Chapter 1. The Comic Chorus in the Thesmophoriazusae of Aristophanes

Using the approach demonstrated in the introduction I should now like to analyze the Thesmophoriazusae, a work that has been relatively little discussed. This comedy is particularly well-suited for showing the non-Aristotelian, pre-dramatic, and ritual character of the comic chorus. The deliberate, “ulterior” plot, or sujet, is not only overlaid by comic episodes on the part of the actors, but in particular by appearances of the chorus that make extensive reference to the pragmatic context and give way to an almost unbroken presence. Several songs appear to interrupt the action and deviate from it. Cult, prayer, and dance are practically self-standing and are only very loosely connected with the events of the plot. The utterances of the chorus are at the same time independent actions in the here and now that support the polis cult.
As a point of departure I have selected the unusual dance song (947–1000) that takes place almost completely in énonciation. The presentation of a choral spectacle for the pleasure of the gods and the spectators appears almost to stand independently and outside the plot. Because of its concentration on the actual activity of dancing and worship, this song is particularly suited to illustrating the concepts of the performative and self-description as fundamental structural elements of a living ritual choral culture. In the course of my discussion it will be important to distinguish between the dramatic role of the members of the chorus in the fiction of the plot and their cultic and comic function as actual actors. Particular attention will be given to the parabatic, that is, the turning of the chorus toward the audience in the sense of a ritual utterance that partially transcends the events of the plot.
We will then feel our way forward from this central point to the end and from there to the beginning in order to illustrate comprehensively the ritual nature of the choral utterances in this comedy. From looking at the purely performative as something that breaks up the plot we will carefully proceed to the chorus’ simultaneously present function as supporter of the plot. My study thus focuses on the interdependence of the plot-bearing and plot-interrupting elements in the choral sections. The self-contained elements, directed at the frame of the here and now, are in a relationship of constant interchange with those elements that carry the plot, and in the performative form a kind of intersection. Depending on the predisposition of the observer, either the here of the actual ritual occasion or the there of the mimetic world being created will come more into the field of vision. The comic performance contains both perspectives, which were clearly simultaneously present for the original recipient.
The actual comic plot is at the same time only a vehicle or frame on which a complete, self-sufficient spectacle of laughter, dancing, and festivity is staged in the center of the polis. Within the simple events of the plot, which themselves developed from cultic and traditional celebrations and are wholly based on this real-world occasion, the troupe continually finds an opportunity to pass beyond the boundaries of plot in the direction of the actual and their simple role in the present.
The ritual nature of the comic chorus is to be found on both levels. The prayers, hymns, dances, and singing in the Dionysiac celebration that forms the occasion are just as much ritual expression as the reenactment of the festival of Demeter. From general and obvious forms of cult we will look at the progression of the dramatic events in various ways. All choral utterances, except those that are found in the amoibaion, or lyric interchange between characters and chorus, will be discussed. In focusing on the exchange between comic speeches and choral performance, we will finally arrive at a completely new ritual interpretation. The songs that appear at first glance almost independent and disruptive of the action on stage do in fact in subtle ways play a role in the development of the plot, which follows the ritual model of initiation of the youth into adult status.

The Chorus in Cultic Dance Song (Thesmophoriazusae 947–1000) between Fictional Role and Comic Function: Ritual, Dance, Performance

Using the hymnic choral song at Thesmophoriazusae 947–1000 as an example, I will show how a comic chorus refers to its own activity in the orchestra in a way that is characteristic of ritual. In scholarly literature this has generally been treated in a rather stepmotherly fashion purely as a choral song that interrupts the progress of the dramatic action. [1] From the point of view of the Aristotelian tradition, this type of digression is to a certain extent thought of as something inferior. For this reason, the text has often been discussed merely as an instance of Greek choral art. Hardly anybody has appreciated these lines as an independent ritual performance that despite being the evocation of a living choral culture has been merged into the action of the plot in a meaningful way. What has been criticized as insufficiently lofty style and lack of reflection in content can be explained precisely by its ritual character, which is typical of the choral lyric of Old Comedy.
The members of the chorus sing the following song in the middle of the paratragic scenes between the Helen and Andromeda stratagems. Words in the text that refer to the fictional context of the play have been tentatively indicated in italics, while deictic references to the performance in the here and now—here the ritual activity of dancing stands at the center—have been underlined.
947ἄγε νυν ἡμεῖς παίσωμεν ἅπερ νόμος ἐνθάδε ταῖσι γυναιξίν,
ὅταν ὄργια σεμνὰ θεοῖν ἱεραῖς ὥραις ἀνέχωμεν, ἅπερ καὶ
Παύσων σέβεται καὶ νηστεύει,
950πολλάκις αὐτοῖν ἐκ τῶν ὡρῶν
εἰς τὰς ὥρας ξυνεπευχόμενος
τοιαῦτα μέλειν θάμ’ ἑαυτῷ.
953ὅρμα χώρει,
κοῦφα ποσὶν ἄγ’ εἰς κύκλον,
955a χειρὶ σύναπτε χεῖρα, ῥυθ
bμὸν χορείας ὕπαγε πᾶσα.
βαῖνε καρπαλίμοιν ποδοῖν.
ἐπισκοπεῖν δὲ πανταχῇ
958κυκλοῦσαν ὄμμα χρὴ χοροῦ κατάστασιν.
ἅμα δὲ καὶ
960γένος Ὀλυμπίων θεῶν
μέλπε καὶ γέραιρε φωνῇ πᾶσα χορομανεῖ τρόπῳ.
εἰ δέ τις
προσδοκᾷ κακῶς ἐρεῖν
964/65ἐν ἱερῷ γυναῖκά μ’ οὖσαν ἄνδρας, οὐκ ὀρθῶς φρονεῖ.
ἀλλὰ χρῆν
ὥσπερ ἔργον αὖ τι καινὸν
πρῶτον εὐκύκλου χορείας εὐφυᾶ στῆσαι βάσιν.
πρόβαινε ποσὶ τὸν Εὐλύραν
970μέλπουσα καὶ τὴν τοξοφόρον
Ἄρτεμιν, ἄνασσαν ἁγνήν.
972a χαῖρ’, ὦ Ἑκάεργε,
bὄπαζε δὲ νίκην,
Ἥραν τε τὴν τελείαν
μέλψωμεν ὥσπερ εἰκός,
975ἣ πᾶσι τοῖς χοροῖσι συμπαίζει τε καὶ
κλῇδας γάμου φυλάττει.
Ἑρμῆν τε νόμιον ἄντομαι
καὶ Πᾶνα καὶ Νύμφας φίλας
ἐπιγελάσαι προθύμως
980aταῖς ἡμετέραισι
bχαρέντα χορείαις.
ἔξαιρε δὴ προθύμως
διπλῆν χάριν χορείας.
παίσωμεν, ὦ γυναῖκες, οἷάπερ νόμος·
νηστεύομεν δὲ πάντως.
985ἀλλ’ εἶα, πάλλ’, ἀνάστρεφ’ εὐρύθμῳ ποδί·
τόρνευε πᾶσαν ᾠδήν.
ἡγοῦ δέ γ’ ὧδ’ αὐτὸς σύ,
988aκισσοφόρε Βακχεῖε
bδέσποτ’· ἐγὼ δὲ κώμοις
σὲ φιλοχόροισι μέλψω.
990Εὔιε ὦ Διὸς σὺ
Βρόμιε, καὶ Σεμέλας παῖ,
992a χοροῖς τερπόμενος
b κατ’ ὄρεα Νυμ—
993a φᾶν ἐρατοῖσιν ὕμνοις,
b ὦ Εὔι’, Εὔι’, εὐοῖ,
‹ὦ Εὔι’› ἀναχορεύων.
995ἀμφὶ δὲ σοὶ κτυπεῖται
Κιθαιρώνιος ἠχώ,
μελάμφυλλά τ’ ὄρη
998a δάσκια πετρώ—
b δεις τε νάπαι βρέμονται·
κύκλῳ δὲ περί σε κισσὸς
1000εὐπέταλος ἕλικι θάλλει.
Thesmophoriazusae 947–1000
Come now, let us dance, as is the custom here for us women when we hold the revered mystery rites for the two goddesses in the holy seasons, and (that poor devil) Pauson observes the same rites and fasts as we do, (950) often praying to them with us that he too may celebrate such occasions from one year to the next.
Rise up, begin the dance, form the circle with light movements of your feet, (955) join hands with each other, let everyone take up the rhythm of the dance! Move your feet quickly! Let every eye watch over the circling array of our dance!
And let every one of you honor (960) the Olympian gods with song and with frenzied choral dance!
But if anyone thinks we as women are going to bad-mouth men in the sanctuary, (965) he is wrong.
But now we must first begin again the perfect dance-step of the beautiful round dance as if it were a new number.
Move your feet forward now and praise with dance and song the master of the lyre (970) and Artemis, bearer of the bow, chaste mistress! Hail, worker from afar, grant us victory! And let us praise Hera the matchmaker, as is fit, (975) who dances along with us in all our choruses and who keeps the keys to marriage.
And we call on Hermes, herdsman god, and Pan and the dear Nymphs, to smile on us with good will, (980) taking pleasure in our choral dancing. Lift up the double (?) charm of our choral dance! Let us dance, you women, as is the custom! But we keep to our fast strictly.
(985) Now come, leap, whirl with rhythmic foot! Turn the whole song! But you yourself be our leader, ivy-bearing Bacchic lord! And we shall honor you in dance and song in chorus-loving kômoi.
(990) O Euios, Bromios, son of Zeus and Semele, you who delight in choral dances and dance in chorus over the mountains to the lovely hymns of the Nymphs, o Euios, Euios, euoi, o Euios!
(995) All about you the echo from Kithairon sounds, and the dark-leafed bushy mountains and rocky glens rumble, and leafy ivy spiraling around you in a circle sprouts
Even for the skeptical reader who has become blinded by modern preconceptions it should be no problem to characterize a song like this as ritual. It has consequently always been classified in the scholarly literature as a prayer or hymn. There is no narration of myth or reflection of past or future events; rather, the chorus is totally concerned with its own ritual activity. Nevertheless, by confining themselves to the question of whether or not Aristophanes meant this as parody, scholars have long been blind to the value of these verses as an authentic expression of a living choral culture, anchored in the cultic life of the polis. The song can in fact claim to be considered as ritual in two senses. For the chorus completes a ritual act that is characteristic and constitutive of it; it sings and dances in its fictional role in the festival of the Thesmophoria as well as in its function as a company that has been appointed by the polis and that honors in a comic performance its divine patron Dionysus and other gods of the city. [2] The perspective oscillates in a way typical of comedy between this internal and external view, and the characteristic performativity of the chorus thus contains both levels in the selfsame corporal action.
Because of this conflict concerning the position of the chorus as actants, there arises the bewildering constellation of “ritual in ritual” that is fundamental for the Thesmophoriazusae. The women’s festival of Demeter becomes embedded in the frame of the principally male celebration of Dionysus, so that it becomes impossible to draw definite boundaries between the two areas and the recipient continuously switches between the there and the here, as in a mental kaleidoscope. The fact that the identity of the male citizen behind the female dramatic role of the chorus always remains visible also contributes to this situation. Furthermore, one role may be divided between several actors, and one and the same actor may also appear in several roles. Identity is established above all by the mask, which is immutable and goes through the whole play with the same expression. In contrast to naturalistic theater one cannot speak of a continuous illusion anywhere. Rather, the boundaries between the presenter, the person represented, and the audience are open. In this state of uncertainty between here and there, now and then, external frame and internal play, the chorus in the act of its spectacular display in song and dance performs a ritual in the sense of a speech act. In order to be understood as ritual celebrant, the chorus must thus refer to its own activity.
Contrary to the case of high choral lyric and many choral parts in tragedy, what is important, as has been emphasized, in this comic choral song is not the relation of previous events, still less the presentation of general thoughts and aphorisms or the artistic offering of an event from myth, but the concentration on the chorus’ own current activity as a complex model of action. It is precisely by means of this that the dance song becomes the purest form of ritual. Thus Michael Silk’s criticism of the lyrical quality of these verses, that they are “a mixture of elevated hymnody and rather flat comments on the proceedings,” [3] may be justified from a purely literary-historical point of view, but at the same time is inappropriate, since it does not take into account the ritual character of the song, which is based on the orality of the performance. For ritual speech demands precisely this self-referential commentary on the action that is taking place.
When the chorus turns to the audience, it demonstratively shows what is particularly characteristic for the performers of a ritual. In the past, this address was mainly viewed as a parallel to the parabasis, which was also generally treated as an interruption of the illusion. But as we have seen, a ritual act, in contrast to interpretation or narration, is accomplished by self-reference to the completion of one’s own activity. The utterance is thus often a complete end in itself; for the current activity of dance and prayer is accomplished, according to speech act theory, both by and in the word. Furthermore, this kind of ritual is expressive and symbolic in nature and describes itself by means of a synaesthetic collaboration of different levels of expression. Dance, gesture, rhythm, and the accompanying song are brought to the fore and marked, that is, they stand in contrast to the unmarked forms of everyday discourse. [4] The repetition and formal conjunction of the same or similar elements in metre, melody, and diction aim at the recognition of continually returning models. Redundancy and fusion in this multimedia combination lead to a heightened perception and to the desired contact with the gods. Depending on each of these modes of choral play and perception, one will either focus on Demeter and Persephone, the protectors of the women’s festival presented on stage, or on the other gods of the polis in the here and now.
The criterion of connectedness to the plot, anchored in the Aristotelian tradition, thus proves to be of little help in the assessment of the song. [5] Just like the hymn that follows (Thesmophoriazusae 1136ff.), this praise of the gods also transcends the so-called illusion. In a spectacular pose directed at the audience and the gods, the simply-fashioned, directed plot is to a certain extent interrupted, if one looks at the continuum of plot from an Aristotelian perspective. For this reason, both hymns were often regarded as late and subsequently added parabasis odes that were not in their usual position. Once, however, one becomes accustomed to the idea that in Old Comedy a rather different poetics and aesthetics obtain—something much closer to ritual and something fundamentally separate from the Aristotelian-based theater tradition that has been dominant in Europe since the Renaissance—then the essentially permeable nature of the boundaries between inner and outer frame no longer presents any problem. As soon as one leaves behind the modern fiction of a closed plot, then the judgment that this kind of spectacle interrupts the action of the plot becomes relativized. Instead, it becomes possible to recognize new kinds of reference to a plot-development that is delimited and open. Despite their independence, both these songs (Thesmophoriazusae 947ff., 1136ff.) do evoke the ritual ambience of the festival of Demeter. The frame of the plot, which almost threatens to dis-appear because of the political and in particular poetological preoccupations, thereby receives support. The comic chorus in all Aristophanic comedies up to and including the Frogs is always the central authority. It participates in and helps direct the simple dramatic action by expressing the symbolic and graphic idea framing the plot, most often in the form of a metaphor that takes on a life of its own. Through every scene this synaesthetic element is inserted on the level of plot and the action on stage is thereby symbolically strengthened.
On the other hand, this song introduces the normally gradual transition to the perspective of performance (énonciation) that usually occurs after the parabasis. Considered purely in terms of staging, the choral part at Thesmophoriazusae 947-49. functions as a scene-divider. The spectacular “interlude” bridges the time during which Euripides’ relative is led away, chained to the board offstage, and finally brought in again. Yet this technical piece of staging does not completely explain the choral song here. The genre of Old Comedy also needs the ritual underpinnings of dance and song by a chorus. Despite its further development into dramatically more complex forms, and in addition to its presentation of a fictional event, the comic play remains always a kômos-like celebration by a chorus rooted in the real world of the polis, the wild, joyful romp of a boisterous, celebratory group through the city. Ritual verbal abuse, demanding, begging, and praying still remain a central fixture of Aristophanic comedy. The simple plot that twines around it lacks the syntagmatic stringency of a tragedy, because everything is aimed first and foremost at laughter. The audience’s participation in the ritual action is enhanced through the chorus’ stepping forward and out into the real-life frame. Beside their integration into the unpretentious, playful plot, the spectators must primarily become involved in the community-affirming ritual activities of derision, laughter, celebration, and making contact with the polis gods. The particular style of speech encourages participation. The choral “I” blends into a shifting unity that contains within it several voices—those of the poet, the performative group of citizens, and the chorus in its dramatic role. The gesture of self-presentation, characteristic of ritual, is thus also crucial for comedy’s open manner of perception. With regard to the markings in the printed text, it must once again be emphasized that the boundaries are completely fluid and that the song cannot be divided up so definitively that the parts can be pinned down to function or role alone, as has been the assumption until now. [6]
The underlined self-references to the chorus’ own presentation in dance and song represent a kind of intersection between comic function and dramatic role. This area of ritual activity, common to both levels, leads both chorus member in the here and now and performer within the plot together with the final product of the role, based on theatrical signs, to a unity that pulls in opposite directions, in which the dance movements and verbal utterances of the actor in the orchestra represent a praxis of signifiers that refers only indexically to the signified of the role. [7] For both in the cult of Demeter and in that of Dionysus, this type of dance song is performed precisely in the circular dance form that is repeatedly emphasized here. Circular choruses are a not infrequently found feature, especially when attention is to be drawn to the ritual aspect of dance, as in the hyporcheme in particular; otherwise, the formation in rows in the stikhos and the zygos is apparently the usual arrangement in the extended rectangular orchestra. [8] Aside from this the cross-shaped formation was also typical for the Dionysiac dithyramb. The discussion of the division of the chorus into chorus leader and chorus body, or into semi-choruses, something that goes back to the nineteenth century, and discussion of the possible division into strophe and antistrophe, as well as questions of metre, cannot be explored in detail here. [9]
Because of the countless references to the chorus’ own dancing, the song has in fact also been called a hyporcheme. [10] Muff remarks quite appositely, but obviously without using performative and semiotic categories relating to deixis and self-referentiality:
In diesem ganzen Liede ist fast von nichts weiter als von Tanz und Gesang die Rede, und namentlich geschieht des Reigentanzes in so bezeichnender Weise Erwähnung, dass man sagen kann, es wird hier förmlich mit dem Finger auf die Darstellung durch eine Mehrzahl von Personen hingewiesen.
[In this entire song practically nothing else save dancing and singing is spoken of, and in particular mention of round dancing is made so distinctly that one may say that this performance by a multitude of persons is being formally pointed to.] [11]

The First Part (Thesmophoriazusae 947–968)—The Chorus Forms a Round Dance

Overlaying of the plot (énoncé) occurs only to a slight extent and seemingly almost exclusively with the goal of maintaining the fictional frame of the Thesmophoria while preserving the independence of the performance. The ambience of the women’s festival is thus sketched out using only a very few references. It was never the intention to bring to the comic stage a faithful copy of a ritual, that is, a prayer or dance in honor of the two goddesses Demeter and Persephone, not only because the women’s rites were highly secret, [12] but also because the mainly male audience was excluded from the festival and could therefore in no way identify directly with the specific cult practices. But what does interest the men and what the poet sets great store by is the women’s absurd transgression into the realm of political action. The male popular assembly on the Pnyx and the assembly of women at the Nesteia, the occasion of the dramatic plot, are intertwined. [13] The central practice of fasting, which gives its name to the second day of the Thesmophoria, and the aiskhrologia also practiced there are encapsulated right at the beginning like a heading, as is the description of the festival as “holy mystery celebrations of the two goddesses” (948). At the same time, the mocking of citizens is also one of the typical functions of the comic chorus, in particular in the songs of the second parabasis. Aristophanes refers to these two central practices through the use of key words (νηστεύει, 949; νηστεύομεν, 984; κακῶς ἐρεῖν, 963); they are, however, subjected to comic distortion.
The mood on this second day appears to have been especially eerie and grim, [14] which corresponds to Demeter’s grief over the abduction of her daughter in the myth. The rites were correspondingly somber and strange. In particular the women evoked a primitive way of life on this day by fasting and lying on the ground on a bed (stibas) made of plants with anaphrodisiac effects. [15] Wreaths, with which the chorus normally loves to decorate itself, [16] were also not worn. [17]
How, then, did the comic poet manage to incorporate this utterly noncomic occasion into his joyful play? On the one hand, choral dance is emphasized as unifying element; on the other, he comically reworks the motifs of the rites. The aiskhrologia directed against the men is now personally directed against the starving artist Pauson. In comic fashion he is said to participate in the celebration of the mysteries, to fast, and often to invoke the goddesses of the Thesmophoria from festival to festival, all so that he can get to enjoy these fasting orgies often (Thesmophoriazusae 948–952). The humor of this mocking observation lies in the fact that the starving pauper celebrates a feast with the chorus that actually excludes any male participation, and that like the women he prays from year to year for the period of hunger and need to return cyclically, although he ought really to be pleading for wealth. While fasting represents for the women only a ritual of inversion and exception, of abstention and purification in preparation for the fertility that must be renewed annually and that is celebrated on the immediately following day of the Kalligeneia together with the return to normality and civilization, this ridiculous fool begs for times of fasting as often as possible.
Because of his poverty the ritual exception has become the rule for Pauson. In a pun on his name (Pauson = παύσων, fut. participle of παύω, “stop, cease”) the chorus plays on the fact that he will never end this condition of need, in contrast to the members of the chorus. [18]
In paradoxical fashion the aiskhrologia against men that is mentioned here is immediately withdrawn (962–965), because it does not fit the ritual activity of the festive choral dance for one thing, and because for the male audience, to whom the festive mood is supposed to be imparted, it represents a clearly intended affront. The chorus then itself refers to the contrast between the somber rite of fasting and the joyful dance: [19] παίσωμεν, ὦ γυναῖκες, οἷάπερ νόμος· | νηστεύομεν δὲ πάντως (“Let’s dance for joy, women, as is the custom! But we’re still sticking fast to our fast,” 983–984).
The ritual activity of dancing can be applied to a sad as well as a happy occasion. In comedy, however, the exuberant choral dance is particularly associated with playing (παίζειν). The gloomy nature of the fictional setting is left out as much as possible, while the joyful and cheerful nature of the Dionysiac celebration is for the most part included. [20] Like many other parabasis odes, this song has a further function. Viewed from the perspective of the male audience, it is to a large extent not a parody of a prayer or hymn, but the expression of genuine worship. The hymn represents a corrective to the comic period of inversion, during which many comic plays subject even the gods to ridicule and Olympus is threatened with collapse. The song reflects the existing polis cult and should be regarded as living lyric from actual cult practice. As in the odes of parabaseis and in the choral passages of other Aristophanic comedies, in the Thesmophoriazusae in particular the invocations of the various gods who protect and preside over the city are integrated into the performance, and the goddesses of the Thesmophoria in the plot actually play only a subordinate role. [21]
The song is thus mainly, qua speech act, pure ritual. The inevitable illocutionary emphasis on the chorus’ own activity of dancing and praising leads to a perlocutionary result, to the communitas of internal and external spectator in a feeling of coming closer to the gods, which establishes a sense of community. [22] The role of the chorus thereby increasingly disappears behind its cultic function in the here and now. In what follows we will investigate the technique of self-referentiality in detail. Choral song and dance represent, as I have emphasized, the common denominator of function and role. Through emphasis on this ritual activity, the poet is consciously able to keep the connection to the external or internal hanging in the air.
Deictic concepts of time and place, commands, and in particular the “I”/ “we” of the chorus are characteristics of the performative utterance. In this song they appear with great frequency. By means of the combination ἄγε νυν (‘come now!’), which conveys urgency, the request to dance is performatively intensified. The emphatic Greek pronoun ἡμεῖς (‘we’), together with the key concept of playful dance (παίζειν, cf. παίσωμεν, 947), gives rise to an illocutionary command, by which the perlocutionary result that the speech act is aimed at is immediately attained. Here we are talking of the communal choral dance of the whole collective in which the choral leader is included. [23] It remains open to question whether the female choral leader speaks at all, as is often assumed. Despite the anapaestic metre, it would also be perfectly conceivable that the chorus as a whole spoke. With the order “Let us dance!” the group sets about its movements. It is noteworthy how the deictic signals “now” (νυν) and “here” (ἐνθάδε), which refer in their function as shifters to the frame of the dancing chorus made up of male citizens, includes the “then” and “there” of the plot level. Or in other words: in the performative context, the “here” and “now” of the plot, which naturally relate to the fictitious sanctuary at the Thesmophoria (ἐν ἱερῷ, 964) and the imagined women’s festival, is mixed with the “here” and “now” of the performance, that is, with the theater of Dionysus and the festival of the Dionysia. Because of the fact that there is talk here of a “custom” or “ritual” (νόμος) of “women,” that is, the reactualized role of the presenters, the festival of the Thesmophoria is constantly evoked in the play. [24] Yet, as is typical for ritual choruses, the male actors continue to be visible behind the women being portrayed. [25] Even the insertion ἅπερ νόμος ἐνθάδε ταῖσι γυναιξίν (947), “as is the custom here for women,” where in the term nomos female ritual is being played on, contains an ambiguity, since dancing is also the custom here, i.e. in the orchestra of the theater of Dionysus. [26] Moreover, the word nomos naturally evokes the political dimension, which applies simultaneously to the men of the civic context and to the women of the plot. In line 983, immediately before the concluding hymn to Bakkhos, the diction of line 947 is taken up again using ring composition: παίσωμεν, ὦ γυναῖκες, οἷάπερ νόμος. [27] The chorus, made of men, in its mimesis of women does essentially the very same thing that is the theme of the play as a whole. Just as the two protagonists do, the members of the chorus transgress the strict borders separating the sexes in that they too penetrate the sacred preserve of the women. [28] In typical fashion, the chorus switches back and forth between “I” and “we.” At one moment the chorus sees itself as a collective unity in the singular, at another as a group that is composed of separate individuals, and accordingly speaks of itself in the plural. [29] The troupe in the orchestra gives itself commands using the second person singular of the imperative: form a round dance (953–954), take each other by the hand (955a), take up the rhythm (955b), while taking quick steps (956) be careful not to break the perfect circle (957–958). The commands occur at the same time as the body movements and represent pure performative speech acts. The action is brought about through speech. The ritual action, that is, getting into dance formation, is illocutionarily strengthened and accomplished through self-referential utterances. Speech is completely self-fulfilling in this activity. [30]
The parallels to the similarly framed speech act of the preceding search scene (659-661), where the chorus similarly prepares itself for the round dance, are clear. [31] Kleisthenes hands over to them for safekeeping Euripides’ relative, who has just been exposed, so he can report the matter to the prytanis. The members of the chorus surround the criminal in a circle and using the same formation, they simultaneously occupy themselves with the search for other male intruders. In similar fashion, the chorus of the Erinyes encircle Orestes to “chain” him symbolically in a ὕμνος δέσμιος (Aeschylus Eumenides 321–396). The performative self-command ἄγε δὴ καὶ χορὸν ἅψωμεν (Eumenides 307) corresponds to the imperative χειρὶ σύναπτε χεῖρα (Thesmophriazusae 955a), [32] which in its reciprocal syntactic relationship imitates the joining of the dancers to the circle of dance that is simultaneously created in the speech act of utterance. The Erinyes form a closed circle with their intertwined hands in order to put a spell on their victim using a magical speech act.
In metaphorical fashion at least Euripides’ relative is also encircled as an evildoer in the choral dance song under discussion here. This is precisely why the members of the chorus put so much emphasis on the tightness of their formation; just as in the searching song, here too the chorus admonishes itself to be vigilant. Is there not a possibility that the relative is not actually led off by the Scythian henchman and brought back after the song, [33] but remains in the orchestra? The circle of dancers would then carry out the act of binding the captive to the board in a staged and gestural fashion.
Admittedly, stage convention and the fact that the songs (947ff., 1136ff.) as subsequent parabasis odes actually leave the chorus behind on the stage, alone, argue against this. Nevertheless, one can say that on the level of the chorus, the activity of binding (930, 943), which takes place behind the scenes, is at the same time symbolically accompanied by body language. In sacrificial rites the round dance is in fact danced in the orchestra about the thymelê. [34] In a transferred sense at least, the relative is encircled like a sacrificial victim at the altar of Dionysus, or rather, Demeter, and the aggression against the intruder is transformed into dance. The almost tragic reversal is noteworthy here: Euripides’ relative, who precisely in the parody of the Telephos sacrifices the “child” of Mika as a wineskin (Thesmophoriazusae 733–764, especially 753–759), now himself becomes a potential sacrificial victim for Dionysus. The reference to the polis gods becomes understandable, since the city of Athens punishes any violation of the ritual rules of the women’s festival as an attack on its official cult. The whirling movements of the chorus members (in their actual identity as well as their dramatic role) [35] in honor of the gods, particularly the madness-inducing Dionysus, bring the relative, as well as the audience, under the spell of the order that the cultic dance as performance represents.
The introductory self-representation comes to a conclusion in three small strophes. In the first (959–961), the self-command is attached to a hymn to the Olympian gods, which is to be performed with dancing and the per-formance of which we will also see in the second part. Beside the χορεία, the second vocal and acoustic component of the choral dance song, the μολπή, is self-referentially thematized. [36] Praise of the gods accompanied by dance steps is a central cultic occupation of the Greeks. The song takes place in a high, lyric style, which also characterizes the marked manner of expression found in ritual. It produces a particular mood, which creates a solidarity among those praising and the spectators, who identify themselves with this, and on the other hand, through its arousing language, which underscores the wildly turning motion, arouses a feeling of proximity to the immortal. This “chorus-mad manner” (χορομανεῖ τρόπῳ, 961) anticipates in particular the μανία of the dithyrambic and Dionysiac conclusion, where the god of the performance clearly breaks into the realm of the Demeter plot (987ff.). [37]
In the second small strophe (962–965) the theme of the song is negatively defined. The women’s aiskhrologia directed toward the men is not on the program, although one would expect such speech acts on the fast day (Νηστεία) represented in the plot. Admittedly, a comic twist lies hidden in the comment, since precisely this type of ridicule occurs in the case of the painter Pauson and malicious gossip is something fundamental to the chorus both in its comic function and in its role. Rather, it is exclusively connected with its very own activity. The choral dance song itself, designed to honor the Olympians, is the order of the day. The chorus thus commands itself in the third strophe to “begin next as something new the perfect step of the beautiful dance” (966–968). [38]
It is almost impossible to make a complete survey of the discussions of the details relating to choral dance in this song, in particular studies of possible changes in dance and pace. Most often there has been an attempt to deduce a succession of two or even three different dances on the basis of the performative diction of the chorus’ utterances. [39] Yet it is in fact a characteristic of literature that is pragmatic and completely rooted in the everyday world of literature that the details of a performance may often not be able to be reconstructed on a more exact basis. Many critics have made the same interpretative suggestions; they incorrectly take στῆσαι as meaning “stop” or “bring to an end.” [40] From this they conclude that the round dance introduced in lines 953ff. comes to an end after line 968 and that the chorus begins a new dance in line 969. [41] Many interpreters even believe there is an additional diplê interlude (981–984) [42] before the bacchic dance begins in line 985.
Contrary to the communis opinio I believe that the round dance in close formation is never once stopped throughout the entire song. That is to say, neither in line 969 does the chorus begin a march in a straight line, nor does the collective divide itself up into opposing half-choruses in line 981; still less is the circular formation changed in line 985. [43] Thomsen has convincingly contradicted the theory that the tragic diplê dance (cf. 982), first attested in Hesychius, appeared here. In the following dithyramb (985ff.) the typical κύκλιος χορός is in fact continued.
On the basis, then, of the lines just cited (966–968) a change of step has erroneously been posited to have taken place. Using an incorrect interpretation of στῆσαι and Engers’ conjecture ὡς ἐπ’ ἔργον . . . καινόν, certain scholars [44] understood the passage to mean that the members of the chorus were exhorting themselves to stop their round dance and form themselves into a “new” formation for the subsequent hymn to the gods. [45] Yet precisely this κύκλιος χορός can be encountered particularly in the area of cultic worship of Dionysus and Demeter. [46] In the staging of a hymn to Dionysus within a fictional frame relating to Demeter there is thus no reason to change the arrangement at this passage in particular, once we point out the symbolic association of the scene with sacrificial ceremonies, at which the round dance was often performed around the altar. [47]
The expression ἔργον αὖ τι καινόν is thus not to be taken in the sense of a new dance to which the chorus now directs itself; rather, the circular formation continues in the following addresses to the gods. Because this is more seldom encountered in the theater, the chorus keeps referring to it in a self-referential fashion. The κύκλιος χορός belongs essentially to ritual, and the continuous confirmation sets up the circular movement and regulates it in the sense of speech act theory. [48] The chorus, and also the poet, who in the parabasis in particular blends his own voice with that of the chorus, presents its dance song as “yet another new work,” where καινόν should be understood in the sense of “innovative,” “unusual,” or “original.” The poet’s claim to originality is closely tied to his self-presentation in the parabasis, with which the song is continuously and formally placed in connection. [49] Nevertheless, the poet’s utterance represents merely a variation or further development of the chorus’ self-advertisement, which manifests its particular quality in the comic agôn. [50] Every comic chorus contains one original idea on which its identity within the plot rests. In the competition it presents itself to the audience, which is celebrating alongside it, using self-descriptions that are also typical of ritual groups. [51] How deeply embedded in the ritual tradition this tendency to emphasize the newness and originality of one’s own action is can also be seen in the equally bacchic song of the Hellenistic Phallophoroi, which will receive thorough investigation in chapter 2. [52] The similarity between the first part of this choral dance song and the popular song (fragment 851b PMG) just referred to is not simply limited to the foregrounding of personal achievement, but extends also to the performative situation. On both occasions, members of the chorus present their own current activity before they move on to the actual hymn.

Second, Hymnodic Section (Thesmophoriazusae 969–1000)—Danced Praise of the Gods

The second section of the song consists of a hymn to the Olympians (Thesmophoriazusae 969–980), which becomes a further illocutionary confirmation of the real-life khoreia in the performative frame (981–984 and 985–989), and finally ends with a long praise of Dionysus, the god of the performative occasion. Pure hymns of this type directed to the various polis gods are characteristic of parabasis odes, with which this song has frequently, and correctly, been associated. The comic poet is free to decide what to do with these basic forms, to play with their structure, to double or shift parts. The parabasis odes of the Thesmophoriazusae are not to be found in their usual place, but come to some extent in the place of a second parabasis as two scene-dividing songs at a latter phase during the course of the play. The ode is thus inserted belatedly after the Helen trick, while the antode comes after the Andromeda tactic, in the form of hymns (947–1000 and 1136–1159), and this at the same time concludes the cycle of tragic parody. [53] Perhaps they are original (ἔργον αὖ τι καινόν Thesmophoriazusae 967) for this among other reasons, but certainly because the spectacular round dance in the theater represents a distinctive feature: hymns are generally staged as processions using the typical line formation. The dramatic chorus usually directs this sort of praise song to the gods when (in terms of the plot) it approaches a sanctuary. [54] The term hymnos seems to be used as a general overarching term for subgroups, as, for example, paean, dithyramb, nomos, or prosodion, and simply means a song in praise of the gods. [55] On the basis of a passage of Plato (Laws 700b) and Alexandrian classifications into subgroups, a particular category, namely that of the actual hymnos, has nevertheless been deduced. According to a late-antique definition, this is distinguished by a specific performance mode: ὁ δὲ κυρίως ὕμνος πρὸς κιθάραν ᾔδετο ἑστώτων [“the hymn in the proper sense of the word was sung to the accompaniment of the kithara by those who had taken up their position”]. [56] The practice of the members of the chorus in the Cretan Palaikastro hymnos, where they talk about their current activity using the typical performative “we,” appears comparable to the women at the Thesmophoria, who move about the altar while dancing: γέγαθι μολπᾷ· | τάν τοι κρέκομεν πακτίσι | μείξαντες ἅμ’ αὐλοῖσιν | καὶ στάντες ἀείδομεν τεὸν | ἀμφὶ βωμὸν εὐερκῆ (lines 6–10) [“Rejoice in the dance-song (molpê) which we play on the pêktis, mixing it with the aulos, and which we sing, taking up position around your well-fenced altar.”]. [57] On the basis of references such as this one usually speaks of a standing chorus, as if the chorus in a hymnos stands still and does not move. [58] In the light of the choral and dancing self-references in many songs, this widespread opinion must be revised. [59] Our hymnos in the Thesmophoriazusae clearly shows that the chorus dances to its song.
The verb forms derived from ἵστασθαι must be interpreted in the context of line 968 (πρῶτον εὐκύκλου χορείας εὐφυᾶ στῆσαι βάσιν). [60] Ἵστασθαι in reference to the chorus does not mean “place oneself” in the sense of “stand still,” but “take up a position,” “get into formation for a choral dance song.” This is accordingly called a stasimon, except in the case of an entry or departure song. The chorus has thus arranged itself around the altar in circular formation and then dances in this formation in the hymnos. [61]
In the Thesmophoriazusae, immediately before and after the first hymnos to the various polis gods (969–980), the members of the chorus in self-referential fashion emphasize their movements in the round dance using speech (966–968 and 981–984). [62] In line 985 there is a clear break, but the choreography undergoes no fundamental change. To speak of a new dance, as many interpreters do, is thus not accurate; one could at most talk of a new rhythm for Bakkhos. [63] The round dance is characteristic precisely of the dithyramb, with which the ensuing cultic song of Dionysus (985–1000) may practically be equated. [64] The impressive hymnic section is completely in the tradition of archaic cult lyric. As an expression of a living choral culture, it represents an authentic representation, in the sense of a reactualization, of existing ritual forms, but in no way is it a parody. [65] The prayer to a succession of polis gods is in fact a characteristic of parabasis odes, as Eduard Fraenkel demonstrated fully. In similar fashion, different divinities are beseeched to come to the aid of the chorus and to participate directly in the chorus’ own activity in the orchestra. In this passage, too, the double nature of the chorus in terms of its function and role is brought into play. It is significant that the majority of the gods named have a close connection with dance. In familiar fashion, and typical of Greek anthropomorphism, the idea of choral performance is applied to Olympos as well. According to the religious beliefs of the Greeks, humans become similar to the gods in hymnic choral dance songs of this type; conversely, taking pleasure in this, the gods participate in mortal round dances. The divine chorus represents the mythical frame for human ritual activity. The cultic dance thus reactualizes the model action of the gods, and in so doing, in the heightened state of perception of the ritual festive period, the boundary between god and human is removed, for both spectators and actors.
Apollo, addressed first, is the quintessential god of the Muses and in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo (Homeric Hymns 3.186ff.) functions as the leader of the divine thiasos. As lyre player, he is also the divine founder of the musical accompaniment to the song of praise. He is also fundamentally the male polis god par excellence, with which the order of the chorus, the cosmos, and the harmony of the human and divine world are praised.
Because the deities Apollo, Artemis, and Hera (969–976), who are invoked first, are often connected in cult with female choruses, they are also to a certain extent drawn into the ritual framework of the plot. [66] Artemis is prayed to for victory, which can be understood as a reference to success aimed for by the comic chorus in the contest of comic plays. From the point of view of plot one may also associate this with the wish of the members of the dramatic chorus to triumph over the male intruder. [67] Hera, as marriage goddess, is particularly closely connected with the dramatic role of the women at the Thesmophoria, in which only married women could participate. Yet by referring to the fact that Hera enjoys dancing with all choruses, [68] the chorus also refers to itself and its own function in the here and now.
Hermes, Pan, and the Nymphs, who are called upon as the next group in the antistrophe (977–984), lead us into the outside and thereby represent a fluent transition to the concluding song in praise of Dionysus, who is often accompanied precisely by this retinue and whom the chorus also locates in wild nature. These are all dancing gods. [69] Hermes is addressed with the epithet νόμιος, which refers to the world of the pasture and the eskhatiai beyond the polis. At the same time, the adjective is a clever play on the musical dimension of the citharodic nomoi, which are sung mainly in honor of the previously mentioned Apollo. The seven-part nomoi, like for example the nomos of Terpandros, consisted of hymns to the gods, and had similar characteristics to the one discussed here. The shepherd Hermes is also a simple, pastoral musician (Homeric Hymns 4.24ff.) and as νυμφηγέτης is imagined as “leader” of the group of nymphs, envisaged as a choral collective. [70]
The transition to the gods named in the antistrophe is smoothly made, since Apollo and Artemis are also particularly connected with the world of the outside. Like Hermes and Pan, Apollo is closely associated with the pastoral world and shares with both of them the epithet Νόμιος. [71] Apollo and Pan are similarly described as νυμφαγέται. [72] But Artemis is above all the choral leader of the Nymphs. It is she who is worshiped in the choral thiasos by young women on the threshold of adulthood, that is, brides (νύμφαι). [73] The nymphs thus represent in this function a bridge both to Hera and to Demeter and Kore, the goddesses of the cultic and dramatic context. Hera thus reaches into Artemis and Apollo’s field of expertise in that she accompanies young maidens on the initiatory transition to marriage and leads them to the fulfillment of marriage, that is, the birth of children. For this reason Hera may also be invoked with the names Παρθένος and Τελεία (as in Thesmophoriazusae 973). [74] But in particular Hera and the Nymphs belong to the ritual sphere of the festival of the Thesmophoria, since married women paradoxically represent themselves there as νύμφαι, and as a foil to the sequence leading from fasting (Νηστεία) to the production of offspring (Καλλιγένεια) they ritually reenact the transition from virginal abstinence to female fertility.
The nymphs called upon bestow fertility, just as Demeter does. Among other things they are responsible for human reproduction and growth, and are compared to chaste bees, which in the Greek imagination are brought into a metaphorical relationship with the status of the married woman. The women celebrating the Thesmophoria, separated from their husbands, also carry the name bees (μέλισσαι). Untamed female sexuality is thereby rendered acceptable for men, in that the wives are temporarily returned to the condition of chaste νύμφαι. As bees, they become symbols of a sexuality that is only to be found in expectation and that has not yet been consumed. Although all other norms of behavior are stood on their head in this festival of inversion, order in matters sexual is supposed to be preserved. [75] This paradoxical oscillation between the dissolution and the preservation of the usual view of the world is a vital component of comedy. In particular, the juxtaposition of speaking parts, in which everything is topsy-turvy from the perspective of the plot, [76] and choral passages, in which, with a glance at the here and now, the holy, divinely sanctioned order of the gods is celebrated, reflects this comic tension. But this contradiction is also built into the choral song. Behind the cosmos there also appear elements of chaos and unfettered nature. The cultivating function of the grain goddess Demeter, who because of the chorus’ role must always be kept in mind, stands at first in open opposition to the wild, unfettered ambience that Hermes, Pan, and lastly Dionysus represent.
The constellation of gods evoked is not merely a product of poetic imagination, for it also finds an actual correspondence in Athenian cult. For example, on a votive image from the Acropolis Demeter is clearly connected with Pan, the Nymphs, Hermes, Apollo, and Artemis. [77] Pan, son of Hermes and a nymph, particularly represents this wild, rustic, enthusiastic component of choral dance that finally culminates in the hymn to Dionysus (Thesmophoriazusae 985ff.). It is mania that represents the important link between the female deities Artemis and Hera and the ecstatic world in which the Nymphs, Pan, and Dionysus have their home. [78] In particular Pan shares with Hermes and Dionysus an association with the phallic.
As goat-god, halfway between animal and human, Pan mediates between the different categories and incorporates impetuous male sexuality and fertility. [79] Most of all, he is also a wild dancer, who jumps like an exuberant goat and thereby constantly threatens to disturb the harmony of the Nymphs’ round dance. His phallic and excessive sexuality directed toward the nymph Echo is opposed to the civilized encounter between Demeter and Iasion in the fields, from which Ploutos eventually arises as agrarian personification of prosperity and wealth. [80] As sacred child he symbolizes to a certain extent the Kalligeneia, the day of beautiful birth that is celebrated by women after the Nesteia. Yet in choral dance even a god like Pan may produce beauty, fertility, and wealth. Pan is sometimes (Aeschylus Persians 448), like Athena in the song following the one under discussion (Thesmophoriazusae 1136), given the attribute φιλόχορος. His exuberance in dance is more reminiscent, however, of phallic songs, such as the somewhat later Hellenistic kômoi of the Phallophoroi and Ithyphalloi. According to Aristotle, comedy arose from the improvisations of the people who struck up these phallika. [81] The transition to the Dionysiac part is also prepared for by mention of the passion for choral dance associated with Pan, for in the bridging lines 985–989 the chorus refers once more to its own activity, singing now especially in its comic function. The self-referential speech act, which still reflects Pan’s connection with the chorus, is completed in the chorus’ performative announcement in the first-person singular that it will now celebrate Dionysus in song with “chorus-loving processions” (ἐγὼ δὲ κώμοις | σὲ φιλοχόροισι μέλψω, Thesmophoriazusae 988–989).
As dancing goat, Pan is any case connected with the τραγῳδοί, the dancing singers for goat sacrifice who are linked with the development of tragedy. [82] The mention of Pan thus establishes the connection between the comic chorus and the material of the plot, for the other dramatic genre and its relation to comedy are thematized in the Thesmophoriazusae in a particularly intense fashion, precisely in the immediate context of this song. What Pan and Dionysus do in rural seclusion with their choruses corresponds to the singing and dancing of the comic chorus going on in the present in the orchestra under the leadership of its koryphaios. The gifts that he allows his worshipers to share, namely “laughter and cheerfulness,” that is, “excess in correct form,” [83] are identical in effect to comedy.
In the myth, Iambe, the result of the sexual union of Pan and Echo (Philokhoros, FGrHist 328 F 103), cheers Demeter up and moves her to give up her withdrawal, the cause of the earth’s infertility. In the figure of Baubo she is known for her gestures, which openly display sexuality and which characterize the Thesmophoria and comedy. [84] In addition, the anodos of Persophone is often represented on vases together with Hermes and jumping and dancing Pan figures, who with their wild movements apparently support her in the effort to overcome the boundaries of Hades. [85] Similarly, Pan appears as mediator in Demeter’s return in Phigalia.
Hades’ abduction of Persephone and Demeter’s excessive mourning, which threatens the process of natural regeneration, form the mythical background to the ritual practices at the Thesmophoria. The breakdown of order is recreated by the women in the temporary cessation of sexual relations with their husbands, precisely during the Nesteia. At the end of the Thesmophoriazusae the transition to the final day, the Kalligeneia, is introduced as the overcoming of this period of reversal. The mention of the lecherously leaping Pan prepares the way, among other things, for the comic finale and in this song also points to the inherent tension between harmony and chaos. Both his laughter and his ecstatic behavior effect a transition to the Dionysus hymn that follows and introduces the return to normality after ritual transgression. Pan’s wild and animal-like skipping represents a challenge to the pure harmony of the divine dance.
Like Dionysus, he threatens the current order. Yet when ecstasy is shut out, society is in grave danger of becoming stuck in a sterile rigidity. By means of the comastic dance in the here and now of the performance a new harmony arises, just as in the Thesmophoria, and makes possible the regeneration of nature and fertility in a cyclical interchange. [86] The obscene gestures and movements of the women are homologous to the comic and Dionysiac dance in the orchestra, through which unity between the function and dramatic role of the chorus is restored.
The invocation of these gods of the outside does not occur, as it does mostly in parabasis odes, in the form of a hymnos klêtikos that calls for an epiphany to aid the chorus. Rather, they are here requested to “give a laugh” to the chorus and experience pleasure at the choral dance, which may be localized both in the plot and in the orchestra of the real world. [87]
With regard to the self-referential utterance of the chorus (Thesmophoriazusae 979–982) Ole Thomsen makes a crucial observation: in line 982, as has been emphasized, we are not dealing with the tragic diplê dance, rather διπλῆν should be taken as a proleptic adjective with the phrase χάριν χορείας, which reflects the reciprocal relationship of joy between human worshipers and gods. By means of the repetition of προθύμως (979 and 981), as well as χαρέντα χορείαις (980b) and χάριν χορείας (982), this reciprocity is underscored. In particular Pan, as divine choral leader, by means of his wild gestures induces γέλως in his thiasos, [88] which is in general characterized by cheerfulness and joyful play. The chorus in the orchestra is ultimately a reproduction of the divine round dance. Pan is precisely placed to experience sympathy toward the comic chorus in the theater, who, like him, dances exuberantly. [89] Therefore the members of the chorus order themselves to spur themselves on to joy over their dance in two ways, [90] for both men and gods, as well as dancers and spectators, take pleasure in this. As in many parabasis odes, through this specific ritual mode of address boundaries that normally exist between actors, audience, and gods, or that separate the poet from the human and divine choral leader, are removed.
Here we may remember the passage from Plato’s Laws (653d–654a) cited earlier, where a pseudo-etymological connection is made between χορός and χαρά (654a). [91] The passage also mentions that the gods were given to men as companions in dance. Nevertheless, pleasure does not only exist in harmony and order, on which Plato places so much value in the context of cultic chorus. Playing with normal perspectives and the pleasure of the wild exuberance of the kômos, which in this genre forms a παλίντονος ἁρμονία with the round dance, are key elements in comedy. Joyful παίζειν is thus an especially suitable term for the comic chorus to use in reference to its own activity.
The keyword χάρις (982) implies reciprocity and the important concept of reciprocal compensation. [92] God and mortal are connected with the help of this fundamental idea, which means that every favor from one side entails a moral obligation on the other side to reciprocate. The concept of χάρις means at once “thanks,” “favor,” “joy,” and “grace, charm”; in Greek society, the balance of interests and cohesiveness among mortals and between mortals and gods is aimed at using χάρις. Walter F. Otto explains the concept as follows: “Χάρις ist nicht bloß das Erobernde, das andere in Besitz nimmt, ohne sich selbst mitzuteilen: ihre Lieblichkeit ist zugleich Empfänglichkeit und Echo, ‘Liebens-würdigkeit’ im Sinne der Gunst und Hingabefähigkeit” [“Χάρις is not simply the power to win someone over without giving anything oneself: its charm is at once receptivity and echo, ‘loveliness’ in the sense of favor and readiness to give oneself”]. [93] With the key word “echo” the subsequent hymn to Dionysus (996) and adjoining Andromeda scene (1009–1135, especially 1056ff.), in which Echo plays an important role in the comic effect, are foreshadowed. Just as humans and gods stand in a reciprocal relationship, so too untamed nature, which is under the protection of the gods invoked, including Dionysus, responds to the choral dance song of humans and gods, and the sound of it reverberates through the mountains and valleys (995–998).
With these reflections we have come to the crowning finale of the song. After the various polis gods Dionysus is finally summoned. By means of the naming of this central deity, in whose honor the chorus dances in its real-life function, [94] the change in perspective from the plot and its dramatic roles to the actual context of the Great Dionysia, at which this comedy was performed in 411 BCE, is achieved. [95] The transition to this Dionysus dithyramb is once again smoothly achieved. The performative self-affirmation (985–986) is linked to the many choral self-commands in this song. It is noteworthy that a new dance is not introduced here, as is often assumed, but the chorus’ circular dance formation only affirmed. The imperative ἀνάστρεφ’ (985) indicates at most a change in the movement of the round dance. [96] The next order, Bentley’s conjectured τόρνευε (986), should also be viewed in this connection. The manuscripts have τόρευε πᾶσαν ᾠδήν, which means something like “Let the song ring out with full voice!” [97] The discussion about which of these two interpretative possibilities should be favored is almost impossible to survey. Both verbs are to be understood metaphorically here; they are derived from artisanal vocabulary and in both cases have to do with a turning motion. [98] Still, this nuance comes out substantially better in Bentley’s conjecture. The chorus, dancing in circular formation, thus commands itself to produce its song, [99] the second component of its activity, while turning like a lathe. Χορεία and ᾠδή are here poetically combined, with ᾠδή standing for the whole through synecdoche. [100]
Then follows a plea to Dionysus to lead the chorus. In a fashion typical of parabaseis, the god of comedy himself is asked to join the actors dancing in the orchestra for him, that is, to take over control of them. [101] Dionysus functions as divine model of the κωμῳδοί moving in the Athenian theater of Dionysus. In drama it is he most of all who is connected with choral dance. [102] The χάρις of the dancers in their dramatic role and function produces the same effect in the gods, and thus a direct participation of the gods becomes understandable in the imagination of worshipers. Beside the illocutionary confirmation of their own activity, the ritual action is also supposed to have perlocutionary consequences; it is supposed to delight the gods, in particular Dionysus as the god of the occasion, who, it is hoped, will then take over and lead the chorus. As with every hymnos, praise of one’s own performance is closely linked with the assurance that one is thereby entering into a direct state of communication with the gods. The object of the chorus’ ritual action resides in a double χάρις (cf. διπλῆν χάριν χορείας, 982). This desired reciprocity is ultimately supposed to have the effect of making the gods favorably disposed to their performance. The balance between god and human resides, then, in the ritual of hymnic and dance activity. The χάρις summoned up calls for a positive answer from the Olympians. According to Greek belief, the latter take part and involve themselves in the exuberant activity. At the very least the worshipers hope for divine approval and support, which also coincides in the performative context with victory in the agôn.
Choral self-representation must also be viewed in this connection. The more the chorus praises itself, the more intensely it seeks thereby to entice the god. The emphasis on its own activity in the orchestra is thus not merely an illocutionary confirmation that constitutes and regulates the activity. Self-description occurs with a perlocutionary aim as well, the intervention of the gods. In the religious imagination, a command of this nature also implies an action at the same time as its utterance: for in the actual hymn (990–1000) Dionysus then functions in the religious imagination of the dancers as their choral leader. [103] The attention of the divinity must be won by means of dance, and naturally also by means of the correct choice of words and suitable description of the place where the relevant god lives. Χάρις and τέρψις are the keywords with which a reciprocal relationship between god and human may be established. [104] The mythical narration, almost obligatory in hymns, the so-called pars epica, through which a precedent for the ritual behavior is generally described, seems to be completely absent here. In the actual hymn to Dionysus (990–1000) one cannot speak any longer of a prayer, [105] since the single, but central, request that he take over the chorus in an epiphany has already been uttered, right at the beginning (987). It represents the climax of an appeal, which in parabaseis is directed to the gods, to appear, hurry to the aid of the chorus, or even mingle with them. [106] The reciprocal relationship of χάρις between human worshipers and the relevant deity is again evoked with the chorus’ announcement in the performative future that it intends to celebrate Bakkhos in κώμοις φιλοχόροισι. Just as the chorus loves its own activity of dance, Dionysus, too, who has a special affinity for the χορός, takes pleasure in this. [107] With the repeated direct second-person singular address (σέ, 989; σύ, 990; ἀμφὶ δὲ σοί, 995; περί σε, 999) and the naming of the correct names (988, 990–991), Dionysus’ attention is sought in ritual style, [108] so that the god may then react entirely in the desired fashion. At the center is the exuberant kômos song (988b), [109] which is essential for the chorus’ performance in its comic function. Just as the members of the chorus often wear a wreath of ivy or other plants for the festive occasion, so too Dionysus himself is called “ivy-bearer.” [110] Speech and gesture, in keeping with the pattern of the performance, become increasingly dithyrambic and enthusiastic. Here the comic element is also present. The chorus indulges, so to speak, in a Dionysiac balancing act between serious and exuberant elements. [111]
To arouse the desired χάρις, the chorus here celebrates its virtual choral patron with a hymn that emphasizes not so much a mythical event in the form of a narrative as the choral nature of the choral god par excellence in myth. The hymnic description thus gives the mythical frame of the ritual at hand. As divine role-model, Dionysus takes pleasure in the chorus’ activity in the here and now while being himself in the Dionysiac landscape of the mountains. Just as the chorus in the theater has wished, he cheerfully dances as choral leader (ἀναχορεύων, 994) of his mythical thiasos among the Nymphs, who honor him with their ecstatic cries of εὔιον εὔιον εὐοῖ. [112] At the same time, the Nymphs also represent the mythical examples of the chorus in its dramatic role as women at the Thesmophoria who are imagining themselves as νύμφαι. It is thus noteworthy that here the pars epica is described as a genre picture, with the emphasis thus being placed on the aspect of khoreia and accompaniment of the song, as in the chorus’ self-referential commands (992a, 993–994).
Nevertheless, the chorus does not content itself with just this, but the projection of the Dionysiac choral scenery finally goes so far as to imagine, in a fashion typical of Dionysus, the whole environment also participating actively in the choral dance song (995–1000). In the famous parodos of the Bacchae the chorus strikingly describes this performative state of affairs: αὐτίκα γᾶ πᾶσα χορεύσει (“Now the whole earth will dance!” Euripides Bacchae 114). [113] The transferral of the chorus’ activity to nature equally confirms the cyclical formation of the performing troupe in its dramatic role and in its function as chorus. Choral self-referentiality and projection are here closely intertwined with one another. As Albert Henrichs has shown, this combination of choral speech occurs often in tragic choral songs. [114] In this passage the observation also holds true for the acoustic side of things, for in this setting the ecstatic sound of voices, drums, and auloi resound from the mountains and valleys all around Dionysus (ἀμφὶ δὲ σοί, 995), who thus also becomes the central ἐξάρχων of the auditory projection. [115] In the final image (999–1000), ivy is associated metonymically and metaphorically with the dithyrambic and cyclical dance form of the performance. Once again the god stands at the center as imaginary koryphaios; about him his sacred plant arranges itself in a round dance (κύκλῳ) and shoots up in spiral form (ἕλικι), which also plays on the circular motion of the chorus. [116]
The hymn on the one hand thus confirms in illocutionary fashion the present activity of the choral members, while on the other it is also intended to have a causal effect of a perlocutionary nature, namely the summoning of Dionysus as divine leader of the ritual performance, which includes both the dramatic plot involving Demeter and the actual performance involving Dionysus. The chorus thereby proceeds in an almost magical fashion. Through dance, speech, melody, and rhythm it attempts synaesthetically to get the attention of the god and the spectators. The circular dance is underscored by self-referential speech acts. The completed encirclement is supposed to enchant the gods, in particular Dionysus, so that they join the chorus. These circular dance movements in many respects resemble the effect of the iynx, the magic wheel used in erotic magic. The spinning wheel produces a penetrating sound that puts the beloved under the spell of the lover. Love affairs are also connected in the Greek imagination with χάρις and enchantment. Just as the members of the chorus attempt to make the gods subject to their will, so too does the ἐραστής in the case of the ἐρώμενος. The noise and intense motion of the magic wheel make the beloved give himself of his own free will (χαρίζεσθαι). Iynx, the mythological personification of this wheel, is considered, like Iambe, to be a daughter of Echo and Pan, who are both of importance in this song. [117]
In its dance the chorus thus whirls about the altar of Dionysus, the god of its desire, just like the magic wheel about the beloved. But encirclement is also found in the diction of μολπή and ᾠδή. Here one may mention in particular the arrangement of ring composition. Dionysus is approached in concentric circles. First, reference is made to a visual characteristic: the god is initially addressed as κισσοφόρε (988a), while at the end of the hymn ivy, which surrounds the god (999–1000), comes once more into the field of view. Then the focus shifts to the auditory dimension. Dionysus receives the epithet Βρόμιε (991), while the description of the noisy torrent of enchantment reaches a climax in the corresponding keyword βρέμονται (998b). At the center of the auditory attractions is the mention of the echo on Kithairon (996). Standing as it does almost at the midpoint of the Dionysus hymn, it reflects individual sensory impressions as on an axis of symmetry. The god is shown in oreibasia (κατ’ ὄρεα, 992b) with his retinue of nymphs, and the mountains (ὄρη, 997) resound in the same way with the echo of the kômos. Moreover, the reciprocity of the multimedia relationship of χάρις between gods and mortals is emblematically mirrored. Dionysus, standing in the center, conducts a series of circles of dancers following one after another: in the mythical projection he leads the chorus of nymphs, in the world of the dramatic plot he leads that of the women at the Thesmophoria, who as νύμφαι relate themselves to these mythical nymphs, while in the here and now of the orchestra he is in charge of the chorus dancing in his honor.
This reciprocal connection is also manifest in the verbal concretization. Dionysus is pleased by ecstatic cries, wild music, and uninhibited movements of the “I” of the performer and by the internal chorus of the nymphs, and so he himself makes noise and dances (ἀναχορεύων, 994). Ultimately the entire surroundings—the idyllic landscape as well as the orchestra in the here and now, together with the assembled audience—are drawn into the activity.

Echo and the Chorus of Maidens in the Further Course of the Play

In the mythological imagination of the Greeks, Echo is herself a nymph who defends her maidenhood, just like the women at the Thesmophoria, against the wild, ithyphallic attacks of the god Pan, who has fallen in love with her. In a version of the story in Longus (3.23) Pan drives the herdsmen mad and has them tear Echo limb from limb as a punishment. After this strange Dionysiac sparagmos, the earth, at the Nymphs’ command, buries the far-flung, and still singing, parts of her body, thus preserving her music. The chorus of the Thesmophoriazusae combines in itself the part of Pan (as a group of comic performers) and that of the nymph (in the role of the women attending the Thesmophoria). The echo of ritual sound patterns spread over the hymn represents the dithyrambic and enthusiastic music that delights all gods, especially Pan and Dionysus, and performers and audience alike. [118] At the same time Echo serves as a symbol of maidenhood, which the women reactualize precisely on the fast-day of the Νηστεία. [119] The young women group themselves into a chorus during their initiation in exactly the same way as the choral members in their dramatic role of female choral members and worship the gods with dance and song.
Furthermore, Echo and the wild natural scenery anticipate the comic play on the echo-effect in the paratragic Andromeda scheme (1056ff.). It continues to be a contested point in the scholarly literature whether Echo appears in person to console the relative playing the role of Andromeda, or whether Euripides takes over the role of Echo and thus himself takes his Echo-idea in the Andromeda ad absurdum. [120] It is impossible to give a definitive answer. Aristophanes has clearly switched the two parodied parts of Euripides’ Andromeda. In the tragedy there came first an anapaestic duet between Andromeda and Echo, then the parodos of the chorus of young female attendants, who enter into an amoibaion with Andromeda. Andromeda must first have ordered Echo to keep quiet in order to then be able to lament with the chorus.
The amoibaion also represents the basis of the introductory aria of the relative in his role as Andromeda in the Thesmophoriazusae (1015ff.). The subsequent grotesque interchange with Echo becomes the absurd highpoint of the scene, which explains the shattering of the Euripidean intrigue. Despite this reversal the relative turns to Echo in her cave: κλύεις, ὦ προσᾴδουσ’ | ἀυταῖς ἐν ἄντροις; [121] (“Do you hear, o you who answer me in song in your cave?” 1018–1019). The context of the Andromeda is in fact briefly introduced (1010ff.); Euripides clearly appears as Perseus. To understand the parody, the audience has to recall the tragedy together with the famous Echo-scene. Yet the just-cited verse becomes comprehensible from the reference in the immediately preceding choral song (996). [122] Echo reverberates in the wild Dionysiac landscape, in the cave that also defines the stage-setting of the Andromeda. Later on in the aria, the relative as Andromeda also refers to the chorus in an additional dramatic role (1029–1030): maidens, who form the chorus of the Euripidean Andromeda, are mentioned. The chorus of the comedy thus receives a tragic opposite, which in the parody makes sound fragments of the original resound over the cheerful stage. In the mock-aria Mnesilokhos behaves like an ἐξάρχων without a chorus. As in the parody of the Helen, through the unsuccessful rescue, which prevents a connection with the male, the relative approaches the ritual role of the women at the Thesmophoria, whom we know abstained from sex. Because of his failed marital reunion, the comic hero on stage regresses to the status of the lonely virgin unable to complete the initiatory transition to womanhood though marital consummation with Perseus/Euripides. In this respect he resembles the nymph Echo, who embodies the Νύμφαι of the chorus in its role as worshiper of Demeter. Echo becomes the alter ego of the relative, and for this reason she mimics him in the following scene (1056ff.) as well.
The relative’s aria, which reworks the amoibaion of the original, also integrates words which the lamenting Andromeda originally directs to her choral retinue. At the moment of utterance the cliché “Dear maidens, dear and lovely” (1015), with which the tragic heroine addresses the sympathetic chorus, also becomes part of the address of the actual chorus of women at the Thesmophoria, who ritually reexperience the condition of παρθενία. The relative, like Andromeda and Echo, is threatened with death by a monster (Skythes, Ketos, Pan). In his moment of need, he laments that he has become separated from the chorus of his age-mates: ὁρᾷς, οὐ χοροῖσιν οὐδ’ | ὑφ’ ἡλίκων νεανίδων | κημὸν ἕστηκ’ ἔχουσ’ (1029–1031). The chorus of women celebrants oppose him of course, because he has trespassed as a male into a women’s festival. His only hope of rescue is to associate himself with the women in the orchestra, as ultimately happens after the failed Euripidean schemes. Andromeda and Echo, like all young women before marriage, once indulged in beautiful dance and song surrounded by the circle of their age-mates as chorus in order to honor the gods. [123] The parodied orginal of Euripides makes this clear. Yet something new is mixed in here in a comic and grotesque form. The original context is adapted to the changed situation: Andromeda apparently laments that deprived of her age-mates she cannot celebrate with a kômos (κῶμον ἄγουσα; cf. 1031); [124] a typically masculine object, the voting urn, which serves to collect the voting pebbles, is introduced into comic context with slight sound change, so that the relative now says that he stands alone, without a voting urn in his hands (κημὸν ἔχουσα). Parody and the parodied thus enter into the characteristic reciprocal relationship of intertextual play. The amoibaion with the chorus becomes a monologic aria, the female ambience of the initiatory chorus is shifted by the change of some letters into the male realm of the public polis society. By means of the adopted lament of Andromeda that she will never experience marriage, the relative compares himself qua mimesis to the status of the female chorus as nymphai. [125]
At this point let us take a brief preliminary look at the series of events. In what follows dance continues to remain a Leitmotiv of the play. After the Helen scheme, the Andromeda trick also fails. Yet by means of the mimetic process of assimilation to the female figures and through the absurd intervention of Echo, Euripides and his relative gradually approach the position of the women celebrating the Thesmophoria. After this episode the chorus sings another hymn to the gods, to a certain extent the delayed antode of the parabasis (Thesmophoriazusae 1136–1159), which separates the tragic schemes from the comic rescue brought about by the peace agreement with the women. After this assimilation to the female world, Pallas Athena and the goddesses of the Thesmophoria, the chorus’ actual points of reference in its dramatic role, now stand at the center. As in the great choral dance song (947–1000), the goddesses are envoked in typical parabasis fashion to participate in the chorus of the performance in the here and now. First the chorus pronounces in almost prosaic fashion that it is its ritual duty to summon Athena to the activity at hand: Παλλάδα τὴν φιλόχορον ἐμοὶ | δεῦρο καλεῖν νόμος εἰς χορόν, | παρθένον ἄζυγα κούρην (1136–1139). [126] With Athena an even clearer reference to politics is established than is usual even for the parabasis (cf. 1140–47). Yet even here one cannot speak of a change of perspective and a move away from the mythical and ritual perspective, as Sommerstein thinks; [127] Athena is invoked above all because she embodies the state of maidenhood (παρθένον ἄζυγα κούρην) important for the women celebrating the Thesmophoria and because as goddess of the city she is responsible for the functioning of the democratic order together with its ritual requirements: the legal order (νόμος, 1137) of the men protects even the women’s festival of inversion from violation. Interestingly, Athena is characterized as friend of choruses (φιλόχορον). [128] While the members of the chorus have until now used the expression “it is customary” (νόμος) mostly in connection with their ritual role as women at the Thesmophoria, it is now transferred to the ritual context of the chorus’ activity in the here and now of the polis. We know nothing in fact of any direct participation of the goddess Athena in the Thesmophoria. [129] Rather, it is the scenery of the pannykhis at the central polis festival of the Panathenaea that is evoked, at which nocturnal choruses of maidens were conducted for Athena. [130] She is called upon to appear (φάνηθ’, 1143), so that she may appoint longed-for “festival-loving peace” (εἰρήνην φιλέορτον, 1147) to her retinue. Here the reference is clearly both to the festival of the Thesmophoria as occasion for the dramatic plot and to the celebration of the Dionysia as occasion for the performance. [131] The Athenian people calls on its goddess (δῆμός τοί σε καλεῖ, 1145), who is accordingly further defined as “she who hates tyrants, as is fitting” (ὦ τυράννους | στυγοῦσ’, ὥσπερ εἰκός, 1143–1144). [132] In this way the chorus evokes the political component of its role as dêmos in the popular assembly, which in the negotiation scene, as will be shown in more detail below, will become mingled with its identity as female celebratory community. With the postponed qualification γυναικῶν (1145–1146) this comic mésalliance of the women’s ekklêsia in the parodos is restored.
The characterization as dêmos also refers to the chorus in its performative function. As chorus of citizens, the members of the chorus constitute a representative cross-section of all politically-enfranchised male inhabitants. The chorus speaks here for the people as a whole, who have gathered in the theater, and at the end of the comedy call on the patron goddess of the polis to come and bring peace to the Dionysia in the tense situation of 411 BCE. [133] Only after the postponed attributive genitive γυναικῶν (1145–1146) is the prominent dimension of the here and now reintegrated into the mimesis of the then and there. In the immediately following scene Euripides straightaway makes the decisive peace-offering to the women of the chorus (1160–1161), who respond to it, since the men have come closer to their world and their comic mode of behavior. As city goddess Athena helps to polarize the Athenians’ attitude to the Scythian barbarian and to act out racist comedy against him, [134] which builds solidarity and group cohesion among the spectators.
At the end of the song the fictional frame is strengthened by the appeal to the goddesses of the Thesmophoria, Demeter and Kore. They, too, are again and again implored to come and participate in the choral activity, with νῦν and ἐνθάδ’ ἡμῖν (1158–1159) acting as a hinge between the hic et nunc and the “we” of the performers and the fictional “now,” “here,” and “we” of the chorus in its role as women celebrating the Thesmophoria and who uphold the command of abstinence.
ἥκετ’ εὔφρονες, ἵλαοι,
πότνιαι, ἄλσος ἐς ὑμέτερον,
1150ἀνδράσιν οὐ θεμίτ’ εἰσορᾶν
ὄργια σεμνὰ θεοῖν ἵνα λαμπάσι
φαίνετον, ἄμβροτον ὄψιν.
μόλετον, ἔλθετον, ἀντόμεθ’, ὦ
1156Θεσμοφόρω πολυποτνία.
εἰ πρότερόν ποτ’ ἐπηκόω
ἤλθετον, ‹καὶ› νῦν ἀφίκε—
σθον, ἱκετεύομεν, ἐνθάδ’ ἡμῖν.
Thesmophoriazusae 1148–1159
Come in friendly and gentle fashion, o mistresses, to your grove, (1150) where, a sight forbidden for males to look upon, you two reveal the holy mystic rites of the twin goddesses with torches, an immortal spectacle! (1155) Come, approach, we beg you, o much-revered Thesmophoroi! If ever before you heard our prayer and came, now too, we beseech you, come to us here!
The peace agreement may be considered as parallel to the end of aiskhrologia between the sexes (1160ff.). The comic intrigue of Euripides, who acts as a procuress, uses a young dancing girl called Elaphion. [135] As a result of her solo dance to the wild accompaniment of the aulos, played by Teredon, the Scythian becomes so sexually aroused that he is drawn into a rendezvous arranged by Euripides. The barbarian is thereby distracted from his assignment to keep watch over the prisoner, so that the relative can eventually be freed. Moreover, it may in fact be established that on the middle day of the festival, on which the plot of our play takes place, all prisoners were released from their chains. [136]
To the Scythian, the multimedia spectacle seems like a jolly, noisy kômos (βόμβο and κῶμο, 1176) en miniature, a mini-revel in the kômos which the chorus stages. [137] The latter stands for the cheerful, exuberant bustle of comedy, which retains the upper hand over Euripides’ tragic ideas. [138] After the barbarian has been made a fool of by the women several times and sent in the wrong direction after the fugitive, [139] the chorus ends the farcical game abruptly with a closing song, which at this stage of the plot in typical fashion switches over into the here and now:
ἀλλὰ πέπαισται μετρίως ἡμῖν·
ὥσθ’ ὥρα δή ’στιν βαδίζειν
οἴκαδ’ ἑκάστῃ. Τὼ Θεσμοφόρω δ’
ἡμῖν ἀγαθὴν
τούτων χάριν ἀνταποδοῖτον.
Thesmophoriazusae 1227–1231
But there’s been enough playing and dancing by us, so it’s time for each and every woman to go home. May the two Thesmophoroi give us a good reward in exchange for our performance!
Even here it cannot be clearly established whether the chorus speaks in its role as women celebrating the Thesmophoria or in its function as comastic worshiper of Dionysus. The verb in the perfect passive πέπαισται characterizes the process of wild, comic dance (παίζειν) as having come to an end. The performative “we” and the deictic τούτων once more function as connecting elements between the Thesmophoria and the comic dance performances at the Dionysia. [140] The lines represent on the one hand a request within the dramatic plot by the women celebrating the Thesmophoria to their gods to reward their devotion; on the other hand, the male choral members, released from their occupations by the polis for this task, speak about their dancing now having come to an end and say that they expect a reward from Demeter and Kore for their pains, that is, help toward victory in the comic agôn. As in the great hymn (947–1000), the word χάρις, with its reciprocal implications, is here also of central importance. The women celebrating the Thesmophoria, that is, the members of the comic chorus, dance for the enjoyment of the two goddesses; now in exchange for this performance they hope for a return gift with which Demeter and Kore may refund joy as their “thanks.” At the same time, the distance between the orchestra and the audience is also removed by these shifters. The “we” also includes the spectators, who in the shared laughter have found together with the goddesses a new, consolidated society. In the “we” the polis as a whole rejoices and wish for blessings from the mother and daughter in their function as agricultural goddesses as well as fertility in their fields and families.
The festival of inversion is now over; the married women, temporarily returned to being νύμφαι, now resume once more their married existence and pray for good offspring. The peace accord of the two men and the women anticipates the final day of the festive cycle, the Kalligeneia, and the end of the inverted world that the audience members also experience during the course of the Dionysiac comedy. At the end, after their fasting and abstinence, the women at the Thesmophoria await the resumption of normal married life and copious eating. After the toil of the dance the chorus in its comic function looks forward to the exuberant victory celebration with ample feasting and abundant drinking of wine. The men anticipate only natural and carnal behavior from their spouses, who have been celebrating separately according to the strict division of sexes. The comic poet projects this male attitude onto the basic structure of the comic plot, which is built on the simple concept that women object to the way they are depicted through the heroines of Euripidean tragedy, but during the period of separation in the festival in fact prove to be even worse than Euripides and men could ever have imagined. On the other hand, when it comes to the chorus, the ritual purity of the female agents in their dramatic role is taken into consideration. All in all, in the manner and custom characteristic of the paradoxical festival of the Thesmophoria, the women come across as ambivalent beings. [141] The unbridled and wild aspect of the chorus is restricted to the element of Dionysiac kômos, which is applied from the masculine world of the performers to the chorus of the dramatic plot.
Already in the songs before the caesura that the great choral dance song (947–1000) represents in the development of the plot, hymn, song, and choral dance are equally thematized in self-referential fashion. The lyric utterances in the Thesmophoriazusae represent, as will become clear in my analysis, a kind of counterpoint to what is happening on the stage.

