Comparative Anthropology of Ancient Greece

  Detienne, Marcel. 2009. Comparative Anthropology of Ancient Greece. Hellenic Studies Series 17. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

Chapter 2. This Is Where I Intend to Build a Glorious Temple [*]

Right from the start of the Hymn that associates the glory of Delos and the magnificence of the sanctuary in Delphi, Apollo cuts an impressive figure as a god on the move. His step rings out in the first two lines: “I will remember and not be unmindful of Apollo who shoots afar, for whom the gods tremble in the {46|47} house of Zeus as they hear him approach (ionta)” (1–2). [6] In the version of the story presented in the Homeric Hymn, Apollo the Archer impetuously claims precedence over Apollo the Lyre Player. The first sight of him as he arrives at Olympus is of a god brandishing (titainei) a curved bow (4). [7] This Apollo is characterized by strength, power, and even brutality. The assembled gods scatter before him, and his mother hastens to calm him down with soothing words, leading him to his seat and urging him toward his father (6–9). A little further on in the Hymn, Apollo’s second manifestation contrasts sharply with the first. The adolescent Apollo, with shoulder-length locks, [8] takes his first steps on the island of Delos, which is “laden with gold” in its joy at having been chosen as the home of the son of Zeus and Leto. The gaze of Phoebus, still called the Archer, now takes in Delos in all its festivity (147–176) and is delighted at the sight of the Ionians gathered there. The island is giddy with singing, dancing, and games: such is the grace of the Ionians’ performance that they could be mistaken for immortals who never age (150–151). Imperceptibly, amid this mixture of a vision and a manifestation, the gap between mortals and immortals shrinks away. To Apollo’s eyes, the festive crowd singing the god’s praises seems like a gathering of the gods on Olympus, engaged in the Muses’ songs and dances. [9] The god of the bow suddenly becomes Apollo the Lyre Player, as he heads for rocky Pytho, carried away by the music. As “swift as thought” (182–206), Apollo now speeds from earth to Olympus, to the house of his father, where he joins the other gods gathered there. This time, there is no fear or consternation: “The undying gods think only of the lyre and song” (188). To the sound of the lyre, the striding Apollo becomes a dancer “with a high, prancing step” (201). The Muses, the daughters of Memory, raise their lovely voices to hymn the joys of the Olympian gods and remind their listeners of the fate of those doomed to die (187–193). Up there on Olympus, fleeting resemblances melt away as snow in the sunshine: among themselves the gods are all too aware of the trials that beset those half-alive beings who are so inadequate that they can devise neither a remedy for death nor a way {47|48} of avoiding old age. There would come a time when a “distant” Apollo would take care to draw attention to the abyss separating the race of men from the Olympian gods. But for the time being this was simply an interlude under the signs of the bow and the lyre, the two instruments of power that the son of Leto claimed as his own.

Already Onchestus could be glimpsed (230–238), another site made famous by the Iliad and the list of emblazoned shields. [24] Poseidon’s sacred wood of Onchestus rose above the southern bank of Lake Copais. [25] Unlike the two previous sites, this third one was beautifully laid out. It was a “sacred wood,” manifestly the domain of the god of chariots and horses. [26] This was where Poseidon had set up headquarters to test how “newly broken colts” would react when, upon entering the wood, their drivers leaped down from the chariot, leaving the horses on their own to cope with the terror of the place and the chassis rattling behind them. For each of these Poseidonian animals, never harnessed to a noisy chariot before, this was a moment of truth. Left to its own devices, the horse would either pass calmly through Poseidon’s domain or else, disoriented by the absence of the driver and by the din made by the vehicle, the colt would be seized with panic and would smash the chariot against the trees. It would thus appear that, at the point when Apollo arrived at Onchestus on his way from Euboea, Poseidon was already ensconced there, busy exercizing a power that related to mankind and the human ability “to control a horse-drawn chariot.” In the shadow of the Lord of Onchestus, whose path was again to cross Apollo’s on more than one occasion, it is perhaps possible to detect the horse breeders of the land of Boeotia, a society evoked here as discreetly as were the Ionians dancing in their festive garments in the paved courts of Delos. On this long walk of Apollo’s, Poseidon was the only god, the sole Olympian that he was to encounter: his own uncle, with whom he would be sharing a number of fine, major foundations after first living alongside him at Delphi. As Gaiêokhos, “the Lord who holds and possesses the earth,” Poseidon seems to have been marked out for the role of a god of foundations, the one who is already there when any plan to build and lay foundations is first devised. {50|51}

