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

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6. Epic, Praise, and the Possession of Poetry

§1. It has been argued that the athlete follows the ritual paradigm of the hero not only through an ordeal at the Games but also through a reintegration, by way of epinician lyric poetry, with the community at home. In what follows, I extend the argument: just as the Games, as ritual, momentarily collapse the distinction between hero and athlete, so too does epinician lyric poetry. For an effective demonstration, we must compare in detail the two different forms of poetry that are primarily associated with defining the hero and the athlete, namely, the epic of Homer and the epinician lyric poetry of Pindar. As the epinician is a kind of praise poetry, the distinction between epic and epinician can be traced back to a more fundamental opposition, between epic and praise poetry. [1]

§6. In this tripartite scheme, I have set up the distinction between code and message, with the terminology of the Prague School of Linguistics, [16] in order to drive home a point that the lyric poetry of Pindar’s ainos consistently makes about itself: namely, that the ainos is a code that carries the right message for those who are qualified and the wrong message or messages for those who are unqualified. By way of its self-definition, the ainos is predicated on an ideal: an ideal audience listening to an ideal performance of an ideal composition. But at the same time it is also predicated on the reality of uncertainties in interaction between performer and audience in the context of the actual performance of a composition: the ainos of Pindar is by its very character ambiguous, both difficult in its form and enigmatic in its content. {148|149} As a difficult code that bears a difficult but correct message for the qualified and a wrong message or messages for the unqualified, the ainos communicates like an enigma—to use an English word that was borrowed from and serves as a translation for the Greek ainigma (as in Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus 393, 1525), which in turn is an actual derivative of ainos. An important example of this usage occurs in the poetry of Theognis (667–682), where the voice of the poet finishes an extended metaphor, the image of the ship of state caught in a seastorm (671–680), with the following declaration about the meaning of the symbol:

ταῦτά μοι ᾐνίχθω κεκρυμμένα τοῖς ἀγαθοῖσιν.
γινώσκοι δ’ ἄν τις καὶ κακὸν ἂν σοφὸς ᾖ.

Theognis 681–682

§10. In decidedly not making a distinction between the kleos due to an athlete of the present for his athletic event and the kleos due to a hero for his heroic deed, the ideology of Pindar’s praise poetry is parallel to the ideology of the athletic games in which the athletes earned their kleos. As we have seen, the ideology of the games is fundamentally a religious one: each athletic festival, held on a seasonally recurring basis into perpetuity, is predicated on the death of a hero, on an eternally important proto-ordeal for which the seasonally recurring ordeals of athletes, in principle ongoing to eternity, serve as eternal compensation. This religious ideology, clearly attested in Pindar’s praise poetry, is matched by the religious ideology of the poetry: each ordeal of each victorious athlete, compensating for the proto-ordeal of the hero who struggled and died, demands compensation of its own in the form of song offered as praise for the athlete. And the song in turn demands compensation from the victorious athlete and his family, to be offered to the composer of the song.

§18. An equally important example of such bridging between heroes and immediate ancestors takes place in the so-called age of tyrants and thereafter, when personalities like Peisistratos of Athens, Periandros of Corinth, {153|154} Polykrates of Samos, Thrasyboulos of Miletus, and Kleisthenes of Sikyon finally succeeded in making a breakthrough into our recorded history as real historical figures. [38] The public foundation of these personalities was the wealth, power, and prestige that they ideologically justified through their lineages, stretched all the way back to the age of heroes, as in the case of the Peisistratidai of Athens. Their dynasty claimed descent from the Neleidai, a lineage that extends forward in time to Melanthos and his son Kodros, two of the kings of Athens (Herodotus 5.65.3). The ancestor of the Neleidai is none other than Neleus, father of the Homeric Nestor (ibid.). The line extending all the way from Neleus down to king Kodros is given in full by Hellanicus FGH 4 F 125. The sons of Kodros are Medon and another Neleus. Myth has it that this second Neleus left Athens to become the founder of the Ionian constellation of the Twelve Cities (ibid.). In another report, Herodotus 9.97, Neleus, this younger son of Kodros, is specifically credited with the foundation of Miletus; here his name takes the form Neileōs. The ancient lineage of kings at Miletus traced themselves back to this Neileos (Aristotle F 556 Rose). As for Medon, the older son and heir of Kodros, myth has it that he remained in power at Athens, where he undergoes a transformation, according to some versions, from basileus ‘king’ to arkhōn ‘archon’ (Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 3.3). [39] Such lineages represented not only relations in genealogy, both real and mythical: they also translated into relations in wealth, power, and prestige both within and beyond the polis.

§19. The names of these aristocratic lineages took the form of plural patronymics, with suffixes in –adai and –idai, indicating a group that is linked by ties of common ancestry leading back to the cult of a given hero. This pattern corresponds to that of kings, as we see from the testimony of Ephorus FGH 70 F 118 (in Strabo 8.5.5 C366), who says that the two royal houses of Sparta were called Agiadai and Eurypontidai because it was the ancestors Agis and Eurypontos, not their respective fathers Eurysthenes and Prokles, whose hero cults constituted the basis of the lineage. [40] Another example, this time taken from Athens, is the powerful old lineage known as the Medontidai, who traced themselves back specifically to Medon, king of Athens (Pausanias 4.5.10), rather than to his father Kodros or to his father Melanthos (mentioned in Herodotus 5.65.3). A prominent descendant of this lineage of Medontidai is the Lawgiver par excellence of Athens, Solon (cf. Plutarch Life of Solon 1). [41] As yet another example, we may consider the Iamidai: in the {154|155} only instance where Pausanias ever refers to one of his ‘guides’ by name, citing ‘Aristarchus, the guide at Olympia’ at 5.20.4, the reference concerns a living descendant of the lineage of the Iamidai, “who are attested for almost one thousand years as the priests and seers of the Eleans.” [42] Still other examples include the Bakkhiadai of Corinth, stemming from Bakkhis, the fifth king of Corinth (cf. Diodorus 7.9.4, Pausanias 2.4.4); the Penthilidai of Lesbos, stemming from the hero Penthilos, son of Orestes (Pausanias 2.18.5–6, Aristotle Politics 1311b27); and the aforementioned Neleidai of Miletus, stemming from Neleus/Neileōs (Aristotle F 556 Rose). Finally there is the outstanding example of the Peisistratidai at Athens. Herodotus (5.65.4) makes it explicit that Hippokrates, the father of Peisistratos, named his son after the hero Peisistratos, son of Nestor (cf. Odyssey iii 36). It is clear from this and other indications that the lineage of the Peisistratidai (Herodotus 5.62–63 et passim) was predicated on the ancestry of this Peisistratos, son of Nestor. [43] Even more, it can be argued that this lineage of the Peisistratidai was founded on the actual hero cult of this ancestor. [44] For a clear reference to hero cult as the basis for a given lineage, I cite “Aristotle” On Marvellous Things Heard 106, describing cult practices in Tarentum, where the Atreidai ‘sons of Atreus’ (as well as the Tydeidai, the Aiakidai, and the Laertiadai) are recipients of cult honors that are distinct from those of the Agamemnonidai, even though Agamemnon is of course the son of Atreus. [45]

§21. Such rich and powerful families, one of whose primary means of demonstrating prestige was victory at the Panhellenic Games, could readily be perceived as a potential threat to the polis—as potential achievers of tyrannical power. A prime example is a figure called Kylon, an Olympic victor (probably 640 B.C.), who nearly succeeded in becoming tyrant of Athens in a coup d’état attempted at a time when the Olympics were in progress (possibly 632 B.C.; cf. Herodotus 5.71, Thucydides 1.126; Plutarch Solon 12.1–3). The men who were held responsible for the guilt of murdering some of the perpetrators, perhaps including Kylon, when that group sought asylum after the failed attempt (as we read in the same sources, with varying details), were members of the Alkmaionidai, the very lineage that has just been cited as a prime example of rich and powerful families who are perceived as a threat to the polis. The Alkmaionidai, as the lineage of one Megakles, who was held primarily responsible for the murders, were officially exiled in compensation for the pollution that they supposedly inflicted on the polis (Plutarch Solon 12.3).

§22. This lineage of the Alkmaionidai was in any case notoriously suspect of potential tyranny. The son of this Megakles, Alkmaion, was the first Athenian to win the chariot race at the Olympics (again Isocrates 16.25). The chariot victory of Alkmaion is mentioned also by Herodotus, who describes him in this context as a tethrippotrophos ‘producer of four-horse chariot teams’ (6.125.5) and who links the Olympic victory with an anecdote about the fabulous wealth of this same Alkmaion, acquired from none other than the ultimate representative of tyranny, the tyrant Croesus of Lydia (6.125.1–4). This anecdote is pertinent to the conventional theme that stresses the corruption of aristocratic society by a surfeit of riches and the resulting dangers of tyranny. [50] A son of Alkmaion, another Megakles, {156|157} married the daughter of the tyrant of Sikyon, Kleisthenes (Herodotus 6.130.2). [51] As Herodotus concedes, it was for this reason (cf. 6.131.1), as well as many others (e.g., 1.59–61), that the Alkmaionidai throughout their history were perceived as potential tyrants. [52] In this context, we may note that another Megakles, whose father was a younger brother of Kleisthenes the Reformer and who won the chariot race at the Pythian Games in Delphi at 486 B.C., was ostracized from Athens in that same year, according to Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 22.5; [53] this chariot victory by Megakles of the Alkmaionidai was celebrated by a victory ode of Pindar, Pythian 7, a composition in which the allusive use of phthonos ‘envy’ (19) apparently refers to the ostracism and exile of Megakles. [54] The mother of Alcibiades was descended from the Alkmaionidai (Isocrates ibid.); so too was the mother of Pericles of Athens (Thucydides 1.127.1; cf. Herodotus 6.131.2). Moreover, the tyrant Peisistratos had been married to the daughter of Megakles, son of the Olympic winner Alkmaion (Herodotus 1.61.1–2).

§23. In the so-called age of tyrants, such personalities “represent a force for innovation in Greek political history and step upon its stage as Greece’s first true individuals.” [55] To overreach the polis is to become an individual, at least {157|158} in public memory. Before the age of tyrants, such a pattern of standing out in the community could be achieved only by the likes of kings, who literally embodied the community through their status as the very incarnation of the body politic, and who maintained their status in public memory through the institution of dynasty, a continuum of power visibly expressed in the genetics of prestigious alliances through various strategies of intermarriage. In the age of tyrants, the royal patterns of embodying and thus potentially overreaching the community were further extended, in line with the dictum of Aristotle that the way to maintain a tyranny is to make it ever ‘more royal’ (τυραννίδος σωτηρία ποιεῖν αὐτὴν βασιλικωτέραν, Politics 1314a10). Whatever the policies of a tyrant may be, he must act the part of the king, says Aristotle (Politics 1314a39 and following). And the building of dynasties was energetically pursued: thus, for example, the tyrant Pittakos of Mytilene married into the royal house of the Penthilidai, descended from the Atreidai by way of Orestes (Diogenes Laertius 1.81). [56] Various tyrants claimed the title of king, as in the case of Periandros of Corinth (e.g., Herodotus 3.52.4) and Gelon of Syracuse (e.g., Herodotus 7.161.1). [57] Still more, the tyrant would claim a special relationship with the chief god of the community: thus, for example, Peisistratos of Athens, as personal protégé of the goddess Athena, was an occupant of the acropolis (Herodotus 1.59.6; Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 14.1; Plutarch Solon 30), the traditional abode of the ancient kings of Athens (cf. Iliad II 547–549). [58]

§25. When Kleomenes, king of Sparta, managed to penetrate the acropolis of Athens for a brief period after the expulsion of the Peisistratidai (Herodotus 5.90.2; 5.72.3–4), he expressly took possession of the khrēsmoi ‘oracular utterances’ that had been stored there by the family of tyrants in the hieron ‘temple’:

ἐκτήσατο δὲ ὁ Κλεομένης ἐκ τῆς Ἀθηναίων ἀκροπόλιος τοὺς χρησμούς, τοὺς ἔκτηντο μὲν πρότερον οἱ Πεισιστρατίδαι, {158|159} ἐξελαυνόμενοι δὲ ἔλιπον ἐν τῷ ἱρῷ. καταλειφθέντας δὲ ὁ Κλεομένης ἀνέλαβε

Herodotus 5.90.2

Kleomenes had taken possession [= verb kektēmai] of these oracular utterances [khrēsmoi], taking them from the acropolis of the Athenians. Previously, the Peisistratidai had possession [= verb kektēmai] of them, but, when they were driven out of Athens, they left them in the temple. It was there that Kleomenes found them and took them.

It seems clear from the context that the poetry in question is private property: it is literally possessed (verb kektēmai), previously by the tyrants of Athens and subsequently by the king of Sparta.

§26. I draw attention to a detail that explains what turns this poetry into private property: the words of such compositions have been written down. This detail, however, does not prove that writing was the actual key to the composition, let alone performance, of oracular poetry, the kind that we see here falling into the possession of tyrants and kings. In fact oracular poetry, like all the poetry of the Archaic era, was activated not through writing but through actual performance. Even as late as the second century A.D., the era of Plutarch, we can find indications of this inherited set of priorities:

καὶ γὰρ εἰ γράφειν ἔδει μὴ λέγειν τοὺς χρησμούς, οὐκ ἂν οἶμαι τοῦ θεοῦ τὰ γράμματα νομίζοντες ἐψέγομεν ὅτι λείπεται καλλιγραφίᾳ τῶν βασιλικῶν

Plutarch The Oracles at Delphi No Longer Given in Verse 397c

For if it were necessary to write the oracles, rather than say them, I do not think that we would consider the handwriting to be the god’s and find fault with it as falling short of the calligraphic standards of royal scribes.

