This work has incurred many debts in the past years, which I gratefully and appreciatively acknowledge; for the work’s shortcomings I alone am responsible.
First and foremost, I am immensely indebted to the colleagues who forthrightly informed me of their excavations, placed at my disposal all the necessary information of their intriguing findings, made every effort to facilitate my work in the Rethymno and Herakleion Museums, and undertook the time and trouble, among other far more pressing personal work and research, to prepare their reports of the archaeological context and chronology: Irene Gavrilaki for nos. 8 and 10–12; Stella Kalogeraki and Niki Tsatsaki for no. 9; Matthaios Bessios for nos. 13–15; Kalliopi Galanaki for nos. 18–19; Giorgos Rethemiotakis for no. 20; and the late Betty Psaropoulou, an expert in modern ceramics and head of the Center for the Study of Modern Ceramics in Athens, for no. 24 and the photograph.
No less is my debt to colleagues in the Archaeological Service for their permission to study and photograph the lamellae and the related inscriptions: the National Archaeological and the Epigraphical Museums in Athens, and Charalampos Kritzas, Io Zervoudaki, and Eleni Kourinou; the 25th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in Chania and Rethymno, and Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki, Vana Niniou-Kindeli, Stavroula Markoulaki, Eva Tegou, Nota Karamaliki, and the staff Giorgos Nikoloudakis, Kostis Tsogas, Manolis Akoumianakis, Petros Fytros, Christos Alertas; the 23th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in Herakleion, and Alexandra Karetsou, Eva Grammatikaki, Nota Dimopoulou-Rethemiotaki, Antonis Vassilakis, Ioanna Serpetsidaki and Vasso Marsellou; the 24th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in Agios Nikolaos, and Vili Apostolakou and Alexandros Nikakis; the 27th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities in Katerini, Pieria, and the director at the time, Polyxeni Adam-Veleni.
The photographs of these difficult objects were expertly made by Stephanos N. Stournaras, the late Stephanos Alexandrou, and Yannis Ploumidis Papadakis, and the drawings of nos. 8 and 9 by Amanda Kelly and Katerina Kaklamanou respectively. Photographs were also kindly provided by: the J. Paul Getty Museum, and then-Associate Curator John K. Papadopoulos (Figure 41: the lamella from Thessaly); the Toledo Museum of Art (Figures 42a–c: the Darius-painter krater); Matthaios Bessios (Figures 14–16); and Professor Petros Themelis (Figures 50a–c: the ‘Herm’ from Eleutherna). Finally, the map is a modified version of the one published by Katja Sporn (2002), to whom I am grateful.
The study of the Cretan lamellae is part of the ongoing project Archive of Inscriptions of the Rethymno Prefecture, which began in 1997 and was financially supported by: the Department of Philology and the Research Council of the University of Crete for the academic years 1998–2002; and the Loeb Classical Library Foundation Trustees, Harvard University, and the committee members Zeph Stewart, Richard Thomas, and Lloyd Weinreb for the academic year 2003–2004. To them all I am deeply grateful.
The Library of the University of Crete and its staff, especially Michael Tzekakis, Eleni Diamantaki, Pantelis Generalis, Kalli Karadaki, Yannis Lagamtzis, and Antonis Diamantakis have done their best to procure the necessary books and articles, especially during 2004–2005.
A number of colleagues have offered congenial settings in which portions of this work were presented: Dimitris Kyrtatas in Rethymno and Volos, Aphrodite Avagianou in Athens, Kostas Moutzouris in Chania, Maria Fragiadaki in Herakleion, Apostolos Pierris in Patras, and Sarah Iles Johnston and Fritz Graf in Columbus, Ohio. The audiences’ reactions and criticisms in these places provided encouragement and stimulated new avenues of research.
At various stages of this work, I have had the privileged opportunity to exchange views and ideas on specific issues, sometimes in advance of publication, and receive judicious and provocative comments on drafts from Vili Apostolakou, Alberto Bernabé, Chryssa Bourbou, Walter Burkert, Radcliffe Edmonds III, Irene Gavrilaki, Fritz Graf, Sarah Iles Johnston, Thanassis Kalpaxis, Theokritos Kouremenos, Katerini Liampi, Nikos Litinas, Nannó Marinatos, Stavroula Oikonomou, Katerina Panagopoulou, Robert Parker, Alexis Politis, Christoph Riedweg, Yannis Sakellarakis, Kleanthis Sidiropoulos, Nikos Simandirakis, Maria Stamatopoulou, Eva Tegou, Petros Themelis, Kyriakos Tsantsanoglou, Dimitris Yatromanolakis, and especially Angelos Chaniotis, Stavros Frangoulidis, Maria Sarinaki, Nicholas Stampolidis, and Stephen Tracy.
Finally, Gregory Nagy, director of the Center for Hellenic Studies and editor of the Center’s Hellenic Studies series, heartily and judiciously embraced this golden project; my sense of indebtedness to him, a true parastates, cannot be expressed in words. I am also deeply grateful to the Center’s superb team, Leonard Muellner, Jill Curry Robbins, Zoie Lafis, Sam Mohlo, Benjamin Woodring, Emily Collinson, and Ivy Livingston, who all have been more than ideal and obliging in expertly preparing the manuscript for the Press; and to George Motakis, the computer expert in the Department of Philology in Rethymno, who efficiently and ingeniously solved numerous computer problems.
As I was reading and correcting the proofs in July 2007, two new incised epistomia have been unearthed in the site Mnemata (Figures nos. 24–27, pages 82–84), one of Eleutherna’s cemeteries whence come the seven engraved epistomia of Crete (the section Topography below, and nos. 1–7, B3–8 and E1). Eva Tegou, in charge of the excavations conducted by the 25th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, graciously showed me the new finds, and kindly informed me of the progress since March 2007 of the ongoing excavations. As excavation is still in progress, which means that more may show up, we decided to present the new incised epistomia, which will become nos. B13 and B14 in group B, and their archaeological context in the near future.
Since the manuscript’s submission, new important contributions came to my attention, unfortunately too late to be appropriately integrated into the present discussion: Franco Ferrari’s, La fonte del cipresso bianco. Racconto e sapienza dall’Odissea alle lamine misteriche, Torino: UTET 2007; Alberto Bernabé’s, Poetae epici graeci testimonia et fragmenta, pars II, fasc. 3: Musaeus, Linus, Epimenides, Papyrus Derveni, Indices, Berlin: W. De Gruyter 2007; Beryl Barr-Sharrar’s, The Derveni Krater: Masterpiece of Classical Greek Metalwork, Ancient Art and Architecture in Context 1, Princeton: The American School of Classical Studies at Athens 2008; R. Drew Griffith’s, Mummy Wheat: Egyptian Influence on the Homeric View of the Afterlife and the Eleusinian Mysteries, Lanham: University Press of America 2008; and Claude Calame’s, Poetic and Performative Memory in Ancient Greece: Heroic Reference and Ritual Gestures in Time and Space, Washington, DC, and Cambridge, MA: Center for Hellenic Studies, 2008 (Chapter V: “Ritual and Initiatory Itineraries toward the Afterlife: Time, Space, and Pragmatics in the Gold Lamellae”).
The work is respectfully dedicated eis mnemósynon to Nikephoros Tzifopoulos, Metropolitan of Chios, Psara, and Oinoussai, and Zacharias Tzifopoulos.