Imagining Illegitimacy in Classical Greek Literature

Chapter 4. Euripides’ Hippolytos

Many of the metaphors of illegitimacy we have already seen, along with the social forces and structures that inform them, come together in Euripides’ Hippolytos, a drama that confronts in turn a woman’s sexual desire and a young man’s transition to adulthood. But Hippolytos is not any young man, for his father is one of the primary heroes and “forefathers” of the fifth-century Athenians, and thus the concerns of this oikos are unmistakably political. Considerations of legitimacy will spring to the forefront at times in the drama, but always remain a potent source of tension even in the background. The hero cult established for Hippolytos after his death will attempt to contain the incongruities of legitimacy and the question of the worth of nothoi to the city, yet such an attempt only demonstrates the difficulties that this categorization bears.

The setting of the drama in Troezen brings with it sublimated questions of Theseus’s own illegitimate circumstances. Troezen is, after all, the home of Theseus’s mother Aithra, and the place where his father Aegeus solved his sterility problem with a woman not his wife. [1] Theseus himself grew up in his mother’s home in Troezen (this arrangement is surely a sign that his parents were not married) before he made his way to Athens with the tokens Aegeus left behind. [2] Aegeus recognized Theseus as his son, thus giving him legitimacy, but Theseus’s return to Troezen while in temporary exile (Hippolytos 34–37), is a subtle reminder of his beginnings. The dual parentage that we saw could be problematic for Herakles and even Helen in Euripidean drama is present for Theseus, as well. [3] He is called Aegeus’s son twice by Artemis (1283–84 and 1431) but calls on Poseidon as his father (ὦ πάτερ Πόσειδον, 887). [4]

Phaedra, too, contributes to the overriding questions of legitimacy, for her family history is not simple either. She speaks of the illicit affairs of her mother Pasiphae and sister Ariadne, adding to the sexually charged atmosphere but also alluding to concerns of illegitimacy as she worries that her own illicit love will deprive her children of citizen rights. [5] For adultery on her part would cast doubt on their legitimacy after the fact, and she wants to ensure that they enjoy the right of parrhêsia, ‘free speech’, the mark of a legitimate citizen at Athens. [6] The Nurse and Theseus explicitly raise the problem of hostility between legitimate and illegitimate children. The Nurse warns Phaedra that she will be betraying her children if she kills herself because Hippolytos will be a master for them (304–309), and Theseus says that Hippolytos will make the excuse that Phaedra hated him because the illegitimate offspring is naturally the enemy of the legitimate (962–963).

Hippolytos’s own illegitimate status is highlighted throughout the drama. [7] The tensions surrounding questions of legitimacy such as these are made evident in the incongruity of the description of Hippolytos as a bastard who thinks legitimate thoughts (νόθον φρονοῦντα γνήσι ̓, 309). [8] The juxtaposition invites us to reconsider the categories, as do the metaphors and conceptualization of illegitimacy within the drama. Some of these are familiar by now, such as a close connection of the illegitimate son to his mother, lack of public life, and sterility, but we will now also see a new cluster of metaphors dealing with images of counterfeit coinage and deception.

Within the structure of the drama, Hippolytos’s illegitimacy is, in fact, overdetermined. Theseus’s relationship with Hippolytos’s mother the Amazon is portrayed as being outside of marriage, and the “mixed” parentage of his Athenian father and a decidedly non-Athenian (almost anti-Athenian) mother disqualifies Hippolytos from Athenian legitimacy under standards contemporary with the drama. [9] Also, these standards are invoked for the marked bastard Hippolytos even though, from a strict contemporary viewpoint, the children of the married Theseus and Phaedra would also be considered nothoi, since Phaedra is from Crete and thus not Athenian herself. [10] As we saw in chapter 2 with the case of the emphasized bastard status of Teucer and the elided illegitimacy of Eurysakes in Sophocles’ Ajax, the uneven application of such definitions of illegitimacy serves to foreground the metaphorical associations of the illegitimate status.

Son of the Amazon

One of the associations of illegitimacy highlighted in Euripides’ Hippolytos is the strong affinity between the illegitimate son and his mother, a metaphor system I examined in chapter 1. In that chapter, we saw that the nothos shares qualities with the parthenos, who may be his mother without losing her parthenos status. Hippolytos’s assertion that he has a parthenon psukhên (1006) is connected with his idea of sexual purity: we will see that his chastity has associations with his mother as well, but this unusual phrase also points to his unmarried status of his mother. [11] He defines his inner being in the same terms as her condition.

Hippolytos’s overidentification with his mother is also represented in his physical separation from his father. Because of his illegitimacy, Hippolytos does not live with Theseus in Athens. Theseus is, of course, the ultra-Athenian, but Hippolytos shares the outsider status of his mother, who is branded as precisely not Athenian. [12] This overidentification with the non-Athenian parent is also the situation under the Periclean citizenship law. Since, under that law, the son of an Athenian citizen (or, technically, the daughter of a citizen in the mother’s case) with a noncitizen was not eligible to be a citizen, that child was legally identified with the status of the non-Athenian parent, regardless of the citizenship status of the Athenian parent.

That Hippolytos’s mother is an Amazon, and therefore a paradigmatic enemy of Athens, places him symbolically far outside the polis. And he will become even further removed from his Athenian parent before the reconciliation at the end of the drama. For the betrayal that he thinks Hippolytos has committed against him, Theseus exiles Hippolytos from all the territory under his sway (893–894, 973–975). [13] The double sentence of death or exile also completes the process of Hippolytos’s alienation from his father, making extreme his lack of connection to his paternal family as a bastard. His father’s accusations and banishment make Hippolytos the true outsider that his illegitimate status legally confers. [14]

The overidentification of Hippolytos with his Amazon mother is drawn out by imagery even beyond the separation from his Athenian father. He is called specifically the son of or born from the Amazon by Aphrodite (10, where it is joined with “son of Theseus”), the Nurse (307), and Phaedra (581). Additionally important for seeing the overidentification of Hippolytos with his mother is the way she is described in these references. She is “the queen of horses Amazon” (307), and she is also called “the horse-loving Amazon” (581). Michael Halleran points out that in some accounts Hippolytos derives his name from his horse-riding mother, [15] which would doubly signify his bastard status and emphasize an identification with his mother and her lineage. That is, Hippolytos takes his name from qualities of his mother as well as being called her son in place of a patronymic. We can recall that Teucer’s name, as well as that of Eudoros, the parthenios lieutenant of Achilles in the Iliad, are seen as deriving from qualities of their mothers. [16]

In addition, these appellations of the Amazon mother, who has no name of her own here, point to another figure in this play who is named—the huntress Artemis. [17] A major feature of Hippolytos’s character is that he has dedicated himself to Artemis, as Aphrodite tells us in the prologue (15–16) and as Hippolytos’s hymn to Artemis when he first comes on stage demonstrates (58–72). Artemis and the Amazon have much in common, as females who enjoy male pursuits like hunting or war and who live outside of the norms of male-controlled civilization. [18] Hippolytos’s dedication to Artemis, important for his life of chastity, also signifies a close, albeit abstract, connection with his mother.

Hippolytos spends his days with Artemis (84–86), a situation that can be seen as a displacement of the circumstances where a bastard lives in his mother’s family’s oikos. [19] We saw in the first chapter that the association with women’s spaces is part of the image of the nothos as a perpetual child, and Hippolytos in this drama is also depicted in a sort of arrested adolescence. [20] Robin Mitchell-Boyask also points out that one of Artemis’s roles is as a kourotrophê goddess, associated with children before their initiation to adulthood. He points out that the connection between Hippolytos and Artemis keeps Hippolytos in a child’s position regardless of his actual age as a young man ready for the next stage of life: “His excessive attachment to her primarily signals his refusal to allow his social status to match his new biological one.” [21]

Artemis also steps into his mother’s place when Hippolytos has been mortally wounded, telling Theseus, “Especially now these troubles have burst forth for you, and grief for me” (1338–1339). She thus takes the corresponding position of mourner that a mother normally would when a young man died. Hippolytos’s mother may take no active part in the story, but the conspicuous presence and importance of Artemis indicates that Hippolytos has defined his own life on the same terms as his mother’s.