The Song of Agathon (Thesmophoriazusae 101–129) as Pseudo-choral Song and Its Lack of Connection with Actual Reality

The kômos, the exuberant procession and supposed original form of the comic chorus, is already reflected in the famous song of Agathon (101–129) with the same kind of parodic distortion as it is in the Andromeda-plot. The modern tragic poet, to whom Euripides turns for deliverance from his difficult situation, is shown working out a choral ode on the ekkyklêma. Agathon delivers the following lines:
101ἱερὰν Χθονίαιν δεξάμεναι
λαμπάδα, κοῦραι, ξὺν ἐλευθερίᾳ
πατρίδι χορεύσασθε βοάν.
– τίνι δαιμόνων ὁ κῶμος;
105λέγε νιν. εὐπίστως δὲ τοὐμὸν
δαίμονας ἔχει σεβίσαι.
– ἄγε νυν ὄλβιζε μούσᾳ,
χρυσέων ῥύτορα τόξων
Φοῖβον, ὃς ἱδρύσατο χώρας
110γύαλα Σιμουντίδι γᾷ.
– χαῖρε καλλίσταις ἀοιδαῖς,
Φοῖβ’, ἐν εὐμούσοισι τιμαῖς
γέρας ἱερὸν προφέρων.
– τάν τ’ ἐν ὄρεσι δρυογόνοισιν
115/116 κόραν ἀείσατ’ Ἄρτεμιν ἀγροτέραν.
– ἕπομαι κλῄζουσα σεμνὰν
γόνον ὀλβίζουσα Λατοῦς,
Ἄρτεμιν ἀπειρολεχῆ.
120Λατώ τε κρούματά τ’ Ἀσιάδος ποδὶ
παράρυθμ’ εὔρυθμα, Φρυγίων
δινεύματα Χαρίτων.
– σέβομαι Λατώ τ’ ἄνασσαν
κίθαρίν τε ματέρ’ ὕμνων
125ἄρσενι βοᾷ δοκίμων.
– τᾷ φάος ἔσσυτο δαιμονίοις
ὄμμασιν, ἁμετέρας τε δι’ αἰφνιδί
ου ὀπός. ὧν χάριν
ἄνακτ’ ἄγαλλε Φοῖβον.
– χαῖρ’, ὄλβιε παῖ Λατοῦς.
Thesmophoriazusae 101–129
Take, you maidens, the holy torch of the two chthonic goddesses and sing and dance with freedom your song for your homeland!
– For which of the gods is the kômos? (105) Tell him! For my task is to worship the gods piously.
– Come now, praise with song the archer with the golden bow, Phoibos, who set up the walls of his land (110) in the Simois region!
– Hail and rejoice in the most beautiful songs, Phoibos, you who bring to our musical performances in your honor the sacred prize of victory!
– Sing too in praise of the virgin of the oak-covered mountains (115–116), Artemis the wild!
– I follow, celebrating and praising the holy offspring of Leto, Artemis, who knows not the marriage bed!
– (120) And Leto too, and the clashings on the strings of the Asian lyre that make us move now out of step, now in step with the rhythm, the whirling dances of the Phrygian Kharites!
– I give honor also to the Lady Leto and the lyre, mother of hymns (125) famed for the shout of men.
– It is this that causes light to dart in the eyes of the god, this and our suddenly lifted voice. Therefore praise Lord Phoibos with a hymn!
– Hail, blessed son of Leto!
At the heart of the Agathon-scene is the question of mimesis. Because the poet intends to compose a drama with a female chorus, he has dressed himself as a woman. In contrast to the great choral dance song (947–1000), we here find ourselves in the following paradoxical situation: an individual is imitating the song of a collective. The spectator witnesses a pseudo-amoibaion between the individual who initiates the song and a chorus composed of young women, with the poet undertaking both roles. [142] Through the distorting mirror of another poet Aristophanes thereby inserts into the dramatic plot the process of composition and coaching of a chorus before the actual performance. As modern scholarly directions in theater anthropology show, it is characteristic both of theater and of ritual to integrate events before and after the actual performance into the play. [143] Old Comedy has in common with ritual presentations the fact that the performance transcends the spatial and temporal frame of the plot in the direction both of the before and the after and of the here and now of the spectator’s perspective.
The Agathon song is like a chorus in statu nascendi. As this process is revealed it becomes clear that the poet is ultimately in charge of leading the chorus and is in turn only a mirror image of an ideal, divine choral leader. Agathon acts like a parody of Dionysus, the god of the current performance. [144] Agathon’s appearance draws on iconographic attributes from the real world. On the one hand, his outer appearance possesses a close likeness to depictions on vases of Anacreon, Ibycus, and Alcaeus in archaic Ionic gear (see Thesmophoriazusae 160–163). The lyric poets are often represented as comasts with feminine accessories. With the barbitos in hand, the singer-poets lead the kômos of parasol-wielding dancers surrounding them, who in the din and musical ecstasy experimentally transgress the boundaries of the Other. [145] The poets’ masculine self nevertheless remains continually present through the emphasis on their beards. Anacreon is not, however, portrayed as a real figure: instead, the poet is treated as an ideal type and a human manifestation of the leader of the kômos, Dionysus. It is for this reason that Agathon appears not as a reincarnation of Anacreon, as Snyder thinks, but rather as the comastic god himself. [146] On the other hand, this more archaic figurative scheme is comically exaggerated, since Agathon is clean-shaven and the masculine index of the beard thus disappears completely behind this effeminacy. In so doing Agathon assumes the practice, starting around 425 BCE and contemporary with the Aristophanic performances, of representing Dionysus as a beardless youngster. [147]
As we have already seen above, Dionysus is understood as the ideal ἐξάρχων (987), and as is well known, the poets themselves originally participated in the play as choral leaders. Furthermore, according to Aristotle (Poetics 1449a9ff.), drama arose from those “leading off” (ἐξάρχοντες) ritual songs. Through the imitation of another dramatic chorus in this lyrical passage, as I see it, the way is prepared for the chorus of the women celebrating the Thesmophoria. The latter chorus only appears in the parodos, of course, but this represents a similar prayer.
The performance situation is particularly complicated in this instance since Agathon in his song performs a scene of tragedy about Troy that cannot be precisely reconstructed. The imitated choral dance song is extremely polyvalent and shifting, in particular because no actual chorus performs, thereby giving rise to the paradox of a monody that reproduces a collective singing. [148] As in a kaleidoscope, depending on one’s perspective, one clear image emerges, while other interpretative possibilities of the ambiguous picture must be kept in view.
The chorus in this fictional role seems to consist of Trojan maidens. The Apollo invoked is neither Delphic nor Delian, but the city god of Troy (109–110), who together with Artemis and Leto is on the side of the Phrygian polis (cf. 121) in the fight over Troy. In terms of plot the celebration of “freedom” (102) [149] can be associated with the departure of the enemy fleet. Sommerstein assumes that the solo singer who directs the responsive prayer of the community is ultimately to be identified with a priestess. [150] Yet the situation is even more complex than has hitherto been recognized. When in the introduction to this scene the slave of Agathon is compared to a hierokêryx, [151] an Eleusinian-Demeter layer is added to the Trojan location indicated in the song. Right from the start, with the call directed to Demeter and Kore (101–103), the song is brought close to the chorus of the women celebrating the Thesmophoria.
The mode of performance is also not clear from the text. Despite all the parodic elements directed against the style of Agathon, who follows the music of the New Dithyramb, the language throughout is suited to the ritual prayer style and shows definite similarities to the song already discussed (especially 959ff.). [152] There, various Olympian gods, in particular Apollo and Artemis, as here, are invoked in a series of prayers. In the following parodos there is also a similar paean to Zeus, Apollo, Athena, Artemis, Poseidon and the Nereids, and the Nymphs (312–330). The song thus acts as a prefiguration for the chorus that will appear only later and which, as is well known, oscillates sharply between its dramatic role and function, and between the female cult of the goddesses of the Thesmophoria and the worship of the polis gods by the male chorus as representatives of the polis as a whole.
In particular, Agathon’s connection to Dionysus brings to the fore the level of choral performance in honor of the god of comedy. [153] As is appropriate for comedy, the imaginary chorus is described as κῶμος (104). Naturally, the kômos may also be interpreted in a Trojan context as an expression of joy at being liberated from the Greek siege. The very term κῶμος thus functions as performative shifter, mediating between the here and now of the performance and the then and there of the plot. [154] Moreover, the mention of a “sacred gift of honor” (113) can be understood as a reference to victory in the comic agôn. Apollo and Dionysus, as divinities associated with the Muses, are responsible for success in the activity at hand. [155] Once again, the χάρις relationship of giving and taking seems to be decisive. The references by the imagined chorus to its own dance only spread to the level of performance in the imagination of the spectators, since in this instance the entire performative situation is purely presented as a recreation.
This quality, which cannot be comprehended in the here and now, stands for the fickle appearance of Agathon in general. The underlined passages are not realized in a choral performance. When mention is made of Leto’s Asiatic lyre-playing, or of “the mother of glorious hymns with manly voice” (123–125), the goddess must here be taken as an ideal example for monodic performance of the hymn accompanied by the kithara. Like Agathon, a man who sings like a woman, the famous mother of Apollo and Artemis, her feminine stringed instrument, and the imaginary chorus of maidens represent a similar paradox, in that she lets the song ring out with “masculine voice” (ἄρσενι βοᾷ, 125). [156] In the choral allusions to playing the lyre the perversion of Agathon’s performative categories is also reflected. He praises Leto and the “blows on the Asiatic kitharis that are counterrhythmic and rhythmic, the whirlings of Phrygian Kharites” (κρούματά τ’ Ἀσιάδος ποδὶ | παράρυθμ’ εὔρυθμα, Φρυγίων | δινεύματα Χαρίτων, 120–122). Leto thus serves as the model for a monodic singer, whose tones recreate the choral dance song of a collective. The Asiatic element resides not only in the role, but above all also in the modern playing style of the new music and the New Dithyramb. The Kharites are more precisely characterized as Phrygians not only because of the plot locale, but also because of the mode in which the song is composed. [157] The mentions of feet, rhythm, and round dance clearly refer to the later self-references of the chorus, which emerge frequently in Thesmophoriazusae 947–1000, as discussed in detail above. [158] Yet all these references to χορεία remain in a vacuum here, since no actual chorus performs and Agathon can hardly have accompanied his monody with dance steps. [159] The oxymoron παράρυθμ’ εὔρυθμα, which describes the dances more precisely, reveals the performative paradox that while the rhythm is indeed suited for a choral presentation, in reality no chorus appears on stage. [160] There is no corresponding “we” of the collective to the “I” of the performing Agathon. The effect of the expression ἁμετέρας . . . ὀπός (127) is purely artistic, since only a single persona sings and plays. [161] The solo singer merely imitates the “we”; on the practical level, the reference only emerges as a pluralis maiestatis. All in all, the self-referential allusions to the ritual activity of singing and dancing should not be taken here as pure speech acts, because no action corresponds to the utterance. One may at most refer to them as performative on a metaphorical level, since they describe the solo singer’s mannered style of performance in a transferred sense.
Given the lack of actual performance information, a further hypothesis could be advanced. Over the course of the history of interpretation of this passage a second chorus of maidens or even of Muses that performs behind stage and interacts with Agathon has been constantly suggested. [162] Yet, as Newiger has rightly commented, these voices off-stage would be physically inexplicable to the audience. [163] Moreover, any actual effect that the mimesis of a chorus might have would be lost by a behind-the-scenes chorus of this type. [164] What sense would there in fact be in having the Muses at Agathon’s command perform a choral song addressed to other gods? For while it is the Muses who usually inspire the poet, here they would ask the poet as ἐξάρχων whom they should honor with their song of praise. [165] Nevertheless, it might have been intended that the text be left open for even this possibility. Here I am admittedly assuming a completely different background from those who have so far supported the idea of the Muse chorus, for one might expect that this song too should clearly refer back to a divine model. In this case it may be seen in the arrangement of the gods grouped about Apollo, who leads off the singing in his capacity as κιθαρῳδός and ideal player of string instruments. The Muses take up as a refrain the song of praise directed at various deities, while the Kharites (122), Horai, and other female deities dance in the chorus. Apollo stands in the center as choral leader, and the female chorus surrounds him in a round dance (δινεύματα Χαρίτων, 122). This corresponds precisely to the situation in the Homeric Hymn to Apollo (Homeric Hymns 3.179–206). There the Muses reply to Apollo’s playing with beautiful voice (Homeric Hymns 3.189: ἀμειβόμεναι ὀπὶ καλῇ; cf. Thesmophoriazusae 127) and praise the immortal gifts of the gods (Homeric Hymns 3.190: ὑμνεῦσίν ῥα θεῶν δῶρ’ ἄμβροτα; cf. Thesm. 113), the Kharites form a circle with the Horai, Harmonia, Hebe, and Aphrodite, join hands, and dance in a circular formation (Homeric Hymns 3.194–196, especially 196: ὀρχεῦντ’ ἀλλήλων ἐπὶ καρπῷ χεῖρας ἔχουσαι; cf. Thesmophoriazusae 122). A divine chorus of this type praises the chorus leader Apollo especially, but also Artemis and Leto, who are particularly singled out in this hymn (Homeric Hymns 3.197–199, 204–206). The choral constellation is further developed by an intertextual weaving of allusions in which Apollo is described in archaic lyric as leader of the chorus. [166] In Pindar (Pythian Odes 1.1–4), Apollo’s lyre-playing gives the signal for the dance and song; the prelude-like prooimia have the function of directing the chorus’ tempo and rhythm (ἁγησιχόρων . . . προοιμίων 4; cf. Thesmophoriazusae 99).
In its reminiscences of the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, which itself functions as, and is called, a prooimion (Thucydides 3.104.3–4), the song as a whole thus has the character of a prelude that prepares the way for the later chorus of women celebrating the Thesmophoria, but also simultaneously represents its negative mirror image. [167] Agathon serves to a certain extent as a distorted image of the poet Aristophanes, who as khorêgos directs and leads his troupe. Yet while Agathon’s chorus performs ritual actions only in an imaginary sense, the chorus of the women celebrating the Thesmophoria is real, mimesis aside, in that it sings and dances for the community and its gods.
Through reference to the Apollo hymn, the poet Agathon thus finds his divine model in Apollo alongside Dionysus as god of comedy. [168] The comparison of the two gods in a musical context is nothing unusual. Yet while Agathon accompanies his chorus on the kithara, the fact that the comic chorus is accompanied by an aulos-player is significant for its being anchored in the real world. [169] Determining the change of speakers is a notorious problem in Aristo-phanes. The lack of actual χορεία has also led interpreters to search for various solutions about how to divide up the text. Most more recent divisions follow an opinion found in the scholia (scholia Thesmophoriazusae 101) that in his solo song Agathon takes on the role of the chorus leader as well as that of the answering chorus. But it still remains unclear where the breaks should be made. [170] Person and number, we know, give no clear clues. Agathon could have sung a choral song with a completely different division of asides by the choral leader, particularly since self-exhortations by the entire collective are also found among those performing ritual actions. [171] Aristophanes’ criticism of Agathon is thus directed less at his style than at the lack of actual connection of his dramas to the real world. For this reason he cannot represent a mediation in the Thesmophoriazusae: dramatic action and choral songs are intimately connected with the ritual of the polis, that is, both in terms of the setting of the play at the Thesmophoria and in terms of its contemporary, real-life dimension in the polis cult of all the gods, but in particular that of Dionysus as patron of comic performance.

The Entrance of the Actual Chorus—The Parodos (Thesmophoriazusae 295–371)

The real chorus of women celebrating the Thesmophoria enter the orchestra for the first time in silence and with smoking torches during Euripides’ relative’s prayer to Demeter and Persephone, goddesses of the Thesmophoria (280–294). [172] The hero’s pious wish that his plan may succeed (282–283), the vow of sacrifice—a comic distortion of the do ut des formula—if he only be allowed to remain unrecognized by the women (284–288), his third request, for offspring for his daughter (289–291), and the dismissal of the slave-woman who carries the obligatory offering of cakes (285) because she is not permitted to attend the festival (293–294), all suit the dramatic role of the chorus as it assembles and enable the male intruder to sneak into the Thesmophorion without being noticed. For apart from his external resemblance to them because of his feminine attire, he now also successfully imitates the women in their festive context on the level of verbal utterance and of behavior. Like Dikaiopolis in the Acharnians, he also becomes part of the audience of a popular assembly; he takes a seat in the front row in order to hear the “speakers” (292) as clearly as possible.
The parodos in this way becomes a “play within a play” for the relative. The stage has thus already been set for the interplay of the two discourses, the female festival of Thesmophoria and the male ekklêsia. This constellation becomes a vehicle for comedy for the subsequent first real entrance of a chorus. One cannot sufficiently imagine the ridiculous nature of the scene: women gather to hold a popular assembly, something which lies wholly in the domain of the men. Only they have the right to take part in Athenian politics. Representatives of both sexes in this comedy thus encroach on spheres of activity allotted strictly according to gender-specific categories. The situation is made complicated in terms of gender identity by the third narrative authority. For over the mixture of female dramatic role with male political understanding arches the chorus of the performance, composed of male citizens. What connects the three modes of action is ritual. The citizen chorus honors the polis gods in the orchestra, the chorus of the plot prays to the deities of the Thesmophoria, and even the introductory ceremonies of a popular assembly use cultic epithets.
Furthermore, the intertextual blending of an ekklêsia into the context of the Thesmophoria is not as absurd as it might appear to a modern observer whose idea of the world has been completely shaped by the opposition between state and religion. Aristophanes succeeds in linking the two areas, since on the one hand the institutionalized political activity of the dêmos is closely interwoven with polis ritual and marked by festive occasions and appeals to the gods. On the other hand, even the festival of inversion of the Thesmophoria is arranged according to political points of view. The festival corresponds to an inverted world which, though in mirror image and with reversed conditions, nevertheless is organized in adherence to the usual norm. The women do not assemble against the wishes of the men: the male-dominated polis is in fact concerned that the women’s festival proceed as it should. [173] It is by means of the ritual action of temporary separation from their oikos that the married women guarantee fertility and continuity of order.
The precise location of the Thesmophorion is controversial, but it is quite probable that the suggestion of the Pnyx is not entirely based on some comic idea of Aristophanes to bring about a combination of levels, but might have corresponded to reality. [174] For the few days of the festival of inversion in all its piquancy, the Pnyx, where the male popular assembly was traditionally held, would accordingly be precisely the place in which the women celebrated their holy rites without the presence of men. On these festive days the men ceased all political activity, and in particular the boulê and ekklêsia did not meet. By way of inversion, the women named two ἄρχουσαι corresponding to the male archons. These, together with the priestess, exercised overall supervision of the festival.
The day of the Νηστεία, the setting of the dramatic plot, provided ample opportunity for such an assembly. On this day of fasting, the women lay on beds of leaves in front of their camp city. In addition to the secret and strange rites performed by the ἀντλήτριαι—the “dipper-women” who fetched up the rotting remains of pig sacrifices that had previously been thrown into subterranean megara, placed them on altars, and mixed them with the grain for sowing—there was ample time for the women to come together because of the obligatory fasting and the accompanying cessation of all activities. On this occasion they could have all discussed questions concerning the festival and their situation. Diodorus (Diodorus Siculus 5.4.7) considers the Thesmophoria overall to be a restaging of a primordial, primitive world. [175] According to Arnold van Gennep’s scheme of the rite de passage, the Νηστεία is a day of marginality on which all current codes of the community are played through in inverted and distorted fashion. On the last day of the festival, the Καλλιγένεια, the city finds it way back to the normal order of things. In the male ideology of the polis the Thesmophoria is thus seen as a temporary return to a matriarchal stage of society that is imagined as preceding the current stage of civilization.
In what follows it will be shown how the three narrative perspectives interact. While attention has always been paid in the discussion of the parodos to the interweaving of ekklêsia and Thesmophoria, focusing on the simultaneous performance of the ritual citizen chorus is something new. [176] Moreover, the relation to Agathon’s song, which is not anchored in real life, needs to be examined.
The songs in the Thesmophoriazusae have in general little connection with the action in the plot. Rather, they deliver the necessary atmosphere, the ritual background to the comic play. At the same time the polis gods are honored from the standpoint of the male chorus, which as a representative cross-section of the community represents a bridge to the mainly male audience and to the polis. As internal observer, the comic chorus functions as a place of mediation for the audience, which is wholly marked by a male perspective. Since the men assembled in the theater could know, and were permitted to know, only a little about the women’s festival of inversion, the members of the chorus also bridge the cleft between the female attitude in the plot and the male perspective of the audience. In order to address the spectators, the chorus chooses specifically male viewpoints which it extends onto its female role. Beside the representation of the ritual ambiance of the Thesmophoria, what we have here is laughter at the inverted world of the festival as viewed through the lens of the normal world of men, which at the City Dionysia, the performative occasion for comedy, likewise celebrates a festival of inversion and comic distortion.
In these types of songs the traditional function of the nondramatic choral song is blended into the development of the plot. Collective speech, worship, dance, prayer, expression of joy and comic festivity, criticism, ridicule, and praise are at the center. Nevertheless, the Aristophanic chorus has a more or less limited connection to the action on stage, up until the parabasis. It is in the parodos and agôn that debates between firm positions are often introduced and played out. In the case of the Thesmophoriazusae the plot-sustaining element admittedly seems almost negligible, for just as in the later songs, here too a pure prayer ritual lies close at hand.
Scholarship has treated the embedded hymn in the parodos (312–330), like the great choral dance song (947–1000), as a subsitute for the missing parabasis odes. [177] All four individual components of the entry song (295–311, 312–330, 331–351, and 352–371) have been compared with the parabasis on account of their prayer-like character, the cursing and blessing form, which reflects ritual praise and blame, and because of their political dimension. [178] As is well known, Aristophanes plays with the building blocks of comedy. The ritual form of expression in the parabasis is thus not limited to this, but can ultimately be extended, as in this comedy, over the whole course of the play. This manner of speaking on the whole defines the comic chorus, which, in contrast to the more strongly narrative and commentative manner of its tragic counterpart, brings the traditional function of ritual to the fore. Yet despite the seemingly very loose connection to the plot, Aristophanes also places this parodos in the context of the story. The emphasis on the aspect of the ekklêsia is mainly responsible for this, for the women will after this decide on Euripides’ sentence formally in an assembly. [179] By means of the speech act of the introductory prayers the entry song thus constitutes the collective organ that is of great importance for the progress of events on the stage.
Because of this plot-determining element the central expressive element of the round dance is almost left out by the members of the chorus, in contrast to the dance song (947–1000). For although dances are expressly attested at the Thesmophoria, [180] the element of body language is suppressed because it is not in keeping with the discourse of the popular assembly that is introduced here. One does not dance in a political institution. As a result, the emphasis is on resolutions and speeches rather than on a cultic festival. Only once the intruder is discovered is movement brought into play, which is expressed also on the collective level of the chorus. Nevertheless, the element of choral dance, which has already played a role in Agathon’s song, is also implicitly present here.
Next, after the command for ritual silence (εὐφημία), obligatory both for the popular assembly and for any ritual activity, a woman, whose identity comically oscillates between a priestess of the Thesmophoroi and “heraldess,” [181] corresponding to the blending of discourses, gives a command in prose form to pray to certain gods, a move designed to support the dramatic context, just as in lines 947 and following. [182] Because of the demands of plot development the cultic function in the women’s festival has to be placed frontstage, while the herald aspect is introduced only secondarily. The deities named by the priestess have a more or less clear connection with the Thesmophoria. [183] Hermes in particular is named because in the myth he conducts Kore back to the world (Homeric Hymns 2.334ff.). The Kharites are the personification of female charm and sexual attraction, which play an important role for fertility. They also naturally belong to the performance of a song, as has already been seen in the song of Agathon (121–122). [184] With Kalligeneia, the special goddess of “good birth,” after whom the third and final day of the Thesmophoria is named, [185] and again with Ploutos and Kourotrophos, reference is made to the birth of noble offspring. The figure of the pure boy Ploutos embodies in the context of the festival both material wealth and the sexual fertility of the women. The name Kourotrophos is appropriate to many goddesses, but here represents Demeter herself in particular, who gives birth to and brings up the son of “Wealth” in his agrarian and human dimension. [186]
By concentrating on the specifically ritual element of this festival, Aristophanes also achieves a smooth transition to the previous prayer of Euripides’ relative (280ff.). [187] Then three narrative “instances” are referred to with deictic signal words: the gods are to “grant the best and finest success for this assembly here and the ritual gathering now going on (ἐκκλησίαν τήνδε καὶ σύνοδον τὴν νῦν)” (301–302). The two juxtaposed categories of political assembly and women’s festival have been sufficiently discussed in critical interpretations of the scene. [188] But “this ritual gathering” also means the gathering of the chorus members in the here and now and so the woman speaking is thus simultaneously the female leader of the chorus, who is concerned with getting the gods’ help for her current activity. [189] The activity is to happen for the “use of the city of the Athenians, and for your (i.e. our) own happiness” (304–305). [190] These wishes are also precisely applicable to the current choral dance, which is intended both to serve the polis as a whole, in turn coming into closer contact with the gods, and also of course to bring the audience and the chorus luck, that is to say, success. The transmitted “we” refers to the typical choral manner of speaking; the feminine αὐταῖς, however, which is emphasized by the pronoun, directs attention to the fictional part of the énoncé.
The next statement is also consciously left up in the air in terms of the level of utterance. On the one hand, καὶ τὴν δρῶ- | σαν καὶ ἀγορεύουσαν τὰ βέλτιστα περὶ τὸν δῆμον | τὸν Ἀθηναίων καὶ τὸν τῶν γυναικῶν, ταύτην νικᾶν (305–307) clearly refers to the situation of the assembly: the woman who speaks best will retain the upper hand. Once again the two areas are juxtaposed and are then arranged chiastically; the δρώμενα of the ritual and speaking in the assembly apply logically to the Athenian people and to their women, [191] and ταύτην νικᾶν then brings both discourses together. Yet it has not been hitherto recognized that ταύτην νικᾶν also includes the communicative context of the actual performance. The verb “to win” in Aristophanes can often refer to victory in the contest at hand; the feminine form of the subject, ταύτην, which completes ritual actions (δρῶσαν) and speech acts (ἀγορεύουσαν) for the polis as a whole, could grammatically speaking apply equally to ἐκκλησίαν τήνδε καὶ σύνοδον τὴν νῦν (301), which in fact is also identified with the chorus in the here and now. Requests of this type by the chorus for victory in the comic agôn are typical of the self-referential discourse of comedy, which transcends the plot. This also characterizes the odes of the parabasis, which this play does not have; for this reason, their attributes are transferred to the songs. This manner of speaking is not confined to the parabasis, but is characteristic of the genre as a whole. [192] Using ring composition, the female leader of the chorus once more takes up the command to the group to begin the prayer (ταῦτ’ εὔχεσθε), and to pray for “good things for yourselves” (καὶ ὑμῖν αὐταῖς τἀγαθά, 310). This wish relates to the ἀγαθά that the Thesmophoroi bestow on women. At the same time there is also a glimpse of the performative context here. The formulation refers back to line 305 and implies that the deities named there can come to the aid of the chorus in their current activity and have the ability to assure their success. [193] The chorus then take up this suggestion in their cry to the gods of ἐλθὲ δεῦρο (319).
The singer’s closing shout of paian equally reflects the complex narrative situation. On the level of performance the paean is associated with victory in the comic agôn. [194] A paean is normally sung in life-threatening situations, for example in war. On the dramatic level this cultic cry can thus be taken as a signal for attack and an expression of self-exhortation against the men. [195] The verb νικᾶν (309) could then to a certain extent be understood as a sign of the will to victory in a war of the sexes. Furthermore, the paean is sung at concrete cultic occasions, for example at sacrifices, weddings, processions, and to accompany prayers, all of which fit the situation of this parodos. We know too little of the modalities of performance to be able to construct a clear picture, but a song of this type normally seems to be performed by men. [196] There are of course choruses of young women for Artemis or Apollo. [197] The rule that choruses of young men sing the paean would be identical with the performative perspective of the citizen chorus. There can be hardly be a reflex here of actual women’s cult practice. [198] The projection of the chorus of Theban elders onto the paean of Delian maidens in Euripides’ Heracles (HF 687ff.) appears to be a poetic construct of the tragic artist. The poet thereby creates a point of comparison that makes understandable the sudden feeling of youthful power bestowed on the old men by Dionysus in their dance. [199] At this point in the parodos the female chorus clearly sings a paean in their dramatic role in order to facilitate the identification of the male audience with its (male) citizen chorus.
The chorus now replies to the command with a solemn hymnos klêtikos, which is, surprisingly, directed at completely different gods (312–330). It is not the divinities associated with the festival of Demeter that are invoked, but Zeus, Apollo, Athena, Artemis, Poseidon, the Nereids, and the Nymphs. [200] The ritual, hortatory formula χαίρωμεν (311) is answered by the collective’s δεχόμεθα (“Let it be so!” 312). The group “takes up” the command in the performative “we” form; the gods whom the chorus wishes to address in the following prayer are grouped together in a kind of proem. We are dealing here with the θεῶν γένος (312), and not just the deities of the Thesmophoria, who belong specifically to the cult in the plot. [201] The song accordingly is a typical serial prayer (Reihengebet) to the polis gods that perhaps was uttered in the introductory ceremony of the ekklêsia. Yet apart from the explicit τελέως δ’ ἐκ | κλησιάσαιμεν (328–329) there is no trace of this dimension. Rather, it seems as if the chorus has completely drifted from its role into the utterance level of its function as citizen chorus. At the end it therefore has to summon itself back to its function within the drama (328–330).
The conventional character of this song, which is reminiscent of pure cult poetry, has been universally recognized by scholars. [202] But the conclusion has thus far not been drawn from this that at this point the chorus also departs from its role and speaks in the here and now. Aristophanes thus does not imitate cult poetry for parodic purposes. [203] Rather, he composes this song of request within a living choral culture in order to fulfill a key ritual function of the chorus, namely honoring the gods of the city and giving them pleasure (cf. ἐπιχαρῆναι, 314).
The overcoming of boundaries between polis gods, cultic actors, and spectators is an important feature. The ritual of choral dance and prayer joins the groups in one communal activity, to which the gods are summoned. Following the logic of cult, they are expected to experience pleasure at their worship and to appear in person as a reaction to this (φανέντας ἐπιχαρῆναι, 314), in order to mingle with their worshipers. Clear connections can thereby be made to the song of Agathon, which is not grounded in any practical reality, and to the parabasis-like songs at 947ff. and 1136ff. Apart from support of the plot achieved by the naming of the goddesses of the Thesmophoria, there is also the real-world function of the worship of the patron gods of the city. One finds similar prayer series to the polis gods spread over the choral passages of the Thesmophoriazusae, so that this dimension behind the plot is not neglected. [204] Since the Agathon song is not performed by an actual group, one does not find there the usual request for epiphany and participation in the circle of the chorus. But these characteristics bring out all the more clearly the chorus’ worship in the parodos and in the following choral dance songs. [205]
Zeus is named first as supreme principle of the cosmos (315). The popular assembly and the justice brought by order are after all under his control, and for this reason the invocation of him is taken up once more at the end of the song by way of ring composition. As lord of the gods he is supposed to guarantee that the gods support the chorus members, even if they are only women (368–371). Once again, the chorus plays here with its double identity of dramatic role and function. The “we” refers to the performative context, to which the gods are summoned for support (ἡμῖν θεοὺς παραστατεῖν, 370), while the reference to female identity (καίπερ γυναιξὶν οὔσαις, 371) maintains the plot of an assembly of women. Although Zeus is less often connected with choral dance, [206] the gods subsequently named are very closely associated with it. Yet because the plot involves an ekklêsia, this dimension remains largely hidden. This fundamental element of the chorus thus establishes a connection to the Agathon song and the other choral dance songs, where choral divinities are equally invoked. While this motif is never really translated into action in the solo song of the new-fangled poet and in this hymn, which explains the lack of extensive references to the chorus’ own dance, this central function does come to the fore after the popular assembly has gotten underway, especially since dance performance is also quite at home in the ritual ambience of the Thesmophoria.
The naming of Apollo (315–316) takes up the priestess’ shouting of the paean (310–311). He is summoned in his function as inhabitant of the island of Delos. [207] The chorus implicitly views itself, as does the chorus in Euripides’ Heracles (687ff.), as the embodiment of the Delian maidens, so that the female identity of the dramatic role can be blended in (330). This is all the more easily achieved by the invocation of Athena and Artemis (317–321), who as choral goddesses are equally responsible for the dances of young women. Furthermore, Athena, like Artemis, in particular oversees the condition of women before marriage, a state to which the married women at the Thesmophoria symbolically regress. Athena has of course a special connection with the city of Athens and its politically active citizens. [208] As particular choral goddess of young girls, Artemis again reflects the paean-motif, since this kind of song may also be addressed to her. [209] From the point of view of gender, Apollo, Athena, Artemis, and Poseidon are arranged chiastically; from the point of view of belonging together as sibling pair and gods who competed for power over the polis in a mythical battle, a parallel sequence can be observed here. This competition between Athena and Poseidon for patronage of the city (πόλιν . . . περιμάχητον, 318–319) goes back to a cultural stage when women still had a say in politics in the form of the right to vote. [210] The myth is evoked because this prehistoric condition before the struggle is of importance for the configuration of the dramatic plot of the Thesmophoria, which likewise temporarily restages primordial matriarchal conditions. Athena and Poseidon represent the integrated order that Demeter and the “noble women” need in order to be able to guarantee legitimate sexuality, the fertility of the polis, and the continuation of its offspring.
Poseidon may be less immediately associated with the chorus. Never-theless, the appeal from Knights (551–564) in this connection may still have been present in the audience’s mind. [211] In this instance the Du-Stil address particularly emphasizes the god and the traditional epithets unequivocally connect him with his home in the sea. Instead of the expected participial predication, the participal προλιπών is combined with the magical summons (ἐλθὲ δεῦρο, 319) in a manner typical of cletic hymns: [212] he is asked to leave the depths of the sea that teem with fish (προλιπὼν μυχὸν ἰχθυόεντα, 324), and come straight to the chorus, right now, in the orchestra. The reference to fish refers to Poseidon’s “choral” retinue, which consists mainly of dolphins. As with the previously named gods, he is also associated in the Greek imagination with the figure of “chorus leader,” around whom the dolphins move in a circular dance. [213]
This self-referential context becomes even clearer with the address to the Nereids and Nymphs. Both groups of maidens serve as a divine model for the female collective that the chorus embodies in the plot. Once more the arrangement forms an artful chiasmus in which the Nereids relate to Poseidon and the Nymphs to the previously invoked Artemis as their χορηγοί. In addition to the dolphins, the daughters of Nereus represent the mythological example of a κύκλιος χορός, which is of great importance for the cultic dance of the chorus in this comedy. [214] The situation is identical in the case of the Nymphs, who make up Artemis’ chorus. [215] At the same time, they represent a bridge in terms of content to the chorus’ dramatic role since, as we have seen, in terms of the ideology of the festival the married women temporarily regress to the state of νύμφαι, that is, of brides and young women on the threshold of adulthood. The Nymphs in fact also bring us to the sphere of Dionysus, which is connected with the festive occasion of the performance. [216] They are invoked as “mountain wandering ones” (326), which refers to Dionysiac oreibasia and prepares the way for the later image (990ff.). The adjective οἰστροδόνητον (325) attached to μυχόν also reflects Dionysiac mania, which defines the chorus surrounding Poseidon. [217]
The first request in the concluding prayer (327–330) is also described by a verb that has Dionysiac connotations and is connected with the playing of music in the performance: “Let the golden phorminx resound to our prayers!” (χρυσέα δὲ φόρμιγξ | ἰαχήσειεν ἐπ’ εὐχαῖς | ἡμετέραις, 327–329). By this is surely meant the lyre of Apollo, who has just been invoked as χρυσολύρας (cf. 315). In the reciprocal relationship between human members of the chorus and the divine chorus, greater worth is thus bestowed on the musical accompaniment than on the dance. [218] But the Apollonian sound must here ring out in an almost Dionysiac fashion (ἰαχήσειεν, 328); the verb thus reminds one of the cry of iakkhos at the Eleusinian procession. [219] Yet at the same time the actual accompaniment of the song is meant, which in this case is not performed on the aulos, but on a stringed instrument. In the sense of a speech act the illocutionary role of the command refers to the event happening right now. In the very moment of the utterance of this request the musical accompaniment is completed, which actors and audience could interpret as the joyful reaction of the god Apollo. [220] It is clearly this instrument that the kithara, mentioned in the Agathon song (κίθαριν, 124), takes up. The player bases himself on the divine model of Apollo kitharôdos, who as χορηγός directs the song and the dance. [221] While the chorus in the Agathon song is only imitated, here it actually appears for the first time. The Apollonian dimension determines the ceremonial tone of this song as well, which is designed to convey the reverential mood of the hymn for the polis dominated by noble men. [222]
The cletic ἐλθὲ δεῦρο (319) applies to all the polis gods mentioned. The summons takes place both within and without the drama: on the one hand, the gods are invoked to ensure their assistance in the assembly, which is central to the development of the plot; on the other, they are also directly summoned to the activity going on in the here and now in the orchestra, which represents one part of their ritual worship. In so doing this song also takes over the function of the parabasis odes, which are absent in this play. Aristophanes seems to have incorporated the prayers extensively into the rest of the comedy, partly to convey the ritual ambience of the action and partly to provide validation, through the perspective of the performers, for the male majority opinion, which threatens to be drowned out in this play, so strongly molded by the women’s temporary period of inversion. [223]
This ritual worship of the gods is in harmony with the positivity of comedy. Thus the comic playwright Phrynikhos says in his Kronos (fragment 9.1 K.-A.): ἀνὴρ χορεύει καὶ τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ καλά (“Men dance in the chorus and the affairs of the gods are in order”). The comic chorus of citizens do precisely this and worship the patron gods of Athens, even though in other respects comedy to a large extent stands the world of the polis on its head. The chorus dances for these gods and entreats them; in accordance with the Greek pattern of thought, the worshipers hope for a positive reaction from the divine side. The gods are envisioned as ideal chorus-leaders who are supposed to join the circular dance of their worshipers out of pleasure, thereby suspending the boundary between god and human for a short while. The audience, who knows from personal experience what being in a citizen chorus involves—every year about fifteen hundred young men danced in a public chorus, quite apart from the choruses that the demes and other micro-organizations of the polis arranged—identifies itself with the representative dancers and thus itself participates directly in the worship of the gods. It is true that in tragedy similar choral songs appear, but there the embedment in a fictional event is further advanced. Phrynikhos’ maxim represents the comic opposite to the self-critical verse of the tragic chorus in the Oedipus the King, which asks itself, in the light of tragic developments, why it should continue to dance at all (τί δεῖ με χορεύειν; Sophocles Oedipus the King 896). Comedy, then, clearly has no problem in connecting the choral dance, a definitive element of the genre, with dramatic events using a generally much lower level of embedment. Tragedy, on the other hand, must deal with the difficulty of connecting tragic events, which may in extreme cases lead to doubting the existence of the gods, with the bodily expression of joy and unequivocally positive worship of them. [224] In the following speech of the priestess-herald (331–351) in iambic trimeters, the parodic blend of the two areas of popular and Thesmophoric assembly comes strongly to the fore. Already in the entry prayer (331–334), the juxtaposition of male and female domains is projected in a comic and absurd fashion onto the world of the gods:
εὔχεσθε τοῖς θεοῖσι τοῖς Ὀλυμπίοις
καὶ ταῖς Ὀλυμπίαισι, καὶ τοῖς Πυθίοις
καὶ ταῖσι Πυθίαισι, καὶ τοῖς Δηλίοις
καὶ ταῖσι Δηλίαισι, τοῖς τ’ ἄλλοις θεοῖς.
Pray to the Olympian gods, male and female, to the Pythians, male and female, to the Delians, male and female, and to all the other gods!
The priestess thus takes up the prayer of the chorus, which beseeches, after Zeus, male and female gods in alternate fashion. The formal invocation of the male and female Olympians first sums up the previous song in a meaningful fashion. In a false analogy to the formula Ὀλύμπιοι καὶ Ὀλύμπιαι the principal of equality is parodically extended to the Pythians and Delians, male and female, where no such female form exists as a separate category. Although the “Olympian” heaven of the gods may count as the central overarching term for all the divinities named, it becomes on the contrary downgraded to a local subgroup which stands on an equal level with the others. [225]
In what follows the emphasis is on the complementary ritual actions of blaming and cursing, as well as on those of praising and blessing, which are all of great importance for comedy. The passage is based on the traditional formula of execration of the enemies of the state and traitors that a herald would pronounce before the opening of the ekklêsia. [226] At the Thesmophoria a similar curse may have formed part of the ritual program. The comic effect again resides in the fact that the public discourse is intertextually embedded in the women’s festival. Euripides and the enemies of women are thus indiscriminately thrown together with Medes and tyrants (335–339).
Horn thinks that Aristophanes is trying not to parody the curse formula, but to weave “political polemic against certain persons and groups” into the text. [227] Wilamowitz had already attempted to demonstrate political connections between individual parts of this passage and events in the year of the performance, 411 BCE. [228] Given the public discourse of Old Comedy this political element was always present, but the references to a coup remain relatively unclear; ultimately, the mention of Persians and tyrants is one of the standard topoi of the genre. To talk of a political parainesis in this connection, however common this may be in parabaseis, is certainly an exaggeration. [229] The parabasis-like quality is emphasized several times, to be sure; still, the parabasis ought to be less strongly connected with serious political advice. Rather, the comic chorus’ traditional role of carrying out speech acts of praise and blame, censure and blessing that are more or less connected to the action of the plot stands in the foreground in this structural element of comedy.
The joke depends on the intertextual use of official speech within the comedy. Together with the divine apparatus this form of utterance within a specific context “binds” the group of those involved, which is more precisely definied by the εἴ τις series (335ff.). [230] Within the drama, the sexual themes of possible female misbehavior, which later play a role in the speeches to the assembly, are already being prepared. The catalogue of negative female behavior—women like to drink wine, are sexually overactive, commit adultery, and even possibly foist their children on others—is introduced here for the first time. It reflects the fears of the men, who are not able to control their wives during the festival of inversion. [231]
The wives in fact uphold these male prejudices by cursing those who conceal these transgressions. Through the inclusion of masculine categories, their masculine ways of seeing are comically revealed and the spectator can identify himself with the male chorus members, who only represent women as far as the plot is concerned. In the act of uttering the curse the male intruder is condemned, while the women who are not affected by the curse formula, that is, the chorus in its dramatic role and all right-thinking Athenian women, are simultaneously blessed. The prolific expansion of the εἴ τις formula culminates in the following dichotomous expression, strongly reminiscent of traditional speech acts (349–351):
κακῶς ἀπολέσθαι τοῦτον αὐτὸν κᾠκίαν
ἀρᾶσθε, ταῖς δ’ ἄλλαισιν ὑμῖν τοὺς θεοὺς
εὔχεσθε πάσαις πολλὰ δοῦναι κἀγαθά.
. . . a curse and destruction on this man and his house, but pray that the gods will give all the rest of you women many blessings!
In her speech the herald-priestess calls for this binary distinction. Yet already in her command—requests for prayer and blessing are pointedly placed at the beginnings of lines—public condemnation and honoring are carried out. Through comic refraction the ritual speech act naturally extends to the audience as well. Behind the parody lies the cultic reality: whoever disturbs the women’s Thesmophoria commits a crime against the polis as a whole, which is the guarantor of the festival’s orderly progress.
In the chorus’ utterance (352–371) the speech act is confirmed by the collective using the performative “we” form ξυνευχόμεσθα (352), [232] while it simply acknowledges the command εὔχεσθε in 351. Before the group repeats the curses, a reference to victory in the assembly and in the comic context is worked in (355–356) by referring back to lines 305–309. [233] The following reprimand (356–367) is admittedly of a highly explosive political nature, given the historical situation shortly before the oligarchic coup, yet its meaning should not be limited to this. [234] The chorus sings not only as a female popular assembly: the festival of the Thesmophoria continues to be present as a reference. The political terms (παραβαίνειν τοὺς ὅρκους τοὺς νενομισμένους, ψηφίσματα καὶ νόμον ζητεῖν ἀντιμεθιστάναι, τἀπόρρητα τοῖσιν ἐχθροῖς τοῖς ἡμετέροις λέγειν; cf. 357–358, 361–362, and 363–364) are used ambivalently throughout, particularly since the Thesmophoria in terms of ritual “ideology” resemble a political institution and the name Thesmophoros itself was connected via folk-etymology with the term thesmos (‘law’). The festival was also seen as a reminder of the fact that Demeter brought civilization, law, and order to humankind. [235]
Men were in fact not “usually” compelled to swear an oath in the popular assembly; rather, the forms of the oath appear to refer to the assembly at the Thesmophoria. [236] The concept of νόμος retains throughout the connotation of ritual and custom. The νενομισμένοι ὅρκοι are accordingly also ritual oaths that the married women at this festival give in order to ensure its successful performance. Their “ritual oath” also refers to the priestess’ recent speech act, which subjects any act hostile to women and the polis to a curse. [237] A promise is implied in their confirmation of the instruction. Furthermore, the reference to ὅρκοι is reminiscent of the corresponding situation in the Lysistrata, where an inversion of gender roles is staged in the use of ritual performances and the heroine also makes the group of women take an oath, this time in connection with the sex-strike (Lysistrata 181–239). [238] The “resolutions” relate to the above-mentioned oath: “resolutions” [239] and “laws”/“customs” may not be “altered.” In the Greek scheme of things, a ritual clearly belongs to the ἄγραφοι νόμοι. [240] The ἀπόρρητα are not only state secrets or personal secrets: the word is also a technical term for any form of a ritual to which a particular group in a society does not have access, as is also the case for the Thesmophoria.
Even the punch line with which the chorus closes its long list of potential evildoers (male and female) demonstrates the interweaving of ritual relating to the Thesmophoria and political discourse: ἀσεβοῦσ’ ἀδικοῦσί τε τὴν πόλιν (367). Such people commit a religious outrage and crime against the city, for it is the polis that ensures the yearly performance of the festival and thus the city’s continued existence. Crimes of a political and religious nature mean an attack against the law, but δίκη is equally determined by the gods. This sentence (367) is in no way anticlimactic, dull, and lapidary, as has too often been maintained, but firmly condemns opponents (both male and female). The two declarative indicatives in the speech act completely take over the place and function of the curse (cf. 350). The illocutionary role of command and the perlocutionary goal of cursing are easily derived from the context. [241] At the same time, the carrying out of this speech act is already a preparation for the condemnation of possible male intruders (667–686, especially 670–671, 685). Even if the feminine forms (355, 356, 371, similarly also in 331–351) indicate that women in particular are being addressed, because the chorus speaks in its dramatic role and the participation of men in the assembly seems completely impossible, the censure nevertheless applies to the audience through the insertion of the political element.
This song, like the Thesmophoriazusae as a whole, is characterized by the opposing genres of praise and blame, which are quite characteristic of the comic chorus. Speaking well of someone (εὖ λέγειν) relates first and foremost to the gods of the city, while speaking ill (κακῶς λέγειν) relates to particular women and men of the community. The speech act of defamation in the formulary repertoire has its counterpart in the real world. As in several other festivals of inversion, particularly those connected with Demeter and Dionysus, verbal attacks aggressive in both content and gesture, aiskhrologia and tôthasmos, are particularly fundamental actions in this festival. [242] Crude, ridiculous, and mocking remarks are precisely a characteristic of Old Comedy. Its positioning in the Dionysiac festive context makes a connection between aiskhrologia and this dramatic genre highly likely. [243] Ritual ridicule is very often based on the battle between the sexes. In the upside-down world of the festival of exception and inversion it is therefore permissible to denounce the other sex. This license to defame individuals or whole groups also obtains in same-sex contexts, in which accusations of abnormal sexual practices are hurled. Wolfgang Rösler has shown in a seminal work that in the Thesmophoriazusaeaiskhrologia has itself become the theme. [244] He shows how this aggressive act heightens collective experience in the group and fosters solidarity among women, who rely on a distinct separation between themselves and the opposite and other to define themselves as a community in their own right.
A connection has already been made between the sexual and erotic components of the chorus’ curse upon women who act contrary to the interests of fellow members of their sex (339ff.). [245] The curse (331–351) is significantly directed against men and more so against outsider women, like slave-women or old women, who have been separated from the true group of married women of childbearing age. [246] While many attestations speak of aiskhrologia between individual groups in the assembly of women, mockery of the other sex, which is so important for this comedy, will certainly also have been present. [247] Our sources are ultimately quite sparse, but most attest to the practice of obscene invective among women themselves. [248] Aristophanes probably changed the function of the rites of the Thesmophoria, which for the most part took place among the women participating in the festival, for his own dramatic purposes and, through the application of structurally related practices involving ridicule, directed them against men in order to address the male audience. [249] Praise of one’s own group represents the counterpart to disparagement, as is expressed in the parabasis. In this song the speech act of εὖ λέγειν is admittedly directed at the polis gods, since emphasis on one’s own qualities would make little dramatic sense at this point. At the same time, the characteristics of women, who purely on the level of plot (i.e. in the context of Demeter) had to be described positively, are presented from the perspective of the male world of (Dionysiac) performance in such a way that they correspond to the prejudices of the citizen chorus performing and those of the spectators. The inverted world of the ritual thus, from the perspective of the polis, turns on itself.

The Reactions of the Chorus to the Speeches in the Agôn (Thesmophoraizusae 433–442, 459–465, 520–530)

After the opening ceremony of the assembly an agôn composed of three speeches follows. Each time the chorus adds its own opinion (433 [434]–442, 459–465, 520–530). Bernhard Zimmermann considers this one of the choral songs influenced by tragedy and categorizes it under the general concept of choral songs that interrupt the action of the play. [250] For here, in a manner typical of Sophocles and Euripides, a position is taken on the immediately preceding action on stage. One finds again to a large extent, then, the style of commenting on events that we established earlier as characteristic of the tragic chorus. Furthermore, this contest of speech is clearly reminiscent of the traditional structural element of the comic agôn. The actual ekklêsia and the assembly of women at the Thesmophoria are combined with the tragic agôn as we know it from Euripides, so that the so-called separating songs [Trennliedchen] clearly evoke the odes of the comic agôn. [251]
To the speech of the first woman (383–432)—who denounces Euripides’ misogyny, reveals his influence on the male audience (with corresponding negative consequences for women), and ends with the plea to get rid of the tragedian by any means possible (430–431)—the chorus, full of admiration for her rhetorical ability, responds with the intermezzo (433–442). Such interjections by the collective resemble forms of agreement found in the everyday life of the polis. [252] This first, positive reaction ends in a personal attack against Xenokles, son of Karkinos (440–442). This practice of ὀνομαστὶ κωμῳδεῖν (comedy directed at a named figure) is part of the ritual license that allows prominent figures from politics and society to be ridiculed during the festival of inversion. [253] Thus once more an element that is often found in the parabasis plays a role here as well.
The speech of the second woman, who adds to the arguments of the first speech the further charge of atheism, [254] thus imitating the setup of an assembly much more vividly than any speech or counterspeech could, is also followed by a positive reaction from the chorus. Thanks to the schemes of Euripides, in whose tragedies the existence of the gods is again and again denied, she, a maker of garlands, is losing her livelihood (443–458). The chorus admires the speaker’s fighting spirit (λῆμα, 459) and her convincing presentation. Finally, clear arguments are advanced for making Euripides pay for his hubris (465). The cultic context of this little song (459–465) has so far not been properly appreciated. When the woman maintains with comic exaggeration that Euripides “with his tragedies makes people believe that there are no gods” (450–451) (οὐκ εἶναι θεούς, 451), [255] he thereby becomes marked as the enemy of the chorus, who in the parodos and later songs worship the gods of the polis (θεῶν γένος, 312, cf. 960) with their song and dance. The statement that Euripides must be punished for this takes up the speech act of cursing (367) and already anticipates the next great song, in which the chorus searches the orchestra for other male intruders and continues these motifs word for word (667–686). [256] The chorus is thus also speaking here in a ritual sense, in that it takes Euripides’ poetry as an attack on its ritual identity.
The chorus at first answers the counterspeech of Euripides’ relative, who defends him by saying that women are in reality considerably more cunning and depraved than he depicts them in his tragedies (466–519), with surprise and horror (520–530). [257] Yet his words seem to have reached their target, for the collective, in a tetrameter couplet (531–532) in the closing part of the song, now actually affirm by way of conclusion, “Yes, in comparison to those women who are completely shameless by nature there is nothing in the world that could be in any respect more despicable—except for women!” [258] Aristophanes the rhetor here conceals himself behind the relative and underneath the proverbial “stone” (529). He thereby pours his “biting mockery” over the female sex (cf. 529–530). The supposed κακῶς λέγειν of the women against Euripides is now directed against themselves. For the chorus in its dramatic role this agreement is completely surprising; [259] behind it also lies the criticism that the people believe any kind of fancy rhetoric. But the chorus’ utterance, given its function as a collective of male citizens responsible for a comic presentation in honor of Dionysus, makes complete sense. The men take up the ritual form of aiskhrologia. The audience’s prejudices about women are thereby served, which must have given rise to loud and unrestrained laughter.
All three intermezzi not only express a reaction of comment, but in each case fit skillfully into the ritual speech category of disparaging aiskhrologia and elevating eulogy that runs through the piece like a Leitmotiv. Once again, the form derives from public debate in an ekklêsia, the pretext which gives the scene its character. Echoes of tragedy may also play a role here, yet even in this group of short songs the speech of comedy is quite distinct from the dominant discourse of tragedy. Insofar as tragic choral songs do not integrate ritual speech into the action in the same way, they represent not only a reaction to what precedes, but often also a reflection, with or without the citation of mythical exempla, whereby the preceding events are reworked and the way is prepared for subsequent events.

The Search Scene of the Women Celebrating the Thesmophoria (Thesm. 655–688)

Euripides’ rescue plan to have his relative, disguised as a woman, influence the assembly of women in his favor by means of a speech is unpredictably confounded by the entry of the effeminate Kleisthenes (574ff.), [260] who interrupts the agonal speeches before the ekklêsia (381–573) with his paratragic messenger speech and as comic spy of the other side delivers a report about a secret informant. A search is immediately mounted, a suspect is quickly found, and a rough interrogation leads to his unmasking and arrest. Before the women’s darling Kleisthenes departs to report the case to the prytaneis, he places the convicted relative in the custody of just two women, namely Mika and her wet-nurse. He does not include the chorus in the guard explicitly, following the conventions of tragedy.
The chorus now begins an impressive choral dance song that mimetically represents a lively search for further male intruders. Here, for the first and last time in this play, the chorus becomes a moving force in the dramatic action, even though this scene has no actual consequences for the further development of the comedy, since the search efforts produce no results. Search scenes of this type belong to the repertoire of the dramatic chorus; [261] Aristophanes integrates them into his comedy, “at the same time taking the active role that the chorus is deprived of in the parodos because of the particular structure of this comedy and transfering it to another part of the drama.” [262]
These passages, in which the chorus keeps a lookout for someone, are particularly characteristic of the satyr play. [263] The chorus in so doing translates word directly into action: it performs a speech act, since the group simultaneously carries out the typical self-instructions for the search. We have already come to the conclusion in the Introduction that the chorus of Old Comedy, like that of the satyr play, very often speaks in this active form and supports the dramatic action, which to a large extent is itself dependent on basic ritual forms, while the tragic chorus also admits elements of narrative, reflection, and commentary into its discourse. Speech in a speech act may, however, be directed not so much at the external action of the play but may rather be particularly related to the chorus’ performativity in its function as a citizen chorus. The rituality consists, then, as has already been described, mainly in self-referential speech about the current activity of dancing and singing, which defines the ritual performance of the chorus.
The search song (655–688) is on the one hand integrated into the course of events; on the other hand, however, the action also simply affords an occasion for choral dance so that the scenes may thereby be divided. At the same time, as the chorus members perform in the orchestra, their words also apply implicitly to the relative and take up the central motif of cursing.
The anapaestic prokêrygma of the chorus leader (655–658) is reminiscent of the kommation of a parabasis, which is actually lacking in the actual parabasis (785ff.) of our play. [264] The keyword is the participle ἀποδύσας (656). Removing the outer garment as well as girding the undergarment high up frees the women for their searching activity translated into dance form. [265] The “we” (ἡμᾶς, 655) as subject accusative stands in the emphatic line-beginning position and gives us, together with the further adverbial qualification that they should conduct the search “in a good and manly fashion” (εὖ κἀνδρείως, 656), a view of the énonciation of the male performers. It is only through the feminine participles that the female role is referred to.
The first accompanying action, that is, the lighting of torches, connects the pronouncement with the plot explicitly, in which the members of the chorus mainly take over the function of worshiping Demeter and Kore. The torchlight and night are evoked in all songs as a kind of Leitmotiv to maintain a connection to the plot. Even Agathon, by mentioning the torches (101–102), makes a loose connection to the cultic context of this comedy right at the beginning of his pseudo-choral song. Similarly, in the parodos reference is made to the fact that the chorus has entered with burning torches that provide light for the nocturnal dances at the Thesmophoria (280–281).
The torches have clearly gone out in the meantime and are now lit again in this passage to place the cultic character more in the center once again after the intertextual assimilation of the ekklêsia and to give the torch its function as instrument of the mimetic search. With this light the chorus seeks to illuminate the surroundings in the fictional darkness of the pannykhis in order to find out whether any other man has intruded (ἐσελήλυθε, 657). [266] The instruction with the χρή formula culminates in the command to “run through the whole Pnyx and inspect the tents and the throughroads” (περιθρέξαι | τὴν πύκνα πᾶσαν καὶ τὰς σκηνὰς καὶ τὰς διόδους διαθρῆσαι, 657–658). Here the three performative levels—the actual performance in the orchestra, the male ekklêsia on the Pnyx, and the female cultic organization during the Thesmophoria—are collapsed into each other. In the plot of the play the male Pnyx also represents the place of assembly, which stretches in front of the women’s tent city (σκηναί) and its pathways. With reference to the performative space, the Pnyx that must now be searched corresponds to the orchestra, which is located front of the stage building (skênê) with its side entrances (parodoi). [267]
In what follows the chorus as collective or the koryphaios switches to catalectic trochaic tetrameters (659–662), [268] but resumes commands to itself with χρή and the accompanying infinitive. Here explicit reference is also made to the chorus’ own movement in dance: εἶα δὴ πρώτιστα μὲν χρὴ κοῦφον ἐξορμᾶν πόδα | καὶ διασκοπεῖν σιωπῇ πανταχῇ (659–660) [“Come, first lift up your foot lightly and search everywhere in silence!”]. For a chorus, searching in the orchestra can only mean choral dance. The command “lift up your foot lightly” (659) is a self-referential utterance; [269] while pronouncing the words the chorus puts them into action, dancing and searching at the same time.
The search operation is supposed to be conducted quietly, yet the chorus in fact sings and dances throughout the scene. This is not simply to be taken, as Sommerstein thinks, as making fun of the conventions of dramatic theater, tragedy in particular, where the chorus always sings, even when silence is commanded. [270] Rather, the linguistic mechanisms of choral performativity are also here being exposed. In a drama, a chorus can only express an action that must be completed in silence as a speech act. The sung words are connected to the chorus’ own execution of the movement in the present, so that steps and gestures, as well as utterances in song pertaining to them, must be presented loudly and clearly in order for the audience to be able to perceive them as a speech act that underpins the mimesis of an action. After the command to make haste, reference is again made to the formation of the round dance (κύκλῳ, 662), [271] characteristic in this ritual context, in which the members of the chorus are supposed to move quickly in the orchestra (τρέχειν, 662).
The chorus then takes up the recited trochaics with lyric trochaics and continues its self-commands to inspect the place in the imperative singular (ἴχνευε . . . μάτευε . . . ῥῖψον ὄμμα . . . ἀνασκόπει) (663–666). [272] The resulting search action is then accompanied by a longer, astrophic, and polymetric section (667–686). At first glance, the chorus seems here too to introduce an extended reflection, as is more usual for tragedy. Yet even this extract accords with the ritual mode of expression that is typical of the comic chorus. While the chorus of the Thesmophoriazusae in all its important songs brings the ritual background of comedy to the fore chiefly through prayer, there are no such appeals directed to Demeter and Kore or the other polis gods. This is clearly connected directly with the present activity of searching and keeping watch.
But even if hymnic speech does not occur in this passage, this song does have a religious character, for the chorus—whose cultic range of functions in the contest of speeches is extensively mixed with the political—now sees itself increasingly as an agent of the divine. In the case of a citizen chorus this is naturally comprehensible only in the context of polis religion. During the intensive search for further men who might have sneaked into the assembly and the festival, the women of the Thesmophoria paint an imaginary picture of such an enemy. In long, conditional periods the consequence of this sort of godless behavior is demonstrated; the gods will punish it. As with the priestess’ curse formula, introduced by εἴ τις (335ff.), so too must the future less vivid conditionals (ἢν γάρ με λάθῃ [273] δράσας ἀνόσια, 667; κἂν μὴ ποιῶσι ταῦτα τοιάδ’ ἔσται, 678; and αὐτῶν ὅταν ληφθῇ τις ὅσια ‹μὴ› δρῶν, 679) be interpreted as a speech act, whereby the illocutionary role represents a threat and curse. The closeness of the group to the gods has already been shown in the prayer of the parodos; now the destructive curse and κακῶς λέγειν against those who are enemies and have different thoughts are shown on stage.
The women do not intend to exercise any violence themselves if they should capture somebody, but deliver their curses in a form that implies that the gods will themselves take vengeance. This corresponds completely to the passive role of the chorus in this play. Kleisthenes hurries away just before the song with the women’s agreement that he will report the infringement to the prytaneis (654). The male-dominated polis thus intervenes in the name of the women, since it is guarantor of the orderly course of the women’s festival. The gods are in turn the patrons and guarantors of the city. It is therefore no surprise that the Thesmophoria, despite its inverted nature, is in accord with the official ideology of the city. Into the curse that accompanies the search is woven a layer of religious and ideological argument that forges connections to the choral utterances preceding and subsequent. The transgression of these boundaries set up by the polis is considered as an impious act (ἀνόσια, 667, 685 [cf. 679]; παράνομα, 685), as hubris, as actions contrary to what is right, and as signs of an atheistic character (ὕβρεως ἀδίκων τ’ ἔργων | ἀθέων τε τρόπων, 670–671). The gods, threatens the chorus, will assuredly punish such an intruder harshly (δώσει τε δίκην, 668) and make an example (παράδειγμ’, 670) of him. He will henceforth no longer doubt the existence of the gods (672) “and will soon teach all mankind to honor the divine powers, to respect rightfully that which is holy, and concerning themselves with law and ritual, do that which is fair and noble” (δείξει τ’ ἤδη | πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις σεβίζειν δαίμονας | δικαίως τ’ ἐφέπειν ὅσια καὶ νόμιμα | μηδομένους ποεῖν ὅ τι καλῶς ἔχει, 673–676/7). [274] The assertion in line 672 is clearly aimed at Euripides, accused in the assembly of having suggested to the audience in his tragedies that the gods do not exist (450–451). [275]
The ideological key concepts in this passage are reminiscent of contemporary tragedy, especially that of Euripides, who throughout the play is a target of ridicule and paratragôidia. The final lines, in particular, describe the intruder being searched for as a criminal who has been struck by madness and driven to this awful sacrilege (μανίαις φλέγων λύσσῃ παράκο | πος, 680–681). Such an individual bears the characteristics of a tragic hero. This type of tyrant is well known to the audience in the form of Creon and Oedipus, Lykos, Lycurgus, and Pentheus. [276] Mania and lyssa breed hubris, an offense against divine dikê and all conceivable values and norms. The women are searching for a θεομάχος. The idea of a deed that is inspired by madness refers quite clearly to the Dionysiac dimension. [277] This world is hardly unfamiliar to the chorus as a group that is performing a comedy in Athens in honor of Dionysus. For this reason there is much that is reminiscent of Euripides’ Bacchae, particularly the choral songs Bacchae 863–911 and 977–1023. [278] This tragedy was of course only performed several years later, yet in the Lysistrata, likewise performed in 411 BCE, there are also allusions to the ideas that later characterize the Bacchae. [279] These may clearly be traced back to a common Dionysiac model [280] that influences all of tragedy as an ideological context and that in late Euripides assumes more and more importance as a system of reference. [281]
For the comedies centered around women, ritual role-reversal and the idea of women on top is decisive. The chorus is therefore comparable to the chorus of the Bacchae in many respects. [282] These, too, restrain themselves and leave punishment to the god; they speak in a manner that is equally quite ritualistic and carry out speech acts that imply an action. The Bakkhai curse and despise Pentheus’ sacrifice, they worship the god with song and dance, and the chorus in so doing often refers to its own performance.
Behind this relatively peaceful facade men must be on the lookout for a real outbreak of violence. [283] Male anxiety about what the women in their secluded festival community, which separates them for a time from the male-controlled oikos, might be getting up to manifests itself in the concern that the women might really take over the power of the polis for good or might use force. This male fantasy finds its symbolic expression in the myth of the Amazons and the Bakkhai. [284] In the case of the women celebrating the Thesmophoria, the spectator also never knows whether their dances might not actually turn into violence. In myth there are frequent reports of this happening in cases of male transgression. According to Aelian (fragment 44 Hercher), King Battos of Cyrene, absolutely determined to observe the arrhêta of the Thesmophoria, was attacked by the sphaktriai, the women who, quite unusually, were given responsibility for carrying out sacrifices. [285] With hands and faces smeared with the blood of the sacrificial victim, they brandish their swords [286] and try to castrate the spy. [287] Similarly, at the unmasking of the male intruder, the comic playwright does not deny himself the opportunity of having the women cast an aggressive eye on the infiltrator’s phallus (Thesmophoriazusae 643–648).
The actual events on stage are important for these generally observed procedures against a further possible intruder. The actions of threatening and cursing are aimed directly at the relative, who remains onstage with his guards. The chorus may possibly have encircled him while singing their song, something that corresponds to a magical and symbolic “binding,” a so-called καταδεσμός. [288] The relative becomes the comic surrogate for Euripides, whom the song and the play as a whole intertextually monopolizes and parodies. [289] This choral song thus fits excellently into the development of the plot. And the immediately following scene demonstrates that the relative considers himself directly addressed by the speech act. He reacts to the women’s threatening behavior with a comic hostage-taking (689ff.). This parodies the kidnapping in Euripides’ Telephus and brings the Dionysiac dimension of the women to the foreground through the fact that the stolen child is represented as a wineskin. [290] The search song ends abruptly with the following two verses (687–688): [291]
ἀλλ’ ἔοιχ’ ἡμῖν ἅπαντά πως διεσκέφθαι καλῶς.
οὐχ ὁρῶμεν γοῦν ἔτ’ ἄλλον οὐδέν’ ἐγκαθήμενον.
But I think we’ve searched everything quite thoroughly.
In any case, we don’t see any other man sitting here.
These concluding verses clearly mark the fact that the time for searching is over. The chorus thereby shows that the speech act that set up and guided the action in the orchestra is coming to an end. [292] At the instant of uttering line 687, the chorus members stop their dance movements. The negative result that they have not found any further men (688) acts as a hinge to the following hostage scene. The words have an effect on the relative, who is the sole addressee of the chorus’ torrent of words and who in reaction to this speech act moves to defend himself. From the perspective of the performance now going on outside the plot, the statement in line 688 (οὐχ ὁρῶμεν γοῦν ἔτ’ ἄλλον οὐδέν’ ἐγκαθήμενον) is of course ridiculous since in the audience there are thousands of men sitting and following the action. [293] In a manner typical of ritual the chorus infringes on the participants that it represents.
The choral dance song thus constitutes the action of searching. Apart from the intensification of the chorus’ own dance movements, the long-winded periods and the associative and redundant ordering of the repetitive contents, expressed now negatively, now positively, imitate the up and down motion of people intensively searching. [294] Since the interplay of content and form ultimately constitutes the action, Sommerstein’s criticism of the quality of the poetry in this passage seems to miss the point. [295] For this song is not poetry, but the direct expression of a living choral culture. The ritual choral dance song is characterized precisely by the redundancy and repetitiveness found fault with by Sommerstein. It expresses here a completely concrete and simple action, namely searching, which is based on repetitive models and which as a fundamental biological program of action has been ritualized and processed into cultural codes. [296]

