4: The Cretan Contexts

A Literary Cretan Context

The nine incised and three unincised epistomia of Crete, dated between the third century BCE and the first CE, bear witness to a mystery cult(s) and ritual(s) in Eleutherna and Sfakaki, both located in the area to the north of the Idaean Cave. Attempts have been made to place these texts within a Cretan context, but what this context should consist of remains a puzzle, as the evidence is insufficient and accentuates the problems of interpretation. Before delving into the search for a Cretan context regarding the texts on the epistomia, it is important to state the obvious: due to their nature, the sources for Crete (literary texts (mostly non-Cretan), inscriptions, and the archaeological record) have always been controversial, as they are of varying quality. This issue persistently plagues scholars of Crete. One question that constantly arises is: to what extent, if at all, is a synthesis of all the evidence attainable? And consequently, does the portrait of Crete and the Cretans that emerges during the archaic period actually reflect the ideas and beliefs of Cretans, untainted by Greek prejudices and perceptions? [1] We will first establish the literary Cretan context, i.e. how Crete and the Cretans are presented in literary works (mostly by non-Cretans); and then (either in contrast or accord with this background) a Cretan context will be established for the texts on the lamellae on the basis of the archaeological and epigraphical evidence.
The sources concerning Crete and the Cretans have been problematic since antiquity and betray both strengths and weaknesses. The tension between literary and archaeological/epigraphical evidence is hardly new. Diodorus, writing in the first century BCE, warned his readers (5.80.4): [2]
ἐπεὶ δὲ τῶν τὰ Κρητικὰ γεγραφότων οἱ πλεῖστοι διαφωνοῦσι πρὸς ἀλλήλους, οὐ χρὴ θαυμάζειν ἐὰν μὴ πᾶσιν ὁμολογούμενα λέγωμεν· τοῖς γὰρ τὰ πιθανώτερα λέγουσι καὶ μάλιστα πιστευομένοις ἐπηκολουθήσαμεν, ἃ μὲν Ἐπιμενίδῃ τῷ θεολόγῳ προσσχόντες, ἃ δὲ Δωσιάδῃ καὶ Σωσικράτει καὶ Λαοσθενίδᾳ.
And since the greatest number of writers who have written about Crete disagree among themselves, there should be no occasion for surprise if what we report should not agree with every one of them; we have, indeed, followed as our authorities those who give the more probable account and are the most trustworthy, in some matters depending upon Epimenides who has written about the gods, in others upon Dosiades, Sosikrates, and Laosthenidas.
trans. Oldfather 1939
The historian’s reliability is contested, but at least here we are told that the discussion of Cretan matters comes from at least four different sources (after being filtered through the writer’s own criteria of plausibility and trustworthiness): Epimenides, Dosiadas, Sosikrates, and Laosthenidas are authors whose works he presumably had at his disposal, works that have not survived except in meagre fragments. This does not exclude the possibility that the historian employed other sources as well, but he chose to mention by name only these four. It is important to consider the use of these four sources in relation to Diodorus’ entire section of the Cretan account, in which the following passage focuses on the mystery cults in Crete (5.77.3–8):
Such, then, are the myths which the Cretans recount of the gods who they claim (μυθολογοῦσι) were born in their land. They also assert (λέγοντες) that the honours accorded to the gods and their sacrifices and the initiatory rites observed in connection with the mysteries (τιμὰς καὶ θυσίας καὶ τὰς περὶ τὰ μυστήρια τελετάς) were handed down from Crete to the rest of men, and to support this they advance the following most weighty argument, as they conceive it (τοῦτο φέρουσιν, ὡς οἴονται, μέγιστον τεκμήριον): the initiatory rite which is celebrated by the Athenians in Eleusis, the most famous, one may venture, of them all, and that of Samothrace, and the one practised in Thrace among the Cicones, whence Orpheus came who introduced them—these are all handed down in the form of a mystery, whereas at Knossos in Crete it has been the custom from ancient times that these initiatory rites should be handed down to all openly; and what is handed down among other peoples as not to be divulged, this the Cretans conceal from no one who may wish to inform himself upon such matters. Indeed, the majority of the gods, the Cretans say (φασί), had their beginning in Crete and set out from there to visit many regions of the inhabited world, conferring benefactions upon the races of men and distributing among each of them the advantage which resulted from the discoveries they had made. Demeter, for example, … Aphrodite … Apollo … Artemis … And similar myths are also recounted by the Cretans regarding the other gods, but to draw up an account of them would be a long task for us, and it would not be easily grasped by our readers (παραπλήσια δὲ μυθολογοῦσι καὶ περὶ τῶν ἄλλων θεῶν, περὶ ὧν ἡμῖν ἀναγράφειν μακρὸν ἂν εἴη, τοῖς δ᾽ ἀναγινώσκουσι παντελῶς ἀσύνοπτον).
trans. Oldfather 1939, modified
In the first century BCE, Diodorus, following his four Cretan sources, relates the Cretan opinion concerning the institution of mystery cults in Crete and in the rest of Greece, which is the most probable and trustworthy opinion according to his own criteria. Demeter’s mystery cult at Eleusis, the Kabeiria at Samothrace, and the mysteries in Thrace (whence Orpheus revealed and taught them), all three feature secret performances (μυστικῶς) under prohibitions (ἐν ἀπορρήτῳ); at Knossos, on the other hand, the rituals are performed openly (φανερῶς), and without anything being hidden from inquiring individuals (μηδένα κρύπτειν τῶν βουλομένων τὰ τοιαῦτα γινώσκειν). The historian then chooses only four divinities out of the Cretan pantheon, Demeter, Aphrodite, Apollo, and Artemis, allowing them to serve as representative cases for his statement; he concludes that he could go on and on about the other Cretan divinities, relating the stories about them he found in his Cretan sources, but he would then have created a narrative impossible to follow and conceive (παντελῶς ἀσύνοπτον).
Diodorus’ information cannot be validated and there are many ways to interpret his words, although he is careful enough to state that his account is nothing more and nothing less than what his Cretan sources relate. Nevertheless, the fact that Epimenides, the legendary Cretan theologos of the archaic period, is mentioned among his sources primarily on religious matters suggests that texts of the archaic period may elucidate Diodorus’ statement concerning the Cretan claim that Crete had been the provenance of mystery cults in Greece. [3]
Both in the Homeric epics and in the Homeric Hymns to Demeter and to Apollo, Crete and the Cretans occupy a special place. In the Homeric Iliad, the Cretan contingent under Idomeneus and his therapon Meriones receives due attention as one of the largest forces of the Achaeans. [4] Meriones, being the younger, is awarded by the poet the Achillean epithet “swift of foot” (with the necessary change in the formula) (13.249: πόδας ταχύ); he wins the archery contest by defeating the far superior archer Teucer (23.850–883), and is second to Agamemnon without contest in the javelin-throw (23.884–897). [5] Moreover, before the funeral games, Meriones and his men are chosen by Agamemnon as experts in gathering the timber from Mount Ida in the Troad and in building the pyre for Patroklos’ funeral. [6] Interestingly enough, in the Odyssey, where Meriones is absent, Achilles is no longer the dominating hero, and Odysseus is performing one of his three ‘Cretan tales/lies,’ the poet attributes the Achillean formula “swift of foot” (twice in the same passage) to Orsilochos the son of Idomeneus, who surpassed in swiftness all Cretans. [7]
Beyond the Cretan marks of distinction in running, archery, [8] and ambush (as emphasized in these scattered passages of the Homeric epics), the famous Cretan tales/lies present an intriguing case that has puzzled commentators. [9] In the guise of a Cretan, a guise perhaps anticipated by the end of the Nekyia where Cretan Ariadne is mentioned, Odysseus presents himself to Athena (Book 13), [10] Eumaios (Book 14), and Penelope (Book 19), and performs three different tales. The composition of these tales mirrors that of the Odyssey itself and invites comparison, in terms of poetics, with the poet of the Odyssey. [11] The reasons for Odysseus’ undertaking the guise of a Cretan in his successful poetic enterprise are not self-evident. They are explained either in literary and mythological terms, or as traditional material, or as alternative poetic compositions in which Crete and the Cretans held a more prominent place. [12] In terms of alternative compositions, the Cretan tales present a metaphorical trip to Crete, one of Telemachos’ destinations usually athetized (Odyssey 1.93a and 285a). The poet of the Odyssey, because of performance interaction, was perhaps forced to incorporate in his work traditional and alternative poetic material about Crete, but chose to downplay the Cretan presence, because he was aiming at a Panhellenic audience. [13]
And yet, it seems that one of the most effective poetic personae during the archaic period is that of a Cretan. [14] In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (lines 120–132), the goddess, in a move similar to Odysseus’, adopts the guise of an old woman from Crete. Abducted by pirates (ληϊστῆρες, 125), she uses her best persuasive skills to gain entrance to the house of Keleos. [15] This may indicate an alternative Cretan Hymn, which may also imply Demeter’s non-Eleusinian origin and, more importantly, her late arrival at Eleusis, where another powerful female, Kore/Persephone, already presided. [16] Apart from literary or historical considerations, [17] however, the fact remains that Demeter chooses the Cretan persona in her tale/lie in order to present herself to the daughters of Metaneira. Moreover, in Hesiod’s Theogony, Demeter’s mating with the hero Iasion takes place in Crete, [18] and it is possible that this is also the place where Demeter’s sexual encounter with Zeus occurred, as Hesiod’s narrative may imply: the expression ἐς λέχος ἦλθεν (912) is employed only for the mating of Zeus and Demeter, [19] whereas in all other sexual encounters of Zeus, the females either go to Zeus’ chamber or the location is altogether unspecified.
In the Homeric Hymn to Apollo a similar, possibly even more curious case is presented. [20] The god, searching for people to minister his newly built temple at Delphi (line 389: ἀνθρώπους ὀργιόνας), chooses Cretans on board a ship who are sailing either for trade or for piracy and who already know the iepaian-song and dance (lines 500, 516–519). In addition to associating the Cretans with themes of trade and piracy [21] (as did the poets of the Hymn to Demeter and of the Odyssey), the poet of the Hymn to Apollo also relates that the Cretans are already orgiones and paieones. Apollo is not following in the steps of Odysseus and Demeter in imitating a Cretan poetic persona. He does imitate, however, Cretan ‘activities’: of piracy, [22] when disguised as a dolphin he takes over the Cretan ship, [23] and of trade, when after his epiphany a quid pro quo understanding is reached between the god and the Cretans. The Cretans in this Hymn are portrayed in the same way as they were in Demeter’s tale to the daughters of Metaneira, but their traits emphasized by the poet are similar to those of Demeter, orgiones and paieones. Apollo’s search is very specific. He is looking for a group of humans for his temple at Delphi who excel in two areas, orgia and the paean. [24] The words orgiones and paieones are relatively rare in Greek literature and their semantics have caused trouble, but as epithets of the Cretans, their simplest and most straightforward meaning must be ‘those who perform orgia and paeans.’ The meaning of orgiones is relatively clear. It is usually associated with Demeter, Dionysos, and mystery cults in general, as its etymology is related to orgia, the word employed by Demeter herself to denote her gift to the Eleusinian kings (Hymn to Demeter 273, 476). The word orgia may have also denoted Meriones’ activity in Iliad 23, his expert knowledge of the burial ritual. [25]
The equally rare epithet paieones is more problematic. In the Hymn to Apollo, the phrase Κρητῶν παιήονες (518) can only be referring to Cretan singers (and dancers) of paeans, [26] whereas ἰηπαιήον᾽ ἀείδειν/ἄειδον (500, 517) means ‘sing/were singing the (choral) song iepaian,’ probably in paeans or cretics. [27] In its immediate context, the iepaian serves as a marching song for the Cretans’ anabasis from Krisa to Apollo’s temple at Delphi, with Apollo leading the way and playing the phorminx. [28] But what the poet intends by employing this word is not immediately clear. This scene has been compared with good reason to the earlier ones in the Hymn, at Delos (lines 146–178) and on Olympos (lines 186–206), as the verbal echoes are strong (especially 201–202 ~ 515–516). And yet, the poet in those scenes is narrating performances of aoide and hymnos by the Deliades and the Ionians at Delos, and by the Muses and Apollo on Olympos. The iepaian-song and dance is completely absent from those scenes. [29]
Likewise, the Cretan paieones whom Apollo is bringing to Delphi are not ‘healers’ or performers of purification-rites. George Huxley suggested that the name Paiawon in a Linear B tablet from Knossos is understood as primarily an earlier healing divinity identified with Apollo for the first time in Crete. [30] The Homeric epics are familiar with the Egyptian Paieon, distinct from Apollo, who knows cures for everything and is the ancestor of all Egyptians (Odyssey 4.227–232). In the Iliad, Paieon heals and helps escape from death the two most deadly divinities: Hades (5.398–402) and Ares (5.899–900).
The healing aspect of Apollo, however, is not part of the Homeric Hymn’s poetics and its Panhellenizing agenda, unless by synecdoche or metonymy the ‘bow’ may also be taken to denote ‘healing’ because of the wounds it incurs, [31] or unless purification-rites may be included among the orgia performed by the Cretan orgiones. Immediately following his birth, Apollo pronounces his timai (131–132): εἴη μοι κίθαρίς τε φίλη καὶ καμπύλα τόξα, / χρήσω δ᾽ ἀνθρώποισι Διὸς νημερτέα βουλήν. If Apollo’s timai, his archery and song-hymn-poetry (which are also shared by Cretans in Homer and in the Hymn to Demeter) are articulated in the beginning of the Hymn and in the Delian part respectively, the Delphic section should pertain to the god’s oracular power. For the appropriation of the latter, however, in the Delphic part, Apollo employs the two timai, acquired and displayed in the first half of the Hymn. The Pythoktonia is achieved thanks to Apollo’s skill with the bow. Apollo’s prophetic power is introduced and celebrated by the iepaian-song and dance, [32] a specific and new(?) kind of poetry, after which follows Apollo’s pronouncement of his first oracle (lines 532–544). [33] In these lines, where the god describes how his oracle will be administered, an allusion to a Cretan motif and theme has also been suggested. Apollo reveals to the stunned Cretans that their livelihood will henceforth depend on the knife, with which they will be sacrificing sheep (lines 535–536). This ritual knife, an allusion to the proverbial Delphike machaira, has been associated with the ritual gold knives Cretan young men are carrying on the shield of Achilles (Iliad 18.590–602). [34] In all probability, the Delphic sacrificial knife is the Homeric knife of a Cretan ritual dance; at Delphi, the dance becomes the ritual dance of the iepaian, whereas the knife of the ritual dance acquires another ritual use, that of a sacrificial knife.
In Hypothesis A to Pindar’s Pythians (quoted above, 141–142), a slightly different version is narrated regarding the history of Delphi, a version which the poet of the Hymn to Apollo appears to be suppressing. Not only are the female occupants absent from the Hymn, but so is Dionysos and his contribution to the way oracles were given. Instead of Nyx, Themis, and Dionysos, the poet presents the Cretans as experts in the iepaian-song and dance and as semantores. Can they stand as representatives of the previous owners of Delphi, especially Dionysos, the famous bridegroom of Ariadne and Crete? Is Crete mentioned first in the Hymn as a possible birthplace of Apollo (Hymn to Apollo 30) only due to geographical reasons? [35] The paionic rhythm, which Apollo must learn and with which he is henceforth identified (see the passage from Plutarch quoted above, 140–141), is closely associated with—if not a derivation of—the bacchiac rhythm, and, according to the Hypothesis A, Dionysos was responsible for the dactylic rhythm as well.
Be that as it may, the iepaian-song and dance within the Hymn’s context may be both an epinician paean, celebrating victory in combat, and a special poetic composition articulating and ‘inviting,’ among other things, Apollo’s oracles of Zeus. In this respect, the etymologies of the god’s name and of Pindar’s Paeans are revealing. On the basis of Burkert’s suggestion that Apellon is related to the Doric apellai, [36] Nagy has proposed that scholars take into account the relation of the name Apellon to apeilé and apeiléo. Thus, Apollo may be viewed as (Nagy 1994:7):
the god of authoritative speech, the one who presides over all manner of speech-acts … the god of poetry and song. The god of eternal promise, of the eternity of potential performance, he is the word waiting to be translated into action.
Ian Rutherford, in his indispensable introduction to Pindar’s Paeans, has shown convincingly that paiaon in all probability arose within military or quasi-military contexts. He notes that “prophecy is of great importance in Pindar’s articulation of the παιάν” and “if more of Pindar’s Paianes survived, we might expect to find more examples of the relationship between song and prophecy.” [37] It appears that the poet of the Hymn to Apollo is trying to appropriate and integrate the paeanic activity of the Cretans into the Hymn’s narrative for the institution of the Delphic oracle, perhaps an activity antagonistic to the epic tradition and to Olympian discourse.
It is not unreasonable, therefore, to assume that what the poet in the Hymn intended with the epithet paieones was nothing more than ‘singers (and dancers) of paeans’, an activity which invites and stimulates Apollo to make manifest Zeus’ oracle. Already earlier, the poet related in less problematic terms the special characteristics of the Cretans on board the ship, which Apollo thought were best suited for the job (lines 393–396): Κρῆτες … οἵ ῥά τ’ ἄνακτι / ἱερά τε ῥέζουσι καὶ ἀγγέλλουσι θέμιστας / Φοίβου Ἀπόλλωνος χρυσαόρου, ὅττι κεν εἴπῃ / χρείων ἐκ δάφνης (“Cretans … the ones who perform sacrifices for the god, and who announce the rulings of Phoibos Apollo of the golden sword, whatever he says when he gives his oracles form the bay tree,” translation West 2003). This is an elaborate description of the traits needed to serve Apollo at Delphi, a description succinctly stated by the epithets orgiones, paiaones, and semantores. For, when Apollo pronounces the first oracle in the final arrangement, where he calls the Cretans, and the priesthood that will succeed them at Delphi, σημάντορες (line 542), he must be referring back to the detailed description of lines 393–396. The Cretans are not only performers of sacrifice (orgiones), and singers and dancers of paeans which invite Apollo’s prophecies (paiaones), but they are also ‘announcers of Apollo’s themistes and oracles’, i.e. semantores, those who ‘make a sema (hence masters, governors), ‘prophets’ and ‘seers’, people who interpret, translate, and communicate in an intelligible manner the divine signs. [38] It does not seem to be a mere coincidence that the poet of the Hymn to Demeter employs the same word when Demeter narrates her tale/lie to Metaneira’s daughters and describes her Cretan abductors as ὑπερφιάλους σημάντορας, “arrogant makers of signs/signals, leaders” (line 131). [39] And this very verb σημαίνω was Herakleitos’ choice for Apollo’s oracular function in his famous fragment (93 D-K): “the Lord, whose oracle is at Delphi, neither speaks, nor conceals, but offers signs (ὁ ἄναξ, οὗ τὸ μαντεῖόν ἐστι τὸ ἐν Δελφοῖς, οὔτε λέγει οὔτε κρύπτει ἀλλὰ σημαίνει). [40]
Thus, the Cretans, in addition to their expertise in archery and running, trade and piracy, appear also as orgiones, paieones, and semantores, performers and interpreters of rites, paeans, and signs/signals. Evidence for prophecy in Crete is almost non-existent, but for Cretan manteis in the archaic period, there is some indirect evidence. Later sources report that Cretan poets and seers were active in traveling abroad, especially as experts in music and healing; the poet of the Hymn to Apollo appropriates the musical aspect but suppresses the healing dimension. According to one version of the Delphic myth, after the Pythoktonia, Apollo went for his purification to Karmanor in Tarrha (modern Agia Roumeli). [41] The oracle at Claros, according to local legend transmitted by Pausanias (7.3.2), was instituted by the Cretan Rhakios and his group, who settled in Colophon, where a group of Thebans and Teiresias’ daughter Manto later arrived after being expelled by the Argives who took over Thebes; Rhakios married Manto and they had a son Mopsos. [42]
Moreover, in his narrative on the institution of the Pythian games, Pausanias presents an astonishing ‘prehistory’ (10.7.2–3):
The oldest contest and the one for which they first offered prizes was, according to tradition (μνημονεύουσι), the singing of a hymn to the god. The man who sang and won the prize was (λέγεται) Chrysothemis of Crete, whose father Carmanor is said to have cleansed Apollo. After Chrysothemis, says tradition (μνημονεύουσι), Philammon won with a song, and after him his son Thamyris. But they say (φασί) that Orpheus, a proud man and conceited about his mysteries (σεμνολογίᾳ τῇ ἐπὶ τελεταῖς καὶ ὑπὸ φρονήματος τοῦ ἄλλου), and Musaeus, who copied Orpheus in everything, refused to submit to the competition in musical skill. (3) They say (φασί) too that Eleuther won a Pythian victory for his loud and sweet voice (μέγα καὶ ἡδὺ φωνοῦντα ), for the song that he sang was not of his own composition (ἐπεὶ ᾄδειν γε αὐτὸν οὐχ αὑτοῦ τὴν ᾠδήν). The story is (λέγεται) that Hesiod too was debarred from competing because he had not learned to accompany his own singing on the harp (ἅτε οὐ κιθαρίζειν ὁμοῦ τῇ ᾠδῇ δεδιδαγμένον). Homer too came to Delphi to inquire about his needs, but even though he had learned to play the harp (καὶ κιθαρίζειν διδαχθέντι), he would have found the skill useless owing to the loss of his eye-sight.
trans. Frazer 1965
Pausanias is very careful in his narrative. The repetition of verbs like μνημονεύουσι, λέγεται, and φασί indicates that all of this information belongs to the sphere of tradition (not exclusively oral) which is based on what people ‘remember, say, allege.’ Even so, the names included in and excluded from this legendary proto-victors-list at the Pythia are remarkable. The games originally started as a competition of hymns sung to Apollo and the first winner who was awarded a prize in the contest was Chrysothemis, son of Karmanor who purified Apollo, a name that might also serve as the god’s epithet, the gold-themis-one. [43] After Philammon and his son Thamyris, the Thracian representatives, tradition mentioned two dissenting competitors rather than winners, none other than Orpheus and his follower Musaios. They refused to participate, because they were proud and conceited about the mysteries, which they presumably regarded as more crucial than a musical competition. Eleuther, the eponymous hero of Eleutherna and one of the Kouretes, [44] was next in this catalogue and introduced a novelty in the games: his winning the prize was completely on account of his singing performance, as the hymn he sang was composed by another poet, unlike, we may assume, the previous victors who performed their own compositions. Finally, Hesiod and Homer conclude this proto-catalogue as failures in the new contest: the former was refused admission to the competition, because he could not sing his hymn to the accompaniment of the kithara; the latter, although he had learned the new tricks of the trade, discovered the uselessness of playing the kithara, because of his blindness.
Admittedly, Pausanias’ evidence is late and may have been filtered through the intervening centuries. A similar categorization, however, is found in Aristophanes’ Frogs. Aeschylus argues for the utility of poetry and refers to the example set by noble poets of old: Orpheus and Musaios, Hesiod and Homer (1030–1036). He then contrasts this poetry with Euripides’ poetry, specifically that which deals with Cretan matters (1039–1044). Pausanias’ narrative indicates that, because of the institution of the Pythia, Delphi was instrumental during the archaic period in issues of musical competitions and poetics in general. [45] The legendary names in Pausanias’ mythistoric catalogue appear as representatives of three distinctive trends in the poetics of the archaic period, rivaling one another in terms of form, content, and performance (not unlike Plato’s four kinds of divine mania in Timaeus): Homer and Hesiod represent the epic tradition; Orpheus and Musaios stand for religious poetry; Chrysothemis, Philammon-Thamyris, and Eleuther, who are absent from Aristophanes’ Frogs (see below) may stand in between epic, religious, and lyric poetry, genres which appear to hold a prominent place also in Crete. In that respect, Homer’s and Hesiod’s failure at Delphi and the corresponding success of the Cretan poets is remarkable.
Scattered pieces of information also imply that Crete was the homeland of other legendary figures who excelled in musical poetic compositions and dances, activities which were employed for purifications as well as other purposes. Pyrrhichos from Kydonia is, according to some sources, the inventor of the pyrrhic dance. [46] Nymphaios, from the same city, is mentioned together with Terpander, Thaletas of Gortyn, Tyrtaios, and Alcman, who, as iatroi and kathartai, visited Sparta according to a Delphic oracle in order to cleanse the city. [47] In particular, Thaletas of Gortyn, according to some Delphic oracle (κατά τι πυθόχρηστον), was called to Sparta as a traveling seer around 670 BCE in order to prevent a disease or plague and to cure Sparta, which he did successfully through his music; [48] the Cretans considered Thaletas to be the inventor of paeans and other local odai. [49] These pieces of information are late, but they form part of the same traditions found in the chorós of Ariadne on Achilles’ shield, fashioned by Hephaistos like the one by Daidalos in Knossos. [50]
Moreover, Eleutherna in particular (whence the twelve incised and unincised epistomia) was allegedly the home of Linos, one of Apollo’s sons, and of Diogenes son of Apollothemis (the themis of Apollo), a physicist in the Ionian tradition and the last Presocratic alongside Democritus. Eleutherna is also reported to have changed its name to Apollonia, presumably in order to honor Apollo, although this name is not corroborated by the epigraphical evidence and it is possible that both names were employed interchangeably in non-epigraphical texts. [51] In Eleutherna, as Athenaios reports, Ametor (the motherless one) composed for the first time erotic odai to the accompaniment of the kithara and thus became the eponym of the Ametoridai. [52] The Ametoridai, like(?) the Homeridai (or Homeristai), [53] probably continued this tradition in their city and abroad, as their name became a Cretan epithet denoting: Cretan purificators and/or kithara players (ἀμητορίδας· καθαριστὰς Κρῆτες, ἢ κιθαριστάς). This explanation in an entry by Hesychius reveals what the poet in the Hymn to Apollo only hinted at when using the words orgiones, paieones, and semantores.
In the late seventh and early sixth centuries BCE, another Cretan, the most famous but equally enigmatic, Epimenides of Knossos or Phaistos, [54] under whose name a few fragments have survived, was also involved in activities similar to those not only of Karmanor and Thaletas, but also of Hesiod, the epic tradition, and the Presocratics. An intriguing and very active personality during the archaic period, he was presumably instrumental in much of the Greek perception of Crete and the Cretans, as the testimonia and the handful of fragments from his works indicate. The majority of the sources are admittedly late, the most extensive narrative being Plutarch’s Solon and Diogenes Laertius’. But they all stress two areas of Epimenides’ expertise, primarily in religious matters (Diodorus’ passage above), but also in matters of poetics and their political ramifications. In the sources, the epithets employed to describe Epimenides are impressive: θεῖος, θεοφιλής, and θεοφιλέστατος ἀνήρ, ἱδρυτὴς ἱερῶν καὶ τελετῶν, ἱερεύς of Zeus and Rhea and Nymphs, νέος Κούρης, ῥιζοτόμος, μάντις, καθαρτής. [55] He is also ἐποποιός, νομοθέτης, and σοφός; composer of a Theogony, and many works in the epic manner (ἔγραψε δὲ πολλὰ ἐπικῶς· καὶ καταλογάδην μυστήριά τινα καὶ καθαρμοὺς καὶ ἄλλα αἰνιγματώδη), [56] which may have been antagonistic to Homer’s and Hesiod’s. Additionally, he is sometimes one of the Seven Sages, [57] whom Xenophanes criticized together with Thales and Pythagoras. [58] Epimenides’ fame seems to have reached its peak when, in the beginning of the sixth century, the forty–sixth Olympiad (596–592 BCE), Delphi ordered him and gave him specific instructions how to purify Athens from the Kyloneion agos caused by the Alkmeonids. [59] His involvement in Athenian politics and his other reported travels serve as telling signs of his achievements and his status outside Crete, and his overall influence during the archaic period.
Concerning the foregoing discussion on perceptions of Crete and of the Cretans in literary sources, two specific contributions of Epimenides to the discourse on poetics and religious matters during the archaic period need to be emphasized. [60] The first relates to the rather well-known proverbial expression on Cretans always being liars. [61] This is already foreshadowed in Odysseus’ and Demeter’s tales/lies in the Odyssey and the Hymn to Demeter respectively. It may imply that this Cretan trait was widely known, but Epimenides appears to have been a crucial intermediary before this theme is quoted and commented upon by Callimachus and by the Apostle Paul. [62]
Callimachus, employing the traditional hymnic motif ‘how to hymn you,’ since people say you were born in Crete and Arcadia, apostrophizes (Hymn to Zeus 8–9): ‘Κρῆτες ἀεὶ ψεῦσται’· καὶ γὰρ τάφον, ὦ ἄνα, σεῖο | Κρῆτες ἐτεκτήναντο· σὺ δ᾽ οὐ θάνες, ἐσσὶ γὰρ αἰεί. [63] Callimachus challenges the Cretan belief in Zeus’ death and rebirth, and the Cretans’ construction of Zeus’ tomb, variously located in Ida and Dikte. [64] Although only the Cretans are credited with this belief, in the rest of Greece (as well as in the East and in Egypt) such a belief was not completely unacceptable. Some gods, but never Zeus, followed nature’s cycle of reproduction and fertility. Among them, Dionysos was prominent, who, according to Herodotus (2.42.2, 144.2), was none other than the Egyptian Osiris. [65] The Cretan challenge to Olympian orthodoxy, Zeus Kretagenes, is none other than the chthonic Dionysos in the rest of Greece, one of the gods encountered in the gold incised lamellae. [66] The Cretan paradox, [67] an eternal divinity that nevertheless dies and is reborn, is explained away by Callimachus as the biggest lie ever told by Cretans. [68] Callimachus quotes the beginning of Epimenides’ hexameter, a poem within a poem, in order to establish firmly his poetry, first within the genre, [69] and then in relation to his predecessors, among whom is Epimenides (both an epic poet and a representative of Cretan poetics in general). [70]
In a different vein, the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to Titus quotes the whole hexameter from Epimenides’ work of oracles(?), in order to scoff at the attitude of all the Cretans towards his disciple Titus and his preaching (1.12–13): [71] εἶπέν τις ἐξ αὐτῶν (scil. τῶν Κρητῶν), ἴδιος αὐτῶν προφήτης· ‘Κρῆτες ἀεὶ ψεῦσται, κακὰ θηρία, γαστέρες ἀργαί·’ ἡ μαρτυρία αὕτη ἐστὶν ἀληθής. Titus, the first bishop and founder of a Christian community in Crete, probably at Gortyn, got himself into trouble trying to proselytize the pagan Cretans of the first century CE. He is thus admonished by Paul and advised how to argue his case and accomplish his extremely daunting task against the Cretans, renowned (even by their own prophet) as liars, ugly wild beasts, and idle bellies. Clement of Alexandria, however, when he mentions Epimenides in his catalogue of the Seven Sages, opens a parenthesis and refers to Paul’s statement in order to prove that some Greek prophets knew part of the ‘real truth’ that pagan gods were not immortal after all. Thus, Clement advises, Greek texts may be used without shame, because Paul (First Epistle to the Corinthians 15.32–34) acted similarly on another occasion and quoted a Euripidean trimeter, when preaching to the Corinthians about the resurrection of the dead. [72]
Unfortunately, neither Callimachus nor Paul is of any help regarding the context of Epimenides’ hexameter, even though Clement’s argument is rather straightforward. There is no way of determining whether the new context is compatible with the old, or whether the work of Epimenides, from which comes the hexameter, also treated issues of truth and lying. For this is the reason why both Callimachus and Paul are utilising Epimenides’ hexameter in the first place, a situation where a Cretan mouth undermines and subverts Cretan claims to truth: Callimachus for the purpose of undermining the preposterous story about Zeus’ death and for the poets’ lies about Zeus’ sphere of influence; Paul for the purpose of establishing Cretan unreliability in general.
