8. Conventions, themes and formulae

We have seen in the last chapter that the structure of the ancient thrênos had much in common with the structure of the hýmnos, enkómion and epitáphios. The same is true of many of the ideas. [1] The similarities between these ancient forms arise from their common ritual basis: since the dead were not infrequently men who had become heroes and were entitled to be worshipped as gods, the distinctions between songs to the dead and hymns to the gods cannot be too sharply drawn, as is reflected in the use of these terms in tragedy. [2] In this chapter, I shall examine in detail the importance of these common elements in the lament, and the extent of their survival today.

Initial hesitation and questions

It was traditional to the ancient thrênos, hýmnos, enkómion and epitáphios for the speaker to begin by expressing anxiety lest he should fail to find words adequate for the occasion. [3] This initial hesitation is most frequently expressed by means of questions. [4] The chorus begin their lament for Agamemnon with the words: [5]
— ἰὼ ἰὼ βασιλεῦ βασιλεῦ,
πῶς σε δακρύσω;
φρενὸς ἐκ φιλίας τί ποτ᾽ εἴπω;
A. Ag. 1489-91
— Ιό, Ιό, my king, my king,
how shall I weep for you?
what can I say to express my affection? {161|162}
In the lament, the opening question may not only imply caution, but may also be used to emphasise the plight of the mourner. When Hector is killed and his body mangled by Achilles, Hekabe leads the lament of the Trojan women with the words, ‘Ah child! I am wretched why should I live on in misery and suffering now that you are dead?’ (Il. 22.431-2). [6] Or, as well as beginning a lament with a series of questions, the mourner might break off a train of thought, as if in sudden realisation of loss, with quick, short questions, which emphasise the transition from the central narrative section to the final lament and address. In Sophokles’ Ajax, Teukros begins his lament for the fallen hero with a series of questions, poignantly emphasising the extent of his sorrow, then thinks of the distress and anger he will cause their father Telamon at home with the news of Ajax’ suicide. Suddenly he turns from his own anguish, present and future, to the body which lies before him, and cries out, ‘Alas, what can I do? How can I free you rom this bitter, glittering sword, the murderous agent of your death, wretched one? You see how Hector, in the course of time, although he now lies dead, was destined to be the cause of your destruction?’ (S. Aj. 1024-7). [7]
By the end of antiquity, the convention was well established in poetic and prose laments of all kinds, including the funeral oration and the funerary inscriptions. [8] It survived in the Byzantine funeral oration and in the archaising poetic laments, where it was a more or less direct imitation of classical models rather than a creative renewal. [9] But in the laments of Byzantine religious literature there is considerably greater variety and spontaneity. Mary begins her lament for Christ in Romanos’ kontákion with an address framed as a question: ‘Where are you going, child? For whose sake are you completing this swift course?’ (Romanos 19.1, 5). The ‘Great Kanon’ of Andreas of Crete (c. 660-740), a penitential hymn for Mid-Lent week, begins the lamentations with the tropárion: [10]
Πῶς ἄρξομαι θρηνεῖν          τὰς τοῦ ἀθλίου μου βίου πράξεις;
      Ποίαν ἀπαρχὴν          ἐπιθήσω, Χριστέ,
τῇ νῦν θρηνῳδίᾳ;
Cantarella 100
How shall I begin to lament the actions of my wretched life?
What beginning shall I preface, O Christ,
to my present lamentation?
Outside the context of religious poetry and prose, the convention of initial hesitation expressed by means of questions was well {162|163} established in the laments of the anonymous verse romances of the fourteenth to fifteenth centuries, in the epic poem Digenis Akritas, and in the Thrênoi for the fall of Constantinople. [11] That it was not merely a literary convention, but continued to exist in the ritual laments of the people, is perhaps suggested by its frequency in the laments recorded in the Lives of the Saints, uttered by the grief-stricken fathers and mothers for the martyrdom of their children. Some of the examples cited by Symeon Metaphrastes are worth quoting in full, because they illustrate the traditional nature of certain motifs which recur in association with the convention. In the Life of Saint Euphrosyne, Paphnoutios, overcome with grief, plucks the hair of his beard and tears his cheeks with his nails, crying out:
Ποῖ πεπόρευσαι, τέκνον; … τί με τὸν σὸν πενθεῖν καὶ σκυθρωπάζειν γεννήτορα καταλέλοιπας; οὐκ ἐπὶ τοιαύταις ἐλπίσιν ἀνέτρεφον, ἀλλ’ ὥστε βακτηρίαν τοῦ γήρως ἔχειν, καὶ τῆς ἀσθενείας παράκλησιν. Οἴ μοι! τέκνον ἐμόν, πῶς τὴν σὴν οἴσω στέρησιν; πῶς ἐνέγκω τὴν μόνωσιν;
Migne 114.316A
Where have you gone, my child? … Why have you deserted me, your father, to grieve for you in sadness? It was not with expectations such as these that I reared you, but to have a staff of support in my old age, and some consolation in my weakness. Alas! my child, how can I bear your loss? How can I endure the loneliness?
In the Life of Saint Xenophon, the news of the death by drowning of a man’s sons is greeted with the words, Οἴ μοι! … τί τὰ γεγονότα ταῦτα; … ποία γλῶττα τῷ ὑμετέριῳ πατρὶ τὸ ὑμῶν οἴκτιστον ἀπαγγελεῖ θάνατον; (Alas! … What events are these? What tongue will tell your father the news of your pitiful death?) ibid. 1029. The same thought is expressed in another lament spoken by a mother for the death of her child: [12]
Φεῦ, ὅτι τὸ σὸν ἐγὼ τέλος ὁρῶ, ἥτις ὑπὸ σοὶ μᾶλλον καὶ ταῖς σαῖς ἐλπίσι γηροτροφηθήσεσθαι ἤλπιζον, τοιαῦτά μοι νῦν ἐκτίνεις, ὁ φίλτατος, τὰ τροφεῖα; Τοιούτους ἡ δειλαία τῶν ἐλπίδων ἐγὼ δρέπομαι τοὺς καρπούς; Ποίῳ στόματι, ποίᾳ γλώισσῃ τὰ σὰ φθέγξομαι, ποίοις ὄμμασιν ἀνακλαύσομαι;
Migne 115.1156B-C
Alas that I should see your end, I who hope to be nursed in my old age by you, and by your hopes! Are these {163|164} the wages that you pay me for my care of you, dearest one? Are these the fruits I reap from my hopes, wretched that I am? With what mouth, with what tongue shall I utter your misfortunes, with what eyes shall I weep?
Despite the archaising language, and the inclusion of certain stereotyped motifs which emphasise the self-centred concern of the parent, it is possible to glimpse here something of the traditional contents of these laments, most of which are explicitly stated to have been accompanied by ritual gestures of lamentation.
That the convention continued to exist in the laments of popular tradition is shown by the diversity of form in which it survives today. A mourner from Karpathos stops to think before she can find the appropriate manner of lamentation: [13]
Πῶς νὰ σὲ κλάψω σήμερο στέκω καὶ συλλοοῦμαι …
Michaelidis-Nouaros 316
I stop and think how I can mourn for you today …
Another, from Mani, opens with questions expressing her concern to find the right words: [14]
Τίνος τὸ ξέρει ἡ γλῶσσα του, τίνος τὸ βγάνει ὁ νοῦς του,
νὰ τοῦ τὸ βρῆ, νὰ τοῦ τὸ εἰπῆ τ’ ὅμοιο του μοιρολόι;
Pasayanis 18.1-2
Whose tongue can know it, whose mind can conceive it,
to find for him and say for him the dirge he deserves?
In the ballad The Young Girl and Charos, the grave-digger cannot find words to tell Kostandis of the death of his beloved. The formula he uses is strikingly similar to that in the Lives of the Saints cited above:
Ποιὸς ἔχει γλῶσσα νὰ στὸ πῆ, στόμα νὰ σοῦ μιλήση,
τούτ᾽ ἡ φωτιὰ ποὺ σ’ ἄναψε, ποιὸς θὲ νὰ σοῦ τὴ σβήση;
Politis 217.35-6
Who has the tongue to tell you, lips to utter it?
Who will quench for you this fire which has set you alight?
Another common device is to follow the introductory question with a series of hypotheses, which are then contrasted with the reality, as in another of the so-called ballads of the Underworld: [15]
Γιατί εἶναι μαῦρα τὰ βουνὰ καὶ στέκουν βουρκωμένα;
Μὴν ἄνεμος τὰ πολεμᾶ, μήνα βροχὴ τὰ δέρνει;
Κι οὐδ’ ἄνεμος τὰ πολεμᾶ, κι οὐδὲ βροχὴ τὰ δέρνει,
μόνε διαβαίνει ὁ Χάροντας μὲ τοὺς ἀποθαμένους.
Politis 218.1-4 {164|165}
Why are the mountains black, why are they shrouded in cloud?
Does the wind torment them, or does the rain lash them?
The wind does not torment them, and the rain does not lash them,
it is Charondas who passes by with his company of dead.