As a finder and a cutter of paths, Apollo behaved as a master of the roads, an aguieus, and as one who also possessed the art of clearing land. He had found his way through the great primeval forest covering the site of the future Thebes, where “there were no tracks or paths” (225–228). The Athenian tradition was also to associate land clearance with Apollo. The shortest route for Apollo to reach Delphi was bound to pass through Athens, as Aeschylus maintained in the prologue to the Eumenides:

Challenging the tradition of the Homeric Hymn, the Athenians unequivocally laid claim to precedence: they were already there when Apollo was born in Delos. To commemorate their pioneering role either in the founding of the sanctuary or in the first link established between the oracle and a Greek city, the proud children of Hephaestus placed men carrying two-headed axes at the head of the official procession sent from Athens to Delphi. [
34] {52|53} The “Pythais”—decreed by the appearance of a sudden flash of lightning in the sky—set out from the courtyard of the sanctuary of Pythian Apollo on the bank of the Ilissus and proceeded to Delphi by way of Eleusis and the Cithaeron road. [35] This, it was claimed, was the route earlier followed by the future Pythian god. The two-headed axes carried by Apollo’s first companions testified to the violence of the effort required to tame the wild space, civilize it, and lay foundations there.

The Iliad, which preceded the Homeric Hymn that tells the story of Delos and Delphi, describes Apollo operating in space in a more technological fashion than when he forges a path through the woods surrounding the future Thebes. Zeus’ plan requires that Apollo play a part in the war: the Trojans must keep up their pressure, the Achaeans must be assailed by fear of the enemy reaching the ramparts built around their camp. Apollo seeks out Hector, his protégé, who has just taken a nasty knock in a skirmish. He comes “up to him,” [52] promises to help him, inspires him with a great anger, and explains what he, Apollo, is now about to do: “I will go ahead of them, making the whole way smooth for their horses’ feet” (proparoithe kiôn … keleuthon pasan leianeô). [53] Stepping forward, Apollo then effortlessly flattens the embankment, toppling it into the moat and thereby creating a bridge over it, a long, wide causeway. [54] It is a divine kick that the island Delos has already had cause to evoke when welcoming Leto to its shores, in its fear that the proud Apollo might with a single kick dispatch such a humble island to the bottom of the sea (70–79). From the time of the Iliad on, Apollo is constantly demonstrating the force of his foot: he opens up before him a path as “wide as the space that a man covers with a spear-cast, when he is testing his strength.” [55] There was really no need to involve the axes of the Athenian land clearers. With a single kick, Apollo opens up a path, makes a road, scorning all obstacles: “He knocked down the Achaean wall like a boy at the seaside playing childish games with the sand, building a castle to amuse himself and then, with his hands and feet, destroying the whole work for fun.” [56]

A path trodden by Apollo was characterized by an end and a beginning. It was a path that reached its destination, a way opened up by a god whose every stride fashioned a “well-constructed” route, a path that was aguia, firmly cut (euktimena). [69] Apollo Aguieus presided over the civilizing power that roads and paths possessed in the organization of a territory. It is well known how important this was to Greek cities. [70] In Sparta it was the kings, the two of them, who held jurisdiction over everything to do with “public roads” (hodoi dêmosiai). [71] Meanwhile, in Attica, it was the yokers of oxen, the Buzyges, who in their own way exercized a jurisdiction that closely resembled that of the “king” or archon who dealt with defilement resulting from blood shed on the ground: when such defilement occurred, they called down curses, proclaiming the great importance of roads constructed for the protection of “civilized life,” a life that also depended on the sharing of water and fire. [72] Just as in the English language roads are “constructed,” in Greek they were “cut” (temnein). [73] Only barbarians such as the Scythian nomads lived {58|59} in territories where no roads were “cut.” [74] It was altogether in the order of things that a city’s land should be subject to such “cutting,” and this would be entrusted to experts who were well aware of Apollo’s authority in this domain. [75] Moreover, Greek roads were not only “cut” but also “constructed” (demein, eudmêtos), [76] just as a tool, a wall, or a dwelling was.