Interestingly, however, the composition of Callimachus’/Epimenides’ hexameter echoes the one in Hesiod’s Theogony, where again the issue of lies and truth surfaces. In the poet’s Dichterweihe, the Muses scorn the shepherds (26–28):
ποιμένες ἄγραυλοι, κάκ᾽ ἐλέγχεα, γαστέρες οἶον,
ἴδμεν ψεύδεα πολλὰ λέγειν ἐτύμοισιν ὁμοῖα,
ἴδμεν δ᾽ εὖτ᾽ ἐθέλωμεν ἀληθέα γηρύσασθαι
field-dwelling shepherds, ignoble disgraces, mere bellies: we know how to say many false things similar to genuine ones, but we know when we wish to proclaim true things. [73]
trans. Most 2006
These lines by the Muses are not unique; they are also employed in Odyssean poetics. Before Odysseus/Aithon performs his third Cretan tale/lie in front of Penelope, he has an exchange with the suitors, who chastise his gaster in a manner like the Muses censure the shepherds (Odyssey 18.364 and 18.380 respectively). [74] Immediately after the tale, the poet describes Odysseus’ performance exactly as Hesiod’s Muses describe their poetry (19.203): ἴσκε ψεύδεα πολλὰ λέγων ἐτύμοισιν ὁμοῖα. Odysseus’ poetics in the Odyssey and the poetics of the Muses in the Theogony are part and parcel of the same tradition. Furthermore, Hesiod’s and Epimenides’ lives, before their divine instruction, were parallel. Both were shepherds who encountered the divine and were transformed. But unlike the Boeotian, who became a poet, the Cretan, entering a cave, became mysteriously, among other things, a poet, kathartes, founder of sanctuaries (most beloved by the gods), a diviner, and above all else a new Koures, [75] a Cretan Zeus.
Although the persona loquens is unknown, Epimenides’ hexameter, the Cretans are always liars, which looks like a sophistic argument in terms of its logical construction, may very well betray the Cretans’ emphasis on the ambivalence of poetics and, in particular, Epimenides’ own poetics. This statement, provided that it refers to the biggest Cretan lie ever told, that Zeus dies and is reborn every year, is liable to be interpreted in at least two ways: prima facie, the Cretans are always liars, so Zeus is eternal; or self-referentially, the Cretans are always liars; I, Epimenides, am a Cretan, so do not believe anything I say; Zeus dies and is reborn. [76] Neither Callimachus nor Paul, however, understood Epimenides’ hexameter self-referentially, that is as a programmatic statement of Cretan poetics that are at work in Odysseus’ and Demeter’s tales in the Odyssey and in the Hymn respectively; nor did they understand it as a general programmatic statement concerning the poetics of Homer, Hesiod, and the Hymns’ poets.
The second important element in Epimenides’ career is his relation to Delphi and his expertise in prophecy, although only Paul and other Christian Fathers call him a prophetes, probably in order to associate him with the more familiar, and therefore easier to understand, Biblical prophets. [77] Both Pausanias (2.21.3) and Aristotle (Rhetoric 1418a21–26) employ the verb manteuomai for one of Epimenides’ activities, [78] and Diogenes Laertius calls him <προ>γνωστικώτατον (1.114). [79] However rare, this epithet mainly refers to the Hippocratic prognosis, [80] a process very much like Epimenides’ divinatory activity. Among the various reports on how Epimenides cleansed Athens, Diogenes Laertius notes (1.110): οἱ δὲ τὴν αἰτίαν εἰπεῖν τοῦ λοιμοῦ τὸ Κυλώνειον ἄγος σημαίνειν τε τὴν ἀπαλλαγήν. [81] Semainein is exactly the verb employed by Herakleitos for Apollo’s activity at Delphi, whereas semantores is the word Apollo uses to describe his Cretan (proto-) priests, and the word Demeter uses to describe her Cretan abductors in the gods’ respective Hymns. But this is not all. Epimenides’ prophetic power is of a particular kind, as Aristotle comments in his Rhetoric, taking into account Epimenides’ own writings (1418a21–26): [82]
Deliberative speaking is more difficult than forensic, and naturally so, because it has to do with the future; whereas forensic speaking has to do with the past, which is already known, even by diviners (ὃ ἐπιστητὸν ἤδη καὶ τοῖς μάντεσιν), as Epimenides the Cretan said; for he used to divine (ἐμαντεύετο), not the future (περὶ τῶν ἐσομένων), but only things that were past but obscure (περὶ τῶν γεγονότων μὲν ἀδήλων δέ).
trans. Freese 1926
Aristotle’s aside concerning the way in which Epimenides understood mantike may also be relevant to Delphi, or to any divinatory activity. Lisa Maurizio has argued convincingly that: [83]
the presence of Mnemosyne and the Underworld in the prophetic geography at Delphi links oracular knowledge about the future to the past and an otherwordly place … Mnemosyne at Delphi makes evident the simultaneity of past, present and future at Delphi, just as oracles do in narrative … The presence of the Underworld, then, emphasizes Delphi’s already other-worldly dimensions, removing it further in space and time from its geographical and historical surroundings.
Moreover, Plutarch calls Epimenides (Solon 12.1): θεοφιλὴς καὶ σοφὸς περὶ τὰ θεῖα τὴν ἐνθουσιαστικὴν καὶ τελεστικὴν σοφίαν, a statement best elucidated in Plato’s Timaeus and Phaedrus on mania quoted above (144–146), and in Cicero’s de divinatione (1.xviii.34). Plutarch’s enthousiastic and telestic wisdom of Epimenides, i.e. wisdom acquired through a god entering the body and through initiation rites, is explicated by Cicero’s account of the two kinds of divination, the one with and the other without art. The former relies on rational conjecture and observation (observatione, coniectura), Plutarch’s telestic wisdom; the latter on an esoteric movement of the spirit that happens while dreaming or through mania (concitatione quadam animi aut soluto liberoque motu futura praesentiunt), Plutarch’s enthousiastic wisdom. Oracles received from the casting of dice constitute a third category, because, Cicero conjectures, these too require some divine action for the dice to fall in the way they do. Cicero, however, contra Aristotle, groups Epimenides together with Bacis and the Sybil, all three being representatives of the dreaming and manic prophecy (per furorem), but at the same time, he emphasizes that all oracles, regardless of the way acquired, need their interpretes, just like poetry needs its grammatici poëtarum (philologists), whose activity thus comes very close to that of the seers, and ultimately to that of the divine spirit.
The case of Epimenides, sometimes seen as one of the Seven Sages, appears to be unique. A late source (Maximus Tyrius Dissertations 10.1) relates a detail not mentioned in either of the longer accounts on Epimenides (Diogenes Laertius and Plutarch): the Cretan sage and seer fell into a deep, deathlike sleep that lasted a number of years inside a cave, where he had a dream. During this dream, he underwent instruction by the gods he met and talked with, of whom two are mentioned by name, Aletheia and Dike. Epimenides’ sleeping experience produces a metamorphosis. The mortal Epimenides appears not to have simply attained the status of a hero, as does Hesiod in Oinoe, but to have become Zeus himself; hence his title (new) Koures. This detail about Epimenides inspired Marcel Detienne’s persuasive discussion of the workings of aletheia, lethe, and mnemosyne and their complementary nature during the archaic period. Aletheia, lethe, and mnemosyne relate in a special manner to Epimenides’ self-instruction during his dream in the cave, and to Hesiod’s Nereus, the old man of the sea. Three different spheres dominate archaic society and archaic thought: poetry, prophecy, and justice. As Detienne argues: “Poet, diviner, and king of justice were certainly masters of speech, speech defined by the same concept of Aletheia” (my emphasis). [84] Epimenides is presented as the flesh and blood of what Detienne calls the “philosophico-religious sects” and participates in a unique way in the archaic discourse on poetics, prophecy, and politics. [85] This discourse is based on the opposition of lethe versus mnemosyne, an opposition concretely represented by the poets/composers of the texts on the gold lamellae and epistomia as a topography with two springs/lakes whose water when drunk effects either lethe or mnemosyne respectively (Detienne 1996:124):
While the conversation with Aletheia signified Epimenides’ gift of second sight, similar to that of a diviner, it also confirmed a melete whose goal was to escape time and attain a level of reality characterized by its opposition to Lethe. Once he entered into contact with Aletheia, Epimenides acceded to an intimacy with the gods strictly analogous to the divine status of the initiate of the “tablets of gold,” when he is able to drink the fresh water of Lake Memory. The level of Aletheia is divine: it is characterized by intemporality and stability (my emphasis).
Detienne further observes similarities between the thought of Epimenides and Parmenides (both of whom stand close to this godlike state), but he also points to a major difference: [86]
The magus had lived apart from the polis, on the periphery of society, but the philosopher, by contrast, was subject to the urban regime and therefore to the demands of publicity. He was obliged to leave the sanctuary of revelation: the gods gave him Aletheia, but at the same time, his truth was open to challenge if not to verification.
And yet, Detienne’s dichotomy between magus and philosopher is neither as strong nor as categorical as his previous distinction between lethe and mnemosyne . Except for his instruction while dreaming inside the cave, Epimenides appears nowhere to be living “apart from the polis and on the periphery of society, in a revelatory sanctuary.” [87] On the contrary, he is participating, traveling, cleansing, conversing, and performing in Crete, in Athens, and probably elsewhere. Richard Martin has argued persuasively in his study of the Seven Sages that, in addition to special skill and knowledge in poetry, religious matters, and politics, there is a fourth hallmark of all the Seven Sages: performance, defined as:
public enactment, about important matters, in word or gesture, employing conventions and open to scrutiny and criticism, especially criticism of style. Performance can include what we call art. But as can be shown by the ethnographic record, it can also include such things as formalized greetings exchanged by chieftains, rituals, insult duels, and the recitation of genealogies. Some megaperformances involve several of these smaller types.
Martin 1993:115–116
Performance is by nature agonistic and therefore presupposes more than one sage competing with another, whence the group of the Seven Sages. Their tradition in Greece may be paralleled with the ones in the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh and in the Sanskrit Vedas. [88] Indeed, it seems that the Sages’ activity, whether political, poetical-musical-philosophical, or religious, required a competitive performative approach which publicly showcased their expert opinions, opinions not always or exclusively directed against fellow-sages. This was a risky business for the emerging polis, which was trying to integrate these ‘masters of truth’ by transforming them into:
such civic bodies as the gerousia in Sparta or the exegetai in Athens. At the same, an extrapolitical form of the institution (sc. of the Seven Sages) could have continued to function at common sanctuaries such as Didyma and Delphi, in a form that emphasized sacrificial expertise and, hence, generalized “moral” teaching.
Martin 1993:123
Martin also proposes, using Nagy’s (1990b:143–145) model of “Panhellenizing-internationalizing,” that:
the competition among sages (as local ritual experts) in a tribal context would have been incompatible with the ideological strains in the emerging polis that encouraged unification and hierarchy. Therefore, it could be “internationalized” into a long-distance competition between, for instance, the local “sages” such as Solon and Thales, who earlier had “competed” only with other wise men of their own region.
Martin 1993:123
Where do these trends of rationalizing, secularizing, hierarchizing and internationalizing-Panhellenizing within Greek poleis leave Epimenides? The Cretan presents his own poetic compositions, rivaling(?) the Homeric and Hesiodic ones, and he proposes a Cretan or Epimenidean method concerning oracles and divination. His prophetic sophia that earned him fame beyond Crete is based on astutely observing the past, especially the events’ latent dimensions which have ramifications for the present, and his intimate association with Koures may have been responsible for the proverbial “mouth of the Kouretes.” [89] This concept of divinatory practice may very well have been Epimenides’ criticism of Delphic hyperbole and propaganda, although, in all the sources, he appears to comply fully and in every detail with Delphic demands and pronouncements. That Epimenides was critical vis à vis Delphi, especially concerning the Delphic omphalos, is recorded by Plutarch (The Obsolescence of Oracles 409e–f): [90]
The story is told (μυθολογοῦσιν), my dear Terentius Priscus, that certain eagles or swans, flying from the uttermost parts of the earth towards its centre, met in Delphi at the omphalos, as it is called; and at a later time Epimenides of Phaistos put the story to test (ἐλέγχοντα τὸν μῦθον) by referring it to the god and upon receiving a vague and ambiguous oracle (χρησμὸν ἀσαφῆ καὶ ἀμφίβολον) said: “Now do we know that there is no mid-centre of earth or of ocean; yet if there be, it is known (δῆλος) to the gods, but is hidden (ἄφαντος) from mortals.”
trans. Babbitt 1936
The famous story that Delphi is the navel of the earth, absent from the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, was decided by the meeting at the so-called omphalos of two birds flying in opposite directions, whence the oracle of Apollo. According to Epimenides’ elenchos, this story is also found wanting. There is no such thing as a middle point, an omphalos of the earth or of the sea; and even if there were, it would be visible only to gods and not mortals. The other famous stone at Delphi, related in the Theogony (497–500), is the one Rhea gave to Cronus instead of Zeus and which, after Cronus regurgitated it, was then placed at Delphi as a sema. [91] The two stories seem parallel. What is striking is that this two-hexameter-declaration constitutes Epimenides’ reply to an ambiguous and dubious oracle he received from Delphi. This is unique, as there is no other metrical response to a Delphic oracle, on account of the oracle’s ambiguity and uncertainty (which are traits of Apollo’s speech par excellence). It is clear that in his reply, the Cretan sage is posturing against and competing with the Delphic priesthood and their propaganda. [92] The omphalos story may have been an attempt at minimizing, or at severing Delphi’s Cretan connections, among which the stone/Zeus sema was an old and revered object, sanctioned by epic poetry. After all, as the story goes, [93] Epimenides was self-styled Aiakos and son of Selene, while his fellow-Cretans hailed him as the (new) Koures.
Be that as it may, during the archaic period, a formative period in many respects, ‘Crete and the Cretans’ acquired various characteristics that in later times became canonized. [94] ‘Crete and the Cretans,’ so it appears, evolved into a topos or trope of sorts in literary texts and the reasons for this are many and multidimensional.
First, ‘Crete and the Cretans’ is convenient. The island is located in the middle of nowhere, at a reassuring and safe distance that may be perceived both as a center-point in the Mediterranean and part of the periphery of mainland Greece, as the poet of the Odyssey aptly puts it (19.172–173): Κρήτη τις γαῖ’ ἔστι μέσῳ ἐνὶ οἴνοπι πόντῳ, | καλὴ καὶ πίειρα, περίρρυτος.
Secondly, ‘Crete and the Cretans’ is or may easily become a wonderland because of its distance and its real or imaginary antiquity, “une terre aussi exemplaire que marginale” (Calame 1996:233): mortals meet gods by habit; gods die and are buried; mortals proclaim their divine status (Minos, Aiakos, Rhadamanthys and Epimenides receiving special treatment and stories); strange creatures live there, like the Minos-bull; what the rest of the Greeks call “mysteries” are not mysteries there at all.
Finally, the Cretans inhabiting a large and mountainous island assume all the concomitant virtues and vices: running, archery, ambush, trade, and piracy. These traits, which also imply outside contacts, naturally force the Cretans to ‘construct’ an exceptional image of themselves, of their beliefs, and of their land, all in a unique way; hence their epithets orgiones, paieones, and semantores. Morris argues that, “at some point, Crete exported religion as well as craftsmanship and constitutional reforms.” [95] The Cretans, if Pausanias’ mythistoric narrative of the institution of the Pythian games is to be trusted, appear to have been unique in combining two, if not all three, otherwise distinct ‘genres’/discourses in vogue during the archaic period: orgia, paeans, and theo-cosmogonies, or sacred, lyric, and epic poetry, all emblematic of the activities of the legendary Epimenides.
Be it real or imaginary, this is the perception of ‘Crete and the Cretans’ emerging from the texts discussed above, a perception that appears to continue well into the fourth century BCE, as is attested by Plato’s Cretan city and Aristotle’s works. [96] ‘Crete and the Cretans’ is one of the repositories for the performance of discourses on sacred-secular poetics and music, [97] and on politics and religious matters, but it differs from comparable discourses elsewhere in Greece. These discourses in Crete, so it appears, did not undergo (or the Cretans did not care to let them undergo) a process of rationalization, secularization, and internationalization-Panhellenization that other Greek poleis, principally Athens, experienced. These processes appear to have been too Athenian to accommodate matters Cretan.
How real or imaginary this perception was and to what extent, if any, it influenced Greek affairs are legitimate questions to ask, but answers to them must inevitably remain speculative. This tension between real and imaginary is particularly true in the case of Euripides’ manipulation of ‘Crete and the Cretans’ in a number of tragedies he presented in the Athenian theatre in the second half of the fifth century BCE. Cretans, Cretan Women, Polyidos, and (to an extent) Hippolytos are compositions which either are based on or employ Cretan mythological topics and themes. Aeschylus and Sophocles did not shy away from ‘Cretan’ material, but only titles of their works survive: Cretan Women (Aeschylus), and Manteis and Kamikoi (Sophocles). [98]
The Hypothesis dates Euripides’ Hippolytos to 428 BCE, and the Cretan Women (the first tragedy in the tetralogy that closed with Alcestis) to 438 BCE, while the Cretans is dated between 442 and 432 BCE. [99] For the present discussion, Euripides’ Hippolytos, performed after the Cretans and the Cretan Women, is interesting for two reasons. First, the tragedian seems to employ, in a tangential manner, all of the conventional and expected perceptions of ‘Crete and the Cretans’ developed in the archaic period: sailing, lascivious women, and lying. To this list, Elizabeth Craik has added references to ‘Cretan’ initiation rites into manhood, citizenship, and marriage, in which Artemis and Zeus held a prominent place. [100] Admittedly, these references may show a ‘Cretan tinge’ in the Hippolytos, especially in relation to Phaedra, but they are definitely not decisive. The tragedians, especially Euripides, improvise within the literary context of a particular tragedy and, in certain cases, even ‘invent’ rituals and cults. Thus, in Hippolytos 141–150 the Chorus’ references to Pan, Hekate, the Korybantes, and the Mountain Mother as divinities that may have ‘possessed’ Phaedra, and to Diktynna, whose rites Phaedra may have neglected, in order to explain Phaedra’s behavior, perhaps point to ‘Cretan’ connections. But which connections and what kind of connections are totally beyond recovery. As Scot Scullion and Francis Dunn have shown convincingly in relation to Euripidean aetiologies, [101] tragedy and ritual, especially Euripidean tragedies and cult practices, are not always what they seem to be at first glance. Their interconnection and interdependence are so intertwined that they are not easily detectable, except in very general and not always useful terms. [102] The second issue that Hippolytos raises, relevant to the present discussion, is in the agon between father and son, when Theseus apostrophizes (Hippolytos 952–954):
ἤδη νυν αὔχει καὶ δι᾽ ἀψύχου βορᾶς
σίτοις καπήλευ᾽ Ὀρφέα τ᾽ ἄνακτ᾽ ἔχων
βάκχευε πολλῶν γραμμάτων τιμῶν καπνούς.
Now you may plum yourself, now by a vegetable diet play the showman with your food, and with Orpheus for your lord hold your covens and honour all your vaporous screeds.
trans. Barrett 1964:342
Barrett is certainly right in stressing that Hippolytos is not a vegetarian Orphic, but Theseus is using the expression as a tag rather than implying that his son is actually a follower of Orpheus. [103] Theseus does say, however, that his son is ‘acting as a bacchos.’ To Theseus’ mind, the arguments and lifestyle of Hippolytos are similar to those people whom the Athenian authors classified under the rubric ‘Orphics.’
Euripides’ treatment of ‘Crete and the Cretans’ becomes even more frustrating in the parodos of the Cretans. In these few lines, quoted by Porphyry on the subject of meat-abstinence, the Chorus addresses Minos and introduces itself as follows (Cretans fr. 472 Collard et al. = fr. 1 Cozzoli): [104]
      Φοινικογενοῦς τέκνον Εὐρώπης
καὶ τοῦ μεγάλου Ζηνός, ἀνάσσων
Κρήτης ἑκατομπτολιέθρου·
ἥκω ζαθέους ναοὺς προλιπών,
5 οὓς αὐθιγενὴς στεγανοὺς παρέχει [105]
τμηθεῖσα δοκοὺς Χαλύβωι πελέκει
καὶ ταυροδέτωι κόλληι κραθεῖσ᾽
ἀτρεκεῖς ἁρμοὺς κυπάρισσος.
ἁγνὸν δὲ βίον τείνομεν ἐξ οὗ
10 Διὸς Ἰδαίου μύστης γενόμην,
καὶ νυκτιπόλου Ζαγρέως βούτης [106]
τὰς ὠμοφάγους δαῖτας τελέσας,
Μητρί τ᾽ Ὀρεία δᾶιδας ἀνασχὼν
μετὰ Κουρήτων
15 βάκχος ἐκλήθην ὁσιωθείς.
πάλλευκα δ᾽ ἔχων εἵματα φεύγω
γένεσίν τε βροτῶν καὶ νεκροθήκας
οὐ χριμπτόμενος, [107]
τήν τ᾽ ἐμψύχων
20 βρῶσιν ἐδεστῶν πεφύλαγμαι.
Child of Europa born to Phoenix and of great Zeus, lord over Crete of the hundred cities! To come here I have left the most holy temple, its roof furnished by cypress grown on the very site and cut with Chalybean axe into beams and brought together with bonding ox-glue into exact joints. Pure is the life I have maintained since I became an initiate of Idaean Zeus and a herdsman of nocturnal Zagreus, after performing feasts of raw flesh; and holding aloft torches to the Μountain Μother among the Κοuretes I was named a celebrant after consecration. In clothing all of white I shun both the birth of mortals and the laying-places of the dead, which I do not approach; and I have guarded myself against the eating of living food.
trans. Collard, Cropp, and Lee 1995, modified
This is unique and extraordinary, and the opinio communis is succinctly stated by Collard, Cropp and Lee (1995:67):
[Euripides] is mingling elements of ritual from various times and places, some poetic in provenance, some no doubt contemporary, in order to engage and impress his audience, and to establish for the Chorus a religious authority from which they may comment on the actions of both Pasiphae and Minos, and perhaps Deadalus.
And yet, the lexicon and motifs of the parodos, when compared to that of the texts on the lamellae, reveal astonishing affinities, even if they diverge in symbolism. The cypress is employed by Euripides for the construction of the most holy temple (compare Hippolytos 1252–1254), where initiatory rites of some sort take place. The ‘priests’ of the Chorus assert that they have become: mystai of Idaean Zeus after initiation; boutai of Zagreus after performing feasts of raw flesh; and bacchoi after praying with torches to the Mountain Mother among the Kouretes. These ‘priests,’ furthermore, wear white cloths, avoid polluting activities having to do with birth and death, and take care not to eat ‘living’ foods. Euripides seems to be appropriating techniques and motifs from mystery cults for his dramatic performance on stage. For at one and the same time, the members of this Chorus claim to be initiated into the mystery cults of Idaean Zeus, Dionysos Zagreus, [108] and the Mountain Mother, and they further claim to be followers of ‘Orphics’ and Pythagoreans.
A similar, but not comparable, case is evident in the parodos of the Bacchae where Euripides presents “Dionysos at large” (64–169). [109] After the prooimion, the Chorus begins with the blessings of the god’s followers, which contain all the catchwords found in mystery cults (72–77): [110]
ὦ μάκαρ, ὅστις εὐδαί-
μων τελετὰς θεῶν εἰ-
δὼς βιοτὰν ἁγιστεύει
καὶ θιασεύεται ψυ-
χὰν ἐν ὄρεσσι βακχεύ-
ων ὁσίοις καθαρμοῖσιν.
O blessed is he who, truly happy, knowing the initiations of the gods is pure in life and joins his soul to the thiasos in the mountains performing Bacchic ritual with holy purifications.
trans. Seaford 1996
Then, the Chorus enumerates Dionysos’ association with Cybele and her orgia in Phrygia (τά τε ματρὸς μεγάλας ὄργια Κυβέλας θεμιτεύων, 78–79); his double birth by Semele in Thebes and by Zeus (88–98); the newborn’s stephanosis by the Moirai, and the customs of the Thebans (99–119); and Dionysos’ connection with the Kouretes, Rhea, and (Cretan) Zeus, on account of the invention of the tympanon (120–134):
ὦ θαλάμευμα Κουρή-
των ζάθεοί τε Κρήτας
Διογενέτορες ἔναυλοι,
ἔνθα τρικόρυθες ἄντροις
βυρσότονον κύκλωμα τόδε
μοι Κορύβαντες ηὗρον·
βακχείαι δ᾽ ἅμα συντόνωι
κέρασαν ἡδυβόαι Φρυγίων
αὐλῶν πνεύματι ματρός τε ῾Ρέας ἐς
χέρα θῆκαν, κτύπον εὐάσμασι βακχᾶν·
παρὰ δὲ μαινόμενοι Σάτυροι
ματέρος ἐξανύσαντο θεᾶς,
ἐς δὲ χορεύματα
συνῆψαν τριετηρίδων,
αἷς χαίρει Διόνυσος.
Oh lair of the Kouretes and sacred Zeus-begetting haunts of Crete, where the triple-helmeted Korybantes in the cave invented for me this hide-stretched circle. And in the intense bacchic dance they mixed it with the sweet-shouting breath of Phrygian pipes, and put it in the hand of mother Rhea, a beat for the bacchants’ cries of joy. And the frenzied satyrs obtained it from the mother goddess, and attached it to the dances of the biennial festivals in which Dionysos rejoices.
trans. Seaford 1996
Kouretes; Zeus’ begetters; Korybantes; Phrygian and Bacchic music; Mother Rhea; Satyrs and dance—all, and much more, are brought together by Dionysos one way or another. [111] Even Orpheus joins the Dionysiac crowd in the second stasimon, but this time he plays his magical music in Pieria, another place where Dionysos left his mark. In the Bacchae, however, these references to Dionysiac teletai throughout the Greek world present only one of the Dionysiac discourses, whose emphasis concentrates on the blessings of maenadism and of becoming a bacchos during this life. [112]
If the Bacchae and the Cretans present an upsetting and unconvincing amalgam, what Sourvinou-Inwood has called “the problematizing of religious matters,” the recent text from Pherai (D5) “in its austerity and sophrosyne [113] offers corroborating evidence: “send me to the thiasoi of mystai; I have been initiated both to the orgia of Demeter Chthonia and to the teletai of the Mountain Mother.” Dionysos is absent from the text, [114] but elsewhere, especially in Euripides, he is associated with the Mountain Mother. The Chorus in the Bacchae presents as many associations of Dionysos as possible, or local discourses on Bacchica. The parodos of the Cretans, although its context is missing, probably presents a different, non-Athenian Dionysiac discourse. The words, names, and motifs in the Bacchae and the Cretans may be the same, but the Dionysiac discourses are not. The characteristics of the Cretans’ Chorus are, in a sense, similar to those Theseus is employing for his son Hippolytos, quoted above, but with a Cretan tinge. To a great extent, this Chorus is not far removed from the deceased buried with the gold lamellae and epistomia, whose texts, when brought together, form a similar asymmetrical corpus in terms of their ritual(s), their mystery cult(s), and their local or Panhellenic considerations.
Euripidean fondness for matters ‘Cretan’ comes up again in Aristophanes’ Frogs, when Aeschylus and Euripides compete for the chair of tragedy by quoting representative specimens of each other’s tragedies. Among the many issues debated, Aeschylus confronts Euripides for presenting unholy marriages on stage and for collecting Cretan monodies, which he inserts in his tragedies. The commentators explain that this is due to Crete’s association in the sources with mimetic dancing and to Euripides’ fondness for using Cretan myths, especially sexually immoral Cretan heroines. [115] Later on, when push comes to shove, these allegations become specific and center on the issue of truth and falsehood, on concealing and revealing. Aeschylus explains that by unholy marriages he meant stage-productions of prostitutes like Stheneboea and Phaedra; Euripides replies that he only presented on stage the truth about Phaedra. [116] Euripides’ reply is ironic, as he plays on the theme ‘Cretans are always liars’ by claiming that he is staging the truth about a Cretan woman.