These modern examples, while far from exhaustive, are perhaps sufficient to indicate that beneath the survival of a poetic convention there has persisted the same ritual belief as in antiquity that insufficient or unsatisfactory lamentation of the dead man may provoke his anger and revenge. [16]

The contrast: past and present

A common method of prayer or appeal in the ancient hymn and ode was to remind the god addressed of past services the speaker had rendered him, or of previous occasions when similar prayers had been answered. Its traditional formula, ‘if ever before, so now …’ rested on the contrast between past and present. [17] Similarly in the lament, the mourner frequently reinforced an appeal by contrasting past and present, her own fate with that of the dead. After the introductory address, which frequently contained questions, the mourner turned to reflect on what the dead was in his lifetime, and what he has come to now; the hopes cherished then, the despair he has now caused, the journey he is now making to Hades, and the desolation of those left behind. Seeing Patroklos dead, Briseis throws herself on his body and tears her cheeks, neck and breast, crying out:
Πάτροκλ’ ἐμοὶ δειλῇ πλεῖστον κεχαρισμένε θυμῷ,
ζωὸν μέν σε ἔλειπον ἐγὼ κλισίηθεν ἰοῦσα,
νῦν δέ σε τεθνηῶτα κιχάνομαι, ὄρχαμε λαῶν,
ἂψ ἀνιοῦσ’ ὥς μοι δέχεται κακὸν ἐκ κακοῦ αἰεί.
Il. 19.287-90
Patroklos, my soul's delight! Woe is me!
I left you alive when I went out of the hut,
and now I come back to find you dead,
leader of people. My life has brought one grief after another.
This type of contrast was traditional, and is found in some form in nearly all kinds of lament throughout antiquity, including the epigrams {165|166} and the funerary inscriptions. [18] In the choral odes of tragedy it is extended from the essentially self-centred expression of grief for one person's death into a tragic assessment of the futility of human life in general. What man had seemed so favoured by the gods and so fortunate as Oedipus? ask the chorus of Sophokles’ Oedipus Tyrannus, and reply, ‘But now, whose story is more bitter to tell?’, thus giving a new perspective to their opening lament for mankind, that all the generations of mortal man add up to nothing (OT 1186-1212). [19]
In the ancient lament, the commonest formula for this convention was to contrast one clause, introduced by before or then, with a second clause, introduced by now. [20] Frequently it marked the transition from the opening address to the central narrative section, or from the central section to the final address, thus forming part of the structure. [21] How was it affected by the disintegration of the three-part form, on which it was to some extent dependent, towards the end of antiquity? As early as in Alexandrian poetry, the contrast between past and present in its Homeric and classical form appears to give way to the reiteration of now, usually introducing an invocation to nature to join in the lamentation, as in Moschos’ Epitáphios for Bion:
Νῦν φυτά μοι μύρεσθε καὶ ἄλσεα νῦν γοάοισθε,
ἄνθεα νῦν στυγνοῖσιν ἀποπνείοιτε κορύμβοις·
νῦν ῥόδα φοινίσσεσθε τὰ πένθιμα, νῦν ἀνεμῶναι,
νῦν ὑάκινθε λάλει τὰ σὰ γράμματα …
Moschos 3.3-6
Now mourn, plants, now sing dirges, groves,
flowers, now expire with gloomy clusters.
Now roses, now anemones, put on mourning crimson,
now, hyacinth, speak out your letters …
This device was further elaborated in the rhetorical structure of the prose laments of late antiquity. In Aelius Aristeides’ Monody on Smyrna, written when that city was destroyed by earthquake in the late second century A.D. (c. 178), the frequent repetition of now is balanced in many cases by the past tense of a finite verb, thus preserving the classical form of the contrast with slight variation (18.5, 7, 8, 9 ed. Keil). The same style is evident in the Byzantine funeral oration and epigram; [22] while in the archaising laments of Quintus and Psellos, the Homeric and Hellenistic forms are preserved without any further development. [23]
In the religious laments, however, the contrast is found in a great variety of forms, some of them new. In the Testament of Job (c. first {166|167} century B.C.), there is a remarkable lyrical planctus for Job’s wife—who was forced by poverty to sell her hair to Satan in order to buy bread—where a long series of contrasts between past and present becomes the basis for a highly stylised piece of rhythmic prose: [24]
Τίς οὐκ ἐξεπλάγη ὅτι αὕτη ἐστιν Σίτιδος ἡ γυνὴ τοῦ Ἰώβ,
ἥτις εἶχεν σκεπάζοντα αὐτῆς τὸ καθεστήριον βῆλα δεκατέσσαρα,
καὶ θύραν ἔνδοθεν θυρῶν ἕως ἂν ὅλως καταξιωθῇ τις εἰσαχθῆναι πρὸς αὐτήν
νυνὶ δὲ καταλλάσσει τὴν τρίχα αὐτῆς ἀντὶ ἄρτων;
Ἧς αἱ κάμηλοι γεγομωμέναι ἀγαθῶν ἀπέφερον εἰς τὰς χώρας τοῖς πτωχοῖς,
     ὅτι νῦν ἀντιδίδωσιν τὴν τρίχα αὐτῆς ἀντὶ ἄρτων.
Ἴδε ἡ ἔχουσα ἑπτὰ τραπέζας ἀκινήτους ἐπὶ οἰκίας
     εἰς ἂς ἤσθιον οἱ πτωχοὶ καὶ πᾶς ξένος
     ὅτι νῦν καταπιπράσκει τὴν τρίχαν ἀντὶ ἄρτων.
Βλέπε τίς εἶχε τὸν νιπτῆρα τῶν ποδῶν αὐτῆς χρυσοῦ καὶ ἀργύρου,
     νυνὶ δὲ ποσὶ βαδίζει ἐπὶ ἐδάφους,
     ἀλλὰ καὶ τὴν τρίχα ἀντι καταλλάσσει ἀντὶ ἄρτων.
Ἴδε ὅτι αὕτη ἐστιν ἥτις εἶχεν τὴν ἔνδυσιν ἐκ βύσσου
     ὑφασμένην σὺν χρυσῷ
     νῦν δὲ φορεῖ ῥακκώδη
     καὶ ἀντι καταλλάσσει τὴν τρίχαν ἀντὶ ἄρτων.
Βλέπε τὴν τοὺς κραββάτους χρυσέους καὶ ἀργυρέους ἔχουσαν,
     νυνὶ δὲ πιπράσκουσαν τὴν τρίχα ἀντὶ ἄρτων.
Testament of Job 25, ed. James TS 5.1 (1897) 118
Who has not been struck with amazement that this is Sitidos, Job’s wife, who had her chamber hung with fourteen curtains, and doors within doors until one was judged quite worthy to be admitted to her, and now she exchanges her hair for bread. She whose camels laden with goods would take them to the poor in the villages, now she gives her hair in exchange for bread! Behold, she who had in her home seven tables permanently fixed at which the poor and every stranger would eat, now she sells her hair for bread! See, she whose foot-basin was of gold and silver, now she walks barefoot on the ground, yes now she exchanges her hair for bread! Behold, it is she whose dress was of fine yellow flax with golden threads, yet now she wears rags and exchanges her hair for bread! See, she {167|168} whose beds were made of gold and silver, now she sells her hair for bread!
Similarly, in all forms of the Virgin’s lament throughout Greek tradition, the contrast has remained an important and vital element. In Romanos’ kontákion, Mary begins the narrative section of her first ament with the words, ‘I did not expect to see you, child, in these straits, nor did I ever believe that the lawless ones would reach such a state of fury, and that they would lay hands on you unjustly … And now, for what reason has a worse deed been accomplished?’ (19.2, 1-3, 7). [25]
The use of the invocational now is rather more restrained in the religious than in the learned laments, reserved on the whole for the emphasis of important feast days, especially Easter. [26] In close association with this is the reiteration of σήμερον (today), which is used specifically to announce the day of Crucifixion or of Resurrection, and hence common in the Virgin's lament. [27] Like the invocational now in ancient tradition, it commands or emphasises the sympathy of nature, but the sound of the word imparts a heavier, more solemn rhythm, as in the splendid opening lines of Romanos’ kontákion On the Passion, which set the scene for the Crucifixion:
Σήμερον ἐταράττετο          τῆς γῆς τὰ θεμέλια,
ὁ ἥλιος ἠλλοιοῦτο          μὴ στέγων θεωρῆσαι·
ἐν σταυρῷ γὰρ περιέκειτο          ὁ πάντων ζωοδότης.
Romanos 20.1,1-3
Today the foundations of the earth were confounded,
the sun changed its course, unable to endure the sight;
for he who gave life to all things was laid on the cross.
Lines similar to these are still an almost invariable opening to the Virgin’s lament in modern folk tradition; and the formula also introduces several dramatic themes in the Akritic poems. [28] In a modern ritual lament from Mani, the same formula is used to describe the cataclysmic forces of nature in sympathy with the mourner’s grief:
Σήμερα ἐγίνη ἀλαλαγμός,
ὁ ἥλιος ἐσκοτείνιασε
στὸν κάμπο τοῦ Σολοτεριοῦ …
Σήμερα ἐγίνηκε σεισμός …
Σκοτάδι χειμωνιάτικο
κι ἡμέρα νύχτα ἔγινε.
Pasayanis 169.1-3, 7, 18-19 {168|169}
Today there has been a great cry,
the sun has darkened
on the plain of Soloteri …
Today there has been an earthquake …
There is winter blackness,
and day has turned into night.
Here we have an extension of a formula which originated in religious literature, preserved in popular tradition to the present day with a fine sense of dramatic economy for only the most solemn declaration of tragic events.
As for vernacular poetry of the post-Byzantine period, in the laments for the fall of Constantinople the contrast was further elaborated in the form of a reiterated finite verb in the past tense usually you were or you had—which is contrasted with a finite verb in the present tense and now. This is how Constantinople is addressed and lamented in the Thrênos for Constantinople:
Ἤσουν φωστῆρας τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, ἄστρον τῆς Ἀφροδίτης,
αὐγερινὸς λαμπρότατος, ὁπού ’φεγγες τὸν κόσμον,
ὁπού ’φεγγες κι ἐδρόσιζες ὅλην τὴν οἰκουμένην …
Μὰ τώρα ἐσκλαβώθηκες, οἴμοι, ἐγίνης δούλη.