The life outside of civilization that both the Amazon and Artemis exemplify is matched by Hippolytos’s attitude toward public life in the polis. [22] The lack of public standing of the nothos was a theme we saw in connection with the metaphor of skotios in chapter 1, and here Hippolytos the nothos claims to prefer it that way. [23] Hippolytos describes himself as one who is accustomed to address only his few agemates, and not a crowd (986–987). Although to claim inexperience in speaking is somewhat of a rhetorical trope, with reference to democratic Athens the rejection of public speaking to a crowd means that Hippolytos is not an active member of the polis. To the potential suggestion that he raped Phaedra in an attempt to take over Theseus’s house or as a grab for royal power, Hippolytos says that he would have to be a fool or out of his mind to want these things (1012, 1014), and asserts once more that, although he would like to be first in the games, he wants only second place in the city, spending time only among his close friends (1016–1018). [24] Hippolytos, like Ion, emphasizes his marginalized status, and says that he would choose this secondary rank over the dangers of inheriting ruling power from Theseus. Indeed, Hippolytos would not be eligible to inherit Theseus’s household either, so his rhetorical question of trying to seize his inheritance by seizing Phaedra is an especially pointed one. [25]

Hippolytos’s identification with his Amazon mother’s lifestyle and his close relationship with the virginal Artemis are also linked to imagery of sterility and hyperfertility similar to those I discussed in the last chapter. The way Strabo describes the Amazons’ method of procreation is strikingly similar to Ephorus’s account of the Partheniai. [26] For a certain period of time each year, Strabo relates, the Gargarians go to the mountains, and there they have sexual intercourse with the Amazons for the sake of begetting children. Strabo describes this intercourse as secret and in the dark (ἀφανῶς τε καὶ ἐν σκότει), terms which recall the unsanctioned and ‘torchless’ unions I discussed in chapter 1. Like the situation in which the Partheniai were begotten, any Gargarian mates with any Amazon, and when the Amazons bring back any male children after birth (for the Gargarians raise these while the Amazons raise the female children), each Gargarian takes a random son, not knowing which is really his own. Thus the “norm” for the Amazons is a situation of complete illegitimacy, and they alternate their chaste or “sterile” existence most of the year with hyperfertility for the period of time when they meet up with the Gargarians.

Thus Amazons are known for either complete virginity or chastity in their separation from men or a randomized sexual intercourse when they need to reproduce. Jeannie Carlier compares Amazon society with that of earliest Athens, at a time before Cecrops instituted marriage: “Before Cecrops invented the city the Athenians by their own account lived in a society not unlike the Amazonian: marriage did not exist, promiscuity was general, and fathers did not know their own sons.” [27] Thus Amazons live at either extreme of marriage and controlled fertility, situations that are often figured as either hyperfertile or sterile. Artemis, similarly, is both a virgin goddess and a goddess of wild animals, which reproduce by their “natural” (as opposed to “cultural”) methods. [28] Hippolytos’s birth outside marriage is replayed in his associations with his mother and his patron goddess.

Acquiring Children without Sex

Hippolytos’s devotion to Artemis from his own perspective within the play is, of course, centered on the life of chastity that he has chosen. From the imagery of the ‘untouched’ (ἀκηράτου, 73) meadow from which he gathers the flowers for the garland he wove for Artemis (73–83) to his protestations to his father that there is no one more chaste than he—with which he begins and ends his defense against the charge of rape (994–995, 1100–1101)—Hippolytos underscores his sexual purity. [29] His refusal to worship Aphrodite except from ‘afar’ (102), that is, his celibacy, results in sterility. The connection is made clear when the Nurse describes Aphrodite explicitly in terms of reproduction: “Everything is born from her (Kypris), she is the one who engenders [literally, ‘sows’] and gives desire, from which all of us children on the earth exist”: πάντα δ’ ἐκ ταύτης ἔφυ· ἥδ’ ἐστὶν ἡ σπείρουσα καὶ διδοῦσ’ ἔρον, οὗ πάντες ἐσμὲν οἱ κατὰ χθόν’ ἔκγονοι (448–450). Hippolytos’s rejection of Aphrodite is a rejection of sexual reproduction, making him another sterile nothos and suspending his progression to adulthood.

The Nurse goes on to say that if Phaedra will not submit to the ways of Aphrodite, then she should have had her father beget her on fixed terms or in a world where different gods are masters if she does not like these nomoi (459–461). As it turns out, Hippolytos, who tries not to submit to Aphrodite, does wish that his father had begotten him on fixed terms, as he explains in his long speech against women. The speech begins with Hippolytos expressing a desire for men to acquire children not with women, but instead in direct exchange with the gods—perhaps alluding to the Nurse’s suggestion of having different gods, since Aphrodite is not involved in this different system.

Hippolytos makes this speech, of course, after the Nurse has told him of Phaedra’s desires within the house, and he comes outside horrified by what he has heard. After exchanging words with the Nurse about whether or not he will keep his oath of silence that he had pledged to her, Hippolytos makes a long recitation of the ills women bring to the world (616–668). This speech has many layers of meaning and many implications for the play as a whole, but here I propose to look specifically at its proposition of reproduction without women and how the idea of asexual procreation connects to the issues surrounding the bastard son. His scheme for the way men should be able to reproduce includes a direct exchange of offerings to the gods in their temples for a child of equal worth in return.

        εἰ γὰρ βρότειον ἤθελες σπεῖραι γένος,
        οὐκ ἐκ γυναικῶν χρῆν παρασχέσθαι τόδε,
620  ἀλλ’ ἀντιθέντας σοῖσιν ἐν ναοῖς βροτοὺς
        ἢ χαλκὸν ἢ σίδηρον ἢ χρυσοῦ βάρος
        παίδων πρίασθαι σπέρμα του τιμήματος,
        τῆς ἀξίας ἕκαστον, ἐν δὲ δώμασιν
        ναίειν ἐλευθέροισι θηλειῶν ἄτερ.

For if you wished to propagate the human race,
you ought to have accomplished this not from women,
but mortals, having made dedications in your temples,
either bronze or iron or weight of gold,
would buy the seed for children from this payment,
each one according to its worth, and in their free homes
they would dwell, apart from females.

Hippolytos 618–624

The imagery of ‘sowing’ the human race (618) connects these thoughts back to the Nurse’s description of Aphrodite as the one who sows offspring (449). [30] Hippolytos’s complete rejection of Aphrodite finds expression in this impossible wish. It also again associates him with his mother the Amazon. The Amazons live apart from men: they are a genos gunaikôn. [31] The differentiation of a “race of women” is also implied in Hippolytos’s words about propagating the broteion genos without women (618). Women are imagined as a genos apart from that of men, who are the default “mortals.” [32] And a separate genos of women, like the Amazons, creates the possibility of their self-sufficient reproduction. That possibility leads in turn to the fantasy of men reproducing without women. Nicole Loraux makes the following observation about the mental division of women into their own genos: [33]

But at the level of mythical thought Greek males, with a frisson of terrified delight, preferred to imprison women in a genos always prepared to secede, perhaps even to reproduce in closed circuit. A fruitful operation of the masculine imaginary, liberating the field for the inverted fantasy—surely the true one—of a reproduction which, in the end, would have no need of women.