An example of Euripides’ Cretan monodies is also ‘staged’ when Aeschylus quotes in parodic fashion one such Euripidean monody in lines 1329–1364 (in all likelihood from one of Euripides’ ‘Cretan’ tragedies). [117] The ‘Cretan’ coloring of this text is unmistakable, and its music would probably also have had a distinct Cretan character (the rhythm in lines 1356–1360 is the cretic). [118] In this ridiculous incident concocted in paratragic mood by the comic poet, Night holds a prominent place. Mountain Nymphs and Mania as well as Diktynna, Artemis, and Hekate (just as in the Hippolytos) are called upon for help. Line 1356: ἀλλ᾽, ὦ Κρῆτες, Ἴδας τέκνα, is a fragment from the Cretans according to the scholiast, [119] which is followed expectedly by a reference to Cretan archery and ambush: τὰ | τόξα <τε> λαβόντες ἐπαμύνατε, τὰ | κῶλά τ᾽ ἀμπάλλετε κυκλούμενοι τὴν οἰκίαν (1357–1358). These references conform to common general perceptions of ‘Crete and the Cretans,’ [120] as has been seen above in the literature of the archaic period and in Euripides’ plays.
Aristophanes continues his paratragic play to the bitter end, when Dionysos twice replies to Euripides’ pleas for a fair judgment with Cretan ‘Euripidean’ expressions. First, in Frogs 1471, the first half of the line: ἡ γλῶττ᾽ ὀμώμοκ᾽, Αἰσχύλον δ᾽ αἱρήσομαι, is Hippolytos’ famous line (612: ἡ γλῶσσ᾽ ὀμώμοχ᾽, ἡ δὲ φρὴν ἀνώμοτος). And a little later, Dionysos quotes another Euripidean fragment, this time from another ‘Cretan’ tragedy, the Polyidos (fr. 638): τίς δ᾽ οἶδεν εἰ τὸ ζῆν μέν ἐστι κατθανεῖν, | τὸ κατθανεῖν δὲ ζῆν κάτω νομίζεται. This rhetorical question is employed twice in the Frogs, first by Aeschylus, when he attacks Euripides for staging immoral women who philosophize [121] : ‘life is not life’ (Frogs 1082: καὶ φασκούσας οὐ ζῆν τὸ ζῆν;), and then by Dionysos in Frogs 1477–1478, appropriately modified into the ridiculous: “τίς δ᾽ οἶδεν εἰ τὸ ζῆν μέν ἐστι κατθανεῖν,” | τὸ πνεῖν δὲ δειπνεῖν, τὸ δὲ καθεύδειν κῴδιον. [122] Interestingly, Dionysos’ paratragic reply from Polyidos is the final blow. Euripides is ‘convinced,’ shuts up, and is not heard from anymore in the play. This outcome still remains a puzzle, [123] perhaps because the context surrounding this fragment is unknown. The aporetic stance, however, of the Polyidos-line looks very close to what Epimenides would have put forward. Nor is this stance far removed from the promises of all mystery cults, [124] especially the texts on the gold lamellae and epistomia, which profess death to be the beginning of a new kind of life.
The non-Cretan literary context concerning matters Cretan is remarkably consistent. ‘Crete and the Cretans’ are credited and portrayed as experts in archery, ambush, running, sailing, piracy, but also as expert performers of discourses on poetics (and lying) and music, on politics and philosophy, and on religious matters. The parodos of Euripides’ Cretans and Diodorus’ narrative on mysteries in Crete (5.77.3) elaborate, in a sense, the Cretan epithets orgiones, paieones, and semantores, epithets that could aptly describe Epimenides’ activities. The Cretan sage, in particular, appears to have been a major influence in archaic times, as his works seem to combine both the Homeric and the Orphic views about the world above and below. The Cretans’ parodos is a controversial fragment and, because of its missing context, the extent of Euripides’ manipulation of this Chorus with extraordinary qualities cannot be ascertained. Pasiphae’s escapades, which yielded monstrous results, may have required Euripides’ purposeful mingling of these mystery cults within the tragedy’s context, in order to create an almost divine Chorus that could handle them. What may safely be assumed, however, is that the Cretans’ parodos and Diodorus’ narrative of mystery cults in Crete are complementary. The Cretans themselves believe that the cults of Eleusis, Samothrace, and Orphic Thrace are one and the same. They all satisfy the same human need and manifest a single belief and principle, life after death. Euripides presents ‘distinctive’ mystery cults and rituals being ‘fused.’ But perhaps in Crete all these activities of the priests were indeed fused, or were thought to respond to the same needs, as Diodorus’ narrative implies and as Epimenides’ activities attest. They could perform orgia and teletai for the mystery cults of Idaean Zeus, (Dionysos) Zagreus, and the Mountain Mother, and at the same time claim to be following Orphic and Pythagorean instructions. After all, it was not at all unlikely that one person could have been initiated in all three cults (perhaps even more, as the new text D5 demonstrates), and at the same time claim to have been a devotee of Orpheus and Pythagoras, as Burkert has argued. [125] And perhaps this phenomenon was all the more common in Crete.

A Cretan Context

Perceptions of ‘Crete and the Cretans’ in non-Cretan literary works of the archaic period and of the fifth century BCE did exist, but, as the case of Euripides has demonstrated, these perceptions are embedded in a literary context. Attempts at identifying in the archaeological and epigraphic record of Crete the particular cults that show up in the literary context may be judged worthwhile, even if daunting. The fact that in an inscription a specific god or goddess is recorded does not necessarily constitute evidence for a Cretan cult in general, but evidence for a cult of the specific city, whence the inscription. Nor can an inscription concerning a specific god or goddess necessarily be used as evidence for confirming the ‘Cretan’ rites and rituals alluded to in literary texts, because influences may have been at work in both directions, and because chances are that the author of the texts had not read the particular inscription, but may have had indirect or general knowledge of its information. Attempting to identify in the epigraphical and archaeological record the rituals and cults attested in a ‘literary’ work is problematic: Euripides’ aims are specific, and he certainly did not intend to advertise and promote local Cretan ritual and cult practice. Moreover, evidence for the specifics of local rituals and cults is almost non-existent and thus seldom enhances understanding of Cretan (or any other) rituals, let alone of the interrelation and interdependence between literary non-Cretan texts and the archaeological and epigraphic record.
These limitations, inherent in the archaeological and epigraphical record, caution against overstatements and simplifications. A careful and sensible study of the Cretan archaeological and epigraphical record and of what it does have to offer, as regards the Cretan epistomia, may be a promising approach. [126] The evidence indicates that mystery cults and rituals, pertinent to the ones implied by the texts on the epistomia, existed in Crete in certain chronological periods, [127] but especially from the third–second centuries BCE onwards. [128] Their form and their content, however, are unknown. [129] Similarities and differences between literary perceptions and the archaeological/epigraphical record may complement, correct, or even (perhaps) disprove one another, especially as far as the twelve gold epistomia are concerned. And this may imply a dynamic interaction, especially from the late Hellenistic period onwards: non-Cretan literary perceptions of ‘Crete and the Cretans,’ well-established by the fifth century BCE, may have exerted their influence on Cretan habits and customs; and Cretan traditions concerning poetics and discourses on death may have influenced non-Cretan perceptions.
Before attempting to place the twelve epistomia within their specific Eleuthernaean context, it is useful to review the record of the island for parallels concerning mystery cults and burial practices. The twelve Cretan epistomia are not the only ones found in Crete. A number of unincised gold lamellae, some of which the excavators call epistomia, have also been discovered in graves of the Roman and Imperial period: [130]
1) In Epanochori of Selinos, within the territory of ancient Elyros. According to Vana Niniou-Kindeli, the larger-than-life size epistomion(?) may have been also the middle part of a diadem for the forehead of the deceased, since two more large gold bands were found near the cranium which were fitted together, as is indicated by the holes they bear. [131]
2–3) In graves of the cemetery in Kasteli of Kissamos, near ancient Polyrrhenia, which are unpublished; the first, according to the excavator Yannis Tzedakis (1979:394) may also have been a leaf from a wreath; the second is larger than the usual ‘mouth’-size. [132]
4) From a grave of the extensive Roman cemetery in the site Agia Elessa of ancient Lappa (modern Argyroupolis; Figures 38–39 [pages 89–90]) an epistomion, gold leaves, and a round gold foil (a pseudo-coin?) with gorgoneion were recently handed over to the 25th Ephorate (compare the grave-goods of D2 in Table 1). [133]
5) From grave no. 16 in the extensive Roman cemetery of ancient Lato pros Kamaran (Figure 43); the grave was found disturbed; among the grave-goods were also found two figurines of Leda and one of a nude female, and two clay theatrical masks. [134]
Figure 43. Unincised gold lamella, from Grave 16, Lato pros Kamaran. Agios Nikolaos, Archaeological Museum, 7437.
In Kastelli of Kissamos, Zeus Kretagenes is mentioned among the patrioi gods in a fragmentary inscription, [135] but Dionysos is also prominent: a ‘House of Dionysos,’ named so after its mosaics which depict scenes of the Dionysiac cycle, and part of a second house with an Orpheus mosaic have come to light, both from the Imperial period; additionally, a head of a statue of Dionysos has been unearthed and is now in the Museum of Chania. [136]
In Lappa (modern Argyroupolis), in addition to a statue of Dionysos in the Rethymno Museum dated to the third century BCE, and the asylia decree with Teos, (inscribed on the wall of Dionysos’ temple at Teos and dated ca. 200 BCE), [137] Persephone alone received an ex voto. [138] There is also an intriguing example of a statue base from a heroon, on which was inscribed: [139] χαῖρε, Διομήδη Συμβρίτιε, | χαίρετε πάντες; and of a defixio with an ἀρά, placed inside the same grave, above which stood Diomedes’ heroon. [140] The only available information about the texts’ provenance comes from its first editor. [141] Guarducci suggested that the first inscription, a hexameter verse which, however, presents metrical problems in the name and city-ethnic, is composed according to the chaire-formula, well attested in other epigrams. In light of the heroon mentioned in the defixio and the rites probably performed on the spot, perhaps the chaire-chairete exchange may also be interpreted in a way analogous to the one in some of the lamellae (A4, E-texts). [142] It should also be noted that the defixio’s purpose, to avert desecration of the heroon, must definitely have failed: the text could be read by the Underworld divinities alone, as the grave’s looter would have discovered too late. The reason why Diomedes from Sybritos (another ancient city where Dionysos’ presence is prominent [143] ) acquired after death a heroon in Lappa remains a mystery.
The extensive cemetery in Lato pros Kamaran (Agios Nikolaos) exhibits interesting burial practices. [144] In grave no. 8, in addition to a silver burial-coin, the male deceased is crowned with a gold olive-wreath (rather than laurel) attached to the cranium (Figure 44a–b). Kostis Davaras, after extensive reflection on all possible interpretations, proposes we view the deceased as a real athlete, since among the grave-goods a strigil and an aryballos were also found; or, at any rate, he proposes we view the deceased as someone whom his relatives wanted to bury as an athlete. [145] Since in Macedonia wreaths are found in an increasing number every year, perhaps other explanations should also be entertained for this stephanosis in grave no. 8. [146] Moreover, grave no. 16, from which comes the gold unincised lamella, was not the only grave with figurines [147] and clay theatrical masks as grave-goods. In grave no. 2, a plot for the burial of a female, a figurine of Dionysos and a young Satyros and no less than eight smaller than life-size theatrical masks have been discovered. Davaras rightly discussed these masks in relation to the ones found in Knossos and essentially accepted Bieber’s and Carington Smith’s suggestion for an eschatological interpretation of theatrical masks inside graves: [148] the deceased become members of a divine thiasos and are therefore apotheosized.
a. Tzifopoulos_Fig44ab. Tzifopoulos_Fig44b
Figure 44. The ‘crowned’ deceased: skull with gold olive-wreath, from Grave 8, Lato pros Kamaran. Agios Nikolaos, Archaeological Museum, 7355. (a. view from above; b. right side of skull)
Knossos is one of the places for which there are strong indications of some kind of rituals and mystery cult activity. [149] Carington Smith discussed the theatrical mask and the other grave-goods of the Roman chamber tomb in Monasteriaki Kephala, two other masks from a nearby Roman rock-cut tomb, and two more housed in the Herakleion Museum. Some of these masks betray strong Dionysiac aspects and some are very similar to the ones in the fresco of the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii. [150] Carington Smith therefore proposed that “the people in our tomb seem to have been devotees of a type of mysticism which owed something to the chthonic deities,” [151] who, in the case of Knossos, can be none other than Demeter-Kore and their mysteries. In addition to the villa of Dionysos, and Demeter’s sanctuary (where rites and rituals either of the Eleusinian or Thesmophoria type would have taken place), [152] there are dedicatory inscriptions to these goddesses, dated to the Roman period. One inscription is to Demeter alone, [153] and another is to Persephone alone where the word πρόοδος in line 2 appears problematic, although it probably refers to a cult title, not unlike the analogous epithets Hekate receives in the Hymn to Demeter (line 440). [154] In the village of Agios Thomas, approximately 20 kms south of Knossos, a dedication to Demeter and Kore is inscribed within a tabula ansata chiseled on the rock (Figures 45–46). [155] An inscription of unknown provenance and not included in Guarducci’s Inscriptiones Creticae was published as sepulchral by Ricci from a drawing made by Halbherr given to him by Antonios Alexandridis (Figure 47): Μ. Ἀντώνιος Κλω|διανὸς Εὐβούλῳ | χαριστήριο[ν]. The text appears to be an ex-voto (χαριστήριον) to Euboulos whose cult is so far unique for Crete. [156] Eubouleus is the euphemistic name of Zeus/Hades/Dionysos in the A-texts of the lamellae, but in Cretan mythistoric tradition, Euboulos is the son (or one of the sons) of Karmanor (who cleansed Apollo after the Pythoktonia), the grandfather of Britomartis, and a brother(?) of Chrysothemis, victor in the Pythia (unless Chrysothemis is another name for Euboulos). [157] Finally, the statue of a new Egyptian god and two proxeny decrees deserve to be mentioned. The former, dated to the second century CE, is a unique syncretism of three Egyptian divinities, Imhotep, Osiris, and Aion, and its provenance is unknown. [158] The Knossian proxeny decrees, dated to the second century BCE, honor visiting poets and musicians on account of their performance. Menekles, son of Dionysios, from Teos, in addition to his duties as ambassador, performed on the kithara beautiful compositions of Timotheos, Polyidos, and of old Cretan poets; Menekles’ performance, as another inscription from Priansos relates, also included a potpourri of various epic, lyric, and historiographical compositions on Crete, gods, and heroes. [159] Likewise, the grammatikos Dioskourides from Tarsos, son of Dioskourides and adopted son of Asklepiodoros, composed an egkomion according to the poet (presumably Homer?) extolling the Cretan nation, but he sent his pupil, Myrinos from Amisos, son of Dionysios, a composer of poems and music, to perform it in front of the kosmoi and the Knossian assembly to their delight and approval. [160]
Beyond Knossos, Lato pros Kamaran, Lappa, Kissamos, and Kydonia, the evidence from four more locations contributes to the subject at hand in a more significant way. The Hymn from the sanctuary of Diktaian Zeus in Palaikastro, the sanctuary of Hermes Kedrites and of Aphrodite in Kato Symi Viannos, the epigram in the sanctuary of Magna Mater at Phaistos, and the Idaean Cave, all present strong evidence for ritual activity and mystery cults (Chaniotis 2006c), analogous to those implied by the texts on the Cretan epistomia.
Figure 45. Location of inscription to Demeter and Persephone, Agios Thomas.
Over a hundred years ago, a very important but controversial text was discovered in the temple of Diktaian Zeus in Palaikastro near Itanos, [161] a hymn kletikos, [162] an appeal to the god to come and appear (no. 13 above and Figures 17a–g [pages 36–38]). The fifth and sixth strophes comprise a catalogue of objects, all of which are to be affected positively by the god’s activity (the text is printed as in Furley and Bremer 2001, vol. 2, 2):
Figure 46. Inscription on stone: vow to Demeter and Persephone, Agios Thomas.
Figure 47. Inscription: vow to Euboulos, from the environs of Knossos.
ἁ[μῶν δὲ θόρ᾽ ἐς ποί]μνια
καὶ θόρ᾽ εὔποκ᾽ ἐς [μῆλα]
[κἐς λάϊ]α καρπῶν θόρε
κἐς τελεσ[φόρος οἴκος].
[θόρε κἐς] πόληας ἁμῶν,
θόρε κἐς ποντο<π>όρος νᾶας,
θόρε κἐς ν[έος πο]λείτας,
θόρε κἐς θέμιν κλ[ειτάν].
Strikingly, the expression θόρ᾽ ἐς (θρῴσκω εἰς) is employed for the god’s activity, which dominates the two strophes by strong anaphora. Guarducci proposed to understand the activity of the god “non saltantem sed insilientem”; West pointed out examples which supported the translation ‘spring up’; and Furley and Bremer, following West, translated the verb “leap up” and summarized the expression’s possible associations: “either with a renewal of the god’s birth … or with the fertilizing power of the god, the verb being also used for the sexual activity of the male: ‘mounting.’” [163]
The same expression, however, is also used in the text from Pelinna, Thessaly (D2A lines 7–10, D2B lines 9–11): ταῦρος εἰς γάλα ἔθορες, αἶψα εἰς γάλα ἔθορες, κριὸς εἰς γάλα ἔπεσες (in A4 line 5: ἔριφος ἐς γάλα ἔπετες). Perlman has noted the discrepancy between the two texts’ contexts and the expression employed: in the Hymn , fertility is important and receives emphasis, in D2 the “ritual matrix … does not stress fertility.” [164] Tsantsanoglou and Parássoglou (1987:13) were puzzled by the expression on the lamella from Pelinna and argued that:
the picture of a soul rushing, like a new-born kid, to suck the milk of bliss is rather felicitous after the idea expressed in the words νῦν ἔθανες καὶ νῦν ἐγένου, but what are we to make with ταῦρος and κριός? Bulls and rams do not rush to milk—it is not their idea of bliss. Are the new formulas hyperbolic and grotesque variations of an original ἔριφος-phrase? In such a case, do they allude to the conduct of the defunct who, in his mature age and after his symbolic rebirth, behaves like a new-born animal? Or should we rather posit the possibility that deification involves a mystic union with a theriomorphic god, Dionysos in particular?
Tsantsanoglou and Parássoglou preferred the latter explanation (supported by the evidence for the bull-phrase) and pointed out the lack of parallels for the ram-phrase.
It seems, however, that the semantics of the phrase imply a fusion of two motifs: the erratic jumping movements of a newborn, as well as the overwhelming charge of an animal when attacking. The verb θρῴσκω is almost a technical term for describing the birth and the first movements of a god or hero. [165] In Hesiod’s Theogony 281: from Medusa’s head ἐξέθορε Χρυσάωρ τε μέγας καὶ Πήγασος ἵππος. In the Homeric Hymn to Apollo 119: Apollo ἐκ δ᾽ ἔθορε πρὸ φόως. In the Homeric Hymn to Hermes 20: Hermes μητρὸς ἀπ᾽ ἀθανάτων θόρε γυίων. In PDerveni 8F: αἰδοῖον κατέπινεν, ὃς αἰθέρα ἔκθορε πρῶτος. [166] In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter 430, Persephone narrates Hades’ rush towards her from the opening of the earth: τῇ δ᾽ ἔκθορ᾽ ἄναξ κρατερὸς πολυδέγμων Hades, who, albeit not newly born, moves suddenly and overwhelmingly to accomplish the abduction.
In the Homeric epics, attestations of this verb are numerous (there are far more occurrences in the Iliad than in the Odyssey), all of which describe the movement of the heroes or gods in battle or in action, and more specifically, the way in which they jump from the chariot or rush towards the enemy. [167] These movements are sometimes likened in similes to those of animals (the lion, the dog, the eagle) attacking their prey, or to the movement of the sea. [168] One instance in which both verbs are employed (as in the text from Pelinna) is Hector’s overwhelming attack, likened to that of a wave crushing a swift ship (Iliad 15.623–625): αὐτὰρ ὃ λαμπόμενος πυρὶ πάντοθεν ἔνθορ᾽ ὁμίλῳ, | ἐν δ᾽ ἔπεσ᾽ ὡς ὅτε κῦμα θοῇ ἐν νηῒ πέσῃσι | λάβρον ὑπαὶ νεφέων ἀνεμοτρεφές. [169] In that respect, bulls and rams may not rush towards milk as newborns, but the verbs employed, θρῴσκω and πίπτω, are exactly the ones to describe their fierce attacks, as both a bull and a ram charge in the same unidirectional way. Epic poetry seems aware of the verb’s semantics, especially its relation to new beginnings, be it birth or rebirth, or a particular and decisive movement.
What this movement pertained to is best illustrated in the invocation of Dionysos by the women of Elis, preserved in Plutarch’s Greek Questions (299a–b), an invocation which “may be the oldest extant Greek cult song”: “come, hero Dionysos, to the pure temple of Elis’ people accompanied by the Graces, to the temple storming on your bovine foot, worthy bull.” [170] Furley and Bremer emphasize the relation of the hymn to sacrifice, as the women “address simultaneously the animal which is going to be sacrificed and acquire quasi-heroic status, and the god Dionysos himself”; this relation is further exemplified in a scene depicted on a vase in which Hermes leads a sacrificial procession comprising a bull adorned for sacrifice, Apollo singing with a lyre, and Dionysos following behind. [171] Moreover, Furley and Bremer discuss the Austrian excavations under the direction of Veronica Mitsopoulos-Leon, which have revealed the agora of ancient Elis and the adjacent theatre and temple of Dionysos. At the theatre’s western corner, tombs, dated to the eleventh century BCE, were found intact, and under the center of the innermost row of the theatre’s seats an underground room was discovered, and at its bottom a bull-skull lying on clay fragments with horns and forehead looking east. Mitsopoulos-Leon associated the astonishing finding with the hymn; Furley and Bremer were “tempted to ask: is it possible that in this theatre the local population worshipped a heroised bull?”; and Scullion found the association “quite arbitrary” because boukrania are found in a variety of contexts, and the temple rather than the theatre would be a more appropriate site “for regularly recurring cultic offerings.” [172] The coincidence of the eleventh-century-BCE tombs and this subterranean chamber-tomb(?), adjacent to the theatre and the nearby temple of Dionysos in the agora of Elis, is remarkable, and begs yet another question: might this coincidence also be related to the other reported tomb of Dionysos in Apollo’s temple at Delphi, and the reported tomb of Zeus inside the Idaean Cave?
More importantly, for the verb θύω Furley and Bremer rightly point to the Palaikastro hymn’s θρῴσκω, since both imply a similar movement of the two(?) divinities. [173] The movement implied by these verbs, combined with the expression τῷ βοέῳ ποδί, suggests, as Scullion has remarked, “a god described as a bull in the context of ecstatic dancing; dancing that produces the bliss of communion with a powerful god, who has both ecstatic and destructive madness in his gift.” [174] It should be noted that in the Palaikastro hymn’s fragmentary second strophe (lines 9–10), the feet also appear, undoubtedly for the description of the Kouretes’ ritual dancing, while the chorus sings the hymn standing around the altar. Furthermore, among the scenes on vases where Dionysos and a bull appear, two depict the god riding on a bull: in one, Dionysos has a double axe and rhyton in his hands; in the other, he is pouring a libation from a kantharos. [175] The motifs of the bull (or ram or kid), the ecstatic ritual dancing, the theme of purity, and the mysteries in the two hymns from Elis and Palaikastro and in the texts of the lamellae (groups A and D) are manifestations of a divinity in ritual contexts whose aims may differ. In that respect, Dionysos’ epithet heros in the hymn from Elis may not be as problematic, as only humans are or become heroes, at least in epic poetry. Or, it should be as problematic as the expressions: “you have become god, now you died and now you are reborn, you will reign along with other heroes,” all of which refer to the mystes’ new status in the A-texts (which stress purity), in B1 and by implication in the B-texts (which stress drinking from the water of mnemosyne), and in the D2-text (which stress milk and wine). [176] The mystai of Dionysos become identical with him, i.e. they become bacchoi, just as the god in his earthly manifestations becomes a bull, a ram, or a kid, and in the cult song from Elis is addressed as heros. These animals were selected because their movements (which were perhaps consciously imitated by Dionysos’ followers) came close to the movements of the ecstatic ritual dance, through which communion with god and the god’s epiphany were effected.
The god in the Palaikastro hymn is called to “rush towards” cattle, sheep, trees, the oikoi, the poleis, the ships, the young citizens, themis, with the same energy that a newborn would, or in the manner a bull or ram might charge, in order to effect fertility and growth. In the texts of the lamellae, the deceased, after her/his rebirth, is exhorted with a similar energy to “rush towards milk,” the essential food for the survival of newborn babies, whatever ‘food’ represented in the mystery cult context. Interestingly, in Callimachus’ Hymn to Zeus (48–50), the young god is nourished on the milk of the goat (and not the nymph) Amaltheia and on the honey of the melissa Panakris, named after Panakra (“the top of Mt Ida”). This nourishing formula for the supreme god is unique in literature and not at all divine. Milk and honey, with the addition of wine, are also prominent features in Euripides’ Bacchae (142–143), where the Dionysiac miracles have been understood as a paradisiac condition; honey may also endow someone with prophetic skills according to the Homeric Hymn to Hermes; and “the land of milk and honey” (γῆ ῥέουσα γάλα καὶ μέλι) is repeatedly promised in the Septuagint, but never in the New Testament. [177] Again these coincidences are remarkable, but they should not imply necessarily that the Palaikastro hymn (and Callimachus’ Hymn to Zeus, the Bacchae, the Homeric Hymn to Hermes, and the Septuagint) are Orphic documents. [178] It does indicate, however, that the Cretan composer of the Palaikastro hymn, just as the composer of the Elis hymn, was well versed in the epic and hymnic tradition, within which the texts on the lamellae and epistomia are also solidly placed. Both share this peculiar expression chosen to express a ritual and cultic activity, most probably the ecstatic and orgiastic ritual dance that looked similar to the erratic movements of young animals and babies, especially when in need of nourishment.
The sanctuary of Hermes Kedritis and Aphrodite in Kato Symi Viannos at an altitude of 1135 m on the southern slopes of Mount Dikte was an interstate destination of continuous worship from the Minoan Old Palace period onwards, as the excavations by Aggeliki Lebessi have established. [179] In attempting to assess the nature of the rituals and cults in the sanctuary, Lebessi has studied the bronze plaques and figurines and their iconography, items which were dedicated by young and mature male members of aristocratic clans. They represent scenes from a ritual initiation of youths into adulthood: youth in adorant posture, nude males bearing arms, a ritual involving a cup, a self-flagellation purificatory ordeal, the hunting of a wild goat, the sacrifice of animals, the playing of the phorminx and the flute. [180] The presence of both Hermes and Aphrodite indicate that in the sanctuary coexisted rituals and cults of fertility, of adulthood initiation, and of marriage. This divine couple appears endowed with both chthonic and vegetative aspects, which were not conceived of as distinct. Hermes in particular has been identified with the piled stones, hermakes, where both chthonic and fertility powers dwelled. [181]
An epigram from Phaistos (no. 17 above and Figure 18 [page 41]), [182] the city south of the Idaean Cave and close to Gortyn, was set up in the temple of Magna Mater. This text has been commented upon briefly but convincingly by Giovanni Pugliese Carratelli, who associated it with the Cretan incised epistomia (the text is printed below in its hexametric form with verticals indicating line-divisions on the stone): [183]
      θαῦμα μέγ᾽ ἀνθρώποις | πάντων Μάτηρ προδίκνυτι: |
τοῖς ὁσίοις κίνχρητι καὶ οἳ γον|εὰν ὑπέχονται,
5 τοῖς δὲ π|αρεσβαίνονσι θιῶν γέν|ος ἀντία πράτει. v
πάντε|ς δ᾽ εὐσεβίες τε καὶ εὔγλωθ{ι}οι πάριθ᾽ ἁγνοὶ v
10 ἔνθεον ἐς | Μεγάλας Ματρὸς ναόν, | ἔνθεα δ᾽ ἔργα
γνώσηθ̣᾽ ἀ|θανάτας ἄξια τῶδε ν|αῶ.
The epigram is divided either into two or three parts, as the empty spaces on the stone indicate after the verb πράτει, and after ἁγνοί. In the first case (3:3), the first three hexameters state the ways of the goddess; the latter three invite all who are “pious” and “eloquent” or “sweet to the ear” to enter the temple “pure” and learn the divine works. In the second case (3:1:2), the fourth hexameter forms the central portion of the epigram, where there is also a change from the third person of the first three hexameters to the second, while the last two hexameters form an elegiac couplet (the problematic sixth line is not a hexameter, but a pentameter). [184] The shift in metrical rhythm and in the person of the verbs is not alien to compositional techniques of funerary epigrams and of the texts on the lamellae and on the Cretan epistomia, especially B12 (no. 9 above). The Phaistian epigram therefore invites comparison with these texts, which unveils almost identical compositional techniques, but different discourses on death, as each set of texts aims at a different target. The great miracle in line 1 is picked up again in the concluding lines 10–12, where it is explicated as the god-inspired erga worth performing in this temple. The pentameter highlights the transition from the ways of the goddess in the first part to the invitation to the pious in the second and complements the shift of the verbs from third to second person.
The first part of the epigram (especially the second and third hexameters) is difficult to understand. The first verb προδίκνυτι, “show by example, show first, make known beforehand” (LSJ), clearly indicates an oracle and/or a cultic place where mysteries (“a great miracle”) are performed. The verb’s semantics allude to the ritual and performative aspect of the text itself, [185] and the deictic at the end, τῶδε ναῶ, emphasizes forcefully the performative present, the hic et nunc performance of the ritual. [186] The goddess’ foreknowledge and divination (κίνχρητι) [187] is exclusively reserved for the hosioi and for those who literally “put themselves under/within their generation” (LSJ), and who “maintain their origin” (lines 3–4). But to those who transgress the divine generation, the goddess performs the opposite, i.e. does not foretell or divine. Cautiously but correctly, Pugliese Carratelli associated the two sentences, οἳ γονεὰν ὑπέχονται and παρεσβαίνονσι θιῶν γένος, both of which must refer to the same confession, none other than the one encountered in the B-texts of the lamellae and epistomia, where the deceased introduces him/herself as: “the son of Earth and starry Sky” (Γῆς παῖς εἰμι καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος); and in two of the B texts, s/he also adds: “my name is Asterios” (B2: Ἀστέριος ὄνομα); and “my generation is from heaven” (B9: αὐτὰρ ἐμοὶ γένος οὐράνιον).