Zoras 201.23-5, 31, cf. 36-45
You were the illuminator of the sky, the star of Aphrodite, the brightest morning star, who shed your light on the world, who shed your light and coolness on the whole universe … But now you have been enslaved, alas, you have become a bondmaid.
In the seventeenth-century Cretan play, The Sacrifice of Abraham, Sarah laments Isaacs imminent death in similar, but less stylised terms:
Ἐννιὰ μῆνες σ’ ἐβάσταξα, τέκνο μου, κανακάρη,
’ς τοῦτο τὸ κακορίζικο καὶ σκοτεινὸ κουφάρι.
Τρεῖς χρόνους, γιέ μου, σοῦ ’διδα τὸ γάλα τῶ βυζῶ μου
κι ἐσύ ’σουνε τὰ μάτια μου κι ἐσύ ᾽σουνε τὸ φῶς μου.
Ἐθώρουν κι ἐμεγάλωνες ὡσὰ δεντροῦ κλωνάρι
κι ἐπλήθενες στὴν ἀρετή, στὴ γνώση καὶ στὴ χάρη∙
καὶ τώρα, πέ μου, ποιὰ χαρὰ βούλεσαι νὰ μοῦ δώσης;
For nine months I carried you, my child, my darling one,
in this miserable and dark body of mine. {169|170}
For three years, my son, I gave you milk from my breasts,
and you were my eyes and you were my light.
I watched you grow up like a shoot from a tree,
and with you grew your virtue, your sense and your charm.
And now, tell me, what joy do you think you will give me?
Exactly the same formulaic structure is used lyrically in the modern folk laments to introduce elaborate imagery in praise of the dead, as in the following example from Kynouria: [29]
’Εγώ, μάτια μ’, καλὰ σ’ ἀγάπαγα, ἐγὼ καλὰ σὲ εἶχα∙
σὲ εἶχα μόσκο στὸ κουτὶ καὶ σύρμα στὸ καλάμι,
σὲ εἶχα κι ἀσημοκάντηλο κι ἐφώταγες τὸ σπίτι.
Τώρα τὸ σύρμα σκούργιασε, ὁ μόσκος δὲ μυρίζει,
τώρα τ’ ἀσημοκάντηλο ἔπεσε κι ἐτσακίστη.
Laog (1911) 489-90
My love, I loved you well, I kept you well.
I kept you as musk in the box and wire in the reed, (?)
I kept you as a silver lamp which lit up the home.
Now the wire has rusted, the musk has lost its fragrance,
now the silver lamp has fallen and shattered.
Occasionally, τώρα (now) is reiterated, like the ancient νῦν, to command the sympathy of nature: [30]
Τώρα, οὐρανέ μου, βρόντησε, τώρα, οὐρανέ μου, βρέξε,
ρίξε στοὺς κάμπους τὴ βροχὴ καὶ στὰ βουνὰ τὸ χιόνι,
στοῦ πικραμένου τὴν αὐλὴ τρία γυαλιὰ φαρμάκι.
Politis 173.1-3
Now, my sky, thunder, now, my sky, rain!
Send rain to the plains, snow to the mountains,
and three phials of poison to the courtyard of the embittered one.
Finally, just as in the ancient hymn the speaker strengthened his prayer by reminding the god of past services, so in the following lament from Mani a mother reproaches Saint Dimitrios for failing to save her son—who has the same name—from drowning, in spite of their careful attentions to his chapel and his icon:
— Ἀηδημήτρη ἀφέντη μου, — Saint Dimitris, my Lord,
δὲ σὲ δοξάσαμε ποτές; did we never glorify you?
Δὲ σὲ φωτολοήσαμ,ε; Did we not keep your lamp burning? {170|171}
Δὲ σ’ ἤφερε ὁ Δημήτρης μου Did my Dimitris not bring you
τρία ἀσημοκάντηλα three silver oil lamps
καὶ μανουάλια τέσσερα; and four candelabra?
Τὶς πόρτες σου μὲ τὶς μπογιὲς Painted doors for you
Καὶ μιὰν εἰκόνα ὁλόχρυση; … and an icon of gold?
Πῶς δὲν ἐβοήθησες καὶ σὺ How then did you not help
μὲς στοῦ Τσιρίγου τὸ νησί, at the island of Tsirigo
ποὺ ἀναθεώθη ἡ θάλασσα … when the sea was confounded …
κι ἐπνίγηκε ἡ μπουμπάρδα μας; and our boat was sunk?
Pasayanis 218
Similarly, in a vendetta ballad also from Mani, a mourner incites the wife of the murdered man to vengeance by reminding her of the past, of how her husband was suddenly attacked by three men and shot dead. This narrative of the past, introduced by the words, ‘Do you remember?’, is used to strengthen the final appeal, which calls on the dead man to think of the future of his children and ensure that justice is done (Pasayanis 155).
Thus, although on the whole the same themes of contrast between past and present and the same forms of expression recur in the lament throughout Greek tradition, there are some distinctions: in the Byzantine learned lament, both in poetry and prose, the main emphasis is on the rhetorical form, whereas in both the religious and the popular laments the actual content of the contrast is more important, and old forms are adapted or new ones introduced. But perhaps the closest parallels to the contrast in the ancient lament are to be found in the modern folk laments, which because they are intended for ritual performance and are not literary compositions, have preserved something of the ancient function of the convention as well as its variety of form and content.

The contrast: mourner and dead

Inseparable from the contrast between past and present in the Scient lament was the contrast between mourner and dead, so that parallel to clauses introduced by before and now was the formulaic structure I and you. [31]
In ancient Greek, the use of the second person pronoun, in all cases, with verbs, relatives and participles, was a universal mode of ritual address in praise of god, hero or man, to be found in the hýmnos, enkómion, epitáphios and thrênos alike. But whereas in the lament, the {171|172} dead man’s fate, introduced by the pronoun σύ (you), was contrasted with the mourner's present or future condition, introduced by ἐγώ (I), in the other three forms it was more usual to emphasise exclusively the power and virtue of the god or hero. Since this convention was so deeply rooted in ancient tradition, it is worth examining its subsequent development in the lament in some detail.
In an exhaustive study of modes of address in ancient Greek, Hebrew and Christian religious literature, E. A. Norden has suggested that the similarities between them are sufficient to indicate a common origin in the ancient near Eastern tradition of Egypt and Babylonia. He does, however, draw certain distinctions between the Greek and Oriental formulae, both of which he believes to have influenced the Christian liturgy: first, whereas in ancient Greek, the second and third person pronouns are most frequently found with finite verbs of action, with participles and with relative clauses, by far the commonest Oriental formula is with the verb to be (you are and he is); second, absent from Greek but predominant in the east is the corresponding I am formula, expressing the power and nature of the god. These differences, Norden argues, reflect a distinct attitude to religion—the Oriental static, absolute and god-centred, the Greek more dynamic and man-centred. If, as he believes, it was not until the period of Hellenistic expansion that these two formulae came into Greek from the east, then mere correspondence between ancient and later modes of address in Greek does not prove continuity of a single tradition, but rather that the Christian liturgy was influenced in this respect mainly by Oriental tradition and only indirectly by ancient Greek. [32]
It is a plausible argument, and if correct, not without an important bearing on the question of continuity. But before we accept all the implications of Norden’s conclusions, the ancient Greek evidence needs closer examination. First, it seems that the use of the copula, particularly of εἶναι, was not highly developed in ancient Greek. Further, in main clauses the concept I am, you are, was expressed either by the verb or by the pronoun, but only by both together where particular emphasis was required. Finally, it was only in Greek of the Hellenistic period that εἶναι became established as the commonest form of the copula. [33] The apparent absence of the so-called ‘Oriental’ modes of address in ancient Greek may therefore be due to linguistic rather than to religious factors.
More specifically, modes of address in the second person, most commonly with the verb to be (ἐσσί), are frequent in the ancient encomiastic odes and hymns as part of a ritual formula which marks the culmination of a prayer after an address with the emphatic use of the {172|173} pronoun σύ. [34] In the lament, this mode of address is found frequently in the past tense in the contrast between mourner and dead, emphasising the virtues of the dead man. Lamenting Hector, Hekabe tells him how he was greeted by every Trojan as a god: [35]
… ἦ γὰρ καὶ σφι μάλα μέγα κῦδος ἔησθα
ζωὸς ἐών· νῦν αὖ θάνατος καὶ μοῖρα κιχάνει.
Il. 22.435-6
… for you were their greatest glory
while you were alive. But now, Death and Fate have come upon you.
With the address in the third person, the verb to be is found in the past tense in hymns and laments alike as part of the ritual account of past deeds, sometimes following a series of participles and relatives; [36] occasionally, the verb is subject to ellipse, and we have a praise formula much like one found in the modern folk laments. [37]
Also, as for Norden’s Oriental I am formula, granted its predominance in Oriental tradition and the rarity of both pronoun and verb together in Greek, ἐγώ and εἰμί are used separately with exactly the same force, and are associated in the ancient hymns with gods and heroes. [38] Related to this formula of divine or prophetic proclamation in the hymns is the opening of many funerary inscriptions and epigrams, early and late: [39]
Χαλκέη παρθένος εἰμί, Μίδεω δ’ ἐπὶ σήματι κεῖμαι.
Hom. Epigr. 3.1
I am a maiden of bronze, set upon the tomb of Midas.
In an interesting inscription on a stele from Mesembria (perhaps second century A.D.), the dead woman is deified, and clearly identified with Hekate:
Ἐνθάδε ἐγώ κεῖμε Ἑκάτη θεός, ὡς ἑσορᾷς.
