Theognis and Megara: A Poet’s Vision of his City

[[This article was originally published in 1985 by The Johns Hopkins University Press as Chapter 2 of Theognis of Megara: Poetry and the Polis (ed. by T. Figueria and G. Nagy) 22-81. Baltimore. In this online version, the original page-numbers of the printed version are indicated within braces (“{” and “}”). For example, “{22|23}” indicates where p. 22 of the printed version ends and p. 23 begins]] [1]

Poet and Community


εἰ μὲν χρήματ᾽ ἔχοιμι, Σιμωνίδη, οἷά περ ἤδη,
οὐκ ἂν ἀνιῴμην τοῖς ἀγαθοῖσι συνών.
νῦν δέ με γινώσκοντα παρέρχεται, εἰμὶ δ᾽ ἄφωνος
χρημοσύνῃ, πολλῶν γνοὺς ἂν ἄμεινον ἔτι,
οὕνεκα νῦν φερόμεσθα καθ᾽ ἱστία λευκὰ βαλόντες
Μηλίου ἐκ πόντου νύκτα διὰ δνοφερήν,
ἀντλεῖν δ᾽ οὐκ ἐθέλουσιν, ὑπερβάλλει δὲ θάλασσα
ἀμφοτέρων τοίχων. ἦ μάλα τις χαλεπῶς
σῴζεται, οἷ᾽ ἔρδουσι· κυβερνήτην μὲν ἔπαυσαν
ἐσθλόν, ὅτις φυλακὴν εἶχεν ἐπισταμένως·
χρήματα δ᾽ ἁρπάζουσι βίη, κόσμος δ᾽ ἀπόλωλεν,
δασμὸς δ᾽ οὐκέτ᾽ ἴσος γίνεται ἐς τὸ μέσον·
φορτηγοὶ δ᾽ ἄρχουσι, κακοὶ δ᾽ ἀγαθῶν καθύπερθεν.
δειμαίνω μή πως ναῦν κατὰ κῦμα πίῃ.
ταῦτά μοι ᾐνίχθω κεκρυμμένα τοῖς ἀγαθοῖσιν.
γινώσκοι δ᾽ ἄν τις καὶ κακὸν ἂν σοφὸς ᾖ .

Theognis 667–682

If I had my possessions [khrēmata], Simonides, [2] {22|23}
I would not be distressed as I am now [3] at being together with the noble [agathoi]. [4]
But now they [= my possessions] have passed me by, even though I was aware, [5] and I am speechless
because of my lack of possessions, [6] though I would be better aware than many, [7]
[aware] that we are now being carried along, with white sails lowered,
beyond the seas of Melos, through the dark night,
and they refuse to bail, and the sea washes over
both sides of the ship. It is a difficult thing for anyone
to be saved, such things they are doing. They have deposed the pilot [kubernētēs],
the noble [esthlos] one, who was standing guard with expertise.
They seize possessions [khrēmata] by force [biē], and order [kosmos] has been destroyed.
There is no longer an equitable [8] division [of possessions], in the common interest, [9]
but the carriers of merchandise rule, and the base [kakoi] are on top of the noble [agathoi].
I am afraid that perhaps a wave will swallow the ship.
Let these things be allusive utterances [= ainigmata] hidden by me for the noble [agathoi].
One could be aware of even [future] misfortune, if one is skilled [sophos].

§2. These verses, the translation of which will be defended in what follows, present a prime example of a familiar traditional theme in Greek poetry: the polis ‘city-state’ is afflicted with social discord {23|24} or—to use the Greek word for it— stasis, [10] and this affliction is here envisaged as a violent seastorm that threatens the ship of state. [11] The equation is made, as the poetry itself reveals, in a cryptic and ambiguous poetic language that is meant to be understood by the agathoi or ‘noble’ only—to the exclusion of those who are kakoi or ‘base’. [12] The quality of ambiguity and exclusiveness, expressed by the phrase κεκρυμμένα τοῖς ἀγαθοῖσιν ‘hidden for the agathoi ‘ at verse 681, is also expressed by the perfect imperative ᾐνίχθω of the verb ainissomai ‘make allusive utterances’ in the same verse (for the semantics, cf. the derivative noun ainigma ‘enigma, riddle’ as in Sophocles OT 393, 1525). This same quality of ambiguity and exclusiveness is inherent in the noun from which the verb ainissomai is derived: the word in question is ainos, designating a mode of poetic discourse that is unmistakably understandable only to its intended audience. [13] To use the terminology of Prague School linguistics: the ainos entails one code with at least two messages—the true one for the intended audience and the false or garbled ones for all others. There is no room here for elaboration on details that have been assembled elsewhere, [14] and it will suffice for now to cite one of the words used in the traditional language of the ainos to designate those who hear its true message: the word is sophos, which means in the context of the ainos not just ‘skilled’ but ‘skilled in understanding poetry’. [15] Such sophiē ‘skill’ applies to poet and audience alike—both to the encoder and to the decoders, as it were, of the ainos. One aim of this study is to show that the inherent sophiē of the ainos is also at work in the ambiguous and exclusive message conveyed by the poetry of Theognis to the agathoi.
§3. The converse of this ideology, namely that the kakoi ‘base’ are excluded from understanding the poetry of Theognis, depends on the interpretation of the last verse in the passage under consideration (§1): {24|25}

γινώσκοι δ᾽ ἄν τις καὶ κακὸν ἂν σοφὸς ᾖ.

Theognis 682

one could be aware of even [future] misfortune, if one is sophos. [16]

The reading offered here follows the manuscript tradition, which gives κακόν —as opposed to the emendation κακός adopted by most recent editors (but not by Douglas Young) and yielding this alternative interpretation of the same verse:

even a base person could be aware [of what is hidden away for the noble], if he is sophos.

In support of the reading κακόν, there is a parallel passage where the immediate context is the mention of poets and seers as parallel types in a catalogue enumerating representatives of various social functions:

ἄλλος ᾿Ολυμπιάδων Μουσέων πάρα δῶρα
διδαχθείς, ἱμερτῆς σοφίης μέτρον
ἐπιστάμενος· ἄλλον μάντιν ἔθηκεν ἄναξ ἑκάεργος
᾿Απόλλων, ἔγνω δ᾽ ἀνδρὶ κακὸν τηλόθεν

Solon fr. 1.51–54 GP [= fr. 13 W]

And another man is taught the gifts of the Olympian Muses,
and such a man understands the control of desirable sophiē.
Far reaching Apollo makes yet another man a seer, and such a man is aware of misfortune even as it is coming from afar. [17]

The next two verses go on to say that, even if one has such powers of foreseeing misfortunes, one still cannot prevent what is fated to happen (Solon fr. 1.55–56). [18] {25|26}

§4. A parallel theme is at work in the given passage from Theognis (§1): even though the poet had been aware of what was to happen, he still suffered the misfortune of losing his khrēmata ‘possessions’ (verses 667–669). The verb gīnōskō ‘be aware’ occurs twice here, signaling not only the poet’s past awareness of the misfortune that awaited him (669) but also his present awareness that the ship of state is threatened by a violent seastorm (670). The conjunction οὕνεκα ‘that’, dependent on the second occurrence of gīnōskō, [19] directly introduces this central image of the afflicted ship, and the parallelism of the two occurrences suggests that the poet’s loss of his possessions is a theme parallel to that of a ship in a seastorm. The image of the afflicted ship is then held up for scrutiny in the coda of the passage, which contains the third and last occurrence of gīnōskō:

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

Theognis 681–682

Let these things be allusive utterances made by me for the agathoi. One could be aware of even [future] misfortune, if one is sophos.

The poet has experienced such misfortune, but when he is together with the agathoi (§1 verse 668) he is painfully reluctant to speak of his experience directly to them; instead, he speaks to his audience indirectly, and they are specifically named as the agathoi (681). For them the key to being aware of future misfortune is being aware of the hidden message encoded in the image of the ship in a seastorm. And to be thus aware, the audience has to be sophoi as the poet is sophos.

§5. In the inherited diction of the ainos, as mastered in the epinician poetry of Pindar and Bacchylides, one way to express the actual bond of communication between poet as sophos and audience as sophoi is to deploy the word philos and its derivatives. This subject has been treated in some detail elsewhere, [20] and it will suffice here to observe that a parallel ideology is at work in the poetry of Theognis. For an examination of Theognidean poetry in this regard, it is important to keep in mind that the mere translation of philos as ‘dear’ when it is an adjective and ‘friend’ when it is a noun is insufficient for conveying the ideology entailed by this word in the language of archaic {26|27} Greek poetry. The studies of Emile Benveniste have shown that philos conveys the state of integration, of emotional as well as strictly societal bonding; [21] moreover, the varying degrees of one’s feeling philos to others amount to a measure of one’s own identity. [22] In the ideology of the ainos, the community with whom the poetry communicates—and identifies—is actually conceived as an integral group of philoi. So also with the poetry of Theognis: it will become apparent that the poet is speaking to an ostensibly integral community of philoi that is the polis of Megara.
§6. The body of Theognidean poetry is inaugurated on a note of social integration: a prime theme of the multiple invocation at verses 1–18 is that of foundation—the establishment of community. But the city that is singled out at one particular moment of its foundation is not Megara but Thebes:

Μοῦσαι καὶ Χάριτες, κοῦραι Διός, αἵ ποτε Κάδμου
ἐς γάμον ἐλθοῦσαι καλὸν ἀείσατ᾽ ἔπος ·
“ὅττι καλὸν φίλον ἐστί, τὸ δ᾽ οὐ καλὸν οὐ φίλον ἐστί”·
τοῦτ᾽ ἔπος ἀθανάτων ἦλθε διὰ στομάτων. [23]

Theognis 15-18

Muses and Kharites, [24] daughters of Zeus! You were the ones who once
came to the wedding of Kadmos, and you sang this beautiful utterance [epos]: [25] {27|28}
“What is beautiful is philon, what is not beautiful is not philon.” [26]
That is the utterance [epos] [27] that came through their immortal mouths.

The song of the Muses at the wedding of Kadmos, founder of Thebes, inaugurates the polis just as the invocation of the Muses inaugurates the poetry of Theognis. In this way the song of the Muses at verse 17 sets the overall theme of Theognidean poetry. The song itself amounts to an equation of beauty with that which is philon, where the adjective philos in the neuter serves to convey the institutional and sentimental bonds that integrate society. In other words, the beauty of the Muses’ song is equated with the social integration of Thebes and, by extension, the beauty of Theognidean poetry is equated with the social integration of Megara.

§7. Besides the word philos, the theme of social integration is also conveyed by the name Harmoniē, who is the bride of Kadmos (Hesiod Theogony 937, 975). As an abstract noun, harmoniē is actually used in the diction of archaic poetry to designate the concept of ‘accord’ (e.g., Iliad XXII 255). Moreover, the word can convey not only social but esthetic integration as well, in a musical sense roughly corresponding to “harmony” (e.g., Sophocles fr. 244 Radt). The verb root from which harmoniē is built, namely the ar- of ar-ar-iskō ‘join, fit’, can actually convey the beauty of song:

…οὕτω σφιν καλὴ συνάρηρεν ἀοιδή

H. Apollo 164

…so beautifully is their song fitted together [28]

In other words, the very concept of Harmoniē has a built-in equation of musical beauty with social integration, which is the message delivered by the song of the Muses—and by the poetry of Theognis. [29] {28|29} Thus, the invocation to the Muses reveals that the poetry of Theognis is based on an ideology that awards the highest priority to the quality of being philos. To repeat: like the ainos, the poetry of Theognis is communicating with an ostensibly integrated community of philoi.

§8. In the verses that follow the invocation of the Muses, the main body of Theognidean poetry commences:

Κύρνε, σοφιζομένῳ μὲν ἐμοὶ [30] σφρηγὶς ἐπικείσθω
τοῖσδ᾽ ἔπεσιν —λήσει δ᾽ οὔποτε κλεπτόμενα,
οὐδέ τις ἀλλάξει κάκιον τοὐσθλοῦ παρεόντος,
ὧδε δὲ πᾶς τις ἐρεῖ· “Θεύγνιδός ἐστιν ἔπη
τοῦ Μεγαρέως· πάντας δὲ κατ᾽ ἀνθρώπους ὀνομαστός.”

Theognis 19–23

Kyrnos, let a seal [sphrēgis] be placed by me, as I practice my poetic skill [sophiē],
upon these utterances [epos plural]; that way they [= the utterances] will never be stolen without detection,
and no one will substitute something inferior for the genuine [31] thing that is there.
And everyone will say: “These are the utterances [epos plural] of Theognis
of Megara. His name is known among all men.”

For an understanding of the sphrēgis ‘seal’ of Theognis, it is pertinent to review the semantics of the word sophizomai ‘practice sophiē‘ in the same verse (19). To repeat: The concept of sophiē as ‘poetic skill’ embraces an ideology characteristic of the ainos —and of Theognidean poetry. [32] The seal placed on the poetry of Theognis through the sophiē of the poet himself guarantees the correct perception of the poet’s message. Any use of the poet’s words in an incorrect context will be exposed as theft, and any tampering with the words will implicitly garble their message and thereby produce, again, an incorrect context; in the correct context, however, the words will {29|30} identify and thereby glorify Theognis as the genuine poet. The occurrence of epos [plural] at verses 20 and 22 must refer primarily to Theognidean poetry as a whole, but the pointed use of epos at verses 16 and 18, in the passage immediately preceding (§6), to quote the song of the Muses colors the use of epos in the two occurrences now under consideration, associating what the Muses sang with all of Theognis’ poetry. Moreover, since the song of the Muses is quoted in an invocation that actually inaugurates the poetry of Theognis, the theme of their song—to repeat—serves as the very foundation of Theognidean poetry. This theme glorifies the quality of being philos, and one is led yet again to the expectation that the audience of Theognis is an integrated community of philoi.

§9. In fact, the last two verses of the passage just cited (§8) make it clear that the audience of Theognis is meant to be not just local but pan-Hellenic in scope, and that the poetry of Theognis is worthy of pan-Hellenic acceptance (22–23):

And everyone will say: “These are the utterances [epos plural] of Theognis of Megara. His name is known among all men.”

The very next verse, however, which combines with the previous verse about the poet’s future pan-Hellenic status to form a complete elegiac couplet, makes it just as clear that the poetry of Theognis has as yet failed to gain universal acceptance in his own polis of Megara:

ἀστοῖσιν δ᾽ οὔπω πᾶσιν ἁδεῖν δύναμαι

Theognis 24

But I am not yet able to please all the citizens.

§10. This failure is viewed as natural even by the poet:

οὐδὲν θαυμαστόν, Πολυπαΐδη· οὐδὲ γὰρ ὁ Ζεὺς
οὔθ᾽ ὕων πάντεσσ᾽ ἁνδάνει οὔτ᾽ ἀνέχων.
σοὶ δ᾽ ἐγὼ εὖφρονέων ὑποθήσομαι, οἷάπερ αὐτὸς
Κύρν᾽ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀγαθῶν παῖς ἔτ᾽ ἐὼν ἔμαθον.

Theognis 25–28

This is not surprising, son of Polypaos! For not even Zeus
can please everyone either by raining or by letting up.
But I, having good intentions toward you, will give you the kind of advice
that I myself, Kyrnos, learned from the agathoi when I was still a boy. {30|31}

By implication, the advice of Theognis to Kyrnos represents social order just as the weather as controlled by Zeus represents natural order—the cosmos itself.

§11. The attitude of Theognis toward his community is in this respect parallel to that of the generic lawgiver. Now the function of a lawgiver, as will emerge from what follows, is to create social order; paradoxically, however, the lawgiver has to become alienated from his community in the process of integrating it. With this theme of alienation in mind, it is appropriate first of all to consider the Athenian tradition about Solon, as reported by Plutarch (Solon 25.6). Once his laws are passed and social order is finally established in Athens, the lawgiver perceives that his presence in the community becomes instantly disruptive: the citizens keep praising or blaming this or that aspect of the laws (ἐπαινοῦντες ἢ ψέγοντες), constantly asking Solon himself to make changes in the code that he has given them (Plutarch loc.cit.). In precisely this context, Plutarch’s narrative has Solon utter an actual verse from his own poetry:

ἔργμασι ἐν μεγάλοις πᾶσιν ἁδεῖν χαλεπόν.

Solon fr. 9 GP [=fr. 7 W]

In matters of great importance it is difficult to please all.

To cite once again the verse of Theognis (§9):

ἀστοῖσιν δ᾽ οὔπω πᾶσιν ἁδεῖν δύναμαι.

Theognis 24

But I am not yet able to please all the citizens.