The Parabasis (Thesmophoriazusae 785–845)

The parabasis of the Thesmophoriazusae separates the Palamedes stratagem from the Helen stratagem, and as a result of deviations from the traditional structure its form is very free. [297] Because of the absence of odes, the character of the choral dance song retreats far into the background. The ritual elements of hymns to the gods and concern with the chorus’ own dance, which are characteristic of the lyric parts of the parabasis, are, as has been discussed, transferred to the other songs, in particular to the two later choral scenes (947–1000 and 1136–1159). The chorus of the Thesmophoriazusae is thereby marked by a relatively limited engagement in the action of the plot, but by an intensive rituality.
Because of the expansion of the mood and tone of the parabatic, the actual parabasis itself does not represent any real break in dialogue of the characters in comparison to the other songs. This is even more striking in that this parabasis, as with that of the Birds, fits more clearly into the context of the plot than in the other comedies. The communis opinio has generally evaluated the parabasis in general—at least the part containing the anapaests—as a digression from the action in the play and as a breaking of the “illusion,” since the chorus leader, or the chorus as a whole, addresses the audience directly, praises or censures individuals by name, discusses the matter of the poet and his work, focuses on and praises the author while attacking his rivals, strives for success and recognition among the audience and the judges, and/or talks about politics and dispenses advice. [298] Here, in any case, the chorus goes on to talk about itself, as is in fact normal with epirrhêmata. [299] The fluctuation between role and function takes an only apparent step back in the anapaests. Nevertheless, παραβῆναι here does at least partially involve an even further movement away from the chorus’ dramatic role—which up until this point has been that of a chorus of ritually celebrating women—and toward a general commentary on womanhood. The clearly male identity of the chorus in its comic function, which remains ever present behind the female masking, gives rise to greater comic effect the more the chorus concentrates exclusively on its fictional femininity. [300] One can just imagine the hearty laughter among the mainly male audience: male citizens appear before the spectators and attempt to teach them that women are better than they are!
In terms of its strongly argumentative speech the parabasis is comparable to a public appearance before a court or before the dêmos. In this way it becomes like the speeches delivered before the women’s assembly. [301] All in all, the interlude functions like a defense against the charges brought against women. The dramatic role thus remains present, even behind the discussion of the general question as to which sex is morally superior, since the presentation, designed to prove the supremacy of women over men, is linked to the Leitmotiv of aiskhrologia between the sexes, which is an ingredient of the Thesmophoria and is thematized in this comedy. [302] The emphasis on the superior qualities of the women functions as a counterpart to the putting down of men. Censure and praise, which belong to the fundamental speech acts of Old Comedy and are particularly characteristic of the parabasis, are here integrated into the ritual context of the plot. The actual parabasis, which the comic poet evidently developed only at a late stage to praise himself or defend himself against attacks, using the chorus leader as his representative in the first- or third-person, here becomes reshaped into the comic chorus’ usual self-presentation. [303]
The chorus delivers the keyword of the Leitmotiv right in the first line, which here in abbreviated fashion incorporates the usually two-versed kommation into the speech as a whole. The question of whether the chorus leader or the chorus as a whole spoke or sang cannot be determined unequivocally. The metre points to a recitative quality, while the kommation-like style suggests song and dance. [304] The argumentative style of delivery argues against collective speech, while the specifically ritual element and the intrusion of the epirrhematic argues for it. [305] The first line (785) is in any case programmatic:
ἡμεῖς τοίνυν ἡμᾶς αὐτὰς εὖ λέξωμεν παραβᾶσαι.
Let us step forward in the parabasis and praise ourselves!
The “we,” placed in emphatic first position, and the reflexive “ourselves” emphasizes the group. The (female) chorus leader can of course speak for the whole using the plural form. From a performative and pragmatic point of view, much speaks in favor of this line being emphatically sung and danced by the whole chorus as a kind of kommation marking a transition. First, the “we” in line-initial position leaves it open as to whether the chorus speaks in its dramatic role or whether it speaks in its function as chorus; the feminine forms of the reflexive pronoun and participle stress its female role. The performative hortatory subjunctive εὖ λέξωμεν refers in clear-cut fashion to the εὖ λέγειν of women, which corresponds to the κακῶς λέγειν of men. The self-command clearly shows the ritual aim. The participle παραβᾶσαι self-referentially mirrors the technical term parabasis. Its literal meaning refers to the chorus’ movement: that is to say, the group wheels and now steps forward to address the audience directly. The figurative meaning, to step out of the frame of the plot in order to praise oneself in a form of digression, as Sifikas defines the concept, [306] appears to be not quite correct, since Old Comedy, as he himself stresses, never constructs a strictly consistent illusion of plot. New investigations have on the contrary shown that the parabasis does not interrupt the action, but is an integral part of the play in which the central themes are collected. [307] The parabasis is clearly connected with a ritual mode of speech in which énonciation is emphasized while énoncé retreats into the background. [308] Through direct contact between audience and chorus members, the distance between performer and spectator is bridged, a situation characteristic of any ritual performance. This immediate involvement turns theatergoers into active participants. In any event, this manner of speaking is by no means confined solely to the parabasis, but is typical of the genre of Old Comedy. [309] This finding has considerable consequences for the interpretation of this self-praise. Through the address of the male audience by the chorus, whose identity varies between role and function, the praise of the female sex is relativized and deconstructed. The winking and nudging of the male players directed at the male spectators more or less reduces the grand defense of women to a farce. The reaction probably consisted not of open agreement with the arguments put forward, but of laughter shared with the male performers at the women whom they played. [310]
From a plot-internal point of view, the speech is closely connected with the cultic context of the Thesmophoria. The counterattack to the claims advanced by the men is a further reflex of ritual aiskhrologia, which becomes a theme throughout the play. The men’s position is based on the well-known premise that women are the root of evil for humankind (πᾶν ἐσμὲν κακὸν ἀνθρώποις, 787) and on the piling up of negative conditions that are associated with the female sex (κἀξ ἡμῶν ἐστιν ἅπαντα | ἔριδες, νείκη, στάσις ἀργαλέα, λύπη, πόλεμος, 787–788). [311] The women counter that the evil (κακόν) cannot be all that great if men marry them and guard them like a treasure (788–799). As a logical consequence of this refutation, they then propose the thesis that they are far better than men (800). Since no one represents an absolute κακόν, the argument now revolves around the comic contest as to which of the two is worse by comparison (χείρους, 801, 820; ἥττων, 804; χείρων, 805), that is, which is relatively speaking the greater κακόν. Although the women insist on their moral superiority (βελτίους, 800, 810; ἀμείνων, 808), they concede with an implicit nod and a wink that they, too, are to some extent bad.
They comically try to prove their superiority by comparing speaking names that express abstract virtues in the political and military spheres with the names of contemporary leaders (802–809). The aristocratic speaking names of the εὐγενεῖς γυναῖκες, such as Nausimakhe, Aristomakhe, Stratonike, and Euboule, represent instances of success in contrast to the actual disasters of the politicians Kharminos, Kleophon, and Anytos. [312] To the archaic way of thinking, names are metaphors for the identity of the name-bearer, and in them the claim to realization of the content of the name is emphasized. It is precisely in ritual that women contribute to the construction of ritual reality, that is, to founding and securing the noble status of their social identity. [313] By inserting the names of well-known prostitutes, the women’s declaration of their superiority is clearly rendered suspect, inasmuch as the symbolic content of the name is at odds with the reality, as in the case of Nausimakhe. The women’s claim to superiority (810) is thus once more demonstrated as in no way serious, and the men take some pleasure at the comparison. At the same time the chorus as chorus of citizens is here able to bring its role of deliverer of criticism to bear against powerful individuals. Finally, the women show that they are only relatively better, since in accordance with the division of roles between the sexes they commit only small crimes at home, while the men commit great ones in the state: women only pinch a little wheat from the storage cellar, but men embezzle public funds (811–813).
In the pnigos (814–829) the audience is in typical fashion included in the attack: “We could prove that many of them do this” (ἀλλ’ ἡμεῖς ἂν πολλοὺς τούτων | ἀποδείξαιμεν ταῦτα ποιοῦντας, 814–815). With the deictic τούτων the members of the chorus once again point clearly at the spectators and intensify the parabasis’ direct manner of speech. Then follows the statement “that, beside this, they are more often gluttons, clothes-thieves, tricksters, and kidnappers than we are” (καὶ πρὸς τούτοις γάστριδας ἡμῶν | ὄντας μᾶλλον καὶ λωποδύτας | καὶ βωμολόχους κἀνδραποδιστάς, 816–818). The women do not exclude themselves categorically from the group of evildoers; men are simply more likely to become bad. Women are certainly tricksters (βωμολόχοι) themselves, as can be established precisely in the case of ritual aiskhrologia. Yet as a comic citizen chorus, the male players tell these sorts of dirty jokes accompanied by appropriate gestures, thus meeting with the audience’s approval. [314] Finding fault with men (μεμψαίμεθ’ ἂν, 830) is certainly continued, but the women remain entirely within their traditional role and within the area of competency alloted them. The fact that the mother of a bad man such as Hyperbolos is accorded the same honor as that of the mother of the successful general Lamakhos (830–845) is decried as deplorable. The mocking of men in general here returns once more to the traditional ὀνομαστὶ κωμῳδεῖν of powerful politicians.
The men in the audience thus feel ultimately confirmed in their chauvinistic attitude, despite the direct attacks on them, and come away with the following message after the speech act of self-praise by the women: women are utterly bad, as they themselves admit; comparatively speaking, they are only a little less bad, because they cannot undertake any public tasks. Men are actually good; only a few are guilty of public crimes. It is therefore the citizen chorus’ task to subject these to censure. [315] The ritual nature of the scene does not manifest itself only in praise and blame, which are just as much a part of Dionysiac license as the aiskhrologia of the Demeter festival: the dramatic role of the chorus as women at the Thesmo-phoria also has an extensive effect on this part too. One should not, then, read this parabasis simply as a political statement against certain politicians or as a parody of a courtroom speech. The ritual nature is shown especially on the level of content. The men, dressed as women, here thematize the mixed feelings they experience toward women at the Thesmophoria. The temporary loss of control over women causes all kinds of suspicions to arise in the men. For men, women at this festival in particular are a “beautiful evil” (καλὸν κακόν), something the chorus explains in its opening demonstration (785–799). The festival is supposed to further female and agrarian fertility. The polis, which with the exception of ritual occasions completely excludes women from public life, needs the married woman as mother of legitimate male offspring in order to ensure its own continued existence. [316] Marriage is the institution by which the city is able to regulate reproduction. [317] The sexuality necessary for this goal is ritually renewed by the separation of the sexes in the festival cycle. The Thesmophoria reenact a cultural relapse into matriarchal conditions and a reentry into civilization, which is founded anew at the Kalligeneia with marriage and the desire for good offspring. In their segregation, the married women preserve a certain ambivalence. The wild sexuality necessary for survival and the fundamental inversion of the normal order are experienced as a threat to the male world and thus filled with contradictory signs. Lascivious, unbound sexuality is simultaneously overlaid with signals of chastity in order to make the intolerable tolerable. [318]
Aristophanes knew how to depict this paradoxical mixture of layers by using intertextual connections in the speech of the women; Euripides receives particular attention as the target of literary parody. The starting position of the defense rests partly on the particular situation of the aiskhrologia by men, which clearly responds in iamboi to the attacks delivered by women at the festival of Demeter. [319] In the first part of Semonides’ iamboi on women (fragments 7.1–93 W.) it is told how Zeus created the different types of women from eight animals, earth, and sea. A negative characterization is constructed using parallels between the behavior of animals and women. The bee (83–93), which also functions as the symbol of chaste and noble women at the Thesmophoria, represents a significant exception. [320] In the second, general part of the poem (94–118), the image of woman is unrelentingly negative. The fragment of Sousarion (fragment 1 K.-A.) directed against women, which is often cited in connection with the development of Old Comedy, [321] might have stood in a similar ritual context:
ἀκούετε λεῴ· Σουσαρίων λέγει τάδε,
υἱὸς Φιλίνου Μεγαρόθεν Τριποδίσκιος.
κακὸν γυναῖκες· ἀλλ’ ὅμως, ὦ δημόται,
οὐκ ἔστιν οἰκεῖν οἰκίαν ἄνευ κακοῦ
καὶ γὰρ τὸ γῆμαι καὶ τὸ μὴ γῆμαι κακόν
Listen to me, you peoples! Thus speaks Sousarion, the son of Philinos from Tripodiskos in Megara: women are an evil. But even so, my fellow citizens, it is impossible to have a house without evil, for both marrying and not marrying are evils.
What is important here, on the one hand, is the direct address to the people (1, 3), which is identical to the address of the audience in Old Comedy, especially in the parabasis. [322] On the other hand, the fragment also possesses much in common with the parabasis of the Thesmophoriazusae in terms of the theme of marriage with the evil that is woman. [323] For although the speech is conceived as a riposte to this kind of attack, the male point of view remains detectable through the Athenian players, who emphasize the female character as a κακόν. In the parabasis, as in the fragment of Sousarion, the fundamental ambivalence in the attitude of men to women is at the center. Woman is a κακόν, but a necessary one for the house and for the continuation of the family line. This explains the concentration on marriage and the comic paradox that both being married and not being married amounts to a κακόν (5): for in the marriage partnership one lives together with a κακόν, yet life without marriage is “bad,” because the continued existence of the polis is thereby endangered.
Hesiod’s Pandora as καλὸν κακόν (Hesiod Theogony 585) equally explains the paradox of woman at the Thesmophoria. Without sexual attraction, a Καλλιγένεια can hardly come to pass, but from beauty, to be sure, arise jealousy and discord between men, particularly when the woman cannot be placed under the direct oversight of the husband, as is the case at the festival of Demeter. Despite the emphasis on their virtues and chastity, in the eyes of men women are potential whores precisely during the inverted world of the festival. [324] Hence the insertion of Salabakkho among the glorious and noble names (804ff.), which in turn mark the female infringement on politics and war that the Demeter festival represents. [325] The claim to female superiority is also inserted intertextually. [326] Both in Euripides and in the Lysistrata this is based on the role of the woman as keeper of the marital household and on her prominent ritual function in the polis.
From the male standpoint, they emphasize their superior ability to watch over the patrimony (τὰ πατρῷά γε | . . . σῴζειν, 819–820). Safeguarding the patrimony ranks equally with patrilineal inheritance from father to son, which does, however, necessitate woman as bearer of children. For this reason, τεκεῖν becomes the Leitmotiv of the epirrhêma. [327] Quite in keeping with male expectations, giving birth to men who are good and useful for the continued existence of the city as a whole occupies the central position. [328] The concluding play on the words τόκος/τεκεῖν together with the accompanying alliterative piling-up of concepts (840–845) underscores this ideological core. The mother of the evil politician Hyperbolos is put in the spotlight and faulted for her practice of lending money at extortionate rates of interest. The semantically related Greek homonyms “interest” and “male offspring” (τόκος) are comically mixed, which gives rise to a meaningful comparison between the exchange of money and intercourse in marriage. [329] Procreation is like a loan of money; a mother is simply a kind of bank. She is removed from her bodily connection to her son, since she functions only as an abstract carrier that ensures the transaction of payment and repayment. A male child is considered as interest or profit from this exchange between the sexes, which ensures the well-being of the polis from generation to generation in the male line. [330]
At the same time there is a connection between this comparison and the commensurable claim of a woman who has given birth to a capable son to receive a better place at the women’s festival than the mother of a bad son. The mention of proedria (834) at the women’s festivals of the Skira and Stenia is also a metatheatrical reference to the current order of seating in the theater. [331] Here the demand for privilege has of course a particularly comic effect, since women, if allowed in the theater at all, always sat at the back. [332] With the mention of the first row, the distance between performance and plot is bridged in a way typical of Old Comedy. As in any ritual, the spectator thereby becomes in turn active participant.

The Central Image of the Parabasis as Symbolic Expression (Thesmophoriazusae 821–829) and the Initiatory Interpretation of the Thesmophoriazusae

The tableau vivant with which the pnigos comes to its comic end is also based entirely on ritual concepts of the chorus in its role. The motif of better management of paternal capital retreats into the background behind the play with mention of the semantically related homonyms of the symbolic concepts κανών (822, 825) and σκιάδειον (823, 829), [333] which may describe gender role identity on both sides. Figurative speech that operates using simple objects from the immediate living environment is characteristic of ritual discourse.
The concentration of polyvalent signifiers in this instance is also related to the ritual of the Thesmophoria, which provides the frame for the plot, and to the Stenia and Skira (834), which are mentioned immediately afterward and which also have a connection to this festival. The parabasis constantly returns to elements of this festival in an associative and redundant fashion and thus focuses on themes and motifs that are of importance for the work as a whole. [334] The self-referential connection to the Stenia (ninth of Pyanopsion), which comes immediately before the actual Thesmophoria (eleventh to thirteenth of Pyanopsion) and which forms together with the festival at Halimous (tenth of Pyanopsion) a larger five-day complex, seems to be drawn here particularly because of the aiskhrologia that usually took place there. Details of this picture (821–829) yield a further meaning when they are linked to the mention of the Skira, a festival that also has a heortological connection to the central practices of the Thesmophoria. At the Skira, which took place at the height of the summer, women threw “piglets” and other fertility-inducing objects, such as cakes in the form of snakes and male genitalia, as well as pinecones and twigs into subterranean pits (μέγαρα); the “decomposed” remnants of all these things were then brought up at the Thesmophoria in October to be added to the earth at the sowing of crops. [335] The Skira belong to the rites of the Arrhephoria and have a structural connection to the Thesmophoria as an anticipation of the latter. [336] In particular, women gathered together both at the Skira and at the Thesmophoria, with men being excluded in both cases. [337] The Arrhephoria, as did the Thesmophoria, restaged the myth of the abduction of Kore, the young maiden par excellence, by Hades.
Let us turn next to this image and then to its connections with the ritual. The chorus of women show that the objects relating to weaving and woolworking and typical of their house-bound role—that is, the loom (ἀντίον, 822), the shuttle, or the rod with which the layers of woven thread are pushed together (κανών, 822), and the woolbaskets (καλαθίσκοι, 822)—are looked after carefully and not lost. The parasol (σκιάδειον, 823) comes as the climax at the end of the series. It is also an important accessory for women, not for their work, but rather for their external appearance: it protects their pale, genteel complexion from exposure to the sun. Like the mirror (cf. Thesm. 140), it relates to the external characteristics of feminine vanity and toilette. [338] Among the men, these objects, which have the same names, but a different meaning—κανών (825) as the wooden frame which keeps the shield taut (cf. Homer Iliad 8.193) and σκιάδειον (829) as metaphor for the shield itself here refer to their role in warfare—are poorly cared for, because men just throw them away out of cowardice. [339]
τοῖς δ’ ἡμετέροις ἀνδράσι τούτοις
ἀπόλωλεν μὲν πολλοῖς ὁ κανὼν
ἐκ τῶν οἴκων αὐτῇ λόγχῃ,
πολλοῖς δ’ ἑτέροις ἀπὸ τῶν ὤμων
ἐν ταῖς στρατιαῖς
ἔρριπται τὸ σκιάδειον.
Thesmophoriazusae 824–829
But as for our men here, for many of them their kanôn has gone missing from the house, along with their spear, others have had their skiadeion fall from their shoulders while on campaign.
The deictic pronoun once again includes the audience. The transition from the immediately preceding part relating to women is smooth: for many men “their kanôn has gone missing from the house” (825–826)—men are worse housekeepers than women, it seems, because they are incapable of watching over possessions, which also lend them a womanly appearance and effeminacy. The chorus, Agathon, and the relative have assumed only external signs for their mimesis of the female role, [340] behind which their male identity still shines through. They have only to divest themselves of these signifiers to become completely male again. Many men in the auditorium will have had a similar experience in the course of their lives.
Only on hearing the lines does one understand the metonymous shift of meaning, which is finally accomplished with the uttering of αὐτῇ λόγχῃ: men are worse in the political and military arena, because out of cowardice they throw away (ἔρριπται) the wooden shaft [341] together with the spear and the “sunshade,” the shield, with which they protect their head, thus wasting their patrilineally passed down inheritance (ἐκ τῶν οἴκων). [342] Such a man is like the much-ridiculed “shield-abandoner” (ῥίψασπις), who abandons the male code of behavior (κανών, cf. Euripides Hecuba 602, Electra 52) together with his spear (αὐτῇ λόγχῃ), the sign of aristocratic birth. [343] The verb form ἔρριπται clearly harks back to the Palamedes parody (770–784) just before the parabasis; the relative wants to write on oar blades and cast them into the sea. When he finds out, however, that there are none around, he decides to take votive tablets from the sanctuary of Demeter, inscribe them with a call for help to Euripides, and “throw” (ῥίψω, 771; διαρρίπτοιμι, 774) them overboard. [344]
The comic mésalliance of male and female signs thus induces laughter. The most diverse connotative strands from all over the entire play are brought together in this image as a focal point. Ritual speech and poetry weave in associative fashion various individual elements into the web of connections. According to representatives of the Prague school of linguistics, in particular Roman Jakobson, motifs constantly move in a simultaneous and reciprocal process along a syntagmatic, horizontal axis of combination using metonymy, and along a paradigmatic, vertical axis of selection using metaphor. Eventually they return with slight change in a sort of loop. Poetry is in fact often traditionally associated with spinning, sewing, and weaving. [345] The complex image of the sunshade in combination with instruments relating to women’s woolworking only becomes fully comprehensible through a later recurring reference to the Skira (834). [346] In the complex festive cycle that extends from the Arrhephoria to the Panathenaia and that Walter Burkert has interpreted as a new year’s ritual connected to female and male initiation, woolworking also plays a central role. [347] At the Khalkeia, in late autumn, on the thirtieth of Pyanopsion, two young girls at the tender age of between seven and eleven, representing all maidens, enter into the service of Athena on the Acropolis. Up until the Arrhephoria in the following summer, they are chiefly concerned as ergastinai with the making of the peplos for the goddess, which is then presented to her at the subsequent Panathenaia at the end of July (twenty-eighth of Hekatombaion). The great polis festival thereby seals the return to the normal order of things after the preceding reversals, celebrated during the course of the transition from the old to the new year. [348] The Skira, held on the twelfth of Skirophorion, to which the rites of the Arrhephoria belonged, were celebrated both for Athena and for the Eleusinian Kore. The Arrhephoria, as has been demonstrated above, structurally anticipate the Thesmophoria, at which weaving and woolworking are also of central importance. Numerous loom weights and jewelry were found in the Thesmophorion at Bitalemi. [349] The dedications do not necessarily indicate the presence of looms and the making of garments in the sanctuary, but at the very least the votive offerings represent symbolic conditions that point to the central female activity in the oikos, and using the myth that accompanies the ritual one may posit a connection to weaving.
Apollodoros of Athens (FGrHist 244 F 89) relates that Persephone as νύμφη prepared herself for her impending marriage by, among other things, weaving costly clothes. After her abduction by Hades and disappearance, Demeter, her mother, entrusts the basket (κάλαθος) that contained these clothes to the Nymphs. She herself goes to Paros, to King Melisseus, and gives the Kore’s bridal clothing to the sixty royal daughters as a guest-gift and also reveals to them the mysteries of the Thesmophoria. Since then, as Apollodoros aetiologically explains, all women celebrating the Thesmophoria are called “bees” (melissai). [350]
The kalathiskoi named in line 822 and the tools of female woolworking thus recall the objects with which important female rites were accomplished. The little baskets are a symbol of feminine identity and are passed on from year to year in sacred rites. Through these actions initiation into marriage, which is to say the reproduction of the polis, is ensured. As at the Thesmophoria, so too at the Arrephoria choruses of young women performed. Kalathiskos itself can refer to a special form of tragic dance. One might suggest that the chorus leader refers in the pnigos to the accompanying dance movements of his chorus. [351] In the Lysistrata, which was performed at the Lenaia of the same year, 411 BCE, the woolworking of the women equally stands at the center as reflex of the rites of the Arrhephoroi; consider in particular Lysistrata’s extensive woolworking metaphor (Lysistrata 567ff.), which comically reworks the preparation of Athena’s peplos. In the immediately preceding pnigos, the Proboulos is comically dressed up as woolworking woman (Lysistrata 532–538). In addition to this costume he also receives a woolbasket (Lysistrata 535). [352] The repeated mention of the sunshade (σκιάδειον, 823, 829) and, in particular, the not otherwise attested synonymy with “shield” become more understandable when taken in connection with the Skira and Panathenaia. In the context of the reversals of the normal order at the end of the year in June, on the day of the Skira (twelfth of Skirophorion) the priestess of Athena Polias, the priest of Poseidon-Erechtheus, and the priest of Helios, under the cover of a white canopy carried by one of the Eteoboutadai, march in procession from the center of the polis, the Acropolis, to the periphery on the border of Attica, to Skiron, located near Eleusis, just before the Kephisos River. Here there was a sanctuary of Athena Skiras and one of Demeter and Kore, where according to Pausanias (1.37.2) Athena and Poseidon were also worshiped. The canopy was known uniquely as the σκίρον, from which the name of the festival was apparently later derived. The word means nothing more than a large σκιάδειον (Harpocratio, s.v. σκίρον and Suda, s.v. Σκίρον; schol. Assemblywomen 18). [353]
On countless vase paintings of the late sixth and the fifth centuries one finds representations of several enthusiastic bearded parasol-bearers and of whole kômoi similarly outfitted, which cannot, however, as Ernst Buschor in a famous article claimed, be associated with the Skira. Rather, they seem to be connected generally with male transvestism in the circle of Dionysus. [354] Did the members of the chorus, clad perhaps in similar fashion to these feminine-looking comasts, accompany these lines with dance? The image would certainly have been most impressive from a theatrical point of view. Our performers increasingly experiment with the other sex in this comedy, so that they certainly would not have worn any (false) beards simply on the basis of their dramatic role as women. The chorus was possibly made up of ephebes on the threshold of manhood. We will discuss the implications of such a symbolic tableau vivant further below.
Sunshades were clearly also held over the Kanephoroi at the Panathenaia to protect the honorable maidens from the effects of the sun. [355] A Dionysiac element is also blended in this passage with elements of Demeter and Athena. The associative combination of ritual patterns thus reworks various examples from the contemporary world of the audience, among which the components of the Skira are here prominent. The latter is above all a harvest festival. On the sacred Skironian field, where the harvest was officially ended with the reaping of the crop on the twelfth day of Skirophorion, the canopy that had previously served the high representatives as protection from the sun was also erected as a roof for the fieldworkers, who began the threshing there. [356] The day of the Skira also brings with it, however, the desired connection with masculine war. In myth the legendary battle between Athens and Eleusis, in which the Athenian king, Erechtheus, was killed by Poseidon, took place on the Skironian field. [357] On this day too, Agraulos, a daughter of Erechtheus, sacrificed herself for her homeland because of an oracle, and her sisters shared her lot. According to Euripides’ Erechtheus, the Athenians worshiped the maidens under the name of the Hyakinthidai with yearly rites and festive dances (fragment 65, 68–80 Austin). Their sacrificial death corresponds to the fall of the daughters of Kekrops from the Acropolis, which serves as the aition for the practices of the Arrhephoroi. [358] It was at the sanctuary of Agraulos/Aglauros that ephebes would take their oath to defend the fatherland bravely, as symbolized in its agrarian fruits. [359] As Gerhard Baudy has shown, the mock battles of ephebes on the Skironian field correspond to the mythical model. The death of Erechtheus and his warriors is paralleled by the harvesting of the sacred crop there and is analogous to the death of the ephebe, who rises once more, like Erechtheus in the form of Erichthonius. Beside the conflict between Athens and Eleusis, there were other mythical and historical battles that served as possible aitia for ritual two-sided “wars.” [360] In particular, the ephebes believed they were reenacting the most famous of all wars, the Trojan conflict. The epoch-making conquest of this city was dated to the twelfth of Skirophorion (Clemnet of Alexandria Stromateis 1.104), as was the historical battle at Mantinea (Plutarch On the Fame of the Athenians 7.350a). [361]
For this reason the tableau vivant (823–829) also evokes Homer in its diction. All in all, the Trojan War provided a generally recognized explanatory myth for the pyrrhikhê, which Neoptolemos-Pyrrhos was thought to have instituted. Troy is supposed to have been destroyed by this dance, the so-called Trojan leap. [362] This spectacular dance with weapons was performed in Athens at the Panathenaia by choruses that represented the three age-classes of men, not their phylai. [363] This qualifies it as a time-honored ritual reaching back to before the reforms of Kleisthenes. Like many ritual actions, the pyrrhikhê is a highly complex and shimmering phenomenon which simultaneously conveys not only one but several meanings and to which justice cannot be done using simply one model of development. The main function of the dance appears to be preparation for war. This type of weapons dance clearly accompanied the transition of the male youth to adulthood, and represents a ritual practice that underscores in festive mode the rite de passage of initiation at puberty. [364] Beside being performed by choruses, this dance may also be performed by solo dancers and by women. In a panhellenic context the occasion of the dance is not limited to festivals in honor of Athena, but also plays a role at festivals of Dionysus and Artemis. Apart from Pyrrhos, it is the polis goddess Athena who is credited in Athens with the invention of the pyrrhikhê, but Zeus, Artemis, the Kouretes, Dioskouroi, satyrs, and Amazons are also involved. What links this ambivalent spectrum of references is clearly an initiation ritual for male and female youth, who by means of mimetic and acrobatic movements prepare themselves for adulthood, that is, for war and marriage. [365] Visual representations of performers of this dance show mostly naked or lightly clothed male or female dancers who, arrayed only in a helmet and carrying a shield in the left hand, a javelin or spear in the right, take up wild offensive and defensive positions. They protect themselves and jump up, swinging their shields up and down above their heads and brandishing their spears.
In Athens Athena herself represents the divine model, since in paradoxical fashion she combines these male and female signifiers simultaneously in her own person. [366] She forms both the aition of the pyrrhikhê and the divine center of the sequence of rites that stretch from the Arrhephoria up to the Panathenaia and that relate to the turn of the year. In a tradition that is attested in Lucian and that probably goes back to the fifth century BCE, the birth of the goddess is tied to this dance. Hephaistos, who facilitated this birth from Zeus’ skull by means of an axe, in a conversation with Zeus explains the event, saying that she jumped out dancing the pyrrhikhê and swung her shield and shook her spear like one possessed (Lucian Dialogues of the Courtesans 13 [8], 17–18: ἡ δὲ πηδᾷ καὶ πυρριχίζει καὶ τὴν ἀσπίδα τινάσσει καὶ τὸ δόρυ πάλλει καὶ ἐνθουσιᾷ). [367]
The ecstatic dance movement with its jerking back and forth of objects might also form the background for our image (Thesmophoriazusae 819–829). The spear in the right hand “has been lost” (ἀπόλωλεν, 825) and the shield in the left hand “has been cast away” (ἔρριπται, 829) because the movements of the weapon dance have perhaps been too violently carried out by many male ephebes, as opposed to the way the women perform it. In a fragment from Pherekrates’ Kheiron (fragment 155, especially 8–12 K.-A.), Kinesias is personally charged by Music with having perverted “and so destroyed” it (ἀπολώλεχ’ οὕτως, 10) that in his dithyrambs, “as in his shields” (καθάπερ ἐν ταῖς ἀσπίσιν, 11), left seems right to him. Perversion in connection with the notion of the shield-abandoner here implies a loss. [368] The ambivalence of gender roles (which, as has been seen, also describes the theme of the Thesmophoriazusae) and the interplay of male and female signs, of weapons and weaving instruments, as well as the paradoxical connection of war, birth, and marriage, are made concrete in the goddess Athena. As arms-bearing virgin, she stands between the strictly defined social roles of man and woman. As warrior goddess, she is responsible for the initiation of the male youth. As permanent virgin, she is simultaneously, like Artemis, symbol of women in transition from maiden to mother, which the participants in the Thesmophoria as νύμφαι also experience. Both male and female youth on the threshold of adult status may be represented as human reflections of the polis goddess.
As with all rites de passage, the initiation ceremonies also proceed along the lines of van Gennep’s three-phase model. After the obligatory separation from the normal world, the initiates undergo a time of transition until they reach the stage of reintegration into society in a new social identity. The stage of marginality is characterized by a fundamental reversal, or mixing, of the gender roles. In the period of transition men demonstrate female types of signification and behave contrary to the male, hoplite code of honor, in that they retreat to the periphery and live according to the rules of ambush (λόχος), theft, and deception (δόλος). Girls, conversely, temporarily assume masculine traits, exercise in athletic competition, and hunt in the wild. In myth Artemis and her retinue of nymphs reflect these modes of behavior. According to Callimachus’ hymn to Artemis (Hymns 3.237–247) the Amazons form themselves into cyclical choruses under the leadership of Hippo and perform weapon and shield dances, the so-called prylis, in honor of the goddess. [369] On the other hand, the mythical Kouretes (Callimachus Hymns 1.52) and male age-groups undergoing initiation put on quite similar dances.
In the phase of marginality both sexes, then, assume characteristics of what represents in each case the opposite. In contrast to the briefly experienced Other, the formation of a gender-specific social role identity is designed to be concluded in a symbolically definitive and impressive manner. Athena as goddess of war and weaving represents the mythical model of male and female youth in the liminal transition period of initiation, which Victor Turner describes as a “betwixt and between” condition. [370] In addition to their symbolic confrontation with the structural opposite, the boys and girls are of course simultaneously familiarized with their future role by means of ritual games and action. The girls practice their area of social responsibility as future housekeepers and mothers with woolworking and with introduction into feminine sexuality, while the youths have to concern themselves with the craft of war and athletic fitness.
The paradoxical arrangement in the Themophoriazusae of homonymous objects that describe the male as well as female sphere of action is thus taken from ritual practices in the real world. The chorus, in its role as women dancing at the Thesmophoria who retrospectively become maidens on the threshold of sexual maturity, consequently projects its presence onto other female choruses within the field of initiation. Weapon dances play with sexual ambivalence, which is reflected in the liminal state between (female) role and (male) function. [371] Reflexes of homonymous linguistic play with opposites is in fact something found in ritual. The pyrrhikhê builds on elements of the male and female λόχος, which may refer to ambush in war and the process of lying in and giving birth. [372] The festival of the Panathenaia in particular brings the two sexes together with the performances of male πυρρίχαι and affords an occasion for choosing a wife, a precondition for the birth of the next generation. [373] The images on Attic vases of maidens dancing the pyrrikhê, who are shown in the women’s quarter of the house and accompanied by a female aulos-player, represent a complex play of equivalences between the weapon dance, marriage, birth, and woolworking. [374] Women in the transition phase are associated with weapons; the Amazons, to whom the women in the Lysistrata refer, are the mythical exemplum of this. [375] In ritual, both in the vase paintings and in the compressed verbal image of the pnigos, one finds a hybrid network of heteronymous systems, a simultaneous overlapping of male and female signifiers. They are clearly designed both to express the liminal situation of the fluid transition between maidenhood and being fully a women and to refigure in symbolic fashion the preparation for marriage.
On the lid of a pyxis from the Kanellopoulos Collection in Athens dated to the fifth century BCE one finds, for example, the following configuration: [376] there is a column, clearly representing the interior of an oikos; from right to left one sees an unidentifiable object on the floor, perhaps a ball of wool, a seated female aulos-player, and a female dancer of the pyrrhikhê, practically naked save for coverings wrapped around her loins and breasts. She is armed with spear and shield, but the usual helmet is missing. Her hair is therefore visible, surrounded by a band. Then there is a woman, who is clearly watching the performance. Next to her is a kalathos for the wool, beside which another woman is kneeling. Finally, we see a winged Eros and a water bird. [377] The woolbasket and the Eros refer to domestic life and sexuality in the marriage, for which maidens prepare under the influence of Athena. Another image shows a female dancer of the pyrrhikhê, who completely resembles her model, Athena, with a female aulos-player, whose presence indicates that this is a performance; behind, the Parthenon is represented in miniature. [378] Paola Ceccarelli in her study of the pyrrhikhê refers to an extremely interesting parallel. A later commentary on Aristotle’s Rhetoric by the Byzantine grammarian Stephanus, probably written c. 1150 CE, mentions that apart from referring to the acrobatic weapons dance performed by soldiers “against and with swords,” pyrrhikhê also designates a “dance with the σπάθη at wedding games.” [379] Like the object named in the pnigos, σπάθη has a twofold meaning: it may mean either a sword with a long blade or a “flat wooden blade used by weavers in the upright loom (instead of the comb [κτείς] used in the horizontal), for striking the threads of the woof home, so as to make the web close.” [380] Athena as goddess of weaving and war is able to embrace this polarity in the pyrrhikhê. [381]
This passage especially illustrates the ambivalence of homonymous signs and the symbolic polysemy in the central tableau of the pnigos. Here, too, there are men and women who in their dance concern themselves with objects that bear the same name and come from the fields of weaving and warfare. The κανών corresponds to the σπάθη. “Those who dance at wedding games with a sword/weaving rod” (οἱ ἐν ταῖς γαμηλίοις παιδιαῖς παίζοντες μετὰ σπάθης) correspond to the comically described men in the makron (Thesmophoriazusae 824–829). After their successful initiation, women retain the objects that define their role. Men, however, give up the weaving instruments at the end of their dance, just as women give up the instruments of war. Only thus can the marriage they aspire to and the regulated education of the new generation in accordance with the idea of the Καλλιγένεια come about. But when men throw away the homonymous male instruments, then in terms of symbolic content they are men no longer, but are like women. The continued existence of the polis would also thereby be endangered. The structural similarity of the Athenian Thesmophoria and Amazon society, which is reenacted in the female pyrrhikhê, is described by Ken Dowden:
This same pattern is exhibited, for instance, by the Athenian Thesmophoria: breaking off of sexual contact; segregation of the sexes; establishment of magistrates by the women as they take up residence on the Pnyx (γυναικοκρατία). The Pnyx is not very far, either, from where the Amazons drew up their battle-lines—in front of the Areopagos, which mediates between Pnyx and Acropolis. [382] The ambivalent construction of the pyrrhikhê and similar rites of transition also illuminates the comically distorted encroachment of women on the areas of politics and warfare that was discussed in the immediately preceding section and that in the case of the Lysistrata defines its plot. [383] Σπάθη has yet a third connotation. It is used synonymously with the word πλάτη, which refers to the broad, lower end of an oar (Lycophron Alexandra 23). Oarblades have a close connection to the parabasis of the Thesmophoriazusae, as we have seen. Immediately before this, the relative mentions them, playing on Euripides’ Palamedes (770–773), but has to make do with sacred tablets from the sanctuary. [384] Just as the man in his imitation of a woman would like to cast a πλάτη into the sea, and finally does so, but using a different piece of wood, so too in the pnigos the chorus sings of men who lose their σπάθη, while women keep theirs safe.
The poet thus harnesses the symbolic polysemy of the pyrrhikhê and the objects that are swung during its performance. In the pnigos the members of the chorus in their role or the chorus leader alone reaffirm the ambivalence of women at the Thesmophoria, [385] who as νύμφαι reexperience the initiatory transitional stage. Standing between the worlds of man and woman, the members of the chorus may have imitated a weapon dance with their gestures and movements. The mixing of male and female realms, the comic theme of the whole Thesmophoriazusae, is underscored by the conscious blending in of the external communications context. Behind the female masks and costumes it is male performers who emerge and who in the pnigos sing of polyvalent objects. Possibly these were shaken in the air by some members of the chorus at the same time as the orgiastic movements of the pyrrhikhê. As Dionysiac group they simultaneously become Dionysiac dancers of the pyrrhikhê, a kômos of wild dancers, whose spears may be associated with the thyrsos or phallus. [386] By means of the pointed reference to the shield the tableau may have triggered in the audience’s mind a memory of the well-known kômoi of parasol-dancers depicted on contemporary vases. The Dionysiac performers, who overlay their male identity with feminine accessories and who through wine, dance, and music transport themselves into the ambivalent condition of otherness, [387] emerge from their female dramatic role, which is conversely overwritten with male signs. In this ambiguous border region of the contradictory definition of gender roles, role and function overlap in a comic way.
The ambivalent sign of the sunshade is connected, as has been seen, both with the Skira and with the Panathenaia, which has connections to the former. Aristophanes also draws on this symbol in the Birds. The Titan Prometheus approaches Peisetairos with a σκιάδειον to tell him the secret of how to depose Zeus. He asks him to hold the parasol over his head so that he may not be seen by Zeus (Av. 1508–1509). [388] He then takes up the parasol again and sets off, in order to give Zeus the impression that he is an attendant holding the parasol for a Kanêphoros at the Panathenaia (Birds 1550–1551). [389] In this scene one can recognize the rhythm of the Athenian cycle of the new year, and one sees the following elements in a comic reworking: the procession under the canopy at the Skira; the temporary inversion of the world; the threat to the Olympian cosmos; [390] the Promethia as model for the bringing of the new fire to the Panathenaia; finally, the return to order at the great festival of Athena accompanied by the victory over the Titans. [391] Immediately before this parasol scene, in a song (Birds 1470–1493) in which the chorus of birds tells of the wonders seen on its flights, the Kleonymos tree, which loses its shields, and an exchange of blows with Orestes, the ephebe par excellence, are at the center. Prometheus, like Kleonymos and Orestes, acts with cunning and in the dark, in a marginal world of fantasy and the horror of the realm of shadows. These sign complexes express the symbolically comparable transitions of the new year and initiation. Kleonymos also seems to lose his shield in a weapon dance (Birds 1481). [392] Orestes, who is here comically confounded with the contemporary clothes-thief of the same name (Birds 712), operates, as in Euripides’ Andromache, by lying in ambush in the dark and, like Prometheus, under something that provides shade (cf. Euripides Andromache 1115, σκιασθείς); [393] whosoever encounters the hero Orestes at night is surprised by a blow to his right side and stripped naked. The formulation in Greek γυμνὸς ἦν πληγεὶς ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ | πάντα τἀπὶ δεξιά (Birds 1492–1493) is reminiscent of a possible duel in the pyrrhikhê. The initiate fights naked, as does the dancer of the pyrrhikhê, during the phase of marginality and with his shield attempts to ward off the spearthrusts of his opponent by lunging to the left and right. But Orestes still hits him on the right, all over his side. [394] The catalogue of elements that the ritual and festival prescribe for the polis reflects the whole span of disintegration and refoundation from the Skira to the Panathenaia. The decomposition and restoration of fertility at the Thesmophoria, which has to do with agriculture and human sexuality, are thematically enriched by references to the upcoming festival cycle, which synchronizes the three paradigms of agriculture, initiation, and new year. The temporary return to the stage of being a girl on the threshold of adulthood is connected with the Skira, Arrhephoria, and Panathenaia, at which young men and women are confronted with initiation rites. Overcoming the period of inversion is the goal of the ritual complexes. The marginal phase of separation culminates in the unification of both sexes. At the Panathenaia the completion of the girls’ and boys’ initiation is celebrated by a meeting of choruses at which contacts arise that lead to marriage, the ultimate goal. The temporary isolation of the sexes at the Thesmophoria and the playing out of a primeval gynokratia that threatens the world of men come to a conclusion with the Kalligeneia and the reinstatement of the normal order and with the return of women to their oikos. They are underscored by the above-mentioned rites from the realm of Athena, which structurally anticipate the Thesmophoria.
The key themes of the play—the absence of role identity, the marginal area between man and woman, the phenomena of transvestism and mimesis, as well as the dissolution of order—are illuminated by means of further rites drawn from the real world. The Thesmophoriazusae reflects the central questions of the polis ideology, which are also dealt with in ritual. The reversal of all codes in ritual play and the chaotic mixing up of all structures are preconditions for coming to know the prevailing values and norms. Under the auspices of Dionysus, at whose spring festivals the normal world also becomes perverted, the polis enacts the critical transitions of new year, harvest time and change of status in summer (June to August), and the decisive turning-point in autumn, when the sowing of crops determines hunger or nourishment, death or survival. [395]
On the basis of these heortological connections, the invocation of gods such as Athena, Poseidon, Artemis, Pan, the Nymphs, and Hera—who at first glance have little to do with Demeter and Kore, the controlling deities of the Thesmophoria—becomes understandable. Athena and Poseidon are connected with these goddesses at the Skira. [396] The central position afforded Athena next to Demeter and Kore is not explained solely by her function as polis deity par excellence. Up until now the mention of her name has generally been seen only in connection with the overlapping of male and female discourses, in which the chorus of women assume a political position as popular assembly. The political intervention of the chorus as male group of performers in the here and now has also been discussed in this chapter. [397] Yet Athena is also of central importance from a cultic and inner-dramatic point of view, since she, like Artemis (though the latter is situated on the periphery, unlike Athena), as eternal and armed virgin represents the initiatory model for girls (and youths) during the transition to marriage. [398] Weaving and choral dance are preparations for married life, which is ritually celebrated in the Thesmophoria, during which mothers would temporarily experience the ambivalent transition phase in an imaginary sense. [399] The swaddled baby Erichthonius as rebirth of the dead Erechtheus is the mythic exemplum for the male initiate who attains manhood at the Panathenaia. The rite of the Arrhephoria is in symbolic play form a representative initiation of prepubescent girls into the mysteries of sexuality and agriculture. The Erichthonius baskets form the model for the plant beds through which the functions of sowing, harvest, procreation, and birth are experienced in a preparatory fashion. [400] These contents are then confirmed by the married women at the Thesmophoria. It is thus not surprising that the last song of the chorus in the Thesmophoriazusae (1136–1159) is directed at Athena and the goddesses of the Thesmophoria, for Athena also has connections with marriage. When a girl married, at the Proteleia she was taken one more time by her parents to the Acropolis, where they would perform a sacrifice for Athena. [401]

The Helen and Andromeda Paratragôidia and the Subsequent Plot from an Initiatory Perspective

In the previous section we examined how the plot depends on a development that leads, in harmony with the fictional framework of the separation of the sexes and their undefined condition, to the unification and reestablishment of the differentiation of roles. After the parabasis, the relative attempts to escape from his hopeless situation by an imitation of the Euripidean Helen, because he thinks that the successful rescue of this heroine by Menelaos from the hands of the Egyptian barbarian Theoklymenos may serve him as a plan of action. He therefore takes on her role in order to be brought to safety by her husband, a role which Euripides plays. This richly comic scheme, reminiscent of the cunning of an initiate, [402] ultimately has to fail, like the relative’s attempt to be rescued by staging the situation of the Andromeda. The intertextual interplay of quotations from the two Euripidean tragedies, which were performed a year previously, in 412 BCE, has a parodic effect, the comic side of which has been thoroughly explored. [403]
The ritual implications of these two parodies, however, have so far only been analyzed to a small extent; Froma Zeitlin has referred to the connection of ritual and drama in the Thesmophoriazusae in an important study in which she outlines to what extent the two tragedies can be related in terms of their deep structure to the two goddesses important for the Thesmophoria, Demeter and Persephone. [404] The transformation of the figure of Helen into faithful wife is especially connected to the ideology of the Thesmophoria, and here Zeitlin introduces as evidence the explicit connections between Helen and Persephone (Euripides Helen 175, 244ff.) and the blending of the central myth of Demeter and Kore into the choral song addressed to the Great Mother (Helen 1301–1368). [405] She notes that Andromeda especially underscores the theme of the maiden Kore. As far as can be determined from Zeitlin’s nuanced presentation—she reads the comedy as well as its mythical background mainly as an expression of marginality, as a metatheatrical or even metaritual statement about the threshold between festival and theater, Dionysus and Demeter, tragedy and comedy, man and woman—she does not draw any clear connection to the transitional phase between maidenhood and womanhood in female initiation rites. [406] The construction of the Aristophanic plot has an effect, as we have seen, not only on the central myth, which is connected with the ritual in the plot, but, as in the other comedies, further mythical and ritual references arrange themselves about the center. In associative fashion individual elements are isolated, reassembled, and linked to a complex plot.
In what follows the theme of the threshold state, so important for the Thesmophoriazusae, will be connected with the liminal state in the ritual process of female and male initiation. This critical phase becomes, as we have seen, a Leitmotiv in this comedy, since the married women project themselves back to their former status of nymphai. In the tableau vivant of the parabasis (821–829) the chorus strikingly realizes these connections in the form of image and dance.
As long as Euripides’ relative as comic hero is provided with the external signs of the female sex, he is located in a transitional stage between clearly defined roles. He may be compared metaphorically with Erichthonius, the ephebe par excellence, whose rite de passage is connected with the ceremonies under discussion and is concluded at the Panathenaia. [407] The mortal dangers, torments, and enchainment comically reenact the symbolic death of the initiate and his rebirth as fully adult man; on the level of myth it is thus possible to associate the relative’s fate with the death of Erechtheus and his renewal as Erichthonius.
In order to be able to infiltrate the women’s festival, the man has to put on women’s clothing. Yet this mimesis, as in the case of the comic chorus, is further complicated. While playing this additional role the performer remains present for the audience in the original role. Agathon, who rejects the defense of Euripides, although as effeminate figure he would be suited for this, combines male and female indications, like the hero after his dressing-up scene. The question the astonished relative asks in reaction to the appearance of Agathon, “What on earth have a mirror and a sword to do with each other?” (τίς δαὶ κατόπτρου καὶ ξίφους κοινωνία; 140), is of importance for the image under discussion in the parabasis (821–829). The combination of objects corresponds exactly to the paradoxical combination of the sexes. In this line (140) the general state of liminality in this comedy is condensed into a symbol through these two contrary objects.
This motif emphasizes the liminality of the transition from youth to adulthood in what follows. The married relative leaves wife and child behind and assumes Agathon’s womanly accessories in order to play his female role. In so doing, he resembles Agathon and young men undergoing initiation, who in the phase of separation from their previous condition decorate themselves with both male and female signifiers. In this way he also resembles structurally the women celebrating the Thesmophoria, who, conversely, as married women project themselves back to the transitional phase of being a bride and thereby also temporarily combine elements of male and female discourse.
The feminine saffron-colored robe, a ritual tunic designed to emphasize the beauty and sexual radiance of the young woman with its dazzling color, here plays an important role. The beautiful and alluring costume stands therefore in diametric contrast to the precept of chastity, to which the virgins are subjected in accordance with the expectations of the men. The κροκωτός thus symbolizes a profound sexual ambivalence and the condition of abnormal inversion. [408] The relative receives the κροκωτός of Agathon (253; cf. 138), who according to Hansen and Zeitlin is celebrating a private Thesmophoria. [409] In accordance with its ritual polysemy this yellow garment characterizes Mnesilokhos as a follower of Demeter, as a girl in the service of Artemis Brauronia, and as a fellow Dionysiac player. [410]
In this passage, however—and contrary to the approach of Zeitlin and Bowie—it is the aspect of preparation for marriage and the motif of the initiatory isolation of prepubescent girls at Brauron that should in particular be emphasized. This sojourn on the periphery of Attica in honor of Artemis goes hand in hand with the representative initiatory service of the two Arrhê-phoroi on the Acropolis. In the famous section of the parabasis in Lysistrata 642–647, both these cults are combined with other rites involving young girls. The service of a girl who is there called ἀλετρίς evokes Demeter and the Thesmophoria, the goal of female fertility, and once more indicates the structural connection between preparation for marriage and revisiting of this transitional phase at the Thesmophoria. [411]
After the relative has been revealed as a male intruder, he then, as a man dressed in the feminine krokôtos, plays the role of two Euripidean heroes, Telephos and Oiax, in order to induce Euripides to intervene. But Euripides does not react to this. He is obviously waiting for a signal from a female figure, seeing that it is female figures who determine the action in his romantic rescue tragedies.
The chorus at this point performs its parabasis, in which the position of the women is laid out. The central tableau vivant paradoxically combines the male and female realms in the dance of the pyrrhikhê. It is only after this that the comic hero tries out his imitation of Helen (τὴν καινὴν Ἑλένην μιμήσομαι, 850) because he becomes aware of his feminine attire (γυναικεία στολή, 851). In Euripides’ version she is the epitome of the faithful wife. Because of her abduction by Paris she has become separated from her husband, Menelaos. For ten years she lives a life of chastity in Egypt, while her eidôlon, the symbol of a wicked and lascivious woman, resides in Troy. The relative responds to the ideology of the Thesmophoria through this splitting up and separation of the negative component of the female. He has been asked previously in the assembly why it is that Euripides enjoys putting female monsters like Phaidra or Melanippe on the stage, but never figures like the chaste Penelope as we know her from Homer (547–548; cf. also the misogynous reply at 549–550). Yet even a Penelope has her negative side, for in another tradition she is characterized as a hetaira and prostitute. [412] The women naturally prefer to remain silent about this.
With his Helen, Euripides placed just such an exemplary wife in the center, completely brushing away all her morally questionable characteristics in the mythic tradition. Theoklymenos states after the intervention of the Dioskouroi that Helen is without doubt the best and purest woman (ἀρίστης σωφρονεστάτης θ’ ἅμα, Euripides Helen 1684) and presents an extremely noble mind (εὐγενεστάτης | γνώμης, Euripides Helen 1686–1687). Both Penelope and Helen, whom the relative now embodies, thus correspond precisely to the ideal of the married women at the Thesmophoria, who refer to themselves as “well-born women” (εὐγενεῖς γυναῖκες, Thesmophoriazusae 330). [413] Her ambivalent appearance on the stage and in life is determined by, among other things, the male perspective. In completely similar fashion to Penelope in Homer’s Odyssey, Helen is purified by Euripides and stylized into an incarnation of all that is pure and positive, while the tragic poet projects the objectionable part of the Helen figure onto a phantom-like false double.
Helen is not only a reflex of Persephone, the main figure in the central mythologeme of the Thesmophoria, but also a heroine responsible in Spartan cult for the initiation of young girls, which Euripides also emphasizes in his tragedy. [414] At the end of the play, the chorus in a propemptikon imagines Helen after her return to Sparta. In its vision, she dances a nocturnal dance with the Leukippidai, who also represent a model of female youth just before marriage, [415] and Hyakinthos, in front of the temple of Athena Khalkioikos. Here the members of the chorus in typical fashion project their own current activity onto the Spartan ritual choral dance (Euripides Helen 1465–1470). Helen is connected in the rite with the festive marriage of girls, with which the critical transition phase of the ritual process of initiation comes to a successful end. The telos of the days of the women’s festival and the choral dances at night in the month of Pyanopsion also represents marriage and the confirmation of marriage as cultural institution. Just like the women at the Thesmophoria, Helen thus unites the condition of the married woman and the young bride just before marriage.
The same semantic ambiguity also marks the relative: he is married and only temporarily separated from his wife, yet returns to the liminal state of initiation when he assumes his role. This marginal state together with the assumption of feminine markers predestines him for the role of Helen. [416] In view of the lack of so-called illusion, the relative oscillates between various identities. The spectator is confronted with a mise en abyme that has mimesis in the theater as its theme. As Helen, the relative becomes a player who is yet one step further removed from the staged reality of the Thesmophoria plot, which is why Kritylla refuses to play along in the role of Theonoe and the rescue ultimately fails. [417] The removal of the separation of the sexes and the bringing together of man and woman as goal of the festival of Demeter cannot be achieved here since the assembly of the ritual, which is articulated along structurally similar lines, does not correspond to the comically enacted reworking thereof. Ultimately it emerges that this Helen is a man. The point of the joke lies in the fact that in this second level of tragic mimesis the tension between the male identity of an actor and the female identity of the role also remains constantly present.
The scene imitates the recognition of a separated married couple. The successful rescue of the “wife” would correspond to a new wedding. Despite the failure of the plan on the level of the comic plot, the successful end of the comedy, which has to coincide with the end of the ritual in the fictional context, is already being prepared for. As the embodiment of seductive beauty, Helen stands, as do the women at the Thesmophoria and the relative, between Artemis, goddess of the liminal transitional phase, and Aphrodite, Hera, and Demeter, the goddesses of consummated marriage. [418]
The scene is rudely broken off by the entry of the prytanis summoned by Kleonymos, who orders his Scythian policeman-henchman to fasten the offender to a wooden board and to guard him. This intervention reflects the interest of the polis in having the course of the festival undisturbed. Kritylla applauds this intrusion by the state and comments that an ἀνὴρ . . . ἱστιορράφος (934–935) almost snatched the relative away from under her nose when she was watching over him. This man is Euripides, of course. The polysemy of this epithet has passed almost unnoticed. The scholia (schol. Thesmophoriazusae 935) connect it with Egypt, the setting of the Helen plot, where linen and papyrus were in fact produced. Euripides/Menelaos would accordingly be a miserable Egyptian. Van Leeuwen sees in this passage yet another comic allusion to the epithet μηχανορράφος. [419] Euripides’ μηχανή is paralleled by the μηχανή of the ephebe, who thereby himself becomes sewer/weaver. The “sail” in fact has ritual connotations as well, which allude to the weaving of the sail for the Panathenaia. Through his intrusion into feminine space Euripides is also brought under the spell of feminine signs. [420]
Even the relative’s plea to the prytanis to be tied to the board naked, as opposed to in his saffron costume, is not an incidental or unplanned touch (939–942). Rather, the theme of female intiation is thereby underscored through the mention of the ritual saffron-colored clothing, which becomes a key motif in the plot. [421] As has already been seen above, the saffron garment is a symbolic signal of the maiden in the transitional stage of becoming a woman, particularly in the cult of Artemis Brauronia. The sexually attractive clothing symbolically prepares the virgin for marriage and sexuality. [422] The end of the preparation and segregation phase of the Arkteia is marked by the celebratory throwing off of the garment. The act of presenting oneself naked indicates a definitive turning point in the life of the girl. At the same time, the surrendering of her body to her husband on the wedding night is thereby anticipated and practiced. [423] The relative’s plea to be bound naked is thus also a reference to the fact that he wishes to get past his transitional phase. When the prytanis refuses, the relative cries out in pointedly comic form, “O saffron clothing, what have you done! There is no longer any hope of rescue!” (945–946). Only the taking off of the garment would have represented a sign that the time of marginality, suffering, and testing could soon come to an end. Only as bride could this “Helen” have been snatched away to Sparta by her “Menelaos.” The intervention of the prytanis and the Scythian prevents the successful transition to marriage, which would have amounted to being rescued from a precarious situation. The Helen theme is often presented with particular emphasis on the bodily level, [424] and for this reason the comic playwright dwells on this point. Helen’s naked body was believed to have a completely disarming effect: her husband Menelaos is said to have dropped his sword at the sight of her naked breast (Aristophanes Lysistrata 155–156 and Euripides Andromache 629–630). [425] The refoundation of the marriage partnership is thereby alluded to. In terms of the plot of our play Menelaos must of course not be moved to return to his “spouse.” Rather, Kritylla and the entry of the prytanis stand in the way of the “married couple.” The relative as Helen thus would dearly have loved to have disarmed the power of the state, the Scythian policeman in particular, with the removal of his dress in order to ensure the transition to marriage. The comedy of the situation of course lies in the fact that in addition to the feminine marker of the krokôtos and mitra the previously concealed phallus is clearly visible. [426] The interruption of the scene by the entry of the chorus (947–1000) underlines the anchoring of the comic hero in the time and space of the ritual festival of the Thesmophoria. The song serves not merely, as is the case with tragic songs, as a method of structuring and of condensing time; rather, the context is symbolically focused once more on the Leitmotiv of initiation. [427] Through their dance the members of the chorus intensify their reenacted marginal condition of women undergoing initiation. The relative with his saffron garment is thus part of the whole: he also symbolically becomes a “maiden” on the threshold of marriage, which would be the outcome of his rescue. While carrying out this dance the chorus members (both male and female, depending on role and function) change from enemies to companions in this critical transition. [428] After the choral dance song, the relative, bound to a plank, stands at the center together with the Scythian. The arrangement gives Euripides the idea of now rescuing the relative with the help of his Andromeda, also performed in 412 BCE. According to this scheme, the shackled relative in saffron gown corresponds to Andromeda, the Scythian to the sea monster, and the tragic poet to the hero Perseus. [429]
Yet even this paratragôidia is not simply defined by the external situation. As in the case of the Helen, the Andromeda is in turn chosen for its symbolic mythical content, which clarifies the condition of the comic protagonist. Since he is not allowed to remove his krokôtos, he once again plays a virgin in transition to becoming a married women. The entire staging of this tragedy is clearly based on the model of a female initiation. Ethiopians, like Egyptians, represent a barbarian no-man’s-land, the landscape of marginality. The borderline situation immediately preceding marriage is dramatized by the deadly threat of the barbarian, who corresponds to Hades in the case of Kore. The potential disaster develops the idea of death and rebirth in initiation, which mythically represent change of status. Perseus/Euripides plays the role of the bridegroom who falls in love with the virgin and wants to marry her. [430] It is thus also important that in this scene we do not simply have a literary parody; Aristophanes incorporates the text in his comedy because of its symbolic content. Modern research on parody indicates that this is never a one-way process designed to denigrate the text being parodied, but that both texts, both the parodying and the parodied, mutually illuminate each other and stand in a productive dialogue with each other that provokes laughter. [431] The intertextual reading of one discourse in another engenders an open attitude of perception. The concept of parody in this case needs to be expanded from a purely literary one to a cultural phenomenon. The integration of the Helen and the Andromeda is effective for the very reason that as symbolically similar actions they are able to illuminate in a comically distorted manner the crisis-prone stituation of the hero in the liminal phase of initiation. [432] The relative’s monody arranges the elements of the Andromeda next to the actual situation, and the comedy and the tragic action of the virgin thus become merged into a unity. All in all, Mnesilokhos here glides back and forth completely freely between his new role and his actual situation, so that the fluctuating assumption of male and female gender in grammatical terms is in no way synchronized with this. [433] The impression thereby arises of a comic, uncoordinated, triply-encoded, and mutually connected, while at the same time chaotic, juxtaposition of two roles, behind which the actual player remains present. The comic hero thus only partially assumes the role of the girl. Behind the imperfect, theatrical imagining the male identity continues to shine through, just as the chorus also switches between their plot-internal role and their plot-external function.
The lament about the suffering inflicted by her relatives (συγγόνων, 1039) and the man who put her into the saffron robe [434] is extremely expressive (1036–1044). The krokôtos is emphasized with the deictic pronoun as costume of the here and now (κροκόεν τόδ’, 1044). Perseus/Euripides, in his later conversation with the Scythian in the presence of the relative, in turn problematizes in a metafictional fashion the phenomenon of mimesis (1098ff.). Because of the interplay of the two discourses, the person he speaks to is both Andromeda and Mnesilokhos. Within the Andromeda plot Euripides addresses him as “virgin” (ὦ παρθέν’, 1110). For the Scythian, who, like Kritylla before him, will not be drawn into this game without illusion, it is only the real dimension that counts. He says the person being addressed is no virgin, but rather an old sinner, a crook, and a scoundrel (1111–1112), to which Euripides retorts that she is Andromeda, daughter of Kepheus (1113). The Scythian then in a comically factual manner uses the primary sex-marker, the relative’s dangling phallus, as proof for his argument (1114). The contrast between tragic plot and comic disillusionment gives rises to laughter. In any case, the failure of the Euripidean scheme is once more ensured. Euripides continues in the role of Perseus. He claims to have been seized by love for the virgin, and expresses his wish to lie down with her on the bridal and marriage bed (πεσεῖν ἐς εὐνὴν καὶ γαμήλιον λέχος, 1122). [435] This would mean marrying her and successfully overcoming the transition stage. Thus if the Scythian were to agree to the request, then Euripides would be allowed to release the bride from her chains and saffron robe and take her home. This would mean the successful rescue of the relative.
But the Scythian does not play along with the staging of the Andromeda. In his eyes, the advances of Euripides remain simply weird and tragic-sounding nonsense. When Euripides attempts to untie his beloved, he intervenes. Like the audience, he perceives the two actors as actual, male performers. Since Euripides declares his love for the prisoner, the barbarian guard interprets this on the level of pure reality in the here and now as a homosexual relationship, which he does not want to stand in the way of. He says he can certainly turn the man around and tie him to the plank with his head facing toward it; or in a pinch, he will even allow Euripides to drill a hole through the wood so that he can service his lover from behind (1119–1120, 1123–1124). The audience would certainly have broken into hearty laughter at these coarse remarks. Still, these are not just dirty jokes pandering to the tastes of simple folk, but actually intensify the message on the symbolic level. Because of the women’s clothing and the apparently pederastic relationship, the relative is simultaneously equated to a young man in the liminal phase of initiation. Euripides becomes in the eyes of the Scythian the ἐραστής, and the relative his ἐρώμενος. In fact, in terms of the Spartan context introduced into the immediately preceding scene of the Helen parody, this homosexual relationship becomes understandable. In an epoch-making work on pederasty in Sparta, Erich Bethe emphasizes that the physical relationship between ἐραστής and ἐρώμενος played an important role and should be interpreted in the context of initiation rites, which represent a precondition for entry into the world of the hoplite society of adult males. [436] The connection between a twenty- to thirty-year-old man and twelve- to twenty-year-old youth constituted an institutionalized relationship and formed a part of the agôgê, which structured the system of age-classes on symbolic and ritual basis. At age thirty a Spartan could marry and only then would he receive citizenship. If one considers the relative in terms of his male identity, then he, just like the adult women at the Thesmophoria, is temporarily transported, in a symbolic and ritual act, back to the threshold situation of young people before marriage. It is only at the conclusion of the Thesmophoria and toward the end of the comedy, which for its part is based on ritual structures of action, that the women, as well as the men, turn back to their usual socially defined role relationships and the separation of the sexes is removed.
Reference has already been made to how the relative and the chorus resemble each in terms of their status as nymphai, which is also comically mediated via the figure of Echo. [437] This connection deserves a closer look. In contrast to the previous Helen stratagem, which is separated from the Andro-meda parody by the great choral dance song (947–1000), it is here particularly remarkable that the relative now comes into contact with the chorus as Andromeda. This happens because of the reading in of parts of the Euripidean text, which in this passage originally consisted of an interchange in song between the heroine and the chorus composed of virgins. In particular, the words uttered at the beginning of the monody, φίλαι παρθένοι, φίλαι (1015), are not simply integrated into the comic text for the pure fun of the process of intertextuality. This typical address to the tragic chorus shows a close emotional connection between Andromeda and the maidens who accompany her. [438] In mutually interconnected encoding of the parody the base text also has meaning in the new situation. The relative turns to the members of the chorus, who in terms of the ideology of the festival reactualize in mimetic fashion, as does he, the state of παρθενία. Zeitlin differentiates between two levels of audience in this parodic game: the Scythian, on whom it has no effect, and the nearby chorus, who is perhaps even pleased by it, since it is subsequently very quick to make peace with Euripides. [439] The chorus thus acts here once more as a kind of “inner spectator” in comparison to the audience in the theater, which also enjoys the comic virtuoso interlude. The Euripidean text enters into a reciprocal tension with the situation in the comedy. Up until now, the chorus was hardly “dear and trusted,” but was downright hostile to the relative. Through his presentation of the exemplarily chaste Helen of Euripides’ tragedy the relative approximates the chorus’ disposition more and more closely. Andromeda, another exemplary maiden on the threshold of marriage, once again constitutes a mythical reworking of the ambivalent and critical situation of the change of status from maiden to married woman, something that the members of the chorus must also undergo in the ritual of the Thesmophoria. The relative’s address to the chorus thus sets out their commonality and tries to enlist sympathy. For the relative, the successfully completed rite de passage means that he can go home again to his wife (1020–1021). The women also strive for the telos of the festival, namely reunification with their husbands. The paradoxical situation of diametrical opposition simultaneously combined with congruity provokes laughter. Even the addressee of the “you” (sing.) form (1018, 1020, 1029) remains undetermined, and could refer equally well to Euripides, the Scythian, and the chorus. Since on the one hand Euripides as winged Perseus has apparently just disappeared once more, perhaps in order to appear as Echo immediately afterward—his visual appearance remains completely unclear—and since on the other hand the Scythian has also left the stage at the time of the performance of the song to fetch a mat (1006–1007), the only actual person remaining to interact with is the chorus.
Against this background, the relative’s address, ὁρᾷς, οὐ χοροῖσιν οὐδ’ | ὑφ’ ἡλίκων νεανίδων (1029–1030), appears all the more absurd. Although he is standing right in front of the chorus, he says that he finds himself without the accompaniment of a chorus of maidens of the same age. [440] In the monody he is not of course accompanied by them in song, but he is standing in the orchestra right in their midst. The chorus members in their female identity are of approximately the same age as the maiden Andromeda, since the women are also presented as being transported back to their youth.
The chorus of maidens is in fact particularly à propos in the context of female puberty rites. Many heroines, Helen in particular, are abducted in the prime of their youth and from the dance circle of their contemporaries, which mythically reworks the crisis-ridden rite de passage of marriage. The χοροί have their institutional place in the life of young maidens. In the ritual activity of song and dance they take the step toward adulthood. [441] In any case, the comic Andromeda’s transition is to be unsuccessful, since the Scythian returns with his mat in line 1083 and confronts the stage Perseus.
The “basket” (κημόν, 1031) that the relative is missing in his monody is also quite ambivalently encoded. On the one hand κημός refers to the voting basket: “the notorious litigiousness of the Athenians merrily continues to assert itself παρ’ ὑπόνοιαν even in the face of fictitious death.” [442] This meaning, which is directed at the male hero as Athenian citizen, is partially overlaid by the connotations the basket has regarding woolworking (cf. 822), the central occupation of young maidens and women. [443] The paradoxical intertwining of a typically masculine and a typically feminine object (Hesychius even explicitly describes κημός as feminine ornamentation) graphically emphasizes the transgression of the boundaries of male and female gender identification during the transitional phases of initiation.
The relative’s command to lament for him is unambiguously directed at the members of the chorus (γοᾶσθέ μ’, ὦ γυναῖκες, 1036). They are now addressed as women, since they represent the period of youth only temporarily. Paradoxically, they are asked to represent the chorus whose absence he has only just pointed out. Through lament the women at the Thesmophoria are supposed to undertake the central function of the hymenaios, that is, dramatically accompany the rite de passage of wedding, a critical period for the bride, with songs of mourning. [444] The plea for sympathy directed at the women is comically undermined by the relative’s complaint that Euripides has sent him right into the sanctuary, in the midst of women (τόδ’ ἀνέπεμψεν | ἱερόν, ἔνθα γυναῖκες, 1045–1046). Elements both hostile and friendly to the chorus are thereby directly juxtaposed.
The Andromeda plan naturally also has to fail. Yet the chorus appears to move closer to its former enemy: for now the women call on Pallas Athena, first as παρθένον ἄζυγα κούρην (1139), to join the dance (1136ff.). It becomes more and more clear that escape from the entanglements can be achieved only through the chorus. The chorus in its interaction with the hero thus also takes on the dramatic role of mediator. [445] After the parabasis the chorus almost imperceptibly changes into a dance group that has as its model the initiatory choruses of real-life Greek ritual. Athena is the divine example for both Athenian maidens and ephebes. The chorus finally invokes her using the epithet κλῃδοῦχος (1142), “key-holder,” which should be interpreted not only politically, but also as having cultic implications. [446] In the Thesmophoriazusae Aristophanes brings together in associative fashion many rituals that have to do with the transition of young people to adult status, both within and without Athens, and embeds them in the context of the Thesmophoria. In his mimesis of Helen and Andromeda, who exemplify the figure of the young woman immediately before marriage, the relative comes close to the idea of the women celebrating the Thesmophoria, who in parodic play gradually assume the role of his guide. As Alcman describes in his Great Partheneion (fragment 1 Davies), the girl that awaits her wedding stands out in the chorus of her age-mates. This intrigue does not work in any direct fashion: rather, through the symbolic discourse of female initiation, the relative gradually becomes a kind of secret chorus leader without himself being aware of it.
For this reason even the chorus’ rapid coming to terms with Euripides immediately after the second hymn-like song (Thesmophoriazusae 1136–1159) does not come as quite the surprise it has generally been assumed to be. With the offer of peace, the end of the festival of inversion, mutual aiskhrologia, and division of the sexes are simultaneously agreed upon. Comedy and the Thesmophoria have in common a delight in abusive speech. After the failure of his tragic intrigues, Euripides now makes the women an offer: never again will he make them the victim of his defamatory speech (ἀκοῦσαι μηδὲν ὑπ’ ἐμοῦ μηδαμὰ | κακὸν τὸ λοιπόν, 1162–1163; οὐδὲν μή ποτε | κακῶς ἀκούσητ’, 1166–1167). But if the women do not release his relative from the plank, then he will continue his aiskhrologia against women. Once again, the actual cultic context is wittily played upon; Euripides again incorporates male suspicions about women separated from their husbands during the festival. As in the Lysistrata, the isolation of the women is explained by the fact that the men have left their families because of war. Therefore he finally utters the comic threat that if the women do not accept his offer, he will tell the men, as soon as they have returned from the campaign, what havoc the women have caused during the Thesmophoria (1167–1169). The chorus agrees to these conditions without much hesitation, partly out of fear and partly because its action in the orchestra has already prepared the way for the conclusion of this condition of inversion.
The overcoming of the separation of sexes and the liberation of the relative can be compared to marriage, the telos of initiation. The chorus calls on Athena in the immediately preceding song to come and bring “festival-loving peace” (εἰρήνην φιλέορτον, 1147). With this the end of the unstable phase of marginality, thoroughly comparable to an internal war, is simultaneously indicated. In Sparta, a young man who has successfully come through the ἀγωγή at the age of twenty is called an εἴρην. Hesychius associates the term with εἰρήνη, explaining that “peace” indicates the telos of male education. [447] The chorus in Alcman’s Great Partheneion (fragment 1 Davies) says (90–91) that “because of Hagesikhora the girls have set out on the path of lovely peace (ἰρ]ήνας ἐρατ[ᾶ]ς).” They approach this desired condition because they have learned correct behavior through contact with the chorus leader in dance and are thus on the way to passing successfully through the rite de passage. With the help of the χάρις that has accrued to them through the process they have undergone, they gain beauty as precondition for the goal of marriage. [448]
Euripides’ comic scheme has already been briefly explored in terms of its dance-related aspects. [449] We shall now look at them from an initiatory perspective. Through his participation in the Helen and Andromeda parodies, Euripides enters more and more into contact with the feminine realm, particularly since he actually enters the cult sanctuary of the Thesmophorion. It is noteworthy that Euripides, who up until this point has refused to put on women’s clothing, now assumes the female role of the procuress Artemisia, though without shaving off his beard.
After the Scythian has been duped, the relative can swiftly be freed of his chains. Euripides orders him to run off home like a man (ἀνδρικῶς, 1204) to his wife and children (1204–1206). [450] Return to married life may be compared to its renewal, which is also the ritual goal of the Thesmophoria. The relative probably casts off his saffron-colored robe as soon as he is freed; ambivalent sexual status, which was important in playing through the initiatory phase of youth, is thereby brought to an end. [451] Now the relative is once again a real man, and his escape proceeds without problem. His wife, from whom he has been separated over the course of the entire play, stands symbolically for all Athenian women who withdraw themselves from the οἶκος during the festival. Admittedly, the construction of the comedy avoids having a meeting between the relative and his wife in the Thesmophorion, and for this reason she is treated in the plot as having been at home all the while. Meanwhile, offstage, a sexual union takes place between the Scythian and the dancer. “Marriage,” the goal of the plot of Old Comedy and of the Thesmophoria, is here used dramaturgically for a successful outcome of the entanglement within the plot, in order to facilitate the relative’s return to his legitimate marital relationship.
When the Scythian returns to the stage from his sexual encounter, he looks for the prisoner and once again mentions his saffron-colored garment (1220). The barbarian cannot find him, because the clothing has been taken off. Moreover, the chorus, which has now completely gone over to the side of the men, sends him in the wrong direction; after the festival of inversion the women now subject themselves to the men once more.
Just like the women, the men now reclaim their sexual identity. Unmanly behavior is now projected onto the barbarian, whose stupidity causes much laughter. In the role of procuress Euripides relieves the Scythian archer of his quiver (συβίνη, 1197) as payment for the transaction with the dancer. The stranger, who up until now was the only real man, now behaves like the Athenian “shield-abandoners” previously criticized by the women (824–829). [452] Even so, a certain confusion in the code prevails right up until the conclusion; it is only at the end of the Dionysiac staging of inversion that is comedy that the festival, on which the plot of the play is based, is definitely over.
As we conclude this discussion of the Thesmophoriazusae we should take another look at the plot structure in order to reply to a criticism frequently made, namely that the lengthy middle section (210–1159) is ultimately senseless and superfluous from a dramaturgical point of view, especially since the third section (1160–1231) can be joined almost seamlessly to the introduction (1–209). First, as Möllendorff, for example, has recently put it, [453] it is Euripides’ intention to oppose the threatening judgment of the women. Yet he avoids sneaking into the women’s realm himself, because he is afraid of being swiftly revealed as a man (189–190). With Agathon’s refusal to put in a good word for him with the women, Euripides’ plans seem to have been shattered (209). It is only then that the relative presents himself. The main action in the plot, which revolves around the comic hero dressed as a woman, does not achieve its goal: the relative is also discovered. And the rescue attempts are also unsuccessful. But as soon as Euripides takes the matter into his own hands he manages forthwith, in an astonishing way, to conclude peace with the women on a long-term basis. The freeing of the relative is then just a small matter.
For critics who simply look at the syntagmatic structure, almost all of this comic to-ing and fro-ing revolving about the relative’s adventures seems unnecessary. This is the opinion of Wilhelm Süss, for example: [454] Who can doubt that all this could continue in this style for a good long while? But the play has to come to an end eventually, and it comes to a very surprising one. A very drastic and clumsy tactic: a girl sent by Euripides, who is dressed up as a procuress, manages to distract the policeman to such an extent that the rescue succeeds at long last. Of course, a precondition for this is the involvement of the women of the chorus in the plan. Surprisingly, this presents not the slightest difficulty after Euripides has agreed not to write anything nasty about them in exchange for their help in freeing his in-law. And in so doing Aristophanes has pulled the wool over his audience’s eyes.
If the two parties were so minded, they could easily have come to an agreement a lot sooner and avoided all this expenditure of malice.
In any retelling of the plot, in whatever form, one comes across these kind of “incongruities,” with which scholars have long struggled.
If one applies Rainer Warning’s analysis of comedy, one rightly sees that in this middle section we are dealing not so much with progress on the syntagmatic level, but with episodic and comic play on the paradigmatic level. [455] Meaning in what appears to be syntagmatically meaningless has been sought in literary parody, [456] in reflections on mimesis, [457] and in play with gender roles. [458] Finally, by applying poststructuralist theories some have seen that the “discursive state of boundaries” is a characteristic of this main part of the plot: the actual theme is accordingly polyphonic representation without any particular aim, that is, the simultaneous unfolding of polyphonic discourses in alternate agreement and disagreement. [459] The aim of this discussion has been to show that this rich middle portion of the play is not simply paradigmatic comic play, but also works in a symbolic, ritual, and performative fashion on the syntagmatic dimension of plot. The action of the comedy runs parallel to the course of the festival of inversion, the Thesmophoria, which imitates a rite de passage. At its center is the reversal of the male and female worlds in the liminal phase of transition. It is only at the festival’s end that one finds one’s way back to the normal order of things. What has rightly been called the threshold state, in particular the reversal and mixing of gender roles in the main part of the play, is thus not some kind of postmodern end in itself, but an expression of the transitional phase of initiation, which the festival of the Thesmophoria also reactualizes. It is played out paradigmatically in a ritual and symbolic way in order to make the conclusion understandable on a syntagmatic level by association. The ritual chorus supports the development of the plot, which in accordance with the tripartite model recalls separation from the given norm, the state of marginality, and the return to the normal order of things.
In this connection Michael Vickers’ interpretation—which focuses exclusively on the historical and on contemporary politics, and which I largely distance myself from because it seems highly contrived—here offers an interesting parallel to my ideas in terms of the carrying out of the plot. [460] His interpretation also proceeds on the basis of a syntagmatic connection between the parodies and the action of the play as a whole. His contention that the play must date to 410 [461] in order to incorporate the events of 411 is only tenable in any sense because Vickers takes a sequence of events, namely the critical return of a political leader to Athens from exile, that is only seemingly similar in structure and imposes this upon the ritual framework of the imitation of an initiatory rite de passage. In Mnesilokhos he sees a comic cipher of the effeminate Alcibiades. Vickers also treats Palamedes, Menelaos, Helen, and Andromeda as further aspects of this prominent personality, who as the target of the satire establishes a notional unity in this comedy. Between the Euripides interlude and the rest of the plot one may, according to his completely fantastic explanations, detect a syntagmatic connection. Euripides, according to Vickers, is targeted because he supposedly wrote material sympathetic to Alcibiades and appeared to collaborate with the oligarchy. [462] His role at the end reflects Peisandros’ efforts to bring Alcibiades over to the side of Athens. Mnesilokhos in chains and his tragic reflexes represent, says Vickers, Alcibiades at the court of the barbarian Tissaphernes, so that the play’s conclusion corresponds to Alcibiades’ hoped-for return to Athens. The modern historical prejudice of this interpreter sees in the Thesmophoriazusae an experimental playing through of politics. [463] Such an interpretation can of course hardly do justice to Old Comedy as ritual performance, even though this genre is certainly no stranger to political allusion. Vickers attaches contemporary references to the text in too one-sided a fashion, without paying attention to the symbolic world of images and the unfolding of a specific rituality in the course of the plot.