Thus Hippolytos’s desire for a separation of the genos of men from that of women again shows how much he is his mother’s son. She was not able to produce Hippolytos without a man, of course, but in some traditions Amazons are thought to intermingle with men only for reproductive purposes. Hippolytos takes the fantasy of separation to the next step, in which men can both live apart from women and reproduce without them. [34] He could rid himself of his sterility without losing his purity.

Proposing a new way of acquiring children is particularly remarkable coming from the nothos Hippolytos. If men could acquire children without women and instead purchase them from the gods according to their own worth, there would be no bastards, for that situation can only occur when two people are required for reproduction. It is the lack of marriage between the man and the woman and/or their own social status that makes the child illegitimate, and so in bypassing the need for women in reproduction, Hippolytos also eliminates these possibilities. [35] That is, if his own father had been able to acquire Hippolytos in this manner, Hippolytos would not be a nothos, for his citizen father would be his only and true parent. In this wish Hippolytos would also eliminate the parent with whom he is overidentified. The rejection of the mother in this case, then, is not just his wish to have sons of his own without sexual reproduction, but also to revise the circumstances of his own birth. The wish for men to reproduce without women, moreover, can be seen in connection with the emphasis on Hippolytos’s illegitimacy as his wish to be recognized as legitimate.

The exchange system that Hippolytos suggests would replace the exchange of women between men for the production of children. [36] And his proposal employs a straight exchange of metals dedicated in temples for children. [37] He prefaces his wish for such a transaction significantly by asking Zeus why he gave mortals the ‘counterfeit evil’ (kibdêlon kakon) of woman (616–617). In the first chapter we saw many terms of exchange or commerce associated with women in the context of marriage, including the image of the betrothed girl as buried treasure who is then “leased out” to her husband. [38] The change to the adjective kibdêlon to describe women from Hesiod’s familiar kalon kakon is quite significant in light of Hippolytos’s illegitimacy. [39] The chosen word kibdêlon has particular resonance for Hippolytos’s own status, since the image of an outward appearance that is not what it seems applies to the illegitimate child as well as a woman. [40]

To show how the counterfeit coin is an apt metaphor for the nothos, I will examine the imagery of counterfeit coinage in the earlier poetry of Theognis for the false friend (philos) and argue that in connection with illegitimacy it is used for a particular kind of philos, that of an illegitimate child. We will also see that Hippolytos’s scheme for reproduction without women is related to this metaphor world of coinage, for he prefers metal to coinage and exchange with the gods rather than within society.

Citizenship and the Coin of the Realm

Coinage, an institution of the polis and the symbol of the city’s role in commerce, provides several metaphorical points of connection with the nothos. The coin has the city’s seal or mark on it as a guarantee of its value and legitimacy, and, in Athens, the polis takes on the role of deciding which coins can circulate. Thus associations with nothoi cluster around metaphors of the counterfeit coin and the surety of the outward mark on a coin.

Just as coinage develops over time, so do the poetics that use coin imagery. Leslie Kurke has recently argued for a “language of metals” in archaic poetics, which develops into a discourse about coinage in the classical period. According to Kurke, this discourse must recognize the doubleness of coinage in its combination of essential precious metal with the functional civic stamp of approval and guarantee. She notes that civic ideology opposes but can also appropriate what is valorized by elitist tradition, which in her argument is represented by the “language of metals.” [41] I will argue for another such appropriation in the idea of a kibdêlos, or ‘counterfeit’, man—the same word that Hippolytos uses for women.

By the time of the Suda, the terms for counterfeit (kibdêlos) and illegitimate (nothos) cannot help but be defined in terms of one another (s.v. κεκιβδήλευται, κίβδηλον, νοθεύει). In archaic and classical poetics, the association is strong but more subtle and indirect. The key link between the two is one seen also in the Suda—the idea of illegitimacy involves deception (s.v. νοθεύει, which is defined with the synonym ἀπατᾷ, the same verb used in Theognis for deception in 253–253 and 1219–1220). Let us first look at the poetics of counterfeit coins or metals in Theognis, and then I will argue how these were transformed within the context of the Athenian polis.

In Theognis kibdêlos is used to describe a certain kind of man, one who appears to be philos but is not. The emphasis is on the deception presented by this man and the difficulty in knowing who is genuine and who counterfeit. In a passage where Theognis, the speaker, advises Kyrnos on choosing friends, he warns against the ‘counterfeit’ man (117–128). [42]

117  Κιβδήλου δ’ ἀνδρὸς γνῶναι χαλεπώτερον οὐδέν,
        Κύρν’, οὐδ’ εὐλαβίης ἐστὶ περὶ πλέονος.
        Χρυσοῦ κιβδήλοιο καὶ ἀργύρου ἀνσχετὸς ἄτη,
120  Κύρνε, καὶ ἐξευρεῖν ῥᾴδιον ἀνδρὶ σοφῷ,
        εἰ δὲ φίλου νόος ἀνδρὸς ἐνὶ στήθεσσι λελήθῃ
        ψυδρὸς ἐών, δόλιον δ’ ἐν φρεσὶν ἦτορ ἔχῃ,
        τοῦτο θεὸς κιβδηλότατον ποίησε βροτοῖσιν,
        καὶ γνῶναι πάντων τοῦτ’ ἀνιηρότατον.
125  οὐδὲ γὰρ εἰδείης ἀνδρὸς νόον οὐδὲ γυναικός,
        πρὶν πειρηθείης ὥσπερ ὑποζυγίου,
        οὐδέ κεν εἰκάσσαις ὥσπερ ποτ’ ἐς ὥριον ἐλθών·
        πολλάκι γὰρ γνώμην ἐξαπατῶσ’ ἰδέαι.

Nothing is more difficult than knowing a counterfeit man,
Kyrnos, nor is anything in need of more discretion.
The misjudgment of counterfeit gold and silver is bearable,
Kyrnos, and it is easy for a wise man to discover,
but if the intent of a near and dear man hidden in his breast
is false, and he holds a deceitful heart in his inner self,
this the god has made the most counterfeit thing of all for mortals,
and this is the most grievous thing of all to find out.
For you would not know the intent of a man or of a woman
before you put it to the test as that of a yoked animal,
nor would you guess it as you might going at some point into tomorrow;
for often outward appearances deceive judgment.

Theognis 117–128

According to these passages in Theognis, the deception of counterfeit gold and silver, that is, the misjudgment of thinking it genuine, is bearable and easily detected, but not so the deception of a counterfeit philos. [43] Detecting such deception is most difficult and requires the most discretion; once discovered, it is most grievous. This metaphor of coinage or precious metals is used in the same poetic corpus in which kerdos, the desire for private gain, is what the poet laments as destructive to society and to bonds of philia (see, for example, Theognis 833–836). [44] Thus, whatever loss a debased aristocrat like Kyrnos may feel at accepting counterfeit money or metal, Theognis asserts that the loss incurred through trusting a man who turns out to be something other than he seemed is much greater. Theognis uses the language of wealth in warning against the type of man who values wealth and personal gain above all else.

The heart (ἦτορ) of such a seeming philos is, the speaker claims, the most counterfeit thing of all. Like a counterfeit coin, which has a promising surface that hides a false core, the counterfeit man ‘hides’ his intention, his noos (Theognis 121), and the deceitful heart is held within his inner self, his phrenes (122). The outward appearance (idea) tricks the ability to know (128). A similar description of the true nature hidden behind a deceptive surface is seen also in another passage with a metaphor using kibdêlos. In those lines, the character (ἦθος) of the man is what is described as counterfeit, but as in 119–128, it is hidden within him, this time in his heart, his thumos. The connection with material loss that we saw in 119–120 is also present here: the counterfeit nature is also ‘thievish’ (ἐπίκλοπον, 965). Elsewhere in Theognis, he complains that property has been seized or stolen (e.g., 677–679); the counterfeit man is also the type of person who will unjustly take the property of others, as has happened to Theognis himself. The coinage metaphor thus also subtly emphasizes the material greed in the character of the person compared to the counterfeit coin.