§30. This negative attitude toward tyrants, as reflected in the story of Herodotus, contrasts with the positive attitude fostered by the tyrants themselves as the owners of poetry. It is a recurrent theme in the public image of the tyrant that he makes it possible for the community to possess, as its own public property, the poetic heritage that had been usurped for private gain by a degenerate aristocracy. A fundamental passage in this regard is “Plato” Hipparchus, where Socrates describes Hipparkhos, here presented as the oldest of the sons of Peisistratos, as wishing to educate the citizens of Athens (βουλόμενος παιδεύειν τοὺς πολίτας, 228c) by introducing the public performance of the epics of Homer at the Feast of Panathenaia (228b), by sending a {160|161} ship to fetch the poet Anacreon from Teos (228c), and by keeping in his company the master of choral lyric poetry, Simonides of Keos (ibid.). In doing these things, Hipparkhos showed that he was generous in sharing his sophiā, his own understanding of poetry, with the community (οὐκ οἰόμενος δεῖν οὐδενὶ σοφίας φθονεῖν, 228c). [65] After having ‘educated’ the people in the city proper, he turned his attention to the population of the countryside (228c-d), where he erected public inscriptions of poetry reflecting his sophiā:

κἄπειτα τῆς σοφίας τῆς αὑτοῦ, ἥν τ’ ἔμαθεν καὶ ἣν αὐτὸς ἐξηῦρεν, ἐκλεξάμενος ἃ ἡγεῖτο σοφώτατα εἶναι, ταῦτα αὐτὸς ἐντείνας εἰς ἐλεγεῖον αὐτοῦ ποιήματα καὶ ἐπιδείγματα τῆς σοφίας ἐπέγραψεν

“Plato” Hipparchus 228d

The language of the two epigrams that are quoted and attributed to Hipparkhos in “Plato” Hipparchus 229a-b matches that of an actual inscription on a herm-statue from the era of the Peisistratidai (CEG 304). [

§31. It is made explicit in this Platonic passage that the poetic utterances of the tyrant were intended to rival those that are attributed to the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi (Hipparchus 228e). Moreover, it is implicit that the public display of these poetic utterances, by way of inscriptions set up in public, is the equivalent of public performance. Such equivalence is the essence of the epigram. I draw attention to the wording that introduces the accomplishments of Hipparkhos, starting with his organization of Homeric performances, continuing with his patronage of such figures as Anacreon and Simonides, and concluding with the public display of his epigrams: in doing all these things, Socrates is quoted as saying, Hipparkhos ‘presented publicly the beautiful accomplishments connected with his understanding of poetry [sophiā]’ (καλὰ ἔργα σοφίας ἀπεδείξατο 228b). Such a stance of sharing {161|162} with the public is what lies behind the public gesture recorded in Gorgon FGH 515 F 18 (by way of the scholia to Pindar Olympian 7, I, p. 195 Drachmann), where a victory ode of Pindar, Olympian 7, commissioned to celebrate the Olympic victory of Diagoras of Rhodes in 464 B.C., is inscribed in gold letters and dedicated in the temple of Athena Lindia in Rhodes. We are dealing here with a public gesture. [70] So also in the case of the poetry attributed to the tyrant Hipparchus, where the words are ostensibly written down as a public inscription, not as a private transcript of secret documents to be hoarded in some treasure chest. [71]

§33. That oracular poetry, in order to have effect, requires public performance is made clear by the semantics of the words prophētēs ‘declarer’ and theōros ‘emissary’. [74] Let us begin with prophētēs, designating a figure in society whose hereditary role is to formalize in poetry the inspiration received by the mantis ‘seer’, as we see from the explicit wording of Plato: ὅθεν δὴ καὶ τὸ τῶν προφητῶν γένος ἐπὶ ταῖς ἐνθέοις μαντείαις κριτὰς ἐπικαθιστάναι νόμος ‘and for this reason it is customary to appoint the lineage of declarers [ prophētēs pl.] to be judges [kritēs pl.] over the inspired [entheos pl.] mantic utterances [manteia pl.]’ (Plato Timaeus 72a). As such, the prophētai are hupokritai ‘actors’, in that they act out the mantic utterance, with its ainigmoi ‘enigmatic words’ (τῆς δι’ αἰνιγμῶν οὗτοι φήμης καὶ φαντάσεως ὑποκριταί Timaeus 72b). [75] The prime example is the official {162|163} prophētēs of the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi (cf. Herodotus 8.36, 37). [76] The prophētēs declares, formalizes as a speech-act, the words of the inspired mantis. [77] In the case of the Oracle at Delphi, the office of the inspired mantis was traditionally held by a priestess, known as the Puthiā ‘Pythia’ (cf. Plutarch The Oracles in Delphi No Longer Given in Verse 397b-c; Strabo 9.3.5 C419). [78] From stories about famous attempts to bribe the Pythia (e.g., Herodotus 6.66.3, 6.75.3), [79] we know that it was the Pythia, not the prophētēs, who controlled the content of the mantic utterance. I infer that the prophētēs controlled the form. The standard transmission of this form, as we see most clearly in the numerous quotations of the Delphic Oracle in Herodotus, was the poetic form of dactylic hexameter. Accordingly, I see no reason to doubt that the prophētēs was involved in the poetic formalization of prophecy. [80]

§35. There is yet another pertinent use of prophētēs: this word also designates the herald who declares the winner at athletic games (e.g., Bacchylides Epinician 9.28: in this case the reference is to the Isthmian Games). This usage is crucial for our understanding of another word, theōros ‘emissary’, meaning literally ‘he who sees [root hor-] a vision [theā]’, in the specific sense of designating the official delegate of a given polis who is sent out to observe the athletic games and to bring back the news of victory (Herodotus 1.59.1, 8.26: in this case the reference is to the Olympic Games). Thus the prophētēs is the one who declares the message of victory at the Games, while the theōros is the one who witnesses the message and takes it back to the polis, where he declares it to the polis.

§37. After the consultation at Delphi, the theōros was to deliver to his community the communication of the Oracle, and there were severe sanctions against any emissary who would divulge the message of the oracle to outsiders before returning home (again Suda s.v. τὰ τρία). [84] This message was a privileged kind of communication. As Heraclitus declares (22 B 93 DK), the god at Delphi neither legei ‘speaks’ nor kruptei ‘conceals’: rather he sēmainei ‘indicates’. [85] The verb sēmainō ‘indicate’ is derived from the noun sēma, which means ‘sign’ or ‘signal’ and which derives from a concept of inner vision (as attested in the Sanskrit cognate dhyāma, derived from the verb dhī-). [86] Correspondingly the word theōros means literally ‘he who sees [root hor-] a vision [theā]’. Thus the god Apollo of the Oracle at Delphi, when he sēmainei ‘indicates’, is conferring an inner vision upon the theōros, the one who consults him. Both the encoder and the decoder are supposedly operating on the basis of an inner vision. Greek usage makes it clear that the prophētēs, who communicates the words of Apollo to those who consult the god, likewise sēmainei ‘indicates’ (cf. Herodotus 8.37.2). In this relationship, where the god of inspiration sēmainei ‘indicates’ to the theōros the inner vision of the poetry, we see the hermeneutic model for the processes of encoding and decoding the ainos. Moreover, this relationship between the {164|165} words sēmainō ‘make a sign [sēma]’ and theōros ‘he who observes the vision’ is pertinent to the usage of the modem lexical creations semantics/semiotics and theory.

§43. The essence of oracular poetry is that it serves to uphold the existing social order; it derives its authority from such ultimate sources of authorization as Apollo’s Oracle at Delphi. For this reason, the two kings of Sparta were the official safekeepers of oracular poetry (Herodotus 6.57.4), sharing their knowledge with four officials, two appointed by each of them, whose duty it was to be emissaries to the Oracle at Delphi and who were known as the Puthioi (6.57.2,4). These Puthioi were public figures, taking their meals with the kings at the public expense (6.57.2). The existence of these officials at Sparta makes it clear that the poetry of oracular utterances, just like other poetry, was considered to be the possession of the polis.

§46. This Herodotean outlook on tyrants, as reflected by his story about the Peisistratidai and their private possession of oracular poetry, may be {168|169} contrasted with the outlook of Thucydides, whose wording nevertheless reflects similar patterns of thought concerning the contrast of private and public possession of discourse. Let us consider the expression κτῆμα … ἐς αἰεί ‘a possession [ktēma, derivative of verb kektēmai] for all time’ used by Thucydides (1.22.4) in talking positively about his own private preservation of knowledge about affairs of state. Thucydides here is setting up a choice between a private possession of knowledge on the one hand, which is in his power to transmit to the one who possesses the text, and on the other hand the public display or performance of such knowledge, which would be conditioned by the vicissitudes of public performance in the polis, and which he describes as a ‘competitive effort [agōnisma, derivative of agōn] meant for hearing in the here and now’ (ἀγώνισμα ἐς τὸ παραχρῆμα ἀκούειν ibid.). This negative image of public performance, which is meant to serve as a foil for the work of Thucydides, is equivalent to the medium represented by Herodotus. [96] From the standpoint of Herodotus, by contrast, the possession of his own medium is open to the public: his medium is in fact presented as a public possession, so that whatever he writes can be equated with whatever he would say publicly. [97]

§48. To return to the story about the private possession of oracular poetry by the Peisistratidai (Herodotus 5.90.2): as long as private interests control the public medium, there is the ever-present danger of premeditated selective control over the content of poetry, leading to stealthy distortions or {169|170} perversions of the poetic truth. This is the point made by Herodotus when he narrates how Onomakritos was once ‘caught red-handed, by Lasus of Hermione, in the act of putting his own poetry, an oracular utterance [khrēsmos], inside the wording of Musaeus’ (ἐπ’ αὐτοφώρῳ ἁλοὺς ὑπὸ Λάσου τοῦ Ἑρμιονέος ἐμποιέων ἐς τὰ Μουσαίου χρησμόν 7.6.3). The protection against such tampering can be visualized as a sphrāgis ‘seal’, such as the one that is figuratively placed on the poetry of Theognis (19–20), which prevents any stealthy changes to the genuine wording (21). [100] Similarly the words of the Oracle, as received from the Pythia (Theognis 807) and delivered by the theōros to his community (805), must resist any and all stealthy changes (809–810). [101] In the language of inscriptions, we can see that the literal placing of a sphrāgis on a ratified speech-act is tantamount to making it public:

λαβόντες τόδε τὸ ψάφισμα παρὰ τοῦ | γραμματέος διαπεμψάσθων Κνιδίων προστά | [τ]αις καὶ [τῶ]ι δάμωι [σφ]ραγιξαμένων τῶν ταμι | ᾶν τᾶι [δαμ]οσίαι σφραγῖδι

DGE 226.3–6 (Thera iii/ii B.C.)

… taking this resolution from the scribe, let them send it to the presidents and dēmos of the Knidians, after the treasurers [tamiai] have sealed it with the public seal [sphrāgis].

§50. In this same passage from the Knights of Aristophanes, I draw attention to the challenge, issued by Demos, that the disguised Kleon-figure should ‘read out loud’ the oracles (ἀναγνώσεσθέ μοι 1011), which are contained in a kibōtos ‘box’ (1000). In this image we see a metaphor for the making public of what is potentially kept private by the tyrannical mentality. The word for ‘read out loud’ in Knights 1011, ana-gignōskō, means basically ‘know again, recognize’ (cf. also 118, 1065). To ‘read’ is to ‘know again’ by reperforming to oneself and potentially to others the last in a series of preexisting performances—this last one having been written down rather than spoken, whereas the previous ones had been spoken. The act of reading here is a metaphor for the activation, through public performance, of the composition. To know again the composition, that is, to recognize it, is to be performing it. Such a recognition takes place in the mind of both performer and audience as one hears the words being read out loud. [104] In Pindar’s Olympian 10, the song starts with the command to ‘read out loud’ (verb ana-gignōskō: ἀνάγνωτε 10.1) the Olympic winner, who is ‘written down’ inside the phrēn ‘mind’ (πόθι φρενὸς ἐμᾶς γέγραπται 10.2–3). Thus the image of reading out loud can even serve as the metaphor for the public performance of a composition, and the image of writing, as the metaphor for the composition itself. [105] Moreover, the image of writing here conveys the fixity of the composition in the mind of the composer, with the implication that it will not be recomposed in the process of performance by the chorus. The notion of fixity in composition is also illustrated by the very essence of State Theater in Athens, where the public is not supposed to affect directly, and thereby recompose, the action ongoing in the drama as acted by the actors. [106] To this extent the image of writing is again appropriate in conveying the fixity of the composition: the composition of drama in Athenian State Theater is metaphorically a text, a script. [107] But the matching performance of drama is metaphorically {171|172} not just any kind of reading as we know it, but specifically reading out loud, in essence the process of reading out loud is a speech-act, like performance itself, and it is public, not private. We may note the expression δράμα ἀναγιγνώσκειν ‘to read out loud [ana-gignōskō] the drama’, referring to the function of producing a drama, in the scholia to Aristophanes Clouds 510. [108]

§51. In contrast with reading out loud, the process of silent reading is decidedly not a speech-act: thus for example in the Hippolytus of Euripides, the figure of Theseus, when he reads silently the tablet left behind by the dead Phaedra, does not activate the force of these words until he sums up their contents publicly to the chorus (856–886). [109] Similarly in the Knights of Aristophanes, we see the figure of Nikias engaged in the silent reading of the oracles of Bakis while conversing with the figure of Demosthenes, who comically misunderstands pieces of his interlocutor’s conversation as if they were portions of the oracles being read out loud; instead of reading out loud, however, Nikias simply summarizes for Demosthenes what he had already grasped through an instantaneous silent reading (115–146). [110] Such silent reading is symptomatic of the tyrant’s power to control the performance of a composition. We have already noted the image, occurring later in the Knights, of a kibōtos ‘box’ that stores the oracles of Bakis (1000). These oracles can be taken out by the Kleon-figure and ‘read out loud’ to Demos (1011), but we know that the reader of the oracles also has the power to read ahead, silently, and then interpret his reading, with a voice that is accepted as the authority of the oracles (again 115–146). In these images of storing oracles in a box and then taking them out either to be read out loud to Demos or, alternatively, merely to be interpreted, we see the ultimate metaphor for the control of performance by the State. [111]

§52. With these considerations in mind, let us return to the story of confrontation between Onomakritos and the poet Lasus of Hermione: as a result of this {172|173} confrontation, Herodotus goes on to say, Onomakritos had been publicly exiled by his own patrons, the Peisistratidai themselves (7.6.4); yet in the here and now being narrated, we see him back in their good graces as he performs before the Great King of the Persian Empire, once again distorting the truth by way of premeditated selectivity (7.6.4–5). The context of this same passage (7.6.3–4), however, makes it apparent that Lasus of Hermione, as a rival of Onomakritos, was also under the patronage of the Peisistratidai. In fact we have explicit testimony that even a figure like Simonides, master of choral lyric poetry, had once been under the patronage of the Peisistratidai (“Plato” Hipparchus 228f, where Simonides is mentioned along with Anacreon). [112] From the standpoint of Herodotus it is clear that the patronage of tyrants discredits a poet. Yet, from the standpoint of the tyrants themselves, it seems just as clear that this same patronage must have been expected to serve as a public guarantee of the poet’s truthfulness. Thus the discrediting of one rival poet by another could still have served to validate the tyrant’s legitimacy, even if Herodotus can then reuse that same discrediting of the poet to expose the perceived illegitimacy of the tyrant. Such is the narrative strategy of Herodotus in his story about the public exposure of Onomakritos by Lasus of Hermione, who happens to be, like Simonides, a master of choral lyric poetry. [113] In fact, a passage in Aristophanes Wasps 1410-1411 alludes to a historical occasion where the poetic compositions of Lasus and of Simonides were entered in competition with each other, and where the medium of competition is clearly that of choral lyric poetry (ἀντεδίδασκε 1410). Similarly the Herodotean story about the exposure of Onomakritos by Lasus implies an occasion where the two poets are publicly competing in the performance of poetry, and where one poet can discredit another by making manifest what is incorrect, untrue, stealthily falsified: through the public performance of rival poets the truth can come to light. We may compare the comic competition between oracular poems assigned to Bakis and those of his mock rival, the “older brother” Glanis, in Aristophanes Knights 998 and following.