ἤμην τὸ πάλαι βροτός, νῦν δὲ ἀθάνατος καὶ ἀγήρως,
’Ιουλία Νεικίου θυγάτηρ, μεγαλήτορος ἀνδρός.
Peek 438a
I lie here, the goddess Hekate, as you see.
Once I was mortal, but now I am immortal and ageless.
Julia, daughter of Nikias, a great-hearted man.
An inscription from Aptera in Crete (third to fourth centuries A.D.), written by Nikon for his wife, concludes:
εἰμὶ δ’ ἐγὼ (ὁ) γράψας Νείκων ὁ ἀνὴρ αὐτῆς γεγονώς γε, νῦν δ᾽ οὐκέτι.
Guarducci RF (1929) 378-82 {173|174}
I am Nikon, who wrote this; I was once her husband, but now I am no longer.
Contrary to Norden’s view, there would appear to be no consistent avoidance in ancient Greek of the association of the concept of essence or being with divinity. [40] Besides, it might be argued that the original forms, common to the hymn and the lament, may have been composed of a series of contrasts between man and god, mourner and dead, in the past and the present. In the hymn, addressed by man to god or hero, it is the immediate appeal which is emphasised, and so the address in the second person predominates, except where the god’s reply and prophecy are quoted. The lament, developing as it does the double contrast between past and present, mourner and dead, contains both kinds of address, in the second and first person. Their preservation is perhaps strongest in the funerary inscription, often in dialogue form or uttered as if by the dead. It is not that both modes of address did not exist in Greek; but owing to the greater literary development in Greece than elsewhere of the hymn and the lament as art forms, they tended to lose their exclusively ritual significance, and separate from each other much earlier.
All the basic features of these ancient formulae have survived in later Greek tradition, not without certain modifications and developments. First, almost exclusive to the lament, as in ancient Greek, is the contrast between you and I. It has survived in religious as well as archaising laments, and is particularly evident in Symeon Metaphrastes’ planctus where Mary complains to Christ:
Ἀλλὰ σὺ μὲν ἄπνους ἐν νεκροῖς καὶ ᾅδου ταμεῖα φοιτᾷς τὰ ἐνδότερα· ἐγὼ δὲ τὸν ἀέρα πνέω καὶ μετὰ ζώντων περίειμι …
But you are lifeless among the dead, and you journey to the inner chambers of Hades, while I breathe the air, and walk about among the living.
Migne 114.209A
In a late-eighth-century Life of Saints David, Symeon and Georgios, the formulae are reversed, as the dying David addresses Symeon with the words:
Ἐγὼ μὲν … τὸν δρόμον τετελεκὼς τελευτᾶν ἐπείγομαν, καὶ ἰδοὺ μετὰ τρίτην ἡμέραν ἀπαίρω τῶν ἐντεῦθεν, καθ’ ἃ πάντες οἱ ἐπὶ γῆς∙ σὺ δὲ ἀπόδος τὸν χοῦν τῷ χοῒ καὶ σπουδαίως τὴν ἡμῶν πατρίδα ἐπανάκαμψον … {174|175}
I, having completed the course, am in haste to be gone; and behold, after the third day I shall depart from hence, as do all men on earth. But you, having rendered libation upon libation, must promptly return to our homeland …
On receiving these instructions to make the libations due to the dead, the holy Symeon groans loudly, beats his breast with his fists, and replies, weeping bitterly:
Σὺ μέν, πάτερ, ὡς φής, γλυκύτατε, τὸν ἀνθρώπινον ὑπεξέρχῃ βίον, ἐμὲ δὲ τίνι ἐᾷς πάντοθεν ἀπορφανισθέντα καὶ ἀπορούμενον;
AB 18.219.10-20
You, father, as you say, my sweetest one, are withdrawing from human life. But to whom are you leaving me, orphaned on every side, and without means?
The second person address introducing praise, commands and prayers was just as important in the Byzantine hymns and liturgy as it had been in the ancient hymns, occurring frequently in the so-called Oriental form you are (σύ εἶ). [41] But in the vernacular laments of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries there is a gradual tendency to replace this formula either with the use of the pronoun you and a relative clause or a finite verb of action, or with the rhythmic repetition of the verb to be in present or past tense, without the pronoun. [42] It is a reversion to the ancient type of address, and it is also the commonest form of address in the modern folk laments. In the following lament from Epiros, a mother addresses her daughter in a series of elaborate images:
— Μήνα εἶσαι, κόρη μου, μικρὴ νά ’χεις καὶ μικρὸν πόνο;
Ἤσουν καλὴ ἀπ’ τὶς καλὲς κι ἀπὸ τὶς διαλεγμένες,
ἤσουνε στὸ σπιτάκι σου στύλος μαλαματένιος …
ἤσουνε στὰ παιδάκια σου Μάης μὲ τὰ λουλούδια,
ἤσουν καὶ στἠ μανούλα σου κασσέλα κλειδωμένη,
ἤσουν τιμὴ τῆς γειτονιᾶς καὶ τοῦ χωριοῦ καμάρι.
Giankas 891
— Are you a small child, my daughter, to cause small grief?
You were good, of the best and of the chosen ones,
you were a pillar of gold to your house …
you were May with flowers to your children,
and you were a locked chest to your mother,
you were the honour of the neighbourhood and the pride of the village. {175|176}
Sometimes the contrast is implicit, and not emphasised by repetition of the pronoun. Like Andromache lamenting Hector at the end of the Iliad, a widow from the Pontos laments her husband by reproaching him for deserting his family, ending with the theme of her own grief: [43]
Ἥλε μ᾽ ,π᾽ ἐχπάστες καὶ θὰ πάς, καὶ ποῦ θ’ ἀφιντς τὴ χόρα σ’;
καὶ ποῦ θ’ ἀφίντς τὴ μάννα σου γραῖαν μὲ τ’ἡμ’σὸν ψ̌ήν-ι;
καὶ ποῦ θ’ ἀφίντς τὰ ὀρφανά σ’ μικρὰ καὶ μουτζιρούμ’κα;
καὶ ποῦ θ’ ἀφίντς τ’ ἀδέλφα σου; ἀτὰ ξαί ’κι λυπᾶσαι; …
ἐφέκες με παντέρημον, ποῖον στράταν νὰ παίρω;
καὶ κάτ᾽ ἂν πάω, ἔν κρεμός, καὶ ἄν’ ἂν πάω, φούρκα.
Θὰ πάω ᾽γὼ σὸ Μαναστήρ’ καὶ θὰ φορῶ τὰ μαῦρα,
θ᾽ ἀφίνω τὰ πουλλόπα σου, τὴ μάννα σου τὴ γραῖαν.
ArP (1951) 189-90
My sun, where have you set off to, and where will you leave your widow?
and where will you leave your mother, an old woman with half a soul?
and where will you leave your orphans, young and weak as they are?
and where will you leave your brothers? Have you no pity for them?
You have left me desolate, what path am I to take?
If I turn downwards, there is a precipice, if upwards, a storm.
I will go to the monastery, I will put on black,
I will leave your children, I will leave your old mother.
Owning to changes in the language, the third person forms have undergone a different development. In Byzantine archaising and religious laments, the relative and participial address is the most usual; [44] but after the gradual disappearance of the ancient relative pronoun and the participle in the spoken language, the commonest forms in later Byzantine and modern laments are the demonstrative pronoun and the repetition of the verb to be in present and past tense (εἶναι and ἦν or ἦταν). In the twelfth-century romance Hysmine and Hyminias, Panthia laments the purportedly inauspicious sign sent by Zeus about her daughter Hysmine with the words: [45]
Ζεῦ πάτερ, φεῖσαι πολιᾶς ταύτης ἐμῆς … φεῖσαι νεότητος θυγατρός αὕτη μοι παραμύθιον, αὕτη μοι παραψυχή, αὕτη μοι τοῦ γένους ἐλπίς.
6.10.213 {176|177}
Father Zeus, spare these grey hairs of mine, spare the youth of my daughter! She is my comfort, she is my consolation, she is the hope of our stock.
In the modern laments, this type of address is also found with the relative, as in the following Nisyrot lament, sung by a mother for her only son:
Γειτόνισσες τοῦ Ποταμοῦ κι ἀπ’ τὰ ὀπίσθιά του,
πητέ μου ποῦ ’ν’ ὁ ἀετὸς ποὺ κτύπαν τὰ πτερά του.
Πού ’τον ἡ χρυσοπέρδικα δεξιὰ κι ἀριστερά του,
ὁποὺ τὸν ἀγαπούσανε μὲ τὰ φρονήματά του.
Δὲν μ’ ἐλυπήθης, Χάροντα, κι ἐπῆρες τὸν ὑγιόν μου,
ὁπού ’τον στύλος τῆς καρδιᾶς καὶ φῶς τῶν ὀμματιῶν μου.
Sakellaridis 187-8
My neighbours from Potamos and from the regions behind,
tell me, where is the eagle whose wings beat in flight,
at whose left and right side was the golden partridge,
who was loved because of his good sense.
You had no pity for me, Charondas, you took my son,
who was the pillar of my heart and the light of my eyes.