        Μήποτ’ ἐπαινησῃς, πρὶν ἂν εἰδῇς ἄνδρα σαφηνῶς,
        ὀργὴν καὶ ῥυθμὸν καὶ τρόπον ὅστις ἂν ᾖ.
965  πολλοί τοι κίβδηλον ἐπίκλοπον ἦθος ἔχοντες
        κρύπτουσ’ ἐνθέμενοι θυμὸν ἐφημέριον.
        τοῦτων δ’ ἐκφαίνει πάντων χρόνος ἦθος ἑκάστου.
        καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ γνώμης πολλὸν ἄρ’ ἐκτὸς ἔβην·
        ἔφθην αἰνήσας πρὶν σοῦ κατὰ πάντα δαῆναι
970  ἤθεα· νῦν δ͂’ ἤδη νηῦς ἅθ’ ἑκὰς διέχω.

Never praise a man before you know him plainly,
his temper and disposition and manner, whoever he may be.
Many, you know, who have a counterfeit, thievish character
hide it, placing it in a thumos that changes from day to day.
Time, however, reveals the character of each one of all of these men.
For I also strayed far from judgment.
I praised first before I learned your entire nature completely;
but now already like a ship I stand far off.

Theognis 963–970

The metaphor of the counterfeit coin works for the false friend because of the discrepancy between the outer surface and what lies beneath. It also refers to the material motivations of the man with such a character. The metaphor is appropriate to the position of the party who needs to judge the genuineness of what is before him, whether coin or man. As Walter Donlan aptly put it in his argument about the problem of friendship in Theognis, “First and foremost is the problem of knowing.” [45] In 963, Theognis gives the advice not to praise before you know someone plainly (σαφηνῶς). The question remains whether this is possible; if it is, however, it is only through time (967). [46] The inherent problem of knowing is complicated by the intentional deceit of the counterfeit (coin or man). It is once the possibility of counterfeits exists that knowing what is genuine becomes problematic, and the use of counterfeits arises in the intention to deceive (hence the emphasis on the noos).

In the poetic world of Theognis, counterfeit philoi are also a new and frequent possibility in view of the standard conception of philia. [47] The counterfeit man exists within the framework of social changes that have broken down the traditional ideas of philia and the equation of social and ethical superiority. [48] In the poetry of Theognis, the categories of agathos and kakos are no longer stable: there is no one definition of agathos; birth is no longer the determinant. The counterfeit man is an example of this indeterminacy and the anxiety it provokes for the poet. As the poet says, it is easy for a philos to deceive a philos (1219–1220): the danger comes from one who is a philos because of that status. Elsewhere in the corpus of Theognis (254, 1263–1266, and 1283–1295), we also see the direct connection between deception and the theme of being philos. [49] Just as it is easy for a wise man to detect a counterfeit coin (120), so Theognis can steer clear of his open enemies (575–576). But poetry such as this needs to exist because one cannot be sure anymore if a philos is genuine or not.

In the archaic poetry of Theognis, the political is expressed as the personal: all of the advice applies to the public arena as well as the personal sphere, but in this aristocratic and panhellenic discourse, the personal, in the form of a dialogue between Theognis and Kyrnos, is privileged. We will see that when the poetics are appropriated by the city the public side comes to the forefront.

But before we leave Theognis, let us revisit 117–118 and 119–128 with a view specifically to nothoi. In both of these passages, Kyrnos is directly addressed at the beginning of the second line. As Gregory Nagy has argued (with reference to the gloss of Hesychius, κύρνοι: νόθοι), this name Kyrnos means ‘bastard’ or ‘illegitimate’. [50] The direct address to “Bastard” brings together the moral debasement of the aristocrats decried in other places in the Theognidea with the concern over appearances seen here in the advice about the counterfeit man. The bastard Kyrnos could himself be the counterfeit man, since he is the son of Polypais, the one who has acquired much. [51]

The corrupted wealth figured in the name of Kyrnos’s father and in the metaphor of the counterfeit coin itself (as I have argued above) in turn corrupts genos (πλοῦτος ἔμειξε γένος, 190). Also in this passage (183–190), a comparison to breeding of animals is drawn. [52] The poet asserts that people care about good breeding for horses, rams, and asses, but not people when wealth is involved: the agathoi and kakoi will breed together as long as the kakoi have possessions (khrêmata). When we looked at this passage in chapter 3 above, the mixing of the horses and asses was connected to the figure of the mule as nothos-like. [53] But the emphasis on the role of wealth in corrupting the human genos is claimed to be a far worse mixing.

As Kyrnos, the bastard, comes from a father named for his acquisitions, Theognis asserts that the desire for wealth is breaking down traditional ideas about marriage and procreation (genos). This is part of the general changes in philia noted above, but it has specifically to do with the choice of one’s spouse and the children produced from the union. In this political-as-personal discourse about society, the concern about what sort of children will be produced, and therefore what sort of continuity of society there will be, already appears.

It is in this vein that the metaphor of the counterfeit coin develops in Athens during the classical period. The concern over deception and betrayal by philoi, and the need for testing, as seen in Theognis, is taken over by the city’s procedures for admitting ephebes. Within the city institutions, young men and coins undergo the same procedure: a dokimasia before the Boule. [54] The youths first had to be elected to membership in their demes, a process by which their eligibility (including first and foremost their legitimacy and parentage) was scrutinized. After the approval by the deme, the youths then had to be approved by the Boule, where their physical maturity is scrutinized (which I discussed in chapter 1). Coins were examined by the dokimastês to determine whether they were genuine. [55] The text of a fourth-century coinage law at Athens specifically uses the word kibdêlon to describe a type of coin that must be removed from use within the city. [56] For both men and coins, the polis gives its approval to the object of the inquiry before it can go into “circulation” in the city. Just as the city asserts itself in the regulation of commerce, it also attempts to regulate citizenship and the admittance of new young men to the ranks of citizens. [57] Both kibdêla coins and nothoi remain unauthorized in Athens. [58]

As a result of this assertion by the city in both realms, the poetics likewise shift. The one who now needs to decide who is kibdêlos or not is the city, and the deception of the counterfeit person (now the bastard) is against the polis. An example of rhetoric that frames the city as the victim of deception by illegitimate persons can be seen in the oration Against Neaira. The woman Neaira, who is accused of usurping citizen rights for herself and her children, is said to be “committing outrage against the city” (ὑβρίζουσαν εἰς τὴν πόλιν) when she passes herself off as a wife of Stephanos—and her children as legitimate Athenians. (Her daughter was twice married to Athenian citizens even though by this point marrying a foreign woman was itself illegal, and Stephanos attempted to introduce her son to his phratry as his own legitimate son). [59] The deception that is so prominent in the poetry of Theognis is also emphasized in the speech against Neaira, especially in the descriptions of how Stephanos married off Neaira’s daughter under the pretense that she was his own legitimate daughter. [60]

In this newer discourse of coinage and citizenship the importance of the civic stamp is that it guarantees the value of the coin (and, at Athens in particular, the stated value of Athenian coinage was famously close to the actual metal). [61] Hippolytos may have the intrinsic value of precious metal (as he surely believes about himself), but he is lacking the civic stamp of approval. Thus, his scheme of reproduction harkens back to a type of exchange system that existed before coinage, in which it is the inherent value of the metal dedicated in temples that would result in a child of equal worth. Hippolytos’s case suggests the question, however, of whether the polis is thereby excluding men of real value when the state withholds its approval based on externalities.