Mnesilokhos—Name as Program of Action

Once again I present my thesis as an alternative approach. At the center of the lengthy main section of the play (210–1159) stands the relative, who, dressed as a woman for his role, undergoes the puberty rites of a girl, but in terms of his male identity undergoes the initiation of an ephebe. [464] In this “betwixt and between” condition the comic hero is, significantly, nameless. [465] Anonymity is an expression of a critical transition, often associated with death and rebirth with a new identity. The familiar name Mnesilokhos is never used in the play itself and seems to have been bestowed by the scholiasts only at a later stage. [466] It is usually concluded that the scholiasts transferred this name to the relative from Euripides’ similarly named father-in-law. [467] Taking over an opinion already current in antiquity (scholia Thesmophoriazusae 74) many critics have therefore taken the view that the relative is identical with the father-in-law. This is in fact rather improbable, as Hiller showed, since the hero—particularly given the international audience at the Great Dionysia—would scarcely have been recognizable to all spectators simply on the basis of a portrait mask. Moreover, one would have to imagine a κηδεστής as being a man belonging to the same generation as Euripides. [468]
It is clear that some of the scholiasts call the relative Mnesilokhos simply on the basis of the Euripidean Vita. [469] The question is what kind of evidence led the Alexandrian compilers to do this. It is known that a playwright’s biography was mainly reconstructed from his work and from citations in other contemporary dramaturges. The Euripidean Vita in particular presents a hodgepodge of comic attacks against the tragedian as fact. It knows of two Mnesilokhoi: the one is Euripides’ father-in-law, father of his second wife, Khoirile (Vita 5 [5, 5 Schwartz]; cf. Vita 2 [2, 12 Schwartz]); his second son from this marriage is the actor Mnesilokhos (Vita 2 [2, 13 Schwartz]). The older Mnesilokhos, the father-in-law, is generally identified with the relative, since the title υἱός would otherwise have been used if the son were meant to have been identified with him. [470]
The biographers also seem to have taken the father-in-law Mnesilokhos simply from the Thesmophoriazusae. They could have proceeded on the following assumptions: they had in front of them reports from comedy, such as fragment 41 K.-A. of Telekleides, where in order to ridicule Euripides it is claimed that Mnesilokhos and many others helped the famous tragedian compose. This comic gossip they then incorporate as historical fact into the Vita (chapter 2 [1.10–2.2 Schwartz]) (συμπεποιηκέναι). Like the later scholiasts, they saw the connection with the Thesmophoriazusae. For in a transferred form here too the relative supports Euripides, who himself has no idea what to do. On the one hand he declares that he is ready, in place of Agathon, who refuses to help, to sneak into the women’s sanctuary in women’s clothing to undertake Euripides’ case there. On the other hand, the initiative for the attempt to rescue him with Euripidean parodies is also his. When Euripides at first does not react at all, he introduces the Helen and helps to realize the “reperformance” of the Helen and Andromeda within a comedy.
Following the biographical method he then becomes the father-in-law through the following thought-process: in the Thesmophoriazusae, the comic hero is described as a relative by marriage (κηδεστής); moreover, he enters with his little daughter. Aristophanes is perhaps reacting to ridicule from other comedians who gave her the name Χοιρίλη when he associates her with the piglet (289): the diminutive form Khoirile plays in particular on a colloquial term for the female genitalia, which perfectly suits the ritual humor of Old Comedy in general and the cultic context of the Thesmophoria in particular. [471] If the κηδεστής has a daughter who was eventually identified in grotesque fashion with Euripides’ wife, then, according to the type of reconstruction used in a vita, the relative by marriage, connected with the co-author Mnesilokhos, can only have been his father-in-law.
Aristophanes could thus quite possibly have had the intention in the Thesmophoriazusae of targeting Mnesilokhos, the generally known co-producer of Euripidean tragedies (Telekleides fragment 41 K.-A.), and of intertextually reworking the comic attacks of others. The genos compilers would accordingly seem to have grasped Aristophanes’ comic intentions very well. But the question immediately arises as to why he then avoids mentioning this name explicitly. A combination of two reasons suggests itself:
A prominent political figure among the oligarchs, who at the time of the production were preparing to launch a decisive blow against Kleisthenes’ constitution, had the same name. At the very beginning of the rule of the Four Hundred, a Mnasilokhos, one of their number, had the chairmanship for two months (411/10). [472] At a time that was extremely tense for the democracy, Aristophanes quite deliberately avoided naming the name directly in order not to anger its opponents any further and in order not to bring the current political climate to boiling point. Perhaps for this reason, too, possible references in the parodos to the threatening rule of tyrants were disguised in ritual garb to the point of being almost unrecognizable.
Above all, Aristophanes wanted to prevent the play from being understood as a political statement in the sense of taking up a position either for or against the oligarchy. The unequivocal connection with the powerful oligarch of this name would have destroyed his ritual game completely. Many associations were supposed to be detected, but in the comedy he wanted first and foremost to continue a favorite discourse about Euripides and against tragedy and at the same time bring to mind another Mnesilokhos.
Because of other comic performances many spectators were in a position to associate the relative with this name even without any name being used. As is well known, Greek poetics readily uses speaking names as program for action in the plot. [473] Comedy in particular is especially partial to this. [474] In this instance Aristophanes refrained from explicitly applying this dramaturgical device. Nevertheless, the plot, which is based on ritual complexes, is in continual etymological connection with Mnesilokhos. If the author really did have Mnesilokhos in mind when he composed the comedy, which is quite likely, then here he proceeds using implication and disguise. For the relative does indeed carry out an action as a μνησίλοχος—he is a comic hero who recalls, i.e. imitates in playful form, the time of the λόχος, the marginal phase of initiation that is marked by a mixture of masculine and feminine symbols. [475] On many occasions Aristophanes will not provide a character with a name immediately upon his first appearance, but will delay his naming up until a point when releasing the name will have a particular effect in the dramatic context. In the Thesmophoriazusae we have an exceptional case in which the anonymity of the hero is maintained over the entire course of the play, but in which the actual name of a historical figure is eventually alluded to. [476]
Certainly not everyone in the audience could have caught the possible play on the name Mnesilokhos and the subtle etymological humor. But the ritual dimension of this comedy was understandable to all original recipients. In the synaesthetic spectacle it will have been symbolically quite clear that the relative is undergoing a rite de passage. The hero, as woman in his second-level fictional role, and as man in reality, is retrojected into the conditions of the undifferentiated and inverted world of the transition. The chorus here helps, in particular in the tableau of the parabasis (821–829), to make this condition, which is expressed in the lokhos and in the pyrrhikhê, clear in symbolic fashion. The chorus also has a critical role in preparing the way for the return to normality.

Concluding Remarks on the Role of the Comic Chorus in the Thesmophoriazusae

The Thesmophoriazusae is thus not merely a literary representation, and still less is it about contemporary politics. Rather, against the background of the Euripidean parodies, the projection surface of an Attic festival, in which the female sex phylogenetically undergoes a primordial and precivilized stage and ontogenetically a threshold state between being a virgin and an adult woman, is used to handle the male identity of the Attic citizen in a playful fashion and as a comic and Dionysiac experience.
The chorus is given an important role in this. It is the bearer of the ritual ambiance, and it constructs the festive background on which the plot feeds. The collective interacts with the comic hero and with the audience. The chorus is thus above all a mediator. [477] In its function as Dionysiac chorus it speaks of its own activity, and thus self-reference as speech act underpins ritual dancing and the worship of all the gods of the polis. In its fictional role too, the chorus performs purely ritual tasks that the festival as context of the play predetermines. At the center here stands aiskhrologia and the hymn to the gods, which coincide with the comic chorus’ traditional function of praising and blaming, the complementary κακῶς λέγειν and εὖ λέγειν. [478] As fellow actor in the drama its speech is also often identical to its action. We have seen that in the Thesmophoriazusae in particular the comic chorus has a ritual nature, since its utterances are entirely translated into action and contain no general reflections or narratives. The construction of a ritual background and its speech against, about, and with the comic hero construct a syntagmatic connection with the structure of the plot, which is entirely based on a ritual model.
The realization that both the comic hero and the chorus of the Thesmophoriazusae reactualize the initiation of girls and youths in a ritual, symbolic, and multimedia spectacle contains an even deeper significance if one connects it with John J. Winkler’s thesis, already discussed in the Introduction, that the tragic chorus is equivalent to the initiatory experience of young men. [479] Gregory Nagy has performed a great service in modifying this initially surprising and controversial theory in Attic tragedy. According to the latter, the choral tradition, which can be connected very clearly with rites of initiation in the real world, was so radically monopolized by the polis theater that these practices can be found only as remnants in the fifth-century chorus. The theatrical chorus is thus not actually identical to ephebic service, but it notionally imitates in a ritual way a chorus of young men on the threshold of adulthood in the imagination of the presenter and recipients. The chorus members in the orchestra form a bridge to an audience that in its ideal composition consists of adult full citizens. In the performance the chorus mediates between the dramatic action and the spectator first by acting ritually as if it were in the ephebic transitional phase as citizen-to-be. Second, the members of the comic chorus in their function as actual dancers appear in all respects as full citizens, who as microcosm form a representative part of the polis as a whole. The initiatory status manifests itself in tragedy through the fact that the chorus here is almost exclusively made up of socially marginal groups such as girls, old men, women, and prisoners-of-war. Even though the actual historical and archaeological “hard” facts put forward by Winkler can in no way prove his thesis beyond doubt, [480] he does concern himself with the figurative level of evidence in the text and shows how many tragedies play out ephebic experiences and how the chorus made up of marginal figures reflects them. [481] Nagy extends this theory in a consistent fashion. He interprets the tragic chorus of nonprofessionals as an instrument that using a ritual recollection of the initiation stage conveys to the audience in an “intersubjective” way the pathos experienced there. [482]
From this we may establish the following conclusions concerning the Thesmophoriazusae: both comic hero and chorus are connected with initiatory symbolism. Here too, the marginal chorus of women mediate the process of transition for the audience; both actors and chorus are retrojected as adults in a comprehensive ritual process of reversal into a pubertal and marginal situation. In contrast to tragedy, here it is not pathos that is conveyed; rather, the reversals experienced in rites of puberty and striking cultic experiences are transmitted to the polis gathered in the theater by means of dance and symbolic action as comic passions, laughter, and an atmosphere of festivity. In the penetrating synaesthetic experience of the communitas the feeling of connectedness among all participants becomes stronger in both dramatic genres.
So far these reflections on the initiatory quality of the tragic chorus have not been applied to comedy. [483] There are two possibilities for the special case which the Thesmophoriazusae represents in terms of its paratragôidia. First, in parodying the other genre the tragic setup is imitated. Second, one may recognize these traits in the comic chorus in general, but in a comic transformation. In comedy, reception is not guided by way of commentary delivered by a chorus that is only marginally involved in the action. [484] There is also here little of the tension between the authoritative voice of the chorus in its real world function as educator and the limited speech of the chorus in its inner-dramatic role as outsider, as Simon Goldhill correctly maintains in the case of tragedy. [485] The Aristophanic performers in the orchestra hardly possess an authoritative and gnomic attitude, and even less to be seen is the almost deconstructivist tendency of members of the tragic chorus to place all advice under question by adding an opposing viewpoint. [486]
On the contrary, in comedy the chorus performs simply as a ritually speaking and acting group that helps fashion the comic play as it oscillates between the plot and the here and now. The confirmation and simultaneous dissolution of the norm happens almost exclusively in cultic dance and in hymns to the gods. Precisely like a tragic chorus, the women celebrating the Thesmophoria qua festival chorus still allow their Dionysiac and theatrical-performative dimension to shine through and provide an audience for the hero. [487] Festivity and unrestrained pleasure are given full expression and translated into action, so that all can participate in this. The choral-lyrical gestures of gnomic instruction and mythical narrative as context are absent, since they are diametrically opposed to the comic. [488]
But ritual play even of this type has a distant connection with initiation. Both the comastic Dionysiac activity of the male youth and the fictional involvement of a comic chorus in an inverted world ritually represent liminality, a state beyond all norms and categories and situated on the threshold between childhood and adulthood. Even if participation in a comic chorus cannot simply be equated with a rite of initiation, the experience is at least structurally similar to an initiatory experience. For this reason the comic playwright is able to superimpose other rites of passage as contexts for the plot on top of the ritual scheme of collectively reactualized initiation. In this connection, annually reoccurring polis festivals of inversion, which may be interpreted both as new year’s and agrarian fertility festivals, are of particular importance. In the Thesmophoriazusae the members of the chorus in terms of both their role and their function take themselves back to the initiatory stage, and the two other liminal aspects are simultaneously present.
Beside the chorus’ purely ritual role in the here and now, which is attested in the parabasis-like manner of speech, it also contributes somewhat to the deliberate action set “elsewhere.” Through its ritual action the chorus on the one hand constructs the background that forms the context for the action on stage in a fairly independent fashion. The comic play is also, on the other hand, implicitly propelled by the chorus’ interaction with the actors, since the chorus in its role in front of an internal audience shapes and characterizes the relative. [489] At first, within the plot of the trial at the Thesmophoria he is made out to be the enemy of the women. After his uncovering, he is symbolically and visually presented in the tableau vivant of the parabasis as a male/female inititiate. During the choral dance song (947–1000), he is assimilated to their initiatory status in terms of role and function. This ultimately, in parallel to the conclusion of the women’s festival in the plot, enables the comedy’s “happy ending.”

Rituality in the Microstructure

In conclusion to my discussion of the Thesmophoriazusae I would like to enlarge on the concept of ritual seen in the comic chorus, particularly in aspects that are not related to the plot. Here our point of departure at the beginning of the chapter, the great choral dance song (Thesmophoriazusae 947–1000), will serve once more as example. In what follows rituality will also be shown as it occurs in the microstructure. It must be stressed again that form cannot be separated from content.
Stanley J. Tambiah’s theory of performative ritual yields important conclusions, particularly in the context of theater. The cultic side should not of course be limited to the illocutionary side, which one might assume following John Austin, as if one were only concerned with a speech act without perlocutionary consequences. For what is first and foremost in the mind of the worshiper is making contact with the gods through this kind of prayer, something Tambiah often refers to. In his opinion, one may consider songs of this type as performative in three senses: as speech acts in the sense of Austin and Searle; as dramatic spectacle; and finally in the sense that they problematize and define hierarchical values and positions in performance. These criteria are tightly interwoven and are not susceptible to separate investigation. As a culturally determined system of symbolic communication, the choral song is also based on fixed models and an ordered series of actions and words. Expressiveness is enhanced by a synaesthetic manner of performance, the content and form of which is primarily characterized by conventionality and stereotypical formularity, compression, and mixture of expression (fusion) or redundancy based on repetitive phenomena. [490]
What is distinctive about the presentation of a choral dance song is the simultaneity of various media. The opsis of the spectacle, the external appearance enhanced by costumes and masks, contributes especially to the typical demonstrative attitude in ritual. The round dance in the rectangular orchestra, with its rhythmically repetitive movements that lead to ecstasy, brings about a collective unity through the use of the same sequence of movements by a representative group of individual citizens. The rhythm, the movement, or κίνησις, and the powerful accompanying music produce a socially unifying experience in both body and spirit. Then there is also song (μολπή), a mode of expression based on words and language in which a myth often gives the context for the ritual being performed. The occasion of these ritual performances generally presupposes the participation of a group. In the case of Greek drama and dithyramb, which are dedicated to the worship of Dionysus, a large part of the polis as a whole is gathered in the theater. The choruses are a distinctive element in a performance that joins audience and actors in a particular experience. The ritual and its mythical treatment impart in symbolic form the system of norms and values held in common by the community, thereby creating contact with the cosmos and the gods who protect the city. The fictional plot of comedy is based on myths, which are in turn drawn from the community’s ritual repository of experience. At the same time, the reality of the performers and the crowd involved is always visible behind this game. The chorus itself is an important shifter between the inner and the outer, the here and the there.
The discourse of choral dance songs, as is the case in many ritual performances in other cultures, is distinct from everyday speech, echoing the separate state of the festival. Everyday speech is, however, roughly imitated in the speaking parts. The stylistic level of the chorus members is elevated, and their language is of a conventional rather than an intentional nature. Since we ultimately find only an imitation of human intention in songs of this kind, the performers lack any free emotional expression and spontaneity.
Our song is marked by a great formal regularity, despite modulations in voice (φωνῇ, Thesmophoriazusae 961). Yet it never depends on purely stereotypical convention, but presents above all “aesthetically arranged, symbolic and expressive actions” and “phatic acts,” “which emphasize their own performance and make reference to themselves.” [491] Despite all this uniformity, the chorus makes contact with the gods in this festive tone using lively, creative metaphors in an uplifting and intensified form of communication. [492] Repetitive examples, stereotyped streams of identical or similar sounding words—such as, for example, the brief invocations of the gods, reference to χάρις or in particular to the chorus’ own dance formation—are of great importance. The self-referential and self-limited manner of referring to the round dance should at the same time be understood as a performative speech act, which translates typical self-representation into action.
The formulaic nature of prayer, invocations in Du–Stil, the enumeration of names and cultic places, and the catalogues of several divine addressees are also reflected in the course of the melody and in the rhythm. The creative function of fixed units of recycled song has been emphasized in Homeric studies by Albert Lord and Milman Parry in particular. [493] Lord explained how for a singer in a purely oral culture the moment of composition coincides with performance. [494] On the basis of memorized formulae and by the use of small variations, such as, for example, expansions, contractions, rearrangements, substitutions, and recursive new combinations, the poet continually composes new verses according to need, context, and the nature of his audience.
One ought not view the stylized technique in the Aristophanic choral song as the result of a stereotyped ossification that was necessary for the mnemonic technique of oral poetry because of the gradual disappearance of melody and dance. Since music and khoreia play a central role here, the characteristic style depends on the fact that the comic poet is restaging a ritual mode of performance in a living choral culture, a mode that is reflected in the phraseology, metrics, and melody. [495] The choral dance song of lines 947–1000 is thus of a ritual nature, because Aristophanes does not simply imitate the metre and diction of choral lyric as literature, but in the process of mimesis productively reactualizes forms of expression which are anchored in ritual and in which Greek society handed down its values and norms through communal song.
Let us now take a brief look at the formal structure, which is closely connected with the content. One can easily follow this ritual technique of variation of the song in its rhythmic and metrical structure. [496] The transition from everyday modes of expression to the marked choral style is fluid. First comes an anapaestic prelude (947–952) that as a steady recitative (parakatalogê) falls between song and speech. The song then moves via an ambivalent and brief anapaestic period (953) consisting of four long syllables (two syncopated trochees, an anapaest or two spondees) to a trochaic section (954–956). The lekythia (954, 956) as catalectic trochaic or acephalous iambic dimeters pave the way for the iambic period (957–958). [497] The following three small trochaic strophes (959–961, 962–965, 966–968) refer back to lines 953–958. After a cretic, which may also be interpreted as a catalectic trochee (962, 966; paeon 959), follow a lekythion in 960 and 963, or a complete trochaic dimeter (967), and a catalectic tetrameter. The trochee is considered particularly animated and fits the comic chorus’ quick movements. Aristotle (Rhetoric 1408b36) tells us that the comic and orgiastic kordax was also danced in this rhythm. The antistrophic hymnic section directed to the Olympians is introduced by two iambic dimeters, to which a catalectic form is attached (969–971, 977–979). Two reiziana form the midpoint, where the transition once again occurs seamlessly through its iambic beginning (972a/b, 980a/b). [498] Then follow once again two catalectic iambic dimeters (973–974, 981–982) and the concluding periods (975–976, 983–984), which consist of a combination of iambic trimeter and the clausula of the catalectic dimeter. The transition to the Dionysiac section is made up solely of short periods with no enjambment (985–989), and again happens smoothly. An iambic trimeter is again followed by a catalectic dimeter; now follow an iamb with a molossus, an iamb with spondee (988a) as a catalectic form of the preceding line, [499] an aristophaneus (988b), that is, a combination of choriamb and baccheus, [500] and finally the clausula of the catalectic iambic dimeter. The spondaic element in particular refers to a simple cultic form that is also favored in carmina popularia (fragments 863, 865, 871, lines 2 and 5 PMG). The concluding antistrophic hymn to Dionysus (990–994, 995–1000) starts with an aristophaneus (990, 995), already used for the invocation in line 988b. The choriambic element is taken up in the following pherecratean (991, 996). Lines 992a–993a (= 997–998b) begin with an aeolic short verse, the so-called dodrans B, which joins a iambic foot with a choriamb; [501] a single iamb forms the connection to the following aristophaneus. The end of the strophe consists of two catalectic iambic dimeters (993b–994, 999–1000). The predominant short periods emphasize the repetitive metre, which has the effect of orchestrating and integrating the song. We have already talked above about ring composition, which emphasizes the cyclical motion in this song.
Repetitions, parallelisms, and series also mark diction on the level of content. Self-exhortations to dance come thick and fast. Rhythm also accompanies content. The four longs in ὅρμα χώρει (953) set the dance in motion slowly, and the resolutions of the second trochaic foot in the following κοῦφα ποσίν, ἄγ’ εἰς κύκλον (954) with the resulting four shorts accompany the gentle and nimble movements of the chorus’ feet. The catalectic form of the trochaic dimeter forms the clausula-like short period that ends in the cretic εἰς κύκλον, thus underscoring the formation of the circle as closed system.
The serial invocation of the Olympian gods (969ff.), for example, is also of importance. The self-command πρόβαινε (969) stands at the important initial position of the short period, with the object τὸν Εὐλύραν forming the end (969) and being connected to the participle μέλπουσα (970). The two lines begin with πρόβαινε and μέλπουσα, thereby addressing the central aspects of the performance of a choral dance song. Artemis’ title (970), and her actual name with a two-member apposition that only appears in the following line (971), is syndetically joined to this. The two reiziana form the central greeting (972a) and plea for victory (972b) together with the command at verse beginning. Then follows the name of Hera together with an epithet (973), then a variation of a choral self-command with a change from second-person singular imperative to first-person plural hortative (974), and finally a relative clause in which it is said she participates in the performance (975) on the one hand and has a role in the plot (976) on the other. The antistrophe invokes in varying fashion a series of gods from beyond the city (977–978) with the request to smile upon the chorus of the here and now (979–980). Finally, through repetition in diction, we circle back via the reciprocal relationship of performers and gods (981–982) to the choral self-command to dance. [502]
The fusion of word, music, and rhythm achieves both an emotional intensity and an insidious loss on the level of signification. Because of the “poetic” and aesthetic formation using hyperbaton, rhythm, and alliteration, both performers and spectators receive an impression of an integrative unity and inner meditative centering as grammatical sense units blend into each other and lose their unambiguous contours. At the center point is rhythmic motion, the recognition of rhythmic patterns: in short, khoreia as self-presentation and the motor function of cult. [503]
By means of the free interchange of variation, the working of paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations in concert, and the dynamic embedding of metaphoric and metonymic dimensions, a new, cohesive message comes into being. It conveys to performers and participants the subjective impression of being included in a greater whole: for this redundant and repetitive orchestration engenders a feeling of oneness with the cosmos. It is precisely the even, repetitive movements of the dance in a similarly varying rhythm, distinct from the iambic trimeters of the speaking parts based on everyday speech, that on a fundamental and corporeal level underscore this function, whose effect is to bring about social proximity. [504]
Eugene G. d’Aquili, Charles D. Laughlin, and their research group have demonstrated the integrative effects of ritual in neurobiological experiments. They have shown how in so-called spillover effects the flow of stimuli from parts of the central nervous system in which the cognitive and intentional abilities as well as analytical thought are located are diverted to other regions of the system that are thought to contain vegetative and sensory centers as well as centers responsible for integrated thought and imagination. The exchange can also occur in the opposite direction. The total effect of these sudden distributions of stimuli in the individual is an overwhelming feeling of wellness, security, and joy. [505] The ritual agent or individual involved in the action experiences for a short while a feeling of harmony with the self and with the world. Transcendent powers, the cosmos of daimones and Olympian gods, seem to work benevolently upon the ritual performers. The performers (as well as the gods) thus become transmitters and receivers of a message. [506] This paradoxical communications situation is reflected in the relationship of χάρις that characterizes hymnic discourse.
This biological analysis of ritual thus proceeds, in simplified terms, on the basis of two mutually complementary and asymmetrical systems. Laughlin mentions by way of example the exchange between the frontal cortex of the brain and the sensory centers of the cerebral cortex, whereby each form of perception in cognitive terms is first brought under control through a process of symbolization, then the reciprocal relationship of the left and right hemispheres of the brain, and finally the interchange between the hierarchically constructed levels of cortical and subcortical, endocrinal and immunological structures. D’Aquili and Laughlin had earlier attempted to group all biological oppositions as either energy-creating (ergotropic) or energy-retaining (trophotropic). [507] In terms of this theory, ritual activity throws the nervous system into complete uproar. [508]
Dance, rhythmic accompaniment on the tympanon, the shrill sound of the aulos, and song belong inalienably to ritual performance. In the same way as figurative speech, which has a particular impact on the imaginitive and spatial center of the right hemisphere, they have a strong stimulatory effect on the endocrinal and immunological system. There, ecstasy-inducing chemical substances are released that give rise to enthousiasmos, the feeling of being filled with a divinity. At the same time, cognitive centers are also stimulated by the invocations to the gods, for apart from the musically intensified perception of the word, its linguistic dimension also has an effect on the analytical consciousness of intentional sensual perception in the left hemisphere. But one may also consider cognitive stimulation through language as activation of the ergotropic system. The resulting tension is ultimately set in motion, so that dance becomes both trigger and result in a ritual cycle. In our song, this connection is clearly visible in the performative and illocutionary self-commands and self-references. When these commands are voiced, action arises. The chorus dances, which in turn causes stimulation, which in turn keeps the dance going.
Like animals, humans also seek to control their environment through motor behavior. [509] Problem-solving strategies of this kind extend far back into the phylogenetic past of mankind. Rituals possibly reflect absolutely fundamental biological programs of action, such as, for example, the search for food, flight, pursuit, and aggression. The bodily realities of life itself, such as sexual maturation, menstruation, or distinctions in status, are often reflected in ritual. The biological kernel is generally embedded in social contexts in a hidden fashion. Ritual transforms basic realities into a new program of action, which in turn may be clothed in a complex mythical narration. Religious rituals create images and symbols for the common orientation of a group. The link between the mental world and the natural environment is the human body. Rituals represent strategies that attempt to channel simple somatic modes of behavior after mental processing for group stability. The spiritual process then manifests itself once more in formed and formalized sequences of bodily movement. [510] Repetitive motor functions generally predominate, while visual and acoustic signals function as triggers, causing the ergotropic system to be strongly stimulated. As soon as oversaturation of rhythmic stimuli occurs, activation of homoeostatic, energy-conserving nerve centers takes place, which then causes a feeling of oneness.
In traditional societies organized along tribal lines, choral dances are attested for various occasions: they are carried out, for example, during hunting, in war situations, at initiations, at sexual presentation, at harvest, when influencing nature through magic, and, of course, when worshiping the gods and daimones. One could assume a biological kernel for the comic chorus as well. Presentation of the phallus is certainly a possible motive for action; concerns about natural and human fertility and strategies of hierarchic differentiation, among other things, also seem to lie behind this. According to Burkert’s theory, this biological program of action was then soon overlaid by social and cultural motifs. The two sign systems, purely ritual bodily movement in dance and its symbolic refiguring in song, enter into a fruitful union, undergo expansion, and form the mental infrastructure and the cultural memory of a society, [511] which are important for the cohesiveness of the group. The central cultural contents of this group are learned in the repetition of both word and movement. Turning to the gods gives the feeling of unassailable stability and security in the face of the uncertainties of biological life. Dancing creates joy, which is strengthened through words, and eventually transferred to the gods, who are ideal participants in the same activity as the human chorus members. Through this reciprocal construction the cosmos as a whole, that is, the performers, the community involved, and the gods protecting them, is united under the sign of the khoreia.
The emotionally loaded language converts cultural knowledge, which is also supposed to be absorbed during initiation, into dance movement. The gods are worshiped, and through physical means of accompaniment the distance between them and humans is narrowed, until finally from the perspecitve of the performers and spectators they appear as fellow and lead dancers. Tambiah correctly observes that in many cultures spectacular dances particularly associated with divine epiphany represent the most effective and central medium of communication. Following Radcliffe-Brown, he thinks the reason for this is that dance performers when involved in their communal activity experience a temporary feeling that they can transgress the laws of gravity and soar up to the gods just like birds. It is therefore also no coincidence that many Greek choruses make use of the creative metaphor of flight. [512]
The round dance in this passage of the Thesmophoriazusae is equally sensational and involves the gods in the current khoreia through embedment strategies, so that the spatial and hierarchic divisions of the world are temporarily set aside.
Moreover, in a ritual performance, hierarchies, sometimes those between choral leader and chorus, sometimes those between the gods invoked and their human worshipers, are defined. Already existent distinctions in status are confirmed. In the hymnic genre in particular, relationships of super- and subordination, which are otherwise partially suspended in the ritual inversion of comedy, are stabilized. [513] At the same time, the strict delineation of the boundary between god and human is transcended, as with sacrifice. The human chorus members praise the gods in dance and song; the latter take pleasure in this and transform themselves from recipients to transmitters, having an effect on the ritual group in turn. Dancers become facilitators between human spectators and the gods and in the festive atmosphere of their ritual occupation experience the feeling that the gods involve themselves directly in their play and assume the leadership of their activity.
To sum up, then, a tension between the dissolution and the establishment of order can be observed in the comic chorus and in its reception by the audience. The countless signs of an inverted world, seen in the act of self-retrojection into the transitional phase between youth and adulthood and in the realization of yearly reoccurring festivals of inversion both in the plot and in the ritual context of the Dionysia, are contrasted by means of ritual forms of affirmation of the cosmos, as in hymns to the gods and in prayer. Symbolic inversion in synaesthetic performance creates communitas and gives rise in the contrastive process of boundary definition to an overarching and emotionally based appreciation of the inherited cultural values and norms of the polis. The chorus brings together all the contradictory components of this multimedia experience and focuses them upon themselves. On the one hand, as part of the plot, it is directly involved in constructing and controlling the action as ritual process and in emotionally conveying its inverted effect to the audience by means of laughter and comedy. On the other hand, it functions simultaneously as a chorus of citizens that conveys the transcendent embodiment of the polis to its fellow citizens using the medium of rhythmic body language. [514] The anti-illusionist chorus thus becomes the central means of expression of a ritual and symbolic performance that has little to do with naturalistic, Aristotelian theater and its primacy of unbroken role and plot.
In the next chapter we will extend these connections to non- and predramatic choruses. The question of to what extent the specifically ritual nature of the Aristophanic chorus may be derived from choral culture in general will be investigated. Aristophanes’ songs clearly stand in a continuum that extends from pure worship to ritual play. Because of its high reflectance and the seriousness of the themes it treats, archaic choral lyric can be adduced as a parallel only to a limited degree. However, because it is rooted in a ritual occasion one may find traces of ritual speech even there. Once its mythic narration and its serious, gnomic nature are set aside, one can get at the lyric of everyday cult practice. Self-description and self-referential speech there in the speech act simply support the action being currently performed and turn the presentation into a spectacular event. The mythic is only introduced as a framework. Aristophanes reveals himself to be a poet who is attached more to this everyday, “lower” choral tradition. Yet he does allow the solemn, sublime, and authoritative to enter his work in a comic, intertextual process.
Limited dramatization is characteristic of Aristophanes’ ritual form of utterance, since the chorus is integrated into the comic play only in a belated and secondary fashion. As in the Thesmophoriazusae, the specifically ritual appears in other comedies and in choruses with their Sitz im Leben in a parabasis-like mode of expression directed at the participant.
Most of all I wish to demonstrate again how in synaesthetic performances of this kind central ritual meanings are combined together on various levels of expression.