In the version of the Hymn, which tells not only of the establishment of an oracle but also of Apollo’s decision “to build a glorious temple” on the same spot, once the god reaches the foot of Parnassus, he himself lays the first stone for the foundations of his sanctuary. Apollo is his own architect. Helpers, from the surrounding area, then hurry to assist him: first, the threshold layers, Trophonius and Agamedes, then the stonecutters. The temple of stone is the first to be built. In contrast, in the tradition recorded by Раusanias when he visited Delphi, the temple of stone was the last to be built, after three other kinds of materials had been tried. First there had been a hut of laurel branches, next a construction of wax and wings, then a building of bronze. Apollo remains in the background in that version. [77] The god of the oracle is set apart from the architect god. [78] An architect called Aguieus, from the land of Hyperboreans, is claimed to have built Apollo’s first temple, [79] although we are not told whether it was made from plaited branches of laurel collected in the valley of Tempe, where Apollo was supposed to have gone to purify himself {59|60} after slaying the Python. [80] The Hyperborean Aguieus bears the same name as Apollo the Walker. He arrives accompanied by Pagasus, another Hyperborean, [81] whose name evokes another aspect of Apollo, the god known as Pagasios, from Pagasae in Thessaly, from which the expedition of the Argonauts set out. [82] The Apollo suggested by Pagasus was a god of sea voyages: the god who showed Jason the paths of the sea, he was also an angry god.

Roads, roadside altars, sanctuaries, temples with altars, gates, and walls are all constructions befitting a god who, as he took his very first steps, had announced that he wished “to make a dwelling” (oikia thesthai, 46) [100] and who, on his long march, more than once declared: “This is where I intend to build a glorious temple.” Apollo displayed an innate taste for monumental constructions. In the Iliad, his humiliated priest, praying to him as he proceeds along the beach, bearing the god’s scepter and wearing his ornaments, [101] testifies to the care he has always lavished upon the dwellings of Apollo: “if ever I raised a roof for a shrine that delighted you, if ever I burnt you the fat thighs of a bull or a goat.” [102] The roof constructed by Chryses may not have been fashioned from the indestructible beams of cypress wood that the Alcmeonids presented to the god of Delphi with a level of pomp and ceremony that the Greek world would never forget; but it would at least have been the kind of highly finished roof that one from time to time finds commemorated in archaic dedications. [103] In Thessaly, on a stele dating from about 550 BCE, two characters claimed the credit for constructing a roof: the one for setting it in place; the other for assembling it, which probably meant bolting its rafters together. [104] Meanwhile, in the Granicus region, midway between Cyzicus and Lampsacus, another dedication, carved in the fluting of an Ionic pillar, commemorated the fact that somebody (who remains anonymous, on account of a break in the stone) had made a covering for a sanctuary, aided—it is true—by his companions, who paid the costs out of the temple’s income and the proceeds collected from the sale of the pelts of sacrificial victims. [105] {63|64}

Walls and cities belong to the domain of the Apollo, who declares himself to be a founder and creator of cities. But, to look no further than the setting in which the Homeric Hymn begins, the first architectural forms that Apollo brings into being in his wake are altars. In her very first words, designed to elicit the island’s hospitality, Leto refers to altars. Delos alone will be known for the fragrant altars set all around Apollo’s home: “All men will bring you hecatombs and gather here and incessant savor of rich sacrifice will always arise” (57–58). Leto makes Delos a solemn promise: “Phoebus shall have here his fragrant altar and precinct” (87–88). Yet Leto can do nothing to alter the fact that, however indissociable from Apollo the place where he lives may be, equally so is the impulse that carries him away from it. {64|65}

On that seashore altar there had been no suggestion of any blood sacrifice of animals. The time for hecatombs and “rich smoke” offered up to the god would come later. In that first ritual the offering had consisted of cereals consumed directly by the fire on the altar, a pure altar fed by barley grain that was not shared by those officiating. The Cretans dined separately among themselves, not forgetting to pour a libation for the gods. However, at the Delphic site, in front of, if not inside the temple of Pythian Apollo, the ministers from Crete were to perform sacrifices of a quite different nature. Just as they were wondering what kind of life awaited them in this rocky place bereft of vines or pastureland, Apollo gave them new orders, telling them: “Though each of you with knife in hand should slaughter (sphazein) sheep continually, yet would you always have abundant store” (535–536). Here were the promised hecatombs, the savors of meat, the pleasures of sacrificing rich victims drawn there by the centripetal force of this second altar, constructed at the same time as the temple was set upon its vast foundations. Furthermore, in this second sacrificial scene, the principal agent was no longer the “visible” (epopsios) altar fire, but a sacrificial knife, deployed openly rather than being concealed, as was customary, in a basket, hidden by the cereal grain. The bloody knife was here allowed full visibility, for Apollo sanctioned it with solemn violence.