§53. In sum, the story about the exposure of Onomakritos by Lasus illustrates a fundamental theme concerning tyrants and poetry. Both tyrants and antityrants can agree that the public performance of poetry is a possession of the polis, a forum where the truth is expected to come to light. In contrast the private possession of poetry by tyrants, despite their self-proclaimed status as public benefactors, can be perceived by antityrants as a threat to the truth of poetry, a threat that can be exposed by poetry itself in the light of public performance. As long as the tyrant possesses a poem before it is activated in performance, the danger of distortion is there. For Herodotus, who {173|174} represents an antityrannical attitude, the tyrant’s possession of poetry is at issue in the story about the public discovery that Onomakritos tampered with the oracular utterances of Musaeus (7.6.3). [114] In the same context Onomakritos is described as a diathetēs ‘arranger’ of the khrēsmoi ‘oracular utterances’ of Musaeus in the era of the Peisistratidai (διαθέτην χρησμῶν τῶν Μουσαίου Herodotus ibid.). This possession of Musaeus by the Peisistratidai is parallel to their possession of Homer: there is a report that Onomakritos, along with three others, was commissioned in the reign of Peisistratos to supervise the ‘arranging’ of the Homeric poems, which were before then ‘scattered about’ (διέθηκαν οὑτωσὶ σποράδην οὔσας τὸ πρίν Anecdota Graeca 1.6 ed. Cramer). [115]

§54. Toward the end of this Archaic phase of Greek civilization, the so-called age of tyrants, when important families were generating public personalities that could and did overreach the institutions of the polis, and when the public medium of poetry was coming under the threat of being possessed by the private power of tyrants, enters the figure of Pindar, master of choral lyric poetry. From here on I argue that Pindar and his contemporaries or near-contemporaries, figures like Simonides and Bacchylides, made their own breakthroughs as individuals, as historically verifiable persons whom we may call authors, by virtue of being protégés of powerful families of tyrants or quasityrants who forged their individuality through such public media as poetry itself. As a prime example of tyrants as patrons of Pindar, I cite the referent of Pindar’s Olympian 1, Hieron of Syracuse, [116] whom Pindar addresses as basileus ‘king’ (e.g., Olympian 1.23) as well as turannos ‘tyrant’ (in a nonpejorative sense: Pythian 3.85). [117] As a telling example of quasityrants, I cite the pointed reference in Pindar Pythian 7.1–8 to the oikos ‘house’ and patrā ‘lineage’ of Megakles of Athens, of the geneā ‘lineage’ of the Alkmaionidai. [118] Another such example is the case of Diagoras of Rhodes, celebrated in Olympian 7: this composition is explicitly directed toward praising the island state of Rhodes, the native place of Diagoras, in the context of praising the lineage of this victor, the Eratidai:

Ἐρατιδᾶν τοι σὺν χαρίτεσσιν ἔχει | θαλίας καὶ πόλις

Pindar Olympian 7.93–94

This lineage of the Eratidai, descended from the royal line of Argos and extending all the way back to Herakles (20–24), had a history of dominating Ialysos, one of the three sectors of Rhodes, and in fact all of Rhodes. [
120] And we have the explicit testimony of Oxyrhynchus Papyri 842 (x col. xi 1–34 and col. iii 23–26) that the family of Diagoras was eventually deposed as “tyrants.” Certainly the importance of the family within the society at large is illustrated by the very words of Pindar, quoted immediately above, with the emphasis on the nobility and generosity of the Eratidai in sharing their epinician experience with the polis. We have historical evidence that this family considered the composition of Pindar that they commissioned, Olympian 7, as their precious personal possession, which they had generously shared with the public through the medium of public choral performance, in the public spirit described in the words of Pindar: according to Gorgon FGH 515 F 18, the words of this victory ode were inscribed in gold letters and dedicated in the temple of Athena Lindia in Rhodes. [121] The public sharing through the medium of public choral performance was in this case reinforced by another stage of public sharing, that is, public display through the medium of a lavish inscription, comparable to the public displays of inscribed poetry self-attributed to Hipparkhos, tyrant of Athens. [122]

§55. My present line of interpretation, which connects Pindar’s patronage with the political power of tyrants or quasityrants, may seem unsettling in light of the commonly-held and comforting assumption that poets like Pindar were simply protégés of aristocrats in general and that their association with tyrants like Hieron developed from their already-established prestige in smaller aristocratic circles. Such an assumption, glossing over the fact that many of Pindar’s most famous compositions were commissioned by tyrants or tyrantlike personalities, is based on an implicit argument from silence: many other compositions, the reasoning goes, were commissioned by aristocratic figures about whom we have no explicit historical evidence pointing to anything specific like the power of tyrants. Yet the first impressions that one might have formed about these aristocratic figures are in the end deceiving.

§56. I start with the most difficult case, the aristocratic families of victors from the island-polis of Aegina as celebrated in the victory odes of Pindar. There seems at first little evidence that would even suggest the presence of tyrants or tyrantlike personalities. [123] It is a daunting task indeed to find direct {175|176} evidence that would help us weigh their relative power. Even in the case of Aegina, however, there are indirect indications that the patrons of Pindar tend to be a closed and specially privileged group within their own aristocratic communities. Among these indications is the special use of patrā ‘patriliny’ in all attestations of the word as applied to the lineages of Aegina in the Aeginetan odes of Pindar. In each case there is a pointed mention of the Aiakidai ‘descendants of Aiakos’, or of the hero Aiakos himself, elsewhere in the same composition: the word patrā designates the Theandridai at Nemean 4.77 (Aiakidai at 11), the Bassidai at Nemean 6.35 (Aiakidai at 17), the Euxenidai at Nemean 7.70 (Aiakidai at 10), the Psalukhiadai at Isthmian 6.63 (Aiakidai at 19, 35), and the Meidulidai in Pythian 8.38 (Aiakos at 99). As for non-Aeginetan contexts, in contrast, patrā can take on the default meaning of ‘homeland’ (e.g., Pindar Pythian 11.23). This consistency in the pattern of referring to Aeginetan lineages, and in associating them with the Aiakidai, suggests a closed and specially privileged group. The very name Aiakidai may serve as implicit evidence in this regard. Such a patronymic formation suggests a group that is linked by ties of common ancestry leading back to the cult of a given hero. [124]

§57. The cult of the hero Aiakos is native to Aegina, as we see most clearly from the explicit testimony of Pausanias (2.29.6-9). The relationship of Aiakos to the Aiakidai of Aegina is illuminated by one passage in particular, in Herodotus 8.64.2: at the battle of Salamis a ship is sent back to Aegina to fetch ‘Aiakos and the other Aiakidai’ (ἐπὶ δὲ Αἰακὸν καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους Αἰακίδας νέα ἀπέστελλον ἐς Αἴγιναν; cf. also Herodotus 8.83.2, 8.84.2). This mention of ‘Aiakos and the other Aiakidai’ is generally interpreted to mean some sort of sacred simulacra of the hero, [125] but decisive parallels are lacking, and the reference to ‘the other Aiakidai’ remains puzzling. [126] As an {176|177} alternative explanation, the acceptance or rejection of which does not affect my overall argument about the significance of the Aiakidai, we may interpret ‘Aiakos’ here as the reputed bones of the hero, the centerpiece of his worship as a cult hero. In support of this possibility I cite a central feature of Archaic Greek hero cults, namely, the belief that the bones of a hero are a talisman of fertility and good fortune for the community that worships him, and of sterility and bad fortune for its enemies. [127] A clear example of this tradition is the story in Herodotus 1.67–68 about the bones of Orestes, the recovery of which by Sparta leads the Spartans to victory in their war with the Tegeans. [128] Another is the report by Plutarch (Life of Kimon 8, Life of Theseus 36) about the official transplanting of the bones of Theseus, in 476 B.C., from Skyros back to his “home” at Athens. [129] It is also in a parallel sense that we may possibly interpret the mention of Aiakidai in Herodotus 5.80.2: when the Aeginetans send the ‘Aiakidai’ to the Thebans, who had asked their allies for help in their war with Athens, they may be sending the bones of Aiakos, possibly accompanied by living representatives of the current lineage of Aiakidai, who would function as the ceremonial bearers of the ancestral relics. When the Thebans fail in their campaign against the Athenians, they send back the Aiakidai to the Aeginetans, saying that they would rather have as allies not the Aiakidai but andres ‘men’ (Herodotus ibid.). In other words, they request an army of fighting men, not cult objects.

§64. This tradition recurs, with a twist, in the celebrated Debate of the Constitutions, Herodotus 3.80–87, where the future Great King of the Persians is represented as cynically restating the poetic tradition: he too describes the Greek polis as capable of three forms of government, that is, democracy, {181|182} oligarchy, and ‘monarchy’. [144] The Persian king unrestrainedly refers to aristocracy as oligarkhiā ‘oligarchy’ (3.82.1). He is more restrained about tyranny, which he calls monarkhiā ‘monarchy’ (3.82.1, 3), the superiority of which over oligarchy is proved, he says, by the regular pattern of a gradual shift from any oligarchy into a ‘monarchy’ (3.82.3). The Great King’s description of this shift, however, shows that this arch-villain of the Hellenes has been tricked by the narrative of Herodotus into becoming a teacher of ethics, in that he is in effect unwittingly warning the aristocracy against the temptations of degeneracy and tyranny. In the Persian king’s words the supposedly predictable shift from oligarchy to ‘monarchy’ stems from the quest for personal advantage, which leads to a movement toward ‘monarchy’ in three stages: (1) stasis (plural) ‘social conflicts’, (2) phonoi ‘killings’, and, finally, (3) monarkhiā ‘monarchy’ (3.82.3). These categories mark the very same concepts that are cited by the native traditions of Hellenic poetry as the stages of degeneracy and incipient tyranny, as in Theognis 50–52. [145] In this passage the notion of private or personal interest is expressed by way of kerdos ‘gain, advantage, profit’ (Theognis 50). Private gain that entails public detriment leads to (1) stasis ‘social conflict’ (Theognis 51), [146] (2) phonoi ‘killings’ (51), [147] and finally (3) tyranny, a notion that is attenuated here again as monarkhoi ‘monarchs’ (52). These three stages of degeneracy, as the poetry makes clear, are symptomatic of hubris (Theognis 40, 44). In the debate passage of Herodotus, the notion of tyranny that underlies monarchy is made clear: the Great King’s speech is preceded by an earlier speech containing a calculated equation of the attenuated word monarkhos ‘monarch’ with the explicit turannos ‘tyrant’ (Herodotus 3.80.2/4).

§67. The Bakkhiadai are described in the utterance of the Delphic Oracle quoted at Herodotus 5.92β.2 as monarkhoi ‘monarchs’, an attenuated designation for tyrants. There is a clear parallel at Theognis 52, where it is claimed that a degenerate aristocracy will lead to such social ills as {183|184} monarkhoi. [155] To repeat, the Bakkhiadai are described by Herodotus as an aristocratic oligarkhiā ‘oligarchy’ (5.92β.1). In the same utterance where the Bakkhiadai are described as monarkhoi, the Oracle, here addressing Eetion, describes the future tyrant Kypselos as someone who will make Corinth dikaios ‘just’ (ibid.). Again we can see a clear parallel in the same passage of Theognis (39–40): the degenerate aristocracy, as the voice of the poet prophesies, may one day yield to a man who will be an euthuntēr ‘straightener’ of the social ills caused by his predecessors. The theme of ‘straightening’ is a prime symbol of dikē ‘justice’ (e.g., Solon F 36.19 W). [156] This ‘straightener’ who brings justice is described as being literally born to the polis, pregnant in its degeneracy (κύει, Theognis 39), just as the future champion of dikē in Corinth is described by the Oracle as being born to the pregnant Labda (κύει, Herodotus 5.92β.2), whose very lameness symbolizes the tyrannical potential within her lineage. [157] In sum, according to this utterance by the Delphic Oracle, favorable to the Kypselidai, the Bakkhiadai are quasi-tyrants who will generate the ultimate rulers of Corinth, the Kypselidai. Similarly in Theognis 39–52, the passage that we have been comparing, the future tyrant is presented in attenuated terms as a potential reformer and champion of dikē (again Theognis 40). [158]

§68. Another oracular utterance, however, where the Delphic Oracle is addressing the other party, the Bakkhiadai, describes the future tyrant Kypselos as a lion that is ōmēstēs ‘eater of raw flesh’ (Herodotus 5.92β.3). In this utterance, unlike the other, the tyrant generated by the degenerate aristocracy is treated negatively: the theme of eating raw flesh is a prime symbol of hubris ‘outrage’, the opposite of dikē ‘justice’ (e.g., Theognis 541–542). [159] Again we can see a clear parallel in the poetry of Theognis: in 1081-1082b, a passage closely similar in form but strikingly different in content from the passage that we have already considered concerning the birth of a future tyrant (39–52), the polis is again described as pregnant (κύει, Theognis 1081), but this time it generates a champion not of dikē but of hubris (1082). [160] Thus the response of the Delphic Oracle to the dynasty of tyrants at Corinth, the Kypselidai, is ambivalent. When it addresses the side of the Kypselidai, it stresses the potential dikē ‘justice’ that can come from this dynasty. When it addresses the side of the Bakkhiadai, it stresses the potential hubris ‘outrage’. Herodotus in 5.92δ.1 takes this side, to the extent that {184|185} he stresses the negative aspects of tyrants: bad things will ‘sprout’ (ἀνα-βλαστεῖν) for Corinth from Eetion. As the Oracle affirms in yet another utterance, quoted at Herodotus 5.92ε.2, the dynasty of the Kypselidai will be short-lived. [161]

§69. Like the Delphic Oracle, the poetry of Theognis assumes the stance of predicting the advent of tyrants, as we have seen in the two poems about the pregnant polis, Theognis 39–52 and 1081–1082b. [162] Like the Oracle, the poetry of Theognis can be ambivalent about the tyrant, describing him as an exponent of either dikē ‘justice’ (cf. 39–40) or hubris ‘outrage’ (cf. 1082). In this light we may consider the meaning of Theognis ‘he whose breeding [genos] is from the god(s)’, which is parallel to the meaning of Theāgenēs, the name of the historical tyrant of Megara (on whom see Aristotle Politics 1305a24, Rhetoric 1357b33). [163] On the basis of Theognis 39–42, where the emerging tyrant is presented as a potential champion of dikē ‘justice’, I offer the following observation: [164]

It is as if the words of Theognis could have been, in one phase of the poetic tradition, the words of Theagenes the tyrant. Verses 39–42 of Theognis would represent a later phase, of course, in that the poet and the tyrant are here distinct. Still, although the poet deplores the emergence of tyranny in these verses, the social corrections undertaken by the tyrant are described in words that could just as well have described the social corrections undertaken by Solon.