§12. Plutarch’s account goes on to say that Solon’s response to the threat of changes in his code was to leave the community altogether and to sail away on a journey of ten years’ duration (Solon 25.6). Moreover, the laws of Solon, intended to last for a hundred years, were absolutely protected by oath for these ten years (Herodotus 1.29.2; Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 7.2, 11.1; Plutarch Solon 25.1, 6). There is a parallel pattern in the Spartan traditions about their lawgiver Lycurgus, again as reported by Plutarch (Lycurgus 29.1–4): once the code of Lycurgus is adopted and the social order is finally established, he makes the Spartans swear an oath that they will not make changes in the code and that the oath will stay in effect until he comes back from a journey to Delphi. He then makes the code permanent by never returning to Sparta: Lycurgus dies abroad {31|32} by starving himself to death (Plutarch Lycurgus 29.8, 31; Ephorus FGH 70F175 at Aelian VH 13.23). [33] Since the lawgiver is traditionally pictured as holding the power of changing his own laws, the threat of changing his code is removed only with the removal of the lawgiver himself from the community—whether by self-imposed exile or by death. [34]
§13. 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. For example, the traditions of Sparta in the fifth century as reported by Herodotus (1.65.2–1.66.1) ascribe the city’s social order—the local word for which is kosmos [35] (1.65.4)—entirely to Lycurgus. And yet the events and institutions that are ascribed to him can be dated to periods so varied that they range over several centuries. According to Xenophon, Lycurgus flourished ‘in the era of the Herakleidai’ (κατὰ τοὺς Ἡρακλείδας : Constitution of the Lacedaemonians 10.8). He is identified by Herodotus (1.65.4) as the uncle and mentor of the Spartan king Labotas, the relative date for whom is around 900 B.C. [36] As the promulgator of the Great Rhetra (Plutarch Lycurgus 6.2), Lycurgus would have flourished somewhere in the ninth or eighth century; as the originator of the phalanx, he would presumably belong to the eighth; as an older contemporary of Tyrtaeus, he would belong to the seventh. [37] Then again, he is in effect credited with the whole set of social reforms datable to the mid-sixth century. [38] One expert sums it up this way: “In his mythical elusiveness and multivalent anonymity Lycurgus embodies the legend of Sparta.” [39] {32|33}
§14. Such elusiveness is hardly surprising in view of the general tendency in Greek mythopoeic traditions to retroject each cultural institution to a primordial creation of one man. [40] And this pattern of elusiveness in figures like Lycurgus has a parallel in the figure of Theognis himself. Like the code of the lawgiver, the poetry of Theognis presents itself as static, unchangeable. In fact the sphrēgis ‘seal’ of Theognis ( verses 19–23 above) is pictured as a guarantee that no one will ever tamper with the poet’s words (§8 verses 20–21). Outside this ideology and in reality, however, the poetry of Theognis is dynamic, subject to modifications and accretions that are occasioned by an evolving social order. And the poet is always there, observing it all—despite the fact that the events being observed span an era that goes well beyond a single lifetime. For now it is enough simply to cite the two chronological extremes that are most readily verifiable from the internal evidence of the poetry. On one extreme, verses 773–782 of Theognis allude to the Persian foray into the Megarid in 479 B.C. (on which see Pausanias 1.40.2); [41] on the other extreme, verses 39–52 dramatize the situation in Megara before the tyranny of Theagenes, which started somewhere in the third quarter of the seventh century B.C. [42] There is even a possibility, moreover, that the figure of Theognis, like Lycurgus, has links with an era as early as that of the Herakleidai: it happens that Kurnos, the name of the fickle youth who serves as the focus of the poet’s attention, is also the name of a hērōs ‘hero’ mentioned by Herodotus (1.167.4)—a hero further identified by Servius (on Virgil Eclogues 9.30) as a son of Herakles! Be that as it may, the point remains that the poetry of Theognis, like the code of Lycurgus, is a dynamic institution that responds to the evolution of the community it embraces.
§15. Accordingly, it seems helpful to advance the theory that the figure of Theognis represents a cumulative synthesis of Megarian poetic traditions. The major advantage of this theory is that the poetry of Theognis may then be appreciated as a skillful and effective—maybe even beautiful—dramatization of Megara through the ages. The major disadvantage, however, is that the notion of a historical Theognis may have to be abandoned. This is not to say, however,{33|34} that the persona of Theognis does not inform the entire corpus of Theognidean poetry, which is in fact ascribed to the authorship of Theognis by the poetry itself. It is even true that the poetry itself actually creates the integral and lively personality of one man—an extraordinarily versatile man—whose complex identity is perhaps the only constant in the changing world of his beloved Megara. If, moreover, this theory is tantamount to calling Theognis a myth, then so be it—provided that “myth” can be understood as a given society’s codification of its own traditional values in narrative and dramatized form.
§16. It is not enough to say, however, that the poetry of Theognis is simply Megarian poetry. The surviving corpus of Theognidean poetry represents Megarian traditions that have evolved into a form suitable for pan-Hellenic audiences. This poetry, as the poet himself boasts to Kyrnos, is appropriate for performance at symposia in city-states throughout Hellas (Theognis 237–254). [43] As the poet makes clear, attaining pan-Hellenic approval is the same thing as attaining permanence (verses 251–252). But the next two verses, which round out this passage, present a striking contrast. It now becomes clear that the poet himself fails to win acceptance from the focal point of his audience, Kyrnos himself:

αὐτὰρ ἐγὼν ὀλίγης παρὰ σεῦ οὐ τυγχάνω αἰδοῦς,
ἀλλ᾽ ὥσπερ μικρὸν παῖδα λόγοις μ᾽ ἀπατᾷς.

Theognis 253–254

But I do not even get a bit of respect from you,
and you deceive me with what you say, [44] as if I were some small boy.

Similarly, the same poet who boasts of future pan-Hellenic approval at verses 22–23 (quoted at §8) declares in the very next verse that he fails to win the universal approval of his own community in his own time:

ἀστοῖσιν δ᾽ οὔπω πᾶσιν ἁδεῖν δύναμαι.

Theognis 24

But I am not yet able to please all the citizens. {34|35}

§17. The adverb οὔπω ‘not yet’ here merits particular scrutiny, since it draws attention to the future tenses describing pan-Hellenic approval of Theognidean poetry at verses 19–23 (quoted at §8) [45] as well as 237–252. [46] The poetry itself is setting up a dramatic tension between its own present and the future. In his own here-and-now, the poet cannot be wholly accepted even by his own community; in the future, he will be accepted not only by all Megarians but also by all Hellenes. Yet the internal evidence of Theognidean poetry proves that this future is already a foregone conclusion. The verses of Theognis, including the very verses that foretell pan-Hellenic acceptance, are after all composed not in the native poetic diction of Doric Megara but rather in the accretive Ionic dialect of elegiac, a pan-Hellenic format suitable for transforming local traditions as diverse as those represented by Archilochus of Paros, Tyrtaeus of Sparta, and Solon of Athens. And the very fact that the poetry of Theognis has survived in its present form bears witness to its pan-Hellenic diffusion, which is, from the standpoint of the poetry, tantamount to pan-Hellenic acceptance. [47] Pan-Hellenic diffusion of such poetry seems impossible, however, without a native foundation: as the poetry itself acknowledges with the adverb οὔπω ‘not yet’ at verse 24 (quoted at §16), Theognis must one day win universal acceptance from his native Megara.
§18. Theognis must wait for a span of time well beyond a single lifetime before his poetry can indeed become the ideology of his city. {35|36} From the standpoint of the poet, this span of time is marked by strife, and the strife begins when Theagenes the tyrant comes to power in Megara (cf. Aristotle Politics 1305a24, Rhetoric 1357b33). As already noted, verses 39–52 of Theognis dramatize the poet’s words to Kyrnos at a period just before this event, which must be dated to somewhere in the third quarter of the seventh century. [48] Theagenes was eventually overthrown and replaced by what is said to be a moderate oligarchy (Aristotle Politics 1302b30, Plutarch Greek Questions 295C–D), which by around 600 B.C. gave way to what is characterized as an intemperate democracy (Aristotle loc.cit., Plutarch loc.cit.). [49] It is also worth noting en passant that this same democracy is cited by Aristotle as the context for the origins of Megarian comedy (Poetics 1448a31). Then, sometime around 550 B.C., it seems that the democracy was overthrown and replaced by an oligarchical but supposedly moderate government that stayed in power through the rest of the archaic period, well into the fifth century (cf. Aristotle Politics 1300a17, 1302b31, 1304b34). [50] By 550 B.C., over seventy-five years of strife have elapsed since Theognis had told Kyrnos that he fears the onset of tyranny, an institution that will lead to stasis ‘discord’ (verse 51, in plural). Some seventy years still later, the poet speaks of the Persian threat to Hellas (verses 773–788), again in terms of stasis ‘discord’ (verse 781), though here the word applies not so much to any specific situation at Megara as to the general upheaval inflicted by the Persian menace upon all Hellenes.
§19. We may conclude, then, that the poetry of Theognis, like the code of Lycurgus, is cumulative from the external standpoint of history: the poetry and the code actually embody the evolution of Megara and Sparta, respectively. From the internal standpoint of the poetry and the code, however, each is created by one man in response to the strife that afflicts his respective community.

Champions of Justice

§20. Theognis actually assumes a moral authority parallel to that of lawgivers like Lycurgus and Solon. His declaration at verse 24 (quoted at §9) that he cannot yet be approved by all the citizens of Megara is {36|37} framed in a context of the poet’s insisting on his poetry, just as Solon’s corresponding declaration (quoted at §11) is preserved in the context of the lawgiver’s insisting on his law code. In fact, Theognis makes such declarations of insistence more than once, in the context of stressing the impossibility of being able to please all (cf. verses 367–370, 801–804, 1183–1184b). Like the lawgiver Lycurgus, who according to one tradition had his law code revealed to him by the Pythia of the Delphic Oracle (Herodotus 1.65.4), Theognis himself lays claim to a revelation from the same source:

τόρνου καὶ στάθμης καὶ γνώμονος ἄνδρα θεωρὸν
εὐθύτερον χρὴ <ἔ>μεν Κύρνε φυλασσόμενον,
ὧτινί κεν Πυθῶνι θεοῦ χρήσας᾽ ἱέρεια
ὀμφὴν σημήν πίονος ἐξ ἀδύτου·
οὔτέ τι γὰρ προσθεὶς οὐδέν κ᾽ ἔτι φάρμακον εὕροις
οὐδ᾽ ἀφελὼν πρὸς θεῶν ἀμπλακίην προφύγοις.

Theognis 805–810

A man who is theōros [= who consults the Oracle]
must be more straight , [51] Kyrnos, being on his guard, [52] than a carpenter’s pin and rule and square—
a man to whom the priestess [= the Pythia] of the god at Delphi makes a response, revealing
a sacred utterance from the opulent shrine.
You will not find any remedy [53] left if you add anything,
nor will you escape from veering, in the eyes of the gods, if you take anything away.

That the theōros must be none other than Theognis—and that his dikē ‘judgment’ itself is at stake if there is any “veering” from “straightness”—becomes clear in another passage: [54]

χρή με παρὰ στάθμην καὶ γνώμονα τήνδε δικάσσαι
Κύρνε δίκην, ἶσόν τ᾽ ἀμφοτέροισι δόμεν,
μάντεσί τ᾽ οἰωνοῖς τε καὶ αἰθομένοις ἱεροῖσιν,
ὄφρα μὴ ἀμπλακίης αἰσχρὸν ὄνειδος ἔχω.

Theognis 543–546

I must render this judgment [dikē], Kyrnos, along [the straight line of] a carpenter’s rule and square, {37|38}
and I must give to both sides their equitable share,
with the help of seers, portents, and burning sacrifice, [55]
so that I may not incur shameful reproach for veering.

Solon as lawgiver likewise renders dikē ‘judgment’:

θεσμοὺς δ᾽ ὁμοίως τῷ κακῷ τε κἀγαθῷ
εὐθεῖαν εἰς ἕκαστον ἁρμόσας δίκην

Solon fr. 30.18–20 GP [=fr. 36W]

I wrote down the laws for base and noble alike,
fitting a straight judgment [dikē] for each.

The ‘straightness’ of the lawgiver’s dikē is manifested in his even-handedness, which is equated elsewhere with his refusal to add to or take away from what rightfully belongs to one of two sides (Solon fr. 7.1–2GP [=fr. 5W]), just as Theognis equates ‘veering’ with adding or subtracting (verses 809–810, quoted above): [56] by adding to or subtracting from the words of revelation emanating from the Oracle, one would be ‘veering’ by taking one side or another. Solon goes on to declare that he protects ‘both sides’ and allows ‘neither side’ to win (ἀμφοτέροισι / οὐδετέρους at Solon fr. 7.5/6), just as Theognis presents himself as giving an equal share to ‘both sides’ (ἀμφοτέροισι at verse 544, quoted above). Elsewhere too, Theognis teaches Kyrnos to walk ‘the middle road’ (verses 219–220, 331–332) and give to ‘neither side’ that which belongs to the other (μηδετέροισι at verse 332). [57]

§21. The stance of Theognis as one who renders dikē ‘judgment’ (§20 verse 543) is presented in a specific setting of sacrifice and ritual correctness (545; cf. §20n5 above). This thematic connection of legal and ritual correctness is a matter of Indo-European heritage, as the comparative evidence of Indic legal traditions makes clear. In the Laws of Manu, ritual figures as the very foundation of Indic law. Moreover, {38|39} this corpus of legal and moral aphorisms is traditionally ascribed to and named after Manu, who is both ancestor of the human race and prototypical sacrificer. The root *men- of Indic Manu- (cognate with English man) conveys that he is ‘mindful’ of ritual, a man whose virtuosity in “the delicate art of sacrifice” confers upon him an incontestable authority. [58]
§22. Similarly in the Works and Days, Hesiod’s warning to Perses that Zeus will in the end punish ‘deeds without dikē‘ (verses 333–334) and the poet’s advice that his brother keep away from such deeds (335) is linked with the further advice that Perses should perform sacrifice in a ritually correct manner (336–341). Moreover, the expanded root *menh2-/*mneh2- of *men- as in Manu- recurs in the participle memnēmenos ‘being mindful’, used throughout the Works and Days in the specific context of ritual as well as moral prescriptions (verses 298, 422, 616, 623, 641, 711, 728), and it is clear that such prescriptions are cognate with those found in the Indic legal tradition. For example, the Laws of Manu (4.45–50) forbid urinating on a road, while walking or standing, or into a river, or while looking at the sun; likewise in the Works and Days, Hesiod declares that one should be memnēmenos ‘mindful’ (verse 728) not to urinate while standing up and facing the sun (727), or on a road (729), and the prohibition extends also to rivers and springs (757–758). [59] In short, the parallelism of ritual correctness and moral rectitude in the Works and Days is a reflex of Indo-European legal traditions.
§23. The word that conveys such correctness and rectitude throughout the Works and Days is dikē, as in Hesiod’s warning about ‘deeds without dikē‘ at verses333–334(cited at §22). [60] In such contexts, however, dikē takes on the general sense of ‘justice’ rather than the specific one of ‘judgment’ as at Theognis 543(quoted at §20). It is in fact only when Zeus himself renders a judgment (as at WD 9) that dikē assumes the sense of ‘judgment’ and ‘justice’ simultaneously. If any man renders dikē, however, this specific ‘judgment’ becomes general ‘justice’ only as it is validated by the gods in the course of time. The specificity of the dikē that unjust men render in Works and Days 39, 249, and 269is marked by the demonstrative pronoun τήνδε in all three verses: men can make the goddess Dikē herself {39|40} ‘not straight’ (WD 224), but in the end she prevails over her opposite, hubris ‘outrage’ (δίκη ὑπὲρ ὕβριος ἴσχει / ἐς τέλος ἐξελθοῦσα :WD 217–218). The eventuality of dikē as ‘justice’ is a cornerstone of the Works and Days, in that this poem dramatizes the actual passage of time in which the dikē ‘judgment’ of the unjust kings at verses 39/249/269 is transformed into the dikē ‘justice’ of Zeus by the poem as a whole. [61] Hesiod proclaims at the beginning of the Works and Days that the dikē of Zeus is indeed the realization of the poem, in that Zeus renders dikē while Hesiod addresses etētuma, ‘genuine’ words, to Perses (verses 9–10).
§24. The dikē ‘judgment’ that evolves into ‘justice’ in the life of Hesiod as dramatized in the Works and Days may be contrasted with the dikē that Solon boasts of having rendered for the Athenians (fr. 30.18–20, quoted at §20). Whereas the frame of reference for the dikē of Solon is the actual law code that lies behind the lawgiver’s poetry, the dikē of Hesiod is enacted by the poetry within which it is dramatized. This convergence of Hesiod’s moral teachings with the personification of the teacher himself is clearly more archaic by virtue of being closer to the Indo-European model of legal traditions, as is evident from the comparative evidence of the Laws of Manu. So also with the dikē of Theognis as proclaimed in verses 543–546(quoted at §20): what amounts to a personal ‘judgment’ inside the drama of the poet’s life is really ‘justice’ outside it. Unlike Solon, Theognis has no separate law code that he could proclaim as dikē within his poetry. And yet, like Solon, Theognis boasts of rendering dikē as if he were some judge (χρή με…τήνδε δικάσσαι / …δίκην: verses 543–544quoted at §20): it is as if the sum total of Theognidean poetry, dramatizing the life of Theognis himself, amounted to the rendering of a lawgiver’s law code.
§25. Thus Theognis, like Hesiod, is simultaneously a poet and an exponent of law. The figure of Solon, in contrast, goes beyond such a basic Indo-European model, in that he is credited with a written law code that is distinct from his poetry. The figure of Lycurgus represents yet another step beyond this model, in that he is credited with no poetry at all. But even in the traditions about Lycurgus, there are reflexes of an earlier state of affairs. In Plutarch’s Lycurgus (4.2–3), there is a report of a poet named Thales/Thaletas whom the lawgiver met in Crete (the very place from which his law code is said to have emanated!) and whom he sent to Sparta: the story has it that this {40|41} Thales seemed like a lyric poet but that the effects of his poetry resembled the effects of the most powerful of nomothetai ‘lawgivers’ (ποιητὴν μὲν δοκοῦντα λυρικῶν μελῶν καὶ πρόσχημα τὴν τέχνην ταύτην πεποιημένον, ἔργῳ δ᾽ ἅπερ οἱ κράτιστοι τῶν νομοθετῶν διαπραττόμενον : 4.2). [62] Specifically, the form and content of his poetry produced social as well as musical harmony (λόγοι γὰρ ἦσαν αἱ ᾠδαὶ πρὸς εὐπείθειαν καὶ ὁμόνοιαν ἀνακλητικοὶ διὰ μελῶν ἅμα καὶ ῥυθμῶν, πολὺ τὸ κόσμιον ἐχόντων καὶ καταστατικόν : 4.3). [63] Hearing his poetry, the citizens of Sparta became less disposed to internal strife (4.3), and in this sense Thales was indeed a forerunner of Lycurgus (προοδοποιεῖν : ibid.).

The Universality of a Poet’s Message

§26. To repeat: from the internal standpoint of the Lycurgan law code and Theognidean poetry, each was created by one man in response to the strife that afflicted his particular community. In the case of Theognis, this strife in fact constitutes the central drama of the poet’s words to Kyrnos in particular and his community in general. To date the strife, however, is as we have seen a difficult matter. In the case of Theognidea 39–52, for example, the historical setting does indeed seem to be that of Megara in the third quarter of the seventh century B.C., that is, before the tyranny of Theagenes. [64] The poet is saying that he fears (verse 39: δέδοικα) the coming of the tyrant. But, as we have also seen, [65] the historical setting of Theognidea 773–782 (cf. 757–764) is Megara at the time of the Persian War in 479 B.C.: the poet is saying that he fears (verse 780: δέδοικ᾽) the heedlessness and stasis ‘discord’ of the Hellenes, occasioned by the Persian host who are pictured as threatening the city (cf. verses 775–776). Similarly in Theognidea 51, the coming of the tyrant is correlated with the stasis (plural) of the Megarians. In light of such conflicting chronological indications, I have already argued that the poetry of Theognis represents a cumulative and accretive response to the evolution of Megara. [66] But I have not yet addressed the problem of how such a response could have come about. {41|42}
§27. The answer, I submit, is to be found in the generalized mode in which social strife is described by the poetry. For example, whereas the original reference of Theognidea 39–52 is doubtless to Theagenes the tyrant of Megara in the late seventh century, this person is not actually named in the poem, and no specifics are given. Though the poet is presented as foreseeing the emergence of a tyrant, the situation is generalized, even universalized:

Κύρνε, κύει πόλις ἥδε, δέδοικα δὲ μὴ τέκῃ ἄνδρα
εὐθυντῆρα κακῆς ὕβριος ἡμετέρης.
ἀστοὶ μὲν γὰρ ἔθ᾽ οἵδε σαόφρονες, ἡγεμόνες δὲ
τετράφαται πολλὴν εἰς κακότητα πεσεῖν.
οὐδεμίαν πω Κύρν᾽ ἀγαθοὶ πόλιν ὤλεσαν ἄνδρες·
ἀλλ᾽ ὅταν ὑβρίζειν τοῖσι κακοῖσι ἅδῃ
δῆμόν τε φθείρωσι δίκας τ᾽ ἀδίκοισι διδῶσιν
οἰκείων κερδέων εἵνεκα καὶ κράτεος,
ἔλπεο μὴ δηρὸν κείνην πόλιν ἀτρεμίεσθαι,
μηδ᾽ εἰ νῦν κεῖται πολλῇ ἐν ἡσυχιῃ,
εὖτ᾽ ἂν τοῖσι κακοῖσι φίλ᾽ ἀνδράσι ταῦτα γένηται,
κέρδεα δημοσίῳ σὺν κακῷ ἐρχόμενα.
ἐκ τῶν γὰρ στάσιές τε καὶ ἔμφυλοι φόνοι ἀνδρῶν
μούναρχοί τε· πόλει μήποτε τῇδε ἅδοι.