The Homeric Hymn presents us with one last image, at the end of the road from Delos: positioned before the altar of his magnificent temple, the god promises his ministers that in the right hand of each there will always be a sacrificial knife. This final violent note echoes two from the beginning of the Hymn. The first was that struck by the demeanor of the young god as he burst into Olympus with his bow at the ready, in the full force of his anger (4–6). It was a hint of violence that the text then repeats and amplifies when Delos confesses its fears to Leto: “They say that Apollo will be one that is very haughty and will greatly lord it among gods and men” (180). The meaning of atasthalos is ‘one with a limitless pride’, like the Titans who tried to oppose heaven and stand up to Zeus; and prutane means ‘one who domineers’, always determined to impose his own will. He was certainly a violent god, this walker and builder of altars and temples who came to install himself on the heights above Crisa. {68|}


[ back ] *. Originally published in Arion 4.3 (Winter 1997) 1-27.

[ back ] 1. The English translation used for the text is that by Hugh G. Evelyn-White in the Loeb Classical Library; verse numbers henceforth cited parenthetically in text. On the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, an extremely useful work is Miller 1986. The philology on the text comes from Allen, Halliday, and Sikes 1936, and also from Humbert 1959.

[ back ] 2. According to Aristotle History of Animals VI 35, 580a16–20, Leto became a she-wolf in order to avoid being seen by Hera; it took her twelve days to travel from the land of the Hyperboreans to Delos. This was why there were only twelve days in the year when she-wolves produced their young. Cf. Aelian De natura animalium X 26.

[ back ] 3. Callimachus Hymn to Delos 273: plagktê. Cf. Detienne and Vernant 1978:253n74.

[ back ] 4. Delos refers to atasthalos nature of Apollo: his excessively “proud,” “violent,” if not brutal character. I shall return to this point.

[ back ] 5. We shall be following Apollo’s itinerary from Delos to Delphi for the simple reason that his founding of the oracle concludes the journey of the god who, while still in Delos, proclaimed his power over the lyre, the bow, and prophecy. This “unitary” reading makes it possible to sidestep the stormy debates between philologists over the differences between the “Delian” part of the Hymn and the “Pythian” part. Those debates are elegantly summarized in Clay 1989:18–19. Her commentary on the Hymn to Apollo (17–94) tackles the question of “panhellenism” in the organization of the pantheon in a very helpful manner.

[ back ] 6. On “unmindful,” see Simondon 1982:55–59.

[ back ] 7. Titainein ‘to draw, bend’ (the bow). The verb also evokes the behavior of a Titan, which is similar to that of a god who is atasthalos and boundlessly presumptuous.

[ back ] 8. Akersokomês: Hymn to Apollo 134. Apollo, the kouros, the ephebe, the god who presides over the development of the young Telemachus (Odyssey xix 86). In Actium, the regulations for the festival of Apollo prescribed “allowing one’s hair to grow,” wearing it long: Sokolowski 1962, no. 45, 1. 41–43. At the end of the Hymn to Apollo 449–450, Apollo reappears to his ministers as a robust, strong man in his first youth.

[ back ] 9. Cf. Frontisi-Ducroux 1986:62–74.

[ back ] 10. At the very beginning, before the quest of 215. Cf. Roux 1964.

[ back ] 11. Again, Hymn to Apollo; there are no toponyms, only geographical references to high peaks, mountain ranges, valleys, rivers, the sea, beaches, and headlands.

[ back ] 12. The names are mentioned in lines 179–180. Cf. Miller 1986:66.

[ back ] 13. Roux 1964:6. Falcons and merlins are “Apollonian” birds.

[ back ] 14. One itinerary leads from Olympus, by sea, passing by way of Chalcis to Telphusion; the other leads from the south by sea around the Peloponnese and ends up at the altar of Apollo Delphinios, at Crisa. Cf. Defradas 1972:70–71; Miller 1986:56–70.

[ back ] 15. The data is collected by Cook 1925:160–166. More recently, see Balestrazzi 1980-81:93–108, whose conclusions I am unable to accept.

[ back ] 16. Bérard 1971; Altherr-Charon and Bérard 1980.

[ back ] 17. The significance of the silence reigning over the Daphnêphorion was first addressed in a note by Bruneau 1976.

[ back ] 18. Neither atarpitoi, nor keleuthoi. Hulê is twice repeated.

[ back ] 19. A meaning suggested by Robert and Robert 1981:467, in connection with Apollo Alsenos. On the “sacred wood” as a type of urban or extra-urban sanctuary, cf. Jacob 1993.