Throughout its history, the contrast between mourner and dead in the Greek lament is inseparable from the contrast between past and present, so that in spite of the changes in form the function has remained the same. Taking into account the changes in the Greek language, the same modes of address have persisted to a remarkable degree. The reiteration of the second person pronoun, a fundamental part of the ancient hymn and lament, was taken over into the Christian hymn and reinforced with the Hebrew form you are, independent but ultimately of the same common origin. On the other hand, the reiteration of the verb to be without the pronoun, frequent in the ancient lament from Homer onwards to introduce elaborate praise images, to have survived independently, reinvigorated in the popular laments by new ideas and intricate imagery. The ancient relative and participle, so convenient in the account of past deeds and virtues, continued to characterise much of Byzantine religious and archaising lamentation; but it was the pronoun and verb, traceable to the funerary inscriptions, which found their way into the popular tradition. {177|178}

Wish and curse

Another element traditional to the ancient lament was the expression of an unfulfilled wish. It took one of the following forms: first, that the mourner had died instead of the dead, or that they had died together, or that neither had ever been born; second, that the death had occurred at a different time or place, or in a different manner; and third, that the enemy of the dead might suffer the same fate. The last wish is in fact a curse.
The first type is found in Homer, where both Helen and Andromache wish that they had never been born, so great is their grief at Hector’s death; and it is also extremely common in the laments of tragedy. [46] As with the contrast, this traditional idea arising out of the mourner’s desire to impress on the dead the extremity of her grief has been extended in one of the choral odes of Sophokles’ Oedipus at Kolonos to express the common despair of all mankind in the face of adversity and death, that the greatest good is not to be born at all, but having been born, the next best is to pass through life as quickly as possible (1224-8).
Underlying the second type of wish is the mourner’s concern to avert the wrath of the dead, should his death have been untimely or unfortunate. Hekabe, mourning Astyanax’ cruel death before marnage and before succession to his birthright, wishes it had been different:
ὦ φίλαθ᾽, ὥς σοι θάνατος ἦλθε δυστυχής∙
εἰ μὲν γὰρ ἔθανες πρὸ πόλεως, ἥβης τυχὼν
γάμων τε καὶ τῆς ἰσοθέου τυραννίδος,
μακάριος ἦσθ’ ἄν, εἴ τι τῶνδε μακάριον·
νῦν (δ’) αὔτ᾽ ἰδὼν μὲν γνούς τε σῇ ψυχῇ, τέκνον,
οὐκ οἶσθ᾽, ἐχρήσω δ’ οὐδὲν ἐν δόμοις ἔχων.
E. Tr. 1167-72
O dearest child, how wretched was your death!
If only you had died for your city, knowing youth,
marriage, and royal power like a god’s,
you would have been happy, if there is any happiness here.
But as it is, your soul could only see and perceive, child,
you had no knowledge, no advantage of your home.
In the long kommós at Agamemnon’s tomb in the Choephoroi, this leads to the third type, the curse: Orestes opens his appeal to his father’s spirit by wishing that he had died on the battlefield at Troy, because then he would have been buried in glory; [47] the chorus continue the {178|179} same idea, saying that if he had died at Troy, he would now be king of justice in the Underworld; finally, Elektra breaks in—it is not Agamemnon who should be dead, but his murderers. The remote wish has become a curse, and this emphasises more sharply the need for revenge. [48]
There is no decline in the frequency of this convention in the Hellenistic period. It is found in Alexandrian poetry; while in the prose laments and funerary inscriptions, where the tradition was less rigidly archaising, new forms were emerging all the time, possibly because of the decline in the use of the optative mood in the spoken language. [49] In the inscriptions, the curse is especially prominent, warning of plunderers and cursing enemies if there had been a violent death. It might take the form of a direct imprecation, or of an invocation to some divine power, especially the sun. [50] The invocation to the sun in an appeal for revenge, first found in Homer, is also common in the modern folk laments, and constitutes an interesting survival of a primitive idea in association with an ancient poetic convention. [51]
A variation of the wish which became increasingly frequent in the post-classical period was the introductory formula ἔδει, χρῆν or ἔπρεπε (it was right). Its Greek origin has been disputed, [52] since the epigraphic evidence is not sufficiently conclusive to prove that the formula was taken over into Latin, where it was extremely common (debuit …, fas erat …), from Greek. On the other hand, cases of such decisive Latin influence on Greek epigraphic formulae are rare, and until earlier literature of all kinds has been exhaustively studied, no firm conclusions can be drawn. Even if it was new as a regular formula in the lament, it expressed exactly the same thought as the traditional wish that the death had occurred differently, only rather more forcefully, as in the following inscription from Rome (fourth century A.D.), addressed to a mother who died leaving three small children: [53]
νηλὴς ὦ θάνατος, πολὺ δὴ μέγ’ ἀκαίριος ἥκεις∙
χρῆν γὰρ ἐπ’ ὠδείνεσσιν ἔχειν χέρα καὶ τότ’ ὀλέσσαι.
Peek 1571.11-12
O pitiless death, you have come at the wrong time!
You should have laid hand upon her when she gave birth, so that she died then!
It should be noted that the same formula occurs in Aelius Aristeides’ Monody on Smyrna, [54] and also in Euripides’ Herakles when Herakles is discovered in a deep sleep after he has murdered his children in a fit of madness. The chorus address him: {179|180}
τότε θανεῖν σ᾽ ἐχρῆν, ὅτε δάμαρτι σᾷ
φόνον ὁμοσπόρων ἔμολες ἐκπράξας
Ταφίων περίκλυστον ἄστυ πέρσας.
E. ΗF 1077-80
You ought to have died then, when you went out
to avenge the blood of your wife’s kin on the Taphians,
and to sack their sea-washed city.
The subsequent history of this formula can be traced, not in the Byzantine archaising laments, where classical forms are more rigidly adhered to, but in the funeral oration and enkómion of rhetorical prose, and in vernacular poetry. [55] In a short lament for the sinfulness of man, Ἁμαρτωλοῦ Παράκλησις, (twelfth or thirteenth century), the same formula appears in vernacular Greek, combined with incremental repetition:
Ἐμέν’ οὐ πρέπει νὰ λαλῶ, οὐδὲ νὰ συντυχαίνω,
οὐ πρέπει ἐμὲν νὰ βλέπωμαι, οὐδὲ πάλιν νὰ βλέπω,
οὐδὲ νὰ τρέφωμαι τροφὴν τὴν πρέπουσαν ἀνθρώποις.
Ἐμένα πρέπει νὰ θρηνῶ, ἡμέραν ἐξ ἡμέρας.
Legrand BGV 1.17 = Zoras 72.6,1-4
I ought not to speak, nor to converse,
I ought not to be seen, nor yet to see,
nor to eat food that is fitting to men.
I ought only to lament, day after day.
It is possible that the writer was adapting a folk song which he knew; certainly the structure and context, as well as the formula, are the same as those of the modern ritual laments: [56]
Δὲν πρέπει ἐγὼ νὰ χαίρωμαι, οὐδὲ κρασὶ νὰ πίνω·
μόν᾽ πρέπ᾽ ἐγὼ νἄμ’ σ’ ἐρημιὰ σ’ ἕνα μαρμαροβούνι,
νὰ κείτωμαι τὰ πίστομα, νὰ χύνω μαῦρα δάκρυα,
νὰ γίνω λίμνη καὶ γυαλί, νὰ γίνω κρύα βρύση.
Passow 347
I ought not to be happy, nor to drink wine,
I ought only to be on a desolate marble mountain,
to crouch down head forwards, to weep black tears,
to become a lake, a piece of glass, to become a cool spring.
The wish occurs in the modern laments in a wide variety of forms. Like Andromache in the Iliad mourning for Hector, a Maniot woman wishes she might never have lived rather than learn of the death of {180|181} the man she is lamenting (Petrounias A 4). [57] Often, the hyperbole of the wish is designed to impress upon the dead the extremity of the mourner’s grief. Taken one step further, this type of wish might become a cry for vengeance, as in another lament from Mani where the mourner wishes she could send a bird with a letter for her brother, that he might come at once and pursue their enemies (ibid. 8. 15b). Frequently, the wish is a fanciful flight into the realm of the unreal and impossible: a Nisyrot mother wishes that Charos had two children, that she might take one of them and so grieve him as he has grieved her; [58] or the dead may be asked to do the impossible, and return to the land of the living, as in the following Epirot lament:
Μῆτρο, γιὰ γένει σύγνεφο, γένει κομμάτ’ ἀντάρα
καὶ ἔλα μὲ τὸν ἄνεμο κι ἔλα μὲ τὸν ἀέρα,
ἔλα τὸ γληγορώτερο στὸ σπίτι τὸ δικό σου.
Giankas 901.1-3
Mitro, become a cloud, become a piece of mist,
and come with the wind, and come with the breeze,
come back as soon as you can to your home!
But such a wish can never be fulfilled, and the dead may reply with a series of adynata, that come what may, he can never return: [59]
— Πές μου, πές μου, πότε θἀρθῆς, καὶ πότε θὰ γυρίσης,
νὰ ρίξω μόσκο στὰ κλαριὰ καὶ μυρουδιὰ στὴ στράτα,
νὰ μαρμαρώσω τἠν αὐλή, νὰ βγῆς νὰ γκιζερίζης.
— Φόντας θὰ κάνη ἡ ἐλιὰ κραςὶ καὶ τὸ σταφύλι λάδι,
καὶ θὰ στερέψη ἡ θάλασσα νἀ τὴ σπείρουν σιτάρι,
τότες, μάνα μ’, κι ἐγὼ θἀρθῶ νἀπὸ τὸ μαῦρο Ἀνάδη.
Spandonidi 215
— Tell me, tell me when you will come, and when you will return,
that I may strew musk on the branches and scent on the path,
that I may lay marble on the courtyard, for you to take a stroll.
— When the olive makes wine and when the grape makes oil,
and when the sea runs dry and is sown with wheat,
then, my mother, shall I return from black Hades.
