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Title: Psyche: The Cult of Souls and Belief in Immortality among the Greeks

Author: Erwin Rohde

Translator: W. B. Hillis

Release date: October 17, 2021 [eBook #66555]

Language: English

Credits: Ed Brandon from material at the Internet Archive



The Cult of Souls and Belief in Immortality among the Greeks




Translated from the eighth edition by


Printed in Great Britain by Stephen Austin & Sons, Ltd., Hertford.


II. ISLANDS OF THE BLEST. Translation 55
I. Cult of Chthonic Deities 158
II. Funeral ceremonies and worship of the dead 162
III. Traces of the Cult of Souls in the Blood Feud and Satisfaction for murder 174
I. Philosophy 490
II. Popular Belief 524
I. Consecration of persons struck by lightning 581
II. μασχαλισμός 582
III. ἀμύητοι, ἄγαμοι, Danaids in the lower world 586
IV. The Tetralogies of Antiphon 588
V. Ritual Purification 588
VI. Hekate and the Ἑκατικὰ φάσματα 590
VII. The Hosts of Hekate 593
VIII. Disintegration of Consciousness and Reduplication of Personality 595
IX. The Great Orphic Theogony 596
X. Previous Lives of Pythagoras. His Descent to Hades 598
XI. Initiation considered as Adoption by the god 601
XII. Magical Exorcisms of the Dead 603
[INDEX] 607
[Transcriber’s Note and Extended List of Abbreviations] end


THIS book offers an account of the opinions held by the Greeks about the life of the human soul after death, and is thus intended as a contribution to the history of Greek religion. Such an undertaking has in a special measure to contend with the difficulties that face any inquiry into the religious life and thought of the Greeks. Greek religion was a natural growth, not a special foundation, and the ideas and feelings which gave it its inward tone and outward shape never received abstract formulation. It expressed itself in religious performances alone: it had no sacred books from which we might determine the inward meaning and interconnexion of the ideas with which the Greeks approached the gods created by their faith. The central essence of the religion held by the Greek people, in spite of this absence of conceptual formulation—or perhaps because of it—preserved its original character to a remarkable degree: the speculations and fancies of Greek poets continually refer to this central nucleus. Indeed the poets and philosophers in such of their writings as have come down to us are our only authorities for the religious thought of the Greeks. In the present inquiry they have naturally had to be our guides for the greater part of the way. But though under the special conditions of Greek life the religious views of poets and philosophers represent an important side of Greek religion, they yet allow us to perceive very clearly the independent and self-determined position with regard to the ancestral religion retained by the individual. The individual believer might always, if his own temper and disposition allowed him, give himself up to the plain and unsophisticated emotions which had shaped and decided the faith of the people and the religious performances of popular εὐσέβεια. But we should know very little of the religious ideas that filled the mind of the believing Greek if we had to do without the evidence of philosophers and poets (and of some Attic orators as well) in whose words dumb and inarticulate emotion finds expression. The inquirer would, however, be entirely on the wrong track viii and be led to some remarkable conclusions who ventured without more ado to deduce from the religious ideas that find expression in Greek literature a complete Theology of the Greek people. Where direct literary statements and allusions fail us we are left with nothing but surmises in face of the religion of the Greeks and its inmost guiding forces. Of course there are plenty of people of sanguine temperament and industrious fancy who find no difficulty in producing for our benefit the most admirable solutions of the problem. Others in varying degrees of good faith press the emotions of Christian piety into the service of explaining ancient faith in gods. Thus injustice is done to both forms of religion and an understanding of the essentials of Greek belief in its true and independent reality is made completely impossible. A good example of this is provided by the Eleusinian Mysteries, and by that favourite topic of controversy (which has, indeed, received more than its due share of attention from students of religion), the amalgamation of the worship of gods and the belief in Souls said to have taken place therein. Nowhere else has the complete unprofitableness of the attempt to make use of the shifting ideas and tendencies of modern civilization to explain the underlying motive forces of these significant cult practices, been more strikingly and repeatedly demonstrated. On this head in particular the author of the present work has renounced all attempts to cast a fitful and ambiguous light upon the venerable gloom of the subject by the help of the farthing dip of his own private imaginings. There is no denying that here as in so many departments of ancient εὐσέβεια there is something greater and finer that eludes our grasp. The revealing word, never having been written down, has been lost. Instead of trying to find a substitute in modern catch phrases it seems better simply to describe, in the plainest and most literal fashion, the actual phenomena of Greek piety exactly as they are known to us. There will be plenty of opportunity for the author’s own suggestions and they need not always obtrude themselves. The aim of this work is to make plain the facts of the Greek Cult of Souls and of that belief in immortality the inner workings of which are only partially intelligible to our most sympathetic efforts to understand them. To give a clearer presentation of the origin and development of those practices and those beliefs; to distinguish the transformations through which they passed and their relationship with other and kindred intellectual tendencies; to disentangle the many different lines of thought and speculation from the inextricable ix confusion in which they lie in many minds (and in many books) and to let them stand out clearly and distinctly one from another, seemed particularly desirable. Why this design has not been carried out by the same methods throughout; why it has sometimes seemed sufficient to give a bald summary of the essential points, while at other times certain topics are pursued into their most distant ramifications (sometimes with apparently irrelevant prolixity), will be obvious enough to those who are familiar with the subject. Where a more careful examination of the overflowing mass of detail was to be attempted advantage has been taken of the Appendix to achieve a greater, though still only a relative degree of completeness. This was made possible by the lengthy period which elapsed between the publication of the two parts of the book. The first half [to the end of chapter vii] appeared as long ago as the spring of 1890. Unpropitious circumstances have delayed the completion of the remainder till the present moment. The two parts could easily be kept separate (as they have been): in the main they fall apart and correspond to the two sides of the question indicated in the title of the book—Cult of Souls and Belief in Immortality. The Cult of Souls and the faith in immortality may eventually come together at some points, but they have a different origin and travel most of the way on separate paths. The conception of immortality in particular arises from a spiritual intuition which reveals the souls of men as standing in close relationship, and indeed as being of like substance, with the everlasting gods. And simultaneously the gods are regarded as being in their nature like the soul of man, i.e. as free spirits needing no material or visible body. (It is this spiritualized view of the gods—not the belief in gods itself as Aristotle supposes in the remarkable statement quoted by Sextus Empiricus Adv. Mathematicos, iii, 20 ff.—which arises from the vision of its own divine nature achieved by the soul καθ’ ἑαυτήν relieved of the body, in ἐνθουσιασμοί and μαντεῖαι.) And this conception leads far away from the ideas on which the Cult of Souls was based.

The publication of the book in two parts has brought with it a regrettable circumstance for which I must ask the indulgence of well-disposed readers (that the first half found so many of them is a fact which I must gratefully acknowledge). As the dimensions of the whole work grew beyond expectation and almost overstepped the μέτρον αὔταρκες, the sixteen excursuses which were promised in x the first volume have had to be dropped: the book would otherwise have been overloaded. So far as they possess independent interest they will find a place elsewhere. They are real excursuses and were intended as such, and the proper understanding of the book will not be affected by their absence.


November 1st, 1893.


THE publication of a second edition of this book affords me a welcome opportunity of making my account more exact and to the point in certain places; of adding some points that had been overlooked or omitted; and of noticing with approval or disapproval some divergent opinions that had obtained currency in the interval. Controversy is, however, confined within the narrowest limits and to points of minor importance (and only then in answer to more serious and significant objections). The plan and—if I may say so—the style of the whole book demanded throughout, and more especially in the great points at issue, a purely positive statement of my own views and the results of my own studies. Such a statement, it may well be imagined, was not arrived at without being preceded in the mind of the author by a controversial reckoning with the manifold views and doctrines of others upon the subjects here dealt with—views which in some cases he felt obliged to reject. Controversy in this sense lies behind every page of the book, though as a rule only in a latent condition. In this condition I have been content to let it remain in this revised edition of the book. My opinions were not arrived at without toil and much careful reflection; one view being made to reinforce another till they were all bound together in a single closely-knitted whole. Neither further reflection on my part nor the criticisms of others have shaken my belief in the tenability of opinions reached in this way. I have therefore ventured to leave my account unaltered in all its main points. I hope that it contains its own justification and defence in itself without further vindication on my part.

Nothing in the plan or execution of the whole or its parts has been altered; neither have I taken anything away. The book contained nothing that was superfluous to the attainment of the object that I had in view. This object, it will be apparent, was not in the least to provide a brief and compendious statement of the most indispensable facts about the cult of Souls and the belief in immortality among the Greeks for the benefit of those who wished to take a hasty xii glance over the subject. Such a hasty picker-up of knowledge who regards himself—I cannot imagine why—as peculiarly fitted to criticise my book, has ingenuously besought me, in view of a second edition which he was kind enough to think probable, to throw overboard most of what he considered the superfluous parts of the book. With this request I have not felt myself able to comply. My book was written for maturer readers who have passed beyond the school stage and look for something more than an elementary handbook, and who would be able to understand and appreciate the plan and intention which led me to draw my material so widely from many departments of literary and cultural history. The first edition of the book found many such readers: I may hope and expect that the second will do the same.

In its revised form the book has been divided for the convenience of those who use it into two volumes (which correspond with the two parts in which it was first published). I was urged to take away the notes that stand at the foot of the text and relegate them to a place by themselves in a separate appendix. I found, however, that I could not bring myself to adopt this fashionable modern practice, which so far as I have experience of it in books published in recent years seems to me to be inconvenient and to hinder rather than help that undisturbed appreciation of the text which such an arrangement is intended to serve. Independent readers who in using the book are working out the subject for themselves would certainly not desire the separation of the documentary evidence from the statement of the author’s view. The book has also, to my peculiar satisfaction, attracted a large number of readers from outside the immediate circle of professional philologists. Such readers have evidently not been seriously disturbed by the elaborate and perhaps rather pedantic aspect of the mysterious disquisitions at the foot of the page, and have been able to fix their attention upon the clearer language of the text above. I have therefore decided to remove a few only of the notes which had grown to independent dimensions to an appendix at the end of each of the two volumes.


November 27th, 1897.


IN supervising together this reprint of “Psyche” we have found ourselves faced with the question which Schöll and Dieterich had to decide in bringing out the third edition—whether changes or additions would be admissible. It went without saying that the text must remain untouched in the form last given to it by Rohde’s own hand. Nor was it possible to make any additions to the notes without seriously disturbing the carefully considered architecture of the whole book. It would have been more possible to add an appendix or supplementary pamphlet recording the literature of the subject which has appeared since 1898 and giving an account of the present state of the questions dealt with by Rohde: as has been done with the “Griechische Roman” by W. Schmid. But on making the attempt we soon found that the problem was a different one in the case of “Psyche” with which (much more than in the other case) all subsequent study of the history of religion as pursued by all nations has had to reckon, and from which such study has in no small degree taken its starting point. We have therefore refrained; and we have also refrained from remodelling the citations to make them correspond with critical editions that have since appeared. This process could not be carried through without, in some places, introducing contradictions with Rohde’s interpretation that would have necessitated more detailed discussion. Rohde’s own method of citation was only seriously inconvenient in the case of Euripides: here he evidently, as we observed from about the middle of the first volume onwards, made use of more than one edition at the same time, and has consequently quoted lines in accordance with different enumerations. For the greater assurance and convenience of the reader the lines are uniformly referred to according to the numbering of Nauck. This task has been undertaken by our devoted helper Frl. Emilie Boer, who has also verified, with a very few exceptions, the whole of the references to ancient writers and inscriptions; xiv a considerable number of errors missed by the author or later editors have thus been corrected. The minor changes introduced in the third and following editions—the recording on the margin of the pagination of the first edition and the valuable enlargement of the index due to W. Nestle with the assistance of O. Crusius—have all naturally been retained.


November, 1920.


ROHDE is very unsystematic in his mode of quoting from ancient authorities: he has, for example, four different ways of referring to the Iliad and the Odyssey, two of referring to Demosthenes and the Orators, etc. In quoting from the lesser authorities he sometimes used editions which have since become antiquated. (He even goes so far as to quote Clem. Alex. by the page and letter of Heinsius’ re-edition of Sylburg.) I have made an attempt to reduce the number of inconsistencies and to give references where possible to modern editions. In these and other small ways I have tried to make the notes—the text I hope is intelligible enough—more accessible to English readers. I have given references to English translations of German works (where I have been able to find them); but I have refrained from adding references to the modern literature of the subject: most readers of the book will prefer to do that for themselves. In order to save space I have used abbreviation pretty freely in quoting names of authors and titles of books. The abbreviated forms agree generally with those given in Liddell and Scott (supplemented by the list drawn up for the new edition of the Lexicon): most of the following may be noted:—

A. (or Aesch.) = Aeschylus.
Amm. = Ammonius.
AP. = Anthologia Palatina.
Apollod. = Ps.-Apollodorus, Bibiotheca (unless Epit. is added).
A. R. = Apollonius Rhodius.
Ath. Mitth. = Mittheilungen d. deutsch. arch. Inst. zu Athen.
Aug. = Augustine.
D. (or Dem.) = Demosthenes.
D. C. = Dio Cassius.
D. Chr. = Dio Chrysostom.
D. H. = Dionysius of Halicarnassus (i.e. Rom. Antiq. unless otherwise indicated)
D. L. = Diogenes Laertius.
D. P. = Dionysius Periegetes.
D. S. = Diodorus Siculus.
E. (or Eur.) = Euripides.
Epigr. Gr. = Kaibel, Epigrammata Graeca.
Eun. = Eunapius Vitae Sophistarum. xvi
Gal. = Galen (vol. and page of Kühn).
GDI. = Collitz, Griechische Dialektinschriften.
Gp. = Geoponica.
Grimm = Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie transl. as Teutonic Mythology, by J. S. Stallybrass, Lond., 1880.
Heraclid. Pol. = Heraclides Ponticus, Politica.
Him. = Himerius.
Hipp. = Hippolytus.
Hp. = Hippokrates.
Hsch. = Hesychius.
H. Smyrn. = Hermippus of Smyrna.
Homer is quoted by the majuscules of the Greek alphabet for the books of the Iliad, by the minuscules for the Odyssey.
Inscr. Perg. = Inschriften von Pergamon ed. Fraenkel.
IPE. = Inscriptiones Ponti Euxini ed. Latyschev.
Is. = Isaeus.
J. M. = Justin Martyr.
Leg. Sacr. = von Prott and Ziehen, Leges Graecorum Sacrae.
Pall. = Palladius, de Re Rustica.
Phld. = Philodemus.
Pi. = Pindar.
Pl. = Plato.
PLG. = Bergk, Poetae Lyrici Graeci ed. 4.
Plot. = Plotinus.
Plu. = Plutarch.
PMagPar. = Paris Magical Papyrus ed. Wessely.
Rh. Mus. = Rheinisches Museum.
S. (or Soph.) = Sophokles.
S. E. = Sextus Empiricus.
SIG. = Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum ed. 2 (unless otherwise stated).
Str. = Strabo (Casaubon's page).
Tab. Defix. = Tabellae Defixionum ed. Wünsch (Appendix to CIA.).
Thphr. = Theophrastus (Ch. = Characters ed. Jebb).
Tylor = E. B. Tylor, Primitive Culture ed. 4.
Tz. = Tzetzes.
Vg. = Vergil.
Vors. = Diels, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker ed. 4 (vol. i unless otherwise indicated).
X. (or Xen.) = Xenophon historicus.
Znb. = Zenobius.

I take this opportunity of thanking my friend Mr. R. Burn, of Glasgow University, for his invaluable help in these matters.






§ 1

To the immediate understanding of mankind nothing seems so self-evident, nothing so little in need of explanation, as the phenomenon of Life itself, the fact of man’s own existence. On the other hand, the cessation of this so self-evident existence, whenever it obtrudes itself upon his notice, arouses man’s ever-renewed astonishment. There are primitive peoples to whom death whenever it occurs seems an arbitrary abbreviation of life: if it is not due to visible forces, then some invisible magic must have caused it. So difficult is it for such peoples to grasp the idea that the present state of being alive and conscious can come to an end of its own accord.

Once reflection on such problems is aroused, life itself, standing as it does on the threshold of all sensation and experience, soon begins to appear no less mysterious than death—that kingdom into which no experience reaches. It may even come about that when they are regarded too long and too hard, light and darkness seem to change places. It was to a Greek poet that the question suggested itself: “Who knows then whether Life be not Death, and what we here call Death be called Life there below?”

From such jaded wisdom and its doubts Greek civilization is still far removed when, though already at an advanced stage in its development, it first speaks to us in the Homeric poems. The poet and his heroes speak with lively feeling of the pains and troubles of life, both in its individual phases and as a whole. The gods have allotted a life of pain and misery to men, while they themselves remain free from care. On the other hand, to turn aside from life altogether never enters the head of anyone in Homer. Nothing may be said expressly of the joy and happiness of life, but that is because such things 4 go without saying among a vigorous folk engrossed in a movement of progress, whose circumstances were never complicated and where all the conditions of happiness easily fell to the lot of the strong in activity and enjoyment. And, indeed, it is only for the strong, the prudent, and the powerful that this Homeric world is intended. Life and existence upon this earth obviously belongs to them—is it not an indispensable condition of the attainment of all particular good things? As for death—the state which is to follow our life here—there is no danger of anyone mistaking that for life. “Do not try and explain away death to me,” says Achilles to Odysseus in Hades; and this would be the answer any Homeric man would have given to the sophisticated poet, if he had tried to persuade him that the state of things after life on this earth is the real life. Nothing is so hateful to man as death and the gates of Hades: for when death comes it is certain that life—this sweet life of ours in the sunlight—is done with, whatever else there may be to follow.

§ 2

But what does follow? What happens when life departs for ever from the inanimate body?

It is strange that anyone should have maintained (as it has been in recent times1) that in any stage of the development of the Homeric poems the belief can be found that with the moment of death all is at an end: that nothing survives death. We are not warranted by any statement in either of the two poems (to be found perhaps in their oldest parts, as is suggested) nor yet by the tell-tale silence of the poet, in attributing such an idea either to the poet or his contemporaries. Wherever the occasion of death is described we are told how the dead man (still referred to by his name), or his “Psyche”, hastens away into the house of Aïdes—into the kingdom of Aïdes and the grim Persephoneia; goes down to the darkness below the earth, to Erebos; or, more vaguely, sinks into the earth itself. In any case, it is no mere nothing that can enter the gloomy depths, nor over what does not exist could one suppose that the divine Pair holds sway below.

But how are we to think of this “Psyche” that, unnoticed during the lifetime of the body, and only observable when it is “separated” from the body, now glides off to join the multitude of its kind assembled in the murky regions of the “Invisible” (Aïdes)? Its name, like the names given to the 5 “soul” in many languages, marks it off as something airy and breathlike, revealing its presence in the breathing of the living man. It escapes out of the mouth—or out of the gaping wound of the dying—and now freed from its prison becomes, as the name well expresses it, an “image” (εἴδωλον). On the borders of Hades Odysseus sees floating “the images of those that have toiled (on earth)”. These immaterial images withdrawing themselves from the grasp of the living, like smoke (Il. xxiii, 100) or a shadow (Od. xi, 207; x, 495), must at least recognizably present the general outlines of the once living person. Odysseus immediately recognizes his mother, Antikleia, in such a shadow-person, as well as the lately dead Elpenor, and those of his companions of the Trojan War who have gone before him. The psyche of Patroklos appearing to Achilleus by night resembles the dead man absolutely in stature, bodily appearance and expression. The nature of this shadowy double of mankind, separating itself from man in death and taking its departure then, can best be realized if we first make clear to ourselves what qualities it does not possess. The psyche of Homeric belief does not, as might have been supposed, represent what we are accustomed to call “spirit” as opposed to “body”. All the faculties of the human “spirit” in the widest sense—for which the poet has a large and varied vocabulary—are indeed only active and only possible so long as a man is still alive: when death comes the complete personality is no longer in existence. The body, that is the corpse, now becomes mere “senseless earth” and falls to pieces, while the psyche remains untouched. But the latter is by no means the refuge of “spirit” and its faculties, any more than the corpse is. It (the psyche) is described as being without feeling, deserted by mind and the organs of mind. All power of will, sensation, and thought have vanished with the disintegration of the individual man into his component parts. So far from it being permissible to ascribe the functions of “spirit” to the psyche, it would be more reasonable to speak of a contrast between the two. Man is a living creature, conscious of himself and intelligently active, only so long as the psyche remains within him. But it is not the psyche which communicates its own faculties to man and gives him capacity for life together with consciousness, will and knowledge. It is rather that during the union of the psyche and the body all the faculties of living and acting lie within the empire of the body, of which they are functions. Without the presence of the psyche, the body cannot perceive, feel, or will, but it does not use these 6 or any of its faculties through or by means of the psyche. Nowhere does Homer attribute any such function to the psyche in living man: it is, in fact, only mentioned when its separation from the living man is imminent or has occurred. As the body’s shadow-image it survives the body and all its vital powers.

If we now ask—as our Homeric psychologists generally do—which, in the face of this mysterious association between a living body and its counterfeit the psyche, is the “real” man, we find that Homer in fact gives contradictory answers. Not infrequently (indeed, in the first lines of the Iliad) the material body is contrasted,2 as the “man himself”, with the psyche—which cannot therefore be any organ or component part of the living body. On the other hand, that which takes its departure at death and hastens into the realm of Hades is also referred to by the proper name of the person as “himself”3—which means that here the shadowy psyche (for nothing else can go down to Hades) is invested with the name and value of the complete personality, the “self” of the man. But those who draw from these phrases the conclusion that either the body or the psyche must be the “real man” have, in either case,4 left out of account or unexplained one half of the recorded evidence. Regarded without prejudice, these apparently contradictory methods of speaking simply prove that both the visible man (the body and its own faculties) and the indwelling psyche could be described as the man’s “self”. According to the Homeric view, human beings exist twice over: once as an outward and visible shape, and again as an invisible “image” which only gains its freedom in death. This, and nothing else, is the Psyche.

Such an idea—that the psyche should dwell with the living and fully conscious personality, like an alien and a stranger, a feebler double of the man, as his “other self”—this may well seem very strange to us. And yet this is what so-called “savage” peoples,5 all over the world, actually believe. Herbert Spencer in particular has shown this most decisively. It is therefore not very surprising to find the Greeks, too, sharing a mode of thought that lies so close to the mind of primitive mankind. The earlier age which handed down to the Greeks of Homer their beliefs about the soul cannot have failed any more than other nations to observe the facts upon which a fantastic logic based the conclusion of man’s double personality. It was not the phenomena of sensation, will, perception, or thought in waking and conscious man which led to this conclusion. It was the experience of an apparent 7 double of the self in dreaming, in swoons, and ecstasy, that gave rise to the inference of a two-fold principle of life in man, and of the existence of an independent, separable “second self” dwelling within the viable self of daily life. One has only to listen to the words of a Greek writer of a later period who, far more explicitly than Homer, describes the nature of the psyche and at the same time lets us see the origin of the belief in such an entity. Pindar (fr. 131) tells us that the body obeys Death, the almighty, but the image of the living creature lives on (“since this alone is derived from the gods”: which, of course, is not Homeric belief); for it (this eidôlon) is sleeping when the limbs are active, but when the body is asleep it often reveals the future in a dream. Words could hardly make it plainer that in the activities of the waking and conscious man, the image-soul has no part. Its world is the world of sleep. While the other “I”, unconscious of itself, lies in sleep, its double is up and doing. In other words, while the body of the sleeper lies wrapped in slumber, motionless, the sleeper in his dream lives and sees many strange and wonderful things. It is “himself” who does this (of that there can be no doubt), and yet not the self known and visible to himself and others; for that lies still as death beyond the reach of sensation. It follows that there lives within a man a second self, active in dreaming. That the dream experiences are veritable realities and not empty fancies for Homer is also certain. He never says, as later poets often do, that the dreamer “thought” he saw this or that. The figures seen in dreams are real figures, either of the gods themselves or a “dream spirit” sent by them, or a fleeting “image” (eidôlon) that they allow to appear for a moment. Just as the dreamer’s capacity for vision is no mere fancy, so, too, the objects that he sees are realities. In the same way it is something real that appears to a man asleep as the shape of a person lately dead. Since this shape can show itself to a dreamer, it must of necessity still exist; consequently it survives death, though, indeed, only as a breath-like image, much as we have seen reflections of our own faces mirrored in water.6 It cannot, indeed—this airy substance—be grasped or held like the once viable self; and hence comes its name, the “psyche”. The primeval argument for such a counterpart of man is repeated by Achilleus himself (Il. xxiii, 103 f.) when his dead friend appears to him and then vanishes again: so, then, ye Gods, there yet lives in Hades’ house a psyche and shadowy image (of man), but there is no midriff in it (and consequently none of the faculties which preserve the visible man alive). 8

The dreamer, then, and what he sees in his dream proves the existence of an alter ego in man.7 Man, however, also observes that his body may suffer a deathlike torpor without the second self being occupied with dream experiences. In such moments of “swoon”, according to Greek thought and actual Homeric expression, “the psyche has left the body.”8 Where had it gone? No man could tell. But on this occasion it comes back again: whereupon the “spirit is gathered again into the midriff”. If ever, as happens in the case of death, the psyche should become completely separated from the visible body, then the “spirit” will never return. But the psyche, which in those temporary separations from the body9 did not perish, will not vanish into nothingness now.

§ 3

So far experience takes us, from which primitive logic arrived at very much the same conclusions all over the world. But, we may proceed to ask, where does this liberated psyche go? What becomes of it? Here begins “the undiscovered country” and it might appear that at its entrance there was a complete parting of the ways.

Primitive people are accustomed to attribute unlimited powers to the disembodied “soul”—powers all the more formidable because they are not seen. Indeed, they refer in part all invisible forces to the action of “souls”, and strain anxiously by means of the richest offerings within their power to secure for themselves the goodwill of these powerful spirits. Homer, on the contrary, knows nothing of any influence exerted by the psyche upon the visible world, and, consequently, hardly anything of a cult of the psyche. How, indeed, could the souls (as I may venture to call them without further risk of misunderstanding) have any such influence? They are all without exception collected in the realm of Aïdes, far from the living, separated from them by Okeanos and Acheron, guarded by the relentless god himself, the inexorable doorkeeper. Only a fabled hero like Odysseus may for once, perhaps, reach the entrance of that gloomy kingdom alive: the souls themselves, once they have crossed the river, never come back—so the soul of Patroklos assures his friend. How do they get there? The implication seems to be that on leaving the body the soul passes away, unwilling and complaining of its fate, but, nevertheless, unresisting, to Hades; and after the destruction of the body by fire, disappears for ever into the depths of Erebos. It was only a 9 later poet who, in giving the final touches to the Odyssey, introduced Hermes, the “Guide of the Dead”. Whether this is an invention of the poet’s, or, as appears more likely, it is borrowed from the ancient folk-belief of some remote corner of Greece, in the completely rounded circle of Homeric belief at any rate it is an innovation and an important one. Doubt has arisen, it appears, whether indeed all the souls must of necessity pass away into the Unseen; and they are provided with a divine guide who by his mysteriously compelling summons (Od. xxiv, 1) and the power of his magic wand constrains them to follow him.10

Down in the murky underworld they now float unconscious, or, at most, with a twilight half-consciousness, wailing in a shrill diminutive voice, helpless, indifferent. Of course, flesh, bones, and sinews,11 the midriff, the seat of all the faculties of mind and will—these are all gone for ever. They were attached to the once-visible partner of the psyche, and that has been destroyed. To speak of an “immortal life” of these souls, as scholars both ancient and modern have done, is incorrect. They can hardly be said to live even, any more than the image does that is reflected in the mirror; and that they prolong to eternity their shadowy image-existence—where in Homer do we ever find this said? The psyche may survive its visible companion, but it is helpless without it. Is it possible to believe that a realistically imaginative, materially minded people like the Greeks would have regarded as immortal a creature incapable (once the funeral is over) of requiring or receiving further nourishment—either in religious cult or otherwise?

The daylight world of Homer is thus freed from spectres of the night (for even in dreams the psyche is seen no more after the body is burnt); from those intangible and ghostly essences at whose unearthly activity the superstitious of every age tremble. The living are no longer troubled by the dead. The world is governed by the gods alone; not pale and ghostly phantoms, but palpable and fully materialized figures, working powerfully everywhere, and dwelling on the clear mountain tops: “and brightness gleams around them.” No daimonic powers can compare with the gods or can avail against them; and night does not set free the departed souls of the dead. The reader starts involuntarily and begins to suspect the influence of another age, when in a part of Book XX of the Odyssey, added by a later hand, he reads how shortly before the destruction of the suitors the clairvoyant soothsayer beholds in hall and forecourt the soul-phantoms (eidôla) 10 floating in multitudes and hurrying down to the darkness under the earth: “the sun was darkened in the heaven and a thick mist came over all.” The later poet has been very successful in suggesting the terror awakened by a foreboding of tragedy; but such terror in the face of the doings of the spirit world is entirely un-Homeric.

§ 4

Were the Greeks, then, always so untroubled by such fears of the souls of the dead? Was there never any cult of disembodied spirits, such as was not only known to all primitive peoples throughout the world, but was also quite familiar to nations belonging to the same family as the Greeks, for instance, the Indians and the Persians? The question and its answer have more than a passing interest. In later times—long subsequent to Homer—we find in Greece itself a lively worship of ancestors and a general cult of the departed. Were it demonstrable—as it is generally assumed without proof—that the Greeks only at this late period first began to pay a religious cult to the souls of the dead, this fact would give very strong support to the oft-repeated theory that the cult of the dead arose from the ruins of a previous worship of the gods. Anthropologists are accustomed to deny this and to regard the worship of disembodied souls as one of the earliest forms (if not as originally the only form) of the reverence paid to unseen powers. The peoples, however, upon whose conditions of life and mental conceptions such views are generally based, have indeed behind them a long past, but no history. What is to prevent pure speculation and theorizing in conformity with the preconceived idea just mentioned (which is almost elevated to the position of a doctrine of faith by some comparative religionists) from introducing into the dim past of such savage peoples the primitive worship of gods, out of which the worship of the dead may then subsequently arise? But Greek religious development can be traced from Homer onwards for a long period; and there we find the certainly remarkable fact that a cult of the dead, unknown to Homer, only appears later, in the course of a long and vigorous expansion of religious ideas in after times; or, at least, then shows itself more plainly—but not, it is important to notice, as the precipitate of a dying belief in gods and worship of the gods, but rather as a collateral development by the side of that highly developed form of piety.

Are we, then, really to believe that the cult of disembodied 11 spirits was absolutely unknown to the Greeks of pre-Homeric times?

Such an assertion, if made without due qualification, is contradicted by a closer study of the Homeric poems themselves.

It is true that Homer represents for us the earliest great stage in the evolution of Greek civilization of which we have clear evidence. But the poems do not stand at the beginning of that evolution. Indeed, they only stand at the beginning of Greek Epic poetry—so far as this has been transmitted to us—because the natural greatness and wide popularity of the Iliad and the Odyssey secured their preservation in writing. Their very existence and the degree of artistic finish which they show, oblige us to suppose that behind them lies a long history of heroic “Saga” poetry. The conditions which they describe and imply point to a long course of previous development—from nomadic to city life, from patriarchal rule to the organization of the Greek Polis. And just as the maturity of material development tells its tale, so do the refinement and maturity of culture, the profound and untrammelled knowledge of the world, the clarity and simplicity of thought reflected in them. All these things go to show that before Homer, in order to reach Homer, the Greek world must have thought and learned much—must, indeed, have unlearned and undone much. As in art, so in all the products of civilization, what is simple, appropriate, and convincing is not the achievement of beginners, but the reward of prolonged study. It is prima facie unthinkable that during the whole length of Greek evolution before Homer, religion alone, the relationship between man and the invisible world, should have remained stationary at any one point. It is not from the comparison of religious beliefs and their development among kindred nations, nor even from the study of apparently primitive ideas and usages in the religious life of the Greeks themselves of later times, that we are to seek the truth about the religious customs of that remote period which is obscured for us by the intervening mass of the Homeric poems. Comparative studies of this kind are valuable in their way, but must only be used to give further support to the insight derived from less easily misleading methods of inquiry. For us the only completely satisfactory source of information about pre-Homeric times is Homer himself. We are allowed—indeed, we are forced—to conclude that there have been change in conceptions and customs, if, in that otherwise so uniform and rounded Homeric world, we meet with isolated occurrences, customs, forms of speech that contradict the 12 normal atmosphere of Homer and can only be explained by reference to a world in all essentials differently orientated from his own and for the most part kept in the background by Homer. All that is necessary is to open our eyes, freed from preconceived ideas, to the “rudiments” (“survivals”, as they are better called by English scholars) of a past stage of civilization discoverable in the Iliad and Odyssey themselves.

§ 5

Such rudiments of a once vigorous soul-worship are not hard to find in Homer. In particular, we may refer to what the Iliad tells us of the manner in which the dead body of Patroklos is dealt with. The reader need only recall the general outline of the story. In the evening of the day upon which Hektor has been slain, Achilles with his Myrmidons sings the funeral dirge to his dead friend: they go three times in procession round the body, Achilles laying his “murderous hands” on the breast of Patroklos and calling upon him with the words: “Hail, Patroklos mine, even in Aïdes’ dwelling-place; what I vowed to thee before is now performed; Hektor lies slain and is the prey of dogs, and twelve noble Trojan youths will I slay at thy funeral pyre.” After they have laid aside their arms he makes ready the funeral feast for his companions—bulls, sheep, goats, and pigs are killed, “and all around, in beakers-full, the blood flowed round the corpse.” During the night the soul of Patroklos appears to Achilles demanding immediate burial. In the morning the host of the Myrmidons marches out in arms, bearing the body in their midst. The warriors lay locks of their hair, cut off for the purpose, upon the body, and last of all Achilles places his own hair in the hand of his friend—it was once pledged by his father to Spercheios the River-god, but Patroklos must now take it with him, since return to his home is denied to Achilles. The funeral pyre is got ready, many sheep and oxen slaughtered. The corpse is wrapped in their fat, while their carcasses are placed beside it; jars of oil and honey are set round the body. Next, four horses are killed, two dogs belonging to Patroklos, and last of all twelve Trojan youths taken prisoner for this purpose by Achilles. All these are burnt together with the corpse, and Achilles spends the whole night pouring out dark wine upon the earth, calling the while upon the psyche of Patroklos. Only when morning comes is the fire extinguished with wine; the bones of Patroklos are collected and laid in a golden casket and entombed within a mound. 13

Here we have a picture of the funeral of a chieftain which, in the solemnity and ceremoniousness of its elaborate detail, is in striking conflict with the normal Homeric conception of the nothingness of the soul after its separation from the body. A full and rich sacrifice is here offered to such a soul. This sacrifice is inexplicable if the soul immediately upon its dissolution flutters away insensible, helpless and powerless, and therefore incapable of enjoying the offerings made to it. It is therefore not unnatural that a method of interpretation which isolates Homer as far as possible and adheres closely to his own fixed and determinate range of ideas, should attempt to deny the sacrificial character of the offerings made on this occasion.12 We may well ask, however, what else but a sacrifice, i.e. a repast offered in satisfaction of the needs of the person honoured (in this case the psyche), can be intended by this stream of blood about the corpse; this slaughtering and burning of cattle and sheep, horses and dogs, and finally of twelve Trojan prisoners on or at the funeral pyre? To explain it all as a mere performance of pious duties, as is often done in interpreting many of the gruesome pictures of Greek sacrificial ceremonies, is impossible here. Besides, Homer often tells us of merely pious observances in honour of the dead, and they are of a very different character. And the most horrible touch of all (the human sacrifice) is not put in simply to satisfy Achilles’ lust for vengeance—twice over does Achilles call to the soul of Patroklos with the words: “To you do I bring what I formerly promised to you” (Il. xxiii, 20 ff., 180 ff.).13 The whole series of offerings on this occasion is precisely of the kind which we may take as typical of the oldest sort of sacrificial ritual such as we often find in later Greek religion in the cultus of the infernal deities. The sacrificial offerings are completely burnt in honour of the Daimon and are not shared between the bystanders as in the case of other offerings. If such “holocausts”, when offered to the Chthonic and some of the Olympian deities, are to be regarded as sacrificial in character, then it is unjustifiable to invent some other meaning for the performances at the funeral pyre of Patroklos. The offering of wine, oil, and honey, at least, are normal in sacrificial rituals of later times. Even the severed lock of hair spread out over the dead body or laid in the cold hand is a well known sacrificial tribute, and must be supposed such here as much as in later Greek ceremonial or in that of many other peoples.14 In fact, this gift in particular, symbolically representing as it does a more valuable sacrifice by means of another and less important 14 object (in the giving of which only the goodwill of the giver is to be considered)—this very offering, like all such symbolical substitutions, bears witness to the long duration and past development of the cultus in which it occurs—in this case of the worship of the dead in pre-Homeric times.

The whole narrative presupposes the idea that by the pouring out of streams of blood, by offerings of wine and burnt offerings of human beings and of cattle, the psyche of a person lately dead can be refreshed, and its resentment mollified. At any rate, it is thus thought of as accessible to human prayers and as remaining for some time in the neighbourhood of the sacrifice made to it. This contradicts what we expect in Homer, and, in fact, just in order to make this unusual performance plausible to an audience no longer familiar with the idea, and to make it admissible on a special occasion, the poet (though the actual course of his story does not really require it)15 makes the psyche of Patroklos appear by night to Achilles. And, in fact, to the end of the narrative Achilles repeatedly greets the soul of Patroklos as though it were present.16 The unusual way in which Homer deals with this whole affair, so full of primeval, savage ideas as it is, seems, indeed, to betray a certain vagueness about what its real meaning may be. That the writer has certain qualms on the subject is indicated by the brevity—not at all like Homer—with which the most shocking part of the story, the slaughter of human beings, together with horses and dogs, is hurried over. But the thing to be noted particularly is that the poet is certainly not devising such unpleasant circumstances for the first time out of his own imagination. This epic picture of the worship of the dead was adopted by Homer from an earlier source (whatever that source may have been),17 and not invented by him. He makes it serve his special purpose, which is to provide a satisfactory climax to the series of vivid and emotional scenes beginning with the tragic death of Patroklos and ending with the death and dishonouring of the champion of Troy. After such emotional exaltation the overstrained nerves must not be allowed to relax too suddenly; a last flicker of the superhuman rage and grief that made Achilles rave so furiously against his foes must show itself in the serving up of this awful banquet to the soul of his friend. It is as though a primitive and long-suppressed savagery had broken out again for a last effort. Only when all is over does the soul of Achilles find repose in melancholy resignation. More calmly he calls upon the rest of the Achæans to take their seats “in a wide circle round about”; and there follows the 15 description of those splendid “Games”, a subject that must have awakened the enthusiasm of every experienced athlete in the audience—and was there ever a Greek who was not an athlete? It is true that athletic contests are described by Homer mainly on account of their own peculiar interest and for the sake of the artistic effects that their description allowed. Still, the selection of such games as a fitting conclusion to a chieftain’s funeral cannot be fully understood except as a survival of an ancient and once vigorous worship of the dead. Such athletic contests in honour of the great immediately after their death are often referred to by Homer;18 indeed, a funeral is the only occasion19 recognized by him as suitable for the exhibition of athletic prize-competitions. The practice never quite died out, and it became usual in later post-Homeric times to mark the festivals of Heroes and, later of gods, too, by Games which gradually became regularly repeated performances, developed from the traditional contests that had concluded the funeral ceremonies of great men. Now, no one doubts that the Agon at the festival of a Hero or a god formed part of their religious worship. It is only reasonable, then, to suppose that the funeral games which accompany the burial of a chieftain (and are confined to that one occasion) belong to the religious cult of the dead, and to recognize that such a mode of worship can only have been introduced at a time when men regarded the soul, in whose honour the ceremony took place, as capable of sharing consciously in its enjoyment. Even Homer is certainly conscious of the fact that the games, like the rest of the offerings made then, were intended for the satisfaction of the dead and not solely for the entertainment of the living.20 We may also cite the declared opinion of Varro, who says that the dead in whose honour funeral games are celebrated are thereby proved to have been regarded originally, if not as gods, at least as very powerful spirits.21 Of course, this feature of the original cultus of the soul was very easily stripped of its real meaning—it recommended itself quite apart from its religious significance—and for that very reason remained longer than other performances of the kind in general use.

If we now survey the whole series of ritual acts directed to the honouring of the soul of Patroklos, we can deduce from the seriousness of these attempts to please the disembodied spirit what must have been the strength of the original conception—how vivid must have been the impression of enduring sensibility, of formidable power possessed by a soul 16 to whom such a cult was offered. It is true of the cult of the dead, as of any other sacrificial custom, that its perpetuation is due solely to the hope of avoiding hurt and obtaining assistance at the hands of the Unseen.22 A generation that no longer anticipated either help or harm from the “Souls” might be ready to perform last offices of all kinds to the deserted body out of pure piety, and to offer to the dead a certain traditional reverence. But this would testify rather to the grief of those left behind than to any special reverence felt for the departed.23 This is mostly the case in Homer. It is not, however, what we should call piety, but much rather mistrust of a “ghost” become powerful through its separation from the body, that explains the exaggerated fullness of the funeral offerings that are made at the burial of Patroklos. They cannot be made to fit in with the ordinary circle of Homeric ideas. Indeed, that this circle of ideas excluded all misgiving at the possible action of unseen spirits is quite clearly shown by the fact that the honours paid even to a dead man held in such veneration as Patroklos are confined to the solitary occasion of his funeral. As the psyche of Patroklos himself assures his friend, once the burning of the body is completed, it, the psyche, will take its departure to Hades, never to return.24 It is easy to see that from this point of view there was no motive whatever that could lead to a permanent cult of the soul such as was common among the Greeks of later times. But it should be noticed further that the luxurious repast offered to the soul of Patroklos on the occasion of his funeral had no point if the goodwill of the soul which was to be assured by that process would never have an opportunity in the future of making itself felt. The contradiction between Homeric belief and Homeric practice on this occasion is complete, and shows decisively that the traditional view that would see in this description of soul-worship at the funeral of Patroklos an effort after new and more lively ideas of the life after death, must certainly be wrong. When new surmises, wishes, conjectures begin to arise and seek a means of expression, the new ideas generally find incomplete utterance in the old and inappropriate external forms, but express themselves more clearly and certainly (generally with some tendency to exaggeration) in the less conservative words and language of men. Here just the opposite occurs: every word the poet utters about the circumstances contradicts the elaborately wrought ceremonial which those circumstances call forth. It is impossible to point to a single touch that accords with the belief implied by the 17 ceremonial. The poet’s bias is a different and, indeed, an opposite one. Of this much at least there cannot be the slightest doubt: the funeral ceremonies over the body of Patroklos are not the first budding of a new principle, but rather represent a “vestige” of a more vigorous worship of the dead in earlier times, a worship that must once have been a complete and sufficient expression of belief in the great and enduring power of the disembodied spirit. It has, however, been preserved unaltered into an age that, with quite other religious beliefs, no longer understands, or at best half-guesses at the sense of such strange ceremonial observances. Thus ritual generally outlives both the state of mind and the belief which originally gave rise to it.

§ 6

Neither the Iliad nor the Odyssey contains anything that can equal the scenes at the funeral of Patroklos as evidence of primitive worship of the dead. But even the ordinary forms of interment of the dead are not entirely without such “vestigial” features. The dead man’s eyes and mouth are closed,25 the body is washed and anointed, and after being wrapped in a clean linen cloth is laid upon a bier,26 and the funeral dirge begins.27 It is hardly possible to see even the remotest, lingering, reminiscence of a once vigorous worship of the dead in such performances as these; or in the very simple burial customs that follow the burning of the body; the bones are collected in a jar or a casket and buried under a mound, and a post set up to mark the place as a “grave-mound”.28 But when we find that the body of Elpenor, in accordance with the command issued by his psyche to Odysseus (Od. xi, 74), is burned together with his weapons (Od. xii, 13); when, further, we read that Achilles burnt the weapons of his overthrown foe together with his body on the funeral pyre (Il. vi, 418), it is impossible not to feel that we have here, too, survivals of an ancient belief that the soul in some mysterious fashion was capable of making use of these objects that are burnt along with its discarded bodily envelope. No one doubts that this is the reason for such a custom when it meets us in the case of other nations; with the Greeks, too, it must have had an equally good foundation, however little such is to be discovered in the ordinary Homeric view of the soul. The custom, moreover, more precisely described in these cases, was of general observance; we often hear how the completeness of a burial requires the burning of the possessions of the dead along with the body.29 We cannot 18 tell to what extent the duty of offering to the dead all his movable possessions30 (a duty originally without doubt interpreted quite literally) had come in Homeric times to be interpreted in a symbolical sense—a process which reached its lowest stage in the custom prevalent in later times of presenting an obol “for the Ferryman of the Dead”. Finally, the “funeral feast” offered by the king to the mourning people either after the funeral of a chieftain (Il. xxiv, 802, 665), or before the burning of his body (Il. xxiii, 29 ff.), could only have derived its full meaning from an ancient belief that the soul of the person thus honoured could itself take a share in the feast. In the banquet in honour of Patroklos the dead man is given a definite portion—the blood of the slaughtered animals which is poured round his body (Il. xxiii, 34). Like the funeral games, this banquet is apparently intended to propitiate the soul of the dead man. Consequently, we find even Orestes, after slaying Aigisthos, his father’s murderer, offering him a funeral feast (Od. iii, 309)—not, surely, in a mood of simple “piety”. The custom of inviting the whole people, on the occasion of important funerals, to such a banquet no longer appears in later times; it has little resemblance to the funeral feasts shared by the relations of the dead man (περίδειπνα) that were afterwards customary; it is far closer to the great cenæ ferales that accompanied the silicernia in Rome, to which the relations of the dead man, if he were an important person, invited the whole population.31 After all, it is no harder to understand the underlying conception of the soul in this case sharing the feast with the whole people, than it is to understand the same conception when applied to the great sacrifices to the gods which, though the congregation partakes, are, in name and in fact, essentially “Banquets of the Gods” (Od. iii, 336).