[ back ] 20. The Lelantine plain is, precisely, a place where Apollo explicitly states that he would not like to “construct” (teukhein) either a sanctuary (neôs) or ”a sacred wood full of trees”: Hymn to Apollo 221. At the end of the Odyssey, at xx 275–278, there is a mention of a sanctuary of Apollo to which people of Ithaca take a sacrificial offering, a sanctuary in the shape of an alsos.

[ back ] 21. Historians and philologists have drawn a variety of conclusions from this silence: Defradas 1972:58–62.

[ back ] 22. Vian 1963.

[ back ] 23. Odyssey iii 262–265: Amphion and Zethus were the first to found (ektisan) the “base” (hedos) of Thebes and build the ramparts (purgôsan), ramparts without which Thebes would have been uninhabitable and which, furthermore, were constructed “with the lyre” according to [Hesiod] fr. 182 MW; [Apollodorus] Library 3.42–44.

[ back ] 24. Iliad II 506 (an alsos).

[ back ] 25. Hermes follows along the edge of the “sacred wood” of Onchestus on his nocturnal foray to steal Apollo’s cattle: Hymn to Hermes 186–187. Then he begins to cross through it, meeting only one individual, an “old man with the face of a brute.” Hermes advises him to have seen nothing. Later, he gives Apollo confusing information. Perhaps the picture of the master of the place, Poseidon Gaiêokhos, disguised as an old man of the woods, is intended to be ironical.

[ back ] 26. I am following the intelligent interpretation of Roux 1964. Cf. Detienne and Vernant 1978:187–189. Roesch 1977 has sketched in the fortunes, between 338 and 172, of this ancient, nonurban sanctuary that became the administrative capital of Boeotia, a capital without a city. On the site of Onchestus and its cults, cf. Schachter 1986.

[ back ] 27. Cf. Miller 1986:76–80. Telphusa occupies a central position in stories about the Erinys and Poseidon. It was there that the horse Arion was born from the love-making between them, and also there that the Erinys gave birth to the snake that Cadmus would slay before founding Thebes on top of the seeds of war (cf. Defradas 1972:68). Ares and Demeter are also connected with this “Telphusian” place. Cf. Breglia-Pulci Doria 1986.

[ back ] 28. Pherecydes FGH 3 F41e. Cf. Vian 1963:125.

[ back ] 29. Following the announcement made by the pregnant Leto, this same formulation of words recurs several rimes in the course of Apollo’s career: Hymn to Apollo 287 (phroneô teuksein). (Translation adapted.)

[ back ] 30. On the technical precision of the Hymn, see Roux 1966. He suggests reading elassan rather than enassan: elaunein, in the sense of ‘construct’, ‘start building’. Constructing foundations, laying the threshold stone, assembling walls for the naos, using cut stones: all these activities reflect the prime importance of the work of the architect. On Trophonius, cf. Petre 1979.

[ back ] 31. ktistoisin laessin. Stones cut by master masons working on the skilled construction of stone walls, rather than walls made from unfired bricks, set on top of stone foundations, as was customary for many buildings in Ephesus, Samos, and Olympia in the seventh century BCE. Cf. Roux 1966:1–5.

[ back ] 32. At this point, it is Leto who is speaking; at 76, Delos repeats the words, and again at 80–81. Apollo himself pronounces them at 247–248 and at 287.

[ back ] 33. Aeschylus Eumenides 10–14. Richmond Lattimore’s translation.

[ back ] 34. Scholia to the Eumenides 13. The keleuthopoioi Athenians carried pelekeis, two-headed axes made by Hephaestus.

[ back ] 35. Roux 1976 174–175.

[ back ] 36. This verb, along with oikizein, is at the heart of the semantic investigation by Casevitz 1985.

[ back ] 37. Ibid., 21–30.

[ back ] 38. Ibid., 22.

[ back ] 39. Ibid., 23–24.

[ back ] 40. Including “paths” or streets, despite Casevitz’s surprise (ibid., 23).

[ back ] 41. According to the Odyssey ix 262–265, and it alone, at a semantic level.

[ back ] 42. As does Nausithoos, in even more exemplary fashion: Odyssey vi 4–10.

[ back ] 43. Iliad XX 215–218. There is a distinction between ktizein and polin polizein (in the sense of building a town within its limits, cf. Casevitz 1985:251–253.

[ back ] 44. Iliad VII 452–453. A division of labor, with the building of the wall. Here polizein; further on, Iliad XXI 441–457, mentions constructing (demein) a city wall (teikhos) around the town. Poseidon talks of this as though he is working on his own at this task, when speaking of his sufferings in captivity with Apollo.

