Chapter 9. The City Goddess of Athens

{391|393} §3.39 The Phaeacian king and queen are the key to the relationship between Athena Polias and Erechtheus as it once was. Aspects of this relationship, like Athena’s change from virgin goddess to mother goddess in the context of the Plynteria, can be reconstructed only indirectly from the Phaeacian parallel and must therefore remain obscure; other aspects of the relationship may be absent from the Phaeacian parallel altogether. [80] But the essential relationship is plainly there: it is a marriage. A marriage bond presumably still united Athena Polias and Erechtheus when the Epidaurians made annual sacrifices to both as a pair in return for statues of the goddesses of fertility and childbirth, Damia and Auxesia. The era of these sacrifices surely coincided with the Homeric period at least in part. After the Homeric period, however, the marriage of Athena Polias and Erechtheus came to an end. [81] It had already ended by the time of a Homeric passage that is probably to be dated to the time of Solon, namely the Athenian entry to the Catalogue of Ships. This entry, which differs so markedly from the catalogue’s other entries, [82] focuses {393|394} above all on Erechtheus—Athens is called his land—and on Athena’s relationship to him (Iliad 2.546–556):

οἳ δ' ἄρ' Ἀθήνας εἶχον ἐϋκτίμενον πτολίεθρον
δῆμον Ἐρεχθῆος μεγαλήτορος, ὅν ποτ' Ἀθήνη
θρέψε Διὸς θυγάτηρ, τέκε δὲ ζείδωρος ἄρουρα,
κὰδ δ' ἐν Ἀθήνῃς εἷσεν ἑῷ ἐν πίονι νηῷ·
ἔνθα δέ μιν ταύροισι καὶ ἀρνειοῖς ἱλάονται
κοῦροι Ἀθηναίων περιτελλομένων ἐνιαυτῶν·
τῶν αὖθ' ἡγεμόνευ' υἱὸς Πετεῶο Μενεσθεύς.
τῷ δ' οὔ πώ τις ὁμοῖος ἐπιχθόνιος γένετ' ἀνὴρ
κοσμῆσαι ἵππους τε καὶ ἀνέρας ἀσπιδιώτας·
Νέστωρ οἶος ἔριζεν· ὃ γὰρ προγενέστερος ἦεν·
τῷ δ' ἅμα πεντήκοντα μέλαιναι νῆες ἕποντο.

And the men who inhabited Athens, well-founded city,
land of great-hearted Erechtheus, whom Athena,
Zeus’s daughter, once nourished after the grain-giving earth bore him,
and set him down in Athens in her own (his own?) rich temple.
There the youths of the Athenians propitiate him with bulls and rams
as the years return;
those men Menestheus, the son of Peteos, led;
never was there another man on earth to equal him
in marshaling horses and shield-bearing men;
only Nestor rivaled him, for he was older;
fifty black ships followed him.

The main feature characterizing Erechtheus in this passage is that he was born from the earth; Athena’s role was to nourish him and to put him in her temple in Athens, where the youths of Athens propitiated him with annual sacrifices of bulls and rams. [83] There is no hint here of the matrimonial pair that was found to inhabit the palace of Erechtheus in Odyssey 7.80–81. The {394|395} annual sacrifices offered by Athenian youths to Erechtheus, moreover, are quite different from what would have been expected from Herodotus’s story of the statues of the goddesses Damia and Auxesia: it was not to Erechtheus alone, but to Athena Polias and Erechtheus as a pair, that annual sacrifices were offered by the Epidaurians in return for these statues. Even the notion that Athena and Erechtheus inhabited the same temple is not what the passage in Iliad 2 presupposes if, as has been convincingly argued, the phrase ἑῷ ἐν πίονι νηῷ in line 549 means not “in her rich temple,” but “in his own rich temple.” [84] In Odyssey 7.80–81 the palace of Erechtheus is at the same time the temple of Athena: Athena enters the palace of Erechtheus in order to animate her own image, which clearly resides there. [85] In Iliad 2.549–551, on the other hand, Erechtheus has not only his own sacrifices, but his own temple as well. Simply put, the difference between the two passages seems to be this: whereas the passage in Odyssey 7 concerns the marriage of Athena Polias and Erechtheus, the passage in Iliad 2 concerns their separation. It is this separation that remains to be considered more fully, for it is this separation that survived, consigning the pair’s earlier marriage to oblivion. The change seems to have been a deliberate one. What brought it about? We will address this question by considering separately the two new figures that emerged, the new Athena Polias on the one hand and the new Erechtheus on the other hand.

§3.40 There is no mystery about Athena. In Athens the virgin goddess predominated to the exclusion of the mother goddess and became more and more a war goddess. The golden aegis and gorgoneion that belonged to the statue of Athena Polias in the fifth and fourth centuries vividly show how the virgin war goddess ultimately prevailed. I have already suggested that the change from a mother goddess, who spun wool, to a war goddess, who was armed, may have taken place as early as the beginning of the sixth century. At this date the influence of Homeric epic, in which Athena had long been a war goddess, was doubtless already a factor. Indeed the golden aegis and gorgoneion that were added as ornaments to the statue of Athena Polias correspond closely to the Homeric description of Athena’s arming. [86] {395|396}

§3.41 How Athena first became a war goddess is a separate question to which there is no certain answer. [87] The festival of the Plynteria, if I have understood it correctly, was celebrated for a virgin goddess in preparation for her transition to mother goddess. For the virgin goddess to develop instead into a war goddess she had to remain a virgin by being separated once and for all from the mother goddess. This process seems to have taken place at different times in different places, but in most places it happened early. [88] Thus the Homeric Athena, reflecting her essential nature throughout the Greek world, is a war goddess: this is her Panhellenic form. Only where the mother goddess was deeply rooted would this process be prevented from happening, and Athens was surely the primary case of that. In the Phaeacian episode, as we have seen, there are two Athenas corresponding to Athena’s two departures from Scheria: Athena the Olympian and Athena the city goddess of Athens. Athena the Olympian is the Panhellenic goddess who is found everywhere else in Homer. Athena the city goddess of Athens is found just once in Homer, in Odyssey 7.80–81, and even there she becomes the city goddess only by disappearing from view into the palace of Erechtheus. Thus on the surface of the Homeric text Athena is entirely the Panhellenic goddess. The local variant is below the surface of the text, but it is important enough on its own to counterbalance the Panhellenic conception in the Phaeacian episode.

§3.42 If this analysis is right, Athens in the Homeric era was out of step with the rest of the Greek world in not worshipping Athena the war goddess, {396|397} but Athena its own deeply traditional mother goddess. This situation changed in the post-Homeric period, probably starting in the seventh century at some point, when Athens came under the influence of the Homeric poems. The Athenians were the last to adopt the Panhellenic model of their city goddess, but when they did so they made up for lost time. The Panhellenic Athena had four interrelated attributes, which may be paired for convenience: she was the virgin war goddess, and the Olympian daughter of Zeus. All these attributes are implied by the golden aegis and gorgoneion that were added to the statue of Athena Polias. I again cite the passage in Iliad 5 where the daughter of Zeus arms for war in her father’s palace on Olympus (Iliad 5.733–742):

αὐτὰρ Ἀθηναίη κούρη Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο
πέπλον μὲν κατέχευεν ἑανὸν πατρὸς ἐπ' οὔδει
ποικίλον, ὅν ῥ' αὐτὴ ποιήσατο καὶ κάμε χερσίν·
ἣ δὲ χιτῶν' ἐνδῦσα Διὸς νεφεληγερέταο
τεύχεσιν ἐς πόλεμον θωρήσσετο δακρυόεντα.
ἀμφὶ δ' ἄρ' ὤμοισιν βάλετ' αἰγίδα θυσσανόεσσαν
δεινήν, ἣν περὶ μὲν πάντῃ Φόβος ἐστεφάνωται,
ἐν δ' Ἔρις, ἐν δ' Ἀλκή, ἐν δὲ κρυόεσσα Ἰωκή,
ἐν δέ τε Γοργείη κεφαλὴ δεινοῖο πελώρου
δεινή τε σμερδνή τε, Διὸς τέρας αἰγιόχοιο.

But Athena, daughter of aegis-holder Zeus,
dropped to her father’s floor her supple robe
of many colors, which she herself had made and worked by hand;
she put on the tunic of cloud-gatherer Zeus
and armed herself with weapons for tear-bringing war.
On her shoulders she put the tasseled aegis,
terrifying, around which Panic was set on every side,
and in it was Strife, and Resistance, and chilling Pursuit,
and the dread monster’s Gorgon-head,
dreadful and fearful, the emblem of aegis-holder Zeus.

Here is the war goddess, the Olympian daughter of Olympian Zeus. Only Athena’s virginity is not emphasized, although this too seems implied by her {397|398} characteristic epithet koúrē Diós, “daughter of Zeus.” [89] But virginity was an emphatic characteristic of the new goddess meant to replace the old mother goddess in Athens, and the word parthénos, “virgin,” which is not used of Athena in Homer, soon came to be used of her in Athens. Homeric Hymn 28 to Athena, often considered to be an Athenian work, uses the word parthénos of her for the first time in Greek, probably in the sixth century. This hymn also makes use of the myth that Athena was born fully armed from the head of Zeus, which connects as closely as possible her status as Zeus’s daughter to her warrior nature (Homeric Hymn 28.1–9): [90]

Παλλάδ' Ἀθηναίην κυδρὴν θεὸν ἄρχομ' ἀείδειν
γλαυκῶπιν πολύμητιν ἀμείλιχον ἦτορ ἔχουσαν {398|399}
παρθένον αἰδοίην ἐρυσίπτολιν ἀλκήεσσαν
Τριτογενῆ, τὴν αὐτὸς ἐγείνατο μητίετα Ζεὺς
σεμνῆς ἐκ κεφαλῆς, πολεμήϊα τεύχε' ἔχουσαν
χρύσεα παμφανόωντα· σέβας δ' ἔχε πάντας ὁρῶντας
ἀθανάτους· ἡ δὲ πρόσθεν Διὸς αἰγιόχοιο
ἐσσυμένως ὤρουσεν ἀπ' ἀθανάτοιο καρήνου
σείσασ' ὀξὺν ἄκοντα.

I begin to sing of Pallas Athena, glorious goddess,
grey-eyed, of many wiles, having a relentless heart,
virgin, revered, city-guarding, valiant,
Tritogeneia, whom deviser Zeus himself bore
from his august head with her golden, all-shining
weapons of war; awe held all the watching
immortals; she sprang in a rush
in front of aegis-holder Zeus from his immortal head
shaking a sharp spear.

§3.43 It was of course this virgin war goddess who predominated in fifth-century Athens. It is doubtful whether a cult of Athena Parthenos, as distinct from the cult of Athena Polias, ever existed; [91] but whether there was such a cult or not the word parthénos continued to be used of Athena in ways {399|400} that show that it had special meaning for the Athenians. In the first half of the fifth century a dedication on the Acropolis from the father and the son of one Ekphantos, whom Athena had evidently protected in battle, refers to her as parthénos in the first word. [92] This epigram, with its reference to actual warfare, underscores the personal meaning that the virgin goddess had for Athenian citizens. This meaning is made explicit by a literary text not far in date from the Acropolis dedication, a chorus of Aeschylus’s Eumenides which addresses the Athenians as παρθένου φίλας φίλοι, “you dear ones of the virgin dear to you” (line 999); the wider context of this particular phrase again shows that the parthénos brings with her not only her own protection, but that of her father Zeus (Eumenides 997–1002):

χαίρετ' ἀστικὸς λεώς,
ἴκταρ ἥμενοι Διός,
παρθένου φίλας φίλοι
σωφρονοῦντες ἐν χρόνῳ.
Παλλάδος δ' ὑπὸ πτεροῖς
ὄντας ἅζεται πατήρ.

Hail people of the city,
sitting next to Zeus, {400|401}
dear ones of the virgin who is dear to you,
learning restraint in the fullness of time.
You who are under Pallas’s wings
her father holds in reverence.

Another passage of the Eumenides, spoken by Athena herself, again connects her virginity (this time without the word parthénos) and her closeness to Zeus; the passage also underscores the great distance from the very idea of motherhood of this virgin goddess, who had no mother herself, and so wholly favors the male (Eumenides 736–738):

μήτηρ γὰρ οὔτις ἔστιν ἥ μ' ἐγείνατο,
τὸ δ' ἄρσεν αἰνῶ πάντα, πλὴν γάμου τυχεῖν,
ἅπαντι θυμῷ, κάρτα δ' εἰμὶ τοῦ πατρός.

For there is no mother who bore me,
and I praise the male in all respects, except for marriage,
with my whole heart, and I am entirely my father’s.

§3.44 In concrete form it was of course the Parthenon that displayed Athena parthénos most impressively to the city and to the world. Paradoxically this building, constructed between 447 and 432 BC, did not begin to be called the Parthenon until a century later, [93] and it was never called that officially. [94] Parthenon seems rather to have been a nickname, the exact source of which is obscure, but which soon gained currency because of its obvious aptness to the virgin goddess. [95] Athena’s temple was never officially called {401|402} the Parthenon and she herself most likely never had the cult title parthénos. [96] Nevertheless the virgin war goddess is certainly the figure who occupied the Parthenon. This is clear not only from Pheidias’s statue of the war goddess that stood in the main sanctuary of the temple, the east-facing cella. The sculptures on the temple’s exterior, also planned by Pheidias, emphasized the same aspect of the goddess. More that that, they emphasized the close relationship of Athena as a war goddess to her father Zeus. [97] The east end of the temple, with its entrance to the cella and the huge cult statue, was the most important side, and the pediment sculpture at this end depicted Athena’s birth from the head of Zeus; on the west pediment, by contrast, was pictured the myth that most concerned Athena as the local city goddess, her contest {402|403} with Poseidon for the city of Athens itself. [98] The same contrast between the Olympian goddess at the east end and the city goddess at the west end is also found on the metope sculptures: on the east-end metopes the gigantomachy, the battle which established the Olympian gods in power by their triumph over the giants, and in which Athena played a leading role next to her father Zeus; [99] on the west-end metopes another mythical battle, but which concerned, not control of the universe, but (most likely) the mythical victory of the Athenians over the invading Amazons. [100]

§3.45 The gigantomachy represented on the east-end metopes had special relevance to Athena’s principal Athenian festival, the Panathenaia: the gigantomachy was embroidered on the péplos offered to the goddess at this festival. [101] From this fact, and from statements in Aristotle and other ancient sources, it appears that the entire Panathenaic festival was a celebration of the Olympian gods’ victory in the gigantomachy, and of Athena’s triumph over the giant Aster (or Asterios) in particular. [102] On the Parthenon {403|404} the Panathenaic procession was represented on the frieze that ran around the entire building on the wall inside the outer colonnade. This too focused on the east entrance, for the procession faces in this direction on both sides of the temple. The presentation of the péplos to the goddess may have been represented at the central point of the frieze, above the east door itself. [103] If so there was a careful coordination of motifs between the metopes on the east end, with their representation of the gigantomachy, and the frieze, with its representation of the festival begun in honor of the gigantomachy, and of the péplos in particular, which in real life contained its own embroidered representation of the gigantomachy.

§3.46 As an Olympian goddess Athena offered to Athens not only her own protection, which she had always provided as city goddess, but also the protection of her father Zeus. [104] Presumably the powerful alliance of father and daughter was clear in the battle with the giants as depicted on the sculptures of the east-end metopes, which have not survived. [105] The role of Zeus {404|405} was certainly clear in the birth of Athena, which dominated the east end on its pediment. Here, above all, it was Zeus who was shown to be the ultimate authority standing behind his warrior daughter. [106]

§3.47 From an Athenian standpoint the gigantomachy was the ideal myth to show the warrior goddess Athena in action because in it she fought beside her father Zeus. In the eyes of Athenians what could be more reassuring, or more potent, than an alliance of their city goddess with the father of gods and men? In Homer a close alliance between father and daughter is implied when Athena borrows the aegis from Zeus and arms for battle in Troy (Iliad 5.733–742). [107] But in the gigantomachy the alliance is even closer: Zeus and Athena fight side by side against the same enemy, and the stakes are the gods’ very rule. The gigantomachy is at once a Panhellenic myth, in which the relationship between Zeus and Athena is based on Homer, and an Athenian myth, {405|406} in which that relationship is heightened and extended. [108] It makes perfect sense that this myth provided the aetiology for the Panathenaia, for this festival too was both Panhellenic and specifically Athenian. The Panathenaia are known to have been reorganized in about 566/5 BC. We have no knowledge of the festival that preceded this reorganization, only of the one that followed it, but it seems likely that the myth of the gigantomachy went hand in hand with this reorganization. [109] The shrine of Athena dedicated wholly to the virgin war goddess was the Parthenon. Direct evidence for a temple on the south side of the Acropolis where the Parthenon later stood does not go back beyond the Parthenon’s unfinished predecessor, begun after the Battle {406|407} of Marathon in perhaps 488 BC, and destroyed less than a decade later by the Persians in 480 BC. [110] Indirect evidence may indicate a yet earlier temple on the site, possibly from the period of the reorganization of the Panathenaia in 566/5 BC. [111] {407|408}

§3.48 Athena Polias was changed into the Olympian daughter of Zeus by the addition of the aegis and gorgoneion to her cult image, but the location of this image on the Acropolis surely never changed. To protect the city Athena’s image must have remained steadfastly in its place. When Erechtheus and Athena were separated, therefore, it was not Athena who moved, but Erechtheus. In Odyssey 7.80–81 the two are together in Erechtheus’s palace, which Athena enters to animate her own image, and which must also have contained the image of Erechtheus. [112] This palace became solely the temple of Athena once Erechtheus was removed from it.

§3.49 The temple of Athena Polias has long been identified with the small Ionic temple known as the Erechtheum. [113] It is the only prominent {408|409} building still standing on the north side of the Acropolis, and Pausanias has been understood to mean this building when he describes both the shrine of Erechtheus and the temple of Athena, one after the other, in his tour of the Acropolis. [114] The existence of both shrines in one building seemed to fit with the Homeric evidence, not only Odyssey 7.80–81, but also Iliad 2.546–551, so long as the latter passage was thought to say that Athena put the earthborn Erechtheus into her own temple. [115]

§3.50 The assumption that the small Ionic temple was Athena’s became complicated when foundations of a much larger Doric temple were discovered just south of it. Sometimes called the Dörpfeld temple after its discoverer, this structure, which was burned to an unknown extent in the Persian invasion of 480 BC, has been widely accepted as Athena’s old temple. But it is also widely assumed that this temple was destroyed in 480 BC, and that the small Ionic temple just to the north eventually took its place.

§3.51 Gloria Ferrari, following Dörpfeld, has challenged this view with a compelling argument that Athena’s old temple, damaged as it was by the Persians, remained in use throughout antiquity. [116] The small Ionic temple to the north was thus not Athena’s temple at all, but the shrine of Erechtheus, entirely separate from Athena’s temple, as Iliad 2.546–551, correctly understood, presupposes that it was. [117] A great advantage of Ferrari’s scheme is that {409|410} it makes perfect sense of Pausanias’s description of the two shrines, one after the other, as his tour progresses from the shrine of Erechtheus to the temple of Athena. [118] This sequence is so awkward on the assumption that both shrines were in the small Ionic temple that serious attempts have been made in recent years to find another building for the shrine of Erechtheus and to leave the small Ionic temple to Athena alone. [119] Ferrari’s solution is rather to leave the Erechtheum to Erechtheus, and to claim for Athena unbroken continuity in her own old temple. It was in the cella of this temple, which is called the arkhaîos neṓs in the fourth-century inventories, that the old image of Athena Polias (hē theós) must always have resided. [120] {410|411}

§3.52 Erechtheus, on the other hand, was removed from this temple, which had once been his royal palace, [121] and was placed in a shrine just to the north. Iliad 2.547–549 describes this relocation in terms of Athena’s own primordial act: it was she who placed Erechtheus in his own temple, just as the Athenians had apparently now done. We will consider the overall intent of the Iliad passage later, but in part it was to reflect the new cult relationships on the Acropolis, with Erechtheus and Athena now housed in different temples, no longer in the same temple.

§3.53 The small Ionic temple, which was constructed in the latter part of the fifth century, undoubtedly had predecessors with the same irregular plan, but little is known of such predecessors from archaeology. [122] The literary {411|412} tradition, on the other hand, reveals something very important, namely that Poseidon already inhabited a predecessor of this temple when Erechtheus was moved there. So I interpret Pausanias 1.26.5, who tells us that inside the Erechtheum there were three altars, and that on the first, which belonged to Poseidon, sacrifices were also offered to Erechtheus “as the result of an oracle.” [123] Here, I believe, is the actual memory of Erechtheus’s transfer from Athena’s temple to a temple of Poseidon, carried out, not surprisingly, with the authorization of an oracle. As a result of the transfer Erechtheus became identified with Poseidon. The resulting cult of Poseidon Erechtheus is attested in several sources, including a fifth-century inscription and a fragment of Euripides’ lost Erechtheus. [124] Thus Erechtheus was not given a new shrine, but a new location; he effectively took over Poseidon’s shrine. This, I think, is the state of affairs in Iliad 2.546–551, which simply omits Poseidon when it speaks of Erechtheus and his cult. [125]

§3.54 Inside the temple of Erechtheus, according to Herodotus 8.55, were the “tokens” (martúria) of Poseidon’s contest with Athena for the city of Athens: the “sea” created by Poseidon, and the olive tree planted by Athena. [126] {412|413} In this mythic contest Poseidon and Athena were rivals, and, if the myth is old, it suggests why Erechtheus, when he was taken from Athena’s temple, was relocated in Poseidon’s temple: Erechtheus’s new identification with Athena’s rival made very clear that his old relationship as Athena’s consort was over. [127]

§3.55 We come now to Erechtheus’s later myth, and the reason that it gives for his presence in Poseidon’s temple: Poseidon slew him with his trident and buried him in the rock. [128] According to the myth Poseidon’s son Eumolpos {413|414} led a Thracian army against Athens, claiming Athens as his birthright because Poseidon had really won the contest with Athena. [129] Erechtheus, defending Athens, killed Eumolpos in battle, but Poseidon, avenging his son, killed Erechtheus. By his death at Poseidon’s hands Erechtheus became Poseidon Erechtheus, taking the name of his slayer in addition to his own. Such is the account in a fragment from the end of Euripides’ lost Erechtheus, in which Athena ordains sacrifices for the dead hero (Erechtheus fr. 65.92–94 Austin):

κεκλήσεται δὲ τοῦ κτανόντος οὕνεκα
σεμνὸς Ποσειδῶν ὄνομ' ἐπωνομασμένος
ἀστοῖς Ἐρεχθεὺς ἐμ φοναῖσι βουθύτοις.

Because of the one who killed him he will be called
august Poseidon surnamed
Erechtheus in the slaughter of sacrificial oxen. [130] {414|415}

§3.56 Athens was at war with its neighbor Eleusis when Eumolpos and the Thracians invaded; Eleusis called the Thracians in as allies. [131] Thucydides {415|416} mentions this war between Athens and Eleusis when he speaks about the independent existence of Attic towns before they were united into one state: he says that some even waged war against each other, “like the Eleusinians with Eumolpos against Erechtheus.” [132] According to Pausanias, Eleusis was incorporated into Attica at the end of this war: [133] he says that the Eleusinians retained control of the Mysteries, but otherwise became subject to Athens. [134]

§3.57 It is impossible to know what historical basis there is for a war between Athens and Eleusis in this early period. [135] In any case the role of Eumolpos as the leader of the Thracian allies of Eleusis cannot be very old. Eumolpos was the ancestor of the Eumolpidai, the family from which the chief priests of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the hierophants, came. [136] In the {416|417} Homeric Hymn to Demeter, which most likely dates from the seventh century BC, [137] Eumolpos is one of a small number of Eleusinian “kings” to whom Demeter shows the performance of her sacred rites (Homeric Hymn to Demeter 473–476, 478–479):

ἡ δὲ κιοῦσα θεμιστοπόλοις βασιλεῦσι
δ[εῖξε,] Τριπτολέμῳ τε Διοκλεῖ τε πληξίππῳ,
Εὐμόλπου τε βίῃ Κελεῷ θ' ἡγήτορι λαῶν,
δρησμοσύνην θ' ἱερῶν καὶ ἐπέφραδεν ὄργια πᾶσι,
σεμνά, τά τ' οὔ πως ἔστι παρεξ[ίμ]εν [οὔτε πυθέσθαι,]
οὔτ' ἀχέειν.

But she went and showed the justice-ministering kings,
Triptolemos and horse-driving Diokles
and mighty Eumolpos and Keleos, leader of the people,
the performance of her sacred rites, and she revealed to all of them the august mysteries,
which are by no means to be transgressed [or learned by inquiry]
or spoken. [138] {417|418}

In this hymn, which seems to be from Eleusis, Eumolpos is an Eleusinian, and of high rank. [139] How he then came to be considered a Thracian is a puzzle, [140] but the explanation probably concerns Athens more than Eleusis: Athens viewed itself as the target of exotic foreign foes, like the Amazons who invaded when Theseus was king, and the Thracians follow this pattern. [141] It seems unlikely that the Eleusinians themselves would have made Eumolpos, one of their illustrious ancestors, a Thracian. [142] {418|419}

§3.58 Erechtheus, for his part, hardly seems older than Eumolpos in the tradition for a war between Athens and Eleusis in the Bronze Age. [143] This, admittedly, is to cast doubt on the war itself, for if both leaders are removed little is left. [144] But this is not the essential point. Even if Athens controlled Eleusis in the Mycenaean age, as the result of a war or otherwise, we know that Eleusis was severely depopulated at the end of the Mycenaean age. [145] Whatever unity there had been doubtless lapsed and had to be re-established in the historical period. [146] The legendary war {419|420} between Athens and Eleusis has to do with what took place in the historical period, whatever may have happened earlier: the war is a retrojection into mythic times of a more recent event. [147] Indeed Athens did not (re)gain control of Eleusis until after the Homeric Hymn to Demeter was composed if we are to judge by the remarkable fact that Athens is not even mentioned in the hymn. [148] There is no consensus that Eleusis remained independent as late as the seventh (or even the sixth) century; [149] but those who believe {420|421} that Eleusis already belonged to Athens when the Homeric Hymn to Demeter was composed have yet to square this belief with the hymn. [150] The issue of {421|422} when Eleusis was incorporated into Attica is, and ought to remain, open; [151] {422|423} but the presumption should be that this did not occur until after the Hymn to Demeter was composed. [152]

§3.59 I noted above that Felix Jacoby called the war between Erechtheus and Eumolpos “the great event of the period of the kings,” and that he thought that “the explanation is that a really historical memory of it was preserved.” By this he did not mean that Eleusis became a permanent part of Attica as the result of such a war. [153] His point was rather that the tradition for a war is so consistent in Thucydides and the Atthidographers that it must have actually happened. I do not agree with this conclusion, but it focuses the real issue for us: how and why was an annexation that took place perhaps only two hundred years earlier obliterated from memory even for Thucydides and replaced by a war in primordial times between two mythic figures, Eumolpos and Erechtheus? In my view it was the very success of the Erechtheus-Eumolpos myth, which cast the war between Athens and {423|424} Eleusis back into mythic times, that caused the actual historical events to disappear from memory. The myth succeeded, moreover, because it was part of a wholesale reorganization of the most important cult relationships on the Acropolis. I have already argued that Erechtheus was relocated from Athena’s temple to Poseidon’s temple, and that Erechtheus effectively replaced Poseidon in his own precinct. In terms of myth, Erechtheus was transformed from Athena’s consort, who together with her received sacrifices relating to fertility and procreation, to a solitary hero who at the price of his life won Eleusis for Athens in war. How Eleusis was really won was as little remembered as how Erechtheus came to occupy Poseidon’s temple. In both cases only traces are left in the historical record. For Erechtheus’s transfer to Poseidon’s temple we have Pausanias, who tells us that sacrifices to Erechtheus on Poseidon’s altar were added as the result of an oracle. For the events that led to Athens’ annexation of Eleusis we have, I think, a similar trace in Herodotus, namely the reference to a figure named Tellos, who died at Eleusis defending Athens from her neighbors. [154] I think it is not unlikely that these neighbors were the Megarians, as has been suggested by others, but I do not think that this excludes that a still independent Eleusis somehow cooperated with the Megarians in the invasion. [155] In the myth that replaced the real event in the collective memory of Athenians, the Eleusinians summoned foreign allies from Thrace. Does this reflect a real event in which Eleusis allied itself with Megara, its Dorian neighbor to the west? If we assume that Athens, having won the battle at Eleusis, took this opportunity to end the independence of Eleusis, we do not have to believe that Athens needed much excuse to do this: minimal culpability on the part of some Eleusinians would have sufficed as a pretext. And if Eleusinian {424|425} culpability was but a pretext for Athenian expansion, all the more reason to replace a shabby recent affair with a heroic tale from the past to account for Eleusis’s dependent status.

§3.60 The story of Tellos parallels the myth of Erechtheus in significant ways. The key parallel is the sacrificial death of an Athenian after turning the tide of battle at Eleusis and saving his city. For Erechtheus this means that after slaying Eumolpos in battle he is in turn slain by Poseidon on the Acropolis, where he is buried and honored in Poseidon’s temple. For Tellos it means a heroic death at the enemy’s hands in Eleusis after turning the tide of battle and a public burial. [156] The story of Tellos is told only incidentally in Herodotus. It is part of the tradition about Solon, who in his foreign travels was asked by the wealthy Lydian king Croesus whom he judged most fortunate among the mortals that he had seen. Solon surprised Croesus, who expected to hear himself named because of his wealth, by naming an unknown Athenian because of his glorious death. Being well off by Athenian standards and seeing his family also prosper, Tellos died a hero’s death, saving {425|426} his city, and he was honored like a hero too, being buried at public expense (Herodotus 1.30.4–5):

Τέλλῳ τοῦτο μὲν τῆς πόλιος εὖ ἡκούσης παῖδες ἦσαν καλοί τε κἀγαθοί, καί σφι εἶδε ἅπασι τέκνα ἐκγενόμενα καὶ πάντα παραμείναντα, τοῦτο δὲ τοῦ βίου εὖ ἥκοντι, ὡς τὰ παρ' ἡμῖν, τελευτὴ τοῦ βίου λαμπροτάτη ἐπεγένετο· γενομένης γὰρ Ἀθηναίοισι μάχης πρὸς τοὺς ἀστυγείτονας ἐν Ἐλευσῖνι βοηθήσας καὶ τροπὴν ποιήσας τῶν πολεμίων ἀπέθανε κάλλιστα, καί μιν Ἀθηναῖοι δημοσίῃ τε ἔθαψαν αὐτοῦ τῇ περ ἔπεσε καὶ ἐτίμησαν μεγάλως.
To Tellos, his city prospering, fine sons were born, and he saw children born to each of them, and he saw all these children surviving; then, his life being prosperous enough by our standards, a most glorious end was added to his life. In a battle against neighbors in Eleusis he fought for his countrymen, routed the enemy, and died a most excellent death; and the Athenians buried him at public expense where he fell, and honored him greatly.

§3.61 If Tellos was the flesh-and-blood hero whose death led to the incorporation of Eleusis into Attica, his association with Solon allows us to date the events to Solon’s own lifetime. In the story in Herodotus Solon is asked if he has seen anyone whom be would call most fortunate, and it follows from his answer that Tellos was his contemporary. [157] We do not have to believe that Solon really had the conversation with Croesus that Herodotus recounts, but there is no reason not to think that the association between Solon and Tellos that this story implies is genuine: Tellos was an obscure local figure, whose obscurity is integral to the point of his story, but the story loses {426|427} its effectiveness if he was not a real part of Solon’s experience. [158] I do not think that the story would falsify this point. [159]

§3.62 If Eleusis was incorporated into Attica in the late seventh century BC, Solon would have been alive to witness it, and he could also have been directly involved in it (if so, this is what linked him with the figure Tellos, the hero of the war by which Eleusis was annexed). [160] The period following the failed Cylonian conspiracy of c. 630 BC is a plausible time for this event if it was brought on, as suggested above, by Megarian-Athenian hostilities in the first place. Cylon was the son-in-law of the Megarian tyrant Theagenes, who wanted to increase his influence over his larger neighbor to the east. [161] Relations between the two cities must have been badly strained by the event, {427|428} and they never really improved after it, with contention soon centering on the island of Salamis. When he failed to take Athens by stealth in the Cylonian affair, Theagenes may have resorted to an open invasion of Eleusis, which was also stopped short. Perhaps his pretext for this was an “invitation” from a still independent Eleusis, caught in the middle between Megara and Athens and bound to lose its independence no matter which side won, since neither side would risk losing the territory between them to the other. [162] As it happened, Tellos and the other Athenians prevailed in the battle, and Athens, perhaps influenced by Solon, annexed Eleusis. This is a construction, but it fits with the next phase of the conflict between the two cities, the contest for Salamis, which lasted through the first half of the sixth century. It has been well observed that for Athens the conquest of Salamis became a geographical necessity once it acquired Eleusis, for without Salamis Eleusis is cut off from the sea. [163] Thus it makes sense to see the Athenian pursuit of Salamis as following soon after the acquisition of Eleusis. Solon was of course the principal figure on the Athenian side in the conquest of Salamis. [164] {428|430}

§3.63 Tellos was honored for what he did in turning back the attack of Athens’ neighbors by being buried at public expense where he fell, in Eleusis. But this minor figure was not given credit for the wider consequence of the Athenian victory, the incorporation of Eleusis into Attica: this deed was shifted to an august figure of Athenian cult, who was himself given a new myth that closely paralleled what Tellos actually did, but was set in the distant past. [165] What Erechtheus needed for his part, given his relationship with Athena Polias, was precisely a new myth, and this he got. Changes also took place in the cult of Demeter at Eleusis, which now took its direction from Athens. [166] These changes, however, occurred under the protective cover of a {430|431} myth that said that Eleusis had been in Athenian hands since time immemorial—since the time of Erechtheus, who had defeated the Thracians and won Eleusis in the period of the kings. [167] {431|432}

§3.64 Erechtheus was chosen for this new role because he had outlived his usefulness in his old role. Athena Polias, no longer a mother goddess but a virgin war goddess, did not need a consort, and a new home and a new myth were found for Erechtheus. He was given a heroic death, which prefigured and enlarged the heroic death of Tellos, and which also conveniently removed him from Athena’s side. The function that he had served with Athena, having to do with fertility and increase, was no longer centered on the Acropolis, but at the newly won Eleusis. It made sense that Erechtheus should die for such a prize. [168]

§3.65 Erechtheus remained paired with Athena in one important context: the festival of the Skira (Skirophoria). [169] The war between Athens and Eleusis, pitting Erechtheus against Eumolpos, was this festival’s aetiological myth, and there is thus reason to believe that the festival itself was organized (or reorganized) after Eleusis was incorporated into Attica. The Skira was a complex festival, and the evidence for it is fragmentary, but the festival’s unifying theme is the relationship of Eleusis to Athens. The festival, which defines the new relationship between the two towns, at the same {432|433} time redefines the old relationship between Erechtheus and Athena, who no longer shared a matrimonial bond in Athena’s old temple on the Acropolis.

§3.66 In the ritual procession of the Skira, which went from the Acropolis to a place on the western outskirts of Athens called Skiron, the priest of Erechtheus and the priestess of Athena were the main participants (a priest of Helios also took part). The festival occurred shortly before the summer solstice, and the procession walked under a large parasol held by members of the same illustrious family from which both the priestess of Athena and the priest of Erechtheus came, the Eteoboutads. [170] Although the priestess of Athena in this procession can only have been the priestess of Athena Polias, [171] the festival of the Skira, according to one source, belonged to Athena Skiras. The same source says that opinion was divided as to whether {433|434} the Skira belonged to Athena at all: some thought that the festival belonged to Demeter and Kore. [172] The confusion seems to have arisen because all the divinities in question, Athena and Erechtheus on the one hand and Demeter and Kore on the other hand, were apparently involved in the ritual at Skiron. Skiron was located on the Sacred Way to Eleusis, near where it crossed the Kephisos River, which is the presumed western boundary of early Athens. [173] The procession of the Skira to this former boundary point has been plausibly connected with the incorporation of Eleusis into Attica: the ritual at Skiron, if it involved both Athena and Demeter, seems to have represented a kind of “religious compromise” between Athens and Eleusis. [174] {434|435}

§3.67 Pausanias, approaching the Kephisos on the Sacred Way from Athens, mentions a shrine belonging to all four of the gods in question for the Skira: Demeter and Kore, Athena and (in place of Erechtheus) Poseidon; after this shrine only one tomb remains before the river itself is crossed. The shrine of the four gods, which seems to fit exactly the notion of religious compromise as far as the gods worshipped there are concerned, and which is very close to Athens’ old boundary point, has been claimed for the celebration of the Skira at the end of the ritual procession from the Acropolis. [175] The difficulty is that the location of this shrine is not called Skiron, but Lakiadai (a deme); [176] Skiron occurs a little earlier in Pausanias’s account and was {435|436} therefore farther from the river (nearer the Acropolis) than Lakiadai. [177] Thus while the temple at Lakiadai may have been the goal of the Skira procession, there is reason to think that this was not the case. [178] {436|437}

§3.68 The ritual of the Skira is not known in enough detail to prove the religious compromise between Athens and Eleusis that the festival is widely thought to have been. But when we consider the myth of Erechtheus, the case becomes clearer. Erechtheus defeated the Eleusinians when they and their Thracian allies brought war on Athens. Skiron played a part in this war, for it was here that a prophet named Skiros, who fought for Eleusis, died and gave his name to the place of his death and burial. Pausanias, our source for this tradition, implies that there was a tomb of Skiros near the torrent Skiron (both the torrent and the place were named for him). [179] Pausanias says that the prophet Skiros came from Dodona, but this detail appears secondary; Philochorus in the fourth century BC refers to an Eleusinian prophet Skiros, saying that Athena Skiras was named for him. [180] We seem to be dealing with {437|438} one and the same figure here. [181] In any event it is clear that the procession of Erechtheus’s priest and Athena’s priestess to Skiron in the festival of the Skira was associated with the war in which Eleusis was won for Athens; the very place was named for a prophet who took part in that war on the side of Eleusis.