Footnotes

[ back ] 1. The best and most thorough interpretations of this song come from Thomsen 1973 and Zimmermann II 1985:191–200. Cf. also Parker 1997:428–437 (mainly on metre with some observations on the text). On the religious background of the Thesmophoriazusae, cf. Habash 1997, who also discusses the choral parts, although in a substantially briefer fashion. On this exclusive choral dance passage, cf. ibid., 33–36. Cf. now Furley/Bremer I 2001:357–360, Furley/Bremer II 2001:350–359, and the new commentaries by Prato, 306–311 and Austin/Olson, 298–308 ad 947–1000.
[ back ] 2. On this distinction cf. already Zimmermann II 1985:192: “Auffällig ist in den beiden Hymnen-einlagen (947ff. 1136ff.) die schillernde Rolle des Chors als religiöse und politische Gemeinde der Frauen sowie als komischer Chor” [“The shimmering role of the chorus and religious and political community of women as well as comic chorus in the two hymnic interludes (947ff., 1136ff.) is remarkable”]. Following Dover, Sommerstein (Thesmophoriazusae, 218 ad 947–1000) also refers to the ambivalence between function and role: “The chorus speak sometimes in their ‘role’ as women celebrating the Thesmophoria, sometimes in their ‘function’ as a chorus performing in a comedy (for these terms see K. J. Dover, Aristophanes: Frogs [Oxford, 1993], 57–60); the latter comes to the fore especially in 962–965, in 972, and in the choice of Dionysus (patron god of the dramatic festival) as sole addressee of the final section of the hymn.” Cf. also already Horn 1970:117. On the distinction between figure and role on the level of actor, see Flashar 1996:86–87, who sets out the important differences from comedy in terms of the so-called suspension of plot using literary theory that proceeds on the premiss of the closed plot. According to the latter, it is not the “licence of the suspension of plot” in order to draw in the audience that is important, but the open manner of perception in ritual play, which is directed at an identification: “Das Herstellen der Identifikationsebene ist jedenfalls das primäre; am Anfang stand nicht die geschlossene Form des Spiels, das für die Komödie charakteristische Fiktionsbrüche zulässt, sondern die offene, das Publikum einbeziehende Spielebene, wie sie von Anfang an in den präliterarischen Formen der Spott– und Rügelieder, den rituellen Begehungen der Phallophorien usw. vorgegeben waren und dann mit der Kunstform der Komödie die Bürgeridentifikation in der attischen Demokratie des fünften Jahrhunderts ganz zwanglos ermöglichte, um erst allmählich sich zu einer fiktionalen Geschlossenheit zu entwickeln” (ibid., 87) [“The construction of the level of identification is any case the primary; at the beginning lies not the closed form of play that makes for comedy’s characteristic rupturing of plot, but rather a level of play that is open and draws the audience in, as appears to have been the case right from the beginning in the preliterary forms of songs of ridicule and blame and in the ritual occasions of the Phallophoroi etc., and then with the development of the art form of comedy made the citizen identification in the Attic democracy of the fifth century possible, in a completely incidental fashion, only gradually developing into a closed plot”]. For this reason I would like to consider preliterary forms of this kind and ritual phallophoria in connection with comedy in the next chapter (2).
[ back ] 3. Silk 1980:112n43.
[ back ] 4. On the distinction between marked and unmarked utterances, which goes back to Roman Jakobson, see Nagy 1990:5–6, 30–34, and further references in his index.
[ back ] 5. Zimmermann II 1985:191 divides prayers and hymns into two groups: they are either “part of the plot construction, thus plot-conveying” (handlungstragend), or “they interrupt the development of the plot, but are nevertheless—in contrast to the odes of the parabasis and many comic songs—integrated into the dramatic action.” He places our song in the second category. The ambivalent formulation already shows how vague this criterion is. Against such a distinction I would argue that any comic song that forms a part of the performance in any fashion is integrated into the action, even songs in a parabasis or certain satirical songs, but that on the other hand no choral song is completely absorbed in the plot. Zimmermann contradicts himself when he classifies parabasis odes purely as digressions, but then immediately thereafter describes songs (Thesmophoriazusae 947ff., 1136ff.), to which he rightly ascribes a certain connection to the plot, as delayed parabasis odes (192). Difficulties are removed if one considers, in contrast to earlier scholarship, the parabasis not as a singular interruption of the action on stage, but the parabatic as an overwhelmingly ritual principle of Old Comedy. On the thesis of the delayed odes that are missing in the parabasis see Wilamowitz II 1893:349, Gelzer 1970:1473, Sifakis 1971:52, Thomsen 1973:42–45, and Parker 1997:397. Prato, 307 argues against this connection to a parabasis and sees the song simply as a tribute to the changed taste of the public, which now privileges dance and music over word and demands entertainment.
[ back ] 6. Sommerstein Thesmophriazusae, 218 connects lines 962–965, 972, and 985–1000 (Dionysus hymn) with the function of the comic chorus; Zimmermann II 1985:192 by contrast connects lines 962–964 with the role of festive community (Festgemeinde) (also 947–952, 974, 983–984), while viewing lines 972–973 and 975 in terms of function. Two different interpreters then assign the same lines (962–964) first to the former, then to the latter category. For a list of Greek dance vocabulary see Naerebout 1997:275–289. The concepts adduced there all fall under the category of emphatic self-reference. One can therefore clearly see how closely the song is associated with the chorus’ own performance.
[ back ] 7. See Lohr 1986:77–78 on this.
[ back ] 8. See Davidson 1986 (mainly on the tragic chorus); also Wiles 1997:63–86.
[ back ] 9. I have here largely followed Thomsen’s classification (1973:27–29). Because of the two anapaestic tetrameters (947–948) lines 947–952 are mostly interpreted as a prokêrygma delivered by the chorus leader (whether viewed as male or female) (Fritzsche, Enger, and Muff 1872:164, Arnoldt 1873:160–161, Mazon 1904:134, Horn 1970:116, Zimmermann II 1985:192, and Parker 1997:428; Westphal 1869:53 treats them as a melodramatic speech). The lines could also have been sung by the chorus as a whole. The chorus leader is sometimes also assigned the melic lines 953–958 and the trochaic parts of lines 959–968 (Westphal 1869:53, 61), which is by no means convincing. Arnoldt 1873:161 distributes them as follows: chorus leader: 947–952, 953–958, 966–968, 985–989; semi-chorus a: 959–961, 969–976, 990–994; semi-chorus b: 962–965, 977–984, 995–1000. Mazon 1904:135 also splits the chorus into semi-choruses with the hymns to the gods (969–976 and 977–984); the semi-choruses would then have been united in the hymn to Dionysus (985–1000). But a complete chorus is usually assumed (Muff 1872:18, among others, argues for this because of the invocation of gods in common). The search for possible dance figures in this part remains rather speculative. Relying on a questionable term for a special dance called the διπλῆ (cf. 982) Lawler 1945:63–66 suggests in lines 981–984 a temporary division of the round dance into rows of semi-choruses facing each other, but overlooks the fact that Enger, 126 already associated line 982 with the diplê dance (something already in fact considered by Biset, 820 ad loc. and Küster, Notae ad Thesmophoriazusae, 223 ad 991). Thomsen 1973:31–34 and Zimmermann II 1985:195 argue against Lawler’s interpretation; Coulon on the other hand accepts Enger’s suggestion; cf. also my opinions on line 982, below, n90. Further discussion on divisions in earlier scholarship in Fritzsche, 383–386. Since Wilamowitz 1921:476, lines 987–1000, in which he saw a “dithyrambic invocation of Dionysus,” have generally been separated as an astrophic entity; cf. criticism in Thomsen 1973:34–35. Parker 1997:428 returns to Enger’s division in the programmatic passages (proodos [953–958] and mesodoi [966–968, 985–989]) and the strophic pairs (959–962 = 963–965, 969–976 = 977–984, and 990–994 = 995–1000). For metrical analysis see Zimmermann II 1985:191–200, Parker 1997:428–437, and my brief description below (pp. 257–259), based on Zimmermann.
[ back ] 10. Cf. the reference in Muff 1872:164 (on the strophe Thesmophoriazusae 985ff.).
[ back ] 11. Muff 1872:24 (in connection with choral art as a reference to the participation of the whole chorus). The underlined portions given in my text of the song make it clear that the performative utterances about the chorus’ own dancing appear here in considerably high numbers.
[ back ] 12. Cf. Zimmermann II 1985:191 and the remark of Burkert (1985:242): “When Aristophanes presents the comedy The Women at the Festival of the Thesmophoria, he is unable to give many particulars about the festival.”
[ back ] 13. Cf. especially Thesmophriazusae 328–329 and 372–382, especially 376–377. Two ἄρχουσαι head the women’s organizations; cf. Isaeus 8.19 and IG II/III2 1184.
[ back ] 14. Plutarch Demosthenes 30.5.
[ back ] 15. Diodorus Siculus. 5.4.7.
[ back ] 16. Cf. Blech 1982:208 and below, n110.
[ back ] 17. Schol. Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 681, p. 37, 5–6 De Marco.
[ back ] 18. Cf. παύσων in its meaning as the future participle active of παύω, “one about to end something.” Borgeaud 1988:182 points to an ancient and now outdated etymology of the god Pan, who is invoked later on (Thesmophoriazusae 978). There have been attempts to support the functional relationship between the Arcadian god Paon and the Vedic god Pushan, who in both cultures assume the role of nourisher in the polytheistic system, by means of a shared development of their names. W. Schulze suggested that Paon is derived from the root *Παύσων, with Pauson being retained in Illyrian and Messapian as a personal name. Cf. also Borgeaud 1988:181–182 and 186 (appendix) and 262nn42–48. In a play on words, Pauson the Athenian, according to this theory, is thus conflated with Pan, who really does join in the celebrations. In Arcadian myth it is Pan who helps deliver Demeter from fasting and anger, so that he is the one “who will end” the critical situation. The joke would then consist in the fact that the starving pauper is being compared to the nourishing god, the provider of meat. On the role of Pan in this song, see below, pp. 111–117.
[ back ] 19. On the dialectic relationship of fast and carnival, cf. Ginsburg 1989 (who sees fasting as an“alter ego” or “Zwillingsritual des Karnevals, sein bevorzugter dialogischer Widerpart” [“the twin ritual of carnival, its preferred dialogic counterpart”] ibid., 26–27). The Thesmophoria as festival of inversion represents the ritual model of the comic plot, which is in turn embedded in the Dionysiac, inverted world of comedy. As a relational difference from the carnivalistic norm, fasting is also part of the complex construction of the festival, which cloaks itself with the plot of an Old Comedy in its succession of need and utopian, excessive abundance. On the Thesmophoria as a carnivalistic festival of license in the Bakhtinian sense, cf. Rösler 1986:36. The Kronia, Skira, Anthesteria, Lenaia, Dionysia, and Haloa are included in the same interpretative framework; cf. also Halliwell 1991a:294 and Möllendorff 1995:74n1 and 249n77. The privation of the fast is paradoxically juxtaposed with the sensual opulence of the Dionysiac dance. In this comedy, the comic excess of food is celebrated only at the end of the play, in a festival rooted in the here and now, with the renewal of fertility and plenty also representing the aim of the ritual complex in the plot and being celebrated on the third day of the Thesmophoria with a great feast of meat-eating.
[ back ] 20. On dance and play as expressions in terms of body language of the carnivalesque, both in the Dionysiac festival at which the play is performed and in the plot-internal Thesmophoria, see Ivanov 1974:341 and 365n97; on “crossdressing,” 338.
[ back ] 21. Prayers involving a series of divinities are found in many songs in the Thesmophoriazusae: in the Agathon hymn (101–129) Apollo, Artemis, Leto, and once more Apollo are invoked, and in the parodos (312–330) Zeus, Apollo, Athena, Artemis, Poseidon, the Nereids, and the Nymphs are called upon. In the choral dance song just discussed (947–1000), the ensemble of choral members addresses the Olympian gods (960), in particular Apollo, Artemis, Hera, Hermes, Pan, the Nymphs (969–984), and finally Dionysus (985–1000), and in the following hymn (1136–1159), Athena and lastly Demeter and Persephone.
[ back ] 22. On the feeling of the unity of all social connections, which Victor Turner terms communitas, see Turner 1974:274 (definition) and passim (especially 302, index with numerous citations) and Turner/Turner 1982:205–206.
[ back ] 23. The combination of ἄγε δή (or νυν) with subsequent hortative (cf. Aeschylus Eumenides 307) is a common introduction to a prokêrygma. Here the command to dance, customary in cult, is imitated; cf. Kaimio 1970:126 and Zimmermann II 1985:192–193. On παίζειν as a term for dance, cf. Aristophanes Birds 660, Lysistrata 1313, Thesmophoriazusae 983, 1227–1228, Frogs 318–320, 333, 388, 392, 407b, 415, 452; συμπαίζειν: Peace 816–817, Birds 1098, Thesmophoriazusae 975; cf. also the early inscription on the wine-cup (Athens, National Museum 192) of the Dipylon Master, IG I2 919 = CEG 432 (pp. 239–240 Hansen) . . . ἀταλώτατα παίζει; cf. Lonsdale 1993:33–43, Henrichs 1996:35–38 (on the oinokhoê, ibid., 32–34), and above, Introduction, n180.
[ back ] 24. On the concept of νόμος (and derivatives) cf. Thesmophoriazusae 348, 361, 675, 685, 947, 983. The marked appearance of the word “women” supports the chorus’ role in the plot and serves as a key concept for the problematics of the comedy; cf. Thesmophoriazusae 371, 684, 947, 964, 983. The female role identity is also emphasized by feminine forms: πᾶσα, 955b, 961; μέλπουσα, 970; γυναῖκά μ’ οὖσαν, 964.
[ back ] 25. This is characteristic of Far Eastern types of play; cf. Pronko 1982. In principle it holds for all ritual choruses; see Schechner 1977:120–127, Schechner 1985:4–10, and Lohr 1986:77–78 (on folk theater). According to the theory of theater anthropology, the performer and dancer does not merge into his role completely, but rather into his nonverbal energy and his presence as a whole; he functions on the basis of a stylized, and marked, technique, distinct from the everyday world; instead of using a fictional psychological identity, the performer describes himself through a fictional body. Cf. Barba/Savarese 1991, passim, especially 8–22.
[ back ] 26. This is how it is expressed at the very beginning of the following song (1136–1137), the delayed antode of the parabasis: Παλλάδα τὴν φιλόχορον ἐμοὶ | δεῦρο καλεῖν νόμος εἰς χορόν.
[ back ] 27. On νόμος see below, nn. 240, 274, 278.
[ back ] 28. Cf. Zeitlin 1981, especially 169–181 and 196–197.
[ back ] 29. Zimmermann II 1985:193n16 also refers to this issue. Cf. Aristophanes Lysistrata 302–303, 320–321, Thesmophoriazusae 663–667, Assemblywomen 293–295, 478–483; see also Wilamowitz 1921:475n2 and Parker 1997:429 with reference to Enger. Kaimio 1970:127 succinctly analyzes the ritual situation of this performative dance songs: “These imperatives accompanying the dance are not so subtly incorporated into the dramatic situation as the ritual imperatives occurring in tragedy, which are used by the chorus as an outburst of violent emotions, called forth by the events of the drama. The dance-imperatives in comedy are naturally sung by the chorus in a cheerful mood, but they are not used as a reaction to the events of the drama and embedded into an emotional or reflective context. They occur in songs where the dance is really represented as a ritual, into which the chorus are at present involved.”
[ back ] 30. “We”: ἡμεῖς, 947, ἡμετέραισι, 980a; “I”: μ’, 964, ἐγώ, 988b. Norden sees this phenomenon as an indication of the traditional seried (gereihter) prayer style, when the chorus talks of itself in the singular and the plural, and the second and first person are collapsed. Cf. Norden 1939:197 and Kaimio 1970:127–128, who cites as examples for self-commands to dance in the second-person singular Lysistrata 1279–1280, Thesmophoriazusae 953–956, 961, 969, 981, 985–986 (in song Thesmophoriazusae 947ff.), and Frogs 340, 372, 378 (in the parodos). It is therefore incorrect to take singular forms as indications of a single speaker (chorus leader); Kaimio 1970:128: “There is not the slightest reason to think of delivery by single speakers or groups on the strength of the imperatives.” The singular imperatives should in no way be understood here as commands from the koryphaios to an individualized addressee or from each individual singer to himself, but as a general address that is directed at all members of the collective involved with same choral dance; ibid., 128–129: “The second person singular is predominantly used, meaning in an undetermined way anybody who is engaged in the same dance.” On indifference to the use of person, see also Muff 1872:29–32 (“Person und Numerus”); he describes how many commentators depend on a rather narrow understanding of person and number to determine whether it is the chorus leader or the chorus as a whole that is acting. He correctly says (ibid., 29): “Allein diese Voraussetzung ist irrig” [“It is incorrect to rely on this supposition alone”]. There is an extremely useful list in Norden 1939:193–199 (“Die Selbstanrede”) and Kaimio 1970:121–137 of parallel passages which prove that the chorus can address itself in singular or plural as it sees fit: on the address in the second-person singular see inter alia Aeschylus Persians 571–575; Sophocles Women of Trachis 821, OC 118–122 (cf. especially 121–122 προσδέρκου, λεῦσσέ νιν, | προσπεύθου πανταχῇ); and Aristophanes Lysistrata 302–303, 320–321, Birds 1720, Thesmophoriazusae 663–667, Assemblywomen 293–295, 478–483, 486–487, 496–502; on commands in the second-person plural, see inter alia Sophocles Women of Trachis 210–213, OT 1524; Euripides Suppliants 73–77, Bacchae 83; and Aristophanes Lysistrata 1292, Birds 1721. Kaimio 1970:129 refers to the combination with πᾶς (cf. KG II.1, 85 and Schwyzer II, 245), which implies an unspecified number of individual performers. Cf. in song πᾶσα, Thesmophoriazusae 955b, 961.
[ back ] 31. Cf. Zimmermann II 1985:193n14: κοῦφον . . . πόδα, 659 ≈ κοῦφα ποσίν, 954 (cf. also Pindar Olympian Odes 14.16–17, κῶμον . . . κοῦφα βιβῶντα; Aristophanes Lysistrata 1303–1304, κοῦφα πᾶλον and Lysistrata 1309, 1316–1317; cf. Euripides Electra 860–861, ὡς νεβρὸς οὐράνιον | πήδημα κουφίζουσα σὺν ἀγλαΐᾳ and Euripides Trojan Women 325, πάλλε πόδ’ αἰθέριον; cf. also Autocrates fragments 1.1–6 K.-A.: οἷα παίζουσιν φίλαι | παρθένοι Λυδῶν κόραι, | κοῦφα πηδῶσαι ‹ποδοῖν | κἀνασείουσαι› κόμαν | κἀνακρούουσαι χεροῖν | Ἐφεσίαν παρ’ Ἄρτεμιν); διασκοπεῖν . . . πανταχῇ, 660 ≈ ἐπισκοπεῖν δὲ πανταχῇ . . . ὄμμα, 957–958 (cf. Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 122); τρέχειν . . . κύκλῳ, 662 ≈ ἄγ’ εἰς κύκλον, 954.
[ back ] 32. The connection between Aeschylus Eumenides 307ff. and Thesmophoriazusae 954ff. was already noted by Sommerstein 1989:136 ad Aeschylus Eumenides 307 and Henrichs 1994/95:95n38. Petersmann 1991:80, following Frisk II, 1112–1113, ventures an etymological connection between χορός and χόρτος, Latin hortus, in the sense of “enclosure,” so that chorus, following Frisk II, 1113, may be explained as “a row of dancers holding each other by the hand.”
[ back ] 33. On departure from the stage cf. for example the stage directions in Sommerstein’s translation of Thesmophoriazusae 109 and Henderson 1996:129. The only indication of this is the command δῆσον αὐτὸν εἰσάγων (930). On this point cf. Sommerstein’s fine commentary, Thesmophoriazusae 216 ad loc. “Leading/bringing inside” in most cases certainly involves the stage building. But it is perhaps conceivable that the Scythian, by way of exception, actually leads his prisoner around the circle formed by the chorus, who then encircle him. Of course in this case the barbarian henchman would then have to have carried his plank, hammer, and nails with him. The relative reminds one of the magic voodoo-dolls that the ancients would “bind down” (καταδεῖν) in order to hand them over to the underworld powers and daimones, in particular the goddesses associated with the Thesmophoria, Demeter and Kore, but also Plouton and the Nymphs. As part of the procedure they would also be pierced with nails; on defixiones see Graf 1996:108–157, especially 114–115, 122–124, 191. Bonanno 1990:257 interprets the scene as I do: “Rimasto invece sulla scena, legato alla σανίς in tunica color zafferano, assiste all’agile ‘ballo tondo’ nonché al ‘paso doble’ del Coro (vv. 936 [sic!]–1000)” [“Instead, remaining on stage and tied to the σανίς in a saffron tunic, he helps the nimble ‘round dance’ as well as the paso doble of the chorus”].
[ back ] 34. On the altar in the theater see Poe 1989. On the altar of Agyieus in the Thesmophoriazusae as a comic means of breaking the illusion ibid., 131, on the thymelê ibid., 138–139. See also Wiles 1997:63–86. On goat sacrifice on the thymelê and on bull sacrifice by the circular dithyrambic chorus, see also Burkert 1966a:101–102 with n32 (on the thymelê). On the performance of a κύκλιος χορός during animal sacrifice, see Furley 1993:36.
[ back ] 35. The chorus members are simultaneously male in their function in the here and now as dancers in a chorus at a festival for Dionysus and female in their dramatic role as female dancers in a chorus at a festival for Demeter and Kore.
[ back ] 36. On μέλπω/μολπή as the sign of choral performance see Cingano 1993:349–353; consider the strong concentration of instances μέλπω in this hymn: Thesmophoriazusae 961, 970, 974, 989. On μολπή cf. Frogs 370, 384, and 1527.
[ back ] 37. For χορομανεῖ τρόπῳ (961) cf. θυρσομανεῖ νεβρίδων μέτα δίνᾳ (coni. Hermann), Euripides Phoenician Women 791 (also with Dionysiac connotation), and Heracles Furens 878–879. Cf. Bierl 1991:145, 154–158 (on both Euripidean passages). In comedy, joyful dance, particularly in a religious context, is often treated as harmless and beneficial mania: Aristophanes Frogs 316–459, especially 332–333, 356–357; cf. also Wasps 1474–1537, especially 1486, 1496, and Peace 320–336.
[ back ] 38. ἀλλὰ χρῆν | ὥσπερ ἔργον αὖ τι καινὸν | πρῶτον εὐκύκλου χορείας εὐφυᾶ στῆσαι βάσιν (text after Thomsen 1973:27–28). Contra Coulon’s text ὥσπερ ἔργον, αὐτίκα (Dindorf) cf. Thomsen 1973:30. Blaydes I, 235 ad 967 translates ὥσπερ ἔργον as “ut opus est, ut res fert.” Zimmermann II 1985:194n22 interprets the passage correctly: “στῆσαι βάσιν χορείας ist eine poetische Periphrase für das gewöhnliche χορὸν στῆσαι ‘einen Tanz beginnen’ ” [“στῆσαι βάσιν χορείας is a poetic periphrasis for the usual χορὸν στῆσαι ‘to begin a dance’ ”]. The ingressive aspect of the aorist refers to the beginning of the performance of the round dance. Cf. the explanation of Blaydes I, 235 ad 968 (first found in Küster, Notae ad Thesmophoriazusae, 223 ad 977), which does not go into the question of aspect: Id est rhythmice et in numerum terram pedibus pulsare, quod οἱ χορεύοντες facere solent. On χορὸν ἱστάναι (‘to form, set up the chorus,’ ‘perform choral dance’) cf. Aeschylus fragments 204b.7 = 16 Radt; Sophocles Electra 280; Euripides Alcestis 1155, Electra 178, IA 676; Aristophanes Birds 219, Clouds 271; cf. further the derivatives χοροστάτις (Alcman fragment 1.84 Davies; χορῶν κατάστασιν, Aeschylus Agamemnon 23) and στάσις (Aristophanes Frogs 1281 [cf. Cingano 1986], Wealth 954). Cf. the name Stesikhorus and στησίχορος, fragment adesp. 938c PMG. Cf. also Calame I 1977:88n91, 94–96 (English translation Calame 1997:41n91, 45–46), Nagy 1990:361–369, and Henrichs 1994/95:95n36. The performative terminology of the speech act is of course particularly emphasized by the circumlocution. The substantive βάσιν is taken up in the immediately following command πρόβαινε ποσί (Thesmophoriazusae 969). In dance, step and foot position are naturally of importance. On βάσις cf. Euripides Bacchae 647 (βάσιν coni. Blomfield: πόδα LP; cf. Seaford 1996:203 ad loc.), where there may be an allusion to the language of dance.
[ back ] 39. See Thomsen 1973:30–34.
[ back ] 40. Cf. among others van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 123 ad 966–968, Rogers Thesmophoriazusae, 102 ad 967 (sistere gradum), and now Furley/Bremer I 2001:357 with Furley/Bremer II 2001, 354–355 ad 968 and Austin/Olson, 301–302 ad 966–968. Fritzsche, 390 interprets the passage as follows: “sed cito te oportet—primum saltationis in orbem concinnum constituere gressum, id est, sed cito te oportet primum in orbem saltare itaque novam praeparare choream.” The meaning of στῆσαι (constituere) is thus made to hover between the correct interpretation “to begin the dance” (saltare) and the incorrect interpretation “bring to a halt” (or “end” [finire]), since he proceeds on the basis of a new step in line 969. Dover Clouds, 136 ad 271, on the other hand, correctly translates ἱστάναι with the object χορός as “bring into being.” Thomsen 1973:31 and Prato, 104, 310 interpret στῆσαι βάσιν (968) in this sense.
[ back ] 41. Fritzsche, 390, van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 123 ad 966–968, Rogers Thesmophoriazusae, 102 ad 969, and Mazon 1904:135n1, who, like Fritzsche, postulates a march because of πρόβαινε. Cf. also Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 111 (stage direction): “With a change of formation and rhythm” and Parker 1997:429. Blaydes I, 235 ad 969 thinks that it is only here that the dance begins. Fritzsche, 390 and Rogers Thesmophoriazusae, 102 ad 969 assume a diplê dance between 969 and 984.
[ back ] 42. Coulon and Lawler 1945:59–66. The diplê interpretation (cf. already Küster, Notae ad Thesmophoriazusae, 223 ad 991 and Enger, 162 ad 982 [and see now also Prato, 310 ad 982]) is rejected by Thomsen 1973:31–34, using persuasive arguments; Zimmermann II 1985:195 follows him; διπλῆν (982) should be understood as a predicative adjective with proleptic meaning that belongs to χάριν χορείας and expresses “das reziproke Verhältnis zwischen menschlichem Tun und göttlicher Gnade und die gegenseitige Freude an diesem Tun” [“the reciprocal relationship between human action and divine favor and the mutual pleasure of this activity”]. Similarly now see Furley/Bremer II 2001:356–357 ad 982–983 and Austin/Olson, 304 ad 981–984.
[ back ] 43. Lawler 1945:66 assumes an open circle in which the dancers do not hold each other’s hands, but move freely as a kômos.
[ back ] 44. Austin 1987:84 ad 967 conjectures ὡς πρὸς (accepted by Sommerstein); manuscript R has ὥσπερ.
[ back ] 45. Thus the two most recent English translations of the passage. Cf. Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 111: “rather what we should now be doing, to proceed to another new task, is first of all to halt the graceful step of our circular dance” and Henderson 1996:130: “But now we should rather halt the graceful steps of our circle-dance and go on to our next number!” Cf. now also Furley/Bremer I 2001:357 with Furley/Bremer II 2001:354 ad 967. Thomsen 1973:30 (following Pickard-Cambridge 1968:239) sees it quite differently. He thinks that the chain is broken after lines 959ff. and that the chorus is now calling on itself to assume its previous arrangement. He also rejects ἐπ’ or πρός, because no new dance is begun (Thomsen 1973:31n3). Johansen 1975:87 understands ἔργον αὖ τι καινόν as reference to the reintroduction of civilization, the dissolution and refoundation of which was reenacted in the festival of Demeter; see below, pp. 150–151. The dance would then correspond to an act of civilization. Ludwig Koehnen has correctly pointed out to me that in line 967 there is an uncertainty regarding responsion, since this line has one syllable more than the corresponding lines 960 and 964 (cf. Parker 1997:430–433). In his opinion it is striking that Aristophanes could easily have written αὖ νέον at the end, but that the poet clearly did not want this. Perhaps he intended to express something by his choice of the word καινόν.
[ back ] 46. Aristophanes Frogs 440–442, 446–447. Beside the Erinyes in Aeschylus Eumenides (especially 307ff.) there are other female choruses that form a round dance: Aeschylus fragments 379 Radt (prayer); Euripides Iphigenia in Aulis 1036ff., especially 1054–1057, 1480–1481, cf. 1467–1472 (dance), Heracles Furens 673ff., especially 687–690 (cultic: Delian maidens), Helen 1301ff., especially 1312–1314 (Demeter and Kore!). On circular dances in tragedy see Davidson 1986. Round dances were connected with sacrificial ritual and were performed around the thymelê in the orchestra; see Rehm 1988:264–274 on the altar in the orchestra and Poe 1989. The altar as prop in the Thesmophoria festival becomes the tomb of Proteus in the immediately preceding parody of the Helen (Thesmophoriazusae 885–888; cf. Rehm 1988:304–305 and Sier 1992:7n13); in the choral song (947ff.) the chorus dances around the altar, so that the dramatic action on the level of the actors and the ritual performance both in the women’s festival and in the here and now become fused with one another on the level of the chorus.
[ back ] 47. On hymnic performances by a chorus that groups itself about a sacrificial altar, see Bremer 1981:197–199; on the connection with animal sacrifice, see Furley 1993:36. For the connection between paean and sacrifice see Käppel 1992:44–47, 49–51, 55–56 (and test. 95), 58–63, 81, 285.
[ back ] 48. Cf. Searle 1970, especially 33–42. Searle does not follow Austin’s distinction between locutionary and illocutionary acts and prefers to subsume propositional characteristics under the illocutionary. On the other hand, he takes over Austin’s idea of the perlocutionary effect as a separate category to be distinguished from the conventional effects of the purely illocutionary or performative act; see on this my Introduction, above, n98. On self-referential connections to the round dance see Thesmophoriazusae 953–958, 966–968, and 985–986.
[ back ] 49. On the poet cf.: Aristophanes Clouds 547, καινὰς ἰδέας and 561, εὑρήμασιν (with Hubbard 1991:103–105), Wasps 1044, καινοτάτας . . . διανοίας, 1053, καινόν τι λέγειν κἀξευρίσκειν, Pherekrates fragment 84 K.-A., ἄνδρες, προσέχετε τὸν νοῦν | ἐξευρήματι καινῷ, | συμπτύκτοις ἀναπαίστοις and Metagenes fragment 15 K.-A., κατ’ ἐπεισόδιον μεταβάλλω τὸν λόγον, ὡς ἂν | καιναῖσι παροψίσι καὶ πολλαῖς εὐωχήσω τὸ θέατρον. Cf. Xenarchus fragment 7, 1–2 K.-A., οὐδὲ ἓν | καινὸν γὰρ εὑρίσκουσιν, Antiphanes fragment 189, 17–18 K.-A., ἀλλὰ πάντα δεῖ | εὑρεῖν, ὀνόματα καινά; cf. Henrichs 1993a:175 (with parallel adduced from Pindar Nemean Odes 8.20–21). Cf. also Sifakis 1971:39 (C1: the content of parabasis and pnigos “explains the virtues and stresses the originality of his [i.e. the poet’s] art as compared with the art of other poets or with the quality of comedy before him”). Outside the parabasis in the prologue: Aristophanes Peace 54–55, ὁ δεσπότης μου μαίνεται καινὸν τρόπον, | οὐχ ὅνπερ ὑμεῖς, ἀλλ’ ἕτερον καινὸν πάνυ and other passages not related to καινός in Sifakis 1971:39. On the conventional idea of originality and innovation in hymns see Burkert 1985:103. Lohr 1986:175 emphasizes the element of the impromptu and novel for the provocation of laughter, a constituitive element of comedy: “Zur Aufführungssituation der theatralischen Form ‘Komödie’ gehört immer ein Moment unvorhergesehener Neuheit, mit dem sich die Schauspieler—für den Zuschauer meist nicht bemerkbar—den Raum der komischen Comunitas (sic!) schaffen; gerade auch in einem durchinszenierten Stück des modernen Repertoire-Theaters” [“Attached to the performance situation of the theatrical form ‘comedy’ there is always a moment of unforeseen novelty with which the actors—something that the spectator generally does not notice—create space for the comic comunitas (sic!); even in a scripted and staged piece of modern repertory theater”]. On the motif of novelty in the ritual song fragment 851b PMG, see below, chapter 2 nn90 and 93.
[ back ] 50. On the identification of the poet with the choral leader (for example in Clouds 518–562, Peace 734–764) see Körte 1921:1244, Pickard-Cambridge 1962:198–199, Kranz 1933:26–27, Herter 1947:38, Dover 1972:50–53, and Sifakis 1971:52; on the identification of the poet with the voice of the actor cf. Acharnians 496ff.; cf. Möllendorff 1995:222–266 (“Protagonist und Polyphonie”), specifically on the Acharnians, ibid., 222–235. Contrary to Lefkowitz 1991:24 and the communis opinio I do not believe that this form of the parabasis is older. Aristophanes fragments 30 K.-A., οἶδα μὲν ἀρχαῖόν τι δρῶν, . . . can hardly be taken in this sense. The fact that later parabaseis tend to remain in the dramatic role of the chorus could be an accident of transmission (cf. especially Birds 685–722, Lysistrata 614–705, Thesmophoriazusae 785–813). Even there one should rather speak of a state of fluctuation between different levels of utterance. Anapaests may be equally often used for the self-presentation of the chorus as for that of the poet; cf. Hubbard 1991:20: Cratinus fragment 105 K.-A. (the chorus of the Malthakoi speaks in its dramatic role about its garland); Eupolis fragment 13 K.-A. (the chorus of the Goats speaks in its dramatic role about its food); Aristophanes fragments 427–431 K.-A. (the chorus of ships in the Holkades takes an inventory of its cargo). Just as in Pindar’s Epinicians the choral “I” may take on an autobiographical, epinician, social, and performative aspect, so the comic chorus unites various voices in itself; precisely in the parabasis the choral “I”/“we” may present itself to the audience as historical-autobiographical (as poet), generally political (as chorus in its real-world function), performative (as chorus in its role or function), and dramatic (as chorus in its role within the plot). The comic chorus can speak in several of these voices at once and can fluctuate freely between these manners of speaking. On different voices in Pindar see Segal 1995:180–181; in the tragic chorus ibid. and Calame 1999:149–153.
[ back ] 51. In Aristophanic comedies the chorus seeks to make its identity clear right at its first appearance by speaking self-referentially: cf. Frogs 209–214 (croaking of frogs), Birds 260–262 (twittering of birds), Clouds 275–290 and 298ff., and Eupolis Goats fragment 13 K.-A.; on other animal choruses see Sifakis 1971:76; self-description of human choruses is found in Acharnians 209–222; Lysistrata 254–265, 319–335; Thesmophoriazusae 328–330; Assemblywomen 285–288; and Wealth 257–258. The wasps describe their stings only at a later stage, for dramatic reasons (Wasps 403–407: up until this point the members of the chorus present themselves as old warriors at Marathon, 230ff.).
[ back ] 52. The words of the song: σοί, Βάκχε, τάνδε μοῦσαν ἀγλαΐζομεν, | ἁπλοῦν ῥυθμὸν χέοντες αἰόλῳ μέλει, | καινὰν ἀπαρθένευτον, οὔ τι ταῖς πάρος | κεχρημέναν ᾠδαῖσιν, ἀλλ’ ἀκήρατον | κατάρχομεν τὸν ὕμνον (fragment 851b PMG [= carmina popularia 5b], carmina popularia 8 B., 48 D.). The claim to originality is practically hammered into the audience by means of an asyndetic and metaphorical series of attributes. This song is of particular importance since it has often been adduced as the possible ritual source of the parabasis, to which the song from the Thesmophoria (947–1000) also belongs. For interpretation see below, chapter 2.
[ back ] 53. Hubbard 1991:195n109 thinks the songs would have been out of place in the context of the women’s self-justification in the parabasis of this play. Mazon 1904:134 and Gelzer 1970:1470 call Thesmophoriazusae 947–1000 a “second parabasis,” or “Nebenparabase.” Cf. Wilamowitz II 1893:349, Gelzer 1970:1473, Sifakis 1971:52, Dover 1972:171n11, Thomsen 1973:42–45, Hansen 1976:184, Zimmermann II 1985:192, and Sier 1992:65n6. Schmid 1946:314n4 and Prato, 306–307, on the other hand, are sceptical.
[ back ] 54. Cf. the prosodion in Aristophanes Birds 851–858 (cf. προσόδια, 853). Cf. e.g. the parodos hymns in Sophocles Oedipus the King 151–215 and Antigone 100–154, which culminate, as does this song, in an invocation of Dionysus (Oedipus the King 209–215; Antigone 147–154).
[ back ] 55. Proclus Chrestomathia ap. Photius Bibliotheca 320a12–17 (Severyns 39) and Didymus ap. Orion, s.v. ὕμνος (pp. 155–156 Sturz). See the discussion in Furley 1995:31–32, which I follow here to a large extent. Furley thinks that the distinction between actual hymn and other genres of choral lyric has been wrongly introduced into studies of the history of literature, since the Alexandrians ultimately simply lumped everything that they could not unequivocally ascribe to a particular god and genre into the category of hymns. Against this view, Harvey 1955, for example, is of the opinion that the hymn represents a unique and separate genre from paean, dithyramb, and other hymnic forms. Käppel 1992, especially 64 also believes that the paean was distinct from the hymn in terms of style and intention. On the differentiation of the target-group into gods and humans cf. Proclus Chrestomathia ap. Photius Bibliotheca 319b33–320a6.
[ back ] 56. Proclus Chrestomathia ap. Photius Bibliotheca 320a19–20. This sentence has invariably been cited as a definition of the proper hymn (cf. Harvey 1955:166 and Bremer 1981:197). For a precise explanation see Furley 1993:23n7 and Furley 1995:31–32. Immediately preceding this Proclus contrasts it with the prosodion, which was sung to the accompaniment of the aulos and during the procession to the altar or temple: ἐλέγετο δὲ τὸ προσόδιον ἐπειδὰν προσίωσι τοῖς βωμοῖς ἢ ναοῖς, καὶ ἐν τῷ προσιέναι ᾔδετο πρὸς αὐλόν (Photius Bibliotheca 320a18–19 [Severyns 40 with comm., pp. 117–125]).
[ back ] 57. Cited following West 1965:149 (= Powell 1925:160). In the case of this song too (Thesmophoriazusae 947ff.) we may thus also speak of a παραβώμιον (cf. Bremer 1981:197), particularly since the altar used in the Thesmophoria, or the thymelê in the orchestra, has already been introduced into the play in the preceding parody of the Helen (885–888). Cf. above, nn34 and 46.
[ back ] 58. Thus Harvey 1955:166 and Bremer 1981:197. See now also Furley/Bremer I 2001:10, who speaks of a “stationary chorus.” On the performative mode of the chorus in the Palaikastro hymn (στάντες ἀείδομεν, 9) cf. West 1965:157: “Our hymn, sung by a choir standing round an altar (verse 9), may have been preceded or accompanied by a dance executed by others.” Ibid., n35 he also suggests the possibility that the chorus could later itself have begun to dance (referring to Jeanmaire 1939:432–433); see now Furley/Bremer II 2001:11 ad 6. On the dance of these chorus members in the sense of a “weaving process” (see now Furley/Bremer II 2001:11 ad 7) that symbolically introduces them as ephebes going through an initiation rite into the “web” of society, see Ceccarelli 1998:111–112.
[ back ] 59. On the Proclus passage see Furley’s sound remark (1993:23n7): “Emphasis should not be placed on ἑστώτων as indicating that there was no dancing at or round the altar during hymn-singing (thus Harvey); it is simply Proclus’ antithesis to ἐν τῷ προσιέναι, ‘during the procession.’ ”
[ back ] 60. Cf. on χορὸν ἱστάναι above, nn38 and 40. Cf. however Austin 1987:84 ad 968, who, like van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 123 ad 966–968 and Rogers Thesmophoriazusae, 102 ad 967, argues that στῆσαι βάσιν here means to stop. Cf. now also Furley/Bremer I 2001:357 with Furley/Bremer II 2001:354–355 ad 968 and Austin/Olson, 301–302 ad 966–968. More recently Habash 1997:34 similarly interprets χοροῦ κατάστασιν (958) as the “standstill” of the chorus members.
[ back ] 61. On the ancient and modern misperception that the stasimon was a stationary song, see Henrichs 1994/95:93n21. On the correction that the stasimon included motion and dance throughout, cf. ibid., 95n37 (with references). Cf. Nietzsche 1878/79:378: “Die στάσιμα drücken dem Namen nach nicht das Stehen aus; der Name heißt ‘Standlieder,’ nicht Stillstandlieder, weil der Chor seinen Standort erreicht hat, auf dem er wohl tanzen kann. Viele στάσιμα wurden getanzt” [“Despite their name στάσιμα do not refer to standing; they are called ‘standing songs’ because the chorus has reached the position in which it can now dance. Many στάσιμα were danced”]. In addition to the references cited in Henrichs see also Gentili 1984/85:31–32, Cingano 1986:141–142, and Grandolini 1995:249–250.
[ back ] 62. It is not necessary because of the command πρόβαινε ποσί (969) to assume a march in 969–982 (saltationem prorsus ruentium, quam vernacule dicimus “Marsch,” Fritzsche, 390). The members of the chorus could also while in a circle set one foot in front of the other emphatically at the moment they order themselves to perform a hymn. The imperative represents rather a further self-referential confirmation of the performance that regulates the round dance.
[ back ] 63. Cf. above, nn9 and 43. Cf. for example Zimmermann II 1985:196 and Sommerstein’s (Thesmophoriazusae, 113) somewhat unclear stage direction: “As the rhythm and style of the dance change again.”
[ back ] 64. Cf. Zimmermann 1992:25–26, Ceccarelli 1995:292–293, especially n17, and Ceccarelli 1998:123–124, especially 124n10. On presentations of hymns around the altar see Bremer 1981:197–199. On the practice of circular dance in dithyramb, paean, and hyporcheme during sacrificial rites see also Furley 1993:35–36, and on the round dance in tragedy and comedy Henrichs 1994/95:95–96n38. See also above, n46.
[ back ] 65. Cf. Thomsen 1973:42–43. Fraenkel 1962:213 unfortunately did not include the song in his treatment of the parabasis odes (ibid., 191–215); however, in his article (Fraenkel 1931:5) following Wilamowitz II 1893:349, he did briefly include it in the context of the parabasis. Imitation of folk models can be detected, according to Fraenkel, in the musical and metrical composition, in structure, and in diction. On the rhythmic antecedent of the simple glyconics with which Aristophanes imitates the “religious poetry of the old days” (especially Knights 551ff. and Clouds 563ff., but also Thesmophoriazusae 1136ff.), see also Wilamowitz 1921:242–243 (with reference to Philodamus’ paean), Fraenkel 1931:3–5, Fraenkel 1962:191–194, and already Crusius 1894:21. Kleinknecht 1937:116 and Horn 1970:115 also take the hymn as nonparodic. On individual gods in the hymnic portion (969ff.) see also Habash 1997:34–36.
[ back ] 66. The sources are collected in Calame I 1977 (English translation Calame 1997): on Artemis, 174–190 (English translation 91–101), 252–304 (English translation 142–174); on Apollo, 190–209 (English translation 101–113), 305–323 (English translation 174–185); on Hera 209–224 (English translation 113–123).
[ back ] 67. Requests for victory in the dramatic agôn are found in Acharnians 1224, Knights 586–590, Clouds 1115–1130, Birds 445–447, 1102–1117, Lysistrata 1293, Frogs 390–393, Assemblywomen 1154–1162, 1182. Cf. on this Totaro 1999:168–170. Ἑκάεργε is a typical epithet of Apollo and Artemis; Horn 1970:117n223 sees it as referring to Apollo standing at a distance, since Artemis supposedly “mit musischem Geschehen wenig zu tun hat” [“has little to do with musical activity”]. Cf. however Calame I 1977:174–190 (English translation Calame 1997:91–101), 252–304 (English translation Calame 1997:142–174).
[ back ] 68. On Meineke’s conjecture συμπαίζει (975) cf. Sophocles Oedipus the King 1109. Manuscript R transmits the reading χοροῖσιν ἐμπαίζει.
[ back ] 69. On the connection of Pan, the Nymphs, Hermes, and Dionysus cf. Sophocles Oedipus the King 1098–1109 (in general the latter choral song, also characterized as a hyporcheme, is quite close to this hymn; see Bierl 1991:133–134). Pan is often the attendant of Dionysus or Hermes. As son of the pastoral god Hermes, Pan is often described as the friend of Dionysus; Borgeaud 1988:174–175. Pans, Nymphs, silenoi, and satyrs are combined in Bacchic dance (Plato Laws 815c). On the connection of Pan and the Nymphs see Borgeaud 1988:107–108, 140, 155, 173, and 227n102; on Hermes and the Nymphs see ibid., 159 and 206n17. On Pan and Hermes cf. Borgeaud 1988:54, 66, 77 and 261n17 and on Pan’s connection to Dionysus cf. ibid., 54, 100, and 178 (with all references). On nymphs as female followers of Dionysus see Hedreen 1994:50–54, who argues for a distinction between nymphs and maenads. Dance also plays a role in the god’s cult; in general, clapping (κρότος), laughter (γέλως), and cheerfulness (εὐφροσύνη) are essential parts of his ritual; Borgeaud 1988:150. On the origin of dance and its connection to mania and panic see the excellent observations of Borgeaud 1988:251n118. Pan is particularly connected with choral dance: in drama he is called in Aeschylus Persians 448 the god “who delights in choruses” (φιλόχορος). In the strophe of the hyporcheme in Sophocles Ajax 693–705 he is summoned, as in the parabasis odes, to participate as “chorus master” (χοροποί’ ἄναξ, Ajax 698) together with Apollo in the choral dancing now taking place (the song exhibits many Dionysiac associations and performative self-references; cf. Bierl 1986:53–54, Henrichs 1994/95:73–75, and Henrichs 1996:44–45). Cf. Pindar fragment 99 S.-M., Πᾶνα χορευτὰν τελεώτατον. Cf. the hymn to Pan fragment 936 PMG, where Pan’s music and dance are praised. On Pan in drama cf. also Euripides Ion 492ff. and Aristophanes Birds 745–746 (the chorus of the Birds performs “holy tunes” for Pan and “festive choral dances” for the Great Mother), Frogs 230–231 (with Apollo); cf. Lonsdale 1993:261–275 (on Pan as χορηγός) and Henrichs 1994/95:101n79.
[ back ] 70. In Aristides Orations 53.4 Hermes is directly named as their choral leader (χορηγός).
[ back ] 71. Apollo: Apollonius of Rhodes 4.1218, Theocritus Idylls 25.21; Pan: Homeric Hymns 19.5.
[ back ] 72. IG IV2.1, 130, 15–16 (1–2) (= fragments 936, 1–3 PMG) (Pan), IG XII.8, 358a (Apollo). Dionysus is also presented as a god involved in dance and play with the Nymphs (Sophocles Oedipus the King 1108–1109).
[ back ] 73. Cf. also Larson 1997. A cult of Pan, the Nymphs, and Apollo Nomios is attested (IG I3 974–981) in the cave of Vari on Hymettos (cf. Aelianus Various History 10.21). An inscription addresses Apollo Hersos (IG I3 981). On the initiatory threshold position of νύμφαι between παρθένοι and γυναῖκες cf. Calame 1992:110–112 and also Calame 1999a:125–129 and 163. He refers in particular to the fact that νύμφη is also the term for the newly married young wife who has not yet had a child (127 with n. 34). The ambivalent status does not then abruptly cease with the rite of passage of marriage, but continues until motherhood, which counts as the actual boundary of womanhood. Cf. also Dillon 1999 (on sacrificial requirements on Kos for νύμφαι after marriage [Segre 1993: ED 178]).
[ back ] 74. Cf. Calame I 1977:209–210 (English translation Calame 1997:113), who emphasizes that the cult of Hera Parthenos, the virgin, was never separated from that of Hera Teleia, the adult woman.
[ back ] 75. On the myth of the “bees” and King Melisseus cf. Apollodorus of Athens, FGrHist 244 F 89 and Callimachus Hymns 2.110–111. On the women at the Thesmophoria as bees see Versnel 1993:251–254 (with ample sources and secondary literature); on the ideological implications and the explanation of the Thesmophoria as a festival of inversion see the excellent account in Versnel 1993:228–288, with whose conclusions I am in substantial agreement. Through the suspension of reproduction the wildness of female sexuality is tamed by marriage. It is generally assumed that virgins were excluded from the Thesmophoria. Callimachus fragments 63.9–12 Pfeiffer is an important text here. Cf. among others Deubner 1932:53 and Versnel 1993:246 and 253. Still, the last word on the problem has not yet been said. Gerhard Baudy has kindly drawn my attention (per litt.) to this fact once more. The testimonium in Lucian Dialogues of the Courtesans 2.1 speaks explicitly in favor of participation by unwed girls. Yet given the comic context of this cynic of the imperial period, the seriousness of the statement may be placed in doubt. Baudy 1992:24n132 nevertheless maintains that the Callimachus testimony speaks only seemingly in favor of the exclusion of virgins, because in the same third book of the Aitia, from which the fragment comes, Callimachus tells the story of Akontios and Kydippe, which forms the aition of a prenuptial wedding ritual (of a κοῦρος and a παρθένος, fragment 75 Pfeiffer). Baudy (per litt.) adds that it is important to examine the context of fragment 63 more precisely, to determine whether it is spoken in the poet’s voice or in a figurative way and how the banishment is grounded. Clearly the girls have “betrayed” Kore and broken a taboo. Narrated as the aition of the Thesmophoria, the exclusion would create expectations of its “repetition” in the structure of the festival. Baudy concludes on the basis of the two Callimachean fragments that there was also a symbolic pre-consummation of the marriage whereby the girls are switched into the category of married women (he also includes in this context the aition of the Thesmophoria on Paros, according to which Demeter brought the daughters of King Melisseus a weaving stool [see below, n350] and the mysteries, so that the women celebrating the festival are also called Melissai [Apollodorus, FGrHist 244 F 89]). This is the equivalent, then, according to Baudy, of a female rite of initiation (see now Kledt 2004:115–120); even though this view would support the interpretation that follows even further, I am careful to distance myself from it, because there is unfortunately no unambiguous evidence in support of it. Yet clear typological analogies to initiatory processes do seem to be there (see below, n398). For this reason talk of “mysteries” and initiatory rites (τελεταί) is not without grounds; cf. Burkert 1985:242 with nn9–10. There is in fact one indication that the sequence of kathodos to anodos and the myth of Demeter and Kore that frames the ritual structure was at times mimetically performed. This kind of performance would thus be reflected in Aristophanes’ play. Cf. also Lada-Richards 1999:85; Kledt 2004 (a dissertation directed by Baudy in Konstanz) attempts to reconstruct the performance of the abduction of Kore using among other things the Thesmophoria (especially 114–147). Of course this can only lead one to the well-known conclusion that the relative reenacts Kore’s descent into Hades as a definite mythical pattern. Euripides accordingly corresponds to Demeter on her search for her daughter. Cf. among others Bowie 1993:214–216, Lada-Richards 1999:163, and below, nn120 and 404–407. Yet the indications in the play in relation to the plot are relatively few; rather, the play is loosely organized about the initiation, which the women at the festival and the men in the theater ritually reexperience.
[ back ] 76. Here one sees the typical Aristophanic complex of the inverted becoming the normal. It is ultimately a reflection of the ritual inversion of order protected by the state.
[ back ] 77. Shear 1973; cf. Shear 1973a:168–170. On other evidence for the connection of Pan and Demeter see Borgeaud 1988:140–147.
[ back ] 78. On nympholepsy cf. νυμφόληπτος (IG I3 980), Borgeaud 1988:104–107, and Connor 1988.
[ back ] 79. Cf. Borgeaud 1988:66 on the connection of Hermes as well: “In many respects, Pan is Hermes, only more so, and more exactly so.”
[ back ] 80. See Borgeaud 1988:84.
[ back ] 81. Aristotle Poetics 1449a9–13. On this see below, chapter 2, passim, especially nn7–9.
[ back ] 82. See Burkert 1966a, on τραγῳδοί, especially 92n11.
[ back ] 83. See the inscription from a cave in Pharsalia (4th c. BCE): Πὰν δὲ γέλωτα καὶ εὐφροσύνην ὕβριν τε δικαίαν (SEG 1, 1923, 248, line 17, pp. 60–61).
[ back ] 84. In an Athenian version that goes back to Philokhoros (FGrHist 328 F 103) and according to which Pan and Echo are Iambe’s parents, Iambe combines indecent speech and self-gesture in comic play (παίζουσα) in front of Demeter. Παίζειν relates to the speech act and to the movement, which in a sense amounts to a dance. Cf. Olender 1990:89 and Borgeaud 1988:147. On the connection of the Iambe episode (Homeric Hymns 2.192–205) with the pannykhis in Eleusis, where of course there was also dancing, see Borgeaud 1988:170.
[ back ] 85. See the no-longer extant kalyx-krater Dresden 350 (ARV 1056, 95) (Persephone was securely identified by an inscription); on a skyphos from Boston, Museum of Fine Arts 01.8032 (ARV 888, 155), two Pan figures jump and dance about a goddess emerging from the earth; see in general on anodoi Bérard 1974; there is a good collection and interpretation of the most important anodoi vases in the context of Pan in Borgeaud 1988:145–146, 247nn75–82.
[ back ] 86. On Pan, see similarly Borgeaud 1988:151.
[ back ] 87. On the laughter of the members of the chorus in their role as women at the Thesmophoria see Winkler 1990b:188–209, who views the laughter at men in the context of aiskhrologia as the “laughter of the oppressed.” In the sense of a social safety valve the festival of Demeter is suited to blowing off steam in order to then better resume social relations. Zeitlin 1982 also sees the Thesmophoria as a temporary relief for women from the frustrations of everyday life.
[ back ] 88. In Sophocles Ajax 698 Pan is in fact invoked as χοροποί’ ἄναξ.
[ back ] 89. The participle χαρέντα refers possibly to Pan and not to Hermes, as has traditionally been assumed, or to both gods, since they are taken as a fixed unit of father and son. Cf. also carm. conviv. fragment 887.3–4 PMG (to the dancer Pan): γελάσειας ὦ Πὰν ἐπ’ ἐμαῖς | †εὐφροσύναις ταῖσδ’ ἀοιδαῖς αοιδε? κεχαρημένος. On γελάσαι cf. also Euripides Bacchae 380 (Dionysus).
[ back ] 90. Line 981, ἔξαιρε R: ἔξαρχε Meineke. Meineke’s suggestion is a reflex of ἡγοῦ (987), where Dionysus is asked to become exarkhos of the dithyramb and thus the divine khorêgos of the chorus in the orchestra; ἔξαρχε is then a direct command to Pan to assume control of the chorus. Meineke was probably unaware of the dance imperative in the singular as an address by the chorus to itself. Still less should the addressee be thought of as one person; cf. Kaimio 1970:128 and Thomsen 1973:34n9. According to Lawler’s view (Lawler 1945:63–66) ἔξαιρε represents a self-command to dance the diplê. One could of course assume a corruption of line 982: grammarians would mark a passage with the marginal notation διπλῆ in order to characterize the rejected verse as a suspected doublet. Perhaps they did so in this instance because they did not understand the reciprocal relation of lines 980b and 982 (for this see now Furley/Bremer II 2001:356–357 ad 982–983 and Austin/Olson, 304 ad 981–984 and above, n42); in this way the indication could eventually have been incorporated into the text in expanded form. One possible version: ἔξαιρε δὴ προθύμως | πόδας, χάριν (χάριν Ellebodius, Biset: χαίρειν R) χορείας. Cf. the choral dance diction in Sophocles Antigone 224, κοῦφον ἐξάρας πόδα. Cf. also the full presentation in Bierl 1999.
[ back ] 91. See above, Introduction n179. One could therefore consider χαράν instead of χάριν in line 982. On the interchange of the two words cf. also Sophocles Women of Trachis 179. On the gods’ enjoyment of the choral dance of men (or frogs!) see also Frogs 229–232.
[ back ] 92. On the effect of exchange see Thomsen 1973:33. On the concept of reciprocity in ritual Seaford 1994, passim. On kharis in the relationship of gods to mortals in Aristophanes Bowie 1993:273–278. Consider Race 1982, especially 8–10, who summarizes his findings on the reciprocal nature of kharis as follows (ibid., 8): “No other word epitomizes so well the relationship which the hymnist tries to establish with the god—one of reciprocal pleasure and goodwill.” Cf. also Meier 1985 (who shows among other things that Athena’s political function of reconciliation in Aeschylus’ Oresteia coincides with her gracefulness). The Kharites as personification of kharis embody the grace of the reconciliation of unequal individuals competing with one another. On song as kharis in the interplay of god and mortal in Pindar see among others Most 1985, especially 60–95. Cf. also Χάρις in Pindar Olympian Odes 1.30 and the definition in Nagy 1990:65n72: “ ‘beautiful and pleasurable compensation, through song or poetry, for a deed deserving of glory.’ This word conveys both the beauty (‘grace’) and the pleasure (‘gratification’) of reciprocity.” Cf. also MacLachlan 1993, especially 3–12, index s.v. “reciprocity,” and Burkert 1996:129–155, who considers the facts of the matter more from the perspective of gift exchange.
[ back ] 93. Otto 19706:103.
[ back ] 94. See Taaffe 1993:99: “It would be most appropriate to invoke Dionysus here: Dionysus presides over the festival that the women, as comic figures, have been created for, and so he makes possible their appearance and their speech in the first place. He is also the god of transformation and sexual ambiguity, an appropriately metatheatrical god.” Cf. also Bierl 1991:172–176.
[ back ] 95. Cf. other series in dramatic hymns in which Dionysus also receives the important final position. Cf. Sophocles Oedipus the King 151ff. (Apollo, Athena, Artemis, Apollo, Dionysus [209–215]), Women of Trachis 205ff. (Apollo, Artemis, Nymphs, Dionysus? [216–220]); Aristophanes Clouds 595ff. (Apollo, Artemis, Athena, Dionysus [603–606]), Lysistrata 1279ff. (Dionysus is named in the center, 1282–1284, and Aphrodite at the end). The following invocations or mentions of the god do not represent independent hymns and are better integrated into the course of the plot: Sophocles Antigone 150–154 (Dionysus at conclusion to parodos), Oedipus the King 1105–1109 (Dionysus at the end of song of joy); Euripides Ion 216–219 (Dionysus at end of strophe of parodos). Cf. also Habash 1997:36 in connection with Aristophanes Thesmophoriazusae 969–1000: “This hymn demonstrates a movement from Demetrian to pan-Olympian, and finally to specifically Dionysiac elements. The Chorus begins its song as celebrants of Demeter, but ends it as Bacchants celebrating Dionysus. This final shift leaves the Chorus and audience in a Dionysiac mood that befits a Dionysiac, not Demetrian, festival.”
[ back ] 96. Cf. Wilamowitz 1921:475–476n2. On πάλλ’ see Aristophanes Lysistrata 1303–1304 and 1309.
[ back ] 97. On πᾶσαν cf. Thomsen 1973:37, on the whole discussion on τόρευε cf. Thomsen 1973:35–37. Cf. also schol. Thesmophoriazusae 986.
[ back ] 98. Τορεύειν = “drill”; τορνεύειν = “turn on a lathe.”
[ back ] 99. On the dithyramb as circular chorus par excellence see also Aristophanes Clouds 333, Frogs 366, μέλη . . . κύκλια, Birds 917–918; on the dithyramb and κυκλιοδιδάσκαλος cf. Birds 1403 and Birds 1379 (comic treatment of the dithyrambic poet Kinesias, Birds 1372–1409; cf. also Aristophanes fragment 156 K.-A.). Cf. Ceccarelli 1995:292–293 and Ceccarelli 1998:42–44, 123–124.
[ back ] 100. Cf. also Euripides Cyclops 661 and Heracles Furens 978, where the conjecture τόρ‹ν›ευμα . . . ποδός has turned out to be the transmitted reading. Wilamowitz 1921:476n2, using the same reasoning, is also in favor of this: “τορεύειν kann drehen wohl kaum werden” [“τορεύειν can hardly become turning”] (Thomsen [1973:35] does not understand Wilamowitz here [“his point escapes me”]). Bentley’s conjecture τόρνευε was considered by Brunck (Notae in Thesmophoriazusae, 136) and adopted by Coulon in his text; in any case, the decision does not have to depend on the verb τορνεύει (Thesmophoriazusae 54) in the play, where it is reported that Agathon is “turning” a new tragedy (cf. Fritzsche, 397–398 ad 986). Because of the difficulties Blaydes (I, 96 ad 986) conjectured χόρευε, adopted by van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae in his text.
[ back ] 101. On Dionysus as choral leader cf. Aristophanes Frogs 351–352, 396ff.; Sophocles Antigone 1147; Euripides Bacchae 115, 135ff., especially 141. Lines 985–1000 have been briefly analyzed by me (Bierl 1991:174–175) from the point of view of metatheatricality. But the principally ritual element of these performative utterances had not yet been recognized at that stage, cf. especially ibid., 174n188. On the khorêgos, which the imperative ἡγοῦ plays upon, cf. Calame I 1977:92–143 (English translation Calame 1997:43–73) and Nagy 1990:345ff., 375–381.
[ back ] 102. Cf. Bierl 1991:99n179.
[ back ] 103. Gardner (1983) thinks that the performative approach in the study of ritual has been too strictly confined to the illocutionary act and that it ignores the causal effect in the mind of the believer. Still, the boundaries do not have to be drawn so strictly. The request for perlocutionary consequences also of course implies that those praying already imagine this in terms of the religious inner perspective as having been realized. The command “Dionysus, lead the chorus!” can also be interpreted as a speech act: in its speech the chorus acts in such a way that in the imagination of the speakers Dionysus really does accompany them as choral leader. Furley 1995 refers to aspects of self-presentation and reciprocal communication by means of kharis, which are characteristic of every hymn (especially 36 and 45).
[ back ] 104. In defense of the transmitted χοροῖς τερπόμενος (992a) against Wilamowitz’s conjecture χωρεῖς, which Coulon accepts, see Thomsen 1973:39–40; Thomsen (1973:40) correctly remarks that the relationship of ἡγοῦ in connection with χοροῖς τερπόμενος forms an analogy to κώμοις φιλοχόροισι σὲ μέλψω (sic!) in the reciprocal relationship that exists between lines 979–981 and 982; cf. also the names of the muses Terpsichore (Hesiod Theogeny 78 and Corinna fragment 655–fragment 1.1 PMG) and Euterpe, or the name Terpandros; χαίρειν and τέρπειν “said of the gods” belong to ritual style; cf. Kleinknecht 1937:156 and Thomsen 1973:40 with n19; see also Norden 1939:195: “Denn bezeichnenderweise hat sie [i.e. Old Comedy] Reste alter Technik auch auf diesem Gebiet treuer bewahrt als die in gemessenerem Stilgewande schreitende Schwester” [“For it [Old Comedy] has significantly preserved the remains of old technique more faithfully in this area too than its sister with its more measured style”]. On χαίρειν/χάρις cf. in this song (Thesmophoriazusae 947–1000) Thesmophoriazusae 972a, 980b, 982, and Euripides Bacchae 417–418, ὁ δαίμων ὁ Διὸς παῖς | χαίρει μὲν θαλίαισιν; Sophocles Antigone 147–148, Νίκα | τᾷ πολυαρμάτῳ ἀντιχαρεῖσα Θήβᾳ. Cf. also Aristophanes Clouds 274, τοῖς ἱεροῖσι χαρεῖσαι; Clouds 311, Βρομία χάρις; Birds 1743, ἐχάρην ὕμνοις, ἐχάρην ᾠδαῖς (where Peisetairos is pretending to be a god); Alcman fragment 27 Davies, Μῶσ’ ἄγε Καλλιόπα θύγατερ Διὸς | ἄρχ’ ἐρατῶν ϝεπέων, ἐπὶ δ’ ἵμερον | ὕμνῳ καὶ χαρίεντα τίθη χορόν; Aristonous, Paean in Apollinem (Powell 1925:162–164, 164 = Käppel 1992:384–386, 386–Pai. 42), line 45, χαρεὶς ὕμνοις ἡμετέροις, carm. conviv. fragment 887.4 PMG, ?εὐφροσύναις ταῖσδ’ ἀοιδαῖς αοιδε? [ἀοιδᾷ Page] κεχαρημένος; Aristophanes Frogs 231–232, προσεπιτέρπεται δ’ ὁ φορμικτὰς Ἀπόλλων; Frogs 674–675, Μοῦσα, χορῶν ἱερῶν ἐπίβηθι καὶ | ἔλθ’ ἐπὶ τέρψιν ἀοιδᾶς ἐμᾶς. On enjoyment by members of the chorus and mortals cf. Pindar fragments 75.2 S.-M. (the Olympian gods are to react to the χάρις by their arrival), Aristophanes Frogs 244, χαίροντες ᾠδῆς, and Frogs 358. Cf. also τερπόμενος . . . ἐρατοῖσιν ὕμνοις (Thesmophoriazusae 992–993) and Philodamus, Paean in Dionysum (Powell 1925:165–171, 166 = Käppel 1992:375–380, 375–Pai. 39), line 9.
[ back ] 105. Cf. Thomsen 1973:42 with references.
[ back ] 106. Cf. Aristophanes Acharnians 665–666, Knights 559–564, 586–594; Clouds 563–565; Peace 775–781; Thesmophoriazusae 1136–1138, 1148–1159; and Frogs 326–327, 385a–388, 398–403, 674–675.
[ back ] 107. On the reciprocal ambivalence of the word φιλόχορος cf. Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 220 ad 988–989.
[ back ] 108. On the Du-Stil of predication in lines 987ff. see Norden 1913:158, who compares them with the hymn to Dionysus (Sophocles Antigone 1115ff.). Thereupon follows the participial style typical of hymns (Norden 1913:166–168).
[ back ] 109. On the kômos cf. below, chapter 2 nn29–30. The mention of the kômos functions as a performative switch to the performance currently going on in the here and now.
[ back ] 110. Cf. Euripides Cyclops 620, φιλοκισσοφόρον Βρόμιον. On the Dionysiac epithet κισσοχαίτης cf. Cratinus fragment 361 K.-A., Ekphantides fragment 4 K.-A., Pratinas TrGF I 4 F 3, 16. On the ivy wreaths of the performers cf. Philodamus, Paean in Dionysum (Powell 1925:165–171, 167, 169 = Käppel 1992, 375–380, 376, 379–Pai. 39), lines 58–60 (Muses), 146–147 (performers); on the ivy wreaths of the worshipers of Dionysus in their fictional role cf. Euripides Bacchae 106, 323, 342, 1055. Dithyrambic choruses were decorated with the ivy wreath in particular; on the dithyrambic chorus cf. Pickard-Cambridge 1968:75–77 (the part involving Dionysus [985ff.] approaches a dithyramb in tone). On the Pronomos Vase (Naples 3240 [ARV2 1336, 1]) all participants in the satyr chorus wear an ivy wreath, except for two members of the chorus and the aulos player,. It is of course questionable whether the chorus of the Thesmophoriazusae (Thesmophoriazusae 985ff.) or that of the Women of Trachis (Sophocles Women of Trachis 216–220) actually danced wearing garlands of ivy. On the connection of garlands with cheerful music and choral dance cf. also Euripides Alcestis 343–344 and Heracles Furens 677.
[ back ] 111. The communis opinio, which treats the song, in contrast to the comic action, as if it is entirely serious, should therefore be revised. Cf. MacDowell 1995:273: “It does include three hymns to various gods, which may have been impressive musically as well as poetically (312–330, 953–1000, 1136–1159); but the rest of the play is for laughs.”
[ back ] 112. This the transmitted reading for 993b in manuscript R. In my text for reasons of responsion I adopt Hermann’s conjecture ὦ Εὔι’, Εὔι’, εὐοῖ, which Zimmermann II 1985:198–199 and Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 112 also accept. Cf. now also Prato, 311 ad 993b and Austin/Olson 307 ad 994a–b.
[ back ] 113. Cf. Philodamus, Paean in Dionysum (Powell 1925:165–171, 166 = Käppel 1992:375–380, 375–Pai. 39), lines 19–20, πᾶσα δ’ ὑμνοβρυὴς χορεύ— | ε[ν Δελφῶ]ν ἱερὰ μάκαιρα χώρα.
[ back ] 114. Cf. Henrichs 1994/95:73–90, Henrichs 1996a, and already Davidson 1986:39–41. Here, however, we see not so much the usual projection onto other dances, but rather a transference to nature. Henrichs 1996a:61n49 terms both passages just cited (Euripides Bacchae 114 and Philodamus, lines 19–20) “pathetic fallacy.” Cf. also choral projection onto the cosmos (Sophocles Antigone 1146–1154, where Dionysus becomes χοράγ’ ἄστρων); on this cf. Euripides Ion 1078–1080, Electra 467, and Alcman fragments 1.60–63 Davies.
[ back ] 115. On κτυπεῖν see Euripides Bacchae 129 and Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 1500, Aristophanes Assemblywomen 483, ἀλλ’ ὡς μάλιστα τοῖν ποδοῖν ἐπικτυπῶν βάδιζε, Assemblywomen 545, κτυποῦσα τοῖν ποδοῖν, and Wealth 758–759; on βρέμειν see Euripides Bacchae 156, 164. On the loud Dionysiac music during oreibasia, see Euripides Bacchae 126–129, 155–165; cf. Aristophanes Clouds 311–313. His epithet Βρόμιος (Thesmophoriazusae 991) derives from this; see Euripides Bacchae 66, 84, 87, 115, 329, 375, 412, 446, 536, 1031, 1250; see Dodds 19602:74 ad Euripides Bacchae 65–67.
[ back ] 116. Cf. now similarly also Austin/Olson, 307 ad 999–1000. Cf. Euripides Helen 1331; Aristophanes Frogs 1321. On εἱλίσσω as an expression of choral dance, especially in Euripides, see among others Trojan Women 2–3, Electra 180, 437, Iphigenia in Aulis 1055–1057, Heracles Furens 690, Phoenician Women 234–236, 313–316; on this see Bond 1981:245 and Mastronarde 1994:221–222. Cf. Frogs 1314, εἱειειειλίσσετε (imitation of a Euripidean choral ode that Aeschylus performs monodically; note here the stretching out of this favorite verb of Euripides; parody among others of Euripides Electra 436–437; cf. Dover Frogs, 352–353) and Frogs 1349, εἱειειειλίσσουσα. Cf. the idea in Euripides Phoenician Women 649–656 applied in Thesmophoriazusae 999–1000, where the chorus tells of the birth of Dionysus. Ivy surrounds the newborn immediately: Βρόμιον ἔνθα τέκετο μά | τηρ Διὸς γάμοισιν, | κισσὸς ὃν περιστεφὴς | ἕλικος (coni. Hermann; Diggle and Mastronarde adopt the transmitted ἑλικτὸς) εὐθὺς ἔτι βρέφος | χλοηφόροισιν ἔρνεσιν | κατασκίοισιν ὀλβίσας ἐνώτισεν, | Βάκχιον χόρευμα παρθέ | νοισι Θηβαΐαισι | καὶ γυναιξὶν εὐίοις. Not only does Dionysus serve as inspiration for the Bacchic dance of the Theban maidens and rejoicing women—so that the abstract concept stands for the divine dancers themselves (so Mastronarde 1994:339 ad Euripides Phoenician Women 655: “By a variation typical of Euripides, the abstract is used for a person, here the object rather than subject of the verbal action . . . : ‘who is worshipped in dancing,’ ‘inspiration of dancing worship’ ”)—but the scene of the ivy surrounding the baby can also be understood as a projection of choral formation onto Dionysiac nature. Thus Βάκχιον χόρευμα stands in apposition both to κισσός and the baby Dionysus, both described in terms of dance. Cf. especially Sophocles Women of Trachis 219–220, εὐοῖ, ὁ κισσὸς ἄρτι Βακχίαν | ὑποστρέφων ἅμιλλαν. On this point see both the excellent discussion of Henrichs 1994/95:81–84 (who does not, however, investigate the special self-referential function of “ivy” and “turn” in connection with the round dance) and Bierl 1991:135–137.
[ back ] 117. On the iynx cf. Callimachus fragment 685 Pfeiffer (= schol. Theocritus Idylls 2.17) and schol. Pindar Nemean Odes 4.56a; cf. Borgeaud 1988:85 (with useful references). Iynx is also the name of a bird, the so-called wryneck, which can turn its head 180 degrees and emits shrill cries, which the Greeks compared with the pan flute or generally with the aulos; see Richter 1975. Among other reasons, the chorus members were frequently compared and equated to birds for the musical quality of their song (see above, pp. 78–79), especially in the Birds of Aristophanes.
[ back ] 118. The myth of Echo, embedded in the plot of Daphnis and Chloe (Long. 3.23), is of great interest for understanding our song in terms of the relationship of kharis between gods and mortals. Echo is a maiden on the threshold of becoming a woman (παρθενίας εἰς ἄνθος ἀκμάσασα); her primary occupation consists of participating in the choruses of the Nymphs and Muses (ταῖς Νύμφαις συνεχόρευε, ταῖς Μούσαις συνῇδεν). After the virgin’s limbs are gathered together and buried, the earth imitates (μιμεῖται) everything, even Pan as he plays his syrinx. “And he, when he heard the voice, sprang up and pursued it up into the mountains, not to catch it, but to find out who his hidden pupil was.” The failed sexual relationship between man and woman, which also depends on kharis, thus here becomes sublimated to a musical relationship. Echo, now transformed into a natural phenomenon, imitates the musical activities of Pan and reactualizes them qua mimesis, at which the god experiences pleasure and even participates as dancer (ἀναπηδᾷ . . . κατὰ τῶν ὀρῶν) in order to discover the origin of the sound. Cf. Dionysus’ oreibasia with the Nymphs (Thesmophoriazusae 992); on πηδάω as choral term see Lysistrata 1316–1317, Frogs 1211–1213 (from Euripides Hypsipyle [fragment 752 N/Kannicht] on Dionysus as choral dancer): “Διόνυσος, ὃς θύρσοισι καὶ νεβρῶν δοραῖς | . . . | πηδᾷ χορεύων –”; Wasps 1520 (on the dancing sons of Karkinos); Knights 545, 599, 604 (in connection with the horses and riders of the chorus); Autokrates fragments 1.1–6 K.-A., οἷα παίζουσιν φίλαι | παρθένοι Λυδῶν κόραι, | κοῦφα πηδῶσαι ‹ποδοῖν | κἀνασείουσαι› κόμαν | κἀνακρούουσαι χεροῖν | Ἐφεσίαν παρ’ Ἄρτεμιν; and fragment adesp. 936.8 PMG (hymn to Pan), πηδᾷ. On the echo of the dithyrambic chorus, see also Pindar fragment 75.18 S.-M. On the echo as characteristic element of the bird chorus see Aristophanes Birds 215.
[ back ] 119. Echo had a sanctuary on the Sacred Way to Eleusis (IG II/III2 1011.8) and was thus closely connected with the cult of Demeter. Cf. also Philokhoros, FGrHist 328 F 103.
[ back ] 120. Heath 1987:51n106, Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 226–227 ad 1056–97 (with sound arguments) and Gilula 1996 argue for Echo’s appearance as a separate person; see now also Slater 2002:175. Sier 1992:75–76 (with n41) on the other hand gives good reasons for thinking Echo was invisible, was reduced to her voice alone, and yet, as the scholia also maintain (schol. Thesmophoriazusae 1056), was played by Euripides (see now also Prato, 321 ad 1056–64); similarly Bubel 1991:10n10. Van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 133 apparatus ad 1056–1096 and Mureddu 1987:21–22 interpret Echo as an actual person, who remains invisible, however, performs behind the scenes with voice alone, and supposedly mimetically parodies the natural phenomenon thematized in the Andromeda. Klimek-Winter 1993:140–143, with Hansen 1976:182–183, believes Echo was visible to the audience and played by Euripides/Perseus, though she remained invisible for the parties affected, the relative and the Scythian (this seems to be the position of Austin/Olson). The report in the scholia probably means nothing other than that the momentarily released actor, who otherwise played the role of Euripides, here provided the voice of Echo. On the Echo part in general, see Mureddu 1987 for more detail. On the Andromeda parody cf. Rau 1967:65–89. As Iambe’s mother, Echo could have been introduced by Aristophanes almost as a sort of sexually themed comic stand-in for the daughter, in keeping with the Thesmophoria as the context for the plot. Euripides finally transforms himself in the exodos scene into a procuress and resorts to the level of prostitutes, who adopt a vulgar speech similar to that of women during the ritual aiskhrologia of the Thesmophoria (Cleomedes 2.1, p. 166, 7 Ziegler). On prostitutes in the parabasis see below, nn312 and 324. In addition, in the comic Echo scene (1056ff.) one could also perhaps associate the so-called êkheion in Eleusis (τὸ καλούμενον ἠχεῖον, Apollodorus, FGrHist 244 F 110b), the sounding of a gong by which the lost maiden Kore was supposed to be summoned up from the depths. Cf. the explanation of Demeter’s by-name Akhaia in schol. Acharnians 708 and Etymologicum Magnum, s.v. Ἀχαία (180.34–41). Cf. on this Bérard 1974:75–87, especially 83–87.