The social corrections of Solon the Reformer, as expressed in the poetry of Solon, have close parallels in the poetry of Theognis. [
165] Both Lycurgus the lawgiver of Sparta and Kypselos the tyrant of Corinth take control of their respective cities after consulting the Oracle at Delphi (Herodotus 1.65.2–5 and 5.92ε.1–2, respectively). [166] We may note too the self-representation of Theognis as a theōros (805), [167] and the remark by Aristotle Politics 1310b that one of the ways to achieve tyranny in a polis was through occupying the office of theōros.

§72. Like Theognis, Pindar speaks with a voice that can warn about the dangers that loom over the polis, not the least of which is tyranny. And the medium for Pindar’s message, in Pindar’s own words, is the ainos; it is from this word, to repeat, that ainigma is derived.

§75. In sum, the songs that celebrated the figures who commissioned the likes of Pindar were occasional, potentially exempt from the process of ongoing recomposition in performance that would have characterized any composition transmitted solely through the ever-evolving polis. While the poets of such occasional songs owe their fame as historical individuals to their patrons, the tyrants owe their corresponding fame at least partly to these same poets, who enhance the breakthrough of their patrons into the remote past of the heroes. The poet Ibycus says this explicitly, as he tells the tyrant Polykrates of the everlasting kleos that is to be conferred on him by the poet’s song, which is also called kleos:

καὶ σύ, Πολύκρατες, κλέος ἄφθιτον ἑξεῖς
ὡς κατ’ ἀοιδὰν καὶ ἐμὸν κλέος

Ibycus SLG 151.47–48

The double use of kleos here reenacts the notion of reciprocity built into the {187|188} word: the patron gets fame from the praise of the poet, whose own fame depends on the fame of a patron in the here and now. [
177] The Indo-European heritage of this convention is evident from a comparison with Old Irish traditions of reciprocity between poet and patron: “The Irish king is certified by the poet; reciprocally, the poet is maintained by the king and tribe.” [178]

§76. As long as the patronage of the audience is ideologically conferred by the community at large, a reciprocal relationship between poet and patron can be maintained. Thus even a tyrant like Polykrates can in theory fit the Indo-European model of poetic patronage, as long as he succeeds in being perceived as the embodiment of community, the body politic. This is the essence of kingship. If on the other hand the tyrant is perceived as overreaching the community, the polis, in his maintenance of power, then the very concept of tyranny sets off a crisis in the poetic ideology of reciprocity. We have seen that the notion of compensating a poet for the “ordeal” of composing a poem is part of a ritual chain of reciprocity, where the value of the compensation owed the poet, even if it takes the shape of material gifts, is still transcendent inasmuch as it is considered sacred. If, however, the community loses its trust in the powers that be, then the compensation owed to the poet sponsored by those powers stands to lose its sacral status. Thus the poet must not only praise the patron: the poet must maintain the trust of the community by reasserting the transcendent nature of his compensation as proof of links to the community as the audience. For such reassertion to be successful, the poet can set up, as a foil for the transcendent compensation, a negative value for the kind of compensation that is purely material in nature.

§78. Outside the framework of Pindaric song, in the real world of Pindar, compensation is becoming a purely monetary value. [182] It is this outside reality that makes it possible for Pindaric song to set up the “mercenary Muse” as a foil for its own transcendence. In this real world the system of reciprocity within the community at large, as represented by the polis, is breaking down. It is an era when individuals can achieve the economic power to overreach the polis itself, and the pattern of overreaching extends to the realm of song. In this real world the craft of song is in danger of shifting from an expression of community to an expression of the individual whose power potentially threatens the community. This shift has been aptly described as a diverting of the poetic art: [183]

Before the end of the [fifth] century choral poetry was divested of its traditional connections with the festivals of cult, probably by Ibycus, certainly by Simonides, and diverted to the praise of the great. The change meant that the expense of the poet’s fee and the choral production was assumed by a wealthy patron, with whom lay the power of decision in regard to all questions relating to the performance of the ode. The Muse, in Pindar’s phrase, had grown fond of money and gone to work for a living.

In the real world, the “great” men who are being praised are the potential tyrants and quasityrants that are being generated by the aristocracy. For the ideological world of Pindar, in contrast, the aristocracy remains an ideal that must resist the degeneration that breeds tyrants. [
184] And it is the real world that makes it possible for Pindaric song to set up the “mercenary Muse” as a foil for its own transcendence. {189|190}

§83. The situation is different with the poetry of epic. By the age of tyrants, the epic traditions of the Greeks, as represented by the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, were reaching a Panhellenic and thereby canonical status, exempt from the political exigencies of tyrants. The universalism of the Homeric poems is the consequence not of a single event, such as the writing down of the poems, but rather of an evolutionary process whereby the Panhellenic diffusion of the Homeric traditions, concomitant with ongoing recomposition in performance at international (that is, inter-polis) festivals, led gradually to one convergent Panhellenic version at the expense of many divergent local versions. While the divergence of localized versions might be to the occasional advantage of the localized concerns of tyrants, the convergent Panhellenism of the Homeric performances could in the end become an obstacle to the tyrants’ current political ideologies: we recall the testimony of Herodotus (5.67.1) to the effect that Kleisthenes, tyrant of Sikyon, banished the public performances of “Homer” in his city on the grounds that the contents were partial to Argos, a city that was at that point an enemy of Sikyon. [193] With its Panhellenic stature, then, the poetry of “Homer” would become ever less capable of accommodating the occasional and localized needs of the audience; we cannot expect it to be overtly responsive to such ad hoc considerations as the genealogies of powerful patrons. [194] In the epic poetry of Homer {191|192} the gap that separates the heroes of the past and the men of the present could not and would not be bridged. [195] Little wonder, then, that heroes could lift stones that not even two of us ‘today’ could even manage to budge (Iliad XII 445–449).

§84. As for the praise poetry of Pindar, it does more than just confirm the extension of the genealogies of powerful families into the heroic past: the kleos of victorious athletes who come from such families is pointedly equated with the kleos of heroes as they are known from epic. [196] But the praise poetry of Pindar does not claim to be descended from the epic of Homer—a stance that would have matched the way in which his patrons may claim to be descended from heroes praised by the narration of epic poetry. The kleos of Pindar praises not only the victors of the present but also the heroes of the past, and this praise of heroes is treated as intrinsic to the medium of praise poetry. In the words of Pindar the medium of epinician praise poetry existed even before the Seven against Thebes: by implication, praise poetry was praising heroes even before the events recorded by epic (Nemean 8.50–51). [197] In the praise poetry of Pindar, Homer figures as but one in a long line of poets who are masters of kleos. In other words, the kleos of Homer is treated as an offshoot of the kleos that survives as the praise poetry of Pindar. Unlike the kleos of Homer, however, the kleos of Pindar extends into the here and now, linking the heroes of the past with the men of the present. In the diction of Pindar the very concept of nea or neara ‘new things’ applies not to poetic innovations but to poetic applications of the past glories of heroes to the present glories of men who are being praised in the here and now. [198]

§86. Contemporary feats of war would have been equally appropriate for celebration by praise poetry, had it not been for the evolution of the polis. Moreover, even if we discount for the moment the emphasis that the polis placed on the communal effort as opposed to individual aristocratic enterprise, any celebration of martial feats still raises the problem of inter-polis politics: what counts as a success for one polis will be a failure for another, so that it becomes difficult for any military victory to achieve Panhellenic recognition in poetry or song. In contrast the victories of athletes at the four great Panhellenic Games are by definition recognized by all Hellenic city-states. It should come as no surprise, then, that in the case of military victories, the one notable exception meriting Panhellenic recognition in poetry and song was in fact a supposedly Panhellenic victory. I refer to the Greek victory over the Persians in 479 B.C., as, for example, celebrated by Pindar in Isthmian 8 alongside the supposedly central topic of that composition, an athletic victory by an Aeginetan in the Isthmian Games of 478 B.C. [200] The special appropriateness of athletics to praise poetry is best illustrated by Pindar’s claim that epinician praise poetry had existed even before epic (Nemean 8.50–51). [201] The Seven against Thebes, in the same Pindaric context, are {193|194} represented as having engaged in an athletic contest specifically before they embarked on their famous war (e.g., Bacchylides Epinician 9.10–24 SM). [202] This athletic contest, serving as prototype for the Nemean Games, would have been celebrated by the prototype of Pindar’s current Nemean Ode in honor of the current victor at the Nemean Games. [203]

§87. The ideology of the athletic games, as expressed in the epinician praise poetry of Pindar, may even be said to be a sort of compensation for the historical differentiation between heroes and ancestors in that the kleos of the hero and the kleos of the ancestor converge precisely in the context of praising the athlete’s immediate ancestors. By upholding the values of the epic heroes, the victor is represented as simultaneously upholding the values of his own immediate ancestors. In one particularly striking passage Pindar expresses this simultaneity in the actual words of a dead hero, who is represented as speaking from the dead about the martial victories of his son. The son, who from the standpoint of his father’s words is still a living hero, is Alkmaion, one of the Epigonoi, the sons of the Seven against Thebes who succeeded in destroying Thebes. The father is Amphiaraos, son of Oikles, one of the original Seven against Thebes who had failed in what their sons were later to succeed. The theme of these heroes is introduced in the context of praising the athlete Aristomenes of Aegina for his victory in wrestling at the Pythian Games of 446 B.C. I begin the quotation with the words of the poet in praise of the victorious Aristomenes for the glory that this athlete has conferred upon his immediate ancestors, the lineage of the Meidulidai:

αὔξων δὲ πάτραν Μειδυλιδᾶν λόγον φέρεις, | τὸν ὅνπερ ποτ’ Ὀικλέος παῖς (…) αἰν ί ξατο (…) | (43) ὧδ᾽ εἶπε μαρναμένων | φυᾷ τὸ γενναῖον ἐπιπρέπει | ἐκ πατέρων παισὶ λῆμα … | (55) τοιαῦτα μὲν | ἐφθέγξατ᾽ Ἀμφιάρηος, χαίρων δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς | Ἀλκμᾶνα στεφάνοισι βάλλω.

Pindar Pythian 8.38–57

§88. The gesture of casting a garland at the hero Alkmaion is a stylized act of {194|195} hero cult. [205] The voice of the poet, in saying that he “met” the hero on the way to Delphi (Pythian 8.56–60), is in effect saying that he experienced an epiphany of the hero, which is the inspiration, as it were, of Pindar’s words. [206] The theme of epiphany is relevant to my interpretation of φυᾷ τὸ γενναῖον ἐπιπρέπει | ἐκ πατέρων παισὶ λῆμα ‘the will of the fathers [pateres] shines through from them, in what is inborn in the nature of their sons’ (43–44). The word pateres in this passage means not only ‘fathers’ but also ‘ancestors’. [207] The latter meaning emerges more clearly as the ode progresses:

ἐπάμεροι· τί δέ τις τί δ’ οὔ τις σκιᾶς ὄναρ | ἄνθρωπος. ἀλλ᾽ ὅταν αἴγλα διόσδοτος ἔλθῃ, | λαμπρὸν φέγγος ἔπεστιν ἀνδρῶν καὶ μείλιχος αἰών.

Pindar Pythian 8.95–97

I interpret skiās onar ‘dream of a shade’ as a recapitulation of the earlier words of the dead Amphiaraos about his living son. In Homeric usage the word skiā ‘shade’ can designate a dead person. [
211] I suggest that the shade of the dead person is literally dreaming—that is, realizing through its dreams—the living person. In other words the occasion of victory in a mortal’s day-to-day lifetime is that singular moment when the dark insubstantiality of an ancestor’s shade is translated, through its dreams, into the {195|196} shining life-force of the victor in full possession of victory, radiant with the brightness of Zeus. [212] It is as if we the living were the realization of the dreams dreamt by our dead ancestors. [213] We may recall the words of Walt Whitman, in Crossing Brooklyn Ferry: [214]

I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence,
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt,
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd,
Just as you are refresh’d by the gladness of the river and the bright flow, I was refresh’d,
Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift current, I stood yet was hurried

I too and many a time crossed the river of old

Closer yet I approach you,
What thought you have of me now, I had as much of you—I laid in my stores in advance,
I consider’d long and seriously of you before you were born.

Who knows, for all the distance, but I am as good as looking at you now, for all you cannot see me?

§92. Earlier we had seen an idealized vision of compensation as conveyed by the medium of the epinician or victory ode, where the athlete’s deed literally demands to be requited in song, and the realization of the song in turn demands to be requited by way of a kharis, a beautiful and pleasurable reciprocity that is simultaneously material and transcendent in nature. Such a vision is also preserved in epic, where epic indirectly refers to its evolution from occasional poetry and song. The idealized description in Odyssey ix 3–11 of the singer’s performance at an evening’s feast, with its programmatic reference to the spirit of euphrosunē ‘mirth, merriment’ that holds sway on such an occasion (ix 6), serves as a signature for the evolution of poetic performance from the occasionality of the ainos to the universalism of the epic of Homeric poetry. [222] In the medium of Pindar, which calls itself ainos, the word euphrosunē ‘mirth’ (as in Nemean 4.1) refers programmatically to the actual occasion of performing poetry and song. [223] In the Odyssey it is said about the euphrosunē generated by the singer’s performance at the feast that there is no telos, that is, no social act to be performed and duly completed, with more beauty and pleasure in its reciprocity than such an occasion. And the beauty and pleasure of this reciprocity finds expression in the concept of kharis: [224]

οὐ γὰρ ἐγὼ γέ τί φημι τέλος χαριέστερον εἶναι

Odyssey ix 5

I say that there is no act to be performed and completed that has in it more kharis.

