Pindar’s Homer: The Lyric Possession of an Epic Past

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13. The Genesis of Athenian State Theater and the Survival of Pindar’s Poetry

§2. Having noted that the lyric compositions of Pindar were occasional in the strict sense that they were grounded in the historical circumstances of their performance, we now come to the basic question: how then did they ever even survive in the first place? Throughout this book I have resisted the option of seeking a be-all and end-all explanation in the actual writing down of Pindaric song. True, it seems at first an attractive solution to attribute the survival of occasional lyric poetry by Pindar, Simonides, and Bacchylides to {382|383} the factor of literacy. After all, Pindar and these two near-contemporaries come closest of all the nine canonical lyric poets to what we conceive as the historical period, where the continuous re-creation of knowledge through oral tradition was being replaced by the episodic recording of knowledge through writing. As the closest to the historical period, Pindar could be expected to be the poet whose compositions are most likely to have been affected by the medium of writing. Even in this instance, however, there is no evidence that writing was a factor in the actual composition of Pindaric song; I have already argued that writing need not be posited as an indispensable factor in at least the earlier phases of transmission. [4] If writing had been the sole original means of transmission for compositions by the likes of Pindar, Simonides, and Bacchylides, why is it that while these “old lyric” poets ultimately became canonical, the later “new lyric” poets of the second half of the fifth century, in a period when literacy was becoming ever more pronounced, did not? Granted, there is no doubt that occasional “old lyric” would need to be recorded ultimately in writing if it were to survive, but there remains the more fundamental question: how did the occasional as well as nonoccasional compositions of “old lyric” actually become Panhellenic in prestige, and thereby canonical?

§3. As long as Pindar’s medium of song making depended on the prestige of public performance, we cannot assume that a written record could have maintained, of and by itself, such prestige. Rather we should be asking the question the other way around: what was it about the public prestige of Pindar’s lyric poetry, as it was once performed, that made it possible in the first place for a written record to evolve and to be preserved for later generations?

§4. This question takes us back to the problem inherent in the occasional nature of Pindar’s lyric poetry. It is to be expected that occasional poetry is the least likely kind of oral tradition to become a synthetic canonical tradition, in that the Panhellenization of Greek oral traditions in song and poetry entails the gradual elimination of features and details that would tie down a composition to any specific time and place. How, then, did the occasional compositions of Pindar survive?

§11. In Bacchae 714–716 and thereabouts, the herdsman is telling how he and his companions, boukoloi ‘cowherds’ and poimenes ‘shepherds’, had come together for a contest of words in describing the wondrous things being performed by the devotees of Bacchus. Concerning later traditions of dancing by boukoloi ‘cowherds’ in worship of Dionysus, it has been observed that such dances “may well have had their aition in such stories as the herdsman tells here.” [20] In other words the myth of Dionysus and Pentheus is referring to itself as the motivation or, to put it in Greek, the aition ‘cause’, of the ritual complex known as the Feast of the City Dionysia, as represented by the Bacchae. [21] Moreover, this aition, telling of boukoloi ‘cowherds’ and poimenes ‘shepherds’ who come together (Bacchae 714) to compete in describing the wonders of Bacchus, reenacts the very etymology of the crucial word agōn, apparently derived from the root ag– of agō as in sun-agō ‘bring together, assemble, gather’. [22] The notion of ‘assemble’, as we have seen, is intrinsic to the general sense of agōn, that is, ‘assembly’ (e.g., Pindar Pythian 10.30). [23] But the word can also specifically mean ‘contest’ (e.g., Pindar Olympian 9.90). Thus agōn conveys not only the social setting for an activity, namely, an assembly of people, but also the activity itself, namely, a contest. [24] Moreover, agōn can designate a festival of contests in poetry, as in Homeric Hymn 6.19–20. [25] The ritual aspect of these activities is suggested by attestations of the derivative word agōniā in the sense of ‘agony’ (e.g., Demosthenes On the Crown 33). A semantic parallel is the English usage of trial in the sense of ordeal, and we may also note that the cognate of English ordeal in German is Urteil, meaning ‘trial’. In the Bacchae of Euripides, Dionysus himself describes the upcoming ordeal of Pentheus, where he will be dismembered by the god’s devotees, as a great agōn (975). At the moment Pentheus may interpret agōn on the surface, in the mere sense of a “contest” with adversaries against whom he expects to win (cf. 964, 975), but the real winner will be Dionysus, while Pentheus will undergo an agōn in the deeper sense of the ultimate “agony” of an ultimate “ordeal” (again 964, 975). To that extent the {386|387} competition of the herdsmen who come together to tell of the wonders of Dionysus is the ordeal of Pentheus.

§13. The sufferings of Pentheus, as expressed by way of paskhō ‘suffer, experience’, can be juxtaposed with the activities of the god Dionysus: at that primordial festival conjured up by the Bacchae of Euripides as a préfiguration of the City Dionysia, these activities are described by cowherds and shepherds who have come together to compete in retelling the wondrous things performed by the devotees of the god (Bacchae 714–716). [29] In this context the performance of Dionysiac wonders is designated by the verb draō (716), which means ‘do, perform’ within the world of tragedy but also ‘sacrifice, perform ritual’ within the “real world,” the outer world that frames the world of tragedy. [30] There is a grammatical logic built into the antithesis of paskhō and draō: the verb paskhō in the sense of ‘experience things done to oneself’ is the functional passive of the verb draō, synonym of poieō in the sense of ‘do things to someone’. This antithesis of paskhō and draō, which is played out in other tragedies as well (e.g., Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 538–539, 1644), is also reflected in the nouns that are derived from these verbs: whereas the derivative of passive paskhō is pathos, the {387|388} derivative of active draō is drāma, which survives as the English word drama. What is pathos or action experienced by the hero within the world of tragedy is drāma, that is, sacrifice and the performance of ritual, from the standpoint of the outer world that frames it. This outer world is constituted by the audience of the theater, who become engaged in the drāma and who thereby participate in the inner world that is the pathos of the hero.

§16. Besides deriving the form of tragedy from the satyric medium (Poetics 1449a20–21), Aristotle derives the performers of tragedy from the exarkhontes ‘choral leaders’ of the dithurambos ‘dithyramb’ (1449a10–11). [33] This formulation is useful to the extent that the evolution of tragedy at Athens does become assimilated with the evolution of the dithyramb, an alternative Dionysiac form of Peloponnesian provenience. A key figure in this process of assimilation is Lasus of Hermione, whom tradition credits with the original institution of dithyrambic contests at the City Dionysia (Suda s.v. Lasos). [34] From Herodotus (7.6.3–4), we learn that Lasus was {388|389} associated with the dynasty of tyrants at Athens, the Peisistratidai. The definitive formalization, however, by the State, of contests in dithyrambs at the Feast of the City Dionysia can be dated at ca. 509/8 B.C., after the expulsion of the Peisistratidai (Parian Marble FGH 239 A 46). It seems reasonable to infer that this tradition “refers to the first victory at the Dionysia as organized under the democracy, and as distinct from such contests as may have been arranged by the tyrants with the assistance of Lasos.” [35] This is not to say that the stature of figures like Lasus did not survive the transition from the era of tyranny to that of democracy. In fact Lasus may well have been involved in the reformalization of the dithyramb in the era of democracy. Another such figure, compatible with both eras, is Simonides of Keos, rival of Lasus (Aristophanes Wasps 1410–1411), and a contemporary of Pindar. [36]