This expression of the irrevocable finality of death performs a vital function: by asking for the impossible, the mourner gains an assurance that the dead has accepted his lot and will never return, either to help or harm the living. {181|182}

Praise and reproach

Just as the unfulfilled wish might, in certain contexts, be turned into a curse, so too the praise of the dead was often reversed: instead of seeking his goodwill by praise, as was usual, [60] you provoked him by reproaching, blaming or abusing him. Agamemnon, in the kommós of Aeschylus’ Choephoroi, receives his full due of praise; but afterwards, Orestes and Elektra make sure of his attention to their pleas for help in executing vengeance by means of a series of short, sharp reminders:
— μέμνησο λουτρῶν οἷς ἐνοσφίσθης, πάτερ.
— μέμνησο δ’ ἀμφίβληστρον ὡς ἐκαίνισαν —
— ἆρ’ ἐξεγείρῃ τοῖσδ’ ὀνείδεσιν, πάτερ;
— ἆρ’ ὀρθὸν αἴρεις φίλτατον τὸ σὸν κάρα;
491-2, 495-6
— Remember the bath in which you were slain, father!
— Remember the net which they devised for you! …
— Are you not stirred by these reproaches, father?
— Will you not raise up your dear head?
An even stronger kind of accusation is made in an interesting but poorly spelt inscription from Seldjouk-ghazi near Prusa: [61]
῏Ω πάτερ, μεμφόμεθα σ’ ἀν|φότεροι ὃς προθανὼν ἡμῶν | ὀλίγον χρώνον μητρὸς ἀφήρπασες | ἀνφοτέρους μήδ’ ἐλεῶν μη|τέρα τὴν ἀτυχῆς, μηδὲν εἰδοῦσα | ἐξ ὑμῶν ἀγαθόν.
Mendel BCH (1909) 312-14
O father, we both blame you because you died a short time before us and then snatched us both from our mother, feeling no pity for her wretchedness, even though she saw nothing good from us.
A comparable sentiment is expressed in a modern Epirot lament, where the dead girl is accused by her mother: [62]
Δικό σ᾽ εἶναι τὸ φταίξιμο, δικό σ’ εἶναι τὸ σιούκι,
σἀν ἀπὸ τί, καὶ ἀπὸ ποιὸ νὰ πέσης νὰ πεθάνης;
Giankas 904.1-2
You are to blame, it is your fault!
What reason, what cause was there for you to die?
Even where the idea of blame is less forcefully expressed, the mourner may address the dead with a reproach, as if to remind him of {182|183} his forgotten duties. Andromache, like Hekabe and Helen, praises Hector in her lament at his wake; but unlike them, she opens and closes with a faint note of reproach:
ἆνερ, ἀπ᾽ αἰῶνος νέος ὤλεο, καδ᾽ δέ με χήρην
λείπεις ἐν μεγάροισι.
Il. 24.725-6
οὐ γάρ μοι θνῄσκων λεχέων ἐκ χεῖρας ὄρεξας,
οὐδέ τί μοι εἶπες πυκινὸν ἔπος, οὗ τέ κεν αἰεὶ
μεμνῄμην νύκτάς τε καὶ ἤματα δάκρυ χέουσα.
Ibid. 743-5
Husband, you were too young to die, and you leave me
a widow in the palace!

When you died you did not stretch out your hands to me from your bed,
you did not even say a kind word to me, that I might always
have remembered, as I shed tears by day and by night.
The reproach implied in the verb you leave (λείπεις), signalling the grief left behind by the dead to his relatives and friends, was traditional, and is especially common in the funerary inscriptions. [63] It is no less frequent in the ritual laments today, expressed by the modern verb ἀφήνεις. A mother from Crete reproaches her daughter for dying too soon and deserting her small children: [64]
Παιδί μου, καὶ ποῦ τά ’φηκες, τ’ ἀνήλικα παιδιά σου!
Δὲν τὰ λυπᾶσαι τ’ ἀρφανά, νὰ πηαίνης νὰ τ’ ἀφήσης,
Στσὶ πέντε δρόμους τ’ ἄφηκες, παιδί μου, τὰ παιδιά σου.
Lioudaki 408
My child, where have you left your children so young!
Have you no pity for the orphans, that you should go and leave them?
You have left your children on the streets, my child!
Similarly, just as Andromache reproaches Hector for dying before he could address a parting word of comfort to her; the heroine of the Cretan tragedy Erofile (c.1600) weeps over the dismembered body of her husband Panaretos, and asks:
Γιάντα σωπᾶς στὸν πόνο μου, γιάντα στὰ κλάηματά μου
δὲ συντυχαίνεις δυὸ μικρὰ λόγια παρηγοριά μου;
5.463-4 {183|184}
Why are you silent at my grief? Why do you not speak
two small words of comfort to me in my weeping?
The same thought is echoed in another line of the modern Cretan lament just quoted: [65]
Ἄχι καὶ γιὰ δὲ μοῦ μιλεῖς, νὰ μὲ παρηγορήσης;
Lioudaki 408
Áhi, why don't you speak to me, to give me comfort?
It was this kind of reproach that Lucian caricatured in his de Luctu, and it is a stock element of the laments referred to by the Church fathers to demonstrate the pagan, un-Christian character of lamentation. [66] Certainly, it reflects an essentially self-centred outlook, and this is perhaps why it has survived more strongly in the modern ritual laments than in the Byzantine archaising or religious laments. But it should be seen within the context of the lament as a whole, where it is complementary to and inseparable from its opposite, elaborate praise of the dead man’s virtues.
It is precisely this kind of balance of opposites which forms the basis for the development of thought in the lament throughout Greek tradition. The mourner begins with a hesitant address, questioning her ability to give proper due to the dead. She then continues with elaborate praise, which may turn into reproach or even blame. She recalls the past and imagines the future, perhaps with a wish that things had been different, perhaps with a curse on the dead man’s enemies. These past or hypothetical events are then contrasted with the present reality, her fate with that of the dead, thus strengthening the force of her final address and lament.
These themes and conventions are both ancient and traditional. That their survival in the Greek folk laments of today marks essentially the development of a single tradition is indicated not only by the nature of the ideas—many of which are found in folk laments from other parts of the world—but by the similarity of the formulae through which they are expressed. {184|185}


[ back ] 1. Some of these have been pointed out by Thomson, JHS (1953) 79-83.
[ back ] 2. A. Ag. 645, 1474, Ch. 151, 386, 475, Pers. 625-7, E. Hel. 177, IT 179-185, Tr. 578. See also Anacr. 485 Page.
[ back ] 3. Pl. Mx. 236e, Symp. 180d, 194e, Dem. 60.1, Isokr. 10.12-13, Thuc. 2.35.2 Gorg. 6, Lib. Laud. Const. 5 (Thomson JHS 81) cf. Hyp. Epit. 2. The idea is also frequent in the laments of tragedy, see A. Pers. 694-7, 700-2 Ch. 89-91, S. Tr. 947-9, OC 1556-8, 1710-12, E. HF 1378-82.
[ back ] 4. Dem. 60.15, Pl. Mx. 236e, Lys. 2.1-2, A. Ag. 785-7, Ch. 855, Theok. 17.11, Lib. Laud. Const. 3.1, and hymns cited by Norden which open with the singer questioning his ability to find the right name to invoke the god, AT 144-7 (Thomson JHS 81-2). Cf. Ael. Arist. 18.8.
[ back ] 5. Cf. Ag. 1505-7, 1541-50, Ch. 87-90, 93-9, 315-19, 418-19, Th. 825-8, 851-2, 1057-9, S. Aj. 1185-91, E. Tr. 110-11, 792-3, HF 1025-7, 1146-52, Hel. 164-6, 217-18, Ph. 1289-95, 1310-12, Hipp. 826-7, Hek. 154-64, 176-94, 695-6.
[ back ] 6. Cf. S. Aj. 879-86, 1185, 1215-16, Ant. 839, 908, 921, 1284-92, 1307, Tr. 984-1016, OT 1309, E. Hipp. 840-3, 856-9, Andr. 841-60, Ph. 1498-1538, Alk. 863, 879, 897, Bion 1.60, Mosch. 3.50, 112, Ach. Tat. 1.13.
[ back ] 7. Cf. 920-1, 1034-6, E. HF 485-9, Med. 1040-50.
[ back ] 8. See Ael. Arist. 18.1, 7 and 10, Kb. 344, 371, 372, Peek 1880.
[ back ] 9. Greg. Nyss. in Funere Pulcheriae, Migne 46.864c: Οὐκ οἶδα ὅπως τῷ λόγῳ χρήσωμαι∙ … Ἃ τίς ἀδακρυτὶ διεξέλθοι;, cf. 865b-c, Eust. Manuelis Comneni Imp. Laudatio Funebris, Migne 135.974a; Meletios Thrênos for Patriarch Jeremiah II, DIEE (1883) 65: Πόθεν τανῦν τοῦ θρήνου ἀπάρξομαι;… πῶς μου ἡ γλῶττα τῷ λόγῳ ἐξυπηρετήσειεν ἀμογητί; Quintus 1.100, 645, 4.465, Eustath. Hysm. 10.10.384.
[ back ] 10. Cf. anonymous káthisma, Cantarella 76.1.4-5: Ποῖόν σοι ἐγκώμιον προσαγάγω ἐπάξιον; Τί δὲ ὀνομάσω σε; Ἀπορῶ καὶ ἐξίσταμαι. Konsiantinos Akropolites Hymn to Virgin, DIEE (1892) 43.5: Τίς σε πρὸς ἀξίαν αἰνέσειε; τὴν ἀμώμητον ἀμηχανοῦντες, δυσωποῦμεν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τῷ τόκῳ σου πρέσβευε … For initial questions in the Virgin’s lament, see CP 1121, 1306-9, Sym. Met. Planctus, Migne 114.212d: Ποίους θρήνους ἐπιτυμβίους, καὶ τίνας ὕμνους ἐπικηδείους σοι ᾄσομαι;, MMB 5.166.2, 168.4.