What kind of mystery cult and ritual is behind this epigram is not clear, although tempting suggestions have been proposed. Pugliese Carratelli emphasized the relation between this text and Euripides’ parodos of the Cretans, where “divine works” are also performed in honor of the triad: Zeus, (Dionysos) Zagreus, and Mountain Mother. Behind these cults and rituals, according to Pugliese Carratelli, may lie an interrelation between a Cretan Dionysiac mystery cult and an “Orphic-Pythagorean belief about Mnemosyne,” because only through Memory can the initiates accomplish the divine message: to remain within and not to transgress their divine origin. Otto Kern had suggested the presence of Orphics in Crete. Nicola Cucuzza associated the epigram with the ekdusia of Leukippos and the initiatory rites of ephebes as well as with the fertility ritual of Rhea and/or Lato Phytia at Phaistos. And Katja Sporn cautiously proposed to leave the matter open, as the available evidence does not corroborate the identification between Magna Mater and Leto or Rhea (or even Cybele for that matter). [188]
What this epigram does demonstrate is a Phaistian mystery cult, similar in concept to the cult and rituals behind the Cretans’ parodos, performed in honor of Zeus, (Dionysos) Zagreus, and the Mother Oreia (who by analogy is closer to Magna Mater than to Rhea or Leto). [189] These two cults also appear similar in concept to the mystery cult(s) behind the texts of the gold epistomia discovered in the wider area of Eleutherna, but also in Pherai, Thessaly (text D5 in Table 1). Moreover, in this epigram the priest/poet employs the verbs προδίκνυτι and κίνχρητι to denote the activity of the goddess, verbs that recall Epimenides’ divinatory activity which is not associated with that of Apollo. Magna Mater, inside her god-inspiring temple, reveals the only god-inspiring deeds that count. She pronounces ‘the oracle’ of life and death answering the awe-inspiring question ‘what happens when humans die?’
Phaistos and Eleutherna lie on opposite sides of Crete’s most famous site in antiquity, the Cave of Zeus on Mount Ida, [190] where a mystery cult and rituals were also performed (although of what kind remains a mystery). It would be quite astonishing, however, if the mystery cult and rituals in the Cave were very different from what the Phaistian epigram, the twelve Eleuthernaean epistomia and Euripides’ Cretans imply. [191] The Cave, located at an altitude of approximately 1500 m, has intrigued visitors and students alike. Literature concerning the location and its enticing qualities and mesmerizing effects stretches back to the ancient times. The recent excavator Yannis Sakellarakis has presented solid evidence confirming continuous worship from the Minoan period until well into the fourth century CE: [192]
As is to be expected, the sanctuary particularly prospered during certain periods when it received Panhellenic offerings and at other times worship shows signs of decline. Most frequently worship was transformed, a subject of particular importance for religion, to blend other divinities, chiefly in later times … The origin of the singular worship of Cretan Zeus, the god who was born and died every year, lies in the prehistoric, Minoan deity, the young god who personified the yearly birth and death of the vegetation cycle, despite the lack of archaeological proof. This evidence is now explicit and unquestionable, and furthermore indicates the extent and dynamism of Minoan worship which preceded … Fortunate, too, are the names of the neighbouring mountain tops, one of which is called Tympanatoras, which alludes to an act of worship, namely the beating of the drums by the Kouretes at the birth of Cretan Zeus (my emphasis).
The findings are overwhelming and more will definitely come to light, as excavations have resumed at Zominthos, a late Minoan site close to the Idaean Cave, perhaps the last stop from the north and east roads leading to the Cave. [193]
Conclusive evidence has not been found for the worship of the triad and the mysteries found in the parodos of Euripides’ Cretans, except for Zeus Idaios, mentioned in a number of treaties between Cretan cities as their guarantor. [194] Some of the artifacts are associated with ephebic initiation rites and fertility, while others indicate worship of more deities in addition to Zeus. [195] Motifs on the bronze art works from the Idaean Cave, dated from the ninth century BCE to the archaic period, include the potis and potnia theron, ritual dancing and musical processions, warriors and hunters, and female divinities enthroned or lying on a couch. These motifs have been clarified by Popi Galanaki, who argues that one of them, the potis theron motif, is reminiscent of the later mystery cult of Zeus Idaios and Dionysos Zagreus. [196]
Figure 48. Inscription on clay tabula ansata: vow to Zeus Idaios, from the Idaean Cave.
Figure 49. Engraved gold lamella (possibly a phylactery?), from the Idaean Cave.
The very few texts from the Cave that have been published and those whose publication is forthcoming include: some inscribed pottery sherds and numerous lamp signatures; [197] a dipinto; [198] a fragmentary text on stone, perhaps a dedication by or in honor of an Emperor; [199] and a bronze cauldron with a dedicatory inscription by Phaistos son of Sybrita dated to ca. 490–480 BCE. [200] A dedication to Zeus Idaios of the Imperial period is engraved on a clay tabula ansata(?) by Aster son of Alexandros (IC I.xii.1, Figure 48; on the back side the letters ΔΙ are probably Zeus’ name again in the dative): Δὶ Ἰδαίῳ | εὐχὴν | Ἀστὴρ Ἀ̣|λεξάν|δρου. A gold lamella with a curious text (perhaps a phylactery although its presence in the Cave is not easily explainable) was tentatively suggested by Halbherr to be a gnostic formula, and by Guarducci to be an “inscriptio abracadabrica?” (IC I.xii.8, Figure 49; line 4 is inscribed ἐπὶ τὰ λαιά): [-  -]Ι̣ΟΥΩΗ | [- -]ΩΑΙ̣Ι̣Η | [- - φυλ]|άσσου. And a dodecahedral cube made of rock crystal and dated to the first century CE, is engraved with a letter or number on all twelve sides. [201] Its presence in the Idaean Cave is not easy to explain, as a number of different reasons may account for its findspot, but Chaniotis rightly associates it with divinatory activities which may have taken place in the Idaean Cave, where Cretan Zeus was prominent, as the legends about Epimenides also indicate. [202] He cautions, however, that, if an oracle existed in the Idaean Cave, it need not have been either permanent or continuous. The gold foil with the curious text and the dodecahedral cube are intriguing pieces of evidence, as both admit a variety of explanations, but a connection with the activities, oracular and/or ritual, in the Cave seems the most probable.
Finally, a late, but very important inscription from Samos provides significant information about the mysteries on Ida: [203]
      Ἥρη παμβα[σίλεια, Δι]ὸς μεγάλου παράκ[οι]τι
εἵλαθι κἀμὲ φύλαττε, σαόπτολι, σὸν λάτριν ἁγνόν.
ἄρτι γὰρ ἱρὰ Διεὶ ῥ[έξ]ας Κρήτησιν ἐν ἄντροις
Ἴδης ἐν σκοπέλοισι λάχον γέρας ἐκ βασιλῆος
5 Νήσων, τὰς πέρι πόντος ἁλίκτυπος ἐστεφάνωκε,
ἡγῖσθαι, Πλούταρχος, ἔχων πατρὸς οὔνομα κλεινόν,
[Οὐρανίοις] σὺμ π[ᾶσι]ν ἐμὸν βασιλῆα φύλασσε.
Hera, queen of all, wife of great Zeus, saver of cities, be merciful and protect me, your pure worshipper. For I have just performed sacrifices to Zeus in the Cretan Cave on Mount Ida, and the king appointed to the office of leader of the Islands, which the wave-sounding sea garlands, me, Ploutarchos, the glorious name of my father; protect my king with all the Ouranian gods.
Ploutarchos son of Ploutarchos, the clarissimus proconsul of Achaia under Constans, has been identified by Louis Robert and Angelos Chaniotis as the praeses insularum under Julian the Apostate, who addressed to Ploutarchos a brief letter and therefore the text is dated to 361–363 CE. [204] Chaniotis has discussed the language of the inscription which employs key words: λάτριν ἁγνόν, ἄρτι ἱρὰ Διεὶ ῥέξας Κρήτησιν ἐν ἄντροις Ἴδης ἐν σκοπέλοισι, suggestive of the sacrifice and initiation in the mystery cult performed in the Cave, even at so late a date. Ploutarchos employs the epithet hagnos, which is found also in the Phaistian epigram and in the A-texts; line 1, on the other hand, is a variant of the Orphic Hymn to Hera (Hymn 16 Kern, line 2), although the epithet παμβασίλεια is employed for other female deities as well in the Orphica, all or some of whom may be understood as other identities of Magna Mater. [205] Interestingly, albeit not unexpectedly, the Samian inscription begins and ends with the same verb, φύλασσε with which the curious text on the gold foil from the Idaean Cave appears to end. Even though the verb, like the epithets above, is very common in amulets and phylacteries, the possibility that the lamella may have been incised with some other kind of text (dedicatory? hymnic?) cannot be ruled out (perhaps like the C1-text in Tables 1–2).
More importantly, however, Ploutarchos’ initiation and sacrifice in the Idaean Cave before assuming office, the Palaikastro hymn, and the evidence we have from the treaty oaths of the Hellenistic period, where Zeus Fidatas is present among the gods to whom the parties swear, suggest that the mysteries and rituals of the Idaean Cave were not simply religious activities without any political or social impact. That such was the case not only in Crete but also elsewhere is further corroborated by an analogous incident in seventh-century BCE Lesbos, [206] attested in Alcaeus’ fragment 129V. As Anne Pippin Burnett has demonstrated in her excellent discussion on “the disintegrating faction,” [207] this fragment presents a persona loquens, none other than the faction formed by Alcaeus, Pittakos, and other Lesbian aristocrats to overthrow Myrsilos, who is speaking at the moment when Pittakos has defected and the members of the group are running to safety in a precinct as suppliants. The members of this faction had sworn an oath to either kill Myrsilos or themselves die, which Pittakos’ treason has broken. As Burnett points out, the fragment starts out as a solemn prayer of supplication and turns into a solemn curse: “though it is in actuality a sympotic performance, not a ritual denunciation, the poet has found ways to give it a sense of supernatural efficacy.” [208] The oath which the group swore is itself worth a closer look. It is witnessed by a specific triad of deities, whom the poet calls upon again, now that the secrecy of their plot is revealed to Myrsilos by Pittakos’ defection. Zeus Antiaios/Suppliant (129V line 5: ἀντίαον), Hera Aeolian Mistress, famed mother of all (lines 6–7: Αἰολήιαν κυδαλίμαν πάντων γενέθλαν), as well as Dionysos Kemelian and Omestes (lines 7–9: κεμήλιον … Ζόννυσσον ὠμήσταν) are called upon to hear the prayer and to “send the oath’s indwelling curse after Hyrras’ son—the Fury we invoked the day we swore …” [209] Burnett comments on the specific epithets of the triad: “Zeus is addressed from a posture of mortal humility, as Antiaios; Hera from a stance of racial pride, as the birth-source of all; Dionysos from a mirroring position of noble ferocity, as Omestes.” Dionysos’ first epithet is problematic and a number of emendations have been proposed, the most recent one associating this epithet with an obscure entry in Hesychius: ?καμαν τὸν ἀγρόν. Κρῆτες; whence “Dionysos of the fields.” [210] This triad has been associated with a Prehellenic group like the analogous triad of Herakles-Hera-Dionysos in Samos, in which the two male divinities are also young. Burnett argues that “if this (sc. association) is correct, the Lesbian cult will have been peculiar in its substitution of a powerful, chthonian Zeus of Suppliants for the second consort, usually likewise a youth.” [211]
The traits of this triad are not very far removed from those of certain deities of the Idaean Cave, especially the Euripidean triad: young Zeus Kretagenes also as guarantor of treaties, Mater Magna or Oreia as the fertility goddess par excellence, and Dionysos Zagreus as the perfect hunter. [212] It is significant that both Alcaeus and Euripides employ for Dionysos two epithets, one referring to his raw nature, the other to the fields and hunting, and it is further illuminating that the members of the faction call upon as witnesses a divine triad closely related with mystery cults and rituals. This does not imply a secret society in seventh-century BCE Lesbos initiated into the mysteries of Zeus, Hera, and Dionysos, and sworn to overthrow the tyrant. The distinctiveness, however, of the Alcaean fragment and its Cretan connection (however obscure, and admittedly tenuous) bring to the fore a dimension of mystery cults and rituals usually overlooked. Alcaeus manipulates and activates all available means (literally and figuratively) for his sympotic and political poetic performance, and among them initiation cults and rituals and their political dimension hold a prominent place, as they are intimately interrelated.
The Idaean Cave and its activities emerging from the fragmentary evidence—mystery cult, rituals and sacrifices, oracular pronouncements, all with important political and social ramifications—must have dominated central Crete, and the impact must have been lasting.
North of the Idaean Cave, Eleutherna and its environs, the provenance of the nine incised and three unincised gold epistomia, provides enough evidence to support the view that these epistomia may not have been out of context, especially from this particular part of the island. Chance finds and the excavations by the University of Crete over the last twenty years have brought to light structures, artifacts and especially inscriptions that demonstrate continuous but fluctuating habitation since the late Neolithic period. Sanctuaries and public buildings from the late Geometric and Archaic to the Hellenistic and Roman periods have been excavated on the hills Pyrgi and Nesi [213] and also at the site Katsivelos. [214]
The intra-mural necropolis at Orthi Petra, dated from the ninth to perhaps the end of the sixth century BCE, attests to a variety of burial practices which demonstrate a developing ideology and self-consciousness of the city’s inhabitants during this period. [215] The necropolis comprises a number of remarkable finds:  [216] the Orthi Petra itself, a huge stone-pessos around which the cemetery itself gradually developed; the pyre A of the warrior with the beheaded skeleton at its corner (an example reminiscent of Patroklos’ pyre and Achilles’ revenge in Homer, as Stampolidis has argued);  [217] the lady of Auxerre and a second Kore of Eleutherna, most probably grave monuments;  [218] and a cenotaph or heroon, a public burial monument to ‘the unknown warrior,’ as it were, inside which were discovered no skeletal remains, but only a baetyl, and on whose roof probably stood as akroteria or cornices the ten shield-bearing warriors, none other than the ten Kouretes, among them no doubt Eleuther himself (after whom the city was named). If the excavator is correct, what may have begun in Eleutherna as an intra-mural burial monument of one or more aristocratic clan-members who claimed their ancestry from one or more of the Kouretes, became gradually by the sixth century BCE the city’s most prominent and ‘official’ necropolis. [219] What rituals and burial rites, if any, were performed at the necropolis and whether the necropolis continued to function as such in the Hellenistic and Roman periods are at present open questions.
Moreover, from 400 BCE onwards, the epigraphical record of Eleutherna together with other finds provides strong indications about the presence of certain divinities who may suggest the existence of cults and rituals relevant to the texts on the epistomia. [220]
Apollo was apparently one of the major divinities of the city. The silver and bronze coins, issued by Eleutherna’s mint and dated from the middle of the fifth to the middle of the second centuries BCE, carry on the obverse Apollo laureate. On the reverse, two legends appear: in one Apollo is standing nude and is holding a sphere and a bow in his hands; in the other, nude Apollo with bow and quiver and a sphere in his right hand [221] is seated on an omphalos with a lyre beside it. [222] The latter coin-legend in particular alludes clearly not only to the hunter-motif, but also to the motifs of prophecy and music, associated in the literary record with Epimenides and Eleutherna. [223] The god’s epithets include: Δελφίνιος (in two inscriptions), Βιλκώνιος, and Σασθραῖος. [224] Furthermore, a very fragmentary text from ca. 500 BCE, which Guarducci tentatively calls lex ad kitharoedos, may be a regulation regarding the location within the city where the kitharistai might live (according to Paula Perlman’s cautious reconstruction), [225] but it cannot be taken in itself as evidence for foreign-residents in the city. [226] Perlman (2004:112) is correct in stressing that the legendary figures of poetry and music from Eleutherna and this single fragmentary attestation are not proof for the city being a center of music and poetry. But perhaps there is more to this than an intriguing coincidence. If these legendary stories predated this inscription, and if the coin-legends are therefore later than the inscription or at the least contemporary with it, then the Eleuthernaeans were conforming to their legends for obvious reasons. If, however, the stories were later inventions and postdate the inscription, then Eleuthernaean perceptions of themselves were projected onto these legends, which for some reason became widespread beyond the island—hence their attestation in non-Cretan literary texts.
Zeus’ presence at Eleutherna is attested in the epithets Fidatas, Thenatas, and possibly Skyllios in two fragmentary treaties from the third century BCE, [227] as Ὕψιστος in a small altar, [228] and as Πολιάο[χος], Μα[χανεύς?] in the calendar of sacrifices dated to 150–100 BCE. [229]
In the same calendar-of-sacrifices inscription, the cult of the Materes is also attested for the first time, as is [?Δάματερ Μεγάλα?]ρτος, and probably a month Damatrios. Eutychia Stavrianopoulou has argued convincingly that this inscription is the missing evidence that the Materes-cult in Engyon Sicily originated in Crete in the area around the Idaean Cave. Who these Materes were is not clear. Their identification with Demeter and Kore is an easy solution, but the literary evidence does not support it and it is not certain that the number of the Materes was two. Stavrianopoulou has recognized in them the Nymphs, mentioned in the context of the Idaean Zeus-cult, Amaltheia and Melissa. She has also argued for a connection of their cult with the locality Pantomatrion or Amphimatrion, thus probably named after them, north of Eleutherna in the area of modern Stavromenos, Chamalevri, and Sfakaki whence the five epistomia (see map, opposite page 1). [230] Sporn, although in agreement, is sceptical about the specific identification of the Materes with Amaltheia and Melissa (compare also Callimachus’ version above). [231] In the same calendar of sacrifices, a Nymph (Λύμφα<ι>) is also to receive a sacrifice, and in the treaty between Eleutherna and Rhaukos, the last divinities mentioned in the oath are: [κ]αὶ Λύμφας καὶ θιὸνς πάντ<α>[νς]. It appears, therefore, that the cult and ritual of the Nymph(s) is rather distinct from that of the Materes, who may thus be identified with the Magna Mater of Phaistos, the Mater Oreia of Euripides, and/or Rhea, Leto, Hera, or some other Magna Mater figure present in the Idaean Cave.
Persephone and/or Demeter or even a chthonian Aphrodite were most likely worshipped in a sanctuary at the site Elleniko on the hill SE of the modern village. [232] In the calendar of sacrifices mentioned above, Artemis is to receive offerings in her adyta ([ἐς τ]ὰ ἄδυτ<α> τὰ Ἀρτέ[μιδος]), [233] while the epithet ἀγρο[τέραι], if the restoration is correct, most probably refers to this goddess; she is also included in the oath of the treaty between Eleutherna and Rhaukos without epithet, followed by Velchanos (Fέλχανος). [234]
In the site Katsivelos, the excavated Hellenistic temple was dedicated to Aphrodite and Hermes, as the discovery of a small naiskos with the couple in relief and the statue of Aphrodite and Pan demonstrate. [235] Aphrodite is also included in the oaths of the two fragmentary treaties, together with Ares and Hermes. [236] Additional finds from this site also include: a statue of a Muse; a marble head of Aphrodite or a Nymph; [237] a statuette of a billy goat; a statuette and a small lead-plaque of Aphrodite; three ivory plaques decorated with mythological scenes from Achilles’ life (dated to the fourth century CE); [238] two gold cylindrical phylacteries, one dated to the second century CE, the other to the sixth century CE; [239] a demonic figure, an apotropaic figurine, and what is probably a magic ringstone. [240]
Until recently, the existence of a Dionysiac cult and ritual in the city was conjectured on the basis of a statue group of Dionysos and Silenos in the Rethymno Museum;  [241] a few coins which depicted a bunch of grapes issued by Eleutherna;  [242] and two inscriptions, a fragmentary text dated to the sixth or fifth century BCE, which preserves the name of the month Dionyssios, [243] and the asylia-treaty between Eleutherna and Teos, dated paulo ante 201 BCE and inscribed on the wall of Dionysos’ temple at Teos. Although much in this text is probably legalistic formulae, [244] the reference to a cult or ritual of Dionysos implied is undeniable (although of what kind remains a conjecture). The common ground between the two cities is their attitude towards Dionysos, who in this case acts also in a political capacity, not unlike Zeus Poliaochos, Apollo, and Zeus Idaios/Fidatas in the treaties between Cretan cities.
A number of artifacts, most of them dated from the second century BCE onwards, provide additional indications for the presence of Dionysos and his entourage at Eleutherna. A fragment of a marble vessel, depicting a Maenad in the characteristic stance of ecstasy and dated between the first century BCE and the first century CE, is undoubtedly part of a Dionysiac scene and is reminiscent of the Dionysiac scenes on the Derveni krater. [245] There is also a bronze lamp, dated between the second century BCE and the second CE, in the shape of a panther; on the beast rides Dionysos, holding in the right hand a thyrsos (now lost) and in the left a branch of ivy. [246] Additionally, in the Katsivelos site were excavated: a clay dramatic mask dated to the first century CE; a clay figurine of Ganymedes carrying wine, dated to the second century CE; and a clay-figurine of Papposilenos, dated to third century CE. [247] All of these artifacts display Dionysiac motifs and themes.
The most remarkable find, however, comprises the three ‘Herms’ of Pentelic marble unearthed during the excavations of the Protobyzantine Basilica’s narthex. In second use, without their heads, inset hands, and genitals, the ‘Herms’ were placed as lintels of the narthex’s doors. A head with two faces looking in opposite directions found in the small bath northwest of the Basilica joins with one of the ‘Herms’ and, as a result, one of these is almost complete, as it is missing only the inset hands and genitals. The excavator Petros Themelis dates the ‘Herms’ to the years of Hadrian or Septimius Severus and regards their craftsmanship and quality as comparable to that of the Herms found in the Panathenaic Stadium, an exquisite piece of work imported from Athens, and a unique example for Crete (Figures 50a–b). [248] The Eleutherna example, however, is not truly a Herm (hence the quotes for all three). The one whose head has been recovered depicts Dionysos and Ariadne crowned with an ivy-wreath and wearing a band. So far, this is one of the rarest representations in the Hellenic world and a quite unexpected find at Eleutherna. The few rare ‘Herms’ of Dionysos depict the god on one side as a youth, and on the other as a bearded adult. Themelis has suggested that the original, in all likelihood, was a fourth century BCE bronze work(s) by Praxiteles, which was used as a model for later copies. He compares the Eleutherna copy with the scene of the couple on the bronze kalyx-krater B1 from Derveni tomb B, and also with Dionysos on the western pedimental sculpture of Apollo’s temple at Delphi. [249] The features of the two heads are nearly identical, and perhaps, instead of Dionysos and Ariadne, the Herm may have represented Dionysos and Apollo, or even a double Dionysos. All three identifications seem equally plausible. Whichever may be correct, it is clear that Dionysos is connected with a divinity intimately associated with poetry, either Apollo or Ariadne, who in the literary record have overlapping spheres. [250] If, however, its identification with the Delphic odd couple is correct, this ‘Herm’ would visually represent most eloquently the true nature of the two gods: being identical, but looking in different directions, they share an intimate relationship often alluded to in the literary works, as shown above. Be that as it may, the reasons and the purpose for this costly enterprise of commissioning three ‘Herms’ from an Athenian workshop and transporting them to Eleutherna, remain elusive.

The Cretan Context of the Cretan Epistomia

The evidence presented so far indicates that literary perceptions of ‘Crete and the Cretans’ is not simply a matter of literature. Despite its piecemeal and sketchy nature, the evidence reveals that the epithets orgiones, paiaones, and semantores applied to Cretans during the archaic period are not outright literary fabrications. Especially regarding the texts on the Cretan gold epistomia, the context which produced them is not only similar to that of other texts incised on gold lamellae from Italy, the Peloponnese, Thessaly, and Macedonia. There is also a Cretan context that emerges, as the evidence suggests a variety of mystery cult(s) and rituals in Phaistos, in the Idaean Cave, and in Eleutherna (where the Cretan gold epistomia were found). As is the case with the texts on the lamellae, there is both similarity and divergence amongst the evidence from Phaistos, the Idaean Cave, and Eleutherna. It seems as if there was a renaissance of cults and rituals in these and in other places in Crete from the third century BCE until the late fourth century CE, notably after the Roman conquest and the organization of the island as a Roman province. Martha Baldwin Bowsky has argued cogently that the Romans took a particular interest in realigning and reorganizing the regional zone between Mount Ida and the White Mountains (see map, opposite page 1), so that finally Gortyn and the Diktynnaion were connected via Sybritos, Eleutherna, Lappa, and Aptera. As a result Eleutherna was privileged over Axos, despite the latter’s proximity to the Idaean Cave: [251]
Figure 50. Double-sided Herm from Eleutherna, Sector I. Rethymno, Archaeological Museum, Λ[ίθινα] 2579 (stele) and 2377 (double-sided head). (a. the Herm complete; b. the head’s two faces)
During the Roman and Imperial periods, the Cretans apparently revitalized and emphasized the long-standing perceptions about their island and themselves, chief among them the perceptions surrounding the Idaean Cave and its rituals and mystery cult(s). Milena Melfi has observed that during the Classical and Hellenistic period, when Crete was plagued by internal strife, the artifacts from the excavations in the Idaean Cave are few and indicate a decline, but from the Imperial period onwards, the number of artifacts increases remarkably. This suggests, as she argues, that in the first centuries CE the Idaean Cave, among other places on the island, became a fashionable destination, mainly among neoplatonic circles, which, however, may have been only one of the crucial factors. [252] Both the Diktynnaion [253] and the sanctuary at Palaikastro (where, in this very period, arose the need to reinscribe a new copy of the Hymn to Megistos Kouros, no. 16 above) are also marked examples (see map, opposite page 1).
Moreover, the evidence from Eleutherna corroborates that this was the city’s golden period (and, after the Minoan period, the entire island’s for that matter), and it may very well provide the missing answers for the renaissance of old cults and rituals from the third century BCE onwards throughout the island, but chiefly around Mount Ida. The Cretan context sketched above, the evidence from the area around the Idaean Cave, to the south at Phaistos, and to the north at Eleutherna, does point to intensive and continuous ritual and cultic activity. In all probability, the priesthood in the Idaean Cave and the neighboring cities (Phaistos-Gortyn, Knossos, Axos, Eleutherna) exploited to their advantage the Roman interest and tried to accommodate the needs of the people frequenting cult-places. [254] Such a context is fitting for, and may explain, not only the presence of the deceased buried with incised epistomia, but also the deviant choices and ideologies in these texts, because of the various but similar in concept mystery cults and rituals in Phaistos, the Idaean Cave, and Eleutherna.
The piecemeal nature of the evidence, however, advises caution, and the dedication by Aster, son of Alexander may illustrate the point. It may indeed be far fetched to argue that Aster son of Alexander was not his true name—a rare name in any case [255] —but instead the name he received after initiation into the mystery cult in the Idaean Cave. If we wanted to speculate in this regard, however, we might notice that the name Aster is reminiscent of: 1) the mystes from Pharsalos who identifies himself as: Ἀστέριος ὄνομα (B2); 2) the mystai of the B-texts, who identify themselves as: Γῆς παῖς καὶ Οὐρανοῦ ἀστερόεντος; 3) the entry of Hesychius: Ἀστερίη· ἡ Κρήτη καὶ ἡ Δῆλος οὕτως ἐκαλοῦντο (and of Herodianus: Χθονία· οὕτως καλεῖται ἡ Κρήτη); as well as the mountain Ἀστερουσία to the southwest; [256] and 4) Asterion or Asterios or Asteros, the mythical childless king of Crete to whom Zeus gave Europa in marriage and who reared Zeus’ and Europa’s children Minos, Rhadamanthys, and Sarpedon. All of these are perhaps nothing more than bewildering coincidences, as may be the minor role assigned to two divinities named Astraios and Asterie in Hesiod’s Theogony (376 and 409 respectively). [257]
Even so, and given the Cretan context(s) sketched above, the deviant readings in the symbolon and particularly in the topography of the epistomia B12 (no. 9 above) and B6 (no. 4 above), before they are dismissed as rather simple palaeographical oversights or mistakes, deserve serious consideration as significant variant readings. The expression: I am of Earth, mother, and starry Sky (Γᾶς ἠμι, <μ>ά̣τηρ, καὶ Ὠρανῶ ἀστερόεντος), may have undergone a small change, perhaps because of the cult of Magna Mater or the Materes, so as to be in concert both with local cult and with the Bacchic-Orphic mystery cult on afterlife. The mystes addressing her/his reply to the mother, none other than Persephone in a Bacchic-Orphic mystery cult, or the Magna Mater or the Materes in their mystery cult, would thus have it both ways, not unlike the mystes in D5, or the Chorus in the parodos of Euripides’ Cretans. This much at least, in spite of the problems in grammar and meter, is an equally plausible understanding of the symbola in B6 and B12.