§18. The very name of tragedy, however, implies an earlier, undifferentiated phase of drama, compatible with the attested forms of tragedy, comedy, and satyr drama, all three. It appears that the form tragōidoi means ‘goat singers’ in the sense of ‘singers who compete for the prize of a sacrificial goat’. [39] This meaning is not incompatible with the conventional theme of associating rustic folk with the wearing of goatskin, if we assume that the goatskin worn in performance of song represents the prize won in a continuum of earlier performances, each with its own sacrifice of goats. A key passage illustrating this theme of rustics wearing goatskin is Theognis 53–58, where a crisis within the polis is being described: values are being turned {389|390} upside-down because the ‘base’ are now on the top of the social order while the ‘noble’ are at the bottom, and all this because the ‘base’ population, explicitly described as wearing goatskins (55), moved inside the city from the outside, where they had lived previously, aware of neither ‘justice’ (dikai) nor ‘customary laws’ (nomoi). This description is making an ethical point about social degeneration, [40] but its central image corresponds to an aetiology for an undifferentiated form of drama, functioning as a ritual inversion of social values. [41] We may note that the chorus of satyrs in the Cyclops, a satyr-drama of Euripides, are wearing goatskin (80). [42] The theme of formerly excluded rustic outsiders is suggestive of a fundamental aetiology of comedy: Aristotle pictures the primordial performers of comedy as wandering through the kōmai ‘countryside districts’, deprived of rights and honor within the polis (Poetics 1448a36-b1) [43] This aetiology accepts as a given that comedy, in the present, is a thing of the polis. [44] In contrast the very concept of satyr is a thing of the countryside (e.g., Horace Ars Poetica 236–247; agrestes satyros at 221). [45]

§20. A central point, then, can be made about all the dramatic competitions originating in the context of the City Dionysia: the differentiations into the distinct forms of tragedy, comedy, dithyramb, and satyric drama must have started in the era of the tyrants, the Peisistratidai, who played a major role in the shaping of the City Dionysia. [49] The dynasty of the Peisistratidai also played a major role in the shaping of the Panathenaia, the context for performance of epic (scholia to Aristides Panathenaicus 3.123; “Plato” Hipparchus 228b). [50] The close association of the Peisistratidai of Athens with the City Dionysia, context for performance of drama, and with the Panathenaia, context for performance of epic, is analogous to the association of the tyrant Kleisthenes of Sikyon with innovations in the performance of both epic (Herodotus 5.67.1) [51] and drama (5.67.5). [52] In sum, I stress the role of the tyrants in the shaping of urbanized festivals of Panhellenic repute, which provided the actual context for the differentiation of major poetic genres, attracting masters of song from all over the Hellenic world. Moreover, even after the democracy replaced the tyrants in Athens, the leading citizens of the democracy, aristocrats that they were, continued to play a major role in the shaping of the dramatic festivals: thus, for example, the man who financed in 472 B.C. the production of a dramatic trilogy of Aeschylus that included the Persians, celebrating the great naval victory at Salamis in 480 B.C., was none other than Pericles of Athens, [53] serving in the official capacity of khorēgos ‘chorus leader’ (IG II2 2318 i.4). [54] We may note in this connection the report that Hieron, Tyrant of Syracuse, commissioned Aeschylus to train a chorus for a reperformance of the Persians when Aeschylus was summoned to his realm in Sicily (Life of Aeschylus, p. 333.24–25). [55]

§21. This survey of the Athenian heritage in song making, as shaped by the City Dionysia, can serve as a foundation for the task at hand, which is to define Athenian notions of the Classical forms of song and to correlate these notions with the survival of Pindaric song. It is best to start with a reconsideration of the fundamental nature of Pindar’s song-making tradition, and {391|392} how it may be related to the form of drama at a stage preceding the differentiations that took place in the context of the City Dionysia. An ideal point of comparison is Archilochus, who represents an undifferentiated tradition that is not only cognate with the differentiated and more specialized tradition of Pindar but also parallels in some striking ways the undifferentiated stages of Athenian drama.

§29. More pertinent and important for us at this point, Pindar’s medium also takes note of an aspect of the original function of Archilochean poetry that seems to have eluded Aristotle: the poetic tradition of Archilochus is suitable for epinician praise. Pindar’s Olympian 9 is asserting that Archilochus is a protopoet of praise. We see here what amounts to the other side of the coin, matching the testimony of Aristotle Poetics 1449a and 1448b23, who evidently considered Archilochus exclusively as a protopoet of blame.

§31. What Aristotle might not have seen is that the “blaming” side of Archilochus was part of this poet’s overall function as a socially redeeming exponent of ainos, one who blames what is ostensibly bad while he praises what is good. This socially redeeming function is a traditional civic function, viewed as integrating the community.

§33. In the wording of the Mnesiepes Inscription, it can be argued, we are witnessing a cognate of the source of Aristotle Poetics 1449a and 1448b23, who considered Archilochus an exponent of primitive blame poetry. Let us examine the pertinent passage from the Mnesiepes Inscription, Archilochus T4 III 16–57 Tarditi. [80] The story has it that Archilochus improvises ([αὐτο]| σχεδιασ[ 19–20) a composition, which he teaches (διδάξαντα 22) to some of the citizens of Paros. [81] From the standpoint of the narrative, {395|396} Archilochus seems to be represented here as a “chorus teacher.” [82] The Mnesiepes Inscription then proceeds to quote the words of the composition (F 251 W = 219 Tarditi): the text is fragmentary, but we can see clearly that Dionysus figures prominently (251.1), in the context of the epithet Oipholios (251.5), a derivative of the obscene verb oiphō ‘have intercourse [male subject]’. The polis finds this composition ‘too iambic’ (ἰαμβικώτερο[ Mnesiepes Inscription T4 III 38). [83] Archilochus is put on trial (ἐν τεῖ κρίσει T4 III 42) and apparently condemned. But then the polis is afflicted with a plague that affects the genitalia (42–44). Emissaries of the polis consult Delphi (45–46), and the Oracle tells them that the plague will not abate until the polis honors Archilochus (47–50). The connection here of Archilochus with Dionysus and the notion of Oipholios institutionalizes the ‘iambic’ composition of Archilochus. I should stress the explicit testimony of the Mnesiepes Inscription concerning the practice of worshipping various gods, along with the cult hero Archilochus, in the sacred precinct of Archilochus, the Arkhilokheion (T 4 II 14–19 Tarditi): among the gods listed (1–13), Dionysus is accorded a position of particular prominence (10).

§36. The ‘iambic’ nature of comedy, and Aristotle’s claims about the evolution of tragedy from the medium of exarkhontes ‘chorus leaders’ ostensibly like Archilochus, whose message was too ‘iambic’ for the people of his own time, reinforce the general notion that comedy and tragedy were once undifferentiated, becoming distinct in the specific context of the City Dionysia. Which brings us to the aition that motivates the City Dionysia, closely parallel to the aition that motivates Archilochean poetry. According to Athenian tradition the Feast of the City Dionysia was instituted in honor of Dionysus Eleuthereus, whose image had been brought over from Eleutherai in Boeotia to the theater precinct of Athens; there the god was not given his due honors, and the men of Athens were accordingly punished with some sexual affliction, from which they were freed only on the condition that they make ritual phalloi for Dionysus (scholia to Aristophanes Acharnians 243). Just as the Archilochean ‘iambic’ tradition participates in a symbiotic relationship with a cult of Dionysus, so does the undifferentiated tradition represented by the entire complex of dramatic contests at the City Dionysia.