Such are the relics of ancient soul-worship to be found within the limits of the Homeric world. Further attention to the spirits of the dead beyond the time of the funeral was prevented by the deeply ingrained conviction that after the burning of the body the psyche was received into the inaccessible world of the Unseen, from which no traveller returns. But, in order to secure this complete departure of the soul, it is necessary for the body to be burnt. Though we do occasionally read in the Iliad or the Odyssey that immediately after death and before the burning of the body “the psyche departed to Hades”,32 the words must not be taken too literally; the soul certainly flies off at once towards Hades, but it hovers now between the realms of the living and 19 the dead until it is received into the final safekeeping of the latter after the burning of the body. The psyche of Patroklos appearing by night to Achilles declares this; it prays for immediate burial in order that it may pass through the door of Hades. Until then the other shadow-creatures prevent its entrance and bar its passage across the river, so that it has to wander restlessly round the house of Aïs of the wide gate (Il. xxiii, 71 ff.). This hastening off towards the house of Hades is again all that is meant when it is said elsewhere of Patroklos himself (Il. xvi, 856) that the psyche departed out of his limbs to the house of Hades. In exactly the same way it is said of Elpenor, the companion of Odysseus, that “his soul descended to Hades” (Od. x, 560). This soul meets his friend, nevertheless, later on, at the entrance of the Shadow-world, not yet deprived of its senses like the rest of the dwellers in that House of Darkness; not until the destruction of its physical counterpart is complete can it enter into the rest of Hades. Only through fire are the souls of the dead “appeased” (Il. vii, 410). So long, then, as the psyche retains any vestige of “earthliness” it possesses some feeling still, some awareness of what is going on among the living.33

But once the body is destroyed by fire, then is the psyche relegated to Hades; no return to this earth is permitted to it, and not a breath of this world can penetrate to it there. It cannot even return in thought. Indeed, it no longer thinks at all, and knows nothing more of the world beyond. The living also forget one so completely cut off from themselves (Il. xxii, 389). What, then, should tempt them, during the rest of their lives here, to try to hold communication with the dead by means of a cult?

§ 7

The practice of cremation itself will perhaps give us one last piece of evidence that there had been a time when the idea of the prolonged sojourn of the disembodied spirit in the realm of the living and its power of influencing the survivors existed among the Greeks. Homer knows of no other kind of funeral than that of fire. On a funeral pyre are burnt the bodies of king or leader with the most solemn ritual; those of the common people fallen in war are given to the flames with less ceremony; none are buried. We may well ask whence comes this custom, and what is its meaning for Greeks of the Homeric age? This means of disposing of the bodies of the dead is not by any means the most simple and obvious; it 20 is far easier to carry out, and far less expensive, to bury them in the earth. It has been suggested that the custom of cremation as observed by Persians, Germans, Slavs, and other peoples, is inherited from a nomadic period. The wandering horde has no permanent habitation in which or near which the body of the beloved dead can be buried and perpetual sustenance offered to his soul. Unless, therefore, as is the custom with some nomadic tribes, the dead body is given up to be the prey of beasts or weather, it might seem a natural idea to reduce it to ashes and carry the remains, preserved in a light jar, along with the tribe on its further journeyings.34 Whether such practical reasonings can have had so much influence in a connexion that is generally governed entirely by fancy, and in which practical considerations are altogether scouted—I shall leave undecided. But, in any case, if we postulate a nomadic origin for the practice of burning the dead among the Greeks, we should have to go back altogether too far into the past to explain a mode of behaviour that, by no means exclusively practised in early times by the Greeks, becomes absolutely prescriptive in a period when they have long ceased to wander. The Asiatic Greeks, and in particular the Ionians, whose popular beliefs and customs are, in general outline, at least, reproduced for us in Homer, deserted one settled habitation in order to found another. Cremation then must have been so permanently established among them that it never entered their heads to seek any other method of disposing of their dead. In Homer not only the Greeks before Troy and Elpenor, far away from home, are burnt when they die; Eëtion, too, in his own home is given a funeral pyre by Achilles (Il. vi, 418). Hektor’s body is burnt in the middle of Troy and the Trojans themselves in their own native land burn their dead (Il. vii). The box or urn that holds the cremated bones of the dead is buried in a mound; the ashes of Patroklos, Achilles, Antilochos, and Aias rest on foreign soil (Od. iii, 109 ff.; xxiv, 76 ff.). It never occurs to Agamemnon that if Menelaos dies before Ilios his brother’s grave could be anywhere else than at Troy (Il. iv, 174 ff.). There is, therefore, evidently no intention on the part of the living of taking the remains of the dead with them on their return home;35 and this cannot be the object of cremation. It will be necessary to look for some principle more in accordance with primitive modes of thought than such merely practical considerations. Jakob Grimm36 suggested that the burning of the corpse might have been intended as an offering of the dead man to the gods. Among 21 the Greeks this could only mean the gods of the lower world; but nothing in Greek belief or ritual suggests such a grim intention.37 The real purpose aimed at in cremation is not so far to seek. Since the destruction of the body by fire is supposed to result in the complete separation of the spirit from the land of the living,38 it must be assumed that this result is also intended by the survivors who employ the means in question; and consequently that the complete banishment of the psyche once and for all into the other world is the real purpose and the original occasion of the practice of cremation. Isolated expressions of opinion among the nations that have practised the custom do, as a matter of fact, indicate as its object the speedy and entire separation of soul from body.39 The exact nature of the intention varies with the state of belief about the soul. When the Indians turned from the custom of burying their dead to that of burning them, they were actuated, it appears, by the idea that the sooner and more completely the soul was freed from the body and its limitations, the more easily would it reach the Paradise of the Just.40 Of the purifying effects of the fire implied in this conception, the Greeks knew nothing until the idea was revived in later times.41 The Greeks of the Homeric age, innocent of any such “Kathartic” notion, thought only of the destructive powers of that element to which they entrusted the body of their dead, and of the benefit that they were conferring upon the soul in freeing it by fire from the lifeless body, thus adding their assistance to its own efforts to get free.42 Nothing can destroy the psyche’s visible counterpart more quickly than fire. If, then, the body is burnt and the most treasured possessions of the dead man consumed along with it, no tie remains that can detain the soul any longer in the world of the living.

Cremation, therefore, is intended to benefit the dead, whose soul no longer wanders unable to find rest; but still more the living, for they will not be troubled by ghosts that are securely confined to the depths of the earth. The Greeks of Homer, accustomed by long usage to the burning of the dead, are free from all fears of haunting “ghostly” presences. But when the practice of the fire-funeral was first adopted, that which was to be guarded against in the future by the destruction of the body with fire must have been a real cause of fear.43 The souls that were so anxiously relegated to the other world of the Unseen must have been feared as awesome inhabitants of this world. And so, from whatever source it may have come to them,44 the custom of cremation gives firm ground for 22 supposing that at some period of their history the belief in the power and activity of the spirits of the dead and their influence upon the living—a subject of fear rather than reverence—must have been prevalent amongst the Greeks; even though only a few scattered hints still bear witness to such beliefs in the Homeric poems.

§ 8

And evidence of these ancient beliefs we can now see with our eyes and touch with our hands. Owing to an inestimable series of fortunate circumstances, we are enabled to catch a glimpse of a far distant period of Greek history, which not only supplies a background to Homer, but makes him cease to be the earliest source of our information upon Greek life and thought. He is brought suddenly much nearer, perhaps deceptively nearer, to ourselves. The last decades of excavation in the citadel and lower town of Mycenæ and other sites in the Peloponnese right into the centre of the peninsula and as far northwards as Attica and Thessaly, have resulted in the discovery of graves—shaft-graves, chamber-graves, and elaborately constructed domed vaults, which were built and walled up in the period before the Dorian invasion. These graves prove to us—what was already hinted at by a few isolated expressions in Homer45—that the Greek “Age of Burning” was preceded, as in the case of the Persians, Indians, and Germans, by a period in which the dead were buried in the ground intact.46 The lords and ladies of golden Mycenæ, and lesser folk, too (in the graves at Nauplia, in Attica, etc.), were buried when they died. Chieftains take with them into the grave a rich paraphernalia of gorgeous furniture and ornaments—unburnt like their own bodies; they rest upon a bed of small stones, and are covered by a layer of loam and pebbles;47 traces of smoke and remains of ashes and charred wood bear witness to the fact that the dead were laid upon the place where the “sacrifice for the dead” had already been made; upon the hearth where offerings had been previously burnt inside the grave chamber.48 This may very well be a burial procedure of the most primeval antiquity. Our oldest “Giants’” graves, in whose treasures no metal of any kind is found, and whose age is on that account considered to be pre-Teutonic, exhibit similar features. Either on the ground, or, occasionally, on a specially prepared basis of fire-brick, the sacrificial fire is lighted, and, when it has burnt out, the corpse is set down upon the place and given 23 a covering of sand, loam, and stone.49 Remains of burnt sacrificial animals (sheep and goats) have also been found in the graves at Nauplia and elsewhere.50 In conformity with such different burial customs, the conceptions then held of the nature and powers of the disembodied spirits must have differed widely from those of the Homeric world. Offerings to the dead at a funeral occur in Homer only on special and isolated occasions and accompanied by an obsolete and half-understood ritual. Here they were the regular procedure both with rich and poor alike. But why should they have made offerings to their dead if they did not believe in their power? And why should they have taken away gold and jewellery and art treasures of all kinds and in astonishing quantities from the living and given them to the dead if they had not believed that the dead could find enjoyment in their former possessions even in the grave? Where the material body still remains intact, there the second self can at least occasionally return. Its treasured possessions laid by its side in the tomb are there to prevent its appearing uninvited in the outer world.51

Supposing, however, that the soul could return if and where it liked, it is evident that the cult of the dead would not be confined to the occasion of the funeral. And, indeed, that very circumstance—the prolongation of the cult paid to the dead beyond the time of the funeral—of which we could not find a vestige in Homer, can at last (as it seems to me) be traced in pre-Homeric Mycenæ. Over the middle one of four shaft-graves found on the citadel stands an altar which can only have been placed there after the grave was closed and sealed up.52 It is a round altar, hollow inside, and not closed in at the bottom; in fact, a sort of funnel standing directly upon the earth. If, now, the blood of the victim, mingled with the various drink-offerings, were poured down into this receptacle, the whole would flow downwards into the ground beneath and to the dead man lying there. This is no altar (βωμός) such as was in use in the worship of the gods above, but a sacrificial hearth (ἐσχάρα) for the worship of the inhabitants of the underworld. This structure corresponds closely with the description we have of the hearths upon which offerings were made in a later age to “Heroes”, i.e. the souls of transfigured human beings.53 Here, then, we have a contrivance for the permanent and repeated worship of the dead; for such worship alone can this structure have been intended. The funeral offering to the dead had already been completed inside the grave-chamber. We thus find a 24 meaning in the “beehive” tombs, for the vaulted main-chamber, beside which the corpse lay in a smaller chamber by itself. They were evidently intended to allow sacrifices to be made inside them—and not once only.54 At least this is the purpose which the outer chamber serves elsewhere in double-vaulted graves. The evidence of the eye is therefore able to establish the truth of what could only be made out with difficulty from the Homeric poems. We can thus see that there had been a time in which the Greeks, too, believed that after the separation of body and soul the psyche did not entirely cease from intercourse with the upper world. Such a belief naturally called forth a cult of the soul, which lasted on even when the method of burying the body had changed, and even survived into Homeric times, when, with the prevalence of other beliefs, such observances ceased to have any meaning.


Homer consistently assumes the departure of the soul into an inaccessible land of the dead where it exists in an unconscious half-life. There it is without clear self-consciousness and consequently neither desires nor wills anything. It has no influence on the upper world, and consequently no longer receives any share of the worship of the living. The dead are beyond the reach of any feelings whether of fear or love. No means exists of forcing or enticing them back again. Homer knows nothing of necromancy or of oracles of the dead,55 both common in later Greek life. Gods come into the poems and take part in the action of the story; the souls of the departed never do. Homer’s immediate successors in the Epic tradition think quite differently on this point; but for Homer the soul, once relegated to Hades, has no further importance.

If we think how different it must have been before the time of Homer, and how different it certainly was after him, we can hardly help feeling surprise at finding at this early stage of Greek culture such extraordinary freedom from superstitious fears in that very domain where superstition is generally most deeply rooted. Inquiries, however, into the origin and cause of such an untroubled attitude must be made very cautiously and a completely conclusive answer must not be expected. More especially it must be borne in mind that in these poems we have to do, directly and immediately, at least, only with the poet and his circle. The Homeric Epos can only be called “folk poetry” in the sense that it was adapted to the 25 acceptance of the whole family of Greek-speaking people who welcomed it eagerly and transformed it to their own uses; and not because the “folk” in some mystical sense had a share in its composition. Many hands contributed to the composition of the poem, but they merely carried it further in the general direction which had been given to it not by the “Folk” or by the “Saga” tradition, as is sometimes too confidently asserted, but by the authority of the greatest poetic genius that the Greeks or, indeed, mankind ever knew. The tradition once formed was handed on by a close corporation of master-poets and their pupils who preserved, disseminated, continued and imitated the original great poet’s work. If, then, we find on the whole, and apart from a few vagaries in detail, a single unified picture of the world, of gods and men, life and death, given in these two poems, that is the picture which shaped itself in the mind of Homer and was impressed upon his work, and afterwards preserved by the Homeridai. It is plain that the freedom, almost the freethinking, with which every possible occurrence in the world is regarded in these poems, cannot ever have been characteristic of a whole people or race. And not only the animating spirit, but even the outward shape that is given in the two epic poems to the ideal world surrounding and ruling over the world of men, is the work of the poet. It was no priestly theology that gave him his picture of the gods. The popular beliefs of the time, each peculiar to some countryside, canton, or city, must, if left to themselves, have split up into even more contradictory varieties of thought than they did in later times when there existed some few religious institutions common to all Hellas to act as centres of union. The poet alone must have been responsible for the conception and consistent execution of the picture of a single and unified world of gods, confined to a select company of sharply characterized heavenly beings, grouped together in certain well-recognized ways and dwelling together in a single place of residence above the earth. If we listened to Homer alone we should suppose that the innumerable local cults of Greece, with their gods closely bound to the soil, hardly existed. Homer ignores them almost entirely. His gods are pan-Hellenic, Olympian. In fact, in his picture of the gods, Homer fulfilled most completely his special poetic task of reducing confusion and superfluity to uniformity and symmetry of design—the very task which Greek idealism in art continually set before itself. In his picture Greek beliefs about the gods appear absolutely uniform—as uniform as dialect, political condition, manners, 26 and morals. In reality—of this we may be sure—no such uniformity existed; the main outlines of pan-Hellenism were doubtless there, but only the genius of the poet can have combined and fused them into a purely imaginary whole. Provincial differences in themselves interested him not at all. So, too, in the special question that we are considering, if we find him speaking of a single kingdom of the underworld, the resort of all departed spirits ruled over by a single pair of divinities and removed as far from the world of men and their cities as the Olympian dwelling of the Blessed Ones is in the opposite direction, who shall say how far he represents naive popular belief in such matters? On this side Olympus, the meeting place of all the gods that rule in the daylight;56 on that the realm of Hades that holds in its grasp the unseen spirits that have left this life behind—the parallel is too apparent to be due to anything but the same simplifying and co-ordinating spirit in the one case as in the other.

§ 2

It would, however, be an equally complete misunderstanding of the relation in which Homer stood to the popular beliefs of his time if we imagined that relation to be one of opposition, or even supposed him to have taken up an attitude resembling that of Pindar or the Attic Tragedians towards the conventional opinions of their time. These later poets often enough allow us to see quite clearly the intentional departure from normal opinion represented by their more advanced conceptions. Homer, on the contrary, is as free from controversy as he is from dogma. He does not offer his pictures of God, the world and fate as anything peculiar to himself; and it is natural, therefore, to suppose that his public recognized them as substantially the same as their own. The poet has not taken over the whole body of popular belief, but what he does say must have belonged to popular belief. The selection and combination of this material into a consistent whole was the poet’s real work. If the Homeric creed had not been so constructed in essentials that it corresponded to the beliefs of the time, or, at least, could be made to correspond, then it is impossible to account (even allowing for the poetic tradition of a school) for the uniformity that marks the work of the many poets that had a hand in the composition of the two poems. In this narrow sense it can be truly said that Homer’s poems represent the popular belief of their time; not, indeed, the belief of all Greece, but only of the Ionian 27 cities of the coasts and islands of Asia Minor in which the poet and his songs were at home. In a similarly restricted sense may the pictures of outward life and manners that we find in the Iliad and the Odyssey be taken as a reflection of the contemporary life of the Greeks with particular reference to that of the Ionians. This life must have differed in many respects from that of the “Mycenæan civilization”, and there can be little doubt that the reasons for this difference are to be sought in the long-continued disturbances which marked the centuries that divide Homer from the age of Mycenæ, more especially in the Greek migrations, both in what they destroyed and what they created. The violent invasion of northern Greek peoples into the central mainland and the Peloponnese, the destruction of ancient empires and their civilization, the foundation of new Dorian states held by right of conquest, the great migrations to the Asiatic coasts, and the institution of a new life on foreign soil—all these violent modifications of the old course of existence must have dealt a severe blow at the whole fabric of that civilization and culture. In the same way we find that the cult of Souls and the conception of the fate of departed spirits which governed this cult did not remain in Ionia (the beliefs of which country are reflected in Homer) what it had been at the height of the Mycenæan period. To this change, as to the others which accompanied it, we may well suppose that the struggles and wanderings of the intermediate period contributed a good deal. Homer’s clear-sighted vision that transcends the limits of city and even of racial gods, faiths, and worships, would hardly be explicable without the freedom of movement beyond the boundaries of country, the common life shared with companions of other races, the widened knowledge of all the conditions of foreign life, such as must have resulted from the dislocations and migrations of whole peoples. It is true that the Ionians of Asia Minor did, as we can prove, take a good many of their religious observances with them to their new homes. The migrations, however, did not preserve the connexion between the old homes and the new country with anything like the closeness that marked the later colonization; and when the colonists left the familiar soil behind, the local cults attached to the soil must often have had to be abandoned, too. Now the worship of ancestors, connected as it was with the actual graves of those ancestors, was essentially a local cult. Remembrance of the great ones of the past might survive transplantation, but not their religious worship, which could only be offered at the one spot 28 where their bodies lay buried and which had now been left behind in an enemy’s country. The deeds of ancestors lived on in song, but they themselves began to be relegated to the domain of poetry and imagination. Imagination might adorn the story of their earthly life, but a world that was no longer reminded of their power by the regularly repeated performance of ceremonial, ceased to pay honour to their disembodied souls. Thus the most highly developed form of the cult of Souls—ancestor worship—died out, and the later version of the same thing, the cult of those of the tribe that had died in the new land and been buried there, was prevented from attaining a similar force and development by the newly-introduced practice of burning the bodies of the dead. It may well be that the origin of this new form of funeral rite lay, as has been suggested, in the wish to dismiss the soul of the dead man as quickly and completely as possible from the realm of the living; but it is beyond doubt that the result of this practice was to cut at the root of the belief in the near presence of the departed and the duty of performing the religious observances that were their right; so that such things being deprived of their support, fell into decay and disappeared.

§ 3

We can thus see at least dimly how it was that the Ionian people of the Homeric age were led by the events of their own history and the alteration in funeral customs into holding that view of the soul which a study of their own poets has persuaded us was theirs. This view can hardly have retained more than a few stray vestiges of the ancient cult of the dead. Still, we should only be in a position to say what were the real reasons for this alteration in belief and custom if we knew and understood more about the intellectual changes that led to the gradual appearance of the Homeric view of the world; a view which included within its range a set of beliefs about the soul. Here it is best to confess our ignorance. We have before us the results only of those changes. From them, however, we can at least perceive that the religious consciousness of the Greeks, among whom Homer sang, had developed in a direction which did not allow much scope to the belief in ghosts and spirits of the dead. The Homeric Greeks had the deepest consciousness of man’s finite nature, of his dependence upon forces that lay without him. To remind himself of this and be content with his lot was his proper form of piety. Over him the gods hold sway, wielding a supernatural power—29not infrequently a misguided and capricious power—but a conception of a general world-order is beginning to make its way; of a plan underlying the cross-purposes of individual and common life, working itself out in accordance with measured and appointed lot (μοῖρα). The arbitrary power of individual daimones is thus limited, and it is limited further by the will of the highest of the gods. The belief is growing that the world is, in fact, a cosmos, a perfect organization such as men try to establish in their earthly states. In the face of such conceptions it would be increasingly difficult to believe in the vagaries of a supernatural ghostly order which, in direct opposition to the real heavenly order, is always distinguished by the fact that it stands outside any all-embracing dispensation, and allows full play to the caprice and malice of individual unseen powers. The irrational and the unaccountable is the natural element of the belief in ghosts and spirits; this is the source of the peculiar disquiet inspired by this province of belief or superstition. It owes most of its effect to the instability of its fibres. The Homeric world, on the contrary, lives by reason; its gods are fully intelligible to Greek minds and their forms and behaviour are clearly and easily comprehensible to Greek imagination. And the more distinctly were the gods represented, the more did the spirit-phantoms fade away into empty shadows. There was no one who might have been interested in the preservation and extension of the superstitious side of religion; there was in particular no priesthood with a monopoly of instruction or an exclusive knowledge of the details of ritual and the methods of controlling the behaviour of spirits. If anyone did possess any monopoly of teaching, it was, in this age when all the highest faculties of the spirit found their expression in poetry, the poet and the singer. They, however, showed a completely “secular” outlook even in religious matters. Indeed, these very clear-headed men, belonging to the same stock which in a later age “invented” (if one may be allowed to put it so) science and philosophy, were already displaying a mental attitude that distantly threatened the whole system of that plastic representation of things spiritual which the older antiquity had laboriously constructed.

The earliest view held by primitive man about the activities of willing, feeling, or thinking, regards them simply as the manifestations of something which lives and wills inside the visible man. This something is regarded as embodied in one or other of the organs of the human body or as concealed 30 therein. Accordingly the Homeric poems give the name of the “midriff” (φρήν, φρένες) to most of the phenomena of will or feeling and even to those of the intellect. The “heart” (ἦτορ, κῆρ) is also the name of a variety of feelings that were regarded as located in the heart and even identified with it. But this mode of expression had already for Homer become mere formula; such expressions are not always to be taken literally; the words of the poet often show that as a matter of fact he thought of these functions and emotions as incorporeal, though they were still named after parts of the body.57 And so we often find mentioned side by side with the “midriff” and in the closest conjunction with it, the θυμός, a name which is not taken from any bodily organ and shows already that it is thought of as an immaterial function. In the same way many other words of this kind (νόος-νοεῖν-νόημα, βουλή, μένος, μῆτις) are used to describe faculties and activities of the will, sense, or thought, and show that these activities are thought of as independent, free-working, and incorporeal. A single thread still attaches the poet to the modes of conception and expression of the older world, but he himself has penetrated adventurously far into the realm of pure spirit. With a less cultured people the identification of the special functions of the will and the intellect only leads to the materialization of these into the notion of special physical entities, and consequently to the association of still other “souls”, in the shape of “Conscience”, it may be, or “Will”, in addition to that other shadowy “double” of mankind, the “second self”.58 The tendency of the Homeric singers was already setting in just the opposite direction—the mythology of the “inner man” was breaking down altogether. They had only to take a few steps further in the same direction to find that they could dispense with the psyche as well. The belief in the existence of the psyche was the oldest and most primitive hypothesis adopted by mankind to explain the phenomena of dreams, swoons, and ecstatic visions; these mysterious states were accounted for by the intervention of a special material personality. Now, Homer has little interest in premonitions and ecstatic states, and no inclination in that direction whatever. He cannot, therefore, have been very much concerned with the evidence for the existence of a psyche in living men. The final proof of the idea that the psyche must have been dwelling in man is the fact that it is separated from him in death. A man dies when he breathes out his last breath. This breath, something like a breath of air, and not a “nothing”, any more than the wind its relative, 31 but a body with a definite form (though it may not be visible to waking eyes)—this is the psyche, whose shape, the image of the man himself, is well known from dream-vision. One, however, who has become accustomed to the idea of bodiless powers working inside man will, on this last occasion when the powers within man show themselves, be likely to suppose that what brings about the death of a man is not a physical thing that goes out of him, but a power—a quality—which ceases to act; nothing else, in fact, than his “life”. And he would not, of course, think of ascribing an independent continuous existence after the disruption of the body to a mere abstract idea like “life”. Homer, however, never got quite as far as this; for the most part the psyche is for him and always remains a real “thing”—the man’s second self. But that he had already begun to tread the slippery path in the course of which the psyche is transformed into an abstract “concept of life”, is shown by the fact that he several times quite unmistakably uses the word “psyche” when we should say “life”.59 It is essentially the same mode of thought that leads him to say “midriff” (φρένες) when he no longer means the physical diaphragm, but the abstract concept of will or intellect. To say “psyche” instead of “life” is not the same thing as saying “life” instead of “psyche” (and Homer never did the latter); but it is clear that for him in the process of dematerializing such concepts, even the psyche, a figure once so full of significance, is beginning to fade and vanish away.

The separation from the land of their forefathers, and habituation to the use of cremation, the new direction taken by religious thought, the tendency to turn the once material forces of man’s inner life into attractions—all these things contributed to weaken the belief in a powerful and significant life of the disembodied soul and its connexion with the affairs of this world. And at the same time it caused the decline of the cult of the Souls. So much, I think, we may safely assert. The deepest and most fundamental reasons for this decline in both belief and cult may elude our search, just as it is impossible for us to be sure how far in detail the Homeric poems reflect the beliefs of the people who first listened to them, and where the free invention of the poet begins. But the combination of the various elements of belief into a whole which, though far from being a dogmatically closed system, may yet not unfairly be called the Homeric Theology—this, we may say, is most probably the work of the poet. The poet has a free hand in the picture he gives of the gods and never comes into conflict with any popular doctrine because Greek 32 religion then, as always, consisted essentially in the right honouring of the gods of the country and not in any particular set of dogmas. There could hardly be any general conception of godhead and divinity with which the poet might come into conflict. That the popular mind absorbed thoroughly that picture of the world of gods which the Homeric poems had given, is shown by the whole future development of Greek culture and religion. If divergent conceptions did, in fact, also maintain themselves, they derived their strength not so much from a different religious theory, as from the postulates of a different religious cult that had not been influenced by any poet’s imagination. They might also more particularly have had the effect of causing an incidental obscurity within the epic itself, in the poet’s vision of the Unseen World and its life.


A test case of the thorough-going uniformity and consistency of the Homeric conception of the nature and circumstances of the souls of the departed is provided for us, within the limits of the poems themselves, by the story of Odysseus’ Journey to Hades—a test they are hardly likely to survive, it may well be thought. How is the poet in describing a living hero’s dealings with the inhabitants of the shadow-world, going to preserve the immaterial, dreamlike character of the Homeric “Souls”? How keep up the picture of the soul as something that holds itself resolutely aloof and seems to avoid all active intercourse with other folk? It is hard to see what could tempt the poet to try and penetrate with the torch of imagination into this underworld of ineffectual shadows. The matter becomes somewhat more intelligible, however, as soon as it is realized in what manner the narrative arose; how through continual additions from later hands it gradually assumed a form quite unlike itself.60

§ 1

It may be taken as one of the few certain results of the critical analysis of the Homeric poems that the narrative of the Descent of Odysseus to the Underworld did not form part of the original plan of the Odyssey. Kirke bids Odysseus undertake the journey to Hades in order that he may see Teiresias there and be told of “the way and the means of his return, and how he may reach his home again over the fish-teeming deep” (Od. x, 530 f.). Teiresias, however, on being 33 discovered in the realm of shadows, fulfils this requirement only very partially and superficially. Whereupon, Kirke herself gives to the returned Odysseus a much fuller account, and as regards the one point already mentioned by Teiresias, a much more precise account, of the perils that lie before him on his homeward journey.61 The journey to the land of the dead was thus unnecessary, and there can be no doubt that originally it had no place in the poem. It is plain, however, that the composer of this adventure only used the (superfluous) inquiry addressed to Teiresias as a pretext which afforded a more or less plausible motive for the introduction of this narrative into the body of the poem. The real object of the poet, the true motive of the story, must then be sought elsewhere than in the prophecy of Teiresias, which turns out to be so brief and unhelpful. It would be natural to suppose that the aim of the poet was to give the eye of imagination a glimpse into the marvels and terrors of that dark realm into which all men must go. Such an intention would be very intelligible in the case of a medieval or a Greek poet of later times; and there were afterwards plenty of Greek poems which described a Descent to Hades. But it would be hard to account for it in a poet of the Homeric school; for such a poet the realm of the dead and its inhabitants could hardly supply a subject for a narrative. And, in fact, the inventor of Odysseus’ visit to the dead had quite a different object in view. He was anything but a Greek Dante. It is possible to see the purpose which guided him as soon as his poem is stripped of the manifold additions with which later times invested it. The original kernel which thus remains is then seen to be nothing but a series of conversations between Odysseus and the souls of those of the dead with whom he had stood in close personal relationship. Besides Teiresias he speaks with his old ship-companion Elpenor, who had just died, with his mother Antikleia, with Agamemnon and Achilles; and he tries in vain to effect a reconciliation with the implacable Aias. These conversations in Hades are, for the general furtherance of the story of Odysseus’ wanderings and return, quite superfluous, and they serve in a very minor degree and only incidentally to give information about the conditions and character of the inscrutable world beyond the grave. The questions and answers there given are confined entirely to the affairs of the upper world. They bring Odysseus, who has now been wandering so long alone and far from the world of actual humanity, into ideal association with the substantial world of flesh and blood to which his thoughts 34 stretch out, and in which he himself had once been an actor and is soon to play an important part again.62 His mother informs him of the distracted state of Ithaca, Agamemnon of the treacherous deed of Aigisthos carried out with the help of Klytaimnestra. Odysseus himself is able to console Achilles with an account of the heroic deeds of his son, who is still alive in the daylight; with Aias, resentful even in Hades, he cannot come to terms. Thus the theme of the second part of the Odyssey begins to appear; even to the shadows below there reaches an echo of the great deeds of the Trojan war and of the adventures of the Return from Troy, which occupied the minds of all the singers of the time. The introduction of these stories by means of conversations with the persons who took part in them is the essential purpose of the poet. The impelling instinct to expand in all directions the circle of legend in whose centre stood the adventure of the Iliad, and link it up with other circles of heroic legend, was fully satisfied by later poets in the separate poems of the Epic Cycle. At the time when the Odyssey was composed these other epic narratives were in the full tide of their youthful exuberance. The streams had not yet found a convenient bed in which to run, and they added their individual contributions (for they all related events which preceded it) to the elaborate narration of the return of the last Hero who still wandered vainly and alone. The main object of the story of Telemachos’ journey to meet Nestor and Menelaos (in the third and fourth books of the Odyssey) is manifestly to bring the son into relation with the father’s companions in war, and so to provide occasion for further narratives in which a more detailed picture of some of the events between the Iliad and the Odyssey might be given. Demodokos, the Phæacian bard, is made to recount (in abbreviated form) two adventures that had occurred to the great chieftain. Even when such stories did not immediately add to the picture of Odysseus’ deeds or character, they served to point to the great background from which the adventures of the much-enduring wanderer, now completely isolated, should stand out; and to set these in the ideal framework which could alone give them their full significance. This natural creative instinct of legendary poetry also inspired the poet of the “Journey to Hades”. He, too, saw the adventures of Odysseus not in isolation but in lively and vital connexion with all the other adventures that took their origin from Troy. He conceived the idea of bringing once more, for the last time, the chieftain famed in council and war, into communication with the mightiest king and the noblest 35 hero of that famous expedition; and to do that he had to take him to the realm of the shadows which had long contained them. Nor could he well avoid the tone of pathos which is natural to this interview on the borders of the realm of nothingness to which all the desire and the strength of life must eventually come. The questioning of Teiresias is merely, as has been said, the poet’s pretext for confronting Odysseus with his mother and his former companions, and this meeting was his prime motive. Probably this particular device was suggested by the recollection of the story which Menelaos tells of his meeting with Proteus, the Old Man of the Sea (Od. iv, 351 ff.),63 where the inquiry from the seer as to the means of reaching home again is also a mere pretext for the narration of Return adventures—those of Aias, Agamemnon, and Odysseus.

§ 2

It is certain that the intention of this poet cannot possibly have been simply the description of the underworld for its own sake. Even the scenery of these mysterious incidents which might well have attracted his fancy, is only given in brief allusions. The ship sails over Okeanos to the people of the Kimmerians64 that never see the sun, and reaches at last the “barren coast” and the “Grove of Persephone”, with its black poplars and weeping willows. Odysseus with two companions goes on ahead to the entrance of Erebos, where Pyriphlegethon and Kokytos, a branch of the Styx, flow into Acheron. There he digs his sacrificial trench to which the souls flock upward out of Erebos over the asphodel-meadows. It is the same underworld in the bowels of the earth that is presupposed in the Iliad, too, as the dwelling-place of the dead, only more accurately described and more fully realized.65 The details of the picture are so lightly sketched in that one might well suppose that they, too, had been taken from some older mythical material. At any rate, he borrowed the “Styx”, so well known in the Iliad; and it may be supposed that the same applies to the other rivers as well, whose names are clearly derived from words meaning burning (of dead bodies?),66 lamentation, and sorrow.67 The poet himself, interested only in the representation of character, is not at all disposed to dwell upon the merely fanciful, and confines himself to a few brief allusions. Nor does he give any very lengthy account of the dwellers in Erebos, and what he does say of them keeps well within the limits of the usual Homeric belief. The Souls resemble shadow- or dream-pictures, and 36 are impalpable to the human touch.68 They are without consciousness when they appear. Elpenor alone, whose body still lies unburnt, has for that very reason retained his senses and even shows a form of heightened consciousness that approaches prophecy; resembling in this respect Patroklos and Hektor at the moment when the psyche is parted from the body.69 This, however, is to leave him as soon as his corpse is destroyed. Teiresias alone, the prophet famed above all others in Theban legend, has preserved his consciousness and prophetic vision even in the Shadow-world through the good-will of Persephone; but this is an exception which only establishes the rule. What Antikleia tells her son of the powerlessness and immateriality of the soul after the burning of the body70 sounds almost like an official confirmation of the orthodox Homeric view. Everything, in fact, in this poet’s description enforces the truth of this belief, and though the living are, indeed, untroubled by the feeble souls banished to outer darkness, yet out of Erebos itself the piteous knell of this decree reaches us in the lament of Achilles as he refuses his friend’s attempt at comfort—everyone knows the unforgettable words.

§ 3

And yet the poet ventures to go beyond Homer in one important point. What he hints rather than actually says of the condition of things in Hades conflicts in no single point with the conventional Homeric view; but it is an innovation to suggest that this condition of things can even for the briefest moment be interrupted. The blood drunk by the souls gives them back for a moment their consciousness; their remembrance of the upper world returns to them. Their senses must then all the while have been not dead but sleeping. There can be no doubt that the poet for whom this supposition is indispensable to his story did not thereby intend to formulate an entirely new doctrine. But in order to add to his poetic effect, he was led to include in his story some touches which, meaningless within the circle of his own beliefs, pointed elsewhere, and, indeed, backward, to older, quite differently moulded beliefs, and to the usages founded upon them. He makes Odysseus, following the advice of Kirke, dig a grave at the entrance of Hades in which to pour out a solemn drink-offering to “all the dead”, consisting first of all in a mixture of milk and honey, then wine and water, over which white meal is finely sprinkled. Next he slays a ram and a black ewe, bending their heads downwards into the grave.71 37 Then the bodies of the animals are burnt, and round the blood collect all the souls, who flutter about it, kept at a distance by Odysseus’ sword72 till Teiresias has first drunk. Here the drink-offerings constitute undoubtedly a sacrificial offering devoted to the dead and poured out for their satisfaction. The poet indeed does not think of the slaughtered animals as a sacrifice; the tasting of the blood is simply intended to restore to the souls their consciousness; in the case of Teiresias, who retains his senses, the gift of prophetic clairvoyance. But this, we can see clearly, is a fiction of the poet’s: what he here describes is in every detail a sacrifice to the dead, such as we so often find described as such in accounts from later times. The scent of the blood calls up the spirits; their satiation with blood (αἱμακουρία) is the essential purpose of such offerings; and these are what the poet’s imagination dimly recalls as models. Nothing in this picture has been invented. Neither, on the other hand, it is quite clear, has he altered his sacrificial ceremony to make it fit in with novel ideas that were beginning to gain ground; ideas that ascribed a more vital existence to the souls of the dead. For here, too, just as in the case of the offerings to the dead described in the funeral of Patroklos, the poet’s manner of conceiving the life of the dead is not such as could give support to new and more vigorous cult ceremonies. His conception tends rather to contradict the ceremonies that he describes. In fact, what we have here, too, is a “fossilized” and no longer intelligible vestige of a practice that was once rooted in belief—a relic deprived of its original meaning and adapted by the poet to the special purposes of his narrative. The sacrificial ritual used to attract the souls on this occasion strikingly resembles the ritual which was used in later times to conjure up the souls of the dead at those places which were supposed to give entrance to the ghostly world below the earth. It is also not impossible that, even in the time of the poet of the “Journey to Hades”, in some remote corners of Greek lands such calling-up of the dead was still practised as a relic of former belief. But, supposing that the poet had some information of such local cults of the dead, and modelled his story on them,73 that only makes it the more remarkable that he effaces all trace of the original meaning of his ritual, and in adherence to the strict Homeric doctrine on the point, banishes all thought that the souls may possibly continue in the neighbourhood of the living and can thence be conjured up into the light of day.74 He knows only of one kingdom of the Dead far off in the dim West, beyond the bounds of sea 38 and ocean, where the legendary hero of romance can, indeed, reach its gateway, but where alone he can have communication with the souls of the dead. The House of Hades never allows its inhabitants to pass out.

And yet all this is hopelessly contradicted by the votive offerings that the poet, by what can only be called an oversight, makes Odysseus promise to all the dead, and particularly to Teiresias, upon his return home (Od. x, 521–6; xi, 29–33). Of what use would it be to the dead to receive the offering of a “barren cow”,75 of “treasures” burnt upon the funeral pyre; or how could Teiresias enjoy the slaughtering of a black sheep far away in Ithaca—when they are all confined to Erebos and could not taste the offerings made to them? This is the most remarkable and important of all vestiges of an ancient worship of the dead. It proves indubitably that in pre-Homeric times the belief prevailed that even after the funeral of the body the soul is not eternally banished to the inaccessible land of shadows, but is able to approach the sacrificer and to enjoy the sacrifices offered to it, just as much as the gods can. A single obscure allusion in the Iliad76 suggests what is here much more clearly and almost naïvely revealed—namely that even at the time when the Homeric view of the nothingness of the souls for ever parted from their bodies reigned supreme, the custom of making offerings to the dead after the funeral was over (though in exceptional circumstances only, and not as a regularly recurring performance) had not been entirely forgotten.

§ 4

The contradictions into which he is betrayed by the introduction of such intercourse between the living and the dead proves that the undertaking was rather venturesome for a Homeric poet of strictly orthodox views. Still, in the picture of Odysseus’ meeting with his mother and former companions, which was his main object, the poet hardly strayed at all from the normal Homeric path. This, however, was, as it happened, the very point in which later generations of poetically inclined readers or hearers found his narrative wanting. He himself carefully linked up every detail with his living hero, the central interest of his story, and only made him speak with the souls of such as had some real and close connexion with him. A review of the motley inhabitants of the underworld in their multitude hardly interested him at all. It was the very thing which seemed indispensable to later readers. They made additions to his story and introduced the multitudes of the dead of all ages; the warriors with 39 wounds still visible and in bloodstained armour;77 or else, more in the manner of a Hesiodic catalogue for the assistance of the memory than making them live in Homeric fashion for the imagination, they pictured a whole host of mothers, the illustrious ancestors of great families, passing before Odysseus, though they had no particular claim upon his sympathy; nor, indeed, is any serious attempt made to bring them into relationship with him.78 This seemed to improve the picture of the general multitude of the dead, represented in the persons of selected individuals. Next, the condition of things in the world below must at least be illustrated by a few examples. Odysseus casts a glance into the inner recesses of the underworld—which was hardly possible for him, considering that he stood at its outermost gateway—and sees there the heroic figures of those who, like true “images” (εἴδωλα) of the living, still continue the activities of their former lives. There he sees Minos giving judgment among the dead, Orion hunting, Herakles still with the bow in his hand, and the arrow fitted to the string, “like one ever about to shoot.” This is certainly not Herakles, the “Hero-God”, as he was known to later ages. The poet knows nothing as yet of the elevation of the son of Zeus above the lot of all mortals-—any more than the earliest poet of the “Journey” knew of the translation of Achilles out of Hades. The disregard of such things was naturally regarded by later readers as a negligence on the part of the poet. And, in fact, they boldly inserted three verses here which inform us that he “himself”, the real Herakles, dwells among the gods—what Odysseus saw in Hades was only his counterfeit. Whoever wrote this was practising a little original theology on his own account. Such a contrast between a fully animated “self” possessing the original man’s body and soul still united, and a counterfeit presentment of himself (which cannot be his psyche) relegated to Hades, is quite strange both to Homer and to Greek thought of later times.79 It is, in fact, an example of the earliest “harmonizer’s” solution of a difficulty. The poet does, indeed, attempt to connect Herakles with Odysseus by making the two enter into conversation, in imitation of the conversations with Agamemnon and Achilles. But it is soon evident that these two have really nothing to say to each other; Odysseus, in fact, is silent. There was no real relationship between them, at most an analogy; Herakles, too, having once descended alive into Hades. This analogy alone, in fact, appears to have suggested the introduction of Herakles in this place.80 40

There now remains (inserted after Minos and Orion and before Herakles and probably composed by the same hand that was responsible for them) the incident of the three “penitents” undergoing punishment; a passage that no reader can possibly forget. First Tityos, whose giant frame is preyed upon by two vultures, is seen, then Tantalos, who in the middle of a lake is parched with thirst and cannot reach up to the fruit-laden branches over his head, and last Sisyphos, who is bound to roll up-hill the stone that ever rolls back again. The limits of the Homeric conception (with which the pictures of Minos, Orion, and Herakles might still perhaps be reconciled) are in these pictures definitely overstepped. The souls of these three unfortunates are credited with complete and continuous consciousness. Without this, their punishment would not have been felt and would not have been inflicted. And, observing the extraordinarily matter-of-fact and cursory description, which takes the reasons of the punishment for granted except in the case of Tityos, we cannot help feeling that these examples of punishment after death were not invented for the first time by the composer of these lines. They cannot have been offered to the astonished ears of their hearers as a daring novelty, but were rather recalled briefly to those hearers’ recollection. Probably these three are selected as examples out of a much larger collection of such pictures. Can it be that still older poets (who may still, however, have been more recent than the poet of the earliest parts of the “Journey”) had already dared to desert the Homeric view of the soul?

However that may be, we may be sure that the punishment of the three “penitents” was not intended to contradict flatly the Homeric conception of the unconsciousness and nothingness of the shades. They could not in that case have accommodated themselves so well to a poem that is founded upon such conceptions. They do not disprove the rule because they are, and are only intended to be, exceptions to that rule. This, however, would be impossible if it were justifiable to interpret the poet’s fiction as representing, in the person of these three unfortunates, three types of special sins and classes of sinners; as, for example, unbridled Lust (Tityos), insatiable Gluttony (Tantalos), and Pride of the Intellect (Sisyphos).81 They would in that case be particular examples of the retribution which one must think of as being extended to all the innumerable hosts of shadows who have been guilty of the same sins. But nothing in the description itself warrants such a theological interpretation; indeed, we have no reason 41 or excuse for attributing to this particular poet such a desire to prove the existence of a compensatory justice in an after life. It is quite strange to Homer, and so far as it ever became known to later Greek theology, it was only introduced very late, through the influence of a speculative mysticism. No, the almighty power of the gods is able in special cases, so this picture assures us, to preserve for individual souls their consciousness; in the case of Teiresias as a reward, in the case of these three objects of the gods’ hatred, in order that they may be capable of feeling their punishment. The real fault for which they are punished can be guessed fairly certainly from what the poet tells us about Tityos—it is in each case a grievous offence committed by them against the gods. The crime of Tantalos we can make out from what we know of him through other sources. It is less easy to discover what was the exact misdeed for which the crafty Sisyphos is punished.82 In any case, it is clear that retribution has overtaken all three of them for sins against the gods themselves—sins which human beings of later times could not possibly commit. And for this reason alone, neither their deeds nor their punishment can have anything typical or representative about them; they are sheer exceptions, and that is why the poet found them interesting.