[ back ] 45. Cf. Malkin 1987. On the imprudence of “anyone who does not abide by any customs”: Herodotus 5.42.2 (Dorieus).

[ back ] 46. euktimenênêsos. Callimachus’ Hymn to Delos contrasts the wandering of the island known as Asteria to the rooting of Delos in the sea at the time of Apollo’s birth (34–35, 51–54).

[ back ] 47. Stones so well cut and chiselled that Trophonius, the best “stonecutter” (lithoxoos) is at the center of a number of Boeotian stories about blocks of stone that could be moved smoothly as though on invisible hinges. Cf. Roux 1966:4–5.

[ back ] 48. Iliad XIII 221; 259; 274.

[ back ] 49. Chantraine s.v. aguieus. Unreduplicated past participle, according to Chantraine. On “roads” (at the level of semantics and history), see the essential study by Curtius 1894. On representations of roads in archaic thought, cf. Becker 1937.

[ back ] 50. Hesychius, s.v. aguieus. Bômos, ‘altar’; in the form of a pillar or column, kiôn. Aguieus bômos, the agueius-altar or altar-agueius in Sophocles Laocoon fr. 370 St. Radt. In the Homeric Hymn to Apollo, Phoebus is delighted by the sight of the Ionians gathering on the aguiai and setting up the agôn (154–155).

[ back ] 51. Photius Berolinensis 25, 26 Reitzenstein: ho pro tôn auleiôn thurôn kônoeidês kiôn, hieros Apollônos, kai autos ho theos.

[ back ] 52. Iliad XV 247 (antên). Translations from the Iliad are by E. V. Rieu.

[ back ] 53. Iliad XV 261–262. Leianeô ‘to flatten, soften’, but also to crush in a mortar or with one’s teeth.

[ back ] 54. Iliad XV 355–357.

[ back ] 55. Iliad XV 357. A “flattener,” in the sense of “bulldozer,” a word that emphasizes the aspect of Apollo as a god who strikes or flattens the enemy.

[ back ] 56. Iliad XV 361–363.

[ back ] 57. Iliad VII 455–63.

[ back ] 58. Apollonius Rhodius Argonautica 2.671–84.

[ back ] 59. Pindar Pythian 3.75 (bamati d’en protoi).

[ back ] 60. Callimachus Hymn to Apollo 3 Williams.

[ back ] 61. Strabo 13, 48. Grégoire, Goossens, and Mathieu 1949.

[ back ] 62. Iliad I 47 (êïe: used absolutely.).

[ back ] 63. Ephorus, in Strabo 9.3.11–12 (= FGH 70 F 31b Jacoby).

[ back ] 64. Cf. F. Létoublon 1985. The Homeric Hymn to Apollo contains over thirty verbs of movement: fourteen examples of bainein; eleven of the hik– group; four of the eimierkhomai series.

[ back ] 65. Létoublon 1985:123–143.

[ back ] 66. Létoublon 1985:133.

[ back ] 67. Iliad I 17 and 451; Odyssey ix 198, interpreted by Létoublon 1985:134–143.

[ back ] 68. Bainein also occurs frequently in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes. Movement and space provide an extremely rich experimental field for studying the differential characteristics of Hermes and Apollo.

[ back ] 69. Iliad VI 391: Troy is a town with fine streets, thoroughfares that are “well cut, well constructed” (hodon … euktimenas kat’aguias). In Delphi the official access to the stadium for the Pythian Games was called aguia (cf. Pouilloux 1983).

[ back ] 70. Cf. Curtius 1894:29–37.

[ back ] 71. Herodotus 6.57.

[ back ] 72. Durand 1986:175–193.

[ back ] 73. A number of epigraphical discoveries seem to show that boundary markers and stelae indicating essential distances between various spots used to stand in public places and at important crossroads. A stone deciphered by Chandler close to the Acropolis—engraved in the fifth century BCE—informed the passerby that the city had set it up to “signify” (sêmainein) to everybody the length (metron) of the ”distance to be covered” (odoporia), in this case the distance between Piraeus and the altar of the Twelve Gods (IG II2 2640). Cf. Salviat and Servais 1964; also the remarks of Curtius 1894:20–25.

[ back ] 74. Herodotus 4.131.

[ back ] 75. Callimachus Aitia II F 43.64–65 Pfeiffer.

[ back ] 76. Curtius 1894:25, which describes a late inscription from Syria that features the words hodon ktizein. Demein, eudmetos are common in Herodotus 2.124; 7.200. Also in connection with altars.