§3.69 There is more to say about Athena Skiras and the male figure Skiros as a pair, and this is relevant to Athena Polias and Erechtheus as a pair. Philochorus connected Athena Skiras closely with the Eleusinian prophet Skiros by deriving her name from his. A cult of Athena Skiras is not directly attested for Skiron, but the burial there of a prophet named Skiros clearly suggests one: Philochorus must have had a reason for deriving the name of Athena Skiras from that of the Eleusinian prophet, and the reason would seem to be to connect the prophet’s tomb in Skiron with a cult of the goddess in the same place. [182] Such a close association between Athena Skiras and a figure {438|439} named Skiros is confirmed elsewhere. In Phaleron there was a well-attested cult of Athena Skiras in which there was a male figure Skiros who received divine honors on her very altar. [183] The génos of the Salaminioi that administered this cult is widely thought to have brought the cult with them to Athens when they were driven from Salamis by the Megarians in the late seventh century BC. [184] The cult of Athena Skiras on Salamis, the presumed ancestor of the cult in Phaleron, is attested by Herodotus in a story concerning the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC; it is also suggested in the tradition for Solon’s capture of the island about 600 BC. [185] In traditions about Salamis two male figures {439|440} named Skiros are distinguishable, one a founder and the other a king of the island city. [186] But these seem to be the result of literary speculation about a {440|441} figure who, as we see in Phaleron, was once closely associated with Athena Skiras in cult. The original cult pair was probably a goddess Skiras and a god Skiros, before Athena absorbed the goddess Skiras, and in so doing freed Skiros to undergo transformations of his own. [187] The loosening of the bond between the original pair is in my view the same as what happened between Athena Polias and Erechtheus. This is important for the meaning of the Skira procession, if that procession ended in what was once a cult site of Skiras and Skiros, whose bond had now been loosened: if the procession, that is, ended in a place where Skiras had become Athena Skiras, and Skiros had become a prophet who died for Eleusis. [188] In the procession from the Acropolis to this {441|442} place came the priestess of Athena Polias, who had become a solitary war goddess, and the priest of Erechtheus, who had become the hero who died for Athens and won Eleusis. The parallelism with the Skiras/Skiros pair is, I think, significant. Whatever the previous history of the Skira festival may have been, at least the procession to Skiron cannot well have been instituted before the incorporation of Eleusis into Attica. Given the correspondence of the festival name Skira with the names Skiras/Skiros and Skiron, furthermore, there is some reason to think that the Skira festival itself was not instituted until this relatively late event had taken place. [189] {442|443}

§3.70 When Aristophanes mentions the Skira, he refers to rites that pertained solely to women. [190] These female rites were part of the larger festival of the Skira, and it was by a narrow use of the name that they were called Skira. [191] The female rites, which were sacred to Demeter and Kore, {443|444} presumably represent the old core of the festival itself, going back originally to non-Attic cults of the goddess Skiras. In Attica the larger festival of the Skira represented a religious compromise between Athens and Eleusis. Thus it is not likely that the Skira ever belonged exclusively to Athena Polias and Erechtheus in their function as rulers of the Acropolis. The earliest cult context for the pair as rulers of the Acropolis is the story in Herodotus of the yearly sacrifices that they jointly received from Epidaurus in return for statues of Damia and Auxesia. Whatever the festival was in which these sacrifices were received, it is not likely to have been the Skira. [192] It was only when Athena and Erechtheus were separated from each other on the Acropolis that they were included in the Skira, the focus of which was not the Acropolis, but Skiron. For Erechtheus in particular, the myth of his death associated him with Eleusis and with the borderland between Athens and Eleusis. In his new {444|445} cult Erechtheus still had a place on the Acropolis, in Poseidon’s temple, but his myth took him down from the Acropolis to Skiron. Athena, who accompanied him there in the ritual of the Skira, remained centered on the Acropolis.

§3.71 For Athena the Skira represented an adjustment with Demeter, whose agrarian nature in her cult at Eleusis allowed Athena’s own agrarian nature in her cult on the Acropolis to recede when Athens and Eleusis were joined. For Erechtheus the Skira represented an even more basic adjustment. It marked his end as an independent god. By the myth of his death he was demoted to the status of a hero, and in cult he was associated with the god Poseidon. In the ritual procession to Skiron, moreover, cult ritual seems closely related to the meaning of his new myth, which concerns the incorporation of Eleusis into Attica.

§3.72 The Athenian entry to the Catalogue of Ships in Iliad 2 describes annual sacrifices of bulls and rams to Erechtheus (Iliad 2.546–551):

οἳ δ' ἄρ' Ἀθήνας εἶχον ἐϋκτίμενον πτολίεθρον
δῆμον Ἐρεχθῆος μεγαλήτορος, ὅν ποτ' Ἀθήνη
θρέψε Διὸς θυγάτηρ, τέκε δὲ ζείδωρος ἄρουρα,
κὰδ δ' ἐν Ἀθήνῃς εἷσεν ἑῷ ἐν πίονι νηῷ·
ἔνθα δέ μιν ταύροισι καὶ ἀρνειοῖς ἱλάονται
κοῦροι Ἀθηναίων περιτελλομένων ἐνιαυτῶν.

And the men who inhabited Athens, well-founded city,
land of great-hearted Erechtheus, whom Athena,
Zeus’s daughter, once nourished after the grain-giving earth bore him,
and set him down in Athens in his own rich temple.
There the youths of the Athenians propitiate him with bulls and rams
as the years return.

As previously discussed, Athena in this passage does not place the earthborn Erechtheus in her temple, but in his own temple, and it is there that the youths of the Athenians propitiate him with yearly sacrifices. The passage describes the new cult relationships on the Acropolis insofar as Erechtheus has been removed from Athena’s temple. The fact that Erechtheus is now associated with Poseidon, on the other hand, is left out of account, for the passage is meant to celebrate Erechtheus: Athens is called his dē̂mos in the {445|446} second line. [193] But the sacrifices described in the passage must really have been to Poseidon Erechtheus. They are the same sacrifices that are mentioned at the end of Euripides’ Erechtheus, when Athena ordains that a new temple be built for Erechtheus, who will now be known as Poseidon Erechtheus in honor of his slayer; [194] this is the figure who will be called upon ἐμ φοναῖσι βουθύτοις, “in the slaying of sacrificial cattle” (Erechtheus fr. 65.90–94 Austin):

πόσει δὲ τῶι σῶι σηκὸν ἐμ μέσηι πόλει
τεῦξαι κελεύω περιβόλοισι λαΐνοις,
κεκλήσεται δὲ τοῦ κτανόντος οὕνεκα
σεμνὸς Ποσειδῶν ὄνομ' ἐπωνομασμένος
ἀστοῖς Ἐρεχθεὺς ἐμ φοναῖσι βουθύτοις.

For your husband I order that a precinct be built
in the middle of the city with a stone enclosure; {446|447}
because of the one who killed him he will be called
august Poseidon surnamed
Erechtheus in the slaughter of sacrificial oxen.

Both passages, in Homer and Euripides, clearly describe important sacrifices on an impressive scale. What was the festival in which (Poseidon) Erechtheus received such sacrifices? The Athenian sacrificial calendars contain no trace of it, and this is very puzzling. The Panathenaia have been suggested as the festival, but in what is known of both sacrifices at the Panathenaia, the large and the small, there is no mention of Erechtheus. [195] This silence is hard to explain since the sacrifices to Erechtheus were performed not only in the era when the Athenian entry in Iliad 2 was composed, but also in the last quarter of the fifth century, when Euripides wrote the Erechtheus. [196] I think that an alternative proposal must be right, that the yearly sacrifices at the temple of (Poseidon) Erechtheus were yet another part of that complex festival, the Skira. [197] This means that there was a ritual not only in Skiron, where the procession of the Skira ended, but on the Acropolis, where it began. We can hardly hope to divine the exact choreography of these events, but there is no inherent difficulty in seeing them as occurring together. It is true that we do not hear of sacrifices to (Poseidon) Erechtheus on the Acropolis as part of the Skira, but we must keep in mind that we only know that the procession to Skiron was part of the Skira because the festival’s name was connected with a piece of apparatus used in this part of the ritual, namely a parasol. We do not have full descriptions of the festival for its own sake. {447|448}

§3.73 Part of Erechtheus’s myth was that he had to sacrifice his daughter to secure victory for Athens in the war with Eleusis and Eumolpos. Delphi commanded this. The sacrifice of a daughter is a constant feature in references to the myth, and it is central to the plot of Euripides’ Erechtheus as far as we know it. Here Praxithea, Erechtheus’s wife, willingly embraces her daughter’s death, and her patriotic speech to this effect is quoted in full by the fourth-century orator Lycurgus, himself a member of the family that provided the priests of Erechtheus and the priestesses of Athena Polias. [198] Erechtheus had several daughters, whose number varies. [199] In Euripides’ Erechtheus there were three daughters, and after the sacrifice of one of them the other two also sacrificed themselves because of a pact with their sister. [200] At the end {448|449} of the play all three were transformed into stars, the constellation Hyades. [201] This part of Erechtheus’s myth, the sacrifice of his daughters, was connected with an already existing cult, that of the Hyakinthides. These “daughters of Hyakinthos” were said to have been sacrificed by their father, Hyakinthos, when Minos laid siege to Athens. [202] This at any rate was one myth associated with what must have been an old, even pre-Greek cult of the Hyakinthides. The cult, which was located somewhere to the west of Athens (perhaps in the deme Lousia), was identified with the daughters of Erechtheus, who were thus also called the Hyakinthides, “daughters of Hyakinthos.” [203] At the end {449|450} of the Erechtheus, when Athena ordains burial in one grave for the daughters of Erechtheus, [204] she gives them the name Hyakinthides before going on to specify their rites (Erechtheus fr. 65.73–74 Austin):

ὄνομα δὲ κλεινὸν θήσομαι κα[θ' Ἑλλ]άδα
Ὑακινθίδας βροτοῖσι κικλή[σκε]ιν θεάς.

I will establish through Greece a famous name,
Hyakinthides, for mortals to call the goddesses.

After two more mostly lost lines, Athena specifies yearly rites for the Hyakinthides, which include cattle sacrifices and sacred maidens’ choruses (Erechtheus fr. 65.77–80 Austin):

τοῖς ἐμοῖς ἀστο[ῖς λέγ]ω
ἐνιαυσίαις σφας μὴ λελησμ[ένους] χ̣ρόνωι
θυσίαισι̣ τ̣ι̣μ̣ᾶ̣ν καὶ σφαγαῖσι [βουκ]τ̣όνοις
κοσμοῦ[ντας ἱ]εροῖς παρθένων [χορεύ]μασιν. {450|451}

To my city’s citizens I say
to pay them honor and not forget with time,
with yearly sacrifices and the slaughter of oxen,
adorning the festivals with sacred maiden-dances.

Were these yearly rites for the Hyakinthides, which seem to have had a long history before they became associated with the daughters of Erechtheus, part of the Skira festival to Euripides and his audience? There is reason to think so because the Hyakinthides were now part of the aetiological myth of the Skira, namely the war with Eleusis. If so, the rites were presumably included in the festival when (in my view) it was first established about 600 BC.

§3.74 Noel Robertson has proposed a further aspect to the Skira that bears on the Hyakinthides but has a wider relevance as well. Athena Nike, whose shrine on the southwest corner of the Acropolis seems to have been founded in the sixth century BC, may have played a role in the Skira. [205] There was no priestess of Athena Nike until the mid-fifth century BC, [206] and thus whatever ritual took place at her shrine was first conducted by the priestess of Athena Polias (the situation was the same with respect to Athena Skiras in the procession to Skiron: it was the priestess of Athena Polias who took part in this ritual). Since the earliest levels of Athena Nike’s shrine may be contemporary with the reorganization of the Panathenaia in 566/5 BC, there has been a presumption that the ritual conducted at the shrine had to do with the Panathenaia. Robertson, however, gives reasons for dating the shrine earlier, to about 600 BC. [207] While archaeology alone does not suggest such an early date, it also does {451|452} not exclude it. [208] If an early date is in fact correct, Athena Nike’s appearance on the Acropolis would be contemporary with the incorporation of Eleusis into Attica and the ensuing “religious compromise” of the Skira. Robertson, pursuing his own line of argument, thinks that the ritual in the shrine of Athena Nike was in fact part of the Skira. He points out that níkē, “victory,” is an insistently repeated theme in references to the war between Athens and Eleusis, the aetiological myth of the Skira. [209] In one example in particular a {452|453} connection between the war with Eumolpus and Athena Nike is in my view very convincing. In Euripides’ Phoenician Women the prophet Teiresias enters the stage in Thebes declaring that he has just come back from Athens and the war with Eumolpos, in which he has made the Athenians “victorious” (Phoenician Women 854–855):

κἀκεῖ γὰρ ἦν τις πόλεμος Εὐμόλπου δορός,
οὗ καλλινίκους Κεκροπίδας ἔθηκ' ἐγώ.

And there was a war there against the army of Eumolpos,
in which I made Kekrops’s descendants victorious. [210]

Back now in his own city of Thebes Teiresias is about to tell Kreon that he too must sacrifice a child, his own son Menoikeus, in order to prevail against the invading Seven, and the evocation of Erechtheus and his daughter sets the stage for this turn of events. As Robertson has brilliantly suggested, Teiresias also evokes Athena Nike at his first entrance on stage by the golden crown that he wears; as the speech quoted above continues Teiresias himself draws attention to this crown (Phoenician Women 856–857):

καὶ τόνδε χρυσοῦν στέφανον, ὡς ὁρᾷς, ἔχω
λαβὼν ἀπαρχὰς πολεμίων σκυλευμάτων.

And as you see I have this golden crown,
which I took as first fruits from the enemy’s spoils.

Teiresias’s golden crown is the emblem of “victory,” as Kreon makes clear when he addresses Teiresias in the next line (Phoenician Women 858):

οἰωνὸν ἐθέμην καλλίνικα σὰ στέφη.

Your victory-adorning crown I took as a sign.

A golden crown as the emblem of “victory” strongly suggests the cult of Athena Nike, for such golden crowns are her own particular dedication in the nine surviving Parthenon inventories between the years 422 and 409 BC. [211] {453|454}

§3.75 A ritual for Athena Nike on the Acropolis in the festival of the Skira would balance the ritual for (Poseidon) Erechtheus on the Acropolis in the same festival. Both rituals would presumably have preceded the procession to Skiron. Such a ritual seems to be ordained by Athena at the end of the Erechtheus when, reflecting the Eteoboutad claim to have provided priestesses of Athena Polias from the start, she makes Erechtheus’s wife Praxithea her priestess. [212] The emphasis in these lines, however, is not on the creation of the priesthood, which is mentioned last, but on a particular burnt sacrifice to be carried out on Athena’s altar by her priestess (Erechtheus fr. 65.95–97 Austin): [213]

σοὶ δ', ἣ πόλεως τῆσδ' ἐξανώρθωσας βάθρα,
δίδωμι βωμοῖς τοῖς ἐμοῖσιν ἔμπυρα
πόλει προθύειν ἱερέαν κεκλημένην.

To you, who restored this city’s foundations,
I grant to make burnt sacrifices on my altars
for the city, being called my priestess.

Robertson proposes that this sacrifice was to Athena Nike in the Skira, which the priestess of Athena Polias would have carried out at Athena Nike’s shrine. [214] I accept this identification, which gives Athena a separate sacrifice to balance {454|455} that of Erechtheus in the Skira. Both are new sacrifices, created for the Skira, and they differ from the old sacrifices to Athena Polias and Erechtheus as a pair in that they are separate sacrifices to the separate gods. [215] The establishment of Athena Nike, a goddess of “victory,” on the Acropolis underscores the transformation of Athena Polias herself into a goddess of war.

§3.76 There is another instance of the motif of “victory” in Euripides’ Erechtheus, and it has to do with the cult rituals which Athena ordains for the Hyakinthides. We have already seen that these include yearly ox sacrifices and sacred maidens’ choruses (fr. 65.77–80), but the passage continues with a further ritual. The Athenians are to offer the Hyakinthides what appear to be sacrifices before battle, in which honey and water are used instead of wine (Erechtheus fr. 65.83–86 Austin): [216]

πρώταισι θύειν πρότομα πολεμίου δορὸς
τῆς οἰνοποιοῦ μὴ θιγόντας ἀμπέλου
μηδ' εἰς πυρὰν σπένδοντας ἀλλὰ πολυπόνου
καρπὸν μελίσσης ποταμίαις πηγαῖς ὁμοῦ.

…to offer first to them the sacrifice before a battle,
not touching the wine-producing vine {455|456}
nor pouring a libation on the altar, but with
the fruit of the industrious bee together with streams of river water.

Athena warns that enemies must be kept out of the Hyakinthides’ sacred precinct to prevent them from secretly offering sacrifices that will bring “victory” to themselves and pain to Athens (Erechtheus fr. 65.87–89 Austin):

ἄβατον δὲ τέμενος παισὶ ταῖσδ' εἶναι χρεών,
εἴργειν τε μή τις πολεμίων θύσηι λαθὼν
νίκην μὲν αὐτοῖς γῆι δὲ τῆιδε πημονήν.

The sanctuary for these maidens must be untrodden,
and any of your enemies must be prevented from offering sacrifice secretly,
bringing victory to themselves and pain to this land.

Robertson is surely right that these rites in the precinct of the Hyakinthides did not precede actual battles, but were part of the festival of the Skira. [217] The πρότομα πολεμίου δορός, “sacrifice before a battle,” in the festival presumably imitated the sacrifice performed before an actual battle, in which the victim’s throat was hastily stabbed as the army began to move toward the grim business of human slaughter. [218] This sacrifice was carried out to portend “victory” in the most immediate context possible, and even in the imitation of it at the festival the enemy had to be kept away and prevented from stealing “victory” by performing the ritual first.

§3.77 The same pre-battle sacrifice by stabbing through the throat has been identified in the parapet sculptures of the shrine of Athena Nike. [219] Here {456|457} personified Nikai perform the ritual, [220] and the victims are oxen rather than the sheep or goats that were usual in the anxious moments before a battle. Robertson again sees the ritual depicted on the parapet as belonging to the Skira, and as imitating the sacrifice performed before a real battle. [221] It is certainly possible that the sacrifice depicted on the sculptures took place at this very shrine of Athena Nike. [222] If so, there is a close correspondence between this sacrifice on the Acropolis and the sacrifice at the other end of the Skira, in the ábaton of the Hyakinthides. In both the main concern was “victory.”

§3.78 Why was there this concern for victory in the Skira? Robertson relates it to the timeless rhythm of the agricultural year: the Skira took place in the threshing season, and a successful crop was like a military victory. [223] It is undeniable that the Attic calendar was, like other calendars, agrarian in origin, but I think that the Skira were first organized in the aftermath of a real victory which had profound consequences for the Attic state. Tellos, the hero of this victory, was to Solon the most fortunate of mortals, not only for his deed, but for the honor that followed his death: γενομένης γὰρ Ἀθηναίοισι μάχης πρὸς τοὺς ἀστυγείτονας ἐν Ἐλευσῖνι βοηθήσας καὶ τροπὴν ποιήσας τῶν πολεμίων ἀπέθανε κάλλιστα, καί μιν Ἀθηναῖοι δημοσίῃ τε ἔθαψαν αὐτοῦ τῇ περ ἔπεσε καὶ ἐτίμησαν μεγάλως (Herodotus 1.30.5). A deep change in attitude took place when Eleusis was incorporated into Attica, and the Skira were not only a celebration of that event, recast as a myth from the past, but a program for the future. The long-term results of this change were evident when Euripides wrote his Erechtheus, when the Athenians were engaged in a pursuit of victory against their chief rival in Greece, and would soon have {457|458} their eye on foreign conquests as well. [224] Earlier, when the Skira were first organized, the foreign enemy was more immediate, in neighboring Megara.

§3.79 Erechtheus had a double Erichthonios, with whom he was easily confused. [225] When Erechtheus was removed from Athena’s temple, his place was taken by Erichthonios, who had none of the previous history as Athena’s consort that made it impossible for Erechtheus to stay. [226] Erichthonios in fact seems to have come into existence to fill the void in Athena’s temple that was left there by Erechtheus. [227] Erichthonios was Athena’s nursling, and, in {458|459} contrast to Erechtheus, he had no real adult phase in his myth. His purpose was to replace the infant Erechtheus while ignoring the now unacceptable adult figure. [228] But who was the infant Erechtheus whom he replaced? According to the Athenian entry to the Catalogue of Ships, Erechtheus was born from the earth and nursed by Athena. This is exactly the myth that was duplicated in the case of Erichthonios, but this does not mean that it was Erechtheus’s original myth; rather it may only be a further innovation on the part of the Athenian entry to the Catalogue of Ships. In Erechtheus’s original myth he was most likely the son as well as the consort of Athena Polias. [229] Both parts of this myth had to change: if Athena could no longer be wife to Erechtheus, she also could not be mother to him. Both changes are carried out in the Athenian entry, where Erechtheus is worshipped in his own temple {459|460} once Athena, having received him from the earth and nourished him, puts him there (Iliad 2.547–549):

ὅν ποτ' Ἀθήνη
θρέψε Διὸς θυγάτηρ, τέκε δὲ ζείδωρος ἄρουρα,
κὰδ δ' ἐν Ἀθήνῃς εἷσεν ἑῷ ἐν πίονι νηῷ.

whom Athena,
Zeus’s daughter, once nourished after the grain-giving earth bore him,
and set him down in Athens in his own rich temple.

Athena here has the function of kourotróphos (note θρέψε in line 548), which is perfectly compatible with her virginity. [230] This much and no more is left of her once much larger role as a mother goddess: the function of kourotróphos is the new limit for Athena in this sphere, and it is this passage that establishes it. Erichthonios, who remains behind in Athena’s temple, duplicates and thereby reinforces the new version of Erechtheus’s birth as an autochthon. His name, which otherwise occurs in Homer of an early Trojan, was chosen, first, because of its resemblance to the name Erechtheus, and secondly, because of its meaning, “he of the very earth.” [231] Unlike Erechtheus, whose name has no clear meaning, Erichthonios from the start was “born from the {460|461} earth.” [232] His name is a good indication that he was created to correct an older myth in which Erechtheus was born, not from the earth, but from Athena. [233]

§3.80 It has long been debated whether the bizarre myth of Erichthonios’s conception should be taken as evidence of Athena as a mother goddess. Hephaistos, who received Athena as a bride in return for assisting with his axe at Athena’s birth from Zeus’s head, tried to make love to her on the spot. As she escaped from him, his seed fell on her thigh and she wiped it off with a piece of wool and threw it to the ground. From this seed the earth conceived Erichthonios, whom Athena received into her own hands when he was born. [234] As Walter Burkert puts it, Athena in this story comes “within an ace” (“um ein Haar”) of being Erichthonios’s mother, and it is thus tempting to think of her in some sense as such. [235] But the point of the story seems to be just the opposite, that Athena emphatically remained a virgin, and if she had ever been thought of otherwise this myth was meant to set the record {461|462} straight. [236] Thus both sides in the debate are right insofar as the myth itself emphatically proclaims Athena’s virginity, but its reason for doing so is an older myth that said precisely the opposite. [237] {462|463}

§3.81 The first datable evidence for Erichthonios is from the mid-sixth century BC. [238] Hephaistos, who has a central role in Erichthonios’s myth, did not reach Athens until 600 BC at the earliest, after Athens became involved in the northeast Aegean, Hephaistos’s homeland. [239] On this reckoning {463|464} Erichthonios may have first appeared approximately when related changes took place in Athenian cult and myth, in particular the removal of Erechtheus from Athena’s temple, and the association of Erechtheus with the war against Eleusis in both the myth and the ritual of the Skira. Erichthonios, for his part, was associated with the Panathenaia, Athena’s principal festival. Unlike the Skira, which formalize the separation between Athena and Erechtheus, the Panathenaia give Erichthonios a positive (yet subordinate) association with Athena: he is said to have founded the festival, and he is given credit for various innovations pertaining to it, including the invention of the chariot. [240] The Panathenaia were reorganized in 566/5 BC, and in all likelihood {464|465} Erichthonios became known as the festival’s founder in connection with this event. [241] We have no information about the festival before it was reorganized, but there is reason to think that what emerged as a state festival had previously been a clan festival. [242] I suspect that the clan in question was the Eteoboutads, who of old provided the priestess of Athena Polias, and to whom the festival would therefore have naturally belonged. It was to this clan festival, in all likelihood, that the Epidaurians once brought annual sacrifices to Athena Polias and Erechtheus as a pair. Erechtheus, whose priest was also provided by the Eteoboutads, may have continued at Athena’s side in the clan festival until it was reorganized as a state festival in 566/5 BC, but he could {465|466} not remain there as a full partner in the state festival; instead Erichthonios took his place and was given the more compatible, and entirely mortal role of founder of the (new) festival. [243] He was also given credit for the one part of the festival that looks genuinely old, and was most likely inherited from an earlier clan festival. [244] This was the apobátēs race, a chariot race in which a fully armed rider jumped from a moving chariot, ran on foot, and perhaps remounted the chariot. [245] The contest doubtless arose in funeral games for {466|467} clan chieftains, like the funeral games of Patroclus in Homer. The location of the race in the agora, and the presence beneath the agora of classical times of many tombs from the Mycenaean, Protogeometric, and Geometric periods, support this conclusion. [246]

§3.82 When Athena received Erichthonios from the earth into her own hands, she put him in a box (kístē) which she entrusted to the three daughters of Kekrops, instructing them not to look inside the box. But some or all of the daughters did look, and they perished as a result. In a common version of the myth Aglauros and Herse looked in the box and in their maddened fright threw themselves from the Acropolis, but Pandrosos, who had no part in the offense, survived. [247] What the guilty sisters saw was a snake or pair of snakes which {467|468} Athena put in the box to guard the infant Erichthonios, or, in another version, they saw the body of Erichthonios himself which was part or all snake. [248] The {468|469} snake motif is consistent with Erichthonios’s name and his birth from the earth. In addition he may have been associated with the oikouròs óphis, the “temple-guarding snake,” which must have inhabited Athena’s temple from time immemorial. Erichthonios, because of his name and his birth, and his location in Athena’s temple, was at least a striking parallel to this guardian snake. [249] {469|470}

§3.83 The story of the daughters of Kekrops and the infant Erichthonios provided the aítion for the festival of the Arrhephoria. In the nighttime ritual of this festival two daughters of aristocratic families each carried a box (kístē) whose contents they did not know through a subterranean passage, left what they carried underground, and then returned with another wrapped and concealed object. Pausanias describes this ritual, which he does not pretend to understand in full. [250] The ritual has been variously interpreted in modern times, as has its location. [251] These are interesting questions, but they are not {470|471} what concern us here. The only question here is how old the aetiological myth for this festival is. It is generally assumed that the myth and the ritual are both old. This may well be true of the ritual, but the myth raises genuine doubts. If Erichthonios belongs to an old myth, then Hephaistos, a latecomer to Athens, cannot originally have been part of it. [252] But what reason is there for thinking that Erichthonios is any older than Hephaistos in the myth? [253] The daughters of Kekrops, to whom Erichthonios was entrusted after his birth, are an odd group: Pandrosos and Aglauros had different shrines in different places on the Acropolis, whereas Herse apparently had no shrine at all. [254] Aglauros was closely associated with Athena in the festival of the Plynteria, and her cult on the Acropolis was doubtless old. [255] She had her own priestess, attested on {471|472} two inscriptions from the beginning and middle of the third century BC. [256] Pandrosos likewise had her own priestess and was worshipped in her own right. [257] What then are we to make of the fact that there was a combined priesthood of Aglauros and Pandrosos which the clan of the Salaminioi possessed? This fact came to light on the Salaminioi inscription of 363/2 BC, and it was a great surprise to modern scholars: priesthoods were hereditary and the Salaminioi were immigrants from Salamis who resettled in Attica when they were driven from their old home by the Megarians. [258] How could such newcomers get possession of the cult of two old Athenian goddesses, unless perhaps the original priestly family had died out? [259] A better explanation, I think, is that whereas the individual cults of Aglauros and Pandrosos were undoubtedly old, their combined cult was new when the Salaminioi constituted themselves as an Attic génos, probably in the early sixth century BC. [260] The combined cult would thus have come into existence in connection with the Arrhephoria and the myth of Erichthonios’s birth, for it was in this myth that {472|473} the two goddesses were closely associated. [261] What also suggests this is that the clan of the Salaminioi, in addition to the priesthood of Aglauros and Pandrosos, possessed the priesthood of Kourotrophos, whose cult is elsewhere said to have been founded by Erichthonios himself in gratitude for his foster care. [262] This cult too may well have come into existence when the Salaminioi first constituted themselves as a génos. It was in connection with these two new cults, of Aglauros and Pandrosos on the one hand and of Kourotrophos on the other hand, that the myth of Erichthonios’s birth and foster care arose. This myth was the aítion for the Arrhephoria, and this festival too was perhaps not as old as is generally thought. [263] We cannot be sure about this, but at least the {473|474} festival’s aítion was new. The central role of the Salaminioi in the new cults is what we would have expected. The changes in myth and cult reflected a redefinition of Attica, which was still in the process of absorbing the geographical unity of Eleusis and Salamis to the west of Athens.

§3.84 Everything indicates that Erichthonios, his myth, and his place in the Arrhephoria all came into existence together in the early sixth century BC. In certain respects Erichthonios resembles the Eleusinian hero Demophoon, whose myth occupies a central place in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Here, in a hymn going back to the seventh century, is another infant nursed by a goddess. Demeter wanted to make Demophoon immortal by putting him in the fire each night, and she would have done so if his mother Metaneira had not spied on her and seen what she should not have seen. In the case of Athena’s nursling Erichthonios, it is the daughters of Kekrops who succumb to curiosity and see what they are forbidden to see. The result is different in that the guilty daughters of Kekrops destroy themselves on the Acropolis, whereas in Eleusis Demophoon’s immortality is lost. But the loss of immortality, while it is overshadowed by the flamboyant death of the guilty Kekropids, was also part of the Athenian myth according to “Apollodorus” 3.14.6, who says that Athena wished to make Erichthonios immortal. [264] “Apollodorus” is not likely to have invented this motif, and if it belongs to the original myth, Erichthonios too must have lost his immortality through others’ curiosity. [265] This is an important parallel with the Eleusinian myth, for {474|475} it suggests why, in the creation of Erichthonios’s myth, the model followed seems to have been Demophoon’s myth. It was necessary that Erichthonios, in replacing Erechtheus in Athena’s temple, be mortal; Erechtheus himself, in being removed from Athena’s temple, had similarly been reduced to mortal status. The Eleusinian hero Demophoon provided an example of forfeited immortality for an Athenian hero to follow at a time when Eleusis was otherwise much on the Athenians’ minds. [266]

§3.85 Demophoon’s loss of immortality is compensated by an annual festival in his honor, which Demeter herself announces in the hymn (Homeric Hymn to Demeter 259–267): [267]

ἴστω γὰρ θεῶν ὅρκος ἀμείλικτον Στυγὸς ὕδωρ
ἀθάνατόν κέν τοι καὶ ἀγήραον ἤματα πάντα
παῖδα φίλον ποίησα καὶ ἄφθιτον ὤπασα τιμήν·
νῦν δ' οὐκ ἔσθ' ὥς κεν θάνατον καὶ κῆρας ἀλύξαι.
τιμὴ δ' ἄφθιτος αἰὲν ἐπέσσεται οὕνεκα γούνων
ἡμετέρων ἐπέβη καὶ ἐν ἀγκοίνῃσιν ἴαυσεν.
ὥρῃσιν δ' ἄρα τῷ γε περιπλομένων ἐνιαυτῶν
παῖδες Ἐλευσινίων πόλεμον καὶ φύλοπιν αἰνὴν
αἰὲν ἐν ἀλλήλοισι συνάξουσ' ἤματα πάντα.

May the pitless water of Styx, by whom the gods swear, know
that I would have made the dear child ageless and deathless forever
and granted him undying honor;
but now it is not possible for him to escape death and destruction.
Nevertheless undying honor will attend him because he came
onto my knees and slept in my arms.
Therefore at the proper season as the years return
the sons of the Eleusinians will in his honor
forever bring together dread war against each other. {475|476}

The last part of this passage, as Nicholas Richardson has noted, strikingly resembles the Athenian entry to the Catalogue of Ships; in this passage too there is an annual festival, conducted by the youths of the Athenians for Erechtheus at his temple (Iliad 2.550–551):

ἔνθα δέ μιν ταύροισι καὶ ἀρνειοῖς ἱλάονται
κοῦροι Ἀθηναίων περιτελλομένων ἐνιαυτῶν.

There the youths of the Athenians propitiate him with bulls and rams
as the years return. [268]

The correspondence between the two passages goes deeper than has been appreciated if the festival for Erechtheus is the Skira, celebrating Erechtheus’s heroic death in war at the very moment of his victory over the Eleusinians. [269] The ritual warfare of the Eleusinians in compensation for the mythic Demophoon’s death has been paralleled by a different ritual and myth celebrating the Eleusinians’ defeat by Athens and their incorporation into Attica: Athens, in other words, seems to have appropriated an Eleusinian myth together with Eleusis itself.

§3.86 In antiquity much critical attention was devoted to the Salaminian entry to the Catalogue of Ships, which was widely regarded as containing {476|477} an Athenian forgery in support of Athens’ claim to Salamis; [270] Solon and Peisistratos were both accused of the forgery, by the Megarians in the first instance, but by later critics as well. [271] Much less attention was devoted to the Athenian entry, which belonged to an earlier period and left fewer traces of the conflict from which it arose. There is a suggestion in Diogenes Laertius that the Megarians called the Athenian entry into question, but this is uncertain. [272] {477|478} The Athenian entry seems in fact to have achieved its purpose, which was to be accepted as Homeric. [273] {478|479}

§3.87 What makes the Athenian entry stand out from the rest of the Catalogue of Ships, just on the face of it, is the fact that Athens appears alone and no other towns in Attica are named. [274] This is not at all the way of the rest of the catalogue, although some regions of course have fewer towns named than others. [275] It is often argued that the picture of Athens in the catalogue reflects the synoecism of Theseus, as though Attica in the eyes of the Homeric poets was so highly unified at the time of the Trojan war that only Athens could be named; but this argument, even if the early synoecism is accepted, does not explain the stark contrast between Athens and the rest of the catalogue. [276] Agamemnon’s Mycenae, which is supposed to have united all Greece for the war, does not stand alone, but is one of twelve towns in its entry. [277] We would perhaps not expect Athens to have twelve towns named {479|480} (the seven towns of Euboea seem a better comparison), but as it is Athens in the Athenian entry is on a par with stand-alone Syme, which is singled out in the catalogue for its weakness and the weakness of its leader Nireus (Iliad 2.671–675):

Νιρεὺς αὖ Σύμηθεν ἄγε τρεῖς νῆας ἐΐσας
Νιρεὺς Ἀγλαΐης υἱὸς Χαρόποιό τ' ἄνακτος
Νιρεύς, ὃς κάλλιστος ἀνὴρ ὑπὸ Ἴλιον ἦλθε
τῶν ἄλλων Δαναῶν μετ' ἀμύμονα Πηλεΐωνα·
ἀλλ' ἀλαπαδνὸς ἔην, παῦρος δέ οἱ εἵπετο λαός.

Nireus brought three balanced ships from Sume,
Nireus, the son of Aglaia and king Charopos,
Nireus, who was the most beautiful man to come to Troy
of all the other Danaans after the faultless son of Peleus;
but he was weak, and few warriors followed him.

Clearly the limitation to one city does not have the same meaning in the case of Athens that it does in the case of Syme. The two entries, which are constructed on different principles, must have had different origins.

§3.88 The Athenian entry was, I think, composed in its entirety about 600 BC in Athens to take the place of an earlier Athenian entry which would have been in line with the rest of the catalogue in containing the names of {480|481} several Attic towns. [278] Why would such a thing have happened? It was not so much that Athens wished to present a new image of itself and of its hero Erechtheus, although that is certainly what it did. The motive, I think, is that there was something entirely unacceptable in the original Athenian entry, namely, that Eleusis was missing from the list of Attic towns that were named in it: the more towns that were named in the original entry, the more glaring the absence of Eleusis would have been. When Athens incorporated Eleusis about 600 BC, it pretended that it had always (from the days of Erechtheus) been part of Attica. This pretense had no chance of acceptance if the Homeric Catalogue of Ships not only did not support it, but completely excluded it. The solution was not to insert the name Eleusis into the Athenian entry in bald fashion, which would certainly have been ineffective, but to recast the entire entry on a different principle, and to promote the new version as the true one. If this was the plan, it succeeded brilliantly. [279] {481|482}

§3.89 An essential point that the new Athenian entry was meant to convey was the warlike nature of the Athenians; this after all was the Iliad. The point was conveyed through Erechtheus and Athena and the new relationship between them. The Athena who nourishes the earthborn Erechtheus is the Homeric war goddess, not the old Athenian mother goddess; the use of her Homeric epithet Διὸς θυγάτηρ (Iliad 2.548) leaves no doubt about this. [280] Erechtheus himself is given a Homeric epithet used only of heroic warriors, namely μεγαλήτωρ, “great hearted” (Iliad 2.547). [281] When Athena places the earthborn Erechtheus in his own temple, this is a new location for him from the standpoint of Homeric tradition (i.e. Odyssey 7.80–81), and the abruptness of the change is muted by the ambiguity between “her own” and “his own” in the meaning of the adjective ἑῷ. But the new order of things on the Acropolis required the meaning “his own,” and this meaning was sure to prevail in time. Erechtheus’s location in his own temple automatically evoked the myth of his death by Poseidon’s trident and burial in the rock after his heroic victory in battle. The yearly sacrifices performed by the κοῦροι Ἀθηναίων for Erechtheus at his temple commemorated both his heroic victory and his heroic death. [282] Thus when Athens is called the δῆμος of Erechtheus at the start of the Athenian entry, it does not matter whether δῆμος means land or people, for what is conveyed is the warlike nature of Athens. [283] This is the essential point, after which the entry continues with Menestheus and his {482|483} great ability as a marshaler of troops at Troy, rivaled only by Nestor (Iliad 2.552–556):

τῶν αὖθ' ἡγεμόνευ' υἱὸς Πετεῶο Μενεσθεύς.
τῷ δ' οὔ πώ τις ὁμοῖος ἐπιχθόνιος γένετ' ἀνὴρ
κοσμῆσαι ἵππους τε καὶ ἀνέρας ἀσπιδιώτας·
Νέστωρ οἶος ἔριζεν· ὃ γὰρ προγενέστερος ἦεν·
τῷ δ' ἅμα πεντήκοντα μέλαιναι νῆες ἕποντο.

Those men Menestheus, the son of Peteos, led;
never was there another man on earth to equal him
in marshaling horses and shield-bearing men;
only Nestor rivaled him, for he was older;
fifty black ships followed him.

§3.90 The period around 600 BC is the era of Solon, and Solon, in my view, is likely to be the poet who composed the new Athenian entry to the Catalogue of Ships. Solon in fact can be associated with all the changes that we have been considering for the period. His name is linked with that of Tellos, whose death in a real battle seems to have preceded the incorporation of Eleusis into Attica. Solon the lawgiver, who reformed Athenian society, also involved himself in the reform of cults, as Jacoby’s study of the Genésia, a festival of the dead, demonstrates. [284] The tight hold that clans had on the {483|484} city goddess herself was I think weakened by the removal from her domain of Erechtheus, the ancestral progenitor of some but not all Athenians. With respect to the Athenian entry, there is no need to prove that poetry for Solon was a tool of statesmanship, for his poetry survives in sufficient quantity to speak for itself. [285] Solon demonstrably had the craft to do the job; if he was behind the incorporation of Eleusis into Attica, as his link with Tellos suggests, he also had the motive. Leo Weber has noted that the tactics for which Menestheus is celebrated in the Athenian entry are otherwise foreign to epic but remind one of Solon’s reorganization of the army. [286] Other {484|485} tantalizing connections dimly suggest themselves. [287] But the general plausibility of seeing Solon’s influence and direct involvement is what matters. The Athenian entry to the Catalogue of Ships in Iliad 2 was a serious matter of state, and a well-placed statesman is likely to have undertaken to reshape it if that statesman was also a poet. [288]

§3.91 The Athenian entry to the Catalogue of Ships does not represent the primary Ionian stage in the development of the Homeric poems, but a {485|486} secondary Athenian stage. This secondary stage presented a new view of Athena Polias, who now brought Athens the protection of her father Zeus in addition to her own, and a new view of Erechtheus, who now received heroic honors for his sacrificial death in the war for Eleusis. Far different was the pair that the Ionian poets had in mind in Odyssey 7.80–81, where Athena enters the strong house of Erechtheus. The relationship between these two figures is to be seen in what follows Odyssey 7.80–81, where the focus of the narrative is the Phaeacian king and queen. For Athena Polias and Erechtheus in the Homeric era Arete and Alcinous are invaluable contemporary evidence. {486|487}


[ back ] 80. Mother goddesses may take their own sons as consorts, and this dual relationship, husband and son, applies to Erechtheus/Erichthonios in the view of some (e.g. Fauth 1959:466 [82], who refers to “the relationship of the daímōn to the mistress of the acropolis, which shifts between son and husband,” (“das zwischen Sohn- und Gattenschaft wechselnde Verhältnis des Dämons zu der Herrin des Burgfelsens”). For more on this point see below §3.79 and n3.229. There is of course no question of such a dual relationship in the case of the Phaeacian queen and her husband.