[ back ] 121. On the text of Thesmophoriazusae 1018–1019: προσᾴδουσ’ ἀυταῖς, Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, προσᾴδουσ’ (Elmsley, Dobree) ἀυτάς (Burges) Mitsdörffer 1954: 69–70, προσᾴδουσα (Elmsley, Dobree) τἄμ’ (Willems) Coulon, προσαυδῶ σε τάν Bothe: προσαιδοῦσσαι τάς R and schol. Thesmophoriazusae 1018. Cf. on this Austin 1990:28, who like Parker 1997:436 and 443 favors Mitsdörffer’s solution; see now also Austin/Olson, 314 ad 1018–1019.
[ back ] 122. Sier 1992:74 speaks of the relative summoning Euripides as Echo in line 1019. Yet how can it be that Euripides, who in line 1011 is still named in the role of Perseus, now has supposedly slipped into the role of Echo without any occasion for doing so or any indication of transformation of identity? At most one may only draw this conclusion retrospectively, from his subsequent appearance (following schol. Thesmophoriazusae 1056); for the audience, such a solution at this point could hardly have been comprehensible and for the actors, impossible to perform.
[ back ] 123. Cf. among others Euripides Electra 178–180 (Elektra), Iphigenia in Tauris 1143–1152 (chorus of Greek maidens serving as temple slaves in the land of the Taurians), and Phoenician Women 1265–1266 (Antigone); on Echo cf. Long. 3.23 and above, n118.
[ back ] 124. Van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 130 ad 1031 conjectures κῶμον ἕστηκ’ ἄγουσ’ and adopts it in his text; cf. Sommerstein Thesmphoriazusae, 225 ad 1031.
[ back ] 125. Cf. Thesmophoriazusae 1034–1036: γαμηλίῳ μὲν οὐ ξὺν | παιῶνι, δεσμίῳ δὲ | γοᾶσθέ μ.’ Here too the relative plays ironically on the situation of the ὕμνος δέσμιος in the previous choral ode (Thesmophoriazusae 947–1000).
[ back ] 126. On the invocation of Athena in Thesmophoriazusae 1136ff. see also Anderson 1995:63–67. On the song cf. also Habash 1997:36–37.
[ back ] 127. Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 231–232 ad 1143–1144.
[ back ] 128. The chorus has already invited Dionysus and his κῶμοι φιλόχοροι in the previous ode to participate in the festive dance song (Thesmophoriazusae 987–989). This epithet is not elsewhere attested in connection with Athena.
[ back ] 129. Cf. however the reference to the Skira Thesmophoriazusae 834 and below, pp. 196–206.
[ back ] 130. On the pannykhis cf. Euripides Children of Heracles 777–783 and IG II/III2 334.30 and 32–33; on the nocturnal performances cf. Euripides Children of Heracles780–783: there are choral performances by ephebes, νέων τ’ ἀοιδαὶ χορῶν τε μολπαί (Children of Heracles 780). The place echoes with their cries (ὀλολύγματα, Children of Heracles 782) and resounds with the stamping of the maidens’ feet in their nocturnal dance, παννυχίοις ὑπὸ παρ | θένων ἰαχεῖ ποδῶν κρότοισιν (Children of Heracles 782–783). See in general Wilkins 1993:151–152, and on the agônes at the Panathenaia see Kotsidu 1991:35–62, especially 59–60. On Athena as goddess worshiped by choruses of unmarried girls see Calame I 1977:232–241 (English translation Calame 1997:128–134). Pallas stands synonymously for παρθένος; see Fauth 1964:681. Furthermore, Athena is the goddess of the Arrhephoroi, who also perform choruses in her honor; cf. Euripides Ion 492ff.
[ back ] 131. On further ritual and choral self-references see Peace 775–781: Μοῦσα, . . . | μετ’ ἐμοῦ | τοῦ φίλου χόρευσον, | κλείουσα θεῶν τε γάμους | ἀνδρῶν τε δαῖτας | καὶ θαλίας μακάρων· | σοὶ γὰρ τάδ’ ἐξ ἀρχῆς μέλει; Clouds 308–313: εὐστέφανοί τε θεῶν θυσίαι θαλίαι τε | παντοδαπαῖσιν ὥραις, | ἦρί τ’ ἐπερχομένῳ Βρομία χάρις | εὐκελάδων τε χορῶν ἐρεθίσματα | καὶ μοῦσα βαρύβρομος αὐλῶν; Birds 731–734: πλουθυγίειαν, βίον, εἰρήνην, | νεότητα, γέλωτα, χορούς, θαλίας, | γάλα τ’ ὀρνίθων; and Euripides Bacchae 417–418: ὁ δαίμων ὁ Διὸς παῖς | χαίρει μὲν θαλίαισιν. On the ἑορτή cf. Frogs 371: καὶ παννυχίδας τὰς ἡμετέρας αἳ τῇδε πρέπουσιν ἑορτῇ, Frogs 391, 398, 443–444, and Peace 816–817: Μοῦσα θεά, μετ’ ἐμοῦ ξύμπαιζε τὴν ἑορτήν. The comparison with Peace 974–977 (prayer to Eirene for propitious reception of sacrifice): ὦ σεμνοτάτη βασίλεια θεά, | πότνι’ Εἰρήνη, | δέσποινα χορῶν δέσποινα γάμων, | δέξαι θυσίαν τὴν ἡμετέραν is also of particular importance for this passage. In the Peace, the divine personification is also mistress of the chorus together with Dionysus as god of performance. Once again there is a typical fluctuation between performance and the fictional function of Eirene as founder of marriage (the wedding simply represents a metonymic extension of the peace accord).
[ back ] 132. This scene makes Athena’s role as protector of the dêmos clear; cf. Ostwald 1986:357–358. The frequent references to tyrants (e.g., Thesmophoriazusae 338–339) in this work are of political importance given the historical situation in 411 BCE; on the other hand, they should not be overly interpreted as completely transparent statements of the politics of the day. Dover 1972:171–172 warns against excessive reliance on contemporary politics and views the references as a conventional means of expressing the dêmos’ habitual fear of oligarchy. On the political background cf. Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 2–4, especially on preparations for an oligarchic coup, cf. Ostwald 1986:337–358; Sommerstein (ibid., 2) thinks the remarks directed against Persians and despots, which he interprets as exclusively political, were only integrated into the completed manuscript at a later stage, immediately before the performance at the Dionysia in 411 BCE; see now also Prato, 329 ad 1143–1144 and Austin/Olson, xliii. See below, n276 on the resulting ritual implications of the relative as intruder being compared to a tyrant. In a different performative perspective see now Slater 2002:150–180.
[ back ] 133. Cf. especially lines 317–319, corresponding to lines 1140–1142, and Anderson 1995:64: “When the women claim the practice of inviting Athena as their own, they are no longer just female celebrants at the festival, but stand-ins for those who would normally call on Athena at an assembly, namely the Athenian ecclesia.” Anderson also does not see the performative dimension and the reference to the pragmatic context.
[ back ] 134. On this basis the chorus’ anti-Persian attitude (337, 365) should also be read not simply as an extra-dramatic, political statement. On the friend-enemy complex that Athena establishes in the Oresteia by means of an association and dissociation of powers (“Assoziation und Dissoziation der Kräfte”), see Meier 1980:207–214, 218–222 (adopting the ideas of Carl Schmitt [30–33]) and Bierl 1996:29, 51–52, 64. Euripides and his agent (relative) as Athenians have the same interests as the chorus.
[ back ] 135. Euripides now humorously calls himself after Artemisia, queen of Halikarnassos in Caria (1200ff.), whose bravery in the naval battle at Salamis (480 BCE) caused Xerxes to exclaim (Herodotus 8.88.3): “My men have become women, my women men!” In the agôn in the parabasis of the Lysistrata, the male semi-chorus accuses the women of behaving like Artemisia (Lysistrata 675), since they endanger the traditional power of men through their behavior. On Caria as a locus of inversion, see Bierl 1994:31.
[ back ] 136. Marcellinus ad Hermogenes, Rhetores Graeci 4.462.2–3 Walz. Cf. the orator Sopater, ibid. 8.67.4 Walz. The release of prisoners was also transferred to the Panathenaia and Dionysia (schol. Demosthenes 22.68 [170b, p. 293 Dilts]); this could also form a basis for the invocation of Athena (Thesmophoriazusae 1136ff.).
[ back ] 137. Agathon’s performance on stage is already described as an introverted solo kômos (see especially Thesmophoriazusae 104). Agathon here resembles the solitary kômastai in vase paintings, who, following the Anacreon-like model of the poet, are shown with the barbitos (cf. Thesmophoriazusae 137). Cf. Snyder 1974 and Frontisi-Ducroux/Lissarrague 1990; Agathon, however, does not have a beard, while the Anacreon figures retain this sign of masculinity. The onomatopoeic βόμβο (1176) is already anticipated by the bômolokhos-like comments of the relative at the entry of Agathon: he interrupts the parousia description of the servant with the insertions βομβάξ (45) and βομβαλοβομβάξ (48). The chorus, whose song (947ff.) becomes in a way a catalyst for the reconciliation in the final scene, has previously evoked the kômos (988b); the relative in his tragic mood parodically alters the term (1031); see above, n124. Here the comastic is now expanded, in contrast to the introductory Agathon scene. Euripides, dressed as a woman with harp (pêktis; on this instrument see West 1997; according to West 1997:50 a harp is meant in line 1217), and having a beard, now clearly resembles the figures on Anacreontic vases; at the same time the flute-player Teredon (‘Woodworm’) and the female dancer complete the musical side. The whole ensemble also resembles comastic vase paintings with an aulos-player (on the aulos as instrument of transgression see Wilson 1999) and a slave-girl as dancer (cf. for example the representation on a kylix from the Bareiss collection, Malibu 86.AE.293; Frontisi-Ducroux/Lissarrague 1990: ill. 7.32). In the comic finale the hetaira as sexual element in the kômos is also present in the person of the dancing-girl, and the phallic in the person of the Scythian. On the common presence of the aulos, which provides musical accompaniment for others, and of the stringed instrument (barbitos), with which the poet accompanies himself, see a fragment from the Agora, Athens, Agora P 7242 (ARV 566.4). The Anacreontic kômos scenes also usually display the type of the poet with parasol, an item of feminine apparel. The tableau in the parabasis (821–829) and the appearance of the relative form a bridge between the comastic scene of Agathon and Euripides. On the connection between weaving (cf. the female confusion in the tableau 821–829) and dance with rhythmic beating on a string instrument, see Ceccarelli 1998:111–112; the πηκτίς, which Euripides carries (πηκτίδας, 1217), can be understood as a string instrument (cf. Anacreon fragments 373 and 386 PMG) as well as a loom. In the Palaikastro hymn (lines 7–8), which is connected, according to Lonsdale 1993:165 and Perlman 1995, with an ephebic oath, flute and pêktis are also combined as accompaniment. The dancing-girl Elaphion receives her name from the Dionysiac fawn, which is often connected with dancing maenads (cf. Euripides Bacchae 866). On the deer (ἔλαφος, νεβρός) as choral metaphor cf. Homeric Hymns 2.174–175, Aristophanes Lysistrata 1318–1319 (ἔλαφος); cf. Sappho fragments 58.16 L.-P., Bacchylides Epinician Odes. 13.86ff., Euripides Electra 860–861: ὡς νεβρὸς οὐράνιον | πήδημα κουφίζουσα, Bacchae 862ff., especially 866 (νεβρός). The dancer jumps as lightly as a deer or flea (1180). The dance terminology, also used in lines 1178–1179 (ὀρχησομένη and ὀρκῆσι καὶ μελετῆσι), strengthens the dancing girl’s activity on stage. The lascivious dance culminates in Elaphion winding herself about her victim with her lovely charms, to which the barbarian comments καλὴ τὸ σκῆμα περὶ τὸ πόστιον (1188). Σχῆμα refers to a dance position (Lawler 1964:25–27, 72, 83, 87, 114, 128, 133) and to the arrangement of her bottom, which is probably exposed. The play-within-play situation is emphasized by the fact that the flute-player is not the same as the aulos-player in the theater, who usually accompanied all musical choral parts and is elsewhere often addressed metatheatrically (Taplin 1993:105–110), but performs next to the latter; cf. Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 233 ad 1160–1175.
[ back ] 138. Cf. Bierl 1991:175–176 and Bowie 1993:219–225.
[ back ] 139. The comic chase-scene possibly alludes to the Chalcidian δίωγμα at the Thesmophoria. Cf. now Prato, xxx and 340 ad 1221. See the emphatic commands of the chorus, δίωκε and διώξεις (Thesmophoriazusae 1223–1224), directed at the Scythian. The Χαλκιδικὸν δίωγμα or ἀποδίωγμα was a custom that is supposed to have consisted of a secret sacrifice. An aition reports that once, during a war, the women prayed for victory and the enemy thereupon fled and was pursued as far as Khalkis; Hesychius and Suda, s.v. and Versnel 1993:239. We are clearly dealing here in fact with a symbolic and mimetic pursuit of men by women, carried out in a kind of dance. In the inverted world the women play with the idea of besieging their male opponent by military methods as well. The idea of a female military dance fits well with the evocation of the pyrrhikhê in the tableau within the parabasis (821–829). The connection with the Thesmophoria is thus no coincidence, as Deubner 1932:60 thinks. Rohde 1870:554n2 (= Kl. Schr. II 1901:362n2) considers connecting the ritual with the dance of the women in Halimous (cf. below, n180). Deubner 1932:60 rejects Rohde’s interpretation of a mimetic dance, although a few lines later he says that it must originally have been a mimetic chase. Mimetic action is achieved of course using expressive body language in dance; on this see in general especially the thesis of Koller 1954. Dahl 1976:99 describes the practice, considerably more accurately, as “a symbolic act, to make sure that no men and nothing harmful was present” (here one may think of the search-song [Thesmophoriazusae 655–688]). After the women have already actively and mimetically pursued their male enemies in the search-song, they entrust in grotesque fashion the task of pursuit to the police henchman at the end of the action, once the inverted world has been overcome. His departure will also have been in the form of dance.
[ back ] 140. On the ambiguity between dramatic role and the function of the chorus in this passage cf. also Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 237 ad 1231: “[I]s this a prayer by women celebrating the Thesmophoria for the goddesses to accept and reward their worship, or is it a prayer by a comic chorus for blessing on, and for the success of, their performance?” See also Flashar 1994:67 and Totaro 1999:169.
[ back ] 141. Cf. Versnel 1993:228–288, especially 245–250 and 274–283.
[ back ] 142. Small changes in lines 102–103, 107, and 122 have been made in comparison with Coulon. Cf. in general the fine exposition in Zimmermann II 1985:22–29. The humor of the song lies according to Zimmermann II 1985:28 in the type of presentation; he terms it a “Pseudo-Amoibaion” (ibid., 24). There is no space here to go into musical parody and the connection with the new Attic dithyramb and new music. See also Zimmermann 1993:45 and Kugelmeier 1996:271–297 (on the Agathon parody), especially 277–280 (on the Agathon hymn). On the whole scene see also Rau 1967:99–114 (who [ibid., 104–108] correctly rejects Kleinknecht’s [1937:101–103, especially 102] interpretation that the hymn is full of “nichtssagenden einzelnen Prädikationen” [“meaningless individual sentences”] and “übertriebenen Pathos” [“overblown pathos”], because the style, according to Rau, though caricaturing, nowhere oversteps the customary limit in hymns of this type), Horn 1970:94–106, Muecke 1982, Stohn 1993, and now Furley/Bremer I 2001:350–354, Furley/Bremer II 2001:341–346, and the new commentaries by Prato, 168–177 and Austin/Olson, 86–97 ad 101–129. Consider also the thesis advanced by Zeitlin (1981:177–178) that Agathon is not suited for the defense of Euripides because he is too well accustomed to the female role. Zeitlin 1981 goes into the problem of mimesis in the Thesmophoriazusae in detail and also addresses the function of Dionysus and Demeter in this comedy (194–200). For a detailed analysis of the play in terms of ritual see now also Tzanetou 2002; for the aspect of performance and body see now Stehle 2002 (both contributions to the special issue of AJP 123.3 edited by Gamel 2002).
[ back ] 143. This inclusion of the frame, the before and after, has been emphasized in more recent approaches in performance studies and theater anthropology. Richard Schechner, applying the theories of Victor Turner, compares the theater together with the preparatory phase before the play with initiation and other such changes in status. The three-stage model of the rite de passage developed in van Gennep 1909 is thus transferred from rites of puberty in tribal societies to the theater: in both cases, actor and spectator undergo a process of transformation by means of theatricality; cf. Schechner 1985:117–150. On the integration of the rehearsal process into a performance cf. Schechner 1977:132–137. These connections will become gradually more meaningful in my analysis, since Aristophanes in the Thesmophoriazusae, as will become clear in the course of this chapter, thematizes the theater’s mode of operation, using initiatory rituals as a basis.
[ back ] 144. On the Agathon hymn (Thesmophoriazusae 101–129), see Rau 1967:104–108, Horn 1970:100–106, Muecke 1982:46–48, Zimmermann II 1985:22–29, Parker 1997:398–405, and now Furley/Bremer I 2001:350–354, Furley/Bremer II 2001:341–346, and the new commentaries by Prato, 168–177 and Austin/Olson, 86–97 ad 101–129. Zimmermann refers to the ritual embedding of the song. In the preparation the slave acts in the role of a hierokêryx who announces the epiphany of a god; on the sacrifice and prayerlike character of the preparatory scene (Thesmophoriazusae 39ff.) cf. Kleinknecht 1937:151n1, Kleinknecht 1937a:300–301, and Zimmermann II 1985:22. The humor of the passage lies, according to Kleinknecht 1937:151n1 and Zimmermann II 1985:22, in the fact that this high-flown introduction does not, as in Birds 1719 and Peace 1318, announce a (supposed) divinity, but only a poet. Yet the ambivalence of the presentation extends at the same time to placing Agathon in the presence of gods. The fashionable poet is on many occasions connected with Dionysus. In terms of his external hermaphroditic appearance Agathon is in fact quite similar to him. He wears, as the in-law does later, a saffron robe (138) and carries a mirror (140) (see on this Seaford 1996:223 ad Euripides Bacchae 918–919). On Dionysus in feminine garb see also Kenner 1970:116–129. Moreover, Agathon is addressed with quotations from the Aeschylean Lykourgia. Line 136 is a direct quotation from the Edoni (Aeschylus fragment 61 Radt), and lines 137–145 could have been adapted directly from the scene of interrogation in which Dionysus is tried by Lycurgus. Cf. Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 167 ad 136; cf. also the reminiscence in Aristophanes Frogs 47. The metrical form with its ionic basis (but cf. the skeptical remarks of Parker 1997:402) makes one think of Dionysiac cultic poetry; cf. the parodos of Euripides Bacchae 64–169, especially 64–104 with the commentary of Dodds 19602:71–72. The ionicus a minore was perceived as lascivious and soft (cf. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 882–883 and Thesmophoriazusae 163). Further, the Phrygian harmony in which the song was probably composed also seems to point to Dionysus, since both harmony and god must have been particularly orgiastic and emotional, and is accordingly attacked by Aristotle (Politics 1342b1ff.); West 1992:181. It also has its place precisely in the New Dithyramb, which also refers to Dionysus. On the New Dithyramb see Zimmermann 1992:117–132, and particularly in connection with the Agathon song (Thesmophoriazusae 101–129) Zimmermann II 1985:28–29, Zimmermann 1988, and Kugelmeier 1996:279–280. On nearness to Apollo cf. below, pp. 146–148 (with nn166–169).
[ back ] 145. Cf. Caskey/Beazley 1954:55–61 and Frontisi-Ducroux/Lissarrague 1990. Cf. also Muecke 1982:50. The audience may also have associated the kômos named in line 104, the imagined chorus, with the kômos of effeminate parasol-dancers. Cf. quite similarly Price 1990:169–170: “The nature of the chorus remains ambiguous, as played by Agathon in his long Ionian chiton. An Athenian audience, however, would have had no difficulty recognizing his ‘chorus of maidens’ as effeminate males costumed like Agathon, for the scenes on vases indicate that Anacreontic performances lasted at least until the mid-fifth century.”
[ back ] 146. Snyder 1974. The scattered anacreontics (lines 104, 124 and variation in lines 117, 118 and 123; cf. Parker 1997:402), which represent the anaclastic form of the ionic dimeter, but which originally form a catalectic iambic dimeter (cf. Gentili 1952:21, 132, Gentili/Lomiento 2003:176, and Parker 1997:61–64), could also refer to the closeness to Anacreon. On the connection with Bakkhos cf. Frontisi-Ducroux/Lissarrague 1990:228–232, especially the illustration 7.38 of Dionysus playing the barbitos (Paris, Cabinet des Médailles 576, ARV 371, 14), who in terms of type resembles the representation of the poet completely. Anacreon says of a bearded man clad in Ionian and eastern fashion, κωμάζει δ’ ὡς Διόνυσος, fragment 123 Gentili (442 PMG). In fragment 82 Gentili (388 PMG) he makes fun in the symposium of just such an effeminate comast named Artemon, who carries a little parasol (σκιαδίσκην, line 11) with him; Price 1990:170–171. On the parasol in the tableau of the pnigos (Thesmophoriazusae 821–829) see below, pp. 198–206. A speech-bubble–like inscription on a kylix in Erlangen (Erlangen 454, ARV 339, 49) confirms the theory of the comastic barbitos-player: ΕΙΜΙ ΚΟ[ΜΑ]ΖΟΝ ΗΥΠΑΥ[ΛΟΥ].
[ back ] 147. Cf. Carpenter 1993. He interprets two exceptions, which already show in 470 BCE a beardless Dionysus (1993:186–187, ills. 7 and 8 [Private collection (ARV 605, 65bis), and Thessalonike, Archaeological Museum 8.54 (ARV 591, 28)]), as a reflex of stage practice; in his opinion, the vase paintings reflect the situation of the Aeschylean Lykourgia, in particular the Edoni, where Dionysus, as later in the Bacchae, appears as a masked man.
[ back ] 148. Schol. Thesmophoriazusae 101; van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 21 ad 101–129, Rogers Thesmophoriazusae, 14 ad 101–129, Coulon, Cantarella IV, 421, Rau 1967:106n19, Horn 1970:100–101, Muecke 1982:47, Zimmermann II 1985:22, Gannon Thesmophoriazusae, 8 ad 101–129 (he thinks Agathon sings as Dionysus and the chorus of the Muses), and Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 164 ad 101–129 all correctly adopt the scholiast’s explanation.
[ back ] 149. On the text-critical result of lines 102–103 cf. ἐλευθερίᾳ, Hermann: ἐλευθέραι R and πατρίδι R: πραπίδι, Wecklein. Wecklein’s conjecture would convey an unrestrained spirit in the choral ode, which is completely in keeping with the high-flown dithyrambic mood of the ode. Prato 1998:270–271 (cf. now also Prato, 170 ad 103a–b and Austin/Olson, 90 ad 101–103) follows the transmitted text of R because of the contemporary political events at the time of the first production (December 412/January 411 BCE). The hypothesis of a Trojan chorus put forward most recently after Cantarella (IV, 423 ad 101–129) by Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 164 ad 101–129 goes back to Bothe (III, 111 ad 101). Henderson 1996:223n38 follows Sommerstein. See now also Furley/Bremer I 2001:351–352 and Austin/Olson, 87.
[ back ] 150. Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 164 ad 101–129. On the ancient ritual form of responsive song cf. Radermacher Frösche, 200 and Parker 1997:403 (with reference to Sappho fragment 140 L.-P.).
[ back ] 151. Kleinknecht 1937:151n1.
[ back ] 152. Cf. Rau 1967:104 and now Furley/Bremer I 2001:353 against Kleinknecht 1937:101–103 and now Prato, 169–170.
[ back ] 153. On the closeness of Agathon to the theater-god Dionysus see Hansen 1976:174, Muecke 1982:48, Saïd 1987:230, Zeitlin 1981:196, Gannon Thesmophoriazusae, 8 ad 94, 101–129, and Taaffe 1993:82, 85.
[ back ] 154. Cf. Thesmophoriazusae 988b and above, n109 and below, chap 2. nn29–30.
[ back ] 155. Cf. Thesmophoriazusae 111–113, χαῖρε καλλίσταις ἀοιδαῖς, | Φοῖβ’, ἐν εὐμούσοισι τιμαῖς | γέρας ἱερὸν προφέρων. The sense of the lines is equally ambivalent and illustrates the relationship of reciprocity. The meaning depends in particular on line 113; γέρας is interpreted by Austin 1987:74 and Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 31 as honorary privilege, namely of being mentioned first in the series before the others, which Apollo is entitled to and which he here receives through song, because he “produces it himself” (cf. Austin’s explanation “displays” and now Austin/Olson, 92 ad 111–113). Cf. Sommerstein’s (ibid.) translation: “Rejoice in our beautiful song, | O Phoebus, and be first to receive | this holy privilege in our fair tribute of music” (similarly Henderson 1996:102) and Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 165 ad 113 (with his proposal to understand προφέρων as “win before others”); elsewhere, however, προφέρειν means less “receive,” “obtain,” than (among other things) “give of oneself,” “bring openly.”
[ back ] 156. There also seems to have been a comic element in this: Zimmermann II 1985:28; Wilamowitz 1886:156 suggests that Agathon used a falsetto delivery to emphasize this comic paradox. Tsakmakis 1997 thinks it probable that this role, which demands remarkable vocal and performative abilites, was played by the actor Nikandros, mentioned twice in Philodemos On Music (Περὶ μουσικῆς). Price 1990:170 interprets the “excellent masculine song” (Thesmophoriazusae 125) as a reference to male comasts who present a distinctly feminine appearance in the kômos. She maintains (170n110) that Leto, associated with Lycia and Phrygia, is particularly fitting for the effeminate chorus and that for this reason she is not mentioned in the hymn to the Athenian polis gods (Thesmophoriazusae 969–1000).
[ back ] 157. On the stylistic and rhythmic interpretation of the song see Rau 1967:104–108 and Zimmermann 1988.
[ back ] 158. Cf. especially εὐρύθμῳ ποδί, 985 and above, Introduction n169, chapter 1 nn31, 38, 62, 90, and below, chapter 1 n269; διανεύματα is glossed in schol. Thesmophoriazusae 122 by ὀρχήματα. Bentley conjectures, probably correctly, δινεύματα from δινεύω (‘whirl’); Coulon himself later withdraws his defense of the transmitted διανεύματα, based on Hesychius, s.v. διανεύει· στρέφει, κυκλεῖ (pro δινεύει); cf. Coulon, REG 50 (1937), 458. Parker 1997:400 and 404 also defends the transmitted reading. On δινεύω in a choral context with the meaning “move in a circle” cf. Homer Iliad 18.494, Euripides Phoenician Women 792, θυρσομανεῖ νεβρίδων μέτα δίνᾳ (on the choral implications of δίνη and the text [Diggle prints the transmitted †δινεύεις; δίνᾳ is a conjecture by Hermann] cf. Mastronarde 1994:380–382). Cf. however Fritzsche’s conjecture διὰ νεύματα (‘with nodding of the head’) with the commentary ibid., 37–38 ad 120–123; he suggests that for parodic purposes Aristophanes changed διὰ πνεύματα (cf. Euripides Phoenician Women 787) to διὰ νεύματα. Sommerstein accepts this conjecture, but for reasons having to do with the choral context, namely that the Kharites coordinated the chorus through nodding of the head, just as actual choruses were conducted by aulos-players (Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 166 ad 121–122). He follows here Wilamowitz 1921:341n1 and Austin 1990:16–17; see now also Austin/Olson, 95 ad 120–122.
[ back ] 159. See especially the command χορεύσασθε βοάν (103) and κῶμος (104); note also the important choral projection onto the Kharites, which remains without an actual counterpart and thus without effect: Φρυγίων | δινεύματα Χαρίτων (121–122).
[ back ] 160. See Zimmermann 1993:45 and Mureddu 1982/83:83–84; see also Kamerbeek 1967:77–78 and Austin 1990:16.
[ back ] 161. Austin 1987:74 ad 127 accepts by contrast Nietzsche’s conjecture ὑμετέρας, which would thus lose the choral “we.”
[ back ] 162. This proposed solution is found mostly in the older editions, among others in Brunck, Bekker, Fritzsche, Enger, Blaydes (cf. also Blaydes I, 142 ad 101–129), and Hall/Geldart; see e.g. Beer 1844:79: “Dazu kommt noch als Paraskenion der Musenchor (Vs. 104–129), der nicht auf der Bühne, sondern hinter derselben von den erst Vs. 295 auftretenden Choreuten gesungen wird” [“To this the chorus of Muses is attached as a paraskênion (lines 104–129), which is sung by the chorus members, who only appear at line 295, not onstage but behind the stage”]. (It is mostly compared to the subchorus of the Frogs; but the chorus of frogs was probably visible: Dover Frogs, 57.) Fritzsche, 32–33, Enger, 24–25 ad 101–129, Enger 1846:62–70, Muff 1872:73, 113–114, 162, Arnoldt 1873:71, Wilamowitz 1886:157, Fraenkel 1962:112n1, and Austin 1987:73 argue for an off-stage female chorus of the Muses, whose members also assumed the role of the chorus at the Thesmophoria. Kleinknecht 1937:101 seems to assume that a chorus actually performed (“Wechselgesang zwischen Agathon und einem [Musen?—]Chor”) [“Interchange of song between Agathon and a chorus (of Muses?)”]. Zielinski 1885:88–91 also sees a chorus of Muses; relying on a completely idiosyncratic train of thought, he theorizes that Aristophanes removed it as a semi-chorus (separate from the second semi-chorus of mortal women) from another version of the second Thesmophoriazusae (B) (“Kalligeneia”)—which Zielinski regarded as preceding the present Thesmophoriazusae (A) (“Nesteia”)—and adapted it for this version. In the “Kalligeneia,” according to Zielinski, this semi-chorus of Muses supported Euripides and his relative.
[ back ] 163. Cf. H.-J. Newiger’s review of Fraenkel 1962 in Gymnasium 72 (1965), 252–254, especially 253. Cf. also Rau 1967:106n19, Horn 1970:100–101, and Kugelmeier 1996:278.
[ back ] 164. On the imitativeness of the New Dithyramb cf. especially Aristophanes Wealth 290–321 (with Bierl 1994:38–41) and Zimmermann 1992:127–128. On the parody of Philoxenos in this passage (Wealth 290ff.) see Kugelmeier 1996:255–264. He establishes (262, 277) similarities between this passage and Thesmophoriazusae 101ff., since there too a dialogue between chorus leader and chorus takes place—although the interchange in the Wealth is an actual one.
[ back ] 165. Cf. however the interpretation of Muff 1872:113–114, who does not take into consideration the dimension of the chorus’ identity as women celebrating the Thesmophoria: “und nachdem er [Agathon] präludirt hat, fordert er in einem Liede die Musen auf, zu Ehren der unterirdischen Gottheiten die Fackeln zu ergreifen, zu tanzen und zu singen. Und diesem Wunsche willfahren die Musen; sie feiern in Liedern die Götter sowie das Spiel und den Tanz der Charitinnen. Dieser Gesang ist offenbar kein Theil des neuen Dramas, wie viele gemeint haben, sondern nur die Vorbereitung zu ihm, der Anruf der Götter” [“and after he [Agathon] has sung a prelude, he instructs the Muses in a song to take up torches in honor of the underworld deities, to dance and to sing. And the Muses comply with this wish; they celebrate in song the gods as well as the play and the dance of the Kharites. This song clearly forms no part of the new drama, as many have thought, but is only the preparation for it, the invocation of the gods”]. Beside line 41 (θίασος Μουσῶν) the only evidence for a subchorus of Muses in the Agathon song is the vocative Μοῦσαι (107), which is, however, based solely on a conjecture by Wilamowitz (ἄγετ’ ὦ κλήζετε, Μοῦσαι); R gives the reading ἄγε νῦν ὅπλιζε μοῦσα. Fraenkel 1962:111–114, especially 113, following a splendid suggestion of Fritzsche, who had already combined Bentley’s ὄλβιζε and Bergk’s μούσᾳ, changed the text to ἄγε νυν ὄλβιζε μούσᾳ, with μοῦσα being used by way of metonymy for “song” (for this practice cf. fragment 851b, 1 PMG and below, chapter 2 n82). Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 30 follows this reading and, like Kugelmeier 1996:278 (the latter takes θίασος Μουσῶν [line 41] merely as “poetic metaphor”), also rejects the idea of a chorus of Muses. See also Van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 22, who prints ἄγε νυν ὄλβιζε, Μοῦσα. But why should Agathon first address the Muses as κοῦραι (102)? How is a spectator supposed to identify these maidens as Muses? But see Austin 1987:73 ad 103: “The κοῦραι in 102 are clearly the Muses.” He follows (73 ad 107) Gannon’s conjecture ἄγε νυν ὀλβίζετε, Μοῦσαι (Gannon 1982:92 and in Gannon’s text). Parker 1997:403–404 is skeptical about Fraenkel’s μούσᾳ; but on metrical grounds this cannot fit Gannon’s solution and so he places the passage in cruces. The difficulties in arriving at a clear answer perhaps point to the poet’s consciously leaving the matter up in the air.
[ back ] 166. Cf. Homer Iliad 1.603–604, Hesiod Scutum 201–206, Pindar Nemean Odes 5.22–25, and Pythian Odes 1.1–4. In the Birds Aristophanes integrates this situation into the hoopoe’s call to the nightingale (Birds 209–222, especially 216–219): as in Thesmophoriazusae 101ff. at the center lies the ὀλολυγή, the loud ritual cry, particularly of women (Birds 222; after Thesmophoriazusae 129 a scholiast has written ὀλολύζει in the margin).
[ back ] 167. Enger, 25 ad 101–129 already recognizes the prooimion-like quality of the song. Cf. Aeschylus Agamemnon 31, φροίμιον χορεύσομαι (the passage is not mentioned in the excellent study of self-reference in the Oresteia by Wilson and Taplin [1993], but Agamemnon 1216 is [ibid., 172 and 179n23 (with reference to Hubbard 1992)]), Aeschylus Suppliants 830, φροίμια . . . πόνων, Euripides Heracles Furens 753, φόνου φροίμιον, and Aristophanes Knights 1343. On the prooimion see Nagy 1990:353–361 (at 356–366 Nagy shows that Pindar’s stylized prooimia are idealizations); consider 353: “The prooimion or prooemium took the form of a prayer sung to a given god who presided over the occasion of a given seasonally recurring festival where the song was performed in competition with other songs.” Since the song (Thesmophoriazusae 101ff.) is addressed to Apollo in particular, it ultimately fails to achieve its goal, since Dionysus is the actual divinity who presides over the comic agôn.
[ back ] 168. There is an important intertextual allusion in the reference to the spark in Apollo’s eye. In lines 126–127 there is a high-flown description of how “light sparkles in the eye of the god” because of the lyre and “the suddenly lifted voices” of the singers. Chorus and choral leader are once more connected to each other through the typical kharis relationship. Music, voice, and dance please the god, making him shine and causing him to move and participate in the choral dance. Cf. Homeric Hymns 3.201–206: αὐτὰρ ὁ Φοῖβος Ἀπόλλων ἐγκιθαρίζει | καλὰ καὶ ὕψι βιβάς, αἴγλη δέ μιν ἀμφιφαείνει | μαρμαρυγαί τε ποδῶν καὶ ἐϋκλώστοιο χιτῶνος. | οἱ δ’ ἐπιτέρπονται θυμὸν μέγαν εἰσορόωντες | Λητώ τε χρυσοπλόκαμος καὶ μητίετα Ζεὺς | υἷα φίλον [ back ] παίζοντα μετ’ ἀθανάτοισι θεοῖσι. Apollo steps high and beautifully (202); βιβάς here already refers to his dance movements. A glow shines about him, sparks of light emanate from his feet and clothing (202–203). This shining is identical with the radiant expression of the chorus in the hymn fragment 851b, 1 PMG (cf. below, chapter 2 nn94 and 96); Apollo’s feet refer to his dance, and his garment to his beautiful exterior. Agathon in our scene represents a parody of this; he too wears a long garment, which is here identical with saffron-colored clothing (Thesmophoriazusae 138). The latter was normally worn by women, particularly at ritual celebrations (Aristophanes Lysistrata 44, 51, 644–645); the krokôtos is typical of Dionysus in particular; cf. among others Aristophanes Frogs 46, Cratinus fragments 40 K.-A., Pollux 4.117, and Dover Frogs, 40. In Ptolemy Philadelphos’ famous procession, a ten-cubit high anthropomorphic figure of Dionysus wore a “purple khitôn, reaching to his feet, and on top of this a diaphanous krokôtos (κροκωτὸν διαφανῆ)” (Callixinus of Rhodes, FGrHist 627 F 2 in Athenaeus 198c). The relative will retain this saffron robe of Agathon as clothing (Thesmophoriazusae 250, 253) in order to sneak into the festival of the Thesmophoria. In the hymn to Apollo, Leto and Zeus are happy that their son Apollo dances (παίζοντα, 206) among the gods. In our song, however, it is questionable whether Agathon actually dances, since his chorus is not really there. On the divine choral leader see Nagy 1990:361–365, especially, on Apollo, p. 361: “As the generalist of SONG, Apollo is the ultimate chorus leader of the Muses, their authority in the choral integration of singing, dancing, and instrumentation.”
[ back ] 169. On the closeness of Apollo and Dionysus, see Bierl 1991:91–99 and Bierl 1994a:82–83, Calame 1990:364–369, and Grandolini 1995:256–258. Because of its Apollonian description Rau 1967:104 terms the Agathon song a paean. On Apollo as a lyre-playing khorêgos see Calame I 1977:102–108 (English translation Calame 1997:49–53). On the presence of the aulos-player in representations of comic choruses see Taplin 1993:69–78, on metatheatrical aulos-players in comedy ibid., 105–110. Reed and string instruments are largely complementary in their musical leadership function; Calame I 1977:126–133 (English translation Calame 1997:64–68) and Käppel 1992:80 (on the paean).
[ back ] 170. In manuscript R αγαθ appears before lines 101 and 107 and before lines 104 and 111 χο; before lines 114, 117, and 120 there are παράγραφοι. Lines 101–103, 107–110, 114–116, 120–122 are thus assigned to Agathon, and lines 104–106, 111–113, 117–119 to the chorus. The attribution is less certain at Thesmophoriazusae 122ff. In the old editions lines 123–129 are assigned to the chorus (or rather, Agathon speaking as chorus) (Brunck, Thiersch, Fritzsche, Bothe, Enger, Blaydes, Hall/Geldart, Rogers); so Horn 1970:104. Coulon, Cantarella, Gannon, Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae (now also Prato and Austin/Olson) give lines 123–125 and 129 to the “chorus,” and 126–128 to “Agathon” (that is, Agathon as Dionysus or priestess). Van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae assigns lines 123–127 (up until ὀπός) to the chorus, the command ὧν χάριν ἄνακτ’ ἄγαλλε Φοῖβον to Agathon as koryphaios (his reason seems to lie in the singular form [!]; for this reason the transmitted imperative singular in lines 107 and 128 is changed into the plural; cf. Austin 1987:73 ad 107, where he suggests ἄνακτ’ ἄγαλλε‹τε› Φοῖβον for line 128; cf. Parker 1997:405), and line 129 to the chorus.
[ back ] 171. Cf. above, n170 on Thesmophoriazusae 123–129. One could also argue that lines 101–103 should be given to the chorus as a self-command. Mazon 1904:127–128 argues precisely thus for the solution of the scholia, namely that Agathon is imitating a chorus in a monody; he does, however, divide the chorus into two semi-choruses; he interprets lines 101–103 as a command to dance given by one of these to the other (128).
[ back ] 172. Cf. Zimmermann I 1985:112. The verb ἀνέρχεσθαι (281) may indicate the anodos onto the Pnyx as well as the first day of the festival, which bears the same name and on which the women ascended to the Thesmophorion, which lay on higher ground; see schol. Thesmophoriazusae 585 and Deubner 1932:54.
[ back ] 173. On the political character of the Thesmophoria see Detienne 1979:199–201, Loraux 1981:126, and Versnel 1993:251n80 (with further literature).
[ back ] 174. Cf. Henderson 1996:92–93, who considers that the women at the Thesmophoria referred to their place of assembly as the Pnyx in a kind of comic distortion because of the confusion of the levels. He nevertheless is inclined toward the earlier conventional interpretation that the Thesmophorion really was on the Pnyx (cf. Thesmophoriazusae 658). Cf. Thompson 1936, who despite inadequate archaeological evidence tentatively located it next to the place where the men held their assemblies. Versnel 1993:240n40 has also more recently subscribed to this opinion. Following Broneer’s influential article (Broneer 1942) the Eleusinion, the main sanctuary for Demeter and Kore in Athens lying southwest of the Agora on the northwest slope of the Acropolis, has generally been adopted as the locale for the women celebrating this festival. Austin 1990:20 and Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 196–197 ad 658 follow this theory.
[ back ] 175. He reports that the Syracusans celebrated the Thesmophoria as μιμούμενοι τὸν ἀρχαῖον βίον.
[ back ] 176. On the parodos cf. Wilamowitz II 1893:347–355, especially 352–355, Kleinknecht 1937:33–40, Haldane 1965, Horn 1970:106–115, especially 109–115, Zimmermann I 1985:112–121, Habash 1997:25–30, and Parker 1997:406–413.
[ back ] 177. Cf. Horn 1970:111.
[ back ] 178. Cf. Horn 1970:111–115. On ritual blaming cf. Meuli 1975:33–68, especially 33–41 (“Bettelumzüge im Totenkultus, Opferritual und Volksbrauch”), 177–250 (“Schweizer Masken und Masken-bräuche”), and 283–299 (“Der Ursprung der Fastnacht”), especially among others 223 and 293.
[ back ] 179. Up until line 530 the action consists of the presentation of the popular assembly of women. Lines 329 and 372ff. consitute an immediate reference to the deliberate “other action” (cf. Hartmann 1887:334); particularly after the relatively self-contained interlude of song and prayer we return to the actual plan (372ff.), that action be taken in this pseudo-political organization against Euripides for his hostility to women.
[ back ] 180. See Plutarch Solon 8.4–5 (referring to the festival at Halimous on the 10th of Pyanopsion; on the day before the actual beginning of the Thesmophoria there was a visit to the local sanctuary of Demeter on Cape Kolias, during which the most prominent women of Athens would carry out a sacrifice and dance on the beach; the women of the chorus call themselves here εὐγενεῖς γυναῖκες, Thesmophoriazusae 330) and Polyaenus Stratagems 1.20.2.
[ back ] 181. Cf. Horn 1970:109n203; contra Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 176–177 ad 295, who identifies the woman as Kritylla and thinks that the prayer to the divinities there named is only appropriate for a priestess of the Thesmophoroi.
[ back ] 182. Kleinknecht 1937:33–34 shows how the call for εὐφημία with subsequent prayer to certain polis gods introduces and sets up a popular assembly. The female speaker’s prose is thus supposed to imitate the political ceremony in a way that is as unartificial and true to life as possible. The often-interrupted prayer of the priest in Birds 864–888 is comparable; cf. also Birds 1035–1057 and 1660–1666, where legal formulae are at the center.
[ back ] 183. Cf. Deubner 1932:55. The less clearly associated divinities Kourotrophos, Hermes, the Kharites, and Ploutos may also be placed in the context of a festival of Demeter. An archaic inscription from Eleusis, IG I3 5, mentions among the gods who are supposed to receive initial sacrifices at the Eleusinia the names of Ge, Hermes, the Kharites, and Plouton. Cf. Deubner 1932:55, 91n12 and Haldane 1965:40 with n3.
[ back ] 184. Cf. Peace 796–797, Birds 782, 1320, Lysistrata 1279, and Aristophanes fragments 348 K.-A.
[ back ] 185. In the second Thesmophoriazusae (PCG III.2, 182–200) she delivered the prologue, according to schol. Thesmophoriazusae 298. Presumably this version was not set at the Νηστεία, but on the third day.
[ back ] 186. Cf. a black-figure vase from Rhodes (London, British Museum 1906.12–15.1); Ashmole 1946 with ills. 2a, 3a, c, d, e. There the dance is performed by five women, who hold each other by the hand. The last woman holds a twig of eiresiônê (on eiresiônê as symbol of Ploutos and sign of wealth and fertility cf. Camps-Gaset 1994:77–87) and a naked dancing boy by the hand; the late arrival could certainly be Ploutos himself. Next to a priestess is a seated figure, probably the goddess Demeter, who watches the choral spectacle as onlooker. Simultaneously a phallus in the liknon is being revealed. On the image cf. Calame I 1977:133–134 (English translation Calame 1997:68–69). The naked παῖς ἀμφιθαλής perhaps embodies Ploutos, particularly typical of the day of the Kalligeneia. Lines 289–291 could be a comic reference to this kind of ritual content (phallus, Ploutos); the element of the dance is only hinted at in the following choral song and is only transformed into ritual action in the later choral dance songs (947ff. and 1136ff.).
[ back ] 187. Cf. Thesmophoriazusae 280 and 285–286 with 295ff. On Ploutos cf. πλουτοῦντος, 290. As a male intruder, the relative renders the cultic contexts ridiculous. He prays (289–291) to Demeter and Persephone that his little daughter “Piggy-pussy” (line 289: χοῖρον R, εὔχοιρον Coulon, Χοιρίον Fritzsche) find a rich man (ἀνδρός . . . πλουτοῦντος) and be able to look after the “Willy-boy” (σαθίσκον; cf. schol. Thesmophoriazusae 291, τὸν παιδαρίσκον) (cf. Austin 1990:20–21). In the ideology of the festival one really does encounter pigs, which symbolize fertility. In particular the married women are all symbolically transformed back into virgin genitalia that encounter the male sex for the first time in order to ensure good offspring. In the plot of the ritual, female and male genitalia made of dough where brought together. The relative takes up these suggestions in a humorous fashion and sees in Ploutos only a materially wealthy man who might get his little daughter pregnant. The textual situation of Thesmophoriazusae 291—in opposition to the transmitted reading in manuscript R πρὸς θάληκον—involves the following conjectures: πρὸς φάλητα (Scaliger), Ποσθαλίσκον (Dindorf), πρὸς τὸ ληκεῖν (van Leeuwen), Ποσθάληκον (Rogers), and πρὸς σαθίσκον (Willems and Coulon). One has thus to make a decision whether “the Willy-boy (Ποσθαλίσκον/Ποσθάληκον) has intelligence” (cf. schol. Thesmophoriazusae 291, τὸν παιδαρίσκον) or the girl ought to “pay attention to (πρός!) the phallus (or sexual act)” (νοῦν ἔχειν μοι καὶ φρένας, 291; cf. schol. Thesmophoriazusae 291, ἀντὶ τοῦ κατωφερῆ τὸν νοῦν μου ποίησον). Austin 1990:20–21 and Prato 1993:696–698 argue for the corresponding diminutive forms Χοιρίον and Ποσθαλίσκον for a girl and boy (cf. schol. Thesmophoriazusae 289 and 291). Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 48 and Habash 1997:25 also follow them. Cf. now also Prato, 38 and 215–216 ad 289, 291 and Austin/Olson, 15 and 147–148 ad 289, 291.
[ back ] 188. See especially Haldane 1965:40. He shows that σύνοδος is used to describe ritual meetings: cf. among others Thucydides 3.104.3, Plato Laws 771d3, and Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics 1160a24 and 26.
[ back ] 189. So too van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 49 and ad 295–310, who correctly describes the woman as κορυφαῖος (ἱερεία), and Austin 1974:316–319.
[ back ] 190. On line 305: Fritzsche’s conjecture ὑμῖν is opposed to the transmitted ἡμῖν in manuscript R, which could also be interpreted in the sense of a wish that the current action might fall to “us ourselves” (i.e. the members of the chorus) (τυχηρῶς δ’ ἡμῖν αὐταῖς, 305). In contrast to the reading ὑμῖν the chorus leader would then be included in the group. The comment in Horn 1970:110n208 is unclear, since the female speaker more than likely includes herself in the collective with the formula χαίρωμεν (311).
[ back ] 191. On gender differentiation in the pointed expression see Horn 1970:110 and Wilamowitz II 1893:349 and 352. For δῆμον . . . τῶν γυναικῶν cf. also Thesmophoriazusae 1145–1146 and above, nn132–133.
[ back ] 192. Cf. the antode of the parabasisKnights 581–594, a hymnos klêtikos to Pallas Athena: ὦ πολιοῦχε Παλλάς, . . . | . . . | (586) δεῦρ’ ἀφικοῦ λαβοῦσα τὴν | ἐν στρατιαῖς τε καὶ μάχαις | ἡμετέραν ξυνεργὸν | Νίκην, ἣ χορικῶν ἐστιν ἑταίρα | τοῖς τ’ ἐχθροῖσι μεθ’ ἡμῶν στασιάζει (Knights 581–590). The “victory” refers both to the great agôn against Kleon and to the contest of choruses in the real world. Cf. also above, n67 on Thesmophoriazusae 972b. Prayers for victory in the agôn of plays are not confined to the parabasis: cf. Acharnians 1224, Clouds 1115–1130, Birds 445–447, 1102–1117, Lysistrata 1293, Frogs 390–393, and Assemblywomen 1154–1162, 1182.
[ back ] 193. Cf. the female chorus leader’s wish for favor at the end of her second invocation (Thesmophoriazusae 351) and that of the chorus at the end of the comedy (1230–1231).
[ back ] 194. Cf. Aristophanes Lysistrata 1291–1294 and Birds 1763–1765 together with the τήνελλα καλλίνικος (cf. Dunbar Birds, 769 ad 1764–1765; cf. also Acharnians 1227–1234). In the context of another literary contest, the dithyramb, cf. Timotheus Persians fragments 791.202–205 PMG.
[ back ] 195. Cf. Peace 453–458 (Hermes and the chorus encourage each other to drag Peace out against the will of the other gods). Haldane 1965:40 compares Peace 431–458 to Thesmophoriazusae 305–311. On the paean as protection against disease and illness in connection with Apollo Agyieus in the pseudo-trial on the Pnyx, see Wasps 863–874, especially 868–874. Wilamowitz II 1893:354, because of Thesmophoriazusae 748, imagines a statue of this divinity on the Pnyx and connects this with the typical appeal to Apollo. On Wasps 863–874 see also Kleinknecht 1937:52–53; the call for εὐφημία is found here (Wasps 868) and in Thesmophoriazusae 295; on the wish for favor cf. Wasps 869, Peace 453 with Thesmophoriazusae 283, 305, and 310. On the performative situations of the paean see Käppel 1992:45–46 (war), 46–49 (general danger).
[ back ] 196. See Calame I 1977:148 (English translation Calame 1997:77), Käppel 1992:81, and Rutherford 1994/95:114 (choruses of young men were the rule); on paeans sung by maidens, Calame I 1977:147–152 and 190–209, especially 203 (English translation Calame 1997:76–79 and 101–113, especially 109).
[ back ] 197. These types of choruses of maidens, however, are the exception in the case of the male paean: see the comparison of the old members of the chorus with the Delian maidens, who perform the paean for Apollo (Euripides Heracles Furens 687–700, especially 687–694; cf. with this the description of the Deliades in Homeric Hymns 3.146–164 and the comment in Calame I 1977:147 [English translation Calame 1997:76 with n204]), and the paeans directed at Artemis (Euripides Iphigenia in Aulis 1467–1531, especially 1467–1469, 1480–1484 and Iphigenia in Tauris 1398–1405) and to Apollo and Artemis together (Sophocles Women of Trachis 205–224).
[ back ] 198. Käppel 1992:61 mentions late attestations of paeans at sacrifices to Demeter and Kore in the Eleusinian mystery cult, which is naturally connected to the Thesmophoria. Yet here too (male) ephebes and tekhnitai perform the song (cf. IG II/III2 1078 and IG II/III2 1338.1–19). For dramatic reasons Helen sings a paean to Persephone as underworld goddess (Euripides Helen 177; cf. Kannicht II 1969:70–71 ad Euripides Helen 176–178 and Käppel 1992:48–49).
[ back ] 199. Cf. Henrichs 1996a:60: “But, it is more likely that we are dealing with a poetic construct in which the poet assigns performance of the paean to the imaginary chorus of Delian Maidens in order to facilitate comparison with the male chorus of Theban elders in the orchestra.”
[ back ] 200. In the sanctuary of the Thesmophoroi on Thasos there were altars of Zeus, Artemis, Athena, and the Nymphs, to whom the families of the elite would offer sacrifices; cf. Rolley 1965.
[ back ] 201. Cf. Thesmophoriazusae 960, γένος Ὀλυμπίων θεῶν.
[ back ] 202. On metrical grounds Wilamowitz II 1893:353 views the dactylo-epitrites that appear here as being “wie sie die wirklichen cultlieder boten” [“like ones found in real cult songs”]. Haldane 1965:41 comes close to this when he says: “the chorus . . . emerges as a party of worshippers at a religious festival.” But he does not commit himself; the festival he speaks of must be the Great Dionysia of 411 BCE, and the worshipers are identical to the comic chorus of citizens. Silk 1980:112 in the throes of his literary criticism finds fault with the conventionality of the piece. But cultic poetry is never concerned with producing world literature; it is entirely grounded in the pragmatic. Zimmermann I 1985:116 makes a similar assessment, but his categories are concentrated on the course of the action. He approaches the song purely in connection with the conventional opening ceremony of a popular ritual and within the frame of the Thesmophoria, although these dimensions recede completely into the background in these lines. Horn 1970:111 has a similar approach: he sees a political element behind the invocation of Athena. He correctly observes: “Die komischen abrupten Übergänge vom Volksversammlungs– zum Frauengebet . . . fehlen diesem Lied fast völlig” [“Comic, abrupt transitions from the prayer of the popular assembly to that of the women . . . are completely absent in this song”]. Yet the political ought not be separated from the ritual task of the citizen chorus, since politics also determines polis ritual.
[ back ] 203. Cf. Kleinknecht 1937:34: “Der herrliche Hymnus . . . ist durchaus auf ernsten Ton gestimmt und fern von jeglicher parodischen Tendenz” [“The magnificent hymn . . . is presented in a completely serious tone and is far removed from any kind of parodic tendency”].
[ back ] 204. Thesmophoriazusae 101ff.: Apollo, Artemis, Leto, and once more Apollo; 969ff.: Apollo, Artemis, Hera, Hermes, Pan, Nymphs, Dionysus; 1136ff.: Athena, Demeter, and Kore. See Haldane 1965:41, who analyzes the system behind the series and speaks of a “possible reminiscence of the state prayer” because of the gods mentioned.
[ back ] 205. On the request for a divinity to appear cf. Thesmophoriazusae 1136–1147, especially 1143 (Athena), 1148–1159, especially 1154–1155, 1158–1159 (Demeter and Kore); in other comedies cf. Acharnians 665–675, especially 665, 674 (the Acharnian Muse), Knights 551–564, especially 559 (Poseidon), 581–594, especially 586, 591 (Athena), Clouds 263–274, especially 266, 269 (Clouds), Frogs 323–336, especially 326 (Iakkhos). On the δεῦρο-formula in cletic hymns cf. Thesmophoriazusae 1136–1138 (Athena), Acharnians 665 (the Acharnian Muse), Knights 559 (Poseidon), 586, 591 (Athena), Frogs 394–399, especially 395, 399 (Iakkhos). The request for the epiphany of a god is explicitly related to the chorus in the performance: Thesmophoriazusae 1136–1138 (Athena), Knights 559 (Poseidon), Knights 586–594, especially 589–590 (Athena with Nike and request for victory in the dramatic competition!), Clouds 563–565 (Zeus), Peace 775–777 (Muse), Frogs 323–336 (Iakkhos), 385a–393 (Demeter), 394–413 (Iakchos), and 674–675 (Muse).
[ back ] 206. Zeus is also invited in Clouds 563–565 to come to the chorus.
[ back ] 207. Cf. Clouds 596 and Frogs 659.
[ back ] 208. On the invocation of Athena (317–319), see Anderson 1995:58–62.
[ back ] 209. Cf. Sophocles Women of Trachis 205–224 (Apollo and Artemis), Euripides Iphigenia in Tauris 1398–1405, Iphigenia in Aulis 1467–1469 (Artemis); cf. also schol. Sophocles Oedipus the King 173 (p. 147 De Marco) and Käppel 1992:35, 56–57 (paeans in honor of Apollo, Artemis, and Leto in Delos!).
[ back ] 210. This configuration is in general suggestive of the Skira, which as another festival of inversion lends its character to the scenery in the Assemblywomen. Cf. Bowie 1993:256–258. During the Skira women also had their own organizations and assemblies. The contest between Athena and Poseidon concludes the prehistory of Athens. The Knights is influenced by this mythical conflict; cf. Bowie 1993:66–74. Skiron is a place of license. At the Skira the priestesses of Athena Polias, Poseidon-Erechtheus, and Helios traveled in procession to the temples of Athena, Demeter, and Kore (!) in Skiron, near Eleusis. The women held a separate assembly (κατὰ τὰ πάτρια [IG II/III2 1177.11–12]) and ate garlic in order to keep their men away from them (Philokhoros, FGrHist 328 F 89).
[ back ] 211. In this hymnos klêtikos the words ἐλθὲ δεῦρο (Thesmophoriazusae 319) are directly connected to the chorus of performers in the orchestra; cf. δεῦρ’ ἔλθ’ εἰς χορόν (Knights 559) and above, n205. Poseidon is also invoked of course because of the plot, since as horse-god he is the patron god of the Knights.
[ back ] 212. Cf. Haldane 1965:43.
[ back ] 213. Cf. Hesiod Scutum 209–212 and Arion 1 D. = fragment adesp. 939 PMG; cf. ibid., 4–5, περί σε πλωτοὶ | θῆρες χορεύουσι κύκλῳ; dolphins are called, ibid., 8–9, φιλόμουσοι | δελφῖνες, i.e. they are associated with the musical activity of choral dance. Like dolphins in the sea, so too the stars often serve as projection surfaces for choral dance. On dolphins, cf. Euripides Electra 435–437, Helen 1454–1455 (the Phoenician ship that is to take Helen to Sparta is addressed by way of apostrophe as χοραγὲ τῶν καλλιχόρων | δελφίνων). See now Csapo 2003.
[ back ] 214. On the Nereids as a chorus (sometimes together with dolphins), see Bacchylides Dithyrambs 17.101–108; Aeschylus fragment 150 Radt (from Nereides TrGF III, 262–264); Euripides Andromeda 1267, Electra 432–437, Trojan Women 2–3, Ion 1081–1086, Iphigenia in Tauris 427–429, Iphigenia in Aulis 1054–1057; in Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 716–719 the fifty Nereids are called ἑκατόμποδες (718) (with special reference to their feet, which are naturally of importance for dancing). Euripides Iphigenia in Tauris 428–429 (χοροὶ | . . . ἐγκύκλιοι) and Iphigenia in Aulis 1055–57 (εἱλισσόμεναι κύκλια | . . . ἐχόρευσαν) refer to the round dance. On their number, which corresponds to the fifty dancers in dithyrambic choruses, see Calame I 1977:78 (English translation Calame 1997:35) and Zimmermann 1992:26. On the Nereids and dolphins as divine escorts, see Wachsmuth 1967:100–112, especially 103–106, 108–112, and Barringer 1995:69–94 (chapter 4: “Thetis, Nereids, and Dionysos”) and 141–151 (chapter 8: “Marine Thiasos” [on Dionysiac associations]).
[ back ] 215. Homer Odyssey 6.99–109 (Nausikaa plays ball with the maidens and is surrounded by them, like Artemis by the Nymphs; cf. on this Calame I 1977:165–166 [English translation Calame 1997:87–88]), Ant. Pal. 6.57.7–8 (the Nymphs form a chorus together with the forest-dwellers), and Sophocles Women of Trachis 205–215. Cf. Larson 1997. The Nymphs are also invoked in Frogs 1344 and Thesmophoriazusae 978.
[ back ] 216. On nymphs and maenads see Hedreen 1994.
[ back ] 217. Zimmermann I 1985:116 refers to the metaphorical use of the adjective, otherwise used only to characterize Io. Zimmermann connects the transferred use of οἶστρος with the New Dithyramb. The Nereids in particular, who are mentioned immediately afterward, have a connection with the dithyramb because of their number. Cf. above, n214. On the influence of the New Dithyramb on the song’s metre and diction cf. Zimmermann I 1985:115.
[ back ] 218. Cf. Aristophanes Birds 217–222, 776–784 (the gods make music in reply to a musical invocation in which they take pleasure).
[ back ] 219. Cf. Homeric Hymns 2.20; Euripides Children of Heracles 752, Electra 1150, Heracles Furens 349, Trojan Women 515, Oresteia 826, 965; Aristophanes Frogs 217. On ἰακχάζω as synonym of ἰαχέω cf. LSJ s.v. ἰακχάζω, II and Orphica Lithica 46 ἰ. ἀοιδήν (as in Aristophanes Frogs 213–217).
[ back ] 220. Wilamowitz, who elsewhere generally includes the performative dimension of the chorus, here does not see this connection. He argues as follows (Wilamowitz II 1893:353–354) for a δέ instead of the transmitted τε (327): “Wie kann an die anrufungen angereiht werden ‘und die goldene laute klinge zu meinen gebeten’? welche laute? es wird uns wirklich zugemutet, nichts hierin zu finden als ‘und zu meinem liede soll der musicant die violine spielen.’ Das wird der hoffentlich schon längst tun, sonst ist’s zu spät. Aber eine goldene laute wird ihm der chorege schwerlich spendirt haben, die gehört nur dem χρυσολύρας, der eben angerufen war” [“How can ‘and let the golden lute resound to my prayers’ be attached to the invocations? What lute? We are asked to find here nothing more than the thought ‘let the musician accompany my song on the violin.’ That he should hopefully already have been doing for quite a while, otherwise [the instruction] comes too late. And the khorêgos would hardly have spent the money on a golden lute for him: that belongs only to the χρυσολύρας, who has just been invoked”].
[ back ] 221. For Apollo as khorêgos and mousagêtês cf. Koller 1963:58–78. Cf. also Pindar Pythian Odes 1.1–4 and the passages collected above, n166.
[ back ] 222. This is emphasized by the adjective εὐγενεῖς (330), which is, however, comically distorted in terms of the dramatic role by the attached substantive “women.” At the same time the women at the Thesmophoria are considered as “well-born.”
[ back ] 223. On the prayers in parabasis odes see the fundamental studies of Fraenkel (1931 and 1962:191–215).
[ back ] 224. See Henrichs 1994/95:65–73.
[ back ] 225. The first position in the following line of the nonexistent female divine union (Pythian and Delian goddesses) makes the absurdity particularly apparent. Cf. Kleinknecht 1937:35 and Haldane 1965:3.
[ back ] 226. See Kleinknecht 1937:34–37 (with evidence).
[ back ] 227. Horn 1970:112.
[ back ] 228. See Wilamowitz II 1893:345–351.
[ back ] 229. Horn 1970:113.
[ back ] 230. Cf. the magical speech of the Erinyes in the ὕμνος δέσμιος, Aeschylus Eumenides 328–333; on this see above, pp. 62–63.
[ back ] 231. Cf. the excellent interpretation in Versnel 1993:228–288 (particularly on the unrestricted drinking of wine, which is repeatedly mentioned in the Thesmophoriazusae, 264–268).
[ back ] 232. Cf. Aristophanes Wasps 885 and Thucydides 6.32.2.
[ back ] 233. This occurs again in connection with motifs found in the parabasis. One ought not therefore take as negative a view of these lines as Horn 1970:114 does: “Sieht man dieses überraschende Motiv im Zusammenhang mit dem sicher verdorbenen Schluß des Liedes (s. u.), so wird man sich fragen müssen, ob diese Strophe überhaupt noch viel ursprünglich Aristophanisches enthält.” [“If one views this suprising motif in connection with the end of the song, which is certainly corrupt, one has to ask oneself whether this strophe actually contains much that is genuinely Aristophanic”].
[ back ] 234. Cf. Haldane 1965:44–45, especially his statement (44): “The double image of the chorus falls temporarily into the background; whereas it was seen before as a party of women at a festival it now emerges almost wholly as a debating society.” Cf. also Zimmermann I 1985:117: “[Das Lied], in dem der Chor ganz als δῆμος τῶν γυναικῶν singt” [“[The song] in which the chorus sings entirely as δῆμος τῶν γυναικῶν”]; and ibid., 120–121, especially 121: “Die Parabase mit ihrer Illusionsdurchbrechung ist für solche Worte nicht mehr geeignet; sie würde zu deutlich die Meinung des Dichters zu erkennen geben. Durch das Einfügen von Parabasenthemen in den kultischen Rahmen der Parodos bezieht Aristophanes die politischen Anspielungen und Warnungen in die Handlung ein, läßt sie Teil einer dramatischen Szene, der Eröffnung der Frauenvolksversammlung, werden” [“The parabasis with its shattering of the [dramatic] illusion is no longer suited for such words; it would reveal the poet’s opinion too clearly. By means of the insertion of parabasis themes into the cultic framework of the parodos, Aristophanes incorporates political allusions and warnings into the plot, and has them become part of a dramatic scene, the opening of the women’s assembly”]. Cf. also the purely political interpretation in Banova 1994:153–158, especially 156–157 and Prato 1995.
[ back ] 235. Cf. Diodorus Siculus 5.5.2, Callimachus Hymns 6.18, Serv. in Vergil Aeneid 4.58; cf. Burkert 1985:246: “The Greeks finally interpreted Demeter thesmophoros as the bringer of order, the order of marriage, civilization, and of life itself, and in this they were not entirely mistaken.” Similarly Wilamowitz II 1931/32:45 (repr. II, 44), Detienne 1979, 184 (“la Législatrice—celle qui donne à la cité ses «lois»” [“the legislator—she who gives the city its ‘laws’ ”]); in reality thesmoi are primarily material objects, i.e. “what is put down” (cf. Burkert 1985:243); on the tension between these two meanings see Farnell 1907:77–81, Parke 1977:83, Brumfield 1981:70–73, and Camps-Gaset 1994:48.
[ back ] 236. See Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 180 ad 359.
[ back ] 237. On the oath in magical contexts see Faraone 1993 and Graf 1996:186–188. On the closeness between defixiones and ritual curses see Graf 1996:116–117. Graf sees magical defixiones in the context of crisis management. Without the nearness of the gods, which prayer seeks to achieve, the power to harm also becomes impossible.
[ back ] 238. Cf. Lysistrata 183, 187, 191 (ὅρκος). Cf. Henderson Lysistrata, 90 ad 181–239. The oath accompanied by sacrifice (186–190a) here parodies the political and military oath of the Seven against Thebes (Aeschylus Seven against Thebes 42–48). The speech act is described in great detail in the Lysistrata; Lysistrata pronounces the formula like a priestess, and the collective follows, repeating the words in unison. The oath is there accompanied by a sacrifice similar to that carried out by the γεραραί (or γεραιραί, Etymologicum Magnum 227.35) during the Anthesteria ([Demosthenes] 59.73–78). Cf. also Faraone 1993 on the oath. On the mythic and ritual models in the Lysistrata, cf. Bowie 1993:178–204, whose analysis could be expanded considerably; cf. also Faraone 1997.
[ back ] 239. The articles of association of a third-century BCE cult from Mylasa in Caria direct that the festival of Demeter Thesmophoros be conducted “as the women have decided” (ὡς ἔδοξε ταῖς γυναι[ξί . . ., Sokolowski 1955 [LSAM], nr. 61, 5). This corresponds to the formula normally used in popular assemblies conducted by men.
[ back ] 240. Cf. ἄγραφοι νόμοι (Thucydides 2.37.3) and ἄγραφα νόμιμα (Demosthenes 18.275, Plato Laws 793a10); cf. Sophocles Antigone 454–455, ἄγραπτα κἀσφαλῆ θεῶν | νόμιμα. On the meaning of νόμος as ritual and social practice, see Leinieks 1996:244–254.
[ back ] 241. Following Wilamowitz II 1893:354–355, Horn 1970:114–115 thinks that a curse would be expected instead of a statement (367); arguing against the use of conjectures introducing a curse formula, Zimmermann I 1985:118–119, correctly maintains, although he makes use of the argument criticized above, that “die feststellende, indikativische Form um so pointierter erklingt, ja, dem ganzen Lied noch mehr Parabasencharakter verleiht” [“the declarative indicative form sounds even more pointed, in fact gives the whole song an even more parabasis-like character”]. By this he understands only the political aspect. Austin 1987:78 ad 365–366 views the sentence as a delayed anticlimax, since the women would not have the heart to curse a fellow woman (followed by Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 181 ad 367).
[ back ] 242. Beside the Thesmophoria, one may mention the following as festivals connected with Demeter: the Stenia, closely connected in time with the Thesmophoria, the Haloa, and the so-called jokings at the bridge (gephyrismoi) during the procession to Eleusis; as festivals connected with Dionysus: the Anthesteria, Lenaia, and the Great Dionysia. On tôthasmos see Fluck 1931:11–33, Rusten 1977, and below, chapter 2 n66.
[ back ] 243. Cf. Schmid 1946:13–42, especially 13–26, Henderson 19912:1–29, especially 13ff., Degani 1987, Reckford 1987:461–467, Rosen 1988, Degani 1988, Halliwell 1991, Halliwell 1991a:294–296, and Degani 1993. Cf. now also Treu 1999 (for blame and praise, especially 129–140) and Saetta Cottone 2005 (for Thesmophoriazusae, especially 285–344).
[ back ] 244. Rösler 1993, passage 77.
[ back ] 245. Cf. Haldane 1965:44 (who adopts an explanation common at the time, that aiskhrologia served to foster fertility; cf. Deubner 1932:53 and 57–56) and Zimmermann I 1985:117.
[ back ] 246. Hence the explanation of Austin 1987:78 ad 365–366—that the chorus (like the priestess as chorus leader in line 349) also will not curse other women in line 366, so that the curse in line 367 ends up becoming a “lame statement of fact”—seems only in a very limited sense correct. Old women do not seem to have been excluded from the festival, but virgins certainly were. The situation regarding slave-women and hetairai is not clear; in lines 280ff. a slave-woman is present; before the relative enters the Thesmophorion, however, she is sent away (293–294).
[ back ] 247. Burkert 1985:244: “[T]hey may split into groups and abuse one another, but there must also have been occasions on which men and women derided one another.”
[ back ] 248. On aiskhrologia at the Stenia cf. Hesychius, s.v. Στήνια· ἑορτὴ Ἀθήνησιν καὶ . . . διασκώπτουσι καὶ λοιδοροῦσιν; ibid., s.v. στηνιῶσαι· βλασφημῆσαι, λοιδορῆσαι; Photus, s.v. Στήνια· ἑορτὴ Ἀθήνησιν ἐν ᾗ ἐδόκει ἡ ἄνοδος γενέσθαι τῆς Δήμητρος· ἐλοιδοροῦντο δ’ ἐν αὐτῇ νυκτὸς αἱ γυναῖκες ἀλλήλαις. οὕτως Εὔβουλος. Cf. Eubulus fragments 146 K.-A. with Brumfield 1981:79–82. On aiskhrologia at the Thesmophoria, cf. Apollodorus 1.5.1, Cleomedes 2.1, Diodorus Siculus 5.4.7; in Apollodorus 1.5.1 ritual ridicule at this festival is derived from Iambe’s derisive cheering-up of Demeter. Baubo, the Orphic equivalent of Iambe, is said to have exposed her genitalia for this purpose. Cf. Fluck 1931:28; on aiskhrologia in general cf. Fluck 1931, passim, West 1974:22–39, and Chirassi Colombo 1979:39n34. Cf. also in the context of the grain-goddess the cult of Damia and Auxesia on Aegina (and in Epidauros), where ten khorêgoi incited female choruses to mutual ritual ridicule (Herodotus 5.83); cf. on this Fluck 1931:20–22 and Nagy 1990:344 and 364–365. On mutual aiskhrologia by women in connection with beatings with a whip plaited from μόροττον (bark), cf. Hesychius, s.v. μόροττον and Deubner 1932:58, who, like Versnel 1993:238 more recently, connects this action with the practice of being beaten with the Lebensrute. There is an account of men and women trading insults in Pellene (Pausanias 7.27.9–10); there were similar practices on the island of Anaphe, where male and female choruses who ridicule each other are attested (Apollonius of Rhodes 4.1719–1730, Apollodorus 1.9.26); cf. Fluck 1931:59–62.
[ back ] 249. Here one must draw a distinction: ritual ridicule carried out directly in front of men can hardly have taken place at the Thesmophoria, since no men were allowed at the festival. The aiskhrologia of the other sex can thus only have taken place without the presence of the opposite party. Aggression against the Other that is not present, but remains outside, serves in this case purely as female self-definition. In the Thesmophoriazusae the masculine recipient of comic abuse and criticism is however included in the fictional festival in the form of the audience.
[ back ] 250. Zimmermann II 1985:141–145, who still includes only Frogs 814–829, 1251–1260, and 1370–1377 in the same subgroup. For criticism of the tendency to foreground the criterion of closed action too rigidly, see above, pp. 51–52 and n5. Under the category of choral songs that interrupt the action of the plot Zimmerman also treats parainetic choral odes (ibid., 108–140), encomia (151–168), songs of ridicule (Spottlieder) (169–190), and prayers and hymns (191–220). The latter three subgroups clearly fall into the category of the ritual speech act of εὖ and κακῶς λέγειν, an essential element of the comic genre. The parainesis before the agôn exhorting one to do one’s best is a traditional form. In a few lines the agôn is thus introduced, the contest presented, and the heroes spurred on and either praised or belittled, depending on the content. On the three elements of the chorus in the Thesmophoriazusae see also Parker 1997:412–417.
[ back ] 251. See Zimmermann II 1985:141–143. He suspects that Aristophanes is here specifically using the agôn in Euripides’ Telephus as a model (cf. Zimmermann I 1985:122 with n49). While in tragedy speech and counterspeech are generally separated by two lines sung by the leader of the chorus, we have here a song. Specific textual reminiscences (cf. Gelzer 1960:155n3) and the two catalectic iambic tetrameters (531–532; cf. also the introduction by the chorus leader in 381–382), which formally correspond to the katakeleusmos, point to the comic agôn (Gelzer 1960:154–155).
[ back ] 252. Zimmermann (II 1985:142) comments: “Aristophanes dadurch, daß er jede Rede durch ein Chorlied abschließen läßt, den Eindruck eines ‘Volksgemurmels’ erwecken wollte und damit wieder die Ebene der Volksversammlung ins Spiel brachte” [“By having every speech end with a choral song, Aristophanes wanted to give the impression of the murmuring of a crowd and thus brought the environment of the popular assembly back into play”].
[ back ] 253. Cf. Sommerstein 1996. Xenokles was, like Euripides, a tragic playwright and apparently also had political ambitions. On Xenokles see Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 170 ad 169, Sommerstein 1996:349, and beside this passage Wasps 1508–1511, especially 1510–1511, Peace 782–795, 864, Thesmophoriazusae 169, Frogs 86, Pherekrates fragment 15, and Plato com. fragments 143 K.-A.
[ back ] 254. On Euripides as atheist see the titles listed in Winiarczyk 1989:144–145, especially Lefkowitz 1987 and Lefkowitz 1989.
[ back ] 255. Cf. the sound remarks of Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 186 ad 451.
[ back ] 256. Cf. δοῦναι δίκην (Thesmophoriazusae 465) with δώσει τε δίκην (668) and the double appearance of ὕβρεως (465 and 670). The statement also possesses here the illocutionary role of a command.