The ideal of such kharis lives on in the ainos of Pindar. {198|199}


[ back ] 1. In using the term praise poetry I consistently mean poetry in the broadest sense, to include the lyric poetry of song.

[ back ] 2. See also Ch. 13 on Athenian Theater as heir to Panhellenic poetics.

[ back ] 3. More at Ch. 14. Cf. also Introduction §4–7.

[ back ] 4. Examples of ainos: Pindar Olympian 2.95, 6.12, 11.7; Nemean 1.6. An example of epainos: Pindar F 181 SM. Cf. Detienne 1973.21.

[ back ] 5. In examining the regularities typical of the Epinikion, the epinician poetic tradition shared by Pindar and Bacchylides, Bundy concludes that they are “not mannerisms of a given poet but conventions protecting the artistic integrity of a community of poets working within well-recognized rules of form and order” ([1986] 3). He goes on to say: “I have observed and catalogued a host of these conventions and find that they point uniformly, as far as concerns the Epinikion, to one master principle: there is no passage in Pindar and [Bacchylides] that is not in its primary intent en[c]omiastic—that is, designed to enhance the glory of a particular patron” (ibid.).

[ back ] 6. Commentary in N 1979.223; cf. also Steiner 1986.47–48.

[ back ] 7. A xenos is someone who is bound by the ties of reciprocity between guest and host. Such ties are presupposed to exist between poet and patron. For other Pindaric passages concerning the theme of poetic xeniā ‘being xenos’, see Woodbury 1968. 537n14. Fundamental discussion of xeniā in Benveniste 1969 I 341 = 1973.278; cf. N 1979.232–237, Watkins 1976c, Martin 1984.35. As Herodotus says explicitly at 7.228.4, the poetic tribute of Simonides to Megistes, one of the fallen at Thermopylae, is based on the relationship of xeniā between them.

[ back ] 8. On the use of etumos/etētumos ‘genuine, noble’ as a touchstone for the truth-value of poetic traditions, see Ch. 14§19–21 and following.

[ back ] 9. On the traditional metaphor of kleos as an unfailing stream, primarily of water, see N 1974.244 on the expression kleos aphthiton, as in Iliad IX 413. The notion of unfailing is conveyed by aphthito- (ibid.; also Risch 1987.4-5); on the vegetal symbolism also inherent in this epithet, see N 1979 Ch. 10 and Steiner 1986.38.

[ back ] 10. See, for example, Iliad II 486, XI 227, as discussed in N 1979.15–18.

[ back ] 11. The fable of “The Hawk and the Nightingale” is explicitly designated as an ainos in Hesiod Works and Days 202 (quoted at Ch. 9§5–7, 9§7–8). This reference, however, applies to the whole discourse of the Works and Days only by extension. In any case, I see no compelling reason to assume that Hesiodic poetry is epic.

[ back ] 12. See Ch. 1§26–29.

[ back ] 13. For example, Pindar Olympian 2.83–86, Isthmian 2.12–13; note too the discussion in N 1979.236–238. I use poetry here in the broadest sense, to include song.

[ back ] 14. For example, Pindar Pythian 2.81–88; cf. further at the end of the same poem, lines 94–96; also Pythian 10.71–72, at the end of another poem.

[ back ] 15. For example (again), Pindar Pythian 2.81–88. Cf. Pindar Nemean 7.61–63, quoted immediately above. Note too the discussion in N 1979.238–242.

[ back ] 16. Cf., for example, Jakobson 1960.353.

[ back ] 17. For a defense of the manuscript reading κακόν—as opposed to the emendation κακός—and for general commentary on the entire passage: N 1985.22–26.

[ back ] 18. On par-ain-esis as an instructive and edifying speech that warns about proper moral behavior, see N 1979.238–239, with reference to Pindar Pythian 6.23 and Isthmian 6.68. See further at Ch. 6§88–89.

[ back ] 19. For example, Archilochus F 174 W.

[ back ] 20. Cf. Ch. 13§21–23 and following. See also N 1979.250, 281–288. My interpretation, at Ch. 9§1, of Pindar F 181 SM ὁ γὰρ ἐξ οἴκου ποτὶ μῶμον ἔπαινος κίρναται ‘for praise is by nature mixed with blame’ is criticized by Kirkwood 1984.169–171, who argues that ἐξ οἴκου, bracketed by ὁ … ἔπαινος is attributive; his interpretation, however, does not account for ποτὶ μῶμον, which is likewise bracketed by ὁ … ἔπαινος, and which is clearly nonattributive. I fail to see how Kirkwood’s general argument, that Pindar’s poetry praises the noble only and blames the base only (e.g., Ch. 6§61 on Pindar Nemean 8.39), goes beyond what I too have argued throughout my discussion in N, pp. 222–288. The difference between Kirkwood’s position and mine is that I view this pattern of restriction on the range of blame as a specialization from earlier phases of ainos. For me, a passage like Pindar Olympian 6.74–76, where mōmos ‘blame’ looms over the successful, is a self-reference to an earlier and less differentiated phase of the medium, where one man’s praise proved to be another man’s blame.

[ back ] 21. Note the self-reference to the given poem by way of the word ainos in Archilochus F 174 W. The recited meter of this particular composition is a combination of iambic trimeters and dimeters.

[ back ] 22. Note the self-reference to the given poem by way of the word ainissō in Theognis 681–682 (quoted immediately above).

[ back ] 23. Consider the use of the verb kleiō, derivative of kleos, at, for example, Odyssey i 338, Homeric Hymn 32.19. Cf. Iliad XI 227, as discussed in N 1979.15–18.

[ back ] 24. This is not the case with all poetry normally described as epic: cf., for example, Radloff 1885.xviii–xix (and Svenbro 1976.17–18). Cf. also Zumthor 1983.109 and Martin 1989.6–7.

[ back ] 25. Cf. Ch. 5§3–4.

[ back ] 26. Woodbury 1968 gives a useful survey of the more extreme statements to the effect that Pindar is simply a poet for hire. Woodbury’s own attitude is best reflected by what he says at p. 531 about Pindar Isthmian 2.1–13: “An obsession with fees is the least likely of themes for a Pindaric poem.”

[ back ] 27. For a better appreciation of this concept, a good start is to read carefully the searching analysis in Gemet 1968.93–137; cf. also Laum 1924.

[ back ] 28. Brelich 1961; cf. Connor 1988. On the theme of kratos ‘superior power’ as it applies to both warrior and athlete: N 1979.90.

[ back ] 29. Burnett 1985.173n25 notes: “As an emblem of the new anonymity in battle note the disappearance of the shield design in the early classical period.” She cites Beazley 1954.79; another discussion that could be cited is Lévêque and Vidal-Naquet 1964.57–61, especially p. 61 (cf. Roussel 1976.60n26). Burnett connects (ibid.) “the collectivity of hoplite war and the disappearance of recognized deeds of [aristeiā],” citing the discussion of Pritchett 1974.276–290.

[ back ] 30. Alexiou 1974.13,18–19,104, 106,108; cf. N 1979.116.

[ back ] 31. Alexiou, pp. 104, 106. Cf. Ch. 1§2–5.

[ back ] 32. Cf. Ch. 5§10–13 and following.

[ back ] 33. See Ch. 5§14–16.

[ back ] 34. Cf. Ch. 5§14–16.

[ back ] 35. Ibid. On the parallelism in the formalities of worshipping heroes and immediate ancestors, see Rohde 1898 Ι 165.

[ back ] 36. Commentary on this passage by Cartledge 1988.

[ back ] 37. Cf. Hartog 1980.166–170 (especially p. 170), with reference to the customs connected with the funerals of Spartan kings. On patterns of gradual detribalization in the polis, cf. N 1987.

[ back ] 38. For background: Berve 1967 and Petre 1975.

[ back ] 39. Commentary by Rhodes 1981.100–101.

[ back ] 40. Cf. Brelich 1958.150. In this same context, Ephorus FGH 70 F 118, is a reference to the hero cult of the lawgiver Lycurgus. On the genealogies of the kings of Sparta, the prime testimony is Herodotus 7.204 and 8.131.2. Cf. Calame 1987. Cf. also Ch. 10§34–35.

[ back ] 41. The name of Medon, ancestor of Solon’s lineage, is significant: see, for example, Benveniste 1973.404 on the participle medōn ‘ruler’ (e.g., Iliad II 79; singular in I 72), corresponding to the name Medōn: “in medōn we feel primarily the notion of authority and [secondarily …], the notion of a directing ‘measure’.”

[ back ] 42. Habicht 1985.146, with further discussion.

[ back ] 43. Shapiro 1983. See especially p. 89, where he argues that the Peisistratos who was archon in 669/668 B.C. was an ancestor of Peisistratos the tyrant. Note too the discussion (ibid.) of an early Archaic relief pithos with the figure of a warrior labeled ‘Antilokhos’, presumably identified with the son of Homeric Nestor (cf. Odyssey iii 112).

[ back ] 44. Cf. Mossé 1969.72 on the hero cult established in honor of the ancestors of the Peisistratidai.

[ back ] 45. Cf. Pfister II 469.

[ back ] 46. For a list of powerful oikoi or oikiai, ‘families’ whose influence extended beyond their native polis, see Roussel 1976.60n19. On the poetics of this concept of oikoi or oikiai, I cite the pathfinding work of Kurke 1988. On the sacral meaning of oikos as a cult place where a given hero is worshipped, see Ch. 9§27–28.

[ back ] 47. This passage in Herodotus 6.35.1 stresses that the genealogy of the Philaidai is to be localized at Aegina for the sequence of Aiakos to Telamon to Ajax to Philaios, from which point onward it is to be relocalized at Athens. In Pausanias 1.35.1-2 there is an intermediary stage in the genealogy, in that the son of Ajax is Eurysakes, whose son in turn is Philaios; it is made explicit here that the colonization of Salamis by Telamon is an enterprise that must be credited to Aegina, and that the turning over of Salamis to Athens from Aegina is associated with the figure of Philaios, who thereby ‘becomes Athenian’ (γενόμενον … Ἀθηναῖον ibid.). In the version recorded by Plutarch Life of Solon 10, Philaios and Eurysakes are brothers, and they both surrender Salamis to Athens; Philaios settles in the region of Brauron, where the dēmos ‘deme’ of the Philaidai is named after him (for a parallel naming of a dēmos ‘deme’, the new unit of social subdivision at Athens after the Reform of Kleisthenes, see Ch. 5§14–16 on the deme called Boutadai). On the concept of the Aiakidai at Aegina, as descended from Aiakos, see Ch. 6§56–57.

[ back ] 48. The Reform of Kleisthenes left traces of special privileges for the Alkmaionidai: cf. Lanza 1977.171n1.

[ back ] 49. Cf. Pausanias 2.18.8–9, where the Alkmaionidai are traced to an Alkmaion descended from Nestor of the Neleidai; on the Neleidai see Ch. 6§18–19.

[ back ] 50. Cf. Ch. 10§19 and following.

[ back ] 51. Another of the descendants of Alkmaion may be the Athenian Kroisos = Croesus, memorialized in an inscription at the base of a kouros-statue, which refers to his death in battle and his sēma ‘tomb’ (CEG 27); this statue may have been carved sometime after 530 B.C., but the date of the battle in which this Athenian man died may be as early as 547 (Ridgway 1977.8). There is a possibility that our Athenian Croesus belonged to the lineage of the Alkmaionidai and may have been a direct descendant of the ancestor of this lineage, the Alkmaion who reputedly collaborated with Croesus, Tyrant of the Lydian Empire, in the story retold by Herodotus 6.125.2; see Jeffery 1962.144 (I owe this reference to M. J. Rein); cf. Ch. 9§22–24. This narrative in Herodotus concerning the alleged alliance of Alkmaion with Croesus of Lydia helps motivate the naming of a descendant of Alkmaion after the Tyrant of the Lydian Empire; cf. p. 266. T. J. Figueira draws my attention to the name of one of the descendants of the lineage of the Kypselidai at Corinth: Psammētikhos = Psammetichus, Tyrant of Corinth after the rule of Periandros, his paternal uncle (Aristotle Politics 1315b26; in the text of Nicolaus of Damascus FGH 90 F 60, his name is given as Kypselos). This name corresponds to Psammētikhos = Psammetichus, Pharaoh of Egypt, as in Herodotus 1.105.1, 2.2, and so on. For more on the Kypselidai of Corinth, see Ch. 6§65–67. On the political contacts of Psammetichus with the Greeks, cf. especially Herodotus 2.154.

[ back ] 52. As Roussel 1976.62 points out, there is an exceptional instance in the attested Athenian ostraka of the Archaic period where the candidate for ostracism is not only named but also specified as a member of a certain lineage; that lineage happens to be the Alkmaionidai ([Ἀλκ]μεον[ιδο̃ν | Καλ]λίχσεν[ος | Ἀρ]ιστο[νύμο ‘Kallixenos, son of Aristonymos, of the Alkmaionidai’: Meiggs and Lewis 1975.40). The reference to the Alkmaionidai as misoturannoi ‘tyrant-haters’ at Herodotus 6.121.1 has to do with their well-known enmity with the Peisistratidai, who had in fact already achieved tyranny. The designation of tyrant-haters is a politically understandable stance for those who are themselves potential tyrants. On the partiality of Herodotus toward the Alkmaionidai, see Gillis 1969.

[ back ] 53. See Rhodes 1981.274–275.

[ back ] 54. Kirkwood 1984.178.

[ back ] 55. Most 1982.83; cf. Farenga 1981.

[ back ] 56. Cf. Page 1955.150. For these and other examples, see Petre 1975.564.

[ back ] 57. For these and other examples, see Petre, pp. 564–565.

[ back ] 58. Further discussion in Petre, p. 568.

[ back ] 59. Cf. also Herodotus 1.62.4, 8.96.2, and the remarks of Fontenrose 1978.157–159.