[ back ] 81. The sacrifices of the Epidaurians were probably also terminated in the post-Homeric period, but perhaps earlier (cf. n3.16 above).

[ back ] 82. Whereas the other entries list a multitude of towns, this entry names only one town, Athens; for further discussion of this anomaly and its significance see below §3.87 and n3.274, n3.275, and n3.276. The problem of the Athenian entry is well presented in Simpson and Lazenby 1970:56.

[ back ] 83. The recipient of the sacrifices, designated by the pronoun μιν, could be either Erechtheus or Athena; Frazer 1969 has argued convincingly that Erechtheus is meant.

[ back ] 84. Noel Robertson and Gloria Ferrari have both reached this conclusion; see n3.117 below.

[ back ] 85. For the relationship of god to image see Scheer 2000:115–123; cf. Bettinetti 2001:52–54.

[ back ] 86. Iliad 5.733–742, quoted n3.25 above. In this description the last of the fearful devices on the aegis is the gorgon’s head; why the aegis and the gorgoneion were distinct ornaments of the image of Athena Polias (they are listed separately in the fourth-century inventories) is not clear. For a date in the early sixth century BC for the transformation of the image of Athena Polias into a warrior goddess cf. n3.26 and §3.17 above and n3.111 below.

[ back ] 87. Nilsson (1921:16 and elsewhere) argues that the Mycenaeans adopted the palace goddess of the Minoans, but turned her into a war goddess, and this explains the strange fact that the Greeks had a female war deity at all. Direct evidence for Bronze Age war goddesses is not abundant, but full weight must be given to a female figure on a painted stucco tablet from Mycenae (see Rodenwaldt 1912, with Plate VIII; photograph also in Nilsson 1967 Plate 24.1). This figure, formed of a large Mycenaean shield with attached arms, head, and feet, stands by an altar between two female worshippers. The neck, head, and arms are white, hence the figure is female (Rodenwaldt 1912:133). The position by an altar between worshippers indicates divinity. Rodenwaldt dates the painting to the early Mycenaean period (Rodenwaldt 1912:132) and he relates the style to Minoan miniature painting (Rodenwaldt 1912:131). In historical times there was a temple of Athena on the acropolis of Mycenae where once the Bronze Age royal palace had stood, and the question arises whether the painted figure has anything to do with Athena: this is far from certain since the figure was not found in the area of Athena’s temple. This issue and Athena’s possible connections with other Bronze Age war goddesses are discussed in EN3.6.

[ back ] 88. It could have happened in Bronze Age Mycenae, for example. Höfer, Roscher’s Lexikon ‘Polias’ 2610–2614 lists numerous cities with cults of Athena Poliás (39 instances), Athena Polioûkhos (11 instances), or Athena Poliā̂tis (only in Tegea, probably identical with Athena Alea; cf. n3.77 above). See also Nilsson 1967:417–418, 433, 438.

[ back ] 89. Cf. Fehrle 1910:195–196. Athena’s designation as koúrē Diós does not by itself imply that she is a virgin (Helen also is called koúrē Diós in Iliad 3.426). The word koúrē here simply means “daughter” (cf. Penelope, who is often called koúrē Ikaríoio, “daughter of Icarius”). Only when koúrē is used by itself does it necessarily mean “maiden,” as in the case of Nausicaa (cf. n3.56 above). Nevertheless Athena’s status as Zeus’s daughter, which entails her living on Olympus with the rest of the divine household, seems to be related to her virginity. Rose 1954:140 expresses the connection somewhat baldly when he derives Athena’s virginity (if it is a secondary attribute) “not from any supposed preference on the part of any Greek for virginity over motherhood (cf. Kerényi 1952:24), but simply from the fact that she is an unmarried daughter of the Olympian household and therefore expected to be chaste, as the daughters of Homeric barons regularly are.” In Athena’s case her virginity goes closely with her warlike nature, and her warlike nature associates her closely with her father Zeus (they share the aegis, for example). The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite calls Athena koúrē Diós when it refers to her sexual abstinence and her preference for deeds of war; Athena is named here as the first of three goddesses (Artemis and Hestia are the other two) over whom Aphrodite has no power (Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite 7–11):

τρισσὰς δ' οὐ δύναται πεπιθεῖν φρένας οὐδ' ἀπατῆσαι·
κούρην τ' αἰγιόχοιο Διὸς γλαυκῶπιν Ἀθήνην·
οὐ γάρ οἱ εὔαδεν ἔργα πολυχρύσου Ἀφροδίτης,
ἀλλ' ἄρα οἱ πόλεμοί τε ἅδον καὶ ἔργον Ἄρηος,
ὑσμῖναί τε μάχαι τε καὶ ἀγλαὰ ἔργ' ἀλεγύνειν.

Three goddesses she cannot persuade in their minds or deceive:
the daughter of the aegis-holder Zeus, grey-eyed Athena,
for the deeds of golden Aphrodite do not please her,
but wars and Ares’ work please her,
and fighting ranks and battles, and tending to splendid works.

Even Penelope’s epithet koúrē Ikaríoio, addressed to her by her suitors, in a certain sense restores her to maiden status (see Higbie 1995:130; cf. also, following Higbie, Dué 2002:52: “once widowed, they [women] become girls again”).

[ back ] 90. For Homeric Hymn 28 as an Athenian work, cf. Wilamowitz 1932:164, Humbert 1959:231, and Herington 1955:10. For the myth of Athena’s birth see Cassimatis LIMC ‘Athena’ 985–988, 1021–1023, and cf. below n3.108 and EN3.7, and n5.83.

[ back ] 91. The traditional view is that there was no cult of Athena Parthenos; cf. Herington 1955:11: “It is quite clear that in the fifth century the Athenian state, and probably its individual citizens, formally recognised only one great goddess on the Acropolis, Athena Polias.” This issue has been reconsidered in articles in Hoepfner 1997 by Nick, Schmaltz, and especially Lipka (for Lipka see n3.92 below). The only explicit evidence for a cult devoted to Athena Parthenos is late: in AD 375, according to Zosimus 4.18.3, the hierophant Nestorios secretly performed rites for Achilles that were usually performed for Athena Parthenos. Nick 1997, who cites this evidence, regards the Athena Parthenos of Pheidias, and any image of Athena Parthenos that may have preceded it, as a “second cult image” (“Zweitkultbild”) by means of which the cult of Athena Polias was modifed or expanded (cf. Nick 2002:158–176, 209); Nick imagines that the ritual performed for the statue of Athena Parthenos in the fourth century AD (which Nestorios also performed for a small image of Achilles placed at the base of the goddess’s statue in the year AD 375) consisted of prayers and small offerings such as incense. Schmaltz 1997 holds a similar view that Athena Parthenos represents an expansion of the cult of Athena Polias: he contrasts the function of the old wooden image of Athena Polias (small, mobile, involved in traditional rituals) and the new image of Athena Parthenos (large, immobile, object of awe and devotion). Schmaltz refutes Herington’s view (1955:46–47) that an old (Mycenaean) cult of Athena Parthenos was absorbed into the cult of Athena Polias; he instead connects the origins of Athena Parthenos, as others have done, with the reorganization of the Panathenaia in 566/5 BC (Schmaltz 1997:25).

[ back ] 92. IG I3 850 (Raubitschek 1949 no. 121), dated between c. 475 and 460 BC:

[Πα]ρθένοι Ἐκφάντο με πατὲρ ἀνέθεκε καὶ hυιὸς
ἐνθάδ᾿ Ἀθεναίει μνε͂μα πόνον Ἄρεος
Ἑγέλοχος μεγάλε<ς> τε φιλοχσενίες ἀρετε͂ς τε
πάσες μοῖραν ἔχον τένδε πόλιν νέμεται.

The father and the son of Ekphantos dedicated me to the virgin Athena
here as a memorial of the toils of war;
Hegelokhos, having a share of great hospitality
and of every virtue, dwells in this city.

There are two other Acropolis dedications, both dated c. 500 BC, in which Athena is addressed as φαρθένε (for the initial φ- note that the correct form in IG I3 850 may also be [Φα]ρθένοι), namely IG I3 728 and 745 (Raubitschek 1949 nos. 40 and 79). Lipka 1997 (cf. n3.91 above) argues that all three dedications, taken together, show that there was a cult of Athena Parthenos by c. 500 BC. He rejects (1997:39n19) Herington’s argument (1955:9) that the vocative φαρθένε in two of the three dedications is simply a “stately form of address to any noble maiden”; the very context of dedication, in Lipka’s view, makes this unlikely. In the case of IG I3 850, quoted above, both parts of the presumed cult title, Athena and Parthenos, occur in the dedication (Lipka 1997:39n19). Herington admits that this fact, while not enough to prove a cult, is “worth bearing in mind” (1955:11). Cf. n3.95 below.

[ back ] 93. Demosthenes 22.13 and 76 (Against Androtion) are the first occurrences of the name.

[ back ] 94. It was called simply ho neṓs, “the temple,” in the fifth century. For the term hekatómpedos neṓs, “hundred-foot temple,” which occurs in relation to the Parthenon from the fourth century on, see Ridgway 1992:134–135 and Herington 1955:13–14; Plutarch Pericles 13.4 combines the name Parthenon with the adjective “hundred-foot”: tònhekatómpedon Parthenō̂na. For the neuter term tò hekatómpedon on an inscription of 485/4 BC (IG I3 4) there are different views: see Herington 1955:13, Ridgway 1992:125, and Robertson 1996:34–35. Herington does not distinguish tò hekatómpedon from the hekatómpedos neṓs; Ridgway follows Preisshofen and others in taking the neuter term of an unidentified sacred area rather than a building (so also Lipka 1997:39–42); Robertson takes the neuter term of Athena’s old temple.

[ back ] 95. The form of the noun Parthenṓn indicates a meaning “maidens’ quarters” (cf. andrṓn, “men’s quarters,” gunaikṓn, “women’s quarters,” hippṓn, “horse stable,” etc.; Chantraine 1933:164–165), not “temple of the virgin” (which would be parthéneion or parthénion: see Fehrle 1910:197–198, following Reinach 1908). In fifth- and fourth-century inventory inscriptions the name Parthenon refers to only a part of the temple later so called and it is not clear whether this part is on the west side of the temple, where the treasury was, or the east side, where the cella and the statue of the goddess were: see Fehrle 1910:197–198 and cf. Herington 1955:13, 14n1 for the argument that this “room of the parthénoi” would have belonged to female servants of the goddess in the temple’s west side; Robertson 1983:273, noting that “the smaller rear or west room of the Parthenon was divided into three parallel and equal chambers by two pairs of columns supporting the roof,” argues on the basis of Ovid Metamorphoses 2.708–832 that these three chambers belonged to the three Kekropids, Aglauros, Pandrosos, and Herse, and that these chambers were the “maidens’ quarters” from which the temple got its name (cf. below n3.261 and EN3.13 to n3.261); Ridgway 1992:134–135 follows Roux 1984 in taking the name of the goddess’s cella in the east side of the temple.

[ back ] 96. Athena Nike and Athena Hygieia, two specialized aspects of the goddess, had cults on the Acropolis, but there was apparently only one priestess for all Athena’s cults until c. 448 BC, when Athena Nike received a separate priestess; the creation of this priesthood is recorded on a surviving decree of the council and assembly (IG I3 35 [Tod 1946 no. 40]; cf. also IG I3 36 from c. 420 BC [Tod no. 73]). Athena Hygieia had an altar (erected by the oldest Athenians according to Aristides Athena 14 [vol. 1, p. 22 Dindorff]; older than the statue of the goddess set up by Pericles according to Plutarch Pericles 13.8; cf. Ridgway 1992:137–138; Croissant LIMC ‘Hygieia’ 554; Jahn and Michaelis 1901:47–48 on Pausanias 1.23 line 25) but apparently no separate priestess (cf. Herington 1955:8n3). The single priesthood of Athena before c. 448 BC weighs in favor of Herington’s view that there was really only one cult of Athena on the Acropolis, namely that of Athena Polias; cf. n3.92 above and Herington 1955:8. There remains the question of Athena’s two temples on the Acropolis and their history: for “the old temple” of Athena Polias on the north side of the Acropolis see below §3.49–§3.51 and n3.116, n3.117, n3.118, and n3.119; for “the temple” (the Parthenon and its predecessors) on the south side of the Acropolis see above n3.94, and below §3.47, n3.110, n3.111, and EN3.8 to n3.111.

[ back ] 97. Herington 1955:57 discusses the use on the Parthenon of Olympian mythology, which to intellectuals of the day was already outmoded, but was still the common currency of the Greeks: “Now within the framework of the Olympian system Athena could not be made the supreme deity: from time immemorial that belonged to Zeus, πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε. On the other hand the system satisfied Athenian pride in that it made Athena the particularly favored daughter of Zeus.” In my view Herington fails to see that “Olympian” mythology was in fact dynamic in comparison with the earlier local cult of Athena Polias, which was truly conservative; but his point does perhaps catch a distinction between the sixth century, when the Olympian Athena was new to Athens, and a century later, when Olympian mythology as a whole was outmoded in intellectual circles.

[ back ] 98. It is not clear how old this myth is, nor how old Poseidon’s very presence on the acropolis is. In my view the myth is not earlier than the sixth century BC, for in it Athena relates to Poseidon as the virgin goddess, not the mother goddess (cf. Fehrle 1910:187–188, who interprets Athena’s antagonism with Poseidon in terms of her virginity). Poseidon’s cult, on the other hand, must, I think, be older than the sixth century if Erechtheus was associated with it secondarily (see below §3.52–§3.54 and n3.125 and n3.127).

[ back ] 99. For the east-end metopes see Berger 1986:55–76 and Schwab 1996, and cf. Ferrari 2000:120n8. Boardman 1972:69 hesitates about the identification of subject (“Gigantomachies…may figure on the Parthenon metopes”).

[ back ] 100. For the west-end metopes, see Berger 1986:99–107; Ferrari 2000:120n9 (citing Berger) comments that “the battered state of the west metopes…makes it impossible to determine if this is the battle for the Acropolis of Athens or another Amazonomachy.”

[ back ] 101. It is uncertain whether the gigantomachy was embroidered on the péplos woven each year by the arrhephoroi for the Panathenaia, or only on a larger professionally woven péplos offered every four years at the Great Panathenaia. Mansfield 1985 argues that the yearly péplos was plain and the four-yearly figured (cf. also Herington 1955:60). Barber 1992:114–117 concludes that the gigantomachy was portrayed on both; cf. also Ridgway 1992:123. Mansfield argues that professional male weavers produced the four-yearly péplos and amateur female weavers the yearly péplos (cf. Barber 1992:113). If this gender distinction is valid, two Euripidean passages suggest that the yearly péplos, woven by females, portrayed the gigantomachy: in Hecuba 466–474 captive Trojan women lament that they will have to weave the gigantomachy (see n3.105 below for text), and in Iphigenia among the Taurians 222–224 Iphigenia laments that she will never weave a picture of Athena and the Titans; cf. Ridgway 1992:123. For the possibility that the four-yearly festival, and with it the offering of the larger péplos, was instituted in 566/5 BC, see below n3.244 and n3.246, and cf. EN3.16 to n3.288 below; for the possibility of a temple as early as 566/5 BC on the site of the Parthenon see §3.47 below and cf. EN3.8 to n3.111 below.

[ back ] 102. According to Aristotle fr. 637 Rose (scholia to Aristides Panathenaic Oration 189.4 [Dindorf p. 323]) the Panathenaia were celebrated “in honor of the slaying of the giant Aster by Athena” (τὰ Παναθήναια ἐπὶ Ἀστέρι τῷ γίγαντι ὑπὸ Ἀθηνᾶς ἀναιρεθέντι); other scholia ad loc. call the giant Ἀστέριος and say that the lesser Panathenaia were founded by Erichthonios in honor of the slaying of this giant, whereas the Great Panathenaia were founded by Peisistratos (ταῦτα γὰρ ἐπὶ Ἐρεχθονίου τοῦ Ἀμφικτύονος γενόμενα ἐπὶ τῷ φόνῳ τοῦ Ἀστερίου τοῦ γίγαντος· τὰ δὲ μεγάλα Πεισίστρατος ἐποίησε). Ferrari 1988 argues that in the representation of Athena on Panathenaic prize amphoras the goddess performs a dance, the Pyrrhic, which ancient sources specify for two occasions: 1) when Athena was born from Zeus’s head; 2) when she celebrated the destruction of the giants. Ferrari sees the entire Panathenaic festival as a celebration of victory in the gigantomachy; cf. also Ridgway 1992:127. Shapiro 1989:38 points out that the earliest gigantomachies on vases are all datable around 560 or slightly later, and all come from the Acropolis, “a remarkable correlation of subject matter and find-spot which has no parallel in black-figure”; cf. Ridgway 1992:127. The reorganization of the Panathenaia in 566/5 BC, and the role of Peisistratos in the reorganized Panathenaia, are discussed further in EN3.16 to n3.288 below. The name Ἀστήρ/Ἀστέριος of the giant slain by Athena perhaps derives from Iliad 6.295, where it is said that the péplos offered to Athena “shone like a star” (ἀστὴρ δ' ὣς ἀπέλαμπεν); cf. Scheid and Svenbro 1994:28n48 (1996:178n48), and n3.244 below. For another view see Nagy 2002:94, who suggests that a star pattern on Athena’s Panathenaic péplos may lie behind the name and the Homeric simile.

[ back ] 103. Cf. Barber 1992:113 and figure 72. For uncertainties concerning the subject matter of the frieze, cf. also Ridgway 1992:134: “On the frieze, the procession of the festival unrolls; it is unclear whether it represents the Greater or the Lesser Panathenaia, and it should be admitted that not everything about it is explicable. Perhaps the culmination of the event would have appeared in that lost portion of the frieze that only now has been suspected…above the cella door.”

[ back ] 104. In addition to examples cited above, note the skolion (Page PMG 884) addressed to Athena: ὄρθου τήνδε πόλιν…σύ τε καὶ πατήρ, “lift up this city…both you and your father.”

[ back ] 105. The partnership of Athena and Zeus in the gigantomachy is found in a Panathenaic context in Euripides Hecuba 466–474. Here the chorus of captive Trojan women wonders whether it will be taken to Athens to weave the race of “Titans” (i.e. Giants) “on the saffron péplos” (i.e. the péplos offered to Athena at the Panathenaia, cf. n3.101 above). In the chorus’s description of the péplos Athena is singled out first, for her horses and chariot, and Zeus provides the climax, putting the Titans to “sleep” with his thunderbolt:

ἢ Παλλάδος ἐν πόλει
τὰς καλλιδίφρους Ἀθα-
ναίας ἐν κροκέῳ πέπλῳ
ζεύξομαι ἆρα πώ-
λους ἐν δαιδαλέαισι ποι-
κίλλουσ' ἀνθοκρόκοισι πή-
ναις ἢ Τιτάνων γενεάν,
τὰν Ζεὺς ἀμφιπύρῳ κοιμί-
ζει φλογμῷ Κρονίδας;

Or will I in the city of Pallas
yoke horses with beautiful chariots
on Athena's saffron robe, weaving them with artful
crocus-colored threads,
or the race of Titans,
which Zeus, Kronos’s son,
puts to sleep with a fiery blaze?

[ back ] 106. Cf. Herington 1955:62: “Yet even on her temple, the Parthenon, the highest place of honour (outside the cella itself) is taken not by her, but by Zeus: it was his great seated figure that filled the centre of the eastern pediment…. I have already tried to show how the Athenians, even if they had wished to do so, could not conceivably neglect Zeus in their reverence for Athena. If Athena’s greatness was to be justified in terms of Greek religion as a whole, this could be done only by showing how close she was to the fount of greatness, Zeus. And for this reason above all, as I think, Pheidias chose to span the entrance of the Parthenon with this wonderful and difficult subject, the Birth of Athena: the perfect symbol of that relationship.”

[ back ] 107. Cf. n3.25 above. Athena actually puts on Zeus’s tunic, and the aegis, which she puts on next, is not specifically said to be his; but he is called “aegis-bearing Zeus” twice in the passage, and the aegis too must be his. Later tradition differs: here Athena slays the gorgon in the gigantomachy, and from the hide she makes the aegis, which must thus be considered hers (cf. Euripides Ion 987–997).

[ back ] 108. The myth of the gigantomachy seems to have developed relatively late. In contrast to the titanomachy, which is attested in Hesiod, the gigantomachy is not certainly attested until the sixth century BC (Theogony 954, which alludes to the gigantomachy, is in what is most likely a post-Hesiodic part of the poem; see West 1966 on Theogony 186 and cf. n2.238 above). In Homer the giants are an amorphous group without any specific myth, except for the Phaeacians’ ancestor Eurymedon, for whom a gigantomachy is vaguely implied (n2.145 above). Hesiod Theogony 185–186 says that the giants were born from the earth fully armed; this probably implies a gigantomachy, but perhaps not: the Theban Spartoi were also born from the earth fully armed, and they fought only each other. Xenophanes, in the second half of the sixth century, is the first to speak of the battle of the giants, grouping it with the battle of the titans and the battle of the centaurs as subjects unfit for civilized song (Xenophanes fr. B1.21–22 Diels-Kranz/West). How far Athens inherited a Panhellenic myth, and how far it gave this myth a new form in connection with the Panathenaia, is difficult to say; in any case the myth seems not to have been a purely Athenian invention (cf. Mayer 1887:192–193 and 283, and Vian 1952:261 and 272). The reorganized Panathenaia imitated the Olympic games in choosing the gigantomachy as its foundation myth, for the Olympic games commemorated the gods’ victory in the titanomachy (cf. Vian 1952:262 and 246; Ferrari 1988:473). It stands to reason that Athena’s role was emphasized in the Athenian form of the myth; it is also possible that her role originated in the Athenian myth (as argued by Robertson 1985:289 on the basis of the sudden appearance of Athena in the role of giant slayer on Attic black-figure vases in the 560s; cf. n3.102 above). The importance of the gigantomachy in the Peisistratid era is shown not only by its association with the reorganized Panathenaia, but also by the fact that it was represented on a pediment of Athena’s old temple (for the date and original location of this pedimental sculpture, both somewhat uncertain, cf. n3.111 below). If it was in Athens that Athena’s role in the gigantomachy first became prominent, the same is probably true of Athena’s birth from Zeus’s head (cf. n3.90 above); this myth did not originate in Athens, but representations of it became popular there in the sixth century. There is a striking contrast between Athena, born fully armed from the head of the sky god, and the giants, born fully armed from the earth; was Athena’s extraordinary birth meant to contrast her with her adversaries, and also perhaps with her own former earthbound nature? There is further discussion of Athena’s birth and her role in the gigantomachy as Athenian myths in EN3.7.

[ back ] 109. Athena’s birth from Zeus’s head also seems to have been associated with the Panathenaia: the third day of the month-end was Athena’s birthday in Athens (τρίτη φθίνοντος, scholia to Iliad 8.39), and the Panathenaic procession, which took place on the 28th of Hekatombaion, was also the third day of a month-end (cf. Deubner 1932:23–24).

[ back ] 110. 488 BC is the start date proposed by Dinsmoor 1934; Korres 1997 finds evidence for a larger temple begun a decade earlier and changed to a smaller plan at the date in question.

[ back ] 111. See Dinsmoor 1947:109–127 (followed by Herington 1955:40; cf. also Ridgway 1992:125 with n21, 131). Korres 1997 reconsiders the question of an earlier temple in the light of new evidence; this evidence, which bears on Athena’s “old temple” as well as an “Urparthenon,” is discussed in EN3.8. But whenever the first temple dedicated wholly to Athena as a war goddess was built on the south side of the Acropolis, Athena Polias had presumably already been changed into a war goddess in her old temple on the north side of the Acropolis. Here (in my view) the old statue of Athena Polias was modified from a mother goddess, who spun, into a war goddess, who was armed, as early as the beginning of the sixth century BC (a bronze figurine found in Sicily showing Athena with the aegis and dated 580–560 BC [Neils 1992:146, Catalogue no. 2] provides an artistic parallel for this key feature at an early date; as Ridgway 1992:129 notes, representations of an armed Athena are widely diffused in the Greek world). A further sign of the transformation of Athena Polias into a war goddess is to be found in the old temple of Athena. The gigantomachy, which presupposes the Olympian Athena, was represented on marble sculptures of the old temple of Athena toward the end of the sixth century (for these sculptures see Boardman 1978:155 and Ridgway 1992:124–125; the sculptures have been dated c. 525 BC, but Ridgway 1992:125 and n20 reports a trend toward a lower dating of c. 510 BC on the basis of style). The Athena of the gigantomachy had a different relationship to Zeus than did the earlier figure of Athena Polias: the earlier relationship was not that of daughter to father, but of city goddess to city god. Zeus Polieus, “Zeus of the city,” had an altar on the Acropolis not far from the temple of Athena Polias, “Athena of the city.” Cults of Zeus Polieus and Athena Polias occur together in several cities (eight instances, including Kos, Rhodes, and Telos, are listed by Höfer, Roscher’s Lexikon ‘Polieus’ 2615–2617; there may be a suggestion of such a pair of cults in Homer; see below). In Athens the Bouphonia (part of the Dipolieia, the festival of Zeus Polieus) is called a festival of Athena by the scholia to Aristophanes Clouds 985; Deubner 1932:160 takes this to mean that Athena Polias was associated with Zeus Polieus in the festival. In Iliad 6, before the Trojan women go to supplicate Athena “on the acropolis” (ἐν πόλει ἄκρῃ, Iliad 6.297), Hecabe surmises that Hector is on his way to supplicate Zeus “from the acropolis” (ἐλθόντ' ἐξ ἄκρης πόλιος Διὶ χεῖρας ἀνασχεῖν, Iliad 6.256–257), but Hector says that he is unwilling to do so because his hands are unclean (Iliad 6.266–267). These look like paired cults of Athena Polias and Zeus Polieus, both on an acropolis. The Athenian ritual of the Bouphonia purportedly went back to the first ox sacrifice and was thus of great antiquity; in Aristophanes the Dipolieia and Bouphonia are proverbial for old-fashioned ways, again suggesting antiquity (Clouds 984–985): ἀρχαῖά γε καὶ Διπολιώδη καὶ τεττίγων ἀνάμεστα / καὶ Κηκείδου καὶ Βουφονίων, “these are old-fashioned things and Dipolieia-like, and full of cicadas and Kekeides and the Bouphonia” (cf. Nilsson 1967:152–155, 401, who sees the Bouphonia as old). But the cult of Zeus Polieus was clearly secondary to that of Athena Polias on the Acropolis, having only an altar there; in the view of Deubner 1932:172–173 the cult hardly goes back to the Bronze Age, and may not even go back beyond the Archaic period; it is attributed to Peisistratos by Fehrle, Roscher’s Lexikon ‘Zeus (Beinamen)’ 655. Compared to Athena’s role as a city goddess Zeus’s role as a city god is of secondary importance wherever it occurs. Nilsson1967:417 characterizes cults of Zeus Polieus collectively as “wenig ausgebend” (yielding little). The relationship of Zeus and Athena in these cults has a different origin from their relationship in the myth of the gigantomachy.

[ back ] 112. To this point we have not considered what the old image of Erechtheus, paired with the old image of Athena, would have looked like; it is worth noting that when Arete is described in terms of Athena Polias she is paired with Alcinous, and that Alcinous in this tableau is described as seated on a throne drinking wine “like an immortal” (cf. n3.39 above). Although there is no way to demonstrate it, this may well be how Erechtheus was still represented when the Epidaurians sent sacrifices to Athena and Erechtheus as a pair, and when Athena enters Erechtheus’s palace in Odyssey 7.80–81. Dionysus comes to mind for the wine cup that is implied, and Erechtheus, as an agrarian deity concerned with fertility and increase, may also have been represented with a cup. Dionysus seems to have been involved in the festival of the Oschophoria, celebrated in Phaleron to honor Athena Skiras, a goddess of significance for the old relationship between Athena and Erechtheus (see below §3.69 and n3.189). As an example of a cult figure sitting on a throne and holding a wine cup consider an archaic relief from Sparta in Plate III (print volume Plate 12). The identity of the male figure, and of the female figure seated next to him, is unknown (note the smaller size of the two human worshippers approaching the seated pair). Suggestions include heroized ancestors, gods of the underworld (Hades and Persephone), Dionysus (note the outsized drinking cup), and particular heroes (cf. Knittlmayer and Heilmeyer 1998:44). If the image of Erechtheus originally looked something like this, it was doubtless modified subsequently. Ferrari 2002:21, in line with her argument that Athena was not worshipped in the Erechtheum in the fifth century (or later), takes references to an ágalma in IG 13 474 line 75 and IG 13 475 lines 269–270 to refer to an image of Erechtheus, and not of Athena (these inscriptions are from 409/8 BC and concern work on the Erechtheum before its completion; cf. n3.120 below); Ferrari n51 thinks that it is possible that the statue of Erechtheus by Myron in Athens, “which Pausanias 9.30.1 mentions in passing in his description of Boeotia as the sculptor’s best work,” may have been the cult statue in question. The representation of Erechtheus in the cult statue (and in Myron’s work if not the same thing) was doubtless the same heroic figure as in the bronze group that according to Pausanias 1.27.4 stood on the terrace of Athena Polias and depicted the fight between Erechtheus and Eumolpos (see §3.55 below).

[ back ] 113. This building, with its irregular plan and caryatid porch, was built during the last quarter of the fifth century, perhaps 418–405 BC; Treu 1971:124–125, 131 proposes that work was started before 421 BC and finished by 407/6 BC.

[ back ] 114. Pausanias 1.26.5–6. Only two ancient sources use the name Erékhtheion of Erechtheus’s shrine: Pausanias 1.26.5 and Plutarch Lives of the Ten Orators (Lycurgus) 843e.

[ back ] 115. Nilsson took the Odyssey passage as reflecting the original state of affairs in the Bronze Age, when the king had a cult of his personal protectress in his own palace; he took the Iliad passage as reflecting what happened to this cult after the monarchy collapsed: the king’s personal protectress became the city’s protectress, the king’s palace became her temple, and the king himself became a hero with his own hero cult in this temple (see Nilsson 1921:12–13, 1967:348, 1950:488; cf. n2.198 above).

[ back ] 116. Ferrari 2002. Dörpfeld thought that the old temple of Athena was repaired after the Persian Wars and remained in use throughout antiquity. Ferrari argues that the temple was not repaired but remained in use in a damaged state as a kind of war memorial. The peristyle of the old temple was clearly lost at least in part in the fire, because the stylobate is encroached upon by the caryatid porch of the south side of the Ionic temple. In Ferrari’s reconstruction the old temple was effectively broken into two parts by loss of the roof: the cella to the east and the opisthodomos to the west, with an empty space between them (see her reconstruction p. 25, fig. 4; the caryatid porch of the Ionic temple would have been visible between the two parts of the old temple as one looked north from the old temple’s south side).

[ back ] 117. See Ferrari 2002:16n29 for the interpretation of ὅν ποτ' Ἀθήνη / …κὰδ δ' ἐν Ἀθήνῃς εἷσεν ἑῷ ἐν πίονι νηῷ, Iliad 2.547, 549, as “whom Athena…put down in Athens in his own rich temple.” Noel Robertson, who also argues that Athena and Erechtheus inhabited different shrines (see n3.215 below for his scheme), proposed the same interpretation of ἑῷ as “his own” in Iliad 2.549 (Robertson 1996:37). The situation described in Iliad 2 is thus different from Aphrodite’s placing of Phaethon in her temple to be her temple servant in Theogony 990–991; Nock 1930:44, 44n2 compares the two situations on the usual assumption that in Iliad 2.549 Athena puts Erechtheus in “her own” temple (cf. also Nagy 1997:172). For the cult relationship between Erechtheus and Athena cf. also Frickenhaus 1908a:175.

[ back ] 118. Ferrari, p. 16, devotes merely a sentence to Pausanias, whose account is so problematic to the traditional view of Athena’s temple, when she discusses the ancient literary evidence; none of this evidence is a serious obstacle to her argument (but cf. n3.249 below).

[ back ] 119. In a series of publications Kristian Jeppesen draws attention to the deep difficulties for the traditional view in Pausanias’s description (Jeppesen 1979, 1983, 1987), but he has not won acceptance of his own “alternative Erechtheum” near the shrine of Pandrosos (Ridgway 1992:126–127 says only that she is inclined to agree that the two shrines, of Erechtheus and of Athena, must be separated). Noel Robertson has more recently proposed a different solution, which has many attractive features, but which is quite drastic in identifying the Erechtheum with the remains of a building on the southeast corner of the acropolis, far removed from the sphere of Athena Polias on the north side. See n3.215 below for evidence from the fourth-century AD Athenian rhetorician Himerius that seems to imply that the shrines were much closer to each other than that. Cf. also Treu 1971:124–126, who argues that Euripides Erechtheus fr. 65.90–94 Austin (Athena’s instruction to build a temple for Erechtheus) alludes to the construction of the new Erechtheum.

[ back ] 120. It is assumed that the image of Athena Polias was removed from the Acropolis by the Athenians when they abandoned the city before the Persian occupation in 480 BC, and that it thus survived; there was a story that the golden gorgoneion was removed on this occasion (see n3.26 above), and it seems likely that the image was also removed then (see Ridgway 1992:122). This does not affect the idea that the image, in terms of its permanent abode, remained in the same place from time immemorial. One piece of evidence has led to the usual current view that sometime in the fifth century BC the image of Athena Polias was moved from the old temple to the Erechtheum. IG I3 474, an inscription of 409/8 BC relating to work on the Erechtheum, contains an inventory of architectural members and stone blocks for the construction. The inscription begins by identifying the reporting officials as “overseers of the temple on the acropolis in which (is) the ancient statue” (ἐ]πιστάται το͂ νεὸ το͂ ἐμ πόλει ἐν hο͂ι τὸ ἀρχαῖον ἄγαλμα), and goes on, after naming the overseers, to say that they “recorded as follows works of the temple in the state in which they found them to be…” ([τά]δε ἀνέγραφσαν ἔργα το͂ νεὸ hος κατέλαβον ἔχοντα). This seems to be clear evidence that the old image resided in the Erechtheum. Ferrari, on the other hand, argues that the officials in question were overseers of the old temple of Athena Polias, which still stood, and that they had responsibility for a larger témenos on the acropolis than their name suggests, and that this included the Erechtheum (Ferrari 2002:17–18 and n39); this would explain the occurrence of the word “temple” with reference to two different buildings in the inscription (Ferrari’s further argument that the inscription actually records materials intended for use in the old temple of Athena as well as in the Erechtheum must be abandoned: Pakkanen 2006 shows that the specifications of the materials in the inscription suit the Erechtheum but not what is known of the old temple). Other evidence shows that the old temple of Athena did indeed survive in some form (the mid-fifth century decree of the Praxiergidai, IG I3 7 line 6, uses the phrase “behind the old temple,” ὄπισ]θεν το͂ νεὸ το͂ ἀρχ[αίο, to indicate the placement of a stele; see Ferrari 2002:15), and as long as the old temple stood it must have continued to house the old image of Athena; I agree with Ferrari that this situation probably continued throughout antiquity. The alternative is that the Athenians razed Athena’s old abode and left the space vacant, and this is not plausible, especially in the fifth century (cf. Ferrari 2002:14, 25); the Persians aimed at exactly this, and the Athenians would not have completed the sacrilege for them.

[ back ] 121. It was once thought that two column bases from a Bronze Age palace had been discovered within the confines of the old temple, but these are now considered to be of Geometric date. The prevailing view still remains that this was once the location of the Mycenaean palace, but there is no positive evidence of this. Cf. Snodgrass 1977:29–30: “At Athens…the location of the early Athena temple, on the site of the former Mycenaean palace, between the later Parthenon and Erechtheum, is generally agreed. The only substantial evidence comes from two column bases, which were for long thought to belong to the Mycenaean palace itself. In 1962, however, two different scholars working quite independently, Professor Iakovidis and Dr Carl Nylander, came to the conclusion that the bases were more readily comparable with bases from temples of the eighth and seventh centuries” (Iakovidis 1962, especially 62–65 [2006:65–68]; Nylander 1962). Cf. also Ridgway 1992:120. For earlier attributions of the column bases to a Mycenaean palace, see Nilsson 1921:12 and Hill 1953:13–14.

[ back ] 122. Casanaki and Mallouchou 1983:92 (cited by Hurwit 1999:144–145) mention remains of a temple that preceded the Erechtheum on the same site; cf. also Korres 1997:229 with n73, 242, Ferrari 2002:16n28. Robertson, taking the site to be that of Athena’s temple, believes that “a similar shrine always stood here” (1996:31); he mentions “certain traces of a very early shrine” detected by Stevens 1940:42 and Iakovidis 1962:87–93 (2006:95–100), noting that “these traces must remain somewhat doubtful” (Robertson 1996:36–37).

[ back ] 123. ἔστι δὲ καὶ οἴκημα Ἐρέχθειον καλούμενον…. ἐσελθοῦσι δέ εἰσι βωμοί, Ποσειδῶνος, ἐφ' οὗ καὶ Ἐρεχθεῖ θύουσιν ἔκ του μαντεύματος, καὶ ἥρωος Βούτου, τρίτος δὲ Ἡφαίστου, “There is also a building called the Erechtheion…. As you go in there are altars of Poseidon, on which they also sacrifice to Erechtheus as the result of some oracle, and of the hero Boutes, and a third of Hephaistos” (Pausanias 1.26.5).

[ back ] 124. IG I3 873 (Raubitschek 1949 no. 384), dedication found near the Erechtheum, dated tentatively 450 BC (Jeffery 1988:125). Euripides Erechtheus fr. 65.92–94 Austin (fr. 370.92–94 Kannicht [2004]); see §3.55 below. Note also Hesychius, Ἐρεχθεύς· Ποσειδῶν ἐν Ἀθήναις, “Erechtheus: Poseidon in Athens,” and IG II2 3538 (first century AD): ὁ ἱερεὺς Ποσειδῶνο[ς] Ἐρεχθέος γαιηόχου, “the priest of Poseidon Erechtheus earthholder.” Other evidence in Austin 1967:59–60.

[ back ] 125. For Poseidon’s absence from the passage see below §3.72 and n3.193. Jeffery 1988 has argued that Poseidon did not have a cult on the Αcropolis until the mid-fifth century BC. This, I think, does not square with Pausanias 1.26.5, which makes it clear that the altar in the Erechtheum was Poseidon’s, and that Erechtheus was attached to it secondarily. I see no other way to interpret this than that the temple was originally Poseidon’s. Jeffery 1988:125 misstates the case when she says that “three Acropolis dedications indicate that ca. 475–450—not earlier—a…cult of Poseidon did appear there, brought by an oracle (Pausanias 1.26.5) and linked to that of Erechtheus.” It was not the cult of Poseidon, but that of Erechtheus, that was brought by an oracle (Jeffery’s translation of the Pausanias passage on p. 124 is not at all a natural reading).

