more sense than positing a space specifically reserved for women, since it would make for more efficient organization and communication between different members of the household. It also fits better with the picture we have of women’s social status, as possibly not meriting a space of their own, and with iconographic sources, which not infrequently show women within the house in the presence of men.”
[ back ] 65. Bourdieu 1990.276.
[ back ] 66. Bourdieu 1990.276–282.
[ back ] 67. I note that the one time in which the woman is seated to be fully in the light is on her wedding day (Bourdieu 1990.273). Although this custom is from an entirely different culture, the similarity of the imagery of the bride being brought into or placed in the light for a brief time is remarkable.
[ back ] 68. Ham 1999.208. Earlier in this article (201–204), she argues that the Choes festival is the first step out of the world of women for young boys, who after age 3 or 4 would be under the care of a pedagogue, and that there is a perceived link for the Athenians between this festival and the legitimacy and later citizenship of the boys.
[ back ] 69. See note 67 above for the association of Glaukos and skotios as ‘colorless’.
[ back ] 70. For a contrasting example, see Pindar Nemean 1.35–36 for birth of Herakles into the light (thaêtan aiglan)—he immediately shows his agency as he kills the snakes, and so he is in a sense born a man.
[ back ] 71. An interesting example that shows this process in reverse is that of Oedipus, who becomes “de-legitimized” through his narrative. He was preeminent in the world of men before the facts of his birth plunged him into darkness, figured as his self-blinding. In Euripides Phoenissae, Oedipus is in the skotioi thalamoi of the house, and, like the women in Plato Laws, has to be dragged out into the light (Phoenissae 1539–1542). Seaford 1990.89 argues that the darkness “seems to belong both to his blindness and to the θάλαμοι.” He associates blindness and darkness with incest. I would take this further and say that the incest is part of his “de-legitimization.”
[ back ] 72. Gloria Ferrari Figures of Speech, 363, in her study of the visual images of women in Greek art notes, “Better than words, the visual images convey the fact that women grow old, but they do not grow up.” N othoi, who are identified with the world of women, are figured as perpetual boys who also never grow up.
[ back ] 73. Muellner 1998.
[ back ] 74. Muellner 1998.16–17.
[ back ] 75. Wolff 1944.76 for lack of inheritance rights. See Ogden 1996.32–82 for his description of the development of laws about illegitimacy.
[ back ] 76. For the dokimasia of eighteen-year-old men: see [Aristotle] Athênaiôn Politeia 42.1–2; Demosthenes 21.157, 27.5,36, 30.6; Isocrates 7.37, 12.28; Lysias 32.9; Aristophanes, Wasps 578. Rhodes 1972.171–174 describes the dokimasia procedure for these young men.
[ back ] 77. Robertson 2000.
[ back ] 78. Robertson 2000.154–161. Ogden 1996.112 argues that phratries did keep written birth registrations, but then notes (121) that demes voted to admit young men “if they seemed old enough,” apparently not consulting the phratry records.
[ back ] 79. Robertson 2000.153.
[ back ] 80. Robertson 1992.148: “But the young men, the age class about to be enrolled as adults, are to the fore. They dance naked, and a choral refrain calls attention to their nakedness and the evidence of physical maturity—hence the festival name.”
[ back ] 81. Demand 1994.140 notes the superior value in Greek culture placed on the male creation of “real men” over the female ability to give birth to actual infants.
[ back ] 82. A similar metaphorical use of a word that means ‘dark’ or ‘black’ is seen in Hesiod and Theognis, when they speak of future generations becoming ἀμαυρός. Hesiod Works and Days 282–284 says, “But whoever as witness knowingly swears a false oath and lies, thus hurting Dikê and committing an error without remedy, the future descendants of such a man are blackened (ἀμαυροτέρη).” Theognis, speaking of the bad mix of agathoi and kakoi due to the influence of and desire for wealth, warns, “So do not be surprised, son of Polypais, that the breeding [genos] of the citizens is being darkened (μαυροῦσθαι).” These warnings seem to say that men who act unjustly in the public sphere will have descendants who are not well regarded in the public sphere. They will become figuratively illegitimate. This meaning of invisibility is confirmed by another use in Hesiod, where as a man seizes great wealth for himself, the gods easily make him nothing (μιν μαυροῦσι), Works and Days 325. Cf. Sophocles fragment 954.6 (Radt), in which time ‘darkens’ (ἀμαυροῖ) everything and makes it forgotten.
[ back ] 83. Chantraine 1977, s.v. skotos.
[ back ] 84. Just 1989.63: “The state, after all, had no interest in sexual unions of its citizens except in so far as they were productive of children who might claim citizenship—and then it was rigorous.”
[ back ] 85. Demand 1994.150–151 argues that “the actions and reputation of its women as these might be interpreted by a man’s deme and phratry members, by the members of a jury, or even by the Areopagus Council” are key to protecting the legitimacy of the children of a household, and that the linking of o ikos and p olis in Athens creates the perceived need for tight control over women. Friedl 1986.51–52 notes that in modern Greek village society women can exert a kind of power through the potential “to disrupt orderly relationships in the men’s world” by not behaving as the men expect and desire: “It is the women’s willingness to behave chastely, modestly, and becomingly that is a prime necessity for the maintenance of men’s self-esteem.” She goes on to argue that this potential threat is almost always latent, and it is through reminding the men that they have behaved well that women achieve a “sense of obligation” in the men. In the mythical thought of ancient Greek society, however, these latent threats can be played out.
[ back ] 86. Demand 1994.112 argues that the ritual festival of the Arkteia is aimed at taming female sexuality at the earliest stage and molding the girls into future citizen mothers.
[ back ] 87. See Parke 1977.88–92 on the festival of the Apatouria in Athens. The phratries celebrated this festival, and all male children born since the last festival would normally be introduced to the phratry as the legitimate son of the father. This introduction could be cited as evidence of paternity if it were ever challenged. The boy would again be presented as an adolescent so that he could be voted in to the phratry as a full member. See also Ogden 1996.110–115 on the introduction of infants to the phratry and 117–123 for his discussion of the young man’s admission to the phratry and the deme. Ham 1999 argues that the Choes festival is part of this sequence of confirmations of the boy’s eligibility for future citizenship, and this festival was shared by the city as a whole.