Theognis 39–42

Kyrnos, this polis is pregnant, and I fear that it will give birth to a man
who will be a straightener of our base hubris.
The citizens here are still moderate, but the leaders [hēgemones]
have veered so much as to fall into debasement [kakotēs].
Men who are agathoi, Kyrnos, have never yet ruined any polis,
but when the kakoi decide to behave with outrage [hubris],
and when they ruin the dēmos and render judgments [dikai] in favor of the unjust [= persons or things without dikē],
for the sake of private gain [kerdos plural], and for the sake of power,
do not expect that polis to be peaceful for long,
not even if it is now in a state of great serenity [hēsukhiē],
when the base [kakoi] decide on these things,
namely, private gains [kerdos plural] entailing public damage.
From these things arise discord [stasis plural], intestine killings [phonoi] of men,
and tyrants [mounarkhoi]. [67] May this polis never decide to adopt these things! {42|43}

So universalized is this picture that the description of the emerging tyrant is expressed in words that would be appropriate for describing the Athenian lawgiver Solon in Solon’s own poetry. The tyrant of Megara will be ‘a straightener of our base hubris ‘, says Theognis to Kyrnos (verse 40), and the wording is parallel to the ‘straight dikē‘ that Solon hands down by way of his laws (εὐθεῖαν…δίκην : Solon fr. 30.19GP [=fr. 36W]). We must also compare the eunomiē ‘good government’ of Solon (fr. 3.32 GP [=fr. 4W]), which makes everything ‘cohesive’ (32: ἄρτια) and ‘endowed with good kosmos‘ (32: εὔκοσμα); most important, it also ‘scorches hubris‘ (34: ὕβριν ἀμαὺροῖ) and ‘straightens crooked judgments [dikai]’ (36: εὐθύνει δὲ δίκας σκολιάς)—themes that match those of Theognidea 40.

§28. Now the hubris condemned by Solon in the just-cited verse 34 of fragment 3 (and at verse 8 as well) is that of the rich, not of the poor: as Aristotle points out in his Constitution of the Athenians, the stasis ‘conflict’ that leads to the emergence of Solon as lawgiver (5.2) is consistently blamed by Solon on the rich (5.3: καὶ οὕτως αἰεὶ τὴν αἰτίαν τῆς στάσεως ἀνάπτει τοῖς πλουσίοις). This is not to say that Solon was a one-sided champion of democracy (see Aristotle Constitution 11.2–12.1, containing Solon fr. 7GP [=fr. 5W]), but the point is that hubris and stasis are in the diction of Solon catchwords for the excesses of an oligarchy (fr. 3.8/34GP [=fr. 6W] and fr. 3.19GP [=fr. 4W], respectively).
§29. I thus disagree with the view that hēgemones ‘leaders’, as at Solon frr. 3.7 and 8.1GP [=frr. 4 and 6W], means ‘popular leaders’, that is, champions of democracy. [68] Rather, it is a catchword for ‘government’ (as clearly at 8.1), even in the combination dēmouhēgemones (as at 3.7). [69] The word dēmos here bears the older and simpler meaning of ‘community’ (cf. dēmosios ‘public, pertaining to the whole community’ as at Solon fr. 3.26). [70] So also at Theognis 39–52: the hēgemones (41) represent the elite of society before the coming of the euthuntēr ‘straightener, regulator’ (40). We know from the hindsight of Aristotle that the society of Megara was oligarchical {43|44} when Theagenes came to power (cf. Politics 1305a24; Rhetoric 1357b33), and we would expect the elite of this society to be the agathoi ‘nobles’, ‘but the leaders [hēgemones] have veered so as to fall into debasement [kakotēs]’ (43): in other words, the elite are now kakoi instead of agathoi, and the poet actually refers to them as kakoi (44). The reasoning is that they must be kakoi, since agathoi have never yet brought about the ruin of a city (43). [71] These kakoi are described as embracing hubris (44), thereby destroying the dēmos ‘community’ (45) and perverting dikē (45) for the sake of kerdos ‘private gain’ (46). The poet repeats that their personal gain entails the ruin of the dēmos (50), and he sums up by recounting the inevitable results of the decadence of the elite. These results are stasis (plural) ‘conflicts’ (51), phonoi ‘killings’ (51), and mounarkhoi (52)—the poet’s attenuated word for tyrants. [72]
§30. We now see that Theognis is no one-sided champion of the elite as represented by an oligarchy, any more than Solon is a one-sided champion of democracy. Although Theognis dreads the emergence of a tyrant, such a man is still described as one who regulates the excesses of an oligarchy. And it is precisely the excesses of an oligarchy that lead to stasis (plural), phonoi, and mounarkhoi. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Herodotean account of the words spoken by the Persian king Darius blaming oligarchy and praising tyranny:

ἐν δὲ ὀλιγαρχίῃ πολλοῖσι ἀρετὴν ἐπασκέουσι ἐς τὸ κοινὸν ἔχθεα ἴδια ἰσχυρὰ φιλέει ἐγγίνεσθαι· αὐτὸς γὰρ ἕκαστος βουλόμενος κορυφαῖος εἶναι γνώμῃσί τε νικᾶν ἐς ἔχθεα μεγάλα ἀλλήλοισι ἀπικνέονται, ἐξ ὧν {44|45} στάσιες ἐγγίνονται, ἐκ δὲ τῶν στασίων φόνος, ἐκ δὲ τοῦ φόνου ἀπέβη ἐς μουναρχίην, καὶ ἐν τούτῳ διέδεξε ὅσῳ ἐστὶ τοῦτο ἄριστον.

Herodotus 3.8.3

But in an oligarchy, where many men are competing for achievement [aretē] in public life, [73] intense personal hatreds are bound to break out. For each of them wants to be on top and to have his proposals win the day, and so they end up having great hatreds against each other. From which arise conflicts [stasis plural], from which arises killing [phonos], from which in turn it all comes down to monarchy [mounarkhiē]—and in this there is proof how superior is monarchy! [74]

§31. In much the same way as Theognis, Solon dramatizes himself within a time frame that gives him the opportunity to prophesy the emergence of the tyrant Peisistratos: in verses 3–4 of fr. 12GP [=fr. 9W], the poet says that the polis has been debased from the status of andres megaloi ‘great men’ into one of servitude to a monarkhos, and these verses are quoted by Diodorus (9.20.2) as a khrēsmos ‘prophecy’ in which the lawgiver had anticipated the tyranny. In the verses that immediately follow, Solon’s own words make it clear that the assertion about the city’s debasement, expressed in the aorist (ἔπεσεν, verse 4) is in fact presented as a thing of the future, something that could still be prevented:

λίαν δ᾽ ἐξάραντ᾽ <οὐ> ῥᾴδιόν ἐστι κατασχεῖν
ὕστερον, ἀλλ᾽ ἤδη χρή <τινα> πάντα νοεῖν.

Solon fr. 12.5–6 GP [=fr. 9W]

It is a difficult thing to hold down someone who has risen too far up,
once it has happened, but now is the time for someone to take all precautions.

§32. In short, Theognis finds aristocratic values amiss within the society that we identify with the oligarchy that preceded the tyranny {45|46} in Megara. The euthuntēr ‘regulator’ of “our base hubris ” (κακῆς ὕβριος ἡμετέρης) at Theognis 40 will be regulating the excesses perpetrated by the base men [kakoi] who would be constituents of such an oligarchy. Of course, the word hubris can implicitly apply to constituents of a democracy or to a tyrant as well. [75] In fact, there is a doublet of Theognis 39–42 where it is clearly the emerging tyrant who is the exponent of hubris:

Κύρνε, κύει πόλις ἥδε, δέδοικα δὲ μὴ τέκῃ ἄνδρα
ὑβριστήν, χαλεπῆς ἡγεμόνα στάσιος ·
ἀστοὶ μὲν γὰρ ἔασι [76] σαόφρονες, ἡγεμόνες δὲ
τετράφαται πολλὴν εἰς κακότητα πεσεῖν.

Theognis 1081–1082b

Kyrnos, this polis is pregnant, and I fear that it will give birth to a man
who is a perpetrator of outrage [hubris], a leader [hēgemōn] of dire discord [stasis]
The citizens are moderate, but the leaders [hēgemones]
have veered so much as to fall into debasement [kakotēs].

These verses seem to concern the same figure that we have seen in the doublet at verses 39–42, but the perspective is different: whereas the hēgemones ‘leaders’ of verse 1082a may again represent the exponents of an oligarchy who are themselves base and therefore implicitly marked by hubris, the hēgemōn of verse 1082, representing the single exponent of a tyranny, is also marked by hubris —and this time the marking is explicit. The tyrant will be a perpetrator, not a regulator, of hubris. Whereas verses 1081–1082b are one-sidedly negative about the emerging tyrant, verses 39–42 reveal a more even-handed—one might say “Solonian”—stance. [77]

Theognis or Theognidea?

§33. In this connection I can offer an alternative to the theories of Martin West about Theognis verses 1–1022, which contain the doublet describing the tyrant as a regulator of hubris (39–42), and verses 1023–1220, which contain the doublet describing the tyrant as an exponent {46|47} of hubris (1081–1082b). West argues that these two stretches of the Theognidea represent selections from a larger corpus, no longer extant, in which topically similar passages tended to be arranged one after the other. [78] This argument is defended on the basis of test cases where West finds strong topical correspondences between a given string of passages taken from verses 1–1022, a stretch that he calls Excerpta Meliora, and another string of passages taken from verses 1023–1220, a stretch that he calls Excerpta Deteriora. [79] Only occasionally do the correspondences between one given stanza from the Meliora and one from the Deteriora involve actual doublets (e.g., 619–620/1114a–b), which suggests to West that the larger corpus was in fact much larger than either of the two Excerpta—so much so that it contained for most topics a generous sample of similar stanzas running one after another. [80] Thus, if both Excerpta tended to select, say, just one representative stanza from each repetitive string of topically similar passages, the chances that both Excerpta would select the same representative passage from a given string would be relatively low. Whenever the same passage is selected by both hypothetical Excerpta, however, West believes that the doublet from verses 1–1022 tends to be superior and that from verses 1023–1220, inferior: hence his terms Meliora and Deteriora. [81] And yet West himself points out that the so-called Deteriora tend to follow the apparent sequence of the larger corpus more faithfully than the so-called Meliora. [82] Moreover, West is at times forced to argue that a given version of the Deteriora is in fact superior to that of the Meliora (e.g., 1109 vs. 53–57). [83] I suggest, therefore, that we abandon the notion that the Meliora and Deteriora are superior and inferior editions stemming from the same larger corpus. Instead, I shall now argue that the so-called Meliora and Deteriora are excerpts from different phases of the Theognidean poetic tradition.
§34. As we address the question of different phases, we should not exclude from consideration the passages in the Theognidea that have {47|48} generally been deemed to be excerpts from Solon and other masters of elegiac poetry. In West’s edition of the Theognidea, the passages in question are: 153–154/Solon fr. 8.3–4GP [=fr. 6W]; 227–232/ Solon fr. 1.71–76GP [=fr. 13W]; 315–318/Solon fr. 6. (1–4)GP [=fr. 15W]; 585–590/Solon fr. 1.65–70GP [=fr. 13W]; 719–728/ Solon fr. 18. (1–10)GP [=fr. 24W]; 795–796/Mimnermus fr. 12. (1–2)GP [=fr. 7W]; 1003–1006/Tyrtaeus fr. 9.13–16GP [=fr. 12W]; 1017–1022/Mimnermus fr. 12. (1–2)GP [=fr. 4.4–6W]. [84] I propose that the sharing of doublets in the textual traditions of two distinct poets, as also in that of a single elegiac poet such as Theognis, cannot be dismissed as merely a matter of textual transposition. [85] As the evidence collected by Pietro Giannini and others strongly suggests, formulaic behavior characterizes the diction of not only Theognis but also Solon, Tyrtaeus, Mimnermus, and all the other poets of archaic elegiac. [86] Moreover, the formulas of elegiac pentameter are independent from, though cognate with, those of Homeric and Hesiodic hexameter. [87] Any given sharing of doublets in Theognis, or in Theognis and another given elegiac poet—even when the match is several verses in length—can be ascribed to the workings of oral poetry, where we can expect parallel topics to be handled with parallel sequences of thematic development, which in turn will be expressed with remarkably parallel formulaic patterns. In what follows, I shall try briefly to make a case for this assertion.
§35. Wherever we come upon doublets in the corpus of extant elegiac poetry, the few formal divergences in the doublet are as revealing as the many formal convergences, since the divergent wording of each doublet in any given pair of doublets can be shown to be as much a part of a formulaic system as the convergent wording. Let us consider, for example, the following pair of doublets, with underlines indicating the divergent wording: [88]

τίκτει γὰρ κόρος ὕβριν, ὅταν πολὺς ὄλβος ἕπηται
ἀνθρώποις ὁπόσοις μὴ νόος ἄρτιος ᾖ.

Solon fr. 8.3–4 GP [=fr. 6W] {48|49}

τίκτει τοι κόρος ὕβριν, ὅταν κακῷ ὄλβος ἕπηται
ἀνθρώπῳ καὶ ὅτῳ μὴ νόος ἄρτιος ᾖ .

Theognis 153–154

Where the Solonian … ὄλβος ἕπηται / ἀνθρώποις ὁπόσοις (the sign / indicates verse-boundary) diverges from the Theognidean … ὄλβος ἕπηται / ἀνθρώπῳ καὶ ὅτῳ, it converges with another Theognidean string of phraseology in the same metrical context: …ὄλβιος οὐδεὶς / ἀνθρώπων ὁπόσους (Theognis 167–168). Similarly, where the Theognidean … καὶ ὅτῳ μὴ νόος ἄρτιος ᾖ / diverges from the Solonian ὁπόσοις μὴ νόος ἄρτιος ᾖ /, it converges with the Theognidean ὅτῳ μή τις ἔνεστι δόλος / (Theognis 416/1164f) and … καί σοι πιστὸς ἔνεστι νόος / (Theognis 88/1082d). Again, where the Solonian … ὅταν πολὺς ὄλβος ἕπηται / diverges from the Theognidean …ὅταν κακῷ ὄλβος ἕπηται / (note too the position of κακῷ at Theognis 151), it converges with the Solonian … ὅτῳ πολὺς ἄργυρός ἐστι / (Solon fr. 18.1 GP [=24W]/Theognis 719).

§36. One may infer from the comparative evidence of typological parallels, to be cited below, that such patterns of phraseological convergence and divergence in parallel passages ascribed to different poets, or even in textual variants of the same poem, are a reflex of the workings of oral poetry. In oral poetry, a given “poem” is at least to some degree recomposed with every performance. [89] Of course, the degree of phraseological variation in recomposition will depend not only on the repertoire of the poet but also on the fixity or fluidity of conventions in a given poetic tradition. In situations where the conventions are fluid, however, even the factor of writing may not be sufficient to effect an immediate fixation of the text, provided that the factor of performance is still present. The given poem may become a text by way of writing, but surviving traditions of performance can leave their mark on each copy of the text: specifically, phraseological variants will reflect an ongoing process of recomposition-in-performance. Striking typological parallels are available in formulaic studies of classical Arabic and Persian poetry. [90] Closer to {49|50} home, one may look to the Chanson de Roland, where three of the oldest manuscript versions share not a single identical verse. [91]
§37. I suggest, then, that the differences between doublets in attested Greek elegiac poetry reflect for the most part not editorial deterioration in one direction or another but formulaic versatility corresponding to different compositional needs. Moreover, the factor of ongoing recomposition in oral poetry could even account for the attestation of the “same” poem at different phases of its evolution. For example, verses 39–42 of Theognis about the tyrant as regulator of hubris may represent a response to the situation of Megara in the third quarter of the seventh century B.C., but such a response is more appropriate to a phase of the tradition sometime after 550 B.C., if we accept this date as the terminus for the beginning of a “moderate” oligarchy in Megara. [92] As for verses 1081–1082b of Theognis, they may represent the “same” poem in a different phase of Megarian history. Moreover, this phase may in theory be earlier rather than later. The absence of what I have called a “Solonian” stance in these verses suggests a phase of development that is more provincial, less pan-Hellenic, in orientation. [93] It is worth observing in this regard that in West’s edition of Theognis, all the cited “excerpts” from Solon and other elegiac poets occur in the so-called Meliora, not the Deteriora. This convergence suggests that the stretch of Theognidean poetry called Meliora by West has topically more in common with the pan-Hellenic orientation found in Solon, Tyrtaeus, Mimnermus, and the rest. I should stress, however, that there is as yet no proof for a chronological distinction in formulaic behavior between the so-called Meliora and Deteriora of Theognis—it is just that the Deteriora have topically less in common with this pan-Hellenic orientation and perhaps reflect an orientation more idiosyncratic to Megara.
§38. Whether or not some poems in the corpus of Theognidea are more provincial than others, however, the fact remains that they all {50|51} exhibit a tendency toward a pan-Hellenic perspective, in that local idiosyncrasies of the polis are shaded over, and the universal aspects of any given situation, such as the advent of a tyrant, are highlighted. [94] In their surviving forms, neither verses 39–52 (quoted at §27) nor 1081–1082b (quoted at §32) of Theognis need to refer specifically to Theagenes, tyrant of Megara. Either can apply to a wide variety of political situations in a wide variety of city-states.

Decadence in a City, Debasement of Mankind

§39. The exponent of hubris may shift from oligarch to tyrant to democrat, but one thing remains constant in the poetry of Theognis: the poet himself is always an exponent of dikē. [95] And he is thereby always an opponent of hubris. For example, the verses in which Theognis declares that he must render dikē evenhandedly to both sides (543–546, quoted at §20) are immediately preceded by verses warning against hubris —verses that may well have been linked with those following to form one passage:

δειμαίνω μὴ τήνδε πόλιν Πολυπαΐδη ὕβρις
ἥ περ Κενταύρους ὠμοφάγους ὀλέσῃ.

Theognis 541–542

I fear, son of Polypaos, that outrage [hubris] will destroy this city
—the same outrage that destroyed the Centaurs, eaters of raw flesh. [96] {51|52}

Likewise in the doublets 39–42 (§27) and 1081–1082b (§32): the hēgemones ‘leaders’ of Megara are blamed for their explicit and implicit hubris respectively, which in turn signals the degeneration of the agathoi into kakoi. [97] The focus of blame is on the tyrant rather than the oligarchy in 1081–1082b, but even in this variant the hubris of the tyrant was implicitly made possible by the hubris of the debased elite who were hēgemones ‘leaders’ before him.

§40. In the traditions of other Greek city-states as well, the prime manifestation of hubris is consistently to be found among the rich and powerful elite. The most striking example is the following description of the Colophonians by the poet Mimnermus, who includes himself among them:

ἐς δ᾽ ἐρατὴν Κολοφῶνα βίην ὑπέροπλον ἔχοντες
ἑζόμεθ᾽, ἀργαλέης ὕβριος ἡγεμόνες.

Mimnermus fr. 3.3–4 GP [=fr.9W]

…and we, men of overweening violence [biē], settled
lovely Colophon, we leaders [hēgemones] of baneful outrage [hubris].