[ back ] 77. Pausanias 10.5.9–13. Cf. Sourvinou-lnwood 1979. Pindar also believes the temple built with the aid of Trophonius and Agamedes to have been the last one. In the Iliad IX 404–405 and in the Odyssey viii 79–81, the “stone threshold” (bearing no architect’s name) was already a feature of the Apollonian site in Delphi and of its oracle. Sourvinou-lnwood (236–237), discusses the architectural meaning of the Homeric expression.

[ back ] 78. In the traditions echoed by Pindar, Apollo may have been represented as the arkhitektôn who drew up the plan and gave the orders rather than the one who executed the project, built it with his own hands (autokheriei), as is claimed by the signature-inscription (about 550 BCE) discovered on a temple column in the Granicus area between Cyzicus and Lampsacus (cf. Robert 1950: 78–80).

[ back ] 79. Pausanias 10.5.7 refers to the tradition of Βοiο, a local woman who was the first to sing in hexameters and whose hymn named the first builders of the temple of Apollo (khrêsterion … ektelein) Pagasus and Aguieus.

[ back ] 80. According to the reconstruction of Pindar (Schol. in Paen VIII, P. Oxy. 841 F. 87) by Snell 1938, the first temple was built from laurel branches brought from Tempe, as Pausanias himself declares, 10.5.9. Bérard thinks that the temple he discovered in Eretria was this temple of laurel (Cf. Altherr-Charon and Bérard 1980), where Apollo was known as the “laurel-bearer,” Daphnêphoros, and was the city’s poliad deity. On the traditions of the laurel and the laurel temple cf. Sourvinou-Inwood 1979 233–238n77. There is no good reason to reject the idea of Apollo himself “plaiting” together his first laurel temple (as Altherr-Charon and Bérard do, 239), on the model of Apollo constructing an altar in Delos made from intertwined horns (plekein, huphainein, pêgnunai, in Callimachus, Hymn to Apollo 61–62 Williams). However, this is nowhere explicitly attested.

[ back ] 81. A number of prophets and ministers of Apollo came from the land of the Hyperboreans, as did offerings brought by Virgins and Youths, Leto, and Eilithye and, above all, Apollo himself, who regularly went there to attend sacrifices in his honor. The religious relations between the land of the Hyperboreans and Delos are clearly attested, notably by historical evidence provided by epigraphical studies of fourth-century BCE Delos: Tréheux 1953. According to Tréheux, these offerings (straw and sacred sheafs of corn) were brought by an unknown people connected with the Delian cult of Apollo: “Some isolated group of Ionians living somewhere on the borders beyond Scythia” (764). The offerings consisted of the first fruits of the harvest and were abrought by the Hyperborean virgins and youths, initially five in number, known as the Perpherées (Herodotus 4.33–35, and the analyses of Bruneau 38–48).

[ back ] 82. Pagasae where there was a sanctuary of Apollo. It was on the altar of Apollo Embasios (the Apollo of embarkations) that Jason offered up a sacrifice, reminding the Argonauts of Apollo’s promise “to reveal the paths of the sea” to them (Apollonius Rhodius Argonautica 1.359–61).

[ back ] 83. Cf. the data collected by Krappe 1942 (leaving aside the etymologies and interpretations amassed by Krappe in a series of related essays); also Vian 1945.

[ back ] 84. [Hesiod] Shield 58 ff. This figure had a very bad reputation: he murdered strangers and even built himself a temple with the skulls of his victims, a temple for Apollo. Swan-Kuknos was also associated with Apollo through his winged form and the power of his voice. See the extremely thorough analysis by Janko 1986.

[ back ] 85. [Hesiod] Shield 471–479.

[ back ] 86. Curtius (1894:32–40) has made a study of this network of sacred paths linking the various sanctuaries of Apollo; access routes, commercial routes, paths taken by temple officials. The path to Delphi, for example, was placed under the protection of the Amphictyonians.

[ back ] 87. Pindar, Pythian 10.30. William H. Race’s translation.

[ back ] 88. For example, Abaris, the prophet of Apollo; cf. Delcourt 1955:158, 161, 163; Bolton 1962:156–158.

[ back ] 89. A lithophoros, or stone-bearing priest is mentioned in an epigraphic document from Eleusis (see note 99).

[ back ] 90. Apart from the bibliography provided by Sokolowski 1955, no. 50, see Graf 1974 and 1979. Also the analyses by Georgoudi 1986.

[ back ] 91. Sokolowski 1955. The Molpoi recorded in writing the ceremonies and rituals carried out in honor of Apollo at fixed dates: they organized the orgia, the rituals that they carried out as orgiônes. The Cretan priests established in Delphi by Apollo did likewise.