[ back ] 60. At Herodotus 7.6.2, the Aleuadai are described as basilees ‘kings’ of Thessaly.

[ back ] 61. The interactive presentation of poetry and bracketing speech by singers of oracular utterances and by tyrants respectively is a negative version of the medium inherited by Herodotus himself (in terms of this medium, we may equate speech with prose): see Ch. 11§23–24.

[ back ] 62. Cf. Fontenrose 1978.217n27.

[ back ] 63. Cf. Ch. 6§23–25.

[ back ] 64. There is a story reported by Diogenes Laertius 9.6 (Heraclitus 22 A 1 DK) that Heraclitus deposited his writings in the temple of Artemis at Ephesus so that only the powerful might have access to it (ὅπως οἱ δυνάμενοι ‹μόνοι› προσίοιεν αὐτιῷ καὶ μὴ ἐκ τοῦ δημώδους εὐκαταφρόνητον ᾖ); in the same context there is a report that Heraclitus belonged to the royal lineage of Ephesus, and that he at one point resigned his hereditary “kingship” in favor of his brother (Diogenes ibid.). Members of the royal lineage of Ephesus, descended from Androklos son of Kodros of Athens, were entitled to be called basileis ‘kings’, to occupy the front seats at the games, to wear purple robes as a sign of their royal descent, to carry a staff called a skipōn (as distinct from a skēptron), and to be in charge of the sacred rites of Eleusinian Demeter (Pherecydes FGH 3 F 155 by way of Strabo 14.1.3 C633 = Heraclitus 22 A 2 DK).

[ back ] 65. Cf. Theognis 769–770 and the commentary of Ford 1985.92, Edmunds 1985.106–107.

[ back ] 66. In other words some poems are so ad hoc as to be considered Hipparkhos’ own compositions while others are thought of as recompositions of the compositions of others.

[ back ] 67. By implication a composition can be switched from one meter to another in the process of recomposition in performance. The available epigraphical evidence suggests that the Peisistratidai played a major role in the evolution of the elegiac distich as the canonical meter of the epigram: see Wallace 1984, especially p. 315.

[ back ] 68. The translation here closely follows that of Ford 1985.90.

[ back ] 69. For parallelisms in diction with, for example, Theognis 753–756, see Ford 1985.91§17n1.

[ back ] 70. Cf. Ch. 6§53–54. We may contrast this gesture with that of Heraclitus, as described at Ch. 6§28–30, where the depositing of a transcript in the temple of Artemis at Ephesus is interpreted as a way of restricting access.

[ back ] 71. On the symbolism of hiding poetry away in a box, see Ch. 6§49–50 and 6§50–52.

[ back ] 72. Cf. the collocation of apo-deik-numai ‘present publicly’ with sophiā ‘skill in discourse’ at Herodotus 4.76.2. More on this verb apo-deik-numai at Ch. 8§3–4, 8§4–5 and following, 8§9–11 and following.

[ back ] 73. See the previous note.

[ back ] 74. More below on the meaning of theōros; for the moment, I find it useful to cite the working definition of Delcourt 1955.69: “chargé d’une mission religieuse.”

[ back ] 75. For another such explicit definition, I cite the scholia A to Iliad XVI 235: προφήτας γὰρ λέγουσι τοὺς περὶ τὰ χρηστήρια ἀσχολούμενους καὶ τὰς μαντείας τὰς γινομένας ὑπὸ τῶν ἱερέων ἐκφέροντας ‘declarers [ prophētēs pl.] is the name for those who officiate at oracles and bring forth the mantic utterances [manteia pl.] that take place through the agency of the priests’.

[ back ] 76. Fontenrose 1978.218 argues that the official title of the prophētēs of the Oracle at Delphi was not prophētēs but simply hiereus ‘priest’.

[ back ] 77. Cf. Ch. 6§45–46. It is the fact that he is the actor of a speech-act that qualifies the prophētēs ‘declarer’ as a hupokritēs ‘actor’ (again Plato Timaeus 72b).

[ back ] 78. For a minimalist survey of the Pythia’s role, see Fontenrose, pp. 196–228.

[ back ] 79. For a collection of such testimonia, see Fontenrose, p. 224, referring to entries Q137, Q124, and H7 in his Catalogue of Delphic Responses.

[ back ] 80. Pace Fontenrose, pp. 218–219.

[ back ] 81. It is this kind of undifferentiation that is being discussed in in Plato Timaeus 72b.

[ back ] 82. The very form Mousa/Moisa (from *mont-i̯a; possibly from *month-i̯a) may well be derived from the same root *men- as maniā. This possibility, along with others, is discussed by Chantraine DELG 716. If this etymology is correct, then the very word for “Muse” reflects an earlier stage where not only the one who is inspired and the one who speaks the words of inspiration are the same, but even, further, the type of mental state marked by maniā is not yet differentiated from the type of mental state marked by formations with *men-t- and *men-h2– ‘remember, have the mind connected with’.

[ back ] 83. For an overview of the function of the theōros as an official emissary of the polis, see Delcourt 1955.68–70.

[ back ] 84. Cf. Delcourt 1955.68–70 and Fontenrose 1978.217n27.

[ back ] 85. Further details at Ch. 6§35–37.

[ back ] 86. Extensive discussion in N 1983.

[ back ] 87. See Hartog 1980.368–369.

[ back ] 88. Extensive commentary in N 1985.36–41.

[ back ] 89. Cognate with English song.

[ back ] 90. Extensive commentary in N 1985.36–41.

[ back ] 91. In contrast with this particular Spartan version, Herodotus also gives the contemporary version, also ascribed by him to the Spartans, according to which Lycurgus got the code from Crete (again 1.65.4); more on this contemporary Spartan version in N 1985.31–32.

[ back ] 92. Or in the case of athletics the sacred message of the victory itself.

[ back ] 93. At Herodotus 1.29.1, Solon the lawgiver of Athens gives theōriā as the pretext (pro-phasis) for his travels, but his other motive, as made explicit in the narrative, is to prevent his being compelled to undo any aspect of his law code. At 1.30.1, it is made clear that theōriā was indeed also his motive. So there are two motives, but only one is made explicit by Solon to his audience; the other motive is kept implicit by Solon but made explicit by Herodotus to his “audience.”

[ back ] 94. Cf. Ch. 6§30–31. After the fall of the Peisistratidai, Simonides did not become a persona non grata with the new democratic government at Athens. According to the anonymous Life of Aeschylus (8), prefixed to the corpus of Aeschylus, Simonides defeated Aeschylus for the state commission of composing an epigram in honor of those who fell at Marathon (doubts about the credibility of this tradition in Podlecki 1984.185–187). Also Simonides EG 75 is an epigram marking the sēma ‘tomb’ of Megakles of the Alkmaionidai, the same figure who is the subject of praise in Pindar’s Pythian 7 (on whom see 6§22-23). On Simonides and Themistokles, see Bowra 1961.356.

[ back ] 95. On angeliā ‘announcement’ as speech-act in the poetics of Pindar, cf. Nash 1976. Another particularly revealing passage is Herodotus 8.135.3, concerning the prophētēs ‘declarer’ of the oracular voice of Apollo at the shrine known as the Ptoön of the Thebans; the official who is actually inspired by Apollo has the title pro-mantis (8.135.2). The story has it that the pro-mantis on one particular occasion made utterances in a non-Greek language (ibid.; it is made explicit that the utterances were normally in Greek). These utterances were then declared by the prophētēs (τὰ λεγόμενα ὑπὸ τοῦ προφήτεω 8.135.3), but they were not understood by those present (ibid.). At this point, one Mys takes the initiative of writing the words down on a tablet that he impulsively seizes from the Thebans who officially accompanied him to consult the oracle (ibid.). The wording ἀπογραψομένους and συγγραψάμενον here at Herodotus 8.135.3, where the compound verbs of graphō ‘write’ are used in the middle voice, implies that those who consult the Oracle may not only take notes but also commission someone to write a definitive transcript, to be brought back home to their native city for “publication,” through public performance. The written word, then, can serve as intermediary for that ultimate speech-act. It is clear from this passage that the prophētēs does not interpret the message of the mantis; he simply formalizes it. The prophētēs ‘declarer’ can be described as a hupokritēs ‘actor’ (Plato Timaeus 72b). The verb hupokrīnomai, from which hupokritēs ‘actor’ is derived, conveys a secondary formal speech-act, consistent and true, in response to a primary formal speech-act. For this reason, hupokrīnomai can be translated either as answer or in other contexts as interpret, where the object of the verb is a dream or omen (cf. Thomson 1946.181–182 and Svenbro 1987.37–39, with special reference to Odyssey xv 167–170). To interpret is really to formalize the speech-act that is radiating from the dream or the omen or, let us say, the mantis. As for the translation of hupokrīnomai as answer, it applies to situations where one speech-act is a formal answer to a preceding speech-act, which is a formal question. In one Archaic inscription (CEG 286) the voice of the inscribed letters promises that it ‘answers’ (ὑποκρίνομαι) the same thing to all men who ask their questions. My interpretation here of hupokrīnomai differs from that of Svenbro (1987.37-39), though I agree with his argument that this inscription illustrates the function of the written word as a substitute for the formalization of performance (p. 39); “The statuette is a ‘speaking object’ because of the vocal implications of hupokrīnomai. It is in fact our earliest clear example of an inscription using, with regard to itself, the metaphor of the voice.” In such a case the inscription is the hupokritēs, the actor, and therefore it is the prophētēs, the formalizer of the speech-act.

[ back ] 96. For more on the medium of Herodotus, see Ch. 11§23–24. Cf. Havelock 1963.54n8.

[ back ] 97. For more on writing as a performative substitution, in the medium of Herodotus, for saying publicly: Ch. 8§3–4 and 8§5–6.

[ back ] 98. Hartog 1980.287-288.

[ back ] 99. What the message says under the cover of the hair is expressed by way of the verb sēmainō ‘make signs, indicate’ (σημαίνοντα 5.35.2; σημῆναι bis, ἐσήμαινε 5.35.3), on which see Ch. 8§25–27.

[ back ] 100. For more on the seal of Theognis, see Ford 1985; cf. N 1985.33.

[ back ] 101. See Ch. 6§37–40. We may compare the tradition according to which the Pythia communicated to Lycurgus, lawgiver of Sparta, the law code of Sparta (Herodotus 1.65.4); cf. Ch. 6§40–42. On the ideology of unchangeability as affirmed by the law code itself, cf. N 1985.31–34, especially p. 32. Inside the ideology of narrative traditions about a given lawgiver, his code is static, unchangeable; outside this ideology and in reality, however, the code is dynamic, subject to modifications and accretions that are occasioned by an evolving social order.”

[ back ] 102. For more on Bakis, see Fontenrose 1978.158–162.

[ back ] 103. Fontenrose, p. 159.

[ back ] 104. This point is stressed by Svenbro 1987.32–33, who also points out that the Ionian word epi-legesthai ‘read’ (as at Herodotus 8.128.3) implies that the reader adds (hence epi-) the sounds of the words to the letters that he sees (Ch. 1§29–30). For more on the semiotics of reading as recognizing, see N 1983, especially p. 39; also Pucci 1987.87.

[ back ] 105. For other instances of the metaphor of writing as inscribed in the phrēn ‘mind’, see Svenbro, p. 46n27, who cites, for example, Aeschylus Libation-Bearers 450, Eumenides 273–275; Sophocles Philoctetes 1325. On the Platonic notion that ordinary writing is an eidōlon ‘simulacrum’ of metaphorical writing (Phaedrus 276a), see Svenbro, p. 46n26, following Derrida 1972b.172.

[ back ] 106. This point is elaborated by Svenbro, p. 35. On State Theater as the creation of tyrants, see pp. 384 and following.

[ back ] 107. It is pertinent to bring to mind again the frequent use in drama of the metaphor of writing as inscribed in the phrēn ‘mind’, as cited at Ch. 6§49–50. Cf. also Svenbro, pp. 42–45 on Athenaeus 453c–454a.

[ back ] 108. As Pickard-Cambridge 1968.84n4 notes, such an expression cannot refer literally to the reading of a drama in the theater.

[ back ] 109. Svenbro. pp. 31, 40, following Knox 1968.433.

[ back ] 110. Svenbro, p. 31.

[ back ] 111. It does not necessarily follow, however, that the implicit metaphor for Athenian State Theater is an act of silent reading, as argued by Svenbro, p. 35 and following. Again I note the expression δρᾶμα ἀναγιγνώσκειν ‘to read out-loud [ana-gignōskō] the drama’, referring to the function of producing a drama, in the scholia to Aristophanes Clouds 510. We may also compare Plato Laws 817d, a passage implying that each drama, in competition with other dramas, had to be approved by the archons, on the basis of some kind of audition, before a chorus could officially be constituted for its production (cf. Pickard-Cambridge 1968.84); I stress that there is no reference in this passage to a written text, a script. On the notion that the dialogues of Plato amount to an internalization of Theater inside the Book, see Svenbro, p. 41, following, for example, Derrida 1972b.264.

[ back ] 112. Cf. Ch. 6§30–31.

[ back ] 113. Cf. Ch. 13§13–16.

[ back ] 114. On Musaeus, see Ch. 6§48–49.

[ back ] 115. Quoted by Allen 1924.232–233. For a parallel myth concerning the reassembling of the Homeric poems by Lycurgus, lawgiver of Sparta, see Ch. 6§53–54.

[ back ] 116. See Ch. 4§1.

[ back ] 117. The latter passage is quoted at Ch. 10§11–13.

[ back ] 118. Cf. Roussel 1976.60n19; for more on this Megakles, see Ch. 6§22–23.

[ back ] 119. On kharis as a ‘beautiful and pleasurable compensation, through song or poetry, for a deed deserving of glory’, see Ch. 2§27–28.

[ back ] 120. Details, with bibliography, in Bresson 1979.149–157.

[ back ] 121. Cf. Ch. 6§31–33.

[ back ] 122. Cf. Ch. 6§30–31.

[ back ] 123. Cf. Davison 1968.306.

[ back ] 124. See Ch. 6§18–19.

[ back ] 125. See Powell 1939.108.