The expression κολοφωνία ὕβρις ‘Colophonian hubris‘ is in fact proverbial (CPG I p. 266.6–7). There is further testimony about the hubris of this city in Athenaeus (526C), who reports that it resulted in turannis ‘tyranny’ and stasis [plural] ‘discord’. This theme recalls Theognis 51–52 (quoted at §27), where the hubris of Megara leads to stasis [plural] and mounarkhoi. In the case of the Colophonians, the prime manifestation of their hubris was the truphē ‘luxuriance’ of excessive wealth, in the words of Athenaeus (526A), [98] who quotes in this context Xenophanes fr. 3GP [andW]: in the poet’s sensual description, the decadent Colophonians are said to have learned habrosunē [plural] ‘luxuriance’ from the quintessentially decadent Lydians (verse 1), while the city was still free from turanniē ‘tyranny’ (verse 2). [99] What ultimately destroyed Colophon was of course hubris, and herein lies the lesson for Megara: {52|53}

ὕβρις καὶ Μάγνητας ἀπώλεσε καὶ Κολοφῶνα
καὶ Σμύρνην· πάντως Κύρνε καὶ ὔμμ᾽ ἀπολεῖ.

Theognis 1103–1104

Outrage [hubris] has destroyed the Magnesians [100] and Colophon
and Smyrna; and it will completely destroy you [plural] too, Kyrnos!

Just as Mimnermus includes himself among the Colophonians when he calls them ‘men of overweening violence [biē]’ and ‘leaders [hēgemones] of hubris‘ (above), so also Theognis here includes Kyrnos among the Megarians who will be destroyed by hubris. The destruction of Megara, the poet warns, will be caused by its own elite:

πάντα τάδ᾽ ἐν κοράκεσσι καὶ ἐν φθόρῳ· οὐδέ τις ἥμιν
αἴτιος ἀθανάτων Κύρνε θεῶν μακάρων,
ἀλλ᾽ ἀνδρῶν τε βίη καὶ κέρδεα δειλὰ καὶ ὕβρις
πολλῶν ἐξ ἀγαθῶν ἐς κακότητ᾽ ἔβαλεν.

Theognis 833–836

Everything here has gone to the ravens and perdition. And
not one of the immortal and blessed gods is responsible to us for this, Kyrnos,
but the violence [biē] of men and their baneful private interests [kerdos plural] [101] and their outrage [hubris]
have plummeted them from much nobility [polla agatha] into debasement [kakotēs]. [102]

§41. The kakotēs ‘baseness, debasement’ of the elite literally shipwrecks the ship of state:

πολλάκις ἡ πόλις ἥδε δι᾽ ἡγεμόνων κακότητα
ὥσπερ κεκλιμένη ναῦς παρὰ γῆν ἔδραμεν.

Theognis 855–856

Often has this polis, because of the baseness [kakotēs] of the leaders [hēgemones
run aground like a veering [103] ship. {53|54}

The wording here once more recalls Theognis verses 41–42 (quoted at §27) and 1082a–1082b (quoted at §32), where the hēgemones ‘leaders’ are described as falling into kakotēs ‘debasement’ at a time when the citizens-at-large are still saophrones ‘moderate’.

§42. From this survey of the word hubris in Theognis, it is now evident that Kyrnos himself is typical of the debased elite who ‘often’ bring the ship of state to ruin. The word πολλάκις ‘often’ at Theognis 855 (§41) even suggests that these hēgemones ‘leaders’ as well as the figure of Kyrnos himself are generic, much as is the figure of Theognis himself. Whereas Theognis is an exponent of dikē (§20,, §39), the fickle young Kyrnos is included, at Theognis verse 1104 (quoted at §40), among the elite who are exponents of hubris. [104]
§43. Kyrnos is not only typical of the debased elite: his very name tells the tale. In Hesychius, the word kurnos in the plural is glossed as meaning ‘bastard’ (κύρνοι· νόθοι). [105] In order to understand the semantics, it is helpful to adduce the words agathos and kakos, which originally had the genetic connotation of high-born and low-born, respectively—but which are used in the diction of Theognis to designate one who is intrinsically noble or base, regardless of birth (e.g., verses 53–58). [106] Just as the kakotēs ‘baseness’ of the hēgemones ‘leaders’ belies their birthright as agathoi, so also with Kurnos : he may be noble by birth, but his name still proclaims that he is ‘base’ and a ‘bastard’. And the cause of his decadence and reduction to baseness is built into his father’s name: the man who made Kyrnos a bastard is a man of excessive wealth. The patronymic Πολυπαΐδης means ‘son of Polu-pāos ‘. [107] This form Polu-pāos ‘he who has acquired much’ is composed of the same formal elements— polu- ‘much’ and pā-omai ‘acquire’—that are used in the diction of Theognis to designate the generic rich man: {54|55}

…ὃς μάλα πολλὰ πέπαται

Theognis 663

…he who has acquired much.

Now excessive wealth, to repeat, is a prime manifestation of hubris. As it turns out, it also makes men bastards. Theognis shows the decadence of Megara by telling how ploutos ‘wealth’ has made bastards out of everyone:

κριοὺς μὲν καὶ ὄνους διζήμεθα Κύρνε καὶ ἵππους
εὐγενέας, καί τις βούλεται ἐξ ἀγαθῶν
βήσεσθαι· γῆμαι δὲ κακὴν κακοῦ οὐ μελεδαίνει
ἐσθλὸς ἀνήρ, ἤν οἱ χρήματα πολλὰ διδῷ,
οὐδὲ γυνὴ κακοῦ ἀνδρὸς ἀναίνεται εἶναι ἄκοιτις
πλουσίου, ἀλλ᾽ ἀφνεὸν βούλεται ἀντ᾽ ἀγαθοῦ.
χρήματα μὲν τιμῶσι· καὶ ἐκ κακοῦ ἐσθλὸς ἔγημε
καὶ κακὸς ἐξ ἀγαθοῦ· πλοῦτος ἔμειξε γένος.
οὕτω μὴ θαύμαζε γένος Πολυπαΐδη ἀστῶν
μαυροῦσθαι· σὺν γὰρ μίσγεται ἐσθλὰ κακοῖς.

Theognis 183–192

We seek to have, Kyrnos, rams, asses, and horses
that are purebred [with good genos], and everyone wants to breed them from stock that are noble [agathoi],
but a noble [esthlos] man does not worry about marrying a base [kakē] woman born of a base [kakos] man,
so long as the base [kakos] man gives him many possessions [khrēmata],
nor does a woman refuse to be the wife of a base [kakos] man
who has wealth, but she wants a rich husband instead of one who is noble [agathos].
Men give honor to possessions [khrēmata]. And one who is noble [esthlos] marries the daughter of one who is base [kakos],
while one who is base [kakos] marries the daughter of one who is noble [agathos]. Wealth [ploutos] has mixed up the breeding [genos].
So do not be surprised, son of Polypaos, that the breeding [genos] of the citizens is being blackened.
For whatever is noble [esthla] is mixed up with whatever is base [kaka]. [108]

The mixing up of good breeding [genos] by ploutos ‘wealth’ corresponds to the fathering of a youth named Kurnos ‘bastard’ by Polupāos, the one ‘who has acquired much’. [109] {55|56}

§44. Perhaps one may find a way to think it touching that Theo-gn-is, a man whose name proclaims that his genos is from the gods, is also a man who loves this Kyrnos—thereby also showing his love for Megara through the ages, however debased it may become. This love, however, is not properly reciprocated: Kyrnos loves Theognis only in word, not in deed (verses 253–254, quoted at §16), and this theme moves the poet to issue a challenge:

μή μ᾽ ἔπεσιν μὲν στέργε, νόον δ᾽ ἔχε καὶ φρένας ἄλλας.
εἴ με φιλεῖς καί σοι πιστὸς ἔνεστι νόος,
ἀλλὰ φίλει καθαρὸν θέμενος νόον, ἤ μ᾽ ἀποειπὼν
ἔχθαιρ᾽ ἐμφανέως νεῖκος ἀειράμενος.
οὕτω χρὴ τόν γ᾽ ἐσθλὸν ἐπιστρέψαντα νόημα
ἔμπεδον αἰὲν ἔχειν ἐς τέλος ἀνδρὶ φίλῳ.

Theognis 1082c–1084 [110]

Do not love me merely in word while you have a different intent [noos] and feelings.
If you are a friend [philos] [111] to me and have a trustworthy intent [noos] within,
then be a friend [philos], having an intent [noos] that is pure. Otherwise, deny me
and be my enemy [ekhthros], overtly taking on a quarrel [neikos].
This is the way a man who is noble [esthlos] must direct his intention [noēma] [112]
and keep it steadfast and consequential always for the man who is a friend [philos] to him.

The challenge, of course, is never answered, and the neikos ‘quarrel’ between Theognis and Kyrnos never becomes overt. The bond of being philoi that exists between Theognis and Kyrnos—as well as all Megara by extension—is never completely severed.

§45. Of course, a poet may give well-intended advice even to those who have indeed severed the bond of being philoi to him. The poet Hesiod, for example, formally declares that there is a neikos ‘quarrel’ between himself and his brother Perses (WD 35)—a neikos that {56|57} must be settled ἰθείῃσι δίκῃς ‘with straight dikai‘ (WD 36). [113] Like Kyrnos—but much more overtly so—Perses is an exponent of hubris, and Hesiod’s programmatic intent is to teach him the superiority of its opposite, dikē:

ὦ Πέρση, σὺ δ᾽ ἄκουε Δίκης, μηδ᾽ ὕβριν ὄφελλε

Hesiod WD 213

Perses! Listen to Dikē, and do not promote hubris !

This hubris is manifested in the striving of Perses for excessive wealth, as opposed to the moderate wealth won by the hard work that is espoused by Hesiod (cf. WD 315–316). Excessive wealth, however, is not a lasting thing:

χρήματα δ᾽ οὐχ ἁρπακτά · θεόσδοτα πολλὸν ἀμείνω.
εἰ γάρ τις καὶ χερσὶ βίῃ μέγαν ὄλβον ἕληται,
ἤ ὅ γ᾽ ἀπὸ γλώσσης ληίσσεται, οἷά τε πολλὰ
γίνεται, εὖτ᾽ ἄν δὴ κέρδος νόον ἐξαπατήσει
ἀνθρώπων, Αἰδῶ δέ τ᾽ ᾿Αναιδείη κατοπάζῃ,
ῥεῖα δέ μιν μαυροῦσι θεοί, μινύθουσι δὲ οἶκον
ἀνέρι τῷ, παῦρον δέ τ᾽ ἐπὶ χρόνον ὄλβος ὀπηδεῖ.

Hesiod WD 320–326

Possessions [khrēmata] should not be taken forcibly; [114] what is given by the gods is much better.
For if a man takes great wealth by force and violence [biē]
or if he plunders wealth by way of his tongue, as often happens
when private gain [kerdos] [115] leads the intent [noos] of men astray and Shamelessness drives away Shame,
the gods soon blacken [116] such a man and diminish his household.
And wealth stays with him only for a short time.

The same sentiment is echoed in Theognis: ‘he who has acquired much’ (ὃς μάλα πολλὰ πέπαται : verse 663, quoted at §43) can lose it all in one night (664). To repeat, this expression ‘he who has acquired much’ contains the same elements as in the name Polu-pāos, father of Kurnos (again, §43 above). Moreover, the meaning of Kurnos, ‘bastard’, has a parallel in Hesiod, again in the context of wealth: {57|58}

…εἰ γάρ τίς κ᾽ ἐθέλῃ τὰ δίκαι᾽ ἀγορεῦσαι
γινώσκων, τῷ μέν τ᾽ ὄλβον διδοῖ εὐρύοπα Ζεύς·
ὃς δέ κε μαρτυρίῃσιν ἑκὼν ἐπίορκον ὀμόσσας
ψεύσεται, ἐν δὲ Δίκην βλάψας νήκεστον ἀάσθη,
τοῦ δέ τ᾽ ἀμαυροτέρη γενεὴ μετόπισθε λέλειπται·
ἀνδρὸς δ᾽ εὐόρκου γενεὴ μετόπισθεν ἀμείνων.

Hesiod WD 280–285

For if anyone wishes to proclaim the just things [= the things of dikē]
of which he is aware , Zeus gives wealth to such a man.
But whoever as witness knowingly swears a false oath
and lies, thus hurting Dikē and committing an error without remedy,
the future descendants of such a man are blackened, [117]
while the future descendants of the man who swears truly are by contrast noble.

§46. This scheme corresponds to the Hesiodic Myth of the Five Generations of Mankind (WD 106–201), which operates on the central theme of contrasting dikē with hubris, the same contrast that defines the neikos ‘quarrel’ of Hesiod with Perses. This contrast of dikē and hubris has been cogently analyzed by Jean-Pierre Vernant, who has also shown that the superiority and inferiority of Generations 1 and 2 respectively are marked by their dikē and hubris, while the inferiority and superiority of Generations 3 and 4 respectively are marked by their hubris and dikē. [118] It is now also apparent, on the basis of Works and Days verses 280–285 (quoted at §45), that the progression from Generation 1 to Generation 2 is a matter of genetic debasement, while the progression from Generation 3 to Generation 4 is a matter of genetic improvement. [119] The key to improvement is dikē, while the key to debasement is hubris.
§47. The decadence of Megara is in fact parallel to the debasement of mankind from Generation 1 to Generation 2—from the Golden Age to the Silver Age. To repeat, what makes the Silver Men different from and inferior to the Gold Men is their hubris (WD 134), which is parallel to the hubris that marks the debased elite of Megara (Theognis 40/44, quoted at §27)—at a time when the citizens-at-large are still saophrones ‘moderate’ (41). At this time, the strife has not yet {58|59} broken out, but the hubris will soon be manifested in the form of stasis [plural] ‘discord’ and all the other horrors of civic disintegration (Theognis verses 51–52, quoted at §27). For now, however, the city is still calm, but this will not last very long:

ἔλπεο μὴ δηρὸν κείνην πόλιν ἀτρεμέεσθαι,
μηδ᾽ εἰ νῦν κεῖται πολλ? ἐν ἡσυχίῃ.

Theognis 47–48

Do not expect that city to be peaceful for long,
not even if it is now in the position of much serenity [hēsukhiē].

The noun hēsukhiē ‘serenity’ here corresponds to the adjective characterizing the Gold Men themselves; they are hēsukhoi ‘serene’ (WD 119). [120] When Theognis is presented in the moral stance of a lawgiver, an exponent of dikē, he actually describes himself as hēsukhos ‘serene’ (Theognis 331). [121] Likewise in the diction of Solon, hēsukhiē ‘serenity’ is associated with dikē and contrasted with hubris :

δήμου θ᾽ ἡγεμόνων ἄδικος νόος, οἷσιν ἑτοῖμον
ὕβριος ἐκ μεγάλης ἄλγεα πολλὰ παθεῖν·
οὐ γὰρ ἐπίστανται κατέχειν κόρον οὐδὲ παρούσας
εὐφροσύνας κοσμεῖν δαιτὸς ἐν ἡσυχίῃ.…
πλουτοῦσιν δ᾽ ἀδίκοις ἔργμασι πειθόμενοι.…
οὔθ᾽ ἱερῶν κτεάνων οὔτε τι δημοσίων
φειδόμενοι κλέπτουσιν ἀφαρπαγῇ ἄλλοθεν ἄλλος,
οὐδὲ φυλάσσονται σεμνὰ Δίκης θέμεθλα,
ἣ σιγῶσα σύνοιδε τὰ γιγνόμενα πρό τ᾽ ἐόντα,
τῷ δὲ χρόνῳ πάντως ἦλθ᾽ ἀποτεισομένη.

Solon fr. 3.7–16GP [=fr. 4W]

But the intent [noos] of the leaders [hēgemones] of the community is without justice [dikē]. [122] What awaits them
is the suffering of many pains because of a great outrage [hubris].
For they do not understand how to check insatiability [koros], nor can they
make order [kosmos] [123] for their present merriment [euphrosunē plural] in {59|60} the serenity [hēsukhiē] of a feast [dais]. [124]
They acquire wealth, swayed by deeds without justice [dikē],…
and, not caring at all about sacred or public property,
they steal from one another by forcible seizure,
and they do not uphold the holy institutions of Dikē,
who silently [125] observes the present and the past,
and who will in the future come to exact complete retribution.

The Fruits of Insatiability

§48. The word koros ‘insatiability’ in the last passage (verse 9) is a key to understanding the difference between bad wealth as won by hubris and good wealth as won by dikē. [126] The hubris that brings on the debasement of men can itself be visualized as something brought on by koros ‘insatiability’ of wealth:

τίκτει τοι κόρος ὕβριν, ὅταν κακῷ ὄλβος ἕπηται
ἀνθρώπῳ καὶ ὅτῳ μὴ νόος ἄρτιος ᾖ

Theognis 153–154

Insatiability [koros] gives birth to outrage [hubris] when wealth is attracted
to a man who is base [kakos] and whose intent [noos] is not fit.

τίκτει γὰρ κόρος ὕβριν, ὅταν πολὺς ὄλβος ἕπηται
ἀνθρώποις ὁπόσοις μὴ νόος ἄρτιος ᾖ.

Solon fr. 8.2–4 GP [= fr. 6 W]

For insatiability [koros] gives birth to outrage [hubris] when wealth is attracted
to men whose intent [noos] is not fit.