§37. This notion of iambic, with its emphasis on fertility, is analogous to the concept of carnival as applied by M. M. Bakhtin to the traditions inherited by {397|398} François Rabelais in the sixteenth century. [91] For Bakhtin, carnival is a synthetic description that accommodates a wide range of actually attested European carnivals celebrated on a seasonally recurring basis at various times of the year at various places. The synthetic description is particularly apt in view of the synthetic nature of carnivals: “This word combined in a single concept a number of local feasts of different origin and scheduled at different dates but bearing the common traits of popular merriment.” [92] It is not inaccurate to say that the very concept of carnival is a synthesis: “These celebrations became a reservoir into which obsolete genres were emptied.” [93] For Bakhtin, carnival is not a safety valve that helps prevent revolution, as was held to be political dogma at the time that his work on Rabelais was taking shape; rather carnival is revolution itself. [94] Its target is whatever happens to be current, the here and now, the differentiated, and it professes nostalgia for the past, the Golden Age, the undifferentiated. The very themes of carnival recapitulate the undifferentiated structures of the past and temporarily overthrow the differentiated structures of the present. [95] The feast of Saturnalia yearns for the ancien régime of Saturn and resists whatever régime is current. [96] Bakhtin argues that carnival attacks the differentiated present by {398|399} recapitulating the undifferentiated past, with an emphasis on the grotesque, and thus celebrating the renewal of fertility. [97] To this extent I find the notion of carnival useful for the present purposes. Carnival, however, cannot be viewed as independent of the society that frames it. It is not apolitical but just the opposite: a highly political and politicized celebration of the community as a whole. With this proviso in mind, we may return to the subject of the iambic tradition: like the carnival, it attacks whatever happens to be current, the here and now, while all along celebrating the theme of fertility.

§38. The theme of fertility in the story of Archilochus and the punishment of the Parians is pertinent to the implicit relationship between him and Hera. To make this point, I begin with the so-called Cologne Epode of Archilochus (F 196A W), where boy meets girl and boy seduces girl in a beautiful setting, a locus amoenus. There are suggestive points of comparison to be found in the Provençal genre of the pastorela and its Old French equivalent, the pastourelle, [98] In connection with the typical setting of the pastourelle, that is, a locus amoenus of a garden or of the countryside, I draw attention to scraps of evidence, some dating to as early as the eighth century A.D., for countryside rituals that dramatize themes that are analogous to some of the central themes found in the pastourelle, in the form of dances miming chthonic powers of fertility. [99] I would compare the locus amoenus of the Cologne Epode of Archilochus: the setting for the seduction described in this composition is a garden that happens to be a sacred precinct of Hera (Dioscorides Palatine Anthology 7.351), [100] who is the goddess of seasonality, equilibrium, and completion in both nature and society (puberty, marriage, and so on). [101] Yet the Epode is preoccupied with the themes of unseasonality, disequilibrium, and incompleteness. For example, one girl is presented as sexually unripe, and the other, as overripe; also the sex act, with the unripe girl as participant, {399|400} is itself incomplete. I suggest that the unseasonality dramatized within the precinct of Hera serves to define the seasonality that is encompassed by the potency of Hera, just as the unseasonality of the hero Herakles, caused by Hera, serves to define the goddess’s power of seasonality: the disequilibrium of the hero leads to his famed Labors, earning him the name Hēra-kleēs ‘he who has the glory [kleos] of Hera’. [102] Thus a sacred framework, the precinct of Hera, encompasses the deviant behavior within the narrative; likewise there is a proper ideology, presumably integrated into rituals sacred to Hera, that encompasses the improper self-characterization of Archilochus. In this connection I draw attention to certain similarities between Archilochus and what folklorists describe as trickster figures: [103] within the narrative the trickster consistently deviates from the norms of society, but outside the narrative and within the society that serves as context for the narrative, the trickster figure’s pattern of deviation from social norms reaffirms the pattern of these norms. [104]

§39. In the case of Archilochus, the ‘iambic’ function is manifested in his dramatized alienation from his own here and now. This fact of alienation can be accepted as part of the undifferentiated past by the community that embraces Archilochus as the present guarantor of its fertility. In the case of comedy, especially the Old Comedy of Aristophanes, there is an analogous stance of dramatized alienation from everything that happens to be current. That includes the conventions in the craft of poetry and song as it was current in the time of Aristophanes.

§40. The criticism of current poetry and song in Aristophanes operates on a solid foundation: a thorough education in the Classics of poetry is presupposed, as we can see from the parodic references to such canonical masters as Alcman (Lysistrata 1248–1320), Stesichorus (Peace 796–816), and Anacreon (Birds 1373–1374). [105] But the critical area for criticizing what is current in terms of the Classical is the theater itself, the medium par excellence for the composition and performance of poetry and song in the time of Aristophanes. The theater, as it developed within the City Dionysia, had absorbed the repertoire of epic, as we can readily see from such individual tragedies as the Seven against Thebes of Aeschylus and more generally from the overwhelmingly epic themes of most of the tragedies composed by Aeschylus and other early dramatists who followed in his wake. [106] As with epic, so also with lyric: the evolving predominance of Athenian theater as the primary poetic medium played a major role in the obsolescence of lyric poetry in other media and, by extension, in other genres. We have already had {400|401} occasion to note the complaints about theatrokratiā in Plato’s writings (Laws 701a) and about the intoxication of pleasure in the poetry of theater (700d), leading to ‘transgressions’ of genre (700e). [107] To be contrasted are the good old days, as in the earlier era that followed the Persian Wars (Laws 698b), when there were still distinct genres (700a), five of which are specified as examples: humnos ‘hymn’, thrēnos ‘lament’, paiān ‘paean’, dithurambos ‘dithyramb’, and kitharōidikos nomos ‘citharodic nome’ (700b). [108] These genres, as well as other genres left unspecified (ibid.), are the structurally distinct aspects of lyric poetry, parallel to the structurally distinct aspects of aristokratiā in Plato’s good old Athenian society (701a). In contrast, as we have seen, the progressive leveling by Athenian theater of generic distinctions in lyric poetry is for Plato parallel to the leveling by Athenian democracy of class distinctions in society. [109] Precisely such generic distinctions characterize the lyric poetry of Pindar, composer of such genres as the humnos, the thrēnos, the paiān, the dithurambos, and so on. [110]

§41. Given that the Theater of Dionysus at Athens is the predominant context of poetry as current poetry, it follows that contemporary comedy singles out the current poetics of the theater as the main target of its criticism of poetry. Specifically the current comedy of theater attacks the poetics of current tragedy. One of the clearest examples is the great agōn ‘contest’ between Aeschylus and Euripides in Hades, as dramatized by Aristophanes in the Frogs (905–1098). [111] That tragedy is the tekhnē ‘craft’ of poetry par excellence—and this concept recurs frequently— [112] is the one given that is held in respect by both sides in the contest. [113] What is at issue is the superiority or inferiority of the old and current ways of practicing that craft, as represented by Aeschylus and Euripides respectively:

The old-fashioned Aeschylus wins over the innovative Euripides in the judgment of the god Dionysus himself (1467 and following), who is after all the raison d’être of the City Dionysia.

§42. In short the fundamental reason for the loss of Euripides to Aeschylus in the Frogs, and in general for his being singled out as a special target for the comedy of Aristophanes, is that his poetics are current. The definitive statement on what is current in the poetics of tragedy is treated as a foil by the poetics of comedy. Thus Euripides cannot even be a runner-up to Aeschylus: that honor is reserved for Sophocles (Aristophanes Frogs 787–794, 1515–1519). That it is Aeschylus who wins the contest in the Frogs, thus winning the chance to be brought back to the contemporary world of the living by the god of theater himself, is the wish fulfillment of a nostalgia for the undifferentiated Dionysiac essence of Drama.