[ back ] 11. Kall. 1443-6, DA (G) 8.211-12, Álosis 225-8 (Zoras 181), Anakálema 26-7 (Kriaras 30), Thrênos for Timur Lenk 1-10 (Wagner Carm. 28).
[ back ] 12. Cf. Sym. Met. Martyrium S. Sebastiani et Sociorum, Migne 116.796d.
[ back ] 13. Cf. Michaelidis-Nouaros 314.3.1-2, 4.1-2.
[ back ] 14. Cf. Pasayanis 94.1-2. Examples of questions intensifying the lamentation are too numerous to cite.
[ back ] 15. Cf. Politis 8, 11, 127.6, Theros 705. A similar device, but without the final contrast, is found in one of the ancient epigrams, AP 9.57: Τίπτε παναμέριος. Πανδιονὶ κάμμορε κοῦρα, | μυρομένα κελαδεῖς τραυλὰ διὰ στομάτων; | ἤ τοι παρθενίας πόθος ἵκετο, τάν τοι ἀπηύρα | Θρηΐκιος Τηρεὺς αἰνὰ βιησάμενος;
[ back ] 16. See Pl. Hp. Ma. 282a: εἴωθα μέντοι ἔγωγε τοὺς παλαιούς τε καὶ προτέρους ἡμῶν πρότερόν τε καὶ μᾶλλον ἐγκωμιάζειν ἢ τοὺς νῦν, εὐλαβούμενος μὲν φθόνον τῶν ζώντων, φοβούμενος δὲ μῆνιν τῶν τετελευτηκότων, cf. Pl. Lg. 802a, Gorg. 6, Dem. 60.14, Thuc. 2.35.2, Hdt. 1.32, Bakchylides 3.67, 5.187, 12.199, Pi. O 8.54, A. Ag. 894 (Thomson JHS 81-2).
[ back ] 17. Thomson SAGS 1.453 cites Il. 1.39-42, 394, 450-6, 503, 5.116, 16.236, Od. 4.763, Pi. O 1.75, I 6.42, Bakchyl. 11.2, A. Ag. 149, 525, S. OT 164, Ar. Ach. 405, Eq. 592, Th. 1157.
[ back ] 18. See Il. 18.333-5, 19.287-90, 315-20, 22.434-6, 477-83, 500-8, 24.749, 757, S. Aj. 1000-1, El. 1126-30, 1145-50, Ant. 901-3, E. Supp. 790-3, 918-24, 963-7, IT 203-8, 229-31, 344-8, Alk. 915-25, Bion 1.50-3, Mosch. 3.71-5, Peek 747.3, 1300, 1710, 1880, 2040.
[ back ] 19. For contrasts of this type which are similarly extended beyond the fate of one individual, see A. Pers. 858-905, S. Aj. 1185-1222.
[ back ] 20. See Il. 19.315, 22.500, S. Aj. 1211, E. IT 344, Alk. 915, Mosch. 3.71.
[ back ] 21. See Il. 18.324, 333, 19.288, 22.435, 477, 482, 24.749, S. Aj. 1001, El. 1126, 900-4, E. Supp. 964, IT 344, 348, Alk. 915, 922.
[ back ] 22. See Greg. Nyss. Enkómion for St Ephraem, Migne 46.844d; Epitáphios Lógos for Empress Plakilla, ibid. 878c; Vita of St Makrina ibid. 988b; Eust. Man. Comn. Imp. Laudatio Funebris, ibid. 135.992d-997d; Euthymios Laudatio Funebris Eustathii, ibid. 136.765; Meletios Thrênos for Patriarch Jeremiah II, DIEE (1883) 66, Greg. Naz. Carmina Epitaphia, Migne 38 nos. 23-6.
[ back ] 23. Quintus 1.108-11, Psellos On the Death of Skleraina, Cantarella 166.2.1-7.
[ back ] 24. According to James, the Testament of Job belongs to a large class of apocryphal books, but is unique in the number of hymns and poetical speeches it contains. The author may have been a Christianised Jew, writing in Greek and paraphrasing, though not translating, a Hebrew original, ed. cit. pp. 88-94. Of particular interest stylistically are the use of balanced clauses, followed by a constant refrain, and the reiteration of νῦν, contrasted with εἶχε, since these are recurrent elements of the lament throughout Greek tradition, see n. 42 below.
[ back ] 25. Cf. MMB 5.169.4; Sym. Met. Planctus, Migne 114.216, Ep. Thrênos stasis 2.5; CP 1315-17.
[ back ] 26. Cf. popular acclamations for Easter, Cantarella 83.8, 7-8.
[ back ] 27. It seems probable that Romanos introduced this particular convention into Greek from Ephraem, see his homily To Good Friday, the Robber and the Cross, ed. Assemani 3.471: Πρώην Ῥεβέκκας ἐπιθαλάμιον εἶπον∙ σήμερον τὸν ἐκ Ῥεβέκκας ἐπιτάφιον ᾄδω … σήμερον ἐπάγει σταυρός, καὶ ἡ κτίσις ἀγάλλεται. It also occurs, together with the reiteration of now, in a Syriac Letter purporting to be from Dionysios the Areopagite to Timothy, lamenting the death of Peter and Paul. The lament is written in elaborate and sustained Kunstprosa, similar to that of Melito’s Paschal Homily: Nunc adimpleta est vox Jacobi dicentis: ‘Joseph non est super et Simeon non rediit ad me.’ Jam non est Paulus ille, lux Ecclesiae fideliumque confidentia, neque amplius exstat Simon fundamentum Ecclesiae christianorumque decus. Hodie adimpletum est quod dixit propheta: ‘Quomodo dispersi jacent lapides sancti!’ Hodie adimpletum est verbum David dicentis: ‘Posuerunt morticina servorum tuorum escam volatili coelorum, et carnem justorum tuorum bestiis terrae.’ Ubi nunc cursus Pauli? Jam a labore itinerum quieverunt pedes illius sancti; neque amplius catenis obstringentur in carceribus. Pitra AS 4.264 (Syriac and Armenian texts pp. 241-54). I am indebted to S. P. Brock for drawing my attention to this Letter.
[ back ] 28. See Grégoire DA 204.1-2, 241.35.
[ back ] 29. Cf. Giankas 883, 886, 897, Baud-Bovy 2.137.4, Petrounias B 1a.
[ back ] 30. Cf. Politis 208, 212, Pasayanis 146.
[ back ] 31. See Il. 22.477-83: ἰῇ ἄρα γιγνόμεθ’ αἴσῃ | ἀμφότεροι, σὺ μὲν ἐν Τροίῃ … | αὐτὰρ ἐγὼ Θήβῃσιν … | νῦν δὲ σὺ μὲν Ἀΐδαο δόμους ὑπὸ κεύθεσι γαίης | ἔρχεαι, αὐτὰρ ἐμὲ στυγερῷ ἐνὶ πένθεϊ λείπεις, cf. 500, 18.333, 19.287, 315, S. Ant. 900-3, Bion 1.50.
[ back ] 32. Norden AT 182-3, 220-3.
[ back ] 33. See Kühner AGGS 2.40-1, 354; and, for use of pronoun and copula together for special emphasis ibid. 32, 352.
[ back ] 34. Pi. N 10.80: ἐσσὶ μοὶ υἱός (cf. Mark 1.11: σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱός μου), Ρ 5.5-20, 1.87, O 6.87-94, I 2.12, Bakchyl. 3.92, 7.1, 9.45-50, 10.1, 11.9, 17.28. Examples of σύ with ἐσσί not cited by Norden include Hom. Hm. 3.267-8, 364-7. In general these instances point to ἐσσί γάρ as a prayer formula parallel to δύνασαι δέ, see Norden AT 154.
[ back ] 35. Cf. Il. 24.749, E. IT 344-8, SEG 4.107. For the repetition of σύ in the lament, as in the odes and hymns, see E. Alk. 460, Hel. 1107-20, 1144, Hipp. 840-50, HF 460-72: σοὶ μὲν … σὺ δ’ ἦσθα …, σοὶ δ’ ἦν.
[ back ] 36. See Norden AT 163-76.
[ back ] 37. See Peek 2040: … αὐτή μοι καὶ παῖδας ἐγείναο πάντας ὁμοίους, | αὐτὴ καὶ γαμέτου κήδεο καὶ τεκέων, | … καὶ κλέος ὕψωσας ξυνὸν ἰητορίης (Cf. Pi. P 4.281-2, 289) and IG 1.923 (ed. minor): καλὸς μὲν ἰδεῖν, τερπνὸς δὲ προσειπεῖν (cf. Peek 2008, 2030.17).
[ back ] 38. Examples are cited and discussed by Schwyzer EE 14-15, 27-9; comparing the use of this formula in the religion of Greece and Rome before syncretism with its use in other religions of the ancient near east, he concludes that it is comparatively rare in AG. But he discounts Od. 11.252: αὐτὰρ ἐγώ τοί εἰμι Ποσειδάων ἐνοσίχθων … purely because the pronoun is separated from the verb, included ‘nur aus rhythmischen Gründen’ (p. 14); nor, to my knowledge, does either he or Norden refer to the outstanding example in Hom. Hm. 3.480: εἰμὶ δ᾽ ἐγὼ Διὸς υἱος. Ἀπόλλων δ’ εὔχομαι εἶναι, cf. Archil. Eleg. ALG 3.2.1: εἰμὶ δ᾽ ἐγὼ θεράπων … His conclusions on the use of egò eimí in the LXX may be correct; but in my opinion, the discussion so far has tended to attach too much importance to a rigid, structural analysis of the external features of the formala, and insufficient attention has been paid to the content and to the complexities of the linguistic factors.