[ back ] 126. Herodotus records the miraculous regeneration of Athena’s olive tree after it was burned with the rest of the temple of Erechtheus in 480 BC by the Persians; he mentions the contest of Poseidon and Athena in this connection (Herodotus 8.55): ἔστι ἐν τῇ ἀκροπόλι ταύτῃ Ἐρεχθέος τοῦ γηγενέος λεγομένου εἶναι νηός, ἐν τῷ ἐλαίη τε καὶ θάλασσα ἔνι, τὰ λόγος παρὰ Ἀθηναίων Ποσειδέωνά τε καὶ Ἀθηναίην ἐρίσαντας περὶ τῆς χώρης μαρτύρια θέσθαι. ταύτην ὦν τὴν ἐλαίην ἅμα τῷ ἄλλῳ ἱρῷ κατέλαβε ἐμπρησθῆναι ὑπὸ τῶν βαρβάρων· δευτέρῃ δὲ ἡμέρῃ ἀπὸ τῆς ἐμπρήσιος ᾿Αθηναίων οἱ θύειν ὑπὸ βασιλέος κελευόμενοι ὡς ἀνέβησαν ἐς τὸ ἱρόν, ὥρων βλαστὸν ἐκ τοῦ στελέχεος ὅσον τε πηχυαῖον ἀναδεδραμηκότα, “On this acropolis there is a temple of Erechtheus, said to be born from the earth, in which there are an olive tree and a sea, which, according to the Athenians, Poseidon and Athena put there as tokens of their claims when they contended for the country. It befell the olive tree to be burned by the barbarians with the rest of the temple; but on the day after the fire those of the Athenians ordered by the king to make sacrifices, when they went up into the temple, saw a shoot from the trunk that had sprung up as much as a cubit.” For some reason the olive tree is later found in the precinct of Pandrosοs, adjacent to the Erechtheum, but separate from it (Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 67; cf. Robertson 1996:42–43). Pausanias saw the “sea water” inside the Erechtheum, namely a saltwater well that made the sound of waves when a south wind blew; he also saw what was said to be the mark of Poseidon’s trident (1.26.5): ὕδωρ ἐστὶν ἔνδον θαλάσσιον ἐν φρέατι. τοῦτο μὲν θαῦμα οὐ μέγα…ἀλλὰ τόδε <τὸ> φρέαρ ἐς συγγραφὴν παρέχεται κυμάτων ἦχον ἐπὶ νότῳ πνεύσαντι. καὶ τριαίνης ἐστὶν ἐν τῇ πέτρᾳ σχῆμα (“Inside there is sea water in a well. This is not a great marvel…but this well does offer a noteworthy sound of waves when a south wind blows. There is also the mark of a trident in the rock”).

[ back ] 127. The myth of the contest between Athena and Poseidon for Athens is attested for the first time in the sculptures of the west pediment of the Parthenon. Jeffery 1988 (n3.125 above) has argued that the myth was created not long before this sculpture was begun as a reflection of the First Peloponnesian War (ca. 460–446), with Poseidon representing Corinth, Sparta, and Boeotia on the one side, and Athena representing Athens on the other side. Just as I think that the cult of Poseidon on the acropolis was older than the fifth century, I think that the myth of Poseidon’s contest with Athena is likely to have been older too. Erechtheus was the newcomer to Poseidon’s temple, in which he replaced Poseidon himself to a large extent. He seems to have replaced Poseidon even in relation to the “sea” which Poseidon created, which came to be called the “Erechtheian sea” according to “Apollodorus” 3.14.1: ἧκεν οὖν πρῶτος Ποσειδῶν ἐπὶ τὴν Ἀττικήν, καὶ πλήξας τῇ τριαίνῃ κατὰ μέσην τὴν ἀκρόπολιν ἀπέφηνε θάλασσαν, ἣν νῦν Ἐρεχθηίδα καλοῦσι, “Poseidon was first to reach Attica, and striking with his trident in the middle of the acropolis he laid bare a sea, which they now call the ‘Erechtheian sea’.” It is difficult to say how old the myth of the contest for Athens really is (cf. n3.98 above and n3.193 below). One would like to know what relationship the myth has to the rivalry between Athena and Poseidon in the nóstos of Odysseus in Homer. For an illuminating interpretation of the Athenian myth as it is represented on the west pediment of the Parthenon, see Binder 1984.

[ back ] 128. The place where Erechtheus was buried is not specified in the sources, but Poseidon’s own temple, in which the marks of Poseidon’s trident were pointed out in the rock (Pausanias 1.26.5), is an obvious candidate (cf. Jeppesen 1987:87). In Pausanias these marks are associated with Poseidon’s “sea,” but the marks may have been given more than one explanation, just as more than one god or hero received sacrifices on Poseidon’s altar; see n3.130 below. An accomodation of a similar sort of older and newer myths is suggested by the term “Erechtheian sea” in “Apollodorus” 3.14.1 (cf. n3.127 above and Jeppesen 1987:88). Other locations have been suggested for both Erechtheus’s grave and Poseidon’s “sea”: a hole in the rock in the north slope of the Acropolis between the cave of Pan and the cave of Apollo Hypakraios for Erechtheus’s grave (see Owen 1939 on Euripides Ion 277–282), and a deep fissure in the north slope of the Acropolis, with stairs leading down to a Mycenaean well, for Poseidon’s “sea” (Jeppesen 1987:93, 95). For the possibility that Erechtheus’s grave was elsewhere than on the Acropolis see n3.156 below.

[ back ] 129. Isocrates 12.193: Θρᾷκες μὲν γὰρ μετ' Εὐμόλπου τοῦ Ποσειδῶνος εἰσέβαλον εἰς τὴν χώραν ἡμῶν, ὃς ἠμφισβήτησεν Ἐρεχθεῖ τῆς πόλεως, φάσκων Ποσειδῶ πρότερον Ἀθηνᾶς καταλαβεῖν αὐτήν, “The Thracians invaded our land with Eumolpos, Poseidon’s son, who disputed with Erechtheus about the city, claiming that Poseidon had taken possession of it before Athena.” Poseidon won the contest by performing his miracle before Athena, but the gods accepted Kekrops as Athena’s witness that she had performed her miracle first; see “Apollodorus” 3.14.1, quoted n3.127 above, which continues as follows: μετὰ δὲ τοῦτον ἧκεν Ἀθηνᾶ, καὶ ποιησαμένη τῆς καταλήψεως Κέκροπα μάρτυρα ἐφύτευσεν ἐλαίαν, ἣ νῦν ἐν τῷ Πανδροσείῳ δείκνυται. γενομένης δὲ ἔριδος ἀμφοῖν περὶ τῆς χώρας, Ἀθηνᾷ καὶ Ποσειδῶνι διαλύσας Ζεὺς κριτὰς ἔδωκεν, οὐχ ὡς εἶπόν τινες, Κέκροπα καὶ Κραναόν, οὐδὲ Ἐρυσίχθονα, θεοὺς δὲ τοὺς δώδεκα. καὶ τούτων δικαζόντων ἡ χώρα τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς ἐκρίθη, Κέκροπος μαρτυρήσαντος ὅτι πρώτη τὴν ἐλαίαν ἐφύτευσεν, “After him Athena came, and making Kekrops the witness of her taking of possession she planted the olive tree which is now pointed out in the Pandrosion. When a dispute arose between the two over the land, Zeus mediated and gave Athena and Poseidon judges, not Kekrops and Kranaos, as some have said, and not Erysichthon, but the twelve gods. With these judging the matter the land was decided to be Athena’s since Kekrops testified that she planted the olive tree first.” See Binder 1984 for priority as the criterion by which the contest was judged in the representation on the west pediment of the Parthenon; here Athena is shown as the first to act, and so as defeating Poseidon fairly rather than through a corrupt witness.

[ back ] 130. With these sacrifices to Poseidon Erechtheus in Euripides compare the sacrifices to Erechtheus in Iliad 2.550–551; they are evidently the same sacrifices (see below §3.72 and n3.194). In the Euripides passage Athena addresses Praxithea, the wife of Erechtheus; in the two preceding lines of this passage Athena ordains a temple for Erechtheus in the middle of the Acropolis: πόσει δὲ τῶι σῶι σηκὸν ἐμ μέσηι πόλει / τεῦξαι κελεύω περιβόλοισι λαΐνοις, “for your husband I order that a precinct in the middle of the city / be built with a stone enclosure” (Erechtheus fr. 65.90–91 Austin). Euripides here represents the temple of Poseidon Erechtheus, well known to his Athenian audience, as having been first established for Erechtheus; in reality, as I have argued, it was first established for Poseidon. The death of Erechtheus, as narrated in the play, has not survived, but Athena refers to it when she calls on Poseidon to turn his trident away from Athens (αὐδῶ τρίαιναν τῆσδ’ ἀ̣π̣ο̣σ̣τ̣ρ̣έ̣φ̣ειν χθονός) and not to destroy the city (Erechtheus fr. 65.55–57 Austin), and then asks: “Did one (victim) not satisfy you? Did you not touch my heart by burying Erechtheus beneath the earth?”: οὐχ εἷ̣ς ἄδην σ' ἔπλησεν; οὐ κατὰ χθονὸς / κρύψας Ἐρεχθέα τῆς ἐμῆς ἥψω φρενός; (Erechtheus fr. 65.59–60 Austin). From the mention of the trident in line 55 we may assume that Poseidon used his trident to split the Acropolis rock to swallow Erechtheus up. This is made explicit in Euripides Ion 281–282, where Ion asks Creusa, Erechtheus’s daughter, about her father’s death:

Ion: πατέρα δ' ἀληθῶς χάσμα σὸν κρύπτει χθονός;
Creusa: πληγαὶ τριαίνης ποντίου σφ' ἀπώλεσαν.

Ion: Did a gaping of the earth truly hide your father?
Creusa: Blows of the sea god’s trident destroyed him.

Erechtheus’s death replays Poseidon’s contest with Athena in that in both cases the Acropolis rock is split by Poseidon’s trident beneath the later temple. The two myths are in fact closely connected; cf. n3.193 below. There is an apparent allusion to the contest of Poseidon and Athena in another fragment of the Erechtheus, in which Praxithea defiantly rejects the possibility that Eumolpos and his army will substitute worship of Poseidon for worship of Athena in Athens: they will not, she says, crown Poseidon’s trident “standing upright in the city’s foundations” instead of Athena’s olive and golden gorgon (Erechtheus fr. 50.46–49 Austin):

οὐδ' ἀντ' ἐλαίας χρυσέας τε Γοργόνος
τρίαιναν ὀρθὴν στᾶσαν ἐν πόλεως βάθροις
Εὔμολπος οὐδὲ Θρῂξ ἀναστέψει λεὼς
στεφάνοισι, Παλλὰς δ' οὐδαμοῦ τιμήσεται.

Instead of the olive tree and the golden Gorgon
Eumolpos and the Thracian army shall not deck with crowns
the trident standing upright in the city’s foundations
and Pallas nowhere be honored.

The “golden gorgon” refers to the cult statue of Athena Polias, with its golden aegis and golden gorgoneion; the same golden ornament is evoked in another two-line fragment of the play, addressed to the chorus of Athenian women: ὀλολύζετ', ὦ γυναῖκες, ὡς ἔλθῃ θεὰ / χρυσῆν ἔχουσα Γοργόν' ἐπίκουρος πόλει, “cry out loud, women, so that the goddess may come with the golden Gorgon to aid the city” (fr. 41 Austin). Athena won the contest with Poseidon with the olive, which symbolizes her in the myth, but in Euripides’ day she was symbolized no less by the golden gorgoneion that adorned her image.

[ back ] 131. “Apollodorus” 3.15.4: ἐπικληθεὶς [Eumolpos] ὑπὸ Ἐλευσινίων μετὰ πολλῆς συνεμάχει Θρᾳκῶν δυνάμεως, “[Eumolpos], having been called in by the Eleusinians, fought beside them with a large force of Thracians.”

[ back ] 132. καί τινες καὶ ἐπολέμησάν ποτε αὐτῶν, ὥσπερ καὶ Ἐλευσίνιοι μετ' Εὐμόλπου πρὸς Ἐρεχθέα, Thucydides 2.15.1. A fragmentary scholium to this Thucydides passage seems to confirm what we would suppose anyway, that in the Erechtheus of Euripides Athens fought not only against Eumolpos and the Thracians, but against Eleusis as well (the scholium is Erechtheus fr. 63 Austin); at the end of the play, furthermore, the establishment of the Eleusinian Mysteries is ordained by Zeus through Athena (Erechtheus fr. 65.99–102 Austin). On the other hand Treu 1971:116, 128 and n50 argues that Euripides “corrected” the tradition by not including the Eleusinians among the attackers of Athens; this possibility cannot be excluded and there are points in its favor. Phanodemus, in whose Atthis Athens was invaded by an army from Boeotia rather than Thrace (Phanodemus FGrHist 325 F 4), probably gave a different account of the role of Eleusis in this war, perhaps omitting Eleusis entirely (cf. Jacoby, commentary on Phanodemus FGrHist 325 F 4, pp. 179–180).

[ back ] 133. Thucydides does not connect the defeat of Eleusis with its incorporation into Attica; in the sentence following his reference to the war between the two towns (n3.132 above) he goes on to speak of the synoecism under Theseus (2.15.2), and he probably thought of the incorporation of Eleusis into Attica as taking place then.

[ back ] 134. Pausanias 1.38.3 (Immarados, the son of Eumolpos, rather than Eumolpos himself is slain in this account): γενομένης δὲ Ἐλευσινίοις μάχης πρὸς Ἀθηναίους ἀπέθανε μὲν Ἐρεχθεὺς Ἀθηναίων βασιλεύς, ἀπέθανε δὲ Ἰμμάραδος Εὐμόλπου· καταλύονται δὲ ἐπὶ τοῖσδε τὸν πόλεμον, ὡς Ἐλευσινίους ἐς τὰ ἄλλα Ἀθηναίων κατηκόους ὄντας ἰδίᾳ τελεῖν τὴν τελετήν, “When the battle of the Eleusinians against the Athenians took place, Erechtheus, the Athenians’ king, died on one side, and Immarados, the son of Eumolpos, died on the other. They settled the war on the following terms, that the Eleusianians would be dependent on the Athenians in other matters, but that they would conduct the sacred rite on their own.” For Immarados, cf. Pausanias 1.27.4.

[ back ] 135. In Jacoby’s view the war between Athens and Eleusis “is the great event of the period of the kings; and the explanation is that a really historical memory of it was preserved. Thukydides simply mentions it as an historical fact” (Jacoby 1949:124). Kearns 1989:114 also imagines that the war has a historical basis, but not a specific one: “the traditions of what must have been many local wars and skirmishes between the towns of Attica seem to have crystallized into this one war between Athens and Eleusis.”

[ back ] 136. See Toepffer 1889:24–80. The Eumolpidai considered themselves “descendants of Eumolpos,” but originally their name probably had to do with a cult function rather than descent (cf. Durante 1957:101). In historical times members of the génos of Eumolpidai had residence throughout Attica and not in Eleusis specifically (cf. Toepffer 1889:45–46; Clinton 1986:46).

[ back ] 137. Richardson 1974:11 thinks that the hymn belongs to the seventh century. Janko 1982:183 thinks that the hymn must belong to the latter half of the seventh or the early sixth century, and considers that “the linguistic evidence strongly favours a date earlier rather than later within this range.”

[ back ] 138. I have omitted what appears to be a variant line, 477: Τριπτολέμῳ τε Πολυξείνῳ τ', ἐπὶ τοῖς δὲ Διοκλεῖ, in which the names Triptolemos and Diocles are repeated from line 474, and a new name, Polyxeinos, is added. Eumolpos also occurs earlier in the hymn, when the daughter of Keleus names him as one of the kings who rule Eleusis (Homeric Hymn to Demeter 153–156):

ἠμὲν Τριπτολέμου πυκιμήδεος ἠδὲ Διόκλου
ἠδὲ Πολυξείνου καὶ ἀμύμονος Εὐμόλποιο
καὶ Δολίχου καὶ πατρὸς ἀγήνορος ἡμετέροιο
τῶν πάντων ἄλοχοι κατὰ δώματα πορσαίνουσι.

The wives of wise Triptolemos and Dioklos,
of Polyxeinos and faultless Eumolpos,
of Dolikos and my own bold father,
the wives of all these men manage affairs in the houses.

The names Dolichos and Polyxeinos in this passage do not occur in the later passage about the sacred rites (however Polyxeinos occurs in the variant line 477). As Richardson 1974:194 points out, the syntax of these lines (a succession of genitives dependent on ἄλοχοι, “wives,” at the end) is awkward and non-Homeric.

[ back ] 139. For the hymn’s connection with Eleusis see Clinton 1992:28–37 and 1993, who argues that the connection is not with the Mysteries, which later became prominent, but with older rites of the Thesmophoria (cf. EN3.9 to n3.166).

[ back ] 140. The question is discussed by Clinton 1986:46n24. The influence of Orphism at Eleusis is probably part of the explanation; cf. Kearns 1989:114: “The suggestion that the Thracian Eumolpos was partly due to the numbering of the Eleusinian hero among the Orphic poets is probably right; this is certainly the gist of Attic genealogies which make him son or father of Musaeus, under whose name verses of Orphic tendency circulated [Hiller von Gaertringen 1886:24–25; Eumolpos and Musaeus: Androtion FGrHist 324 F 70, Diogenes Laertius 1.3]. We are here dealing with early syncretistic attempts to place together all rites and precepts of a ‘mystical’ nature as essentially teaching the same wisdom. No doubt the δρώμενα of Eleusis were already capable of an Orphic interpretation, however much violence that might do to their original nature.” Nilsson 1951:37n44, while granting the possibility of a historical basis to myths about Thracians, thinks that Euripides was the first to make Eumolpos a Thracian: “This must be an innovation, and the alleged fact that the founder of the Eleusinian Mysteries was a Thracian involved the mythographers in serious difficulties. There are not a few myths of Thracians in Greece (see Hiller von Gaertringen 1886:50ff.) and it seems not impossible that there may be a kernel of truth in them. For it is only natural that Thracian hosts made their way down into Greece in the early age in which many of them settled in north western Asia Minor.” Parker, who agrees with the suggestion of Orphic influence (1987:203), holds open the possibility that the tradition for Eumolpos as a Thracian is older than Euripides despite the lack of evidence and certain indications to the contrary (213n68); at the same time he views with skepticism evidence for an earlier independent tradition of a war between Erechtheus and Thracians (203 and 213n69). For the birth and early adventures of the Thracian Eumolpos see “Apollodorus” 3.15.4, and Parker 1987:212n64, who questions whether the entire elaborate account could have come from the prologue to Euripides’ Erechtheus.

[ back ] 141. Cf. Kearns 1989:114–115: “But we must also take into account the depiction of the adversaries of Athens—as on other occasions—as foreign and exotic.” It is striking how often the invasion of Eumolpos and the Thracians is paired with the invasion of the Amazons in the Athenian rhetorical tradition, as in e.g. Isocrates Panegyricus 4.68: ἔτι γὰρ ταπεινῆς οὔσης τῆς Ἑλλάδος ἦλθον εἰς τὴν χώραν ἡμῶν Θρᾷκες μὲν μετ' Εὐμόλπου τοῦ Ποσειδῶνος, Σκύθαι δὲ μετ' Ἀμαζόνων τῶν Ἄρεως θυγατέρων, οὐ κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν χρόνον, ἀλλὰ καθ' ὃν ἑκάτεροι τῆς Εὐρώπης ἐπῆρχον, μισοῦντες μὲν ἅπαν τὸ τῶν Ἑλλήνων γένος, κτλ., “While Greece was still weak there came to our land Thracians with Eumolpos, Poseidon’s son, and Scythians with the Amazons, Ares’ daughters, not at the same time, but when each of these groups ruled over Europe, hating as they did the whole race of the Greeks,” etc. Cf. also Isocrates 12.193, Plato Menexenus 239b, Demosthenes 60.8. For other ancient sources on the war between Athens and Eleusis see Frazer 1913 on Pausanias 1.38.3.

[ back ] 142. Kearns 1989:115 shows that barbarism figured in the traditions about the Thracian invasion; she comments that this would hardly commend itself to the Eumolpidai, and that “it is presumably as a patched-up compromise solution to this problem that the two-Eumolpos theory originates.” Euripides’ Erechtheus already distinguishes Eumolpos the leader of the Thracians from a second Eumolpos born from him (Erechtheus fr. 65.100–101 Austin). Andron FGrHist 10 F 13 (scholia to Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 1053) has three figures named Eumolpos in a single line of descent with one or two generations between them: Ἄνδρων μὲν οὖν γράφει οὐ ‹τοῦ›τον Εὔμολπον εὑρεῖν ‹τὴν› μύησιν, ἀλλ' ἀπὸ τούτου Εὔμολπον πέμπτον γεγονότα· Εὐμόλπου γὰρ γενέσθαι Κήρυκα, τοῦ δὲ Εὔμολπον, τοῦ δὲ Ἀντίφημον, τοῦ δὲ Μουσαῖον τὸν ποιητήν, τοῦ δὲ Εὔμολπον τὸν καταδείξαντα τὴν μύησιν καὶ ἱεροφάντην γεγονότα, “Andron writes that this Eumolpos did not discover the rite of initiation, but the Eumolpos born in the fifth generation after him; for from Eumolpos was born Keryx, and from him Eumolpos, and from him Antiphemos, and from him the poet Musaeus, and from him the Eumolpos who revealed the initiation and became hierophant.”

[ back ] 143. Cf. Kearns 1989:113: “Erechtheus…is an old figure of cult worshipped in conjunction with Athena Polias, and identified by title with Poseidon. His burial on the Acropolis is unlikely to have had much to do originally with the Eleusinian war.” I would modify this statement in that I see Erechtheus’s burial on the Acropolis, like his connection with Eleusis, as a secondary matter—the two things go together in my view. But I agree with the essential point, that Erechtheus’s connection with Eleusis is secondary.

[ back ] 144. Note that none of the other Eleusinian heroes found in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter takes part in the war. Jacoby, as noted above (n3.135), called the war between Athens and Eleusis the great event of the period of the kings in the tradition followed by Thucydides and the Atthidographers, and he thought that the explanation for this is that the war really took place. But it is precisely the isolation of this event that makes one doubt it. Kearns 1989:110, who does not reject the war as an actual event, nevertheless shows how oddly it fits with the rest of the tradition: “Attica is poor in mythical history of the ‘epic’ type; wars and expeditions feature little, obviously in a last-ditch attempt to link Attica with the wider Greek mythical world. Almost the only native ‘historical’ tradition of this sort—an event that seems to demand a specific place in time, whenever that may be—is the war with Eleusis. Other traditions about early Attica exist in an almost timeless world. Kekrops, Erechtheus and Erichthonios, Pandion are cult figures, sacral heroes whose origins lie in the diverse religious practices of the Acropolis.”

[ back ] 145. Desborough 1964:115: “The evidence, then, from Eleusis, though not entirely clear, seems to fall in line with that of the western part of Attica: at least a serious diminution of occupation by the beginning of LH. III C, and thereafter a break”; cf. also Simpson 1965:110 and Sourvinou-Inwood1973:216. For Attic unity in the Mycenaean period (a separate issue) see Stubbings 1975:169 and 1975a:347–348.

[ back ] 146. Stanton 1990:14n6: “Although some scholars (e.g. Padgug 1972) have vigorously defended the view that Attike was unified once for all in the Mycenaean period, many others have doubted the attribution of the unification to the legendary figure of Theseus, a king before the Trojan war. Hignett 1958:36–37, for example, argues that there was disunion after the Mycenaean period and that the basic unification of Attike for the classical period took place in the eighth century. A. M. Snodgrass (1977:14–21) argues that Attike was so drastically depopulated in the centuries before 800 BC that any act of unification over such a large area (about 2,650 square kilometres) in the Bronze Age would need to be implemented afresh; and that it is only in the eighth century that pottery from outlying areas becomes indistinguishable in style and quality from that of the town. Even if one accepts a basic unification then, it is likely that Eleusis in the west and probably the area around Marathon in the northeast were incorporated in the Athenian polis at a later date. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter suggests that Eleusis was still independent (cf. the references to the polis [ptolíethron] of Eleusis in line 318 and to the dē̂mos of Eleusis in line 490, and the complete lack of reference to Athens in the hymn) when it was composed in the seventh century (for a discussion of the date of composition see Richardson 1974:5–11). The incorporation of Eleusis in the Athenian state may even belong to the sixth century. In Herodotus’s story of the meeting between Solon of Athens and Croesus of Lydia (Herodotus 1.29–33), a meeting which many consider legendary, Solon tells Croesus about a certain Tellos the Athenian who brought help to his fellow citizens ‘when there was a battle between the Athenians and their neighbours at Eleusis’ (Herodotus 1.30.5). It is not clear whether the battle was against the Megarians (but fought at the border town of Eleusis) or against the people of Eleusis. If the latter, then the passage suggests that Eleusis was not part of the Athenian polis in the time of Solon’s contemporary Tellos—that is, at the beginning of the sixth century.” For Tellos, see §3.59–§3.63 below; for the absence of Athens in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, see immediately below in the text.

[ back ] 147. Kearns 1989:103 makes the general point, which is relevant to this specific case, that “contemporary territorial claims, both among the Greeks and elsewhere, are expressed in terms of the deeds and possessions of one’s heroic ancestors.”

[ back ] 148. Padgug, who does not believe that Eleusis was still independent when the hymn was composed, puts the case fairly for those who do (1972:137): “The Hymn envisages an independent Eleusis, with its own king, Keleos, and royal palace (lines 90ff). From Grote [1872:445] onward scholars have argued, on the basis of this consideration, that Eleusis must have been independent at the time the poem was composed” (references to Allen, Halliday, and Sikes 1936:111–114, Mylonas 1961:3n2 [see instead Mylonas 1942:12], and Lesky 1966:86). For Padgug’s own evaluation of the evidence of the hymn, see n3.150 below.

[ back ] 149. Especially noteworthy is Robin Osborne’s view, based on archaeology, that “culturally Eleusis is Athenian from as far back into the Dark Age as we can go” (Osborne 1994:154); Foley 1994:170, summarizing a paper presented by Osborne at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institue of America in Chicago in 1991, adds the following detail: “Pottery and burial practice do not significantly distinguish Eleusis from the rest of Attika either at this period [the seventh century] or earlier…. Protoattic pottery found at both Eleusis and Athens in the seventh century was limited to Attika in its distribution. This would place Eleusis within a nexus of cultural exclusiveness” (Foley 1994:170 and n281). While I do not contest this much of Osborne’s argument, his further suggestion that “there is no reason to believe that Eleusis was not also politically Athenian from as early a date as it makes sense to talk of a political unit” (Osborne 1994:154) requires more caution; for the point that unified material culture does not mean political unity cf. Anderson 2003:19. Regarding the archaeological connections between Athens and Eleusis I note that Boardman 1975:4 offers a less conclusive view than Osborne: “What follows is based partly on Mylonas’ account of the architecture [at Eleusis], checked or corrected at various points. Through the eighth and seventh centuries the pottery found in the sanctuary and cemetery includes sufficient of Athenian manufacture to indicate a ready market for Athenian goods, which we would expect at any rate from the sheer proximity of the two towns. There is also a fairly rich import of Corinthian, the other standard Greek ware of these years. It is not yet possible to draw any useful deductions from these finds since so little has yet been published.” Arguments resembling modern ones were also made in antiquity to establish the affinity of Salamis (part of the region of Eleusis) with Megara on the one side or Athens on the other: both sides cited burial practice as proof that Salamis was originally theirs (Plutarch Solon 10.3; cf. Legon 1981:138). In his scheme of a decentralized Attica in the sixth century BC Anderson 2003:228n51 hesitates about the place of Eleusis, arguing that the bond created by the Mysteries did not entail that Eleusinians were considered Athenian citizens.

[ back ] 150. Padgug’s argument that traditional poetry conserves remarkable archaisms, and that the independence of Eleusis in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter is one such archaism, is not convincing. A present state of affairs is more likely to be projected onto the past than an earlier state of affairs is to be remembered when it ceases to have any relevance to the present. M. I. Finley, in an essay called “Myth, Memory and History” (Finley 1975:11–33), concludes that the only serious Greek historical writing was about contemporary events, beginning with the Persian Wars; Diamant 1982:44, referring to Finley, emphasizes that the past was valued not for finding out “how things really were,” but for its usefulness in connecting the present with the heroic age. Walton 1952, while arguing that Eleusis was subject to Athens when the Homeric Hymn to Demeter was composed, gives a reason for the failure of the hymn to reflect this supposed fact, namely that Eleusis had only recently lost its independence and was in danger of having the Mysteries moved to Athens; the hymn was meant to forestall this by showing that Demeter belonged in Eleusis from the start (pp. 113–114). This argument, like the once standard view, presupposes a late date of incorporation of Eleusis into Attica. A different approach is taken by Sourvinou-Inwood 1997:143, who, citing Foley 1994:174, argues that the Homeric Hymn to Demeter operates in terms of myth rather than history: “It is a religious poem about a divine withdrawal and return, catastrophe averted, a divine epiphany, and the foundation of a cult by a deity at a time when in the archaic mythological landscape Eleusis was not part of Athens.” Sourvinou-Inwood argues that Eleusis was part of Athens since the eighth century BC; she proposes a reinterpretation of Eleusinian archaeology to show that religious processions from Athens, usually thought to have begun in the early sixth century BC, were already possible in the Geometric period (1997:133–136). But if the religious connection between Athens and Eleusis was indeed that old, we would expect the Homeric Hymn to Demeter to assume it, as the way things always were. The only way out is to assume, as Sourvinou-Inwood does, that the myth of a war between Athens and Eleusis was older than the Homeric Hymn to Demeter; the hymn could then deliberately ignore Athens, although Athens had been a fact of life in Eleusis for generations, because the hymn set itself before the war in which Eleusis was conquered. I do not share the assumption that the myth of a war was older than the hymn; cf. n3.152 below. For the archaeological question see now Palinkas 2008, who reexamines the evidence of entrances and roads at Eleusis in the Geometric period and concludes that it can be used equally to refute or support an early connection between Eleusis and Athens (Palinkas 2008:44–46).

[ back ] 151. The case that Nilsson 1951:36–37 states for a late date of incorporation still stands in most respects (see below for the “old walls” that he mentions, which are later than he thought): “Not very long before the conquest of Salamis Eleusis had been incorporated with Athens, at some time in the late seventh century BC. It was formerly independent. There is no hint of Athens in the Homeric hymn to Demeter which was composed in that century. Some signs of the autonomy remained. The phyle named after the Eleusinian hero Hippothoon had his sanctuary at Eleusis [Pausanias 1.38.4; decrees of the phyle, found at Eleusis, IG II2 1149, 1153]. The Eleusinians struck coins, showing on one side Triptolemos in his car drawn by snakes and on the other a pig, the holy animal of Demeter [Köhler 1879:250–253]. This is unique, for Salamis and Oropos, which also struck coins, were administratively not Athenian territory, and it is probably a remnant of the old sovereignty. This was not forgotten in a later age. It looks like a reminiscence that in 403 BC Eleusis was made a state independent of Athens, in which the thirty tyrants and their adherents took refuge. Old walls are found on the watershed which separates the Thriasian plain from the plain of Athens, near Epano Liosia; they were never used nor mentioned in the historical age and belong probably to an earlier time when war was waged between Athens and Eleusis [Beloch 1912 vol 1. pt. 1 207; Chandler 1926:19, figs. 13 and 14]. The memories of these wars lingered on in popular tales. Herodotus’s relation of Tellos (1.30) who fell in a war between Athens and Eleusis is such a one. In myth they were projected into the early mythical history of Athens…. Many authors mention the war in which Eumolpos, the eponymous ancestor of the Eumolpidae, the priestly family which furnished the highest officials of the Mysteries, the hierophants, marched against Athens, some say, at the head of Thracian hosts [Hiller von Gaertringen 1886:11ff…], and was slain by the king of Athens, whose daughter sacrificed herself to save the city.” For the distinction between Athens and Eleusis in Athenian myth cf. also Nilsson 1951:54–55. The walls separating the Thriasian plain from the plain of Athens, explained by Nilsson and others in terms of political separation between Eleusis and Athens, were studied by Dow 1942, who proposed instead that the walls were built by Athens in 506 BC to stop the invasion of the Spartans under Cleomenes. Dow countered the usual interpretation by casting doubt on the political separation of Athens and Eleusis until 700 BC or later, “a view which at the moment, so far as published works go, is almost universally held.” Dow’s comment on the subject continues: “But the evidence is far from being decisive in favor of the view that Eleusis was independent as late as 700 BC, and there is, I think, some reason for believing that a thorough and unbiased study would move the date of the union of Attika back indefinitely. If this is ever accomplished, then this historical argument for dating the Aigaleios-Parnes wall earlier than 700 or 600 BC will vanish” (Dow 1942:198). Padgug 1972 cites Dow at the beginning of his study, which is intended to show what Dow suggests. Regarding the wall, Padgug reports that a field survey carried out in 1955 showed the wall to be fourth century, thus eliminating it as evidence (Padgug 1972:140, citing Jones, Sackett, and Eliot 1957). In my view the result of Padgug’s study is only to show what is undeniably true, that there is little positive evidence for a late incorporation of Eleusis into Attica. But there may be other reasons for this lack of positive evidence than the negative conclusion drawn by Padgug. As Padgug notes in his review of prior studies of the synoecism of Attica on p. 135, “almost all conclude that the final step was the incorporation of Eleusis into the Athenian state”; I do not think that this has yet been shown to be wrong.

[ back ] 152. Those who believe that Eleusis was incorporated into Athens with the rest of Attica must also explain the fact that Eleusis stands apart from the rest of Attica in a crucial respect: in Attic myth only Eleusis had to be won by war. Sourvinou-Inwood, who argues that the myth of Eleusis’s incorporation into Attica cannot be separated from the rise of Athens as a polis in the eighth century BC (1997:141–142), does not explain why Eleusis should have had this myth when other parts of Attica did not. Parker 1987:204 explains the difference in terms of religion rather than history: “There is no independent evidence to suggest that Eleusis was incorporated into the Athenian state later than other of the ‘cities’ of Attica, or with any more difficulty. The area in which the relation of Eleusis to Attica was unique was, of course, that of religion. The myth emphasises this special relationship by a technique of contrast (since the war led to peace). Pausanias’ account perhaps suggests the spirit, at least, of the original denouement: ‘They settled the war on the terms that the Eleusinians should be subject to the Athenians in other respects but should conduct the ceremonies themselves (1.38.3)’.” Parker’s argument is that the myth is meant to account for the religious independence of Eleusis through a contrast with its political dependence, and that this is the reason for the war between the two cities in the myth. I think that the truth is simpler. There was a war, and a very recent one, which made Eleusis dependent on Athens; the myth arose, not to account for religious independence, for Athens was now in control of religion too, but to give the war and its outcome a heroic pedigree. I do not think that it makes sense to speak of religious independence as distinct from political independence in the case of Eleusis. There is a critique of Sourvinou-Inwood’s case for the early incorporation of Eleusis into Attica in Kennell 1997, and a response in Sourvinou-Inwood 2003:41–45.

[ back ] 153. Jacoby too believed that Eleusis was incorporated into Attica in the historical period; cf. his commentary on a fragment of Philochorus attesting the tradition that Kekrops founded the twelve towns of Attica, including Eleusis (Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 94 [= Strabo 9.1.20], commentary p. 394): “The starting point of the Atthidographer…is without doubt the united Attic state including even Eleusis, i.e. historical conditions as they existed from the seventh century onward”; cf. also his commentary on Philochorus 328 F 107, p. 431, discussing a claim by the Megarians in historical times to the Eleusinian district “which had not long been connected with Athens.”

[ back ] 154. Herodotus 1.30.5.

[ back ] 155. Padgug 1972:139 suggests that either Megarians or Boeotians are meant by “neighbors.” Highbarger 1927:132 argues on the basis of the Tellos story that “even before Solon’s time Athens and Megara had struggled over the boundary lines of Eleusis.” Legon 1981:100–101, who believes that Eleusis was incorporated into Attica by c. 700 BC, nevertheless argues that only Eleusinians were involved in the battle with Athens in which Tellos died; if this means that the Tellos battle occurred before 700 BC, I disagree: Tellos must have been an older contemporary of Solon (see below §3.61 and n3.157; cf. also Stanton 1990:14n6, quoted above n3.146). Van Effenterre 1977 argues that Athens had loose control of Eleusis by 700 BC but then lost it to Megara, and then won it back again under Solon in the war in which Tellos was killed. Note the wide scope that Xenophon gives to the mythic war with Eleusis when he refers to Erechtheus as an example of the valor of the Athenians’ ancestors, emphasizing first his “birth and nurturing,” and also “the war waged in his time against those from the whole neighboring mainland”: λέγω γάρ, καὶ τὴν Ἐρεχθέως γε τροφὴν καὶ γένεσιν, καὶ τὸν πόλεμον τὸν ἐπ' ἐκείνου γενόμενον πρὸς τοὺς ἐκ τῆς ἐχομένης ἠπείρου πάσης (Xenophon Memorabilia 3.5.10; cf. n3.236 below).

[ back ] 156. The parallel between Tellos and Erechtheus is closer if Erechtheus was said to have been slain on the battlefield after setting up a tropaîon commemorating the enemy’s defeat; a death on the battlefield is in fact what the messenger in Euripides Erechtheus fr. 65.11–21 Austin seems to report: in lines 11–12 (following a gap of about ten lines) the messenger says in a ὡς clause that Erechtheus set up a tropaîon:

μη [… Ἐρεχθ]εὺς ὡς τροπαῖα[
ἔστη[σε χώρ]αι τῆιδε βαρβά[ρ.

Seven lines of dialogue follow, in which the messenger gradually reveals Erechtheus’s fate to Praxithea, until at last he says that Erechtheus is dead (τέθνηκ', fr. 65.21). Since the messenger has come from the battlefield to the Acropolis (cf. fr. 65.3–4), the battlefield would seem to be where Erechtheus was killed and buried; in that case we do not know what landmark, if any, was associated with Erechtheus’s burial. Cf. Treu 1971:117–118: “We hear the report that Erechtheus has put up a victory monument, Eumolpos has fallen, and that—the messenger lets this come out only hesitantly at first and then reports it—Erechtheus too is dead: here the report must surely have left a place for the nearly incomprehensible fact that the victorious king of the Athenians, after erecting the victory monument, as he walked and stood, disappeared into the earth” (“Wir hören die Mitteilung, dass Erechtheus ein Siegeszeichen errichtet hat, Eumolpos gefallen ist, allerdings—was der Bote erst nur zögernd durchblicken lässt und dann mitteilt—dass auch Erechtheus τέθνηκε: Wobei die Mitteilung doch noch Platz gelassen haben muss für das beinahe Unbegreifliche, dass der siegreiche König der Athener nach Errichtung des Siegeszeichens, wie er ging und stand, in der Erde verschwunden ist”). Perhaps there was more than one view as to where Poseidon killed and buried Erechtheus (cf. n3.128 above for the temple of Poseidon-Erechtheus on the Acropolis as one likely location). Darthou 2005 proposes a different interpretation entirely of Erechtheus’s end (not a burial but the final return to the earth of Athens’ series of autochthonous founders).

[ back ] 157. Referring to Solon’s wide travels Croesus says to him (Herodotus 1.30.2): νῦν ὦν ἐπειρέσθαι σε ἵμερος ἐπῆλθέ μοι εἴ τινα ἤδη πάντων εἶδες ὀλβιώτατον, “Now, then, the desire has come upon me to ask you whether you have seen anyone by now who was most fortunate of all.” When he is not named as the most fortunate, Croesus goes on to ask Solon whom he puts second, and Solon again disappoints him, naming Kleobis and Biton, youths rewarded for their piety by the gods with a splendid death. The question is again whom has Solon seen who deserves the second honor after Tellos: ἐπειρώτα τίνα δεύτερον μετ' ἐκεῖνον ἴδοι, “he asked him whom he had seen who was second after that man” (Herodotus 1.31.1). Solon in the story is not asked to rank famous figures from the past, only mortals that he has met, hence those named are not illustrious.