The topographical variants in B12 and B6 are more intriguing and challenging. In particular, B12 lines 2–3 mention “the spring of Sauros/Auros” (κράνας <Σ>αύρου or κράνας Αὔρου), and B6 line 2 mentions “the spring of ΑΙΓΙΔΔΩ” (κράνας ΑΙΓΙΔΔΩ). Both texts deviate from all other texts in group B from Eleutherna, Thessaly, and Italy, texts in which the spring is either simply ever-flowing, divine, or bearing ice-cold water (ἀείροος, ἀέναος, θεία, or ψυχρὸν ὕδωρ), whose water the deceased must drink; or there will not be a spring but instead a lake of Mnemosyne (λίμνη Μνημοσύνης). If the reading in B12 is not a nonsensical topographical mistake, then “the spring of Sauros/Auros” should be related to the only other attestation for such a spring on Mount Ida. Theophrastos, in his narrative on black poplars (αἴγειροι, some of which bear fruit and some not) records that in the Idaean Cave and its environs, most of the black poplars bear fruit. He locates one at the entrance to the Cave, another smaller one nearby, and, at a distance of twelve stades from the entrance (approximately 2200 m) he notes many poplars around “some spring called of Sauros” (Historia plantarum 3.3.4: ἐν Κρήτῃ δὲ καὶ αἴγειροι κάρπιμοι πλείους εἰσί· μία μὲν ἐν τῷ στομίῳ τοῦ ἄντρου τοῦ ἐν τῇ Ἴδῃ, ἐν ᾧ τὰ ἀναθήματα ἀνάκειται, ἄλλη δὲ μικρὰ πλησίον· ἀπωτέρω δὲ μάλιστα δώδεκα σταδίους περί τινα κρήνην Σαύρου καλουμένην πολλαί). [258]
There is no way of determining the source of Theophrastos’ information. In the Nida plateau at the foot of the Cave, a number of springs are interspersed. One of them, “Christ’s spring” (πηγὴ τοῦ Χριστοῦ) has been identified as Theophrastos’ so-called “spring of Sauros” by Spyridon Marinatos and Eleutherios Platakis. [259] A second spring called “Partridge-water” (Περδικόνερο) was used by Sakellarakis’ team during excavations in the 1980s (personal communication). Sauros, “the lizard-man,” and especially Auros are not very common names, and this well accounts for Theophrastos’ scepticism: περί τινα κρήνην Σαύρου καλουμένην. It is almost as if the author himself does not believe what he is writing (the manuscript tradition is sound and presents no difficulties in this sentence). And yet, a close parallel may be found in the name of the Nymph Saora or Aora after whom the city of Eleutherna was originally named, as the grammarians note: [260]
Stephanus, Ethnica s.v.: Σάτρα· πόλις Κρήτης, ἡ μετονομασθεῖσα Ἐλεύθερνα· ὁ πολίτης Σατραῖος. And s.v. Ἐλευθεραί· ἔστι καὶ Κρήτης ἀπὸ Ἐλευθῆρος ἑνὸς τῶν Κουρήτων, ἥτις καὶ Σάωρος ἐκαλεῖτο ἀπὸ Σαώρης νύμφης.
Herodianus, s.v. Ἐλευθεραί· πληθυντικῶς λεγόμενον· ἔστι καὶ Κρήτης ἀπὸ Ἐλευθῆρος ἑνὸς τῶν Κουρήτων, ἥτις καὶ Σάωρος ἐκαλεῖτο ἀπὸ Σαώρης νύμφης. And s.v. Ἄωρος· πόλις Κρήτης ἀπὸ Ἀώρας νύμφης· ἐκαλεῖτο καὶ Σάωρος. And s.v. Ἀώρα ἢ Σαώρα· νύμφη, ἀφ’ ἧς Ἄωρος ἢ Σάωρος πόλις Κρήτης μετονομασθεῖσα Ἐλευθεραί.
Satra, a city in Crete, which changed the name to Eleutherna; the citizen is called Satraios. Eleutherai, a city in Crete, named after Eleuther, one of the Kouretes, which used to have also the name Saoros/Aoros after a nymph Saora/Aora.
Nymphs gave their names to springs and cities, and in the epigraphical record of Eleutherna, they are included in treaties and in the calendar of sacrifices, as noted above. Moreover, the inhabitants’ name Satraios is also a local epithet of Apollo, attested in the oath of a fragmentary treaty dated to the third century BCE. [261] The form Σασθραῖος provides the original name of the nymph (Σάσθρα), which perhaps the grammarians changed first to Σαστραῖος and then to Σατραῖος. Satra, in all probability, should be associated with the Iranian root χšαθrα, whence the Old Persian χšαθrα- pavan and satrap, literally “kingdom/fatherland protector”; alternately, it may have originated from a form Sat(a)ra or Sat(u)ra, after syncopation, from a root Sat- (Ksat-) which meant “free, master, ruler,” or even “fatherland.” [262] If the grammarians are to be trusted, then it appears that the two names may have been understood as similar in meaning; hence the change into a Greek and more intelligible name, Ἐλεύθερνα/Ἐλευθεραί.
This is not all, however. Things become even more complicated by a piece of evidence dated to at least the middle of the fifth century BCE which presents another remarkable coincidence. [263] Herodotus, in his narrative of Xerxes’ march through Thrace, enumerates the Thracian tribes that were forced to follow Xerxes’ army, naming only one exception, the tribe named Satrai (7.110). According to the historian (7.111.1), Satrai were the only Thracian tribe he knew up until his own time who had completely avoided subjection and had remained always free (ἐλεύθεροι). Herodotus attributes this freedom to their unparalleled military valor (τὰ πολέμια ἄκροι) and to their habitat high in the mountains, covered with every kind of forest and with snow (ἴδῃσί τε παντοίῃσι καὶ χιόνι συνηρεφέα). Among these mountains was Mount Pangaion which they especially minted for gold and silver (7.112). Moreover, high up on their mountainous territory, they possessed the oracle of Dionysos, whose prophets were from a group of Satrai called Bessoi, and whose female promantis divined in exactly the same way as the priestess at Delphi (πρόμαντις δὲ ἡ χρέωσα κατά περ ἐν Δελφοῖσι, καὶ οὐδὲν ποικιλώτερον 7.111.2). [264] What is remarkable is that Herodotus’ narrative appears to relate the name of the tribe to their attributes, just as in the lexicographers’ entries it is implied that the two names Satra/Eleutherna (Eleuther) had the same meaning, or that at least their meaning was understood as similar or identical. Τwo more details are also striking: the tribe’s expertise in warfare, which apparently secured their free status, and its forested habitation (ἴδῃσί παντοίῃσι), described in a way that recalls Ida (the name given to the highest mountain in Crete because of its being forested), in whose Cave Cretan Zeus, alias Thracian or Greek chthonian Dionysos, was worshipped.
Be that as it may, the coincidence is remarkable. Even if it may not point to some kind of connection between Cretans and Thracians (a matter still up for debate), this coincidence does imply that in two areas the toponym Sasthra/Satra underwent parallel interpretations. [265] Meaning either ‘free/sovereign,’ or ‘fatherland/kingdom,’ Sasthra/Satra or the like, after it was changed to Eleutherna, may have been retained as a name of one of Eleutherna’s districts or neighborhoods, where Apollo’s worship was prominent and ancestral links were thriving. [266] This much has been suggested by Henri van Effenterre for the other epithet of Apollo, Bilkonios, derived from Bilkon, perhaps the name of Eleutherna’s western hill Nesi, where Apollo’s presence could also have been prominent. [267]
Could Sasthra/Satra and Eleuther/Eleutherna have been Eleuthernaean re-inventions of the past, especially promoted from the late Hellenistic period onwards, [268] when people began flocking to the city and the neighboring renowned Cave-sanctuary on Ida? The stories could presumably have been about a Nymph named so and so, who had an escapade with Apollo in such and such a place, whence the epithet of Apollo and the name of the spring on Mount Ida. And about Eleuther, one or the most important of the Kouretes and a victor at the Pythia, there could also have been stories, about how he took such and such an action on behalf of the baby-god, and came down from Ida to such and such a place, whence the new name of the city. Such mythistorical creations, or “archaeologies,” as Claude Calame (2003) would call them, would more than sanction Eleuthernaean presence in the Idaean Cave and its lucrative administration. The Eleuthernaeans apparently employed in certain periods for their own political, social, economic, and religious purposes some or all of the names for their city, names far more numerous than for any other Cretan city: Satra/Sasthra, Saoros/Saora, Aoros/Aora, Apollonia, Eleuther, Eleutherai, Eleuther(r)a, Eleuthernai, Eloutherna, Eleuthenna, Eleutherna. These names variously reflect the inhabitants’ prejudices and ideology regarding self-awareness of their past and self-identity.
Eleutherna’s distance from the Nida plateau and from the Idaean Cave (today approximately an hour and a half by car, but in antiquity probably a full day’s walk up the mountain) should not present an insurmountable difficulty, as a modern example aptly illustrates. The pasture of the Nida plateau (or at least the majority of it) belongs today to the village of Anogeia, located at a distance of 21 kms to the north, and not to the village of Vorizia, located at a much closer distance of 8.5 kms to the south. [269] Whoever wished to visit the Idaean Cave and return could not have done so in one day, but had to spend at least one night, and probably more if s/he also wished to be initiated. The Nida plateau is scattered with Roman remains which no doubt belonged to structures for the accommodations of the visitors, [270] much like the ones excavated in the Diktynnaion. As the Idaean Cave was an interstate sanctuary (whether this was the case all along or if it only happened gradually is unclear) whose logistics and priestly responsibilities were administered by the citizens of Gortyn/Phaistos, Knossos, Axos, Eleutherna, and perhaps other cities, it is only natural that these citizens who had to spend a considerable number of days or months in the Nida plateau would have their own lodgings somewhere near the Cave. An analogous case, mutatis mutandis, is the so-called thesauroi of cities in the sanctuaries at Delphi and Olympia, which housed and protected the city’s dedications to the god. The principle behind the thesauroi is similar. The sanctuary authorities permit cities to build within the precinct their own oikiskoi as dedications to the god, in which the city also housed and protected its smaller offerings. Likewise, in the Nida plateau, albeit not within the precinct itself (its borders can only be guessed at), the neighboring cities would have to come to terms and divided up the space proportionately(?), presumably to everybody’s benefit. If such an amiable agreement, as described, ever existed, the evidence for it is wanting, as is information about the sanctuary’s administration. In fact, evidence to the contrary is presented by the fate of the interstate sanctuary of Diktaian Zeus in eastern Crete. Disputes between the neighboring cities Itanos, Dragmos, Praisos, and Hierapytna about their borderline and about the control of the arable land and pastures of the sanctuary were fierce and long-lasting, and eventually ended each time with the annihilation of one of the parties involved, until the Romans reorganized the island as a province. [271]
With names sounding so strange (Saoros and Aoros), no wonder Theophrastos was sceptical about the spring’s name. Theophrastos’ reading and that in B12 (no. 9 above) are in all likelihood related to the ‘older’ name of Eleutherna, Saoros, and the name of the spring can be nothing other than the “spring of Saoros/Sauros/Eleutherna” on the Nida plateau. This would imply that the area around this spring ‘belonged’ to Eleuthernaeans, where presumably they would have camped when visiting the sanctuary, or would have built more permanent lodgings.
B12 thus provides a strong link between Eleutherna and the Idaean Cave and the mystery cult initiations performed there sometime from the third century BCE onwards, if not earlier. More importantly, however, if the “spring of Eleutherna” in the Nida plateau did exist (and at present there is no compelling reason to doubt that it did—whether it is the “Christ’s spring” which Marinatos and Platakis identified as Theophrastos’ so-called “spring of Sauros” or one of the other springs in the plateau), then the Underworld illustrated in the texts on the Cretan gold epistomia (and perhaps also in those of the other gold lamellae) gains a significant dimension. It is commonly assumed that initiation into a cult comprised the legomena, dromena, and deiknymena. The texts on the lamellae and epistomia provide some of the dialogue and the action, but what kind of performance there was, and what was shown to the initiates is anybody’s guess. [272] The drama, reenacted constantly for each initiation and supposedly with minimal changes, must have also included some kind of scenery for the Underworld journey. Some persons, the priest(s?), would have acted out the roles of the guards of the spring/lake, and perhaps also those of Dionysos, Hermes(?), Demeter/Mater Oreia/Persephone, and Hades. The whole ritual performance should have been so impressive as to be inculcated into the initiate who thus would have no trouble during the ‘actual journey’ recognizing the cypress and the spring, and remembering the symbola dialogue.
What is astonishing, provided this reading and its scenario are plausible, is that an actual spring, the “spring of Eleutherna/Sauros/Saoros” in text B12 and its surrounding scenery may have been used as a ‘prop’ during the deceased’s initiation. If so, this may also account for the ‘wrong’ topography of the spring to the left of the cypress, as “the spring of Eleutherna/Sauros” on Ida may have been actually to “the left of a cypress-tree.” In that respect, if the reading in B6 line 2: κράνας ΑIΓIΔΔΩ does not refer to some topographical detail unknown so far, then κράνας αἰγί{δ}ρ̣ω, “the black-poplar spring,” is equally, if not more, acceptable, as Verbruggen had proposed. [273] For “the black-poplar spring” may also have been another epic element appropriated by the composer of this particular text (and perhaps of other texts), and given a new and very specific symbolism. Although the cypress is absent from Circe’s detailed instructions to Odysseus, poplars are not. A tree (black poplar) and a spring are part of Persephone’s grove at the entrance to the Underworld, and a tree and a spring also appear on the islands of Calypso (cypress and poplar), the Cyclops, Scheria, and Ithaca (poplars). [274] The scenery of the Nida plateau included poplars, as Theophrastos attests in the passage quoted above, but also the famous cypress-trees, exported throughout the Mediterranean, near which springs were flowing. [275] The cypress and the spring are mythic stock-elements, as is also the black poplar, which, as Edmonds has argued, do not illustrate a clear-cut operative dichotomy of left and right, but can signify different things in particular texts. [276] This accounts well for the divergent readings in the B group texts, but B12 and B6 may add another significant explanation of a more mundane nature. It appears that during initiation, a kind of Underworld scenery and atmosphere was created for the reenactment and performance of the ritual. This may indeed sound far-fetched, but is not unprecedented, as Merkelbach’s documentation of the small ritual acts performed during the initiation ritual into the cult of Isis and Sarapis shows. [277] This ‘stage’ for the performance of the ritual had to be plausible enough and had to represent as closely as possible the Underworld scenery as imagined by the ‘priesthood,’ for which sometimes real props, ready at hand, had to be employed, and which from place to place would expectedly be tinted with a local coloring. [278] Thus, the Underworld illustrated in the texts of the gold lamellae and epistomia is a unique combination not only of mythic stock-elements, but also of ‘real’ ones, a combination conveniently present on the Nida plateau, the black-poplar, a spring, and a cypress, which may account for the divergent topographical hints in these texts. The world above, more familiar and less dangerous, lends to the world below some real objects, a cypress nearby the spring of Eleutherna/Sauros, and the black-poplar spring, in order to render it less threatening, and thus more easily attainable.
The deviant readings in texts B12 and B6 (and E1, E4, and G2–4 for that matter) from Crete may present a case of local (or individual), and therefore ‘peripheral,’ influences on the Bacchic-Orphic discourse of afterlife, and not another typical case of an engraver’s mistake. To judge from the present state of the evidence, it may not be sheer coincidence that both texts present divergent readings in the same places, the symbolon, and the location of the cypress and the spring. The Cretan context(s) of mystery cults and rituals, especially the context sketched above for Phaistos, the Idaean Cave, and Eleutherna, amply illustrates that, especially from the third century BCE onwards, mystery cult(s) and eschatological beliefs, similar in concept to the one expressed in the texts on the epistomia, were in vogue and flourishing. These were not always and in all areas of the island peripheral or central to the polis religion, but apparently coexisted side-by-side not only with Olympian religious ideas but also with other cults and rituals. Nor was there one central Bacchic-Orphic doctrine which prescribed specifically how the Underworld journey should be accomplished, and how the promised life after death should come true.
Within the small group of the twelve incised and unincised epistomia there is evident differentiation. Different mystai felt differently and expressed their beliefs and attitudes in differing, more individual(?) ways, as the shapes of the epistomia, the burial-coin practice, and the choice of the words to be incised strongly suggest. Although the majority of the mystai conform to the general and therefore central ideology of eschatological beliefs as expressed in the long texts from Italy and Thessaly, two mystai insist on engraving in texts B6 and B12 a local and therefore peripheral version of the Underworld topography, not to mention the two mystai addressing Plouton and Persephone (E1, E4), and the three who do not engrave anything but leave the matter completely blank to be filled in accordingly (G2–4). Why are the specific details of topography so significant for the two mystai? Have these two mystai been initiated in the Idaean Cave on the Nida plateau, whereas the other ten elsewhere? Is this a local change of the Underworld narrative topography, or were similar attempts also made elsewhere but so far are unknown?
These are legitimate questions that show the limitations imposed by the evidence. Crete, located in the periphery of Greece, and Phaistos, the Idaean Cave, and Eleutherna and environs, in turn peripheral centers on the island, provide strong evidence against hasty emendation of both deviant texts so as to make them conform to their similar Cretan examples. They strongly argue for further research on these texts, particularly the possibility that they could have been influenced by local (or individual) idiosyncrasies. Religious attitudes and ideologies not only within a polis but also within a specific group of mystai, as is the case at Sfakaki, need not, or could not, always conform to identical practices. The evidence from Eleutherna and Sfakaki, reveal an interpretative tension and dynamic interaction between local and Panhellenic, central and peripheral, rituals and mystery cults, burial practices and ideologies, and discourses on afterlife.
The probable “springs of Eleutherna/Sauros, of the black poplar, and of the cypress” near the Idaean Cave, and the evidence from the excavations of the city suggest that Eleutherna and its environs remained a stronghold for a mystery cult and ritual with chthonic associations and beliefs in the afterlife from the late Hellenistic period until well into the fifth century CE. This long-lasting survival and the slow conversion of this area’s inhabitants to Christianity must have been one of the reasons, if not the main reason, for the early establishment of a bishopric at Eleutherna, in order to win over gradually the population. This process does not appear to have been violent, as Themelis has concluded on the basis of the excavations of the Basilica. Building material for its construction was taken mostly from the adjacent sanctuary of Hermes and Aphrodite, and from the Sebasteion, which, although not yet located, most certainly existed (as the Imperial dedicatory and honorary inscriptions indicate). Perhaps the Sebasteion was in some other locale, where the three Dionysiac ‘Herms’ were also erected. [279] The church was built sometime between 430 and 450 CE, as the mosaic inscription in the Narthex commemorates its foundation and records as the founder the bishop Euphratas, who participated in the Ecumenical Synod of Chalkedon in 451 CE.
The mosaic inscription also records the Saint to whom the Basilica was consecrated, none other than the archangel Michael, the Christian psychopomp. To the eyes of the area’s inhabitants he would not have looked that much different from Hermes and Dionysos, the psychopomps with whom they were already familiar. Whatever appeared non-offensive was appropriately incorporated into the new Basilica (the three ‘Herms’ being the most elaborate example) and the new ritual and cult, a process that apparently was crowned with success. The excavations have yielded impressive remains, [280] which provide strong evidence for a thriving bishopric in the first Byzantine period. Although the Basilica appears to have been destroyed for some unknown reason in 641–668 CE or immediately thereafter, after which it was simply abandoned, this need not imply any major setback for the bishopric. The sources mention only one other bishop of Eleutherna in addition to Euphratas, Epiphanios, [281] who participated in the Ecumenical Synod of Nicaea in 787 CE. In the second Byzantine period 961–1210/1 CE, the bishopric of Eleutherna apparently ceased to exist. This may have been caused by the site’s decline, although churches continued to be built and the population did not abandon the site altogether. [282] The bishopric at Eleutherna, however, may have ceased because its purpose was accomplished: to convert the inhabitants into Christians. Another bishopric was instituted in the area of Mylopotamos/Aulopotamos (Aulopotamos still being part of the modern bishopric’s titulature), an area north of the Idaean Cave, where three more bishoprics are known to have been active: one at ancient Axos, one at Episkopi immediately east of Eleutherna and north of Axos, and one at A(g)rion, which some have located at the north shore of Eleutherna (where ancient Pantomatrion, and modern Sfakaki, Chamalevri, and Stavromenos are located; see the section “Topography” and the map, opposite page 1). The institution of all these bishoprics cannot have been haphazard. They bespeak the lasting religious effects in the area north of the Idaean Cave, where, for many centuries, mystery cult(s) thrived and rituals were performed.


[ back ] 1. Maria Sarinaki is addressing these problems in her dissertation “The Literary Cretan Goddess” with emphasis on the literary context of the Cretan goddesses. Morris 1992 presents an eloquent account of Crete and the Orient from the late Bronze Age onwards.
[ back ] 2. Sporn (2002:21) subscribes to the same warning in the beginning of her study of Cretan sanctuaries and cults during the Classical and Hellenistic period; for this passage, see also Guthrie 1993:110–117.
[ back ] 3. The location of Crete in the Mediterranean basin and its intermediary role in transit and communication with the Near East and Egypt contributed decisively to the island’s special place. Burkert (1992, 2004b, 2005a), and West (1997b) present an impressive account of parallels between the Greeks and their Eastern neighbors, which strongly suggest an Eastern Mediterranean koine, or according to Nagy (2005:75) a lingua franca. For a brief definition of ancient Mediterranean religion, see Graf 2004a. Marinatos (2000) argues that Odysseus’ and Menelaus’ journeys lead to paradisiac places; she even proposes that Odysseus’ journey probably resulted from Greek, Near Eastern, and Egyptian motifs, and therefore may be termed a “cosmic journey” (2001); and in her forthcoming book’s Chapter IX she argues that the pictorial narratives on Cretan larnakes should be viewed as a Minoan version of the later Greek iconography of Elysion (for which see also 114n54). That such a koine did exist is evident in the archaeological record, for which see the discussions in Stampolidis and Karetsou 1998; Karageorghis and Stampolidis 1998; Stampolidis 2003a, 2003b, 2003c; and Stampolidis and Karageorghis 2003; for Crete and Egypt, 190n129. Objects and people traveled extensively, and with them traveled shapes, motifs, and ideas as well. The difficulties that arise are: 1) whether or not this exchange was unidirectional, always from east and south to west and north; and 2) what kind of influences these interconnections exerted, because objects and motifs are one thing, but the ideas and symbols behind them are completely another; e.g. the Semitic origin of the Greek alphabet is undeniable, but the Greek alphabet itself and its consequences in Greece and the Mediterranean is beyond comparison (Teodorsson 2006:169–175). Hodos (2006) argues convincingly that, in his case studies of the regions of North Syria, Sicily, and Africa, adoptions and/or adaptations involved a dynamic process of constant modification and reinterpretation of customs, practices, beliefs, and traditions. (Similar issues are raised by the evidence which dates from the late Republic into late antiquity, for which see the important discussion by Moatti 2006.) Lebessi and Muhly (2003) have shown convincingly the fundamental ideological differences of some oriental artifacts found in Kato Symi. Similar conclusions are reached by Bakker (2001) in his comparison of Gilgamesh and the Odyssey, two works which develop in parallel and betray constant interaction and significant modification. Cook (2004) has presented convincing evidence that the description of Alkinoos’ palace in Odyssey 7 is modeled on Assyrian palatial architecture. Bachvarova (2005) has argued cogently that Homeric poetry cannot be assumed to have been a direct imitation of any Near Eastern epic, but that “it is safe to surmise that Homeric poets, at some point in history, were in contact with an offshoot of the Near Eastern epic tradition” (153); see further Robertson 1990:424–426; 1991:60–62. For Homer and the Near East, see Morris 1997. For rituals in the Mediterranean from the Hellenistic period onwards, relevant to matters Cretan, and the problems their study presents Chaniotis 2005b, 2005c, 2002; and Kaizer 2006.
[ back ] 4. In the Catalogue of Ships, the Cretans under Idomeneus contributed 80 ships (Iliad 2.645–652), the same number of ships that Argos-Tiryns under Diomedes sent (Iliad 2.559–568), whereas the first two in size were Mycenae under Agamemnon with 100 ships together with 60 of Arcadians (Iliad 2.569–580, 603–614), and Pylos under Nestor with 90 (Iliad 2.591–602). For an overview of Crete in Homer, see Sherratt 1996; for poetry in Minoan Crete, see Tsagarakis 2006; for topographical and historical details, see Aposkitou 1960 and Willetts 1962:120–137. For the hundred cities of Crete in the Iliad and the ninety in the Odyssey and on the issue of their politeia, see Strataridaki 1988-1989:159–160; Tsagarakis 1989; Perlman 1992; Gehrke 1997; and Link 2002.
[ back ] 5. The πόδας ὠκύς formula is reserved almost exclusively for Achilles and, much less frequently, for the goddess Iris. In the Iliad, in addition to Meriones, the formula swift-footed (πόδας ταχύς) is awarded, only once in each case, to: Aineias (13.482), the hare in the simile where Menelaos is likened to an eagle (17.676), and Antilochos (18.2). For this formula in the Iliad, see Dunkle 1997 with earlier bibliography.
[ back ] 6. Stampolidis (1996:121–122 and passim) presents a detailed and generally convincing comparison of Homer’s description of Patroklos’ pyre and pyre A in Eleutherna’s necropolis.
[ back ] 7. In one of Odysseus Cretan tales: Od. 13.259–261: φεύγω, ἐπεὶ φίλον υἷα κατέκτανον Ἰδομενῆος, | Ὀρσίλοχον πόδας ὠκύν, ὃς ἐν Κρήτῃ εὐρείῃ | ἀνέρας ἀλφηστὰς νίκα ταχέεσσι πόδεσσιν.
[ back ] 8. For running and the Cretan dromeis, see Tzifopoulos 1998a; for archery Skoulikas, 2000; for Meriones as therapon of Idomeneus in the Palatine Anthology, see Steinbichler 1995. For Cretan traits as a literary topos in the Hellenistic epigrams, see Vertoudakis 2000a and 2000b.
[ back ] 9. For convincing discussions of these problematic tales/lies and their poetics, see: Clay (1983:84–89), who stresses the literary links between Meriones and Odysseus; Haft (1984), who examines the poetics of Odysseus’ Cretan tales, the similarities of Odysseus, Idomeneus, and Meriones, and Homer’s strategy in his narrative of Odyssey’s second half; Maronitis (1999:226–252), who argues that the first tale/lie to Athena is programmatic for the following ones; Grossardt (1998), who studies in detail the tales as tests of the characters involved, the tales’ narrative function, their self-referential poetics, and their reception in later texts; Sherratt (1996:89), who stresses the verisimilitude of the stories, in spite of their false frame, and distinguishes two earlier discourses in which Cretans held a prominent place, a heroic world evident in the Iliad, and a “‘real’ (contemporary and ‘historically’ remembered) world,” which “appears as something of an anti-Phaeacia” (92); and Sarinaki forthcoming, who discusses the Cretan tales in light of Odysseus’ mention of Ariadne in the Nekyia (Odyssey 11.321–325). For the Athenian myths and rituals which shaped and crystallized the Odyssey, see Cook 1995; and Calame 1996:98–112.
[ back ] 10. See also 155n9.
[ back ] 11. See especially Walsh 1984:3–21.
[ back ] 12. Reece (1994) suggests a parallel Cretan Odyssey that accounts for the inconsistencies in the narrative of the tales/lies, for which compare Burkert 2001b; for an Aetolian Odyssey, see Marks 2003. Faure (2000a), while provocative and interesting, undermines his case by over-enthusiastic arguments for Odysseus the Cretan; Malkin (1998) argues that the Odyssey may also present a protocolonization. Nagy (2004b:39) understands these variants “as multiforms stemming form oral traditions localized in Crete.”
[ back ] 13. See the section “In Search of a Context: Rhapsodizing and Prophesying the Afterlife.”
[ back ] 14. On Cretan Homers and on Cretan alterity, variation, and fictionality, see Martin 2005a.
[ back ] 15. Grossardt 1998:227–253; Parker 1991; Richardson 1974.
[ back ] 16. Suter 2002:147–148; also Graf 1974; and Clinton 2003. Clay (1989:265) suggests that “Eleusis always offered a potential antagonism to Olympos, and its doctrine posed a possible threat to the Olympian theologoumenon, as is abundantly confirmed by the later adoption of Eleusis by the anti-Olympian Orphics and other sects. As a whole, the Hymn to Demeter may be understood as an attempt to integrate, and hence absorb, the cult of Demeter and the message of Eleusis into the Olympian cosmos.” For the authorship of the Hymn to Demeter Clinton 1986. On eleus-in from eleuth-in, the ceremonial “going,” the procession, see Robertson 1998:568–572. On the transmission of the cult of Demeter Eleusinia, see Bowden 2009.
[ back ] 17. Clay (1989:228n79) suggests: “there is no reason to find a reference to a Cretan origin of the Demeter cult here,” although earlier she argued cogently that “the hymn-poet assumes a knowledge of this common version on the part of the audience and has deliberately modified it” (224); so also Mylonas 1961:16-19; Willetts 1962:151; Richardson 1974:188 ad v. 123. Suter (2002, especially in chapters 2, 6, 7, and 8) presents convincing arguments for the complex issues raised by the Hymn.
[ back ] 18. Theogony 969–974 (see Richardson 1974; Clay 1989; Suter 2002; and Sarinaki forthcoming): Δημήτηρ μὲν Πλοῦτον ἐγείνατο δῖα θεάων, | Ἰασίῳ ἥρωι μιγεῖσ᾽ ἐρατῇ φιλότητι | νειῷ ἔνι τριπόλῳ, Κρήτης ἐν πίονι δήμῳ, | ἐσθλόν, ὃς εἶσ᾽ ἐπὶ γῆν τε καὶ εὐρέα νῶτα θαλάσσης | πᾶσαν· τῷ δὲ τυχόντι καὶ οὗ κ᾽ ἐς χεῖρας ἵκηται, | τὸν δὴ ἀφνειὸν ἔθηκε, πολὺν δέ οἱ ὤπασεν ὄλβον. The hieros gamos of Demeter and Iasion, according to Avagianou (1991:165-175), “forms a marginal alternative to Zeus’ and Hera’s sacred marriage” (175).
[ back ] 19. The location of Demeter’s bed is not specified purposefully (Theogony 912–914): αὐτὰρ ὁ Δήμητρος πολυφόρβης ἐς λέχος ἦλθεν· | ἣ τέκε Περσεφόνην λευκώλενον, ἣν Ἀιδωνεὺς | ἥρπασεν ἧς παρὰ μητρός, ἔδωκε δὲ μητίετα Ζεύς.