§45. The craft of theater is one of continual crisis, of innovation. Even the older features of the craft, perceived by Comedy as old-fashioned, reveal earlier stages of poetic innovation in the theater. The stage-Aeschylus may be ridiculed by the stage-Euripides for his old-fashioned and monotonous lyric rhythms, as parodied by the lyre-strumming onomatopoeia tophlattothrat tophlattothrat (Frogs 1286, 1288, 1290, 1292, 1294), and yet the form of these rhythms, from an earlier perspective, represents an innovative appropriation, by the poetics of theater, of the distinct genre of the kitharōidikos nomos ‘citharodic nome’. The stage-Euripides says that these old-fashioned Aeschylean rhythms are taken from kitharōidikoi nomoi ‘citharodic nomes’ (Frogs 1282). It is precisely the appropriation and hence domination of such genres by the poetics of theater that led Plato to condemn the poetic innovations of the theater as a degeneration of genres: for Plato, the usurpation of the kitharōidikos nomos (Laws 700b) by theater is an example of theatrokratiā (701a). Thus the Aeschylean use of the kitharōidikos nomos may be old-fashioned synchronically, but it is an innovation diachronically. It represents an earlier stage of the same sort of innovations practiced by Euripides, who is accused by the stage-Aeschylus of freely appropriating to drama such nondramatic forms as skolia and thrēnoi (Frogs 1301–1303). Such theatrokratiā, it seems, goes back to the early days of the City Dionysia, and there is no reason not to take it all the way back to the era of the Peisistratidai, tyrants of Athens. In sum the Theater of Dionysus at Athens, with its theatrocracy of genres, has been appropriating and assimilating, ever since its inception, the traditions of song making that we can still see as independent and unassimilated forms in the repertoire of a figure like Pindar.

§46. Ironically this innovative process of appropriation and assimilation induces a sense of nostalgia, as articulated by Old Comedy, for the older phases of song making. In Aristophanes’ Wasps, for example, the old Philokleon is described as spending all night singing and dancing the choral parts of old-fashioned tragedies that Thespis himself had once upon a time composed when he had entered the competition or agōn (ἠγωνίζετο 1479). Turning time upside down, the old man claims that his choral singing and dancing can make contemporary tragōidoi ‘players of tragedy’ seem old-fashioned by comparison, as if the modem were ancient, and the ancient, {403|404} modern (1480); in this context the notion of old-fashioned is described as kronoi, that is, ‘Kronos’ in the plural (κρόνους 1480). The era of Thespis is the era of the Peisistratidai, the dynasty of tyrants that founded the City Dionysia. That the notion of old-fashioned tragōidoi should be represented as the incarnation of Kronos shows that the ideological attitude toward the old tyranny on the part of the newer democracy combines feelings of revulsion and nostalgia. Shaped by the tyrants, the institution of Athenian Theater as later reshaped by democracy teaches against the internal threat of tyranny. [119] So much for the aspect of revulsion. It is true that Kronos, with his horrors of violence and guile, is a suitable negative model for the state’s older phase of existence, under the reign of the tyrants. But Kronos is also a figure of nostalgia, as ruler of the Golden Age. Thus the comic description of primordial players of tragedy as the incarnation of Kronos amounts to an Athenian version of nostalgia for the Golden Age of the Saturnalia. [120]

§47. Such nostalgia for the old forms of poetry and song, which reaches the level of ideology in the Old Comedy of Athenian Theater, helps explain the survival of Pindar’s compositions as Classical examples of independent and unassimilated traditions in song making.

§49. For the Greek city-states, the primary mode of education was public, through the performance of song and poetry at festivals. In the case of poetry, performance at festivals tended to be left to professionals such as the rhapsodes at the festival of the Panathenaia at Athens. [122] In the case of song, the situation was more complex, as we have seen in the case of a festival like {404|405} the City Dionysia at Athens, where poetry was performed by professional actors while song was performed by the nonprofessional chorus. [123] Here the performance by the chorus was a central form of civic education, not only for the audience at large but also for the members of the chorus. The numbers of chorus members selected each year for the annual production of the City Dionysia convey the pervasiveness of the institution: for example, the three competing choruses of the tragedies required a total of not less than thirty-six new chorus members each year, while the ten competing choruses of the dithyrambs, with separate men’s and boys’ divisions, added up to a yearly total of 500 men and 500 boys. [124] Wherever the traditions of making song and poetry are still alive, as in the documented cases of the City Dionysia and the Panathenaia, [125] we have reason to think that the process of civic education through song and poetry is also alive. But we have also seen that the traditions of public education in song making and poetry at the City Dionysia tended to absorb or displace older traditions of aristocratic education in song making and poetry, such as those represented by Pindar. [126] Here we see a fundamental impetus for the very institution of private schools: if aristocratic education in the public performance of songs was becoming less and less available by way of the chorus, since the State was transforming the old aristocratic poetics into the new popular poetics of the City Dionysia, then the older ways of choral education in the older traditions of song making had to be compensated by way of increased private schooling for the élite. Once State Theater, the creation of tyrants, becomes transformed into the democratic self-expression of the polis, the concept of the private school can become the nondemocratic self-expression of aristocrats, the new breeding ground of tyrants.

§50. Even private schools, however, serve as a setting for changes in the old traditions of song making. In the older poetics we would naturally expect the traditions of composition in performance to survive from one generation to the next through the factor of performance. Yet if the traditions of composition in performance were breaking down, then the need for sample performances would become greater and greater. Which means that education itself would become gradually transformed: the learning of techniques in composition through performance could shift to the learning of sample compositions through reading. Once the performance tradition becomes obsolete, the text is no longer a demonstration of ability to perform, rather the text {405|406} becomes simply a sample piece of writing, potentially there to be imitated by other sample pieces of writing.

§52. In order to illustrate the effects of private education on the transmission of the Classics, I now turn to two passages in particular, one from the Clouds of Aristophanes and another from the Protagoras of Plato. Let us begin with the Clouds of Aristophanes, with its informative description of old-fashioned Athenian paideiā ‘education’ (τὴν ἀρχαίαν παιδείαν: 961), the kind that purportedly produced the men who fought at the Battle of Marathon (985–986), [130] where boys learn selected compositions of old lyric masters [131] in the house of the kitharistēs ‘master of the kitharis’ (964), who teaches them to learn by heart (promathein: 966) the performance of famous lyric compositions (967) and who insists on their adherence to performing these compositions in the proper harmoniā ‘mode’ that had been ‘inherited from their fathers’ (968; cf. 969–972). [132] This precious glimpse of old-fashioned paideiā ‘education’ in Athens provides us with a model for understanding the gradual metamorphosis of oral traditions into the institutions of private schooling in the “Classics.” [133] The oral traditions of the boys’ chorus are giving way to the written traditions of the boys’ school. Further, if the chorus becomes dispensable in a school for performing choral lyric, then the idea of the chorus as the primary medium of education will also have become dispensable. In which case, it is only a matter of time before the performance itself of choral lyric becomes dispensable. With the passage of time, the {406|407} performance of choral lyric need no longer be the primary curriculum of boys’ schools. Thus the progression from an old-fashioned education in the chorus toward an innovative education in the school inexorably leads to still newer patterns of education in a school that may no longer have anything to do with the chorus. The differentiated new concept of “schools” becomes further differentiated into “old schools,” which had taught the performance of choral lyric, and “new schools,” with a curriculum emancipated from the medium of chorus altogether. By the time of the late fifth century, in a rapidly changing polis like Athens, schools were in fact becoming divorced from the traditions of performance in choral lyric. A prime example is the school of Socrates and his disciples, as ridiculed in the Clouds of Aristophanes. [134]