The episode of Odysseus’ journey to Hades (even in its latest portions) suggests no acquaintance whatever with any general class of sinners who receive their punishment in that place. If, indeed, it had alluded to the punishment in the after-world of perjurers, orthodox Homeric doctrine would not in that case have been violated. Twice over in the Iliad, on solemn occasions of oath-taking, besides the gods of the upper world, the Erinyes also are called upon as witnesses of the oath; for they punish under the earth those who break their oath.83 Not without reason have these passages been held to show “that the Homeric conception of the phantasmal half-life of the souls under the earth, where they are without feeling or consciousness, was not a general folk-belief.”84 We must add, however, that the belief held in Homeric times of the punishment of oath-breakers in the realm of shadows cannot as yet have been very vital, for it was quite unable to prevent the success of the totally incompatible belief in the unconscious nothingness of disembodied spirits. A solemn oath-formula (so much that is primitive persisting, even after it has become dead letter, in formula) preserved a reference to that ancient belief, which had become strange to Homeric ears—a vestige, in fact, of a bygone point of view. It may be 42 that in the dim past, when men still vividly and literally believed in the reality of a punishment in after life for perjury, all the souls in Hades were credited with a conscious existence; but there never was a time when men generally believed that earthly sins (including perjury as only one among many) were punished in Hades. Oath-breaking was not punished as a specially outrageous moral failing—it may well be doubted whether the Greeks ever considered or felt it to be such. The perjurer, rather than any other particular sinner, was the special victim of the dread goddesses, for the simple reason that the perjurer in his desire to emphasize in the most awful manner his aversion to falsehood, has invoked against himself, if he fails to keep his oath, the most terrible fate of all—to suffer torment in the realm of Hades whence is no escape.85 To the Infernal Spirits of the Underworld, to whom he had condemned himself, he falls a victim if he breaks his word. Belief in the supernatural power of such imprecations,86 and not any special moral importance attached to truth-telling—an idea quite strange to the older Antiquity—gave to the oath its peculiar terrors.

§ 5

A final example of the tenacity with which custom may outlive the belief on which it is founded is afforded by the story told of Odysseus, that in fleeing from the Kikonian land, he did not leave it until he had called thrice upon those of his companions who had fallen in the battle with the Kikones (Od. ix, 65–6). References to similar callings upon the dead in later literature make the meaning of such behaviour clear. The souls of the dead who have fallen in foreign lands must be “called”;87 they will then, if this is properly done, follow the caller to their distant home, where an “empty grave” awaits them.88 This duty is regularly performed in Homer for the benefit of those whose bodies it is impossible to recover and bury in the proper way. But a summons of the dead and the erection of such empty receptacles—intended for whom if not for the souls who must then be accessible to the devotion of their relations?—was natural enough for those who believed in the possibility of the soul’s sojourn in the neighbourhood of its living friends; it was not admissible for supporters of the Homeric belief. Here we have once more a remarkable vestige of an ancient belief, surviving in a custom that has not been entirely given up even in altered times. Here, too, the belief which had given rise to the custom, was extinct. 43 If we ask the Homeric poet for what purpose a mound was heaped up over the grave of the dead and a gravestone set upon it, he will answer us: in order that his fame may remain imperishable among men, and that future generations may not be ignorant of his story.89 That sounds truly Homeric. When a man dies his soul departs into a region of twilit dream-life; his body, the visible man, perishes. Only his glorious name, in fact, lives on. His praises speak to after ages from the monument to his honour on his grave-mound—and in the song of the bard. A poet would naturally be inclined to think such things.



1 E. Kammer, Einheit d. Odyssee, 510 ff.

2 E.g. Il. Α 3, πολλὰς δ’ ἰφθίμους ψυχὰς (κεφαλάς Apol. Rhod., as in Λ 55: mistakenly) Ἄϊδι προΐαψεν ἡρώων, αὐτοὺς δὲ ἑλώρια τεῦχε κύνεσσιν. Ψ 105, παννυχίη γὰρ μοι Πατροκλῆος δειλοῖο ψυχὴ ἐφεστήκει . . . ἔϊκτο δὲ θέσκελον αὐτῷ (cf. 66).

3 E.g. Λ 262, ἔνθ’ Ἀντήνορος υἷες ὑπ’ Ἀτρείδῃ βασιλῆι πότμον ἀναπλήσαντες ἔδυν δόμον Ἄϊδος εἴσω. The ψυχή of Elpenor and afterwards that of Teiresias, of his mother, of Agamemnon, etc., is addressed by Odysseus in the Nekyia of the Od. simply as: Ἐλπῆνορ, Τειρεσίη, μῆτερ ἐμή, etc. And cf. such expressions as: Ψ 244, εἰς ὅ κεν αὐτὸς ἐγὼ Ἄϊδι κεύθωμαι, or Ο 251, καὶ δὴ ἔγωγ’ ἐφάμην, νέκυας καὶ δῶμ’ Ἀίδαο ἤματι τῷδ’ ἵξεσθαι . . . or Ξ 456 f., etc.

4 The first view is Nägelsbach’s, the second that of Grotemeyer.

5 And of civilized peoples, too, in antiquity. Just such a second self, an εἴδωλον duplicating the visible self of man, were, in their original significance, the genius of the Romans, the Fravashi of the Persians, the Ka of the Egyptians.

6 ὑποτίθεται (sc. Homer) τὰς ψυχὰς τοῖς εἰδώλοις τοῖς ἐν τοῖς κατόπτροις φαινομένοις ὁμοίας καὶ τοῖς διὰ τῶν ὑδάτων συνισταμένοις, ἃ καθάπαξ ἡμῖν ἐξείκασται καὶ τὰς κινήσεις μιμεῖται στερεμνιώδη δὲ ὑπόστασιν οὐδεμίαν ἔχει εἰς ἀντίληψιν καὶ ἁφήν, Apollod. π. θεῶν ap. Stob., Ecl. i, p. 420 W.

7 Cf. Cic., Div. i, 63: iacet corpus dormientis ut mortui, viget autem et vivit animus. Quod multo magis faciet post mortem cum omnino corpore excesserit. TD. i, 29: visis quibusdam saepe movebantur eisque maxime nocturnis, ut viderentur ei qui vita excesserant vivere. Here we have precise ancient testimony both for the subjective and the objective elements in dreaming and for their importance for the origin of belief about the soul.

8 Τὸν δ’ ἔλιπε ψυχή . . . αὖτις δ’ ἀμπνύνθη, Ε 696 f. Τὴν δὲ κατ’ ὀφθαλμῶν ἐρεβεννὴ νὺξ ἐκάλυψεν, ἤριπε δ’ ἐξοπίσω, ἀπὸ δὲ ψυχὴν ἐκάπυσσεν . . . ἔπει οὖν ἄμπνυτο καὶ ἐς φρένα θυμὸς ἀγέρθηX 466 ff., 475; and ω 348: ἀποψύχοντα.

9 Speaking of suspirium (= λειποψυχία), Sen., Ep. liv, 2, says, medici hanc “meditationem mortis” vocant. faciet enim aliquando spiritus ille quod saepe conatus est.

10 A remarkable idea seems to be obscurely suggested in an expression such as that of ξ 207, ἀλλ’ ἤτοι τὸν Κῆρες ἔβαν θανάτοιο φέρουσαι εἰς Ἀΐδαο δόμους; cf. Β 302. Usually the Keres bring death to men: here (like Thanatos himself in later poetry) they conduct the dead into the realm of Hades. They are daimones of Hades, originally and primitively themselves souls of the departed (see below, p. 168), and it is a natural idea to make such soul-spirits, hovering in the air, carry off the souls of men just dead to the realm of the souls. In Homer only a stereotyped phrase preserves the vague memory of such a conception. 45

11 Of the dead we read in λ 219, οὐ γὰρ ἔτι σάρκας τε καὶ ὀστέα ἶνες ἔχουσι. Taking the words strictly this might mean that the dead possess sinews but not the flesh or bones that should be held together by the sinews. This is how Nauck, in fact, understood the Homeric words: Mélanges Grécorom. iv, 718. But it is very difficult to picture “shadows” which in this manner possess sinews but no body of flesh and bones: the corrupt words of fr. 229, preserved apart from their context, are quite insufficient to prove that Aesch. derived such an unrealizable impression from the Homeric words.—That the poet of these lines from the Nek. simply meant “flesh, bones, and sinews, too, which might have held them together”, is shown quite clearly by what follows: ἀλλὰ τὰ μέν τε πυρὸς κρατερὸν μένος αἰθομένοιο δαμνᾷ, ἐπεί κε πρῶτα λίπῃ λεύκ’ ὀστέα θυμός, ψυχὴ δ’ ἠΰτ’ ὄνειρος ἀποπταμένη πεπότηται. How, then, could the fire help destroying the sinews too?

12 The sacrificial character of the proceedings at the rogus of Patroklos has again been called in question by v. Fritze, de libatione veterum Graecorum, 71 f. (1893). He admits this interpretation of the pouring of the blood on the pyre, but explains the other circumstances differently. It would be quite easy to disprove in this fashion the sacrificial character of every ὁλοκαύτωμα for χθόνιοι whether Heroes or the dead. It is true that the bodies of sheep and cattle, horses and dogs, thus completely consumed by fire, are not a “food-offering”, but they are a sacrifice for all that, and belong to the class of expiatory offerings in which the flesh is not offered for the food of the daimon but the lives of the victims are sacrificed to him. That Achilles slays the Trojan prisoners at the rogus κταμένοιο χολωθείς (Ψ 23) does not destroy the sacrificial character of this offering intended to appease the wrath (felt also by Achilles) of the dead man.—The whole procedure gives a picture of primitive sacrificial ritual in honour of the dead and differs in no particular from the ritual of sacrifice to the θεοὶ χθόνιοι. This is recognized by Stengel in his Chthonischer und Todtencult (Festschr. Friedländ.), p. 432, who also marks clearly the differences between the two religious ceremonies as they were gradually evolved in the process of time.

13 It cannot be denied that the libation of wine poured out by Achilles during the night (to which he expressly summons the psyche of Patroklos, Ψ 218–22) is sacrificial in character, like all similar χοαί. The wine with which the embers of the funeral pyre are extinguished may have been intended to serve that purpose alone and not as a sacrifice. But the jars of honey and oil which Achilles has placed upon the pyre (Ψ 170; cf. ω 67–8) can hardly be regarded as anything but sacrificial (cf. Bergk, Opusc. ii, 675; acc. to Stengel, Jahrb. Philol., p. 649, 1887, they only serve to kindle the flames, but the honey, at any rate, seems a strange material for the purpose. For libations at the rogus or at the grave honey and oil are regularly used—see Stengel himself, loc. cit., and Philol. xxxix, 378 ff.). Acc. to v. Fritze, de libat., 72, the jars of honey and oil were intended not as libations but for the “bath of the dead”—in the next world, in the Homeric Hades!—Honey can only have been used for bathing purposes, in Greece as elsewhere, by those who unintentionally fell into it like Glaukos.

14 On Greek hair offerings see Wieseler, Philol. ix, 711 ff., who rightly regards these offerings as symbolic and as substitutes for primitive human sacrifice. The same explanation of the offering of hair is given in the case of other peoples also; cf. Tylor, ii, 401. 46

15 Patroklos’ request for prompt burial (69 ff.) gives no sufficient motive, since Achilles has already given orders for the funeral to take place next day, 49 ff. (cf. 94 f.).

16 ll. 19; 179. Again, in the night following the erection of the funeral pyre, when the body is burning, Achilles calls to the soul of Patroklos ψυχὴν κικλήσκων Πατροκλῆος δειλοῖο 221. The person thus called upon is evidently supposed to be still close at hand. This is not contradicted by the formula χαῖρε . . . καὶ εἰν Ἀΐδαο δόμοισι (19, 179), for in l. 19. at least, the words cannot mean in Hades, since the soul is still outside Hades, as it tells us itself, 71 ff. The words can only mean “about”, “before” the House of Hades (like ἐν ποταμῷ “by the river”, etc.). In the same way εἰς Ἀΐδαο δόμον often only means towards the house of Hades (Ameis on κ 512).

17 From descriptions in ancient poetry? or had similar customs—at least, at the funerals of chieftains—survived into the poet’s own time? Especially magnificent, e.g., were the burials of Spartan kings—and also Cretan kings, it appears, so long as there were any; cf. Arist. fr. 476, p. 1556a, 37 ff.

18 Funeral games for Amarynkeus, Ψ 630 ff., for Achilles, ω 85 ff. Such games are referred to as being quite the usual custom in ω 87 ff. Later poetry is full of descriptions of such ἀγῶνες ἐπιτάφιοι of the heroic age.

19 As Aristarchos noticed: see Rh. Mus. 36, 544 f. Rather different are the (certainly ancient) games and contests for the hand of a bride (cf. stories of Pelops, Danaos, Ikarios, etc.).

20 Cf. Ψ 274, εἰ μὲν νῦν ἐπὶ ἄλλῳ ἀεθλεύοιμεν Ἀχαιοί, i.e. in honour of Patroklos; cf. 646: σὸν ἑταῖρον ἀέθλοισι κτερέϊζε. κτερεΐζειν means to give the dead man his κτέρεα, i.e. his former possessions (by burning them). The games are therefore on exactly the same footing as the burning of the personal effects of the dead in which the soul of the dead man was supposed still to take pleasure.

21 Aug., CD. viii, 26: Varro dicit omnes mortuos existimari manes deos, et probat per ea sacra quae omnibus fere mortuis exhibentur, ubi et ludos commemorat funebres, tamquam hoc sit maximum divinitatis indicium, quod non solent ludi nisi numinibus celebrari.

22 Quae pietas ei debetur a quo nihil acceperis? aut quid omnino, cuius nullum meritum sit, ei deberi potest? . . . (dei) quamobrem colendi sint non intellego nullo nec accepto ab eis nec sperato bono, Cic., ND. i, 116; cf. Pl., Euthphr. pass. Homer speaks in the same way of the ἀμοιβὴ ἀγακλειτῆς ἑκατόμβης, γ 58–9 (cf. ἀμοιβὰς τῶν θυσιῶν from the side of the gods, Pl. Smp., 202 E).

23 τοῦτό νυ καὶ γέρας οἷον ὀϊζυροῖσι βροτοῖσιν, κείρασθαί τε κόμην βαλέειν τ’ ἀπὸ δάκρυ παρειῶν, δ 197 f.; cf. ω 188 f., 294 f.

24 οὐ γὰρ ἔτ’ αὖτις νίσομαι ἐξ’ Ἀΐδαο ἐπήν με πυρὸς λελάχητε, Ψ 75 f.

25 —ἰόντι εἰς Ἀΐδαο χερσὶ κατ’ ὀφθαλμοὺς ἐλέειν σύν τε στόμ’ ἐρεῖσαι, λ 426; cf. Λ 453, ω 296. To do this is the duty of the next of kin, mother or wife. The necessity for closing the sightless eyes and dumb mouth of the dead is intelligible without reference to any superstitious arrière pensée. Such an idea is, however, dimly discernible in such a phrase as ἄχρις ὅτου ψυχήν μου μητρὸς χέρες εἶλαν ἀπ’ ὄσσων, Epigr. Gr., 314, 24. Was there originally some idea of the “soul” being released by these means?—Seat of the soul in the κόρη of the eye: ψυχαὶ δ’ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖσι τῶν τελευτώντων, Babr. 95, 35 (see Crusius, Rh. Mus. 46, 319). Augurium non timendi mortem in aegritudine quamdiu oculorum pupillae imaginem reddant, Plin., N.H. 28, 64; cf. Grimm, p. 1181. (If a person can no longer see his or her εἴδωλον 47 in a mirror it is a sign of approaching death, Oldenburg, Rel. d. Ved., 526 [p. 4493 French tr.].)—Among many peoples it is believed that the eyes of the dead must be closed in order to prevent the dead person seeing or haunting anyone in the future: Robinsohn, Psychol. d. Naturv., 44; cf. Cic., Verr. v, 118 (of the Greeks); Vg., A. iv, 684 f.: extremus si quis super halitus errat ore legam. Serv. ad loc.: muliebriter, tamquam possit animam sororis excipere et in se transferre (cf. Epigr. Gr., 547; IG. Sic. et It., 607e, 9–10). ψυχή making its exit through the mouth: I 409; cf. “Among the Seminoles of Florida when a woman died in childbirth the infant was held over her face to receive her parting spirit and thus acquire strength and knowledge for future use,” Tylor, i, 433.

26 And even ἀνὰ πρόθυρον τετραμμένος, Τ 212, i.e. with feet turned towards the door. The reason for this custom—which existed elsewhere, too, and still exists—is hardly to be sought only in the ritus naturae, as Plin. 7, 46, thinks. This has generally little to do with the customs observed on the solemn occasions of life. The meaning of the practice is much more naively revealed in a statement about the manners of the Pehuenchen Indians in South America given by Pöpig, Reise in Chile, Peru, etc., i, 393. There they carry the dead man feet foremost out of the door “because if the corpse of the dead man were carried out otherwise his wandering ghost might come back into the house”. The Greek custom, though in Homeric times long faded to a mere symbol, must be supposed to have depended originally upon similar fears of the return of the “soul”. (Similar precautions arising from the same belief were customary at funerals elsewhere: Oldenberg, Rel. d. Veda, 573–4 [489 F.T.]. Robinsohn, Psychol. d. Naturv., 45 f.) Belief in the incomplete departure of the soul from this world has dictated these customs, too.

27 The details of the procedure until the funeral dirge are given in Σ 343–55.

28 τύμβος and στήλη, Π 457, 675, Ρ 434, Λ 371, μ 14. A heaped-up σῆμα as the burial-place of Eetion round which the Nymphs plant elms: Ζ 419 ff.—which preserves a trace of the custom, obtaining also in later times, of planting trees and even a whole grove round the grave.

29 κτέρεα κτερεΐζειν in the formula σημά τέ οἱ χεῦαι καὶ ἐπὶ κτέρεα κτερεΐζειν, α 291, β 222. Here the κτερεΐζειν comes after the heaping up of the grave-mound—possibly the κτέρεα are to be burnt on or at the grave-mound. Schol. B on Τ 212 is, however, mistaken in the rule deduced from these cases: προὐτίθεσαν, εἶτα ἔθαπτον, εἶτα ἐτυμβοχόουν, εἶτα ἐκτερέϊζον. All the cases refer to the ceremonial at empty graves. Where the body was obtainable the relatives or friends would have burnt the κτέρεα with the body. This is done in the case of Eetion and Elpenor, and it must be understood in the close connexion of the words ἐν πυρὶ κήαιεν καὶ ἐπὶ κτέρεα κτερίσαιεν, Ω 38, and again ὄφρ’ ἕταρον θάπτοι καὶ ἐπὶ κτέρεα κτερίσειεν, γ 285.

30—a custom that originally belonged to all primitive peoples and remained in force for a very long time among many of them. All the possessions of a dead Inca remain his own absolute property: Prescott, Peru4, i, 31. Among the Abipones of Paraguay all the possessions of the dead are burnt: Klemm, Culturges. ii, 99. The Albanians of the Caucasus buried all the dead man’s possessions with him, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο πένητες ζῶσιν οὐδὲν πατρῷον ἔχοντες, Str. 503. Of ancient origin are also the extravagant burial customs of the Mingrelians living in what was formerly Albania: Chardin, Voy. en Perse (ed. Langlès), i, 325, 298, 314, 322. 48

31 Examples given by O. Jahn, Persius, p. 219 fin.

32 ψυχὴ δ’ ἐκ ῥεθέων πταμένη Ἄϊδόσδε βεβήκει, ὃν πότμον γοόωσα λιποῦσ’ ἀνδροτῆτα καὶ ἥβην, Π 756. Χ 362 cf. Υ 294, Ν 415. ψυχὴ δ’ Ἀϊδόσδε κατῆλθεν, κ 560, λ 65. Complete departure into the depths of the kingdom of Hades is more clearly expressed in such words as βαίην δόμον Ἄϊδος εἴσω, Ω 246, κίον Ἄϊδος εἴσω, Ζ 422, etc. Again, in λ 150, the soul of Teiresias while speaking to Odysseus is still in Hades in the wider sense but is more exactly on the extreme edge of that region: we are told ψυχὴ μὲν ἔβη δόμον Ἄϊδος εἴσω—now at last it goes back again into the depths of the Kingdom of Hades.

33 Aristonikos on Ψ 104: ἡ διπλῆ ὅτι τὰς τῶν ἀτάφων ψυχὰς Ὅμηρος ἔτι σωζούσας τὴν φρόνησιν ὑποτίθεται. (Rather too systematically put by Porph. ap. Stob., Ecl. i, p. 422, 20 ff., 425, 25 ff. W.) Elpenor is the first to approach Odysseus’ sacrificial trench οὐ γάρ πω ἐτέθαπτο, λ 52. His ψυχή had not yet been received into Hades (Rh. Mus. 1, 615). Achilles’ treatment of the body of Hektor shows that he thought of his enemy (because he was still unburied) as being able to feel what was done to him: lacerari eum et sentire credo putat, Cic., TD. i, 105.

34 Plin. vii, 187, explains the change among the Romans from burial to cremation as being due to the fear that in times of war and disturbance the dead might be deprived of their rest. If a man dies in war time, i.e. during a period of temporary nomadism, his body is burnt, but a limb (sometimes the head) is cut off to be taken home and buried ad quod servatum iusta fierent, Paul. Festi, 148, 11; Varro, LL. v, 23; Cic., Lg. ii, 55, 60. The same custom is found among certain German tribes: see Weinhold, Sitzb. Wien. Ac. xxix, 156; xxx, 208. Even among the negroes of Guinea and the South American Indians practices resembling the os resectum of the Romans are found in the case of those who die in war in foreign country; cf. Klemm, Culturg. iii, 297; ii, 98 f. In every case burial is regarded as the ancient and traditional mode of disposing of the dead, and the one strictly required on religious grounds.

35 Only once is there any mention of taking home the burnt bones, Η 334 f. Aristarch. rightly recognized this as being in conflict with the normal conceptions and practice of Homer and regarded the lines as the composition of a later poet (Sch. A ad loc. and on Δ 174; Sch. EMQ., γ 109). The lines may have been inserted to account for the absence from the Troad of such enormous grave-mounds as the burial of the ashes of both armies should have produced. The same reason—the desire expressed in these lines to bring back those who have died in a foreign country to their own land at last—is implied as the origin of cremation in the illustrative story of Herakles and Argeios, the son of Likymnios, in the ἱστορία (derived from Andron) of Sch. A on Α 52.

36 Kl. Schr. ii, 216, 220.

37 It would apply better to Roman beliefs; cf. Vg., A. iv, 698–9—though even that means something else. (Cf. also Oldenberg, Rel. d. Veda, 585, 2.)

38 Cf. esp. Ψ 75–6, λ 218–22.

39 Serv. ad A. iii, 68: Aegyptii condita diutius servant cadavera scilicet ut anima multo tempore perduret et corpori sit obnoxia nec cito ad aliud transeat. Romani contra faciebant, comburentes cadavera ut statim anima in generalitatem, i.e. in suam naturam rediret (the pantheistic touch may be neglected).—Cf. the account given by Ibn Foslan of the burial customs of the pagan Russians 49 (quoted from Frähn by J. Grimm, Kl. Schr. ii, 292): the preference for burning was due to the idea that the soul was less quickly set free on its way to Paradise when the body was buried intact, than when it was destroyed by fire.

40 Cf. the Hymn of the Rigveda (x, 16) which is to be said at a cremation, esp. v. 2, 9 (quoted by Zimmer, Altind. Leben, 402 f.), and also Rigv. x, 14, 8 (Zimmer, p. 409). The Indians also wished to prevent the return of the dead to the world of the living. The feet of the corpse were chained so that the dead could not return (Zimmer, p. 402).

41 It lies at the root of the stories of Demeter and Demophoon (or Triptolemos), and also that of Thetis and Achilles, when the goddess, laying the mortal child in the fire, περιῄρει τὰς θνητὰς σάρκας, ἔφθειρεν ὃ ἦν αὐτῷ θνητόν, in order to make it immortal (cf. Preller, Dem. u. Perseph., 112); cf. also the custom observed at certain festivals (? of Hecate, cf. Bergk, PLG. iii, 682) of lighting fires in the streets and leaping through the flames carrying children, see Grimm (E.T.), p. 625; cf. also Cic., Div. i, 47: o praeclarum discessum cum ut Herculi contigit mortali corpore cremato in lucem animus excessit! Ov., M., ix, 250: Luc., Herm., 7; Q.S. v, 640 ff. (For more about the “purifying” effects of fire, see below, chap. ix, n. 127.)

42 Nothing else than this is implied by the words of Η 409–10, οὐ γὰρ τις φειδὼ νεκύων κατατεθνηώτων γίγνετ’, ἐπεί κε θάνωσι πυρὸς μειλισσέμεν ὦκα. The souls of the dead must be quickly “assuaged with fire” (their longing gratified) and so their bodies are burnt. Purification from what is mortal and unclean, which Dieterich (Nekyia, 197, 3) thinks is referred to in this passage, is certainly not suggested as such by the words of the poet.

43 Light may be incidentally thrown on the question of the transition from burial to cremation by such a story as that which an Icelandic Saga tells of a man who is buried by his own wish before the door of his house; “but as he returned and did much mischief his body was exhumed and burnt and the ashes scattered over the sea” (Weinhold, Altnord. Leben, 499). We often read in old stories how the body of a dead man who goes about as a vampire is burnt. His soul is then exorcized and cannot come back again.

44 It is natural to think of Asiatic influence. Cremation hearths have recently (1893) been discovered in Babylonia.

45 See Helbig, D. Hom. Epos aus d. Denkm. erl., 42 f.

46 That the men of the “Mycenaean” culture, though much affected by foreign influences, were Greeks—the Greeks of the Heroic age of whom Homer speaks—may now be regarded as certain (see esp. E. Reisch, Verh. Wien. Philol., 99 ff.).

47 See Schliemann, Mycenae, E.T., 155, 165, 213–14.

48 Helbig. Hom. Epos2, p. 52.

49 Cf. K. Weinhold, Sitzb. Wien. Ak., 1858 (Phil. hist. Cl.), xxix, pp. 121, 125, 141. The remarkable coincidences between the Mycenaean and these North European burial customs do not seem as yet to have been noticed. (The object of this elaborate foundation and covering may have been to preserve the corpse from decay longer, and especially from the effects of damp.)

50 Also in the domed grave of Dimini: Ath. Mitth., xii, 138.

51 The soul of a dead man from whom a favourite possession is withheld returns (equally whether the body and the possessions with it are burnt or buried). The story in Lucian, Philops., xxvii, of the wife of Eukrates (cf. Hdt. v, 92η), is quite in accordance with popular belief. 50

52 Schliemann, Myc., 212–13: see plan F. A similar altar in the Hall of the Palace of Tiryus: Schuchhardt, Schliemann’s Exc. (E.T.), p. 107.

53 ἐσχάρα is essentially ἐφ’ ἧς τοῖς ἥρωσιν ἀποθύομεν, Poll. i, 8; cf. Neanthes ap. Ammon., Diff. Voc., p. 34 V. Such an altar rested directly on the ground without anything intervening (μὴ ἔχουσα ὕψος ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ γῆς ἱδρυμένη), it is round (στρογγυλοειδής) and hollow (κοίλη): cf. esp. Harp., 87, 15 ff. Phot., s.v. ἐσχάρα (2 glosses); AB. 256, 32; EM., 384, 12 ff.; Sch. on ζ 52; Eust., Od., p. 1939 (ψ 71): Sch. Eur., Ph., 284. It is evident that the ἐσχάρα is not very far removed from the sacrificial trench of the cult of the dead: thus it is actually called also βόθρος; Sch. Eur., Ph., 274 (σκαπτή S. Byz., 191, 7 Mein.).

54 Stengel has a different view (Chthon. u. Todt., 427, 2).


55 It is doubtful whether Homer even knew of dream-oracles (which would be closely related to oracles of the dead). That in Α 63 ἐγκοίμησις is “at least alluded to” (as Nägelsbach, Nachhom. Theol., 172, thinks) is by no means certain. The ὀνειροπόλος would not be a priest who intentionally gave himself up to prophetic sleep and thus ὑπὲρ ἑτέρων ὀνείρους ὁρᾷ, but rather an ὀνειροκρίτης—an interpreter of other men’s unsought dream-visions.

56 Even the river-gods and Nymphs who are usually confined to their own homes are called to the ἀγορά of all the gods in Olympos, Υ 4 ff. These deities who remain fixed in the locality of their worship are weaker than the Olympians just because they are not elevated with the rest to the ideal summit of Olympos. Kalypso resignedly admits this, ε 169 f., εἴ κε θεοί γ’ ἐθέλωσι, τοὶ οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἔχουσιν, οἵ μευ φέρτεροί εἰσι νοῆσαί τε κρῆναί τε. They have sunk to the second rank of deities. They are, however, never thought of as free and independent, but as a mere addition to the kingdom of Zeus and the other Olympians.

57 Exx. in Nägelsbach, Hom. Theol.2, 387 f. (φρένες), W. Schrader, Jb. f. Philol. 1885, p. 163 f. (ἦτορ).

58 The belief in the existence of more than one soul in the same person is very wide-spread. See J. G. Müller, Americ. Urrelig., p. 66, 207 f., Tylor, i, 432 f. The distinction between the five spiritual powers dwelling within man given by the Avesta rests upon similar grounds (Geiger, Civ. of East. Iran, 1, 124 ff.). Even in Homer Gomperz, Greek Thinkers, i, 249, finds a “two-soul” theory fully developed. According to him Homer recognizes in the θυμός—a word supposed to be derived from the steam rising from freshly shed and still warm blood—a second soul in addition to the ψυχή: a “smoke-soul” side by side with the “breath-soul”. But if by soul a “something” is meant—as it must be in popular psychology—which is added independently to the body and its faculties, something which lives separately in the body and after the death of the body (with which it is not indissolubly united) dissociates itself and goes off independently—then the θυμός of Homer cannot be called a “soul” or a double of the ψυχή. Again and again the θυμός is clearly referred to as a mental faculty of the living body; either thinking or willing or merely feeling (θυμῷ νοέω, θυμῷ δεῖσαι, γηθήσει θυμῷ, ἐχολώσατο θυμῷ, ἤραρε θυμὸν ἐδωδῇ, etc.) is conducted by its means. It is the seat of the emotions (μένος ἔλλαβε θυμόν) and belongs to the body of the living man, and is especially enclosed in the φρένες. In the face of 51 this it is impossible to regard it as something independent of the body or as anything else than a special faculty of the same living body. Once, indeed, Η 131, the θυμός is spoken of, instead of ψυχή as that which goes down to Haides, but this can only be an error or an oversight (see also below, ch. xi, n. 2). According to Homeric ideas—and this is a conception repeated over and over again in Greek literature and even in Greek philosophy—the body has all its vital powers in itself, not merely θυμός but μένος, νόος, μῆτις, βουλή. Yet it only acquires life when supplemented by the ψυχή, which is something different from all these bodily powers—something with an independent being of its own and alone deserving the name “soul”, a name which belongs as little to θυμός as to νόος. Gomperz thinks that θυμός, etc., were at first the only recognized faculties of the body and that ψυχή was only (for the Greeks) added later. This is certainly not to be made out from Homer—or any other part of Greek literature.

59 περὶ ψυχῆς θέον, X 161; περὶ ψυχέων ἐμάχοντο, χ 245; ψυχὴν παραβαλλόμενος, I 322; ψυχὰς παρθέμενοι, γ 74, ι 255; ψυχῆς ἀντάξιον, I 401; and cf. ι 523: αἲ γὰρ δὴ ψυχῆς τε καὶ αἰῶνός σε δυναίμην εὖνιν ποιήσας πέμψαι δόμον Ἄϊδος εἴσω. No one strictly speaking can go into Hades bereft of his ψυχή, for it is the ψυχή alone which goes there. Thus ψυχή here clearly = life, as is shown also by the addition of the words καὶ αἰῶνος for the sake of clearness. It is more doubtful whether this is the explanation of ψυχῆς ὄλεθρος, X 325, or of ψυχὰς ὀλέσαντες, Ν 763, Ω 168. Other passages adduced by Nägelsb., Hom. Th.2, 381, and Schrader, Jb. f. Philol. 1885, p. 167, either admit or require the material sense of the word ψυχή: e.g. Ε 696 ff., Θ 123, σ 91, etc.


60 A more detailed statement and documentation of the following analysis of the Nekyia in Od. λ will be found in Rh. Mus. 1, 600 ff. (1895). [Kl. Schr. ii, 255.]

61 The information given by Teiresias, λ 107 ff., about Thrinakia and the cattle of Helios seems to be put in such a brief and inadequate form just because the fuller account given by Kirke, μ 127, was already known to the poet who did not wish to repeat this word for word.

62 A final example of such pictures intended to suggest the background of the Odyssey is the conversation between Achilles and Agamemnon in the “second Nekyia”, ω 19 ff. The composer of these lines has understood quite correctly the meaning and purpose of his model, the original Nekyia of λ, though his continuation of it is certainly very clumsy.

63 κ 539–40 is borrowed from δ 389–90, 470.—I find after writing this that Kammer had already suggested imitation of δ in the Nekyia: Einheit d. Od., 494 f.

64 It is striking (and may have some special reason) that in Kirke’s account there is no mention of the Kimmerians. It is easier to see why the careful description of the country in Kirke’s speech, κ 509–15, is not afterwards repeated but merely recalled to the memory of the reader in a few words (λ 21–2).

65 I can see no essential difference between the conception and situation of Hades as indicated in the Iliad and the account given in the Nekyia of the Odyssey. J. H. Voss and Nitzsch were right in this matter. Nor do the additional details given in the “second Nekyia” of ω essentially “conflict” (as Teuffel, Stud. u. Charact., thinks) with the description of the first Nekyia. It does not adhere 52 slavishly to its original, but it rests upon the same fundamental conceptions.

66 Sch. H.Q., κ 514, Πυριφλεγέθων, ἤτοι τὸ πῦρ τὸ ἀφανίζον τὸ σάρκινον τῶν βροτῶν, cf. Apollodor., π. θεῶν, ap. Stob., Ecl. i, p. 420, 9 W. Πυριφλεγέθων εἴρηται ἀπὸ τοῦ πυρὶ φλέγεσθαι τοὺς τελευτῶντας.

67 Acheron, too, seems to be regarded as a river. The soul of the unburied Patroklos, which has already departed, ἀν’ εὐρυπυλὲς Ἄϊδος δῶ, and has therefore passed over Okeanos, is prevented by the other souls from passing over “the river”, Ψ 72 f. This can hardly be the Okeanos, and must, therefore, be Acheron (so, too, Porph. ap. Stob., Ecl. i, p. 422 f., 426 W.). κ 515 does not in the least prove that Acheron was thought of as a lake and not a river, as Bergk, Opusc. ii, 695, thinks.

68 Cf. λ 206 ff., 209–393 ff., 475.

69 See Π 851 ff. (Patroklos), X 358 ff. (Hektor), λ 69 ff. Behind each of these there lies the ancient belief that the soul in the moment of escape achieves a higher state of being and returns to a form of knowledge independent of sense-perception (cf. Artemon ap. Sch., Π 854, Arist. fr. 12 (10) R.). Otherwise this power belongs to gods and, strictly, only to Zeus, who can foresee everything (in Homer). But the statements are intentionally modified to suggest an undefined middle position between prophecy in the full sense and mere στοχάζεσθαι (cf. Sch. B.V., X 359)—X 359 at the most may go beyond this point.

70 λ 218–24.

71 ὄϊν ἀρνειὸν ῥέζειν, θῆλύν τε μέλαιναν, εἰς Ἔρεβος στρέψας, κ 527 f. From the word μέλαιναν the ὄϊν ἀρνειὸν is also to be understood ἀπὸ κοινοῦ as being, more precisely, black (and so again in 572)—the ram offered to the gods (or Souls) of the underworld is regularly black. εἰς Ἔρεβος στρέψας, i.e. bending the head downwards (not towards the west) = ἐς βόθρον, λ 36—as Nitzsch rightly explains it. Everything corresponds to the regular ἔντομα of later times for the underworld beings (cf. Stengel, Ztsch. f. Gymn., 1880, p. 743 f.).

72 κοινή τις παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἐστὶν ὑπόληψις ὅτι νεκροὶ καὶ δαίμονες σίδηρον φοβοῦνται, Sch. Q., λ 48. It is really the sound of the bronze or iron that drives away spirits: Luc., Philops. 15 (cf. O. Jahn, Abergl. d. bös. Blicks, 70). But even the mere presence of iron objects is sufficient: [Aug.] Hom. de sacrileg. (about the seventh century), 22, states that to the sacrilegi belong among others those who wear rings or armlets of iron, aut qui in domo sua quaecumque de ferro, propter ut daemones timeant, ponunt.

73 The idea that the Thesprotian νεκυομαντεῖον by the river Acheron was the original of the Homeric picture was first started by Paus. 1, 17, 5. He was followed by K. O. Müller, Introd. to a Scientific System of Myth., pp. 297–8 (E. T., Leitch), who has been followed by many others. But it has scarcely more justification than has e.g. the localization of the Homeric entrance to Hades at Cumae, Herakleia Pont. (cf. Rh. Mus. 36, 555 ff.), or other places of ancient worship of the dead (e.g. Pylos). At such places the traditional names of Acheron, Kokytos, Pyriphlegethon were easily introduced—but taken from Homer and not coming thence into Homer. The fact that it is just this Thesprotian oracle of the dead that is mentioned in Hdt.’s well-known story (v, 92 η) does not at all prove that this was the oldest of all such oracles.

74 To this extent Lobeck’s denial of necromancy to the Homeric poems (Agl. 316) may, perhaps, require to be modified; but so modified it may be accepted. 53

75 In accordance with primeval sacrificial custom. To the dead only female (or castrated) animals are offered (see Stengel, Chthon. u. Todtenc., 424). Here it is a στεῖρα βοῦς, ἄγονα τοῖς ἀγόνοις (Sch.). So among the Indians, “to the Manes that are without the powers of life and procreation” a wether instead of a ram was offered: Oldenberg, Rel. d. Ved., 358 [= 306 Fr. T.].

76 Ω 592 ff. Achilles says to the dead Patroklos μή μοι Πάτροκλε σκυδμαινέμεν αἴ κε πύθηαι εἰν Ἄϊδός περ ἐὼν ὅτι Ἕκτορα δῖον ἔλυσα πατρὶ φίλῳ, ἔπει οὔ μοι ἀεικέα δῶκεν ἄποινα. σοὶ δ’ αὖ ἐγὼ καὶ τῶνδ’ ἀποδάσσομαι ὅσσ’ ἐπέοικεν. The possibility that the dead in Hades may be able to know what is happening in the upper world is referred to only hypothetically (αἴ κε)—not so, however, the intention of giving the dead man a share in the gifts of Priam (δι’ ἐπιταφίων εἰς αὐτὸν ἀγώνων as Sch. B.V. on 594 thinks). The strangeness of such a promise seems to have been one of the reasons that made Aristarch. (unjustly) athetize ll. 594–5.

77 40–1. This is not un-Homeric, cf. esp. Ξ 456. Thus on many vase-paintings we see the psyche of a fallen warrior flying over the corpse, often clad in full armour, but very diminutive in size—to express invisibility.

78 Strictly speaking Odysseus is supposed to enter into conversation with the women while each informs him of her fate (231-4); every now and then comes a φάτο 236, φῆ 237, εὔχετο 261, φάσκε 306. But the whole section is little more than a review at which Odysseus assists without taking any real part.

79 Cf. Rh. Mus. 1, 625 ff. The nearest parallel to such a distinction between an εἴδωλον and the fully animated αὐτός is to be found in what Stesichoros (and Hesiod before him: see Paraphr. ant. Lyc., 822, p. 71, Scheer, and PLG. iii, p. 215) relates of Helen and her εἴδωλον. Prob. this latter story gave rise to the insertion of these lines, λ 602 ff.

80 Cf. 623 ff.

81 Welcker, Gr. Götterl. i, 818, and others following him.

82 [Apollod.] 1, 9, 3, 2; Sch., Α 180 (p. 18b, 23 ff., Bekk.) gives as reason for the punishment of Sisyphos that he betrayed to Asopos the rape of his daughter Aigina by Zeus. This, however, does not rest upon good epic tradition. Another story follows up the betrayal with the myth of the outwitting of Death and then Hades by S., after which he is sent down to Hades again and punished by the task of the endless stone-rolling. The story of the double outwitting of the powers of death (cf. the similar fairy tale of Spielhansel: Grimm, Fairy Tales, n. 82, and Anm., vol. ii, p. 163, ed. 1915) is obviously intended humorously, and so it seems to have been treated in a satyr-drama of Aesch., the Σίσυφος δραπέτης [Sch., Ζ 153.] The fact that this story ends in the punishment of the stone-rolling ought to be sufficient warning against taking it in the serious and edifying sense in which Welcker and his followers interpret it. It is quite contrary to ancient ideas to suppose that Sis. is punished for his cunning as a warning to other crafty (as well as good) men. In Ζ 153 he is called κέρδιστος ἀνδρῶν as praise and not blame: so Aristarch. rightly maintained and supported his case by clear ἀναφορά to the line of the Nekyia (see Sch., Ζ 153, Κ 44, Lehrs, Aristarch.3, p. 117 and λ 593). The idea that the adj. refers to the κακότροπον of S. is merely a misunderstanding of Porph. ap. Sch., λ 385. How little anyone thought of S. as a criminal, even with the Homeric story in his mind, is shown by the Platonic Sokrates who rejoices (Apol., 41 C) over the fact that in Hades he will meet, amongst others, Sisyphos (cf. also 54 Thgn., 702 ff.). The case of Sis. presents the most serious difficulties that face any attempt to give a moralizing sense (quite outside the poet’s intention) to the section of the “three penitents”. (See also Rh. Mus. 1, 630.)

83 Γ 279, Τ 260 (cf. Rh. Mus. 1, 8). Nitzsch, Anm. z. Od. iii, p. 184 f., vainly employs all the arts of interpretation and criticism to deny their obvious meaning to both passages.

84 K. O. Müller, Aeschylus Eumenides, p. 167 = E.T., 1853, p. 159.

85 It should be remembered also that no legal penalties against perjury existed in Greece, any more than in Rome. They were unnecessary in face of the general expectation that the deity whom the perjurer had invoked against himself would take immediate revenge upon the criminal. (Esp. instructive are the words of Agamemnon on the Trojan breach of faith, Δ 158 ff.) Such revenge would be taken either during the life time of the perjurer—in which case the instruments of vengeance would be the spirits of Hell, the Erinyes: Hes., Op., 802 ff.—or else after death.

86 The oath as a bond in favour of the oath-gods: Thgn., 1195 f., μήτι θεοὺς ἐπίορκον ἐπόμνυθι, οὐ γὰρ ἀνυστὸν ἀθανάτους κρύψαι χρεῖος ὀφειλόμενον. Perjury would be εἰς θεοὺς ἁμαρτάνειν, Soph. fr. 431 (472 P.).

87 Eust., Od., p. 1614–15, has understood this. He calls attention to Pi., P. 4, 159, κέλεται γὰρ ἑὰν ψυχὰν κομίζαι Φρίξος ἐλθόντας πρὸς Αἰήτα θαλάμους—on which passage the Sch. refers us back again to Homer. Both passages imply the same belief: τῶν ἀπολομένων ἐν ξένῃ γῇ τὰς ψυχὰς εὐχαῖς τισιν ἐπεκαλοῦντο ἀποπλεόντες οἱ φίλοι εἰς τὴν ἐκείνων πατρίδα καὶ ἐδόκουν κατάγειν αὐτοὺς πρὸς τοὺς οἰκείους (Sch. ι 65 f., Sch. Η, ι 62). Nitzsch, Anm. iii, 17–18, vainly attempts to get out of the necessity of seeing in this act the fulfilment of a religious duty. He supposes that Odysseus is merely satisfying a “need of the heart”, etc. The real meaning of religious performance is too often obscured by such “ethical” interpretation.

88 The command of Athene to Telem., α 291, presupposes as universally customary the erection of a cenotaph for those who die in foreign lands unless their bodies can be obtained by their friends. Menelaos erects an empty tomb to Agamemnon in Egypt, δ 584.