§49. There are still further implications to be found in the conceptual association of koros with hubris, as the poetry of Solon makes clear. Whereas hubris literally conquers dikē when Megara is debased (e.g., Theognis 291–292), the situation is reversed in Athens when the {60|61} Eunomiē ‘good legislation’ of Solon the lawgiver rescues the city by bringing good government: as Solon proclaims in fr.3GP [=fr. 4W], Eunomiē shackles those who are without dikē (33), it checks koros (34), it blackens hubris (34: ὕβριν ἀμαυροῖ), it ‘withers the sprouting blossoms of derangement’ (35: αὑαίνει δ᾽ ἄτης ἄνθεα φυόμενα), and it ‘makes crooked judgments [dikai] straight’ (36: εὐθύνει δὲ δίκας σκολιάς). The vegetal imagery here is a traditional feature connected with the concepts of koros and hubris. [127] The word hubris is traditionally applied to excessive growth and exuberance in plants; [128] in botanical lore, an excess of nurturing (πλῆθος τροφῆς), [129] which can be equated with the poetic concept of koros ‘insatiability’, leads to a decrease in bearing fruit and a corresponding increase in wasteful leaf- or wood-production. [130] Greek botanical lore recognizes that plants are capable of indefinite expansion, and thus the growth of plants is for the Greeks appropriate for visualizing hubris : like some exuberant plant, hubris too keeps advancing until it is checked by an external force. Thus, when the tyrant of Megara emerges, he will be ‘the regulator [euthuntēr] of our hubris ‘, as the poet says (Theognis 40, quoted at §27). Significantly, the verb euthunō ‘straighten, regulate’ is even attested with the special meaning of ‘control the growth of a plant’ in the dialect of Arcadia (Theophrastus Historia plantarum 2.7.7). [131]
§50. In Greek botanical lore, the regulating of plant life by way of techniques such as pruning has the beneficial effect of promoting the fruitfulness of the plant; left unregulated, the hubris of the plant is manifested not only in excessive leaf- or wood-production but also in akarpiā, that is, failure to bear karpos ‘fruit’. [132] In this connection, it is pertinent to cite the proverb {61|62}

ἀκαρπότερος ᾿Αδώνιδος κήπων

CPG I p. 19.6–11

more barren [a-karpos] than the Gardens of Adonis [133]

The rituals surrounding the Gardens of Adonis, as Marcel Detienne has argued, [134] are a negative dramatization of fertility. For the details, the reader should consult Detienne’s intuitive analysis. Suffice it here to observe that the Gardens of Adonis are planted in the most unseasonal of times, the Dog Days of summer: the plants grow with excessive speed and vigor, only to be scorched to death by the sun’s excessive heat, and this death then provides the occasion for the mourning of Adonis, protégé of Aphrodite. In opposition to the normal cycle of seasonal agriculture, which lasts for eight months, the abnormal cycle of the unseasonal Gardens of Adonis lasts but eight days (cf. Plato Phaedrus 276B). Like his suddenly and violently growing plants, Adonis himself dies proēbēs ‘before maturity [hēbē]’ (CPG I p. 183.3–8, II p. 3.10–13; cf. II p. 93.13). Adonis is thus directly parallel to the debased second generation of mankind, the Silver Men:

ἀλλ᾽ ὅτ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἡβήσαι τε καὶ ἥβης μέτρον ἵκοιτο,
παυρίδιον ζώεσκον ἐπὶ χρόνον, ἄλγε᾽ ἔχοντες
ἀφραδίῃς· ὕβριν γὰρ ἀτάσθαλον οὐκ ἐδύναντο
ἀλλήλων ἀπέχειν …

Hesiod WD 132–135

But when the time of maturing and the full measure of maturity [hēbē] arrived, [135]
they lived only for a very short time, [136] suffering pains
for their heedlessness, for they could not keep overweening outrage [hubris] away from each other … [137]

§51. As for the unspoiled first generation of mankind, the figure of Adonis is directly antithetical to them: these men of the Golden Age live in a setting of permanent fertility (Hesiod WD 115–120) as expressed directly by the word karpos ‘fruit’ (WD 117). [138] The Golden {62|63} Age presents an idealized picture of wealth that is won by dikē : true and lasting, it is antithetical to the sudden and violent wealth that is won by hubris and that is destined not to last (WD 320–326, quoted at §45). Elsewhere as well, Hesiod presents the polis of those who have dikē as a picture of fertility (WD 225–237). By contrast, the polis of those who have hubris is a picture of sterility (WD 238–247): Zeus punishes them with hunger (243), with the barrenness of their women (244), and with the diminution of their household possessions (244). Moreover, the stylized city of hubris is afflicted with shipwrecks in seastorms brought on by Zeus himself (247), whereas the fortunate citizens of the stylized city of dikē do not have to sail at all (WD 236–237), since the earth bears for them plentiful karpos ‘fruit’ (237). This theme of shipwrecks is paralleled at Theognis verses 855–856 (quoted at §41), where the polis of Megara is described as running aground ‘often’ because of the kakotēs ‘baseness’ of the hēgemones ‘leaders’. For Megara, its maritime eminence is not just a source of pride. [139] It is also an expression of the human condition: in the Golden Age, there would be no need to sail ships. {63|64}

To Plough or to Sail?

§52. There is more to this parallelism between the visions of navigation in Hesiodic and Theognidean poetry. The contrast that we see in the Works and Days between agriculture and navigation as opposite extremes of the human condition is itself a theme that recurs in some particularly difficult verses of Theognis. The entire passage in question will have to be examined carefully:

ὄρνιθος φωνὴν Πολυπαΐδη ὀξὺ βοώσης
ἤκους᾽, ἥ τε βροτοῖς ἄγγελος ἦλθ᾽ ἀρότου
ὡραίου · καί μοι κραδίην ἐπάταξε μέλαιναν,
ὅττί μοι εὐανθεῖς ἄλλοι ἔχουσιν ἀγρούς,
οὐδέ μοι ἡμίονοι κυφὸν ἕλκουσιν ἄροτρον
τῆς ἄλλης μνηστῆς εἵνεκα ναυτιλίης.

Theognis 1197–1202

I heard, son of Polypaos, the sound of a bird making its resonant
call, the bird that comes as a messenger of ploughing for men,
ploughing in season. And it roused my somber heart,
for other men now possess my flowery fields,
and my mules no longer pull my curved plough—
all because of that other sea-voyage that is on one’s mind.

The last verse of this passage has defied the understanding of editors, who have generally deemed it corrupt. It is possible, however, to justify the text as it stands through a closer examination of other passages that seem to be drawing from poetic traditions parallel to those of Theognis. [140] The adjective qualifying nautiliē ‘sea-voyage’ at verse 1202, namely mnē-s-tē, has been translated above as ‘on one’s mind’ in view of parallel diction in a passage from Hesiod:

τύνη δ᾽ ὦ Πέρση ἔργων μεμνημένος εἶναι
ὡραίων πάντων, περὶ ναυτιλίης δὲ μάλιστα.

Hesiod WD 641–642

Perses, you must have on your mind all things that are
in season , especially with regard to sea-voyaging.

Here, the expression me-mnē-menos ‘having on one’s mind’ or ‘being mindful’ is specifically correlated with the concept of nautiliē {64|65} ‘sea-voyage’ or ‘voyaging’ in the context of seasonal activities.

§53. As it turns out, however, there are two kinds of nautiliē ‘sea-voyage’: one that is in season and one that is not. Sailing is unseasonal at the very time when ploughing is seasonal. The celestial sign is the setting of the Pleiades (WD 614–616, 619–620): at this time, Hesiod says, the seas are stormy (621), and it is better not to sail at all (622, 624–629). At this time, one should instead be memnēmenos ‘mindful’ (623) to work the land (623). At this time, even more specifically, one should be memnēmenos of seasonal ploughing:

…τότ᾽ ἔπειτ᾽ ἀρότου μεμνημένος εἶναι

Hesiod WD 616–617

Then you should be mindful of ploughing
in season.

Instead of sailing when it is not in season, Hesiod teaches that one should wait:

αὐτὸς δ᾽ ὡραῖον μίμνειν πλόον, εἰς ὅ κεν ἔλθῃ

Hesiod WD 630

And you yourself should wait for sea-voyaging in season , until it comes.

The words ploos and hōraios in this verse recur at verse 665, where Hesiod teaches that ploos ‘sea-voyaging’ is indeed hōraios ‘in season’ when summer comes. Another good time is the spring (WD 678, 682), and again the word for ‘sea-voyaging’ is ploos (ibid.).

§54. To express the notion of this other season for sailing, the noun ploos is combined with the adjective allos ‘other, another’:

ἄλλος δ᾽ εἰαρινὸς πέλεται πλόος ἀνθρώποισιν.

Hesiod WD 678

There is another sea-voyage for man in the spring.

The diction here is comparable to that of the last verse in the Theognidean passage (§42):

τῆς ἄλλης μνηστῆς εἵνεκα ναυτιλίης.

Theognis 1202

…all because of that other sea-voyage that is on one’s mind. {65|66}

To repeat: this ‘other voyage’ is correlated with the time for ploughing (§52 verses 1198–1199), which is signaled by the resonant call of ‘a bird’ (§52 verse 1197). Similarly, in the Works and Days (448–451), the two messages “do plough” and “do not sail” are both conveyed by a single sign, the call of the cranes as they migrate yearly to milder climates.

§55. For some reason, Theognis is blaming the loss of his lands on a sea-voyage that is clearly unseasonal—and that is contrasted, by way of the adjective allē ‘other’ (§52 verse 1202), with one that would be seasonal. The parallel with Hesiodic usage is in this instance not exact, since the adjective allos at Works and Days 678 must be taken in the sense of differentiating one kind of seasonal voyage (spring) from another (summer). Still, the essential parallel between the Hesiodic and Theognidean passages is that the adjective allos / allē differentiates one time for sailing from another. The point remains that allē at Theognis 1202 (§52) distinguishes the time of sailing that is unseasonal—and thereby dangerous. In fact, it is a general principle in Greek that the adjective allos can be used euphemistically to distinguish a negative from a corresponding positive alternative (cf. khrēm’allo at Hesiod WD 344). [141]
§56. Why, then, should Theognis of Megara blame the loss of his lands on a sea-voyage undertaken out of season? The question leads back to the very first passage to be considered in this lengthy presentation (§1). A rereading of that passage at this stage helps provide an answer. Its basic theme, to repeat, is that the ship of state is afflicted by a seastorm (673–674) that threatens to engulf it (680), and this theme is concurrent with such other nautical themes as a mutiny on board (673) and the deposing of the kubernētēs ‘pilot’ (675–676). It is also concurrent with such general civic themes as the seizing of khrēmata ‘possessions’ by biē ‘force’ (677), the destruction of kosmos ‘order’ (ibid.), and the cessation of an equitable distribution of possessions es to meson ‘in the common interest’ (678).
§57. The loss of khrēmata is dramatized in the framework of a timeless misfortune—a ship is caught in a violent seastorm (again, §1 verse 677). But there is also a link to a past misfortune—the poet had lost his own khrēmata (667–669). This link is established by the verb {66|67} gīnōskō ‘be aware’, which occurs three times in the passage. At verse 682 (γινώσκοι), it signals the poet’s present awareness of a future misfortune that is about to befall the citizens of his city. At verse 669 (γινώσκοντα), it signals the poet’s past awareness of a future misfortune that has already happened and that the poet himself could not prevent—he lost his khrēmata (again, 667–669). Finally, an identification is established between the past misfortune of the poet and the future misfortune of the whole city by way of the third occurrence of gīnōskō : at verse 670 (γνούς), it signals the poet’s awareness of a timeless misfortune—to repeat, a ship is caught in a violent seastorm (673–674), the kubernētēs ‘pilot’ is deposed (675–676), and khrēmata ‘possessions’ are being taken by force (677). Similarly, the verb memnēmai ‘have in mind, be mindful of’ in Theognis 1202 (§52) signals the poet’s painful awareness of a dangerous sea-voyage that he actually blames for the loss of his possessions—those flowery fields waiting to be ploughed when the resonant call of the migrating cranes is heard throughout the land.
§58. In the ship beset by a seastorm, the loss of the ship’s kubernētēs ‘pilot’ is linked with the loss of equity in civic affairs:

δασμὸς οὐκέτ᾽ ἴσος γίνεται ἐς τὸ μέσον.

Theognis 678

There is no longer an equitable distribution, in the common interest.

Indeed, the kakoi ‘base’ now have the upper hand over the agathoi ‘noble’ (§1 verse 679). Moreover, the kubernētēs can be identified with none other than Theognis himself:

οἵ με φίλοι προδιδοῦσιν, ἐπεὶ τόν γ᾽ ἐχθρὸν ἀλεῦμαι
ὥστε κυβερνήτης χοιράδας εἰναλίας.

Theognis 575–576

My friends [= philoi] betray me, since I steer clear of the enemy,
much as a pilot [kubernētēs] steers clear of the reefs in the sea.

The nuances of this passage have been paraphrased by Hudson-Williams: “It is my friends who betray me; for I can easily keep off my declared enemies, as a pilot can keep his ship clear of the reefs that stand out above the surface of the sea” (a false friend is like a hidden reef). [142] These philoi ‘friends’ betray a man whose prime {67|68} theme is the celebration of being a philos (§§6–7), and they turn out to be none other than the elite of Megara: like a ship that has veered off course, the city has often run aground because of the kakotēs ‘debasement’ of its hēgemones ‘leaders’ (Theognis 855–856, quoted at §41).

A Poet’s Two Kinds of Justice

§59. In a parallel stance of equity, the Athenian lawgiver Solon is likewise identified with a kubernētēs ‘pilot’. There is a tradition reported by Plutarch (Solon 14.6) that the Delphic Oracle made the following revelation to the lawgiver:

ἧσο μέσην κατὰ νῆα, κυβερνητήριον ἔργον
εὐθύνων · πολλοί τοι ᾿Αθηναίων ἐπίκουροι.

Oracle no. 15 Parke-Wormell

Sit in the middle of the ship, steering like a pilot [kubernētēs].
Many of the Athenians are your helpers.

§60. The convergences already surveyed between Theognis and lawgivers like Solon and Lycurgus as exponents of dikē suggest a consistent pattern reflecting a common ideological heritage. The survey could be extended much further, but the time has come to consider also a significant divergence between the figures of Theognis and the lawgivers. The passage in question is here quoted in its entirety:

Ζεύς μοι τῶν τε φίλων δοίη τίσιν, οἵ με φιλεῦσιν,
τῶν τ᾽ ἐχθρῶν μεῖζον Κύρνε δυνησόμενον.
χοὔτως ἄν δοκέοιμι μετ᾽ ἀνθρώπων θεὸς εἶναι
εἴ μ᾽ ἀποτεισάμενον μοῖρα κίχῃ θανάτου.
ἀλλὰ Ζεῦ τέλεσόν μοι ᾿Ολύμπιε καίριον εὐχήν·
δὸς δέ μοι ἀντὶ κακῶν καί τι παθεῖν ἀγαθόν·
τεθναίην δ᾽, εἰ μή τι κακῶν ἄμπαυμα μεριμνέων
εὑροίμην. δοίην δ᾽ ἀντ᾽ ἀνιῶν ἀνίας·
αἶσα γὰρ οὕτως ἐστί, τίσις δ᾽ οὐ φαίνεται ἡμῖν
ἀνδρῶν οἳ τἀμὰ χρήματ᾽ ἔχουσι βίῃ
συλήσαντες· ἐγὼ δὲ κύων ἐπέρησα χαράδρην
χειμάρρῳ ποταμῷ, πάντ᾽ ἀποτεισόμενος. [143] {68|69}
τῶν εἴη μέλαν αἷμα πιεῖν· ἐπί τ᾽ ἐσθλὸς ὄροιτο
δαίμων ὃς κατ᾽ ἐμὸν νοῦν τελέσειε τάδε.

Theognis 337–350

May Zeus grant me retribution on behalf of the friends who love me,
and that I may have more power than my enemies.
Thus would I have the reputation of a god among men,
if my destined death overtakes me when I have exacted retribution.
O Zeus, Olympian, bring my timely prayer to fulfillment !
Grant that I have something good happen in place of misfortunes.
But may I die if I find no respite from cares brought on by misfortunes.
And may I give harm in return for harm.
For this is the way it is destined, and yet I see no retribution on the horizon
against the men who have robbed me of my possessions [khrēmata] by force [biē].
But I am a dog and I cross the stream
with its wintry torrent, about to exact retribution for everything.
May I drink their black blood! And may an esthlos spirit [daimōn] oversee [all this],
who may bring these things to fulfillment, in accordance with my intent [noos].