§53. With the increasing complexity of society in the context of the polis comes a pattern of differentiation in the passing on of traditions from generation to generation, and the institution of private schools, as we have just seen described in the Aristophanic passage about the good old days of paideiā ‘education’ in the era of the Battle of Marathon, may be considered an early reflex of this pattern. Already in this era, schools are not a phenomenon merely confined to Athens but seem to appear throughout Archaic Greece. The earliest attested mention of schools is in Herodotus 6.27.2, alluding to an incident that occurred in Chios around 496 B.C., where a roof collapsed on a group of 120 children as they were being taught grammata ‘letters’; only one boy survived. [135] This disaster is explicitly cited by Herodotus as an omen presaging the overall political disaster that was about to befall the whole community of Chios in the wake of the Ionian Revolt against the Persians (6.27.1), namely, the attack by Histiaios (6.26.1–2) and then the atrocities resulting from the occupation of the island by the Persians (6.31–32). Moreover, the disaster that befell the school at Chios is explicitly coupled by the narrative of Herodotus with another disaster, likewise presaging the overall political disaster about to befall Chios: at about the same time that the roof fell in on the children studying their grammata ‘letters’ in school (again 6.27.2), a choral ensemble of one hundred young men from Chios, officially sent to Delphi for a performance at a festival there, fell victim to a plague that killed ninety-eight of them, so that only two returned alive to Chios (ibid.). We have already noted that the oral traditions of the chorus, throughout Archaic Greece, were giving way to the written traditions of the school. In this narrative of Herodotus, then, we see two symmetrical disasters befalling the song-making traditions of a community, presaging a general political disaster befalling the community as a whole: first to be mentioned are the old-fashioned and élitist oral traditions of the chorus, to be followed {407|408} by the newer and even more élitist written traditions of the school. [136]

§54. That the grammata ‘letters’ that are being taught to these select children of Chios as the roof caves in on them are the belles-lettres or liberal education of song and poetry is made clear if we compare the portrait of old-fashioned education in the Protagoras of Plato. Here again, however, as in the Clouds of Aristophanes, this kind of education is in fact considered no longer new but already old-fashioned. In the Protagoras, with its dramatization of the way things supposedly were in the second half of the fifth century, we can see how schooling is a matter of differentiations in the passing on of traditions from generation to generation. The subject is introduced as we find an old Protagoras debating with Socrates in a company of young Athenian intellectuals that pointedly includes two sons of Pericles himself (314e). In his description of paideiā, the figure of Protagoras specifically says that the wealthy can afford more of it: they extend the education of their children by starting it earlier and continuing it longer (326c). [137] There are at least three stages to what Protagoras describes. First, there is a period of education at home, where father, mother, trophos ‘nurse’, and paidagōgos ‘tutor’ all play a role in one’s early ethical formation (325cd). Second, the child is sent to school, where he is taught letters for the explicit purpose of memorizing poetry (325e–326a); that this memorization is for the explicit purpose of performing and interpreting this poetry is made clear in Protagoras’ description of the third stage of schooling, where the child is taught to sing compositions of lyric poets while accompanying himself to the lyre (326ab). [138] Whereas the poetry that is taught in the earlier stage when the child is still learning his letters is described only generally as diexodoi ‘descriptions’, epainoi ‘praises’, and enkōmia ‘encomia’ concerning ‘noble men of the past’ (326a), it is clear that the poetry taught at the later stage is specifically lyric poetry (the compositions of melopoioi ‘lyric poets’: ibid.). From the standpoint of Protagoras, the most important aspect of paideiā (his word) is to acquire skill in the performance and interpretation of poetry (339a), and it is clear that he is thinking in particular of song, that is, lyric poetry: illustrating his point about the primacy of poetry in education, he begins his debate with {408|409} Socrates by citing and then interpreting a lyric composition of Simonides (339b and following: Simonides PMG 542), [139] having just made an earlier reference to a famous lyric passage from Pindar (337d: Pindar F 169a.1–5 SM). [140]

§55. After Protagoras and Socrates have a contest of wits in interpreting the meaning of the composition by Simonides (and Socrates comes off with the seemingly superior interpretation), Alcibiades challenges Protagoras to continue his debate with Socrates by abandoning the use of poetry as the framework for the discussion (347b and 348b), in the context of a particularly significant remark of Socrates: to use poetry as a framework for the debate between Protagoras and himself is analogous, says Socrates, to the hiring of girl musicians, either string or wind, or girl dancers to entertain at symposia (347cd). Such participants in the symposium reveal their lack of paideiā ‘education’ (apaideusiā: 347c), whereas those who are noble and ‘educated’ (pepaideumenoi) can entertain themselves with their own conversations (347d). Plato could have had Socrates say, as does the poetry of Aristophanes, that the educated participants in the symposium can also entertain themselves by performing and interpreting lyric compositions, as opposed to the ill-educated participants who hire girl musicians to play for them. But Plato is the champion of a new education where dialogue supplants the primacy of poetry, and Socrates in fact goes on to set up “the poets” as a bad thing that is parallel to the girl musicians (347e). In other words, instead of having girl musicians as a foil for “the poets,” Plato has both the girl musicians and “the poets” serving together as a foil for the medium of the dialogue that Socrates and Alcibiades are advocating. The stance of Alcibiades here is particularly suggestive: his generation is ridiculed in the Clouds of Aristophanes for abandoning the ideals of old-fashioned paideiā. According to these ideals, a sign of the highest achievement was the performance, at a symposium, of a lyric composition by one of the old masters. There is a vivid contrast to these ideals in the Alcibiades of Plutarch (2.6), where the young Alcibiades refuses to learn how to play the reed: let the Thebans, says he, play the reed, since they do not know how to have a conversation at a symposium.


[ back ] 1. I am using the term lyric here without including iambic and elegiac.

[ back ] 2. Cf. Ch. 6§53.

[ back ] 3. Cf. Ch. 12§26 and following.

[ back ] 4. Cf. Ch. 3§3.

[ back ] 5. Cf. Ch. 6§53 and following.

[ back ] 6. Pickard-Cambridge 1968.58.

[ back ] 7. Pickard-Cambridge, p. 64.

[ back ] 8. See Pickard-Cambridge, pp. 57–101; also Herington 1985.87.

[ back ] 9. Pickard-Cambridge, p. 82. As for the Feast of Lenaia, comedy is formalized there at around 442 B.C.

[ back ] 10. Cf. Seaford 1984.14. The provenience of Pratinas will become more significant as the discussion proceeds.

[ back ] 11. Seaford 1984.10–16.

[ back ] 12. Seaford, p. 12.

[ back ] 13. Ibid.

[ back ] 14. Lucas 1968.85 associates this evolution primarily with Aeschylus, who is hailed in Aristophanes Frogs 1004–1005 as the creator of tragedy (cf. ῥήματα σεμνά 1004). “Tragedy must have ceased to be satyric at latest by 492 B.C.,” the reputed date of the staging of the Capture of Miletus by Phrynichus (Lucas ibid.).

[ back ] 15. Seaford 1984.16. On parabasis as a differentiated “entrance,” see also Seaford 1977–1978.85.

[ back ] 16. The term epirrhematic refers to the format of a recited address to the audience, following a sung and danced strophe.

[ back ] 17. Seaford 1977–1978.86. We may compare the Aeginetan example of choruses subdivided into rival halves, as discussed at Ch. 12§51 and following.

[ back ] 18. Cf. Foley 1985.205–258. Note Seaford 1984.43 on the affinities of the Bacchae with the Dionysiac theme of the captivity and liberation of satyrs.

[ back ] 19. Foley, p. 215.

[ back ] 20. Dodds 1960.159.

[ back ] 21. On the semiotics of myth as the aition ‘cause’ of ritual, see Ch. 4§3.

[ back ] 22. Chantraine DELG 17. See p. 365. Note the usage of sun-agō in Euripides Bacchae 563 and 564 in the context of Orpheus as he plays the kitharā.

[ back ] 23. Cf. Ch. 5§1.

[ back ] 24. Ibid. Again cf. agōnismos ‘rivalry’ in Thucydides 7.70.

[ back ] 25. Cf. Ch. 5§2. On agōn as a festival of contests in athletics and in poetry, song, and dance, see Homeric Hymn to Apollo 149–150 and Thucydides 3.10.3/5. Note too the following three subjects of the verb agōnizomai ‘compete, engage in an agōn’ in Herodotus: athletes (e.g., 2.160.3-4), warriors (e.g., 1.76.4), and rhapsōidoi ‘rhapsodes’ (5.67.1).