[ back ] 158. The story of Solon and Croesus is one of numerous tales of the seven wise men that originated in the sixth century BC; see Regenbogen 1961 and Martin 1993. Regenbogen 1961:117–118, 120 shows that Tellos belongs to the earliest layer of the Solon and Croesus story, before the story of Kleobis and Biton was added to it. The oldest evidence for stories of the seven wise men is from the late sixth century, Hipponax fr. 65 Degani: καὶ Μύσων, ὃν Ὡπόλλων / ἀνεῖπεν ἀνδρῶν σωφρονέστατον πάντων, “And Myson, whom Apollo / proclaimed the most self-controlled of all men”; cf. also Hipponax fr. 12 Degani, which names Bias as a proverbial strong advocate (see Regenbogen 1961:118). As Regenbogen 1961:120 reconstructs the earliest version of the story of Solon and Croesus, in which Kleobis and Biton did not occur, but only Tellos, the story’s point was the contrast of Greek “poverty” and “self-control” (πενία and σωφροσύνη) with barbarian “wealth” and “violence” (πλοῦτος and ὕβρις).

[ back ] 159. As Plutarch explicitly tells us (Comparison of Solon and Publicola 1.2, Solon fr. 46 West), Tellos did not occur in Solon’s poems: “Tellos, whom Solon pronounced the most blessed man he knew because of his fortunate lot, his virtue, and his goodly offspring, was not celebrated in [Solon’s] poems as a good man, nor did his children or any magistracy of his achieve a reputation.” Note that Solon fr. 24 West praises the modest wealth and other signs of good fortune of a humble character like Tellos.

[ back ] 160. See n3.155 above for van Effenterre’s thesis that Solon won Eleusis back from Megara after a period of Megarian control (van Effenterre 1977); this thesis is pursued interestingly in many respects by L’Homme-Wéry 1996, but remains conjectural (cf. Mülke 2002:378–379).

[ back ] 161. Legon 1981:100 characterizes Theagenes’ role, and the condition of Athens at the time, as follows: “No elaborate theory is needed to account for Theagenes’ complicity in the Cylonian coup. He saw an opportunity to help establish a friendly and even somewhat dependent regime in a neighboring state, thereby extending his (and Megara’s) influence, and, perhaps broadening his power base. Athens in the 630’s was still a predominantly agrarian, inward-looking state, and despite her size, population, and future greatness, it is far from ludicrous that seventh-century Megara could have taken the leading role in their relations.” Part of the tradition of the Cylonian conspiracy is the alacrity with which the Athenians responded from outlying areas in Attica to the threat on the Acropolis (Thucydides 1.126.7). The synoecism of Attica is implied by this, even if Eleusis had not yet been incorporated (Legon, on the other hand, thinks that Eleusis had been incorporated about 700 BC; see n3.155 above). Did Theagenes perceive a greater threat from an expanding neighbor than Legon’s characterizations of the two sides would suggest?

[ back ] 162. Theagenes was eventually driven from power by an aristocratic regime, which was later replaced by the unbridled democracy against which the poet Theognis railed (cf. Legon 1981:104–135). Legon 1981:101 doubts that Theagenes survived the Cylonian “fiasco” by many years: “the failure of Cylon’s coup must have badly shaken Theagenes’ regime. Athenian enmity had been provoked or heightened, troops had very likely been sacrificed, and nothing had been accomplished.” This argument only gains force if Theagenes’ legacy included not only a failed coup, but the loss of Eleusis through an open conflict with Athens.

[ back ] 163. Ferguson 1938:42: “It was only on the annexation of Eleusis that the possesson of Salamis became a sort of geographical necessity for Athens. To be sure the island had formed theretofore a bridge between Megara and the basin of the Kephisos, but it had not shut off completely from the open sea a valuable part of Attica.” Ferguson, p. 42, dates the struggle for Salamis to the end of the seventh century at the earliest; Guarducci 1948 dates both the incorporation of Eleusis into Attica and the possession of Salamis by Athens much earlier, to the eighth century, but she agrees with Ferguson that the two events belong together: “When this possession began we do not know with certainty; but it is logical to think, as Ferguson justly observed, that it was contemporaneous with or immediately subsequent to the annexation of Eleusis on the part of Athens, inasmuch as a stable occupation of Eleusis is not conceivable without the possession of the island of Salamis, which dominates its access by sea and almost closes off its gulf” (“Quando avesse inizio questo possesso noi non sappiamo con sicurezza; ma è logico pensare, come giustamente osservò il Ferguson, che esso fosse contemporaneo o immediatamente successivo all’ annessione di Eleusi da parte di Atene, in quanto una stabile occupazione di Eleusi non è concepibile senza il possesso dell’ isola di Salamina, che ne domina l’accesso per mare e quasi ne chiude il golfo”; Guarducci 1948:228–229).

[ back ] 164. Megara probably took possession of Salamis sometime in the seventh century to put down pirates stationed there and thus to protect its own shipping (Legon 1981:101, 122). The displaced population of Salamis seems to have gone to Attica, where it became the génos of the Salaminioi (see n3.184 below). It is disputed whether this population was Athenian or not before it left Salamis (Ferguson and Nilsson both assume that it was not, Guarducci argues that it was; see n3.184 below). In either case, this dispossessed group must have pressured the Athenians to recover Salamis. Plutarch Solon 8.1 tells us that when Solon began his public activity the Athenians had passed a law “prohibiting anyone from urging the polis to renew its claim to Salamis in either written or oral form, on pain of death.” Legon 1981:123 is probably right that this law was meant to contain the pressure of the Salaminioi. To get around the law, the story goes, Solon composed his poem Salamis and pretended insanity when he recited it in public; Plutarch says that the poem was a hundred lines long, of which he quotes the first two (Plutarch Solon 8.2–3; Solon fr. 1 West):

αὐτὸς κῆρυξ ἦλθον ἀφ' ἱμερτῆς Σαλαμῖνος,
κόσμον ἐπέων †ὠιδὴν ἀντ' ἀγορῆς θέμενος.

I myself have come as a herald from desired Salamis,
Composing well ordered words, a song, instead of a speech.

Six additional lines of the poem are preserved by Diogenes Laertius 1.47 (Solon frs. 2–3 West):

εἴην δὴ τότ' ἐγὼ Φολεγάνδριος ἢ Σικινήτης
ἀντί γ' Ἀθηναίου πατρίδ' ἀμειψάμενος·
αἶψα γὰρ ἂν φάτις ἥδε μετ' ἀνθρώποισι γένοιτο·
“Ἀττικὸς οὗτος ἀνήρ, τῶν Σαλαμιναφετέων.”

In that case I wish I were from Pholegandros or Sikinos
instead of being an Athenian, exchanging my fatherland;
For this report would quickly spread among men:
“This man is Attic, one of those who surrendered Salamis.”


ἴομεν ἐς Σαλαμῖνα μαχησόμενοι περὶ νήσου
ἱμερτῆς χαλεπόν τ' αἶσχος ἀπωσόμενοι.

Let us go to Salamis to fight for the desired island
and to push away our harsh shame.

According to Plutarch the performance succeeded in rousing the Athenians to action and the law was repealed. Solon himself led five hundred volunteers who surprised the Megarians on Salamis and captured the island (this is the version of Salamis’s capture given in Plutarch Solon 9.1–3, which is more probable than another version given in Plutarch Solon 8.4–6, in which Solon is also the central figure; see Legon 1981:126–127). Plutarch tells of these events near the beginning of his Life of Solon, and we therefore assume that they fall at the beginning of Solon’s career. Solon’s archonship is usually dated 594/3 BC (Legon 1981:126), and thus his career probably began in the latter years of the seventh century. Solon’s role is so central in the capture of Salamis that it is possible that he was himself born in Salamis, as Diogenes Laertius 1.45 and Diodorus Siculus 9.1 state (see Legon 1981:128, who leaves the possibility open that this tradition is true although it is not in the older writers). Legon 1981:101 considers whether Salamis was what pushed the Megarian tyrant Theagenes to interfere in Athenian affairs as early as 630 BC, the approximate date of the Cylonian conspiracy. Against this is the fact, which Legon acknowledges cannot be lightly dismissed, “that there is not a single mention of Theagenes in the ample and conflicting testimony on the Salamis dispute.” I prefer to think that Theagenes fell from power because of Eleusis, before Solon took Salamis. That, however, may make the annexation of Eleusis too early for Solon’s involvement in that event. Legon does not think that Theagenes, whose dates are not known, continued in power long after the Cylonian affair (“Theagenes’ tyranny probably lasted between ten and twenty years, ending before 620,” p. 102). We also do not know Solon’s birthdate or how long he lived. If we assume that he became archon in his thirties, he was born before 624 BC; Davies 1971:323 gives c. 630–625 BC as his probable date of birth. Solon opposed Peisistratos’s first seizure of power in 561/60 BC according to Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 14.2 and other sources (see Davies 1971:323, who cites evidence for 560/59 BC as Solon’s date of death). Solon is also said to have represented Athens against Megara in Sparta’s arbitration of the Salamis dispute, perhaps in the 560s or early 550s (see Legon, p. 138, who gives the ancient sources in n. 6). If Solon was eighty when he died, as Diogenes Laertius 1.62 says, his birthdate could be as early as c. 640 BC, but the figure eighty was probably taken from his own poem in which he says that he hopes to attain this age (Solon fr. 20.4 West; cf. Davies 1971:324).

[ back ] 165. For Thucydides, who seems to have connected the incorporation of Eleusis into Attica with the synoecism of Theseus rather than with the war of Erechtheus, see n3.133 above; the connection between Erechtheus’s victory over Eleusis and the incorporation of the defeated town into Attica, which seems entirely natural in itself, is made by Pausanias (see n3.134 above).

[ back ] 166. See Richardson 1974:6–11. Changes that took place early may be associated with Solon; more pronounced changes that took place later may be associated with Peisistratos. The first “Telesterion” (a modern name for the building in which initiation into the Mysteries took place) was dated to the Solonian era, c. 600 BC, by Mylonas 1961:63–72; this structure was rebuilt on a much larger scale, perhaps in the time of Peisistratos in the mid-sixth century (lower dates of 575–550 BC and c. 500 BC for the two structures are now favored by some; see Miles 1998:28 with nn10 and 12, and Anderson 2003:187 with nn26 and 27). The temple to which the Homeric Hymn to Demeter refers must be earlier than the first Telesterion. It is not known if earlier structures in the same location, one of Mycenaean date, another of Geometric date, had a religious function (Richardson 1974:7, 328; Cosmopoulos 2003 argues that Megaron B, the Mycenaean structure, had a domestic religious function, but he does not address the question of continuity through the Dark Age; this question, which was answered in the negative by Darcque 1981, has now been reopened by N. Cucuzza in Lippolis 2006:67–72 on the basis of non-archaeological considerations). The chief priests of the Mysteries, the hierophants, belonged to the génos of the Eumolpidai, whose ancestor Eumolpos occurs in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, and who therefore seems to be Eleusinian; but the Kerykes, the génos from which both the Keryx and the Dadouchos came, seems to have been Athenian: unlike Eumolpos, their ancestor Keryx does not occur in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, and the Kerykes themselves regarded their ancestor as the son of Hermes and a daughter of the Athenian king Kekrops (Pausanias 1.38.3; see Richardson 1974:8; cf. also Burkert 1983:146–147). The Iacchos procession along the Sacred Way from Athens to Eleusis, first attested for the year 480 BC (Herodotus 8.65), had the important function of connecting the Eleusinian cult with the city; this procession was doubtless older than the fifth century but not as old as the hymn (cf. Richardson 1974:8–9). The Eleusinion, an Athenian branch of the Eleusinian cult (sacred objects were brought from Eleusis to the Eleusinion for a period of days before the Mysteries were celebrated and were then returned to Eleusis as part of the procession on the Sacred Way; see Deubner 1932:72–73, Nilsson 1951:38–39), underwent significant construction in the period 575–550 BC (see Miles 1998:25–26 and cf. Anderson 2003:186); it was in this same period that the first Telesterion was built in Eleusis according to the revised dating mentioned above (Miles 1998:28; Anderson 2003:187). Other indications of date are vague but consistent. Inscriptions regulating sacrifices in the Eleusinion belong to the early fifth century, but they are written boustrophēdón and therefore must derive from an earlier version of the mid-sixth century or before (Jeffery 1948; cf. Richardson 1974:10). Andocides On the Mysteries 111 says that the boulḗ habitually met in the Eleusinion on the day after the Mysteries “according to the law of Solon”; this phrase may mean that the law (and with it the Eleusinion) dates from Solon’s time, but the phrase was sometimes used loosely of more recent legislation (see Macdowell 1962:120–121 and 142, ad loc.). Archaeology shows that from at least the seventh century BC there was a sanctuary in the area of the Eleusinion, which presumably belonged to Demeter, and which was presumably used for celebrations of the Thesmophoria (Miles 1998:22; cf. Anderson 2003:186); when the sanctuary’s connection with Eleusis began is the crucial question for the history of the Mysteries, and dating this connection to the seventh century (Miles 1998:22) cannot be confirmed. Triptolemos, who is named in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter as one of the kings of Eleusis, takes on a much grander role in the period of Athenian control: he receives the gifts of grain and agriculture from Demeter in Eleusis and carries them to the rest of mankind. The myth of Triptolemos, which makes Athens the benefactor of all mankind, is inconsistent with the Homeric Hymn to Demeter 305ff., where agriculture already exists before Persephone’s rape (cf. Richardson 1974:9; see Richardson 1974 on lines 305–333, 450, and 470–482 for the possibility that the myth of Triptolemos existed at the time of the hymn, but was of no importance to it). I interpret all these developments in Demeter’s cult as the result of a change of control from Eleusis to Athens in the time of Solon. Additional factors and other points of view are considered in EN3.9.

[ back ] 167. It is remarkable that a myth was able to replace historical reality as completely as it did in this case. There must have been a deep interest on the part of the Athenians that the myth become the new reality. In addition, the earlier independence of Eleusis may have been due more to Athenian quietism than to Eleusinian self-defense; this would have made it easier to pretend that Eleusis had always been part of Attica. The Megarians remembered actual events no more than the Athenians; the Megarian writers who claimed that Athens had taken Eleusis from Megara did not say that this happened in historical times, but under Theseus in the royal period (Plutarch Theseus 10.3). The Athenian myth of the four sons of Pandion (they inherited the four parts of Attica from their father) is traced by Jacoby to the contest for Salamis in the first half of the sixth century BC (Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 107, pp. 430–431); in this myth three of Attica’s four parts correspond to the three-party strife following the reforms of Solon (plain, shore, and diakria), but the fourth part, Megara, is an addition reflecting the contest for Salamis. Eleusis, between Athens and Megara, was necessarily part of Pandion’s kingdom in terms of this myth; Pandion was preceded by Erechtheus, who first won Eleusis for Athens, so the myths are not in conflict (for the succession Kekrops - Erechtheus - Pandion - Aegeus, see Herodotus 8.44 and 1.173 and Jacoby, commentary on Hellanicus FGrHist 4 F 38–49). There is a question what part, if any, Eleusis played in the three-party strife of the sixth century BC; the “plain” (pedíon) seems to have meant the Kephisos plain north of Athens and not to have included the Thriasian plain and Eleusis, which are geographically distinct. This issue is discussed in EN3.10.

[ back ] 168. One of Athens’ great glories was that it shared with the world Demeter’s two gifts, agriculture and the Mysteries. Isocrates Panegyricus 4.28–29, referring to the two gifts as τούς τε καρποὺς…καὶ τὴν τελετήν, “fruits…and initiation,” takes them as signs not only of the goddess’s favor toward Athens, but also of Athens’ philanthropy toward all mankind: οὕτως ἡ πόλις ἡμῶν οὐ μόνον θεοφιλῶς, ἀλλὰ καὶ φιλανθρώπως ἔσχεν, ὥστε κυρία γενομένη τοσούτων ἀγαθῶν οὐκ ἐφθόνησεν τοῖς ἄλλοις, ἀλλ' ὧν ἔλαβεν ἅπασιν μετέδωκεν, “Our city was not only so god-loving, but also so man-loving, that having become master of so many good things it did not begrudge them to other people, but gave all a share in what it had acquired.” Here “our city” (ἡ πόλις ἡμῶν) is of course Athens, not Eleusis, which had long ceased to get the credit apart from Athens (cf. Clinton 1994:161; Anderson 2003:185, 192–194). In a similar way the mythic war against Eleusis became instead, in the fourth century BC, the war against Thracian barbarians, with little thought any more of Eleusis (Demosthenes 60.8; cf. Parker 1987:203–204).

[ back ] 169. This festival gave its name to the month in which it was celebrated, Skirophorion, the last month of the Attic year, immediately before the summer solstice.

[ back ] 170. Harpokration s.v. Σκίρον (who refers to Lysimachides, a writer on festivals probably of the Augustan age) attests most of these details (except that here the priest is called Poseidon’s rather than Erechtheus’s): Σκίρα ἑορτὴ παρ' Ἀθηναίοις, ἀφ' ἧς καὶ ὁ μὴν Σκιροφοριών. φασὶ δὲ οἱ γράψαντες περί τε μηνῶν καὶ ἑορτῶν τῶν Ἀθήνησιν, ὧν ἐστι καὶ Λυσιμαχίδης, ὡς τὸ σκίρον σκιάδιόν ἐστι μέγα, ὑφ' ᾧ φερομένῳ ἐξ ἀκροπόλεως εἴς τινα τόπον καλούμενον Σκίρον πορεύονται ἥ τε τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς ἱέρεια καὶ ὁ τοῦ Ποσειδῶνος ἱερεὺς καὶ ὁ τοῦ Ἡλίου· κομίζουσι δὲ τοῦτο Ἐτεοβουτάδαι, “The Skira, a festival of the Athenians, from which the name of the month Skirophorion comes. Those who write about the months and festivals in Athens, among whom is Lysimachides, say that the skíron is a large parasol, under which, when it is carried from the Acropolis to a place called Skiron, the priestess of Athena and the priest of Poseidon and the priest of Helios proceed. Eteoboutads carry it.” Here the festival’s name Skíra is derived from a noun skíron, “parasol,” which is unknown outside the context of the festival (the noun occurs again in this context in the scholia to Aristophanes Ecclesiazusae 18; see n3.172 below); a reverse process of derivation is more likely to be true: i.e. the name Skirophória probably gave rise to the noun skíron to reflect a ritual of the festival, namely the carrying of a “parasol,” the proper name for which (skiádion, from skía, “shade”) is vaguely similar. As this folk etymology shows, one no longer knew what the name Skíra meant, nor are we much wiser; the relevant meaning of the word group to which Skíra belongs seems to be “gypsum, lime,” but the actual relevance of this meaning to the festival is not immediately apparent. For the Skíra see Brumfield 1981:156–181, with references to the older literature. Discussing the wide range of meanings of such related forms as skı̄̂ros, skíra, skíron, Brumfield focuses on gē̂ leukḗ, “white earth,” i.e. “gypsum, lime” (ἡ σκίρα δέ ἐστι γῆ λευκή, ὥσπερ γύψος, Photius Lexicon s.v. Skíros; Suda s.v. Skı̄̂ros), and considers the possibility that the Greeks practiced marling to fertilize fields. Her conclusion (pp. 169–170) is that this practice cannot be proved, and that, if it lies behind the festival of the Skira, it cannot be connected with the festival’s known ritual (pp. 174–175; the scholia to Aristophanes Wasps 926, which say that Athena Skiras was anointed with white earth, could preserve a relic, but this information may also be guesswork). In my view the reason for the lack of connection is that the festival, which probably had its origins at an early time outside Attica, was adapted to a later set of historical circumstances within Attica (cf. n3.188 below). For discussion of festival names in -phória, including Skirophória, see Robertson 1983:245–248.

[ back ] 171. See e.g. Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, p. 289 and n72.

[ back ] 172. Scholia to Aristophanes Ecclesiazusae 18 (this source refers to the priest of Erechtheus, not of Poseidon): Σκίρα ἑορτή ἐστι τῆς Σκιράδος Ἀθηνᾶς, Σκιροφοριῶνος ιβ'. οἱ δὲ Δήμητρος καὶ Κόρης. ἐν ᾗ ὁ ἱερεὺς τοῦ Ἐρεχθέως φέρει σκιάδειον λευκὸν, ὃ λέγεται σκῖρον, “The Skira is a festival of Athena Skiras, on the twelfth of Skirophorion. Some say it is of Demeter and Kore. In it the priest of Erechtheus carries a white parasol, which is called a skī̂ron.” Other sources as well attest uncertainty about the goddess(es) to whom the festival belonged: scholia to Aristophanes Thesmophoriazusae 834: Σκίρα λέγεσθαί φασί τινες τὰ γινόμενα ἱερὰ ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ ταύτῃ Δήμητρι καὶ Κόρῃ. οἱ δὲ, ὅτι ἐπὶ Σκίρῳ θύεται τῇ Ἀθηνᾷ, “Some say the sacred rites that take place for Demeter and Kore in this festival are called the Skira. Others say that sacrifices are made to Athena in Skiron”; Stephanus of Byzantium s.v. Σκίρος· Σκίρα δὲ κέκληται, τινὲς μὲν ὅτι ἐπὶ Σκίρῳ Ἀθηνᾷ [Ἀθηνῃσι codd.] θύεται, ἄλλοι δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν γινομένων ἱερῶν Δήμητρι καὶ Κόρῃ ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ ταύτῃ ἐπὶ Σκίρῳ κέκληται, “It is called the Skira, some say because sacrifices are made to Athena at Skiron, but others say that it is named from the sacrifices that take place for Demeter and Kore in this festival at Skiron.”

[ back ] 173. For the Kephisos as Athens’ old boundary on the road to Eleusis see Deubner 1932:48, who draws this conclusion from the fact that Theseus, when he returns to Athens after slaying various evildoers, is ritually purified on the far side of the Kephisos at the altar of Zeus Meilichios before entering the city (Pausanias 1.37.4; Plutarch Theseus 12.1). Zeus Meilichios is a god of atonement, and his altar, in Deubner’s view, served as a kind of “sacred quarantine station” which would have seen regular use by those returning to the city who were in need of purification. That the Kephisos was a boundary point on the Sacred Way seems also to be confirmed by a fragment of the Atakta of Istros (FGrHist 334 F 17). This piece of evidence is discussed in EN3.11.

[ back ] 174. The idea of a “religionsgeschichtliches Compromiss” was first proposed by Robert 1885:378, and has been widely accepted; cf. Simon 1983:23–24, who argues that the role of the priest of Helios in the procession to Skiron was to witness the annual renewal of a kind of “contract” (for Helios as an oath-god cf. Iliad 3.277). Robert took as a further instance of such a compromise the tradition for three “sacred plowings” (árotoi hieroí) at Athens, Eleusis, and Skiron, attested by Plutarch Advice to the Bride and Groom 144ab: Ἀθηναῖοι τρεῖς ἀρότους ἱεροὺς ἄγουσι, πρῶτον ἐπὶ Σκίρῳ, τοῦ παλαιοτάτου τῶν σπόρων ὑπόμνημα, δεύτερον ἐν τῇ ᾿Ραρίᾳ, τρίτον ὑπὸ πόλιν τὸν καλούμενον Βουζύγιον, “The Athenians perform three sacred plowings, the first in Skiron, commemorating the oldest sowing, the second in Rharia, the third under the acropolis, called the Bouzygion (ox-yoke [plowing]).” According to Robert’s interpretation of this evidence, which I find convincing, Athens and Eleusis both had old traditions that they were the first to plow land for planting crops, Athens in a field beneath the Acropolis and Eleusis in the “Rharian Plain”; when the two cities were united, Skiron, by way of compromise, was given the distinction of having carried out the first plowing, replacing (or joining) both the others in this distinction. Jacoby accepts Robert’s argument that the Skira represent a compromise between Athens and Eleusis, but he follows a different interpretation of the sacred plowings (see Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n80, pp. 204 and 206); for yet another view of the tradition for the three sacred plowings see Sourvinou-Inwood 1997:147–148. Both Toepffer and Jacoby reject Robert’s attempt to prove that there was no cult of Athena Skiras at Skiron, and that the Skira thus had nothing to do with Athena Skiras (Toepffer 1889:119n2; Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n8, pp. 194–195); both cite Rohde’s arguments against Robert’s thesis (Rohde 1886). A connection of the procession of the Skira with Eleusis may be further suggested by another detail: a particular kind of fleece called the Diòs kṓidion (“Zeus’s little fleece”) was used in purification rites by the organizers of the Skira procession and by the torchbearer (dāidoûkhos) at Eleusis, as well as by others who performed purification rites (Suda s.v. Διὸς κῴδιον· …χρῶνται δ' αὐτοῖς οἵ τε Σκιροφορίων τὴν πομπὴν στέλλοντες καὶ ὁ δᾳδοῦχος ἐν Ἐλευσῖνι, καὶ ἄλλοι τινὲς πρὸς τοὺς καθαρμοὺς ὑποστορνύντες αὐτὰ τοῖς ποσὶ τῶν ἐναγῶν, “Diòs kṓidion: …they are used by those who arrange the procession of the Skirophoria and by the torchbearer in Eleusis, and for purifications by certain others, who spread them under the feet of the polluted”; see Toepffer 1889:120n2; Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n80, p. 206; Deubner 1932:49n4, 77–78). That the Skira festival is essentially concerned with a boundary (namely the old boundary between Athens and Eleusis) is supported by a ball game called epískuros. The game, which may be attested as early as the late sixth century BC, contains in its name an alternate form skū̂ros of the word for “gypsum, lime” found in the name Skíra. As Elmer 2008 shows, the game, which takes its name from a center line made (probably) of white limestone gravel, “can be understood as a symbolization of a boundary dispute”; see Elmer for the ancient evidence and the modern studies of the game, in which two opposing teams competed to win sole possession of a playing field held “in common” at the start of the game (an alternate name of the game is epíkoinos, “in common”). The relevance of this anthropological evidence to the religious and political meaning of the Skira, which also has to do with a boundary, seems clear.

[ back ] 175. So Deubner 1932:47–48, following Pfister RE ‘Skira’ 531, who develops an “analogy” of van der Loeff 1916:329 (see Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n80, pp. 204–205).

[ back ] 176. Pausanias 1.37.2: προελθοῦσι δὲ ὀλίγον Λακίου τέμενός ἐστιν ἥρωος καὶ δῆμος ὃν Λακιάδας ὀνομάζουσιν ἀπὸ τούτου…. ἔστι δὲ καὶ…Δήμητρος ἱερὸν καὶ τῆς παιδός· σὺν δέ σφισιν Ἀθηνᾶ καὶ Ποσειδῶν ἔχουσι τιμάς, “As one proceeds a little farther there is the precinct of Lakios, a hero, and the deme which they call Lakiadai after him…. And there is also…a temple of Demeter and her daughter; with them Athena and Poseidon also receive honors.” The passage goes on to tell how the hero Phytalos received Demeter here, and how she gave him the first fig tree.

[ back ] 177. Pausanias speaks of “a place called Skiron” (χωρίον Σκῖρον…καλούμενον, 1.36.4); he explains its connection with the war of the Eleusinians against Erechtheus (see below), but he gives no physical description of the place except that there was also a torrent there called Skiron. Before he reaches the shrine of the four gods in Lakiadai Pausanias describes three intervening tombs (1.36.5–1.37.1). This does not make clear what the distance was between Skiron and Lakiadai, but it was presumably not very great. The fact remains, however, that Pausanias treats the two places as different, and the temple of the four gods is in Lakiadai, not Skiron, in his account. Deubner’s suggestion (1932:47) that Pausanias describes tombs on one side of the road and then returns on the other side of the road to Skiron, and to a previously omitted temple (the one in question), is not convincing. Judeich 1931:177 describes the location of Skiron in general terms as “to be sought near the Themistoclean circular wall north of the Sacred Way in the outer Kerameikos” (“nahe dem themistokleischen Mauerring nördlich der heiligen Strasse im äusseren Kerameikos zu suchen”).

[ back ] 178. Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n80, pp. 204–205, does not accept that this shrine was used in the Skira. Its location is his main (but not only) objection. Like others he believes that the Skira involved a religious compromise between Athena and Demeter, but he also believes that there were other contexts for this compromise: “There was a great number of stories dealing with the reconciliation between Demeter and Athena, and many different cults attesting it. We know few of these stories, but to efface distinctions would be wrong in general, and in the case of the Skira in particular.” Robertson 1996:73n96 sees matters differently, commenting that Jacoby “would separate Pausanias’s temple from the area of Skiron, for no good reason.” Robertson considers the temple of Zephyros, which was next to the temple of the four gods in Lakiadai, to be related to the Skira, and he therefore minimizes the fact that Pausanias distinguishes Lakiadai from Skiron. Jacoby, for his part, believes strongly that there was a cult of Athena Skiras in Skiron, and for him this was the probable goal of the Skira procession. Although such a cult is not attested by Pausanias (a point minimized by Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, p. 291), I think that Jacoby has good reason to insist that the Skira took place in Skiron. There is an important piece of indirect evidence in Strabo 9.1.9, who mentions “a ritual in Skiron” (ἐπὶ Σκίρῳ ἱεροποιία τις) in a discussion of two earlier names of Salamis, one of which was Skiras: καὶ γὰρ Σκιρὰς καὶ Κύχρεια ἀπό τινων ἡρώων, ἀφ' οὗ μὲν Ἀθηνᾶ τε λέγεται Σκιρὰς καὶ τόπος Σκίρα ἐν τῇ Ἀττικῇ καὶ ἐπὶ Σκίρῳ ἱεροποιία τις καὶ ὁ μὴν ὁ Σκιροφοριών, “indeed [it was called] Skiras and Kykhreia after certain heroes, after [one of] whom Athena is called Skiras and a place in Attica is called Skira and a certain ritual in Skiron and the month Skirophorion” (that Strabo calls the “place in Attica” Skíra rather than Skíron seems to be a simple mistake: he has given the festival name rather than the place-name; he may also have misunderstood the underlined phrase, on which see below). The “ritual in Skiron” of Strabo is surely the Skira; Robert, who argued that the Skira have nothing to do with Athena Skiras or Skiron, took Strabo’s phrase ἐπὶ Σκίρῳ ἱεροποιία τις to mean a “ritual for (the hero) Skiros,” but Rohde refuted Robert on this point among others (cf. n3.174 above). For the meaning “in Skiron” of the phrase ἐπὶ Σκίρῳ in Strabo note the same meaning of the same phrase in three other passages quoted above: Plutarch Advice to the Bride and Groom 144ab (quoted in n3.174 above); scholia to Aristophanes Thesmophoriazusae 834; and Stephanus of Byzantium s.v. Σκίρος (both quoted in n3.172 above). To add to the complexity of the temple of the four gods in Lakiadai, Pausanias, as previously mentioned (n3.176 above), tells us that the hero Phytalos first welcomed Demeter here; Toepffer 1889:135n2, 247–254 interprets this to mean that Phytalos (whom he associates with Poseidon Phytalmios in Troizen) had a cult here first, and that Demeter was brought into this cult secondarily from Eleusis.

[ back ] 179. Pausanias 1.36.4: Ἐλευσινίοις πολεμοῦσι πρὸς Ἐρεχθέα ἀνὴρ μάντις ἦλθεν ἐκ Δωδώνης ὄνομα Σκῖρος…· πεσόντα δὲ αὐτὸν ἐν τῇ μάχῃ θάπτουσιν Ἐλευσίνιοι πλησίον ποταμοῦ χειμάρρου, καὶ τῷ τε χωρίῳ τὸ ὄνομα ἀπὸ τοῦ ἥρωός ἐστι καὶ τῷ ποταμῷ, “When the Eleusinians fought against Erechtheus a prophet came to them from Dodona by the name of Skiros…; he fell in the battle and the Eleusinians buried him near the river torrent, and the name of both the place and the river is from this hero.”

[ back ] 180. Harpokration s.v. Σκίρον (= Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14). This source attests a dispute between the Athenians and the Megarians as to the identity of the hero for whom Athena Skiras was named: Philochorus is cited for the derivation of her name ἀπὸ Σκίρου τινὸς Ἐλευσινίου μάντεως, “from a certain Skiros, an Eleusinian prophet”; the Megarian historian Praxion is cited for a derivation ἀπὸ Σκίρωνος, “from Skírōn,” a Megarian figure. Despite the fact that Pausanias is the first to call Skiros a prophet from Dodona, and that Philochorus in the fragment above calls him an Eleusinian prophet, Jacoby argues that Philochorus too may have called him a prophet from Dodona, and that the tradition for this may be even older than Philochorus (Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, p. 290 and n81, pp. 292–293). Jacoby’s argument is that the prophet associated with the grave in Skiron was said to have come from Dodona in order to separate him from the Megarian figure Skírōn from whom the Megarian historian Praxion derived the name of Athena Skiras. The Megarian figure Skírōn was said to have held the war command (hēgemonía polémou) when Nisos was king of Megara (Pausanias 1.39.6), and to have been killed in Eleusis when Theseus took Eleusis from Diocles (Plutarch Theseus 10.3). Philochorus, according to Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, pp. 292–293, “wished…to distinguish the Eleusinian Skiros, whom united Athens had admitted to her cult,…from the Megarian Σκίρων,” hence his “invention of a pious prophet who came to Eleusis from Dodona: Skiros could not remain a Megarian.” As said, Jacoby suggests that this invention may have been older than Philochorus (“the aetiological legend that a prophet from Dodona came to the assistance of the Eleusinians bears the closest resemblance to the story of the Thracian Eumolpos, but gives the impression of being much older in its nucleus,” commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, p. 290; cf. n81), but there is no actual evidence of this. There are allusions to Dodona in two fragments of Euripides’ Erechtheus (frs. 58 and 59 Austin), but Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n81, does not accept these as even probable evidence that Euripides knew of a prophet from Dodona. Treu 1971:128–129 supposes that if there was a seer from Dodona in Euripides’ Erechtheus, his role was on behalf of Athens rather than Eleusis, namely, to motivate a reluctant Erechtheus to accept Delphi's command and sacrifice his daughter for the sake of an Athenian victory.

[ back ] 181. Even the Megarian figure Skírōn (see n3.180 above) is agreed to be ultimately the same figure (see Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, p. 293 and n104). The difference in the form of the names Skíros and Skírōn is secondary, reflecting rival Athenian and Megarian traditions (cf. Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, nn84 and 81). The Megarian figure is always Skírōn, and Athenian tradition made of him a robber whom Theseus slew by throwing him down a precipitous cliff, the “Skironian rocks” (Σκειρωνίδες πέτραι) on the coast west of Megara (Strabo 9.1.4, etc.); the Megarian writers denied all of this with proofs of Skiron’s good character (Plutarch Theseus 10.2–3). Jacoby, noting that the Megarian Skiron “was as closely connected with Eleusis as with the Scironian rocks,” leaves open the possibility that the Megarians first introduced Skiros (and a presumed goddess Skiras) to the place Skiron west of Athens on the Kephisos River (Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n104).

[ back ] 182. For indirect evidence of a cult of Athena Skiras in Skiron see n3.178 above. Jacoby is convinced that Philochorus knew of such a cult in Skiron (cf. his commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, p. 291: “There can be no doubt that Philochoros is the authority for the version that Athena Skiras, who derives her name from Skiros, has her residence in the χωρίον Σκῖρον, which equally has its name from the mantis Skiros buried there”; cf. also Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, p. 290). Other possible evidence for the cult in Skiron includes Photius Lexicon s.v. Σκίρον· τόπος Ἀθήνησιν, ἐφ' οὗ οἱ μάντεις ἐκαθέζοντο· καὶ Σκιράδος Ἀθηνᾶς ἱερόν· καὶ ἡ ἑορτὴ Σκιρά· οὕτω Φερεκράτης. “Skiron: a place in Athens, where prophets sat; and a temple of Athena Skiras; and the Skira festival; so Pherekrates.” Brumfield 1981:167, 178n44 takes this as evidence that the fifth-century comic playwright Pherekrates is Photius’s authority for a temple of Athena Skiras in Skiron; Jacoby, on the other hand, does “not infer more for Pherecrates than that he, like Aristophanes, mentioned the Skira” (Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n87). The scholia to Aristophanes Ecclesiazusae 18 call the Skira a festival of Athena Skiras, but here Skiron is of course not mentioned (see n3.172 above).

[ back ] 183. The cult is mentioned by Pausanias 1.1.4: ἐνταῦθα [in Phaleron] καὶ Σκιράδος Ἀθηνᾶς ναός ἐστι, “here [in Phaleron] there is also a temple of Athena Skiras”; IG II2 1232 line 23; Pausanias 1.36.4 (cf. n3.189 below and Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, pp. 292–293). The main evidence for the cult comes from an inscription of 363/2 BC containing a covenant between the two branches of the génos of the Salaminioi, which together administered the cult. The inscription, Agora Inventory I 3244, was edited with a commentary by Ferguson 1938:1–9; cf. also Nilsson 1938. Besides detailed regulations about the cult there is a full sacrificial calendar. Athena Skiras is named in lines 52 and 93 (Skiras alone appears in line 41); in line 93 Athena Skiras and Skiros are both named as recipients of sacrifices at the goddess’s altar in the month Maimakterion (cf. Ferguson, p. 18). Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n7, drew from this the conclusion that Skiros was originally a god and was still worshipped as such in Phaleron: “The Skiros of the Salaminioi is a partner in the cult with Athena Skiras, and as such he is a god. Both (and only these two) receive a sacrifice in Maimakterion (probably on the same day), Athena Skiras an οἶς ἐγκύμων [‘pregnant sheep’] for 12, Skiros an οἶς [‘sheep’] for 15 drachmae (3244, 93).”

[ back ] 184. Ferguson and Nilsson both assume that the refugees from Salamis constituted themselves as the génos of the Salaminioi after they resettled in Attica; one group (“the Salaminioi from the seven tribes”) had its center in Melite in Athens, another group lived in Sounion (“the Salaminioi from Sounion”). Guarducci 1948 argues that the Salaminioi originated as an Attic génos on Salamis itself, which was therefore Attic before they were expelled. The two branches of the génos, which arranged cult matters between them in the inscription of 363/2 BC, had become separate géne by about 230/29 BC, as evidenced by another inscription, Agora Inventory I 3394 (also edited by Ferguson 1938:9–12). For the Salaminioi see also Parker 1996:308–316.

[ back ] 185. According to a story told by Athenians, and denied by Corinthians, the Corinthians fled in their ships at the start of the Battle of Salamis and were met on their way out by another boat which uncannily already knew of the Greek victory; the Corinthians heard this news and turned back just as they passed the temple of Athena Skiras on Salamis (ὡς δὲ ἄρα φεύγοντας γίνεσθαι τῆς Σαλαμινίης κατὰ ‹τὸ› ἱρὸν Ἀθηναίης Σκιράδος, περιπίπτειν σφι κέλητα θείῃ πομπῇ, κτλ., Herodotus 8.94.2). According to Plutarch Solon 9.4, the Athenians had an annual ceremony reenacting Solon’s capture of Salamis in which an attacker would leap from a ship and run to the top of a cliff referred to as ἄκρον τὸ Σκιράδιον, “Cape Skiradion,” near where Solon had defeated the Megarians and founded a temple of Enyalios: ναῦς γάρ τις Ἀττικὴ προσέπλει σιωπῇ τὸ πρῶτον, εἶτα κραυγῇ καὶ ἀλαλαγμῷ προσφερομένων, εἷς ἀνὴρ ἔνοπλος ἐξαλλόμενος μετὰ βοῆς ἔθει πρὸς ἄκρον τὸ Σκιράδιον, “An Attic ship would sail there silently at first, then with cries and shouts they would be carried along and one armed man would jump out with a shout and run to Cape Skiradion”; see Ferguson, p. 18, and Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n96, who are surely correct in taking this to be the location of the temple of Athena Skiras (Robertson1996:74n99 gives modern Cape Arapis as the location). Strabo 9.1.9 associates Athena’s name Skiras with Salamis (Skiras was an old name of Salamis that came from the same hero Skiros as did Athena’s name; cf. n3.186 below); from this it is clear that Salamis was an important center of the cult, perhaps the very center of it (cf. Ferguson, p. 18).