[ back ] 20. For Apollo and Crete, see Swindler 1913; Willetts 1962; Burkert 1985:143–149; Sporn 2002:319–323; for Crete and Delphi, Guarducci 1943–1946; for Delphi and the Hymn to Apollo, see Chappell’s (2006) scepticism.
[ back ] 21. For trading and piracy, see the discussion in Miller 1986:95–96 with nn244–245; de Souza 1999; Perlman 2000; and Chaniotis 2004.
[ back ] 22. Kurke (2003:99n49) suggests that Apollo’s choice of Cretan traders and pirates “may represent an implicit acknowledgement—even within the high tradition—that the activities of Delphic priests are somehow akin to those of brigands or pirates”; similarly, Sherratt 1996. On Cretan involvement in colonizing, see Perlman (2002), who proposes to view within this context the choice of Cretans in the Hymn to Apollo; and Stampolidis 2006. The Cretan expertise in economic activities and transactions is of course only one of their characteristics.
[ back ] 23. On Apollo Delphinios, see Willetts 1962:262–264, and Graf 1979. On the Delphic priesthood, see Parke 1940; Parke and Wormell 2004:17–45; Fontenrose 1981:196-232; Miller 1986:91–110; Clay 1989:74–91; Bowden 2005:14–25. Athenaios relates that the dolphin, Apollo metamorphosed into one in the Hymn to Apollo (as Dionysos metamorphosed the sailors in the Hymn to Dionysos), was thought of as a sacred fish by the author of the Telchiniake Historia (Deipnosophistai 7.18): τίς δ᾽ ἐστὶν ὁ καλούμενος ἱερὸς ἰχθύς; ὁ μὲν τὴν Τελχινιακὴν ἱστορίαν συνθείς, εἴτ᾽ Ἐπιμενίδης ἐστὶν ὁ Κρὴς ἢ Τηλεκλείδης εἴτ᾽ ἄλλος τις, ἱερούς φησιν εἶναι ἰχθύας δελφῖνας καὶ πομπίλους. ἐστὶ δ᾽ ὁ πομπίλος ζῷον ἐρωτικόν, ὡς ἂν καὶ αὐτὸς γεγονὼς ἐκ τοῦ Οὐρανίου αἵματος ἅμα τῇ Ἀφροδίτῃ. On the importance of the dolphin in the cult of Melikertes/Palaimon, viewed in a Dionysiac context, see Seelinger 1998.
[ back ] 24. Clay (1989:79) emphasizes the poet’s presentation of the Cretans as “anonymous, unheroic representatives of mankind in general”; so also Miller 1986:96–99.
[ back ] 25. For the etymology, see LSJ; and especially Chantraine 1980, s.v. ὄργια, who notes that the word may be related to ἔρδω, but also to ὀργή and ὀργάω; and Clay 1989:242 with n120 (she also points out that (252) “as enumerated by Hades Persephone’s future timai have nothing to do with either the Mysteries or initiation or, to be sure, with Orphic notions of punishment after death”; this, however, is Hades’, or Olympos’, and not Demeter’s perspective and understanding of the final arrangement, as lines 272–274 and 476–482 indicate). Motte and Pirenne-Delforge (1992) clarify the uses of the term, but place the mystery cult of Cretan Zeus in the Hellenistic period (138). Ustinova (1996) discusses the social reasons for the Athenian orgeones during the pre-archaic and archaic periods; Arnaoutoglou (2003:31–37, especially 33–34) in his study of the Athenian religious associations of the Hellenistic period, among them the orgeones, notes that the word in poetic contexts means “some kind of priesthood,” or later in relation to Demeter and her mysteries, “the persons performing these rites”; but “the occurrences in the 4th-century law courts speeches point to … their [orgeones’] role as contexts of solidarity and sociability for their members” (37).
[ back ] 26. For this meaning, see Huxley 1975:119–120, with discussion of previous literature; and Watkins 1995:511–512. For the genre of the paian, see now the definitive study of Rutherford 2001:3–182 with complete previous bibliography; he translates, however, this phrase as ‘Cretan healers’ (24), although earlier he notes (15–16): “… I remain unconvinced that the earliest παιᾶνες were simply healing-songs.” For the poetics and juxtaposition of paian and threnos, see Loraux 2002:54–80. For orgiones and paieones Arnaoutoglou (2003:37) allows for the possibility of importation from Crete of certain rites of purification, as suggested by Defradas (1972).
[ back ] 27. Huxley 1975:121–122. Clay (1989:84n200) briefly notes the connection between the paean and paeonic meter and Crete; see further Rutherford (2001:24–29 and 76–79) on the meters of the paean-song, closely connected with the cretic and the bacchiac whose place of origin was thought to have been Crete; and Furley and Bremer 2001:vol. 1:78–82. Watkins (1995:510–511) analyzes the paean in Iliad 22.391–394 in paroemiacs and translates the phrase “Sing the paean-cry ‘Hail Healer’ ” (511–512).
[ back ] 28. The lyre is not the exclusive instrument for the paeans, as Archilochos’ fr. 121W (αὐτὸς ἐξάρχων πρὸς αὐλὸν Λέσβιον παιήονα) indicates (Rutherford 2001:66 and 18–23). The verb παιανίζω in Modern Greek indicates the marching-song played by a band for those participating and marching in a parade.
[ back ] 29. Rutherford (2001:29) suggests that what the Deliades sing and perform is a paean, although the poet does not use the word; for the human and divine choreography in the two scenes, see Peponi 2004.
[ back ] 30. Huxley 1975; Stampolidis 2006. On healing and purification, see the fundamental study of Parker 1983. For healing in epic and lyric poetry, and for Machaon, see Martin 1983:26–31, 60–65; for the Minoan and Mycenaean healers, Arnott 2002.
[ back ] 31. So Rutherford 2001:15–16; he discusses the military or quasi-military contexts of Paiawon/Paian and the iepaian-song, in which the ‘healing’ aspect originally belonged. In Homer things are different and Apollo is associated with healing: Martin 1983; and Burkert 1985:144–145.
[ back ] 32. Watkins (1995:511–512) understood the iepaian-song as a victory-response to the Pythoktonia, which he associated with other Indo-European poetry; see further Rutherford 2001:15–17. For performance contexts of the paian genre, which is not always related to Apollo as the dithyramb is not exclusively Dionysiac (Zimmermann 1992), see Rutherford 2001:23–90.
[ back ] 33. For this first oracle of Apollo, see Miller 1986:110 and Clay 1989:85–92.
[ back ] 34. Martin 1983:87–93 with earlier bibliography. Kurke (2003:86–90) discusses the proverbial Delphic machaira and Aesop’s critique of the Delphic “parasitic dependence on sacrificial offerings” (87). For the vignette’s Minoan associations, see Lonsdale 1995 with previous bibliography.
[ back ] 35. Allen, Halliday, and Sikes (1936:205) note that “Crete, Athens, and Delos are connected by the legend that Theseus, on his return from killing the Minotaur, instituted the festival of Apollo at Delos ... But ... the mention of Crete and Athens here is due to geographical rather than to mythological reasons.”
[ back ] 36. Burkert 1975 and 1985:144–145; see also Rutherford 2001:16–17.
[ back ] 37. Rutherford 2001:173 and 174.
[ back ] 38. The word is usually taken to refer only to those priests of Apollo who will come after the Cretans; if so, the role of the Cretans described earlier in lines 393–396 makes no sense and Apollo’s first oracle must come true as soon as the performance of the hymn ends so that there is no time for the Cretans to exercise any such activity, as the word semantores denotes: Allen, Halliday, and Sikes 1936:266–267; Miller 1986:110 and 91–110; Clay 1989:85–87; West 2003 s.v.; Athanassakis 2004 s.v.
[ back ] 39. Richardson (1974:190) notes that in the Hymn to Demeter the sense of the epithet is “presumably ‘my arrogant overlords’ ”; West (2003 s.v.) translates “those imperious ruffians.”
[ back ] 40. Nagy 1990a:62–64; 1990b:162–168.
[ back ] 41. Pausanias 2.7.7, 2.30.3; Hypothesis C to Pindar’s Pythians (Drachmann p. 4) names Chrysothemis and not Karmanor as Apollo’s purifier at Tarrha; Huxley 1975:122–124; Burkert 1992:42–46, 62–64; Sarinaki forthcoming.
[ back ] 42. For another Manto (both appropriately named so, as their fathers were manteis) daughter of the mantis Polyidos (about whom Euripides wrote a tragedy), and other prophetesses, see Lyons 1999; she argues that their identity is flexible and open so as to become the communicative vehicle of god’s prophecy.
[ back ] 43. The word, however, not attested as an epithet, is a name, for which see Bechtel 1917:472 and 580; and LGPN I, II, IIIA, IIIB, IV.
[ back ] 44. On Kouretes as oikistai of various Cretan cities, see Strataridaki 1988–1989:160; Guizzi 2001:283–303; 2003; and for Eleuther, the section “The Cretan Context of the Cretan Epistomia.”
[ back ] 45. For these and other Delphic activities, see de Araújo Caldas 2003 with the previous bibliography; for other oracles, see Rosenberger 2001.
[ back ] 46. Stobaeus 4.2.25: καὶ τὴν ἐνόπλιον πυρρίχην ἐκπονοῦντες, ἥντινα πρῶτος εὗρε Πύρριχος Κυδωνιάτης [Κρὴς] τὸ γένος. According to Strabo, however, who is using Ephorus, Koures was the inventor (10.4.16): ἀσκεῖν δὲ καὶ τοξικῇ καὶ ἐνοπλίῳ ὀρχήσει, ἣν καταδεῖξαι Κουρῆτα πρῶτον, ὕστερον δὲ καὶ συντάξαντα τὴν κληθεῖσαν ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ πυρρίχην (Lonsdale 1993:148–168); see also 166n50, 210n196. This dance survives today in the pyrrhichios ( Masherae, Μαχαίρια or Ti Masherí, Τι Μαχαιρί’) of the Greeks from Pontos, and in Ανωγειανός πηδηχτός, a rare Cretan dance at the village Anogeia.
[ back ] 47. Aelian Varia historia 12.50: Λακεδαιμόνιοι μουσικῆς ἀπείρως εἶχον· ἔμελε γὰρ αὐτοῖς γυμνασίων καὶ ὅπλων. εἰ δέ ποτε ἐδεήθησαν τῆς ἐκ Μουσῶν ἐπικουρίας ἢ νοσήσαντες ἢ παραφρονήσαντες ἢ ἄλλο τι τοιοῦτον δημοσίᾳ παθόντες, μετεπέμποντο ξένους ἄνδρας οἷον ἰατροὺς ἢ καθαρτὰς κατὰ πυθόχρηστον. μετεπέμψαντό γε μὴν Τέρπανδρον καὶ Θάλητα καὶ Τυρταῖον καὶ τὸν Κυδωνιάτην Νυμφαῖον καὶ Ἀλκμᾶνα. Swindler 1913:48–53.
[ back ] 48. Ps-Plutarch 1146b10–1147c1; Huxley 1975:122; Burkert 1992:42–46, 62–64; Rutherford 2001:24–26.
[ back ] 49. Strabo 10.4.16 quoting Ephorus: ὡς δ᾽ αὕτως καὶ τοῖς ῥυθμοῖς Κρητικοῖς χρῆσθαι κατὰ τὰς ᾠδὰς συντονωτάτοις οὖσιν οὓς Θάλητα ἀνευρεῖν, ᾧ καὶ τοὺς παιᾶνας καὶ τὰς ἄλλας τὰς ἐπιχωρίους ᾠδὰς ἀνατιθέασι καὶ πολλὰ τῶν νομίμων· καὶ ἐσθῆτι δὲ καὶ ὑποδέσει πολεμικῇ χρῆσθαι, καὶ τῶν δώρων τιμιώτατα αὐτοῖς εἶναι τὰ ὅπλα (Huxley 1975:122; Lebessi 1989; Burkert 1992:42–46, 62–64; and Rutherford 2001:24–26).
[ back ] 50. Iliad 18.590–594; on the destructive potential of Ariadne’s chorós, see Rinon 2006:10–12; on the association between the dance of Ariadne and the Dionysiac motifs on the shield see Sarinaki forthcoming; on the shield’s poetics and audiences, see Hubbard 1992, Stanley 1993, Becker 1995, and Scully 2003 with previous bibliography; on the poetics of choreia, see Ladianou 2005. For the possible association of the dance with the labyrinth, see Obsomer 2003; and 165n46, 210n196. Kritzas (1992–1993:282–289) discusses in detail, and provides convincing parallels to, an inscription from the sanctuary of Asclepius in Lebena, Crete, dated to the second half of the second and early first century BCE, which records that the neokoroi moved from the precinct’s adyton the chorós, a special construction for performances of dance and musical hymns, near the sanctuary’s spring, sacred probably to Nymphs; see also Lonsdale 1993:114-121; for the chorós in Sparta see Kourinou 2000:114–124.
[ back ] 51. Stephanus Ethnica 106 s.v. Ἀπολλωνία: κγ΄ Κρήτης, ἡ πάλαι Ἐλεύθερνα, Λίνου πατρίς. ἐκ ταύτης ὁ φυσικὸς Διογένης, for whom see also: Diogenes Laertius 9.57: Διογένης Ἀπολλοθέμιδος Ἀπολλωνιάτης, ἀνὴρ φυσικὸς καὶ ἄγαν ἐλλόγιμος. ἤκουσε δέ, φησὶν Ἀντισθένης, Ἀναξιμένους. ἦν δὲ τοῖς χρόνοις κατ᾽ Ἀναξαγόραν. τοῦτόν φησιν ὁ Φαληρεὺς Δημήτριος ἐν τῇ Σωκράτους ἀπολογίᾳ διὰ μέγαν φθόνον μικροῦ κινδυνεῦσαι Ἀθήνησιν. For the cities in Crete named Apollonia, see Kitchell 1977:196–211. Diogenes was a contemporary of Anaxagoras and taught in Athens in the second half of the fifth century BCE, but Kirk, Raven, and Schofield (1988:431) prefer Miletos’ colony Apollonia in the Euxine Pontus; compare Janko 1997 with previous bibliography, who discusses all previous proposals about the PDerveni author and concludes that he may have been either Diogenes, or one of his pupils, or Diagoras of Melos (Janko 2001); Burkert (1997) also finds affinities between Diogenes and the PDerveni author; see further Betegh 2004:306–321; and Kouremenos, Parássoglou, and Tsantsanoglou 2006:28–59.
[ back ] 52. Athenaios Deipnosophistai 14.42: ἄλλοι δὲ πρῶτόν φασιν παρ᾽ Ἐλευθερναίοις κιθαρίσαι τὰς ἐρωτικὰς ᾠδὰς Ἀμήτορα τὸν Ἐλευθερναῖον, οὗ καὶ τοὺς ἀπογόνους Ἀμητορίδας καλεῖσθαι. Guizzi 2006; Stampolidis (2006) suggests that these may have been ‘orphans’ or foreigners (ἀ-μητρίς), whom the city encouraged to devote their lives to music, poetry, and teletai, whereas the non-orphaned children of the citizens were led to apply themselves to war and politics.
[ back ] 53. Burkert 2001c and 2001d on Homeridai and Kreophyleioi.
[ back ] 54. For fragments and testimonia, see FGrHist 457 (Jacoby); Strataridaki 1988:12–32, and 1991:207–217. Mele, Tortorelli Ghidini, Federico, and Visconti 2001, a collection of the 1999 proceedings of a seminar on Epimenides, brings up to date and presents a systematic and definitive discussion of all the issues surrounding this important Cretan sage and the impact his work may have had. For Diogenes Laertius’ biography, see Gigante 2001. West’s (1983:39–61) discussion of Epimenides and other legendary poets signifies that these mythistorical figures appear to have been in between Homeric and Orphic poetry and discourse; for Pamphos, also Durán 1996.
[ back ] 55. Plato Laws 642d–e; Aristotle Athenaion Politeia 1; Diogenes Laertius 1.109; Plutarch Solon 12; Suda; Hershbell (2007) argues that Plutarch never visited Crete, but instead used Plato’s text for matters Cretan. For Epimenides’ contribution in matters funerary at Athens, see Garland 1989:4–5.
[ back ] 56. Albeit a late source, the Suda’s characterization of a number of Epimenides’ works as riddling recalls the PDerveni author who employs the same word and cognates to refer to the work of Orpheus (see 120n80). Willetts (1962:311) and Casadio (1994:173) view Epimenides as the Cretan Orpheus. For Epimenides’ Theogonia, see Bernabé 2001, Breglia Pulci Doria 2001, and Arrighetti 2001; for the corpus Epimenideum, Mele 2001 and Tortorelli Ghidini 2001; for his expertise in rhizotomia and diet, Capriglione 2001.
[ back ] 57. On the seven sages as traveling ‘performers of wisdom,’ see especially Martin 1993; for the Hellenistic catalogues of sages, see Broze, Busine, and Inowlocki 2006.
[ back ] 58. For references to Epimenides’ ‘non-religious’ activities, see Diogenes Laertius 1.109, 9.18, and Plutarch Solon 12.
[ back ] 59. Diogenes Laertius 1.109–110; Herodotus 5.71; and Thucydides 1.126.2–127.1. Johnston (1999:279–286) proposes convincingly to view Epimenides’ activity in Athens as similar to that of a goes. For the standard definition of agos and miasma, see Parker 1983:1–17; Burkert 1992:41–87; for the Athenian perspective in these sources, see Tortorelli Ghidini 2001, Federico 2001, Visconti 2001; for Epimenides’ other visits, Lupi 2001.
[ back ] 60. For Epimenides as magus, miracle-man, and shaman the sources again are late; Apuleius (Apologia 27: partim autem, qui providentiam mundi curiosius vestigant et impensius deos celebrant, eos vero vulgo magos nominent, quasi facere etiam sciant quae sciant fieri, ut olim fuere Epimenides et Orpheus et Pythagoras et Ostanes, ac dein similiter suspectata Empedocli catharmoe, Socrati daemonion, Platonis τὸ ἀγαθόν); Iamblichus (Life of Pythagoras 135–136 = Porphyry, Life of Pythagoras 2: μεταλαβόντας Ἐμπεδοκλέα τε τὸν Ἀκραγαντῖνον καὶ Ἐπιμενίδην τὸν Κρῆτα καὶ Ἄβαριν τὸν ῾Υπερβόρειον πολλαχῇ καὶ αὐτοὺς τοιαῦτά τινα ἐπιτετελεκέναι. δῆλα δ᾽ αὐτῶν τὰ ποιήματα ὑπάρχει, ἄλλως τε καὶ ἀλεξανέμας μὲν ὂν τὸ ἐπώνυμον Ἐμπεδοκλέους, καθαρτὴς δὲ τὸ Ἐπιμενίδου, αἰθροβάτης δὲ τὸ Ἀβάριδος); and Suda (s.v.). See especially the discussion in Dodds 1951:141–143; and Scarpi 2001. Kingsley’s (1995) elaborate portrayal of Empedokles may also be applied, mutatis mutandis, to Epimenides, whose life and writings are parallel to the Sicilian sage. Svenbro (2002:204–216) discusses the proverbial skin of Epimenides, attested in the Suda, which does not separate the corpus humain from the corpus écrit, ‘tattooed’ with letters concerning apotheta, i.e. things secret or about mysteries (LSJ s.v. 2); on the skin guarded as a repository of written prophetic texts, see Dillery 2005. Verbruggen (1981) is overly cautious and assigns all information concerning Epimenides to inventions of the Hellenistic period, mainly Euhemerus and company; compare Chaniotis 1986, Grossardt 1998:282–293.
[ back ] 61. For κρητίζειν and its variants, and other proverbs about Cretans, see Nikolaïdes 1989; and 177n89.
[ back ] 62. Strataridaki 1988:21–26; 1991:217–223; Grossardt 1998:282–293.
[ back ] 63. For the discussion of Callimachus, I am indebted to Sarinaki forthcoming.
[ back ] 64. Clemens Stromateis 1.14.59. For the Hymn to Zeus, see McLennan 1997; Hopkinson 1984; Haslam 1993; Depew 1993; for poetic and divine performance, Henrichs 1993b; and for its geography, Sistakou 2005:92–98; for Callimachus’ Hymns and the Homeric and epigraphical ones, see Vamvouri Ruffy 2004; for Callimachus’ utilization of Cretan myths and rituals and his knowledge of matters Cretan, see Chaniotis 2001b; and 204n177, 218–219 with n231. For Hesiod’s narrative incorporating more than one tradition of Zeus’ birth in various Cretan caves, see O’Bryhim 1997. Sometimes Mount Youkhtas is also mentioned in the secondary bibliography as Zeus’ birth-place for which see Zoes 1996:337–398; Sakellarakis and Sapouna-Sakellaraki 1997:49–51; and Karetsou 2003; for the literary use of this theme from the fourth century BCE onwards, see Kokolakis 1995a and 1995b; West 1997b; and Postlethwaite 1999.
[ back ] 65. The Argive tradition for Ariadne mentions Dionysos Κρήσιος (Pausanias 2.23.7–8), for which see the discussion in Casadio 1994:123–222; and Piérart 1996. For Herodotus and his treatment of Egyptian religious ideas, see Zographou 1995. Zeus Kretagenes and his cult, supposedly brought by Cretan immigrants in the Seleucid empire, was adopted by Seleukos as one of the most important royal gods (Mastrocinque 2002). See further Willetts 1962:199–227; Verbruggen 1981; Chaniotis 1986; Kokolakis 1995a and 1995b; Postlethwaite 1999; on the distinction between Olympian and Chthonian, see Scullion 1994, and on heroic and chthonian, Scullion 2000a.
[ back ] 66. For Epimenides and Orpheus as mythic poets, victims of the Muses, and scapegoats, see Compton 2006:174–180.
[ back ] 67. Strataridaki (1998:352–358) discusses the narrative of Theopompus of Chios (FGrH 2 B 115 F76a) on Epimenides’ sleep which lasted fifty-seven years, where the idea of time as a relative quantity is introduced; time “passes with different rates for different people” (158).
[ back ] 68. For Epimenides’ line, see 172n76.
[ back ] 69. Depew 1993:72–73 on the ambiguity of the Hymn’s claim to truth.
[ back ] 70. See below, 173–175.
[ back ] 71. According to Hieronymos’ commentary on Paul’s Epistle to Titus (VII p. 606 Migne), which implies that the commentator had Epimenides’ book of oracles in his library: dicitur autem iste versiculus in Epimenidis Cretensis poetae oraculis reperiri … denique ipse liber Oraculorum titulo praenotatur.
[ back ] 72. Stromateis–4: οἳ δὲ Ἐπιμενίδην τὸν Κρῆτα· [ὃν Ἑλληνικὸν οἶδε προφήτην,] οὗ μέμνηται ὁ ἀπόστολος Παῦλος ἐν τῇ πρὸς Τίτον ἐπιστολῇ, λέγων οὕτως· “εἶπέν τις ἐξ αὐτῶν ἴδιος προφήτης οὕτως· ‘Κρῆτες ἀεὶ ψεῦσται, κακὰ θηρία, γαστέρες ἀργαί·’ καὶ ἡ μαρτυρία αὕτη ἐστὶν ἀληθής.” ὁρᾷς ὅπως κἂν τοῖς Ἑλλήνων προφήταις δίδωσί τι τῆς ἀληθείας καὶ οὐκ ἐπαισχύνεται πρός τε οἰκοδομὴν καὶ πρὸς ἐντροπὴν διαλεγόμενός τινων Ἑλληνικοῖς συγχρῆσθαι ποιήμασι; πρὸς γοῦν Κορινθίους, οὐ γὰρ ἐνταῦθα μόνον, περὶ τῆς τῶν νεκρῶν ἀναστάσεως διαλεγόμενος ἰαμβείῳ συγκέχρηται τραγικῷ “τί μοι ὄφελος;” λέγων, “εἰ νεκροὶ οὐκ ἐγείρονται, φάγωμεν καὶ πίωμεν· αὔριον γὰρ ἀποθνῄσκομεν. μὴ πλανᾶσθε· ‘φθείρουσιν ἤθη χρηστὰ ὁμιλίαι κακαί.’” For discussion of more references to Epimenides in patristic texts, see Tortorelli Ghidini 2001:70–74.
[ back ] 73. Leclerc 1992; for Epimenides’ literary Theogonia in comparison to that of Hesiod’s Arrighetti 2001:222–223 and passim.
[ back ] 74. On this line, see Katz and Volk 2000 with the previous bibliography; Pucci 1977; Pratt 1993; and Sarinaki forthcoming. On Aithon/Odysseus, a good heroic name that applies to the situation the hero faces with interesting connotations, see the cogent analysis of Levaniouk 2000. Ross (2005) argues that the use of barbarophonos language in early epic is a marker of a nascent Panhellenism, alterity, or of exotic places and people (among them Crete).
[ back ] 75. Diogenes Laertius 1.109–115.
[ back ] 76. On this line, see Strataridaki 1991; Leclerc 1992; Tortorelli Ghidini 2001:70–74; Catarzi 2001; and Casertano 2001.
[ back ] 77. Tortorelli Ghidini 2001:73–74. On Epimenides’ prophecy to the Athenians about the Persian danger (Plato Laws 642d–e; compare 707b–c), see Pugliese Carratelli 1974 and Viviers 1995.
[ back ] 78. Strataridaki (2003) discusses the etymology of the name Epimenides from mania.
[ back ] 79. For the emendation proposed by Reiske, see Gigante 2001:16.
[ back ] 80. LSJ s.v.; the results of a Thesaurus Linguae Graecae search are indicative as the word and cognates appear mainly in medical authors.
[ back ] 81. On disease as pollution, see Parker 1983:2; Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus is also revealing for the limits of human knowledge, a topic hotly debated by the Presocratics (Liapis 2003). See further Gigante 2001:16; Tortorelli Ghidini 2001:74–75.
[ back ] 82. Loscalzo (2003) briefly discusses Aristotle’s comment on Epimenides’ non-prophetic activity in relation to Hesiod’s Theogony 31–32, the latter of which he translates “le cose che sarebbero state e quelle che furono” (363); compare, however, Clay (2003:65–67): “the things that will be in the future and have been in the past are the eternal things, that is, the genos aien eonton” (66), in comparison a few lines later to ta eonta, the human race.
[ back ] 83. Maurizio 1999:154–155 and passim for the complementarity of Delphic narratives and ritual conventions. I would only add that Dionysos’ presence at Delphi during the winter is the concrete manifestation of the otherworldly dimension of Delphi and another expression of the intimate relation between Underworld and prophecy.
[ back ] 84. Detienne 1996:67, 53–67.
[ back ] 85. ‘Sect’ may be a misleading word in that it may imply homogeneity and unison of a specific group of people who promote the same views and teachings (Detienne 2003:156–157 repeats this); the texts on the gold lamellae, however, suggest otherwise, as has been argued above; see further Burkert 1982; and Graf and Johnston 2007:94–164.
[ back ] 86. Detienne 1996:130–133 (the quotation from page 133). Epimenides and his activities are much closer to Empedokles than Parmenides, according to Kingsley’s (1995) argument for Empedokles. Mourelatos (2002, especially 1–50) argues that Parmenides was a child of his epoch: he worked within the epic tradition and was influenced by the ideas current in the archaic period, transforming, altering and presenting his own original proposal through the journey of the Kouros; see also Cassio 1996; and 114n56.
[ back ] 87. Giangiulio (1995) discusses the tension within the polis between Pythagorean wisdom and Apollonian religion.
[ back ] 88. Martin 1993:120–123. Detienne (1996:119–120 and 205nn73–74) advanced the following formulation: “At the end of the sixth century, certain circles in Greece witnessed the birth of a type of philosophical and religious thought absolutely opposed to that of the Sophists. The thought of the Sophists was secularized, directed toward the external world, and founded on praxis, while the other was religious, introverted, and concerned with individual salvation. Whereas the Sophists, as a particular type of individual and as representative of a certain form of thought, were the sons of the city, and their aim, within an essentially political framework, was to influence others, the magi and initiates lived on the periphery of the city, aspiring only to an altogether internal transformation. The diametrically opposed aims of the two groups were matched by their radically different techniques. While the mental techniques of sophistry and rhetoric marked an abrupt break with the forms of religious thought that preceded the emergence of Greek reason, the philosophicoreligious sects, in contrast, adopted procedures and modes of thought that directly prolonged earlier religious thought. At this level, among the values that mutatis mutandis continued to play the same important role as in earlier thought, memory and Aletheia held a recognized position.” This is only partly true, however, as it is based primarily on the polis criterion, according to which philosophicoreligious thought allegedly paid little, if any, attention to politics. But the Athenian dramatic festivals, during which prophets and manteis performed, the meetings of the Areopagus Council, the Eleusinian Mysteries, the exegetai, and so on, are these not philosophicoreligious discourses at the heart of the city? In the Roman period things are complicated even further, as Chaniotis (2003) shows.
[ back ] 89. The proverb in CPG I: Diogenianus v.60: Κουρήτων στόμα· ἐπὶ τῶν μαντεύεσθαι ὑπισχνουμένων· τοιοῦτοι γὰρ οὗτοι; and in CPG II: Apostolius ix.95, where it is added: μαντικοὶ γὰρ οἱ Κρῆτες; and 168n61.
[ back ] 90. Defradas 1972:102-110; Sourvinou-Inwood 1987:233–235.
[ back ] 91. For the Boeotian tradition (Pausanias 9.2.7; 9.41.6), see West 1966:301.
[ back ] 92. For the legendary Aesop’s critical stance towards Delphi, see Kurke 2003.
[ back ] 93. Diogenes Laertius 1.114–115; Plutarch Solon 12.7; Aelian De natura animalium 12.7.
[ back ] 94. Morris (1992:150–194 and passim) eloquently discusses Crete’s place in the emerging Greek world, for which Athens, especially after the Persian Wars, was instrumental: “the creation of Athens through mythology not only involved amplifying a scanty local tradition, but appropriating or undermining other mythologies” (386). For the Kimonian monuments, see Castriota 1992:58-63; on the relation of Crete and Athens, especially as regards the Persian Wars, see Viviers 1995; and for economic pressure on Crete by the nascent Athenian Empire after the Persian Wars, see Erickson 2005.