[ back ] 26. N 1979.94–102.

[ back ] 27. At Bacchae 846 the future form peisomai is ambiguously Ί will be persuaded’ (verb peithō) or ‘I will suffer’ (verb paskhō), in the context of the juxtaposition of peisomestha with paskhomen at 786. See Segal 1982.249–254.

[ back ] 28. This passage has been discussed at Ch. 1§47 as an illustration of the concept of mīmēsis as reenactment. That tragikoi here refers to the medium of tragedy is supported by the testimony of Themistius Orations 27.377b on the perfecting of tragedy by the Sikyonians: cf. Gentili 1986.32–33.

[ back ] 29. The countryside setting of this protofestival, this proto-agōn, as it were, is juxtaposed with the urban characteristics of the man who tries to subvert the festival (καί τις πλάνης κατ᾽ ἄστυ καὶ τρίβων ‘and then, a town-wanderer, one experienced in words …’ Bacchae 717). We may note the story, preserved in Diogenes Laertius 1.60, that Solon condemned tragedy as a source for the ruses of the tyrant Peisistratos (cf. Petre 1975.570).

[ back ] 30. Burkert 1966. Cf. Ch. 1§29–30.

[ back ] 31. On this concept of confrontation and loss, see Ch. 2§24n45.

[ back ] 32. This point is highlighted in the discussion by Seaford 1984.16–21, who follows up his observation that “satyric drama was instituted in the Dionysia to preserve something of what tragedy had ceased to be” with this converse: “But this does not mean that it was itself immune to change” (p. 16). Eventually satyric drama loses its compensatory function and becomes obsolescent. By 438 B.C., Euripides can substitute the Alcestis in place of a satyr drama as the fourth element of a tetralogy (Seaford, pp. 24–25). In the same decade competitions in tragedy are instituted at the Lenaia, without satyric drama at all (Pickard-Cambridge 1968.40–41; cf. Seaford, p. 25). On the assimilation of satyric elements by Euripidean tragedy, see Seaford, pp. 31–32, with bibliography. On a larger scale we may note the early assimilation of tragedy at the City Dionysia in the direction of the major themes of epic as performed at the Great Panathenaia: a worthy case in point is the “Homeric” repertoire of Aeschylus, as discussed by Herington 1985.138–144.

[ back ] 33. Cf. Seaford, p. 13n39, on the role of satyrs in Arion’s dithyrambs.

[ back ] 34. Cf. Pickard-Cambridge 1962.13–15. See Seaford 1984.15 on the introduction, by Lasus, of actual dithyrambic style at the City Dionysia.

[ back ] 35. Pickard-Cambridge 1962.15. On the tradition claiming Lasus of Hermione as the teacher of Pindar, see the Vita in Drachmann I, p. 4.12 and following (cf. Privitera 1965.60–61).

[ back ] 36. Cf. Ch. 6§42, 6§50, and following, 6§85; also Ch. 6§28, 6§30, 6§53, 6§77. On the tradition claiming Lasus of Hermione as the teacher of Pindar, see the Vita in Drachmann I, p. 4.12 and following (cf. Privitera 1965.60–61).

[ back ] 37. T. K. Hubbard draws my attention to the words of Pindar Olympian 13.18–19, referring to the Corinthian origins of the dithyramb and to its affinities with Dionysus.

[ back ] 38. Commentary on Solon F 30a W (= F 39 GP) by Gentili 1986.32–33; cf. Seaford 1984.13n38.

[ back ] 39. Burkert 1966.97–102, 115–121.

[ back ] 40. Cf. N 1985.44§29n4.

[ back ] 41. Cf. Figueira 1985.141. There will be more to say about ritual inversion when the discussion turns to the topic of carnival, Ch. 13§34.

[ back ] 42. Cf. Seaford 1984.118 for other such references.

[ back ] 43. We do not have to agree with Aristotle (ibid.) that such an etymological connection of kōmōidiā to kōmē ‘countryside district’ is incompatible with another connection, to the word kōmos ‘group of revelers’ and its derivatives. It appears that kōmē and kōmos are cognate: Levine 1985.177§2n1.

[ back ] 44. In the case of Athenian comedy, we may add, comedy articulates the authority of the Demos, on which topic I cite the forthcoming work of J. Henderson.

[ back ] 45. Cf. Seaford 1984.32–33.

[ back ] 46. On the Anthesteria as the oldest Dionysiac festival, see Pickard-Cambridge 1968.1–25.

[ back ] 47. On the City Dionysia and the Peisistratidai, see Pickard-Cambridge p. 58. Seaford, p. 31n81, observes: “The urbanization, probably of a preexisting celebration, may have consisted partly in the transference of emergent drama to the city-centre.” We may recall the dictum of Aristotle Politics 1319b that the way to achieve democracy is to centralize the cults. Such a policy was already being practiced by the tyrants. In this connection, we should note that the democratic restructuring that resulted in the dēmoi ‘demes’ of Attica presupposes the existence of the polis of Athens. This fact about the demes affects the very concept of “Rural Dionysia,” a transitional stage of development between the Anthesteria and the City Dionysia: these “Rural Dionysia,” as celebrated in the demes of Attica, were “closer to the earth than the great festivals of the city, and may have retained their religious content in greater strength and longer,” but they are already a thing of the polis, in that they are extensions of the demes and “mimic the city” (Pickard-Cambridge, p. 51).

[ back ] 48. Seaford, pp. 7–9, 30, 39–40, 96–97.

[ back ] 49. Cf. Ch. 13§18.

[ back ] 50. Cf. Herington 1985.85–86. For more on the Panathenaia, see Ch. 1§9 and following.

[ back ] 51. Cf. Ch. 1§10.

[ back ] 52. Cf. Ch. 1§47.

[ back ] 53. More on Pericles at Chs. 6§22, 10§49, and following, 10§51.

[ back ] 54. Pickard-Cambridge 1968.104; see Ch. 3§14 on parallelisms in the relationship of Pericles and Aeschylus, Themistokles and Phrynichus. On the Classical Athenian usage of the word khorēgos ‘chorus leader’ to designate a contemporary nonperformer, who organizes and subsidizes both the composition and the performance, see Ch. 12§74–75.

[ back ] 55. In the Aeschylus edition of Page 1972.

[ back ] 56. Cf. Ch. 6§2.

[ back ] 57. N 1979.279–316.

[ back ] 58. Detienne 1973.18–27; cf. Dumézil 1969.103–124.

[ back ] 59. N 1979.222–242.

[ back ] 60. Cf. Ch. 6§6.

[ back ] 61. Cf. N 1979.37–38§13n5: when Aigisthos persuades Clytemnestra to commit adultery and thus betray Agamemnon, he takes the poet to a deserted island (iii 270–271) so that the poet may not see the adultery; still the shameful behavior of Clytemnestra is heard by the audience of epic since the poet of epic does not depend on seeing (N, p. 16). The blind kleos of epic hears what the poet of ainos needs to see. On the metaphor of seeing in the songs of Stesichorus, in line with the ideology of the applied ainos as distinct from the generalized epic, see Ch. 14§12 and following, especially Ch. 14§19.

[ back ] 62. In Simonides we may still see earlier and less specialized stages of epinician etiquette: in PMG 507.1 (cf. Aristophanes Clouds 1355–1356), for example, the name of the athlete Krios, which means literally ‘Ram’, is turned into a joke in that his defeat in a wrestling contest is described as a ‘fleecing’ (ἐπέξαθ’).