89 δ 584, χεῦ’ Ἀγαμέμνονι τύμβον ἷν’ ἄσβεστον κλέος εἴη. λ 75 f., σῆμά τέ μοι χεῦαι πολιῆς ἐπὶ θινὶ θαλάσσης, ἀνδρὸς δυστήνοιο, καὶ ἐσσομένοισι πύθεσθαι. Achilles in the second Nekyia, ω 30 ff., says to Agam.: Would thou hadst died before Troy, for then the Achaeans would have set up a tomb for thee and καὶ σῷ παιδὶ μέγα κλέος ἤρα’ ὀπίσσω (cf. 93 f., where Agam. says to Achilles ὡς σὺ μὲν οὐδὲ θανὼν ὄνομ’ ὤλεσας ἀλλά τοι αἰεὶ πάντας ἐπ’ ἀνθρώπους κλέος ἔσσεται ἐσθλὸν Ἀχιλλεῦ). The words of Hektor, Η 84 ff., show how the σῆμα ἐπὶ πλατεῖ Ἑλλησπόντῳ served to remind sailors as they passed, ἀνδρὸς μὲν τόδε σῆμα πάλαι κατατεθνηῶτος κτλ. and to suggest that this was the proper and principal purpose of such erections.—In contrast with this cf. what is stated of the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands: “they laid their illustrious dead in a chest and set them up on a high place or on a rock by the bank of a river in order that they might be worshipped by the pious”: Lippert, Seelencult, p. 22.




The Homeric picture of the shadow-life of the disembodied soul is the work of resignation, not of hope. Hope would never have beguiled itself with the anticipation of a state of things which neither afforded men the chance of further activity after death, nor, on the other hand, gave them rest from the toil of life; one which promised them only a restless, purposeless fluttering to and fro, an existence, indeed, but without any of the content that might have made it worthy of the name of life.

Was there never any aspiration after a more consolatory picture of the life after death? Did the tremendous vital energies of that time really devote themselves so completely to the realms of Zeus that not even a ray of hope penetrated to the House of Hades? We should have had to suppose so were it not for a single passing glimpse which we get of a distant land of hearts’ desire, such as even the Greece that lay under the sway of the Homeric order of things still imagined for itself.

When Proteus, the sea-god who could foretell the future, has finished informing Menelaos, on the sea-shore of Egypt, of the circumstances of his return home to his country and of the fate of his dearest companions, he adds the prophetic words—so Menelaos himself informs Telemachos in the fourth book of the Odyssey (560 ff.): “But thou, god-like Menelaos, art not ordained to die in horse-pasturing Argos or to meet thy fate there; for the immortals shall send thee far away to the Elysian plain, to the ends of the world where dwells fair-haired Rhadamanthys, and where life is most easy for men. There is neither snow nor heavy storms nor rain, but Okeanos ever sends zephyrs with soft-breathing breezes to refresh men—because thou hast Helen to wife and art thereby in their eyes the son-in-law of Zeus.”

These verses allow us a glimpse into a world about which the Homeric poems are otherwise silent. At the end of the 56 world, by the River Okeanos, lies the “Elysian Plain”, a land where the sky is always clear, as in the land where the gods live.1 There dwells the great Rhadamanthys, not alone, one may suppose as “men” are spoken of (565, 568). Thither shall the gods some day send Menelaos—he is not to die (562); that is to say, he is to reach that place alive nor shall he suffer death there. The place to which he is to be sent is not a part of the realm of Hades, but a land on the surface of the earth set apart as the abode not of disembodied “souls”, but of men whose souls have not been separated from their visible selves—for only thus can they feel and enjoy the sense of life (565). The picture which fancy has drawn here is the precise opposite of the blessed immortality of the soul in its separate existence. Just because such an idea remained quite unthinkable for Homeric singers, hope sought and found an exit from the shadow-world which swallows up all living energy. Hope imagined a land at the end of the world, but still of this world, to which occasionally some few favourites of the gods might be “translated” without the psyche being separated from its body and descending to Hades.

The actual mention of such miraculous “translation” stands alone in the Homeric poems, and the passage in the Odyssey seems to have been introduced by a later hand.2 But the conditions of such a miracle are all implied within the range of Homeric ideas. Menelaos is carried off by the power of the gods and lives an eternal life far from the world of mortals. The belief that a god could suddenly withdraw his earthly favourite from the eyes of men and invisibly waft him away on the breeze not infrequently finds its application in the battle-scenes of the Iliad.3 The gods could also make a mortal “invisible” for a prolonged period. When Odysseus has been so long lost to his friends they suspect that the gods have “made him invisible” (Od. i, 235 ff.); they do not regard him as “dead” but “the Harpies have carried him away”, and he is consequently withdrawn from all human ken (Od. i, 241 f.; xiv, 371). Penelope, in her grief, prays either for swift death through the arrows of Artemis, or that a storm wind may lift her up and carry her away on dark pathways to the mouths of Okeanos, that is, to the entrance of the Land of the Dead (Od. xx, 61–5; 79 ff.).4 To explain her wish she recalls a fairy tale of the kind that must often have been told in the women’s quarters; how the daughters of Pandareos, after the violent death of their parents, were brought up to lovely maidenhood by Aphrodite and provided by Hera, Artemis, and Athene with all kinds of gifts and 57 accomplishments; till one day when Aphrodite had gone to Olympos to ask Zeus to make a match for them, the Harpies came and carried them off and made them the hand-maidens of the hated Erinyes.5 This folk-tale reveals more clearly than is usual with the generally cultured Homeric narrative the popular belief that men might be carried off permanently from the land of the living, and, without seeing death, live on in another dwelling-place. For the daughters of Pandareos are carried away alive—to the Kingdom of the Dead, it is true, for that is where they must go if they become the servants of the Erinyes, the spirits of the underworld.6 That is where Penelope wishes to be carried off, and without dying first—away from the land of the living which has become intolerable for her. Such a translation is accomplished by means of the Harpies or the Stormwind, which is the same thing, since the Harpies are nothing else but wind-deities of a peculiarly sinister kind. They may be compared to the Devil’s Bride or the “Whirlwind’s Bride” of German folk-tales, who rides in the whirlwind and also carries off men with her.7 The Harpies and what we are here told of them, belong to the “vulgar mythology” which so seldom finds any expression in Homer; a popular folk-lore that could tell of many things between heaven and earth of which the Homeric “grand style” takes little notice. In Homer the Harpies never act on their own authority; only as the servants of the gods or of a single god do they transport mortals where no word of man, no human power, can reach.8

The prophesied removal of Menelaos to the Elysian fields at the end of the world is only another example of such a “translation” by the will and the might of the gods. Even the fact that prolonged habitation in that happy land, inaccessible to other men, is promised to him, does not differentiate the fate of Menelaos from that of the daughters of Pandareos, or from that which Penelope wishes for herself. For Menelaos, however, immortal life is promised not in Hades, or even at its entrance, but in a special country of the blest, as though in a new kingdom of the gods. He is to become a “god”; for since to the Homeric poets “god” and “immortal” are interchangeable terms, a man who is granted immortality (that is, whose psyche is never separated from his visible self) becomes for them a god.

It is also a Homeric belief that gods can raise mortals to their own realm, to immortality. Kalypso wishes to make Odysseus “immortal and ageless for all time”, that he may remain for ever by her side (Od. v, 135 f.; 209 f.; xxiii, 335 f.), 58 that is to say, make him a god like herself. The immortality of the gods is conditioned by the eating of the magic food ambrosia and nectar;9 man, too, by eating continually the food of the gods, becomes an immortal god. What Odysseus in his longing for the earthly home, to which he is drawn by loyalty and duty, rejects, has been attained by other mortals. The Homeric poems can tell of more than one mortal promoted to immortal life.

As he is struggling in the stormy sea rescue comes to Odysseus in the person of Ino Leukothea, once the daughter of Kadmos, “who had formerly been a mortal woman, but now in the waves of the sea shares in the honour of the gods” (Od. v, 333 ff.).10 Did some god of the sea bear her away and imprison her for ever in his own element? The belief existed that a god might descend from heaven even upon an earthly maiden and carry her off for ever as his spouse (Od. vi, 280 f.).11

Ganymede, the most beautiful of mortals, had been carried away by the gods to Olympos to dwell among immortals, as the cup-bearer of Zeus (Il. xx, 232 ff.).12 He was a scion of the old Trojan royal house, to which Tithonos also belonged, whom both the Iliad and the Odyssey already know as the husband of Eos; from his side the goddess arose every morning to bring the light of day to gods and men.13 It appears that she had “translated” her beloved not to Olympos but to the distant dwelling-place by the River Okeanos from which she sets out in the morning.14 It was Eos who had once borne off the beautiful Orion, and in spite of the jealousy of the other gods had enjoyed his love until Artemis “on Ortygia” had slain him with her gentle arrow (Od. v, 122 ff.). The story may be derived from ancient star-myths, which represented in the language of myth what is actually to be observed in the morning sky. But in such myths the elements and celestial phenomena are thought of as living and animate like men. And in the same way, these star-spirits, in accordance with the regular development of legend, have long ago sunk, for the Homeric poet, to the level of earthly youths and heroes. If the goddess can raise Orion into her own kingdom, then, according to the belief of the time (which is all that matters to us here), the same thing might happen to any mortal through the favour of the gods. A simple imitation of the same legend in a purely human setting is the story of Kleitos, a youth of the family of the seer Melampous, whom Eos has carried off for the sake of his beauty that he may dwell among the gods (Od. xv, 249 f.). 59

§ 2

The translation, then, of Menelaos, while still alive, to the ends of the earth to live there in perpetual blessedness is indeed a miracle, but a miracle that finds its justification and precedent in the range of Homeric belief. The only thing new about it is that Menelaos has a special dwelling-place assigned to him, not in the land of the gods, the proper realm of immortality, nor as in the case of Tithonos and as Kalypso desired for Odysseus, in the company of a deity, but in a separate place specially allotted to the translated hero, the Elysian fields. Nor does this appear to be the invention of the writer of these lines. He refers so briefly to the “Land of the Departed”15 and its delights that we are forced to believe that he did not himself originate so enticing a vision.16 He can only, in the case of Menelaos, have added a fresh companion to the company of the blessed. That Rhadamanthys the Just dwells there seems to be known to him from ancient tradition, for he evidently only intends to recall the fact and does not think it necessary to justify this selection of the brother of Minos.17 It might even be supposed that the picture of such a wonderland had been invented and embellished by older poets simply for the benefit of Rhadamanthys. The only novelty is that this picture, which has been fully adopted into the circle of Homeric poetry, now includes a hero of the Trojan epic cycle among the number of those translated to that land of ever unclouded happiness. The lines were inserted, as has already been remarked, at a later date, into the prophecy of Proteus, and it is hard not to suppose that the whole idea lay far from the thoughts of previous Homeric singers. Would the flower of the heroic chivalry, including Achilles himself, have been doomed to that dim shadow-world in which we see them wandering in the Nekyia of the Odyssey, if a way out into a life exempt from death had already revealed itself to imagination at the time when the Epic gave the stamp of its approval to the stories which dealt with the fate of the greater number of the heroes? Because the poem of the Trojan War and the adventures of the Return from Troy had not yet decided upon the fate of Menelaos, a later poet could speak of his “translation” to the—since “discovered”—Land of Destiny. It is highly probable that even at the time of the composition of the Journey to Hades of Odysseus this conception—afterwards so important for the development of the Greek belief in immortality—of a secluded resting-place of living and translated heroes had not yet been completely 60 formulated. It fits easily into the framework of belief prevailing in the Homeric poems, but it is not necessarily required by that framework. It is natural on this account to suppose that it entered the Epic from without. And, remembering the Babylonian story of Hasisatra and the Hebrew one of Enoch,18 both of whom without suffering death were translated into the realm of immortal life—either to “Heaven” or to the “End of the Rivers” to the gods—we might be inclined to follow the fashion that prevails in some quarters nowadays, and believe that these earliest Greek translation legends were borrowed from Semitic tradition. Little, however, would be gained by such a mechanical derivation. Here and in all such cases the main question remains still unanswered: what were the reasons which led the Greek mind to wish to borrow this particular idea at this particular time from abroad? In the present instance at least, nothing argues specially for the handing on of the belief in translation from one nation to another rather than for its independent origin in the different countries out of similar needs.

This new idea did not contradict the normal Homeric beliefs about the soul but on the contrary presupposed them and supplemented them without incongruity. It was also, as we have seen, based upon conceptions that were familiar and natural to Greek thought. There was, indeed, no need for any stimulus from without to produce from these materials the undoubtedly new and peculiarly attractive idea of which we receive the earliest intimation in the prophecy of Proteus.

§ 3

The importance of this new creation for the later development of Greek belief makes it all the more necessary to be quite clear as to what exactly this novelty really was. Was it a Paradise for the pious and the just? A sort of Greek Valhalla for the bravest heroes?—or was it that a reconciliation and adjustment between virtue and happiness such as this life never knows had revealed itself to the eyes of hope in a Land of Promise? Nothing of the kind is warranted by these lines. Menelaos was never particularly remarkable for those virtues which the Homeric age rated highest.19 He is only to be transported to Elysium because he has Helen to wife and is therefore the son-in-law of Zeus; such is Proteus’ prophecy to him. We are not told why Rhadamanthys has reached the place of happiness; nor do we learn it through the title by which he was referred to almost invariably by 61 later poets, the “Just”. We may, however, remind ourselves that as brother of Minos he was also a son of Zeus.20 It was not virtue or merit that gave him a claim to blessedness after this life; indeed, of any such claim we never find the least trace. Just as the retention of the psyche in the body and the consequent avoidance of death can occur only as a miracle or by magic—that is, as an exceptional case—so does translation into the “Land of Destiny” remain a privilege of a few special favourites of the gods. No one could deduce from such cases any article of faith of universal application. The nearest parallel to this miraculous preservation of life for a few individuals in a land of blessed repose is to be found in the equally miraculous preservation of consciousness in those three enemies of the gods in Hades whom we hear of in the Nekyia of the Odyssey. The Penitents in Erebos and the blessed in Elysium correspond: both represent exceptions which do not destroy the rule and do not affect the main outline of Homeric belief. In the first case, as in the second, the omnipotence of Heaven has broken through the rule. Those, however, who owe to the special favour of the gods their escape from death and their translation to Elysium are near relatives of the gods. This seems to be the only reason for the favour shown to them.21 If therefore any more general reason beyond the capricious good-will of some god is to account for the translation of these individuals it might perhaps be found in the belief that near relationship with the gods, that is, the very highest nobility of lineage, could preserve a man from the descent into the common realm of hopeless nothingness after the separation of the psyche from the body. In the same way the beliefs of many primitive peoples represent the ordinary man as departing to a joyless country of the dead (if he is not annihilated altogether) while the descendants of gods and kings, or the aristocracy, go to a land of unending happiness.22 Such a fancy, however, is only dimly apparent in the promise made to Menelaos; nowhere is anything said of a general rule from which the individual case might be deduced.—

§ 4

But the individuals who are admitted to an everlasting life in the Elysian land at the end of the world are much too distantly removed from the habitations of the living for them to be credited with the power of influencing the world of men.23 They resemble the gods only in the enjoyment accorded to them of an unendingly conscious life. Of the omnipotence of 62 the gods they have not the smallest share24 any more than the dwellers in Erebos, from whose fate their own is otherwise so different. We must not suppose, therefore, that the origin of the stories of the promotion of individual heroes above their companions and their translation into a distant dwelling-place, is to be sought in any cultus offered to those individuals in their previous earthly dwelling-place. Every religious cult is the worship of something real and powerful; no popular religion and no poet’s fancy would have given the national heroes, if they were to be regarded as powerful and worshipped accordingly, such a distant and inaccessible home.

It was the free activity of the poetic fancy which created and embellished this last refuge of human aspiration upon the Elysian plain. The needs which this new creation was chiefly intended to satisfy were poetical and not religious.

The atmosphere of the younger of the two Homeric epics already differs widely from that of its older companion, the Iliad, with its heroic delight in the untiring manifestation of vital energy. It is likely that the feelings of the conquerors of a new home upon the Asiatic coast may have differed considerably from those of the same people confirmed in undisturbed possession and enjoyment of their conquests. It seems as if the Odyssey reflected the temper and aspiration of these Ionian city-dwellers of a later time. A spirit of contentment and leisure seems to flow like an undercurrent through the whole poem, and has made for itself a haven of rest in the midst of the busy action of the story. When the poet’s own feelings find their true expression they show us idyllic scenes of quiet enjoyment of daily life; magnificent in the country of the Phæacians, gay and more homely at the farm of Eumaios; pictures of quiet repose after the fights of the heroic past, that have now faded into a mere pleasant memory, such as we get in the house of Nestor, or in the Palace of Menelaos and the regained Helen. Or, again, we have a description of nature in a mood of liberality and gentleness, as upon the island of Syriê, the home of Eumaios’ childhood, upon which in ample possession of cattle, wine and corn, a people live free from necessity and pain, till they arrive at a good old age when Apollo and Artemis with their gentlest shafts bring swift death to them (Od. xv, 403 ff.). If you ask the poet where this fortunate island lies he will tell you that it lies over there beyond Ortygiê where the sun turns back. But where is Ortygiê,25 and who can point out the place where the sun begins his return journey far in the West? The country of idyllic happiness lies indeed almost beyond 63 the limit of this world. Phœnician merchant-men who go everywhere may perhaps reach that land as well (415 ff.), and Ionian seamen in this earliest period of Greek colonization into which the composition of the Odyssey reaches may well have hoped to find far out over the sea such propitious habitations of a new life.

In the same way the country and the life of the Phæacians seem like an ideal picture of an Ionian state newly founded in a distant land far from the turmoil, the restless competition, and all the limitations of their familiar Greek homes. But this unclouded dream-picture, bathed in purest light, lies far away in a distant land all but inaccessible to man. Only by chance is a strange ship cast away on to that coast, and at once the magic ships of the Phæacians carry back the stranger through night and cloud to his own home again. True, there is no reason to see in the Phæacians a sort of ferry-people of the dead, neighbours of the Elysian fields. Still, the poetic fancy which invented the country of the Phæacians is not unrelated to that which gave rise to the idea of an Elysian plain beyond the bounds of the inhabited world. Given the idea that a life of untroubled bliss can only be had in the remotest confines of the earth, jealously guarded from all intrusion, only one more step remains to be taken before men come to believe that such bliss is really only to be found where neither accident nor purpose can ever bring men, more remote even than the Phæacians, than the country of the Æthiopians, the beloved of the gods, or than the Abioi of the North, already known to the Iliad. It must lie beyond the bounds of real life. Such idyllic longings have given rise to the picture of Elysium. The happiness of those who there enjoy everlasting life seemed to be fully safeguarded only if their place of abode were removed for ever beyond the range of all exploration, out of reach of all future discovery. This happiness is imagined as a condition of perfect bliss under the most benignant sky; easy and untroubled says the poet, is the life of men there, in this resembling the life of the gods, but at the same time without aspiration and without activity. It is doubtful whether the poet of the Iliad would have considered such a future worthy of his heroes, or given the name of happiness to such felicity as this.

§ 5

We were obliged to assume that the poet who inserted these inimitably smooth, melodious verses in the Odyssey was not the first inventor or discoverer of the Elysian paradise beyond 64 the realm of mortality. But though he followed in the footsteps of others, when he introduced into the Homeric poem a reference to this new belief, he was giving this idea for the first time an enduring place in Greek imagination. Other poems might disappear, but anything that appeared in the Iliad or the Odyssey was assured of perpetual remembrance.

The imagination of Greek poets or Greek people never gave up the alluring fancy of a distant land of blessedness into which individual mortals might by the favour of the gods be translated. Even the scanty notices which have come down to us of the contents of the heroic poems that led up to, continued, or connected the two Homeric Epics and linked them up with the whole cycle of Theban and Trojan legend enable us to see how this post-Homeric poetry took pleasure in the recital of still further examples of translation.

The Kypria first described how the army of the Achæans for the second time encamped in Aulis, was detained by adverse winds sent by Artemis; and how Agamemnon on the advice of Kalchas would have sacrificed his own daughter Iphigeneia to the goddess. Artemis, however, snatched away the maiden and transported her to the land of the Taurians, and there made her immortal.26

The Aithiopis, a continuation of the Iliad, tells of the help brought to the Trojans by Penthesileia and her Amazons, and after her death by Memnon the Æthiopian prince, an imaginary representative of the eastern monarchies of inner Asia. Antilochos, the new favourite of Achilles, falls in the war, but Achilles slays Memnon himself. Thereupon Eos the mother of Memnon (and known as such already to the Odyssey) obtains the permission of Zeus to give immortality to her son.27 It may be supposed that the poet described what we see so often represented upon Greek vases: the mother bearing through the air the dead body of her son. According to the story told in the Iliad, Apollo, with the help of Sleep and Death, the twin brothers, bore off the body of Sarpedon, the son of Zeus, to his Lycian home after he had been slain by Achilles, merely in order that he might be buried in his own country. But the poet of the Aithiopis has tried to outdo the story in the Iliad in impressiveness (for it was evidently his model),28 and has made Eos, with the permission of Zeus, not merely carry off the dead to his far-off home in the East, but there awaken him to immortal life.

Soon after the death of Memnon fate overtakes Achilles himself. When his body, rescued by his friends after much hard fighting, is laid upon its bier, Thetis, his mother, with 65 the Muses and the other sea-goddesses come and sing the funeral dirge. Of this we are told in the last book of the Odyssey (xxiv, 47 ff.) which relates further how his body was burnt, his bones gathered together and entombed under a mound, and the psyche of Achilles departed to the House of Hades; the whole story being told to him in the underworld by the psyche of Agamemnon. But the author of the Aithiopis—always remarkable for his bold innovations in the traditional material—here ventures upon an important new touch. From the funeral pyre, he tells us, Thetis carried off the body of her son and brought him to Leuke.29 That she restored him to life again there and made him immortal the one meagre extract which accident has preserved to us does not say. But there can be no question that that is what the poet narrated—all later accounts conclude the story in this way.

The parallel is clear: the two opponents, Achilles and Memnon, are both set free from the fate of mortals by their goddess-mothers. In bodies once more restored to life they continue to live, not among men, nor yet among the gods, but in a distant wonderland—Memnon in the east, Achilles in the “White Island”. The poet himself can hardly have imagined Achilles’ Island to have been in the Euxine Sea, where, however, later Greek sailors located this purely mythical spot.

The translation of Menelaos is still more closely paralleled by the story told in the Telegoneia, which was the final and the latest-written of the Cyclic poems, of the fate which attended the family of Odysseus. Telegonos, the son of Odysseus and Kirke, slays his father unwittingly; when he discovers his mistake he brings the body of Odysseus with Penelope and Telemachos to his mother, Kirke, who makes them immortal; and there they dwell now (in the Isle Aiaia, far away over the sea, we must suppose)—Penelope as the wife of Telegonos, and Kirke with Telemachos.30

§ 6

It is natural to feel surprise that in none of these stories is there any mention of translation to a common meeting-place of the Elect, such as the Elysian plain seemed to be. We must on that account be content to leave unanswered the question to what precise extent these lines of the Odyssey which describe the translation of Menelaos to Elysium may have influenced the development of translation stories in the post-Homeric Epics. The influence must clearly have been 66 considerable.31 The stories of the translation of individual heroes to a solitary after-life in secluded abodes of immortality show, at any rate, the same direction of fancy as that which produced the fields of Elysium. No longer does Eos, after she has snatched him from Hades, raise her son to be among the gods as once she had raised Kleitos and others of her favourites. Memnon enters upon a peculiar state of being that differentiates him from the rest of mankind as much as from the gods. The same applies to Achilles and the other translated heroes. Thus did poetry increase the number of those who belonged to this middle realm; who, born in mortality have, outside the realms of Olympos, achieved immortality. It is still only favoured individuals who enter this kingdom; it is still poetical aspiration, giving free rein to its creative instinct, that continues to transport an ever-increasing number of the bright figures of Legend into the illumination of everlasting life. Religious worship can have had no more influence in the development of these stories than it had in the narrative of the translation of Menelaos. Achilles, for example, may in later times have had a cult paid to him on an island at the mouth of the Danube, supposed to be Leuke. But the cult was the result and not the motive or the cause of the story. Iphigeneia was certainly the epithet of a Moon-goddess; but the poet who told of the translation of her namesake, the daughter of Agamemnon, had no suspicion of the latter’s identity with a goddess—otherwise he would never have regarded her as Agamemnon’s daughter. Nor, we may be fairly certain, can it have been an accidental meeting with the cult of the goddess Iphigeneia, which induced him to invent an immortality iure postlimini for his mortal Iphigeneia, by the machinery of translation. Both for the poet and his contemporaries the importance and the essence of his narrative—whether free invention or a reconstruction out of older material—lay in the fact that it told of the raising of a mortal maiden, the daughter of mortal parents, to immortal life, and not to religious veneration which could not have made itself very apparent to the maiden relegated to the distant Tauric country.

The busy expansion of the legendary material went on in epics that finally lost themselves in genealogical poems. To what extent it may have made use of the motif of translation or transfiguration we can no longer accurately judge. The materials at our disposal are quite insufficient to warrant any conclusion. When such a misty figure as Telegonos is deemed worthy of immortality, it may be supposed that in the mind 67 of the poet all the heroes of Epic tradition had come to be possessed of a virtual claim to a share in this mode of continued existence in a life after death. Certainly the more important among them could not be left out—those at least of whose end the Homeric poems themselves had not already given a different version. The poem of the Return of the Heroes from Troy may especially have given scope for many translation stories.32 We may, for example, ask whether Diomedes, at least, whose immortality is often vouched for by later mythology, was not already added to the number of the immortals in the epics of the Heroic cycle. An Attic folk-song of the fifth century can speak with assurance of Diomedes as not having died but as living in the “Islands of the Blest”. Thus a far greater company of the Heroes of the Trojan War was thought of by the poetry of Homeric tradition as gathered together in “Isles of the Blest”, far out to sea, than we should guess from the summaries of the post-Homeric Epics which accident has preserved to us. This conclusion must be drawn from the lines of a Hesiodic poem which give us some remarkable information about the oldest Greek forms of the Cult of the Souls and belief in immortality, and the lines, therefore, must be subjected to a closer examination.


The Hesiodic poem known as the “Works and Days” consists of a number of independent pieces of didactic or narrative interest loosely strung together. In it, not far from the beginning, comes the story of the Five Ages of Men. As regards its subject-matter, the train of thought which unites this section to the passages which precede and follow it is hardly discoverable; in form it is quite disconnected.

In the beginning we are there told the gods of Olympos created a Golden race whose members lived like the gods, without care, sickness or decrepitude, and in enjoyment of rich possessions. After their death, which came upon them like sleep to tired men, they became, by the will of Zeus, Daimones and Guardians of mankind. They were followed by a Silver race, far inferior to the first, and unlike them in body as in mind. The men of this race had a long childhood, lasting a hundred years, followed by a short youth, during which their wantonness and pride in their dealings with each other and with the gods brought them much sorrow. Because they refused the honours due to the gods Zeus destroyed them and they are now Daimones of the Underworld, honoured 68 but inferior to the Daimones of the Golden Age. Zeus then created a third race, this time of Bronze—hard-hearted and of great strength; war was their delight, and being destroyed by their own hands they went down unhonoured to the House of Hades. Thereupon Zeus made a fourth race that was juster and better, the race of Heroes, who were called “Demigods”. They fought before Thebes and Troy and some of them died, while others Zeus sent to dwell at the ends of the world on the Islands of the Blest by the river Okeanos, where the Earth brings them her fruits three times in the year. “Would that I did not belong to the fifth Age; would that I had died earlier or been born hereafter,” says the poet, “since now is the Iron Age,” when toil and grief never leave men, when there is enmity of all against all and force conquers right, and Envy, evil-tongued, delighting in wickedness, fierce-eyed, is over everything. Now, Shame and the goddess of retribution, Nemesis, depart from men and go to the gods; every misfortune is left behind for man, and there is no defence against evil.

The author here lays before us the results of gloomy reflection upon the origin and growth of evil in the world of men. He sees the steps of mankind’s degeneration from the height of godlike happiness to the extremes of misery and wickedness. He is following popular conceptions. It is natural to every race of men to lay the scene of earthly perfection in the past, so long, at least, as man gets his information about that past not from distinct historical memory, but from the picturesque stories and beautiful dreams of the poets which encourage the natural tendency of fancy to retain only the more attractive features of the past in the memory. The folk-lore of many lands can tell of a Golden Age and how mankind gradually fell from that high estate; and it is not at all surprising if fanciful speculation starting from the same point and travelling along the same road has reached the same conclusion in the case of more than one people without the aid of any historical connexion. We have a number of expressions of the idea of man’s gradual degeneration through several Ages which present the most striking similarities among themselves and with the Hesiodic picture of the five Ages of Men. Even Homer is sometimes overcome by the mood; it lies, for instance, at the root of such idealizations of the past as are implied when in his description of the heroic life he thinks of “men as they now are” and “how few sons are equal to their fathers in virtue; worse, most of them; few, indeed, are the men who are better than their fathers” 69 (Od. ii, 276 f.). But the epic poet keeps himself and his fancy on the heights of the heroic Past; only occasionally, and in passing, his glance falls upon the commonplace level of real life. But the poet of the “Works and Days” has all his thoughts fixed upon the level plain of real and contemporary life; the glance which he occasionally casts upon the heights of the storied past is all the more bitter on that account.

What he has to say of the first condition of mankind and the gradual process of deterioration is given, not as an abstract exposition of what in the necessary course of things must have occurred, but rather as a traditional account of what had actually happened—in fact, as history.

In this light he himself must certainly have regarded it, though, apart from a few vague memories, no historical tradition is contained in what he says of the nature and deeds of the earlier generations of mankind. His story remains an imaginary picture. And for this reason the development, as he presents it, takes a logically defined and regulated course, based on the idea of a gradual deterioration. The uneventful happiness of the first race of men who know neither virtue nor vice is followed by a second race, which after a prolonged minority displays pride and contempt of the gods. In the third, or brazen age, active wickedness breaks out, with war and murder. The last age, at the beginning of which the poet himself seems to stand, marks the breakdown of all moral restraint. The fourth race of men, to which the heroes of the Theban and Trojan wars belong, is alone among all the others in not being named and ranked after a metal. It is an alien in the evolutionary process. The downward course is checked during the fourth age, and yet in the fifth it goes on again as if it had never been interrupted. It is not apparent why that course should have been interrupted. Most of the commentators have recognized in the story of the fourth age a fragment of different material, originally foreign to the poem of the Ages of Men and added deliberately by Hesiod to this poem, which he may have taken over in its essential features from older poets. But if we adopt this view we have to ask what can have tempted the poet to such serious disturbance and dislocation of the orderly succession of the original speculative poem. It will not be enough to say that the poet, brought up in the Homeric tradition, found it impossible to pass over, in a description of the earlier ages of men, the figures of the heroic poetry which, thanks to the power of song, had acquired in the imagination of the Greeks more reality than the plainest manifestations of actual life. Nor 70 is it likely that, having in his grim description of the Bronze race introduced a darker picture of the Heroic age, drawn from a point of view different from that of the courtly Epos, he wished to set by its side this bright vision of the same age as he saw it in his own mind. If the picture of the Bronze race does really refer to the Heroic age,33 giving its reverse side, so to speak, Hesiod never seems to have noticed the fact. He must have had stronger grounds than these for the introduction of his narrative. He cannot have failed to perceive that he was breaking the continuity of moral deterioration by his introduction of the Heroic race. It follows that he must have had some aim, other than that of the description of the moral deterioration of men, which he imagined himself to be serving by the introduction of this new section. This other purpose will become plain if we inquire what it is that really interests the poet in the Heroic race. It is not their higher morality—that only interrupted the series of continually worsening generations. Nor would he in that case have dismissed the subject with a few words which barely suffice to connect this section with the theme of moral development. Further, it is not the fights and great deeds done at Thebes or Troy that interest him for he says nothing of their greatness, and at once declares that the cruel war and the dread fury of battle destroyed the Heroes. This, again, does not discriminate between the Heroes and the men of the Bronze age who also, being destroyed by their own deeds, had to go down to Hades. What distinguishes the Heroic age from the others is the way in which some of the Heroes depart from this life without dying. This is the point that interests the poet, and this it must have been that chiefly induced him to bring in here his account of the fourth race of men. He combines clearly enough with his main purpose of describing the advancing moral decline of man, a secondary aim—that of telling what happened after death to the representatives of each successive race. In introducing the Heroic race of men this secondary aim becomes the chief one, and justifies what would otherwise have been merely an intrusive episode. It is this aim, too, which gives the Hesiodic narrative its importance for our present inquiry.

§ 2

The men of the Golden Age, after sleep has overcome them and they have died and been laid in the earth, become by the will of Zeus “Daimones”—Daimones upon earth, watchers of men, wandering over all the earth, veiled in clouds, 71 observing justice and injustice,34 dispensing riches like kings. These men of the earliest times have then become effective realities. They are not spirits confined to an inaccessible region beyond this world, but powers acting and working amongst men. In this exalted state Hesiod calls them Daimones, and thus describes them by a name which is otherwise applied by him as well as by Homer only to the immortal gods. The name so employed is not to be understood as implying a separate class of immortals, an intermediate class of beings between gods and men, as later speculation used the word.35 These later beings of an intermediate class were thought of as possessing an originally immortal nature like the gods, and as dwelling in an intermediate region of their own. Hesiod’s Daimones, on the contrary, have once been men and have only after their death become immortals invisibly36 roaming the earth. When they are given the name Daimones nothing more is implied than that they now share the invisible might and unending life of the gods, and to that extent may be called gods—with as much right as Ino Leukothea, for instance, who, according to Homer, became a goddess after being a mortal; or as Phaëthon, who, according to the Hesiodic Theogony, was raised by Aphrodite from the world of mortality and is now called a “godlike Daimon” (Th., 991). On the other hand, these immortals who were once men are clearly distinguished from the everlasting gods, “who have their Olympian dwellings,” by being called Daimones “who rule upon earth”.37 And though they are given the name, familiar to everybody from Homer, of Daimones, i.e. gods, they, nevertheless, form a class of beings which is entirely unknown to Homer. Homer knows of certain individual men who are raised or translated, body and soul together, to undying life. The later Epos can tell of certain also who, like Memnon or Achilles, receive a new life after their death and now live on in undivided unity of body and soul. But that the soul outside Erebos could carry on a conscious life of its own and influence living men—of this there is no mention in Homer. Yet this is exactly what has happened according to the Hesiodic poem. The men of the Golden Age have died and now live on divided from their bodies, invisible and godlike, and therefore called gods. Just as in Homer, the gods themselves assume manifold shapes and visit the cities of men, observing the good and evil deeds of men,38 so also do the souls of the dead in Hesiod. For the beings who here, after their separation from the body, have become Daimones, are Souls—that is to say, beings who after their 72 death have entered in any case upon a higher existence than was theirs while they were united to the body. This, however, is an idea that we never meet with in the Homeric poems.

And yet it is quite unthinkable that this remarkable conception is the independent and passing invention of the Boeotian poet. He comes back to it again later on in the course of his poem. “Thirty thousand,” that is, innumerable immortal Watchers over mortal men wander invisibly in the service of Zeus over the earth, taking note of right and wrong (Op., 252 ff.). The conception is important to him for ethical reasons; if he is to make use of it in his argument he must not have invented it himself. And, in fact, nothing that belongs to the sphere of religious belief and cultus, or even the lower levels of superstition, has been invented by this earnest-minded poet. The Boeotian school of poetry to which he belonged was far removed from, and indeed, hostile to the free inventiveness and roaming fancy with which the Homeric school “. . . know how to put forward many lies and make them seem like truth” (Th., 27). In pursuance of their purpose not simply to please but always in some sense to teach, the Boeotian poets never innovate in the region of the purely mythical, but simply order or piece together, or merely register what they find in the tradition. In religion especially invention lies farthest from their minds, though they do not by any means deny themselves the right of independent speculation about the traditional. Thus, what Hesiod tells us about the men of a previous age, whose souls after death become Daimones, came to him from tradition. It might still be objected that this tradition while being older than Hesiod may, nevertheless, be more recent than Homer, and be the result of post-Homeric speculation. It is unnecessary to develop the reasons which make such a view untenable; the course of our inquiry up to the present has made it possible for us to maintain decidedly that in what Hesiod here says we have a fragment of primitive belief reaching back far beyond Homer and surviving in the secluded Boeotian countryside. We have found even in the poems of Homer vestiges of a cult of the dead sufficient to make us believe that once in a distant past the Greeks resembled the majority of other nations and believed in the continued, conscious existence of the psyche after its separation from the body and in its powerful influence upon the world of men. We found, too, that in accordance with this belief, religious honours of various sorts were paid to the disembodied souls. In Hesiod’s narrative we simply have documentary confirmation of 73 what could only be with difficulty extracted from the study of Homer. Here we encounter the still living belief in the elevation of the soul after death to a higher life. They are the souls, it must be noted, of a race of men long since disappeared, about whom this belief is held. The belief in their godlike after-life must therefore be long-standing, and the worship of these souls as powerful beings still continues. For when it is said of the souls of the second race “these also receive worship”39 (Op., 142), it is distinctly implied that the Daimones of the first or Golden generation a fortiori received worship.

The men of the Silver generation, on account of their refusal to pay due honour to the Olympians, are “hidden” by Zeus under the earth, and are now called “mortal Blessed Ones that live below the earth, second in rank, yet worship is paid to them also” (141-2). Thus, the poet knows of the souls of men who likewise belonged to the distant past, whose home is in the bowels of the earth, who receive religious honour and who must therefore have been conceived as powerful. The poet has not specified the nature of their influence upon the upper world. It is true that he does not distinctly call the spirits of this second generation “good”, as he had done the first (122), and he makes them spring from the less perfect Silver age and seems to have given them inferior rank. But it does not follow that he here anticipated later speculation and thought of the second generation as a class of wicked demons whose nature it is to work evil.40 Only to the Olympians do they seem to stand in a rather more distant relationship—almost one of hostility. They had before paid the gods none of their pious dues, and so now they are not called, like the souls of the first race, “Daimones appointed by Zeus to be Watchers of men.” The poet refers to them with a remarkable expression, “mortal Blessed Ones,” that is, mortal gods. This very singular denomination, the two parts of which really cancel one another, points to a certain embarrassment felt by the poet in making use of an expression taken from the Homeric vocabulary (to which the poet felt himself confined) to designate clearly and effectively a class of beings that was unknown to Homer.41 The disembodied souls of the first race he had simply called Daimones. But this name, common as it was both to the race of those who from mortality had achieved immortality and to the immortal gods, left the essential difference between the two classes of immortal beings unexpressed. For that very reason the name was never employed in Hesiod’s fashion by later ages,42 who always 74 called such as, not having been born immortal, had achieved immortality, by the name of “Heroes”. Hesiod, who could not use the word in this sense, described them by the bold oxymoron: mortal Blessed Ones, human gods. As immortal spirits they resembled the gods in their new state of being. But their nature was still mortal, and hence their bodies had to die, and this constituted their difference from the everlasting gods.43

The name Daimones then does not appear to involve any essential distinction between the spirits of the men of the Silver generation and the Daimones of the Golden Age. Only the place where the two classes of spirits have their dwelling is different—the Daimones of the Silver race live in the depths of the earth. The expression “of the underworld”, used of them, is a vague one, and only suffices to differentiate them from the spirits of the “upper world” who were derived from the first race. Still, the abode of the souls of the Silver Age is in any case not thought of as being the distant meeting-place of the unconscious, vegetating shadow-souls—the House of Hades; the “phantoms” that hover about that place could not have been called Daimones or “mortal gods”, nor do they receive any kind of worship after their death.

§ 3

The Silver Age, then, belongs to a long-since vanished past.44 The stalwarts of the Bronze Age, we are told, destroyed by their deeds, went down into the gloomy home of the dreadful Hades, nameless. Black Death seized them, for all their violence, and they left the light of the sun.

Except for the addition of the adjective “nameless” one might, indeed, suppose that this was a description of the fate of the souls of the Homeric heroes. Perhaps, however, the word45 only means that no honourable and distinctive title, such as belonged to the souls of the first and second as well as to the fourth race, was attached to those who had gone down into the shadow-world of annihilation and become as nothing.

There follows “the divine race of Heroes who were called the Demigods”. The wars at Thebes and Troy destroyed these. Part were “enfolded in the destiny of Death”; others received life and a home far from men at the hand of Zeus Kronides, who gave them a dwelling-place at the ends of the world. There they live, free from care, in the Islands of the Blest, by the deep-flowing Okeanos; favoured Heroes, for whom the Earth, of her own accord, brings forth her sweet fruits three times a year. 75

Here, at last, for the first time we have reached a clearly definable period of legendary history. The poet means to speak of the Heroes whose adventures were narrated in the Thebais, the Iliad and kindred poems. What we notice here specially is how little the Greeks yet knew of their history. Immediately after the disappearance of the Heroes the poet begins the age in which he himself must live. Where the realm of poetry ends, there is an end of all further tradition; there follows a blank, and to all appearances the present age immediately begins. That explains why the Heroic Age is the last before the fifth, to which the poet himself belongs, and why it does not, for example, precede the (undated) Bronze Age. It connects itself conveniently with the Bronze Age also in what is related of the fate suffered by a part of its representatives, for the subject which here particularly interests the poet is the fate of the departed. Some of the fallen Heroes simply die—that is to say (there can be no doubt of it) they enter the realm of Hades like the members of the Bronze race or the Heroes of the Iliad. But when others are distinguished from those whom “Death took” in that they reach the Islands of the Blest, it is impossible not to suppose that these last have not suffered death, that is, the separation of the Psyche from the visible Self, but have been carried away alive in the flesh. The poet is thinking of such cases as those we have met with in the Odyssean narrative of Menelaos, or, in the Telegoneia, of Penelope, Telemachos and Telegonos. These few exceptional instances could hardly have made such a deep impression on him that he felt himself bound on their behalf to erect a special class of the Translated to be set over against those who simply died. There can be no doubt that he had many more examples before him of this same mysterious mode of separation from the world of men that did not involve death. We have already seen how the lines in the Odyssey in which the translation of Menelaos is foreshadowed, point back to other and earlier poems of the same kind. Further, the references to the subject which we found in the remains of the Cyclic Epics make it easy to suppose that later Heroic poetry had been continually widening the circle of those who enjoyed translation and illumination.

Only from such a poetical source can Hesiod have derived his conception of a common meeting-place where the Translated enjoy for ever their untroubled existence. He calls that place the “Islands of the Blest”; and these lie far removed from the world of men, in the Ocean, on the confines of the earth, just where the Odyssey puts the Elysian 76 plain, another meeting-place of the still-living Translated, or rather the same under a different name. Its name does not oblige us to regard the “Elysian plain” as an island, but neither does it exclude that assumption. Homer never expressly calls the land of the Phæacians an island,46 but the imagination of most readers will picture Scheriê as such, and so did the Greeks perhaps already at the time of the Hesiodic school of poets. In the same way a poet may have thought of the “Land of Destiny” that receives passing mention in Homer as an island, or group of islands; only an island surrounded and cut off by the sea can give the full impression of a distant asylum far from the world, inaccessible to all save those specially called thither. And accordingly the mythology of many peoples, especially those who live by the sea, has made a distant island the dwelling-place of the souls of the departed.

Complete isolation is the essential feature of the whole idea of translation, as Hesiod clearly shows. A later poet has added a line—which does not quite fit into its place—to make this isolation even more marked.47 According to it, these Blessed Ones live not only “far from men” (167), but also (169) far from the immortals, and are ruled over by Kronos. The writer of this line follows a beautiful legend, later, however, than Hesiod, in which Zeus released the aged Kronos, together with the other Titans,48 from Tartaros, so that the old king of the gods, under whose rule the Golden Age had once prevailed with peace and happiness upon earth, now wields the sceptre of another Golden Age over the Blessed in Elysium, himself a figure of peaceful contemplation dwelling far away from the stormy world, from the throne of which he has been ousted by Zeus. Hesiod himself has provoked this transference of Kronos from the Golden Age to the land of the Translated; for in the few lines that he devotes to the description of the life of the Blessed a reminiscence of the picture of the Golden Age’s untroubled existence is clearly discernible. Both pictures, the one of a childhood’s paradise in the past, the other of unclouded happiness reserved in the future for the elect, are closely related; it is difficult to say which of them has influenced the other49 since the colours must have been the same in any case—the purely idyllic having an inevitable uniformity of its own.

§ 4

Hesiod says nothing of any influence upon this world exerted by the souls of the Translated in the Islands of the Blest, such as is attributed to the Daimones of the Golden 77 race, nor of any religious worship, which would be implied by such influence if it existed, such as the underworld spirits of the Silver Age receive. All relations with this world are broken off, for any influence from this side would completely contradict the whole conception of these blessed departed. Hesiod faithfully sets down the conception of the Translated exactly as poetic fancy, without any interference from religious cultus, or the folk-belief founded on it, had instinctively shaped it.