§61. Theognis prays to Zeus for the power to help his own friends and hurt his enemies (337–338), so that he may thus ‘have the reputation’ (verb dokeō : δοκέοιμι 339) of being a god among men (339) by exacting retribution before he dies (340). So far, these themes are still convergent with those of the lawgivers. For example, Solon prays to the Muses (fr. 1.1–2GP [=fr. 13W]) that they give him wealth (1.3) and reputation (noun doxa, corresponding to verb dokeō : δόξαν 1.4) and that they enable him to help his friends and hurt his enemies (1.5–6). Also, the Pythia of the Delphic Oracle reveals to Lycurgus that he is more like a god than a man (Herodotus 1.65.3), and the people of Sparta do indeed set up a cult of Lycurgus after he dies (1.65.5). But now the themes diverge. Theognis as kubernētēs ‘pilot’ is betrayed by his friends (§58 verses 575–576)—the very ones he had wished to help while all along hurting his enemies (§60 verses 337–338). Theognis (§60) goes on to wish that he may die if he finds no relief from contemplating the hurt that he has suffered (341–344). He yearns to hurt those who have hurt him (344), since this is the {69|70} way things should be (345), but he sees no opportunity for vengeance (345) against men who took his khrēmata ‘possessions’ by way of biē ‘force’ (346). The diction is parallel in the Theognidean passage about the ship beset by a storm at sea (§1): when men depose the kubernētēs ‘pilot’ (675–676), they seize khrēmata by way of biē (677), just as Theognis himself had lost his khrēmata (667, 669). Solon, by contrast, who prays for wealth (fr.1.3) and overtly expresses the desire to own khrēmata (1.7), renounces any thought of forcibly taking the possessions of others, which would be ‘without dikē‘ (1.7–8): sooner or later, the goddess Dikē as ‘justice’ would exact retribution (1.8). The punishment that Dikē visits upon those who seize the possessions of others is eventual (khronōi : fr.3.16GP [=fr. 4W])—and complete (ibid.).
§62. By manifesting himself as a paradigm of proper behavior, Solon here expresses a personal involvement in the process of dikē ‘justice’, wherein retribution eventually overtakes those who have forcibly taken the possessions of others, but he himself is not the one who suffers material loss. Moreover, the primary frame of reference for dikē in the poetry of Solon is not his poetry itself but rather his law code, and in fact the poet refers to this law code as dikē (fr. 30.18–20, quoted at §20). In the poetry of Theognis, by contrast, the only frame of reference for dikē is the actual poetry. The process that is dikē must emerge from his own life as dramatized in his words addressed to young Kyrnos in particular and to other citizens of Megara in general. The role of poetry itself as the primary frame of reference for dikē is in fact the more archaic pattern. Likewise in the Works and Days of Hesiod, dikē as ‘justice’ emerges from the poet’s own life as dramatized in his words addressed to his brother Perses, who had forcibly taken Hesiod’s khrēmata ‘possessions’ (verse 37 in conjunction with 320). But the fulfillment of dikē is eventual, as Hesiod himself proclaims (WD 217–218, 220–224, 256–269), and the initial injustice perpetrated by Perses is corrected only with the passage of time as enacted by the progression of the poem itself. In the end, the dikē of Zeus as initially proclaimed by the poet (WD 9) emerges triumphant—though not without moments of pessimism or even despair (e.g., 190–194)—and Hesiod finds himself totally vindicated as Perses is ultimately reduced to utter penury (396).
§63. So also in the poetry of Solon: dikē arrives eventually but absolutely (fr.1.8GP [=fr. 13W]: πάντωJ ὕστερον ἦλθε δίκη) in the form of tisis ‘retribution’ from Zeus (1.25), which in the end is {70|71} manifested absolutely (1.28: πάντως δ᾽ ἐς τέλος ἐξεφάνη). For Solon, to repeat, the basis for this dikē of Zeus is his own law code. For Theognis, however, there is no such independent basis for dikē as he prays to Zeus for tisis ‘retribution’ (§60 verse 337)—that is, the power to help one’s friends and hurt one’s enemies (337–338). Like Hesiod, Theognis must wait for the dikē of Zeus to emerge from his own life as dramatized in his own poetry. Unlike Hesiod, however, Theognis is left in despair (§60): the tisis from Zeus is for Theognis not manifested (345: τίσις δ᾽ οὐ φαίνεται ἡμῖν), as the men who seized his khrēmata ‘possessions’ by biē ‘force’ (346) seem to go unpunished. These men, to repeat, turn out to be the philoi ‘friends’ who have betrayed him as he was navigating like a kubernētēs ‘pilot’ (§58 verses 575–576): they are the men who seize khrēmata by biē (§1 verse 677) as they depose the kubernētēs (§1 verses 675–676) in the ship of state afflicted by the seastorm of strife. The poet is in effect saying that he fails to achieve the dikē of Zeus because his own city of Megara has betrayed him. In the pan-Hellenic poetry of Hesiod, by contrast, the poet succeeds at achieving dikē in an idealized context: there is in the end one city of absolute dikē ‘justice’ (WD 225–237), whose citizens receive many blessings, including a dispensation from the necessity of sailing ships in order to make a living (236–237), as opposed to another city of absolute injustice or hubris ‘outrage’ (238–247), whose citizens are afflicted by an angry Zeus exacting retribution (247: apoteinutai) by way of various misfortunes— such as storms besetting ships at sea (ibid.). In the case of a real city such as Megara, however, the ship of state threatened by a seastorm may yet be swallowed up by a gigantic wave (§1 verse 680), since the final victory of dikē over hubris is painfully in doubt. As Theognis himself says, the tisis ‘retribution’ of Zeus is for him not manifested (§60 verse 345).
§64. The poet despairs of achieving the dikē of Zeus—but only in the framework of his original prayer to the god. Theognis had prayed to have the power of helping friends and hurting enemies (§60 verses 337–338, 344–345), adding that he would have the reputation of a god among men if he were to achieve this goal within his own lifetime (339–340). But there are other ways to exact retribution. The poet also prays (again, §60) that he may die if he finds no relief from contemplating the painful reality of his predicament (343–344), that is, the seizure of his possessions (346–347). The very next image, expressed with a timeless gnomic aorist indicative, is that of the poet as an infernal hound crossing a wintry torrent (§60 verses 347–348) and ‘about to exact retribution for everything’ (348: πάντ᾽ {71|72} ἀποτεισόμενος). [144] The poet had prayed to have revenge while he was still alive (§60 verse 340), but now vengeance comes after death (348). His self-representation as a hideous dog that will drink the blood of wrongdoers corresponds to the traditional theme of the Erīnues ‘Furies’, self-proclaimed correlates of Dikē herself (Aeschylus Eum. 511–512), who are pictured as avenging dogs (Cho. 924, 1054; Eum. 132, 246) ready to drink the blood of their human victims (Cho. 577; cf. Eum. 264–266). Robert D. Murray has noticed this correspondence, [145] and he infers that the icy torrent that the hound crosses must in turn correspond to the Styx: it too is ice-cold (Hesiod Th. 785–787), “and the natural stream commonly identified with it was a torrent in Arcadia fed by melting snows [Pausanias 8.17–19].” [146] In any case, what makes the image of crossing the stream seem especially frightening is that the spirits of the dead, in the folklore of a broad spectrum of cultures, ordinarily cannot or will not cross a running stream. [147]
§65. Theognis conjures up a daimōn ‘spirit’ to oversee his gruesome vengeance (§60 verses 349–350; cf. Aeschylus Ag. 1476–1477: a bloodsucking daimōn takes vengeance against the House of Atreus). This daimōn is to ‘bring these things to fulfillment’ (350: teleseie tade) just as Zeus was implored to ‘bring my timely prayer to fulfillment’ (341: teleson moikairion eukhēn). [148] Such a daimōn, acting in place of Zeus, corresponds to the countless invisible phulakes ‘guardians’ of Dikē who stand ready to punish wrongdoers in Works and Days {72|73} 249–255 and who are identical to the daimones ‘spirits’ of stylized cult heroes at verses 122–126 of the same poem. [149] The punitive action of these phulakes is made parallel in the Works and Days to that of Zeus himself (256–262), just as the vengeance of the daimōn in verses 349–350 of Theognis (§60) is parallel to the vengeance that the poet had implored Zeus himself to exact in verses 341–342 and 337–338 (§60).
§66. That the punitive daimōn is actually the spirit of the dead Theognis himself is suggested by the word noos ‘mind, intent’ at verse 350 (§60): it is the noos of Theognis that unleashes this daimōn. After death, the goddess Persephone takes away the noos of mortals (Theognis 704–705), but she makes an exception in the case of a mantis ‘seer’ like Teiresias (Odyssey x 493), who retains his phrenes —the plural of phrēn and roughly translatable as ‘consciousness’—even in Hades (x 493), precisely because Persephone grants him noos (x 494–495). [150] Like Teiresias, Theognis is exceptional: even in death, he seems to have a noos. [151] And this exception is parallel to another: in defiance of what might be expected of ghosts, this infernal hound can actually ford a running stream!
§67. Similarly, the restless spirit of the murdered Agamemnon can hear the call for revenge with his somber phrēn (Aeschylus Cho. 157–158): κλυ᾽ ὦ δέσποτ ἐξ ἀμαυρᾶς φρενός; cf. Pindar P. 5.101). The ‘consciousness’ or phronēma (derived from phrēn / phrenes) of the dead Agamemnon is indeed capable of revenge:

φρόνημα τοῦ θανόντος οὐ δαμά-
ζει πυρὸς μαλερὰ γνάθος,
φαίνει δ᾽ ὕστερον ὀργάς.

Aeschylus Cho. 324–326

The phronēma of the dead is not overcome
by the ravenous jaws of [cremation-] fire,
it manifests its anger later. {73|74}

The murder of Agamemnon calls for an Erīnūs ‘Fury’ (Cho. 403), who is later pictured as standing ready to drink the blood of his murderer (577–578). In short, the self-representation of Theognis as an infernal hound longing to drink the blood of those who had wronged him conjures up the vision of a hero as an avenging revenant. Theognis is thus the exponent of Dikē ‘justice’ not only in life but also in death—much like those phulakes ‘guardians’ of Dikē in the Works and Days (again, 249–255). But unlike the pan-Hellenic model of Hesiodic poetry, where myriad invisible phulakes range all over the earth (WD 255), this solitary spirit presides only over his native city of Megara.

Theognis and Odysseus

§68. The noos of Theognis is a theme of many further ramifications: it also links this figure with the figure of Odysseus, a hero whose noos is the key to his nostos ‘return’ not only to his homeland of Ithaca in general but also in particular to the world of the living after his sojourn in the world of the dead. [152] This thematic connection of noos and nostos, which recapitulates the formal connection of noos and nostos as bifurcating derivatives of the verb neomai ‘return’, recurs in the poetry of Theognis (verses 699–718): [153] the intelligence of the hero Sisyphos (verses 703 and 712) is the key to his exceptional return to the world of the living from the world of the dead (703, 706–712). Sisyphos had swayed Persephone (704), whose function it is to take away the noos of the dead (705). This exceptional return of Sisyphos is also conveyed by the theme of his crossing the stream of Acheron one time more than is allotted for mortals (Alcaeus fr. 38A.1–8 V/LP; note the expression ἄνδρων πλεῖστα νοησάμενοςJ ‘superior to all men in noos‘ at verse 6). Comparable exceptions are the noos of Teiresias in Hades and the noos of Theognis, which makes possible his ghostly crossing of a running stream.
§69. Theognis actually likens himself to Odysseus precisely in connection with the hero’s return from the world of the dead:

μή με κακῶν μίμνησκε · πέπονθά τοι οἷά τ᾽ ᾿Οδυσσεύς,
ὅς τ᾽ ᾿Αίδεω μέγα δῶμ᾽ ἤλυθεν ἐξαναδύς.
ὃς δὴ καὶ μνηστῆρας ἀνείλετο νηλέι θυμῷ…

Theognis 1123–1125 {74|75}

Do not remind me of my misfortunes! The kinds of things that happened to Odysseus have happened to me too.
Odysseus, who returned, [154] emerging from the great palace of Hades,
and who then killed the suitors with a pitiless spirit [= thūmos] … [155]

The emergence of Odysseus from Hades is here directly connected with vengeance, much like the emergence of the infernal hound that will drink the blood of those who had wronged Theognis. As for Odysseus in the Odyssey, his heart literally ‘barks’ (xx12/16: ὑλάκτει) as he contemplates vengeance in his thūmos (xx 5/9/10) against the handmaidens who slept with the suitors, and this image actually frames a simile in which an enraged bitch attacks a man in order to protect her young (xx14–15; on the Homeric image of dogs drinking human blood, cf. Iliad XXII 70).

§70. Of course, the vengeance of Odysseus in the Odyssey is preceded by a lengthy series of tests for the suitors. In both appearance and mannerisms, Odysseus assumes the extrinsic baseness of a beggar, using his verbal skills to expose the intrinsic baseness of the suitors—men who should have been noble by birth; and in this way the hero vindicates his own intrinsic nobility. [156] Similarly with Theognis, whose loss of possessions has led to poverty:

ἆ δειλὴ Πενίη, τί ἐμοῖς ἐπικειμένη ὠμοῖς
σῶμα καταισχύνεις καὶ νόον ἡμέτερον?
αἰσχρὰ δέ μ᾽ οὐκ ἐθέλοντα βίῃ καὶ πολλὰ διδάσκεις
ἐσθλὰ μετ᾽ ἀνθρώπων καὶ κάλ᾽ ἐπιστάμενον.

Theognis 649–652

Ah miserable poverty! Why do you weigh upon my shoulders
and debase both my body and my noos ?
Forcibly and against my will, you teach me many base things,
though I am one among men who understands what is noble and beautiful.

Like Odysseus, Theognis espouses adaptability to each new situation:

πουλύπου ὀργὴν ἴσχε πολυπλόκου, ὃς ποτὶ πέτρῃ
τῇ προσομιλήσῃ, τοῖος ἰδεῖν ἐφάνη. {75|76}
νῦν μὲν τῇδ᾽ ἐφέπου, τοτὲ δ᾽ ἀλλοῖος χρόα γίνου.
κρέσσων τοι σοφίη γίνεται ἀτροπίης.

Theognis 215–218

Have the temperament of a complex octopus, who
looks like whatever rock he has clung to.
Now be like this; then, at another time, become someone else in your coloring.
I tell you: sophiē is better than being not versatile [atropos].

To be atropos ‘not versatile’ is the opposite of polutropos ‘versatile in many ways’, epithet of Odysseus (Odyssey i 1), a hero who is actually compared to an octopus when he is about to drown at sea (v432–433). As for sophiē ‘skill’, this word recalls the epithet sophos ‘skilled’ applied to the man who can foresee impending misfortune like some mantis ‘seer’ (§1: Theognis 682)—a man who speaks in the mode of an ainigma ‘riddle’ (681) about the ship beset by a storm at sea. This man had himself lost his possessions and finds himself in distress as he associates with the agathoi ‘noble’ (667–670). By implication, the undying noos of Theognis the poet is ever testing, by way of a timeless poetry that keeps adapting itself through the ages, the intrinsic worth of the citizens of Megara—ever ready to unleash a punitive daimōn against those agathoi who have failed to live up to their heritage of nobility.

The Starving Revenant

§71. Like some seer whose vision transcends time, the poet even seems to be alluding to a place of rest for his own corpse:

Αἴθων μὲν γένος εἰμί, πόλιν δ᾽ εὐτειχέα Θήβην
οἰκῶ, πατρῳᾶς γῆς ἀπερυκόμενος.

Theognis 1209–1210

I am Aithōn by birth, and I have an abode in well-walled Thebes,
since I have been exiled from my native land.

The language here and in the verses that follow seems intentionally opaque, but at least some aspects of the message are translucent. The word oikeō ‘I have an abode’ is a reference appropriate to a hero as a cult figure. [157] There is a comparable use of the word in Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus (27, 28, 92, 627, 637), in the context of the exiled and destitute hero’s intent to establish himself after death within the {76|77} precinct of the Erīnues ‘Furies’ (for whom cf. the context of oikeō at OC 39). Hidden within the foreign earth of his final place of rest, Oedipus will have vengeance against his fellow Thebans: he predicts that his cold corpse will be drinking their warm blood as they fall fighting over Athenian territory (OC 621–622)—that is, ‘if Zeus is still Zeus and if Phoebus the son of Zeus is accurate’ (OC 623). This seerlike prognostication is strikingly parallel to the wish expressed by Theognis (§60) to drink the blood of those who had wronged him (349), uttered in the context of a prayer imploring the justice of Zeus (341–345; also 337–340).

§72. A few verses after the poet’s naming Thebes as his abode, Theognis implies that he is in fact already dead by way of another theme: now he belongs to a city situated on the edge of the Plain of Lethe (1215–1216)—clearly, the realm of the dead (cf. Aristophanes Frogs 186). [158]
§73. As for the poet’s assuming the name of Aithōn (1209), this name is also assumed by Odysseus in disguise (Odyssey xix 183; for the combination Αἴθων…γένος in Theognis 1209, cf. xix 116, 162, 166; also xvii 523). The adjective aithōn can mean ‘burning [with hunger]’ (cf. Hesiod WD 363, etc.) [159] and as such is an epithet suitable to characters primarily known for their ravenous hunger, such as Erysikhthon (Hesiod fr. 43MW). Ravenous hunger also happens to be a traditional characterization of poets who use ambiguous discourse in order to ingratiate themselves with their audience—and thus get a meal. [160] Odysseus himself assumes the stance of such a poet (Odyssey xix 203, in conjunction with xiv124–125 and vii215–221), and it is in this context that he also assumes the name Aithōn (xix183). Like the Aithōn of Theognis (§71), the Aithōn of the Odyssey is an exile (xix 167–170), a destitute wanderer who speaks with the skill of a poet (xvii514–521). He is a master of an ambiguous form of poetic discourse known as the ainos (xiv508), and the word ainigma {77|78} ‘riddle’, referring to the poetic skill of Theognis himself (§1 verse 681), is actually derived from this noun ainos. [161]
§74. The theme of hunger as conveyed by the name Aithōn reflects yet another striking parallelism between Theognis and the lawgivers. Whereas Theognis as Aithōn is buried in Thebes as an exile from Megara (§71 verses 1209–1210), Lycurgus the lawgiver starves himself to death in self-imposed exile from Sparta (Plutarch Lycurgus 29.8; 31; Ephorus FGH 70F175 at Aelian VH 13.23). [162] Moreover, there is a tradition that Lycurgus died and was buried in Crete (Lycurgus 31.7, 10)—which is where he had found the laws that he had taken back with him to Sparta (Lycurgus 4.1; Herodotus 1.65.4). Similarly, Theognis pictures himself as buried in Thebes (§71 verses 1209–1210)—which is the setting of the primordial song sung by the Muses celebrating the establishment of community, a theme that inaugurates Theognidean poetry (§6 verses 15–18). Moreover, it seems that the traditions of Thebes are not only related to but also the actual source of most pre-Doric Megarian traditions. [163]
§75. There are indications, however, that there will yet come a day when Theognis will finally be called back to his native city of Megara. In verses that rival in opacity those other verses about Aithōn (§71), the persona of Theognis declares:

ἤδη γάρ με κέκληκε θαλάσσιος οἴκαδε νεκρός,
τεθνηκὼς ζωῷ φθεγγόμενος στόματι.

Theognis 1229–1230

The Corpse of the Sea is now calling me home.
It is dead, but it calls with a mouth that is alive.

This passage has been preserved by Athenaeus (457A), who interprets it as a riddle about the kokhlos ‘conch shell’ used as a makeshift trumpet (ibid.). While such an interpretation may well turn out to be at least part of a solution (cf. kērux ‘herald’, the name for a trumpet-shell: Athenaeus 349C, Aristotle HA 528a10, etc.), it remains to ask: what is the point of a declaration that Theognis is being called home? By now it is clear that, as master of the ainigma ‘riddle’ (cf. §1 verse 681), Theognis is sending cryptic and prophetic messages to the agathoi, the ‘noble’ citizens of Megara and beyond. {78|79} Surely, then, there is more to these verses than a mere guessing-game about mollusks: there must be another dimension latent in the image of a nekros ‘corpse’ of the sea who is calling back Theognis ‘with a mouth that is alive’.

§76. There are in fact traces of such a dimension in the attested native traditions of Megara. Pausanias (1.42.7) reports that Megara alone of all the Greek city-states boasts that the nekros ‘corpse’ of Ino was washed up on its shores; moreover, the Megarians worshiped Ino as a local hero in a special precinct assigned to her (hērōion : ibid.). In the local traditions of other regions such as Messenia, by contrast, Ino’s fatal plunge from the Molourian Rocks of Megara (Pausanias 1.44.8) is followed by an altogether different course of events: instead of being washed ashore as a corpse, she emerges from the sea—in the Messenian version it happened in the sea off Mount Mathia—as the transformed White Goddess herself, Leukotheā (Pausanias 4.34.4). Still, why should the nekros ‘corpse’ of a distinctly Megarian Ino call Theognis ‘with a mouth that is alive’? An answer emerges from the characterization brotos audēessa ‘mortal endowed with speech’ applied to Ino in Odyssey v 334. This expression is in marked contrast to theos audēessa ‘goddess endowed with speech’, applied in the Odyssey to other goddesses whose prophetic powers enable the hero to achieve a nostos ‘return’ back to his homeland (Circe at x 136, xi 8, xii 150; Calypso at xii 499). [164] The pointed description of Ino as a mortal rather than a goddess in the Odyssey seems to be a veiled Homeric reference to a tradition reflected in the local Megarian version, which is then immediately offset by the prevailing pan-Hellenic tradition, presented as the status quo:

ἣ πρὶν μὲν ἔην βροτὸς αὐδήεσσα
νῦν δ᾽ ἁλὸς ἐν πελάγεσσι θεῶν ἒξ ἔμμορε τιμῆς

Odyssey v 334–335

[Ino,] who was formerly a mortal endowed with speech,
but who now has her share of divine honors in the depths of the sea.

In much the same way, Hesiodic poetry refers obliquely to the local Theban tradition of Semele’s death at Thebes:

ἀθάνατον θνητή· νῦν δ᾽ ἀμφότεροι θεοί εἰσιν

Hesiod Theogony 942 {79|80}

She, a mortal, [gave birth to Dionysos,] an immortal; but now they are both immortal.