[ back ] 186. Strabo 9.1.9 says that Salamis received one of its former names, Skiras, from a hero named Skiros: ἐκαλεῖτο δ' ἑτέροις ὀνόμασι τὸ παλαιόν· καὶ γὰρ Σκιρὰς καὶ Κύχρεια ἀπό τινων ἡρώων, “In ancient times it was called by different names: indeed [it was called] Skiras and Kykhreia after certain heroes”; this primeval figure Skiros is elsewhere called a son of Poseidon who married the nymph Salamis (Hesychius s.v. Σκ[ε]ιρὰς Ἀθηνᾶ) and founded Salamis (Suda s.v. Σκῖρος). It was from a king of Salamis named Skiros that Theseus got the helmsman and prowman for his voyage to Crete (the king also sent his grandson on the voyage); to Philochorus, the source for this myth, hero cults (hērō̂ia) next to a shrine (hierón) of Skiros in Phaleron bore witness to the helmsman and prowman (Plutarch Theseus 17.6 = Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 111): Φιλόχορος δὲ παρὰ Σκίρου φησὶν ἐκ Σαλαμῖνος τὸν Θησέα λαβεῖν κυβερνήτην μὲν Ναυσίθοον, πρωρέα δὲ Φαίακα, μηδέπω τότε τῶν Ἀθηναίων προσεχόντων τῇ θαλάσσῃ· καὶ γὰρ εἶναι τῶν ἠιθέων ἕνα Μενέσθην Σκίρου θυγατριδοῦν· μαρτυρεῖν δὲ τούτοις ἡρῷα Ναυσιθόου καὶ Φαίακος εἱσαμένου Θησέως Φαληροῖ πρὸς τῷ τοῦ Σκίρου ἱερῷ, “Philochorus says that Theseus got his helmsman Nausithoos and his bow-commander Phaeax from Skiros in Salamis, since the Athenians did not yet pay attention to the sea, and that in fact one of the unmarried youths was Menesthes, the son of Skiros’s daughter; hero shrines of Nausithoos and Phaeax, which Theseus established in Phaleron next to the temple of Skiros, bear witness to these figures.” Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 111, n10, associates the shrine of Skiros in this passage with the figure Skiros who receives divine honors in Phaleron together with Athena Skiras in Agora Inventory I 3244 “although even Agora I 3244 mentions the priest of Athena Skiras only, not that of her partner Skiros.” What Philochorus calls a hierón of Skiros was more likely a hērō̂ion within the sacred enclosure of Athena Skiras; Wilamowitz deleted the word ἱερῷ to get this sense, but Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 111, n10, retains the reading of the text on the grounds that Philochorus was less concerned with explaining the cult in Phaleron than with other matters: “when dealing with the report of Philochorus about the expedition to Crete we actually do not move in the realm of cult but in that of the mythos or, more correctly, the turning of mythos into history. Thus the omission of the goddess is to be explained: Theseus has little or nothing to do with Athena either in general or in his expedition to Crete.” Jacoby is more explicit about the hierón of Skiros in his commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n7: “The Skiros of F 111 is king of Salamis, but Philochorus also knows (ib.) a Σκίρου ἱερόν at Phaleron, and we cannot tell at once whether the occupant of this ἱερόν is the Salaminian king or whether the temple of Athena Skiras is meant, in which the Salaminioi worshipped their god Skiros by the side of Athena Skiras” (cf. also Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, p. 286). In Jacoby’s reconstruction the Salaminian king and the god of the Salaminioi go back to the same original figure, “the cult-fellow of the goddess, the Salaminian-Phalerian Skiros, who had become free for aitiological speculation when Skiras became Athena Skiras” (p. 299).

[ back ] 187. This is Jacoby’s reconstruction, which is somewhat speculative, but, I think, essentially correct; cf. his commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n4: “The cult of the clan was at some time acknowledged by the [Athenian] State and taken over to a certain degree, surely when the clan immigrated. At that time the goddess Skiras, whom they brought with them, became Athena Skiras, symbolizing the union. This had far-reaching consequences for the literary tradition, for her cultic companion Skiros retained his simple old name because he could not be used in the same way; he thus became free for the historical-aitiological speculations of Atthidography. The clan kept to the divine person (n. 7 [quoted n3.186 above]), but here too he was overshadowed by his female partner (cf. n. 105, Text p. 304, 33ff.).” Cf. also Ferguson 1938:19: “One fact on which modern scholars are agreed is that Skiras was a Salaminian deity, taken over by the Athenians. Since Skiros shared her altar at Phaleron, he may have been her associate on the island also. Whether she was identified with Athena before being transplanted, or only on her arrival, we cannot say for certain. The latter is the view of Gjerstad [1929:224]. Skiras and Skiros plainly go together (cf. IG II2 1358, where a hērōínē regularly accompanies a hḗrōs).”

[ back ] 188. As Jacoby reconstructs the (unattested) cult of Athena Skiras in Skiron, the pair Skiras-Skiros was imported here as it was in Phaleron, although it is debatable whether the cult came from Salamis or perhaps from Megara-Eleusis (only the male Skírōn is found in Megara-Eleusis, not a goddess Skiras [Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n104]). In any case Megara-Eleusis-Salamis is a “closely knit geographical area,” and Skiras-Skiros belong to it, whereas in Attica they are “intruders” (Ferguson 1938:19, who speaks only of Skiros, but his statement applies equally to Skiras; cf. Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n104). This was an agrarian pair of gods and in Skiron a cult association between Skiras and Demeter may have developed next (Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n77, p. 203). Finally, when Eleusis was incorporated into Attica, Skiras became Athena Skiras in this old borderland site “as a symbol of the political union”; Demeter, on the other hand, was too great a goddess to be subordinated to Athena in this way (Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n77, p. 203). The verbal root of Skiras and related names associates them with “lime, gypsum, white earth” (cf. n3.170 above) and (in one way or another) with agriculture (Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, nn15, 17, 77; Brumfield 1981:156–175). The association with white earth and lime is relevant to geographical features in Salamis (τὸ Σκιράδιον ἄκρον, see n3.185 above) and in the vicinity of Megara (αἱ Σκειρωνίδες πέτραι, see n3.181 above), but not to imported cults of (Athena) Skiras in Attica (Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n77, p. 202: “We need not ask whether the suburb Σκῖρον and the temple of Skiras at Phaleron were also built on calcareous soil…, for the cults of both these places are imported, not indigenous”). While Jacoby’s reconstruction of the cults at Skiron is not the only possible one, the general sequence that he outlines seems to me to be right.

[ back ] 189. I am persuaded by Jacoby that the festival of the Skira was named for Athena Skiras, and that the goddess of this festival had a cult in Skiron. The cult of Athena Skiras in Phaleron, on the other hand, had nothing to do with the Skira so far as known. In Phaleron the chief festival in honor of Athena Skiras was the Oschophoria, which may also have honored Dionysus (see Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, p. 303 and n186, for Dionysus). A footrace in which youths carried a vine-branch loaded with grapes (an ō̂skhos) was probably part of this festival. Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, pp. 294–305, argues that the race was part of the Skira on the basis of the one source that specifies the Skira for the race, namely Aristodemos, a student of Aristarchus who wrote a commentary on Pindar (Athenaeus 11.495f = Aristodemus FGrHist 383 F 9, Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 15): Ἀριστόδημος δ' ἐν τρίτῳ περὶ Πινδάρου τοῖς Σκίροις φησὶν Ἀθήναζε (?) ἀγῶνα ἐπιτελεῖσθαι τῶν ἐφήβων δρόμου· τρέχειν δ' αὐτοὺς ἔχοντας ἀμπέλου κλάδον κατάκαρπον τὸν καλούμενον ὦσχον. τρέχουσι δ' ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ τοῦ Διονύσου μέχρι τοῦ τῆς Σκιράδος Ἀθηνᾶς ἱεροῦ, καὶ ὁ νικήσας λαμβάνει κύλικα τὴν λεγομένην πενταπλόαν καὶ κωμάζει μετὰ χοροῦ, “Aristodemus in the third book of his work on Pindar says that the contest of the ephebes’ race to Athens [? see below] is completed at the Skira and that they run holding a vine branch loaded with fruit called an ō̂skhos. They run from the temple of Dionysus to the temple of Athena Skiras, and the victor receives the cup called the pentaplóa (‘having five ingredients’) and revels with a chorus” [Ἀθήναζε, “to Athens,” seems to be a scribal addition or error; see Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n162 and cf. n125]. But Rutherford and Irvine 1988 have now shown that the ancient category of song called the oschophorikon, which takes its name from the festival of the Oschophoria, was epinician in nature, and that Pindar composed one such at least. It is thus best not to ignore other sources associating the Oschophoria with a race (see Rutherford and Irvine 1988:46n21) in favor of the Aristodemos fragment. This means that the temple of Athena Skiras mentioned in the Aristodemos fragment is not what Jacoby argued, a temple in Skiron (for which this would be the only direct evidence), but the temple in Phaleron. The two cults of Athena Skiras in Attica, while they seem to have had similar origins, contrast with each other in various ways. Jacoby’s final summing up is as follows (commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, pp. 304–305): “The cult of Skiras…developed differently according to the different conditions at the two places where it appeared in Attica. The chief difference is that at Phaleron (so far as we can see), it remained a pure cult of Athena Skiras and almost purely a cult of the genos, whereas at Skiron the cult entered into a connexion first with the goddesses of Eleusis, later with the deities of the Akropolis. Therefore the Oschophoria is a simple festival, the Skira a complicated one. Any inferences back to the ancient cult of Salamis must be made, if they are to have any certainty, particularly (if not only) from the cult at Phaleron.” A common element between the two cults, which Jacoby brings out well (commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, n105), is that in both the goddess is the “symbol of the union with Athens of foreign elements: at Phaleron of the reception of the ‘clan’ Salaminioi, at Skiron (where she may even before have entered into a somewhat loose connexion with Demeter) of the union of Athens and Eleusis.” If the two cults are basically not connected, a small puzzle remains (Jacoby has no answer for it), namely why Pausanias 1.36.4 should say of the prophet Skiros from Dodona, who died and was buried in Skiron, that he founded the temple of Athena Skiras in Phaleron (cf. Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 14–16, pp. 291–293).

[ back ] 190. The Skira are named with the Stenia (which belonged to the Thesmophoria; cf. Deubner 1932:46, 52–53 with 52n10) as a festival celebrated specifically by women in Thesmophoriazusae 832–835:

χρῆν γάρ, ἡμῶν εἰ τέκοι τις ἄνδρα χρηστὸν τῇ πόλει,
ταξίαρχον ἢ στρατηγόν, λαμβάνειν τιμήν τινα,
προεδρίαν τ' αὐτῇ δίδοσθαι Στηνίοισι καὶ Σκίροις
ἔν τε ταῖς ἄλλαις ἑορταῖς αἷσιν ἡμεῖς ἤγομεν.

If one of us should bear a useful man for the city,
a contingent commander or a general, she should receive some honor,
and a front row seat should be given to her at the Stenia and the Skira
and at the other festivals we celebrate.

In Aristophanes Ecclesiazusae 17–18 the Skira are specified as the occasion on which women made secret plans (the lines are addressed by a solitary speaker to her lamp): ἀνθ' ὧν συνείσει καὶ τὰ νῦν βουλεύματα / ὅσα Σκίροις ἔδοξε ταῖς ἐμαῖς φίλαις, “in return for which you will know our present resolutions, which my friends passed at the Skira.”

[ back ] 191. Robert 1885:364–367 drew this conclusion from the scholia to Aristophanes Thesmophoriazusae 834 and Stephanus of Byzantium s.v. Σκίρος (cf. n3.172 above). In the common source behind these two sources the question was whether the name Skira came from the place Skiron, or from rights sacred to Demeter and Kore called Skira, which were only part of the larger festival called Skira. The two sources are somewhat garbled and their texts uncertain, but the key comparison is between the phrases for the second explanation: Stephanus: ἄλλοι δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν γινομένων ἱερῶν Δήμητρι καὶ Κόρῃ ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ ταύτῃ, “Others say from the rights sacred to Demeter and Kore in this festival”; scholia to Aristophanes: τὰ δὲ Σκίρα λέγεσθαί φασί τινες τὰ γινόμενα ἱερὰ ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ ταύτῃ Δήμητρι καὶ Κόρῃ, “Some say the sacred rites that take place for Demeter and Kore in this festival are called the Skira.” Robert’s argument for a narrower use of the name Skira is accepted by Rohde 1886:116: “It is now established that Skira in the narrower sense was the name of a sacred ritual celebrated by women in honor of Demeter and Kore, which was only one episode in the festival celebrated ἐπὶ Σκίρῳ [Strabo 9.1.9; cf. n3.178 above], which in a wider sense was also named Skira or Skirophoria” (“Festgestellt ist nun, dass Σκίρα im engeren Sinne der Name einer von Weibern zu Ehren der Demeter und Kore begangenen heiligen Handlung war, die nur eine Episode in dem ἐπὶ Σκίρῳ gefeierten Feste war, welches in weiterer Bedeutung ebenfalls Σκίρα oder auch Σκιροφόρια genannt wurde”). The rites called Skira in the narrower sense, which were restricted to women, and which were dedicated to Demeter and Kore, were more widespread than the larger Athenian festival: Robertson 1983:283 draws attention to epigraphic evidence for Skira celebrated in other Attic demes (Piraeus, Paeania, and the Marathonian Tetrapolis) and to the month Skirophorion in Iasus in Asia Minor (the latter, as Robertson acknowledges, could have been borrowed from Athens). It is a question how the Skira in the narrower sense spread; in terms of Jacoby’s scheme (see n3.188 above), this could only have happened once Demeter became involved in the cult of the goddess Skiras, presumably at Skiron. For the rites celebrated in Piraeus, cf. Brumfield 1981:164: “A fourth century decree from Piraeus [IG II2 1177] regulates the use of the local Thesmophorion, and mentions, as festival days when the women traditionally gather there, the Thesmophoria, the Plerosia, Kalamaia and Skira…. It would seem that in Piraeus the Skira was a festival of Demeter, and that it was performed by the women within the temple.” This decree, which names the Skira separately from the Thesmophoria, is cited by Rohde 1886:116, following Robert, to disprove an older idea that the Skira (like the Stenia) were part of the Thesmophoria. Demeter’s role in the Skira, which gave rise to this mistaken idea, is the essential fact.

[ back ] 192. Pace Robertson 1996:43. I suggest instead a clan festival later transformed into the state festival of the Panathenaia in 566/5 BC (see §3.81and n3.242 below); by the late seventh century BC, when (in my view) the cults of Athena Polias and Erechtheus on the acropolis were reorganized following the incorporation of Eleusis into Attica, at least the annual sacrifices offered by the Epidaurians to the divine pair must have ceased (for a terminus ante quem of 600 BC at the latest, based on the date when Periander of Corinth crushed Epidaurus, see EN3.1 to n3.16 above). If Athens’ war with Aegina, which is connected with the interruption of these sacrifices, is datable to the time of Solon (see How and Wells 1928 on Herodotus 5.86.4) the interruption of the sacrifices may also have occurred in Solon’s time. It is more likely, however, that the war between Athens and Aegina occurred at least a century earlier than this (cf. EN3.1 to n3.16 above).

[ back ] 193. As an Athenian reworking of the text of Homer (cf. §3.39 above) this passage, while radically new, had to appear old, and ambiguity serves this purpose: does the possessive adjective ἑῷ in line 549 mean “her” temple or “his” temple, and, in the same vein, does the personal pronoun μιν in line 550 mean that Athenian youths propitiate “him” or “her”? (For the pronoun see Frazer 1969:263–264, who concludes that Erechtheus is meant, but not before considering seriously whether Athena is meant.) The passage has it both ways: while describing the new cult situation between Erechtheus and Athena it does not openly conflict with the old situation. Respect for the old situation between Erechtheus and Athena also explains why Poseidon is left out of account, for he pertains only to their new situation. Before Erechtheus was given a sacrifical death and a place in Poseidon’s temple, Poseidon occupied his temple alone. Whether the myth of Poseidon’s contest with Athena existed at this earlier stage is not clear (cf. n3.98, n3.127, and n3.130 above); in my view this myth probably did not arise until Erechtheus became Poseidon Erechtheus, but perhaps it was older. Cf. Jacoby, commentary on Hellanicus FGrHist 323a F 3, pp. 26–27, who considers the relationship between the two myths in later tradition: “the dispute between Athena and Poseidon was superseded by the fight between Eleusis and Athens or, as one might say, the persons and the events were distributed over the two contests.” The two myths are of course closely connected in that Eumolpos fights to reclaim what his father Poseidon won but was then denied in the contest with Athena; cf. n3.130 above on Euripides’ Erechtheus and see Spaeth 1991:342–343 for other sources. Spaeth argues that the west pediment of the Parthenon, representing the contest between Athena and Poseidon, combines with this contest the mythic war that resulted in the incorporation of Eleusis; Spaeth’s identification of figures on the pediment includes Erechtheus and Eumolpos, the two leaders in the war, but not the daughters of Erechtheus, who are central to the myth (see §3.73 below); this, I think, casts doubt on the scheme as a whole.

[ back ] 194. Robertson 1985:235 argues that the same sacrifice is meant in both passages; cf. above n3.130.

[ back ] 195. The Panathenaia are suggested by Weber 1927:148, and by Jacoby, commentary on Istros FGrHist 334 F 4, p. 630 and n4; they are argued at greater length by Mikalson 1976; cf. also Connelly 1996:76.

[ back ] 196. Mikalson does not adequately address this problem. Following Ferrari 2002 I do not accept Mikalson’s premise (150n34, 153) that the location of the smaller sacrifice at the Panathenaia, namely Athena’s old temple, was the center of Erechtheus’s cult at the dates in question (sixth and fifth centuries BC). But this issue aside it is not enough to say that of “the religiously most important offerings” (namely those made at the smaller sacrifice) “some…were surely given to Erechtheus himself” (Mikalson 1976:153). Neither the Iliad nor Euripides gives the impression that the sacrifices to Erechtheus were small and could be easily overlooked. Cf. Robertson 1985:235n6: “In all the direct evidence for the Panathenaea Erechtheus is never mentioned as receiving sacrifice or other ritual honours, a stumbling block which has been skirted in different ways (Ziehen RE ‘Panathenaia’ 470–474 is the fullest) and is ignored by Mikalson.”

[ back ] 197. Robertson 1985:235. As indicated above, I do not agree with Robertson’s suggestion that of old the Epidaurians brought sacrifices to Athena and Erechtheus at the Skira, but I think that he is certainly right that the new sacrifices to Erechtheus alone, as attested by Iliad 2 and Euripides, belonged to the Skira.

[ back ] 198. Lycurgus Against Leocrates 100. For the Eteoboutad pedigree of Lycurgus, see Davies 1971:348–353; Thomas 1989:192–193. The priest of Erechtheus and the priestess of Athena Polias came from separate branches of the Eteoboutadai (Davies 1971:348). Plutarch Lives of the Ten Orators (Lycurgus) 843e says that the priests of Poseidon traced their ancestry to Erechtheus (who is here called the son of Earth and Hephaistos and so confused with Erichthonios). Binder 1984:21 states that “the first priest of Poseidon on the Acropolis was Lykomedes, the great grandfather of Lykourgos (Plutarch Moralia 843e).” This conclusion is challenged (rightly, I think) by Jeppesen 1987:33–34.

[ back ] 199. For the Erechtheids see Austin 1967:54–55 and Kearns 1989:202, cf. 201. Only three daughters figure in Euripides’ Erechtheus (see below). There are four daughters (apparently) in Euripides’ Ion, four in “Apollodorus” 3.15.1, six in Photius Lexicon s.v. Parthénoi, four in Hyginus Fables 46. In Euripides’ Erechtheus the three daughters all die (their names have not survived); in the Ion Creusa, also a daughter, survives to become Ion’s mother because she was a mere infant when the other daughters died (Ion 277–280). Oreithyia and Prokris, two further daughters of Erechtheus, had independent traditions and thus were not among those who died for Athens (Oreithyia was carried off by the north wind Boreas, to whom she bore Zetes and Calais; Prokris married Cephalos, whom she betrayed to Minos; see “Apollodorus” 3.15.1–2 and, for sources and variants, including Kekrops instead of Erechtheus as Oreithyia’s father, Frazer 1921 on “Apollodorus” 3.15.1; for the myth of Boreas and Oreithyia as possibly arising in the early fifth century BC see Griffiths OCD 3 ‘Boreas’; cf. also Parker 1987:204–205). Photius says that the two oldest daughters, Protogeneia and Pandora, both sacrificed themselves for Athens; the other four daughters include Chthonia in addition to Prokris, Creusa, and Oreithyia. Hyginus Fables 46 says that Chthonia was the daughter who was sacrificed and that her three sisters all leapt to their deaths. “Apollodorus” 3.15.4 says that the youngest daughter was sacrificed and the rest killed themselves; this conflicts with 3.15.1, which says that Erechtheus had four daughters, namely Prokris, Creusa, Chthonia and Oreithyia. In Euripides’ Erechtheus it may have been the oldest daughter who was sacrificed (see Jacoby, commentary on “Demaratus” FGrHist 42 F 4). In Greek myth there are other instances of groups of virgins sacrificed for the safety of the city, all in Athens or Boeotia; in Athens it is always a group of three virgins, in Boeotia it is always a pair (see Kearns 1989:59–63; for the phenomenon more generally cf. Kearns 1990).

[ back ] 200. In Erechtheus fr. 65.67–70 Austin Athena gives instructions for the burial of all the deceased sisters in one tomb, where the first of them was sacrificed:

θάψον νιν οὗπερ ἐξέπνευσ' ο[ἰκτ]ρὸν βίον,
καὶ τάσδ' ἀδελφὰς ἐν τάφωι τ[αὐτ]ῶι χθονὸς
γενναιότητος οὕνεχ', αἵτιν[ες φί]λ̣ης
ὅρκους ἀδελφῆς οὐκ ἐτόλμησα[ν λι]π̣εῖν.

Bury her where she breathed out her pitiable life,
and bury these sisters of hers in the same earthen tomb
because of their nobility, who did not dare
to abandon their oaths to their dear sister.

See Treu 1971:121–122, n25. Cf. “Apollodorus” 3.15.4: Ἐρεχθεῖ δὲ ὑπὲρ Ἀθηναίων νίκης χρωμένῳ ἔχρησεν ὁ θεὸς κατορθώσειν τὸν πόλεμον, ἐὰν μίαν τῶν θυγατέρων σφάξῃ. καὶ σφάξαντος αὐτοῦ τὴν νεωτάτην καὶ αἱ λοιπαὶ ἑαυτὰς κατέσφαξαν· ἐπεποίηντο γάρ, ὡς ἔφασάν τινες, συνωμοσίαν ἀλλήλαις συναπολέσθαι, “To Erechtheus, when he consulted the oracle about a victory of the Athenians, the god answered that he would make the war succeed if he sacrificed one of his daughters. And when he sacrificed the youngest the others sacrificed themselves; for, as some said, they had made a joint oath to die with each other.” Euripides Ion 277–278, a brief account, says that Erechtheus sacrificed Creusa’s “sisters”; it is not clear whether this is a different account from the Erechtheus, or only more compressed.

[ back ] 201. Scholia to Aratus Phaenomena 172: Εὐριπίδης…ἐν Ἐρεχθεῖ τὰς Ἐρεχθέως θυγατέρας Ὑάδας φησὶ γενέσθαι τρεῖς οὔσας. The name of the constellation occurs in a fragment of the play (Ὑάσιν, fr. 65.107 Austin), part of the speech in which Athena disposes matters at the play’s end; earlier in the same speech Athena announces that she has already given the souls of Erechtheus’s daughters a home in the aether (fr. 65.71–72 Austin). For the number of daughters in the play, cf. also the phrase ζεῦγος τριπάρθενον, “three-virgin yoke-team” (fr. 47 Austin; the phrase is quoted by Hesychius s.v., who adds that it was parodied by Aristophanes as ζεῦγος τρίδουλον, “three-slave yoke-team”).

[ back ] 202. “Apollodorus” 3.15.8: γενομένου δὲ τῇ πόλει λιμοῦ τε καὶ λοιμοῦ, τὸ μὲν πρῶτον κατὰ λόγιον Ἀθηναῖοι παλαιὸν τὰς Ὑακίνθου κόρας, Ἀνθηίδα Αἰγληίδα Λυταίαν (Λουσίαν Meursius, cf. n3.203 below) Ὀρθαίαν, ἐπὶ τὸν Γεραίστου τοῦ Κύκλωπος τάφον κατέσφαξαν· τούτων δὲ ὁ πατὴρ Ὑάκινθος ἐλθὼν ἐκ Λακεδαίμονος Ἀθήνας κατῴκει, “When famine and pestilence came to the city, they first, in accordance with an old oracle, sacrificed the daughters of Hyakinthos, Antheïs, Aigleïs, Lutaia [Lousia Meursius, cf. n3.203 below], Orthaia, on the grave of Geraistos the Cyclops; their father Hyakinthos came from Sparta and lived in Athens.” This myth, featuring a Spartan, is clearly secondary to the cult (cf. Kearns 1989:61–62).

[ back ] 203. Photius Lexicon s.v. Παρθένοι cites Phanodemus (FGrHist 325 F 4) for the identification of the daughters of Erechtheus (who were also called Παρθένοι according to Photius’s entry) with the Hyakinthides; the name varied, but only one cult was at issue (cf. Kearns 1989:61n70; Parker 1987:202). Photius continues that the Hyakinthides were sacrificed “on the hill of Hyakinthos above Sphendonioi (Sphendonia?)”: ἐσφαγιάσθησαν δὲ ἐν τῷ Ὑακίνθῳ καλουμένῳ πάγῳ ὑπὲρ τῶν Σφενδονίων (this information is probably also from Phanodemus according to Jacoby, commentary on Phanodemus FGrHist 325 F 4, p. 178). These locations are not known; for Sphendonioi Wilamowitz 1931:106n1 draws attention to a τόπος Ἀθήνῃσιν, “place in Athens,” called Σφενδόναι in the Lexeis Rhetorikai, p. 202.22 Bekker, and he relates the lemma ἀφιδρύματα ἐν ταῖς Σφενδόναις, “statues in Sphendonai,” to the Hyakinthides (ἀφιδρύματα = ἀγάλματα, “statues”). For the location Wilamowitz refers to Stephanus of Byzantium, who says that “Lousia was one of the daughters of Hyakinthos, from whom the deme of the tribe Oineïs (gets its name)” (Stephanus of Byzantium s.v. Λουσία· τῶν Ὑακίνθου θυγατέρων ἡ Λουσία ἦν, ἀφ' ἧς ὁ δῆμος τῆς Οἰνηίδος φυλῆς). Wilamowitz says that the deme Lousia is “not far west of the city,” citing his Aristoteles und Athen, vol. 2, 152n18, where IG II2 1672 line 195 provides the evidence: here, for construction at the Eleusinion in the city, the same price per load is paid for γῆ Λουσιάς, “earth from Lousia,” and γῆ Σκιράς, “earth from Skiron,” which means that Lousia and Skiron were about the same distance from the Eleusinion. Traill 1975:49 gives the general location of Lousia as the Kephisos valley west of Athens, as “suggested from slight literary evidence and the findspot of the gravemarker IG II2, 6756 [the church of Hagios Theodoros in Kato Liossia] and the reference in IG II2, 1672, line 195.” Cf. also Wrede RE ‘Lusia,’ and, on the territory of the tribe Oineïs, Judeich 1931:174. Traill on his Map 1 tentatively locates Lousia to the west of the Kephisos where it was crossed by the Sacred Way. It is of course not certain that the cult of the Hyakinthides was in the deme Lousia, as this connection in Stephanus of Byzantium is based on the name of just one of the maidens. Kearns 1989:102 does not accept Stephanus of Byzantium as evidence for the location of the cult; Jacoby, commentary on Phanodemus FGrHist 325 F 4, p. 180, does.

[ back ] 204. See n3.200 above.

[ back ] 205. Robertson 1996:44–46; for the Hyakinthides’ rites as part of the Skira see Robertson p. 45 and §3.76 below.

[ back ] 206. Robertson 1996:70n57; cf. n3.96 above.

[ back ] 207. Robertson 1996:44–45, 70n55. One of Robertson’s arguments is based on the name Glaukṓpion of a temple of Athena in Sigeion, an Athenian settlement of c. 600 BC: the shield of Alcaeus, according to a fragment of the poet, was hung in the Glaukṓpion as spoil by the Athenians (Alcaeus fr. 428 LP). The temple name, which is derived from Athena’s Homeric epithet glaukō̂pis, “grey-eyed,” also occurs in Athens, where Robertson takes it to be a nickname of the temple of Athena Nike; the name of the temple in Sigeion would have been transferred from this temple in Athens at the time of the Athenian settlement. The evidence for the name in Athens, which is indirect, begins with a passage of Euripides’ Hippolytus concerning a temple of Aphrodite near the Acropolis and visible from the direction of Troezen (Hippolytus 29–33; Aphrodite says that Phaedra founded this temple before going to Troezen). This was the shrine of Ἀφροδίτη ἐπὶ Ἱππολύτῳ, “Aphrodite next to Hippolytos,” the name of which is evoked in Hippolytus 32–33, and the tomb of Hippolytus, with which this shrine was connected (cf. the scholia to Hippolytus 30), is located by Pausanias 1.22.1 on the way from the Asklepieion to the Acropolis, i.e. somewhere beneath the bastion of Athena Nike on the southwest corner of the Acropolis (see Judeich 1931:324n6). The scholia to Hippolytus 33 cite the Hekale of Callimachus for the name Glaukopion, apparently to show its location on the southwest corner of the Acropolis facing Troezen (Callimachus fr. 238.11 Pfeiffer). Pfeiffer ad loc. takes the name as designating the whole southwest corner of the Acropolis; Robertson’s narrowing of this to the shrine of Athena Nike and its bastion seems very plausible.

[ back ] 208. See Robertson 1996:44. The top of the bastion on which the temple of Athena Nike sits had collapsed or been demolished before the date of the earliest remains on the site.

[ back ] 209. Erechtheus is promised “victory” by an oracle whenever the story is briefly told: Lycurgus Against Leocrates 99: εἰς Δελφοὺς ἰὼν [Erechtheus] ἠρώτα τὸν θεόν, τί ποιῶν ἂν νίκην λάβοι παρὰ τῶν πολεμίων, “going to Delphi [Erechtheus] asked the god what he should do to gain victory from the enemy”; “Demaratus” FGrHist 42 F 4: Ἐρεχθεὺς ὁ τῆς Ἀττικῆς προϊστάμενος χρησμὸν ἔλαβεν, ὅτι νικήσει τοὺς ἐχθρούς, ἐὰν τὴν πρεσβυτάτην τῶν θυγατέρων Περσεφόνῃ θύσῃ, “Erechtheus, the leader of Attica, received an oracle that he would be victorious over the enemy if he sacrificed the oldest of his daughters to Persephone”; Plutarch Greek and Roman Parallels 310d: Ἐρεχθεὺς πρὸς Εὔμολπον πολεμῶν ἔμαθε νικῆσαι, ἐὰν τὴν θυγατέρα προθύσῃ, καὶ συγκοινωνήσας τῇ γυναικὶ Πραξιθέᾳ προέθυσε τὴν παῖδα, “When Erechtheus was fighting against Eumolpos he learned that he would be victorious if he sacrificed his daughter first, and acting together with his wife Praxithea he did sacrifice his daughter first”; “Apollodorus” 3.15.4: Ἐρεχθεῖ δὲ ὑπὲρ Ἀθηναίων νίκης χρωμένῳ ἔχρησεν ὁ θεὸς κατορθώσειν τὸν πόλεμον, ἐὰν μίαν τῶν θυγατέρων σφάξῃ, “To Erechtheus, when he consulted the oracle about a victory of the Athenians, the god answered that he would make the war succeed if he sacrificed one of his daughters.” In the fragments of Euripides’ Erechtheus the motif occurs repeatedly, first in Praxithea’s famous speech (Erechtheus fr. 50.50–52 Austin):

χρῆσθ', ὦ πολῖται, τοῖς ἐμοῖς λοχεύμασιν,
σῴζεσθε, νικᾶτ'· ἀντὶ γὰρ ψυχῆς μιᾶς
οὐκ ἔσθ' ὅπως οὐ τήνδ' ἐγὼ σώσω πόλιν.

Citizens, make use of my child-bearing,
save yourselves, be victorious; for it cannot be
that in return for one life I will not save this city.

In Erechtheus fr. 65.5–6 Austin the chorus, waiting for the messenger to enter from the battlefield with news (cf. fr. 65.11 Austin), asks: ]ἦ̣ ποτ' ἀνὰ πόλιν ἀλαλαῖς ἰὴ παιὰν / κ]αλλίνικον βοάσω μέλος;, “Will I ever shout iḗ paián, the glorious victory song, with loud cries through the city?” When Praxithea questions the reluctant messenger about Erechtheus’s fate, she is told that he is blessed and fortunate, and she replies “only if he lives and brings a great victory to the city” (fr. 65.16–18 Austin):

Πρ. πόσις δ' Ἐρεχθεύς ἐστί μοι σεσ[ωσμένος;
Ἀγ. μακάριός ἐστι κεῖνος εὐδαίμων [θ' ἅμα.
Πρ. εἰ ζῆι γε πόλεώς τ' εὐτυχῆ νίκ[ην ἄγει

The last example, fr. 65.89 Austin, is discussed in §3.76 below.

[ back ] 210. This version of the war with Eumolpos, with Teiresias as the prophet who tells Erechtheus that he must sacrifice his daughter for “victory,” is unique. In other versions the prophet Skiros may have had a similar role; Treu 1971:128–129 suggests that the better-known Teiresias has replaced Skiros as a prophet in the Euripides play, and that the prophet’s role may have been to reinforce a pronouncement from Delphi that Erechtheus sought to evade (cf. n3.180 above).

[ back ] 211. IG I3 351–359. There appear to be three such dedications: the first and third are listed as ᾿Αθεναίας Νίκες στέφανος χρυσõς, “of Athena Nike a golden crown,” and the second, called only στέφανος χρυσõς, immediately follows the first. The name Athena Nike is perhaps repeated before the third dedication because the second and third dedications have the same weight (see e.g. IG I3 351 lines 21–23). These are the only mentions of Athena Nike in these inscriptions. Golden crowns are of course not unique to Athena Nike, but they are clearly characteristic of her.

[ back ] 212. I follow Robertson 1996:45 here.

[ back ] 213. See Robertson 1996:45 for the emphasis on the sacrifice in this passage.

[ back ] 214. The verb προθύειν in the last line of this passage means “make preliminary sacrifice” (cf. Ziehen 1904); Robertson 1996:70n57 cites Casabona 1966:104–106 for a more particular meaning “sacrifice before (an undertaking for its success).” If the sacrifice was to Athena Nike on her own altar in the context of the Skira it presumably came before the procession to Skiron and was preliminary in this sense (see further §3.77 and n3.222 below). When the Skira were (re)organized c. 600 BC the only priestess of Athena on the Acropolis was the priestess of Athena Polias, whom Praxithea in Euripides is meant to represent. The priestess of Athena Polias must have continued to conduct the “preliminary sacrifice” at the altar of Athena Nike even after Athena Nike was given her own priestess in the mid-fifth century BC (cf. n3.96 above) if Euripides’ audience was meant to see the origin of contemporary practice in Athena’s instructions to Praxithea. Robertson proposes an instance of the sacrifice in question in an ephebic decree of 123/2 BC: an ox is led by processioners up to the Acropolis for sacrifice at the altar of Athena Nike in a separate festival which Robertson takes to be the Skira (IG II2 1006 lines 14–15); see Robertson 1996:70n58 for the question of the festival.

[ back ] 215. Robertson 1996:37–44 identifies the shrine of Erechtheus with a building on the southeast corner of the Acropolis (cf. n3.117 above). One attraction of this identification is that the location would balance the location of the shrine of Athena Nike on the southwest corner of the Acropolis: the two shrines at either end of the south side would clearly have been planned as a pair, being separated from each other as widely as possible (see Robertson 1996:46, and his plan of the Acropolis, fig. 2.1, p. 30). Attracted as I once was to this scheme, I no longer think that it is correct in view of Ferrari’s scheme. I continue to think that the shrines were separated from each other, but according to Ferrari’s rather than Robertson’s scheme. An ancient piece of evidence that weighs against Robertson’s scheme is the fourth-century AD orator Himerius, who places the temple of Athena Polias “close” (πλησίον) to the sacred precinct of Poseidon, saying that the Athenians reconciled the two gods to each other after their contest for the city by this proximity of their temples: οἷος δ' ὁ τῆς Πολιάδος νεὼς καὶ τὸ πλησίον τὸ Ποσειδῶνος τέμενος· συνήψαμεν γὰρ διὰ τῶν ἀνακτόρων τοὺς θεοὺς ἀλλήλοις μετὰ τὴν ἅμιλλαν, “Such is the temple of Athena Polias and the precinct of Poseidon close to it; for through their temples we joined the gods together with each other after their contest” (Himerius Oration 5.30). The sacred precinct of Poseidon of course means the Erechtheum, which is indeed close to the temple of Athena Polias in Ferrari’s scheme, but not in Robertson’s.

[ back ] 216. The two previous lines, which begin this passage, are mostly lost; only the words for “battle,” “shield,” and “army” (or a related term) can be made out. For the wineless sacrifice, cf. Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 12, who says that θυσίαι νηφάλιοι, “wineless sacrifices,” were offered Διονύσῳ τε καὶ ταῖς Ἐρεχθέως θυγατράσι, “to both Dionysus and to the daughters of Erechtheus.”

[ back ] 217. Robertson 1996:45 and 70n61. Robertson brands as “very odd” the assumption of commentators on the Erechtheus that a battlefield sacrifice was performed in the ábaton of the Hyakinthides whenever needed. Such a practice before real battles would be highly impractical if not impossible.

[ back ] 218. See Jameson 1991; the sacrifice is illustrated p. 218, fig. 1. For the hapax legomenon πρότομα in fr. 65.83, Austin 1968 ad loc. cites Photius Lexicon προτομίζεσθαι· προάρχεσθαι; these were sacrifices to begin a battle. For sacrifices before battle cf. also Pritchett 1974:109–115 and Parker 2000.

[ back ] 219. Jameson 1994; Robertson 1996:45–46. Other views of the sacrifice in these sculptures are offered by Simon 1997, Hölscher 1997, and Kalogeropoulos 2003; Jameson’s view, criticized from different perspectives by these authors (Simon 1997:139–140, Hölscher 1997:152, and Kalogeropoulos 2003:285), is, according to Kalogeropoulos, “in fact not to be rejected out of hand, given the posture of the sacrificial animal” (“aufgrund der Haltung des Opfertieres tatsächlich nicht von der Hand zu weisen”).

[ back ] 220. “In one version of this repeated scene, on the prominent west face of the parapet, a Nike raises a sword in her right hand, and wrenches back the animal’s head with her left” (Robertson 1996:46).