[ back ] 95. Morris 1992:170.
[ back ] 96. Panagopoulos 1981 and 1987; Mandalaki 2000.
[ back ] 97. The distinction between secular and sacred/religious poetry was not drawn in antiquity, as Parker (1996:77–78) has shown.
[ back ] 98. Collard, Cropp, and Lee 1995:53–59, especially 59; Calame 1996:98–112; Mills 1997:223–225; and Cozzoli 2001:9–18; on the Kamikoi, see Zacharia 2004.
[ back ] 99. In her valuable and extensive commentary Cozzoli (2001:9–11) revisited the dating issue and proposed this decade.
[ back ] 100. Craik 2002:59–65; she argues that (65): “Euripides shows the same interest in, and knowledge of, the practices, especially cult practices, of distant places as is evinced in the later Helen and IT. Here Phaidra’s Cretan background is the starting point for allusive deployment of a wide range of Cretan cult practice, highly relevant to Hippolytos’ tragedy; this extra dimension enhances the intellectual appeal, emotional charge and poetic texture of the play.” The fact that Artemis was worshipped in various Cretan cities and under various cultic epithets cannot be direct evidence for Euripides’ knowledge of Cretan cultic practice, as Sporn’s (2002:383–384) table for Artemis-Britomartis-Diktynna worship in Crete reveals. The myths, however, of the exclusively Cretan deities, like Ariadne or Diktynna/Britomatis, may indeed have had wider circulation. Compare Willetts’ (1962:185) careful formulation about the cult of Artemis Orthia, Limnatis, Agrotera, and Craik’s (2002:61) discussion. Craik (2002:60), however, rightly corrects Barrett (1964:390 with n5), who comments that lines 1252–1254: οὐδ᾽ εἰ γυναικῶν πᾶν κρεμασθείη γένος | καὶ τὴν ἐν Ἴδηι γραμμάτων πλήσειέ τις | πεύκην, refer to Mount Ida not in Crete but in the Troad; not only the stories about Epimenides and Zeus’ Cave on Ida, but Euripides’ own Cretan Women, Cretans, and Polyidos support the reference to Cretan Ida. For Hippolytos, see Walker 1995:Chapter 4 and Mills 1997:186–221.
[ back ] 101. Scullion (2000b) and Dunn (2000) suggest a variety of explanations for the presence of aetiologies in Euripidean drama, a great number of which are purely Euripidean inventions composed according to known rituals and cults.
[ back ] 102. Moreover, Scullion (2002:136–137) has argued convincingly that: “tragedy is full of ritual, rituals of all sorts, rituals connected with the full range of Greek divinities. It parodies, distorts, subverts, and probably even invents rituals as well as reflecting them. But it is not itself ritual, unless by a very broad definition that would classify any form of theatre as ritual, and it is not a form of cult for the god Dionysos or for any other gods in connection with those festivals it was produced. In this sense the Greek gods are all on the same footing in tragedy, and earn their keep in it by fulfilling a dramatic function. Politics and religion and the politics of religion all come within the tragedians’ compass, but the ritual approach often narrows and distorts our view of these things rather than opening them up to scrutiny, and these days it bids fair to distort our understanding not only of drama but of the politics of Greek religion and the civic discourse of democratic Athens.” For the political and metatheatrical dimension of Dionysos, see Bierl 1991; for tragedy’s exploitation of Dionysiac motifs and themes for its own purposes, see Schlesier 1993; Seaford 1993; and Zeitlin 1993; for the prominence of ritual, especially in Euripides’ Bacchae, see Seaford 2003a; for Aeschylus and the mysteries, see Tiverios 2004; for Sophocles and the mysteries, Seaford 1994; and for Oedipus at Colonus and Eleusis, Calame 1998 and Markantonatos 2002:167–220; for Euripides’ Hypsipyle, Burkert 1994b; for Orphic incantations in Euripides, Faraone forthcoming-2. For the problematization of religious issues in Euripides and the interplay and interconnections between the ritual and the tragic matrix, see Lloyd-Jones 1998; Sourvinou-Inwood 2003:291–458 (for Hippolytos 326–332, and briefly for Bacchae 402–403); and Easterling 2004.
[ back ] 103. Barrett 1964:342–345.
[ back ] 104. Collard, Cropp, and Lee 1995:58–61; Cozzoli 2001:57–58. On Porphyry’s Life of Pythagoras and the sage’s initiation, see Makris 2001:212–224.
[ back ] 105. Cozzoli (2002:57) prints lines 5–8 differently with slight changes in the meaning: οἷς αὐθιγενὴς τμηθεῖσα δοκὸς | Χαλύβωι πελέκει στεγανοὺς παρέχει | … | … κυπαρίσσου.
[ back ] 106. Cozzoli (2002:58) prints the manuscript reading: βροντὰς for which see her commentary (85–87); βούτης is also present in Hippolytos 537, albeit as an adjective (Barrett 1964:261).
[ back ] 107. Cozzoli (2002:58) prints a lacuna before the participle.
[ back ] 108. The equation Zagreus-Dionysos is attested in Callimachus (Aetia fr. 43 line 117), but depictions of Dionysos’ birth on Attic vases are dated from 470 to 435 BCE, for which see Beaumont 1995:341; Camassa 1995; and Carpenter 1997. Compare the critical remarks on the Zagreus myth by Edmonds (1999 with extensive bibliography), Bernabé’s reply (2002b), and Graf and Johnston 2007:66–90. Sourvinou-Inwood (2005:169–189, especially 170–171) argues that: “Zagreus … was one of the transformations of the divine persona of a Minoan deity … [and] would have been perceived as the Cretan Dionysos.”
[ back ] 109. The expression is the English title of Detienne 1989. For the Bacchae, see 143–144nn146–148, 149n158, 181n102.
[ back ] 110. According to Seaford (1981 and 1996:157), this alludes to the texts on the lamellae, although any reference to the afterlife is nowhere to be found in the Bacchae, and although all makarismoi need not refer to mystery initiations and discourses on afterlife.
[ back ] 111. On the intimate relation between music and ecstasy and its representation on vases, see Somville 1992; in Plato Moutsopoulos 1992. For the revolution in aulos music and its consequences, see Wallace 2003.
[ back ] 112. Segal (1982:176–177) indicates that the participants in the rite of the parodos are “antithetical to the polis in every way;” this is true in terms of the play’s structure, but it should be emphasized that the same participants are also members of the polis, at least as soon as Thebes will become such a polis by the end of the Bacchae, where many Dionysiac identities coexist; see also 143–144nn146–148, 149n158, 181n102.
[ back ] 113. Parker and Stamatopoulou 2004. A similar case of at least a double initiation is presented by the epigram of the Athenian Isidoros, son of Nikostratos, a mime by profession and an initiate in the Eleusinian and Samothracian mysteries (Karadima-Matsa and Dimitrova 2003). Fountoulakis (2002) argues convincingly that in Mimiamb 8.66–79 Herondas appropriates themes and images from Dionysiac myth and ritual in order to present the mime as a genre of dramatic poetry and literary merit, conferring poetic authority and fame.
[ back ] 114. Unless we accept the restoration by Graf and Johnston (2007:38) at the end of line 1 of this text: [Βάκχου]; Parker and Stamatopoulou 2004 prefer simply [τε or καὶ], or [ἰδοῦσα].
[ back ] 115. Frogs 849–850: ΑI. Ὦ Κρητικὰς μὲν συλλέγων μονῳδίας, | γάμους δ᾽ ἀνοσίους εἰσφέρων εἰς τὴν τέχνην; Dover 1997, 174–175; Sommerstein 1996, 231; Collard, Cropp, and Lee (1995:55) quote Dover’s judicious handling; and Cozzoli 2001:113–116.
[ back ] 116. Frogs 1043: ΑI. Ἀλλ᾽ οὐ μὰ Δί᾽ οὐ Φαίδρας ἐποίουν πόρνας οὐδὲ Σθενεβοίας; 1052: ΕΥ. Πότερον δ᾽ οὐκ ὄντα λόγον τοῦτον περὶ τῆς Φαίδρας ξυνέθηκα;
[ back ] 117. See the comments by Dover 1997:174–175, 217–219; Sommerstein 1996:230–231, 277–280; Collard, Cropp, and Lee 1995:55, 58–59, 66; and Cozzoli’s (2002:67 fr. 8, 113–116) careful argumentation, with full references to the sources on ‘Cretan’ monodies; she concludes that the ascription by the Scholiast is probable but in no way certain.
[ back ] 118. Dover 1997:246; Sommerstein 1996:279. The monody’s rhythm (lines 1329–1364), however, is not consistent throughout, as the meters comprise a potpourri: Dover 1997:245–246; Sommerstein 1996:277–280.
[ back ] 119. Collard, Cropp, and Lee 1995:58 fr. 471 = Cozzoli 2001:67 fr. 8.
[ back ] 120. See below, 224n252.
[ back ] 121. Frogs 1054–1055: ΑI. Μὰ Δί᾽, ἀλλ᾽ ὄντ᾽· ἀλλ᾽ ἀποκρύπτειν χρὴ τὸ πονηρὸν τόν γε ποητήν, | καὶ μὴ παράγειν μηδὲ διδάσκειν.
[ back ] 122. It is not beyond doubt that this is a fragment from Polyidos, as the same idea is expressed in Euripides’ two Phrixos plays; see Dover 1997:196 and 230; and Sommerstein (1996:253–254 and 293) who argues for Polyidos. It is interesting that a similar idea is alluded to in Callimachus’ Hymn to Zeus 60–65, where Callimachus challenges another ‘poetic lie,’ namely that Zeus’ sphere of influence, Olympos, was obtained by lot, as if the world of the living was equivalent to the world of the dead without any difference.
[ back ] 123. For recent discussions with previous bibliography, see Heiden 1991; and compare Lada-Richards 1999, especially 321–329.
[ back ] 124. Polyidos, the Argive mantis, brought back to life Glaukos, the son of Minos, who forced him to teach his son the art of divination. Glaukos eventually became a Knossian hero with chthonic associations, not unlike Trophonios and Amphiaraos. For the myth, see Willetts 1962:60–67; for an analysis of Glaukos’ myth according to the Cretan ritual of initiation from puberty into adolescence and adulthood, and the motifs shared with other Panhellenic analogues, see especially Muellner 1998; I would not exclude, however, a mystery cult in which death and rebirth were prominent, especially in light of the important place of the honey in the myth, “at the threshold between life and death” (26), a case which would indicate exploitation of Glaukos’ story both from the point of view of the Orphic, and the Homeric discourse on afterlife (“the road to immortality and glory is on a mystical, wide-eyed path through death and beyond it, not by way of resurrection,” Muellner 1998:27). Hoffmann (2002) interprets the scene on the Glaukos Attic cup in the British Museum as representing an initiation into mysteries “pertaining to immortality and enlightenment, the two terms being synonymous with self-knowledge at a higher level of comprehension” (85); and 204n177.
[ back ] 125. Burkert 1987:12–29.
[ back ] 126. Strataridaki (1988 and 1988–1989) discusses the fragmentary literary evidence of Cretan historians; Antonelli (1995) discusses the Minoan connections of Dionysos; Tsagarakis (2001 and 2006) offers a brief overview of Cretan literature.
[ back ] 127. For a convincing discussion of the evidence from the Iron age and the archaic period, see Morris 1992:150–194.
[ back ] 128. A remarkable example of the proliferation of cults and mysteries in the late Hellenistic period is the altar of Dionysos in Kos, dated in the middle of the second century BCE, with scenes from the life of Dionysos, some of them rare and unique: Dionysos’ katharsis by Rhea in Phrygia, scenes from a peaceful Dionysiac thiasos, and victorious battle(s) of a Dionysiac army against barbarians (Stampolidis 1987); for the Rhodian Dionysion, see Konstantinopoulos 1994–1995; for the presence of the cult of Egyptian gods in Rhodes and Kos since the Hellenistic period for political and economic reasons, see Bosnakis 1994–1995.
[ back ] 129. I have resisted throughout to refer to the Minoan period for (dis)continuities of religious ideas and practices, because the evidence is at best conjectural, as will become evident (for the literature on the subject, see 114n54, 154n3; for perceptions of Crete in the literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, before Arthur Evans, see Pope 2003; and Hamilakis and Momigliano 2006). There is simply no way in determining what the Cretans thought from the archaic period onwards about their Minoan past, or about their ‘common Anatolian/Eastern Mediterranean’ tradition, or how for that matter they re-interpreted that past. Nilsson 1950 and Willetts 1962 are the classic; see also Rutkowski 1986; Georgoulaki 2002; Sporn 2002; and Prent 2005. For the archaeological gap of the late archaic and classical periods, see Erickson 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2005, who presents evidence that fills in this gap; for the rise of the polis in central Crete Kotsonas (2002) suggests the sixth century BCE, while Xifaras (2002) and Prent (2005) the proto-geometric and geometric periods.
[ back ] 130. The inscribed gold leaf from Lissos (Platon 1958:466) should not be associated with the Bacchic-Orphic Cretan epistomia, as Bultrighini (1993; SEG 45.1319) suggested, since it is a dedication to Asclepios, for which see Martínez-Fernández 2003 (BE 2004.254).
[ back ] 131. Niniou-Kindeli 1987.
[ back ] 132. Vana Niniou-Kindeli 1993, to whom I am also indebted for permission to see these two epistomia, and for her discussing them with me.
[ back ] 133. I am indebted to Irene Gavrilaki for showing and discussing with me this find; for the site Agia Elessa in Eleutherna, see the section “Topography.” For gorgoneia associated with Dionysos, see Csapo 1997:256–257; for clay gilt gorgoneia from a kline, see Savvopoulou 1995:399; and Tsimbidou-Avloniti 2006:328 with n26.
[ back ] 134. Agios Nikolaos Museum 7437. Kostis Davaras 1985:205 no. 16/7, plate 56β figure 2 and drawing in 133 fig. 2; the figurines and masks, 203–206 no. 16, figure 27–28, plate 56β–57αβγ.
[ back ] 135. IC II.viii.8, lines 5–6.
[ back ] 136. Markoulaki 1995, 1994, 1987a, and 1987b for the House of Dionysos; also Markoulaki, Christodoulakos, and Fragonikolaki 2004; Drosinou 1992 for the Orpheus mosaic; and Niniou-Kindeli 1991–1993 for heads of Dionysos in the Chania Museum. For what it is worth, it should also be noted that Dionysos together with Zeus is attested in Linear B tablet KH Gq 5 from Chania (Tzedakis, Hallager, and Andreadaki-Vlazaki 1989–1991; and also Hallager, Andreadaki-Vlazaki, and Hallager 1992). For the cults in Polyrrhenia and its environs, see Sporn 2002:283–290, for Dionysos 286. For Cretan mosaics, see Guimier-Sorbets 2004 and Sweetman 2004. For the image of Orpheus in mosaics and his association with a variety of gods, among them Dionysos, see Jesnick 1997.
[ back ] 137. IC II.xvi.3 (for a similar decree between Teos and Eleutherna, 219n244); for these texts, see Rigsby 1996:280–325; and Kvist 2003.
[ back ] 138. No. 7 above (IC II.xvi.10) and Figure 8 (page 23).
[ back ] 139. IC II.xvi.27.
[ back ] 140. IC II.xvi.28; on these kinds of curses, all of them public and therefore ἐπιτύμβιοι, see Strubbe 1991 and 1997.
[ back ] 141. Kalaïssakis (1892) notes that the base and the defixio were chance finds by an anonymous inhabitant who was plowing his field; Kalaïssakis appears not to have seen the objects himself, but to have received in Chania transcriptions from which he published the inscriptions; few other Cretan magic texts are attested: from Phalasarna (IC II.xix.7, and Brixhe and Panayotou 1995); Knossos (Grammatikaki and Litinas 2000); and a possible amulet from Gortyn (Bessi 2004). On Lappa, see Gavrilaki 2004; and Sporn 2002, 255–257 (she correctly places the gods and goddesses of the defixio under Incerta und Dubitanda, but she misses the heroon); and Sporn 2004, 1112–1115 for a relief depicting Nymphs; Tzifopoulos 2007. For the heroon in Aptera, see Martínez-Fernández and Niniou-Kindeli 2000–2001; Niniou-Kindeli and Christodoulakos 2004. On heroa and tomb cults, see Antonaccio 1995; Snodgrass 2000; Themelis 2000b; Pirenne-Delforge and Suarez de la Torre 2000; Boehringer 2001; Ekroth 2002; and Bremmer 2006; for the Roman heroa in Miletos, see Weber 2004. In particular, for the cults of poets, see Clay 2004:63–93.
[ back ] 142. See the section “The Cretan Texts in the Context of a Ritual and a Hieros Logos.”
[ back ] 143. Sporn 2002:247–252, 334 with previous bibliography; Perlman 2004b:1187–1188 no. 990; and Tzifopoulos forthcoming-2.
[ back ] 144. For the cults of Lato, Lato pros Kamaran, and environs, see Sporn 2002:61–75; and very briefly Apostolakou 2003. An epigram relates a dedication of a statue to Hermes Kyllanios and Kypharissitas (IC I.xvi.7 reads: Πανὶ as restored by Guarducci, but see Voutiras 1984); the epithet Kypharissitas is so far unique in Crete, but, it is probably analogous to the other epithet of Hermes, Kedritis (Daux 1976; Voutiras 1984), attested in inscriptions from the Kato Symi Viannos sanctuary, for which see below.
[ back ] 145. Agios Nikolaos Museum (7355). Davaras 1985:171–190, 188.
[ back ] 146. See the sections “Shape-Burial Context” and “Usage.” Wreaths in Crete are rare and after Davaras’ publication two more have also been found in Hellenistic graves of Kydonia: Pologiorgi 1985:165–168 pl. 60b and c (a clay-gilt myrtle wreath with gilt berries); and Markoulaki and Niniou-Kindeli 1982 and 1985.
[ back ] 147. For a somewhat overstated association of lines 10–12 of text A1 with figurines of a certain type, see Fridh-Haneson 1987.
[ back ] 148. Davaras 1985:139–157, 153–157; Bieber 1930; Carington Smith 1982:286–289. For the marble theatrical masks in the National Museum, most of them not funerary, see Zoumbaki 1987.
[ back ] 149. For rituals and cults in Knossos and its environs, see Sporn 2002:111–140 and Prent 2005:514–518.
[ back ] 150. Carington Smith 1982:287–289. For the Roman mausolea in Knossos and Gortyn, see Vassilakis 2004.
[ back ] 151. Her suggestion that these chthonic deities “were perhaps first invoked in sixth-century-B.C. Rhodes” (Carington Smith 1982:288) is not necessary, as the Idaean Cave, Phaistos, and the Diktaian Cave lay far closer to Knossos.
[ back ] 152. Paton 2004 with earlier bibliography; Coldstream 1973; and especially Sporn 2002:118–122; Suter 2002:169–191; and Trümpy 2004.
[ back ] 153. IC I.viii.16: [- - -] | λήδου | τοῦ υἱ|οῦ Δά|ματρι | εὐχὰν | καὶ χα|ριστῆον; for the last two words in Cretan inscriptions, see Ghinatti 2004:65–66.
[ back ] 154. IC I.viii.21: Νωνία Ἀνχαρία | πρόοδος Κόρης. | folium. Halbherr thought that proodos may be a cognomen, but Guarducci proposed with scepticism a cultic term and emended the word accordingly to πρό<π>ο<λ>ος with a question mark, although Halbherr’s drawing is clear and so gross a mistake by the cutter would be rather unlikely. The word, followed by the genitive Kores, should probably be related to a procession (LSJ s.v. 2) for Kore, in charge of which(?) was Nonia, or the term denotes that Nonia was literally going on before Kore during a ritual; the word denotes procession in inscriptions from Asia Minor (IEphesos 122 line 7; 1133 line 15; IPanamara 244 lines 13 and 40; 258 line 29; IStratonikeia 310 lines 13 and 40; http://erga.packhum.org/inscriptions/). For the comparable case of the Corinthian Timarete, propolos Enodias, in an epigram from Pella, see the convincing discussion of Voutiras (1998:90–111); for the possible presence of this expression in a fragmentary epigram by Poseidippos, see Dignas 2004:181.
[ back ] 155. IC I.xxxi [Loci Incerti].2: θεαῖς Δήμητρι καὶ Κόρῃ | Λαρκία Ἄρτεμεις | ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων folium (rho and eta in Kore in ligature).
[ back ] 156. Ricci 1893:304–305 no. 13; Baldwin Bowsky 2002b:35n21 (SEG 52.826). Chaniotis (SEG 52.880) notes that the Knossian or even Cretan provenance of the inscription is not certain, and that the cult of Euboulos is unattested in Crete (for the name, see Bechtel 1917:170 for Εὐβούλιος, Εὐβουλίδης, and 613 Εὐβουλία; and LGPN I, II, IIIA, IIIB, IV). For the word χαριστήριον in Cretan inscriptions, see Ghinatti 2004:65–66.
[ back ] 157. Pausanias (1.14.2–3) notes an Eubouleus, the son of the Argive hierophant Trochilos and brother of Triptolemos in his narrative of the different versions on Triptolemos’ ancestry, the Athenian and the Argive, which depended on different sources, among them the poetry of Musaios and Orpheus. In this section Pausanias also relates a statue of Dionysos at the Odeion’s entrance; a temple of Demeter and Kore above the nearby Enneakrounos; and the statues of Triptolemos and seated Epimenides in front of the Athenian Eleusinion, where he digresses to narrate Epimenides’ dream in the cave and to refer to another Cretan purifier, Thaletas of Gortyn. For Triptolemos and the mysteries, see the fragmentary papyrus PAntinoopolis I 18 (= MP3 2466), where the collocation of λειμών, μυρρίνην, ὦ Τριπτόλεμε, σοι νῦν μεμυηκ[-], τὴν κόρην εἶδον, οὐδὲ τὴν Δή[μητραν], [-]λυπημενην, νεικοφόρους βα[σιλεῖς], μυστικόν, present a puzzle.
[ back ] 158. Vassilika 2004.
[ back ] 159. IC I.viii.11 lines 7–11: ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐπε|δείξατο Μενεκλῆς μετὰ κιθάρας πλεονάκις τά τε | Τιμοθέω καὶ Πολυίδω καὶ τῶν ἁμῶν ἀρχαίων ποιη|τᾶν καλῶς καὶ ὡς προσῆκεν ἀνδρὶ πεπαιδευμέ|νωι. The proxeny decree of Priansos (IC I.xxiv.1 lines 6–13): ἀλλὰ | καὶ ἐπεδείξατο Μενεκλῆς μετὰ κιθάρας τά τε Τι|μοθέου καὶ Πολυίδου καὶ τῶν ἁμῶν παλαιῶν ποιη|τᾶν καλῶς καὶ πρεπόντως, εἰσ<ή>νεγκε δὲ κύκλον | ἱστορημέναν ὑπὲρ Κρήτας κα[ὶ τ]ῶν ἐν [Κρή]ται γε|γονότων θεῶν τε καὶ ἡρώων, [ποι]ησάμενο[ς τ]ὰν | συναγωγὰν ἐκ πολλῶν ποιητᾶ[ν] καὶ ἱστοριαγρά|φων.
[ back ] 160. IC I.viii.12 lines 2–20: Διοσκουρίδης Διοσκουρίδου, καθ᾽ ὑοθεσίαν δὲ Ἀσκλη|πιοδώρου, Ταρσεύς, γραμματικός, διὰ τὴν εὔνοιαν ἃν | ἔχει πορτὶ τὰν ἁμὰν πόλιν συνταξάμενος ἐγκώ|μιον κατὰ τὸν ποιητὰν ὑπὲρ τῶ ἁμῶ ἔθνιος ἀπήστελ|κε Μυρῖνον Διονυσίου Ἀμισηνόν, ποιητὰν ἐπῶν καὶ με|λῶν, τὸν αὐτοσαυτῶ μαθετάν, διαθησιόμενον τὰ | πεπραγματευμένα ὑπ᾽ αὐτῶ· ὑπὲρ ὧμ Μυρῖνος πα|ραγενόμενος παρ᾽ ἁμὲ καὶ ἐπελθὼν ἐπί τε τὸς κόσμος | καὶ τὰν ἐκκλησίαν, ἐμφανία κατέστασε διὰ τᾶν ἀκρο|α[σίω]ν τὰν τῶ ἀνδρὸς φιλοπονίαν τάν τε περὶ τὸ | ἐπιτάδουμα εὐεξίαν· ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τὰν εὔνοιαν ἃν | ἔχει πορτὶ τὰν πόλιν, ἀνανεώμενος αὐτ<ὸ>ς τὰν προγο|νικὰν ἀρετάν, δι᾽ ἐγγράφω ἐπ[έδει]ξε καὶ τοῦτο πε|δὰ πλίονος σπουδᾶς καὶ φιλοτ[ιμί]ας τὸν ἀπολογισ|μὸν πο{ι}ιόμενος, καθὼς ἐπέβαλλ[ε] ὑπὲρ ἰδίω παιδε[υ]|τᾶ· ἐφ᾽ ὧν καὶ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν πολιτᾶν ἀκούσαντεν | τὰ πεπραγματευμένα καὶ τὰν [ὅ]λαν αἵρεσιν τῶ ἀν|δρὸς ἃν ἔχων τυγχάνει εἰς τὰν ἁμὰν πόλιν ἀπεδέ|ξατο μεγάλως … A similar case, where Thaletas is mentioned, is presented by two inscriptions of Mylasa, for which see Chaniotis 1988.
[ back ] 161. Perlman (1995) has revisited all previous interpretations, literary and religious, and proposed, because of its similarities to the civic oath of Itanos (IC III.4.8), to place this text in a Hellenistic historical and political context: the Hymn is an annual petition to the god for Justice and Peace in the social and political strata of the city, without which the blessings of prosperity and well-being are invalidated. Chaniotis (1996a:129 and 187n1134) suggested that the cities, comprising an amphictyony, were probably involved in the hymn’s ritual. MacGillivray, Driessen, and Sackett (2000) presented the chryselephantine statuette and interpreted it as the very cultic statue of Megistos Kouros to whom the hymn is addressed: the statuette “was the personification of the youthful male god who arrived from the Underworld to herald the beginning of the Harvest: Diktaian Zeus, associate with Egyptian Osiris, and immortalized as Orion” (169). See further in MacGillivray, Driessen, and Sackett 2000 especially the articles by Robert Koehl, Charles Crowther, Stuart Thorne, Alexander MacGillivray, and Hugh Sackett; and compare Alonge 2005 who argues against the identification of the Hymn’s Zeus with the Minoan youthful god. For a useful summary of interpretations, see Furley and Bremer 2001:vol. 1:69–76. On Palaikastro and the cult, see Sporn 2002:45–49 and Prent 2005:532–550.
[ back ] 162. Depew (2000:61–65 and 69–77) and Furley and Bremer (2001:1–62) discuss the problematic distinctions between the genres of hymn and prayer; see further Versnel 1981; Bremer 1981; and Furley 1995.
[ back ] 163. Guarducci in IC III.ii [Dictaeum Fanum].2, commentary (pp. 16–17); West 1965:157–158; and Furley and Bremer 2001:vol. 2:16–17.
[ back ] 164. Perlman 1995:162n11.
[ back ] 165. For the verb θρῴσκω in the texts of the lamellae, see also Alonge 2005.
[ back ] 166. On this line and its interpretative problems, see Calame 1997:66–72; Burkert 2004b:89–96; Betegh 2004:113; Bernabé 2004, 8 F; and Kouremenos, Parássoglou, and Tsantsanoglou 2006.
[ back ] 167. Greeks on Trojans or vice versa: Iliad 8.252, 11.70, 12.462, 14.441, 15.380, 15.573, 15.582, 15.623, 16.770, 20.381, 21.233, 21.539 (Apollo), Odyssey 17.233 (Odysseus); jumping from chariot: Iliad 8.320, 10.528, 16.427, 23.509; lot jumping out: Iliad 7.182, 23.353, Odyssey 10.207; Athena’s landing Iliad 4.79; Iris’ sea-landing 24.79; Odyssey 23.32 (Penelope from bed, at the moment when she identifies the beggar as Odysseus [23.25–31], and not earlier when Eurykleia announces to her Odysseus’ return [23.4–9], for which see Winkler 1990:156–157).
[ back ] 168. Similes: Iliad 5.161 (lion on cattle), 15.577 (dog on young deer), 16.773 (flying arrows), 21.18 (Achilles like a daimon); Odyssey 22.303 (eagles on birds; compare Iliad 16.427–430).
[ back ] 169. The modern Greek expression έπεσε με τα μούτρα στο φαγητό, στη δουλειά, literally “he fell with his face to food, to work,” likens the way someone is eating or working to an unnatural action, someone eating and working in an unnatural and unexpected way.
[ back ] 170. Furley and Bremer 2001:vol. 1:369: ἐλθεῖν, ἥρω Διόνυσε, | Ἀλίων ἐς ναὸν | ἁγνὸν σὺν Χαρίτεσσιν | ἐς ναὸν τῷ βοέῳ | ποδὶ θύων. | ἄξιε ταῦρε (they translate ἥρω as Lord on the basis of Mycenaean Greek ἥρα/ἥρως being equivalent to ‘Lady/Lord,’ vol. 2:374–375). For extensive commentary, and the previous bibliography, see Furley and Bremer 2001:vol. 1:369–372 and vol. 2:373–377; and Scullion 2001.
[ back ] 171. Furley and Bremer 2001:vol. 1:372; and LIMC s.v. Dionysos no. 514.
[ back ] 172. Mitsopoulos-Leon 1984; Furley and Bremer 2001:vol. 1:371 with epigraphical evidence; Scullion (2001:217n57): “one might think rather [the boukranion] as a one-time offering to guarantee the water supply.”
[ back ] 173. Furley and Bremer 2001:vol. 2:376–377.