§77. The characterization of Ino in the Odyssey as audēessa ‘endowed with speech’ (v 334) is appropriate: in Laconia, for example, there was a manteion ‘oracle’ of the goddess where she would prophesy to consulting worshippers in their sleep (Pausanias 3.26.1). Her instructions to Odysseus in the Odyssey itself (v 339–350) explicitly help further the hero’s quest for survival (note esp. the word nostos at v 344). She speaks to Odysseus in the form of a sea bird called aithuia (v 337, 353)—a feminine noun corresponding to the masculine Aithōn. Like the Odyssean and Theognidean name Aithōn, aithuia too seems to connote hunger: this bird is noted for its voracity (Dionysius Ixeuticon 2.6). [165] More important, the cult epithet aithuia as applied to the goddess Athena herself reflects her specific traditional role as patroness of “le pilotage dans la navigation.” [166] In iconographical representations, Athena aithuia is instrumental in saving ships at sea. [167] At Megara there is a seaside cliff named for Athena aithuia on which is located the tomb of the hero Pandion (Pausanias 1.5.4/1.41.6), whose corpse had been brought to the city by the goddess in the form of an aithuia (Hesychius 2737 Latte, with “Kekrops” corrected to “Pandion”). [168]
§78. In the Odyssey, Ino as aithuia has a parallel in ensuring the salvation of Odysseus from the sea: Athena herself redirects the storm sent against the hero by Poseidon (v382–387), and then she saves him from immediate drowning by giving him a timely idea for swimming to safety (v435–439). It is worthwhile to observe in this regard that Odysseus is compared to an octopus in precisely this particular context (v 432–433; see §70). The submergence and emergence of the hero from the wave that would surely have drowned him had it not been for Athena (v 435, 438) corresponds closely to the preceding emergence and submergence of Ino herself (v 337, 352–353). Such a correspondence suggests that the former “mortal” who is now {80|81} a “goddess” (v 334, 335) is indeed a model for a transition from death to life anew—a transition that may be conveyed by the convergence of themes in the words noos and nostos (§68 above). [169]
§79. Theognis himself, to repeat, likens himself to Odysseus precisely in connection with the hero’s return from the world of the dead (§69). But while the nostos of pan-Hellenic Odysseus is overtly achieved through the ultimate efficacy of pan-Hellenic Athena, the nostos of this local Odyssean figure Theognis can only be latently prophesied by the local Ino of Megara. So long as the transformation of the Megarian nekros ‘corpse’ into the White Goddess remains in a state of suspension, how can the dispossessed pilot ever return to his veering ship of state? [170]