[ back ] 39. Peek 1171-1208, 1959.
[ back ] 40. See Horm. Hm. 5.109, 145, 185-7.
[ back ] 41. Andreas Cret. Mégas Kanón, Cantarella 103.77-9: Σὺ εἶ ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός∙ ζήτησόν με τὸν ἄρνα … | Σὺ εἶ ὁ γλυκὺς Ἰησοῦς, σὺ εἶ ὁ πλαστουργός μου, cf. Romanos 19.17, 7-8.
[ back ] 42. See Thrênos of Father Synadenos of Serrai, Lambros NE (1908) 254.104-16; Thrênos for Constantinople, Zoras 201.36-45: … γιατ᾽ ἤσουν ξενοδόχισσα, κυρὰ τῶν αἰχμαλώτων, | … ὁπού ᾽χες χίλιες ἐκκλησιὲς καὶ χίλια μοναστήρια, | εἶχες νερὰ τρεχάμενα, εἶχες πανώριες βρύσες … | εἶχες καὶ τὴν Ἁγιὰν Σοφιάν. τὸ κήρυγμα τοῦ κόσμου, | ἀπ’ ὅπου ἐσοφίσθηκε τοῦ κόσμου ἡ σοφία.
[ back ] 43. Cf. ArP (1951) 188-9, Petrounias A 10.1-10, 23-4, 51-4, Theros 714, Lioudaki 415.5.
[ back ] 44. See Akáthistos Hýmnos, ed. Wellesz passim.
[ back ] 45. Cf. Georgios Akropolites On the Death of Irene Comnena, Cantarella 213.50: Αὐτὸς πνοή μοι καὶ γλυκὺ φῶς ὀμμάτων … ; Anakálema 101: Ἐκείνη ἦταν ἥλιος, κι ἡ Πόλις ἡ σελήνη …
[ back ] 46. See Il. 22.481: ὣς μὴ ὤφελλε τεκέσθαι …, 24.764, A. Pers. 915-17, Pr. 747-51, S. Aj. 1192-8, OC 1689-93, E. Supp. 786-8, 821, 829-31, Hipp. 836-8, Andr. 523-5, 861-5, 1190-6, Hel. 169-73, Or. 982-1000, IA 1291-1312. See also Reiner RTG 12, 16.
[ back ] 47. A. Ch. 345-53, cf. Il. 22.426, 24.729, A. Pr. 152-9, S. El. 1131-5, OT 1347-8.
[ back ] 48. A. Ch. 354-62, 363-71, cf. S. Ant. 925-8, El. 126-7, OT 1349-55, E. Tr. 766-72, IA 1319-29, Hel. 1110-17.
[ back ] 49. See AP 7.22, 282, 735, 746, IG 12.8.449, 12-14. On the decline of the optative, see Meillet AHLG 274-80, Bachtin ISMG 55.
[ back ] 50. See Cumont Syr. 14 (1933) 385 (from a stele found in Syria): Ἥλιε, τὴν μοῖραν ζητήσῃ ἐμήν … , SIG 1181, SEG 6.803, ΜΑΜΑ 1.339 (Lattimore 116-18).
[ back ] 51. Il. 3.104. For modern Greek material, see Loukatos SE (1960) 4.2.
[ back ] 52. Lier Phil. (1903) 456-60 argues in favour of the derivation of the Latin formula from the Greek, drawing on substantial epigraphic and literary evidence; but Lattimore does not accept the case as proved, TGLE 189-91.
[ back ] 53. Many other parallels are cited by Lattimore 188.
[ back ] 54. Ael. Arist. 18.9: Νῦν ἔδει μὲν πάντας οἰωνοὺς εἰς πῦρ ἐνάλλεσθαι…
[ back ] 55. For classical form, see AP 8.176, Quintus 5.465, 468, 3.464-5, Greg. Naz. Carmina Epitaphia, Migne 38.23-4, CP 1 ( = E. Med. 1), 898, 1022-3, 1316-18. The form with ἔδει is found in Greg. Nyss. in funere Pulcheriae, Migne 869b: ἀλλ’ ἔδει αὐτὴν εἰς μέτρον ἡλικίας ἐλθεῖν, καὶ νυμφικῷ θαλάμω ἐμφαιδρυνθῆναι, cf. Eust. Man. Comn. Imp. Laudatio Funebris, ibid. 1025b-c: Οὐκ ἔδει τοιαύτην τῷ βασιλεῖ ἀποτελευτηθῆναι αὐτῶν πόνων μακρῶν ἀνάπαυλαν. Ἔδει τοὺς μακροὺς καμάτους παύσαντα καθ’ ἡσυχίαν μεῖναι.
[ back ] 56. For this formula in the thrênoi for Constantinople, see Lambros NE (1908) 190, Anakálema 59. Other examples in modern laments include Passow 371, Politis 175, 195, 196, Baud-Bovy 2.39; Pasayanis 24, 66, 67: Δὲ σοῦ ’πρεπε, δὲ σοῦ ᾽μοιαζε χάμου στὴ γῆ νὰ πέσης, | μόν’ σοῦ ’πρεπε καὶ σοῦ ’μοιαζε στ’ Ἁμάη τὸ περιβόλι. It is significant that it is especially common in the laments for those who die young, and expresses the same idea as in antiquity, that it was wrong for them to die before their parents, or before marriage.
[ back ] 57. Cf. Laog (1929) 25.84, 17-20, Baud-Bovy 2.172, Voutetakis 8.1-2, 118.
[ back ] 58. Sakellaridis 181 p. 166, cf. Pasayanis 113, 114, Baud-Bovy 2.174, Michaelidis-Nouaros 313 B4, Theros 717, 730, 758, Tarsouli 20 (wish reversed and uttered as if by the dead), 215, Giankas 900.5-7, Petropoulos 223.19B.
[ back ] 59. I wish to thank P. G. Tuffin for providing me with references to the adynaton. Other examples include Giankas 890, Passow 364, 387-9, Pasayanis 70, Petropoulos 22B, 23B, Laog (1915) 575D. Although the adynaton was an established convention in ancient Greek it does not appear in the context of lamentation. At the end of the long Romanian lament Tradafir (Rose tree), it is the mourner who expresses to the dead the impossibility of his return: ‘And now, you’ll return when the deer will plough, when the pike fish sows, when the ploughshare blossoms, when the ploughshaft puts forth leaves. Then you'll come again.’ I am grateful to A. L. Lloyd for this text.
[ back ] 60. Il. 19.287-8, 295-300, 315-20, 24.729-30, 749-50, 771-2, A. Pers. 647-56, 709-12, Ch. 345-62, S. Aj. 921-4, 996-7, Bion 1.71. Examples in modern laments include Theros 773, Pasayanis 100.7, 107.8-13, 169.
[ back ] 61. Lattimore, who cites this inscription among others with similar theme, comments that the translation of the last clause is uncertain, ἡμῶν being apparently intended for ὑμῶν, TGLE 188 n. 125. According to Thumb, the pronunciation of υ was already divided between υ and ι in the fifth century A.D., although the process did not become general until the tenth century, CQ (1914) 187. In papyrus letters, however, confusion between ὑμῶν and ἡμῶν, and between υ and η in other words, is found from the Ptolemaic period, see Mayser GGP 85 (οὐκ ἔφυ for οὐκ ἔφη), 86 (ἡμῶν for ὑμῶν and ἡμῖν for ὑμῖν are cited as especially frequent, also the reverse confusion of ὑμῶν for ἡμῶν). Salonius mentions an example of ὑμῶν for ἡμῶν in a letter written by a Persian between 130 and 121 B.C., SSF 2.3 (1927) 17, 7; and several further examples from the third century A.D. are referred to by Zilliacus SSF 13.3 (1943) 14 (ἡμῶν for ὑμῶν), 20 (ἡμεῖν for ὑμῖν), 21 (ἡμῶν for ὑμῶν). Unfortunately, Mendel gives no date for the inscription. It is probably of the first century A.D. but may well belong to the late Hellenistic period (first century B.C.). It provides interesting and early epigraphic evidence for the confusion. I wish to thank Gillian Hart for advice on the phonological question and for the papyrological references, and A. G. Woodhead for suggesting a date for the inscription.
[ back ] 62. Cf. Pasayanis 101.7-11, 107.14-20, 115, Laog (1911) 269.30, Michaelidis-Nouaros 314, Petrounias A 10.8.
[ back ] 63. See Il. 5.156, S. Aj. 972-3, Sol. ALG 1.33.22,6, Kb. 406.13, Peek 697.5-6, 2002.7-8.
[ back ] 64. Cf. Michaelidis-Nouaros 314, Petrounias A 10.3-4, ArP (1951) 187.5-8, 189.1-4, 20.
[ back ] 65. Cf. Tarsouli 227.6, Petrounias A 10.53-4, ArP (1951) 187.4: καὶ ᾽ς σὰ παιδόπα τ᾽ ἔρημα ἕναν λογόπον ’κ’ εἶπες. Other ancient examples include Il. 22.482-6, E. Supp. 918-24, Bion 1.50-3.
[ back ] 66. Luct. 13. See Migne 114.313a 115. 1156a, 116.796d-797a, and on this aspect of the lament in general see Reiner RTG 11, 15.