Supposing, then, that he follows Homeric and post-Homeric poetic tradition in this particular, whence did he derive his ideas about the Daimones and spirits of the Golden and Silver Ages? He did not and could not have got these from Homeric or semi-Homeric sources, for they (unlike the idea of Translation) do not simply expand, but actually contradict Homeric beliefs about the soul. To this question we may answer with certainty; he derived them from cultus. There survived, in spite of Homer, at least in central Greece where the Hesiodic poetry had its home, a religious worship paid to the souls of certain departed classes of men; and this cultus preserved alive, at least as a vague tradition, a belief which Homer had obscured and dispossessed. It only reached the Boeotian poet, whose own conceptions spring entirely from the soil of Homeric belief, as from a far distance. Already in the days of the Bronze race, he tells us, the souls of the dead were swallowed up in the dread House of Hades, and this (with a few miraculous exceptions) applies to the Heroic race as well. And for the poet, standing as he does, at the opening of the Iron Age, to which he himself belongs, nothing remains but dissolution in the nothingness of Erebos. That such is his view is proved by his silence about the fate after death of his generation—a silence that is all the more oppressive because the grim picture that he gives of the misery and ever-increasing depravity of real and contemporary life might seem to require a brighter and more hopeful picture of future compensation, if only to balance it and make it endurable. But he is silent about all such future compensation; he has no such hope to offer. Though in another part of the same poem Hope alone of all the blessings of an earlier and better age still remains among men, such Hope no longer illuminates the next world, at any rate, with its beams. The poet, more deeply distressed by the common realities of life, can by no means dispense so easily as the singers of the epic tradition enclosed in the magic circle of their poetry, with such hopes of the future. He can draw comfort only from what poetry 78 or religious myth tell him of the far distant past. It never enters his head to believe that the miracle of the translation of living men could transcend the limits of the Heroic Age and repeat itself in the common and prosaic present day. And the time when, according to a law of nature no longer (so it seems) in operation, the souls of the dead became Daimones and lived a higher life upon and beneath the earth, is situated far back in the distant past. Another law rules now; the men of to-day may still worship the immortal spirits of the Golden and the Silver Age, but they themselves will never be added to the number of those illuminated and exalted souls.

§ 5

Hesiod’s description, then, of the five Ages of Men gives us the most important information about the development of Greek belief in the soul. What he tells us of the spirits of the Silver and Golden race shows that from the earliest dawn of history down to the actual lifetime of the poet, a form of ancestor-worship had prevailed, based upon the once living belief in the elevation of disembodied and immaterial souls to the rank of powerful, consciously active spirits. But the company of these spirits receives no additions from the life of the present day. For centuries now the souls of the dead have been claimed by Hades and his vain shadow world. The worship of the soul is stationary; it affects only the souls of the long-since departed; it no longer increases the number of the objects of its worship. In other words, the belief has changed; the Homeric poems have triumphed and the view they held, and to which they gave authority, and, as it were, official sanction, now prevails. They teach men that the psyche once separated from the body loses all its powers and consciousness; the strengthless shadows are received into a distant Underworld. For them, no action, no influence upon the world of men is possible, and therefore no cult can be paid to them. Only on the farthest horizon faintly appear the Islands of the Blest, but the circle of the fortunate, who, according to the visionary fancy of the poets, are translated alive there, is now closed, just as the circle of epic story is complete also. Such miracles no longer happen.

Nothing in this evolutionary process so clearly depicted in the poem of Hesiod contradicts what we have learned from Homer. One thing only is new and immensely important; in spite of everything the memory survives that once the souls of departed generations of men had achieved a higher, 79 undying life. Hesiod speaks in the present tense of their being and working and of the worship paid to them after their death; if they are believed to be immortal, men will naturally continue to worship them. And the opposite also is true; if the worship of such spirits had not survived into the present, no one would have held them to be deathless and eternally potent.

In a word, we are in the old Greek mainland, the land of Boeotian peasants and urban farmers, among a stay-at-home race which neither knows nor desires to know of the seafaring life that tempts men to foreign lands whence they bring back so much that is new and strange. Here in the central uplands vestiges of ancient custom and belief remained that had been forgotten in the maritime cities of new Greece on the Asiatic coast. Even here, however, the new learning had penetrated to this extent: the structure of ancient belief, transported into the distant past, interwoven with fanciful tales of the earliest state of mankind, like the expiring echo of half-forgotten song lives on only in memory. But the cult of Souls, is not yet quite dead; the possibility remains that it may yet renew its strength and expand into fresh life when once the magic influence of the Homeric view of the world shall have been broken.


1 It is not for nothing that what is here said of the “climate”, if one may so call it, of the Elysian plain, δ 566–8, reminds us so strikingly of the description of the abode of the Gods on Olympos, ζ 43–5.

2 The announcement of the fate of Menelaos is quite superfluous; it is not necessitated (and not even justified) by his first request (468 ff.), or by his further questions (486 ff.; 551 ff.). Nitzsch already regarded the lines 561–8 as a later addition: Anm. z. Od. iii, p. 352—though indeed on grounds that I cannot regard as conclusive. Others have done the same since.

3 The following are made invisible (by envelopment in a cloud) and carried away—this, though not always stated, is most probably to be understood in most cases: Paris, by Aphrodite, Γ 380 ff.; Aeneas, by Apollo, Ε 344 f.; Idaios, son of Dares, the priest of Hephaistos, by Heph., Ε 23; Hektor, by Apollo, Υ 443 f.; Aeneas, by Poseidon, Υ 325 ff.; Agenor, by Apollo, Φ 596 ff.—this last appears to be the original copied twice over in the story of this one day of fighting by later poets (in the above-mentioned cases of the use of the motif, Υ 325 ff.; 443 f.). It is remarkable (for no special reason for it suggests itself) that all these cases of translation are found on the Trojan side. Otherwise we only have one instance (and that only in the narrative of a long past adventure), the translation of the Anaktoriones by their father Poseidon, Λ 750 ff. Lastly, a case that hardly goes beyond those already mentioned: Zeus could have translated alive his son Sarpedon out of the fray and placed him in his Lykian home (Π 436), but refrains owing to the warning of Hera (440 ff.).

4 The wish to die quickly is expressly contrasted with the wish to be carried off by the Harpies, 63 ἢ ἔπειτα—“or if not,” i.e. if quick death is denied to me. (v. Rh. Mus. 50, 2, 2.) Again 79–80: ὡς ἔμ’ ἀϊστώσειαν Ὀλύμπια δώματ’ ἔχοντες ἠέ μ’ ἐϋπλόκαμος βάλοι Ἄρτεμις. Thus the Harpies (= θύελλα 63) in this case do not bring death but carry away men alive (ἀναρπάξασα οἴχοιτο 63 f., ἅρπυιαι ἀνηρείψαντο 77 = ἀνέλοντο θύελλαι 66, and they carry them off κατ’ ἠερόεντα κέλευθα 64 to the προχοαὶ ἀψορρόου Ὠκεανοῖο 65 ἔδοσαν στυγερῇσιν Ἐρινύσιν ἀμφιπολεύειν 78). At the “mouths of Okeanos” (where it goes into the sea) is the entrance to the world of the dead; κ 508 ff., λ 13 ff. To be carried off by the storm-spirits used proverbially as a wish: Ζ 345 ff. ὧς μ’ ὄφελ’ ἤματι τῷ ὅτε με πρῶτον τέκε μήτηρ οἴχεσθαι προφέρουσα κακὴ ἀνέμοιο θύελλα εἰς ὄρος ἢ εἰς κῦμα πολυφλοίσβοιο θαλάσσης (i.e. to some solitary place, Orph., H. 19, 19; 36, 16; 71, 11). Such transportation through the air is elsewhere contrasted with death and dwelling in Hades, as in Penelope’s prayer. (Roscher, Kynanthropie [Abh. d. sächs. Ges. d. Wiss. xvii], p. 67, gives a strange but hardly the correct explanation of this.) Cf. Soph., Tr., 953 ff.; Ai., 1193 ff.; (Phil., 1092 ff.?); cf. also Eur., Hipp., 1279 ff.; Ion, 805 f.; Supp., 833–6. A deeply rooted popular mode of thought, and one of primeval antiquity, lies at the root of all 81 these instances.—ὑπὸ πνευμάτων συναρπαγέντα ἄφαντον γενέσθαι is a reason for τιμαὶ ἀθάνατοι, in the only half-rationalized story of Hesperos in D.S. 3, 60, 3.

5 One would like to know more of this strange story, but what we learn elsewhere of Pandareos and his daughters (Sch. υ 66–7; τ 518; Ant. Lib. 36) contributes nothing to the understanding of the Homeric narrative and probably belongs in part to another connexion. Pandareos, father of Aëdon (τ 518 ff.), seems to be another person. Even the strange representation of the two daughters of Pandareos in Polygnotos’ picture of the underworld (Paus. 10, 30, 2) casts no light on the Homeric fable. (Cf. Roscher, Kynan., 4 ff., 65 f.)

6 The Erinyes live normally in Erebos, as is shown esp. by I 571 f.; Τ 259. But when they punish during the lifetime of the criminal acts done in contravention of the laws of family life, it must be supposed that they were sometimes thought of as going about the earth, e.g. I 454: λ 278—for “working at a distance” seems impossible—as in Hes., Op., 803 f.—Ἐρινύσιν ἀμφιπολεύειν (78) cannot be anything but “serve the Erinyes”, “become their ἀμφίπολοι”. To understand it as Roscher does (Kynan., 65, n. 183) following Eustathius, in the sense “fly about in the train of the E.” is forbidden by the use of the simple dative Ἐρινύσι joined closely with ἀμφ. (θεαῖς ἀμφιπολῶν Soph., O.C., 680, is different.)

7 “When the Bride of the Wind comes by you must throw yourself on the ground as though it were the Muodisheere (on which see Grimm (E.T.), p. 931) otherwise they will carry you off.” Birlinger, Volksthüml. a. Schwaben, i, 192, “She is the Devil’s Bride,” ib. (On the “Bride of the Wind”, etc., see Grimm, pp. 632, 1009.) Such wind-spirits are in unholy alliance with the “Furious Host”, i.e. the unquiet “souls” of the dead that travel through the air by night.

8 On the Harpies, see Rh. Mus., 50, 1–5.

9 See Nägelsb., H.T., pp. 42–3, and Roscher, Nektar u. Ambrosia, p. 51 ff., answering Bergk’s objections, Opusc. ii, 669. (Arist. Meta., 1000a, 9–14, is very definite.)

10 It is not improbable that this Ino Leukothea was originally a goddess who was later turned into a “Heroine” (identified with the daughter of Kadmos for reasons no longer recoverable) and only afterwards turned back again into a goddess. But for the Homeric age she was essentially a mortal who had become a goddess: for this reason, just because she was an example of such deification of mortals, she remained an interesting character to later writers; cf. in addition to the well-known passages in Pindar, etc., Cic., T.D. i, 28. Only what the actual conception of the people and their poets was—not what may possibly be suggested as the doubtful background of such conceptions—concerns me in this as in many other cases.

11 Only temporary translation (ἀνήρπασε) of Marpessa by Apollo I 564.

12 Ganymedes, ἀνήρπασε θέσπις ἄελλα, h. Ven., 208, as the θύελλα (= Ἅρπυια) did the daughters of Pandareos. The eagle is the addition of later poetry.

13 Λ 1; ε 1.

14 Ἠὼς . . . ἀπ’ Ὠκεανοῖο ῥοάων ὤρνυθ’, ἵν’ ἀθανάτοισι φόως φέροι ἠδὲ βροτοῖσιν, Τ 1 f.: cf. ψ 244 (h. Merc., 184 f.). So also h. Ven., 224 ff., says of Tithonos: Ἠοῖ τερπόμενος χρυσοθρόνῳ ἠριγενείῃ ναῖε παρ’ Ὠκεανοῖο ῥοῇς ἐπὶ πείρασι γαίης, in good Homeric style. It seems that the magic island Aiaia was considered the home of Eos (and of Tithonos): μ 3: νῆσόν τ’ Αἰαίην, ὅθι τ’ Ἠοῦς ἠριγενείης 82 οἰκία καὶ χοροί εἰσι ἀντολαὶ ἠελίοιο. I need not here go into the attempts made even in antiquity to explain the much-discussed difficulty introduced by this verse and to bring it into conformity with the westerly situation of Aiaia implied in the rest of the Odyssey. One thing is certain: the first composer of this verse thought of Aiaia as lying towards the east. Only the last resources of the commentator’s art could situate the place of the “sun’s uprising” and the “dwelling of the Dawn” in the west.

15 Among innumerable unsuccessful attempts made by the ancients at finding an etymological derivation for the word Ἠλύσιον (Sch., δ 563, Eust., p. 1509, Hesych., s.v., etc., also Cels. ap. Orig., Cels. vii, 28, p. 53 L.) occurs also the right one, E.M., 428, 36: παρὰ τὴν ἔλευσιν, ἔνθα οἱ εὐσεβεῖς παραγίνονται. The grammarians seem to have disputed over the question, did Menelaos live for ever in Elysion? It was agreed on all hands that he reached that abode alive, without separation of psyche from body; but the over-subtle thought that the prophecy meant that he too should die there though not in Argos—not that he should never die at all: so esp. E. Gud., 242, 2 ff. This was the opinion also of those who derived Ἠλύσιον from the fact that there the ψυχαὶ λελυμέναι τῶν σωμάτων διάγουσι: Eust., 1509, 29, E.M., etc. The etymology is as bad as the interpretation of the line. The line remained, however, throughout antiquity as a curiosity; intelligent readers understood the prophecy quite rightly as referring to the translation of Menelaos to everlasting life without separation of ψυχή from body; e.g. Porph. ap. Stob., Ecl. i, p. 422, 8 ff., W. So, too, those who gave the right interpretation of fact, but rested it upon the more dubious etymology: Ἠλύσιον οὐλύσιον, ὅτι οὐ διαλύονται ἀπὸ τῶν σωμάτων αἱ ψυχαί. Hesych. (cf. E.M., 428, 34–5; Sch., δ 563; Procl. on Hes., Op., 169).

16 οὐ μὴν φαίνεταί γε (ὁ ποιητής) προαγαγὼν τὸν λόγον ἐς πλέον ὡς εὕρημα ἄν τις οἰκεῖον, προσαψάμενος δὲ αὐτοῦ μόνον ἅτε ἐς ἅπαν ἤδη διαβεβοημένου τὸ Ἑλληνικόν—to adopt the words that Pausanias (10, 31, 4) uses of a similar case.

17 The reasons for the special favour shown to Rhadamanthys are as unknown to us as they evidently were to the Greeks of later times. What is generally said of the “justice” of Rhad. rests upon private opinion only and does not supply the place of the precise legend that should have justified his translation. That he once had a complete legend of his own may be guessed from the allusion to him in η 323, though that passage still leaves us quite in the dark. At any rate, it certainly does not follow from that reference that while dwelling in Elysion he was a neighbour of the Phaeacians as Welcker thinks: nor further that he had always been a dweller in Elysion, as Preller supposes, instead of being transported there. Nothing in the former passage justifies us in regarding him as then dwelling in Elysion; while the other reference to him must be supposed to mean that Rhad. just as much as Menelaos, was translated to Elys. (and so e.g. Paus. understood the poet 8, 53, 5: πρότερον δὲ ἔτι Ῥαδάμανθυν ἐνταῦθα ἥκειν; doubtful: Aesch. fr. 99, 12–13). In fact, we have lost the legends which gave the details of his translation: his figure had become isolated and had not entered into the greater circle of epic figures—and as a consequence his mythical context soon disappeared too.

18 Hasisatra’s Translation: see the translation of the Babylonian account in Paul Haupt’s Der Keilins. Sintfluthber. (Leip. 1881), p. 17, 18. The expressions used by the Greek-writing reporters are exactly like those common in Greek accounts of translation: γενέσθαι ἀφανῆ 83 (τὸν Ξίσουθρον) μετὰ τῶν θεῶν οἰκήσοντα, Beros. ap. Sync., p. 55, 6, 11 Di.; θεοί μιν ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἀφανίζουσι, Abydenus ap. Syncell., p. 70, 13. Of Enoch we read, Gen. 524: οὐχ εὑρίσκετο ὅτι μετέθηκεν αὐτὸν ὁ θεός (μετετέθη, Ecclus., 4416; Hebr. 115); ἀνελήφθη ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς, Ecclus. 4914; ἀνεχώρησε πρὸς τὸ θεῖον, Jos., AJ. i, 3, 4 (of Moses: ἀφανίζεται, Jos., AJ. iv, 8, 48). On the translation of Enoch and Elijah, see also Schwally, D. Leben. nach d. Tode n. d. Vorst. d. a. Israel (1892), p. 140. Translation of the living into Sheol often in the O.T., see Schwally, p. 62. Even Enoch has not escaped the fate of being regarded by comparative mythologists as the sun. Enoch may be given up to them, if the Orientalists have no objection; but it seems a pity that the theory, in accordance with the favourite argument from analogy, should be applied to Greek Translation-myths too, so that we should see the whole series of such figures, from Menelaos to Apollonios of Tyana, transformed by magic into mythological suns (or dawns, water-meadows, thunder-clouds, etc.).

19 μαλθακὸς αἰχμητής, Ρ 588.

20 Ξ 321–2.

21 One might even suspect that Menelaos is translated to everlasting life not merely because he has Helen, Zeus’ daughter, to wife: οὕνεκ’ ἔχεις Ἑλένην as Proteus tells him, but in imitation of a much earlier mythical tradition, according to which Helen herself was translated and made immortal. No ancient tradition reports the death of Helen—with the exception of the absurd invention of Ptolemaios Chennos (Phot. Bibl., p. 149a, 37 Bk.; 42; 149b, 1 ff.) and the not very superior aetiological myth in Paus. 3, 19, 10. On the other hand, we often hear of her deification, living on the island Leuke or else in the Islands of the Blest. It was not unnatural that mythological tradition should have at an early period set free the most “daemonic” of women from the usual fate of mankind and that Menelaos should rather have followed her example than she his (as Isoc. 10, 62, definitely says).

22 Cf. Tylor, ii, 85: J. G. Müller, Ges. d. Americ. Urrelig., 660 f.; Waitz, Anthrop. v, 2, 114; vi, 302, 307.

23 We are told that Rhadamanthys was once conveyed by the Phaeacians to Euboea ἐποψόμενος Τιτυὸν Γαιήϊον υἱόν (η 321 ff.). We have no grounds and no right to complete this story by supposing that this was when Rh. already lived in Elysion. To regard the Phaeacians as a sort of “ferry-folk of the dead” connected in some way with Elysion is pure unsupported fancy.

24 The possessor of ἀθανασία did not necessarily possess also δύναμιν ἰσόθεον (Isoc. 10, 61).

25 To identify Ὀρτυγίη, ο 404, with Delos, and Συρίη with the island Syros as the older commentators and K. O. Müller, Dorier, i, 381 [? not in E.T.], did, is impossible on account of the addition of the words ὅθι τροπαὶ ἠελίοιο alone. These show that Syrie was far away in the fabulous west, the only possible place for such a wonderland. It is evident that Ortygia is originally a purely mythical spot, sacred to Artemis and no more certainly fixed in one place than the Dionysian Nysa, and for that reason always to be found wherever the cult of Artemis was especially popular, in Aetolia, Syracuse, Ephesos, or Delos. Delos is clearly distinguished from O. in h. Ap. 16, and only later identified with O. (Delos being considered the older name, O. Schneider, Nicandr., p. 22, n.), when Artemis had been brought into closer connexion with Apollo, and even then not invariably. Thus in Homer Ortygia never clearly = Delos. 84

26 Ἄρτεμις δὲ αὐτὴν ἑξαρπάξασα εἰς Ταύρους μετακομίζει (cf. the μετέθηκεν αὐτὸν ὁ θεός of Enoch, Gen. 524) καὶ ἀθάνατον ποιεῖ, ἔλαφον δὲ ἀντὶ τῆς κόρης παρίστησι τῷ βωμῷ, Procl., Chrest. ap. Kinkel Epic. Fr., p. 19: [Apollod.] Epit. iii, 22. Wagn.

27 τούτῳ (τῷ Μέμνονι) Ἠὼς παρὰ Διὸς αἰτησαμένη ἀθανασίαν δίδωσι says Proclus with regrettable brevity (p. 33, Kinkel).

28 It cannot be doubted (in spite of Meier, Annali dell’ Inst. Arch., 1883, p. 217 ff.) that the story given in Π of Sarpedon’s death and the carrying away of his body, even if it does not belong to the oldest part of the poem (which I cannot regard as certain), is nevertheless earlier than the Aithiopis and was the model for its account of Memnon’s death (cf. also Christ, Chron. altgr. Epos., p. 25). But why do Thanatos and Hypnos carry away the body of Sarpedon (instead of the usual θύελλα, ἄελλα, Ἅρπυια, or the winds, Q.S. ii, 550, in the case of Memnon)? Where these two are found on Attic lekythoi as bearers of the corpse (Robert, Thanatos, 19) they were perhaps intended in some consolatory sense as in the grave inscriptions ὕπνος ἔχει σε, μάκαρ . . . καὶ νέκυς οὐκ ἐγένου. The Homeric poet, however, can hardly have meant anything of the sort, but merely invents the indispensable second bearer to assist Thanatos—an effective touch but not one that rested on any religious grounds. Hypnos as brother of Thanatos is also found in the Διὸς ἀπάτη, Ξ 231.

29 ἐκ τῆς πυρᾶς ἡ Θέτις ἀναρπάσασα τὸν παῖδα εἰς τὴν Λευκὴν νῆσον διακομίζει, Procl., Chrest., p. 34, Kink. Then he continues, οἱ δὲ Ἀχαιοὶ τὸν τάφον χώσαντες ἀγῶνα τιθέασιν. Thus a grave-mound is set up though the body of Achilles has been translated: evidently a concession to the older narrative (ω 80–4), which knew nothing of the translation of the body but gives prominence to the grave-mound. Besides which, the tumulus of Achilles—a landmark on the seashore of the Troad—required explanation, and the poet accordingly speaks of the erection of a cenotaph. It was not considered a contradiction to erect cenotaphs, not only to those whose bodies were irrecoverable (see above, Ch. I, n. 88), but also to Heroes whose bodies had been translated. Thus Herakles, after he has been struck by lightning and snatched up into the sky, has a χῶμα made for him, though no bones were found upon the πυρά, D.S. 4, 38, 5; 39, 1. (The tumuli found in the Troad were not, indeed, originally empty as Schliemann, Troy, etc., pp. 252, 263, supposed; they were not cenotaphs but merely grave-mounds that had once been filled and belong to a type frequently met with in Phrygia; see Schuchhardt, Schliemann’s Excav. [E.T.], p. 84 ff. Kretschmer, Einl. Ges. gr. Spr., 1896, p. 176.)

30 What became of Odysseus? Proclus is silent on the point, and we have no means of guessing. According to Hyginus 127 he was buried in Aiaia; but if nothing more was going to be done with his body why bring him to Aiaia? Acc. to Sch. Lyc., 805, he was raised to life again by Kirke, but what happened to him then? (Acc. to [Apollod.] Epit. vii, 37 W., the dead Odysseus seems to remain in Ithaka.—We have no grounds for altering the words to suit the Telegoneia as Wagner does, esp. as a complete correspondence with that poem cannot be obtained.) The death and burial of Od. among the Tyrrhenians (Müller, Etruscans iii, 281 tr. Gray) belong to quite another connexion.

31 The Aithiopis is later than the Hades scenes in ω, and consequently later still than the Nekyia of λ. The prophecy of the Translation of Menelaos in δ is likewise later than the Nekyia but to all appearance older than the Aithiopis. 85

32 The extract from the Nostoi in Proclus, Chrest., is particularly inadequate and evidently gives no full idea of the very wide and various subject matter of that poem. Thus, too, the notices of it preserved from other sources give details of its subject matter (esp. of the Nekyia which was included in it) that cannot be fitted into the limits of Proclus’ outline.

33 The idea that the Bronze age is really identical with the age of Heroes is at first sight attractive (see e.g. Steitz, Die W. u. T. des Hesiod, p. 61); one soon finds, however, that it breaks down on closer examination.

34 It does not seem to me absolutely necessary to strike out lines 124 f. (οἵ ῥα φυλάσσουσίν τε δίκας καὶ σχέτλια ἔργα, ἠέρα ἑσσάμενοι πάντη φοιτῶντες ἐπ’ αἶαν). They are repeated in lines 254 f., but that is a natural place to repeat them. Proclus does not comment on them; but it does not follow that he did not have them before him; and Plutarch, D.O. 37, p. 431 B, seems to allude to l. 125 in its present context.

35 Plu., D.O., 10, p. 415 B, in obvious error, takes Hesiod’s δαίμονες for such an intermediate class of beings; he supposes that Hesiod distinguishes four classes τῶν λογικῶν, θεοί, δαίμονες, ἥρωες, ἄνθρωποι. In this Platonist division the ἥρωες would correspond rather with Hesiod’s δαίμονες of the first age. (What Proclus has to say on Hesiod, Op. 121, p. 101, Gaisf., is taken evidently word for word from Plutarch’s commentary on Hesiod and resembles closely the remarks in the passage cited from the Def. Orac.) Modern critics have often failed to notice the difference between the Hesiodic δαίμονες and the Platonic. Plato himself is very decided about the difference (Crat. 397 E–398 C).

36 ἠέρα ἑσσάμενοι 125 (cf. 223; Ξ 282) is a naive equivalent for “invisible” as Tzet. correctly explains. This is how it is to be understood regularly in Homer whenever there is mention of envelopment in a cloud and the like.

37 These daimones are called ἐπιχθόνιοι in contrast (not to the ὑποχθόνιοι of l. 141, but) to the θεοὶ ἐπουράνιοι, as Proclus on l. 122 rightly remarks. Thus in Homer we have ἐπιχθόνιοι regularly used as an adjective, or, standing alone, as an equivalent of men as distinguished from gods. Then the ὑποχθόνιοι of 141 are brought in to form another and secondary contrast with the ἐπιχθόνιοι.

38 ρ 485 ff. It follows that the descriptions of the visits paid by gods to the homes of men are of great antiquity; cf. my Griech. Roman, p. 506 ff. Zeus Philios in particular is fond of visiting men: Diod. Com. Ἐπίκληρ., Mein. Com. iii, p. 543 f. (ii, p. 420 K.).

39 τιμὴ καὶ τοῖσιν ὀπηδεῖ 142. τιμή in the sense not of simple honour but of practical worship, as frequently in Homer, e.g. in such phrases as: τιμὴ καὶ κῦδος ὀπηδεῖ, Ρ 251; τιμῆς ἀπονήμενος, ω 30: τιμὴν δὲ λελόγχασιν ἶσα θεοῖσιν, λ 304; ἔχει τιμήν, λ 495, etc. In the same way here, l. 138: οὕνεκα τιμὰς οὐκ ἐδίδουν μακάρεσσι θεοῖς.

40 Light and dark, i.e. good and bad, δαίμονες are acc. to Roth, Myth. v. d. Weltaltern (1860), pp. 16–17, distinguished in Hesiod’s daimones of the golden and silver age. Such a distinction, however, never appears in Hesiod; and it is hardly credible that the gods and spirits of ancient Greek popular belief (which never really admitted the categories good and bad) should in this primitive period have been actually classified in accordance with such categories. At any rate, Greek readers never found anything of the kind expressed in Hesiod: 86 the conception of bad daimones is regularly supported by reference to the philosophers alone (e.g. Plut., D.O., 17, p. 419 A), and the conception is certainly no older than the earliest philosophic speculation.

41 l. 141: τοὶ μὲν ὑποχθόνιοι (ἐπιχθόνιοι all MSS. except one, see Köchly’s Apparatus; also Tz.) μάκαρες θνητοὶ καλέονται.—φύλακες θνητοὶ was read and explained by Proclus. This is clearly wrong, and is corrected to φύλακες θνητῶν (as in l. 123) by Hagen and Welcker. But this transfers from the first to the second race an expression that we cannot be sure Hesiod meant to be transferred. Not merely the words but the sense, too, is thus corrected, without due ground. μάκαρες does not look like a corruption; it is more likely that φύλακες is an accidental alteration. ὑπ. μάκαρες θνητοῖς καλέονται is the reading of the latest editor: but here to say the least of it the addition of θνητοῖς is superfluous. We should rather try to understand and explain the traditional text and show how the poet came by the remarkable expression.

42 When philosophers and philosophizing poets of a later age occasionally refer to the soul when freed from the body as a δαίμων, the expression has a totally different sense.

43 Similarly, though the oxymoron is much less daring in his case, Isocrates, 9, 72, has δαίμων θνητός. In order to describe a daimon who has originally been a mortal later ages boldly invented the compound ἀνθρωποδαίμων which corresponds fairly well with the Hesiodic μάκαρ θνητός: [Eur.] Rhes., 971; Procop., An. 12, p. 79, 17 D. (νεκυδαίμων on a defixio from Carthage, BCH. xii, 299). Later still a king destined to become a god is called, even at his birth, by Manetho (i, 280) θεὸν βροτὸν ἀνθρώποισιν.

44 The silver race was created by the gods of Olympos, like the golden before them (l. 110; 128); only the third race (l. 143) and then the fourth (158) by Zeus alone. It might be supposed from this that the silver age as well as the golden age occurred in the period before Zeus’ rule, ἐπὶ Κρόνου ὅτ’ οὐρανῷ ἐμβασίλευεν (l. 111); and in this sense “Orpheus” understood the words of Hesiod when he τοῦ ἀργυροῦ γένους βασιλεύειν φησὶ τὸν Κρόνον (Proclus on l. 126). But it would be very difficult to reconcile l. 138 Ζεὺς Κρονίδης κτλ. with this view. Hesiod may then have placed the silver age in the time when sub Iove mundus erat (as Ovid explicitly states, M. i, 113 f.); but all the same it lay for him in the far distant past before all history.

45 νώνυμνοι 154 may quite as well mean “nameless”, i.e. without name or special title, as “fameless” (as it does for the most part though not invariably in Homer).

46 See Welcker, Kl. Schr. ii, 6, who, however, in the desire to rule out all possibility of identifying Scherie with Korkyra asserts too positively that it was a part of the mainland. ζ 204 (compared with δ 354) at least comes very close to regarding it as an island. But it is clear that nowhere is it explicitly called an island.—It is possible that Σχερίη, connected with σχερός, may really mean “mainland” (Welcker, loc. cit.; Kretschmer, Einl. Gesch. gr. Spr., 281): but the question still remains whether the Homeric poet, who did not invent the name, understood or respected its original significance. At any rate, it was no longer understood by those who in very early times identified Scherie with the island Korkyra.

47 The objections to l. 169 as regards its form are brought out by Steitz, Hesiods W. u. T., p. 69. The line is missing in most of the MSS.; it was rejected (together with the line following, which, however, 87 is quite sound) by ancient critics (Proclus on l. 158). Later editors are united in condemning it. But the interpolation is at any rate old: probably even Pindar already knew the line in this place (O. ii, 70).

48 λῦσε δὲ Ζεὺς ἄφθιτος Τιτᾶνας Pi. (P. iv, 291), in whose time, however, this was a well-known myth to which he is only making a passing allusion for the sake of an example. The Hesiodic Theogony still knows nothing of it.

49 Before Hesiod we have no mention of the myth of a Golden, Saturnian Age, nor any complete description of the imaginary life upon Blessed Islands. But epic poetry had already, as we have seen, provided him with occasional examples of translation to a place of blessedness, and he only collects these into a combined picture of such a place. To that extent the belief in a blessed life beyond the grave meets us earlier than the myth of a Golden Age. But we have not the slightest ground for saying that the former “must have existed from the beginning among the Greeks” (as Milchhöfer at least thinks, Anf. Kunst, p. 230). On the other hand, it may be mere accident that the myth of the Golden Age has no older authority than Hesiod—the story itself may be much earlier. After Hesiod it was frequently taken up and improved upon; not, however, first by Empedocles as Graf supposes, ad aureæ aet. fab. sym. (Leip. Stud. viii, p. 15), but already in the epic Ἀλκμεωνίς, see Philod. Piet., p. 51 Gp. (See also some remarks by Alfred Nutt, The Voyage of Bran, p. 269 f., 1895, with which I cannot agree.)



The history of Greek culture and religion shows no sudden break or revolution in its course. The Greeks neither at any time experienced a movement from within that caused a violent recoil from the path which they had chosen, nor were they ever diverted by the overwhelming might of an invading force from the natural course of their evolution. Out of their own natural feelings and reflexion this most intellectually gifted nation evolved the great ideas that nourished succeeding centuries. They anticipated all later ages. The profoundest and the boldest, the most devout as well as the most irreverent speculations as to the nature of God, the world and men have their origin among the Greeks. But this excessive many-sidedness led to a general condition of equipoise in which individual factors restrained or balanced each other. Whereas the most violent impacts and sudden revolutions in the history of civilization are given by just those nations who are only able to embrace one idea at a time and who, confined in the narrow limits of their fanaticism, throw everything else overboard.

It is true, indeed, that the Greeks were ever open to influences—whether civilized or the reverse—from abroad. In wave after wave of peaceful invasion foreign ideas and ways of life, especially from the East, flowed over Greece. In one case, at least (that of the ecstatic religion of the Thracian Dionysos-worshippers), a spring flood burst out that broke down all the dykes. In many cases the invading elements might be easily eliminated again from Greek culture; in many others they obtained a permanent footing and influenced it deeply. But never did an influence from abroad obtain in Greece an authority at all comparable to the subversive and transforming power exercised by Buddhism, Christianity, or Islam over the peoples on whom they laid their grip. The Greek genius, as supple as it was tenacious, maintained control over all such foreign influences, in full possession of its original nature, its genial naivety. New ideas, whether introduced from abroad or engendered at home, were taken up and assimilated, but the old were not done away with; they gradually amalgamated with the new so that much was learnt while nothing was quite forgotten. The stream flowed on in its peaceful course, but it still remained the same stream. Nec manet ut fuerat nec formas servat easdem: sed tamen ipse idem est. 89

The history of Greek culture, then, has no sharply contrasted epochs, no periods of abrupt change, when the old is completely given up and a new era definitely begins. Indeed, the most serious revulsions of Greek history, culture, and religion took place beyond doubt before the time of the Homeric Epos, and in that dim past it is possible that more violent and startling upheavals may have occurred to make the Greeks what we afterwards know them to be. Greek life becomes first clearly known to us in Homer. It is true that the broad uniformity that it has in the picture reflected for us in the poems of Homer vanishes in the course of the years that follow. New forces emerge; much that was forgotten comes to light again now that the Homeric system of ideas, once all powerful, is falling to pieces; out of the very old and the quite new things of which Homer never gives the least hint are being put together. But nowhere during the violent movements of the next troubled centuries after Homer did any absolute break with the Epic or its system take place. Only in the sixth century did the defiant speculation of a few bold spirits begin to seek a way of escape from the thraldom of the Homeric poems which still lay over the whole of Greece. The history of the Greek common people knows nothing of a reaction against Homer and his world. Homeric religion and moral ideas gradually ceased to reign supreme in men’s minds, but they were never violently or completely discarded.

So we, too, though we leave behind us Homer and the Epos and enter upon the tortuous paths of the later history of Greek soul worship and belief in immortality, may still for a time be guided by the Ariadne thread of the epic. In our subject, too, there are links which connect the Homeric with following ages. Soon enough the thread will break, and we shall have to enter the new field of inquiry depending on our own resources. . . .

§ 1

Prominent among the chieftains, who, under the leadership of Adrastos, came to the help of Polyneikes and laid siege to Thebes, was Amphiaraos the Argive hero and seer descended from the mysterious priest and prophet Melampous. He was drawn into the war against his will, for he foresaw its unhappy end. After the decisive struggle in which the opposing brothers fell slain by each other’s hand, the Argive host turned to flight, and with them fled Amphiaraos. But before Periklymenos, who was pursuing him, could drive his spear into the fugitive’s back, Zeus made the earth open before him in a flash of 90 lightning and Amphiaraos with his horses, his chariot, and his charioteer, was swallowed up in the depths where Zeus made him immortal. So runs the legend of the fate of Amphiaraos as we learn it from innumerable sources from Pindar onwards,1 and we may be sure that thus it was told in the Thebaïs, the old epic poem of the war of the Seven against Thebes, which was taken up into the Epic Cycle.2

At Thebes, then, Amphiaraos lived on for ever under the earth. Northwards in the Boeotian countryside, near Lebadeia, men told of a similar marvel. In a cave of the mountainous ravine, before which Lebadeia lies, lived Trophonios for ever immortal. The legends that professed to explain his miraculous cave-existence do not quite agree among themselves, as, indeed, is generally the case with those figures who were not early taken up by the poets and given a fixed place in the narratives of heroic adventure. But all accounts (the oldest of which perhaps go back to the “Telegoneia”) agree in the assumption that Trophonios, like Amphiaraos, was first a man, a famous master-builder, who while flying from his foes, had dived underground at Lebadeia and now lives for ever in the depths of the earth whence he foretells the future to those who come and question him there.

These stories, then, claim to speak of men who during their lifetime were swallowed up by the earth, and who now live on for ever at the places where they were taken down into the depths—places situated in quite definite localities of the Greek countryside.

We are not entirely without other legends of a similar character. One of the wild spirits of the Lapith people from Thessalia, Kaineus by name, having been made invulnerable by Poseidon (who had before this transformed him from a woman into a man), was cudgelled with tree-trunks in a battle with the Centaurs; but they could do nothing to him, and with “upright foot” (i.e. standing upright, alive, not lying at full length like a dead man or one mortally wounded) he clove the earth under him and went down alive into the depths.3 In Rhodes Althaimenes was honoured as the “founder” of the Greek cities on that island; he had not died but had vanished into a chasm in the ground.4 Like Amphiaraos, his son Amphilochos, the heir of his prophetic power, appears to have had a legend according to which he still dwelt alive under the earth either in Akarnania or Cilicia.5 A few more examples of the same type might be produced,6 but the number of such stories remains small, and they only make their appearance here and there, as if by 91 accident, in the tradition. Epic poetry without whose co-operation such local legends rarely achieved widespread or lasting popularity, with few exceptions left such narratives out of account. In fact, they conflicted with the normal Homeric outlook. The belief, however, that immortality when it was miraculously bestowed by the favour of heaven upon certain individual men, was absolutely conditioned by the non-occurrence of death, i.e. the separation of the psyche from the visible man—this belief has helped to shape these stories too. They never speak of an undying existence of the soul by itself in separation from the body. Thus far they are firmly rooted in orthodox Homeric belief.

But the heroes of these stories have their everlasting existence in special abodes under the surface of the earth, in subterranean chambers7—not in the common meeting place of the departed; they each have their own peculiar domain far from the House of Aïdoneus. Such isolation of individuals below the earth does not agree with Homeric ideas; though it almost seems as if a dim echo of these stories of seers like Amphiaraos and Amphilochos, translated alive and with consciousness undestroyed, could be discerned in what the Homeric Nekyia says of Teiresias the Theban seer, in whom alone of all the shadows Persephone had allowed consciousness and intelligence (the essential vital powers) to remain undiminished.8 But even he is fast bound in Erebos, the general home of the dead, and cut off from all connexion with the upper world, as is demanded by the Homeric view of the world. Amphiaraos and Trophonios, on the other hand, are released from Hades; not having suffered death they have not entered the world of the strengthless dead. They are also translated out of this life (besides out of Hades). But this “subterranean translation” is in its nature and in the origin of the belief in it quite distinct from that “translation to Islands of the Blest” of which we spoke in the last chapter. Those Heroes dwelling alone or in company on holy islands far out over the sea are far removed from human life and beyond the reach of prayers and desires. No influence upon the things of this world is attributed to them, and consequently no cult is offered to them: there never existed a cult of the dwellers in Elysium as such. They glimmer in the distance like visions of the poet’s fancy from which no one anticipates active interference with the world of reality. It is quite different with these dwellers in the caves. They are actually alive under the surface of the earth; not far away in the inaccessible, spectral world of Hades, but here in the midst of Greece. Questions and prayers 92 can reach down to them, and they can send up aid to those who call to them. To them, accordingly, as powerful and effectual Spirits a cult is paid.

We have detailed information of the manner in which Amphiaraos was worshipped, more especially in later times, when, in addition to the neighbourhood of Thebes, where the original legend of his descent beneath the earth was localized, Oropos also, the boundary town between Boeotia and Attica, was with overwhelming success identified as the place of his disappearance and made a centre of his influence.9 We have also a certain amount of information, again from later ages, about the cult of Trophonios. With the passage of time, the details of the worship grew and multiplied, but among them all certain features stand out as especially characteristic and allow us to understand the religious ideas lying behind them. To Amphiaraos and Trophonios were offered just those sacrifices which were also paid to the Chthonic deities, i.e. those deities who dwelt in the depths of the earth.10 Aid was not expected from them in the details of the daily life of individuals or states. Only in the actual locality of their descent were they effectual, and only there because they revealed the future. Kroisos had already, and Mardonios after him, sent inquiries to the most famous oracles of the day,11 and among them to Amphiaraos at his ancient oracular seat near Thebes and to Trophonios at Lebadeia. Of Amphiaraos it was believed that he revealed the future by visions sent in dreams to those who after making offering laid themselves down to sleep in his temple. To question Trophonios, it was necessary to pass through a narrow passage into his cave. Inside, the inquirer expected to see Trophonios in person or, at least, to hear his instructions.12 He dwelt, like a spirit confined to the scene of his magical existence, in bodily person at the bottom of his cave. In fact, the method of Incubation, or temple-sleep, by which Amphiaraos (like many other daimones and Heroes) was questioned, was based on the assumption that the daimon, who was only visible indeed to mortal eyes in the higher state achieved by the soul in dreams, had his permanent dwelling at the seat of his oracle.13 That is why his appearance can only be expected at this particular place and nowhere else. Originally, too, it was only the dwellers in the depths of the earth who were thus visible in dreams to those who lay down to sleep in the temple over the place where they had their subterranean abode. Homer knows nothing of either gods or daimones who live permanently under the ground in definite places in the inhabited world, near mankind; and for that 93 reason he betrays no knowledge of Incubation-oracles.14 There is some ground for the belief that this method, inherent in the divinatory power, of getting into touch with the spirit world, was one of the oldest types of Greek oracular art—certainly not later than the Apolline mantikê of inspiration. And it is precisely in the legend of Amphiaraos, as we may believe it to have been related as early as the cyclic poem of the Thebaïs, that we have a proof that already in the days when the quasi-Homeric poetry was still popular, people believed in deathless dwellers below the earth and in their active potency in the mantic art.

It is clear, then, that the worship of Amphiaraos and the belief in his subterranean existence was not due to the influence of the Epic. Rather the reverse was the case; the cult already existed and provided the idea of the daimon and this gave rise to the Epic narrative. The Epic found an existing cult of an oracular daimon who dwelt beneath the earth near Thebes ready to its hand. It reduced this fact to a form which it could understand in a manner typical of the relation which frequently existed between the facts of religious life and Epic poetry. The cult was connected with an event in legendary history, and so brought into harmony with the Epic outlook. The Epic knew nothing of gods attached in this way to a particular earthly spot, and so the spirit worshipped in the cult became in the epic imagination a chieftain and Seer who had not always lived beneath the earth in that place, but had only been transported there subsequently by a miraculous fiat of the supreme god, who had also accorded an eternal life in the depths to the translated hero.15

We may perhaps find a parallel in more recent Saga story that will throw light on the question. German mythology is perfectly familiar with such figures for ever, or until the day of judgment, alive in caverns of the mountains or subterranean chambers. Thus, Charlemagne, or it may be Charles the Fifth, still has his abode in Odenberg or in Unterberg, near Salzburg, Frederick II (or, in more recent versions of the legend, Frederick I Barbarossa) in Kyffhäuser, Henry the Fowler in Sudemerberg, near Goslar. Thus, too, King Arthur, Holger Danske, and many other favourite characters of popular tradition dwell in subterranean caverns.16 Occasionally, we can still plainly see how these were originally ancient gods who according to pagan belief dwelt in hollow mountains and whose place has been taken by these heroes and holy men “translated” beneath the earth.17 So, too, Greek tradition allows us to see even now that those ancient 94 translated mortals, Amphiaraos and Trophonios, are only Epic substitutes for ancient deities who did not owe their everlasting life and subterranean abode to the favour of heaven, but had possessed these from the beginning. At least, at the site of his worship men knew that the prophetic dweller in the cave was a god; one of them is called Zeus Trophonios or Trephonios, not only by learned authorities, but in inscriptions from Lebadeia;18 Amphiaraos, too, is once called Zeus Amphiaraos and more often a god.19 In the Translation legends of Christianized people the kings have usurped the place of the ancient gods because the gods themselves, fallen into neglect, have been dethroned. For reasons not so very different from these the ancient gods on Greek soil were turned into heroes.

Surrounded by the unending multiplicity of contemporary notions of divinity the imagination of the Epic poet had fashioned for itself a generalized picture of a divine kingdom. This was at that time a solitary attempt to erect a Panhellenic theological system, but it had the greatest influence upon the mental conceptions of Greeks of every race, for the Epic poet addressed them all. He stood as though on a height looking down on all the narrow valleys and mountainous countrysides cut off from the rest of the world, and a wide prospect opened out before his eyes. He soars above all the innumerable contradictory and conflicting details of local cult and belief, and finds something universal beyond. The name and conception of Zeus, Apollo, Hermes, Athena, and all the gods represented innumerable diversities in the myths and ritual of the different cities and races; their outward shapes and personalities differed widely according to their localization and the manner of their influence. Instead of all these the Epic poet sees only one Zeus, Apollo, etc., reduced in each case to a single unified personality. And just as he had looked beyond the multiplicity of local deities so he did not confine his gods to particular local habitations and centres of influence in the Greek countries; they did not belong to one locality more than another. True they worked and ruled in the world, but they were for all that free to move where they would. They dwell and meet together on the heights of Olympos, the Pierian Holy Mountain, which, however, became in the imagination of Homer, unfettered by attachment to any particular place, more and more an ideal mountain of fancy. So the broad sea is the dwelling-place of Poseidon; he is not confined to any one place. Even the rulers of the spirit world. Aïdes and Persephoneia, have their abode, not, indeed, on 95 Olympos, and certainly not here or there beneath the surface of the Greek countryside, but far away in a land of fancy; they, too, are not bound to any particular locality of the actual world. At the end of this enormous work of unification and idealization, that, out of all the infinite special manifestations of the name Zeus, each worshipped only in its narrow little circle in Greece, had evolved the single almighty figure of Zeus Father of Gods and Men—how could one who had imagined all this be able to understand, if he met with such a creature, a special Zeus, calling himself Zeus Trophonios, who passed his undying existence in a cave near Lebadeia and was only powerful in that one spot?