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[ back ] 1. The translations in this presentation are offered as exegetical tools rather than definitive renditions. Books of the Iliad or Odyssey are indicated with upper or lower case Roman numerals, respectively. Quotations from Solon and other poets of elegiac (except Theognis) follow the edition of Gentili/Prato 1979 (henceforth GP). The numbering of West 1971/1972 (henceforth W) is as a rule appended in square brackets. Quotations from Theognis follow the edition of West, unless otherwise indicated. Besides the contributors to this volume, I wish to thank the following for their kind advice: James R. Baron, Ann Bergren, David A. Campbell, Carrie Cowherd, Olga M. Davidson, Caroline E. Dexter, John D. B. Hamilton, Albert Henrichs, Leonard Muellner, William H. Race, James Redfield, Nancy Rubin, Seth Schein, and Calvert Watkins.
[ back ] 2. There is little to be said in favor of the claim (based largely on the name “Simonides” here) that these verses should be attributed to Euenos of Paros; for anunbiased summary of the arguments in favor of this claim, see van Groningen 1966.267–269. Granted, the poet Euenos is credited with composing a verse identical to Theognis verse 472, but the phenomenon of shared doublets in the textual traditions of Theognis and other poets can generally be explained as reflecting the common heritage of traditional poetic diction. This point is elaborated at §§33–38 below.
[ back ] 3. For the syntax of ἤδη here at Theognis 667, see West 1974.157.
[ back ] 4. For the syntax, see van Groningen 1966.263–264.
[ back ] 5. The participle γινώσκοντα here at 669 is apparently an accusative singular masculine, not nominative plural neuter; cf. Theognis 419: πολλά με καὶ συνιέντα παρέρχεται.
[ back ] 6. Cf. again Theognis 419–420: ἀλλ᾽ ὑπ᾽ ἀνάγκης / σιγῶ …;; cf. alsoTheognis 177–178.
[ back ] 7. The translation here follows the interpretation offered by West 1974.157. In another study, however, I will offer arguments in favor of emending ἄν to ἕν (which would also affect the translation of πολλῶν) here at Theognis 670, on the basis of parallelisms to be found in passages like Archilochus fr. 201W.
[ back ] 8. The word isos ‘equitable’ here refers to the virtual equality of the participants; cf. Detienne 1973.96.
[ back ] 9. The expression es to meson is literally ‘directed at the center’, referring to the communalization of possessions that are marked for orderly distribution by the community. See Cerri 1969.103.
[ back ] 10. Instances of the word stasis in Theognis: verses 51, 781, 1082.
[ back ] 11. Another prime example is at Alcaeus fr. 208V (=326LP). Note the expression ἀνέμων στάσινstasis of the winds’ at verse 1. On the level of diction, cf. φορήμμεθα at verse 4 of this same fragment with φερόμεσθα at Theognis 671 here. The very word for social discord, stasis, seems to be a metaphorical extension of a navigational concept: stasis is actually attested as meaning the ‘lie’ or ‘setting’ of the winds (e.g., Herodotus 2.26.2); see Silk 1974.123.
[ back ] 12. That the kakoi are indeed excluded will, it is hoped, become clear as the discussion proceeds.
[ back ] 13. The arguments are presented in Nagy 1979.238–242.
[ back ] 14. Ibid.
[ back ] 15. Ibid.
[ back ] 16. The γινώσκοι here at verse 682 can be construed as having potentially two objects: implicitly the ταῦτα … κεκρυμμένα of verse 681 and explicitly the κακόν of verse 682. The καί of verse 682 can be interpreted as drawing attention to the explicitness of the next word κακόν, which finally uncovers what has up to now been veiled. Accordingly, it may be better to translate καί here as ‘in particular’ rather than ‘even’. On the use of κακόν, cf. Theognis 135–136: οὐδέ τις ἀνθρώπων ἐργάζεται ἐν φρεσὶν εἰδώς, / ἐς τέλος εἴτ᾽ ἀγαθὸν γίνεται εἴτε κακόν.
[ back ] 17. Cf. the words of the seer Theoklymenos, directed at the evil suitors: … ἐπεὶ νοέω κακὸν ὔμμιν / ἐρχόμενον (xx 367–368). On the traditional parallelism of aoidos ‘poet’ and mantis ‘seer’ as dēmiourgoi, see Nagy 1979.233–234 on Odyssey xvii 381–387.
[ back ] 18. Cf. the context of oiōnos ‘bird-omen’ at Solon fr. 1.56 [=fr. 13W] with the context of the same word at Theognis 545 (discussed at §20 below).
[ back ] 19. For the construction, cf. Hymn to Apollo 375–376.
[ back ] 20. Nagy 1979.241–242; also 236–238.
[ back ] 21. Benveniste 1969 I.338–353.
[ back ] 22. In light of a forthcoming article by Martin Schwartz on philos as derived from locative phi (cognate of English by in the sense of ‘near’), see Nagy 1979.103–113 on the links between the semantics of philos and the concepts of ascending scales of affection and self-identification.
[ back ] 23. Note the pre-caesural verse-final rhyme of … άτων/ …άτων at verse 18, corresponding to …φίλον ἐστι/ φίλον ἐστι/ at verse 17. Perhaps the pattern of rhyming itself conveys the concept of harmoniē on which see below. For more on rhyming patterns, see Nagy 1974.99-101 and 1979b.628.
[ back ] 24. This is the pluralized personification of kharis, a word used by poetry to characterize the quality of poetry, as in Odyssey ix 5 (see Nagy 1979.91–92); kharis conveys simultaneously the social aspect of reciprocity as well as the personal aspect of pleasure. As Odysseus says at Odyssey ix 3–11, no accomplishment has more kharis than whenever the spirit of euphrosunē ‘mirth’ is generated for the audience by a poet’s performance. On the euphrosunē of the audience as an emblem of social cohesion, see Nagy 1979.92 (and n7); on euphrosunē as the programmatic word traditionally used in the ainos to designate the occasion of the ainos, see id. p.236 (and n5).
[ back ] 25. On the use of epos to mean not just ‘utterance’ but also ‘poetic utterance’ as quoted by the poetry itself , see Koller 1972.16–24; also Nagy 1979.236, 271.
[ back ] 26. This gnomic song of the Muses is echoed in Euripides Bacchae 881/901, ὅ τι καλὸν φίλον ἀεί. Ironically, the song here pertains to the death of Pentheus, grandson of Kadmos; cf. Dodds 1960.187.
[ back ] 27. The quoted utterance of the Muses (and the Kharites) is called an epos both before and after the quotation (cf. Koller 1972.17 on Tyrtaeus fr. 1b.2GP [=fr. 4W]). Perhaps the pattern of framing itself conveys the concept of harmoniē (on which see below).
[ back ] 28. For more on the traditional use of the Greek root ar- in referring to the craft of poetry and of carpentry , see Nagy 1979.297–300.
[ back ] 29. Cf. ibid. Note the semantic parallelism of adjective arthmios (from root ar-, as in arariskō and harmoniē) with adjective philos, as at Theognis 326, 1312; cf. also Odyssey xvi 427 and Hymn to Hermes 524.
[ back ] 30. On the sound pattern … omenōimenemoi, containing double … men …and reverse … nem …and double … oi …, see n32 below.
[ back ] 31. On the semantics of esthlos as ‘genuine’ (and thereby ‘good’ or ‘noble’), see Watkins 1972.
[ back ] 32. Perhaps the artful sound-pattern in sophizomenōimenemoi at Theognis 19 (see n1 above) conveys the very concept of sophiē (cf. §6n1 and §6n5 on the sound-patterns that seem to convey the concept of harmoniē). In that case, the poetic artistry of Theognis is his sphrēgis.
[ back ] 33. Cf. Szegedy-Masza/k 1978.208.
[ back ] 34. Cf. Szegedy-Maszak p.207. In the case of Lycurgus, the lawgiver chooses both exile and death. There is a tradition that Lycurgus died in Crete and was actually buried there (Plutarch Lycurgus 31.7, 10); it was also in Crete that Lycurgus found laws that he could adopt for the code that he took back with him to Sparta (Lycurgus 4.1). Herodotus reports that, according to the native Spartan tradition, Lycurgus imported his code from Crete (1.65.4), adding that there was also another tradition according to which Lycurgus received the code from the Oracle at Delphi (ibid.).
[ back ] 35. Cf. to kosmion in Plutarch Lycurgus 4.3 ( and §25n2 below).
[ back ] 36. Tigerstedt 1965.72.
[ back ] 37. Tigerstedt p.73.
[ back ] 38. Ibid. Cf. Finley 1968.145: “The sixth-century revolution was therefore a complex process of some innovation and much modification and re-institutionalization of the elements which appear to have survived ‘unchanged’.”
[ back ] 39. Again, Tigerstedt 1965.73.
[ back ] 40. Cf. Kleingünther 1933.
[ back ] 41. Cf. also Theognis 757–764.
[ back ] 42. Cf. West 1974.67–68. On the dating of Theagenes, see Oost 1973.188–189 and Legon 1981.93, 102. By the time of the Cylonian conspiracy, Theagenes was already in power (Thucydides 1.126.3–11). For more on Theognis 39–52, see further at §27 below.
[ back ] 43. For more on this important passage, see Sacks 1978.
[ back ] 44. From the parallels at Theognis 1263–1266 and 1283–1294, it is clear that the poet means, “When you say that you are philos to me, you are deceiving me.” See Gentili 1977 (and Tarkow 1977).
[ back ] 45. λήσει (20), ἀλλάξει (21), ἐρεῖ (23).
[ back ] 46. πωτήσῃ (238), παρέσσῃ (239), ᾁσονται (243), ἀπολεῖς and μελήσεις (245), πέμψει (249), ἔσσῃ (252).
[ back ] 47. On the basis of archaeological and historical evidence, A.M. Snodgrass (1971.421, 435) applies the concept of pan-Hellenism to the pattern of intensified intercommunication among the city-states of Hellas, starting in the eighth century B.C., as evidenced in particular by the following institutions: Olympic Games, Delphic Oracle, Homeric poetry. I have extended the concept as a hermeneutic model to help explain the nature of Homeric poetry, in that one can envisage as aspects of a single process the ongoing recomposition and diffusion of the Iliad and the Odyssey: see Nagy 1979.5–9. I have further extended the concept to apply to Hesiodic poetry: Nagy 1982.43–49, 52–57, 59–60; also, to Theognidean poetry: ibid., 52, 60–62. It goes without saying that pan-Hellenism must be viewed as an evolutionary trend extending into the classical period, not some fait accompli that can be accounted for solely in terms of the eighth century. Thus, various types of archaic Greek poetry, including the elegiac tradition represented by Theognis, make their bid for pan-Hellenic status considerably later than Homeric and Hesiodic poetry. Still, I see in the Theognidea a parallel pattern of ongoing recomposition, concomitant with pan-Hellenic diffusion. The most obvious reflex of this ongoing recomposition-in-diffusion is the ultimate crystallization of the Theognidea, composed not in the native Doric dialect of Megara but in an accretive Ionic dialect that is for all practical purposes the same as we see in the poetry of the other archaic poets of elegiac.
[ back ] 48. See again §14n3.
[ back ] 49. See Oost 1973.192.
[ back ] 50. For arguments in favor of the terminus 550 B.C., see Oost p.195n33. On the basis of Thucydides 4.66, the terminus for the overthrow of the oligarchy may possibly be set at 427 B.C. (cf. Highbarger 1927.156 and Legon 1981.236).
[ back ] 51. The image of correctness or straightness here connotes the ‘straightness’ of dikē ‘justice’, as in Theognis 543–546 (quoted immediately below).
[ back ] 52. For the image of a phulax ‘guardian’ of dikē, see Hesiod WD 249–255.
[ back ] 53. For another instance of such medicinal imagery in a political context, cf. Theognis 1133–1134.
[ back ] 54. Yet another passage is Theognis 945–948.
[ back ] 55. For another collocation of mantis ‘seer’, oiōnos ‘bird-omen’, and hiera ‘sacrifice’, see Solon fr.1 verses 53, 56, and 56 bis respectively (cf. §3n3 above): in this context, it is explicit that the mantis relies on bird-omens and sacrifices. So also with the datives at Theognis 545 here: they are to be construed as parallel rather than antithetical. In line with this argument, these datives cannot refer to the ἀμφοτέροισι of Theognis verse 544, and the readiest interpretation is to treat them as datives of means.
[ back ] 56. There is even a phraseological match: ἀφελών at Solon fr. 7.2 and at Theognis 810.
[ back ] 57. See also Theognis 945–948, already cited at §20n4.
[ back ] 58. Lévi 1898.121.
[ back ] 59. See West 1978.334–335; cf. Watkins 1979–80.
[ back ] 60. Conversely, the opposite of dikē, hubris, conveys failure to be ritually correct: cf.Hesiod WD 134–139.
[ back ] 61. A detailed account of this interpretation is presented in Nagy 1982.57–64.
[ back ] 62. Cf. also Ephorus FGH 70F149 at Strabo 10.4.19 C482.
[ back ] 63. Cf. Theognis 15–18, discussed above at §6 in connection with the word harmoniē (esp. §6n1, n5; §7n1, n2). For the expression to kosmion here in Plutarch’s narrative, cf. Herodotus 1.65.4 on kosmos as the local Spartan word for social order (§13).
[ back ] 64. Cf. §14(and n3) above.
[ back ] 65. Again §14.
[ back ] 66. See §15 above.
[ back ] 67. On mounarkhos as an attenuated synonym of turannos ‘tyrant’, see the equation in Herodotus 3.80.2/4.
[ back ] 68. See West 1974.68.
[ back ] 69. I follow here the persuasive argumentation of Donlan 1970.388–390 on the Solonian dichotomy of hēgemones and dēmos (=the whole polis minuthe hēgemones) and on Aristotle’s misunderstanding of this dichotomy (as in Constitution of the Athenians 12). In Solonian usage, the dēmos includes, but is not composed of, the poorest citizens.
[ back ] 70. See Donlan pp.392–393n26.
[ back ] 71. Besides the ostentatiously proleptic πω ‘yet’ here at verse 43, cf. also ἔτι ‘still’ at 41 and νῦν ‘now’ at 48. In the passage following verses 39–52 of Theognis, verses 53–68, the emergence of the kakoi is envisioned differently: instead of happening from within, it is now seen as happening from without. This time, the kakoi are seen as newcomers to the community, outsiders who replace the genuine agathoi. The agathoi are in turn put into the position of kakoi. As Gerber 1970.277 points out, the description of skin-wearing savages who used to live outside the community is parallel to the image of the Cyclopes: note the correspondence between Theognis 54 (these savages know neither dikai nor nomoi ‘[legislated] laws’) and Odyssey ix 215(the Cyclops knows neither dikai nor themistes ‘[divine] laws’). The kakoi turn the community inside out (Theognis 56–57), upside down (Theognis 679). On the fluctuating usage of agathos ‘noble’ and kakos ‘base’ in the original sociopolitical sense (upper class vs. lower class) and in the evolving ethical sense (good vs. bad), see Cerri 1968; also §30n1 and §39n2. In line with the ethical sense, the agathoi can become kakoi and embrace hubris simply by being exposed to kakoi (Theognis 305–308; cf. 317–318). On the image of the uncivilized person as clad in animal skins, see Renehan 1975.69 s.v. ” diphtheriās.”
[ back ] 72. See §27n1.
[ back ] 73. Cf. Theognis 401–406: The man who is too eager for aretē ‘achievement’ (402–403: πολλάκι δ᾽ εἰς ἀρετὴν / σπεύδει), and seeks kerdos ‘personal gain’ (403: κέρδος διζήμενος), commits a grave error (404); his divine punishment is that he thinks that kaka ‘base things’ are agatha ‘noble’ (405) and vice versa (406). We see here the ideological basis for an ethical characterization of upper classes debased by greed, in terms that suit a sociopolitical characterization of lower classes debased by poverty. On kerdos ‘personal gain’ as a correlate of hubris, see Theognis 835; cf. also kerdos at Theognis 46 and 50.
[ back ] 74. Cf. also the speech of Otanes praising democracy and blaming tyranny (Herodotus 3.80.2–6) and the speech of Megabuxos praising oligarchy and blaming democracy (3.81.1–3). In each instance of blame, hubris is prominently mentioned: four times in the speech of Otanes, three times in the speech of Megabuxos.
[ back ] 75. Cf. §30n2.
[ back ] 76. West’s edition accepts the manuscript variant ἔθ᾽ οἵδε, which makes verse 1081 match 41 exactly. I see no reason, however, to reject the independent manuscript reading, ἔασι. In view of its independence from verse 41, it seems the lectio difficilior.
[ back ] 77. Cf. Donlan 1970.393n27, who uses “Solonian” to describe the contents of Theognis 945–946, 947–948. On the inherited affinities of Theognidean poetry with the ideologies of lawgivers, see §§11–14,, §§20–25 above.
[ back ] 78. See West 1974.40–61, esp. p.54; he further subdivides verses 1–1022 into 1–254 and 255–1022. On the subdivision 1–254, see also Gronewald 1975.
[ back ] 79. Cf. West p.54: “The associative thread running through successive excerpts is strengthened, not weakened, when the parallel sequences [i.e., from the Meliora and Deteriora] are interwoven, which is what is to be expected if such integration takes us nearer the original, however many gaps remain.”
[ back ] 80. Cf. the repetitive string of topically similar Attic skolia preserved by Athenaeus 694C and following (= Carmina Convivialia frr. 884ff. Page).
[ back ] 81. West 1974.54.
[ back ] 82. West pp.54–55.
[ back ] 83. West p.150.
[ back ] 84. For an articulation of the view that these passages in the Theognidea are excerpts from other poets, see, e.g., West 1974.40; cf. Legon 1981.107.
[ back ] 85. In the case of Theognis 153–154/Solon fr. 8.3–4GP [=fr. 6W], we note that Clement (Stromateis 6.8.7) ascribes each doublet to the respective poet, even pointing out the differences in wording between the two.
[ back ] 86. Giannini 1973; cf. also the Appendix by Greenberg in this volume.
[ back ] 87. See again Giannini and Greenberg; also Nagy 1979b.
[ back ] 88. For translations of the two passages that follow, see §48 below.
[ back ] 89. On the concept of recomposition-in-performance, see Lord 1960, esp. pp.13–29.
[ back ] 90. Zwettler 1978, esp. ch.4, “Variation and Attribution in the Tradition of Classical Arabic Poetry”; Davidson 1983.158–200. Taking a sample passage from Firdawsī’s Shāhnāmah, Davidson demonstrates that “every word in this given passage can be generated on the basis of parallel phraseology expressing parallel themes” in the rest of the corpus (p.181); significantly, the same goes for every major textual variant in this passage.
[ back ] 91. Menéndez Pidal 1960.60–63. Cf. Zwettler p.207; Davidson p.182. As for factors that make poetic conventions less fluid, Zwettler offers the following useful summary (pp.207–208): “Within a given society, factors of control over the transmission may exist, such as formal instruction; social, political, material, or religious sanctions and rewards; mnemonic devices of various sorts; or, quite significantly, the formal and internal structure of the testimony itself.”
[ back ] 92. For evidence on the terminus of 550 B.C., see Oost 1973.195n33; for a different opinion (ca. 580 instead of 550 B.C.), see Legon 1981.134.
[ back] 93. On pan-Hellenism as a relative rather than an absolute concept, see §17n3.
[ back ] 94. A historical reason for the eventual pan-Hellenization of Megarian poetic traditions may well be found in the patterns of archaic Megarian colonization as described by Figueira Ch.5 §21. Cf. also Svenbro 1982.958: His description of navigating Megarian colonists as “cette polis à la recherche d’une terre” can be compared with the image of the ship of state in Theognis 667–682 (§1 above).
[ back ] 95. By the same token, even a tyrant may in theory be an exponent of dikē. See Ford Ch.3 for a discussion of the gnomic poetry of the Peisistratid Hipparchus, tyrant of Athens. (Compare too the verse associated with Hipparchus in Herodotus 5.56.1, which is parallel to [e.g.] Theognis 1029.) In this light, we may consider the parallel meanings of Theognis and Theāgenēs : ‘he whose genos [breeding] is from the god(s)’ (cf. §§43–44 below). 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 (see §27 above).
[ back ] 96. Cf. Apollodorus 2.5.4: the Centaur Pholos offers roast meat to his guest Herakles, while he himself eats his own portions of meat raw (αὐτὸς δὲ ὠμοῖς ἐχρῆτο). Cf. the description that could apply to debased aristocrats in language that suits the Cyclopes at Theognis 53–58 (discussed at §29n4).
[ back ] 97. Cf. §29, §32.
[ back ] 98. Cf. also Aristotle Politics 1290b14, who says that the actual majority of Colophonians had great wealth.
[ back ] 99. For Sappho, her love of (h)abrosunā ‘luxuriance’ is equated with her ‘lust for the sun’ (ἔρος τὠελίω : fr. 58.25–26 V/LP). On the relevance of this theme to the figure of Adonis, who is himself (h)abros ‘luxuriant’ (fr. 140 V/LP), cf. §50 below; also Nagy 1973.172–177.
[ back ] 100. Cf. also Theognis 603–604.
[ back ] 101. Cf. kerdos ‘private interest’ at Theognis 46/50 (quoted at §27); for more on kerdos, see §30n1.
[ back ] 102. Cf. Theognis 42 and 1082b, as discussed at §39.
[ back ] 103. On klīnomai in the sense of ‘veer’, cf. Theognis 946; see also §58.
[ back ] 104. Moreover, since Theognis considers himself philos toward Kurnos (cf. §44 below), he includes even himself at verse 40 (quoted at §27) when he calls the hubris of the Megarians ‘ours’ (ὕβριος ἡμετέρης).
[ back ] 105. The word may be non-Indo-European in origin: cf. Solmsen 1909.104. But see Forssman 1980.
[ back ] 106. On which cf. §29n4 above. Note especially Theognis 305–308: being kakos is contagious!
[ back ] 107. On the use of patronymics to designate the primary characteristic of a generic figure: Nagy 1979.146n2. For an extensive collection of forms, see Sulzberger 1926 (some of the article’s basic assumptions, however, are questionable). Of course, the name Polu-pāos may simply be an epithet—one that may be appropriate to Herakles himself (cf. §14).
[ back ] 108. It is clear in this passage that esthlos (cf. §8n2) is throughout synonymous with agathos.
[ back ] 109. Cf. the patronymic ῎Υρραος assigned at Alcaeus fr. 129.13 V/LP to Pittakos. The variant ῾Υρράδιος, as attested in Callimachus Epigram 1.2, is glossed in Hesychius as ἀπό τινος τῶν προγόνων ἄδοξος ἤ εἰκαῖος —i.e., a man of dubious paternity. In Alcaeus fr. 348.1 V/LP, Pittakos is called kakopatridēas ‘having base paternity’; cf. also fr. 72.11–13 V/LP, where someone is ridiculed for being the son of a seemingly low-born woman.
[ back ] 110. Cf. also the doublet of 1082c–1082f at Theognis 87–90.
[ back ] 111. On the semantics of philos / philoi ‘friend(s)’, see again §5.
[ back ] 112. Cf. Theognis 213.
[ back ] 113. Still, Hesiod’s intentions toward Perses are good: see WD 286 (for the diction, cf. Theognis 27–28, quoted at §10).
[ back ] 114. Cf. χρήματα ἁρπάζουσι βίῃ ‘they seize possessions [khrēmata] by force [biē]’ at Theognis 677, as quoted at §1.
[ back ] 115. Cf. §30n1, §40n4.
[ back ] 116. Cf. WD 284 (n5) and Solon fr. 3.34 [=fr. 4W], discussed at §49.
[ back ] 117. Cf. WD 325 (n4).
[ back ] 118. Vernant 1974 I.20, 24–26; cf. also Nagy 1979.151–173.
[ back ] 119. The reversal from debasement to improvement may help account for the absence of any metallic emblem for Generation 4. The progression Gold/Silver/Bronze of Generations 1/2/3 connotes debasement of value, which is interrupted by Generation 4.
[ back ] 120. The Gold Men are also ethelēmoi ‘placid’ (WD 118); cf. Apollonius of Rhodes Argonautica 2.656, where Dipsakos is described in a pastoral setting as ethelēmos, with the further detail that’ hubris did not please him’ (οὐδέ οἱ ὕβρις / ἥνδανεν : 2.655–656).
[ back ] 121. On this and related passages, cf. §20.
[ back ] 122. On hēgemones and dēmos, see §29
[ back ] 123. For kosmeō ‘make order’, cf. kosmos ‘order’ as discussed at §13n1, §25n2.
[ back ] 124. On euphrosunē as a programmatic word for the social harmony of an audience listening to poetry, cf. §6n2.
[ back ] 125. Cf. the silence of Theognis in response to the seizure of his possessions at verse 669, quoted at §1; also at verse 420.
[ back ] 126. Note that koros here at Solon fr. 3.9 is contrasted with hēsukhiē ‘serenity’ in the context of a dais ‘feast’ (verse 10). At Solon fr. 5.3GP [=fr. 4c.2W], the context of koros is still negative, but there it is only a temptation, as it were, rather than an evil that is afflicting the elite, who are described as hēsukhasantes ‘being serene’ (ibid.). The context of this fragment, as Aristotle reports (Constitution of the Athenians 5.3), is that Solon is addressing the plousioi ‘wealthy’, telling them not to be insatiable.
[ back] 127. See Michelini 1978.
[ back] 128. Michelini p.37 cites Aristotle De generatione animalium 725b35; Theophrastus Historia plantarum 2.7.6; De causis plantarum 2.16.8, 3.1.5, 3.6.8, 3.15.4.
[ back ] 129. E.g., Theophrastus De causis plantarum 3.6.8.
[ back ] 130. Michelini 1978.37–38.
[ back ] 131. The plant in question here is the sorb apple. For this and other examples of such vocabulary, see Michelini p.43, esp. n25. Cf. the anecdote in Herodotus 5.92 ζ about Periander’s lesson in how to be a tyrant: Thrasyboulos goes through the field and keeps docking the tallest of the grain.
[ back ] 132. Cf. again Theophrastus De causis plantarum 2.16.8 (ἐξυβρίσασαι διὰ τὴν εὐτροφίαν ἀκαρποῦσι) and 3.1.5 (ἄκαρπος γίνεται καθάπερ ὑλομανῶν καὶ ἐξυβρίζων).
[ back ] 133. The Corpus Paroemiographorum Graecorum contains this proverb more than once (cf. below).
[ back ] 134. Detienne 1972.187–226.
[ back ] 135. Cf. Odyssey xi 305–320, esp. verse 317.
[ back ] 136. Cf. xi 307, 319–320. Note the epithet pan-a-ōrios ‘most unseasonal of them all’ as applied to Achilles; cf. the discussion of Sinos 1980.13–28 (see also Slatkin 1979).
[ back ] 137. On the hubris of the Silver Men as described at WD 135–142, see Nagy 1979.151–153. Cf. also §§46–47 above.
[ back ] 138. So also on the Isles of the Blessed (WD 171–173): the Earth bears karpos three times a year (WD 172). The Fourth Generation, whose destiny it is to attain the Isles of the Blessed, are also exponents of dikē (WD 158). Cf. Nagy 1979.155.
[ back ] 139. See Hanell 1934.95–97 on Theognis 11–14, where Artemis is invoked as a protecting deity in whose honor Agamemnon himself had founded a sacred precinct before he sailed off to Troy with his fellow Achaeans. The precinct must surely correspond to the temple of Artemis at Megara (on which see Pausanias 1.43.1/3; Hanell, ibid., effectively counters the theory that the precinct in question is the temple of Artemis at Amarynthos, Euboea, on which see Callimachus Iambi fr. 200b Pfeiffer). Megara’s link with the heroic past is implicitly but proudly affirmed by these Theognidean verses: in the local tradition, as Hanell argues, it seems that the Trojan Expedition was launched not from Aulis but from Megara itself—a fitting heroic precedent for the historical launching by the mother state of so many important daughter colonies in the
 Propontis and beyond in the Pontus (e.g., Kalkhedon and Byzantium).
 On the relationship between the pan-Hellenic poetic traditions about
 the Trojan Expedition and the various local poetic traditions about
 the ktisis ‘foundation’ of various
 colonies, see Nagy 1979.139–141. In the local tradition of Megara,
 Agamemnon had come to the city in order to persuade an illustrious
 resident, none other than Calchas the seer, to join the Trojan
 Expedition (Pausanias 1.43.1); moreover, Iphigeneia herself
 supposedly died and was buried at Megara, to be worshiped ever after
 as a cult-hero in her own precinct (hērōion : Pausanias, ibid.). In view of Megara’s
 navigational preeminence in the seventh century, this local variant
 about the death of Iphigeneia may once have been eligible for
 pan-Hellenic acceptance—in competition with other variants about
 Iphigeneia. Granted, the reference in Iliad II.303–304suggests that Aulis was ultimately acknowledged by
 pan-Hellenic Epos as the final place of assembly for the Achaean
 ships; still, in view of the Iliad ‘s silence about
 Agamemnon’s sacrifice of Iphigeneia (in fact, “Iphianassa” is
 mentioned en passant as alive and eligible to marry
 Achilles at IX 145, 287), it is clear that Homeric poetry
 acknowledges the existence of rival versions of the assembly of
 ships (for a version according to which Iphigeneia was sacrificed at
 Brauron in Attica, see the scholia to Aristophanes
 Lysistrata 645, Etymologicum
 Magnum 747.57, Phanodemus FGH 325F1,
 Euphorion fr. 91 Powell).
[ back ] 140. It would be well to emphasize strongly at this point that the
 passages about to be adduced as parallels are not to be regarded as
 the “source” for the Theognidean verses in question. It is not a
 matter of references from one text to another but rather of parallel
 manifestations of common poetic traditions. See Nagy
[ back ] 141. See West 1978.243. As Lowell Edmunds points out to me, it is also
 possible that the allē at Theognis 1202
 simply distinguishes the alternative of sailing from the alternative
 of ploughing. In view of the Hesiodic parallels, however, I prefer
 the more complex interpretation that has just been
[ back ] 142.
 Hudson-Williams 1910.214; on khoiras as a
 visible reef, see the scholia to Euripides >Andromache>
[ back ] 143.
 The manuscripts have ἀποσεισάμενος. Arguing in favor of this reading, West 1974.153 remarks, “Commentators are curiously slow to recognize a dog’s invariable action on emerging from water.” He translates ἐγὼ δὲ …ἀποσεισάμενος as follows: “I was the familiar dog who crossed the banks in winter flood, I shook it all off.” This interpretation may be appealing to some, but clear parallels seem to be lacking. At least, West cannot find any. In such situations, where no parallel is to be found, I find it an unsatisfactory solution to assume that the passage in question is untraditional. In this particular case, I prefer to accept the emendation ἀποτεισόμενος on the basis of parallels that are about to be discussed.
[ back ] 144.
 I follow Murray 1965.278–279 in emending the manuscript reading at
 verse 348 from aorist ἀποσεισάμενος
 (cf. §60n1) to future ἀποτεισόμενος.
 Besides the arguments adduced by Murray, I would add that the aorist
 ἐπέρησα and the proposed future
 ἀποτεισόμενος at verses 347 and
 348 (see again the text as quoted at §60) are parallel to the aorist
 ἠλθ᾽ and the future ἀποτεισομένη at Solon fr.3.16GP [=fr. 4W]
 referring to the vengeance of Dikē ‘Justice’ incarnate against wrongdoers. Compare also the context of
 ἦλθε δίκη at Solon fr.1.8, quoted
 at §63. Note the hesitation in the manuscript tradition between
 future >ἀποτεισομένη and aorist
 ἀποτεισαμένη at Solon fr.3.16. The
 former reading is clearly the preferable one.
[ back ] 145.
 Murray p.279.
[ back ] 146.
 Ibid. See Frame 1978 and Nagy 1979.194–197 for a discussion of Greek
 poetic themes involving cosmic streams that separate the realms of
 the living and the dead, of consciousness and unconsciousness. To
 cross such streams in one direction or another is to fall asleep or
 to awaken, to die or to come back to life. The Indo-European root
 *nes, as in Greek noos and nostos, conveys such themes of awakening
 and coming back to life: see §68 below.
[ back ] 147.
 See Haavio 1959; also Bremmer 1983.133.
[ back ] 148.
 Compare the use of the verb teleō in these
 two instances with that of the noun telos
 at Solon fr.1.28 as cited in §63: the tisis ‘retribution’ of Zeus is in the end
 manifested absolutely— πάντως δ᾽ ἐς
 τέλος ἐξεφάνη.
[ back ] 149.
 On these phulakes / daimones, see Vernant 1974 I.21–22; also Nagy
 1979.151–155. Note the context of the derivative of phulax, the verb phulassomai, at Theognis 806 (as quoted at §20); cf.
 also the expression ὅτι φυλακὴν εἶχεν
 ‘who was standing guard’ at Theognis 676(as quoted at
[ back ] 150.
 For further discussion, see Nagy 1980.161–166.
[ back ] 151.
 To the extent that the consciousness of the dead is activated by
 drinking blood (e.g., >Odyssey> xi 153), the noos of Theognis (verse 350) seems
 predicated on the vengeful drinking of blood by the infernal hound
 (verse 349), and yet it is the noos of
 Theognis that seems to unleash this vengeance. For a parallel to
 this kind of “chicken-and-egg” pattern in mythopoeic thinking, see
 Nagy 1974b.77.
[ back ] 152.
 That the word nostos in the
 >Odyssey> designates the ‘homecoming’ of Odysseus
 both from Troy and from the world of the dead is demonstrated by
 Frame 1978.
[ back ] 153.
 The passage is quoted in full by Cobb-Stevens Ch.6 §22; for a
 commentary, see Frame pp.36–37.
[ back ] 154.
 For the semantics of ἤλυθεν
 here, cf. ἀνῆλθεν and
 ἤλυθε at Theognis 703
 and 711.
[ back ] 155.
 On the semantics of thūmos,
 see Nagy 1980.161–166.
[ back ] 156.
 For a survey of these themes in the >Odyssey>, see Nagy
[ back ] 157.
 On the sacral uses of oikos / oikeō, cf. Henrichs 1976.278.
[ back ] 158.
 On the convergence of names for mythical places (like Elysium) and
 names for cult places where heroes are buried and worshiped, see
 Nagy 1979.189–190. On the equation of the “espace politique” with
 the “espace sacré” where Megarian heroes are buried, see Bohringer
 1980.6–7 (especially with reference to Pausanias 1.43.3). As for
 verses 1211–1216 of Theognis, they of course require much further
 study. Suffice it to note here that verses 1211–1212 reveal a theme
 for which there is a converse at Alcaeus fr.72.11–13
[ back ] 159.
 For this specialized meaning of aithōn and
 for the reading αἴθονα λιμόν at Hesiod
 >WD> 363, see McKay 1959.
[ back ] 160.
 See Svenbro 1976.50–59; cf. Nagy 1979.261n4.
[ back ] 161.
 Cf. Nagy 1979.234–242.
[ back ] 162.
 Cf. §12 above.
[ back ] 163.
 See Hanell 1934, esp. pp.54–55.
[ back ] 164.
 Cf. the commentary of Nagler 1977.80.
[ back ] 165.
 As for the sound of the call, despite the claims of Dionysius ibid.,
 see >Etymologicum Magnum> 699.10 s.v. πώυγγες.
[ back ] 166.
 Detienne/Vernant 1974.208.
[ back ] 167.
 Anti 1920.284–287; see esp. p.287 for a painting that apparently
 features the accompanying inscription oikeiou
 nostou, which could mean something like ‘with reference
 to one’s personal homecoming [nostos]’.
[ back ] 168.
 For the correction, see Anti pp.288–289. For a striking
 iconographical representation of this theme, see the illustration in
 Vermeule 1979.176, to be supplemented by the comments of Anti
[ back ] 169.
 See Nagy 1979.203n2.
[ back ] 170.
 An analysis of Theognidean poetry such as the one presented here
 reveals much that is parallel to Alcaic poetry, especially to the
 so-called “stasiotic” poems. To take Alcaeus fr.129 V/LP for an
 example: the poet here is represented as speaking within a sacred
 precinct or temenos (verses 1–2), praying
 that the gods of this precinct deliver him from painful exile
 (11–12) and hear his curse (10–11); the words of the curse adjure an
 Erīnūs ‘Fury’ to take vengeance
 against Pittakos, who broke the oath that binds hetairoi ‘companions’ together (13–20; cf. Theognis
 337–350 and the comments at §§61, 64, 67). At Alcaeus fr.130 V/LP,
 the poet again speaks of a temenos (verse
 28), apparently the same precinct as before, which is presented as
 what seems to be the actual abode of Alcaeus as a lone exile (23–25;
 cf. Theognis 1209–1210 and the comments at §71); the verb oikeō ‘I have an abode’ here at verses 25
 (ἐοίκησα) and 31 (οἴκημμι) of Alcaeus fr.130 is the same as
 at verse 1210 (οἰκῶ) of Theognis (see
 again the comments at §71). In this light, the nostalgia at Alcaeus
 fr.130.16–20 may be compared with the sentiment expressed at
 Theognis 1197–1202 (§§52 and following).