The exchange with the gods also removes the procreation of children from the realm of the social and political (in the sense of “having to do with the polis”) and relocates it into the sacred world. [62] In fact, the same happens with coins deemed counterfeit in Athens. For a coin determined to be counterfeit by the dokimastês the law provides that it should be sacred (ἔστω ἱερόν) to the Mother of the Gods. [63] Thus, the rejected coins are taken out of the political sphere altogether and put into the realm of the religious. Hippolytos’s desire to place reproduction within the zone of the sacred highlights his own apolitical status.

An Outward Sign of Legitimacy

The desire for an outward mark that guarantees value, which is encapsulated in the imagery of true versus counterfeit coinage, is then taken up by Theseus when he confronts Hippolytos. He says, using a syntax similar to Hippolytos’s wish about procreation (khrên introduces both wishes, 619 and 925), that mortals should have some sure proof (tekmêrion, 925) and power of discernment (diagnôsin, 926) so that they can tell who is a true philos and who is not. [64]

925  φεῦ, χρῆν βροτοῖσι τῶν φίλων τεκμήριον
        σαφές τι κεῖσθαι καὶ διάγνωσιν φρενῶν,
        ὅστις τ’ ἀληθής ἐστιν ὅς τε μὴ φίλος,
        δισσάς τε φωνὰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους ἔχειν,
        τὴν μὲν δικαίαν τὴν δ’ ὅπως ἐτύγχανεν,
930  ὡς ἡ φρονοῦσα τἄδικ’ ἐξηλέγχετο
        πρὸς τῆς δικαίας, κοὐκ ἂν ἠπατώμεθα.

Alas, there ought to be for mortals
some clear proof of philoi and a way to discern their thoughts
to tell who is a true philos and who is not
by all mortals having two voices,
a just one and another however it happens to be
so that the one planning unjust things would be convicted
by the just one, and we would not be deceived.

Hippolytos 925–931

Theseus wants an outward sign to indicate who is a true philos, which translated simply as “friend” misses the significance—that he means Hippolytos in particular. Hippolytos knows this, as his response suggests (“Has some philos slandered me to your ear?” 932). Theseus’s wish is to know whether Hippolytos is truly a philos, a term that connotes both kinship and emotional ties. In Theseus’s own recognition by his father Aegeus, he had such an “outward sign,” for he had the tokens that his own father left for him. Even in those cases in which Poseidon is Theseus’s father instead of Aegeus, Theseus can produce some sort of external proof, such as his conveyance to Poseidon’s home when Minos challenges Theseus’s parentage, as told in Bacchylides Ode 17. Hippolytos, however, has only words to try and convince his father that he is a true philos, and words (or “voices”) are precisely the mechanism of deception in Theseus’s complaint.

The words of Theseus here resemble those of Medea when she makes a similar wish for an outward mark to tell good men from bad. She asks Zeus why there is proof for counterfeit gold but not for men:

ὦ Ζεῦ, τί δὴ χρυσοῦ μὲν ὃς κίβδηλος ἦι
τεκμήρι’ ἀνθρώποισιν ὤπασας σαφῆ,
ἀνδρῶν δ’ ὅτωι χρὴ τὸν κακὸν διειδέναι
οὐδεὶς χαρακτὴρ ἐμπέφυκε σώματι;

Zeus, why did you give to mortals clear proof
of which gold is counterfeit
but as for men no stamp grows on the body
by which one ought to discern the bad one?

Medea 516–519

In this passage the coin imagery builds up in the words kibdêlos ‘counterfeit’, tekmêria saphê ‘clear proof’, and kharaktêr, the stamp or impressed mark on the coin. The fact that kharaktêr also means the ‘character’ of a person makes the metaphor easy but the question all the more vexed—why is there no outward mark of the inner character of humans? Similarly, coinage imagery, including the terms kibdêlos and kharaktêr, is used in Euripides’ Electra as an outward sign that guarantees authenticity not only of identity but of the true quality of the person (in that case, of Orestes). [65]

This passage in the Medea pairs the words for counterfeit and the outward clear proof. In the Hippolytos, on the other hand, these terms appear in the separate but complementary wishes of Hippolytos and Theseus for methods of obtaining sons and/or telling a true philos from a false one, methods that are not as prone to deception as sexual reproduction and relying on words. [66] In the poetry of Theognis we have seen that the metaphor of the counterfeit coin/man is connected to the problem of deception, made explicit by the verb ἐξαπατῶ (Theognis 128). Theseus’s desire is also to avoid being deceived (ἀπατῶ, Hippolytos 931). Theseus uses yet another figure of deception when he says that Hippolytos is ‘retailing’ in Orphism (kapêleue, 953). Retail trade is also connected with counterfeit goods and representing something as better than it is. [67] It is the connection between illegitimacy and deception that is at the root of his suspicions of Hippolytos and of Theseus’s wish here for a voice that is not able to deceive. [68] We have seen this association of illegitimacy and deception in other connections as well, from the anxieties over controlling women’s sexual behavior (who may try to pass off another man’s child as her husband’s) to questions about inheritance, as when Teucer believes his father will accuse him of destroying Ajax by trickery so that he might gain Ajax’s inheritance.

Both wishes, then, one from the son, the other from the father, reveal the central question about their relationship—is Hippolytos a “true” son, is he really Theseus’s son, or not? A primary function of marriage is to establish that the children are, in fact, the offspring of the husband, since marriage is supposed to grant the husband exclusive sexual access to the wife. The son born outside of marriage, however, has a less certain standing. Hippolytos, who counts himself a virtuous man, wishes the circumstances of his birth would reflect this nobility (in other words, that he had been bought with gold), rather than mark him as a bastard. Thus, Hippolytos’s desire to eliminate women from the production of children has three important connections to his status as nothos: one, it expresses a desire to eliminate the parent with whom he is overidentified, his mother; two, it expresses also a connected desire to eliminate his illegitimacy; and three, it is a longing to be recognized as his father’s son, to have the clear proof of identity which he is denied. [69] It is tragically fitting that father and son do not recognize the similarity (and corresponding impossibility) of their desires for proof.

Coupled with Theseus’s wish for a “clear proof” is the wish for a way to discern the thoughts of supposed philoi (διάγνωσιν φρενῶν, 926). The phrenes, the interior thoughts and intentions of a person, have been significant in the drama already to this point. Phaedra’s sickness is located in her phrên. [70] Hippolytos tells the Nurse that his phrên is “unsworn” to his oath (612), and it is the thought that Hippolytos’s phrenes are roused to anger that makes Phaedra fearful that he will reveal her desire for him to Theseus (689–690). Theseus’s wish for a diagnôsis is fitting, then, especially in light of the possibilities of deception always present with the nothos. Yet it will require Artemis to provide this diagnôsis when she says that she will show clearly (ekdeixai) to Theseus that his son’s phrên is just (dikaion, 1298–99). She will go on to cite the nobility (eugenes) of Hippolytos’s phrên (1390), and his qualities of being pious (eusebeia) and of a good (agathê) phrên (1419) as causes for Hippolytos’s tragic death. Theseus will show that he finally has his proof when he echoes Artemis’s words as he cries, “Alas for your pious and good phrên” (οἴμοι φρένος σῆς εὐσεβοῦς τε κἀγαθῆς, 1454). [71] Hippolytos’s response, “Pray that your legitimate children are such” (1455), establishes a connection between these qualities and legitimacy. Theseus can now see that the “bastard who thinks legitimate thoughts” (309) is indeed his son, as his reply addressing him as teknon (1456) makes clear. [72]

Charles Segal points out in his defense of the manuscript order of lines 1452–1456 that Hippolytos’s mention of legitimacy once again puts a measure of acrimony in the reconciliation between father and son. [73] And indeed the lessons of legitimacy may be bitter ones. Hippolytos finds reconciliation with his Athenian parent, his father, from whom he had been separated through his living at Troezen and more significantly through his father’s order that he be banished. This reconciliation, achieved through Hippolytos’s forgiveness of his father, brings him a sort of legitimization, as his father recognizes him for his noble qualities. [74] As he finds this connection to his father, he loses the one he had with Artemis, the one who so resembles his mother. The movement into the polis through a civic cult takes Hippolytos out of his association with Artemis. The mother is important within the framing civic discourse that includes the double filiation requirement of the Periclean law, and yet the ties to the mother seem cut here at the end.