Of course, the inhabitant of such a holy spot would not allow himself to be deprived of the belief in the existence and presence of the god on his native soil. Though he might be ready enough in general and in respect of other men’s local deities to regulate conceptions of the nature of the gods in accordance with the Homeric picture, yet he refused absolutely to be shaken in his belief in his own local deity, however unknown to the Olympian family of gods in Homer that deity might be. The local worship in its unaltered, undisturbed persistence, witnessed to the objective truth of his belief. Thus there were preserved in the pious faith of their worshippers large numbers of local deities whose circle of influence was, however, very limited. They had not been raised with the other gods to the heights of Olympos, but had remained faithful to the soil in which they had their home,20 witnesses to a far distant past in which the members of every remote little community had their separate god bound to the soil beyond which their thoughts did not stray. We shall see how in post-Homeric times many such ancient earth-gods, i.e. gods thought of as living below the surface of the ground, were given new and in some cases a more wide-reaching lease of life. The Epic in its prime knew nothing of these earth-dwelling deities. When it could not close its eyes to their existence it changed them into translated heroes, and beyond the immediate locality of the cult this version of them became the commonly accepted one throughout the rest of Greece.

§ 2

But the Epic was by no means uniform in intention, or carried through as a systematic unity; it was far from being the offspring of a learned reflection that could tolerate no discrepancy. Even here we find at least some few dim 96 recollections of the ancient belief in gods that can have their permanent abode in mountain hollows.

The Odyssey (xix, 178 f.) calls Minos, the son of Zeus (cf. Il. xiii, 450; xiv, 322; Od. xi, 568) who ruled in Knossos the Cretan city, “the familiar gossip of great Zeus.”21 Very probably the poet meant by these words much the same as was understood by them in later times: that Minos was personally acquainted with Zeus, on earth, of course, and, in fact, in the cave—not far from Knossos on the side of Mount Ida—which was revered as the “Cave of Zeus”.22 The island of Crete, overrun by the Greeks at an early period, still preserved in its remote seclusion much that was primeval in belief and legend. There, sometimes on Mount Ida, sometimes on Mount Dicte (in the east of the island) the holy cave was pointed out where (already in Hesiod) Zeus was said to have been born.23 According to a local legend, which probably was present to the fancy of the writer of these lines of the Odyssey, the god now fully grown up still dwelt in his subterranean chamber, and was visited by individual mortals. As Minos before him, so, too, Epimenides had been allowed to hear the prophecies of the god.24 The Zeus that dwelt in Ida was worshipped in a mystical cult;25 every year a “throne” was “spread” for him, i.e. probably a “divine banquet” (Theoxenion) was prepared for his consumption, as for other especially Chthonic deities. The initiated then entered the cave dressed in black woollen garments, and remained within for thrice nine days.26 Everything points to the existence of conceptions similar to those that we found expressed in the cult of Zeus Trophonios at Lebadeia. Zeus dwelling in bodily form in the depths of his cave can appear in person to those who enter his cave duly sanctified.

Then there appears, from the fourth century onwards, the strange statement, perhaps started by Euhemeros and eagerly taken up in later ages by scoffers like Lucian or Christian opponents of the old religion, that Zeus lay buried on Ida.27 What is here called the grave of the god is nothing in reality but the cave which was generally regarded as his permanent abode.28 The idea—always strange to the Greeks29—that a god could lie buried anywhere on the earth, deprived of life for ever or even for a limited period of time, is often met with in the tradition of Semitic and other non-Greek peoples.30 We need not inquire what deeper or perhaps allegorical sense such legends may have had in the beliefs of those nations; there is no reason to suppose that such foreign legends had any influence in the formation of Greek myth. Nor does the 97 tradition in Greek lands give the slightest support to the view current among modern mythologists that the death and burial of gods is intended to symbolize the “death of Nature”. It is, in fact, plain that in the legend of the Cretan Zeus’ grave, the “grave” has simply taken the place of the cave as the everlasting abode of the undying god, and that it is a paradoxical expression intended to signify his perpetual confinement to that place. We are immediately reminded of a no less paradoxical notice of a god’s grave at Delphi. Under the navel stone (Omphalos) of the Earth-goddess (which was a vaulted piece of masonry in the Temple of Apollo recalling in its shape the ancient vaulted tombs),31 there lay buried a divine being. Our learned authorities call this being Python, the enemy of Apollo; one and only one quite untrustworthy witness says it was Dionysos.32 Here we have a case of one god setting up his temple and abode over the grave of another god. Apollo, the god of prophecy, thrones it over the Earth-spirit Python, the son of the Earth-goddess Gaia. Now, we have ancient and in the highest degree trustworthy traditions to the effect that there was originally at Delphi an ancient Earth-Oracle into whose place Apollo and his mantic art came later as an intruder. We are therefore justified in believing that this circumstance in the history of religion has found expression in the legend that Apollo’s temple and oracular seat stood over the place where an ancient and superseded oracle-daimon lay “buried”.33 In the days when the primeval Earth-Oracle was still powerful its guardian would not lie dead and buried under the Omphalos of the Earth-goddess, but would have dwelt there alive underground, like Amphiaraos or Trophonios or Zeus on Ida.

§ 3

The “grave” under the Omphalos means in the case of Python the overthrow of an earth-dwelling Chthonic Daimon by the cult of Apollo. The “grave” of Zeus, which had thrust itself into the place of an older legend of the dwelling of Zeus in the cave of the mountain, expresses the same idea as this legend, but expresses it in a form current in later ages which knew of many “Heroes” who after their death and from their graves gave proof of a higher existence and a powerful influence. The Zeus that died and is buried is only a god reduced to a Hero;34 remarkable and paradoxical is only the fact that unlike Zeus Amphiaraos, Zeus Trophonios (and Zeus Asklepios), he has not, in the usual fashion, dropped his title of god, which directly contradicted his “Hero” 98 nature. It is possible that in the case of this cave-Zeus, half-god half-Hero, a conception has been transferred merely on analogy from other cases where it was applied more properly, after they had become fully “Heroized”, to gods who according to the no longer intelligible theory had once been dwellers in the depths of the earth.

We have several accounts of Heroes who were buried in temples of gods and were sometimes associated with the cult of the higher god to whom the temple was dedicated. The way in which such legends could arise may be seen unusually clearly from the case of Erechtheus.

The Ship-Catalogue in the Iliad (ii, 546 ff.) tells us that Erechtheus was the son of the Earth, but that Athene brought him up and “settled him in her rich temple”,35 where the Athenians every year honour him with sacrifice of sheep and bulls.36 It is plain that Erechtheus is here thought of as still living; to honour a dead man with such offerings, repeated every year and attended by the whole community, would be a custom quite unknown to Homer. Erechtheus is, therefore, thought of as dwelling alive in the temple in which Athene has set him down, i.e. the ancient temple on the Acropolis which was enclosed in the “strong house of Erechtheus”, to which, according to the Odyssey, Athene betakes herself as her own home. On the old citadel of the Kings, royal residence and sanctuary of the goddess were combined; its foundation walls have recently been discovered on the spot where later joint worship was paid to Athene and Erechtheus in the “Erechtheion”.37 Erechtheus dwells below the ground in a crypt of this temple,38 like other earth-deities, in the form of a snake, immortally. He is not dead, for as Euripides still says, in a story which otherwise follows different lines, “the earth gaped and covered him over,”39 i.e. he was translated and lived on under the earth. On the analogy of the examples already discussed it is clear that this is also a case of a primitive local deity,40 once supposed to have been living always in a cave on the mountain-side, transformed to a Hero who has been brought there and raised to immortal life. The later belief in Heroes required a grave at which the continued existence and potency of the “Hero” was localized; by a natural process of development the Hero Erechtheus translated alive and made immortal is thought of as buried in a grave. Erichthonios, who was expressly identified with the Homeric Erechtheus, was by later ages supposed to be buried in the Temple of Polias, i.e. the oldest temple of Athene, on the Acropolis.41 We have clearly before us the steps by which the 99 aboriginal deity, dwelling beneath the ground, the son of Earth, is made into a mortal Hero, translated to immortality and placed under the protection of the Olympian goddess who has now become more powerful than he; and finally transferred, cave and all, to the precincts of her temple, and finally reduced to the condition of a Hero like another, who had died and lies peacefully buried in the temple of the goddess on the citadel.

With this example before us we may explain several other analogous cases, in which we have only the last stage of the process, the grave of a Hero in a god’s temple, without any of the intermediate steps. A single example may be given.

At Amyklai, not far from Sparta, in the holiest temple of Laconia, stood the ancient bronze statue of Apollo upon an altar-shaped base, within which, according to legend, Hyakinthos lay buried. Through a bronze door in the side of the altar offerings for the dead were sent down to “Hyakinthos” buried below every year at the festival of the Hyakinthia.42 The recipient of these offerings has little resemblance to the gentle youth of popular legend. The Hellenistic poets tell how he was beloved by Apollo and died by a cast of Apollo’s discus and was changed into a flower. The fable, almost destitute of local reference, has been put together from many popular themes.43 The sculpture on the above-mentioned altar, on the other hand, represents among many gods and heroes Hyakinthos and his sister Polyboia as they are being carried up to heaven—which will not square with the metamorphosis story. Further, he is represented as bearded, and so not as the boy whom Apollo loved,44 but as a grown man (of whose daughters indeed other legends make mention).45 The true story of this Hyakinthos has disappeared almost without leaving a trace. But in what the monument reveals and in what we know of the yearly festival held in honour of Hyakinthos significant features emerge which perhaps can tell us the real character of the Daimon that was honoured at Amyklai together with, and as our information clearly shows, before Apollo himself.46 Hyakinthos was given offerings that were otherwise peculiar to the gods that ruled the lower world.47 These offerings were let down directly into the underground place where, in fact, Hyakinthos himself was supposed to dwell. In the great festival of the Hyakinthia the alternate worship of Apollo and Hyakinthos (after whom as the chief personage the festival is named) points to the incomplete amalgamation of two originally distinct cults; and the plain and unadorned, almost dismal, ceremonies of 100 the days devoted to Hyakinthos—contrasted with the more cheerful worship paid to Apollo on the middle day of the feast48—allow us to see clearly the real nature of Hyakinthos as a Daimon related to the gods of the underworld. On the altar-relief Polyboia was represented as his sister: she was a goddess of the underworld like Persephone.49 Hyakinthos was, then, an old local deity of the Amyklaian countryside, dwelling below the earth, and his worship at Amyklai was older than that of Apollo. But he is a dim figure. The Olympian god (probably not before the Doric conquest of the Achæan land) has set himself down beside, and indeed over, the ancient earth-spirit, and now outshines him without quite being able to banish his worship. The divine existence of the latter under the ground could not be imagined by later ages, except as the after-existence of the psyche of a dead and buried Hero whose body lay in the “grave” under the statue of the god. Next, in order to explain their association in cult, poetic legend made the god a lover, just as in another case, and for similar reasons, it had made him the lover of Daphne.50

§ 4

Thus it may be that under many a Hero whose grave was shown in the Temple of a god an ancient local-god was hidden, whose abode beneath the earth had been converted into a “grave” now that he himself had sunk from a deity of higher rank to a human chieftain. It depended upon the circumstances of the case whether his humanization was complete or whether the memory of his former god-head (preserved in cult) secured for him a second elevation to the heavenly regions51 among the Olympian gods whose nature was originally quite foreign to that of the old earth-daimon. Such conceptions, differing widely according to the circumstances of place and time, are shown most clearly in the different views taken of Asklepios. For Homer and the poets he is generally a great chieftain, a mortal who had learnt the art of healing from Cheiron. In religious cult he was generally set on a level with the upper gods. In reality he, too, is a local earth-dwelling deity from Thessaly, who from beneath the earth dispenses, like so many earth-spirits, healing from the ills of the flesh and knowledge of the future52—the two being closely connected in antiquity. He, too, easily bore the change from god to Hero. Asklepios was struck by Zeus’ lightning which in this, as in many cases, did not destroy life, but translated the person affected to a higher existence outside the visible world.53 101 We can now easily understand what it means when even this ancient earth-deity is said to be “buried”—his grave being shown at different places.54 Many peculiarities of the worship paid to him show clearly the original character of Asklepios as an ancient god living below the earth.55 One essential characteristic indeed of such earth-spirits he lacks—he is not bound to any one particular place. An enterprising priesthood, wandering in company with the rest of their tribe, had taken with them this old established worship of theirs, and spread it far and wide, so that Asklepios himself became at home in many different places.

Now, in closest relationship, though they remained more faithful to their original character, with this Zeus Asklepios stood those Boeotian earth-spirits with whom this discussion began. Trophonios, and Amphiaraos, too, might have been described as an Asklepios, who had stayed at home in his old cavern dwelling.56 They, too, Amphiaraos and Trophonios, had become mortal men of a past age in the imagination of a time which could no longer properly understand such cave-spirits. But we never hear of their “graves”; for the generation which made them Heroes knew nothing of mortal chieftains who after dying and being buried yet lived on with undiminished powers. But it was the belief in their uninterrupted potency that gave those strange cavern deities a secure place in men’s memory. In the epic and in legends inspired by the epic they are recognized as human beings that had not died but had been translated, without any division of soul from body, to everlasting life in the depths of the earth. Ever afterwards—even when they are not only called immortal, but actually “gods”—they are reckoned as men who have become immortal or godlike.57 And they have become the patterns of what other mortals too may rise to. In the Electra of Sophokles (836 ff.) the chorus wishing to justify the hope of a continued life for the departed, expressly appeal to the example of Amphiaraos, who still rules below the earth with all his spiritual powers intact. For the same reason these and other examples offered by ancient legend and poetry of the “translation” of individual great men to a life below the earth are important for our inquiry too. In them, as it did (in another sense) in the case of those translated to the Islands of the Blest, the Epic points beyond its own resigned and gloomy conception of the state after death towards a higher life after the visible world has been left behind. It took isolated cases of the once numerous class of cavern deities worshipped in Greek countries, and deprived 102 them of their god-head, though not of the superhumanly continued existence and (especially mantic) powers claimed for them by the belief and cult of their countrymen. Thus reduced to mortal rank, it interwove them in the fabric of the heroic mythology, and in so doing instituted a class of outstanding human individuals who had been raised to a godlike existence, far, indeed, from the upper world, but, at least, not condemned to the common realm of the souls. Instead they were given a home beneath the earth, each in a definite place in Greek territory, near living men, and able to help them. The descent from god to mortal Hero resulted, since the essential point of continued existence was not denied, in a corresponding exaltation of the mortal and the heroic to the divine. Thus the epic leads us in this instance towards a range of conceptions which the poems themselves treated as though it never existed, and which now suddenly comes into view.


1 Pi., N. ix, 24 ff., x, 8 f., [Apollod.] iii, 6, 8, 4 (σὺν τῷ ἅρματι καὶ τῷ ἡνιόχῳ Βάτωνι . . . ἐκρύφθη καὶ Ζεὺς ἀθάνατον αὐτὸν ἐποίησεν) etc. The expressions used to describe the translation and continued conscious existence of A. are noteworthy: κατὰ γαῖ’ αὐτόν τέ νιν καὶ φαιδίμους ἵππους ἔμαρψεν, Pi., O. vi, 14. Ζεὺς κρύψεν ἅμ’ ἵπποις, N. ix, 25. γαῖα ὑπέδεκτο μάντιν Οἰκλείδαν, x, 8. μάντις κεκευθὼς πολεμίας ὑπο χθονός, A., Th., 588. ἐδέξατο ῥαγεῖσα Θηβαία κόνις, S. fr., 873 (= 958 P.). θεοὶ ζῶντ’ ἀναρπάσαντες ἐς μύχους χθονὸς αὐτοῖς τεθρίπποις εὐλογοῦσιν ἐμφανῶς, E. Supp., 928 f. ἥρπασεν χάρυβδις οἰωνοσκόπον, τέθριππον ἅρμα περιβαλοῦσα χάσματι, 501 f. (Eriphyle) Ἀμφιάραον ἔκρυψ’ ὑπὸ γῆν αὐτοῖσι σὺν ἵπποις, Oracle in Ephorus ap. Ath., 232 F. Ἀμφιαράου ζῶντος τὸ σῶμα καταδέξασθαι τὴν γῆν, Agatharch., p. 115, 21 Mü. ἐπεσπάσατο ἡ γῆ ζῶντα, Philostr., V. Ap., 2, 37, p. 79, 18 Kays. ἀφανισμός of A., St. Byz. s. Ἅρπυια.—πάμψυχος ἀνάσσει, S., El., 841; ἀεὶ ζῶν τιμᾶται, Xen., Cyn. i, 8.

2 That the translation of Amphiaraos in the form so frequently repeated by later authors (clearly following an important and influential original) appeared already in the Thebaïs of the epic cycle is taken by Welcker for granted, Ep. Cykl. ii, 362, 66. The view is intrinsically probable: but it can claim more definite grounds. Pi., O. vi, 12–17, tells us that after Amphiaraos and his team had been swallowed up by the earth, Adrastos, over the seven funeral-pyres (which consumed the bodies of the Argives who had fallen in battle), said ποθέω στρατιᾶς ὀφθαλμὸν ἐμᾶς, ἀμφότερον, μάντιν τ’ ἀγαθὸν καὶ δουρὶ μάρνασθαι. That this famous lament was taken ἐκ τῆς κυκλικῆς Θηβαΐδος, fr. 5 Kinkel, p. 12, is proved by the testimony of the ancient scholia on ποθέω κτλ., quoting Asklepiades. This means that in the Thebaïs too, after the battle was over Amphiaraos was not to be found either among the fallen or the survivors—was in fact translated. Pindar must have taken not merely the words of the lament of Adrastos but the whole situation that led up to these words, as he described it, from the Thebaïs. (Bethe, Theb. Held. [1891], p. 58 f., 94 ff., claims to prove that Pindar took nothing but the words ἀμφότερον κτλ. from the Thebaïs which said nothing of the burial of these who had fallen before Thebes, and that Pindar added this last on his own account, O. vi, as well as N. ix, 25. But the “proofs” of this view, in itself highly improbable, on closer examination come to nothing.)—In the Odyssey it is said of Amph. ὄλετ’ ἐν Θήβῃσι ο 247; θάνεν Ἀμφιάραος 253. The expression “is naturally to be understood as merely implying disappearance from the earth” says Welcker, Ep. C. ii, 366. All we can claim is that the expression does not indeed prevent us from assuming that the story of the “disappearance” of Amph. was known also to the poet of these lines. Thus in the OC. of Soph. Antigone says twice over (ll. 1706, 1714) that Oedipus ἔθανε, whereas he really was like Amphiaraos translated alive (ἄσκοποι πλάκες ἔμαρψαν 1681).

3 Pi., fr. 167, A.R. i, 57–64 (ζωός περ ἔτι . . . ἐδύσετο νειόθι γαίης). Orph., Arg., 171–5 (φασὶν . . . ζωόν τ’ ἐν φθιμένοισι μολεῖν ὑπὸ κεύθεσι γαίης). Agatharch., p. 114, 39–43 Mü. (εἰς τὴν γῆν καταδῦναι ὀρθόν τε καὶ ζῶντα). Schol. and Eust. on Α 264, p. 1001.—In Ovid, M. xii, 514 ff., the translation becomes a metamorphosis (into a bird); and 104 often an ancient translation myth has thus been replaced by a metamorphosis in later mythology. The connected story of Kaineus has been lost, and only a few fragments survive in Sch., A.R. i, 57; Sch., Α 264 (the best known being the change of sex [cf. also Meineke, h. crit. com., 345], the meaning of which is very dubious. Similar stories are told of Teiresias, Sithon (Ov., M. iv, 280), Iphis, and Ianthe, this last reminding us strikingly of a narrative in the Mahâbhârata. Then frequently in many miracle tales, both heathen and Christian, to which far too much respect is paid by those who seek to find in them dark reminiscences of bisexual gods). No traces of a cult of Kaineus can be found.

4 Althaimenes, son of Katreus (cf. Rh. Mus. 36, 432 f.), εὐξάμενος ὑπὸ χάσματος ἐκρύβη [Apollod.], iii, 2, 2, 3. Rationalistic version of Zeno of Rhodos ap. D.S., 5, 59, 4, who says, however, ὕστερον κατὰ χρησμόν τινα τιμὰς ἔσχε παρὰ Ῥοδίοις ἡρωϊκάς, and, in fact, we learn from an insc. in Newton, Gr. Insc. in B.M. ii, 352, that a political division (Ktoina?) of the people of Rhodos was called Ἀλθαιμενίς, whose ἥρως ἐπώνυμος must have been Althaimenes.

5 Amphilochos appeared in person to sleepers at his dream-oracle at Mallos in Cilicia (Luc., Philops., 38)—so also did his rival Mopsos, Plut., DO. 45, 434 D—as well as at his oracle in Akarnania, Aristid. i, p. 78 D. [38, 21 Keil]. Mopsos in Cilicia and Amphilochos in Akarnania are alike in being among those δαιμόνια which ἱδρυμένα ἔν τινι τόπῳ τοῦτον οἰκοῦσιν, Orig., c. Cels. iii, 34, pp. 293–4 L. The same author says of Amph. Mopsos and others, ἀνθρωποειδεῖς θεωρεῖσθαι θεούς, vii, 35, p. 53.

6 Laodike, daughter of Priam [Apollod.], Epit. v, 25; Nicol. Prog. ii, 1.—Aristaios, who ἄφαντος γίγνεται in M. Haemus and is now honoured ἀθανάτοις τιμαῖς, D.S. iv, 82, 6. (Cf. Hiller v. Gärtr., Pauly-Wiss. ii, 855, 23 ff.)

7 The regular expression for these subterranean dwelling-places is μέγαρα. Lex. rhet. ap. Eust., Od., 1387, 17 f. Hence also the sacrificial pits into which men lowered the offerings made to the deities of the lower world are called μέγαρα (Lob., Agl., 830; μέγαρα = χάσματα, Schol. Luc., D. Mer. 2, pp. 275 ff. Rabe). It was thought that by sinking the gifts in the ground they would immediately reach the dwelling-place of the spirit who lived there. The sacrificial chasm is itself the “chamber”, μέγαρον, in which the spirit lives (in the form of a snake) and dwells.

8 κ 492 ff., ψυχῇ χρησομένους Θηβαίου Τειρεσίαο, μάντηος ἀλαοῦ τοῦ τε φρένες ἔμπεδοί εἰσιν· τῷ καὶ τεθνηῶτι νόον πόρε Περσεφόνεια, οἴῳ πεπνῦσθαι· τοὶ δὲ σκιαὶ ἀΐσσουσιν. His φρένες being undestroyed the most important and distinguishing feature of death is absent. His body, indeed, is destroyed and hence he is called τεθνηώς like all the other dwellers in Hades, though it is still difficult to see how the φρένες could remain without a body. It is highly probable that the idea of the continued existence of the consciousness of the famous seer renowned in Theban legend was derived by the poet from a popular tradition according to which Teiresias still gave proof of the clearness of his wits by the oracles which he sent up from below the earth. In Orchomenos there was a χρηστήριον Τειρεσίου, Plu., DO. 44, p. 434 C (as Nitzsch, Anm. Od. iii, p. 151. also reminds us). If we may argue from the context in which Plutarch speaks of him, this must have been an earth-oracle, i.e. an incubation-oracle. There stories like those told at Thebes of Amphiaraos may have been related of Teiresias and his survival after death. Some such information the poet of 105 the Nekyia may then have transformed and made use of for his own purposes. Str. 762 not without good ground connects these verses about Teiresias with the stories of Amphiaraos and Trophonios.

9 The ancient site of the Oracle of Amphiaraos was near Thebes at the place (Knopia) where according to the epic story he sank into the earth. Paus. 9, 8, 3, Str. 404. Even at the time of the Persian war the envoy of Mardonios inquired of him there, near Thebes, as Hdt. viii, 134, unmistakably says. (That the oracle lay in Theban territory is shown also by the addition of the words, otherwise pointless, Θηβαίων οὐδενὶ ἔξεστι μαντεύεσθαι αὐτοθί. A similar rule is found at the temple of Herakles in Erythrai which may be approached by Thracian women but not by Erythræan women [Paus. 7, 5, 7–8]; and in the same way the Lampsakenoi were excluded from the funeral games of Miltiades on the Chersonnese: Hdt. vi, 38.) Oropos also claimed to harbour Amphiaraos under its soil; Sch. Pi., O. vi, 18, 21–3; differently in Paus. 1, 34, 2–4. But the oracle must have been moved there afterwards—hardly before the end of the fifth century (μεθιδρύθη, Str. 404); to suppose that it had always been confined to Oropos is contrary to all the traditional evidence.

10 Those who wished to inquire of his oracle offered by night to Trophonios, before going down into the cave, a ram, sacrificing it in a pit (βόθρος): Paus. 9, 39, 6; to Amphiaraos, after a considerable fast (Philos., VA., 2, 37, pp. 79, 19 ff. K.) and the provision of a καθάρσιον, the inquirer offered a ram upon the fleece of which he lay down to sleep (Paus. 1, 34, 5).—Cleanthem cum pede terram percussisset versum ex Epigonis (prob. of Soph.) ferunt dixisse: audisne haec, Amphiaraë, sub terram abdite? Cic., TD. ii, 60. The gesture also must have been borrowed from the same scene in the Ἐπίγονοι. It was thus customary to knock on the ground in calling upon A., as in the case of other καταχθόνιοι (Ἀμφιάραε χθόνιε occurs as late as P. Mag. Par. 1446 f. W .): I 568; cf. Paus. 8, 15, 3. Cf. also Nägelsb., Nachh. Theol., 102, 214. Skedasos in Sparta γῆν τύπτων ἀνεκαλεῖτο τὰς Ἐρινύας, Plu., AN. 3, p. 774 B. In his grief for the loss of his daughter Herodes Atticus threw himself on the ground τὴν γῆν παίων καὶ βοῶν· τί σοι, θύγατερ, καθαγίσω; τί σοι ξυνθάψω; Philostr., VS. 2, 1, 10. Pythagoras ὅταν βροντήσῃ τῆς γῆς ἅψασθαι παρήγγειλεν, Iamb., VP. 156.

11 That the dream-oracle of Trophonios had a much older influence is implied by the story of the inquiry made of it by the Βοιωτοὶ ἁλόντες ὑπὸ Θρᾳκῶν in Phot. (Suid.) λύσιοι τελεταί.

12 Trophonios himself was supposed to appear in the cave at Lebadeia. The inquirer goes down to it δεόμενος συγγενέσθαι τῷ δαιμονίῳ (Max. Tyr. 14, 2, p. 249 R.); indications were sought from sacrifice εἰ δὴ τὸν κατιόντα εὐμενὴς καὶ ἵλεως δέξεται (Trophonios), Paus. 9, 36, 6. Saon, the discoverer of the oracle and founder of the cult, had after entering the μαντεῖον met Trophonios himself in person, τὴν ἱερουργίαν . . . διδαχθῆναι παρὰ τοῦ Τροφωνίου φασί (Paus. 9, 40, 2). He dwells and is visible in the oracular cavern: Orig., Cels. iii, 34, pp. 293–4 L.; vii, 35, p. 53; Aristid. i, p. 78 D. [38, 21 Keil]. Even the stupidly rationalising account of Troph. in Schol. Ar., Nub. 508, p. 190 Ruth., Sch. Luc., DM. iii, Cosm. ad Greg. Naz. p. 184 [Clarke, p. 52] (Eudoc., Viol., p. 682, 8)—implies the bodily presence of an ἐγκατοικῆσαν δαιμόνιον in the cave of Trophonios. Lucian, too, shows that this was the popular impression (DM. iii, 2) by his curious satiric fiction that whereas Troph. himself was in Hades (to which acc. to Necyom. 22 the cave of Trophonios was only an 106 entrance) τὸ θεῖον ἡμίτομον of Trophonios χρᾷ ἐν Βοιωτίᾳ. Thus the visitor expected to meet Trophonios there in his divine shape, as Ampelius puts it in a similar case with great simplicity and directness, 8, 3: ibi (Argis in Epiro) Iovis templum hyphonis (irretrievably corrupt: Trophonii absurdly Duker; Typhonis, Tychonis others not much better) unde est ad inferos descensus ad tollendas sortes: in quo loco dicuntur ii qui descenderunt Iovem ipsum videre. Otherwise, Tr. was said to inhabit the cave in the shape of a snake as is so frequently the case with earth-deities. Not only are snakes sacred to him as to Asklepios (Paus. 9, 39, 3) and live in his cave (to propitiate them people take honey-cakes down with them) but he himself is present in the form of a snake: ὄφις ἦν ὁ μαντευόμενος, Schol. Ar., Nub. 508: cf. Suidas Τροφώνιος. It was this personal contact between the god and the inquirer which specially distinguished the oracle of Tr. μόνον ἐκεῖνο (τὸ μαντεῖον) δι’ αὐτοῦ χρᾷ τοῦ χρωμένου. Philostr., VA. 8, 19, p. 335, 30 K. Of course, many only heard without seeing: τις καὶ εἶδεν καὶ ἄλλος ἤκουσεν, Paus. 9, 39, 11. But it was the god they heard.

13 Speaking of Zalmoxis among the Getae (cf. Str. 297 f.; 762; Hdt. iv, 95–6. EM. Ζάλμ.), Mopsos in Cilicia, Amphilochos in Akarnania, Amphiaraos and Trophonios—in fact, all of them daimones who had oracles of Incubation—Or. (Cels. iii, 34, p. 293–4 L.) says: they have temples and ἀγάλματα as δαιμονίοις οὐκ οἶδ’ ὅπως ἱδρυμένοις ἔν τινι τόπῳ, ὃν . . . οἰκοῦσιν. They dwell within this ἕνα κεκληρωμένον τόπον, vii, 35 (pp. 53–4 L.), cf. iii, 35 fin. In that place and only there are such daimones visible. Cels. vii, 35 (p. 53 L.), of the temples of Amph., Troph., Mops.: ἔνθα φησὶν ἀνθρωποειδεῖς θεωρεῖσθαι θεοὺς καὶ οὐ ψευδομένους ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐναργεῖς. . . . ὄψεταί τις αὐτοὺς οὐχ ἅπαξ παραρρυέντας . . . ἀλλ’ ἄει τοῖς βουλομένοις ὁμιλοῦντας (and so ever present there). Aristid. i, p. 78 Di. [38, 21 K.], Ἀμφιάραος καὶ Τροφώνιος ἐν Βοιωτίᾳ καὶ Ἀμφίλοχος ἐν Αἰτωλίᾳ χρησμῳδοῦσι καὶ φαίνονται. On the extension beyond its original home of the cult of such an Incubation-deity localization in a single spot was of course relaxed. It was either disputed where his permanent habitation really was (as in the case of Amph.), or else the god gradually ceased to be bound to any one place, though still bound to certain places in the sense that he could appear only there, and not anywhere he chose. Such is the case with Asklepios and with various other daimones equally bound originally to a single spot, who then ἐπιφαίνονται, ἐπιφοιτῶσιν, in certain other temples as well (cf. for example, the account of the ἐπιφάνειαι of Machaon and Podaleirios in Adrotta given by Marin., V. Procli, 32; cf. Suid. Εὐστέφιος, from Damascius, V. Isid.). But when inquiries are made of a god by Incubation the god must always appear in person; if he is absent no oracle can be given. See the story of Amphiaraos in Plu., DO. 5, p. 412 A. In the records of miracles of healing found in Epidauros the god himself regularly comes to the sleeper in the ἄδυτον (or else in the form of a snake Ἐφ. Ἀρχ. ’83, p. 215 f., ll. 113–19), sometimes accompanied by his ὑπήρεται (the Asklepiadai), cf. Ἐφ. Ἀρχ. ’85, p. 17 ff. ll. 38 ff., 111 f. In the old miracle of Aristagora of Troezen (Ἐφ. Ἀρχ. ’85, p. 15, l. 10 ff.) reported already by Hippys of Rhegion (which there is no reason to doubt) at first only “the sons of the god” appeared to the sick woman οὐκ ἐπιδαμοῦντος αὐτοῦ ἀλλ’ ἐν Ἐπιδαύρῳ ἐόντος. Only in the following night did Asklepios himself appear to her ἱκὼν ἐξ Ἐπιδαύρου. Everywhere it is implied that dream-healing can only take place through personal action of the god (cf. Ar., Plut.); 107 later by the advice, at least, of the god, personally appearing to the patient (see Zacher, Hermes, xxi, 472 f.); and this presumption is explained by the fact that originally Incubation could only take place at the actual spot where the god (or Hero) had his permanent abode.

14 The ὑποφῆται of the Dodonian Zeus the Σελλοί, ἀνιπτόποδες χαμαιεῦναι, Π 234 f., were explained by some already in antiquity as priests of an Incubation oracle (Eust., Il., p. 1057, 64 ff.), Welcker agreeing with them, Kl. Schr. iii, 90 f. This view is founded solely on the adj. χαμαιεῦναι, which is not, however, to be separated from ἀνιπτόποδες. But since ἀνιπτόποδες can have no connexion with Incubation neither then can χαμαιεῦναι. Both epithets refer obviously to the special severity and simplicity of the life of the Σελλοί, the (ritual) reason for which it is true we do not know and have no means of guessing.

15 It remains indeed impossible to determine what moved the epic to recognize in the Boeotian cave-daimon the Argive seer Amphiaraos (even during his life-time an adept in the incubation-mantic art acc. to Paus. 2, 13, 7; cf. Did. in Gp. 2, 35, 8, p. 73, 14 ff. Beckh), or why the heroized god Amphiaraos was turned into an Argive and made a member of the prophetic family of Melampous otherwise the foes of the Boeotian seers; or, finally, why he was brought to Boeotia as an enemy and then made to dwell for ever in that hostile and alien land.

16 Henry the Fowler in Sudemerberg: Kuhn and Schwartz, Nordd. Sag., p. 185. The other examples in Grimm, ch. xxxii.—G. Voigt in Sybel’s hist. Zeits. xxvi (1871), pp. 131–87, shows in his most lucid account that it was not originally Frederick Barbarossa but Frederick II whom the legend represented as not dead but “lost” and to whom the expectation referred that he would come again some day. From the fifteenth century the story begins to appear that he was dwelling in Kyffhäuser (or in a cave in the rocks near Kaiserslautern); the name of Barbarossa does not appear till the sixteenth century, and then gradually predominates. But how it came about that from a definite moment onwards the translated emperor was thought of as living on in a hollow mountain is by no means clear from the written documents alone or from the critical study of the evolution of the legend. Suddenly and without intermediate steps the story assumes this shape, and it can hardly be accounted for except on the view that it arose from the combination of the Frederick legend with already existing Saga-stories of translated Heroes or gods (as Voigt also suggests, p. 160).

17 Grimm, pp. 959–61. Simrock, D. Myth.3, p. 144.—How easily similar legends can appear spontaneously among different peoples without interconnexion appears from the fact that translation legends are also found not only in Greece but in distant Mexico; see Müller, Gesch. am. Urrel. 582. Holy men who have “vanished” and are not dead but live on in the depths of mountain caves, and are expected one day to reappear on earth, occur in the legends of Mohammedan peoples of the East: A. v. Kremer, Culturg. Streifz. Geb. Islam, 50; Gesch. Ideen Islam, 375 f., 378.

18 Διὶ Τρεφωνίοι Insc. from Lebadeia, Meister, Böot. Insc. 423 (GDI. i, p. 163); otherwise only Τρεφωνίοι (n. 407, 414, καταβὰς ἐν Τρεφώνιον BCH. 1890, p. 21), Τροφωνίῳ (n. 413); and side by side occur τῦ Δὶ τῦ Βασιλεῖι κὴ τῦ Τρεφωνίυ, etc. (n. 425, 429, 430). Διονύσω εὐσταφύλω κατὰ χρησμὸν Διὸς Τροφωνίου Insc. from Labadeia in Stephani Reise d. Geg. nörd. Griechen, No. 47. Ins. from Leb. IGSept. i, 3077 (1st–2nd cent. A.D.)—Str. 414: Λεβάδεια ὅπου Διὸς Τροφωνίου μαντεῖον ἵδρυται. 108 Liv. 45, 27, 8, Labadiae templum Iovis Trophonii adiit. Obs. 50 (= 110) Lebadiae Eutychides in templum Iovis Trophonii degressus—. Διὸς μαντεῖον is the name given to the oracle of Tr. in Phot. also and Hesych. Λεβάδεια.

19 Διὸς Ἀμφιαράου ἱερόν (at Oropos): [Dicaearch.] Descr. Gr. i, § 6 (i, 100 Mü.). Even Hyperides in the speech for Euxenippos refers throughout to Amph. at Oropos as a god. Amph. in Or. ὁ θεός (1st–2nd cent. B.C.): IGS. i, 3498; 412; CIG. 1570a, 25, 30, 52. Liv. 45, 27, 10 (in Oropos) pro deo vates antiquus colitur. Cic. Div. i, 88: Amphiaraum sic honoravit fama Græciæ, deus ut haberetur. Plutarch also, speaking of the embassy sent by Mardonios to the ancient Theban oracle, calls Amph. θεός: DO. 5, p. 412 A. Acc. to Paus. 1, 34, 2, however, Amph. was first honoured as a god in Oropos.

20 Origen is expressing it in his own way, but he is quite right in principle when he distinguishes the local gods remaining in the countryside from the gods of Olympos, Cels. iii, 35 fin.: μοχθηρῶν δαιμόνων καὶ τόπους ἐπὶ γῆς προκατειληφότων, ἐπεὶ τῆς καθαρωτέρας οὐ δύνανται ἐφάψασθαι χώρας καὶ θειοτέρας. He says of Asklepios, 5, 2 (p. 169 L.), θεὸς μὲν ἂν εἴη ἀεὶ δὲ λαχὼν οἰκεῖν τὴν γῆν καὶ ὡσπερεὶ φυγὰς τοῦ τόπου τῶν θεῶν.

21 Διὸς μεγάλου ὀαριστής. The word implies quite as much familiar conversation as well as general intimacy with Zeus. The obscure ἐννέωρος need not be considered here. In any case it is to be taken closely with βασίλευε, next to which it stands, and not with Διὸς μ. ὀαριστής (as many even ancient writers have done).

22 Intercourse of Minos with Zeus in the cave: [Pl.] Min. 319 E. (whence Str. 762), Ephorus ap. Str. 476; (from Eph. also Nic. Dam. ap. Stob. Fl. iv, 2, 25, p. 161 H.). V.M. i, 2, ext. 1. Here the position of the cave is as a rule not precisely stated. But the Idaian cave is generally meant and Max. Tyr. definitely refers to this one as the place where Minos met Zeus, 38, 2 (p. 221 R.).

23 Birth of Zeus in the cave: Αἰγαίῳ ἐν ὄρει Hes., Th. 481 ff. Thence his mother bore him ἐς Λύκτον 482 (cf. 477), which would be near Ida:—ἐς Δίκτην Schömann. And, at any rate, the cave on Mt. Dicte was the generally reputed place of Zeus’ birth: [Apoll.] 1, 1, 6. D.S. 5, 70, 6; Mela 2, 113; D.H. 2, 61 (who also makes Minos visit Zeus there). At Praisos τὸ τοῦ Δικταίου Διὸς ἱερόν: Str. 475–8. Others, indeed, mention Ida as the place of the birth of Zeus: D.S. 5, 70, 2, 4; A.R. iii, 134. Both the holy caves are thus continually rivals; but it appears that the legend of the birth of Zeus was principally localized at the Diktaian cave, that of his intercourse with Minos chiefly at the Idaian; cf. now also M. Mayer, Myth. Lex. s. Kronos, ii, 1533 ff.

24 Max. Tyr. 16, 1 (cf. 38, 3; prob. from Max. only, Theod. Met. Misc. c. 90, p. 580 Mü.). Cf. Rh. Mus. 35, 161 f. Max. speaks of the cave of Diktaian Zeus, perhaps only inexactly and by oversight. It would be to Ida rather and its cave which rose above Knossos, the home of Epimenides, that the legend would make him go on pilgrimage. So, too, D.L. viii, 1, 3, of Pythagoras, ἐν Κρήτῃ σὺν Ἐπιμενίδῃ κατῆλθεν εἰς τὸ Ἰδαῖον ἄντρον. Pyth. in the Idaian cave, Porph., VP. 17.

25 Schol. Plat., Leg. i, introd. (p. 372 Herm.) and Leg. 625 B, see Lob., Agl. 1121. (Διὸς Ἰδαίου μύστης, Eur., Cret. fr. 472, 10 N.) Recently the Idaian cave of Zeus has been rediscovered high up in the mountains, a day’s journey from Knossos (Fabricius, Ath. Mitth., vol. x, 59 ff.). Remains of votive offerings of antiquity have been 109 found, but only before the entrance to the cave ἐν τῷ στομίῳ τοῦ ἄντρου (where Thphr. had already remarked the like, HP. 3, 3, 4); inside the cave, which, like a vaulted tomb, consisted of two chambers, only traces of the cult from Roman times were found. It seems from this that the sacrificial ritual of the previous period did not reach further than the entrance of the cave (as was the case also at the temple of Troph. at Lebadeia); while the interior of the cave as the seat of the god himself was only entered by Mystai and priests (the birth-chamber was not to be approached at all: Boios, ap. Ant. Lib. 19).

26 Porph., VP. 17, p. 25 N.: εἰς δὲ τὸ Ἰδαῖον καλούμενον ἄντρον καταβὰς ἔρια ἔχων μέλανα τὰς νομιζομένας τρὶς ἐννέα (cf. Nauck on S., OC. 483) ἡμέρας ἐκεῖ διέτριψεν καὶ καθήγισεν τῷ Διί, τόν τε στορνύμενον αὐτῷ κατ’ ἔτος θρόνον ἐθεάσατο. The historical truth of the story of Pyth.’s visit to the cave need not be discussed here, but we may assume the credibility of the details given of the cult of Zeus in the cave and the customary ceremonial of pilgrimage to it. (The story comes from relatively good sources, Gr. Roman, p. 254.)—The long time spent in the cave (i.e. in the wide and lofty outer chamber) has its companion picture in what Str. 649 says of Χαρώνιον at Acharaka, Plu., Gen. Soc. 21, 590 B., of the cave of Trophonios. It was necessary also to spend several days in the οἴκημα Δαίμονος ἀγαθοῦ καὶ Τύχης in preparation for the descent into the cave: Paus. 9, 39, 5. The (to Zeus) στορνύμενος κατ’ ἔτος θρόνος has nothing to do with the Korybantic θρονισμός (see Hiller, Hermes, 21, 365). What is meant is in any case a lectisternium: thus in Athens it was usual to κλίνην στρῶσαι τῷ Πλούτωνι, CIA. ii, 948–50; to Asklepios (CIA. ii, 453b 11): to Attis, CIA. ii, 622; (in Cos at the ξενισμός of Herakles, Ins. Cos 36b, 22), etc. The θρόνος (στρωνύειν θρόνους δύο for a goddess CIA. ii, 624, 9, 10) appearing instead of a κλίνη is possibly in accordance with ancient ritual. Thus in the so-called feasts of the dead in ancient times the Hero is represented on a throne while later he reclines on the κλίνη. Thus in Rome besides lectisternia we sometimes have sellisternia especially for female deities: Comm. Lud. Saec., l. 71; 101; 138 [Dessau, ii, 1, p. 282; CIL. vi, 32] and elsewhere.

27 Acc. to Ennius, Euh. 73 Vahl. (ap. Lactant. i, 11, and ap. Min. Fel. xxi, 1) Euhemeros spoke of the grave of Zeus. Call., h. Jov. 8–9, clearly attacks the fable of Zeus’ grave in Crete. It seems to me very probable that Euh. had taken up the story as one that evidently suited his cheap pragmatical interpretation of myths and had introduced it into literature. It would be Euh. then whom Call., loc. cit., was attacking as he did elsewhere the γέρων ἀλαζών and his ἄδικα βιβλία (fr. 86).

28 The grave of Zeus in Crete is spoken of without exact specification of the place by Call., loc. cit., Cic., ND. iii, 53; D.S. 3, 61, 2; Mela ii, 112; Luc., Tim. 6, J. Tr. 45, Sacr. 10, D. Conc. 6; Min. xxi, 8; Firm., Err. Prof. Rel. vii, 6. Euhemeros ap. Min. xxi, 1, speaks of the Dictæi Iovis sepulcrum obviously inexactly, for acc. to Lact. i, 11, he made the grave in oppido Cnosso far from Mt. Dicte. Even there he means not “in” but “near” Knossos, i.e. on Mt. Ida. For the fact that it was on Mt. Ida we have the testimony of Varro de litoralibus ap. Solin. 11, p. 81, 12–15 Momms. Finally, the situation of the grave within the Idaian cave is clear from Porph., VP. 17, p. 25 N.