[ back ] 257. There is an approximate responsion between lines 433–442 and 520–530 (on this see Parker 1997:414–417), while the reaction of the chorus to the second woman forms an astrophon.
[ back ] 258. The chorus reads Euripides’ Melanippe Desmotis into its song intertextually: τῆς μὲν κακῆς κάκιον οὐδὲν γίγνεται | γυναικός (fragment 494, 27–28 N/Kannicht). The ridicule is thus directed against women as well as Euripides. Lines 531–532 are regarded by Taaffe (1993:91) as a key passage in the Thesmophoriazusae.
[ back ] 259. On the internal level of the Thesmophoria, ridicule of one’s own sex lies behind the pseudo-woman’s counter-oration. For analysis of how this passage functions comically in the role-playing of the sexes, see Taaffe 1993:91 and Ferris 1989:23.
[ back ] 260. In contrast to the relative and Euripides, who only resemble women in terms of their dress, Kleisthenes is a kinaidos, a man who has lost all his masculinity and thus effectively become a woman (cf. Winkler 1990a:194). He no longer counts as a man and can therefore penetrate the female realm with impunity; see Winkler 1990b:193 and Versnel 1993:245n58.
[ back ] 261. Cf. Aristophanes Acharnians 204–236, Birds 1188–1198, Assemblywomen 478–503; Aeschylus Eumenides 254–275; Sophocles Ajax 866–890, Oedipus at Colonus 117–137, Trackers fragment 314 Radt, 64–78, 100–123, 176–202; see Kaimio 1970:134–137.
[ back ] 262. Zimmermann II 1985:104. On the whole song see ibid., 104–107 and Habash 1997:32–33. Westphal 1869:36 and 61 sees the song as a parodos because of the strong plot elements it contains.
[ back ] 263. See above, Introduction n156.
[ back ] 264. Cf. Gelzer 1970:1473.
[ back ] 265. Cf. also Acharnians 627 and Lysistrata 663, 687–688. Undressing (ἀποδύεσθαι), in the sense of the removal of the mask and costume associated with the dramatic role, is not, however, as was often maintained in the past, a necessary condition of the parabasis; cf. Sifakis 1971:106–108. The setting aside of clothes normally occurs before the dance (Acharnians 627, Wasps 408, Lysistrata 615, 637).
[ back ] 266. On Handley’s decision to emend the metrically problematic εἰσελήλυθεν (R) to ἐπελήλυθε, “has come against us,” see Austin 1987:80–81; the emendation ἐσελήλυθε was proposed by Faber.
[ back ] 267. Cf. also Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 196–197 ad 658. On temporary accommodations in σκηναί in Bitalemi, see Kron 1992:620–622.
[ back ] 268. The fact that choral self-commands typically occur in the singular does not allow for the establishment of a criterion for the separation of chorus and chorus-leader; see Kaimio 1970:134. Metrical considerations argue perhaps for the koryphaios. Van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 87 assigns lines 659–662 already to the group; contra Kaimio 1970:134, Zimmermann II 1985:105, and Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 82–83, who assign them to the (female) chorus leader. Fritzsche, 244 assigns the song from line 659 onward to a semi-chorus; he makes the following divisions (on the proposed rearrangement see below): 655–658: leader of the whole chorus; 659–662: leader of the semi-chorus; 663ff.: semi-chorus. Rossbach/Westphal 18893:172 assign 655–658, 659–666 and 687 to the chorus leader; Muff 1872:49–50, 61, 163 assigns 655–662 to the female chorus leader and 663–666 to the chorus; Arnoldt 1873:109–114 idiosyncratically assigns 655ff. to six separate members of semi-chorus (2 στοῖχοι): 655–658, 659–662, 663–666, 667–676/7, 678–686, 687–688; van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 88 again assigns 667–674 to the koryphaios. Formerly the general tendency was to construct an antistrophic system with the subsequent hostage-scene (667–686, or –688  707–725, or –727); cf. Fritzsche, 243–244 (who does not actually subscribe to this and suggests placing lines 659–662 after 663–666, so that the resulting strophe corresponds with 699–706 [with the exception of the tetrameter missing after 706]; see ibid., 244–245 and 256), Rossbach/Westphal 18893:172, Muff 1872:163, Arnoldt 1873:109–114 (divided among a further six speakers!), and van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 88 and 91. Cf. now Parker 1997:422. Conversely, Hermann unconvincingly proposed a responsion between the astrophon in Thesmophoriazusae 459ff. and lines 663ff.; cf. Parker 1997:417.
[ back ] 269. Cf. Thesmophoriazusae 954, κοῦφα ποσίν; Sophocles Antigone 224, κοῦφον ἐξάρας πόδα; Euripides Trojan Women 342, μὴ κοῦφον ἄρῃ βῆμ’ ἐς Ἀργείων στρατόν; cf. also above, n31. Feet naturally constitute the principal body part to which the chorus makes particular reference in its self-referential utterances. Cf. in the great choral dance song (947–1000) κοῦφα ποσίν, 954; βαῖνε καρπαλίμοιν ποδοῖν, 956; πρόβαινε ποσί, 969; and ἀνάστρεφ’ εὐρύθμῳ ποδί, 985.
[ back ] 270. Cf. Sommerstein Thesmophorizusae, 197 ad 660.
[ back ] 271. Cf. Thesmophoriazusae 954, 957–958, 968.
[ back ] 272. Cf. Kaimio 1970:134–137 and 127–129. In terms of choral self-referentiality the parallels to lines 947ff. are striking; cf. above, n31. “Inhaltlich wiederholt er (i.e. der Chor) zunächst die Anweisungen des Prokerygmas” [“In terms of content the chorus at first repeats the directions of the prokêrygma”], rightly remarks Zimmermann (II 1985:105), yet he overlooks the fact that the chorus needs these performative directions to support its own activity.
[ back ] 273. On the text of line 667: με λάθῃ Bergk: μὴ λάθῃ R (unmetrical!), ληφθῇ Reisig. Wilamowitz 1921:590 opts for ληφθῇ: “με λάθηι ist lächerlich: wenn er sich verstecken kann, wird er kein warnendes Exempel” [“με λάθηι is ridiculous: if he can hide himself, then he cannot be any kind of warning example”]. See also Zimmermann II 1985:106, Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 82, Austin 1990:23, and Parker 1997:423; now also Austin/Olson, 240 ad 667. In the company of Fritzsche, 246 ad 667, Rogers Thesmophoriazusae, 71 ad 667–686, and Coulon and Gannon, I nevertheless prefer με λάθῃ. There is nothing “ridiculous” about this: the relative does after all infiltrate the assembly secretly; the curse is aimed at him and other disguised intruders. This does of course involve a leap of thought, but one that is quite understandable given the highly emotional situation. The women after all set out with the goal of capturing still more men on their search, and for this reason the action of seizing is here left out. Prato 1998a:73–74 defends με λάθῃ using similar arguments; see now also Prato, 268–269 ad 668. He correctly sees a Leitmotiv in this secret infiltration (cf. Thesmophoriazusae 184, 589, 599–600, 664). Cf. however 679, where ληφθῇ is transmitted; an infelicitous repetition of this verb would occur in 667. The predicate λάθῃ δράσας (667) refers back to λέληθεν ὤν (664). On μὴ λάθῃ cf. Aeschylus Eumenides 255–256.
[ back ] 274. For metrical reasons Parker 1997:423 does not adopt Hermann’s conjecture ἐφέπειν (Thesmophoriazusae 675) and places the transmitted ἐφέποντας in cruces (p. 420). I have construed the clause ὅ τι καλῶς ἔχει as an indefinite relative clause that forms the object of ποεῖν, and not, as in Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 83–85, as a statement (ὅτι) governing the infinitive and dependent on δείξει (although in his commentary Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 197–198 ad 674–677 does refer to the possibility I have adopted here). Another consideration is whether ὅσια καὶ νόμιμα, in contrast to most translations (cf. the alternative solution of Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 198), ought not both be taken as objects of ἐφέπειν; in this case μηδομένους would have to be taken as a circumstantial participle upon which the infinitive ποεῖν depends (cf. Wilamowitz 1921:590). Thus: “He will show all men that they should worship the gods, uphold divine and human law, and be sure to do that which is good.” Henderson 1996:120 construes this the same way. On the ambivalence of the word νόμος, which has religious as well as political connotations, see above, n240. The division of lines made by van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 88–89 and earlier editors between choral leader (667–674) and entire chorus (675–686) makes little sense. On this passage cf. Thesmophoriazusae 356–367, 465, 715–716, 718–725, especially νόμον (361)  νόμιμα (675) (cf. παράνομα [685]), ἀσεβοῦσ’ (367)  σεβίζειν (674), ἀδικοῦσι (367)  ἀδίκων τ’ ἔργων (670)  ἀδίκοις ἔργοις (716) (cf. δικαίως [675]), ταύτης τῆς ὕβρεως (465)  ὕβρεως (670)  ἐνυβριεῖς (719), δοῦναι δίκην (465)  δώσει τε δίκην (668), ἀνόσια (667, [679; cf. Prato 1998a:74], 685)  λόγους τε λέξεις ἀνοσίους (720) (cf. ὅσια [675, 679]), ἀθέων τε τρόπων (671)  ἀθέοις ἔργοις (721).
[ back ] 275. Cf. the relation of οὐκ εἶναι θεούς (451) to φήσει δ’ εἶναι τε θεοὺς φανερῶς (672). It seems as if the women also credit Euripides with the sacrilege of penetrating a secret sanctuary, since in his tragedies he reveals women’s secrets. On the charge of atheism leveled against Euripides see above, n254.
[ back ] 276. On the τύραννος cf. e.g. Sophocles Antigone 60, 1056, 1169, OT 873 and, among other places, 514, 799, 925, 939, 1043; Euripides Heracles Furens 809 (Heracles), Bacchae 776. On the role of the tyrant in Sophocles Oedipus the King and Antigone see Bierl 1991:58n41; on Pentheus Seidensticker 1972 and Bierl 1991:68–70. It becomes even clearer on the basis of this passage that the mention of tyrants in the curse (Thesmophoriazusae 338–339) not only has political implications, but is also extensively connected to the ritual and religious. [ back ] Apart from violent anger, hubris, greed, and sexual lust, it is impiety in particular that belongs to the image of the tyrant; cf. Plato Republic 571a–576b. On Pentheus as θεομάχος, cf. Euripides Bacchae 45, 325, 635–636 and also 544, 789–790. On Creon as a θεομάχος, cf. Bierl 1991:63.
[ back ] 277. On hubris cf. Sophocles Oedipus the King 873 (Oedipus) and Euripides Heracles Furens 261, 313, 459, 708, 741 (Lykos). On the mania of attackers cf. Aeschylus Seven against Thebes 343–344 (Ares), 497–498 (Hippomedon), Sophocles Antigone 134–137 (Polyneices); on mania and lyssa cf. among others Sophocles Oedipus the King 1258, 1300, 1318 (Oedipus), Antigone 765, 955–965 (θεομάχος) (Creon); on the madness of Heracles and on lyssa see Euripides Heracles Furens 822–1428, especially 875ff., and Bierl 1991:84–87; on the analogy of lyssa and Dionysus cf. Aeschylus Xantriae fragment 169 Radt and Euripides Bacchae 851, 977. On mania in tragedy see Padel 1995; in Euripides in particular Schlesier 1985.
[ back ] 278. Cf. in particular Euripides Bacchae 997–1010. On Pentheus in connection with hubris cf. Euripides Bacchae 375, 516, 555; at the same time Pentheus regards Dionysus’ behavior as hubris (Bacchae 247, 779); Cadmus and Agave are also connected with this kind of behavior in Bacchae 1297, 1311, 1347; on hubris cf. generally Fisher 1992, passim, on the Bacchae ibid., 443–452 and Leinieks 1996:214. According to the chorus, Pentheus is ἄνομος (Bacchae 387, 995, 1015), ἄδικος (Bacchae 995, 997, 1015, 1042), ἀνόσιος (Bacchae 613), ἄθεος (Bacchae 995, 1015), ἄσεπτος (Bacchae 890), and παράνομος (Bacchae 997); in the chorus’ opinion, Pentheus is insane: hence the occurrence of concepts such as μαίνομαι (Bacchae 399–400, 887, 999), λυσσώδης (Bacchae 981), παράκοπος (Bacchae 1000), and ὀργή (Bacchae 51, 537, 647, 997, 1348). For the positive alternative, cf. the Dionysiac καλόν (Bacchae 881, 901, 1007) with the remarks of Henrichs 1969:239–240 and Merkelbach 1988:124–125. In Euripides, ἡσυχία is part of the positive Dionysiac worldview (Bacchae 389–392); μανία and ὀργή represent its opposite (Bacchae 386–401, 647); concepts such as εὐσεβεῖν (Bacchae 1009) and δίκη (Bacchae 992ff., 1011ff. [as punishment!, cf. Heracles Furens 739]); δώσει δίκην, Bacchae 847 (cf. Heracles Furens 740 [Lykos!], 842 [Heracles])  Thesmophoriazusae 668, δώσει τε δίκην remind one of utterances of the chorus in the Thesmophoriazusae; on dikê see Schlesier 1985:33n127; on the concept of the ὅσιον: the personification Ὁσία, whom Pentheus violates, is invoked in Bacchae 370–374); on this cf. Hose II 1990/91:356–358; the attribute ὅσιος is attached to the Dionysiac sphere (Bacchae 70, 77, 114); on the concept of νόμος, see νόμοι (Bacchae 891) and νόμιμον (Bacchae 895); cf. τὰ δ’ ἔξω νόμιμα | δίκας ἐκβαλόντα τιμᾶν θεούς (Bacchae 1009–1010); on the meaning of νόμος as religious practice, cf. Bacchae 331, 484, 891, 895 (cf. 201) and Leinieks 1996:244. τιμᾶν θεούς (Bacchae 1010) also appears in a similar fashion. Self-revelation is also important: Dionysus wants to reveal himself to mortals as god: Bacchae 22, ἵν’ εἴην ἐμφανὴς δαίμων βροτοῖς  Thesmophoriazusae 681–683, πᾶσιν ἐμφανὴς ὁρᾶν | ἔσται γυναιξὶ καὶ βροτοῖς (where this is, however, said of the enemy: it will be revealed to him that god “punishes injustice and impiety” [Thesmophoriazusae 684–686]; Bacchae 47, αὐτῷ θεὸς γεγὼς ἐνδείξομαι [said of Dionysus]  Thesmophoriazusae 673ff., δείξει . . . [said of the enemy]).
[ back ] 279. Cf. Levine 1987. On the structural connection between the behavior of Pentheus and that of the relative, who both spy on women in their secret cults and thereby transgress gender boundaries, see Zeitlin 1982:146–147. She observes the closeness in the structural relation between Bacchic rites and the Thesmophoria, which function as “ideological opposites” (132); see in particular Zeitlin 1981:194–200. On the intertextual connections between the Lysistrata and the Thesmophoriazusae, see generally the sound remarks in Hubbard 1991:186–199 and Taaffe 1993:101.
[ back ] 280. On the predecessors of the Bacchae, see Bierl 1991:11–12. Aeschylus’ tetralogy the Lycurgeia seems to have had a great influence on Euripides. Cf. the reference in Thesmophoriazusae 134ff. to Aeschylus fragments 57–67 Radt, particularly the quotation from the Edoni (Aeschylus fragment 61 Radt) in Thesmophoriazusae 136. Cf. also Seaford 1996:223 ad Euripides Bacchae 918–919 (especially on the mirror of Thesmophoriazusae 140).
[ back ] 281. Bierl 1991, passim, on Euripides 137ff., especially 219–226.
[ back ] 282. The Dionysiac description of the enemy as μανίαις φλέγων (Thesmophoriazusae 680) is completely ambivalent, insofar as the women are themselves associated with fire because of the torch light (280, 655). In their function as citizen chorus the dancers are also Dionysiac. Their glow is a metaphor of the enthusiastic behavior that they express in song and dance in honor of the gods, particularly Dionysus. Madness is ultimately overcome by madness; cf. Heracles Furens 822ff. and Bacchae 977ff. Cf. also Schlesier 1985:11n44 on the ambivalence of Dionysiac madness. On the Dionysiac (and Demetrian) role of the chorus, cf. also Zeitlin 1981:196: “This ambiguity also means that the women must, in turn, play a double role, as followers of Demeter and as Bacchants of Dionysus.” The subsequent hostage-taking of the wineskin (689ff.) clearly takes the women into the sphere of the Dionysiac. Violence now seems to break out; the women want to set fire to the altar (726ff.) to which the relative flees. The woman who is summoned to help in lines 728 and 739 is, significantly, named Mania. On the positive, idyllic, and Dionysiac projection of the chorus, cf. Thesmophoriazusae 985–1000.
[ back ] 283. In the case of Euripides’ Bacchae the violence is projected onto the Theban maenads and seen as mania sent by Dionysus as a punishment. Yet the Lydian Bacchants also show substantially violent tendencies in their choral speech acts. Cf. in particular the disputed reading of the ephymnion in the third stasimon, 877–881 = 897–901; contra Seaford 1996:218–220 and Leinieks 1996:370–372, which invert the meaning with the help of Blake’s conjecture in order to remove the simultaneous contradiction from Dionysus and his chorus. I, along with Dodds 19602:186–188 ad Euripides Bacchae 877–81 and Hose II 1990/91:373–374, support the interpretation that the Bakkhai, in accordance with Greek ethics, here call for brutal revenge against the enemy; cf. Bierl 1991:206; see also Bacchae 977–1023.
[ back ] 284. On the myth of the Amazons and the Lysistrata, see Bowie 1993:184–185. Detienne 1979:210 already connects the women at the Thesmophoria with Amazons; he is followed by Zeitlin 1982:146 and Versnel 1993:250.
[ back ] 285. For a more complex view of the sacrificing women, see Osborne 1993a. He attacks Detienne’s (1979) overly schematic and structuralist approach, which sees women as fundamentally excluded from the action of sacrifice, in keeping with their political role, and which views the Thesmophoria as an exception to the rule. Conversely, according to Osborne, the opinion widely held before Detienne’s work, that women generally took part in sacrifice, is also incorrect. He argues for distinctions drawn on the basis of specific cults. Instead of the apparent homology of politics and sacrifice, he emphasizes the differences between the two areas; in certain cases, sacrificial occasions could also bring women into public life, from which they were otherwise excluded in political contexts. Detienne’s model of exception for the Thesmophoria does thus have a certain validity.
[ back ] 286. In Euripides Bacchae 993 Dike carries the epithet ξιφηφόρος, which is traditional (cf. however Shapiro 1986:390–391, who withholds the designation of Dike from several representations of winged women [ills. 10–12]). The women at the Thesmophoria are accordingly enforcers of dikê in addition to their function as female sacrificers.
[ back ] 287. Cf. Detienne 1979, Burkert 1985:244, Bowie 1993:213, and Versnel 1993:250. Cf. also the Spartan setting of the episode of Aristomenes, the hero of the Messenian resistance (Paus. 4.17.1); he tries to capture the women in the temple of Demeter in Aigila, but the celebrants of the Thesmophoria defend themselves with sacrificial knives and spits. He is tied up and beaten with torches, and only manages to escape because the priestess of Demeter falls in love with him. The relative is also tied up and anybody who wants to set the prisoner free is threatened with a torch by the Old Woman (Thesmophoriazusae 916–917). For similar stories see the list in Bowie 1993:212–213. In the following hostage-taking and sacrificial scene (Thesmophoriazusae 689–761) ritual is again parodied. The relative assumes the role of the σφαγεύς, the only man allowed to attend the festival, while the women participate actively in the sacrifice and catch the blood (Thesmophoriazusae 750–755). Cf. Detienne 1979:193–194 and 208.
[ back ] 288. Cf. also Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 198 ad 689–758. He thinks that when Mika calls on the chorus for help after the child is stolen (696ff.) this means that the relative flees not to the altar of Apollo Agyieus on the stage, but to the thymelê in the middle of the orchestra. Possibly he had already been encircled previously; after the song he takes the supposed baby and hurries to the center.
[ back ] 289. The κηδεστής as relative by marriage acts as Euripides’ representative; Bonanno 1990:253 views the relative as the tragic poet’s double. According to Hubbard 1991:185 the choice of the figure of the κηδεστής shows how much Euripides follows traditional attitudes to women. In particular, he argues, it should be noted that Euripides thereby honors the institution of marriage, of central importance for the Thesmophoria. The Thesmophoriazusae thus thematizes not Euripides’ misogyny, but rather popular misconceptions about him and his handling of female roles, just as the Clouds is not directed at Socrates, but builds on popular prejudices against Socrates and other intellectuals.
[ back ] 290. Cf. also Aristophanes Acharnians 325–351, where the “baby” is a charcoal-basket. On wine, not otherwise permitted to women, as characteristic indication of a women’s festival of inversion, see Versnel 1993:262–268; sexual desire thereby unleashed is kept in check by antaphrodisiac plants (λύγος, κόνυζα, κνέωρον). Despite all these liberties, wine must be concealed, hidden, and renamed in order to reduce any scandal; cf. Thesmophoriazusae 733–761 and Versnel 1993:268. He considers the fact that sacrifice and access to wine is exceptionally granted to the women during the festival as a ritual processing of the anxiety that troubled Greek males. They must have still been concerned that their oppressed wives, despite all security measures, would break their chains and give full expression to their desires (284).
[ back ] 291. Like lines 659–662 immediately following the prokêrygma, these concluding words are also catalectic trochaic tetrameters.
[ back ] 292. Cf. Zimmermann II 1985:107: “Die Frauen würden kein Ende ihrer Verwünschungen finden, wenn nicht die Chorführerin in den Versen 687f. die Suche für beendet erklären würde” [“The women would not cease their cursing if the chorus leader in lines 687–688 did not declare the search ended”]. He sees the performative aspect without, however, making use of the concept. It remains questionable whether it is really the koryphaios who puts a stop to the chorus’ endless talk, or whether it is not actually the chorus, or the chorus leader, who speaks the lines, since the search has come to an end at precisely the same time. Both the search and the dance are completed by this utterance.
[ back ] 293. Cf. Dionysus’ question to Pentheus—if he wishes to see the women sitting together in the mountains (συγκαθημένας ἰδεῖν, Euripides Bacchae 811)—which (along with Bacchae 816) is interpreted by Segal 1982:226 and Bierl 1991:212 with n97 as a reference to the situation of the audience in the theater. Taaffe 1993:94 comes to a similar conclusion from the perspective of gender-role identity: “In another joke on gender identity, they find no men, when it is clear that many men have in fact infiltrated this secret meeting and the men are just where you might expect to find them, too: in the audience.”
[ back ] 294. Cf. the repetition and parallelism in expression ἢν γὰρ – κἂν – ὅταν. For purposes of clarity I reproduce here once more the repetitive and winding thread of the argument: when someone commits an impiety (negative), he is then punished (passively, by humans) and serves as an example to show the necessity of piety (positive) (667–677); if he does not do so (negation of the positive), then the following will happen (declaration of the negative) (678): if someone is caught committing a crime (negative), he will become an example of how the god punishes wrongdoing (positive, actively, by god) (679–686).
[ back ] 295. Cf. Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 197 ad 663–686: “Much of the diction and most of the sentiments of this song are tragic, but its stylistic quality as poetry is mediocre, its most notable feature being a high degree of repetitiveness.”
[ back ] 296. Cf. the sociobiological theory of Burkert 1996. One could perhaps think here of the hunt for a natural enemy that invades one’s own territory. On fear of death and concern for survival as a background of religion see Burkert 1996:30–33, on territorial and boundary concerns ibid., 45 and 165–166.
[ back ] 297. There is no kommation, or rather it is integrated into the anapaests. Ode and antode, as well as antepirrhêma, are missing. The structure is as follows: 785–813 are anapaests (catalectic anapaestic tetrameters); 814–829, pnigos (anapaestic dimeters); 830–845, epirrhêma (catalectic trochaic tetrameters). On the parabasis of the Thesmophoriazusae, see Moulton 1981:127–135, Zeitlin 1981:185–186, Bonnette 1989:240–248, Hubbard 1991:195–199, and Taaffe 1993:76–78.
[ back ] 298. On the contents of the actual parabaseis of the first five extant works and numerous fragments cf. Sifakis 1971:38–41 (with tables 45–51).
[ back ] 299. Sifakis 1971:43 mentions that the contents of the epirrhêmata have spread into the actual parabasis of the Thesmophoriazusae and have therefore changed the usual situation.
[ back ] 300. Taaffe 1993 discusses these connections using insights from feminist performance criticism.
[ back ] 301. See Moulton 1981:128 and 135.
[ back ] 302. See Rösler 1993.
[ back ] 303. See Hubbard 1991:19–20, rightly remarking that anapaests were used for choral self-presentation almost as frequently as they were to defend the claims of the poet. The anapaests of the Birds and the Thesmophoriazusae should therefore not be treated as a later development followed by the poet in order to free himself from the “undramatic” form of the actual parabasis; examples of self-description ibid., 20n17: Cratinus fragments 105 K.-A. (chorus of malthakoi speaks in its role about wreaths of flowers), Eupolis fragments 13 K.-A. (chorus of goats talks about its fodder), and Aristophanes fragments 427–431 K.-A. (chorus of freighters talks about its cargo). On the themes actually typical of epirrhêmata in the anapaests of the Thesmophoriazusae, see Sifakis 1971:43.
[ back ] 304. Rossi 1978:1149–1155 (cf. Nagy 1990:46 on this) argues for the performance style of the παρακαταλογή, a musical “recitative” by the chorus leader, which falls between song and speech and is accompanied only by the mimetic dance figures (σχήματα) of other actors; for discussion as to whether the kommation was sung or recited by the chorus or chorus leader, see Muff 1872:86–88. Pollux 4.112 talks of the song of the kommation: τὸ μὲν κομμάτιον καταβολή τίς ἐστι βραχέος μέλους. The kommation, according to Hubbard 1991:18, was thus sung and apparently also accompanied by dance. Scholars long debated whether the parabasis in the stricter sense might not also have been sung (and danced?) by the entire chorus; it was largely assumed that the chorus stood motionless during this part; cf. the discussion in Muff 1872:89–90. Today the unanimous opinion is that the koryphaios recited it; Hubbard 1991:19.
[ back ] 305. The manner in which epirrhêmata were performed is also disputed. For earlier theories see Muff 1872:91–95 (he himself believes, 94–95, that the whole chorus sung and danced) and the summary in Hubbard 1991:21n27. Westphal 1869:48 even proposed a connection to the wild and “obscene” kordax. Hubbard (21) represents the communis opinio that the epirrhêmata were also recited by the chorus leader (cf. similarly, for example, Dover 1972:50), so that the chorus could have accompanied his words with gestures and dance figures.
[ back ] 306. The verb παραβαίνειν appears explicitly in five passages: Aristophanes Acharnians 628–629 (629), Knights 507–509 (508), Peace 734–735 (735), Plato com. fragment 99 (V. 2) K.-A., and Thesmophoriazusae 785. For a precise discussion with evaluation of the other sources, see Sifakis 1971:62–68. Sifakis excellently demonstrates how the parabasis is connected with self-praise (65). For its definition as a digression, cf. ibid., 66, 69 and below, chapter 2 n118. Although Sifakis has clearly refuted the so-called illusion of the closed plot in Old Comedy (7–14), he here remains under the influence of the older scholarship. For the parabasis see also the discussion below, pp. 310–314.
[ back ] 307. Cf. among others Bowie 1982, Harriott 1986:20–36, Reckford 1987, and Hubbard 1991; see now also Imperio 2004:13–14. Koester 1835:15–16 had early on attempted to find points of contact between the parabasis and the rest of the action in the play, but this view was only taken up again much later.
[ back ] 308. Direct confrontation with the audience finds a correspondence in the attitude of certain figures on the Pronomos Vase who do not communicate with the other figures involved in the plot of a dramatic performance (as depicted by means of profile view), but rather enter into contact with the viewer frontally, that is, with the authority of the pragmatic context; Calame 1995:116–136.
[ back ] 309. See Flashar 1996:86–87 and Purves 1997 (who also relies on Schechner’s theater, ibid., 6–7).
[ back ] 310. See Hubbard 1991:197, who characterizes the Thesmophoriazusae as play “about men’s attitudes toward women,” and Taaffe 1993:74–102. See now also Stehle 2002.
[ back ] 311. Cf. Homer Odyssey 11.427, Hesiod Theogeny 562–612, especially 590–602, Works and Days 54–99, Semonides (on the different types of women) fragment 7 W., especially 94–118, and reflexes in Euripides Hippolytus 616–633, Med. 573–575, and in Old Comedy, especially in Sousarion fragment 1.3–5 K.-A.: κακὸν γυναῖκες· ἀλλ’ ὅμως, ὦ δημόται, | οὐκ ἔστιν οἰκεῖν οἰκίαν ἄνευ κακοῦ | καὶ γὰρ τὸ γῆμαι καὶ τὸ μὴ γῆμαι κακόν. For concentration in the parabasis of the Thesmophoriazusae on the κακόν that is woman, cf. Thesmophoriazusae 786, 787, 789, 791, 796, 797, 799.
[ back ] 312. The whoremonger Kleophon is inferior to the famous hetaira Salabakkho (805), whose name is reminiscent of the word for trumpet signal. Nausimakhe, according to schol. Thesmophoriazusae 804, is also supposed to have been a prostitute (πόρνη). The claim to sophrôsynê, upon which ritual places such great importance with respect to women as guarantors of legitimate offspring (cf. Brulé 1987:342–343), is contradicted by their actual behavior.
[ back ] 313. See the excellent remarks in Calame 1995:174–185. Euboule is reminiscent of the cult name of Artemis Aristoboule. On this scene see also Möllendorff 1995:250–251, who speaks of a mixing of the level of signified belonging to male discourse and the level of signifier belonging to female discourse.
[ back ] 314. On the derivation of comedy from impromptu scenes played by clowns of this type, see below, pp. 280–282.
[ back ] 315. On the freedom to criticize and deride, see Gelzer 1970:1528, Edwards 1991:168–179, and Gelzer 1992:31–35; on the connection of iambos and comedy, see Degani 1987, Degani 1988, Rosen 1988, and Degani 1993; see now also Treu 1999:129–140 and Saetta Cottone 2005:143–151. Blaming (μέμφεσθαι, λοιδορῆσαι) and praising (ἐπαινέσαι) are central themes of the parabasis; cf. Acharnians 676–691 (especially 676), 702–718, Knights 565–580 (especially 565), 595–610 (especially 595–596), 1274–1289 (especially 1274–1275), Clouds 575–594 (especially 576), 607–626, Wasps 1015–1050 (especially 1016), 1275–1291, Birds 753–768, 1072–1087, Lysistrata 626–635, 648–657, Thesmophoriazusae 785–813, 830–845 (especially 830), and Frogs 686–705, 718–737.
[ back ] 316. The constant concern about spurious infants in the Thesmophoriazusae (339–340, 407–408, 502–516, 564–565) is also based on this.
[ back ] 317. On marriage as a central institution that exercises control over the legitimacy of masculine offspring, see des Bouvrie 1990:44–50.
[ back ] 318. On mechanisms for control over the Athenian woman, see des Bouvrie 1990:50–57. On the role of the Athenian woman in general, see ibid., 35–59; see also Gould 1980, Foley 1981 (on the role of the woman in Attic drama), La Matina 1987 (on women in Aristophanes from a semiotic point of view), and Versnel 1993:276–288.
[ back ] 319. Cf. Wilamowitz I 18952:58n17: “Auch das Weibergedicht des Semonides, eine Predigt über ein hesiodisches Thema, welche an sich ohne rechten Zweck erscheint, erhält als Replik auf die Spöttereien der Weiber am Demeterfeste Sinn und Salz” [“Semonides’ poem on the types of women, a sermon on a Hesiodic theme that appears without a real purpose of its own, also gains sense and humor as a reply to the ridicule by women at the festival of Demeter”]. Cf. Rösler 1993:83 on this, who also associates the Semonides poem and the fragment of Sousarion with the Thesmophoriazusae (ibid., 80–86).
[ back ] 320. Women at the Thesmophoria were called μέλισσαι. Cf. Apollodorus, FGrHist 244 F 89 and Detienne 1979:211–212; on bees, see especially Detienne 1971 and literature cited in Versnel 1993:251n82; now also Kledt 2004:119–120.
[ back ] 321. See the testimonia in PCG VII, 661–663 (and pp. 147–148 W. [with text]), especially Marm. Par., FGrHist 239 A 39.
[ back ] 322. The words ἀκούετε λεῴ seem to have been a traditional Athenian formula of proclamation and public address that is reflected in Old Comedy; cf. Aristophanes Acharnians 1000, Peace 551 and Birds 448. For the vocative ὦ δημόται cf. Acharnians 319 and Clouds 1322; cf. also ὦνδρες δημόται (Aristophanes Wealth 322; cf. Acharnians 328).
[ back ] 323. For γαμεῖν see Thesmophoriazusae 789.
[ back ] 324. Cf. Versnel 1993:282, who views sexuality, which is displayed but never consummated, as a fundamental paradox of the women celebrating the Thesmophoria (ibid., 254). To the same category belongs the fact that the women espouse a lofty ethical claim to chastity, but on the other hand are compared with prostitutes. See above, nn120 and 312.
[ back ] 325. See myths about martial conflicts in connection with the Thesmophoria in Bowie 1993:212–213 and above, n287.
[ back ] 326. Thesmophoriazusae 810  Euripides Melanippe Desmotis Pap. Berol. 9772 = Suppl. Euripideum fragment 6 (p. 32 v. Arnim), especially line 3 (cf. fragment 499.3 N/fragment 494.3 Kannicht): αἱ δ’ εἴσ’ ἀμείνους ἀρσένων. δείξω δ’ ἐγώ; cf. also Homer Iliad 4.405.
[ back ] 327. On τεκεῖν cf. Thesmophoriazusae 832, 836, 839, 845. The Thesmophoria have a double function, the increase of natural fertility as well as that of women, in order to ensure the continued existence of humanity; consider the famous scholion to Lucian Dialogue of the Courtesans 2.1 (276.14–15 Rabe): περὶ τῆς τῶν καρπῶν γενέσεως καὶ τῆς τῶν ἀνθρώπων σπορᾶς; cf. ibid., 20–22: the throwing of piglets into an underground chasm happens διὰ τὸ πολύτοκον εἰς σύνθημα τῆς γενέσεως τῶν καρπῶν καὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων. See now Kledt 2004:132, 135–136.
[ back ] 328. The formulation εἰ τέκοι τις ἄνδρα χρηστὸν τῇ πόλει (Thesmophoriazusae 832) is reminiscent of both the goal expressed by the chorus in the parabasis, χρηστὰ τῇ πόλει | ξυμπαραινεῖν καὶ διδάσκειν (Frogs 686–687), and in particular of the epirrhêma of the women in the parabasis of the Lysistrata (648–651), which is related intertextually to the Thesmophoriazusae. In the Lysistrata the connection is made—via a useful piece of advice (χρηστὸν τῇ πόλει παραινέσαι, Lysistrata 648)—to women’s central usefulness for the city; they bear sons, who as future men guarantee the continuity of the system: τοὐράνου γάρ μοι μέτεστι· καὶ γὰρ ἄνδρας εἰσφέρω (Lysistrata 651). Here too female reproductivity is compared to a monetary contribution.
[ back ] 329. On this play on words, cf. Clouds 1156–1159, Plato Republic 507a, 555e, and Aristotle Politics 1258b4–7.
[ back ] 330. The personification of Ploutos’ agricultural wealth also plays a great role in this festival; cf. Thesmophoriazusae 296 and above, nn186–187; in society Ploutos is also equated with monetary wealth; the plot of Aristophanes’ comedy of the same name is based on this polyvalency. In the Thesmophorion of Bitalemi dedications of metal used for bartering have also been found: see Kron 1992:633–635. On Ploutos in the Euripidean Helen, parodied in the Thesmophoriazusae, cf. line 69 (Theoklymenos’ palace is Πλούτου [L: Πλούτῳ Nauck] . . . ἄξιος); at the same time, Theoklymenos is also connected with Pluto-Hades, who is of central importance in the myth of the Thesmophoria as Persephone’s husband; see Foley 1992:136.
[ back ] 331. On proedria, the right to sit in the first row on festive occasions, see Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 209 ad 834: this privilege was normally reserved for selected officials or priests, but could by way of exception be extended to those who had rendered a service to the state.
[ back ] 332. On the question of the presence of women in the theater, see Henderson 1991a; women apparently sat in the rows at the back (ibid., 140–144); he shows that a distinction needs to be drawn between a purely male “notional audience,” which was clearly viewed politically, and an “actual audience,” which encompassed all participants in the festival, certain women included; on καθῆσθαι (838) as metatheatrical term, see above, n293. On proedria in the theater of Dionysus, cf. Pöhlmann 1981. On the mention of the proedria of the priest of Dionysus in the Frogs (297), cf. Bierl 1991:37. Cf. also the priest’s invitation to Dikaiopolis in Acharnians 1085–1094 to take part in the Khoes. It is clear from both passages that the priest is taking part in a festival in his official capacity, that is, that the ritual of performance directly flows into another ritual event. Cf. also Dover Frogs, 230 ad 297.
[ back ] 333. On the symbolic see among others Turner 1967:19–47, Turner 1969, Geertz 1973:87–125 (“Religion as cultural system”), Lewis 1977, Foster/Brandes 1980, Jensen 1986, and Braungart 1996:108–113; see particularly the comments of Jensen 1986:112–113 (“Ritual as Condensed Action”). On its application in the field of drama, des Bouvrie 1990:70–77 and des Bouvrie 1993:87–92 (with copious references). Cf. also Moulton 1981:131–135, who similarly treats the passage as the “imagistic center of the parabasis” (131). On the concept of initiation in the study of religion, see the general overview in Grohs 1993. As a rite de passage, it always requires symbolic dramatization; see van Gennep 1909 and Turner 1967:93–111. For initiation as puberty ritual in classical and religious studies, see the key works listed above, Introduction n61. On the use of the interpretative paradigms of ephêbeia, initiation, and structurally determining rites de passage for plot structure in tragedy and Old Comedy, see below, n481.
[ back ] 334. Here I am in agreement with more recent scholarship, which generally regards the parabasis as a focal point for the themes appearing in that particular comedy; Hubbard 1991:11 and 17n5.
[ back ] 335. Given the highly unclear nature of the scholion to Lucian Dialogues of the Courtesans. 2.1 (275.23ff. Rabe) there is still a debate about which festival of Demeter this rite of casting down was performed at. Relying on Clement of Alexandria Protropticus 2.17, the following scholars (among others) argue for the same Thesmophoria: Brumfield 1981:77, 159–161, Burkert 1966:7–8 (= Burkert 1990:43–44), Burkert 1983:257n5, and Burkert 1985:242–243; see now also Kledt 2004:134 and 186n4. At the previous year’s festival: Harrison 19223:123 and Clinton 1992:63n203. Clinton 1988:77–78 refers to a similar practice at the Eleusinia (but with the qualification [Clinton 1992:63n203] that megarizein at the Mysteries was not synchronized with the Thesmophoria). Simon 1983:19–20 argues for the Stenia, which took place only two days before the Thesmophoria (according to her the “bailing” thus occurred on the day of the Kalligeneia). Rohde 1870:554–556 (Kl. Schr. II 1901, 361–364) considers the day of the procession to Halimous, one day after the Stenia, while placing the activity carried out by the ἀντλήτριαι only several days after the festival. Skira: Robert 1885:363ff., Deubner 1932:40–44, 50, Parke 1977:83, 159–160, and Baudy 1992:22ff. According to Baudy 1992:23, the putrescent piglets and live snakes mentioned in the description are simply a ritual fiction: piglets and snakes were symbols for female and male genitalia, and in ritual reality only imitations made of dough were thrown down into the chasm. Cf. now also Kledt 2004:128–132. On the piglet as vulva, cf. Thesmophoriazusae 289 (with schol. and above, n187, and below, n471), Acharnians 792 (with schol.) and the remarks of Versnel 1993:256–257.
[ back ] 336. Cf. Harrison 19223:131–135, Baudy 1992:22–23, and Camps-Gaset 1994:142–144. Schol. Lucian Dialogues of the Courtesans 2.1 (275–276 Rabe) incorrectly collapses “Arrhetophoria/Arrhephoria/Skirophoria and Thesmophoria” into one, which clearly goes back to an abbreviated comparison based on an analogy of summer and autumn rituals. On the Skira see also Calame 1990:339–354 and in general (in connection with the structure of the festival and symbolic spatial partitioning of Attica) ibid., 289–396; see now also Kledt 2004:152–187.
[ back ] 337. Cf. IG II/III2 1177 = Sokolowski 1969 (LSCG), nr. 36.8–13 (Thesmophoria and Skira are named as festivals at which separate assemblies of women were held). In Aristophanes Assemblywomen 18 the women plot their takeover while assembled at the Skira. The place of assembly at the Skira in Piraeus is the Thesmophorion. Mommsen (1864:289–299) incorrectly thought, on the basis of schol. Thesmophoriazusae. 834 (τὰ δὲ Σκίρα λέγεσθαί φασί τινες τὰ γινόμενα ἱερὰ ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ ταύτῃ Δήμητρι καὶ Κόρῃ [i.e. Θεσμοφορίοις]), that the Skira mentioned in line 834 were different from the Skirophoria. He wanted to connect the assembly at the Skira directly with the Thesmophoria, and placed them on the day of the anodos (ibid., 298–299).
[ back ] 338. The parasol in comedy is invariably the mark of an effeminate character; cf. Eupolis fragment 481, Pherecrates fragment 70, and Strattis fragments 59 K.-A.
[ back ] 339. There is no further evidence for σκιάδειον with the meaning “shield.” Schol. Thesmophoriazusae 823 offers as an explanation σκέπασμά τι ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς βαλλόμενον or “part of the sail” (μέρος τοῦ ἱστίου) (clearly as a reaction to the other instruments, which are all connected with weaving). The scholiast probably relates the sail to Athena’s peplos, which was fixed to a wagon and brought up onto the Acropolis at the Greater Panathenaia; cf. Deubner 1932:32 with reference to (n4) Strattis fragments 31 K.-A.: τὸν πέπλον δὲ τοῦτον | ἕλκουσ’ ὀνεύοντες τοπείοις ἄνδρες ἀναρίθμητοι | εἰς ἄκρον ὥσπερ ἱστίον τὸν ἱστόν; on the peplos in connection with this image, see below, n348. A comic play on words might lie behind the fact that Strattis in his Psykhastai fragments 59 K.-A. connects σκιάδειον with ῥιπίς (‘fan,’ from ῥίπτω [cf. Thesmophoriazusae 829]; cf. Frisk II, 658); thus Pollux 10.127: ὁ δὲ Στράττις ἐν Ψυχασταῖς προειπὼν ῥιπίδα ἐπήγαγεν εἴτε σκιάδειον. Kock (I, 728 ad Strattis fragment 56) thinks the following: Fallitur enim Pollux, cum ῥιπίδα et σκιάδειον idem esse dicit. The objects were certainly not identical, but Strattis seems to have associated them comically because women used them both to protect themselves from the summer heat. For the parasol as particularly characteristic of women, and also in particular of effeminate men, cf. also Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 7.9.4; there, as in this passage from the Thesmophoriazusae, it is reported that Aristodemos, tyrant of Cumae, made the young people soft: ἠκολούθουν τ’ αὐτοῖς . . . παιδαγωγοὶ γυναῖκες σκιάδεια καὶ ῥιπίδας κομίζουσαι. The connection with female handwork could equally reside in the association with ῥίψ “wickerwork made from young twigs or shoots or rushes,” a word that is also etymologically related to ῥίπτω (Frisk II, 659–660). The parasol was probably “woven” or “plaited.” Our passage Thesmophoriazusae 829 would then have the following comic connotations: on campaigns, the woven screen/shield was waved over the head “from the shoulders” like a fan, to be then suddenly cast off from the upper arm; ὦμος is often connected with weapons (Homer Iliad 5.41 and 15.544); the word can also mean the “shoulders” of a garment worn by women (LSJ s.v. I.3).
[ back ] 340. The relative (Thesmophoriazusae 140) asks in puzzlement how mirror and sword go together for Agathon. Here one encounters the same paradoxical association of effeminacy and manliness that ultimately characterizes Dionysus as god of the members of the chorus.
[ back ] 341. Cf. schol. Thesmophoriazusae 825: τὴν κάμακα τῆς λόγχης λέγει. οἱ μέν φασι κανόνα αὐτὸν λέγειν τὸ ξύλον τῆς λόγχης, οἱ δὲ τὸν κανόνα τῆς ἀσπίδος.
[ back ] 342. In the ephebic oath the young men swear to uphold the fatherland as it was and not to allow anything to be lost, that is, “to hand it down to the next generation not diminished, but bigger and better” (9–10: καὶ ο‹ὐ›κ ἐλάττω παραδώσω τὴν πατρίδ | α, πλείω δὲ καὶ ἀρείω); cf. Tod II, nr. 204, pp. 303–307, Merkelbach 1972 (= Philologica 88–94), and Siewert 1977 (here the inscription is reproduced as it appears on a stele from Akharnai from the fourth century BCE, following Tod II, 303–304 and Siewert 1977:102–103; the text is also attested, with slight deviations, in literary sources in Pollux 8.105–106 and Stob. 4.1.48; Siewert 1977:104–109 shows that fifth-century writers already referred to it). The ephebic oath is a typical speech act in the Austinian sense (note the speaking “I”). Aglauros was the goddess of young men as a group. On the heortological connection with our tableau see Baudy 1992:18–19 (twelfth Skirophorion).
[ back ] 343. On the ῥίψασπις cf. Aristophanes Clouds 353 and Dover Clouds, 148 ad loc.; cf. also Aristophanes Peace 1186 (with Olson Peace, 294–295 ad 1185–1186), Plato Laws 944b7–c1, and Archilochus fragment 5 W. (with Peace 1298–1301). On the spear as symbol of the aristocracy, cf. Trag. adesp. fragment 84 N/Kannicht = Carcinus, TrGF I 70 F 1, λόγχην ἣν φοροῦσι γηγενεῖς.
[ back ] 344. Lines 776ff. are anapaestic dimeters. In earlier scholarship the lines were seen as a substitution for the missing kommation. Cf. van Leeuwen Thesm., 101 ad 776–784: “ceterum commatii loco sunt hi anapaesti, parant enim transitum a diverbio ad chori parabasin.” Accordingly, the chorus would already have taken up position with the performance of lines 776ff. Bothe (III, 151 ad 741) in particular argues that the parabasis was accompanied by the throwing away of the tablets, which is, however, extremely unlikely (cf. Fritzsche, 291; he assigns lines 778–780, ἄγε δὴ – μόχθων, and 783–784, βάσκετ’ – ταχέως χρή, to Euripides [MS Monacensis 492 assigns the whole set, 776–784, to Euripides]; Rogers Thesmophoriazusae, 81 ad 776 correctly argues against this). In favor of the kommation hypothesis is the emphatic χώρει, χώρει (782), which apart from being an address to the writing tablets he casts away (Fritzsche thinks that the relative here writes “Euripides, come, come!”; Rogers Thesmophoriazusae, 82 ad 781, following Enger, 136 ad 782, interprets the imperative as a command to the stylus [σμίλη] to inscribe the wood carefully) could also be an address to the chorus, who are often ordered to form up in just this way: Thesmophoriazusae 953, Frogs 372, Assemblywomen 478 (cf. χωρεῖτε, Frogs 440). In all cases it is clear how Aristophanes’ chorus continually picks up and processes the references like weaving a fabric. On the Palamedes parody see Rau 1967:51–53. DuBois (1988:77–78) compares the inscribing of the tablets to taking possession of the female body sexually, often compared in Greek culture to plowing. Precisely these two levels, human sexuality and agriculture, were synchronized and ritually strengthened at the Thesmophoria; cf. especially also Baudy 1992. DuBois refers to the αὖλαξ (furrow) made by the plow (phallus) on the δέλτοι (tablets). There may in fact even be a play on the word δέλτα, which also refers to the female pubic triangle (cf. Henderson 19912:146; duBois 1982:98–99 considers this possibility in another context [Sophocles Women of Trachis 680–683]). [ back ] After the Battle of Salamis the Greeks brought the wrecked ships to Cape Kolias; Herodotus 8.96 cites in relation to this an oracle of Lysistratos: “The women of Kolias shall one day roast their barley with oars.” There was a sanctuary of Aphrodite on Cape Kolias, south of Phaleron; on the day of the procession to Halimous, the tenth of Pyanopsion, just before the Thesmophoria, there was ecstatic dancing on the beach; the connection between Cape Kolias and the Thesmo-phoria could explain the mysterious oracle: women celebrating the Thesmophoria in Eretria (Plutarch Greek Questions 31.298bc) rediscover the technique of roasting as part of a restaging of a primitive lifestyle (Diodorus Siculus 5.4.7). They do not roast meat over a fire, but in the sun. Perhaps in this place on the sea there took place the special rites with oars to which Aristophanes here refers. In Lysistrata 1–2. Aristophanes also alludes to the rites at Cape Kolias on the day of the festival at Halimous, on which women, from the male perspective, took every opportunity to take pleasure in sex, dancing, and wine. The relative realizes that the requirements on the day of the Nesteia have nothing more to do with oars and grasps for what lies at hand.
[ back ] 345. Spinning is described in Latin as filum deducere (Ovid Metamorphoses 4.36); ducere or deducere is often combined with carmen, which means something like to compose a song; see Nagy 1996:49. On “stitching” a song cf. the verb ῥάπτω (preserved in rhapsôdos) and Nagy 1996:61–64; on the weaving (ὑφαίνειν) of songs and texts (Latin texere; on the word textus see Scheid/Svenbro 1996:131–155, 209–216), see Nagy 1996:64–65. For all three aspects of woolworking in the context of combining and weaving together of elements to produce a new “fabric” or “weaving,” which is subject to continuous alteration in the process of reperformance, see Nagy 1996:66ff.
[ back ] 346. Moulton (1981:134) is the only commentator to indicate a connection between the parasol and the Skira. See now also Prato, 291 ad 823.
[ back ] 347. Burkert 1966 (= Burkert 1990:40–59), Burkert 1983:135–161, and Burkert 1985:227–234.
[ back ] 348. After the Arrhephoria the Arrhephoroi were discharged. There were two maidens, not four (as Deubner 1932:12 thinks). Cf. Burkert 1966:3–5 (= Burkert 1990:41–42). The two girls also belonged to the εὐγενεῖς. On the Arrhephoria see now also Brulé 1987:79–123 (especially on discussion of sources, 79ff.) and Donnay 1997 (with criticism of the initiation theory, 201). On the basis of Etymologicum Magnum 149.19 Brulé 1987:392 assumes that there were two groups of Arrhephoroi: two girls who enter into yearlong service, and another two who for three years and nine months are responsible for the peplos presented every four years to the goddess at the Greater Panathenaia. The young maidens are first-fruit offerings for Athena, representatives of feminine eugeneia (cf. Thesmophoriazusae 330), which must reproduce itself; on the function of introduction into the female role cf. Camps-Gaset 1994:136. On Athena’s peplos and weaving on the Acropolis, cf. Brulé 1987:99–116 (also on the Plynteria and Kallynteria). Agraulos is the first mythical laundress of the cloth; the washing festival also took place shortly before the Skira/Arrhephoria on the twenty-ninth of Thargelion; Burkert 1970 (= Burkert 1990:77–85, especially 78). The Kallynteria were celebrated much earlier, in Anthesterion or Maimakterion; on the peplos and weaving in general, see Barber 1992:106–112 (“The Greek Terminology of Cloth Making”). A papyrus in Cologne (inv. nr. 264) contains the hypothesis to Euripides’ Auge; Telephos, who also plays an important role in the Thesmophoriazusae, as has been seen above, is her son. The editor of the papyrus, Ludwig Koenen, shows the connection between the myth of Auge and the ritual of the Plynteria; just like the mythical maidens who dance in a chorus on the Acropolis during the Arrhephoria, the beautiful and virtuous Auge in the service of Athena Alea in Tegea is also the leader of a chorus of maidens; Koenen 1969. Girls on the threshold of initiation dance in choruses and are here prepared for marriage. The papyrus then mentions the washing of a garment. Washing is also connected with preparations for marriage, the goal of female initiation. Nausikaa, who at Athena’s behest washes clothing at the river (cf. πλυνοί, Odyssey 6.40 and 86), also represents a reflex of this ritual practice (Homer Odyssey 6.1ff.). She too dances in a chorus after this, and as chorus leader is even compared to Artemis, another goddess of virginity. Artemis and the Nymphs (nymphai!) dance in a circle; the choral dance of Nausikaa and her companions is at the same time a ballgame (Odyssey 6.100), just as the Arrhephoroi also danced on a space used for ball playing (cf. Euripides Ion 492ff. and see below, n351). Consider the emphasis on the verb παίζειν in the sense of playing and dancing (Odyssey 6.100 and 106) and above, Introduction n180.
[ back ] 349. Kron 1992:621.
[ back ] 350. Clement of Alexandria Protrepticus 2.17, Ov. Met. 5.393, and Claudian The Abduction of Proserpina 2.138–139 also mention the κάλαθος. Cf. also the naming of the κάλαθος in Callimachus Hymns 6.1ff., 120ff. and the festive introduction of a κάλαθος at the festival of Demeter by Ptolemy Philadelphos in Alexandria in imitation of the Athenian rites (schol. Callimachus Hymns 6.1, Pfeiffer II, 77). On the connection of weaving, birth, and sowing at the Arrhephoria and Thesmophoria, see Moret 1991:236–242. Carrying baskets was part of the secret rite of the Arrhephoria; in addition, there were also maiden basket-carriers (Kanephoroi) at the Panathenaia. Baskets are symbols of fertility: the basket of the Arrhephoroi contained symbolic objectsthat were used in the introduction to sexuality in the form of “ritual play-activity” (Baudy 1992:12); the covered baskets carried down into subterranean passages contained, according to Baudy 1992, twelve phallic snakes with the heads of children, simultaneously representing procreation and birth. What the girls brought back from their journey into the underworld was, Baudy thinks, exactly the same: after the initiatory learning experience the cult object simply underwent a change, now representing an infant.
[ back ] 351. On the kalathiskos as a dance form see Athenaeus 467f and Pollux 4.105. On basket dances in the cult of Demeter and Artemis, see Lawler 1964:109–110; for a comic phlyax basket dancer with artificial breasts and phallus, much as we imagine the participants in the chorus might have looked, see ibid., 89 with ill. 35. See also Brommer 1989:485–486 (with a list of illustrations on vases) on this dance. For dancing boys and girls with broad wreaths of this type at the Spartan Karneia, see Burkert 1985:234. According to Euripides Ion 492–506, the three daughters of Aglauros dance in front of the temple of Pallas and near a cave of Pan on the north slope of the Acropolis. The daughters of Kekrops possibly represent the mythic model for ritual choruses of girls (cf. also Lee 1997:212 ad Euripides Ion 496: “There may also be a reference to the reenactment of their story in the ritual of the summer festival known as the Hersephoria or Arrephoria”), upon which the tragic chorus projects its current performance. Dance in the here and now is reflected in myth and in ritual, which has a close connection to the plot, since Ion is viewed as the reincarnation of Erichthonius. Lucian The Dance 39 reports that the myth of Erichthonius, the incarnation of King Erechtheus resurrected as baby, was danced mimetically. Ritual dances of this kind could be practiced on the area used for ball playing by the Arrhephoroi (Plutarch Vita X or. 839c). In the deme of Phlya, Athene Tithrone (Pausanius 1.31.4) was associated with sexually charged dances; Petersmann 1990. Tithrone simply means “the jumper,” according to Petersmann 1990:47–48; jumping and dancing belong together, as both activities promote fertility and offspring. Athena is herself Pandrosos (schol. Lysistrata 439), the all-bedewing. Pandrosos is also one the daughters of Kekrops, who form the mythic model for the Arrhephoroi. On leaping gods, see also Petersmann 1991; on Tithrone, ibid., 85. Pausanias (5.3.2) reports that women in Elis were immediately impregnated by their husbands after a prayer to Athena and that the latter was worshiped there as Μήτηρ. Weaving and dancing are also at the foreground for the initiation rites at Brauron, located on the border of Attica in the peripheral zone of the Outside, where Attic girls were dedicated to (significantly) Artemis; Cole 1984:238–244 and Brulé 1987:177–283, especially 225–240, and particularly 227–229 (“Artémis fileuse”) and 250–260. On the Arkteia, see also Sourvinou-Inwood 1988, and on dance at Brauron, Calame I 1977:186–189 (English translation Calame 1997:98–100). On the rites in Brauron in general see now Gentili/Perusino 2002.
[ back ] 352. For interpretation of the wool metaphor, see Moulton 1981:48–58; on the motif of weaving in this comedy, see Dorati 1998:44–50; I am planning a detailed study of the ritual backgrounds of the Lysistrata. On the basket, cf. Henderson Lysistrata, 137 ad 532–538, and in the wool metaphor Lysistrata 579. On the metaphor of woolworking and spinning in connection with female initiation see now also Ferrari 2002:11–60.
[ back ] 353. Deubner 1932:50 sees in the large σκιάδειον of which Lysimakhides, FGrHist 366 F 3 (in Harpokration, s.v. σκίρον) speaks not a parasol but rather a canopy. See also Parke 1977:157 and Simon 1983:23 (although protection against the sun is recognized as its practical and immediate purpose, they stress the status and dignity that such an array lends priests).
[ back ] 354. On the Anacreontic vases see Caskey/Beazley 1954:55–61 and Frontisi-Ducroux/Lissarrague 1990; for arguments against connecting the red-figure vase paintings (Buschor 1923/24) with the Skirophoria, or Skira, see Deubner 1932:49–50, who assigns them speculatively (132–133) to the Lenaia. On the difficulty of drawing an unequivocal connection between a visual sign and a ritual referent, see Durand/Frontisi-Ducroux 1982. The Skira, at which the decision in Assemblywomen 18 has been taken, have nothing to do with women dressing in men’s clothing; this is why the women do not have the important idea of putting on men’s attire. Bowie 1993:257–258, following many other commentators (e.g. Kenner 1970:130–131), connects this reversed transvestism in the Assemblywomen with the Hybristika of Argos, which fell in midsummer and at which women also put on beards. Aristophanes always makes use of ritual models in pastiche-like free association. Female comasts carry parasols in the following illustrations in Frontisi-Ducroux/Lissarrague 1990: ills. 7.3 (Paris, Louvre G 285; ARV 380, 170), 7.5 (Paris, Louvre G 220; ARV 280, 11), 7.9 (Copenhagen, Nationalmuseum 13365; ARV 185, 32), 7.24 (Palazzolo Acreide), 7.25 (Bologna 234; ARV 524, 20), 7.27 (Cleveland 26.549; ARV 563, 9), 7.28 (Vienna 770; ARV 576, 33), 7.29 (formerly Rome, Cippico collection; ARV 291, 25), 7.30 and 7.31 (Chiusi C 1836; ARV 815, 2), 7.34 and 7.35 (Madrid 11009). On the history of the scholarship, see Kenner 1970:113–116 and Frontisi-Ducroux/Lissarrague 1990:213–217; the use of the term “Anacreontics” stems from Beazley, who took it from an inscription on a krater by the Kleophrades Painter (ca. 500 BCE, Copenhagen, Nationalmuseum 13365), on which similar comasts are depicted, and transferred it to the entire group. On a further oriental context, see Price 1990. On the Madrid stamnos (Madrid 11009) eight female comasts of this type are represented with small parasols. Next to them is also a wool basket (see above, n350), which refers to women’s woolworking. On the parasol and Anacreontic vases, see also Miller 1992 and Delavaud-Roux 1995, who place the groups of female comasts in a Dionysiac context. See now on the Anacreontic vases Miller 1997:193–198, Miller 1999, Neer 2002:19–23, and Bundrick 2005:84–87, 90, 166.
[ back ] 355. See the discussion in Deubner 1932:31n14, arguing that parasol and stool do not represent any special cultic equipment, but are simply carried for the comfort of the Kanephoroi. See also Miller 1992:103–105.
[ back ] 356. See Baudy 1992:29n161.
[ back ] 357. The priest of Poseidon proceeding from the Erechtheion represented Poseidon and his opponent Erechtheus in the same person.
[ back ] 358. See Philokhoros, FGrHist 328 F 105.
[ back ] 359. See the text in Siewert 1977:102–103 and above, n342. For this reason a woman, Mika, curses the women’s cowardice in the name of Aglauros (Thesmophoriazusae 533); she wants to remind her comrades of their “ephebic oath” sworn by the name of Aglauros (the “rustic”), to be brave and defend the nomoi of their institution, which forms a counter-polis. Mika presents the virtuous handworker Penelope as the model on whom the women should base their actions (Thesmophoriazusae 547). The ephebic oath sworn by the various crops of Attica also evokes the panspermia of the Thesmo-phoria.
[ back ] 360. Baudy 1992:18–20; see now also Kledt 2004:160–163. Baudy (14–17) convincingly does not date the Arrhephoria, as does Burkert 1966:5n2 (= Burkert 1990:54n8), on the basis of a sacrifice in Erkhia which fell on the third day of Skirophorion, but also dates it to the twelfth of Skirophorion. For as Baudy says, the birth of Erichthonius, which was celebrated at the Arrephoria, could hardly have been before the death of Erechtheus (12th Skirophorion), whose symbolic reincarnation Erichthonius after all represents. See now also Kledt 2004:169–173. On the rituality and symbolic nature of expression in Greek warfare of the archaic period, see in general Connor 1988a.
[ back ] 361. Cf. Baudy 1992:19 and Burkert 1983:158; significantly, the Spartans placed the sack of Troy at the time of the Karneia. In ritual, during the time of dissolution the Acropolis was seized by men from Eleusis, the Kerykes, who were also involved in overseeing the Bouphonia at the Dipolieia (see, however, the reservation expressed in Burkert 1983:139n17), while the protectors of the Acropolis, Poseidon-Erechtheus and Athena, departed with the sun god Helios.
[ back ] 362. Lucian The Dance 9. Another aition (schol. [B] ad Hephaestion, p. 299, 1 Consbruch) maintains that Pyrrhos was the first to jump from the Trojan Horse (further references in Borthwick 1967:18–19), described by Homer (Odyssey 4.277) as a λόχος. On the connection of λόχος with birth and ambush, see Lonsdale 1993:150–168 and below, n372. On the Trojan leap and its reflex in Euripides Andromeda 1129–1141, see Borthwick 1967. On the lusus Troiae and the pyrrhikhê as metaphorical weaving movement in the social web see Scheid/Svenbro 1996:35–49, especially 47–49, and 184–188 and Ceccarelli 1998:149. In Fronto Ad Marcus Aurelius Caesar 1.5.4, the metaphor of weaving in connection with the pyrrhikhê is applied to the written discourse of Latin and Greek poetic verse.
[ back ] 363. On the pyrrhikhê in general, see Ceccarelli 1998; on its appearance in Athens, ibid., 27–89. Cf. especially the inscription IG II/III2 2311, especially 72–74 = SIG3 1055 (cf. SEG 37, 1987, 129) from the fourth century BCE, which gives information about the prizes at the Greater Panathenaia; cf. the photograph and brief illustration of the inscription in Neils 1992:15–17, Kotsidu 1991:100–103 (with tables 6–7), Ceccarelli 1995:296–297, and Ceccarelli 1998:32–33. The presence of the pyrrhikhê at the Panathenaia is also attested in Lysistrata 21.1–4 (agôn of dancers of the pyrrhikhê at the Lesser and Greater Panathenaia). Osborne 1993:30–31 maintains that the agôn of the pyrrhikhê was also an event involving the phylai.
[ back ] 364. On this see Baudy 1992:20n111. On the pyrrhikhê as preparation for war, see Athenaeus 630d–631a. On initiation and Troy, see Bremmer 1978. It has even been suggested that the pyrrhikhê is connected with the conferring of weapons and the Attic ephebic oath sworn by the name of Aglauros; cf. Vidal-Naquet 1986:136 (pyrrhikhê as equivalent to the ephebic oath) and Lonsdale 1993:162–166, especially 164. On the connection of the pyrrhikhê with the ephêbeia and initiation, see Ceccarelli 1998: index s.v. “Efebi,” “Efebia,” “Iniziazione,” “Rito di passaggio,” and “Transizione.”
[ back ] 365. On the structural similarity of war and marriage as goal of initiation, see Vernant 1990:34: “Here again both the link and the polar opposition between the two types of institution are noticeable. Marriage is for the girl what war is for the boy: For each of them these mark the fulfillment of their respective natures as they emerge from a state in which each still shared in the nature of the other”; see in general ibid., 29–53. For the connection of dances in armor with female initiation, see also Bron 1996. The skiadeion is also distantly reminiscent of the σκιάδες at the Spartan Karneia. Demetrios of Skepsis reports (in Athenaeus 141e–f) that the festival was staged as an imitation of military training; nine such skiades were erected, and nine men at any one time ate together in one skias, three from each phratry. Demetrios thinks they were so called because they resembled tents (σκιάδες δὲ οὗτοι καλοῦνται σκηναῖς ἔχοντες παραπλήσιόν τι). On the basis of this characterization one could even make a connection in our passage to the well-known tents (σκηναί; cf. Thesmophoriazusae 658) of the women at the Thesmophoria. In this case, the women’s festival would be imitative of a male military structure. In Thesmophoriazusae 624 there is an allusion to the camaraderie of the tent. While the women treasure their ritual camping at the annual celebration of the Thesmophoria, the men part with it quite casually.
[ back ] 366. On Athena and the pyrrhikhê cf. Dionysius of Halicarnassus Roman Antiquities 7.72.7 (invention of the dance after Athena’s victory over the giants); Plat. Laws 796b–c (Athena does not dance this dance empty-handed, but in full armor); Crat. 406d–407a (the name Pallas is etymologized from πάλλειν in the context of a dance in armor, admittedly without specifying any particular dance).
[ back ] 367. On the mad tossing back of the head in connection with the death of the Gorgon as the σχῆμα τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς, see POxy 2738 (vol. 35, 1968, 46; the fragmentary commentary on a comedy, possibly by Eupolis) and Borthwick 1970; on kheironomia and the swinging of Neoptolemos’ shield in defensive fighting as pyrrhikhê, see Euripides Andromeda 1131: ἐκεῖσε κἀκεῖσ’ ἀσπίδ’ ἐκτείνων χερί, and 1135: δεινὰς δ’ ἂν εἶδες πυρρίχας. See below, n372.
[ back ] 368. Reckford 1977:288 observes that ἀποβαλὼν ὅπλα (Aristophanes Wasps 27) contains a double meaning: “losing one’s weapons” and “losing one’s genitalia.” Kleonymos the shield-thrower has just been mentioned (Aristophanes Wasps 15–23). On the word-play on ὅπλον in the further meaning of phallus cf. Acharnians 592, also Henderson 19912:110, 123, 248, MacDowell Wasps, 131 ad 27 and 242 ad 823, as well as Sommerstein Wasps, 154 ad 27 and 207 ad 823. Kinesias is also associated in Aristophanes with the dithyramb and κύκλιοι χοροί (Aristophanes Birds 1379, 1388, 1403); in Frogs 152–153 he is named as the composer of a pyrrhikhê. He apparently combined the pyrrhikhê and the dithyramb; κύκλιοι χοροί were also performed on Kos (Segre 1993: ED 52 and 234) at the Dionysia and described as pyrrhikhai (κυκλίων τᾶι πυρρίχαι); cf. Ceccarelli 1995 and Ceccarelli 1998:121–123; on the Pherekrates passage Ceccarelli 1995:295–296 and Ceccarelli 1998:44 with n83; on Kinesias Ceccarelli 1995:293–296 and Ceccarelli 1998:42–44, 124; on the switching of right and left cf. Borthwick 1968:62–65. One may also perhaps think of a mirror image, as Aristotle Acharnians 1128–1131. The verb ἔρριπται (Thesmophoriazusae 829) could be a reflection of the fact that Pyrrhos’ dance leveled Troy to the earth. Lucian The Dance 9 puts it as follows: ἡ ἐκείνου ὀρχηστικὴ καθεῖλεν καὶ εἰς ἔδαφος κατέρριψεν (where the second verb also implies the rapid movement of the shield).
[ back ] 369. The Ephesian prylis dance attested in Callimachus is the aition for the annually performed weapon dances of Lydian maidens at the Ephesia, the subject of the well-known fragment of Autokrates from the Tympanistai. See Calame I 1977:178–183 (English translation Calame 1997:93–96), Dowden 1997:122, and Ceccarelli 1998:135–136. In this fragment the characteristic self-referential terminology of choral dance appears frequently: παίζουσιν, κοῦφα πηδῶσαι, ἐξαίρουσα, ἅλλεται. On the Amazons as a mythic model for girls in initiation, see Dowden 1997. On the Amazons as mythic image of the lack of differentiation in signs, see duBois 1982. For Amazons dancing the pyrrhikhê, see Bron 1996:78–79 and Ceccarelli 1998:22–23, 98–99, 135, 211, especially ills. 72–79 (depictions on Athenian vases). For female initiatory choruses, see Calame I 1977 (English translation Calame 1997) and Lonsdale 1993:169–205.
[ back ] 370. See Turner 1967:93–111. On a distinction in the initiatory model concerning ritual transvestism in the case of the Cretan Ekdysia, see the sound observations of Leitao 1995:136–142. In particular he attacks what he sees as the overly abstract scheme of the structuralists (Vidal-Naquet and Turner). In his opinion, what is at issue is not only an inversion of signs (for example, masculine and feminine), but also a ritual dramatization aimed at the differentiation of social gender roles. When, for example, boys are given feminine clothing in an initiation, the social context needs to be taken into account, namely the fact that youths are closer to women in terms of their social gender role and status than are men. In the transition, these characteristics are emphasized purely in ritual terms, to be then discarded in a celebratory fashion.
[ back ] 371. It is possible that male youth undergoing initiation also provided the personnel for Athenian theatrical choruses; cf. Winkler 1990 for the case of tragedy, which is in fact the object of parody in this comedy. See also Graf 1998:25–27 (also with extension to comedy: 27). Winkler 1990:55ff. furthermore makes a connection between the pyrrhikhê, the theatrical chorus, and the hoplite formation. On the pyrrhikhê as initiatory practice of the male youth, see Lonsdale 1993:137–168, Leitao 1995:134, and Ceccarelli 1998: index s.v. “Efebi,” “Efebia,” “Iniziazione,” “Transizione”; on Sparta and Crete, Ceccarelli 1998:99–115; on initiatory elements in the mythical realm, Ceccarelli 1998:187–218; and on the pyrrhikhê in the theater, Ceccarelli 1998:37–45, 219–225.
[ back ] 372. See Loraux 1981a, Lonsdale 1993:150–152 with nn58–72, and Ceccarelli 1998:202–204 (λόχος as ambush), 204–206 (λόχος as birth). Artemis and Athena are called Λοχία. Evidence for Artemis Lokhia, who protects initiated girls up until the birth of their first child, can be found in Cole 1984:243n62. Athena as Lokhia is implicitly attested in Euripides Ion 452ff. (see Lee 1997:209 ad Euripides Ion 452). The lokhos of the Trojan Horse is like a “birth” from its interior (Lonsdale 1993:150). Orestes’ company, which ambushes and attacks Neoptolemos, is described in Euripides Andromeda 1114 as a ξιφήρης . . . λόχος; Orestes is called Κλυταιμήστρας τόκος in the following line, which forms an end-rhyme with the preceding one. On the emphasis on τόκος in Thesmophoriazusae 843–845, see above, pp. 194–195 and n329; λόχος, like χορός, depends on the locale and on the group that carries out the activity (Lonsdale 1993:139). For a description of Pyrrhos’ fight as pyrrhikhê, see Euripides Andromeda 1114–1146: cf. the excessive movement of the shield as kheironomia (1130–1131) and the movement of the feet (τὸ Τρωικὸν πήδημα πηδήσας ποδοῖν, 1139); he is in fact explicitly associated with this (δεινὰς δ’ ἂν εἶδες πυρρίχας φρουρουμένου | βέλεμνα παιδός, 1135–1136). The hostile band (λόχος) lies in ambush and is “shaded by laurels,” δάφνῃ σκιασθείς (Euripides Andromeda 1114–1115), which may represent a further connection to the σκιάδειον (Thesmophoriazusae 823, 829). Orestes is the leader of the lokhos and is described as “scheme-knitting” (μηχανορράφος, Euripides Andromeda 1116); this adjective also points to the connection between the pyrrhikhê and woolworking. On Orestes as a symbol of the male initiate who during the marginal phases operates using deception and ambush, see Bierl 1994a. Orestes and his men attack Neoptolemos in a circle (κύκλῳ, Euripides Andromeda 1137; on pyrrhikhê as a circular choral dance see above, n368); the latter reacts with the “Trojan leap” (Euripides Andromeda 1139) and further elements of the weapons dance. He thus replies to one pyrrhikhê with another pyrrhikhê. On the widespread idea of a connection between the dance and warfare, cf. carm. pop. fragment 857 PMG and Lucian The Dance 14 (the Thessalians used to call their fighters in the front ranks προορχηστῆρες).
[ back ] 373. See Baudy 1992:44. Choruses of maidens joined the male dancers of the pyrrhikhê and the ephebes singing the paean (Euripides Children of Heracles 777–783). On the communal marriage of all ephebes after completion of the agelê in Crete, see Ephorus, FGrHist 70 F 149 = Strabo 10.4.20, C 482.
[ back ] 374. There is scholarly debate on whether scenes of this type represent a reflection of actual cultic practice or simply a parody; Lonsdale 1993:148 with n43. Epithets from the realm of domestic labor and housekeeping are remarkably frequent on the graves of women; see Brulé 1987:343.
[ back ] 375. See Bowie 1993:184–185; for other mythical and ritual models, 178–204 therein. On women and war, see Graf 1984. Cf. especially the sphagia and oath scene in Aristophanes Lysistrata 181–239, where the aspis is also central (Lysistrata 185, 188, 190). Lysistrata later boasts that she has four lokhoi of armed women inside (τέτταρες λόχοι | μαχίμων γυναικῶν ἔνδον ἐξωπλισμένων, Lysistrata 453–454); see Henderson Lysistrata, 126 ad 453–456, who thinks that women in full armor, apart from depictions of Athena, were only to be seen on the stage or in the symposion, where there were allegedly hetairai who danced the pyrrhikhê in this outfit as a diverting interlude. He relies here on Poursat (1968:586–609, especially 607–609), whose theory of the symposium has now rightly been subjected to reconsideration. For other feminine lokhoi, cf. Aeschylus Eumenides 46 (Erinyes) and Euripides Bacchae 916 (Maenads).
[ back ] 376. Schauenburg 1976:50 ill. 21 (discussion p. 43) and Ceccarelli 1998: nr. 72, pl. X (discussion pp. 62–63). On waterbirds see Autokrates fragment 1 K.-A. (because of their violent movements, the Lydian female dancers of a weapons dance in honor of Artemis are compared to a waterbird [οἷα κίγκλος, line 10] that rapidly moves its tail to and fro like a wagtail [Aelian On the Nature of Animals 12.9]; cf. κιγκλίζω and LSJ s.v.).
[ back ] 377. Ceccarelli 1998:60–62 discusses similar representations; for depictions of female dancers of the pyrrhikhê in general, see 60–67 therein.