The cult that will be established for Hippolytos (1425–1430) teaches hard lessons about legitimacy as well. Many have written about the associations between Hippolytos’s cult worship by women about to be married and his own virginity and rejection of Aphrodite. [75] By presiding over the transition of brides, however, he is not only guiding their transition to sexuality, but also overseeing the process by which they will make their own children legitimate. Phaedra’s story is subordinated to Hippolytos’s when it is exposed that she was in fact the deceitful one, and that Hippolytos the nothos was not the kibdêlos man he was suspected of being. [76] The suppression of her desire into a cult concerning marriage again shows the link of this cult to legitimacy. The concern that Phaedra had over her own children’s legitimacy should she be thought (or known) to be an adulteress is part of the cultural lesson for the young brides: their desire, if they are to have any at all, must be checked until—and then channeled into—their marriages, so as to eliminate the possibility of nothoi like Hippolytos. [77]

The personal loss to Theseus is evident here at the end of the drama. Yet because Theseus is king of Athens, the death of Hippolytos is represented as a loss for the polis as well. [78] In the Ion we saw the reunion of domestic happiness and communal prosperity in the reincorporation of the nothos son into both oikos and polis. [79] Because Hippolytos is dead, his reincorporation can happen only through the institution of his cult. The perpetual lamentation for the loss of Hippolytos necessarily implies a questioning of the exclusion of the nothos from the community. The question is not answered within the drama, but rather is left hanging: What is the cost to the polis of the exclusion of such young men? Yet the objective of his cult undercuts this question somewhat: instead of reconsidering the stipulations for admitting young men to the polis, Hippolytos’s story is instead directed at making the question moot in instructing the young women of Troezen (and Athens) to give birth to only legitimate children (gnêsioi) who will be eligible for citizenship.


[ back ] 1. See M edea 667–688 for a reference to Aegeus’s sterility and his plans to stop on his way home to visit Pittheus in Troezen; see also Plutarch T heseus 3–6. I discuss sterility and illegitimacy in chapter 3.

[ back ] 2. Apollodorus 3.15.7 and 3.15.16 mention sandals and a sword as the tokens left, as does Plutarch T heseus 3. See Muellner 1998.4–5 on the reliability of Apollodorus as a source.

[ back ] 3. The dual fatherhood of Zeus and the mortal fathers of Herakles and Helen were discussed in chapter 2.

[ back ] 4. Barrett loc. argues that the dual fatherhood results from Theseus’s father being considered Poseidon at Troezen but Aegeus at Athens. Plutarch T heseus 6 states that Aithra kept Theseus’ paternity a secret while he was growing up, while Pittheus states publicly that Poseidon is the father, a scenario reminiscent of Ion’s allegation that perhaps Kreousa is claiming that Apollo is his father to hide her liaison with a mortal man (I on 1523–1527).

[ back ] 5. See H ippolytos 337–341 for the references to Pasiphae and Ariadne and their connection to Phaedra’s situation. See also H ippolytos 420–424 where Phaedra says that she will not disgrace her children so that they may flourish in Athens as free men with free speech.

[ back ] 6. Compare I on 670–675, where Ion, who has been told that Xouthos is his father, hopes that his mother might be an Athenian so that he may enjoy the rights of free speech through her. In that case the issue is the other component of legitimacy at Athens, that one’s parents both be Athenians, whereas in Phaedra’s case, it is the marriage between one’s parents that it is at stake. See also Ogden 1996.171 for p arrhêsia and legitimacy in Euripides, and Ogden 1996.198 on this passage of the H ippolytos.

[ back ] 7. Hippolytos is called a n othos explicitly by the Nurse (309), by Theseus (962), and by himself (at 1083 he says that he would not wish this status on any of his p hiloi, and at 1455, where there is an implicit opposition between himself and g nêsioi, or legitimate children).

[ back ] 8. Barrett loc. takes this phrase as a negative assessment, that Hippolytos thinks above his station in life. It seems that the Nurse may indeed mean it pejoratively, especially when we compare the similar phrasing in the context where both Aphrodite and the Nurse assert that Aphrodite brings down those who “think big” (φρονοῦσιν μέγα, 6; φρονοῦνθ’ … μέγα, 445). But I would take these words to mean as much “he thinks like a legitimate son” as “he thinks he is legitimate.”

[ back ] 9. The play was first performed in 428 b.c., well after the establishment of the Periclean Citizenship Law of 451/0 b.c. that added to the category of n othoi those children of an Athenian father with a non-Athenian mother.

[ back ] 10. Halleran 1991.117n49 makes this observation as well.

[ back ] 11. This phrase is difficult to translate without losing some of the meaning of the Greek. The usual translation is something along the lines of “virgin mind.” Cf. Bacchylides 11.45–50 (παρθενίᾳ γὰρ ἔτι ψυχᾷ) for the other occurrence of such a phrase. There the emphasis seems to be on the unmarried status of the daughters of Proitos, who enter the sacred precinct of Hera to claim that their father is wealthier than Hera.

[ back ] 12. See also Kovacs 1987.130, who argues that Hippolytos “is not at home in the civic world of his father. He belongs with the wild beasts he hunts, the horses he trains, and the goddess whose favored companion he is, but like a god or a beast, he has no part in the p olis.” Devereux 1985.19–24 argues that Hippolytos is portrayed having little in common with his father and as non-masculine within Greek cultural norms.

[ back ] 13. Goff 1990.116 argues that exile is an extension of Hippolytos’s rejection of politics and of participation in the community in general: “Theseus’ sentence of exile only completes the process by rendering him actually as well as figuratively apolis.”

[ back ] 14. In particular, the legal exclusion of the n othos from the a nkhisteia as well as from citizenship. On the exclusion of n othoi from the a nkhisteia, see Demosthenes 43.52 and Isaeus 6.47. See also Ogden 1996.36, 38; Patterson 1998.90.

[ back ] 15. Halleran 1991.117. Hippolytos’s mother is called Hippolyte in the hypothesis to this play, for example. See also Pherecydes fragment 109. Elsewhere she is called Antiope. Devereux 1985.26–29 also argues from a psychoanalytic approach that Hippolytos’ name and love of horses connects him to his mother. Although we come to similar conclusions, I am dubious about Devereux’s method of “psychoanalyzing” a fictional character.

[ back ] 16. See chapter 1 for Eudoros and chapter 2 for Teucer.

[ back ] 17. Several commentators point out that the Amazon is never named in the play.

[ back ] 18. See Carlier 2001.140, who argues that the traditions about the Amazons all have in common “nothing less than a society in which the female is male and vice versa.” Devereux 1985.50 also argues that Artemis is a stand-in for Hippolytos’ mother, but his premise is that Artemis is an idealized version of his mother because of her lasting virginity, while his mother obviously lost hers. Although our basic conclusions are the same, our methods are quite different.

[ back ] 19. In any case, Hippolytos does not live in his own father’s o ikos, but has been moved to Troezen to live with Pittheus, Theseus’s maternal grandfather.