29 Hence the story of the grave of Zeus (when not denied outright as by Call.) was allegorized; Celsus hinted at τροπικὰς ὑπονοίας: Or., Cels. iii, 43, p. 307 L.; cf. Philostr., VS. p. 76, 15 ff. K. 110

30 Examples are frequent in the mythology of Oriental, and generally but not exclusively Semitic peoples. It is generally “Kronos” who is buried (cf. Mayer, Myth. Lex. ii, 1487 ff.); at other times Astarte, Adonis, the Phrygian Attis, “Herakles,” and others. Cf. also the stories of the Heroes sleeping eternally in Sardinia (Rh. Mus. 35, 157 ff.; 37, 465 ff.); and of Kragos and the other ἄγριοι θεοί (or θεοὶ ἀγρεῖς? JHS. 10, 57, 55) who “were made immortal” on Mt. Kragos in Lykia (St. Byz. Κράγος): they, too, were thought of as sleeping, and not “dead”, as Eust. on D.P. 847 expresses it.

31 Varro, LL. vii, 17, p. 124 Sp.2, compares the shape of the Omphalos with a thesaurus, i.e. with one of the vaulted buildings which used to be called treasuries, but which have now been undoubtedly proved to be really vaulted graves. On a smaller scale (as vase paintings show) the ὀμφαλός had the shape generally given to the dwelling-places made for the spirits of the departed who dwelt below the earth, as well as that of the abodes of other earth-spirits; even the χάσμα γῆς over the cavern of Trophonios was of this shape, Paus. 9, 39, 10. Was this dome-shape especially connected with earth-spirits who had mantic powers? The Delphic “omphalos” was even used as a technical expression to describe this “tholos” shape; thus the ὀμφαλοί (of φιάλαι) καὶ τῶν βαλανείων οἱ θόλοι παρόμοιοι, Ath. 501 D. E. (cf. Hesych. Βαλανειομφάλους, AB. 225, 6). It was called ὀμφαλός Γῆς because sacred to the earth-goddess. It was later interpreted “navel”, i.e. middle point of the earth, by mistake, and then fabulous accounts made up to explain this.

32 Modern writers have adopted the view that Dionysos was buried under the Omphalos: e.g. Enmann, Kypros u. Ursp. Aphrod., S. Petersb., 1886, p. 47 ff. But closer examination shows that all that we have good authority for is that the ὀμφαλός was Pythonis tumulus (Varro, LL. vii, 17, p. 124 Sp.), τάφος τοῦ Πύθωνος (Hesych. s. Τοξίου βουνός). Dionysos, on the other hand, was buried at Delphi, παρὰ τὸν Ἀπόλλωνα τὸν χρυσοῦν (Philochoros ap. Sync. 307, 4 ff. Di.; Eus. Arm. = Hier. Chr., pp. 44–5 Sch.; Malal., p. 45, 7 Di., from Africanus acc. to Gelzer, Afric. i, 132 f.), i.e. he was buried in the ἄδυτον (cf. Paus. 10, 24, 5), or, what comes to the same thing, παρὰ τὸ χρηστήριον (Plu., Is. et O. 35, 365 A.), παρὰ τὸν τρίποδα (Call. ap. Tz. Lyc. 208; cf. E.M. Δελφοί). The tripod stood in the Adyton (D.S. 16, 26; Str. 419; cf. Hdt. vii, 140). Whether the ὀμφαλός also stood in the Adyton (or whether as some think, in the Cella of the Temple) cannot be made out for certain though it seems probable. No one, however, made the grave of Dionysos under the Omphalos except Tat., Gr. viii, p. 40 Ott. [p. 9, 16 ff. Schw.]: ὁ ὀμφαλὸς τάφος ἐστὶ Διονύσου, and the statement of this very careless pamphleteer cannot stand against the witness of Varro, etc. It is plain that Tatian confused the two “graves”, as Hyg. 140 and Serv. (A. iii, 92; iii, 360; vi, 347) did, reversing the process and making the tripod into the grave of the Python. The real tradition knew, besides the grave of Dionysos near the tripod, the grave of Python in the Omphalos of his mother Gaia. This was never seriously denied; doubt might rather have been believed to linger over the question, who then was preserved in the tripod? Porph., VP. 18, p. 25, 6 ff. N., says that it was Apollo himself, or possibly an Apollo the son of Silenos. This absurdity seems to go back to Euhemeros (cf. Minuc. xxi, 1; worthless is Fulgentius Expos., 2, p. 769 Stav. = p. 112, 3 ff. Helm), and may be merely a frivolous jest. (Too much respect is paid to this tradition by K. O. Müller, Introd. to Scient. Myth., p. 246.) 111

33 That the snake killed by Apollo was the guardian of the old μαντεῖον χθόνιον we have on unimpeachable authority (testim. collected by Th. Schreiber, Apollo Pythoktonos, p. 3): esp. Eur., IT. 1245 ff. Call., fr. 364; ποιηταί acc. to Paus. 10, 6, 6, who say that (τὸν Πύθωνα) ἐπὶ τῷ μαντείῳ φύλακα ὑπὸ Γῆς τετάχθαι κτλ. That the struggle was for the oracle is shown briefly and plainly by [Apollod.] 1, 4, 1, 3: ὡς δὲ ὁ φρουρῶν τὸ μαντεῖον Πύθων ὄφις ἐκώλυεν αὐτὸν (Ἀπόλλωνα) παρελθεῖν ἐπὶ τὸ χάσμα (the oracular cleft), τοῦτον ἀνελών τὸ μαντεῖον παραλαμβάνει. The snake form is proper to earth-spirits, and, as earth-spirits always have mantic power, to oracle-spirits. Trophonios appeared as a snake and so did Asklepios. There can be no doubt that the Delphian δράκων is the embodiment of the pre-Apolline oracle-daimon. Thus Hesych. says exactly Πύθων δαιμόνιον μαντικόν (elaborated in Hyg. 140). Cf. Act. 1616.—Supporters of the doctrine of the Greek “religion of Nature” find even in the legend of Apollo’s fight with the snake an allegorical version of a physical fact tending to become an ethical one. I cannot regard such an allegory as primitive.

34 An instructive parallel may be added. In [Clem.] Hom. 5, 22, p. 70, 32 Lag., there is mention of a grave of Plouton ἐν τῇ Ἀχερουσίᾳ λίμνῃ. This may be explained as follows. At Hermione Hades under the name of Klymenos was honoured together with Demeter Χθονία and Kore (CIG. 1197, 1199). Pausanias knew well that Klymenos was a titular name (ἐπίκλησις) of Hades (2, 35, 9), but his rejection of the opinion that Klymenos was a man from Argos who had come to Hermione (as founder of the Chthonic cult) shows that this was the general view. Behind the temple of Chthonia lay χωρία ἃ καλοῦσιν Ἑρμιονεῖς τὸ μὲν Κλυμένου, τὸ δὲ Πλούτωνος, τὸ τρίτον δὲ αὐτων λίμνην Ἀχερουσίαν. At this λίμνη Ἀχερουσία it is possible that a grave of Hades, transformed into the Hero Klymenos, may have been shown. This Clemens referred to, but instead of Klymenos or Hades used inaccurately the name more familiar to later times, Plouton.

35 κὰδ δ’ ἐν Ἀθήνῃσ’ εἶσεν, ἑῷ ἐνὶ πίονι νηῷ. These words may be kept in mind in order to explain the mysterious narrative in Hesiod Th. 987 ff. of Phaethon whom Aphrodite ὦρτ’ ἀνερειψαμένη καί μιν ζαθέοις ἐνὶ νήοις νηοπόλον μύχιον ποιήσατο, δαίμονα δῖον. Aphr., in fact. “translated” Phaethon alive and made him immortal—within her own temple just as Athene had Erechtheus. Perhaps Phaethon was translated beneath the ground under the temple—the adj. μύχιον may mean this. θεοὶ μύχιοι are those that rule over the μυχός of a house, e.g. over the θάλαμος as the inmost chamber: thus Ἀφροδίτη μυχία (Ael., HA. x, 34). Λητὼ μυχία (Plu. ap. Eus., PE. iii, 1, 3, p. 84 c.). A goddess called simply Μυχία, ins. fr. Mytilene, GDI. 255. But μύχιοι could also mean dwellers in the depths of the earth (μυχῷ χθονὸς εὐρυοδείης, Hes., Th. 119; more commonly in the plural μυχοὶ χθονός, see Markland on Eur., Sup. 545; cf. Ἄϊδος μυχός, AP. vii, 213, 6 (Archias); also μυχὸς εὐσεβέων, ἀθανάτων under the earth, Epigr. Gr. 241 a, 18; 658 a; Rh. Mus. 34, 192). Thus (of the Erinyes) Orph. H. 69, 3, μύχιαι, ὑπὸ κεύθεσιν οἰκί’ ἔχουσαι ἄντρῳ ἐν ἠερόεντι. Phot. 274, 18, μυχόπεδον· γῆς βάθος, Ἅιδης.

36 That the μίν of line 550 refers to Erechtheus and not Athene is shown by the context: Schol. BL. states it expressly. Athene cannot have been intended to accept the offering of bulls and rams, for θήλεα τῇ Ἀθηνᾷ θύουσιν. And, in fact, cows, not bulls, were offered to Athene; cf. P. Stengel, quaest. sacr., p. 4–5, Berl. 1879.

37 See Wachsmuth, Ber. sächs. Ges. Wiss., p. 399 ff., 1887. 112

38 Thus there was, at the temple of Palaimon on the Isthmus, an ἄδυτον καλούμενον, κάθοδος δὲ ἐς αὐτὸ ὑπόγεως, ἔνθα δὴ τὸν Παλαίμονα κεκρύφθαι (i.e. not dead and buried) φασίν. Paus. 2, 2, 1.

39 χάσμα κρύπτει χθονός, Eur. Ion, 292.—Erechtheus ab Iove Neptuni rogatu fulmine est ictus, Hyg. 46. That is only another kind of translation.

40 We need not here speak of the relationship between Erechtheus and Poseidon, with whom he was eventually merged.

41 Clem. Al. Protr. iii, p. 39 P. (with Arnob. and the others who copy him); [Apollod.] 3, 14, 7, 1. Clemens (quoting Antiochos of Syracuse) mentions a grave of Kekrops on the citadel. It is uncertain what is the relation between this and the Κεκρόπιον known from insc. CIA. i, 322, and τὸ τοῦ Κέκροπος ἱερόν on the citadel (Decree honouring the Epheboi of the tribe Kekropis in the year 333: BCH. ’89, p. 257. l. 10).

42 Ὑακινθίοις πρὸ τῆς τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος θυσίας ἐς τοῦτον Ὑακίνθῳ τὸν βωμὸν διὰ θύρας χαλκῆς ἐναγίζουσιν· ἐν ἀριστερᾷ δέ ἐστιν ἡ θύρα τοῦ βωμοῦ. Paus. 3, 19, 3. We shall meet with similar examples in treating of the sacrifices made to Heroes. This naive sacrificial rite regularly presumes the physical presence of the god or “spirit” in the place underground into which the offerings are poured or thrown (as in the μέγαρα of Demeter and Kore, etc.).

43 The story of Hyakinthos is found in its familiar form in the poets of the Hellenistic period and their imitators, Nikander, Bion, Ovid, etc.: already Simmias and Euphorion had told it (see Welcker, Kl. Sch. i, 24 ff.; and G. Knaack, Anal. Alexandrino-romana, p. 60 ff.). It may even reach back to earlier times; the death of H. caused by Apollo’s discus-throw is mentioned by Eur., Hel. 1472 ff., though he does not speak of the love of Apollo for H. As the story was generally given, and, indeed, as it had already been implicitly told by Nikias, it had no local colouring and no importance as local legend. It was not ever even an aetiological myth for it could only account in the most general way for the melancholy character of the Hyakinthos festival and not at all for the peculiar features of its ritual. It is an erotic myth leading up to a metamorphosis, like so many others of its kind, in substance, it is true, closely related the Linos myth, etc., with which it is generally compared—and in accordance with the fashionable theory interpreted as an allegory of the spring blossom fading beneath the heat of the sun. It is, in fact, a regular mythological theme (the death through the cast of the discus occurring for example in the stories of Akrisios, Kanobos, Krokos [see Haupt, Opusc. iii, 574 f. In Philo ap. Galen, xiii, 268, read v. 13 ἠϊθέοιο, v. 15 perhaps κείνου δὴ σταθμόν]). We cannot tell how far the flower Hyakinthos had anything to do with the Amyklaian Hyakinthos (cf. Hemsterhuis, Lucian ii, p. 291 Bip.); perhaps nothing at all—there were no hyacinths used in the Hyakinthia. The similarity of the name may have suggested this addition to the metamorphosis story to the Hellenistic poets.

44 Certainly not as Apollo’s ἐρώμενος (as which Hauser, Philol. 52, 218, in spite of the beard, regards the Hyakinthos of the Amyklaian altar). Bearded παιδικά are unthinkable as every reader of the Anth. Pal. knows. The most ancient form of the story, as implied in the sculpture at Amyklai, neither knows anything of the love of Apollo and Hyakinthos nor consequently of the latter’s early death, etc.

45 The Ὑακινθίδες at Athens were regarded as the daughters (strangely migrated to Athens) of the “Lacedaemonian” Hyakinthos. i.e. the one buried in Amyklai. See St. Byz. Λουσία; Harp. 113 Ὑακινθίδες; [Apollod.] 3, 15, 8, 5–6; Hyg. 238 (Phanodemos ap. Suid. Παρθένοι arbitrarily identifies the Ὑακινθίδες with the Ὑάδες or daughters of Erechtheus. So also [Dem.] 60, 27). This idea implies a form of the story in which Hyak. did not die while still a boy or a half-grown youth as in the metamorphosis version.—That the figure of Hyakinthos on the sculpture at Amyklai had a beard is expressly mentioned by Paus. 3, 19, 4, as conflicting with the fresh youthfulness of Hyakinthos as Nikias (second half fourth century) with reference to the love-story had represented him in his famous picture (πρωθήβην Ὑάκινθον, Nic., Th. 905). Paus. § 5, expressly raises a doubt as to the truth of the traditional fable about H.’s death.

46 πρὸ τῆς τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος θυσίας Paus. 3, 19, 3. More than once it is stated that at a particular festival sacrifice to the Hero preceded that to the god (cf. Wassner, de heroum ap. Gr. cultu, p. 48 ff.). Probably the reason in all such cases is that the cult of the “Hero” (or god turned Hero) is older in that particular spot than the worship of the god whose cult had only been adopted there at a later time. Thus in Plataea at the Daidalia sacrifice was made to Leto before Hera (προθύεσθαι): Plu. ap. Eus., PE. iii, 84 C: there it is quite evident that the cult of Hera was adopted later. Perhaps even the form of the word Ὑάκινθος implies that it was the name of an ancient deity worshipped already by the pre-Greek inhabitants of the Peloponnese. See Kretschmer, Einl. in Gesch. gr. Spr. 402–5.

47 Ὑακίνθῳ ἐναγίζουσιν, Paus. 3, 19, 3.

48 The second day of the festival was sacred to Apollo and not to Hyakinthos: τὸν θεὸν ᾄδουσιν Ath. 139 E. (It has been rightly said that this was when the παιάν mentioned by Xen., HG. 4, 5, 11, must have been sung.) It is impossible to deny, with Unger, Philol. 37, 30, the cheerful character of this second day of the festival as described by Polykrates ap. Ath. 139 E, F. It is true that Didymus (whose words Athenaeus is quoting) begins in a way (139 D) that might lead one to suppose that all three days of the τῶν Ὑακινθίων θυσία διὰ τὸ πένθος τὸ γενόμενον (γινόμενον?) περὶ τὸν Ὑάκινθον were passed in gloom without festivity, crowns, feasting, or Paean, etc. But he refutes himself afterwards in his description of the second day of the festival, at which not merely at the performances but at the sacrifice and the banquetings festivity reigns supreme. We can only suppose that his language at the beginning is inaccurate, and that he means what he says of the solemnity of the occasion “because of the mourning for Hyakinthos” to be taken as limited like the mourning itself to the first day of the feast.

49 Hesych. Πολύβοια· θεός τις ὑπ’ ἐνίων Ἄρτεμις, ὑπὸ δὲ ἄλλων Κόρη. Cf. K. O. Müller, Dorians, i. 361 (Ἄρτεμις there probably as Hekate).

50 Another view of the combined worship of Apollo and Hyakinthos at Amyklai is taken by Enmann, Kypros, etc., 35. In this as elsewhere he relies on certain opinions adopted from H. D. Müller’s mythological writings, which must be approved of in general before they can be found enlightening as applied to any particular case.

51 As happened in the case of Hyakinthos, too, in the scene represented on the Amyklaian altar, Paus. 3, 19, though nothing can be deduced from this as to his original nature.

52 The oracular activity of Asklepios plays a subordinate part in the usual accounts of him in comparison with his powers of healing. But originally they were closely united (as was usually the case with earth spirits). Apollodorus π. θεῶν ap. Macrob. 1, 20, 4, puts it 114 distinctly: scribit quod Aesculapius divinationibus et auguriis praesit. Celsus calls Asklepios εὐεργετοῦντα καὶ τὰ μέλλοντα προλέγοντα ὅλαις πόλεσιν ἀνακειμέναις ἑαυτῷ, Or., Cels. iii, 3, pp. 255–6 L.

53 See Appendix I.

54 Cicero quoting the pragmatical “theologi” says, ND. iii, 57, Aesculapius (the second one) fulmine percussus dicitur humatus esse Cynosuris (the district of Sparta? From a similar source come Clem. Al., Protr. ii, p. 26 P.; Lyd., Mens. iv, 90, p. 164 Wünsch); of the third Askl., Cic. § 57 says: cuius in Arcadia non longe a Lusio flumine sepulcrum et lucus ostenditur. Even the temple of Asklepios in Epidauros was regarded by many as the place of his grave if we are to believe the Clementine Hom. v, 21, Rec. x, 24 (sepulcrum demonstrator in Epidauro Aesculapii).

55 The chthonic character of Asklepios is shown specially by the fact that not only are snakes sacred and dedicated to him but that he himself was actually thought of as a snake (cf. Welcker, Götterl. ii, 734). ὄφις, Γῆς παῖς (Hdt. i, 78); deities who dwell in the earth, and afterwards “Heroes” (in the later sense), appear in the form of snakes as χθόνιοι. Since such earth-spirits generally have oracular powers the snake is an oracular animal; but that is a secondary development. The offer of a cock, too (as by Sokrates before his departure to the underworld), points to the chthonic character of Ask., for it was a sacrifice also made to Heroes. Thus the ἡρῷα at Athens were frequented by the priests of Asklepios (CIA. ii, 453 b); cf. Köhler, Ath. Mitth. vol. ii, 245 f. (Sacrificial pit, βόθρος, for this chthonic worship in the Asklepieion at Athens? see Köhler, ib. 254.)

56 The connexion between Amphiaraos and Asklepios is shown also by the fact that Iaso, one of the allegorical figures attached to Asklepios, though generally the daughter of Askl. (e.g. EM. 434, 17 Ἰασώ with Sylb.; cf. Herond. iv, 6), was probably also regarded as the daughter of Amph.: Sch. Ar., Plut. 701. Hesych. s.v. (her portrait in the temple at Oropos, Paus. 1, 34, 3). So, too, Ἄλκανδρος the son of Trophonios (Charax. ap. Schol. Ar., Nub., 508, p. 500 Bk.) seems to be the same as Ἄλκων, the Asklepiad daimon whose priest Sophokles was. The portraits of Trophonios followed the type of the Asklepios statues: Paus. 9, 39, 3–4. Troph. son of Valens (= Ischys) and Koronis, and brother of Asklepios: Cic., ND. iii, 56, acc. to the theologi. With good reason, considering their intrinsic affinity, Trophonios, Amphiaraos, Amphilochos, and the Asklepiadai are mentioned side by side by Aristid. i, p. 78 D.

57 Sulla counted Amphiaraos a “god” and hence the territory belonging to his temple at Oropos was excepted from the lease for the collection of taxes granted to the Roman publicani. The Roman Senate allowed this to stand, ins. from Oropos Ἐφ. Ἀρχ., 1884, p. 101 ff.; Hermes, 20, 268 ff.; the publicani had denied immortalis esse ullos qui aliquando homines fuissent, Cic., ND. iii, 49. Thus only the fact that he was now a god was claimed by the other side—it was not denied that he had once been a mortal. Paus. again 8, 2, 4, mentions Amph. among the θεοί who ἐγίνοντο ἐξ ἀνθρώπων; so too Varro ap. Serv. A. viii, 275; cf. Apul., D. Soc. 15 fin.; also Philo, Leg. ad Gaium, § 78, ii, p. 557 M.



§ 1

When about the year 620 Drakon at Athens for the first time collected and committed to writing the customary law of his country he also ordained that the gods and the national Heroes should be honoured together according to ancestral usage.1

We are thus for the first time introduced to Heroes as beings of a higher kind, mentioned side by side with the gods, and like them to be worshipped with regularly offered sacrifice. Their cult, like that of the gods, is by implication of long standing: it does not have to be reorganized, but is merely established in the form ancestral ordinances had given it. We see at this turning-point of Greek religious development how defective our knowledge is of the history of religious ideas in primitive Greece. This is our earliest record, and it has been preserved to us by a mere accident, but it points backwards and beyond itself to a long previous history in the worship of such guardian deities of the country—of which, however, we have hardly a scrap of early evidence.2 We should in fact, from the meagre remains of the literature that is so important from this point of view, especially the lyric poetry of the seventh and early sixth centuries, hardly have derived a suspicion of the existence of this quite un-Homeric element in the religious life of Greece.3 When at last the stream of surviving literature begins to flow more broadly, then, indeed, the Heroes are often referred to. Pindar’s Hymns of Victory and Herodotos’ History cover the generations that lived through the Persian wars and the following fifty years. From them we can see with overwhelming distinctness how strong at that time was the belief in the existence and potency of Heroes even among men of education who had not been too much influenced by the fashionable enlightenment of the time. In the beliefs of the people, in the religious customs of countries and cities, the national Heroes have their recognized place beside the gods. The representatives of states swear by the gods and the Heroes of the country:4 it is to the gods and Heroes of Greece that the pious attribute the victory over the Barbarians.5 So well established, indeed, was the validity of the Greek belief in Heroes that even the Persian magi in the army of Xerxes made libation by night in the Troad to the Heroes buried there.6 116

§ 2

If now we inquire into the nature and essence of this species of higher beings that was as yet unknown to, or disregarded by, the epic we get little information on the subject from direct statements as to their nature by writers of antiquity. We can, however, learn a great deal about them from what we are told of individual Heroes and more particularly from what we know of the peculiar nature of the religious worship paid to them.7 The Heroes were worshipped with sacrifice like the gods; but these sacrifices were very different from the offerings that were made to the Olympians.8 They differ in time, place, and character. Sacrifice was made to the gods in broad daylight, to Heroes towards evening or at night;9 and not on raised altars, but on low, and sometimes hollow, sacrificial hearths close to the ground.10 For them were slain animals of black colour and male sex,11 and in sacrificing, the heads of the animals were not turned upwards towards heaven as they were when offered to the gods, but were bent down to the ground.12 The blood of these animals was allowed to run down into the ground or into the sacrificial hearth, that the Heroes might have their “appeasement of blood”.13 The carcass was completely burnt, for no living man might taste of it.14 This peculiar mode of worshipping the Heroes was in strict usage described by a different name from that used of the sacrifices to the gods.15 On special occasions a sacrificial meal of cooked food was prepared, to which the Hero was invited as a guest.16 They are near by in the earth itself, and there is no need in their case, as for the Olympians, to send up the savour of sacrifice in smoke to heaven.

This sacrificial ritual is in those features which distinguish it from that commonly in use for the gods of Olympos precisely identical with that by which the gods who dwelt under the earth, and, later, even the souls of dead men, were honoured. This will seem quite natural if we regard the Heroes as closely related to the chthonic deities on the one hand, and to the dead on the other. In fact, they are nothing else than the spirits of dead men who now dwell beneath the earth, immortal like the gods of that underworld, and almost equal to them in power. Their real nature as the souls of great men of the past, who have died but have not been deprived of conscious existence, is made plain by another mode of doing honour to them originally belonging to them and them only—I mean the yearly repeated celebration of Funeral Games.

Athletic contests for chieftains at the funeral of a prominent 117 one of their number were known to Homer, and we have already referred to them among other relics in epic poetry of a once powerful cult of souls.17 But Homer knew nothing of their repetition, and certainly not of an annual recurrence of such funeral celebrations.18 Games celebrated afresh after the lapse of a definite period became known to the Greeks only when the cult of Heroes had reached its maturity. Many of these contests were connected perpetually with the yearly festivals of individual Heroes, and were intended to honour their memory.19 Even in historical times, generally on the command of the Delphic oracle, annual contests were instituted in honour of Heroes.20 It was the mode of worship proper to Heroes, and men realized that in holding such contests they were really repeating the funeral ceremonies of a dead man.21 The cult of Heroes was the earliest breeding ground of the Agôn, that most characteristic feature of Greek life and school of the individualism that made the greatness of Greece. It was not unreasonable that afterwards many of the victors at the great Agônes were themselves raised by popular superstition to the number of the Heroes. The greatest Games of all, to which all Greece assembled, the Pythian, Olympian, Nemean, and Isthmian, were during the historical period, it is true, celebrated in honour of gods; but that they had been originally instituted as Funeral Games of Heroes and only subsequently transferred to higher guardianship was, at any rate, the general opinion of antiquity.22

§ 3

The Heroes are, then, spirits of the dead, and not a species of inferior deities or “demigods”;23 and quite distinct again from the “daimones” known to later speculative thought and, indeed, to popular superstition. These latter are divine spirits of a lower order; but spirits which have always been exempt from death because they have never entered into the finite existence of men. The Heroes on the other hand have once been living men; from being men they have become Heroes, and that only after their death.24 Furthermore, they have now entered upon a higher stage of existence as a special class of beings who are named by the side of gods and men.25 In them we meet with something quite unknown to the Homeric poems—souls which after their death and separation from the body have a higher imperishable life.

But though the Heroes have once been men, it does not follow that all men become Heroes after their death. On the contrary, the Heroes, even though their number was not fixed 118 and limited, but continually admitted additions, remained an exception, a select minority which for that reason alone can be contrasted with ordinary humanity. The chief figures, the outstanding representatives of this heroic company, we may say, were those whose lifetime was fixed by legend or history in the distant past—who were in fact the ancestors of later humanity. The worship of Heroes is not, then, a cult of souls, but in a narrower sense a cult of ancestors. Even their name, as it appears, distinguishes the Heroes as men of the past. In the Iliad and the Odyssey “Hero” is the honourable title of chieftains, and also, generally, of all free men.26 Poetry of later centuries, so far as it touched upon the events of the legendary past, continued to use the word “Hero” in this sense. But when in post-Homeric times the speaker, whether he is a poet or prose-writer, regards the matter from the point of view of contemporary life, then by “Hero”, if he is referring to a man at all, he means a man of those days when, according to the Homeric poems, this honourable title was still in use among living men—he refers in a word to men belonging to the legendary past celebrated in poetry.27 In Hesiod’s narrative of the Five Ages of Men, the use of the word Hero is confined to the Champions of the wars at Thebes and Troy; they are called, as though by their special name, the “divine race of Heroes”.28 For Hesiod the “Heroes” are by no means the transfigured dead of past generations.29 He knows well enough of such transfigured dead of a still earlier past, but these he calls “Daimones”. And so, too, when in after times the name of Hero is applied to these favoured individuals who enjoy a higher life after their death, the name which in itself did not imply the higher nature of such departed spirits is evidently intended to show that the lifetime of those who had received this privilege after their death occurred in a legendary past. As these men of the distant past had been “Heroes” during their life, so, too, they must be called after their death. But the meaning of the word Hero has undergone a change, and now contains the additional notion of unending transfigured existence. The worship of the Heroes reveals itself as something quite new, a form of religious belief and cult, of which the Homeric poems at least gave no inkling. And, indeed, the conception of such transfigured ancestral souls living on in a higher state must have been a novel one, if no special word of ancient coinage could be found to express it, and a long-standing word of the epic vocabulary had to be pressed into a new sense.

Whence came this new thing? If we try to derive it from 119 a natural process of development in the Homeric view of life we shall find ourselves in the greatest perplexity when it comes to showing the connecting links between two such widely different conceptions. It would not avail us much to say that the prestige of the epic was such that those whom it had honoured in song must have appeared so glorious and distinguished among mankind that it was natural for later imagination to transform them to demigods and to worship them as such. The Homeric poems, so violently opposed to any idea of a conscious or active existence of the soul after death, could hardly have brought it about that those very champions whom it had represented as indeed dead and departed to the distant land of Hades should be regarded as still living and exercising an influence from out their graves. Moreover, it is in the highest degree improbable that in the process of historical development it should have been just the champions of the epic from whose worship the cult of Heroes arose; for in cult, at any rate, with negligible exceptions, those champions played little part. And, indeed, that any cult at all should have arisen from the mere suggestions of fancy, such as the epic offered, is in itself unlikely. And it is essentially upon a religious cult that the belief in Heroes is founded.

In fact after all that has been hitherto shown, what we see most plainly is the contrast between the belief in Heroes and Homeric conceptions. The fanciful thought of the translation of individuals to Islands of the Blest or the underground dwellings did not itself conflict with the implications of Homeric eschatology. The miraculous preservation in an immortal existence of men whom the gods loved did not involve the separation of soul from body, nor the consequence of that separation—the dim borderland existence of the disembodied soul. But the belief in Heroes was a different matter; that involved the continuation of a conscious mode of being, in the neighbourhood of the living, after death, and in spite of the separation of soul from body. This directly contradicts Homeric psychology. We should have to give up the attempt altogether to bring this new belief into any real relationship with earlier development—if we could not draw upon what we have learnt from our previous investigations. In the Homeric poems themselves, in striking contrast with the general conception there prevailing of the insubstantiality of the disembodied soul, we found vestiges of a once-vigorous cult of the soul which implied the existence of a corresponding belief in the conscious after-life of the soul and its lingering 120 in the neighbourhood of the living. From the study of Hesiod’s picture of the Five Ages of Men, we saw that, in fact, vestiges of an ancient belief in the continued and enhanced existence of dead men, of which no clear trace remained in Homer, had been preserved at least in occasional remote corners of the Greek countryside. But it was only the dead of a legendary past who were regarded by Hesiod as “Daimones”: the poet could relate no similar marvels from more recent periods, and still less of men in his own lifetime. Thus, we have in this case traces of ancestor-worship indeed, but not of a general worship of souls that is elsewhere the normal development of the worship of ancestors. So, then, in the worship of Heroes, what we have before us is not a general cult of the soul but a cult of ancestors. We may express the matter in this way: in the cult of the “Hero” a still burning spark of ancient belief is kindled to renewed flame—it is not the appearance of something entirely strange and new, but something long past and half-forgotten is awakened to new life. Those Daimones which arose from the men of the earlier golden and silver ages—whom the poet of the “Works and Days” had situated in the dimmest and remotest past—what are they but the “Heroes” worshipped by later ages under a new name and brought down nearer to the period of contemporary life?

§ 4

How it came about that the cult of ancestors was rescued from partial, and more than partial, oblivion, and rose to a new and lasting importance, that, indeed, we cannot say. We can give no real explanation indicative of the origin and progress of this important development in Greek religious life. We know neither the time nor the place of the first serious revival of this newly awakened primitive worship; nor can we tell the manner or stages of its diffusion during those obscure years of the eighth and seventh centuries. We can, however, bring the fact of the revival of ancestor-worship into relation with a number of other facts which prove that during those years many hitherto buried or repressed ideas about the life of gods and men came to the surface again out of the depths of popular faith and out of an older worship of the gods that had never quite died out. This revival did not, indeed, suppress the Homeric view entirely—that never occurred—but it did set itself on a level with that view. The great movement with which we shall be dealing in the next chapter also contributed to the progress of the belief in Heroes. Many other favouring 121 circumstances may in detail have helped to strengthen that belief. Even the epic itself had in one point at least approached the ideas that were receiving a new life in the worship of Heroes. Many of the local gods who had faded before the new deities of common Hellenic belief had been reduced to the rank of humanity and joined in heroic adventure. By a sort of compromise effected with the local cult of such gods the epic poets had been led, in a few cases, to the creation of a remarkable series of figures in which the divine and the human was wonderfully mixed. These champions and seers of old time, as they had once been mortal men among other men, so now after their departure must they live on and have influence eternally like the gods. We can easily see the close resemblance that exists between such figures as Amphiaraos or Trophonios and the Heroes of later belief; in fact, both of them, when they were not called gods, were frequently reckoned among these Heroes. But for all that, they are only quasi-Heroes; prototypes of the real Heroes they can never have been. They have been translated during their lifetime, and live on immortally just because they have never tasted death. They, with those others translated to the Islands of the Blest, represent the idea of immortality in the only form recognized by the Homeric poetry. The Heroes of the newly awakening creed, on the contrary, have died unmistakably; and yet they continue to live on, though relieved of their bodies. They are entirely distinct from the translated few of the epic tradition. They emerge out of the obscurity of the half-remembered past as something strange—as something, indeed, opposed to the circle of ideas influenced by the epic.

It was not from poetic imagination or story that the Heroes took their origin, but from the remains of an ancient pre-Homeric belief which local worship had preserved alive.

§ 5

The worship of a Hero is everywhere connected with the site of his grave. That is the general rule proved in innumerable cases. That is why in the case of a more than ordinarily revered Hero, his grave as the centre of his worship is set up in some prominent and honourable place—the market-place of the city, the Prytaneion,30 or, like the grave of Pelops in the Altis at Olympia, in the very middle of the holy precinct, in the thick of the festival crowd.31 Or else the Hero who guarded the city and the land might have his grave in the wall of the city gate or upon the farthest border of its territory.32 Where his grave is, there the Hero is fast bound; that is his 122 dwelling-place.33 This idea prevails everywhere, though it may not be given such blunt expression as at Tronis, in the country of the Phocians, where the blood of the offering made to the Hero was poured down through an opening immediately into his grave mound.34 It is implied, as a rule, in these cases that the grave contains the bones of the Hero. The bones—all that is left of his mortality—chain the Hero to his grave. Hence, when it was thought desirable to attach a Hero and his protective power to a city his bones (or what were taken for such) on the command of an oracle were brought from a foreign land and laid to rest in his native country. We possess many accounts of such transference of relics.35 Most of them occurred in the distant past, but we also read how in the full light of history in the year 476 enlightened Athens brought over the bones of Theseus from Skyros;36 and not until they were buried in the Theseion was Theseus properly attached to Athens.

Since the possession of the corporeal remains37 of the Hero secured the possession of the Hero himself, the cities often protected themselves against strangers, who might remove the treasured bones, by keeping the position of the grave a secret.38 A grave is always necessary to fix the Hero at a definite place, or, at least, an “empty tomb”, which sometimes had to do duty for a grave.39 In such cases the Hero was perhaps thought of as bound by a spell to that place.40 As a rule, it is the remains of his former body that hold him fast. But these remains are a part of the Hero himself; though dead (and mummified, as we are told in one case),41 he works and acts just the same; his psyche, his invisible counterpart and double, hovers in the neighbourhood of the body and the grave.

These are all very primitive conceptions such as have, as a rule, only been preserved among peoples who have remained at a very undeveloped stage of culture.42 When we find them in force among Greeks of post-Homeric times, we cannot really believe that they arose then for the first time, in complete contrast with the clear-sighted freedom of the men of the Homeric age. They have only re-emerged from the repressive influence of the Homeric rationalism. It would be natural to think that the same ideas that have been described as underlying the belief in Heroes were already in the minds of those prehistoric Greeks who in Mycenae and elsewhere took such care (even it seems going so far as to embalm them)43 to preserve the bodies of their princes from destruction, and who put ornaments and utensils in their graves for future use 123 or enjoyment. It has been explained above how, in the times of which Homer’s poems give us a picture, the alteration in sentiment as well as the spread of the custom of completely destroying the bodies of the dead with fire must have weakened the belief in the confinement of the soul to this world and to the remains of the body. This belief never entirely perished. It was preserved alive, perhaps for a long time only by a few, in those places where there remained a cult attached to a grave. Such a cult would not, indeed, extend to those whose death had occurred within more recent times, but it did not allow the old-established worship of the great dead of the past to die out entirely. Over the royal graves on the citadel at Mycenae stood a sacrificial hearth,44 which bears witness to the continuance of the ancient worship of the kings buried there. The Catalogue of Ships in Homer mentions the “grave of Aipytos”, an old Arcadian local monarch, as a landmark of the district;45 may not the sanctity of that grave have been preserved? In many places, at any rate, graves were pointed out and honoured that belonged to Heroes who owed their existence solely to poetic fancy or were even mere personifications—abstractions of the names of places and countries whose ancestors they purported to be. In such cases the Hero-worship had become purely symbolic, and often perhaps a mere formality. But from such a fictitious ancestor-worship the cult of the graves of Heroes cannot possibly have arisen; such fictions are themselves only intelligible as copies of another and more vivid worship, of a cult of real ancestors. If no such cult had existed in actual fact before men’s eyes, it would be impossible to understand how men came to imitate ancestor-worship in the shape of such purely imaginary creatures. A copy implies the existence of a model; a symbol requires the contemporary or earlier existence of the reality symbolized. We should certainly know more of the worship of ancestors among the ancient royal families if in nearly all the Greek states monarchy had not been abolished at an early period and all traces of it suppressed. Sparta alone provides us with a solitary example of what may once have been the prevailing custom in all the seats of royal authority. When a Spartan king died his funeral was celebrated with extreme pomp. His body (which, even when he had died abroad, was embalmed and brought home to Sparta) was laid beside the other dead of his family, and honour was paid to him, in Xenophon’s words, not as a man, but as a Hero.46 In this case, which undoubtedly represents a traditional usage handed down from remote 124 antiquity, we have the rudiments of Hero-worship as applied to the dead of a royal family. The members of noble families who, like the Eupatridai of Athens, sometimes traced their descent from a king,47 must also have retained from ancient times the practice of ancestor-worship. As of all unofficial cults, we hear little of the cults of the old clans based on blood-relationship and connexion by marriage (γένη, πάτραι). But just as out of their combination first the village communities and then the fully organized Greek Polis grew up, so, too, the religious cults which were paid to the ancestors of these unions of kinsfolk set a pattern for the manifold social groups out of which the developed state was built up.48

§ 6

The “clans” that we meet with at Athens and in other Greek states are, as a rule, groups for which a demonstrable common kinship is no longer a condition of membership. The majority of such politically recognized, self-contained clans assemble together for the common worship of particular gods but many also honour a Hero as well, who generally in such cases gives his name to the clan. Thus, the Eteoboutadai at Athens paid honour to Boutes, the Alkmaionidai to Alkmaion, the Bouzygai to Bouzyges, in Sparta and Argos Talthybios was worshipped by the Talthybiadai, etc. And in these cases, as the name of the clan itself shows, the Hero of their common worship was regarded as the ancestor of the clan.49 Further, this ancestor-worship and the name derived from a common, even if fictitious, ancestor, distinguished the clans from the cult-associations of a different origin which since the time of Kleisthenes had been put on a footing of legal equality with the clans in the phratries. The members of these associations (Orgeones) lacked a common name, the existence of which, therefore, indicated in the case of the members of a clan a closer bond of union than mere membership of a religious association which had been chosen at will, and was not decided by the fact of birth.

Everywhere these clans kept up the outward formalities of ancestor-worship; and the formality must once have had meaning. However the publicly recognized clans may have developed their own special characteristics, in their origin, at least, they must go back (like the Roman gentes) to associations of kinsfolk developed from the family (extended through the male line) and held together by a real bond of kinship. Even the purely symbolical ancestor-worship of the later “clans”, of which hardly a single one could have shown the 125 pedigree of its descent from the reputed common ancestor, must have arisen from the real ancestor-worship of genuine groups of kinsfolk. The imitation in this case, too, points to the existence at some time of an original.

In the same way the larger groups into which the Athenian state since the time of Kleisthenes was divided were unable to dispense with the practice of association for the cult of a commonly worshipped Hero. The Heroes of the newly organized phylai50 had their temple, land, priests, statues, and regular cult; and so also had the Heroes of the smaller purely local divisions, the demes. Here, too, the fiction of ancestor-worship was kept up; the names of the phylai, always patronymic in form, represent the members of each phyle as the descendants of the Hero Eponymos or Archegetes of the phyle.51 The demes also in many cases have patronymic titles which for the most part are also known to us as the names of aristocratic families.52 It is evident that in such demes the members of individual aristocratic families had settled down together or near each other. The Archegetes, whether real or fictitious, of the family must then have been regarded as the Archegetes of the deme. We thus see how the cult of a family ancestor, taken over by a wider group of worshippers, might be preserved and extended—little as the cult might benefit in sincerity by such political enlargement.

The cult of Heroes everywhere has the same features as the cult of ancestors; at least, the more influential Heroes, those worshipped by the greater communities, were everywhere regarded as the forefathers and progenitors of the groups of countryfolk, citizens, or kinsmen who honoured them. The fact that the persons of these prehistoric Heroes owed their existence almost without exception solely to poetry or fancy allows us to conclude that at the time when ancestor-worship had its re-birth in Hero-worship, the memory of the real Archegetai of the country, the ancestors of the ruling families and clans, together with their cult, had fallen into oblivion. A great or illustrious name was introduced where the real name was no longer known. More often, even when the real forefather of the clan was still well known, the name of a great man of the primeval past was placed at the head of the list in order to throw the origin of the family as far back into the past as possible and connect it the more closely with a divine source.53 Men thus came to worship a phantom, often a mere symbol, of an ancestor. But they held fast to the imitation of real ancestor-worship; the remains of a true cult of ancestors provided the model and were the real starting-point for the later belief and cult of Heroes. 126

§ 7

We can no longer follow in detail the process of development and extension which the idea of the Hero underwent. The accounts which we possess show us the fully developed product, not the steps which led up to this result. We first get an idea of the number of Hero-cults existing in Greece during the greatest period of its history from the enormous number of graves or cults of Heroes mentioned by Pausanias in the account of his travels in the age of the Antonines over the most important countries of the Greece that was now fast falling into decay. Nearly all the legendary figures celebrated in epic poetry were now worshipped as Heroes, whether in their own homes (as Achilles in Thessaly, Aias at Salamis, etc.) or in other places that either claimed to possess their graves (as the Delphians did that of Neoptolemos, the people of Sybaris that of Philoktetes, etc.) or else, through the genealogical relationship of their leading families with the Heroes, regarded themselves as closely connected with them (as, for example, the Athenians with Aias and his sons). In the colonies especially the Hero-cults, like the ingredients of the population, may have been a motley crew; thus, in Tarentum the Atreidai, the Tydidai, the Aiakidai, the Laertiadai, and especially the Agamemnonidai were worshipped in a combined Hero-cult, and Achilles also had a temple of his own.54

There were Heroes with famous names who may yet have owed their subsequent elevation to that position, during the times of the greatest extent of the cult, in part to their fame in ancient poetry. Side by side with these were a host of obscurer figures whose memory had been kept alive by their cult alone, which a small circle of country or city folk had paid to them from primitive times. These are the real “national Heroes”, of whose worship Drakon had spoken; as true forebears and real ancestors of their country they, too, are called “Archegetai”.55 We are told the names of the seven Archegetai of Plataea to whom Aristeides was commanded by the Delphic oracle to sacrifice before the battle of Plataea; not one of them is ever heard of again.56 It might happen that the name of a Hero to whom worship had been paid from time immemorial might no longer be known even to the dwellers near his grave. In the market at Elis there stood a little temple whose roof was supported on wooden pillars; men knew that this was the chapel belonging to a grave, but no one could give the name of the Hero buried there.57 In the market at Herakleia on the Black Sea was a monument of a Hero 127 overshadowed by wild olive-trees; it contained the body of that Hero whom once the Delphian oracle had bidden the founders of Herakleia to placate. The learned differed as to his name; the inhabitants of Herakleia called him simply “the local Hero”.58 In the Hippodrome at Olympia stood a round altar at which the chariot horses used to shy. It was disputed what Hero lay buried there, but the people called him, after the effect he had on the horses, simply Taraxippos.59 In the same way many Heroes, instead of being called by their real names, were more often referred to by adjectives which recalled their nature or their power or some external detail of their appearance.60 At Athens there was a Hero Physician, a Hero General, and a Hero Garland-bearer.61 Many a Hero may have been known to the neighbourhood which worshipped him simply as “the Hero”.62 In such cases it was entirely due to the grave and the cult attached to the grave that the Hero’s memory had been preserved at all. There might, indeed, be stories current as to his doings and nature as a “spirit”, but what it was that had marked him out in his lifetime and caused his elevation to a Hero was totally forgotten. Undoubtedly these are precisely the oldest Hero-cults. In the instances quoted from Elis, Herakleia and Olympia, first one and then another of the famous champions of antiquity were supposed to be buried under that nameless gravestone. But, often enough, the doubt was suppressed, and by an arbitrary and successful imposition some famous name out of the heroic legend may have been substituted as occupant of such ownerless or unclaimed grave sanctuaries.