[ back ] 378. Bell krater Vienna 732, Pothos Painter, ca. 420 BCE (ARV 1190, 30; Poursat 1968: nr. 41, 592 ill. 45, Ceccarelli 1998: nr. 41, pl. XII with discussion pp. 65–66).
[ back ] 379. Stephanus, In Artem Rhetoricam commentaria 3.8 (Aristotle 1408b36) (in Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca 21.2, p. 317 Rabe): πυρρίχη ἡ ἐνόπλιος, ᾗ χρῶνται οἱ στρατιῶται κατὰ ξιφῶν καὶ μετὰ ξιφῶν κυβιστῶντες καὶ οἱ ἐν ταῖς γαμηλίοις παιδιαῖς παίζοντες μετὰ σπάθης. See Ceccarelli 1998:63 and 208. For παίζειν and παιδιά as concepts belonging to choral dance, see above, Introduction n180.
[ back ] 380. LSJ s.v. 1. Cf. also Aeschylus The Libation Bearers 232 and Moret 1991:243n110. For a feminine sword dance cf. the red-figure depiction of a girl, attributed to the painter Makron, on a fragmentary vase (Malibu, J. P. Getty Museum 86.AE.315); see on this Bron 1996, who also views the scene in an initiatory context. While female dancers of the pyrrhikhê are consistently shown with shield and spear, the sword in this connection is practically unique.
[ back ] 381. Ceccarelli 1998:207–208 also connects the passage in Stephanus of Byzantium with the κούρειον, the hair-offering made to Artemis by boys of ephebic age, and with the γαμηλία, which probably was a sacrifice performed on the day of the Koureotis during the Apatouria by the husband for his young wife upon her acceptance into his phratry. See on this Deubner 1932:232–234 and Parker 1996:105 with n12. Brulé 1987:402–404 interprets Pollux 8.107 differently and argues that the γαμηλία was a very early sacrifice made by the father in front of the phratry in honor of his daughter (aged 5 to 7) as future bride, and could have coincided with her being entered into the list for the Arkteia. One could also simply call a wedding feast for the bridegroom a gamêlia. Bruit Zaidman/Schmitt Pantel 1992:70 remark that it is no coincidence that the ceremony took place exactly nine months after the marriage month, Gamelion, at the Apatouria, which concluded the legal act of marriage. According to Proclus’ commentary on Plato Timaeus 21b, a rhapsodic contest among the young men took place on this day of the Koureotis; perhaps there were also choral dance competitions. Although the transitional phase would already have been concluded, the pyrrhikhê coming at the successful completion of the rite de passage would once more have evoked the dangers of marginality; see Lonsdale 1993:162ff. On the koureion see Cole 1984:233–238 and Schmitt 1977. The belt (see the depiction of a female dancer with belt on the Kanellopoulos pyxis; Schauenburg 1976:50 ill. 21, Ceccarelli 1998, nr. 72, pl. X) is also an ambivalent sign of masculine weaponry and feminine chastity; the dedication of the premarital belt is the symbolic act of preparation for marriage; Schmitt 1977:1062–1064. Women have to lose their first girdle in order to become a wife; after consummation of the marriage they wear the girdle of the married woman; men have to wear a belt as warrior. Ephebes receive the weapon belt as sign of their manhood.
[ back ] 382. Dowden 1997:127.
[ back ] 383. See among others Rosellini 1979, Loraux 1981:157–196, Zeitlin 1981:169–181, Foley 1982 (also on Assemblywomen), Graf 1984 (on other ritual models, with reference to the Lysistrata, 245 and 254n59), and Bowie 1993:178–181, 205–207. Cf. in general Vernant 1990:29–53. On weaving as metaphor for integration into the “social fabric,” i.e. the citizen body, see Calame 1997:57 with n145 and Ceccarelli 1998:111, 113, 149, and 157.
[ back ] 384. See above, n344.
[ back ] 385. On the participation of the whole chorus, see Koester 1835:6 and Hubbard 1991:20 with n21. Normally, however, no motion of the chorus is assumed when it sings. The association with weaving could also be understood as a self-referential reference to choral dance. On the chorus’ weaving, cf. Nonnos’ χοροπλεκής (‘chorus-weaving’) (Nonn. 6.49 and 14.33), Naerebout 1997:278–279, Calame I 1977:77–78 with n63 (English translation Calame 1997:34–35 with n63 [and 57 with n145]), Restani 1995 (on the relationship between music, dance, and weaving), Nagy 1996:65 (on weaving of song), and Ceccarelli 1998:111–112 with n104.
[ back ] 386. On the symbolic and visual dimension of choral dance, see Golder 1996. Golder even goes so far as to describe individual poses by the chorus on the basis of the art of the day. The dance skhêmata, like synaesthetically translated tableaux vivants, intensify the symbolic message (especially ibid., 11). On the Dionysiac pyrrhikhê, cf. Athenaeus 631a–b and Ceccarelli 1998:67–72. On the performance by choruses of pyrrhikhê dancers in circles at the Dionysia on Kos (Segre 1993: ED 234), see Ceccarelli 1995. There is also a similarity in terms of rhythm and metre between the pnigos and the pyrrhikhê, whose most common form used the catalectic anapaestic dimeter with numerous resolutions and in terms of rhythm remained open to the dactylic in order to make use of the κατ’ ἐνόπλιον (cf. Ceccarelli 1998:167–177). The catalectic anapaestic dimeter concludes the pnigos (Thesmophoriazusae 829) with the central term τὸ σκιάδειον, which in line 823 already forms a monometer and is thus brought to the fore.
[ back ] 387. Cf. Frontisi-Ducroux/Lissarrague 1990. They describe the kômos as a dance in which the collective acts in completely uncoordinated fashion and each carries out his own ecstatic movements (227).
[ back ] 388. Bowie 1993:162 also sees in the skiadeion an allusion to the procession under the canopy at the Skira. On the parasol see also Dunbar Birds, 698 ad 1508–1509.
[ back ] 389. Cf. the connection with the Panathenaia: Peisetairos ends the dialogue by adding that Prometheus should also take the δίφρος as diphrophoros (Birds 1552). Cf. Dunbar Birds, 709–710 ad 1550–1551 and 1552 with list of sources; Harpocr., s.v. σκαφηφόροι, quotes Demetrios of Phaleron (FGrHist 228 F 5), who thinks that according to a legal provision metics had to carry σκάφαι and their daughters water vessels (ὑδρεῖα) and parasols (σκιάδια); Aelian Various History 6.1: τὰς γοῦν παρθένους τῶν μετοίκων σκιαδηφορεῖν ἐν ταῖς πομπαῖς ἠνάγκαζον [i.e. οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι]; cf. Pollux 3.55 and 7.174. In the following song by the chorus of birds about the realm of the Shadowfeet, the word σκιάδειον is possibly taken up by association (so already Rogers Birds, ad. loc.); cf. Dunbar Birds, 711 ad 1553–1555.
[ back ] 390. The cutting off of the Olympians from their supply of sacrificial victims is additionally compared with fasting at the Thesmophoria (Birds 1519).
[ back ] 391. On the Panathenaia as festival of the new fire, see Robertson 1985; on the Promethia as an original procession by torchlight that departed from an altar in the Akademia and served as the model for the torchlight run at the Panathenaia, Robertson 1985:259–260 and 281–288.
[ back ] 392. For Kleonymos as “shield-abandoner” see the testimonia in Dunbar Birds, 238 ad 289–290.
[ back ] 393. See above, n372. Prometheus goes underneath a parasol (cf. Dunbar Birds, 695 ad 1494–1509) and is also “wrapped up” (συγκαλυμμός, Birds 1496; cf. ἐκκεκαλύψομαι, Birds 1503) (see Agosti 1987/88). For a good mythical and ritual interpretation of the Birds, see Auffarth 1994 (he connects the comedy, as Craik 1987 already does, with the Anthesteria and interprets Prometheus as a trickster figure [76ff.]); cf. also Bowie 1993:151–177.
[ back ] 394. I reproduce here Coulon’s text. Cf. the quite different interpretation of Dunbar Birds, 692–693 ad 1490–1493. With MSS. AMS she reads τἀπιδέξια, “paralysed all down his right side,” and connects this with attacks by certain heroes who could give their opponents a stroke (so also Hofmann 1976:205); in Aristophanes Heroes fragment 322, especially 4–7 K.-A., they release as ταμίαι | τῶν κακῶν καὶ τῶν ἀγαθῶν (4–5) all manner of illnesses upon evildoers (such as κλέπτας καὶ λωποδύτας, 6; cf. Thesmophoriazusae 810–818, especially λωποδύτας, 817). On the question of whether the figure of Orestes (as in Acharnians 1162ff. and Birds 712) is meant to be the mythical hero of the festival of Khoes or a historical and notorious highwayman, see Hofmann 1976:200–206, who wants to separate the two figures and sees in this Orestes “einen ganz und gar unheroischen Wegelagerer, der dank seines mythologischen Gattungsnamens zum Heros emporstilisiert wird” [“a completely unheroic highwayman who owing to his mythological generic name is elevated to the status of hero”] (205). With Henrichs 1991:192n67, I assume a comic and associative overlapping of both figures. One could also understand lines 1492–1493 in the following way: “unprotected all down his right side, he was hit by him,” or: “completely naked/unprotected, he was hit by him with a blow to the right” (perhaps also “on the right side,” ἐπὶ δεξιᾷ). On nudity in the pyrrhikhê, cf. Aristophanes Clouds 989 and Ceccarelli 1998:49 and 51–52.
[ back ] 395. In the case of the pyrrhikhê, beside the aspects of initiation, which stands unequivocally in the foreground, and of the new year, which is completely peripheral, the increase of agricultural fertility can also be observed. In the description of the six weapon dances performed by Xenophon’s soldiers at a reception for Paphlagonian messengers (Anabasis 6.1.5–13), in second place comes the harvest dance (καρπαία) of the contingents from Ainis and Magnesia. The mimetic dance concerns a confrontation between a robber and a farmer, who defends himself while he is sowing and plowing with a team of oxen (Xenephon Anabasis 6.1.7–9). All six presentations are staged by people from Greek marginal areas and represent to a certain extent only a marginal Greek-ness; the performance of the Thracians, that of the Ainians and Magnesians (i.e. Thessalians), both dances by the Mysian, and the entry of the people from Mantineia and Arcadia culminate in the pyrrhikhê danced by a slave-girl owned by an Arcadian. Cf. Ceccarelli 1998:20–21.
[ back ] 396. See above, p. 204 and Deubner 1932:47.
[ back ] 397. Camps-Gaset 1994:140–142 particularly stresses the political character of the Thesmophoria, in the sense of the conveying of Athenian citizenship. Before marriage, she emphasizes, it is Athena who protects the citizen status of girls. Demeter takes over this function after marriage: “En revanche, les fêtes de Déméter représentent la confirmation—et l’affirmation—de ce statut civique qui comporte la sécurité et la garantie pour la cité qu’il y aura toujours des Athéniens et que la femme—ce mal ambigu, donné par les dieux—se maintient dans un ordre civilisé, celui d’Athéna et de Poseidon, celui de la famille et de la sexualité légitime” [“On the other hand, the festivals of Demeter represent the confirmation—and the affirmation—of the civic status that means security and the guarantee for the city that it will always have Athenians and that women—that ambiguous evil given by the gods—will abide by the civilized order, that of Athena and Poseidon, that of the family and lawful sexuality”] (142).
[ back ] 398. Certain commentators in fact insist on the idea that the Thesmophoria was also a festival of initiation; see Jeanmaire 1939:269–282, 296–307, Johansen 1975, Lincoln 1979, and Baudy 1992:24 with n132; now also Kledt 2004:114–147, especially 115–120. For a critical discussion of the initiation theory, see Versnel 1993:253–254 with n88. Sfameni Gasparro 1986:280–283, especially 282, sums up the state of affairs: she thinks it is in fact incorrect to speak of an actual initiation in the case of the Thesmophoria, but that there are clear typological analogies to initiation throughout. See above, n75.
[ back ] 399. Pan is connected with these rites of Athena through the cave of Pan on the precipitous north face of the Acropolis, down which the Arrhephoroi descended with their baskets. Cf. Euripides Ion 492–494.
[ back ] 400. Cf. Baudy 1986:9–48 and Baudy 1992:31–40.
[ back ] 401. Suda, s.v. Προτέλεια· ἡμέραν οὕτως ὀνομάζουσιν, ἐν ᾗ εἰς τὴν ἀκρόπολιν τὴν γαμουμένην παρθένον ἄγουσιν οἱ γονεῖς εἰς τὴν θεὸν καὶ θυσίας ἐπιτελοῦσι. According to Deubner 1932:16 it remains questionable whether by “goddess” Artemis is meant. After a wedding the priestess of Athena visited the newly married wife (Suda, s.v. αἰγίς). At the birth of a child the priestess received a khoinix of barley, a khoinix of wheat, and an obol—likewise when an inhabitant died. On other connections between Athena and the blessing of marriage and child, see Deubner 1932:16–17. The connection with agriculture is further attested by the Prokharisteria. At the end of winter, when the grain began to sprout, this sacrifice, associated with the return of Kore (see Suda, s.v. Προχαριστήρια), was made to Athena.
[ back ] 402. Cf. μηχανορράφος, Euripides Andromeda 1116; on cunning and deception in initiation, see Vidal-Naquet 1968:111–113, 120 (PCPS n.s. 14 [194] [1968], 53–54, 61–62), Moreau 1992:210–211, and Bierl 1994a:89–90 with 154–155 nn47–50.
[ back ] 403. Cf. Rau 1967:53–65 (Helen parody), 65–89 (Andromeda parody). On parody of the four Euripidean dramas Telephos, Palamedes, Helen, and Andromeda, see Zeitlin 1981:181–194. She remarks that the relative plays a masculine role in women’s clothing in the first two scenes, while after the parabasis he assumes feminine roles and thereby ultimately entices Euripides for the desired sotêria; Zeitlin (1981:182) interprets the “successive insertion” of parodies as “metatheatrical variants” of the comic intruders who are ridiculed and driven out by the comic hero. See now also Tzanetou 2002:339–351.
[ back ] 404. Zeitlin 1981:194–200. Gruber 1986 (especially 14 [study of situations of social conflict], 19–20 [threshold situation and “metatheater”], and 37 [playing out of conflicts between the sexes in the Thesmophoriazusae]) and Bowie 1993:205–227 are extensively based on Zeitlin’s findings. On the “metatheatricality” of the Thesmophoriazusae, see also Bonanno 1990:256–261 (on the Helen and Andromeda) and Bierl 1991:172–176. Bowie 1993:212–217 emphasizes the myth of Demeter and Kore as reference model; he does not go into other heortological connections. He treats (ibid., 215) the relative as a comic Persephone, and sees Persephone’s role as divided between the dancer Teredon (sic!) and the relative, who is freed by Euripides in the form of Demeter (216). See now also Tzanetou 2002:339–359.
[ back ] 405. Zeitlin 1981:199. On Euripides Helen 1301–1368 see Bierl 1991:163–172. On Helen as Kore/Persephone see Guépin 1968:120–122, 128–133, 137–142 and Foley 1992.
[ back ] 406. Disputes about ritual, in particular the relationship of the Kore myth to initiation (also in the reception of theories in Bowie 1993:205–227) are simply not discussed further in Zeitlin 1981. See, however, her contemporaneous piece (Zeitlin 1982), which concentrates on ritual and in which the structural and dialectic connection of the Thesmophoria to the Arrhephoria is discussed (150–153). Harrison 19223:131 already calls the Arrhephoria “the Thesmophoria of the unmarried girl.” On the contested initiatory interpretation of the Thesmophoria, see above, nn75 and 398; on the myth of Persephone in the sense of a female initiation and as aetiology for the Thesmophoria and Haloa, see Lincoln 1979. See now also Kledt 2004:34–36, 38–57.
[ back ] 407. The Telephus parody, together with the abduction of the baby, may also be connected with this; the relative while still in his role as woman parodies the role of the man Telephos; he wants to steal the baby Orestes (the model for male initiation), who is here in the women’s festival presented as a girl, but turns out to be a wineskin (Thesmophoriazusae 733–734: ἀσκὸς ἐγένεθ’ ἡ κόρη | οἴνου πλέως), which is finally sacrificed. Here all levels of meaning have been comically inverted. As Arrhêphoros he steals the “female” baby Erichthonius, whom the hero, as he undergoes initiation and oscillates in the liminal space between Orestes and Kore, finally himself becomes. The diachronic structure and relations have become distorted. On wine at the Thesmophoria, or at the analogous Roman festival of Bona Dea, see Versnel 1993:262–268. The abduction has so far generally been read as a reflex of the abduction of Kore; Zeitlin 1981:197.
[ back ] 408. See Sourvinou-Inwood 1988:128, in general 119–135.
[ back ] 409. See Hansen 1976:170 and Zeitlin 1981:196.
[ back ] 410. On Dionysus and the krokôtos see above, n168; on Dionysus in women’s clothing, see Kenner 1970:119n460 and Bremmer 1992:189–194 (in connection with initiation, 194–198). On Artemis and the girls at Brauron wearing the krokôtos, see Sourvinou-Inwood 1988:119–135. On Demeter and saffron, see Bowie 1993:215n51.
[ back ] 411. On Lysistrata 642 (or 641)–647, see especially Sourvinou-Inwood 1988:136–152, on the ἀλετρίς, 142–146. On the basis of the scholia this office is normally associated with Athena (Brelich 1969:238–240 and Henderson Lysistrata, 156 ad 643–644).
[ back ] 412. In Lycophron Alexandra 771–773 Penelope is described as a whore (ἡ δὲ βασσάρα, | σεμνῶς κασωρεύουσα, 771–772). According to Duris of Samos, FGrHist 76 F 21 (= schol. Lycophron Alexandra 772), she gives herself to all the suitors and so gives birth to the shady god Pan (already in Pindar fragment 100 S.-M. he is the result of the union between Apollo and Penelope; according to Herodotus 2.145–144 her sexual partner is Hermes). Tzetzes attempts to rationalize away the negative characterization by going on to say in the scholion that this was about another Penelope (Πηνελόπης ἄλλης). As in the case of Helen, the contradiction experienced as a paradox in the Greek image of women is here done away with by means of a doubling. On Penelope see Papadopoulou-Belmehdi 1994 and Ceccarelli 1995a:181.
[ back ] 413. Des Bouvrie 1990:289–313 interprets the tragedy as the “ ‘symbolic’ establishment of marriage, marital fidelity and female chastity” (313). In her opinion, Dionysiac tragedy dissolves the institution of marriage; anagnôrisis brings the separated partners together once more, and the successful flight to Sparta refounds the marriage.
[ back ] 414. Foley 1992, following Zeitlin, explores connections between Helen as she appears in Euripides’ play and Persephone and the cult of Demeter, while at the same time also viewing Helen as a figure of initiation (145–146). On Helen’s initiatory function see Calame I 1977:333–350, 354–357, 443, 447 (English translation Calame 1997:191–202, 204–206, 260, 262). For Helen as khorêgos who outshines her companions because her initiation has been concluded, see Calame I 1977:92, 127n170, 136, 345–346, 397–398 (English translation Calame 1997:42–43, 65n170, 70, 199, 229–230). Theocritus Idylls 18 gives an aition for a Spartan tree cult in which maidens celebrate Helen; Gow II 1950/52:358 ad 43–48. At Platanistas on the Eurotas Helen was celebrated with a running race and dances as the embodiment of a maiden who has completed the initiatory phase and is ready for marriage; in Therapne, however, the aspect of the married woman and goddess had central place; her husband Menelaos was also honored there; cf. Calame I 1977:333–350 (English translation Calame 1997:191–202) and Larson 1995:80–81.
[ back ] 415. See Kannicht II 1969:381–383 and Calame I 1977:323–333 (English translation Calame 1997:185–191); Larson 1995:64–69 has reservations about this theory (especially 67–68) and thinks that the cult of the Leukippidai had to do with the initiation not of maidens but of ephebes. Penelope (mentioned in Thesmophoriazusae 547–550) like Helen fluctuates between the faithful wife and the chaste virgin who prepares herself for marriage; the weaving of the peplos and her scheme in the Odyssey (Homer Odyssey 19.137ff.) can be linked with the activity of the ergastinai. On the trick at the loom and on Penelope’s name see Hölscher 19892:46 and 325n6; see also Brulé 1987:35, 116, 344; for a connection between the Leukippidai and ritual weaving, the manufacture of a khitôn for Apollo in Amyklai as preparation for the Hyakinthia, see Pausanius 3.16.2 and Pettersson 1992:40.
[ back ] 416. On the one hand Helen and Menelaos are a married couple; on the other, the plot as mythical preparation for marriage leads toward the successful completion of female initiation. The barbarian locale of Egypt refers to the condition of marginality. The streams of the Nile are significantly referred to as καλλιπάρθενοι, “virgin-beautiful” (Thesmophoriazusae 855). Perhaps the cultic Helen could also renew her virginity symbolically, as she does in Euripides; on Helen’s loutron cf. Pausanius 2.2.3 and Foley 1992:158n71. The καλλιπάρθενοι ῥοαί (Thesmophoriazusae 855) are possibly an allusion to this. In Euripides Helen 543 Helen regards herself as δρομαία πῶλος ἢ Βάκχη θεοῦ when she sees Menelaos for the first time; cf. Aristophanes Lysistrata 1307, and for the filly as metaphor for young woman undergoing initiation, see Calame I 1977:340, 411–420 (English translation Calame 1997:195, 238–244), Henderson Lysistrata, 221 ad 1307–1308, and Versnel 1993:278n168. The comparison with a bacchant could come from the Dionysiadai, who are connected with the Leukippidai; cf. Calame I 1977:323–333 (English translation Calame 1997:185–191); the priestesses of the Leukippidai, also termed πῶλοι, are associated with Dionysos Kolonatas. On the role of Dionysus in initiation, see Foley 1992:157n62 and Seaford 1988:124–128. On the metaphor of taming the woman through the act of marriage, as if she were a wild beast, see the collection of verbs in Seaford 1987:111. This idea reflects the fundamental ambivalence of women, whose wild side is domesticated by marriage; see Versnel 1993:276–288.
[ back ] 417. On the role of the maidenly Theonoe, who represents the righteous matter of marital fidelity, see des Bouvrie 1990:311–312. As Nereus’ granddaughter she is just as maidenly as the Nereids and Nymphs (cf. Thesmophoriazusae 325–326) who serve as a model for the chorus. Kritylla is however completely grounded in the reality of the festival; her role as thesmophoriazousa who is temporarily taken back to maidenhood is of course completely identical to the status of Theonoe.
[ back ] 418. See Calame I 1977:344–345 (English translation Calame 1997:198–199). In terms of his second level of identity as male ephebe, the relative is also associated through the Spartan perspective with the Spartan cycle of the Hyakinthia/Gymnopaidia and Karneia. The festive cycle is comparable to the Athenian new year cycle in July/August; in particular, the central khoreia may be compared with the current performance of the Athenian citizens. At the Hyakinthia, choral dance served as preparation for marriage and the selection of a bride (Polykrates, FGrHist 588 F 1, cited in Athenaeus 139c–f); at the Gymnopaidia, it is a symbolic expression using body language of the marginality of the transitional phase (Plato Laws 633c, Plutarch Ages 29.2–3, Paus. 3.11.9); at the Karneia, by contrast, the activity of the chorus members underscores renewal (Euripides Alcestis 445–451) and collective marriage (choruses of men and women dance together in Cyrene; Callimachus Hymns 2.71–87). On the festive cycle in Sparta, see Pettersson 1992, passim, especially on choral dance at the Gymnopaidia, 45–55; at the Karneia, 77. Athenaeus (631b) says the gymnopaidikê was performed naked and that variations thereof represented oschophoric and Bacchic dances. This form is thus ultimately traceable back to Dionysus, the god of comic performance. For choral dance as expression of initiation, see Calame I 1977:439–449 (English translation Calame 1997:258–263), Harrison 19272:23–25, Jeanmaire 1939:182ff., 531–540, Brelich 1969:32, 38–39, 75n71, 94n128, 108n152, 139–140, 171–173, 187–191, Moreau 1992:208–210, and Pettersson 1992:48–51. Among others neaniskoi danced at the Hyakinthia. The eirenes (twenty-year-olds) received a red cloak and a shield (!) as token of their new military status (Xenophon The Constitution of Sparta 11.3). The mimesis of Helen with the emphasis on feminine characteristics points to the fact that, on the fictional level at least, the transgressions of women into the preserve of the male warrior (pyrrhikhê) are thereby overcome and the women at the Thesmophoria now concentrate solely on imminent wedding as the aim of the comedy and of the festival. Pettersson 1992:38–40 also connects the Hyakinthia with female initiation rites: he associates the triad Demeter–Kore–Pluto on the altar at Amyklai, as described by Pausanias (3.19.3–5), with Polyboia’s transition from the status of maiden to adult (death of the maiden!). He interprets Hyakinthos as Polyboia’s father; he then plays a similar role to Kepheus in Andromeda’s initiation. The gymnopaidikê as well as the pyrrhikhê were of course also performed in Athens. According to Athenaeus 630e, the gymnopaidikê is comparable with the tragic emmeleia because of its ceremonial and solemn movements. This means that in tragic parodies the initiatory hero is brought close to the tragic mode of dance. The chorus is also drawn into the tragic sphere through its interaction with the hero.
[ back ] 419. Van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 121 ad 935. Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 217 ad 935 further interprets “a sail-stitching fellow” as a shabby man dressed in sailcloth stitched together in makeshift fashion. Presumably he has in mind Euripidean figures such as Telephos.
[ back ] 420. The reference to Egypt in the scholion to Thesmophoriazusae 935 could also be connected with the inverted world there as described by Herodotus. 2.35. The women go to the agora, while the men sit at the loom. This corresponds precisely to the upside-down world of comedy, of the ritual attached to the Thesmophoria, and to states of inversion during initiation.
[ back ] 421. Cf. Thesmophoriazusae 138, 253, 941, 945, 1044, and 1220.
[ back ] 422. Sourvinou-Inwood 1988:127–130.
[ back ] 423. Sourvinou-Inwood 1988:130–134; she refers to the parallels in Lys. 644–645 (in R’s reconstruction καταχέουσα) and Aeschylus Agamemnon 239 (κρόκου βαφὰς δ’ ἐς πέδον χέουσα). On the state of scholarship, see Sourvinou-Inwood 1988:68n1; in Lysistrata 644–645 the transmitted reading χέουσα (καὶ χέουσα, Stinton) stands in opposition to the conventional interpretation of Γ κατέχουσα, or the emendation of Ellebodius and Bentley κᾆτ’ ἔχουσα. Cf. also Henderson Lysistrata, 156 ad 645, who adopts Stinton’s καὶ χέουσα for his text. Iphigenia is in particular the archetypal bear of Artemis, cf. schol. Lysistrata 645 and Brelich 1969:242ff.; on the aetiology and on the Brauronia in general, see Brelich 1969:241–268 and Brulé 1987:179–283, and on Iphigenia in the context of initiation, Dowden 1989:9–47. Iphigenia, like Helen, is also the model of the maiden undergoing initiation immediately before marriage. On Helen, who is abducted as a young pretty girl by Theseus, see Brulé 1987:98, 289–290, 297 and Sourvinou-Inwood 1988:52–53. The girl is represented as a sexually mature woman on the threshold of marriage, despite her tender age of seven years. For the Greek conception of woman in general, see Carson 1990. A woman’s bloom coincides with the transition to marriage (Carson 1990:146–147). For the anakalyptêria on the wedding night as an opening up of female borders and of making oneself available, see Carson 1990:163–164.
[ back ] 424. For the staging of the Helen myth on the bodily level, see Worman 1997. On the body as a central area of play with the opposite sex, see also Zeitlin 1990:71–75. On the body in general as the place where ritual as the ideological praxis of society is enacted, see Bell 1992:94–101 and 197–223, especially 201–204. Here Bell draws particularly on Michel Foucault; cf. in particular Foucault 1979:1–69, especially 32–69 (“The Spectacle of the Scaffold”), where execution is presented as a communal festival, a spectacular performance, and a ritual that is carried out on the body of the condemned.
[ back ] 425. See Worman 1997:161–162 and Henderson Lysistrata, 86 ad 155–156. This may also be read as a further reference to the central image of the parabasis (Thesmophoriazusae 821–829). Women are better than men because their attractiveness enables them to cause men to throw away their weapons. On the krokôtos in the Lysistrata, cf. lines 42–48 and 219–220. The garment has the power of sexual attraction; as ambivalent sign it is worn both by prostitutes and by chaste virgins. From a male perspective one could also say that the Spartan relative/Helen perhaps alludes to the Gymnopaidia with his reference to nudity; cf. n418. Nudity here, as in the case of the girls, means a lack of identity. The dancers are still in a liminal status, which will be overcome only with the Karneia and their marriage.
[ back ] 426. On the word “weapon” in the sense of phallus, see Henderson 19912:110, 123, 248 and above, n368.
[ back ] 427. On dance as a characteristic element in initiation, see Jeanmaire 1939:182ff.; he sums up the connection succinctly in the following pregnant expression: “Etre initié, c’est «être dansé»” [“To be initiated is to be ‘danced’ ”] (183). This also holds for the relative. See also Moreau 1992:208–210 and the further literary citations above, n418.
[ back ] 428. The chorus thus also emphasizes that this is still during the Nesteia, the day of fasting (947–952). The transition to the Kalligeneia, on which day the institution of marriage is once more instituted, is not yet complete. The relative’s remark that as an old man in this disguise he will become an object of laughter for the crows, which he ceremoniously feeds (ἑστιῶν, 942), stands in humorous contrast to this. He thereby presents himself in paratragic fashion as a human sacrifice that will be served up to the hungry crows—who in this case are the wild women. On diasparagmos by birds in tragedy, cf. e.g. Aeschylus Suppliants 801, Sophocles Antigone 1017–1018, and Euripides Ion 504–506, 902–904, 917. Van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 121 ad 942 notes that Θεσμοφόρια ἑστιᾶν (cf. Isaeus 3.80) might have been a term for the sacrificial meal at the Kalligeneia. In the second Thesmophoriazusae of Aristophanes a catalogue of tasty dishes is recited (fragment 333 K.-A.). And every comedy ends with a celebration involving eating and drinking. In addition, the curse ἐς κόρακας is comically reworked (κόραξιν instead of οἰωνοῖς). Line 942 is taken up again in the lament (1026–1028): the Scythian has hung him/her (Andromeda) up as a baneful and joyless meal for the crows.
[ back ] 429. On the scene see Mitsdörffer 1954, Rau 1967:65–89, Zeitlin 1981:190–194, Zimmermann II 1985:7–13, Hall 1989, Sier 1992, and Parker 1997:436–445. On the Andromeda of Euripides, see Bubel 1991 (with the critical review by Bierl, BMCR 3.6 [1992], 429–434) and Klimek-Winter 1993:55–315. On the parody in the scene on the visual level, see Golder 1996:10–11.
[ back ] 430. On the Andromeda as typical initiatory situation, see Bierl, BMCR 3.6 (1992), 431–432 (with references). The threat of being devoured by a monster is a characteristic indication of initiation: cf. Moreau 1992, especially 221–225, on Andromeda and the κῆτος ibid., 224; cf. also the comparative morphology of initiation in Brelich 1969:37 and 90n 116. On the topos of marriage with Hades in tragic marriage, see Seaford 1987. On the possible resolution of the Danaid trilogy by the institution of the Thesmophoria, see ibid., 110–119, especially 115–116; Herodotus (2.171) says that the festival was founded by the Danaids from Egypt. On the Danaids and the Thesmophoria, see also Detienne 1988 and Zeitlin 1992:234–238. Mourning, death, and antisexual impulse configure the sequence from abstinence to fruitful sexual union. On Andromeda as bride of Hades, cf. Thesmophoriazusae 1019 (?) (on the basis of many conjectures, cf. Klimek-Winter 1993:154–155), 1040, 1055. On the association of funerary lament and lament before marriage, see Alexiou 1974:120–122 and Seaford 1987:113–114. Conversely, Perseus’ action is also interpreted as an initiatory trial; cf. Burkert 1992:82–87, especially 85 and Bremmer 1994:62. Perseus’ monosandalismos can equally be seen as an indication of marginality in initiation; on this see Henderson Lysistrata, 159 ad 667–669. Ginzburg 1989:239–242 presents another interpretation, associating Perseus with shaman-like figures of myth. The signifier of monosandalismos is characterized by a polysemy, and refers only indirectly to a signified. Signs of initiation and underworld thus do not contradict each other, acccording to Ginzburg: both refer to marginality and liminality. Cf. ibid., 235–295 (on the characteristic sequence of the asymmetric gait).
[ back ] 431. Cf. Rose 1993, who stresses the metafictional quality and comedy of the moment.
[ back ] 432. Cf. Möllendorff 1995:262–263: “Die moderne Parodieforschung ist sich weitgehend darin einig, daß die parodistische Bezugnahme eines Textes auf einen anderen keineswegs ausschließlich satirisch funktionalisierbar, also einseitig ausgerichtet ist; vielmehr problematisiert die Parodie die naive Auffassung, ein Sprecher könne mithilfe der Sprache die innere oder die äußere Wirklichkeit mimetisch abbilden, indem sie das sprechende Subjekt in die Äußerung hereinzieht und es gewissermaßen aus der Sicht des parodierten Textes betrachtet: denn sie integriert in ihre aktuelle Äußerung ein fremdes Wort mit einem fremden sprechenden Subjekt, so daß die hierarchischen Positionen von Autor und Held der parodistischen Äußerung aus der Sicht des Rezipienten potentiell vertauschbar sind, also auf eine Ebene gesetzt werden” [“Modern scholarship on parody largely agrees on the fact that the parodic reference of one text to another does not function exclusively as satire and is thus not configured as a one-way process; rather, parody problematizes the naïve approach that a speaker using language is able to picture the inner or outer reality in mimetic fashion by incorporating the speaking subject into the utterance and by considering it in a sense from the point of view of the parodied text; for it integrates into its current utterance a foreign word with a foreign-speaking subject, so that the hierarchical positions of author and hero of the parodic utterance are potentially interchangeable from the point of view of the recipient, and are thus placed on the same level”]. This is however viewed in terms of a polyphonic, postmodern discourse that is in large part foreign to Bakhtin himself. In this connection it is worth noting that there were attempts in the former Soviet Union to explain parody as a ritual and cultic phenomenon; see Freidenberg 1974. Freidenberg (275–276) also turns his attention to Aristophanes and in fact discusses the parody of the Thesmophoria (Thesmophoriazusae 295ff.). In his opinion (and following Aristotle), tragedy and comedy go back to a shared orginal form: the comic forms a double to the high-brow. The relative thus here also forms a comic discourse with the ritually elevated quality of Euripides’ tragedy. Nesselrath 1993 relies on the traditional concept of parody; in so doing he shows how strongly influenced the development of comedy was by the element of mythic parody or travesty (see also Nesselrath 1990:188–241); comedy thus always represented a dialogue with elevated myth: the comic double is clearly based on the same narrative and ritual plot elements. On parody and intertextuality, see also Verweyen/Witting 1982 and Glei 1992 (from the perspective of classical philology).
[ back ] 433. See the good analysis by Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 224 ad 1015. With Euripides too, who immediately thereafter perhaps even takes over the wide-ranging and playful role of Echo (cf. however the reservation expressed above, n122) and leaves the conventional discourse completely (Rau 1967:84), as with the relative, it is striking that both, in contrast to the case in the previous Helen parody, partially lose sight of the direction of the plot in the sense of a logical and syntagmatic development, as is characteristic of tragedy. This is caused by the absence of role identity and by paradigmatic interludes typical of comedy. Although the Scythian disappears off-stage for rather a long time in order to get himself a mat, the escape, the releasing of the bonds, is not simply translated into action. Cf. Möllendorff 1995:251. Nevertheless, in contrast to earlier scholarship, I see throughout this entire passage a meaning that goes beyond mere parody.
[ back ] 434. The word συγγόνων (1039) in the text of the Andromeda refers to the father, Kepheus, and his family; in the comedy it refers to Euripides.
[ back ] 435. This wish refers back to the maiden’s lament that she will die without the wedding paean (γαμηλίῳ μὲν οὐ ξὺν | παιῶνι, 1034–1035); the marginality of the immediately prior situation could be overcome through marriage.
[ back ] 436. Bethe 1907. Cf. Calame I 1977:421–427 (English translation Calame 1997:245–249), Cartledge 1981, Bremmer 1980, and Bremmer 1990. Xenophon The Constitution of Sparta 2.12–14 admittedly emphasizes that according to Lycurgus the relationship between erastês and erômenos should not be sexual in nature, yet everything points to the fact that in reality it was in fact built on this. On the phenomenon of Greek homosexuality in general, see Dover 19892, passim, and on the Dorians 185–196.
[ back ] 437. See the brief preview of the plot, above, p. 129.
[ back ] 438. See Klimek-Winter 1993:153 and Mitsdörffer 1954:67.
[ back ] 439. Zeitlin 1981:190–191.
[ back ] 440. In line 1018 in the original Echo is of course addressed (cf. schol. Thesmophoriazusae 1018); line 1029 (ὁρᾷς) is according to Rau 1967:73 still directed at Echo; according to Klimek-Winter 1993:179–180 ὁρᾷς is however a “mere colloquialism.” He thinks that it is here superfluous to try to determine the addressee. But when it comes to the Euripidean Andromeda he maintains that ὁρᾷς is not colloquial, but should be taken as an apostrophe to the chorus (ibid., 180). In my opinion, one cannot separate out the function quite so neatly; in the parody the connection is flexible, especially since the address to the chorus here becomes particularly paradoxical.
[ back ] 441. Cf. among others Calame I 1977, especially 439–449 (English translation Calame 1997, especially 258–263). There-fore the lament in the Euripidean text is not simply about “[d]ie wehmütige Erinnerung der tragischen Heldin oder des weiblichen Chores an die Reigenspiele der Jugend” [“the tragic heroine or female chorus’ sorrowful reminiscences of childhood dancing and playing in a circle”] (Mitsdörffer 1954:77). Klimek-Winter 1993:181–182 (with many parallel passages) correctly reckons that what is at issue here is the loss of what for a Greek woman represents the world that both determines and is necessary for existence. Nevertheless, he too does not recognize the dramatization of the critical moment of marriage as a death-experience.
[ back ] 442. Rau 1967:74 with n133, where the meaning of κημός as feminine ornament (following Hesychius) is rejected as “incorrect.”
[ back ] 443. The feminine form ἔχουσ’ (1031) makes the contrast with the masculine voting basket particularly grotesque; at the same time the female significance of the object asserts itself over the male. On the probable change παρὰ προσδοκίαν from an original κῶμον to κημόν, see Mitsdörffer 1954:78 and Rau 1967:74.
[ back ] 444. See above, n430 and Contiades-Tsitsoni 1990:112, 124. Death is often presented as marriage in Hades. Many funerary laments resemble wedding songs that sing of the separation of the girl from her parental home. See also Danforth 1982:86 and further Rehm 1994, especially 11–42, with the critical review by Zeitlin, BMCR 5.7 (1994), 612–618, especially 614: “What R.[ehm] might have noted, however, is that these similarities are not just conflations but derive from the parallel nature of two rites de passage, whose function in each case was to assure separation from a previous status and incorporation into a new one.” Rehm’s (1994:121–127, especially 126) analysis of the Helen in this connection as criticism of the Sicilian expedition (cf. also Rehm 1996:57–58) is disappointing.
[ back ] 445. On the interaction of the chorus with the hero and the chorus’ presence and absence as dramaturgical tool, see Rehm 1996. See also Gruber 1986:37–38, who observes (37) that the hero has to get the chorus on his side and that this can happen only by using a clever piece of acting.
[ back ] 446. See Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 231 ad 1142. In Euripides Iphigenia in Tauris 1462–1463 Athena in her function as dea ex machina orders Iphigenia as priestess to exercise her key-holding function (κλῃδουχεῖν) for Artemis in Brauron. Iphigenia is the mythic model for the “bears,” who prepare themselves by weaving and dance in the periphery during their service to Artemis, just as the Arrhephoroi on the Acropolis do in the service of Athena. Iphigenia is also practically synonymous with Kalligeneia, “the beautifully born one”; see Dowden 1989:46. The personification Kalligeneia is of course celebrated as Demeter’s wet-nurse on the third day of the Thesmophoria, which bears the same name. Beauty is the most important prerequisite for marriage. Young girls and boys interact both at the Tauropolia at Halai and at the Arkteia at Mounikhia and Brauron. The choruses at the pannykhis at the Tauropolia bring together women and girls, who are accepted into the community of women in a ceremony by torchlight: see Dowden 1989:33–34. The festival of the Thesmophoria exhibits similar traits, with the distinction that here mature women relive their initiatory experience. In Brauron and at the Tauropolia the pyrrhikhê was also perhaps danced for Artemis by the women. See Brulé 1987:313–314 and Ceccarelli 1998:77–78; on the ephebic pyrrhikhê at Halai and other places in Attica, ibid., 83–87. On the prylis, see above, n369.
[ back ] 447. Hesychius, s.v. εἰρήνη glosses the word with κόρος τέλος. At age twenty the εἴρην did not yet have full citizenship; this he obtained only at thirty, at which age he could marry. From the perspective of the play the marriage (i.e. the return of the relative to his wife) will take place only after the completion of the actual plot. On the eirên, see Pettersson 1992:82–85 and 88–89.
[ back ] 448. See Calame II 1977:118–119 with n141, Clark 1996:166 and above, Introduction n90. Elektra laments that in this impoverished, peasant anti-world she is ἀνέορτος ἱερῶν καὶ χορῶν τητωμένη (Euripides Electra 310). Immediately prior to this she complains that she does not dance at joyous festivals (οὐκ ἐπ’ ἀγλαΐαις, Euripides Electra 175; on choral dance and ἀγλαΐα see below, chapter 2 nn94 and 96) in the circle of Argive girls (οὐδ’ ἱστᾶσα χοροὺς | Ἀργείαις ἅμα νύμφαις | εἱλικτὸν κρούσω πόδ’ ἐμόν, Euripides Electra 178–180). Choral dance is to be equated with a festive atmosphere; despite her marriage to a Mycenaean farmer she has remained a maiden; she is still waiting for her telos; marriage with Pylades, which, like the preparation in the chorus of maidens, will give her “peace,” is only announced at the end of the play. In heortological terms the worship of Eirene is also closely connected with Athena and the Panathenaia, which is important for the Thesmophoriazusae. At the Synoikia, celebrated on the sixteenth of Hekatombaion, there was perhaps already in Aristophanes’ time a sacrifice to Peace personified. The cult is however only attested with certainty from 374 BCE onward; on this see Deubner 1932:36–38 (who thinks it does not exist in the late fifth century).
[ back ] 449. Cf. above, pp. 132–136.
[ back ] 450. The expression “get out of here as quickly as possible like a man” (ὅπως ἀνδρικῶς | . . . τάχιστα φεύξει, 1204–1205), is of course still meant ironically; through such behavior the relative continues to remain effeminate and resembles men who cast off their shields in battle. See Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 236 ad 1204–1205; he refers to the connotation Euripides intended, namely that ἀνδρικῶς means “resolutely.” The expression ὡς τὴν γυναῖκα (1206) is already prepared for in the Andromeda parody (1020–1021): ἔασον ὡς | τὴν γυναῖκά μ’ ἐλθεῖν.
[ back ] 451. On the comparable initiation ritual of the Cretan Ekdysia, in which initiates also took off their female clothing in a festive fashion, see Leitao 1995.
[ back ] 452. On the text of line 1197: συβίνην Brunck (in -νη corr. Blaydes): συβήνην schol. R and Suda, συμβήνην R. Given the sexual word play in line 1215 on βινεῖν (συβίνη· καταβεβίνησο) I accept Brunck’s emendation. Van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 149 ad 1197 cites passages in support of the idea that Artemis Brauronia received this kind of συβήνη as votive offering. See also Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 235 ad 1197 and Wilson 1999:72 with n59, who also see this humor in the variant συβήνην. The word play also depends on the etymology of the substantive, which combines συ (from σῦς, “pig”) and βιν (from βινεῖν, “copulate”); in the case of the reading συβήνην an iotacizing pronounciation may already have been present. The myth has it that the swineherd Eubouleus pastured his animals in the area where Pluto abducted Kore into the underworld; the pigs also fell into the gaping earth. This was the reason, then, that the ritual of throwing piglets into the megara was introduced (schol. Lucian Dialogues of the Courtesans 2.1 [275.26–276.3 Rabe]). In Greek “piglets” may be used as a circumlocution for the genitalia of girls on the threshold of marriage. According to Henderson 19912:132, ὗς (= σῦς) is identical to δέλφαξ, which describes the genitalia of mature women. When the barbarian thinks that he has “banged” (1215) a συβίνη in the truest sense of the word (ὀρτῶς), this is then playing on the fact that the return from χοῖρος to σῦς has been completed and that the women are now seen once more in their adult and fertile condition; ὀρτῶς can further be connected with the erect phallus with which the Scythian completes his work (Henderson 19912:112). On the interpretation of Thesmophoriazusae 1215 see also Henderson 19912:152 and now Prato, 339–340 ad 1215. As the relative is being shaved, he compares himself to a piglet (οἴμοι κακοδαίμων, δελφάκιον γενήσομαι, Thesmophoriazusae 237); with these words he introduces his staged phase of female initiation. See in general also Versnel 1993:256–260, especially 256–257.
[ back ] 453. Möllendorff 1995:246–247.
[ back ] 454. Süss 1954:158–159.
[ back ] 455. See Möllendorff 1995:252n85.
[ back ] 456. See among others Gelzer 1970:1469, Tschiedel 1984:41–46, and Sier 1992:63; Gelzer 1993:84 also speaks of the ineffectual nature of the Euripidean scheme, but nevertheless treats it as “Aufhänger für die Tragödienparodien” [“a peg on which to hang the parodies of tragedy”].
[ back ] 457. See Zeitlin 1981:171–211, Paduano 1982:115–127, Gruber 1983:106–110, Gruber 1986:19–41, Sier 1992:63, and Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 7. On reading the Thesmophoriazusae as metatheatrical play, see Zeitlin 1981:181–194, especially 182, Paduano 1982:115–127, Bonanno 1990, Bierl 1991:172–176, Hubbard 1991:182–199 (metatheater and intertextuality), and Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 4–6, 8–10; on the metatheatrical statement that comedy is better than tragedy, see Bierl 1991:175–176, Hubbard 1991:186, Bowie 1993:219–225, and Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 10. See now also Tzanetou 2002:355–359.
[ back ] 458. See Zeitlin 1981, especially 171–174, Taaffe 1993:74–102, Høibye 1995, and Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 4, 7–8.
[ back ] 459. See Möllendorff 1995:247–254 following Gruber 1986:11–41 and Zeitlin 1981, especially 170–171 (she also addresses the connections between myth and ritual [194–200]).
[ back ] 460. Vickers 1989.
[ back ] 461. See Vickers 1989:42 with n5; this dating goes back to Dobree; cf. the telling criticism in Sier 1992:63n1.
[ back ] 462. On one-sided interpretation of tragedy in terms of the history of the time, see the critical remarks of Bierl 1991:22n61.
[ back ] 463. Cf. Vickers 1989:65.
[ back ] 464. Thiercy 1986 does not see the reminiscence of initiatory features in the Thesmophoriazusae, although he does consider the structure of initiation as fundamental in a number of comedies (305–327). He views the Thesmophoriazusae only in terms of its erotic structure (335–337).
[ back ] 465. Cf. Barton 1990:22–23 and Olson 1992:307 (who does not consider the connection between function and meaning); Möllendorff 1995:241–242 thinks that Euripides represents tragedy, and his relative comedy, in particular the voice of the author Aristophanes; Cratin. fragment 342 K.-A. (εὐριπιδαριστοφανίζων) is usually cited in support of the connection between the two writers.
[ back ] 466. Cf. Hiller 1874:449–453. In the play he is only described as κηδεστής (Thesmophoriazusae 74, 210, 584, 1165) or γέρων (Thesmophoriazusae 63, 585, 1111, 1123, 1199, 1212, 1219–1220). It is only one group of scholiasts who give him the name Mnesilokhos; cf. the beginning of the scholia: προλογίζει Μνησίλοχος κηδεστὴς Εὐριπίδου, schol. Thesmophoriazusae 603, 1065 and schol. Acharnians 332; in the scholia to Thesmophoriazusae 129, 469, 633, 756, 760, 1064 (κηδεστής) and 1031, 1090, 1199 (γέρων) the name is not mentioned. Brelich 1969:102n143 notes that fellow initiates are often seen as “relatives.” The characteristic solidarity between age-groups being initiated together might also explain the spontaneous readiness with which the relative undertakes Euripides’ case among the women.
[ back ] 467. On Mnesilokhos, father-in-law of Euripides, see Vita 5 (p. 5, 5 Schwartz), Suda, s.v. Εὐριπίδης (ε 3695 II 468, 22 Adler; here, however, the daughter is the first wife and is called Khoirine) and van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 1n2.
[ back ] 468. See Hiller 1874:452. The father-in-law would have been about ninety years old in 411; he was probably long dead. It is quite unlikely that he still had small children (Thesmophoriazusae 1206). See Hiller 1874:453, Wilamowitz I 18952:7n12, van Leeuwen Thesmophoriazusae, 1–2, and Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae, 157 ad 1.
[ back ] 469. On the Vita see Wilamowitz I 18952:1ff.; he thinks (12–13n18) that the basis for identifying this genos originates from one of the Alexandrian compilers from the period 230–130 BCE; see also Lefkowitz 1981:88–104 and 163–169. Beside the genos there are also papyrus fragments (POxy 1176 [vol. 9 (1912) 124–182]) of a biographical dialogue about Euripides dating from the third century BCE and composed by Satyros that also largely presents the gossip of comedy, particularly the Thesmophoriazusae, as historical fact; see Lesky 1972:275.
[ back ] 470. On the basis of the discussion in the Thesmophoriazusae, Hiller 1874:452 connects the testimony in Vita 2 (1.10–2.2 Schwartz), taken from Telekleides fragment 41 K.-A. (Μνησίλοχός ἐστ’ ἐκεῖνος <ὃς> φρύγει τι δρᾶμα καινὸν | Εὐριπίδῃ, καὶ Σωκράτης τὰ φρύγαν’ ὑποτίθησιν), that Sokrates and one Mnesilokhos collaborated in the composition of the Euripidean tragedies because of the discussion in the Thesmophoriazusae with the father-in-law. Kassel-Austin PCG VII, 683 do the same. Telekleides belonged to the generation of comic playwrights immediately preceding Aristophanes; his first victory at the Dionysia occurred shortly after 446 BCE. His criticism of Euripides has an immediate temporal connection to Aristophanes’ works between the Acharnians and the Thesmophoriazusae. It is at least also probable that the aging Euripides was criticized for receiving help from his son, especially since the latter was himself involved in the profession as an actor. Cf. also the talk of Kephisophon’s collaboration (cf. Lefkowitz 1981:89). All in all, however, the entire Vita consists only of wild speculation.
[ back ] 471. See above, nn187 and 335. Manuscript R reads χοῖρον in line 289. Wilamowitz 1875:149n3 correctly sees a sexual joke in the name Χοιρίλη. Cf. Wilamowitz I 18952:7n12 on the metaphorical meaning of the name, already explained by Philokhoros (schol. Euripides Hecuba 3 = FGrHist 328 F 90): “Daß der Name Χοιρίλη wirklich als Eigenname vorkommt, ist eine triviale Wahrheit, mit der nur ein Geck etwas kann ausrichten wollen” [“That the name is attested as an actual personal name is a trivial fact that only a fool would attempt to make something of”]. Zielinski 1885:83 here sees further evidence for his theory that the Thesmophoriazusae that we have is a reworking of the so-called Θεσμοφοριάζουσαι δεύτεραι. In the supposed allusion to Khoirile (Thesmophoriazusae 289) he sees proof of the fact that her father, Mnesilokhos, must have performed in the Θεσμοφοριάζουσαι δεύτεραι (“Kalligeneia”): “In the ‘Nesteia’ [i.e. in the Thesmophoriazusae we have] the poet substituted a beloved ‘cousin’ of Euripides for him—presumably because Mnesilokhos had died in the interim.”
[ back ] 472. Aristotle Athenian Constitution 33.1; cf. IG I3 373.2. Cf. Vickers 1989:44, who nevertheless argues for a performance in the year 410. He views the connection with the archon Mnasilokhos merely as an “extraordinary coincidence” (44); the target, he maintains, is Alcibiades, who at the beginning of 411 was flirting with the Oligarchs. On the distribution of the name, see Fraser/Matthews I, 316 and 318; II, 315 and III.A, 303 (s.v. Μνασίλοχος and Μνησίλοχος).
[ back ] 473. See above, p. 190; on this Greek idea in general, see Calame 1995:174–185, especially 183 (on comedy and Archilochus). On the power of names, see also Pulleyn 1994.
[ back ] 474. On the use of speaking names in comedy, see Steiger 1888 (who thinks that proper names must be speaking names [13]), Marzullo 1953, and the extensive bibliography in Di Marco 1981:163n19. On the names of Aristophanic heroes and the question of how they were introduced into the plays, see Barton 1990:13–27, especially 22–27, and Olson 1992.
[ back ] 475. For memory in grave-cult images of the important stage of being an ephebe, see Blech 1982:341 with n46. In his historical and political approach to the play, Vickers (1989:44) also considers the possibility that Mnesilokhos could be a speaking name. But for the term λόχος the only possibility he considers is the unit in the Spartan army, which he then connects with Alcibiades’ stay in Sparta. The deverbative compound name Mnesilokhos could additionally be an allusion to his comic function as bômolokhos (on Mnesilokhos as bômolokhos, see Whitman 1964:222, Wit-Tak 1968:363, Gruber 1986:24, and Henderson 19912:87): a βωμολόχος is “one who lies in wait for a person at an altar” and in so doing hurls aggressive and vulgar speech at the person sacrificing; on this form of malicious speech cf. Aristophanes Knights 902, Peace 748, and Frogs 358. On the semantics of the word, see Nagy 1979:245n3, who also sees Arkhi-lokhos as being possibly linked with this etymology. The case of this figure of the iambic poet (cf. Nagy 1979:243–252) is of particular interest, especially since he was worshiped as a hero in connection with Dionysus and Demeter: on the cult aetiology of the Mnesiepes inscription, cf. Archilochus fragment 251 W. (Dionysos Oipholios) and West 1974:25; the structural similarity with the aition of the Great Dionysia (schol. Acharnians 243) is striking; Archilochus is the archetypical χορηγός of the city (fragment 120 W.) who looks after the fertility and welfare of the community; on the poet’s cultic worship of Kore, Demeter, and Dionysus at the festival of the Iobakkhoi, cf. Archilochus fragment 322 W.; see now also Clay 2004 and Compton 2006:41–58. On the connection of iambic poetry with the cults of Dionysus and Demeter, see West 1974:23–25 and in general Nagy 1990:395–397; on the association of iambic poetry and comedy, see Nagy 1979:249–252, Degani 1988, and Rosen 1988; cf. Nagy 1979:301–308 (Archilochus in connection with Apollo and the Muses). Mnesilokhos is the comic-iambic “hero” of comedy and the social representative of the “chorus-leader” Euripides; finally, a comparsion with the chorus, which feels itself connected to the same cults, can also be made through the relative via Dionysiac and Demetrian components. Agathon is, like Archilochus, a “servant of the Muses”; cf. Archilochus fragment 1 W. θεράπων . . . Μουσέων and the epiphany of Agathon in the Thesmophoriazusae (39ff.; on the comically exaggerated divinity of the poet, see Kleinknecht 1937:151n1; the passage is reminiscent of the parody of human divinity, especially Birds 1706–1765 [see Kleinknecht 1937a]), in particular because of his close relationship to the Muses (Thesmophoriazusae 41 and 107).
[ back ] 476. See Olson 1992:306–307. He refers to another extreme case, in the Knights; the Sausage-seller comes onstage in line 146, but only receives the name Agorakritos in line 1257. The anonymity of the relative in our play is mentioned by Olson, but not further explained (1992:307). Aristophanes could certainly have had dealings with Mnesilokhos, as with other Athenians of his day (Olson 1992:316–318). But then, as already mentioned, he would have centered his interest on another Mnesilokhos; Mnesilokhos the helper of Euripides was too insignificant a figure to have a whole comedy explicitly constructed upon him, something which could only have been done with a portrait mask.
[ back ] 477. Steiner 1988:208 considers the chorus in a certain sense as a variably expanding connector between stage and audience. He gives the following striking characterization of the function of the tragic chorus: “So wirkt er als eine Art Zugbrücke, die der Dramatiker mit metrischen und choreographischen Mitteln nach Belieben hochziehen und senken, verkürzen oder verlängern kann. Über den Chor läßt sich der Zuschauer an die Bühne heranziehen oder von ihr distanzieren; er kann praktisch in die szenische Situation verstrickt, ihm kann aber auch (naiver) Zugang zu ihr versperrt werden” [“It functions thus as a kind of drawbridge that the dramatist using metrical and choreographic means can raise and lower or shorten or lengthen as he sees fit. Through the chorus the spectator can bring himself closer to the stage or distance himself from it; he can almost involve himself in the situation on stage, but he can also be barred from (naïve) access to it”]. Cf. also the definition of the tragic chorus’ role in Goldhill 1986:271 as “commentator, expander, mediator between the actors and the audience.”
[ back ] 478. On praise and blame in poetry see Nagy 1979:213–275; on the ritual connection of iambic poetry and comedy, 249–252. West 1974:34–37 and Nagy 1979:242–243 consider iambos as a particular dance step; that is, the comic chorus also in its dance fulfills this ritual dimension of praise and ridicule. See below, chapter 2 n44.
[ back ] 479. Winkler 1985 and the reprint Winkler 1990. Independently of Winkler, Seiterle 1984, especialy 138–139, has expressed the thesis that original rituals involving goats were part of initiation celebrations. Cf. also Seiterle 1988:7–11.
[ back ] 480. For criticism of Winkler’s thesis, see Csapo/Slater 1995:352. Winkler 1990:48–49 did, however, offer a convincing reply to the argument that there could hardly have been an exemption from military service for members of the chorus if the chorus had formed part of military training: he sees the reason as lying in a symbolic equivalence of the two civic duties. Goldhill 1987:74–75 and Graf 1998:25–27 are also positively disposed to Winkler’s position. It is much more questionable whether the representation of the chorus members as ephebes on the Pronomos Vase (nn110, 308 above), upon which Winkler relies, should be taken as fact. For a narratological analysis of the vase, see Calame 1995:116–136.
[ back ] 481. It is interesting, however, that he omits the important observations of the original piece (Winkler 1985:32–38) in the 1990 reprint (but see Winkler 1990:57). He does see Perseus in the Euripidean Andromeda as a typical ephebic hero who has to undergo an adventure in the Outside (Winkler 1985:33–34), but he does not recognize Andromeda’s initiatory status. On Orestes see Winkler 1985:35 and Bierl 1994a. On the direction in scholarship that connects Attic tragedy with ephêbia and rites of puberty, see the bibliography in Goldhill 1987:74n70 and Zeitlin 1990:68n12. Cf. in particular the application of interpretative scheme in the sense of an “initiatory” process in Zeitlin 1990:86–87; this she understands as a temporary questioning, with subsequent confirmation, of masculinity. On the mixing of images and metaphors of the mysteries and ephebic initiation in Sophocles’ Philoctetes, see more recently Lada-Richards 1997 and Lada-Richards 1998. On the use of the interpretative paradigm of the ephêbeia, initiation, and structure-determining rite de passage for plot structure in Aristophanes (for the Knights, Wasps, and Clouds) see Bowie 1993, especially 45–58, 78–101, 102–112. Here however he is constantly forced to postulate inversions of the standard model to take into account the usually older hero. Cf. the critical comments in reviews by A. H. Sommerstein (JHS 114 [1994]: 188–189, especially 188), D. M. MacDowell (CR 44.2 [1994]: 263–265, especially 264), J. F. McGlew (BMCR 94.10.10), and R. M. Rosen (BMCR 94.10.11). For this reason I shall here follow the path of theatrical reactualization of these experiences of the liminal, a reactualization that is also to be found in the ritual structure of festivals. The reflex of the puberty rites of young girls and the synchronization with male initiatory ceremonies in Aristophanes have so far not received attention. The closest to my approach is Loraux’s interpretation of the Lysistrata (1981:157–196, especially 173–179). In this study she employs female initiation as well as the return to this marginal condition as structural interpretative categories. It is no coincidence that the Lysistrata is closest to the Thesmophoriazusae. See above, nn. 279, 284, 328, and 375. For the Frogs see also the extensive monograph by Lada-Richards (1999), who again sets out the ritual character of the play as rite de passage and the interpenetration of ephebic and Dionysiac or Eleusinian mystery initiation (especially chapter 2, 45–122: “ ‘Separation’, ‘Limen’, ‘Aggregation’: The Frogs as a ‘Rite of Passage’ ”). The comic chorus is however almost completely ignored in all initiatory interpretations to date. For some indications, see now Lada-Richards 1999:220–229, who pursues a similar direction independently of this work.
[ back ] 482. Nagy 1994/95:48–52.
[ back ] 483. Winkler 1990:21 refers to the relations in comedy only once in passing. But there can be no talk in comedy of an ordered exercise in rank and file. Even in tragedy the round dance is far more common than Winkler suggests. See Davidson 1986 and Wiles 1997:63–86 on this.
[ back ] 484. On the social marginality of the tragic chorus in its fictional role and on its collective otherness, see also Gould 1996. Barlow 1971:25 talks of a “different focusing perspective.” On the focusing function of the tragic chorus, see also Goldhill 1986:273.
[ back ] 485. Goldhill 1996:254. Cf. also Goldhill 1986:267–271.
[ back ] 486. Goldhill 1986:271 terms this dialectic connection “play of difference,” significantly following Derrida’s différance.
[ back ] 487. See now also Baur 1997:40–44 and Baur 1999a:23–26. Baur (1997:44–47; 1999a:26–28) emphasizes the “separate status” (Sonderstatus) of the dramatic chorus; in contrast to the actors, it represents an entity without a signified that always remains simply the theatrical institution of “chorus”; its fictional characterization is accordingly merely an accidental property. The historical evolution from citizen collective to theatrical institution occurs according to Baur only in the realm of the signifier.
[ back ] 488. The felicitous observation by Lehmann (1991:47) that the tragic chorus aids expression, not communication (“dem Ausdruck, nicht der Mitteilung”), is even more applicable to the comic chorus, since it preserves the ritual element to a much greater degree.
[ back ] 489. Gruber (1986:37–39) is so far the only scholar to put forward ideas about the role of the chorus in relation to its performative interaction with the hero and the audience. The chorus of the Thesmophoriazusae has up until now been too strongly disqualified as “nondramatic.” But even Gruber subscribes to a false dichotomy of ritual and theater: “Far from being a ritual ‘element’ that identifies Aristophanes’ debt to archaic predramatic structures, the chorus of Old Comedy is a supremely theatrical instrument that in this play as well as in others is capable of great sophistication” (1986:37). It has been shown in this chapter that ritual belongs to the theatrical speech of the chorus, whose structure can therefore largely be described as predramatic, since the comic playwright in a ritual performance does not so much intend to place emphasis on the creation of a total illusion, but rather to draw the audience and the everyday world into the production.
[ back ] 490. Tambiah 1985:123–166, especially 128.
[ back ] 491. Braungart 1996:108 and 117–118; for explanation of the connections see 108–118.
[ back ] 492. Tambiah 1985:142. He reports that the tribe of the Chamulas in the high country of Mexico calls formalized, ritual diction “hot” speech (in contrast to everyday, “cold” speech).
[ back ] 493. Parry 1971 (the book includes Parry’s relevant works [1902–1935]) and Lord 1960. See Nagy 1990:51, however, for the differentiation caused by the development of spoken poetry from a song culture (SONG). Nagy thinks that the formulaic nature of oral poetry was only a result of the suppression of melody and dance.
[ back ] 494. On orality as a cultural mode of presentation that in the telling of a tragic myth functions on the level of the emotions, see des Bouvrie 1990:89–92.
[ back ] 495. These three categories correspond to the tripartite division of λόγος, ἁρμονία, and ῥυθμός, which constitute μέλος, according to Plato (Plato Republic 398d); cf. Aristotle Poetics 1447a21–23 (not however used by Aristotle). Logos, continues Plato, forms the basis; tone (ἁρμονία) and movement (ῥυθμός) have to follow this as subordinated levels. In what follows, only λόγος and ῥυθμός can be analyzed, since the musical framework has been completely lost. Even in the area of ῥυθμός, only the metrical form can be discussed, since the actual movements of the dance, which is what the term really designates (cf. Plato Laws 664e–665a: τῇ δὴ τῆς κινήσεως τάξει ῥυθμὸς ὄνομα εἴη; Republic 400c: τὰς ἀγωγὰς τοῦ ποδός), can also no longer be reconstructed. The three categories that make up μέλος are also important for the analysis of the phallophoric songs in chapter 2.
[ back ] 496. For the metrical analysis here I largely follow Zimmermann II 1985:192–200. See also Parker 1997:428–437. All in all, the short periods are largely variations on the original Indo-European verse of the dimeter with twelve morae (περίοδος δωδεκάσημος); see Gentili 1952:15–19 and now Gentili/Lomiento 2003:13–14 and 53–54.
[ back ] 497. Coulon, following Wilamowitz 1921:475n2, uses a different division. He puts the anapaestic colon together with line 954 to form a catalectic trochaic tetrameter, followed by a trochaic trimeter (χερὶ σύναπτε χέρ’, <ἱερᾶς> ῥυθμὸν χορείας), a trochaic tetrameter (ὕπαγε πᾶσα. βαῖνε καρπαλίμοιν ποδοῖν. ἐπισκοπεῖν δέ), and a catalectic tetrameter; see the criticism in Parker 1997:431. Sommerstein Thesmophoriazusae also reads 957–958 purely trochaically, while taking 957 as trochaic trimeter (βαῖνε καρπαλίμοιν ποδοῖν· ἐπισκοπεῖν δέ) and 958 as Coulon does. Parker 1997:428–431 interprets 953–958 as a sequence of iambic and choriambic cola; he takes 956, βαῖνε καρπαλίμοιν ποδοῖν, as a glyconic.
[ back ] 498. For the reizianus, see Gentili 1952:73–78 and now Gentili/Lomiento 2003:199 and 203–204. It appears with both forms of the beginning (long, two shorts) together with a pherecratean in the famous Rhodian swallow song, which as a folk song demonstrates rhythmic structures typical of orality (fragment 848 PMG [= carm. pop. 2], carm. pop. 41 B., 32 D.).
[ back ] 499. Zimmermann II 1985:197–198 interprets the conjunction of iamb and molossus or spondee as syncopated iambic dimeter.
[ back ] 500. The aristophaneus can be analyzed as a catalectic anaclastic choriambic dimeter and also represents a dôdekasêmos in shortened form. The character of the choriamb is significantly described as κύκλιος (Choeroboscus in Hephaestio p. 218.23 Consbruch); it is thus perfectly suited for this dance.
[ back ] 501. The dodrans is ultimately a choriambic dimeter with double akephalia, i.e. a further variation of the dimeter or the short period of twelve morae (σημεῖα).
[ back ] 502. For the principle of repetition and rhythm (“Wiederholung und Rhythmus”) as the aesthetic form of ritual and ritual texts, see Braungart 1996:166–186. Braungart’s further categories of festival and celebration, cult, play, and mimesis (“Fest und Feier” [187–199], “Kult” [200–215], “Spiel” [216–233], “Mimesis” [234–253]) are also relevant for our example. On the function of repetition in ritual, see Baudy 1998, especially 21–99.
[ back ] 503. Cf. Tambiah 1985:164–166; in this connection he cites Bateson 1974:161: “When words are set to music, spoken in unison or both danced and sung, only the high-level boundaries are likely to match perfectly, and therefore the structure is only fully intelligible at the highest levels with lower-level segmentation destroyed.” He also discusses (Tambiah 1985:389 nn51–52) Jakobson’s famous treatment of the poetic function (cf. Jakobson 1960, especially 358 [cf. Selected Writings III, 27]). The Marxist theory of choral dance developed by Bloch 1974 maintains that the repetitive, redundant, and fusionistic characteristics of formalized ritual cause a lack of propositional power in speech and a loss of creativity. Bloch sees dance as an instrument of political power, a kind of opium for the people designed to bring about complete control of the bodily functions of the subjects. For criticism of this view, see Tambiah 1985:154–155.
[ back ] 504. Cf. also Nagy 1990:30–48. He contrasts SONG with speech, where SONG is every speech act distinguished by dance and music from everyday speech. Myth and ritual represent the festive context that separates the dance song mode (SONG) from normal speech. The mode of expression in song culture occurs in marked, stylized, and stereotyped speech, characterized in morphology and syntax by isocola, rhyme, alliteration, and other stylistic devices. Nagy 1990:33 connects the structures of this original choral speech with Jakobson’s poetic function. In his opinion, poetry is only a later offshoot of this original song culture. Khoreia is a typical expression of this song culture; as indicated above, Nagy also emphasizes the tendency toward formalization and stylization that is only to be compared with metrics in poetry in a diachronic sense (ibid., 38–51). Nagy puts forward the hypothesis that the rhythmic cola of song are related to the stichic metres of lyric, but that dactylic hexameter, elegiac distichs, and iambic trimeter, which are actually spoken poetry, represent a further derivative of this (ibid., 48–51).
[ back ] 505. See the collection of d’Aquili/Laughlin/McManus 1979, especially d’Aquili/Laughlin 1979, and the overview of biogenetic structural theory in Laughlin 1990. Ritual is defined as a human cultural technique; with its help homo sapiens learns in symbolic fashion how to come to an understanding with others of its type about cognitive centers. Moreover, during the course of phylogenesis, ritual came to have the function of getting different somatic subsystems within an individual to interact and synchronize with one another. See also the corresponding definition of ritual (Laughlin 1990:25): “Ritual is a special case of formalized behavior that usually involves group members in a reciprocal performance that is highly structured, repetitive, and stereotyped, and results in the coordination of the behavior, perception, cognition, and experience of individual group members relative to some social goal or purpose.”
[ back ] 506. See Tambiah 1985:145 and 154. On the gods as the ultimate causal impetus behind phenomena experienced in the ritual process, see d’Aquili/Laughlin 1979:170–171.
[ back ] 507. D’Aquili/Laughlin 1979:172–180.
[ back ] 508. Laughlin 1990:29–31.
[ back ] 509. See d’Aquili/Laughlin 1979:177 and Burkert 1996.
[ back ] 510. See Burkert 1996:166.
[ back ] 511. On the concept of cultural or collective memory, see Assmann 1991 and Assmann 1992.
[ back ] 512. See Tambiah 1985:149–150: “Dance is a superb vehicle for realizing the sense of force and power through ‘ritual gesture,’ through physical motion that gives the illusion of the conquest of gravity, and through movements that create spatial tensions between the dancers.” Cf. ἀείρομαι, αἴρομαι, or αἴρω in choral language: Alcman fragment 1.63 Davies: ἀυηρομέναι μάχονται (see above, Introduction nn88 and 166), Sophocles Women of Trachis 216 (consider also the upward motion intensified by ἀνα– 205, 210–211, 218), Euripides Trojan Women 545–546 (cf. also 325), Aristophanes Clouds 266, 276–277, Lysistrata 539, 1292, and Assemblywomen 1180. On a red-figure astralagos vase by the Sotades Painter (British Museum E 804, 460–450 BCE), three groups of women from a female chorus are depicted sweeping over the ground as if equipped with wings; see Robertson 1992:189–190 (ills. 199–202) and Lonsdale 1993:xvi and xxi, ill. 1 (a and b).
[ back ] 513. On hierarchy in ritual see Burkert 1996:80–101; on the allocation of power and meaning in ritual using indexical means, see Tambiah 1985:156–161.
[ back ] 514. According to des Bouvrie 1990:94–99, the dramatic chorus serves mainly to incite the audience emotionally during the ritual process.