[ back ] 221. Robertson 1996:70n62. The verb προθύειν in Euripides Erechtheus fr. 65.97 Austin, which in Robertson’s interpretation relates to this sacrifice at the temple of Athena Nike (cf. §3.75 above), is appropriate to a ritual imitating preliminaries to battle; the battle itself was perhaps represented by the procession to Skiron if the procession followed these preliminaries (cf. n3.214 above), for it was in Skiron that Athens had defended itself in mythic times. Jameson takes the ox sacrifice on the parapet sculptures as the common military practice studied in his 1991 article (n3.218 above), but for that purpose smaller animals would have been usual.

[ back ] 222. Robertson 1996:70n62, citing Carpenter 1929:25 and 49, says that the representation of an altar edge has been detected beside two of the Nikai, on the north and west faces, but that both instances are very dubious. See n3.214 above for the ox sacrifice at the shrine of Athena Nike in an ephebic decree of 123/2 BC.

[ back ] 223. Robertson 1996:52–56, also 45.

[ back ] 224. The play is dated to 422 BC on the basis of Plutarch Nicias 9.5, but this evidence (a fragment of the play) is not conclusive; cf. Cropp and Fick 1985:79–80, who suggest a date of 416 BC or later (cf. also Parker 1987:212n64; Connelly 1996:57n27). This was also probably when the sculptures of the temple of Athena Nike were created (“the ’teens of the fifth century,” Jameson 1994:318); Jameson, having identified in these sculptures the repeated motif of sacrifice before a battle, comments on the juxtaposition of another repeated motif, the trophy erected after a victory (p. 318): “Time in these scenes is compressed. Victory is sought through sacrifice, and victory has been won. We have the powerful action at the beginning and the erection of trophies at the end. The imagery telescopes the whole process, as sometimes happens in narrative art (on the west frieze of the temple a trophy and battle are both shown). The message is blunt, even brutal: Victory and Athena guarantee the success of the Athenian people, committed to battle. Nike, under Athena’s eyes, ensures by the violent act of killing that the Athenians will win.” Jameson comments on the contrast between the bluntness of this message and the “sensuous elegance” of the sculptures: it may be dangerous to make comparisons between politics and art, he admits, “but I would prefer to think that the same reckless confidence and loss of a realistic sense of what they could achieve that lured the Athenians to Sicily and into refusing terms of peace when they held the advantage is seen here in the combination of insouciant mannerism and blunt celebration of power” (pp. 318–319). Note that in Euripides’ Erechtheus, as a messenger tells it, Erechtheus erected a trophy for his victory before he was slain (Ἐρεχθ]εὺς ὡς τροπαῖα[…ἔστη[σε χώρ]ᾳ τῇδε, fr. 65.12–13 Austin).

[ back ] 225. As in the scholia to Iliad 2.547, which equate the two and then give the myth of Erichthonios’s birth in reference to Erechtheus in this line. The two figures are widely recognized to be doublets (see Mikalson 1976:141n1).

[ back ] 226. In contrast to Erechtheus, who now had a cult in his own (i.e. Poseidon’s) temple, Erichthonios was buried in Athena’s temple: he was both raised and buried in Athena’s precinct according to “Apollodorus” 3.14.6 and 7 (ἐν δὲ τῷ τεμένει τραφεὶς Ἐριχθόνιος ὑπ' αὐτῆς Ἀθηνᾶς…. Ἐριχθονίου δὲ ἀποθανόντος καὶ ταφέντος ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ τεμένει τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς, “Erichthonios having been raised in the precinct by Athena herself…. Erichthonios having died and been buried in the same precinct of Athena”); he is buried specifically in Athena’s temple according to Clement of Alexandria Protrepticus 3.45.1 (τί δὲ Ἐριχθόνιος; οὐχὶ ἐν τῷ νεῲ τῆς Πολιάδος κεκήδευται;, “What of Erichthonios? Is he not buried in the temple of Athena Polias?”). Later sources are Marcellus of Side (c. AD 160) IG XIV 1389 II.30–31 (= Kaibel 1878 no. 1046 lines 89–90) and Arnobius Against the Heathens 6.6; cf. Robertson 1985:256.

[ back ] 227. I agree with Mikalson 1976, who argues that Erichthonios arose secondarily to Erechtheus; the usual view is that Erichthonios is older (see Mikalson 1976:141n1). Mikalson follows Escher RE ‘Erechtheus’ 409–410, who points out that the Athenians called themselves Erechtheidai, not Erichthonidai. Robertson 1996:64–65, following the usual view, believes that Erichthonios is older than the sixth century BC, but I doubt this. We should not be misled by the fact that Erichthonios precedes Erechtheus in the genealogies; the reason for this is different (cf. n3.228 below).

[ back ] 228. Cf. Burkert 1966:24: “Erechtheus is the old king, Erichthonios the young king; stories are told about the death of Erechtheus and the birth of Erichthonios” (“Erechtheus ist der alte, Erichthonios der junge König; man erzählt vom Tod des Erechtheus und von der Geburt des Erichthonios”); and 24n2: “A differentiation according to the type young king-old king is shown especially by the Berlin cup F 2537 = ARV2 1268f., which has names beside the figures…: Erichthonios is a young man, Erechtheus has a beard, even though Erichthonios comes before Erechtheus in the usual genealogies because the mystery of the starting point, Kekrops-Erichthonios, must stand at the beginning” (“Die Differenzierung nach dem Typ junger König-alter König zeigt besonders die mit Beischriften versehene Berliner Schale F 2537 = ARV2 1268f. …: Erichthonios als Jüngling, Erechtheus mit Bart, obwohl in den üblichen Genealogien Erichthonios vor Erechtheus rangiert, weil am Anfang das Geheimnis des Ursprungs stehen muss, Kekrops-Erichthonios”).

[ back ] 229. See n3.80 above. Fauth 1959:466 [82] calls Athena, in her function as kourotróphos of Erechtheus, “just a modification of the ‘Mother’ ” (“nur…eine Brechung der ‘Mutter’ ”); this is too facile in that the “modification” must be demonstrated and explained. Simon 1953:84 comments on the mysterious nature of the relationship between mother goddess and a consort/son in the case of Cybele and Sabazios; quoting Strabo 10.3.15, who calls Sabazios τρόπον τινὰ τῆς μητρὸς τὸ παιδίον, “in a certain way the mother’s child,” she comments that τρόπον τινὰ, “in a certain way,” does not mean that Cybele is only a kourotróphos, but rather “expresses a mysterious, unanalyzable connection that does not need to be either marriage or a mother-child relationship” (“Dieses τρόπον τινὰ, ‘gewissermassen,’ soll wohl nicht besagen, dass Kybele nur die Pflegerin des Kindes war, sondern drückt eine geheimnisvolle, nicht weiter analysierbare mythische Verbindung aus, die weder eine Ehe noch das Verhältnis Mutter-Kind zu sein braucht”). Simon compares the pairing of Athena with a male god in the temple of Athena Itonia in Koroneia: while Pausanias 9.34.1 calls this god Zeus, Strabo 9.2.29 says that “Hades is seated with Athena for some mystic reason” (συγκαθίδρυται δὲ τῇ Ἀθηνᾷ ὁ Ἅιδης κατά τινα, ὥς φασι, μυστικὴν αἰτίαν); see Foucart 1885:433 for the conjecture that the god in this mystery cult was Ares rather than Hades. For the well-known example of the Great Goddess, whose companion Attis is both son and lover, see Burkert 1983:81–82.

[ back ] 230. The passage in fact emphasizes Athena’s virginity in her role as nourisher by calling her Διὸς θυγάτηρ, “daughter of Zeus”: this is the Olympian goddess, not the city goddess (or, rather, the city goddess has here become the Olympian goddess). Although Athena is never called kourotróphos, it seems legitimate to speak of her in this function (cf. Jahn 1845:73). An independent deity Kourotróphos is attested for Marathon in the early fourth century BC (IG II2 1358b line 31; cf. Deubner 1932:44) and on the Salaminioi inscription of 363/2 BC (see below §3.83, n3.262, and EN3.14). The independent goddess seems to have become associated secondarily with other goddesses, namely Ge (Earth), Demeter, and Artemis; Pausanias 1.22.3 attests a shrine of Gē̂ Kourotróphos near the entrance to the Acropolis in Athens (for this goddess cf. n3.232 below). See Prehn RE ‘Kurotrophos.’

[ back ] 231. Robertson 1996:62 gives this translation of the name. “Eratosthenes” Catasterismi 13 alludes to the meaning of the name when he refers to the “seed that fell to the earth, from which (i.e. the earth) they say a child was born, who was called Erichthonios because of this” (φερομένης εἰς τὴν γῆν τῆς σπορᾶς· ἐξ ἧς γεγενῆσθαι λέγουσι παῖδα, ὃς ἐκ τούτου Ἐριχθόνιος ἐκλήθη). For the intensifying prefix eri-/ari-, see Thieme 1938:159–168 (= 1968:53–60), especially 1938:161 and 164 (= 1968:54 and 57). The name Erichthonios is transparent, whereas the name Erechtheus is not (Erekhtheús may be related to erékhthō, “rend, break” if the name is Greek and not pre-Greek). The Homeric Erichthonios was an early king of Troy (son of Dardanos and father of Tros) fabled for his horses (Iliad 20.219–230).

[ back ] 232. Besides his name (and the myth of his birth) there are other signs that Erichthonios was closely associated with the earth, in particular his affinity with snakes (see §3.82 below). It is also worth noting that the Suda s.v. Κουροτρόφος γῆ says that the sacrifice to Earth Kourotrophos that preceded sacrifices to any other god was first performed by Erichthonios, and that her altar was erected by him in thanks for his foster care: ταύτῃ δὲ θῦσαί φασι πρῶτον Ἐριχθόνιον ἐν ἀκροπόλει καὶ βωμὸν ἱδρύσασθαι, χάριν ἀποδιδόντα τῇ γῇ τῶν τροφείων· καταστῆσαι δὲ νόμιμον τοὺς θύοντάς τινι θεῷ, ταύτῃ προθύειν. Here Earth’s role as mother subsumes Athena’s role as nurturer, a natural extension in Κουροτρόφος γῆ.

[ back ] 233. The myth of a simultaneous son and husband of the mother goddess must have long been suppressed in Greece generally because of the incest tabu, which the Oedipus myth clearly demonstrates. It is interesting that the Oedipus myth resonated in late fifth-century Athens, where, as Knox 1957:53–106 shows, the Sophoclean hero symbolizes the very city. If in the not distant past Erechtheus’s incest was a fact of (religious) life, which had subsequently been covered over, Oedipus’s relentless pursuit of the truth about his own incest casts an interesting light on the contemporary Athenian audience.

[ back ] 234. This (without Athena’s role as kourotróphos at the end) is the version of the story in the scholia to Plato Timaeus 23e and the Etymologicum Magnum s.v. Ἐρεχθεύς (which connects the name Erichthonios with the noun érion, “wool”). “Apollodorus” 3.14.6 has a slightly different version for the first part of the story (Athena and Hephaistos first meet in Hephaistos’s workshop, where he makes weapons for her); see Frazer 1921 ad loc. for other sources. There is a useful collection of texts relating to Erichthonios in Powell 1906:56–86.

[ back ] 235. Burkert 1985:143: “Athena, the virgin, thus comes within an ace of being the mother of the ancestral king who enjoys continuing honour in the Erechtheion. The paradox of the identity of virgin and mother is something which the myth recoils from articulating” (the 1977 German original, p. 225: “Athena, die Jungfrau, wird so um ein Haar zur Mutter des Urkönigs, der im ‘Erechtheion’ fortdauernde Ehren geniesst. Das Paradox der Identität von Jungfrau und Mutter auszusprechen, scheut der Mythos zurück”). Burkert follows the traditional view that Athena’s temple, where Erichthonios was buried, was in the Erechtheion (see below in text).

[ back ] 236. Note the emphatic language referring to Erichthonios’s birth from the earth in the last line of the following passage of dialogue between Ion and Creusa in Euripides Ion (267–270):

Ion: ἐκ γῆς πατρός σου πρόγονος ἔβλαστεν πατήρ;
Creusa: Ἐριχθόνιός γε· τὸ δὲ γένος μ' οὐκ ὠφελεῖ.
Ion: ἦ καί σφ' Ἀθάνα γῆθεν ἐξανείλετο;
Creusa: ἐς παρθένους γε χεῖρας, οὐ τεκοῦσά νιν.

Ion: Your father’s father once sprang from the earth?
Creusa: Yes, Erichthonios; but my ancestry does not help me.
Ion: And did Athena take him up from the earth?
Creusa: Into her virgin’s hands, not having given birth to him.

In this passage Erechtheus (Creusa’s father) is the son of Erichthonios, and thus no longer himself an autochthon. The Athenian king lists are responsible for this change; Erechtheus was made Erichthonios’s son and successor already in Hellanicus and this version was then preferred by other Atthidographers (see Jacoby, commentary on Hellanicus FGrHist 323a F 27 and his Introduction to Hellanicus nn119, 121, 125). In another version of the list Pandion is inserted between Erichthonios and Erechtheus (“Apollodorus” 3.14.7, 3.15.1). In the case of Erechtheus the king lists never completely replaced the older myth that he was earthborn, which was of course a fixed part of the Athenian entry to the Catalogue of Ships. Herodotus 8.55 still refers to “Erechtheus, said to be earthborn,” when he speaks of his temple on the Acropolis: ἔστι ἐν τῇ ἀκροπόλι ταύτῃ Ἐρεχθέος τοῦ γηγενέος λεγομένου εἶναι νηός. Erichthonios has the same epithet “earthborn” in Euripides Ion 20–21 (γηγενοῦς / Ἐριχθονίου). Xenophon too ignores the version of the king lists when he refers to Erechtheus as an example of the valor of the Athenians’ ancestors, emphasizing his “birth and nurturing” (i.e. from the earth and by Athena respectively) as well as “the war waged in his time against those from the whole neighboring mainland”: λέγω γάρ, καὶ τὴν Ἐρεχθέως γε τροφὴν καὶ γένεσιν, καὶ τὸν πόλεμον τὸν ἐπ' ἐκείνου γενόμενον πρὸς τοὺς ἐκ τῆς ἐχομένης ἠπείρου πάσης (Xenophon Memorabilia 3.5.10). Isocrates, who does not mention Erechtheus by name, follows the king lists by including him in an unbroken royal succession from father to son beginning with Erichthonios and ending with Theseus; Isocrates’ point is that the Athenians alone among the Greeks had royal houses that lasted four or five generations, and he deliberately motivates the succession of a second autochthon, Erichthonios, by the failure of the original autochthon, Kekrops, to have male issue (Isocrates 12.126): Ἐριχθόνιος μὲν γὰρ ὁ φὺς ἐξ Ἡφαίστου καὶ Γῆς παρὰ Κέκροπος ἄπαιδος ὄντος ἀρρένων παίδων τὸν οἶκον καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν παρέλαβεν· ἐντεῦθεν δ' ἀρξάμενοι πάντες οἱ γενόμενοι μετ' ἐκεῖνον, ὄντες οὐκ ὀλίγοι, τὰς κτήσεις τὰς αὑτῶν καὶ τὰς δυναστείας τοῖς αὑτῶν παισὶν παρέδοσαν μέχρι Θησέως, “Erichthonios, who was born from Hephaistos and Earth, took over the house and the kingship from Kekrops, who had no male children; starting then all born after him, who were not few, passed on their own possessions and their royal power to their own sons as far as Theseus.”

[ back ] 237. Kerényi 1952 believes that the story of the begetting and birth of Erichthonios points to a hieròs gámos of the goddess; Rose, in his review of Kerényi, allows this as a possibility “though not with the latecomer Hephaistos” (Rose with reason objects that Kerényi’s argument “stands chronology on its head”). Even less does Nilsson 1967:443 accept the myth as evidence for Athena as a mother goddess: “One must not appeal to the repugnant myth of Hephaistos’s amorous pursuit, especially since Hephaistos was added later”; in Nilsson’s reconstruction “Artisans thought that their goddess was suitable as a mate for their god, but her virginity resisted this; with the addition of the old idea that Erechtheus was born from the earth, the myth was corrected” (“Auf den widerlichen Mythos von der Liebeswerbung des Hephaistos um Athena sollte man sich nicht berufen, zumal Hephaistos später hinzugekommen ist. Für den Gott der Handwerker schien ihre Göttin als Gattin geeignet zu sein; dagegen stritt ihre Jungfräulichkeit. Mit Hinzunahme der alten Vorstellung, dass Erechtheus erdgeboren war, ist der Mythos zurechtgemacht worden”). Farnell 1896, vol. 1, 303 also argues that the tradition for Athena’s virginity was too deep-rooted to be undone by Hephaistos: “The legend about the birth of Erichthonios clearly shows that the primitive conception of Athena’s maidenhood was too strong to allow of the Athenian imagination having its way completely in its desire to affiliate the mythical parent of the Erekhtheîdai to their country’s goddess.” Of these various formulations I can accept only Rose’s.

[ back ] 238. The myth of his birth was represented on the Amyklai throne of about 550 BC (Pausanias 3.18.13, see below). His earliest occurrences in literature are in Pindar fr. 253 Schroeder and the epic Danaïs (Harpokration s.v. αὐτόχθονες). The Danaïs is difficult to date. Huxley 1969:37–38 says only that it must have been earlier than the mid-fifth-century prose writer Acusilaus, who made use of it. Bethe RE ‘Danais’ proposes a relatively late date for the epic, not because of its knowledge of Egypt, which in Bethe’s view could be much older than the re-opening of Egypt in the seventh century, but because of the occurrence of the Attic Erichthonios. My own view is that Erichthonios did not appear until the sixth century, to which the Danaïs would then date. It should be noted that the story of Erichthonios’s conception and birth is already present in the first evidence for Erichthonios himself, whether this evidence is the Amyklai throne (Ἀθηνᾶ διώκοντα ἀποφεύγουσά ἐστιν Ἥφαιστον, “Athena is there fleeing from Hephaistos, who chases her,” Pausanias 3.18.13) or the Danaïs (Harpokration s.v. αὐτόχθονες· ὁ δὲ Πίνδαρος καὶ ὁ τὴν Δαναΐδα πεποιηκώς φασιν Ἐριχθόνιον τὸν Ἡφαίστου [καὶ Ἥφαιστον codd.] ἐκ γῆς φανῆναι, “Autochthons: Pindar and the poet of the Danaïs say that Erichthonios the son of Hephaistos appeared from the earth”). Robertson 1983:287 denies that the Amyklai throne concerns Erichthonios’s birth, but without good reason (as Robertson’s own n126 makes clear).

[ back ] 239. See Robertson 1996:64; Robertson dates the torch race from the Academy to the Acropolis on the night before the Panathenaia to Hephaistos’s arrival in Athens, which he in turn connects with Athenian interests in the Troad and Sigeion about 600 BC: “Though Lemnos happens to be famous as Hephaistos’ home, the Troad shared the native culture of the offshore islands. In Homer, Hephaistos intervenes in favor of his Trojan priest Dares (a native name), whose two sons fell foul of Diomedes (Iliad 5.9–24).” Robertson discusses this issue in detail in his earlier study of the Panathenaia (1985:274–278); cf. p. 276: “Lemnos and the Troad were Hephaestus’ homeland…. …in the course of the sixth century Athenians thrust themselves upon this homeland, first at Sigeum, then elsewhere along the Hellespontine coast, and finally upon Lemnos itself. The chronology of this advance is obscure and disputed…. Even if Lemnos was not occupied until the beginning of the fifth century (A. J. Graham), the island and its people and customs and resources were undoubtedly well known at Athens for many years before. And the pattern of worship on Lemnos probably obtained in the area of Sigeum as well.” Hephaistos’s foreign origin is widely accepted (cf. Robertson 1985:274n85), but the date of his arrival in Athens is uncertain. I note a steady regression in Robertson’s dating of this event, from the end of the sixth century BC (or simply “some time before c. 450”), Robertson 1983:288, to the mid-sixth century BC, Robertson 1985:274, to the early sixth century BC, Robertson 1996:64. In view of Hephaistos’s role in the Erichthonios myth a date near the beginning of the sixth century BC would seem to be right. But I also note that Hephaistos and Athena are associated as gods of crafts, as they were in Athens, already in Odyssey 6.232–235 (cf. Séchan and Lévêque 1966:259–260 and n3.237 above).

[ back ] 240. “Apollodorus” 3.14.6 credits Erichthonios with two things of particular importance for Athena Polias during his kingship, namely setting up her old image and establishing the Panathenaia: καὶ τὸ ἐν ἀκροπόλει ξόανον τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς ἱδρύσατο, καὶ τῶν Παναθηναίων τὴν ἑορτὴν συνεστήσατο. Erichthonios’s connection with Athena Polias’s image may, if the tradition for it is old, have to do with the transformation of this image into a warrior goddess in the late seventh or early sixth century BC. The tradition for Erichthonios as founder of the Panathenaia is first attested in Hellanicus FGrHist 323a F 2. The source of this fragment, Harpokration s.v. Παναθήναια, also includes the statement of Istros that before Erichthonios the Panathenaia were called the Athenaia: ἤγαγε δὲ τὴν ἑορτὴν πρῶτος Ἐριχθόνιος ὁ Ἡφαίστου, καθά φησιν Ἑλλάνικός τε καὶ Ἀνδροτίων, ἑκάτερος ἐν α' Ἀτθίδος. πρὸ τούτου δὲ Ἀθήναια ἐκαλεῖτο, ὡς δεδήλωκεν Ἴστρος ἐν γ' τῶν Ἀττικῶν. Jacoby, commenting on the Istros fragment (FGrHist 334 F 4 pp. 630–631), argues that the rival tradition that the Panathenaia were founded by Theseus in connection with his synoikismós of the Attic demes (first attested in Plutarch Theseus 24.3, but probably going back to Atthidography) may have originated only in the fifth century since Thucydides 2.15.2 attests that in his day the Panathenaia had not yet supplanted the Synoikia as the celebration of that event. According to Philochorus Erichthonios instituted in the Panathenaia a procession of old men carrying olive shoots (θαλλοφόροι, Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 9) and in the Panathenaia and other festivals a procession of basket-carrying maidens (κανηφόροι, Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 8). The earliest sources for Erichthonios as the inventor of the chariot are Parian Marble FGrHist 239 F A10 and “Eratosthenes” Catasterismi 13; cf. also Hyginus Astronomica 2.13, who cites Eratosthenes (Erichthonios became the constellation Heniochos, Latin Auriga, “Charioteer,” as a reward for his invention); cf. also Vergil Georgics 3.113–114:

primus Erichthonius currus et quattuor ausus
iungere equos, rapidusque rotis insistere victor.
Erichthonios first dared to yoke chariots
and four horses and stand upon wheels, racing to victory.

Burkert 1966:23n1 has an exhaustive list of sources.

[ back ] 241. Eusebius Chronicle provides the date of the foundation of the Panathenaia: 1451 ab Abraham (Olympiad 53,3 = 566/5 BC) agon gymnicus, quem Panathenaeon vocant, actus (see Jacoby, commentary on Istros FGrHist 334 F 4, n2). Pherekydes FGrHist 3 F 2 reports that Hippokleides, a member of the génos of the Philaidai, was archon when the Panathenaia were established: ῾Ιπποκλείδης, ἐφ' οὗ ἄρχοντος Παναθήναια ἐτέθη. Pherekydes had a personal relationship with the Philaidai, whose accomplishments he therefore highlighted (cf. Jacoby 1947:28–33). Hippokleides is known otherwise as the unsuccessful suitor of Cleisthenes’ daughter in Sicyon (Herodotus 6.127.4–129).

[ back ] 242. Cf. Jacoby, commentary on Istros FGrHist 334 F 4, n2, p. 508, who imagines that there were numerous clan festivals of Athena before the organization of the Panathenaia (i.e. he is not persuaded that one particular festival was reorganized as the Panathenaia in 566/5 BC): “The development in the sixth century as touched on above makes it appear more likely that only then the main festival (or better the state festival, the ἑορτὴ πάνδημος or δημοτελής) came to stand beside the numerous festivals of Athena which may originally have been entirely in the hands of certain individual clans.” (Problems with the term “clan” for génos have been recognized since Jacoby wrote; see Ober 1989:56n8, who cites the relevant bibliography; for my purposes the term serves well enough to indicate the “birth elite” of early Athens, as Ober 1989:55–60 refers to them.) Jacoby, commentary on Istros FGrHist 334 F 4, p. 630, argues that the name Athenaia for a festival which preceded and was replaced by the Panathenaia (Istros FGrHist 334 F 4, Pausanias 8.2.1) is an invention to reconcile the tradition that Theseus founded the Panathenaia for “all the Athenians” when he united the Attic state with the older tradition for Erichthonios as the festival’s founder. Pausanias 8.2.1 is decisive on this issue: τούτῳ γὰρ τῷ ἀγῶνι Ἀθήναια ὄνομα ἦν, Παναθήναια δὲ κληθῆναί φασιν ἐπὶ Θησέως, ὅτι ὑπὸ Ἀθηναίων ἐτέθη συνειλεγμένων ἐς μίαν ἁπάντων πόλιν, “the name of this festival was the Athenaia, but they say that it was (re)named the Panathenaia in Theseus’s time because it was (re)founded by all the Athenians gathered in one city.” There is a negative piece of evidence that must be explained: Istros FGrHist 334 F 4 (cf. n3.240 above) seems to say that the festival was called the Athenaia before Erichthonios, not Theseus; Jacoby, commentary on Istros FGrHist 334 F 4, p. 631, comments: “Strictly interpreted πρὸ τούτου [‘before him’] should refer to Erichthonios…. The epitomist may have done more than abridge clumsily, he may have skipped a whole sentence which contained the rival version and πρὸ τούτου may actually have referred to Theseus.” See Jacoby, commentary on Istros FGrHist 334 F 4, n2, p. 509, for Panathenaia as meaning ‘festival of all Athenians’: “A. Mommsen’s conception of ‘Fest aller Athener’…is perhaps favoured by Panionia, Pamboiotia, Panaitolia (Pollux 6.163), the Πανέλληνες and the Panhellenia of Hadrian.”

[ back ] 243. The Eteoboutads traced their origins to Boutes, who was said to be a son of Pandion (and a grandson of Erichthonios) and the brother of Erechtheus (“Apollodorus” 3.14.8). According to Plutarch Life of the Ten Orators (Lycurgus) 843e the génos of the orator Lycurgus (the Eteoboutads) traced its origin to “Erechtheus, the son of Earth and Hephaistos.” There is confusion here between Erechtheus and Erichthonios, but descent from Erechtheus may be the genuine tradition. Was Boutes originally the son of Erechtheus and Athena? If this was how the clan originally viewed its ancestry, with Athena as its ultimate parent, it is clear why Athena and Erechtheus could not remain paired in the state festival of the Panathenaia. When Erechtheus was given a birth from Earth instead of from Athena in a state cult (as reflected in Iliad 2.546–551) he became the symbolic parent of all Athenians, who were also originally autochthons, rather than of just one clan. Athena, on the other hand, was now a virgin, and thus the original mother of no Athenians. How far the myth of Athenian autochthony preceded these developments and how far it grew out of them is not obvious. The Eteoboutadai, who were originally called the Boutadai, were renamed in the late sixth century to distinguish them from members of the Cleisthenic deme Boutadai (cf. Toepffer 1889:117). The two branches of the family that provided the priest of Poseidon Erechtheus and the priestess of Athena Polias were distinct, being geographically separated in different demes by 508 BC; see Davies 1971:349, who considers whether one family was divided into two parts or two families were amalgamated into one, and who leans toward the latter possibility; to me the former process is more likely, the division in the family accompanying the split between Athena Polias and Erechtheus.

[ back ] 244. I follow Robertson 1996:63 in thinking that the offering of Athena’s péplos at the festival did not begin until the sixth century: “the custom cannot well be earlier than the sixth century, since the very first peplos is credited to two historical weavers (Zenobius 1.56, etc.)”; Robertson 1985: 288–289 discusses the issue in more detail: “The Athenians themselves did not take the peplos back to the mythical beginnings; Erichthonios, credited with the first temple, the first statue, the first bearing of boughs and baskets, the first chariot, even the first money prizes, is never said to have offered the first peplos. Instead the manufacture of the very first peplos was ascribed to Acesas and Helicon, master weavers of Patara and Carystus” (sources in Robertson 1985:288); cf. Barber 1992:114 and 209n28. Robertson 1983:277 justly states that “anyone who thinks of the offering of Athena’s peplos as an ancient yearly custom must explain how it consorts with the washing of Athena’s peplos as an ancient yearly custom; for this was the business of the Plynteria.” Cf. also Deubner 1932:12, 30. I suspect that the péplos was introduced in 566/5 BC in imitation of Iliad 6, as Davison 1952:15 and 1965:22 suggests.

[ back ] 245. Erichthonios is named as not only the founder of the Panathenaia but also the inventor of the apobátēs race in “Eratosthenes” Catasterismi 13: ἤγαγε δ' ἐπιμελῶς τὰ Παναθήναια καὶ ἅρμα ἡνιόχει ἔχων παραβάτην ἀσπίδιον ἔχοντα καὶ τριλοφίαν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς· ἀπ' ἐκείνου δὲ κατὰ μίμησιν ὁ καλούμενος ἀποβάτης, “He conducted the Panathenaia attentively, and would drive a chariot with a rider who had a small shield and a helmet on his head; from him, as an imitation, comes the so-called dismounter.” The term apobátēs, “dismounter,” does not occur in Homer, but the armed warrior who rides “beside” the driver (paraibátēs, Iliad 23.132) and leaps from the chariot to fight seems closely related. See Crowther 1991 for a recent discussion of the athletic event, including an important and previously overlooked source for the fourth century, Demosthenes 61.23–29; cf. also Reisch RE ‘Apobates.’ There was also an apobátēs race in the festival of the Anthesteria (see Kyle 1987:45–46). The race at the Panathenaia still took place in the agora as late as the second century BC; see Thompson 1961:228.

[ back ] 246. Thompson 1961:228–229: “Within the area have come to light two votive deposits of the 7th century BC, prominent in which are terracotta representations of chariot groups and horsemen, miniature terracotta shields and pinakes, and, in one case, a miniature bronze tripod. Such offerings are appropriate to the cult of the heroized dead, and the deposits in the Agora are in all probability to be associated with some of the early burials in this area. That chariot races were indeed included in the funeral games of early Athens is clearly indicated by their prominence on late Geometric vases found in Athenian graves (Young 1939:56–57). Since some of the most richly furnished burials of the period have come to light beneath the Agora, one may safely infer that such contests occurred in that area in the 8th and 7th centuries BC.” Cf. also Kyle 1984:93: “Representations of chariots, prizes and funerals on Geometric and Proto-Attic vases, in addition to significant votive deposits, support H. A. Thompson’s theory that Panathenaic athletics arose as a natural development from sporadic funeral games and more organized cults of the heroized dead in the eighth and seventh centuries.” Cf. also Jacoby, commentary on Istros FGrHist 334 F 4, n2, p. 509: “To venture a conjecture: a main feature and a specialty of the Panathenaia is the agon of the apobatai…, the introduction of which is always ascribed to Erichthonios, the ‘inventor’ of the quadriga. This agon is excellently suited for the time of the Dipylon vases and for aristocratic, pre-Solonian, Athens. Was it meant originally not for Athena, but for her foster-son and (later) cult-fellow Erichthonios-Erechtheus? Did Hippokleides in 566/5 BC enlarge this aristocratic celebration by making it the State festival of Athena and of ‘all Athenians’ by first introducing the gymnastic agones…to which the ἀγῶνες μουσικοί were added subsequently (under the sons of Peisistratos at the latest)?” For representations of the apobátēs event and of Erichthonios’s part in it (“a favourite subject in Athenian art of the Classical period, both vase-painting and relief sculpture,” Robertson 1985:266) see Kron 1976:75–76; for Geometric vases depicting the race, of which there are several, see Kron 76n339.

[ back ] 247. This is the version in “Apollodorus” 3.14.6 and Pausanias 1.18.2; for other versions and sources see Frazer 1921 ad loc. and Frazer 1913 ad loc. In the Atthidographer Amelesagoras FGrHist 330 F 1 (cited by Antigonus of Karystos Collection of Paradoxical Stories 12) Aglauros and Pandrosos are the guilty sisters; in Euripides Ion 273–274 all the sisters are apparently guilty and die: after Athena lifts the newborn Erichthonios from the earth (Ion 267–270, see n3.236 above), she gives him to Kekrops’s daughters to keep unseen, and they open the goddess’s box and perish on the rocks (Ion 271–274):

Ion: δίδωσι δ', ὥσπερ ἐν γραφῇ νομίζεται
Creusa: Κέκροπός γε σῴζειν παισὶν οὐχ ὁρώμενον.
Ion: ἤκουσα λῦσαι παρθένους τεῦχος θεᾶς.
Creusa: τοιγὰρ θανοῦσαι σκόπελον ᾕμαξαν πέτρας.

Ion: She gives it, as is often shown in paintings,
Creusa: to the daughters of Kekrops to keep unseen.
Ion: I have heard that the maidens opened the goddess’s box.
Creusa: For that they bloodied the rocky summit dying.

[ back ] 248. Cf. Frazer 1913 on Pausanias 1.18.2 for the different versions and sources. Erichthonios is seen with one snake in e.g. “Apollodorus” 3.14.6 (see below); there is a pair of snakes beside him in e.g. Euripides Ion 21–26, where an Athenian custom is derived from their presence as the infant’s guardians:

κείνῳ γὰρ ἡ Διὸς κόρη
φρουρὼ παραζεύξασα φύλακε σώματος
δισσὼ δράκοντε, παρθένοις Ἀγλαυρίσιν
δίδωσι σῴζειν· ὅθεν Ἐρεχθείδαις ἐκεῖ
νόμος τις ἔστιν ὄφεσιν ἐν χρυσηλάτοις
τρέφειν τέκν'.

The daughter of Zeus set by his side
two guardian snakes, protectors of his body,
and gave him to the Aglaurid maidens
to safeguard; from this Erechtheus’s descendants there
have the custom to raise their children
amid gold-wrought snakes.

On the other hand the Etymologicum Magnum s.v. ᾿Ερεχθεύς and the scholia to Plato Timaeus 23e call Erichthonios himself δρακοντόπους, “snake-footed,” and yet other sources make Erichthonios entirely a snake, e.g. Hyginus Astronomica 2.13: virgines cistam aperuerunt et anguem viderunt: quo facto, insania a Minerva iniecta, de arce Atheniensium se praecipitaverunt. anguis autem ad Minervae clipeum confugit et ab ea est educatus, “The maidens opened the box and saw the snake; after which, madness having been cast into them by Minerva, they threw themselves from the citadel of the Athenians. The snake, however, fled to Minverva’s shield and was raised by her.” In some versions the daughters of Kekrops are driven mad by Athena and throw themselves from the Acropolis, in others they are destroyed by the snake; cf. “Apollodorus” 3.14.6: τοῦτον Ἀθηνᾶ κρύφα τῶν ἄλλων θεῶν ἔτρεφεν, ἀθάνατον θέλουσα ποιῆσαι· καὶ καταθεῖσα αὐτὸν εἰς κίστην Πανδρόσῳ τῇ Κέκροπος παρακατέθετο, ἀπειποῦσα τὴν κίστην ἀνοίγειν. αἱ δὲ ἀδελφαὶ τῆς Πανδρόσου ἀνοίγουσιν ὑπὸ περιεργίας, καὶ θεῶνται τῷ βρέφει παρεσπειραμένον δράκοντα· καὶ ὡς μὲν ἔνιοι λέγουσιν, ὑπ' αὐτοῦ διεφθάρησαν τοῦ δράκοντος, ὡς δὲ ἔνιοι, δι' ὀργὴν Ἀθηνᾶς ἐμμανεῖς γενόμεναι κατὰ τῆς ἀκροπόλεως αὑτὰς ἔρριψαν, “Athena raised him in secret from the other gods, wishing to make him immortal; she put him in a box and entrusted him to Pandrosos the daughter of Kekrops, forbidding her to open the box. But Pandrosos’s sisters opened it out of curiosity, and saw a snake coiled next to the baby; and as some say, they were destroyed by the snake itself, or as others say they went mad because of Athena’s anger and threw themselves from the acropolis.”

[ back ] 249. Herodotus tells how the oikouròs óphis deserted the Acropolis before the Persian occupation of 480 BC; although he does not say so specifically it is clear from his account that the temple in which the snake lived was Athena’s: the snake’s departure, which was detected when the monthly honey cake offered to it remained uneaten, was interpreted as the departure of “the goddess,” and it was “the priestess” (i.e. Athena’s priestess) who reported this dire omen (Herodotus 8.41: λέγουσι Ἀθηναῖοι ὄφιν μέγαν φύλακα τῆς ἀκροπόλιος ἐνδιαιτᾶσθαι ἐν τῷ ἱρῷ· λέγουσί τε ταῦτα καὶ δὴ καὶ ὡς ἐόντι ἐπιμήνια διατελέουσι προτιθέντες· τὰ δ' ἐπιμήνια μελιτόεσσά ἐστι. αὕτη δ' ἡ μελιτόεσσα ἐν τῷ πρόσθε αἰεὶ χρόνῳ ἀναισιμουμένη τότε ἦν ἄψαυστος. σημηνάσης δὲ ταῦτα τῆς ἱρηίης μᾶλλόν τι οἱ Ἀθηναῖοι καὶ προθυμότερον ἐξέλιπον τὴν πόλιν ὡς καὶ τῆς θεοῦ ἀπολελοιπυίης τὴν ἀκρόπολιν, “The Athenians say that a large snake, the guardian of the acropolis, lives in the temple; they not only say this, but they also set out food every month for it as actually being there; the monthly food is a honey cake. This honey cake, which previously was always consumed, was then untouched. When the priestess declared this the Athenians left the city even more eagerly because even the goddess had left the acropolis”). Consistent with this account is Eustathius 1423.8 on Odyssey 1.357: οἰκουρὸς δράκων φύλαξ τῆς Πολιάδος. ἤγουν ἐν τῷ νεῷ τῆς Πολιάδος διαιτώμενος, “house-guarding snake, guardian of the Polias, or rather living in the temple of the Polias.” Ferrari 2002:16 and n32, regarding (as I do) the temple of Athena as distinct from the temple of Erechtheus (cf. n3.117 above), seems to suggest that the snake did not live in the temple of Athena, but in the temple of Erechtheus. The only explicit evidence for the temple of Erechtheus as the location is Hesychius s.v. οἰκουρὸν ὄφιν· τὸν τῆς Πολιάδος φύλακα δράκοντα. καὶ οἱ μὲν ἕνα φασίν, οἱ δὲ δύο ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ τοῦ Ἐρεχθέως, “House-guarding snake: the snake that is the guardian of the Polias. And some say that there is one, but others say that there are two in the temple of Erechtheus.” On the face of it this is evidence that the temple of Athena (the snake’s home in the other sources) was in the Erechtheum (the usual modern view), and this is a problem. If the two temples are in fact distinct, it is worth noting that the evidence of Hesychius concerns uncertainty about there being one snake or two; I suggest that there may also have been uncertainty about there being one location or (for a second snake) two. Erichthonios in my view was a relative newcomer in Athena’s temple, whereas the oikouròs óphis was old. We do not hear that Erichthonios was ever identified with this snake (the story in Herodotus suggests rather that it was identified with “the goddess”). In later sources we hear that the snake fashioned at the feet of Pheidias’s statue of Athena in the Parthenon was taken to be Erichthonios (Pausanias 1.24.7): πρὸς τοῖς ποσὶν ἀσπίς τε κεῖται καὶ πλησίον τοῦ δόρατος δράκων ἐστίν· εἴη δ' ἂν Ἐριχθόνιος οὗτος ὁ δράκων, “Next to the feet lies the shield and near the spear is a snake; this snake would be Erichthonios”; cf. Hyginus Astronomica 2.13, quoted n3.248 above). The snake-footed Erichthonios (see n3.248 above) parallels Kekrops, a snake from the waist down. In Attic genealogies Kekrops is always the first king of Attica; he is “what was there before the first man” (Burkert 1966:10–11), and his snake form reflects this. Kekrops was the original snake-form ancestor; Erichthonios’s snake form is, I think, largely an imitation.