[ back ] 174. Scullion 2001:217.
[ back ] 175. LIMC s.v. Dionysos no. 435 and 436; and Furley and Bremer 2001:vol. 1:372.
[ back ] 176. Calame (forthcoming) in his semiotic analysis of the dialogue in the texts on the lamellae and epistomia, and in hymns and prayers concludes that in both sets of texts there is an interesting interplay in the roles: poet—addressee (man/woman)—god; see further Parker 1983:281–307; Velasco Lopez 1992; and Graf and Johnston 2007:128–129.
[ back ] 177. The interpretation of the milk and honey formula as paradisiac and divine nourishment started with Usener (1902) and Dieterich (1911:96–97), who were criticized by Bonner 1910. On Callimachus, see 169n64. On the milk formula as regenerative in the heroization/divinization process, see Graf 1991:93–95; 1980; Faraone forthcoming-1; for the formula’s Near Eastern perspective López-Ruiz forthcoming; and for Pythagorean connections, Iakov forthcoming; Kingsley (1995:264–272; also 109n45); and Petridou (2004), who, extending Kingsley’s argument, suggests that it probably refers to an adoption initiation ritual in the Persephone cult, particularly as the texts from Thourioi and Pelinna imply, although in the texts the ‘adopted’ initiates are called bacchoi. For the formula in Alcman fr. 56P, see Schlesier 1994; for honey’s prophetic powers, see Scheinberg 1979; and 188n124; in the Septuagint and the New Testament, see Derrett’s (1984) and Kelhoffer’s (2005) convincing discussion. Stampolidis (2004a:140–141) has associated these expressions (the nourishing power of milk without which babies die) with the modern custom, especially in Crete and the Aegean islands, to dedicate small country churches to Holy Milk (Ἅγιο Γάλα), Saint Milkwoman (Ἁγία Γαλα(κ)τοῦ), or Saints like Agios Stylianos (“he who supports and strengthens”), and Eleutherios (“he who frees”), all associated with birth and the protection of babies (see also page 54).
[ back ] 178. Aly 1912:471–472 and 477–478; but compare Nilsson (1950:546–547n47): “I cannot find any traces of Orphism which Aly … makes responsible for the hymn.”
[ back ] 179. Lebessi 1981; for the bronze animal statuettes, see Schürmann 1996; see further for the site and its cults Sporn 2002:85–89; and Prent 2005:565–604. For the sanctuary’s late archaic and classical period relations with nearby Aphrati, see Erickson 2002.
[ back ] 180. Lebessi 1985 and 2002.
[ back ] 181. Burkert 1985:156–157. Lebessi (1985:163–187, especially 176–177) correctly emphasizes that there is no longer any need to distinguish between the phallos of Hermes and that of Dionysos, as both are fertility symbols par excellence. The phallos on the Herms emphasizes first and foremost Hermes’ vegetative fertility that gradually diminished, as Dionysos took over and monopolized the symbol. For an interesting discussion of the opposition in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes of the lyre from the shell of a tortoise (and its chthonic power, as it can accomplish the return from the Underworld) and the tomb-stone (as the liminal symbol blocking the return from the Underworld), see Svenbro 1992; as Battos’ petrification does not occur in the Hymn, but instead the old man later reappears ‘talkative,’ I would suggest that the tomb-stone is capable of récit, but of a different kind than that of the lyre.
[ back ] 182. For cults and rituals in Phaistos and environs, see Sporn 2002:195–218; Prent 2005:519–523.
[ back ] 183. Pugliese Carratelli 2001:86–93, 87.
[ back ] 184. A similar metrical change is observed in Isyllos’ paian to Apollo and Asclepius: whereas lines 10–27 and 29–31 are hexameters, a pentameter is interjected in line 28 which forms an elegiac couplet with line 27 (I owe the reference and discussion to Maria Sarinaki); on Isyllos’ paian, see Furley and Bremer 2001:vol. 1:180–192 (the text on 182), vol. 2:227–240.
[ back ] 185. For δείκνυμι as a term of performance, semantically close to σημαίνω and his relation to kleos, see Nagy 1990b:217–221; and Lateiner 1989:13–51; for the monumental character of Herodotus’ prooimion, as apodexis and the use of deictics, a case analogous to funerary inscriptions, see Bakker 2002:30–31nn64, 65 with earlier bibliography; for the funerary epigram and Homeric epic, see Létoublon 1995; and especially Day 2000; Depew 2000; for threnoi, 159n26.
[ back ] 186. Bakker 1997:28–29 and 78–80.
[ back ] 187. Chantraine 1980:1274 s.v. χράομαι; Bile (1988:227n298) Attic κίχρησι; Pugliese Carratelli (2001:87–88) and Martínez Fernández (2006b:162) χρήιζει or χρᾶι.
[ back ] 188. Pugliese Carratelli 2001:90–91; Kern 1916; see also Chaniotis 1987 and 1990; Tortorelli Ghidini 2000a:40–41; Cucuzza 1993; Sporn 2002:202. Papachatzis (1993) suggests that Rhea’s Hesiodic myth was attributed to the cult of Phrygian Magna Mater, who was also associated with chthonian Demeter and/or Kore; Borgeaud (2001) discusses the diachronic development of Magna Mater/Kybele. On the ekdusia, see Lambrinoudakis 1971 and Leitao 1995.
[ back ] 189. The evidence is scanty, but at present these female deities seem to be separate, although Lekatsas (1985:172–189) understands all the female divinities associated with Dionysos as personae of Magna Mater.
[ back ] 190. For worship on mountains in general, see Langdon 2000 with previous bibliography. For the Greek imagination towards mountains and caves, see Buxton 1992 and 1994:80–96 and 104–108. For Thracian sacred mountains, see Theodossiev 1994–1995, 1995, 1996, 1997 and 2002. For Ida, in particular, and for possible cultic activity near Ida’s top, see Kritzas 2006. Although the mountains’ shape and form do not appear in Greek writers to have had a religious significance (Langdon 2000:463), it should be noted that, as one looks up from below, both Ida in Crete and Olympos in Macedonia have the same conical shape; in Olympos’ case this is not the summit (Mytikas 2.917 m), but the peak Profitis Ilias (2.787 m) from the east, and the peak Agios Antonios (2.817 m) from the northwest, where Hellenistic remains of Zeus’ sanctuary have been unearthed (Kyriazopoulos and Livadas 1967); Höper 1992; and Pantermalis 1999:19–29 with excellent photographs of the peaks; for Olympos’ topography, see Kurz 2003. For the cult of Zeus on Olympos, see Voutiras 2006. For late Bronze Age cemeteries on the northwest slope of Olympos, below the peak Agios Antonios, at an altitude of 1.000–1.100 m, see Poulaki-Pantermali (1987 and 1990), who suggests that the stone seals found on the chest of the deceased were most probably phylacteries with magical qualities, not unlike the ones described in Orpheus’ Lithica, who is closely related with the area. Soueref (2002) has excavated graves dated to the late archaic period, in which together with an epistomion amber beads were found inside or on the deceased’s mouth. Clay fragments or small stones are also found as covers of the eyes, the head and other body parts in graves, dated to the late seventh and sixth century BCE, in Thermi near Thessaloniki, in Vitsa Epirus, and in Akanthos (Allamani, Chatzinikolaou, Tzanakouli, and Galiniki 1999:155–156n7 with the references); and compare the section “Afterword.”
[ back ] 191. Lekatsas (1985:77–79) identifies Cretan Zeus with Dionysos and discusses his association with caves; Psaroudakis 1999–2000 studies the often-neglected relation of Dionysos with metals, which are mined in caves, and the ‘magical’ world of technology.
[ back ] 192. Sakellarakis 1988:209, 212–213, and 214 respectively. The bibliography is extensive: for the recent excavations, see Sakellarakis 1983, 1988–1989; Chaniotis 1987, 1990, 2001a, 2001b, 2006a, and forthcoming (for the inscriptions from the recent excavations), who rightly calls the Idaean Cave “eine überregionale Kulthöhle”; Sporn 2002:218–223; and Prent 2005:565–604. Verbruggen (1981) raised doubts about the nature of Zeus Kretagenes and proposed not to view this god as a dying and being reborn young god; but compare Chaniotis 1986; Kokolakis 1995a, 1995b; and Vikela 2003. In particular, for the possibility of the presence inside the cave of Zeus’ throne, see Sakellarakis 2006, who presents an informed array of this object’s ramifications in the cave’s cult and ritual; for iron finger-rings with very interesting, if intriguing, depictions, see Moustaka 2004; for the depictions on ‘shields’ and phialae, see Galanaki 2001 and 2006; for the possible production in Eleutherna of some orientalizing artifacts recovered from the cave, see Goula 2006; for the cave during Neolithic times, Mandeli 2006; for the cave’s Minoan period, Vassilakis 2006, and for the Roman period, Melfi 2006; for the cave’s literary uses in Latin texts, Braccesi 2004 and George 2006.
[ back ] 193. Sakellarakis and Panagiotopoulos 2006 with the earlier bibliography.
[ back ] 194. Chaniotis 1996a:70; Sporn 2002:222–223.
[ back ] 195. Sporn 2002:220–221; for the terminology of initiation in Cretan inscriptions, see Bile 1992.
[ back ] 196. Galanaki 2001:39–44 and passim; also compare Pappalardo 2001 and 2004; for the dancing motifs, see also 165n46, 166n50.
[ back ] 197. IC I.xii.4–7; Sapouna 1998:91–117 (SEG 48.1212); Chaniotis 2005a:103–107.
[ back ] 198. Baldwin Bowsky 1999:325 no. 67 (and 2004:117–118); and Chaniotis forthcoming, no. 12: Δειπόνιος, the Roman name Dip(p)onius of a magistrate or manufacturer, not necessarily a Knossian (SEG 52.826).
[ back ] 199. IC I.xii.2: [- -].ΚΩ[- - -] | [- -]Τ.ỊΟ[- - -] | [- -] υἱός̣ [- - -] | [- -]ΟΣ̣ΥΠ[- -] | [- -]Ν̣[- - -].
[ back ] 200. Chaniotis 2002:55 (SEG 44.714).
[ back ] 201. Chaniotis 2006a.
[ back ] 202. Chaniotis 2006a. Capdeville (1990) has argued for an oracle in the Cave, but compare Chaniotis’ remarks. A parallel case is the sanctuary of Trophonios at Lebadeia, near Delphi, which appears to have been regarded both as an oracle and as a mystery cult, where divinatory practice depended upon Lethe and Mnemosyne; Bonnechere 2003a and 2003b; Maurizio 1999. Ustinova (2002) discusses mythical figures with prophetic traits and their association with subterranean places in the southern Balkans. She also argues that Apollo’s epithet pholeuterios in Histria on the Thracian Black Sea coast should rather point to the god’s oracular activities in dens and caves as well (Ustinova 2004).
[ back ] 203. Chaniotis 1987, 1990.
[ back ] 204. Athanassiadi 2005 is fundamental for Julian. Di Branco (2004:12n46) identifies Ploutarchos as the son of Ploutarchos who made two dedications to Asclepius in Epidauros (IG IV.12 436–437), dated to 307/308 CE, and consequently dates the Samos inscription to the age of Constantine the Great; see also Melfi 2006.
[ back ] 205. A hieros gamos between Zeus and Hera in Crete, specifically in the vicinity of Knossos, is attested only in Diodorus (5.72.4), for which see Verbruggen 1981; and Avagianou 1991:71–73. Zeus’ marriage to Europa is discussed by Lambrinoudakis (1971:298–301) as a type of hieros gamos, which results in the death of the male Talos through the foot, a result comparable to “the Cretan mystery cult of Zagreus” (301); Lambrinoudakis’ study shows that the foot or its parts appear to be connected with rituals, especially in mystery cults (for Pythagoras’ gold thigh, 365–368).
[ back ] 206. Chaniotis 1996a:68–76.
[ back ] 207. Burnett 1983:157–163.
[ back ] 208. Burnett 1983:160–161.
[ back ] 209. Translation by Burnett (1983:157–158) of Alcaeus fr. 129V lines 13–15: τὸν ῎Υρραον δὲ πα[ῖδ]α πεδελθέ̣τ̣ω | κήνων Ἐ[ρίννυ]ς ὤς ποτ᾽ ἀπώμνυμεν | τόμοντες …
[ back ] 210. By G. Tarditi apud Burnett (1983:162n9), who also notes a connection of this epithet to the Linear B ke-me-ri-jo found in the Pylos tablets; see further Graf 1985:74–78. Picard (1946:463–465) had associated the epithet with κεμάς, -άδος, “the fawn,” and with Dionysos’ epithet Eriphios. Quinn (1961) has proposed Cape Phokas as a possible site for this temenos, whence the dedicatory inscription to Dionysos ΒΡΗΣΑΓΕΝΗΣ (IG XII.2 478).
[ back ] 211. Burnett 1983:160–162, 161n8.
[ back ] 212. Chantraine 1980:396; Pugliese Carratelli 2001:90–91.
[ back ] 213. Kalpaxis 2004.
[ back ] 214. Themelis 2002 and 2004a.
[ back ] 215. This is also the case in the Prinias-stelai, dated to the seventh century BCE: they were fitted on the outer walls of grave monuments in the necropolis of ancient Rhizenia or Apollonia (modern Patela of Prinias) and were engraved with male and female figures representing all social classes, in an impressive posture and with iconographic elements that “may characterize the figures … as ‘heroic,’ in the secular sense of the word,” according to Lebessi 1976:176 and passim; see also Sporn 2002:176–177 and Palermo 2001.
[ back ] 216. Stampolidis 2004a:116–138; and Stampolidis 2001 for the burial practices in the necropolis; Erickson (2006) argues for burial austerity in sixth century Eleutherna. For offerings in graves of the geometric-orientalizing period, see Lefèvre-Novaro 2004.
[ back ] 217. Stampolidis 1996a; 2004a:127–129; 2004c:69–70.
[ back ] 218. As argued by Stampolidis 2004b:235–236 nos. 252–253; in Eleutherna workshops of sculptors did exist, but how early is debatable; in the Hellenistic period Eleuthernaean artists also worked abroad (Stampolidis 1993:50; 1994:153; 2004a:70–71; Papachristodoulou 2000; Themelis 2002:17–18). For the problematics of describing statues and especially the Lady of Auxerre, see Donohue 2005:131–143, 202–221.
[ back ] 219. Stampolidis 2004a:137–138; 2004b:234–235 nos. 250–251.
[ back ] 220. For Eleutherna and environs, see Stampolidis 2004a; Sporn 2002:234–244.
[ back ] 221. This is variously described as a round object, a stone, a rock, a disc.
[ back ] 222. Sidiropoulos 2004; Furtwängler and Spanou 2004; Stampolidis 2004b:161–162 nos. 24–26; SNG Kopenhagen 429–436; Le Rider 1966:105; Svoronos 1890:128–136, 131–135 nos. 2–34. The coin-legends of neighboring Axos include (Sidiropoulos 2006): Apollo with tripod; ivy-crowned Dionysos and tripod with thunderbolt; Zeus Agoraios or Idaios; later, Apollo with quiver and bow, Zeus, Hermes, and the more rare Dionysos with bee or fly; Zeus, tripod, and on top of tripod thunderbolt; Zeus Idaios, Kretagenes, Agoraios, Korybantes, eagle.
[ back ] 223. It should be noted that a rock and a tree form the scenery, where communication with the divine, and poetic and/or prophetic inspiration, are achieved, as Hesiod’s proverbial apostrophizing indicates (Theogony 35): ἀλλὰ τίη μοι ταῦτα περὶ δρῦν ἢ περὶ πέτρην; O’Bryhim (1996) and West (1997b:431) adduce Near Eastern parallels where birth from a tree and a rock is mentioned. In Minoan times a similar scenery appears in what Nannó Marinatos (2004) calls scenes of epiphany (for a similar scene on a seal, see also Papadopoulou 2006, 147–149), and Burkert (2004a:19 and passim; 2005b) tentatively describes as “some form of ‘divination.’” For the line’s use in Plutarch’s Consolation to his Wife 608c, see Alexiou 1998.
[ back ] 224. van Effenterre 1991:26–30 (SEG 41.743; BE 1992.360); Chaniotis 1995:16–27; 1996a:190–195 no.6 (SEG 45.1258; 46.1206; BE 1996.324, 332; 1998.318); Themelis and Matthaiou 2004 (SEG 52.852).
[ back ] 225. Perlman 2004a:109–112. The inscription reads: κιθ̣αριστᾶν, and not Guarducci’s (IC II.xii.16Ab line 1): κι[θ]αριστὰς (van Effenterre and Ruze 1995:118–119 no. 26 read κι(θ)αριστὰς). The text is very difficult to read, because the stone was reinscribed without erasing completely the previous text; thus, the strokes of both texts are visible at places. See also Stampolidis 2004a:69–70; and Guizzi 2006.
[ back ] 226. Presence of Anatolians is attested in the necropolis as three Phoenician cippi have been found, for which see Stampolidis 2003a; 2004b:135, 238 no. 257; 2004c:67–68.
[ back ] 227. See 217n224; on Zeus’ epithets, see Verbruggen 1981:138–141 with earlier bibliography; Psilakis (2002) relates the epithet Skyllios with σκυλλίς, the ‘vine-shoot’ according to Hesychius.
[ back ] 228. Sporn (2002:241 and 244) follows the reading in Themelis (1989–1990:266; SEG 39.958): Ὑέτ[ιος], but see Tzifopoulos forthcoming-1.
[ back ] 229. Stavrianopoulou 1991 (SEG 41.744); on Zeus Machaneus, see Verbruggen 1981:129-130; and Martin 1983:76–84.
[ back ] 230. Stavrianopoulou 1991 and 1993; Pugliese Carratelli 2001:90–91; Larson 2001:185–188; and the section “Topography.”
[ back ] 231. Sporn 2002:239–240; and 168–169n64, 204n177; on maiden triads, see further Scheinberg 1979; Larson 2001. For Cretan reliefs depicting Pan and Nymphs, see Sporn 2004.
[ back ] 232. Stampolidis 2004a:57. For Aphrodite, see Pirenne-Delforge 1994, and Budin 2003; for Aphrodite and Dionysos, see Pingiatoglou 2004.
[ back ] 233. Stavrianopoulou (1991:33 and 38 (SEG 41.744) reads): [ἐς τ]ὰ ἄδυττα <τὰ> Ἀρτέ[μιδος], but on the stone: ΑΑΔΥΤIΤΑΑΡΤΕ.
[ back ] 234. Themelis and Matthaiou 2004 (SEG 52.852). Artemis is missing from what survives from another treaty (217n224).
[ back ] 235. Themelis 2002; 2004a; 2004b:183 no. 78 (naiskos), 178–180 no. 71 (statue); and 2006:16–36.
[ back ] 236. For the inscriptions, 217n224.
[ back ] 237. Tegou 2004:147 no. 1.
[ back ] 238. Themelis 2002; and 2004b:181 no. 72 (Muse), 182 no. 77 (billy-goat), 184 no. 81 (Aphrodite small statue), 218 no. 191 (Aphrodite small plaque), 231–232 no. 248 (ivory plaques).
[ back ] 239. Yangaki 2004 with an addendum of known phylacteries; and Themelis 2004b:nos. 219 and 411; Themelis 2002:60 and 62 figure 67, 78 figures 88–89.
[ back ] 240. Themelis 2004b: nos. 87 (Themelis 2002:74, 76 figure 84), 224, 246 respectively.
[ back ] 241. Sporn 2002:239 with n1768.
[ back ] 242. Eleutherna, Sybritos, and Kydonia were the only three cities of Crete that issued coins whose legends employed Dionysiac motifs; Marangou-Lerat 1995; and Perlman 2004a:102–103.
[ back ] 243. IC II.xii.9 line 2, as restored by van Effenterre and Ruzé 1994:114–117 no. 25: Διονυσσίαν νεμον̣[ηίαν]; see also Bile 1988:154n334; and Sporn 2002:239. The month Dionyssios is attested so far only in Praisos (IC III.vi [Praisos].7A line 14; and Trümpy 1997:195), and Sybritos (Tzifopoulos forthcoming-2).
[ back ] 244. IC II.xii.21, especially lines 19–29: … δεδόχθαι τοῖς κόσμοις καὶ τᾶι πόλει τῶν Ἐλευ|θερναίων ἀποκρίνασθαι Τηίοις φίλοις καὶ οἰκείοις | οὖσιν διότι τά τε περὶ τὸν Διόνυσον καὶ αὐτοὶ σεβό|μεθα καὶ τὸν ὑμὸν δᾶμον ἀσπαζόμεθά τε κἠ|παινίομεν διότι καλῶς καὶ ἱεροπρεπῶς καὶ κατα|ξίως τῶ θεῶ διεξάγοντες οὐ μόνον καθῶς πὰρ τῶν | προγόνων παρέλαβον διαφυλάσσοντες, ἀλλὰ καὶ | πολλῶι μᾶλλον προσαύξοντες, ἕνεκεν ὧν καὶ παρ᾽ ἁ|μίων τὰ σεμνὰ καὶ τίμια δίδοται τῶι θεῶι καὶ Τηίοις | καὶ τάν τε πόλιν αὐτῶν καὶ τὰν χώραν ἱερὰν καὶ ἄσυ|λον ἀποδείκνυμεν καὶ πειρασόμεθα συναύξειν; and 192n137.
[ back ] 245. Yiouri 1978; Barr-Sharrar 1982; Themelis and Touratsoglou 1997.
[ back ] 246. Tegou 2004:147 no. 2 (Maenad), 151 no. 8 (lamp).
[ back ] 247. Themelis 2004b:210 nos. 162, 163 and 164.
[ back ] 248. Rethymno Museum (Λ[ίθινα] 2579 stele + Λ[ίθινα] 2377 head with two faces); Themelis 2002:96–99; 2004b:185–186 no. 86; and 2006:37–45; for beardless Dionysos, Carpenter 1993. For Herms of Dionysos in Macedonia, see Koukouli-Chryssanthaki 1992:81.
[ back ] 249. For the Delphic couple and its representation in sculpture, see pages 139–150 with notes. For a sanctuary of Apollo (kitharoidos), in which Artemis and Dionysos were also worshipped, in Western Macedonia, see Karamitrou-Medessidi 2000.
[ back ] 250. For Ariadne, see 155n9, 166n50, 169n65.
[ back ] 251. Baldwin Bowsky 2006:267; Baldwin Bowsky and Niniou-Kindeli 2006; for the Roman reorganization of the island and its ramifications, see further Viviers 2004; Sonnabend 2004; and Baldwin Bowsky 1995, 1999, 2001a, 2001b, 2002a, 2002b, 2004a, 2004b, and forthcoming.
[ back ] 252. Melfi 2006; Di Branco 2004; and 57n25. For two lamps from the Melidoni and Amnissos Caves with unique depictions of taurokathapsia, dated to the Roman period, see Sapouna 2004. The Minoan bull-leaping has also been variously associated with Theseus’ myth, for which see Scanlon 1999.
[ back ] 253. For the Diktynnaion and its funding activities, Tzifopoulos 2004; Sporn 2001; and Baldwin Bowsky 2001a, 2001b, and forthcoming; Baldwin Bowsky and Niniou-Kindeli 2006. Andreadaki-Vlazaki (2004:39) notes that the ‘mile-stone’ from Viran Episkopi indicates a Diktynnaion in this area. For the Asclepeion at Lebena, Melfi 2001 and 2004; Girone 2004; and Di Branco 2004.
[ back ] 254. I purposefully avoid the term pilgrimage as it is loaded with the semantics of the Judeao-Christian tradition; in spite of recent arguments, it is not at all certain that ancient theoria was, or was meant to be, also a proskynesis, the Greek word denoting “pilgrimage.” For recent treatments, see Coleman and Elsner 1995; Dillon 1997; Elsner and Rutherford 2005.
[ back ] 255. Bechtel, and LGPN I, II, IIIA, IIIB, IV.
[ back ] 256. According to the entries in Stephanus Ethnica 139; Herodianus De prosodia catholica, 3.1 (p. 293); and Eustathius Ad Iliadem 1.518. 21–26. For the late sources, see Verbruggen 1981:149–151 with earlier bibliography.
[ back ] 257. Unless these divinities have a minor role, precisely because their names were important in poetry rivaling Hesiod’s epic (Asterie was also the original name of Delos; see West 1966:270 and 281). Willetts (1962:166–167) discusses the ancient sources; according to Pausanias (2.31.1) Minos had also a son Asterion whom Theseus defeated, if Asterion is not another name for Minotauros, for which see Lambrinoudakis 1971:301, 343–344. For a later development of Asterios’ myth in Nonnos and Dionysios, see Vian 1998 with previous bibliography.
[ back ] 258. For this passage, see also Stampolidis 1996b; 1998a:114–116; 1998b.
[ back ] 259. Apud Sakellarakis 1983:419 and n3.
[ back ] 260. Bechtel 1917, LGPN I, II, IIIA, IIIB, IV, LSJ, and Chantraine 1980, s.v. The form Sauros is already attested in a Linear B tablet from Knossos as a name: Saurijo (see Chantraine 1980:991). For Satra, see Stampolidis 1993:24–25; 1994:143–144; 2004d; van Effenterre 1991:29; Themelis 2002:11–14; 2004a:48. Τhere is a Roman name Σάτριος/Satrius, relatively uncommon in Greek nomenclature (see Baldwin Bowsky 1995:272–273; SEG 45.1239). Another intriguing coincidence is the form of the month at Lato: Sartiobiarios, “a strange-sounding foreign word,” according to Robertson (2002:26–27), for which see Chaniotis 1996a:322–323 no. 55 A22, B16 (= IC I.xvi.4 line 22); 1996b; and Trümpy 1997:193–194.
[ back ] 261. van Effenterre 1991:29; Faraklas et al. 1998:78; and Chaniotis 1996a:190–195 no. 6 (SEG 46.1206).
[ back ] 262. Chantraine 1980, s.vv. satrapes and saturos; LSJ s.vv. satres, satra, satrap-. Stampolidis (1993:24–25; 1994:143–144; 2004d) calls the root sat- (“free, master, ruler”) Thraco-Pelasgian and entertains the possibility of Sat(a)ra being related to the Linear B toponym Katara.
[ back ] 263. I owe this reference to Nicholas Stampolidis, who has also suggested that the name of the tribe Paiones, inhabiting the area west of Mount Pangaion, may have something to do with the Cretan Paiawones, perhaps due to migrations during the late Bronze or the early Iron Age. On ide/Ida, a prehellenic word of uncertain etymology, see Chantraine 1980:s.v.; and Willetts 1962:143–144.
[ back ] 264. Fontenrose (1981:228–229) relates this oracle to the one at Amphikleia in Phocis, where a male promantis served Dionysos, and he assumes that it was a healing oracle through dreams and incubation, just like the one at Amphikleia, although Herodotus clearly relates it to Delphi; see Harrison 2000:150n105; Detienne 2003:163–164; and Connelly 2007:80 on the prophetess’ direct inspiration from the god, as in the Delphic model. On Orpheus, Apollo, and Dionysos in Euripides’ Rhesos, see especially Markantonatos 2004; Liapis 2004; and Fantuzzi 2006.
[ back ] 265. Another intriguing coincidence is found in the modern names of the cities Eleuthero(u)polis and Eleutherai in the wider area of ancient Satrai (for the area of ancient Pieria, see Pikoulas 2001); and in the name of the village Satres (Σάτρες) in the Thracian Prefecture of Xanthi. And one should also keep in mind that Dionysos entered Attica from the Boeotian Eleutherai (for the story and the sources, see Farnell 2004:vol. 5, 226–239).
[ back ] 266. Until 2002 in Greek cities the districts or neighborhoods were given in most cases the names of the parish-churches dominating the district, according to which the voting catalogues were prepared.
[ back ] 267. van Effenterre 1991:29–30; but evidence for such an identification does not exist and Chaniotis (1996a:191–192 and 195; BE 1996.332, 324) rightly argues against it.
[ back ] 268. Baldwin Bowsky 2000 argues that the Cretans responded to Roman influence by revitalizing local traditions.
[ back ] 269. Sakellarakis 1983:418.
[ back ] 270. Sakellarakis 1983:passim; Melfi 2006.
[ back ] 271. Guizzi 2001 with previous bibliography.
[ back ] 272. See 116n59.
[ back ] 273. Verbruggen 1981:90–91; and 112n48.
[ back ] 274. For these Odyssean passages, 112n48, 113nn51–52.
[ back ] 275. Willetts 1962:143–144; Chaniotis 1993; 1999:208–209; Perlman 2000:145–146.
[ back ] 276. Edmonds 2004:46–55.
[ back ] 277. Merkelbach 1995:147–181, 328–331, 343–346; the small ritual acts include impersonation of gods by priests, theatrical devices, machines, etc.
[ back ] 278. Graf and Johnston (2007:109–111) explain the topographical divergence in B12 as a probable innovation by an orpheotelestes, claiming that his is the correct knowledge of the Underworld topography; this need not exclude a local context for the incised epistomion, unless the orpheotelestes was an iterant.
[ back ] 279. Themelis 2000a, 2002, 2004a; for the transition from the Imperial to Protobyzantine period, see Themelis 2004c; for the coins, Sidiropoulos 2000; for the inscriptions, Tzifopoulos 2000. As Chaniotis (2005b:146–147) notes, the reasons for turning pagan temples into churches are not the sacredness of the site, but its pagan and anti-Christian symbolism which have to be cleansed and re-consecrated; Lalonde (2005) argues against continuity, borrowing, or contact from ancient to Christian cult and ritual.
[ back ] 280. Themelis 2004b:187 no. 88: a very rare seventh century CE portable icon of Christ.
[ back ] 281. This bishop’s epithet ἀνάξιος is not necessarily pejorative, as Themelis (2002:22 and 2004a:70) has suggested; it most probably indicates humility.
[ back ] 282. Themelis 2002:24–25; and 2004a:79–80; Kalpaxis 2004; Tsougarakis 1987:402–403; 1988:230–231, 323–326.