[ back ] 126. Powell ibid. points to the remark of Pausanias 2.29.2 that the only king ever to rule Aegina was Aiakos himself, on the grounds that none of the three sons of Aiakos remained a resident of the island: one of the three, Phokos, was killed by the other two, and his sons went to Phokis, while the other two brothers, Peleus and Telamon, went into exile for the murder (Pausanias ibid.; cf. Pindar Nemean 5.14 and following, with scholia). Peleus went to Phthia (Apollodorus 3.13.1) and Telamon, to Salamis (Pausanias 2.29.10; Apollodorus 3.12.7). The assertion, however, that Telamon is not a hero of Aegina, with the implication that he had no Aeginetan descendants to claim him, seems to reflect a pro-Athenian and anti-Aeginetan version. The pro-Athenian slant becomes more clear in another passage, where Pausanias reports that Philaios of Salamis, son of Eurysakes son of Ajax son of Telamon, handed over the island of Salamis to the Athenians and was adopted by Athens as an Athenian (2.35.2); this Philaios is the ancestor of the Athenian Philaidai, on whom see Ch. 6§19–20. Which brings us back to the remark at Herodotus 8.64.2 about ‘Aiakos and the other Aiakidai’: the full context of this remark is that the Greeks at Salamis resolved, in their moment of crisis, to invoke the spirits of the cult heroes of Salamis, Telamon and Ajax (αὐτόθεν μὲν ἐκ Σαλαμῖνος Αἴαντα τε καὶ Τελαμῶνα ἐπεκαλέοντο Herodotus 8.64.2), while they sent a ship to Aegina to get Aiakos and the other Aiakidai (ἐπὶ δὲ Αἰακὸν καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους Αἰακίδας νέα ἀπέστελλον ἐς Αἴγιναν). For Herodotus, then, the designation of Aiakidai not only includes the heroes of Salamis, Telamon and Ajax: it also links them with Aegina, not Athens. This attitude is also apparent from the remarks of Herodotus at 6.35.1, on which see Ch. 6§20.

[ back ] 127. Fundamental discussion in Rohde 1898 I 159–166 (cf. II 242–245) and Pfister I 196–208; also Bérard 1982 and Snodgrass 1982. Cf. Hartog 1980.149–153; also Brelich 1958.129–131; Henrichs 1983.94.

[ back ] 128. Cf. Hartog 1980.151n6; also Calame 1987.177.

[ back ] 129. Rusten 1983.293n15 argues that if the bones of Themistokles were credited with heroic powers, “their public return to Athens [Pausanias 1.1.2] would be as effective politically as the stories of Orestes’ and Theseus’ returns.”

[ back ] 130. See the discussion of elliptic plurals in N 1979.55–56§20n6; also Muellner 1976.70.

[ back ] 131. Cf. Ch. 1§29–30.

[ back ] 132. Cf. Edmunds 1981, especially p. 223n8; also Brelich 1958.40, 69–73.

[ back ] 133. Cf. Ch. 1§29–30.

[ back ] 134. Cf. Herodotus 5.66.2: Kleisthenes the Reformer considers Ajax, as cult hero, a summakhos ‘ally’.

[ back ] 135. Perhaps we may compare the agglomerate lineage in Archaic Athens known as the Eupatridai, as it existed before the complex reshapings of the polis under the tyranny of the Peisistratidai and thereafter; in Anecdota Graeca 1.257 ed. Bekker, the Eupatridai of Athens are described as those who lived in the city proper, were of royal birth, and controlled the rituals of the polis. Cf. Roussel 1976.67–68.

[ back ] 136. Even if the entire population of Aegina may in certain contexts be designated as Aiakidai (cf. Slater 1969.15 s.v. Αἰακίδας category “c”), such a designation could still amount to an elliptic recognition of the power of one lineage. (On the question, whether the Aiakidai may be described as a ruling lineage, cf. Kirsten 1942.296, 303; for a related discussion that concentrates on distinctions between real and mythical genealogies in Aegina, see Figueira 1981.299–303.) In other words the term Aiakidai could serve to designate the whole community by way of a prominent part of the whole. To outsiders Aiakidai could represent an inclusive category designating all Aeginetans, while to insiders they could represent the exclusive lineage who trace themselves back to the hero Aiakos. Cf. Tyrtaeus F 11.1 W, where the sum total of Spartans is addressed as Ἡρακλῆος … γένος ‘the race of Herakles’ (cf. Tyrtaeus F 2.12-15W). Clearly not all Spartans are in fact Herakleidai ‘Heraclids’. On the concept of Herakleidai as the basic lineage of the Dorian royal dynasties, see Pindar Pythian 1.61–66, 5.69–72; also Apollodorus 2.8.4–5; cf. Herodotus 9.26, 27.1–2. I see another possible parallel in the case of the name Spartē ‘Sparta’, which is apparently connected with the Theban concept of Spartoi, warriors “sown” in the earth when Kadmos planted the dragon’s teeth; the fully grown and armed Spartoi began killing each other as soon as they were generated from the earth, and the five Spartoi who survived this mutual slaughter became ancestors of the Theban aristocracy (e.g., Apollodorus 3.4.1, Pausanias 9.10.1; cf. Pausanias 8.11.8 on Epameinondas as a descendant of the Spartoi). The key to the connection between Spartoi and Sparta is a lineage at Sparta known as the Aigeidai (on which see Herodotus 4.149.1); tradition has it that they were connected by marriage to the royal line of the Herakleidai, in that Theras, an ancestor of the Aigeidai, whose father had fled in exile from Thebes to Sparta, was the maternal uncle of Eurysthenes and Prokles, the two Herakleidai who became the ancestors of the two royal houses of Sparta (Herodotus 6.52.2); cf. Vian 1963.218n4. Now these Aigeidai traced themselves to the Spartoi of Thebes (the mother and wife of Oedipus, Iokaste, is descended from Ekhion, one of the Spartoi who married Agaue, daughter of Kadmos), and, according to Timagoras FGH 381 F 3, the Spartoi who fled from Thebes to Sparta (these Spartoi were the Aigeidai: Vian, p. 223) actually gave their name to Sparta.

[ back ] 137. On Aigialeus and the Aigialeis, see Roussel 1976.252.

[ back ] 138. It is misleading to translate phūlē as ‘tribe’. This word ordinarily designates the major subdivision of a given Archaic polis; the subdivision itself is a tribal heritage, but the functional heir of the tribe is not the phūlē but the entire polis itself. Full discussion in N 1987.

[ back ] 139. Roussel 1976.256n27. Cf. Herodotus 4.149.1–2, who uses the word phūlē in referring to the Aigeidai, an important lineage at Sparta that claimed pre-Dorian origins from a lineage by the same name at Thebes. See n136. The Aigeidai of Sparta traced themselves, by way of their ancestor Aigeus (Herodotus ibid.), all the way back to Polyneikes, son of Oedipus (4.147.1–2). That the Aigeidai of Sparta originate from Thebes is proudly proclaimed in the words of Pindar Isthmian 7.14–15. There is an argument to be made that Pindar himself was a descendant of the original Theban branch of the Aigeidai: see Ch. 12§79–80. On the restructuring of the family tree of the Aigeidai in the context of Spartan political history, see Vian 1963.219. Aside from the Herodotean mention of the Aigeidai as a phūlē at Sparta, this polis is known for its three standard Dorian phūlai of Dymanes, Hylleis, and Pamphyloi (e.g., Tyrtaeus F 19.8 W). In the account of a famous battle in the series of campaigns known as the Messenian Wars, Pausanias 4.7.8, there is a description of the battle line of the Spartans, where the left and the right wings are each commanded by one of the two Spartan kings, while the center is reserved for a descendant of the Aigeidai (4.7.8).

[ back ] 140. The tyrant’s model, featuring the primacy of the phūlē Arkhelaoi and suppressing the names Dymanes/Hylleis/Pamphyloi for the other three phūlai, was changed at around 500 B.C. to a model where the name Arkhelaoi was replaced by Aigialeis and where the names Dymanes/Hylleis/Pamphyloi for the other three phūlai were restored: see Herodotus 5.68.2 and the commentary of Roussel 1976.252, who argues that, by this time, Sparta rather than Argos was the Dorian city par excellence, and Sikyon would no longer be threatened by an Argive model of Dorian society. It is even possible that the fourth phūlē had been created by the tyrants as an addition to the Dymanes/Hylleis/Pamphyloi, and that the name of this fourth phūlē, Aigialeis, represents simply a reformation of the name given by the tyrants, Arkhelaoi. As for the Spartan model as a threat to other Dorian societies, we may note what happened after the Battle of Leuktra in 371 B.C.: the liberated Messenians rejected the phūlē-divisions of the Spartans, Dymanes/Hylleis/Pamphyloi, choosing instead Kresphontis/Daiphontis/Aristomakhis/Hyllis/Kleolaia (IG 5.1.1433). As Roussel argues (p. 256n29), all these Messenian designations are appropriate to the “Sons of Herakles,” the Herakleidai, and they thus reaffirm the Dorian identity, however distinct, of the Messenians. On the concept of Herakleidai ‘Heraclids’ as the basic lineage of the Dorian royal dynasties, see again Tyrtaeus 2.12–15W; Pindar Pythian 1.61–66, 5.69–72; Isthmian 9.1–3; Apollodorus 2.8.4–5; cf. Herodotus 9.26,27.1–2.

[ back ] 141. Herodotus 5.68.1 thinks that the meaning of the name Arkhelāoi ‘they who rule the lāos’ indicates that the phūlē to which Kleisthenes belonged was the lineage of the tyrant. I would argue further that the name also proclaims, in wording that avoids Argive connections, the inherited standing of this particular phūlē in relation to the others. On lāos ‘host of fighting men’ as a designation for the community at large, see N 1979.69§1n3 and 114§26n1 (following Benveniste 1969 II 91–95), with special reference to the derivative lāiton, native to the people of Achaea, which Herodotus 7.197.2 describes as a word meaning prutaneion ‘presidential hall’. For a semantic parallel to Arkhelāoi ‘they who rule the lāos’, I cite the Messenian phūlē called Kleolaiā ‘whose lāos has glory [kleos]’, as mentioned in the note immediately above. Moreover, the meaning of Arkhelāoi, where the component lāos ‘host’ refers to the primordial society that was divided into phūlai, is comparable to the meaning of stratos ‘host’ in Pindar Isthmian 9.2–3, referring to the Dorian occupation of Aegina: Ὕλλου τε καὶ Αἰγιμιοῦ Δωριεὺς [ … ] στρατός ‘the Dorian host [stratos] of Hyllos and Aigimios’. Hyllos, eponymous ancestor of the Hylleis, was the adopted son of Aigimios, son of Doros, the eponymous ancestor of the Dorians, while Aigimios had two sons of his own, Dyman and Pamphylos, eponymous ancestors of the Dymanes and Pamphyloi (Ephorus FGH 70 F 15; cf. Strabo 9.4.10 C427 and Apollodorus 2.8.3). This compressed Pindaric reference to the three basic Dorian phūlai of Dymanes/Hylleis/Pamphyloi in terms of a stratos ‘host’ at Aegina can be compared with the mention of a startos ‘host’ of the Aithaleis at Gortyn in the Law Code of Gortyn (5.5 Willetts), from which group the chief magistrates of the polis, the kosmoi, were to be selected at a given period (cf. DGE 185.1, again with mention of the Aithaleis as kosmoi at Gortyn). Gortyn, a polis on the island of Crete, is Dorian, like Aegina. As Aristotle points out, the kosmoi of Crete were traditionally chosen only from a few specially privileged lineages (Politics 1272a), and their rotation of political power was subject to the tyranny-prone dangers of factionalism among aristocrats vying for power (1272b). Since there is also evidence that the kosmoi of a specific period are in some instances designated as belonging to a specific phūlē, such as the Dymanes (Inscriptiones Creticae 182.21–22), it is possible that the members of a specially privileged lineage like the Aithaleis tenuously shared power, through the rotating office of kosmoi, with representative lineages selected from the Dorian phūlai, that is, the Dynames, Hylleis, and Pamphyloi (cf. Roussel p. 257). In any case the startos Aithaleus ‘host of the Aithaleis’ seems to be a specially priviledged group in the polis of Gortyn (Roussel, p. 258). Such points of comparison from Crete suggest that the stratos of Dorian society at Aegina, as mentioned in the ode of Pindar, may be hierarchically integrated with a preeminent stratos of Aiakidai. See further at Ch. 6§65–67.

[ back ] 142. Cf. again Petre 1975; also Loraux 1986.282n24.

[ back ] 143. Commentary in N 1985.42–46.

[ back ] 144. Further discussion at Ch. 10§41–43.

[ back ] 145. Commentary in N 1985.42–46.

[ back ] 146. Cf. N, pp. 22 §2n2, 36, 41, 46, 52, 59. Cf. the use of stasis at Xenophanes F 1.23 W = 21 B 1.23 DK, where the theme of social strife is represented as a poetic subject typical of the here and now, as distinct from stories about Titans (1.21) or Centaurs (1.22), subjects typical of the remote past.

[ back ] 147. An example of such ‘killings’ is the story of Kylon, on which see Ch. 6§20–22.

[ back ] 148. On whom see Ch. 6§19–20.

[ back ] 149. Pausanias 2.4.4 reports the tradition that one Melas, ancestor of Kypselos, had joined Aletes, first Dorian king of Corinth, in conquering Corinth and was accepted as their sunoikos ‘co-inhabitant’. By implication the Kypselidai are understood to be non-Dorian or perhaps pre-Dorian. In contrast the Bakkhiadai trace themselves to Bakkhis, fifth in the lineage of kings starting with Aletes (ibid.). Eumelus of Corinth, to whom the fundamental poetry about the foundation of Corinth is ascribed, was one of the Bakkhiadai (Pausanias 2.1.1, who implies at 2.2.2 that he has read Eumelus). Similar to the pattern in Corinth is what we find in Aegina: the Dorians who conquered the island of Aegina are described as sunoikoi ‘co-inhabitants’ of the arkhaioi ‘ancients’ who were already there (Pausanias 2.29.5). By implication these arkhaioi, whom we may equate with the primordial Aiakidai, were the lineage of local rulers. That the Aiakidai, from the standpoint of the newcomer Dorians, supposedly never became a formal dynasty of kings is confirmed by the report that there were no kings of Aegina, except for Aiakos himself (Pausanias 2.29.2). Similarly there is a report that the Bakkhiadai were not kings but prutaneis ‘presidents’ (2.4.4).

[ back ] 150. This point is argued in detail by Vernant 1982, following Gernet 1953.