[ back ] 250. After mentioning the temple of Pandrosos and the tradition that she had no part in the offense of her sisters, Pausanias 1.27.3 continues as follows: ἃ δέ μοι θαυμάσαι μάλιστα παρέσχεν, ἔστι μὲν οὐκ ἐς ἅπαντα γνώριμα, γράψω δὲ οἷα συμβαίνει. παρθένοι δύο τοῦ ναοῦ τῆς Πολιάδος οἰκοῦσιν οὐ πόρρω, καλοῦσι δὲ Ἀθηναῖοι σφᾶς ἀρρηφόρους· αὗται χρόνον μέν τινα δίαιταν ἔχουσι παρὰ τῇ θεῷ, παραγενομένης δὲ τῆς ἑορτῆς δρῶσιν ἐν νυκτὶ τοιάδε. ἀναθεῖσαί σφισιν ἐπὶ τὰς κεφαλὰς ἃ ἡ τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς ἱέρεια δίδωσι φέρειν, οὔτε ἡ διδοῦσα ὁποῖόν τι δίδωσιν εἰδυῖα οὔτε ταῖς φερούσαις ἐπισταμέναις—ἔστι δὲ περίβολος ἐν τῇ πόλει τῆς καλουμένης ἐν Κήποις Ἀφροδίτης οὐ πόρρω καὶ δι' αὐτοῦ κάθοδος ὑπόγαιος αὐτομάτη—, ταύτῃ κατίασιν αἱ παρθένοι. κάτω μὲν δὴ τὰ φερόμενα λείπουσιν, λαβοῦσαι δὲ ἄλλο τι κομίζουσιν ἐγκεκαλυμμένον· καὶ τὰς μὲν ἀφιᾶσιν ἤδη τὸ ἐντεῦθεν, ἑτέρας δὲ ἐς τὴν ἀκρόπολιν παρθένους ἄγουσιν ἀντ' αὐτῶν, “What surprised me the most, while it isn’t known to me in all details, I will write as it takes place. Two maidens live not far from the temple of Athena Polias, and the Athenians call them arrhephoroi; they live with the goddess for a time, and when the festival is at hand they do the following at night. They put on their heads what the priestess of Athena gives them to carry, and neither she who gives it nor they who carry it know what it is. There is on the acropolis an enclosure not far from the sanctuary of Aphrodite called Aphrodite in the Gardens and through it there is a natural path leading underground—here the maidens descend. The maidens leave below what they have brought, and they receive and bring back something wrapped up; and these maidens are then discharged, and others are brought to the acropolis in place of them.” The phrase οὐκ ἐς ἅπαντα γνώριμα, “not known in all details,” indicating Pausanias’s ignorance of parts of the ceremony, was changed in sixteenth century manuscripts and in modern editions to οὐκ ἐς ἅπαντα‹ς› γνώριμα, “not known to all,” indicating the ceremony’s secrecy instead (see Burkert 1966:2n1, who argues effectively against this change); Pausanias does not use the word kístai of what the priestess of Athena puts on the heads of the arrhephoroi, but the word occurs elsewhere in connection with the ritual (thus the first etymology of the name Arrhephória in the scholia to Aristophanes Lysistrata 642: ἐπειδὴ τὰ ἄρρητα ἐν κίσταις ἔφερον τῇ θεῷ αἱ παρθένοι, “since the maidens carried the secret things in kístai for the goddess”; cf. Robertson 1983:248).

[ back ] 251. For the widely held interpretation of the festival as a female initiation ritual, see especially Burkert 1966; a problem for this interpretation is the fact that the ritual was performed by only two girls, so that it cannot have been an actual initiation of all Athenian girls who were about to enter womanhood (Burkert 1966:19–20 explains this difficulty in terms of the change from a small community to a polis, in which the initiation became representative rather than real). Robertson 1983 rejects this interpretation and proposes that the ritual had to do with propitiating a sacred snake with a cake (this is Robertson’s interpretation of the unknown object left underground by the arrhephoroi). Related to the question of interpretation is the question of location, which is addressed in EN3.12; the question of whether or not the Arrhephoria formed part of the Panathenaia is also addressed.

[ back ] 252. Robertson 1983:286 assumes that he was not.

[ back ] 253. Robertson 1983:286 says that Erichthonios’s birth from Hephaistos “was evidently prompted by circumstances outside the ritual, since Hephaestus has no part in the Arrhephoria.” This is so, but Erichthonios’s part in the Arrhephoria is limited to the aetiological myth, which may well be secondary to the ritual.

[ back ] 254. The shrine of Pandrosos, which contained Athena’s sacred olive tree, was adjacent to the Erechtheum (Pausanias 1.27.2); the témenos of Aglauros was on the north slope of the Acropolis (Pausanias 1.18.2) “immediately under the rock slope” (“unmittelbar unter dem Steinabfall der Burg,” Judeich 1931:303; cf. Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 105, n5). Whereas Aglauros and Pandrosos were native Athenian goddesses rooted in the Acropolis, Herse was not a specifically Attic figure (cf. Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 105, n3); even the form of her name is non-Attic, which shows, according to Burkert 1966:12, “that the name belongs to literature, not to Attic cult” (“dass der Name der Literatur, nicht dem attischen Kult angehört”). The originally independent figures Aglauros and Pandrosos became associated in the Kekropid myth through Athena, into whose sphere both had been drawn: there was an Ἀθηνᾶ Ἄγλαυρος (Harpokration s.v. Ἄγλαυρος) and an Ἀθηνᾶ Πάνδροσος (scholia to Aristophanes Lysistrata 439); see Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 105, nn3 and 5, and commentary on Istros FGrHist 334 F 27. It was in the shrine of Aglauros that the ephebes took the oath of loyalty to the state; cf. Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 105, n5, p. 329, citing Robert 1938:296–307; cf. also Burkert 1966:12n1. For older bibliography on the Kekropids, see Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 105, n2.

[ back ] 255. The Plynteria are said to be held in Aglauros’s honor in Hesychius s.v. πλυντήρια· ἑορτὴ Ἀθήνησιν, ἣν ἐπὶ τῇ Ἀγλαύρου τῆς Κέκροπος θυγατρὸς τιμῇ ἄγουσιν. Her death provided an aítion for the Plynteria: when she died her clothes were left unwashed for a year, and the washing of her clothes at the end of the year was supposed to have given the festival its name (Photius Lexicon s.v. Καλλυντήρια καὶ πλυντήρια: τὰ μὲν πλυντήριά φησι [φασι?] διὰ τὸν θάνατον τῆς Ἀγραύλου ἐντὸς ἐνιαυτοῦ μὴ πλυθῆναι ἐσθῆτας· εἶθ' οὕτω πλυθείσας τὴν ὀνομασίαν λαβεῖν ταύτην; cf. Burkert 1966:12n2, Robertson 1983:281). The form Ágraulos, found in this passage and elsewhere, is a variant (with metathesis of the liquid consonants) of Áglauros. According to Philochorus (FGrHist 328 F 106 = scholia to Demosthenes 19.303) Agraulos was Athena’s priestess: ἱέρεια δὲ γέγονεν ἡ Ἄγραυλος Ἀθηνᾶς, ὥς φησι Φιλόχορος; originally, however, Aglauros was an independent goddess, as is shown by the fact that she had her own priestess (see n3.256 below).

[ back ] 256. The first is IG II2 3459 (found on the Acropolis between the Propylaia and the Parthenon): Ἀγλαύρου ἱέρεα Φειδοστράτη Ἐτεοκλέους Αἰθαλίδου θυγάτηρ; the second is an honorary decree for a priestess of Aglauros (Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 33 [1983] no. 115). Cf. Parker 1996:311 with n72.

[ back ] 257. We know particulars about the dress of the priestess of Pandrosos (Pollux 10.191: ποδώνυχον ἡ ἐσθὴς ἡ τῆς ἱερείας τῆς Πανδρόσου, “The dress of the priestess of Pandrosos is called podṓnukhon [‘reaching the toes’]”; cf. Suda s.v. προτόνιον). In an inscription of the mid-first century BC (IG II2 1039 lines 57–58) the ephebes are said to offer sacrifices on the Acropolis to Athena Polias, Kourotrophos, and Pandrosos.

[ back ] 258. For the inscription, Agora Inventory I 3244, see n3.183 above; the priestess of Aglauros and Pandrosos is mentioned twice, in lines 11–12 and line 45 (see EN3.14 to n3.262 below for text). Cf. Parker 1996:311.

[ back ] 259. So Nilsson 1938:390 suggests: “Aglauros and Pandrosos belong to the native stratum of Athenian cults and myths. Their myth is connected with the old-fashioned rite of the Arrephoria. In the hieron of Pandrosos which joined the Erechtheum grew the holy olive tree. The ephebes took the oath of loyalty to the state in the hieron of Aglauros (Demosthenes 19.303, and the scholia). It is really astonishing that the priestess of this old cult was taken from the genos of the Salaminioi which had only recently immigrated and it shows the great price set upon their allegiance. We do not know how it was possible. If originally, as do most old cults, this cult belonged to some family, the family must have become extinct”; cf. also Nilsson 1951:35–36. For the oath of the ephebes see n3.254 above.

[ back ] 260. Cf. Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 105, n5, p. 329, who recognizes a distinction between the separate cults of Aglauros and Pandrosos on the one hand and their combined cult on the other hand (contrast Nilsson, quoted in n3.259 above); Jacoby regards the combined cult as being as early as the sixth century BC. For the constitution of the génos of the Salaminioi in the late seventh or early sixth century BC, cf. Ferguson 1938:46 (he suggests the late seventh century; cf. also n3.184 above); the génos and the cult seem roughly contemporary.

[ back ] 261. There were originally two Kekropids and two arrhephoroi. This suggests that the combined cult of the two Kekropids was created for the Arrhephoria; cf. Burkert 1966:10, who notes the difference in number between the two arrhephoroi and three Kekropids as an exception to the otherwise close correspondence between the ritual and the myth even in small details. Jacoby was right, I think, to postulate that Herse was added secondarily to the Kekropid myth (cf. n3.254 above); this issue is discussed further in EN3.13. What role the priestess of Aglauros and Pandrosos might have played in the Arrhephoria, if indeed she had a role, is not clear since it was the priestess of Athena who gave the two maidens the kístai to be carried underground (Pausanias 1.27.3). But it is perhaps not hard to imagine other roles in the ceremony. It would seem that from the start Aglauros and Pandrosos were contrasted as the guilty and the innocent sister (cf. Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 105 n5, pp. 328–329). Perhaps Aglauros was given the role of the guilty sister because of an older tradition for her death, which may have been connected with the location of her precinct “unmittelbar unter dem Steinabfall der Burg” (Judeich 1931:303; cf. n3.254 above; cf. also Robertson 1983:275, 275n91). Aglauros’s death appears in contexts other than the aítion of the Arrhephoria: in a rival tradition to that of the daughters of Erechtheus she is said to have sacrificed herself voluntarily in the war with Eumolpos (Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 105: see Jacoby, commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 105, for the obvious chronological difficulty of this variant to the myth of the Hyakinthids and his proposed solution); for Aglauros’s death as the aítion of the Plynteria see n3.255 above).

[ back ] 262. Suda s.v. Κουροτρόφος γῆ (see n3.232 above). Ferguson 1938:21 argues that there is one priestess for all three goddesses in the Salaminioi inscription, but Nilsson 1951:35n35 refutes this; the inscription is discussed in EN3.14.

[ back ] 263. If the combined cult of Aglauros and Pandrosos had to do with the Arrhephoria (as I think it very likely did), this might be taken to indicate that the festival itself belongs to the early sixth century. But there are questions regarding the ritual of the Arrhephoria that do not admit of final answers, and the origin of the ritual is one. We do not know what the arrhephoroi carried underground (or what they brought back), and we are told that even the priestess of Athena did not know (Pausanias 1.27.3). The name arrhēphóros, which would seem to contain an answer to the question of what was carried, has no certain meaning. Some ancient sources interpret arrhē- as a shortened form of arrhēta-, “secret objects” (scholia to Aristophanes Lysistrata 642; Hesychius s.v. arrhēphoría; Deubner 1932:9–10 accepts this interpretation). A connection with árrhikhos, “wicker basket,” has also been proposed (cf. Deubner 1932:10n1 for references, to which may be added Robertson 1983:249–250). It does not clarify the name of the festival to know that another form was ersēphoría (written ersephoría in scholia to Aristophanes Lysistrata 642) or errēphoría (probable correction of eriphoría in Hesychius s.v. arrhēphoría) and that this form occurs in cult contexts other than the Arrhephoria (ersēphóroi are epigraphically attested for cults of Khlóē Thémis, Eileíthuia en Ágrais, and Demeter and Kore; cf. Jacoby, commentary on Istros FGrHist 334 F 27). This form of the name (ersēphóros) may perhaps explain why (H)erse was added to Aglauros and Pandrosos as the third Kekropid, but in Jacoby’s view (commentary on Philochorus FGrHist 328 F 105, n3) this came about only through a lack of understanding (and a misunderstanding) of the name (H)ersephoria itself. His point is not quite clear.

[ back ] 264. “Apollodorus” 3.14.6: φευγούσης δὲ αὐτῆς καὶ τῆς γονῆς εἰς γῆν πεσούσης Ἐριχθόνιος γίνεται. τοῦτον Ἀθηνᾶ κρύφα τῶν ἄλλων θεῶν ἔτρεφεν, ἀθάνατον θέλουσα ποιῆσαι· καὶ καταθεῖσα αὐτὸν εἰς κίστην Πανδρόσῳ τῇ Κέκροπος παρακατέθετο, ἀπειποῦσα τὴν κίστην ἀνοίγειν. αἱ δὲ ἀδελφαὶ τῆς Πανδρόσου ἀνοίγουσιν ὑπὸ περιεργίας, καὶ θεῶνται τῷ βρέφει παρεσπειραμένον δράκοντα, “When she fled and the sperm fell to the ground Erichthonios was born. Athena raised him in secret from the other gods, wishing to make him immortal; and she put him in a box and entrusted him to Pandrosos the daughter of Kekrops, forbidding her to open the box. But Pandrosos’s sisters opened it out of curiosity, and saw a snake coiled next to the baby.”

[ back ] 265. The starting point for the Kekropids’ punishment was probably an older tradition for Aglauros’s suicide by jumping from the Acropolis (cf. n3.261 above); the punishment of the Kekropids replaced the loss of Erichthonios’s immortality as the focal point of the myth.

[ back ] 266. For other parallels between Erichthonios and Demophoon see Richardson 1974:234–235. Burkert notes a parallel between the Arrhephoria and Eleusinian ritual (1966:5n3); cf. also Deubner 1932:11n3 and Burkert 1966:10 with references to Picard 1931.

[ back ] 267. What the festival was (the Eleusinia?) is not known; the pólemos, “battle,” of line 266 is the ritual combat called ballētús (see Richardson 1974 on lines 265–267).

[ back ] 268. Richardson 1974:247: “The parallel between Il. 2.550f. and Dem. 265f. is striking, since Demophon as Demeter’s θρεπτός [‘nursling’] is in the same position as Erechtheus in relation to Athena, and the myth of Demophon suggests comparison with that of Erichthonius/Erechtheus (cf. ad Dem. 235ff.).” In the two rituals evoked in the two passages note the correspondence between the παῖδες Ἐλευσινίων, “boys/young men of the Eleusinians,” in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and the κοῦροι Ἀθηναίων, “youths of the Athenians,” in Iliad 2, and the further correspondence between the phrase περιπλομένων ἐνιαυτῶν in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter and the phrase περιτελλομένων ἐνιαυτῶν in Iliad 2 (the two phrases, both meaning “as the years revolve,” are metrical variants in Homer: περιπλομένους ἐνιαυτοὺς, Iliad 23.833, versus περιτελλομένους ἐνιαυτοὺς, Iliad 8.404; in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, besides περιπλομένων ἐνιαυτῶν in line 265, there is ἔτεος περιτελλομένοιο, “as the year revolves,” in lines 445 and 463). The phrase κοῦροι Ἀθηναίων, “youths of the Athenians,” in Iliad 2 is more Homeric than the phrase παῖδες Ἐλευσινίων, “boys/young men of the Eleusinians,” in Homeric Hymn to Demeter 266; the only comparison for the latter seems to be the phrase παῖδες δὲ Τρώων, “boys/young men of the Trojans,” in Odyssey 11.547 (for παῖδες Ἐλευσινίων as “young men [or boys] of the Eleusianians” see Richardson 1974 on line 266 and cf. Matthews 1996:130). Behind the phrase κοῦροι Ἀθηναίων, “youths of the Athenians,” lies the phrase κοῦροι Ἀχαιῶν, “youths of the Achaeans”; cf. also the phrase κούρων ἑλκόντων, “as the youths drag it,” in Iliad 20.405 in a context close to that of Iliad 2.550–551, namely the sacrifice of a bull to Poseidon Helikonios.

[ back ] 269. See above §3.72 and n3.197 for the Skira as the festival in Iliad 2.

[ back ] 270. Iliad 2.557–558:

Αἴας δ' ἐκ Σαλαμῖνος ἄγεν δυοκαίδεκα νῆας,
στῆσε δ' ἄγων ἵν' Ἀθηναίων ἵσταντο φάλαγγες.

Ajax led twelve ships from Salamis,
and leading them he stationed them where the ranks of the Athenians stood.

The second line is the alleged forgery; it was athetized in antiquity and is omitted in all the main medieval manuscripts.

[ back ] 271. According to Strabo 9.1.10 some said that Peisistratos, others that Solon inserted the line; Strabo goes on to say that “critics” (κριτικοί) rejected the line because in the Iliad Ajax anchors his ships not with the Athenians, but on one end with the Thessalians of Protesilaos. Strabo says that the Megareans had a rival version of the Salaminian entry (see n3.272 below); he probably refers to fourth-century Megarian historians like Dieuchidas (see Jacoby, commentary on Dieuchidas FGrHist 485 F 6, p. 392 and n26) and Hereas (see Jacoby, commentary on Hereas FGrHist 486 F 4). Solon was said to have been the line’s author by “some” according to Diogenes Laertius 1.48, and by “many” according to Plutarch Solon 10.1. See Allen 1924:234–237.

[ back ] 272. Diogenes Laertius 1.57 (Dieuchidas FGrHist 485 F 6). In this well-known passage Solon is said to have legislated that the Homeric poems be recited by rhapsodes one after the other (ἐξ ὑποβολῆς). The continuation of the passage seems to have a gap and it is not clear why the mid-fourth century Megarian historian Dieuchidas is cited, except that whatever Dieuchidas said had to do with the Athenian entry (ἦν δὲ μάλιστα τὰ ἔπη ταυτί· "οἳ δ' ἄρ' Ἀθήνας εἶχον" καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς). As the text stands Dieuchidas is cited to support the statement that Solon did more than Peisistratos to spread Homer’s fame (μᾶλλον οὖν Σόλων Ὅμηρον ἐφώτισεν ἢ Πεισίστρατος, ὥς φησι Διευχίδας ἐν πέμπτῳ Μεγαρικῶν. ἦν δὲ μάλιστα τὰ ἔπη ταυτί, κτλ.). As Jacoby, commentary on Dieuchidas FGrHist 485 F 6, says, no Megarian would have weighed the relative merits of Solon and Peisistratos in spreading Homer’s fame. What has dropped out most likely had to do with alleged interpolations of Peisistratos and Solon. Jacoby, however, is unwilling to take for granted that Dieuchidas included the Athenian entry with other well-known cases, like the Salaminian entry, in his allegation (“Ob Dieuchidas so weit ging dass er gleichzeitig den Abschnitt über Athen B 546/56 für interpoliert erklärte wissen wir nicht”). In any case the Megarians do not seem to have had solid ground textually for their allegations; as Jacoby, commentary on Dieuchidas FGrHist 485 F 6 points out, there was no Megarian ékdosis of Homer that we know of. The Megarians countered the Athenian version of the Salaminian entry with a version of their own, which grouped Salamis with four Megarian towns (Strabo 9.1.10):

Αἴας δ' ἐκ Σαλαμῖνος ἄγεν νέας, ἔκ τε Πολίχνης,
ἔκ τ' Αἰγειρούσσης Νισαίης τε Τριπόδων τε.

Ajax led ships from Salamis, and from Polichna,
and from Aigeiroussa and Nisaia and Tripodes.

Megara has no entry of its own in the Catalogue of Ships, and these lines serve as one, but they are clearly only a reworking of the Athenian version: the number of Ajax’s ships (twelve) was eliminated in the Megarian version, but such a number is indispensable. Every other entry includes the number of ships (the context after all is a catalogue of ships); cf. Weber 1927:147n2.

[ back ] 273. The Athenian entry aims to be as Homeric as possible, particularly with regard to Athena: the Διὸς θυγάτηρ, “daughter of Zeus,” of this passage is precisely the Homeric goddess. The language is likewise unexceptionably Homeric: the phrase περιτελλομένων ἐνιαυτῶν, “as the years revolve,” as noted above, is a Homeric formula; the phrase κοῦροι Ἀθηναίων, “youths of the Athenians,” on the other hand, is a perfect Athenian equivalent of the Homeric formula κοῦροι Ἀχαιῶν, “youths of the Achaeans,” with all the heroic overtones of that phrase. Unlike the catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11, the Athenian entry does not mean to give itself away as Athenian. The earliest direct evidence of the Athenian entry is in Herodotus 7.161.3, where an Athenian envoy to Gela in 480 BC refuses to let the tyrant Gelon command the Greek naval forces against the Persians, citing Homer for the Athenians’ own right to do so: τῶν καὶ Ὅμηρος ὁ ἐποποιὸς ἄνδρα ἄριστον ἔφησε ἐς Ἴλιον ἀπικέσθαι τάξαι τε καὶ διακοσμῆσαι στρατόν. οὕτω οὐκ ὄνειδος οὐδὲν ἡμῖν ἐστι λέγειν ταῦτα, “One of whom (sc. the Athenians) the epic poet Homer said was the best man who came to Troy in ordering and marshaling an army. Thus there can be no reproach of us for saying this.” Similar in tone and close in time is one of the three epigrams inscribed on Athenian herms by Cimon after he defeated the Persians and captured Eion in 476/5 BC. There are slightly different versions of this inscription’s three elegiac couplets in Plutarch Cimon 7.5 and Aeschines Against Ctesiphon 185; Plutarch’s version is as follows:

ἔκ ποτε τῆσδε πόληος ἅμ' Ἀτρείδῃσι Μενεσθεὺς
ἡγεῖτο ζάθεον Τρωικὸν ἐς πεδίον·
ὅν ποθ' Ὅμηρος ἔφη Δαναῶν πύκα θωρηκτάων
κοσμητῆρα μάχης ἔξοχον ὄντα μολεῖν.
οὕτως οὐδὲν ἀεικὲς Ἀθηναίοισι καλεῖσθαι
κοσμηταῖς πολέμου τ' ἀμφὶ καὶ ἠνορέης.

From this city Menestheus was once a leader with the Atreidai
to the holy Trojan plain;
Homer once said that of the close-armored Danaans
he was the best marshaler of battle to go there.
Thus it is not unseemly for the Athenians to be called
marshalers of war and valor.

Earlier the Athenians claimed the right to Sigeion in the Troad on the basis of their participation in the Trojan war, but in Herodotus 5.94 this claim is not based specifically on the Athenian entry to the catalogue (it is not clear whether the period in question was the initial capture of Sigeion c. 600 BC or its later recapture by Peisistratos, since Herodotus confuses the two events). Theopompus was a sharp critic of what he regarded as Athenian falsification and exaggeration with respect to the oath of Plataea and the Battle of Marathon καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα…ἡ Ἀθηναίων πόλις ἀλαζονεύεται καὶ παρακρούεται τοὺς Ἕλληνας (Theopompus FGrHist 115 F 153 = Theon Progymnasmata p. 67 line 28); we do not know if he suspected the Athenian entry (cf. Jacoby, commentary on Dieuchidas FGrHist 485 F 6, n27).

[ back ] 274. See above §3.39 and n3.82, and cf. Simpson and Lazenby 1970:56: “The difficulty with [the Athenian] entry lies not so much in what it contains as in what it omits, for although the mention of Athens itself need excite no surprise whatever period the Catalogue is thought to reflect, we should, on the analogy of other entries, have expected at least some other places in Attica to be mentioned. Page’s argument (1959:171n72) that ‘we have no reason to believe that any place except the great fortress of Athens was worth mentioning in the Catalogue’ is not a sufficient explanation: the Catalogue elsewhere refers to plenty of places which can hardly be regarded as more worthy of mention than, for example, Eleusis, Aphidna, Marathon, or Thorikos.” Ancient critics seem not to have focused on this inconsistency or drawn conclusions from it for the Athenian entry; Strabo 9.1.5 simply regards it as a peculiarity of Homer that when he says Athenians, as in the catalogue, he means the whole population of Attica, a usage that is in fact found later as well; cf. Bölte RE ‘Sparta (Namen und Ableitungen)’ 1269.

[ back ] 275. Of the 29 entries in the Greek catalogue two besides Athens name only one town, of which Salamis, a special case like Athens, is one; for the other, the island of Sume, see below in the text. One entry contains just the island Doulikhion and a group of islands, the Ekhinai (2.625–630); the Magnetes have no towns named, only a river, Peneios, and a mountain, Pelion (2.756–759). Boeotia, which heads the catalogue, has the greatest number of towns named at 29 (2.494–510); Orkhomenos, although in Boeotia, has its own entry because of its onetime glory, but it too is paired with another town Aspledon and does not stand alone (2.511–516). Other entries have between three and twelve towns each. To fit this picture Athens ought to look more perhaps like its neighbor Euboea, which has seven towns named: Chalcis and Eretria head the list and five other towns follow (2.536–545).

[ back ] 276. Cf. Simpson Lazenby 1970:56: “Some scholars have sought an explanation in the tradition that the synoecism of Attica was effected by Theseus, and so before the Trojan War…. But whether or not the synoecism had taken place so early is, surely, largely irrelevant to the problem we are considering: whenever the synoecism took place, it did not result in the other settlements’ in Attica ceasing to exist, and, however tightly they were controlled from Athens, we should still have expected the Catalogue to refer to some of them.”

[ back ] 277. Iliad 2.569–578:

οἳ δὲ Μυκήνας εἶχον ἐϋκτίμενον πτολίεθρον
ἀφνειόν τε Κόρινθον ἐϋκτιμένας τε Κλεωνάς,
Ὀρνειάς τ' ἐνέμοντο Ἀραιθυρέην τ' ἐρατεινὴν
καὶ Σικυῶν', ὅθ' ἄρ' Ἄδρηστος πρῶτ' ἐμβασίλευεν,
οἵ θ' Ὑπερησίην τε καὶ αἰπεινὴν Γονόεσσαν
Πελλήνην τ' εἶχον ἠδ' Αἴγιον ἀμφενέμοντο
Αἰγιαλόν τ' ἀνὰ πάντα καὶ ἀμφ' Ἑλίκην εὐρεῖαν,
τῶν ἑκατὸν νηῶν ἦρχε κρείων Ἀγαμέμνων
Ἀτρεΐδης· ἅμα τῷ γε πολὺ πλεῖστοι καὶ ἄριστοι
λαοὶ ἕποντ'.

And those who held Mycenae, a well-founded citadel,
and wealthy Corinth and well-founded Kleonai,
and those who dwelt in Orneiai and lovely Araithyrea
and Sikyon, where Adrastos first ruled,
and those who held Hyperesia and steep Gonoessa
and Pellene and dwelt around Aigion
and all through Aigialon and around wide Helike,
of these the ruler Agamemnon led one hundred ships,
the son of Atreus; and far the most and best
warriors followed him.

[ back ] 278. Some modern scholars have argued that just parts of the Athenian catalogue have an Athenian origin (e.g. Burr 1944:40–42, who limits the Athenian lines to 550–551, the sacrifices to Erechtheus, and 553–555, the praise of Menestheus). My own view is close to that of Weber 1927, who regards the entire passage as an Athenian creation “aus einem Guss” (“from one cast”), p. 147; see especially pp. 146–149. It is theoretically possible that Athens was omitted entirely in an earlier stage of the catalogue, but I again agree with Weber, pp. 146–147, that Athenian participation in the Iliad, modest as it is, is too well integrated in the poem to be eliminated. If Menestheus and the Athenians were, so to speak, there from the start, then they must have been mentioned in the catalogue. One thing that the new version of the catalogue did not wish to tamper with was the identity of the Athenian leader, which must therefore have been established by tradition. If Athens had inserted itself into the Homeric poems for the first time about 600 BC it would presumably not have chosen the obscure Menestheus as leader, but Theseus or a son of Theseus. Theopompus (and others) may have wished to imply that the Athenians inserted themselves into the Iliad secondarily, but they evidently had no versions of the Iliad without Athens to prove their point. As for the earlier version of the Athenian entry that I envision, it apparently did not survive because of the prestige of the new Athenian version. Megarian writers of the fourth century, who surely would have liked to undermine Athens’ claims based on the Iliad, cannot have found any other version to cite.

[ back ] 279. One may wonder about the time needed for such a bold stroke to succeed. The traditional version cannot have disappeared everywhere at once, however strongly Athens promoted the new version. I would imagine that the traditional version continued to exist in the sixth century, but we know nothing of it because it was never used against the Athenians. In the dispute over Salamis the Spartan arbitrators seem to have been perfectly willing to accept the Salaminian entry forged by the Athenians, so there is no reason to think that questions were raised about the passage preceding it upon which it depended, and which would already have been established for a longer period of time (or perhaps, if Cassio 2002:115 is right that the Salaminian entry must have been in existence for some decades before 560 BC to be accepted as evidence at the Spartan arbitration, both passages had been established for the same period of time). So far as we know it was the Megarian writers of the fourth century who objected to the Salaminian forgery, not the sixth-century Megarians involved in the actual dispute. At any rate the sixth-century Megarians would have had nothing to gain by raising the issue of the Athenian entry; this would have been to the point if the dispute had been about Athens’ right to Eleusis, but that issue was settled decisively the day that Tellos died. We do not hear that Megara ever thought that it had a right to Eleusis, and the reason is, I think, that Eleusis was autonomous before it was annexed by Athens.

[ back ] 280. For Athena’s epithet Διὸς θυγάτηρ, cf. n3.56 above. The text of the Athenian entry is given in §3.39 above.

[ back ] 281. The epithet is often used of a hero’s thumós, “spirit”; it is also used once of the Cyclops (Odyssey 10.200). The epithet μεγάθυμος, which seems similar, is mainly used of warriors and peoples, but twice also of Athena (Odyssey 8.520, 13.121).

[ back ] 282. For Poseidon’s absence from the passage see above §3.72 and n3.193. Mikalson 1976:146n21 interprets the sacrifices as belonging to a god rather than a hero on the basis of the verb ἱλάονται, “propitiated,” but this form, and the usual Homeric form ἱλάσκονται as well, could surely be used of either; the verb’s usage appears one-sided in Homer because (apart from this passage) there are no hero cults in Homer (cf. Farnell 1921:11). While I do not accept Mikalson’s specific arguments, I do agree with him that Erechtheus was originally a god (Mikalson follows Nilsson’s view that Erechtheus was a “divine child” like Hyakinthos).

[ back ] 283. In Homer dē̂mos designates either land or people; the well attested Mycenaean form damo designates a local administrative entity concerned with agriculture (Lejeune 1965:6–7). If dē̂mos is related to daíomai, “divide,” land rather than people is its primary etymological meaning (cf. Chantraine 1999 s.vv.).

[ back ] 284. Jacoby 1944. Following Mommsen 1898:174 Jacoby argues that Solon transformed individual clan festivals of the dead (genésia) into one state festival. Jacoby’s general point about Solon’s reform of cults is of special interest: “One may…emphasize more than has been done hitherto that a number of important measures taken by Solon in the domain of political life and particularly in the sphere of cult, where he did not shrink from profound changes, form part of a definite political programme” (p. 69). On pp. 72–73 Jacoby considers other examples in the cults of Aphrodite Pandemos and Apollo Patroos. On pp. 73–74 he contrasts the reform activity of Cleisthenes, who did not interfere with cults, with that of Solon ninety years earlier: “The difference between the two lawgivers is in no way surprising. The power of the clans was founded to a great extent on their religious functions; most of the cults and feasts (and certainly the most important ones were clan festivals) were in a manner of speaking their private possession. The fact has long ago been inferred from the privileged position left to them even in historical times at several festivals of great religious importance, and it does not matter much that our knowledge as to the details is rather restricted.” Cf. also Jeffery 1948:110 and 110n86: “It is clear that the body of laws attributed to Solon did contain references to various religious matters.” The examples, however, are not plentiful; Jeffery cites Photius Lexicon s.v. ὀργεῶνας: Σέλευκος δὲ ἐν τῷ ὑπομνήματι τῶν Σόλωνος ἀξόνων· ὀργεῶνας φησὶ καλεῖσθαι τοὺς συνόδους ἔχοντας περί τινας ἥρωας ἢ θεούς, “Seleukos in his treatise on Solon’s law tablets says that they are called orgeō̂nes who have gatherings for certain heroes or gods,” and Pollux 1.29: Σόλων δὲ τὰ ἔμπηρα καὶ ἀφελῆ ὠνόμασε, “Solon also called the crippled ones by the term ἀφελῆ” (the context is laws ensuring the fitness of sacrificial victims).

[ back ] 285. See Henderson 1982 for an analysis of how Solon’s poetry would have effectively communicated the statesman’s program in an oral society. Although this is not the place to examine Solon’s poetry in detail, fr. 4 West, as elucidated by Henderson, calls for some comment. The first four lines, which are full of assurances about Athens’ ultimate well-being, open the poem with “an accumulation of Homeric words and phrases”; after this introduction Solon turns to the city’s unhealthy state, and here “Homeric echoes all but vanish to make way for the poet’s own personal statement and diction” in the rest of the poem, his “personal diagnosis of the ills affecting the ‘great city’ (μεγάλην πόλιν, line 5) which is being destroyed by its own citizens (lines 5–6)” (Henderson 1982:26–27; cf. also Irwin 2005:164–198, who distinguishes between a Homeric opening to the poem and a Hesiodic continuation). The “Homeric” opening of the poem contains all the elements that I would attribute to Solon’s reform of Athena’s cult: Athena’s identity as the warrior protectress of Athens, her close relationship to Zeus as his daughter, and the guarantee of Zeus’s protection that this relationship brings (Solon 4.1–4 West):

ἡμετέρη δὲ πόλις κατὰ μὲν Διὸς οὔποτ' ὀλεῖται
αἶσαν καὶ μακάρων θεῶν φρένας ἀθανάτων·
τοίη γὰρ μεγάθυμος ἐπίσκοπος ὀβριμοπάτρη
Παλλὰς Ἀθηναίη χεῖρας ὕπερθεν ἔχει.

Our city will never be destroyed by the destiny of Zeus
and the will of the blessed immortals.
For such a great-hearted guardian, Pallas Athena,
the daughter of a mighty father, holds her hands over it.

These lines present a picture which would have been totally familiar to fifth-century Athenians (cf. §3.42–§3.47 above), but which I think was much newer in Solon’s day: the city goddess had not always been identical with the Homeric goddess. Henderson comments that “it is impossible to be sure how the Homeric echoes [of the opening lines] struck Solon’s audience” (Henderson 1982:27); for my part I do not think that the Athenians heard only the comforting ring of the familiar in these lines. There is something much bolder in them—a new vision which not all Athenians, if their privileges were affected, may readily have accepted. For the question of Solon’s knowledge of what we know as the Iliad and the Odyssey see n4.149 below.

[ back ] 286. Weber 1927:148. Weber refers to Meyer 1893:653–654 (= 1954:605) for the further observation that the name τέλη for the divisions into which Solon divided the citizens on the basis of a strict census had a military origin, as use of the word in epic suggests (e.g. Iliad 10.56 and 470 and Iliad 18.298).

[ back ] 287. Solon is said to have used the phrase λιπαρὴ κουροτρόφος, “glistening nurse-mother,” of Γῆ, “Earth” (Solon fr. 43 West = Choricius Oration 2.6); West ad loc. compares the description of Ithaca in Odyssey 9.27: τρηχεῖ', ἀλλ' ἀγαθὴ κουροτρόφος, “rugged, but a good nurse-mother.” The cult to Kourotróphos Gē̂ was founded by Erichthonios in return for his nurture according to the Suda (see n3.232 above), and one wonders whether goddess and nursling were already linked (however loosely) in Solon’s time. For Γῆ in Solon as both the Athenian land and the earth more generally, cf. fr. 36. 5 West, where Γῆ μέλαινα, “black Earth,” is called μήτηρ μεγίστη δαιμόνων Ὀλυμπίων, “greatest mother of the Olympian gods” (line 4), but the context is Solon’s land reform in Athens: τῆς ἐγώ ποτε / ὅρους ἀνεῖλον πολλαχῇ πεπηγότας, “whose boundary markers, implanted everywhere, I once removed” (lines 5–6). For the epithet λιπαρή, “glistening, bright,” used of Γῆ, “Earth,” cf. the phrase λιπαρὴν πόλιν, “glistening city,” in Theognis 947 (the passage in which this occurs, Theognis 945–948, is attributed to Solon by Bergk; cf. West IEG, vol. 2, p. 144). Solon’s interest in Erichthonios, which is only speculative with respect to the phrase (Γῆ) λιπαρὴ κουροτρόφος, “glistening nurse-mother (Earth),” is supported by Plato’s Critias, in which the myth of Athena and Hephaistos as the creators of a race of autochthonous Athenians is attributed to Solon in an unfinished poem about Atlantis. There are several things in this story that suggest what I see as Solon’s reform of myth and cult in Athens, including an armed “form and image” of the goddess Athena (this is the transformed image of Athena Polias), the inclusion of both Erichthonios and Erechtheus in the list of early kings (this duplication occurred when Erechtheus was removed from Athena’s temple), and the pairing of Athena and Hephaistos as the first gods of Athens, responsible for the race of autochthonous Athenians. With the pairing of Athena and Hephaistos in this story we can compare Solon’s own words in a different context, namely a catalogue of human pursuits in which the craftsman is said to have learned the érga of Athena and Hephaistos, the two gods of crafts (Solon fr. 13.49–50 West):

ἄλλος Ἀθηναίης τε καὶ Ἡφαίστου πολυτέχνεω
ἔργα δαεὶς χειροῖν ξυλλέγεται βίοτον.

Another, learning the works of Athena and Hephaistos skilled in many arts,
gathers his livelihood with his hands.

When these lines were composed the pairing of Athena and Hephaistos as gods of crafts was not new (see above n3.239 [end] on Odyssey 6.233), but the Homeric pairing would have had its own resonance in Athens, where Hephaistos must have been new to Athenian cult, and Athena Ergánē was what was left of Athena as a mother goddess (cf. n3.50 above). Plato’s text is considered in more detail in EN3.15.

[ back ] 288. If my argument is correct, Solon’s importance for the Homeric poems in Athens is undervalued in comparison with the role of Peisistratos. This point is elaborated in EN3.16.