[ back ] 63. Cf. West 1971.62. I cite the wording of Philostratus Imagines 3 (II, p. 298 Kayser): φοιτῶσιν οἱ μῦθοι παρὰ τὸν Αἴσωπον, ἀγαπῶντες αὐτὸν ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐπιμελεῖται. ἐμέλησε μὲν γὰρ καὶ Ὁμήρῳ μύθου καὶ Ἡσιόδῳ, ἔτι δὲ καὶ Ἀρχιλόχῳ πρὸς Λυκάμβην ‘myths [mūthoi] are attracted to Aesop, loving him because he practices the art [of myth]; myth was also the practice of Homer and Hesiod; and even of Archilochus, in the context of his addressing Lykambes’.

[ back ] 64. Further discussion in N 1979.224–225.

[ back ] 65. There is an analogue on the level of metrics: the epinician lyric poetry of Pindar is either “Doric” (dactylo-epitrite) or Aeolic, whereas the hexameter of epic is both. So also on the level of function: Pindar must either praise or blame, whereas epic does both.

[ back ] 66. Cf. Miller 1981.140n21; also Simpson 1969.119, who argues that the Herakles myth was part of the καλλίνικος ὕμνος ‘victory song’ of Archilochus, which the voice of Pindar represents as having been sung spontaneously by the friends of the victor immediately after the victory that is now being praised again by Pindar in Olympian 9.1–4.

[ back ] 67. On the terms synartetic and asynartetic, see Ch. 1§58–59 and following.

[ back ] 68. SM vol. 2., p. 162.

[ back ] 69. Cf. Ch. 1§58–59 and following.

[ back ] 70. Cf. Ch. 1§9. The use of οἶδα ‘I know how’ at Archilochus F 120.2 W suggests a potential situation for performance, not actual performance. Cf. West 1974.131 on the possibility that Archilochus F 120 is a continuation of F 118.

[ back ] 71. Cf. Chs. 1§8, 1§15–16, 1§20, 12§49. The transition from sung to recited may be a reflex of the transition from an earlier stage where each performance entails recomposition to a later stage where such recomposition no longer takes place. Cf. Ch. 2§7.

[ back ] 72. Again the sequence of myth reverses the sequence of diachrony: cf. Ch. 3§36.

[ back ] 73. Cf. Else 1957.149.

[ back ] 74. Cf. Else, pp. 155 and following.

[ back ] 75. Else, pp. 157-158.

[ back ] 76. Cf. N 1979.252.

[ back ] 77. Else, p. 158.

[ back ] 78. Ibid. Cf. pp. 20, 39.

[ back ] 79. For more on the Mnesiepes Inscription, a prime document of the Life of Archilochus tradition, see Ch. 12§49.

[ back ] 80. The full text is not given in Archilochus F 251 W; but see West 1974.25.

[ back ] 81. The text is too fragmentary for me to be certain, but the expressions παραδεδομ[ένα ‘transmitted’ at line 23 and κεκοσμημέ] ‘arranged [derivative of kosmos]’ at 24 suggest that a contrast is being made between the “impromptu” effusions of the protopoet and the “deliberate” arrangements of those charged with the transmission of the poetry. Note too the context of μιμνησκομ[ ‘remember’ at line 52, which seems to be pertinent to the concept of Mnēsiepēs ‘he who remembers the words [as in epos ‘word’]’ as discussed at Ch. 12§49n133.

[ back ] 82. Cf. West 1974.25.

[ back ] 83. On the notion of iambic, I cite the succinct formulation of West 1974.22 (following Aristotle Poetics 1448b31): “iambic metre got its name from being particularly characteristic of ἴαμβοι [iamboi], not vice versa.” I have explored the conventions of the ‘iambic’ tradition in N 1979.243–252, where I record my indebtedness to the observation of Dover 1964.189 that the word iambos refers basically to the type of occasion for which this form was appropriate. On the choral connotations of the word iambos, revealing a stage when the iambic form could be danced, see N 1979.242–243.

[ back ] 84. Cf. N 1979.285, with the focus on the aetiology for the hero cult of Aesop. For a collection of such narrative patterns, see Fontenrose 1968.73–79. The hero, at the time that he is being dishonored, may be represented by the narrative as either still alive (e.g., Oibotas of Dyme, Pausanias 7.17.13–14) or already dead (e.g., Theogenes of Thasos, Pausanias 6.11.6–8). If he is still alive, the dishonoring may lead directly to his death, as in the story of Aesop.

[ back ] 85. Fertility of crops: e.g., Pausanias 6.11.6–8; fertility of humans: e.g., Pausanias 2.3.6–7.

[ back ] 86. Cf. Ch. 5§10–11, 5§15; also Ch. 12§48–49 and following.

[ back ] 87. On the authenticity of Archilochus F 322 W, I agree with Miralles and Pòrtulas 1983.113 (pace West 1974.24). In the Mnesiepes Inscription (T 4 Tarditi), I note the apparent reference to vegetal fertility (καρπῶν II 40) in the general context of human fertility in the story of the punishment of the Parians (II 42–46).

[ back ] 88. See again Archilochus F 322 W.

[ back ] 89. For more on the notion of iambic, see N 1979.243.

[ back ] 90. See West 1974.23–25; also Richardson 1974.213–217, especially with reference to the passage about Iambē in Hymn to Demeter 192–205.

[ back ] 91. Bakhtin [1984b]. Cf. Rösler 1986. In the generations that followed the time of Rabelais, that is, in the preclassic times of the seventeenth century in the period preceding the reign of Louis XIV, “Rabelais did not as yet appear exceptional” (Bakhtin, p. 107). Soon thereafter, however, “the atmosphere in which Rabelais was understood vanished almost entirely, and he became a strange and solitary author who needed special interpretation and commentary” (ibid.). To an author like La Bruyère, writing in 1690, Rabelais is to be condemned for his crude obscenity and vulgarity, though he is to be praised for his exquisite genius and originality in the use of language; Bakhtin comments that La Bruyère sees the work of Rabelais as “two-faced” because “he has lost the key that could have locked together its two heterogeneous aspects” (p. 108). That key, in Bakhtin’s terms, is carnival. Without insisting on the term, which lends itself to overextended use, I see here a striking analogy with the figure of Archilochus. Else’s reference to Archilochus F 120 W as “Archilochus’ impromptu, drunken dithyramb” (Else 1957.158) reminds me of the discussion by Bakhtin, pp. 265–266 of the expression “faire courir les personnages des diables,” in a document from Amiens dated 1500, referring to the custom of letting characters who are chosen to represent the devils in a passion play run loose.

[ back ] 92. Bakhtin, p. 218.

[ back ] 93. Ibid.

[ back ] 94. On the political and ideological orthodoxies that were prevalent at the time that Bakhtin was formulating his vision of the carnival element in Rabelais, see Holquist in Bakhtin [1984b] xviii. We should note that in the sixteenth century, the time of Rabelais, “folk merriment had not as yet been concentrated in carnival season, in any of the towns of France” (p. 220). In other words the synthesis under the institutional heading of carnival had not yet reached the stage corresponding to Bakhtin’s broadened sense of carnival. Later, when “the carnival […] became the center of all popular forms of amusement, it diminished all the other feasts and deprived them of almost every free and utopian folk element” (Bakhtin, p. 220). “The other feasts faded away; their popular character was reduced, especially because of their connection with ecclesiastic or political rituals” (ibid.).

[ back ] 95. Cf. Bakhtin, pp. 334–336.

[ back ] 96. On the carnival as heir to the Roman Saturnalia, see Bakhtin, pp. 8, 81. On the tradition of nostalgia for the Golden Age, as implicit in the Saturnalia, see his p. 48. I should add that the Greek analogue of the Saturnalia, the feast of Kronos, exhibits a similar tradition of nostalgia for the Golden Age: cf. Rösler 1986.36. The theme of Saturnalian nostalgia is also reflected in the Works and Days of Hesiod: cf. N 1979.168–172.