[ back ] 20. Mitchell-Boyask 1999.53–54 points out how often words denoting child or adolescent, such as p ais, t okos, t eknon, and n eanias, are applied to Hippolytos in this drama, even though he calls himself a man (a nêr). He concludes, “Thus, against the appellations of others, Hippolytus insists on his manhood, but seems unaware that his community has not yet validated this status.” We also saw in chapter 1 that it is indeed the larger community, the p olis, which officially confers manhood on youths, and that n othoi, excluded from citizenship, thus do not become recognized a ndres. Hippolytos is in just this situation.

[ back ] 21. Mitchell-Boyask 1999.45.

[ back ] 22. Mitchell-Boyask 1999.43 argues that Hippolytos’s favored activity of hunting places him outside of civilization since hunting was viewed as “preceding, and hence external to, civilization” by the Greeks.

[ back ] 23. Ion also rejects a public life in Athens due to his illegitimate status. See chapter 1.

[ back ] 24. Gregory 1991.62–63, in her political interpretation of the H ippolytos, points out the aristocratic overtones of Hippolytos’s statements. Barrett loc. emphasizes that in wanting second place Hippolytos does want some power. He interprets this statement in the context of monarchy, suggesting that Hippolytos has some ruling power in Troezen. I would take it rather in a democratic Athenian context, in which the rank of second in the city might be something equivalent to the metics, to whose status that of n othoi has been likened (Vernant 1990.61)

[ back ] 25. Part of Hippolytos’s defense is rhetorically asking what he would have to gain by raping Phaedra, of all women. He asks whether it was because she was the most beautiful woman, or does Theseus think “that I hoped, having taken hold of your bed as an inheritance, to live in your house?” (1010–1011). The key word, e ngklêron, meaning to have share in something, and specifically to have share of an inheritance, is placed right between ‘house’ and ‘bed’, and could grammatically go with either, or, as I think, both. With the bed it points to the sexual tensions between the son and father over the father’s wife, but with the house it also alludes to the fact that, as a bastard, Hippolytos is not entitled to any share of inheritance.

[ back ] 26. Strabo 11.5.1. Tyrell and Brown 1991.179 discuss this passage. See pp. 70–71 above for Ephorus’s description of the origins of the Partheniai.

[ back ] 27. Carlier 2001.140. See also Blundell 1998 for Amazons and dialogues about marriage in the depictions of the Amazonomachy on the Parthenon. Compare Goldhill 1986.127, who describes the situation this way: “they [Amazons] alternate between a virginal rejection of sexual relations with men, and a promiscuity necessary to propagate their race. For them, the bounds of marriage have no place—or rather, these females stand as a permanent transgression of the city’s constitution.”

[ back ] 28. Cf. Segal 1986a.214, where he sees the departure of Artemis at the end of the drama as symbolically marking Hippolytos’s “relinquishment of the wild that he has loved and in which he has lived.”

[ back ] 29. See Segal 1986a for his discussion of the imagery of the “untouched” meadow.

[ back ] 30. McClure 1999.143 suggests that Hippolytos’s use of the imagery of sowing in 618 and 628 is ironic, since the Nurse’s use of the same imagery was in reference to Aphrodite’s generative power while Hippolytos uses it for male generative power. Of course, sowing is a common metaphor for producing children, as we saw in the wording of the “betrothal” in Menander P erikeiromene back in chapter 1, but these references are making a pointed use of the metaphor.

[ back ] 31. Cf. Hesiod T heogony 590 in the story of Pandora.

[ back ] 32. See Loraux 1993.72–110 for her discussion of the g enos gunaikôn, including these lines of the H ippolytos and their connections to Hesiod. The metals named in H ippolytos 621 also recall the metals associated with the races of humans in Hesiod W orks and Days 106–179.

[ back ] 33. Loraux 2000.24.

[ back ] 34. Notice that he speaks of men living “apart” from women (θηλειῶν ἄτερ, 624)—the existence of women is still supposed. Demand 1994.134 notes that this passage in the Hippolytos, along with mythical models of male procreation such as Zeus’s birth of Athena, suggest that the best way “to exercise control [over childbirth] … is to usurp the function itself.” If the Athenians themselves connected ideas of asexual procreation with children’s theories on where babies come from, perhaps this speech also contributes to the portrayal of Hippolytos as a n othos who cannot attain full manhood.

[ back ] 35. McClure 1999.143 also observes that Hippolytos’s scheme not only eliminates the need for women but solves the problem of illegitimacy.

[ back ] 36. Gayle Rubin’s landmark 1975 study, “The Traffic in Women,” identifies a “political economy” of sex. She notes in particular (1975.176–177) that the “exchange of women” described by Lévi-Strauss is not a system in and of itself, but that in addition to women, the exchange is one of “sexual access, genealogical statuses, lineage names and ancestors, rights and p eople—men, women, and children—in concrete systems of social relationships.” I would draw special attention to the importance of genealogical statuses, lineage, and rights for the conceptualization of n othoi. For recent treatments of exchange motifs in Greek tragedy, see Wohl 1998, who examines Aeschylus A gamemnon, Sophocles T rachiniae, and Euripides A lcestis; and Ormand 1999, who confines his study to the tragedies of Sophocles.

[ back ] 37. Children can be figured as profit, as the word t okos means both ‘offspring’ and ‘interest, earnings’. Interestingly, Hippolytos is called the p ais of Theseus and the t okos of the Amazon (10), seemingly making him his mother’s profit instead of his father’s.

[ back ] 38. See Rabinowitz 1986 for her discussion of women as an object of exchange in Hippolytos’s speech here.

[ back ] 39. Hesiod T heogony 585 calls Pandora a k alon kakon. See also T heogony 570, 600 and W orks and Days 57, 58, and 88 for Pandora described as a k akon for mortals. Hippolytos continues his explication of why woman is an evil (k akon) later in this speech: see 627–633. See Loraux 1993.72–91 for her interpretation of the story of Pandora, and McClure 1999.142–146 for her interpretation of this speech, the image of coinage as an “equivalency between women and artifice” (142) and woman as a k akon.

[ back ] 40. As Froma Zeitlin 1996.252 points out, “the charge against her counterfeit feminine nature finds its direct analogy in his social status as bastard.” Loraux 2000.92 connects this speech with the idea embedded in the myth of the creation of woman that woman is a “mere copy, a fake” of men.

[ back ] 41. Kurke 1999. See especially chapter 1 (41–64) for a “language of metals” and chapter 8 (299–331) for coinage as a civic discourse.

[ back ] 42. Text from Douglas Young’s 1971 Teubner edition (Leipzig). The translation is my own.

[ back ] 43. See Nagy 1985.29 for the primary importance of the quality of being p hilos in the poetry of Theognis.

[ back ] 44. See Donlan 1985.239: “But, more than anything else, the desire for gain (kerdos) is blamed as the factor most responsible for the overturn of the traditional values held by the archaic aristocracy.”

[ back ] 45. Donlan 1985.230.

[ back ] 46. Donlan 1985.234: “An insoluble moral problem has been revealed. Friends betray friends. They do this, not openly (like e khthroi), but by deceit—the detection of which depends on knowledge of a man’s mind and character. Since this is effectively impossible, betrayal is discovered only by trial, which means discovery after betrayal. There is no solution to this problem.”

[ back ] 47. Donlan 1985.225–226: “What appears in Theognis is a form of friendship that is qualitatively different from the traditional ideal: wary, suspicious, even hostile; loyalty and fidelity are no longer automatic reflexes. Nevertheless, the idealized form itself remains a constant; the poetic tradition knows what friendship ought to be like, while at the same time it knows what friendship has become.”

[ back ] 48. See Donlan 1985.223–229 for the changes in the institution of p hilia. See Nagy 1985.44, especially §29n4 on “the fluctuating usage of a gathos ‘noble’ and k akos ‘base’ in the original sociopolitical sense and in the evolving ethical sense (good vs. bad).”