[ back ] 151. Cf. Vernant, p. 35n16a. On the concept of Herakleidai ‘Heraclids’ as the criterion of Dorian kingship, see Ch. 6§61. Further discussion of the Kypselidai of Corinth: Sourvinou-Inwood 1988.

[ back ] 152. On the “Mirror of Princes” tradition in the poetry of Theognis, in the Hesiodic Works and Days, and in the Odyssey, see the crucial article of Martin 1984.

[ back ] 153. Further discussion in N 1985.33.

[ back ] 154. Extensive examples and commentary in N, pp. 51–60.

[ back ] 155. See the commentary in N 1985.42–46. For a calculated equation of the attenuated word monarkhos ‘monarch’ with the explicit turannos, see again Herodotus 3.80.2/4 as discussed at Ch. 6§62 and following.

[ back ] 156. Commentary in N 1985.43.

[ back ] 157. This parallel is noted by Vernant 1982.35–36n22, following a suggestion by N. Loraux.

[ back ] 158. Commentary in N 1985.41–46.

[ back ] 159. Commentary in N 1985.51.

[ back ] 160. Commentary in N, p. 46.

[ back ] 161. Further discussion of this theme: Sourvinou-Inwood 1988.

[ back ] 162. Cf. Ch. 6§67–68.

[ back ] 163. Cf. the overview in N 1985.35–36.

[ back ] 164. N 1985.51 §39n1.

[ back ] 165. See N, pp. 43, 50. In this connection we may take note again of Solon’s ancestry, the lineage of the Medontidai, as mentioned at Ch. 6§18–19.

[ back ] 166. I am grateful to S. Bartsch for pointing out this connection to me.

[ back ] 167. On which see Ch. 6§37–40.

[ back ] 168. Cf. Ch. 10§35–38.

[ back ] 169. Cf. Ch. 10§35–38.

[ back ] 170. Cf. Ch. 6§6–7.

[ back ] 171. Cf. Ch. 6§37–40.

[ back ] 172. Cf. Ch. 6§20–22. In Thucydides 4.121.1 we read that the people of Skione enthusiastically greeted the Spartan general Brasidas as the liberator of Hellas, crowning him with a golden wreath and decorating him with a headband as though he were an āthlētēs ‘athlete’ (ἐταινίουν τε καὶ προσήρχοντο ὥσπερ ἀθλητῇ); there is a similar anecdote about Pericles on the occasion of his having delivered his Funeral Oration (Plutarch Life of Pericles 28.5). On the symbolism of headbands as decoration for victorious athletes, see Sansone 1988.80–81.

[ back ] 173. See Ch. 6§53–54. In this connection we may note the testimony of Timaeus FGH 566 F 133 (by way of Clement Stromateis 1.64.2), who was a historian of Sicily, that Xenophanes was a contemporary of Hieron of Syracuse (whose reign is dated from 478 to 467 B.C.). In the words of Xenophanes, the prestige of the athletic victor is but a foil for what is achieved through the poetic sophiā ‘skill’ of the poet himself (F 2.12, 14 W = 21 B 2.12, 14 DK); in a catalogue of various kinds of athletic accomplishments, the feat that is placed closest to that of the poet is a victory in chariot racing (2.12).

[ back ] 174. On the balance of praise and admonition in Pindar, see in general Ch.1 of Hubbard 1985.

[ back ] 175. Cf. Kirkwood 1982.7.

[ back ] 176. I read καί as marking apposition here; on the appositional usage of καί, see Denniston 1954.291. For a commentary, with extensive bibliography, on Ibycus SLG 151, see Woodbury 1985.

[ back ] 177. Cf. N 1974.250–251 and Watkins 1976c; also Martin 1984.35.

[ back ] 178. Martin, p. 35.

[ back ] 179. Woodbury 1968; cf. also Descat 1981.25–27 and Hubbard 1985.158–162.

[ back ] 180. Cf. Kurke 1988.194–209, who argues that the contemporary model of a “mercenary Muse at the beginning of Isthmian 2 is transformed by the end into a positive value through the appropriation of the idealized old-fashioned model of the nonprofessional Muse. For more on the idealization of the nonprofessional Muse in Isthmian 2, see Ch. 12§3–6 and following.

[ back ] 181. On kharis as the beauty and the pleasure of reciprocity, see Ch. 2§27–28.

[ back ] 182. Cf. Descat 1981.26–27.

[ back ] 183. Woodbury 1968.535.

[ back ] 184. Cf. Ch. 6§62 and following.

[ back ] 185. See N 1982.47–49.

[ back ] 186. Ibid.

[ back ] 187. Benveniste 1969 I 163–169.

[ back ] 188. Will 1975.

[ back ] 189. See Will, p. 437, who also notes the efforts of Plato and Aristotle to rehabilitate the word. We may compare the contemporary semantics of service: besides such materialistic contexts as we see in phrases like room service, there are also transcendent usages, such as unselfish service to the community.

[ back ] 190. This transcendent kind of ‘profit’ from the praise of song is parallel to the theme of olbos ‘bliss’ in the sense of a simultaneously materialistic and transcendent kind of well-being, as captured by the discourse of the ainos: see the discussion at Ch. 8§43–45 and following.

[ back ] 191. Commentary by Loraux 1982.190–191.

[ back ] 192. More precisely the claim being made is that Theron is descended from Thersandros, son of Polyneikes. The process of derivation evidently starts with Thersandros rather than Polyneikes because the lineage is founded on the hero cult of Thersandros. See also Herodotus 2.43 on the genealogy of Herodotus’ predecessor and rival, Hecataeus. For a list of other comparable claims of lineage, see Brelich 1958:148-150: Andocides as descended from Odysseus (Plutarch Alcibiades 21.1), Socrates from Daidalos (Plato Alcibiades 121a), Alcibiades from Eurysakes (Plato ibid.), and Peisistratos from Neleus (Herodotus 5.65.3). In the case of the descent of Alcibiades from Eurysakes, son of Ajax, we may note that it is Eurysakes, not Ajax, who has a cult in Athens (Pausanias 1.35.3). For a similar situation in the case of the Peisistratidai, the family of the tyrants at Athens, see Ch. 6§18–19.

[ back ] 193. On the contents of these “Homeric” performances at Sikyon, see Ch. 1§10–12.

[ back ] 194. The tendency to avoid genealogical connections between the characters of epic and the audience of the here and now is a characteristic of Homeric poetry, not necessarily of epic poetry in general: see Ch. 6§7–9. In this connection I note the observation of Roussel 1976.31 that names with the suffix –adēs and –idēs, conventionally used in the plural to express lineages (such as Aiakidai), are regularly confined to the singular in Homeric diction, designating persons and not groups (such as Atreidēs = Agamemnon, Aiakidēs = Achilles). Note too the campaign against family group-namings of the type –adai and –idai in the context of the reforms of Kleisthenes of Athens: cf. Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 21.4 and the comments of Roussel 1976.56; also p. 62 concerning the fact that some Alkmaionidai had the personal name Alkmaionides (for the occurrence of which on ostraka indicating the ostracism of “tyrannophiles,” see Meiggs and Lewis 1975.41 on Ἱπποκράτες Ἀλκμεωνίδο Ἀλοπεκε͂θεν). In contrast, we note that Pindar in Nemean 2 celebrates Timodemos of Akharnai (Τιμόδημε 14) as one of the Timodemidai (Τιμοδημίδαι 18).

[ back ] 195. The closest thing to such bridging in Homeric poetry is the survival of names, within the epic tradition, that are matched by historical personages. Shapiro 1983.89 notes: “Almost without exception, historical Athenians of the Archaic and Classical periods did not bear the names of epic heroes, as their descendants often do in Greece today; Peisistratos is the one exception.” I interpret this exception as resulting from the nonerasure of the name and identity of the hero Peisistratos (e.g., Odyssey iii 36) from the Homeric tradition, despite the historical presence of the tyrant Peisistratos. In other words it could be argued that the prestige of the tyrant is what preserved a pattern of identification that is otherwise by and large erased by the Homeric tradition.

[ back ] 196. Pindar Nemean 9.39–42, as discussed at Ch. 6§7–9.

[ back ] 197. Cf. Köhnken 1971.34–35; N 1979.227–228.

[ back ] 198. Cf. Ch. 2§33–35.

[ back ] 199. Whitman 1959.169. Cf. Ch. 5§8–10. In Ch. 7 I offer a detailed case in point, centering on the figure of Antilokhos in Iliad XXIII.

[ back ] 200. The theme of Panhellenic victory in Pindar’s Isthmian 8 may be compared with the compositions of Simonides known as The Sea-Battle of Artemisium (PMG 532–535) and The Sea-Battle at Salamis (PMG 536). The second of these compositions was possibly commissioned to be sung and danced at the Feast of the Panathenaia (Bowra 1961.344). As for the first, it seems to have featured prominently the theme of the divine intervention of Boreas the North Wind and his consort Oreithyia in the Battle of Artemisium (cf. PMG 534). Herodotus reports explicitly that the Athenians on this occasion sacrificed and prayed to Boreas and Oreithyia to scatter the fleet of the Persians (7.189). Herodotus also reports that the same wind that scattered the fleet of the Persians was called the Hellēspontiēs ‘the one from the Hellespont’ by the natives of the locale (7.188.2). By implication the wind that thwarted the Persians came from the Hellespont, the site of the tomb of Achilles (e.g., Odyssey xxiv 80–84; cf. N 1979.344); their shipwreck at Cape Sepias, where Thetis had been abducted by Peleus (Herodotus 7.191.2), was interpreted as a sign of the anger of the mother of Achilles, Thetis, who was then supplicated by the Magi (ibid.). For more on Thetis, see Slatkin 1986.

[ back ] 201. Cf. Ch. 6§83–85.

[ back ] 202. Cf. Ch. 4§6–7.

[ back ] 203. Cf. N 1979.227–228.

[ back ] 204. On pherō in the sense of ‘win as a prize’, see Kurke 1988.228 with n93 (following Gildersleeve 1899.330); cf. Pindar Pythian 4.278 (Ch. 7§3–5).

[ back ] 205. This point is argued by Kurke, pp. 221–225.

[ back ] 206. On Pindar’s mystical encounter with the epiphany of the hero in Pythian 8.58–60 as “both a transition and a source of inspiration for this song,” see Kurke, p. 225n87. For an overview of the allusions to the hero cult of Alkmaion in this poem, see Rusten 1983; cf. also Pòrtulas 1985.213, 220. In a forthcoming work, T. K. Hubbard argues that the epiphanic hero in this context is Amphiaraos himself, not the hero’s son, Alkmaion.

[ back ] 207. On pateres ‘fathers’ as ‘ancestors’, see Ch. 6§57–58.

[ back ] 208. Race 1986.100: “Men are creatures of a day, ‘ephemeral’ […] We cannot know from day to day who we are, or if we will even continue to exist.”

[ back ] 209. See Giannini 1982 for the arguments in favor of the interpretation given here and against the interpretation “What is man, what is not man?”

[ back ] 210. On aiōn ‘life-force’ as an expression of both material security and the transcendent concept of eternal return, see N 1981.114–116, following Benveniste 1937.110, 112.

[ back ] 211. This usage is stressed by Lefkowitz 1977.216, who translates “man is a shadow’s dream,” noting that skiā “means both shadow and shade of the dead, a partial reflection of a living being.” She interprets the saying “man is a shadow’s dream” as an expression of insubstantiality, “but at the same time it can be said to denote significant appearances that presage victory, Amphiaraus’ vision of Alcmeon with his shield, Pindar’s encounter with Alcmeon on his way to Delphi” (ibid.).

[ back ] 212. Kurke, p. 229, cites Gildersleeve 1899.191 on Pindar Olympian 7.91–93: “The oracle of Diagoras is the wisdom of his ancestors, which is personated in him.” As Kurke points out (ibid.), the oracle of Diagoras in Olympian 7 is parallel to the oracle of Alkmaion in Pythian 8.60, which that hero had inherited from his father Amphiaraos. We may compare the Fijian notion that poet-seers have personal contact with the ancestors, from whom they receive their songs directly (Finnegan 1977.111). Perhaps these themes are pertinent to the expression patria ossa ‘ancestral voice’ in Pindar Olympian 6.62, applied to the words of Apollo as he speaks to his son lamos, the primordial seer who is ancestor of the Iamidai. On the relationship between dead ancestors and the athletic victors whose deeds are witnessed by them, see Segal 1986, especially p. 207 on Pindar Pythian 5.94–103.

[ back ] 213. We may compare the Australian Aboriginal notion of the ancestral past as “dream time”: see Clunies Ross 1986.244.

[ back ] 214. Whitman 1892 [1980] 144–147.

[ back ] 215. On the function of the expression οὔτω at Iliad IX 524 as a marker of the beginning of an ainos, see Fraenkel 1950 II 339. Cf. also Maehler 1963.47. On the par-ain-esis of Phoenix, see further at Ch. 7§6. For more on par-ain-esis, see Ch. 6§6–7.

[ back ] 216. N 1979.111, 114–115. On pateres as ‘ancestors’, see Ch. 6§57–58.

[ back ] 217. Cf. N 1979.234–237.

[ back ] 218. There is no attempt in praise poetry, however, to describe itself explicitly by way of features that characterize the current performance of epic poetry. For example, when heroes are said to be getting kleos from praise poetry in Isthmian 5.24–28, it is specified that there is musical accompaniment by both lyre and reed. This detail suggests that the performance is along the lines of contemporary lyric poetry or song, not epic (on the nonmelodic recitation of epic, see Ch. 1§7–9 and following).

[ back ] 219. At least in this context we find no mention by Aristotle of Pindar or of any other such poets of praise.

[ back ] 220. N 1979.36(§13n1), 255–256.

[ back ] 221. It goes without saying that the evolution of the parent form, as represented by Pindaric praise poetry, is crystalized much later than that of the derivative form, as represented by Homeric poetry. For a valuable discussion of epic and praise poetry in early Indic society, see Dillon 1975.54.

[ back ] 222. Cf. N 1979.18–19, 91–92, 236, 260. So also in Xenophanes F 1 W = 21 B 1 DK, the occasion of performance (1.12 and following) is represented as a setting of euphrosunē ‘mirth’ (B 1.4). I interpret αἰνεῖν at Xenophanes 1.19 as ‘follow in the tradition of (cf. N, pp. 98 §6n4, 260 §10n3).

[ back ] 223. Bundy 1986.2.

[ back ] 224. On kharis as a ‘beautiful and pleasurable compensation, through song or poetry, for a deed deserving of glory’, see Ch. 2§27–28.