[ back ] 92. L. 25. Cf. Hesychius, s.v. gulloi, and Kraus 1960:12–13.

[ back ] 93. Kraus 1960:13, 63, 70, 107.

[ back ] 94. Hecate in the precinct (entemenios) of Apollo Delphinios. An altar to her has been found in the sanctuary of Apollo at Miletus, cf. Kraus 1960:11.

[ back ] 95. Sokolowski 1955, 1.26–27. Cf. Schneider 1987.

[ back ] 96. Skhêma tetragonon, Pausanias 8.32.4.

[ back ] 97. Cf. Balestrazzi 1980-81.

[ back ] 98. Apollo’s relationship with uncut stones has fascinated a whole string of interpreters who have believed they could both resolve the original etymology of Apollo and seize upon the transition from aniconical representation to anthropomorphism, Cf. e.g. Solders 1935. In the Orphic tradition, Apollo presented Helenus with a speaking stone that prophecied the fall of Troy (Schamp 1981).

[ back ] 99. Judeich 1898:119–120, no. 153: sêmiaphoroi tou Arkhêgetou Apollônos. Cf. Ritti 1985:108–109. Apollo is present in the micropantheon mentioned in the decree in honor of the torch bearer Themistocles, a high dignatory of Eleusis: Roussel 1934. Alongside Patrôos, the priest of Hermes, stands the Herald (kêrux) of Pythian Apollo. Next comes the Lithophoros who is also the priest of Zeus Horios, Athena Horia and Poseidon Prosbaterios and Themelioukhos. Moreover, the stone carried by the Lithophoros is the “sacred stone” (hieros lithos).

[ back ] 100. At this point it is Leto who makes the announcement.

[ back ] 101. Iliad I 14: stemmata. The stemmata were the ribbons that adorned Apollo’s “cult statue,” and that also made him impressively present in the person of his priest (according to the interpretation of Servais 1967).

[ back ] 102. Iliad I 39 (Loeb translation adapted). Erephein ‘to cover’; orophos or orophê ‘roof, covering’.

[ back ] 103. Pindar Pythian 5.42–46. Cf. Roux 1979:208–215.

[ back ] 104. SEG XVII 287 and the analyses of Masson. The verb teukhein is here associated with another verb, krounein, meaning “to fix with nails or bolts” (attested for epikrounein: Masson 1967:101–102).

[ back ] 105. Published in Robert 1950:78–80. The verb here is poiein, used both for neôn ‘temple’, and for stegê ‘roof’. Only the name of the ”architect” survives: Leucippus, who himself worked on the construction of the temple, autokheriei, with his own hands.

[ back ] 106. Out of the thirty examples of naos ‘temple’ in the Homeric Hymns, twenty-one appear in the Hymn to Apollo.

[ back ] 107. I am here following data provided by Roux 1966.

[ back ] 108. Odyssey viii 74. When the riches of Apollo of Delphi are evoked at Iliad IX 404, it is again the “threshold” (oudos) that represents the temple.

[ back ] 109. Herodotus 1.90.

[ back ] 110. Sokolowski 1962, no. 115, B 52.

[ back ] 111. Hellmann 1988:245.

[ back ] 112. Returning to the initial promise made by Leto.

[ back ] 113. That of Plato Republic 427b6–7.

[ back ] 114. Cf. Gernet 1932.

[ back ] 115. Apollo is very much concerned with landings and altars set up on the seashore, on the boundary of a territory.

[ back ] 116. Epopsios, ‘visible’, but also all-seeing.

[ back ] 117. Apollo knows the law of “men who are eaters of bread.” He accordingly invites them to eat their fill, 497–98.

[ back ] 118. This stands in contrast to the first sacrifices performed by Hermes, who had to rub two sticks together in order to produce the spark of a technological fire: Hymn to Hermes 108–142, together with the interpretations of Kahn 1978:50–56.

[ back ] 119. The same “fine, prancing step” as in his expedition to Olympus (203). Arkhein in the sense of leading the way, being in charge.

[ back ] 120. Cf. Bruneau 1970:161–165.

[ back ] 121. Cf. Detienne 1994a:55–59.

[ back ] 122. The location of this altar remains uncertain, despite the hypotheses and research of archaeologists (Bruneau 1970:163 and 510).

[ back ] 123. On the altar of horns, see Bruneau 1970:19–29. It was an altar covered by a roof, but it has not been found by the archaeologists working on Delos. Discoveries at Dreros in Crete have revealed the design of another such altar (24).