[ back ] 49. Nagy 1985.34 §16n2. “From the parallels at Theognis 1263–1266 and 1283–1294, it is clear that the poet means, ‘When you s ay that you are p hilos to me, you are deceiving me.’’

[ back ] 50. Nagy 1985.54–55. He argues that it is also appropriate as a name for a Dorian prince, since Kyrnos is a traditional name for a son of Herakles.

[ back ] 51. Again, see Nagy 1985.54–55.

[ back ] 52. We also saw a comparison to animals in the passage cited above (pages 96–97) on the counterfeit man at 125–126: “For you would not know the noos of a man or of a woman / before you put it to the test as that of a yoked animal.”

[ back ] 53. See pp. 71–72 above.

[ back ] 54. For the d okimasia of eighteen-year-old men: see [Aristotle] A thênaiôn Politeia 42.1–2; Demosthenes 21.157, 27.5,36, 30.6; Isocrates 7.37, 12.28; Lysias 32.9; Aristophanes W asps 578. Rhodes 1972.171–174 describes the d okimasia procedure for these young men and Robertson 2000 argues for a scrutiny of the youths’ nude bodies for signs of physical maturity.

[ back ] 55. Buttrey 1981 gives a full description of the process as he interprets it from the Athenian coinage law of 375/4 b.c. See also Kurke 1999.310–312 for her discussion of the d okimasia of coins.

[ back ] 56. See Stroud 1974; Buttrey 1979 and 1981 for text of and commentary on the inscription. Buttrey 1981.80 argues that although the law is from 375/4 b.c., “the procedures for winnowing out counterfeit coins from the currency … must have developed long before” and that this would not have been “the first instance in which the State ordered the exclusion of counterfeit coin from circulation.” I would argue that the metaphorical associations of counterfeit coins also develop long before this law as well.

[ back ] 57. See Kurke 1999.12–13 for the minting of coins as an assertion of sovereignty by the p olis. See also Van Reden 1995.175 for the new role of the p olis as the arbiter of justice and prosperity with the introduction of coinage.

[ back ] 58. Buttrey 1981.81: “Counterfeit coins are by definition unauthorized.”

[ back ] 59. [Demosthenes] 59.12 and 59.107 is where Neaira is said to be ὑβρίζουσαν εἰς τὴν πόλιν. See also [Demosthenes] 59.77, in which it is argued that punishing Neaira will deter those who might commit a wrong against the gods and the city (εἰς τοὺς θεοὺς καὶ πόλιν ἁμαρτάνειν). For a different but related emphasis, see Patterson 1994 on the public ideology of the family in this speech.

[ back ] 60. The same verb as Theognis uses, (ἐξ-)ἀπατῶ, is used by the speaker of [Demosthenes] 59 concerning the marriage of Neaira’s daughter at 56.8, 81.6, and 83.8.

[ back ] 61. For the purity of Athenian coinage and its silver content close to face value, see Buttrey 1981.82: “By definition it was καλόν, for its maximum silver content was unquestionable.” See also Kurke 1999.302–303.

[ back ] 62. Zeitlin 1996.259: “In wishing to acquire children by purchase in the temples, Hippolytos accomplishes two objectives. He bypasses that shadowy, ambiguous interior of the woman and the house in favor of the domain of the sacred. He also bypasses the ambiguous realm of social relations in favor of direct and unerring judgment of the gods on a man’s true value.” Richard Seaford also suggested to me this shift to the sacred in a conversation about coinage.

[ back ] 63. See Stroud 1974.174–175 for the dedication of the coin in the temple of the Mother of the Gods.

[ back ] 64. See Segal 1970b.289–290 for the relevance of these lines to Phaedra’s deception.

[ back ] 65. Euripides E lectra 558–59: τί μ ̓ ἐσδέδορκεν ὥσπερ ἀργύρου σκοπῶν / λαμπρὸν χαρακτῆρ ̓; ἦ προσεικάζει μέ τῳ;. See also Seaford 1998.137–139 on these lines of the E lectra.

[ back ] 66. Compare Zeitlin 1996.264: “Hippolytos too, in his scheme for acquiring children, had wished for a clear proof of identity in the material substance of coinage that would answer to some external and guaranteed standard of value.” Zeitlin is comparing Hippolytos’s wish to the “proof” that Phaedra’s letter and dead body mean for Theseus, but her statement could apply as well to Theseus’s own wish for proof of truth. See also Gregory 1991.65, who argues that instead of the “chancy business” of having children with a wife, “Hippolytos would substitute, in a kind of Solonic reform, a fixed order of reproduction based on economic position. Men would thus be able to procure heirs with ease and security. Their domestic ‘freedom’ (624) would be freedom from Necessity, from random external factors.”

[ back ] 67. See Barrett loc., who connects the imagery of retail trade and deception with Plato P rotagoras 313c-e and Aristophanes W ealth 1063. See also Kurke 1999.74–76 on associations of k apêleia and deceit in archaic texts.

[ back ] 68. Roisman 1999.139 argues that Hippolytos’s illegitimacy makes him “wicked and immoral” in the eyes of his father, but I think that this is taking the matter too far.

[ back ] 69. A similar desire for a son to show proof that he is truly his father’s son was seen in the cases of both the legitimate Ajax and the illegitimate Teucer with respect to their father Telamon (see chapter 2).

[ back ] 70. The sickness of Phaedra’s p hrên is reiterated several times: see 238, 283, 317, 365, 766, 775. See Segal 1970b.281, 294–298 for the m iasma of Phaedra’s p hrên. He argues that the concepts of purity and shame link not only Phaedra and Hippolytos, but also Theseus with both of them.

[ back ] 71. See Segal 1970b.296–297 for the new kind of piety Hippolytos has had to create in the last moments of his life.

[ back ] 72. Mitchell-Boyask 1999.54–55 also argues that Theseus’s repeated use of teknon is a sign of his “reestablishing paternity.”

[ back ] 73. Segal 1970a.103–107, esp. 103–104.

[ back ] 74. Hippolytos frees his father from the stain of murder, 1449. On the forgiveness, see Knox 1979.228, and Dover 1991.181 on the connection between forgiveness and the quality of being g ennaios. Mitchell-Boyask 1999.56–58 argues that in death Hippolytos finally achieves the transition to adulthood and perhaps even citizenship. I prefer to see Hippolytos as remaining just marginal enough that he helps to effect the legitimacy and future citizenship of others. Mitchell-Boyask also argues here (1999.56) that the end of the association with Artemis (the k ourotrophê goddess) indicates Hippolytos’s manhood.

[ back ] 75. Goff 1990.112ff. summarizes and gives references for many of the recent views written about this aspect of the end of the Hippolytos. See also Halleran 1991.120 for the cult’s connection to marriage imagery in the drama.

[ back ] 76. See Rabinowitz 1986.136–137 on the subordination of Phaedra to Hippolytos in the cult and how the text makes “natural” the ideological assertion that women’s speech is deceitful (and therefore destructive).

[ back ] 77. Nagy 1994/5.51–52 suggests that the song of initiation that the girls in Troezen sing are “preplayed” in the choral songs of this drama. The chorus of young (“notionally pre-adult”) men reenact a girls’ chorus as they sing these songs, which tap into the innermost feelings of Phaedra. Thus, by means of the intersubjectivity of choral performance, the chorus and, through them, the audience, experience in a way the girls’ initiation into Hippolytos’s cult. In other words, they share in the cultural lesson provided by the cult.

[ back ] 78. Segal 1986a.197: “Theseus is thus summoned in his political or social capacity, and the disaster is presented as one of political as well as merely personal significance.”

[ back ] 79. The discussion of the I on is in chapter 3.