[ back ] 97. I use the term grotesque in the sense outlined by Bakhtin, pp. 30–58, especially 31–32. On the correlation of the grotesque with the notion of fertility, I cite in particular his following observation on the traditional imagery of the grotesque: it is a “system […] in which death is not a negation of life seen as the great body of all the people but part of life as a whole—its indispensable component, the condition of its constant renewal and rejuvenation” (p. 50; cf. also pp. 326-328, 405). This thought pattern, which Bakhtin sums up in the formula “death is included in life” (p. 50), amounts to a system of opposition between life and death where life is the unmarked and inclusive member (on the terms marked and unmarked, see Introduction §12). In Bakhtin’s scheme this opposition is a sign of fertility: “Even the struggle of life and death in the individual body is conceived by grotesque imagery as the struggle of the old life stubbornly resisting the new life about to be born, as the crisis of change” (p. 50; emphasis mine).

[ back ] 98. See Miralles and Pòrtulas 1983.135–157, especially p. 135n15.

[ back ] 99. See Zink 1972.93, 102.

[ back ] 100. Commentary by Miralles and Pòrtulas, p. 136 and nn16, 17.

[ back ] 101. Cf. Pötscher 1961; also N 1979.303.

[ back ] 102. Cf. again N 1979.303.

[ back ] 103. Cf. Miralles and Pòrtulas, pp. 11–50.

[ back ] 104. See Radin 1956.

[ back ] 105. Cf. Herington 1985.254n9, with special reference to Fraenkel 1962 ch. 10.

[ back ] 106. Cf. Herington 1985.138–144.

[ back ] 107. Cf. Ch. 3§51.

[ back ] 108. Cf. Ch. 3§9.

[ back ] 109. Cf. Ch. 3§51.

[ back ] 110. Cf. Ch. 3§53.

[ back ] 111. The word agōn is actually used in self-references at Frogs 785, 867, 873, 882.

[ back ] 112. Aristophanes Frogs 93, 766, 770, 780, 786, 793, 811, 831, 850, 939, 961, 973, 1369, 1495.

[ back ] 113. Herington 1985.106.

[ back ] 114. Ibid.

[ back ] 115. Seaford 1977–1978.86. Again we may compare the Aeginetan example of choruses subdivided into rival halves, as discussed at Ch. 12§51 and following.

[ back ] 116. Cf. Ch. 2§25.

[ back ] 117. Ibid.

[ back ] 118. For the wording, see again the description in Plato Laws 659ab.

[ back ] 119. A crucial work on this theme is Lanza 1977. According to Lanza (see especially p. 178), the tyrant of tragedy is born of the Reform of Kleisthenes, which cancels the political need for the tyrant in the here and now. When the people inherit the apparatus of the aristocracy, they also inherit the enemy of the aristocracy, the tyrant.

[ back ] 120. For a direct comparison of the era of the Peisistratidai with the Age of Kronos, see “Plato” Hipparchus 229b.

[ back ] 121. Cf. Ch. 3§4. On writing as a medium not for performance but for the ‘demonstration’ of performance in Herodotus, see Ch. 8§6–7.

[ back ] 122. Cf. Ch. 1§10.

[ back ] 123. Cf. Chs. 3§5, 12§76, 12§78 and following.

[ back ] 124. Herington 1985.96 and 252n83, following Pickard-Cambridge 1968.234–236.

[ back ] 125. Timotheus was famed for a performance of a composition of his, known as the Persians (Timotheus PMG 788–791), at the Feast of the Panathenaia at Athens, around 408 B.C. (cf. Ch. 3§13n36).

[ back ] 126. Cf. Ch. 13§39–40 above.

[ back ] 127. Cf. Ch. 6§50 and following.

[ back ] 128. Cf. Ch. 6§51.

[ back ] 129. Cf. Ch. 6§50 and following.

[ back ] 130. See Ch. 3§31. The “old” paideusis ‘education’ (Clouds 986) is explicitly associated with the era that produced the fighters at Marathon (985–986).

[ back ] 131. I say “selected” in light of my earlier discussion of the limited repertoire reflected by references in Old Comedy to the lyric masters: see Ch. 3§50 and following.

[ back ] 132. Cf. Ch. 3§29–30.

[ back ] 133. Further discussion at Ch. 3§29–31.

[ back ] 134. See Ch. 3§48.

[ back ] 135. Cf. the anecdote recorded by Pausanias 6.9.6 about the mass murder of sixty children in a school at Astypalaea in 492 B.C.; cf. also Thucydides 7.29.5.

[ back ] 136. The symbolism of these symmetrical disasters is signaled by the words προσημαίνειv ‘make a sign [sēma] in advance’ at Herodotus 6.27.1 (cf. also σημήια μεγάλα ‘mighty signs’ ibid.).

[ back ] 137. On this kind of élitism within the social context of the polis, see Dover 1968.lx, who adduces passages like Demosthenes On the Crown 265.

[ back ] 138. This passage, Plato Protagoras 325e–326a, in conjunction with the earlier passage in Herodotus 6.27.2 alluding to the learning of letters by children in Chios, can be used as the most explicit available testimony to the effect that the medium of writing could indeed be used for the teaching of song and poetry. Still we note that the learning of letters is linked with the notion that such learning is a means for preserving traditions of performance. In any case this sort of testimony is the best evidence for the existence of school texts that could have been passed down to the time of the Alexandrian editors. On which topic see Ch. 3§54.

[ back ] 139. On the portrayal of Simonides in the Protagoras of Plato: Privitera 1965.100–110.

[ back ] 140. On this Pindaric passage, cf. Ch. 3§54n158.

[ back ] 141. This is not to say that efforts in such education had ceased altogether: cf. Isocrates Antidosis 267 (τὴν μουσικὴν καὶ τὴν ἄλλην παιδείαν); also Plato Laws 654a-b, 809b; Republic 376e.

[ back ] 142. Cf. Ch. 3§2n3, with a discussion of the Boeotian traditions attributed to Corinna. On the Spartan traditions of reperforming the masterworks of local traditions in song making, see Ch. 12§14 and following.

[ back ] 143. See Ch. 3§46n121.

[ back ] 144. Cf. Ch. 2§32 and following; Ch. 5§15 and following, especially 15§17.

[ back ] 145. Cf. Ch. 6§54 and following.

[ back ] 146. Ibid.

[ back ] 147. Cf. Ch. 6§15–17 and following.

[ back ] 148. Cf. Ch. 12§17 and following.

[ back ] 149. Cf. Ch. 12§24–25 and following.

[ back ] 150. Ibid.

[ back ] 151. Cf. Ch. 12§56 and following.

[ back ] 152. Cf. Ch. 12§50 and following.

[ back ] 153. Cf. Ch. 12§50, 12§57.

[ back ] 154. Cf. Ch. 6§54.

[ back ] 155. In this connection I cite again Ford 1985, where the sphrāgis ‘seal’ of Theognis (19–20) is interpreted as an affirmation of authorship through an authority analogous to that of the tyrant Hipparchus of Athens; further discussion at Ch. 6§48 and following.

[ back ] 156. Cf. Ch. 6§48 and following.

[ back ] 157. Ibid.

[ back ] 158. See Ch. 13§53 above.

[ back ] 159. Ibid.

[ back ] 160. Cf. Ch. 12§46, 12§48; cf. further at Ch. 14§29. I agree with Burnett 1988.137 that Stesichorus was “a public poet.”

[ back ] 161. Cf. Ch. 6§75 and following, especially 6§78.

[ back ] 162. Cf. Ch. 6§54 and following.

[ back ] 163. Ch. 3§48 and following.

[ back ] 164. For the conceptual linking of authority and authorship, see Chs. 2§50, 12§27–29, and following.