§ 8

As a rule there was no difficulty in securing great or famous names when it was necessary to find a patron-Hero for the city. In particular the founder of the city and its regular worship of the gods, and the whole divine circle which hedged round the life of the citizens, was regularly worshipped with high honour as Hero Archegetes.63 Naturally, they were mostly mythical or even arbitrarily invented figures to whom the greater or lesser cities of Greece, as well as their offshoots in foreign lands, did honour as their “Founder”.

But from the times when colonies were frequently dispatched and laid out in accordance with a carefully thought-out plan, under the leadership of a single person (generally named by an oracle) who was given plenipotentiary powers,64 this real Oikistes was himself usually promoted after his death to the rank of Hero. Pindar speaks of the sacred grave of the 128 Hero-founder of Kyrene in the marketplace of the city;65 the inhabitants of the Thracian Chersonnese made sacrifices to Miltiades the son of Kypselos as their Oikistes, “as the custom is,” and held games annually in his honour;66 at Katana, in Sicily, Hieron of Syracuse was buried, and was worshipped with the honours of a Hero as the Founder of the city.67 At Abdera the Teians on the occasion of the second founding of the city restored to his position of Hero its original founder Timesios.68 On the other hand, the original and real Oikistes of a colony might be deprived of his worship if the inhabitants quarrelled with the mother country, and another “Founder” chosen after the event and given the highest honours of a Hero in his place. This was what happened in the year 422 with Hagnon and Brasidas in Amphipolis.69

In these cases Hero-making leaves the sacred mists of antiquity and enters the light of the contemporary world: faith and cult become profaned by political motives. The name of Hero, once applied only to the glorified figures of the far distant past, now that such Heroizing of the recent dead was possible, must have begun to have the more general meaning of one who has come to enjoy a higher nature and enlarged capacities after his death. In fact, any kind of prominence during a man’s lifetime seems at last to have given him a virtual claim to heroic honours after his death. As Heroes are now regarded, great kings such as Gelon of Syracuse, law-givers such as Lykourgos of Sparta,70 and even representatives of poetic genius from Homer down to Aeschylus and Sophokles,71 no less than the most famous victors in the contests of bodily skill and strength. One of the Olympic victors, Philippos of Kroton, was reputed to be the most beautiful man in Greece of his time. Over his grave the people of Egesta, so Herodotos (v, 47) tells us, erected a Hero’s temple and paid honour to him with sacrifice as to a Hero merely on account of his great personal beauty.

Still, religious or superstitious motives were not always absent. They were particularly to the fore in the numerous cases where the extent and importance of the world of Heroes were added to on the recommendation of the Delphic oracle. Ever since the Delphic priesthood had risen from its obscure beginnings to a recognized position as the supreme authority in all questions of spiritual right, the opinion of the oracle had been sought on all occurrences that seemed to have any connexion with the unseen world. Especially in the case of prolonged drought or infertility of the soil, or when pestilential sicknesses had attacked a part of the country, was the oracle 129 requested to state the origin of the misfortune. In many cases the answer of the oracle would be that the origin of the evil lay in the anger of a Hero who was to be placated by sacrifice and the foundation of a permanent worship; or it would command that the plague should be averted by the recovery of the bones of a Hero from a foreign land, which should then be preserved at home and be the object of an official cult.72 Innumerable cults had their origin in this way, nor do the examples all belong to a half-legendary past. When pestilence and dearth broke out in the island of Cyprus after the death of Kimon, the oracle bade the inhabitants of Kition “not to slight” Kimon, but to regard him as a “higher” being, i.e. do him honour as a Hero.73 So, too, when some one possessed by special religious scruples inquired the cause of a strange vision that he had had, or of the remarkable appearance of the body of one lately dead,74 the oracle would often trace the matter to the action of a Hero who must forthwith be given an official cult. When a serious undertaking lay before a state, whether it was the invasion of a foreign land or a decisive battle in war, the oracle would bid the inquirers first placate the Heroes of the country that was to be attacked or where the battle was to be fought.75 Sometimes the oracle of its own accord, without being applied to, commanded the honours of a Hero to be paid to a dead man.76

A peculiar case is that of Kleomedes of Astypalaia. This man had at the 71st Olympic festival (486) killed his opponent in the boxing match. He was disqualified by the Hellanodikai from taking his crown and returned home to Astypalaia full of indignation. There he tore down the pillar which supported the roof of a boys’ school, and on the destruction of the boys fled to Athene’s temple where he hid himself in a chest. His pursuers vainly sought to open the lid of the chest and at last the chest itself had to be broken into by main force. But Kleomedes was not found inside, either alive or dead. The envoys sent to inquire of the oracle were informed that Kleomedes had become a Hero, and that he must be honoured with sacrifice since he was no longer a mortal.77 And so the inhabitants of Astypalaia paid honour to Kleomedes as a Hero. In this case the simple conception of a Hero as one raised to divine power after his death is united with the ancient belief, which had never quite died out since the great days of the epic, in the translation of individual mortals who without dying disappear from sight to enter immortal life with body and soul complete. Such a miracle seemed to have occurred once again in the case of Kleomedes. He had “disappeared” and 130 been “carried away”.78 He could, however, only be called a “Hero” because there was no common name to describe the effect of translation which made men no longer mortals nor yet gods. The oracle called Kleomedes “the last of the Heroes”; indeed, it might well appear time to close at last the already over-lengthy list of “Heroes”. The Delphic oracle79 had itself contributed largely to their increase, and with full intent; nor did it observe for long its own decision to make an end now.80

It is easy to understand the reasons for the universal acceptance among the Greeks of the unquestioned authority of the oracle in all matters connected with the Heroes. The god does not invent new Heroes or add to the number of local divinities at his own caprice or by the exercise of his own authority. He merely sees them where human eyes are not clear-sighted enough. He, the all-seeing, recognizes them as one spirit does another, and is able to see them at work when men only feel the results of their activity. Thus, he enables inquirers to be rid of their difficulties, to understand supernatural occurrences by the recognition and worship of invisible powers. For the believer he is in this, as in all other directions of religious life, “the true Expositor”.81 He only points out what already exists; he does not invent anything new, though the information that he gives may be something quite new to men. We, indeed, may be permitted to inquire what motive the shrewd Delphic priesthood may have had in the creation or renewal of so many Hero-cults. There is very evident method in their promotion of the belief in Heroes, as there is in all the activities of the oracle in religious and political matters. Was it ecclesiastical policy that made the priests of Delphi, in this as so many other cases, search out and multiply to the greatest possible extent the objects of belief and cult? The more widespread and the more deeply ingrained was the uneasy dread of an invisible all-powerful spirit-world, the greater became the authority of the oracle that alone could give guidance in this confused turmoil of ghostly activities. Superstition had achieved a power that the Homeric age never knew, and it cannot be denied that the oracle encouraged this deisidaimonia and did its best to increase it. Still, the priests of the oracle themselves were undoubtedly subject to the beliefs of their age; at any rate, they shared the belief in Heroes. They would think it quite natural, when faced by anxious inquiries as to the cause of disease or dearth, to confirm the half-expressed attribution of the evil to the action of an angry Hero. They had rather 131 to give their sanction to what was already anticipated than invent something new. They only applied to the particular case (with free scope in the invention of details) what the popular belief of the times had already settled in principle. But what it all meant was that the oracle took under its protection everything that could promote and strengthen the cult of souls: and in so far as it is possible to speak of a “Theology of Delphi”, the popular belief in the survival of the soul after death and the cult of the disembodied soul formed two of the most important articles in its creed. We shall have more to say on this subject hereafter. In any case, if the priests lived in the atmosphere of such ideas, it was natural for them in times of need and stress, when strange things happened, to regard as the author of the disturbance some dead legendary Hero’s ghost or even a powerful spirit of more recent times, and to direct the faithful accordingly. Thus, the Delphic god became the patron of the cult of Heroes, just as he was a patron of the Heroes themselves, and invited them every year at the Theoxenia to a meal in his own temple.82

§ 9

Thus encouraged on all sides, Hero-worship began to multiply the objects of the cult beyond all counting. The great wars of freedom against the Persians had aroused the deepest and most religious feelings of the Greeks, and it did not seem too much when whole companies of those who had fallen for freedom were raised to the rank of Hero. Thus, even into a very late period, the solemn procession every year to honour the Greeks who had been left on the field of Plataea was never omitted; and at the sacrifice the archon of the city called upon the “brave men who had laid down their lives for Greece” and invited them to a meal and satisfaction of blood.83 At Marathon, also, those who had once fallen in battle and been buried there were worshipped as Heroes.84

Out of the enormous multitude of those who had thus become Heroes an aristocracy of Heroes of a higher rank came to be formed, chiefly composed of those who had been honoured in legend and poetry from the earliest times and had acquired fame all over Greece. Examples of these are those whom Pindar85 in one place names together: the descendants of Oineus in Aetolia, Iolaos in Thebes, Perseus in Argos, the Dioscuri in Sparta, the many-branched heroic family of the Aiakidai in Aegina, Salamis, and many other places. Indeed, a brighter lustre seemed to illumine some of the greater Heroes 132 and to distinguish them almost in kind from the rest of their fellows. Thus, Herakles was now elevated to the gods, though Homer did not even know him as a “Hero” in the later sense, and though in many places he was still worshipped as a Hero.86 Asklepios is sometimes a Hero and sometimes a god, as he had been originally.87 Then many other Heroes began to receive sacrifice as gods,88 not without the assistance of the Delphic oracle, which in the case of Lykourgos, at least, seems itself to have given the lead in the elevation of that Hero.89 The boundary line between the Hero and the god seems to become more and more uncertain; sometimes a Hero of the narrowest local observance is called a “god”,90 without our having any reason for thinking of a formal elevation to divine honour in his case or any corresponding alteration of ritual. The title of Hero seemed already to have lost some of its value, though the time had not yet come when to name a dead man as Hero hardly distinguished him at all from all the other dead.

§ 10

However much the meaning attached to the name of Hero may have widened or even deteriorated, the belief in the Heroes lost none of its significance and long retained its hold on the people. The belief in such a class of spirits stood almost on a par with the belief in gods. If the circle of influence possessed by some particular local-Hero was narrow and restricted, that only made him seem all the nearer to his worshippers. The spirits of their ancestors, their own and the country’s peculiar possession and shared with no one else, seemed more intimately theirs than other invisible powers even of higher rank. Permanent as the gods themselves, such Heroes were honoured as hardly second to the gods, “though they cannot equal them in might.”91 “Not equal”—for their efficacy was confined within bounds; it did not reach beyond the limits of their home and the little band of their worshippers. They were bound to the soil as the Olympian gods no longer were—(a Hero who breaks free from local limitations soon achieves divinity). In particular those Heroes who send up, from beneath the earth where they dwell, relief in sickness or prevision of the future are certainly bound to one spot. Only at their graves can such assistance be expected, for that is their dwelling-place. In their case the relationship between the belief in Heroes and the belief in those subterranean deities, of whom something was said in the previous chapter, is peculiarly plain. Indeed, in so far as their influence is limited 133 to a single locality and their powers concerned especially with iatromantic manifestations, these two classes of spirits essentially coincide.

Such relief in sickness was expected, not only from Asklepios himself, but from the Asklepiadai, Machaon—who had a grave and temple at Gerenia on the coast of Laconia—and Podaleirios. The latter was buried in Apulia, near Mount Garganus. In his heroön those who sought his aid laid themselves down to sleep on the skin of the ram that had been previously sacrificed. In sleep they received other revelations from the Hero besides remedies for the ailments of man and beast.92 Machaon’s son, too, Polemokrates, healed sicknesses in his temple of Eua in Argolis.93 In Attica there was a Heros Iatros in the city whose efficacy in curing disease was witnessed to by innumerable silver ex voto facsimiles of various parts of the body restored to health by him.94 Another Hero Iatros, whose name is given as Aristomachos, had an oracle of healing at Marathon.95 Healing of disease was rarely attributed to any other than these Asklepiad Heroes. Dream-revelations of other kinds, however, were vouchsafed from their graves especially by those Heroes who had been seers also in their lifetime, such as Mopsos and Amphilochos at Mallos in Cilicia, Amphilochos, again, in Akarnania, Teiresias at Orchomenos, Kalchas in Apulia near the just-mentioned heroön of Podaleirios.96 Besides these Odysseus, too, had a dream-oracle among the Eurytanes in Aetolia,97 Protesilaos one at his grave-monument at Elaious in the Thracian Chersonnese,98 Sarpedon in Cilicia and another (alleged) in the Troad,99 Menestheus, the Athenian leader, far away in Spain,100 Autolykos in Sinope,101 and perhaps also Anios in Delos.102 A Heroine called Hemithea had a dream-oracle, from which she dispensed cures in sickness, at Kastabos in Karia;103 Pasiphaë gave prophecies in dreams at Thalamai on the Laconian coast.104 Since from none of these Heroes did the epic tradition give any particular grounds in legend for expecting a display of mantic powers, we must suppose that knowledge of the future and communication of such knowledge to the living was regarded as belonging naturally to the spiritual nature of the glorified souls of Heroes. The notices which have come down to us allow us to hear of a few regular and permanently established Hero-oracles, but there may have been numbers of them of which we know nothing, and isolated and occasional manifestations of oracular powers by other Heroes may not have been entirely out of the question.105 134

§ 11

The oracular Heroes are regularly confined to the neighbourhood of their graves. In addition, what we know of the legends that were told of the appearances or the unseen activities of these Heroes shows that, like the spirits that haunt ancient castles or caverns in our own popular mythology, they were confined within the boundaries of their native country, the neighbourhood of their graves or the site of their cult. They are, as a rule, artless stories of the anger displayed by a Hero whose rights have been infringed or whose cult neglected. At Tanagra106 there was a Hero Eunostos, who, having been deprived of his life through the machinations of a woman, would tolerate no woman in his grove or near his grave.107 If any of the hated sex intruded there was danger of an earthquake or drought, or else the Hero was seen going down to the sea (which washes away all pollutions) to cleanse himself. In Orchomenos there was a spirit who went about “with a stone” devastating the neighbourhood. This was Aktaion, whose earthly remains were therefore buried with much ceremony on the command of an oracle. A bronze statue of him was also set up and fastened with chains to a rock, and honoured every year in a feast of the dead.108 Herodotos solemnly tells us of the wrath of Minos with the Cretans, who had not avenged his own violent end, whereas they had gone to the aid of Menelaos.109 There is a deeper sense in the legend, also related by Herodotos, of Talthybios who was enraged not for any private grievance but because of a violation of the moral law and order. He himself as the protector of heralds and messengers punished the Spartans for their murder of the Persian envoys.110 But the most awe-inspiring legend of the revenge of a Hero was told of a local-Hero of the Athenian parish of Anagyros. A countryman had cut down the Hero’s sacred grove.111 The Hero first caused the death of the man’s wife and then inspired the second wife with a guilty passion for his son, her stepson. The latter opposed her wishes and when she denounced him to her husband was blinded by him and banished to a desert island. The father, having become an object of loathing to all men, hanged himself; the stepmother threw herself into a well.112 This story is remarkable for the fact that in it the Hero, like the gods themselves, is regarded as able to affect men’s consciousness, their feelings, and their resolves. Many of the details may have been improved upon by a taste accustomed to poetry of a higher style.113 But as a rule the legends of Heroes bear a 135 thoroughly popular stamp. They are a kind of vulgar mythology, which still put forth fresh shoots in this way now that the myths of ancient gods and champions have become merely traditional and have been given over to the never-ending operations of the poets. Such myths were no longer thrown off naturally by the creative instinct of the people. The gods seemed too far removed, their visible influence in the affairs of men seemed only credible in the legends of a far-distant past. The spirits of Heroes hovered nearer to men; in good fortune and bad men traced their handiwork. In the myths and legends of the people arising out of the events of the immediate present they now constitute the supernatural element without which neither life nor stories would offer any attraction or meaning to the simple-minded.

We can learn what these legends were like from a single example, which happens to have been preserved to us and which must stand for the numbers of similar stories which once must have been current. At Temesa, in Lucania, there was a Hero who went about destroying any of the inhabitants that he could lay his hand on. The Temesians, who had got as far as thinking of leaving Italy, turned in their distress to the Delphic oracle, and were told that the ghost was the spirit of a stranger who had once been stoned to death by the inhabitants of the country for the violation of a maiden.114 A sacred precinct must be dedicated to him, and a temple built, where every year the most beautiful maiden in Temesa must be delivered up to him. The citizens of Temesa did as they were told, and the spirit left them in peace, but every year the awful sacrifice took place. To this place there came in the 77th Olympiad a famous boxer, Euthymos of Locri, returning with his crown of victory back to Italy. He heard at Temesa of the sacrifice that was about to take place, and entered the temple where he saw the chosen maiden waiting for the Hero. Pity and love filled his heart; and when the Hero arrived the victor of so many single combats dared to try conclusions with this new foe and finally threw him into the sea and rid the country of the monster. It is just as in our own fairy tale of the youth who went forth to learn how to shudder;115 and, of course, now that the land is delivered there is a brilliant wedding and the “Knight of Good Courage” marries the beautiful maiden he has rescued. He lived on to extreme old age, and even then he did not die but was translated alive and is now himself a Hero.116

Such champions of the Pan-Hellenic contests, of whom 136 Euthymos was one, are the favourite figures of popular legend both in their lifetime and, after their death, as spirits. A story was told also of one of the contemporaries of Euthymos, Theagenes of Thasos, one of the most famous victors in the great games, and how after his death one of his opponents went and thrashed his statue by night till one night the statue fell on him and killed him. The Thasians then threw the murderous image into the sea, but were thereupon plagued with barrenness as a result of the Hero’s anger. This went on until, after the several times repeated command of the Delphic oracle, they fished up the statue from where it had sunk and restored it to its old position and sacrificed to it “as to a god”.117 The remarkable thing about this story is the way in which the crude and primitive notion, common to almost all image-worshipping peoples, that the strength of a “spirit” resides in his effigy, is here more than usually striking and applied to the belief in Heroes. It lies at the bottom of many stories of the revenge of dumb statues against those who offend them.118 The statue of Theagenes, indeed, cured fevers even in later ages,119 as did the statue of another famous boxer, Polydamas of Skotoussa.120 An Achæan Olympic victor, Oibotas of Dyme, had for centuries prevented the Achæans from winning in any contest by a curse.121 When he had been appeased the Achæans, on starting out to take part in a contest at Olympia, used to do sacrifice to his statue.122

§ 12

But the belief in Heroes rose to still greater heights. Not merely in peaceful athletic contests, but in real need, in struggles when they were fighting to defend the highest possessions of all—the freedom and safety of their country—the Heroes were found on the side of the Greeks. Nowhere do we see more plainly how real and vivid was the faith of contemporary Greece in the Heroes than in the stories told of the appeals then made to them and of their participation in the Persian wars. At Marathon there were many who saw an apparition of Theseus in full armour fighting in the front of the battle against the barbarians.123 In the painting of Panainos (the brother of Pheidias) in the Stoa Poikile at Athens there was shown among the fighters at Marathon a certain Hero, Echetlos, of whose appearance at the battle a peculiar story was told.124 In the war against Xerxes Delphi was preserved by two of the local Heroes of the land against a Persian raid.125 In the morning before the battle of Salamis the Greeks prayed to the gods, but they called directly 137 upon the Heroes to give them practical help: Aias and Telamon were summoned from Salamis, and a ship was sent to fetch Aiakos and the other Aiakidai from Aegina.126 So little were these Hero spirits mere symbols or great names to the Greeks. Their actual physical participation in the decisive hour was confidently expected. And, indeed, they came and helped:127 after the battle had been won a trireme out of the spoil was dedicated to the Hero Aias as well as to the gods as a thankoffering.128 A Salaminian local Hero, Kychreus, had also come to the help of the Greeks, as a snake, in which form the Heroes, like the earth spirits, frequently appeared.129 After the battle everyone was fully persuaded that they owed their victory to the gods and Heroes.130 As Xenophon puts it, it was the Heroes and their aid which “made Greece unconquerable” in the fight against the barbarians.131 Less frequently we hear of the active participation of national Heroes in the fights of one Greek state against another.132

Even in the petty details of the life of individuals the Heroes played their part, helping or hindering, as once in mythical times the gods had done. Everyone will be reminded of well-known legends of the gods, and will at the same time be able to measure the difference between the sublime and the merely idyllic, in reading Herodotos’ naive and circumstantial tale of how Helen once appeared in person to a nurse at Therapne. The nurse was praying at Helen’s grave for her ill-favoured foster-child, when the Heroine appeared to her and with a touch of her hand made the child the most beautiful maiden in Sparta.133 So, too, we read how the Hero Astrabakos, in the likeness of Ariston, king of Sparta, visited in secret the king’s wife and made her the mother of Demaratos.134 The heroön of this Astrabakos was situated by the door of Ariston’s house,135 and it was a frequent custom thus to place a Hero’s shrine before the house-door where he might give a special protection to his neighbour.136

In all the circumstances of human life, in happiness or in need, for individuals or the city, the Heroes are thus very near to men. It is now often said of the Hero worshipped by a city (just as it was said of the city’s gods) that he rules it, is its possessor, or is lord over it;137 he is its true guardian and protector. It may, indeed, have been the case in many cities, as it was said to be in some, that the belief in the city-Hero was more deeply held there than the belief in the gods worshipped by all Greece in common.138 The relation of man to the Heroes is closer than it is to the majestic gods above: 138 the faith in Heroes gave a different and a more familiar bond of union between men and the spirit-world above them. The worship of Heroes began as an ancestor-cult and an ancestor-cult it remained in essence, but it had now been widened to a cult of certain greater human souls who had raised themselves above their fellows by peculiar powers exercised in many, and by no means predominantly moral, directions. Many of them were of later ages or even of the quite recent past, and in this lies the peculiar importance of their cult. They show that the company of the spirits is not fixed and made up; individual mortals are still continually being raised to that higher circle after the completion of their earthly life. Death does not end all conscious existence nor does the gloom of Hades swallow up all life.

But for that reason the cult of Heroes cannot be the origin of the belief in an immortality belonging to all human souls by their very nature. Nor can this ever have been its effect. In the beginning, among the hosts that streamed down to Hades, the special individuals who had another fate were a small class apart and favoured above all others—and so it still remained. Though the numbers of the heroic figures might be increased enormously, yet every individual case of the transition of a human soul into the ranks of the Heroes was a fresh and special miracle. Such exceptional cases, however frequently repeated, could never produce a general rule applying without distinction to all men alike.

The belief in Heroes in its gradual evolution and extension unquestionably led far away from the course taken by the Homeric belief in the things after death. In fact, it pointed in the opposite direction. But with the belief in Heroes men had not yet arrived at the belief in an immortality proper to the human soul by virtue of its own nature, nor yet (which would be something different again) was a general cult of souls thereby founded. In order that such beliefs might arise after, but not out of, the cult of Heroes, and maintain themselves side by side with an undiminished cult of Heroes, a movement was first necessary that had its origin in different sources.


1 Porph., Abst. 4, 22, p. 268, 23 Nauck.

2 It is not quite clear whether it is legitimate to see in what Paus. 2, 2, 2, says about the graves of Neleus and Sisyphos a first trace of the worship of Hero-relics, as Lobeck does, Agla. 284. The oracle verse from Oinom. ap. Eus., PE. 5, 28, p. 223 B, in which Lykourgos is warned to honour Μενέλαν τε καὶ ἄλλους ἀθανάτους ἥρωας, οἳ ἐν Λακεδαίμονι δίῃ—is certainly quite late, later than the ἥκεις ὦ Λυκόοργε that was known already to Herod.; earlier however than the second century, cf. Isyllos (GDI. 3342), l. 26. Oinomaos got it, like all the oracles that he used in making his Γοήτων φώρα from a collection of oracular sayings, certainly not from (or even indirectly from) Ephoros as has been groundlessly maintained.—Unquestionably the cult of Helen and Menelaos at Therapne was ancient: see Ross, Arch. Aufs. ii, 341 ff. Connexion with the legitimate pre-Dorian monarchy was eagerly sought for in Sparta; thus the bones of Orestes and Tisamenos were brought to Sparta and both honoured there as Heroes. The cult of Menelaos in Therapne has nothing whatever to do with his translation to Elysion (Od. δ).

3 One Daites ἥρωα τιμώμενον παρὰ τοῖς Τρωσίν is mentioned by Mimn. fr. 18. Still earlier Alc. seems to refer to the cult of Achilles as a Hero, fr. 48 b: Ἀχίλλευ, ὃ γᾶς Σκυδίκας μέδεις (see Wassner, de her. cult., p. 33).

4 θεοὶ ὅσοι γῆν τὴν Πλαταιΐδα ἔχετε καὶ ἥρωες, ξυνίστορές ἐστε, Thuc. ii, 74, 2; μάρτυρας θεοὺς καὶ ἥρωας ἐγχωρίους ποιήσομαι, Th. iv, 87, 2; cf. Th. v, 30, 2–5.

5 Hdt. viii, 109: τάδε γὰρ οὐκ ἡμεῖς κατεργασάμεθα ἀλλὰ θεοί τε καὶ ἥρωες.

6 Hdt. vii, 43.

7 In the first edition of this book I could not refer to the copiously documented article by Deneken on “Heros” in Roscher’s Myth. Lex. Even now I must be content to refer the reader generally to the rich collections of material there supplied. The view taken of the nature and origin of the Hero is, however, one which I can only reject. According to that account (which in this follows the current view) the belief in Heroes arose from a weakened belief in gods, and the race of Heroes was composed of formerly divine figures who had come to be regarded in the course of time with diminished awe. But the cult of Heroes was by no means an attenuated worship of the gods: on the contrary it was fundamentally contrasted in its essence to the cult of the gods above: ἐναγίζειν can never have been derived from θύειν in however attenuated a form. Equally little can the Heroes of cult have been ever (much less frequently) derived from gods directly. The “Heroes” (as objects of a cult) are invariably elevated souls of men, not reduced divinities. This rule holds good even though a considerable number of once divine figures after they had been deprived of their godhead and made into great men, were when they died exalted, as outstanding human beings, to the rank of Hero. In this respect they did not differ from the innumerable cases before and beside them of simple mortals who had never been gods. Only when and because they had become men and been mortal could such 140 ex-divine personages become Heroes: no one stepped straight from godhood to Herohood. The Hero is regularly a promoted human spirit and nothing else.—I intend here and generally in this book to avoid further polemic against the currently accepted view of the origin of the Hero out of degraded godhead and to content myself instead with the statement of my own positive attitude in these matters.

8 θεῶν ἄλλοις ἄλλαι τιμαὶ πρόσκεινται καὶ ἥρωσιν ἄλλαι, καὶ αὗται ἀποκεκριμέναι τοῦ θειοῦ, Arr., Anab. iv, 11, 3.

9 Sacrifice to Heroes ἐν δυθμαῖσιν αὐγᾶν and throughout the night, Pi., I. iv, 65 ff. ὑπὸ κνέφας, Ap. Rh. i, 587 (= περὶ ἡλίου δυσμάς, Schol.). τῷ μὲν (Ἀλεξάνορι) ὡς ἥρωϊ μετὰ ἥλιον δύνατα ἐναγίζουσιν Εὐαμερίωνι δὲ ὡς θεῷ θύουσιν, Paus. 2, 11, 7. νύκτωρ κατὰ ἔτος ἐναγίζουσιν, (the Pheneatai) to Myrtilos, Paus. 8, 14, 11. By night Solon sacrificed to the Salaminian Heroes, Plu., Sol. 9.—After noon, ἀπὸ μέσου ἡμέρας, must sacrifice be made to the Heroes, D.L. viii, 33; τοῖς κατοιχομένοις ἀπὸ μεσημβρίας, EM. 468, 34 (cf. Procl. in Hes. Op. 763, Eust., Θ 65, p. 698, 36). The Heroes also are among the κατοιχόμενοι: τοῖς ἥρωσιν ὡς κατοιχομένοις ἔντομα ἔθυον, ἀποβλέποντες κάτω ἐς γῆν, Schol. A.D., Α 459.—In later times sacrifice seems to have been made to the ordinary dead even in broad daylight (see Stengel, Chthon. u. Todtencult, 422 f.), but to “Heroes”, as once to the dead (Ψ 218 ff.), always towards evening or at night.

10 ἐσχάρα, see above, Ch. I. n. 53.

11 Cf. Stengel, Jb. f. Phil., 1886, pp. 322, 329.

12 Schol. A.D., Α 459. Schol., Ap. Rh. i, 587. ἐντέμνειν, see Stengel, Zt. f. Gymn., 1880, p. 743 ff.

13 αἱμακουρία, Pi., O. i, 90. Plu., Aristid. 21. The word is supposed to be Boeotian acc. to Schol. Pi., O. i, 146 (hence Greg. Cor., p. 215, Schaefer).

14 Rightly (as against Welcker) Wassner, de h. cult., p. 6, maintains that the ἐναγίσματα for Heroes were ὁλοκαυτώματα.

15 ἐναγίζειν to heroes, θύειν to gods. Pausanias in particular is careful in his use of the words, but even he, and Herodotos, too, occasionally says θύειν where ἐναγίζειν would have been correct (e.g. Hdt. vii, 117, τῷ Ἀρταχαίῃ θύουσι Ἀκάνθιοι ὡς ἤρωι). Others frequently say θύειν instead of ἐναγίζειν, which as the more special idea could easily be included in θύειν the more generic word for making sacrifice.

16 Cf. Deneken, de theoxeniis (Berl. 1881), cap. 1; Wassner, de h. cult., p. 12. The expressions used by primitive peoples allow us to see the ideas that lie at the bottom of this mode of offering; cf. Réville, les rel. des peuples non-civ. i, 73. The ritual may be regarded as specially primitive and even earlier than the practice of burnt offering (cf. Oldenberg, Rel. d. Veda, 344 f.).

17 See above, Ch. I, p. 14 ff.—ἐπὶ Ἀζᾶνι τῷ Ἀρκάδος τελευτήσαντι ἆθλα ἐτέθη πρῶτον· εἰ μὲν καὶ ἄλλα οὐκ οἶδα, ἱπποδρομίας δὲ ἐτέθη, Paus. 8, 4, 5.

18 The same is implied by the observation of Aristarchos that Homer knows no ἱερὸς καὶ στεφανίτης ἀγών, see Rh. Mus. 36, 544 f. (as to the observation there put forward that Homer in fact did not know the word στέφανος or its use, cf. further Schol. Pi., Nem. intr., pp. 7, 8 ff., Abel; see also Merkel, Ap. Rh. proleg., p. cxxvi: ἐϋστέφανος derived from στεφάνη not from στέφανος: Schol. Φ 511).

19 Many such Agones for Heroes are mentioned, esp. by Pindar.

20 e.g. on the command of the oracle an ἀγὼν γυμνικὸς καὶ ἱππικός was founded in honour of the fallen Phocaeans in Agylla, Hdt. i, 167. 141 Agon for Miltiades, Hdt. vi, 38; for Brasidas, Thuc. v, 11; for Leonidas in Sparta, Paus. 3, 14, 1.

21 At the Iolaia in Thebes μυρσίνης στεφάνοις στεφανοῦνται οἱ νικῶντες· μυρσίνῃ δὲ στεφανοῦνται διὰ τὸ εἶναι τῶν νεκρῶν στέφος, Sch. Pi., I. iii, 117. (The myrtle τοῖς χθονίοις ἀφιέρωτο, Apollod. ap. Sch. Ar., Ran. 330; as adorning graves, Eur., El. 324, 511.)

22 General statement: ἐτελοῦντο οἱ παλαιοὶ πάντες ἀγῶνες ἐπὶ τισι τετελευτηκόσι, Sch. Pi., I, p. 349 Ab. (τὰς ἐπιτυμβίους ταυτασὶ πανηγύρεις, Clem. Alex. calls the four great games, Protr. ii, p. 29 P.). The Nemean as an ἀγὼν ἐπιτάφιος for Archemoros, Sch. Pi., N., pp. 7, 8 Ab.; later offered to Zeus first by Herakles, ib., p. 11, 8 ff.; 12, 14–13, 4 (cf. Welcker, Ep. Cycl. ii, 350 ff.). Victor’s crown, since the Persian wars, of parsley ἐπὶ τιμῇ τῶν κατοιχομένων, ib., p. 10 (parsley on graves: Schneidewin on Dgn. viii, 57; see below. σελίνου στέφανος πένθιμος . . . Δοῦρις ἐν τῷ περὶ ἀγώνων, Phot. 506, 5). Black dress of the judges, ib., p. 11, 8 ff. Schol. Arg., N. iv, v.—Isthmian games as ἐπιτάφιος ἀγών for Melikertes and then for Sinis or Skiron, Plu., Thes. 25. Sch. Pi., I., pp. 350–2 Ab. Crown made of parsley or pine, both signs of mourning, Paus. 8, 48, 2 (and elsewhere see Meineke, An. Alex., 80 ff.). The Pythian games are said to be an ἀγὼν ἐπιτάφιος for Python; the Olympian for Oinomaos or Pelops (Phlegon, FHG. iii, 603; cf. P. Knapp, Corresp. Würt. Gelehr. 1881, p. 9 ff.). These notices cannot all be learned invention. It is a fact, for instance, that the funeral games of Tlepolemos in Rhodes, known to Pindar, O. vii, 77 ff., were later transferred to Helios (cf. Sch. Pi., O. vii, 36, 146–7, and Böckh on v, 77).

23 “Half-gods,” ἡμίθεοι. The name does not, as is sometimes declared, imply that the Heroes were spirits who thus constituted a class of intermediate beings between gods and men. The Heroes were not called ἡμίθεοι; the name was really applied to the kings and champions of the legendary age, more especially those who fought at Troy or Thebes (Hes., Op., 160; Hom. M 23; h. Hom., 31, 19; 32, 19. Callin., fr. i, 19, and often later). It applies to them, however, as living men not as glorified spirits (thus Pla., Ap. 41 A; cf. D.H. 7, 32, 13, ἡμιθέων γενομένων [on earth] αἱ ψυχαί).—The ἡμίθεοι are a species of men not of spirits or daimones; they are those οἳ πρότερόν ποτ’ ἐπέλοντο, θεῶν δ’ ἐξ ἀνάκτων ἐγένονθ’ υἷες ἡμίθεοι (Simon., fr. 36; cf. Pla., Crat. 398 D), the sons of gods and mortal women and then their companions as well (a potiori so named). Even the idea that the great men of the past, thus called ἡμίθεοι, were naturally made “Heroes” after their death as a consequence of their half-divine nature which might give them special privileges even then—this idea has no very ancient authority. Cicero, ND. iii, 45, seems to be the first to suggest such a view. That the Greeks of the best period ever regarded semi-divine origin as a qualification for becoming a Hero is refuted by the simple fact that for the great majority of the “Heroes” descent from a god was not claimed. Of course, poetry was always ready to give a Hero a divine father in order to enhance his value, cf. Paus. 6, 11, 2; but this was never a condition of being made a Hero (rather of being raised from Hero to god).

24 μάκαρ μὲν ἀνδρῶν μέτα, ἥρως δ’ ἔπειτα λαοσεβής, Pi., P. v, 94 f.

25 τίνα θεόν, τίν’ ἥρωα, τίνα δ’ ἄνδρα; Pi., O. ii init. οὔτε θεοὺς οὔτε ἥρωας οὔτε ἀνθρώπους αἰσχυνθεῖσα, Antiph. i, 27. With “daimones” added: Gods, daimones, heroes, men: Pl., Rp. 392 A; 427 B; Lg. iv, 717 AB. In later times the distinction between θεοί, δαίμονες, ἥρωες, corresponded to a real and popular opinion, see e.g. GDI. 142 1582 (Dodona), cf. also 1566, 1585 b.—There can be no question of identifying Heroes with the daimones (as Nägelsb., N. Th. 104, does). When philosophers call the dead “daimones” that is from quite a different point of view. It is a speculative idea peculiar to Plutarch himself that, in view of the transition from men to Heroes and from these to daimones, the Heroes themselves might be regarded as a sort of lower daimon (DO. 10, 415 A; Rom. 28). A Schol. on Eur., Hec. 165, quite justifiably makes a parallel between gods and daimones on the one hand and Heroes and men on the other: the gods are ὑψηλότερόν τι τάγμα τῶν δαιμόνων and this is the relation of οἱ ἥρωες πρὸς τοὺς λοιποὺς ἀνθρώπους, ὑψηλότεροί τινες δοκοῦντες καὶ ὑπερέχοντες.

26 Aristarchos’ remark that in Homer not only kings but πάντες κοινῶς are designated as ἥρωες, was directed against the mistaken limitation of the word by Ister; see Lehrs, Aristarch.3, p. 101. Before Aristarch., however, the mistaken idea that οἱ ἡγεμόνες τῶν ἀρχαίων μόνοι ἦσαν ἥρωες, οἱ δὲ λαοὶ ἄνθρωποι seems to have been general: it is expressed in the [Arist.] Probl. 19, 48, p. 922b, 18; Rhianos, too, held it, see Schol. Τ 41 (Mayhoff, de Rhiani stud. Hom., p. 46).—It is incorrect to say that in the supposed “later” parts of the Odyssey ἥρως is no longer used of all free men, but only of the aristocracy (Fanta, Staat in Il. u. Od., 17 f.). In δ 268, θ 242, ξ 97, the word is used as an honourable title of free men of superior rank, but there is no suggestion of a restriction of the word to such use. In addition to which, the word ἥρως unmistakably appears in its wider sense also in other parts of the poem equally and rightly supposed to be late (α 272, θ 483, ω 68, etc.).

27 So for example esp. when Pausanias speaks of the καλούμενοι ἥρωες, 5, 6, 2; 6, 5, 1; 7, 17, 1; 8, 12, 2; 10, 10, 1, etc.

28 ἀνδρῶν ἡρώων θεῖον γένος, Hes., Op. 159.

29 Of the “Heroes” of his fourth race the great majority fell according to Hesiod in the war of Troy or Thebes and died without any “illumination”; the few, on the other hand, who are translated to the Islands of the Blest are illuminated indeed, but have never died. To regard them as the prototypes and forerunners of the Heroes worshipped in later times (as many do) is inadmissible.

30 Grave in the market: Battos in Kyrene, Pi., P. v, 87 ff., and frequently. Hero-graves in the Prytaneion at Megara, Paus. 1, 43, 2–3. Adrastos was buried in the market at Sikyon. Kleisthenes, to play a trick on him, brought from Thebes (the corpse of) Melanippos, who, when alive, had been his greatest enemy, and placed him ἐν τῷ πρυτανείῳ καί μιν ἵδρυσε ἐνθαῦτα ἐν τῷ ἰσχυροτάτῳ, Hdt. v, 67. Themistokles had a μνημεῖον in the market at Magnesia on the Maiander. Th. 1, 138, 5; i.e. a ἡρῷον (see Wachsmuth, Rh. Mus. lii, 140).

31 τύμβον ἀμφίπολον ἔχων πολυξενωτάτῳ παρὰ βώμῳ, Pi., O. i, 93; i.e. the great ash-altar of Zeus. The excavations have confirmed Pindar’s description (cf. Paus. 5, 13, 1–2).

32 Grave built in the gateway: ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ πυλῇ at Elis Aitolos the son of Oxylos was buried, Paus. 5, 4, 4; cf. Lobeck, Agl. 281 f. Grave at the boundary of the country: Koroibos, the first Olympic victor, was buried Ἠλείας ἐπὶ τῷ πέρατι as the insc. stated: Paus. 8, 26, 4. Grave of Koroibos, son of Mygdon, ἐν ὅροις Φρυγῶν Στεκτορηνῶν, Paus. 10, 27, 1.

33 The idea of the grave as the dwelling-place of the Hero is shown in a very strange fashion by the story that the Phliasians before the feast of Demeter καλοῦσιν ἐπὶ τὰς σπονδάς the hero Aras and his sons, looking while so doing towards the graves of these Heroes: Paus. 2, 12, 5. 143

34 This hero (Xanthippos or Phokos) ἔχει ἐπὶ ἡμέρᾳ τε πάσῃ τιμάς, καὶ ἄγοντες ἱερεῖα οἱ Φωκεῖς τὸ μὲν αἷμα δι’ ὀπῆς ἐγχέουσιν ἐς τὸν τάφον κτλ. Paus. 10, 4, 10. Similarly at the grave of Hyakinthos at Amyklai, Paus. 3, 19, 3. The meaning of such an offering is the same in Greece as in similar cases among any “savage” tribe. In Tylor, ii, 28, we read: “In the Congo district the custom has been described of making a channel into the tomb to the head or mouth of the corpse, to send down month by month the offerings of food and drink.”

35 Most of the examples are mentioned by Lobeck, Agl. 281 [u], but he omits the most remarkable case, fully reported by Hdt. i, 67–8, of the transference of the bones of Orestes from Tegea to Sparta (cf. Paus. 3, 3, 6; 11, 10; 8, 54, 4. The reason is obvious, cf. Müller, Dorians, i, 72). Besides this note: the removal of the bones of Hektor from Ilion to Thebes, Paus. 9, 18, 5, Sch. and Tz., Lyc. 1194, 1204; of Arkas from Mainalos to Mantinea, Paus. 8, 9, 3; cf. 8, 36, 8; of Hesiod from Naupaktos to Orchomenos, Paus. 9, 38, 3; of Hippodameia from Midea in Argolis to Olympia, Paus. 6, 20, 7; of Tisamenos from Helike to Sparta, Paus. 7, 1, 8; of Aristomenes from Rhodes to Messene, Paus. 4, 32, 3. Strange story of the shoulder bone of Pelops, Paus. 5, 13, 4–6. In all these cases the removal followed upon a command of the oracle, cf. also Paus. 9, 30, 9–11. Practical stimulus may have been given occasionally by the discovery of abnormally large bones in dug-up graves; we often hear of such discoveries, cf. W. Schmid, Atticismus, iv, 572 f., and it was always believed that such gigantic bones were remains of one of τῶν καλουμένων ἡρώων, Paus. 6, 5, 1 (cf. also 1, 35, 5 ff.; 3, 22, 9). It would be the business of the oracle to determine the name of the Hero concerned and see that the remains were reverently preserved. (One example may be given, though from a later period. In the dried-up bed of the Orontes a clay coffin 11 yards long was found and a corpse within it. The oracle of the Clarian Apollo on being applied to for enlightenment as to its origin answered Ὀρόντην εἶναι, γένους δὲ αὐτὸν εἶναι τοῦ Ἰνδῶν, Paus. 8, 29, 4; Philostr., H. 669 p. 138, 6–19 K.

36 Plu., Cim. 8; Thes. 36; Paus. 3, 3, 7.—In the year 437–6 we hear of the removal by Hagnon and his Athenians, at the command of the oracle, of the bones of Rhesos from Troy to Amphipolis: Polyaen. vi, 53. The neighbourhood of the mouth of the Strymon on the western slopes of Mt. Pangaios was the original home of Rhesos: he was already known to the Doloneia as the son of Eïoneus; to later writers as the son of Strymon and (like Orpheus) a Muse—which is the same thing (see Conon, 4). On M. Pangaios he still lived as an oracular deity: this must have been the popular belief of the district which the author of the Rhesus explains after Greek fashion (ll. 955–66). He is a tribal god of the Edonians, of the same pattern as Zalmoxis of the Getai, and Sabos or Sabazios of other Thracian tribes. In the mind of the Greeks he had become since the poem of the Doloneia entirely detached from the site of his worship and was a mere mortal champion with whom fancy might do what it chose (cf. Parth. 36). The restoration of his bones to the neighbourhood of the lower Strymon (μνημεῖον τοῦ Ῥήσου in Amphipolis: Marsyas ὁ νεώτερος in Sch., Rhes. 346), and the heroic cult which was undoubtedly paid to him in connexion therewith, may have been a kind of official recognition by the Greeks of the worship of Rhesos discovered in that neighbourhood by the Athenian colonists. I see no reason for doubting the historical fact of the occurrence, though some of the details of Polyaenus’ account have a fabulous colouring. It is true Cicero says of Rhesos, nusquam 144 colitur (ND. iii, 45), and so it may have been in C.’s time: for the earlier period the close of the tragedy clearly suggests the cult of R. as a divinity, while the story of Polyaen. implies his Hero-cult.

37 Sometimes only single parts of the body, e.g. the shoulder-blade of Pelops at Olympia (Paus. 5, 13).—In Argos on the road to the Akropolis their heads were buried in the μνῆμα τῶν Αἰγύπτου παίδων, while the rest of their bodies were in Lerne, Paus. 2, 24, 2.

38 See Lob., Agl. 281. This only can be the meaning of Soph., OC. 1522 f. (Nauck otherwise).—A strange case is that of Hippolytos in Troizen: ἀποθανεῖν αὐτὸν οὐκ ἐθέλουσιν (οἱ Τροιζήνιοι) συρέντα ὑπὸ τῶν ἵππων οὐδὲ τὸν τάφον ἀποφαίνουσιν εἰδότες· τὸν δὲ ἐν οὐρανῷ καλούμενον ἡνίοχον τοῦτον εἶναι νομίζουσιν ἐκεῖνον (ἐκεῖνοι?) Ἱππόλυτον, τιμὴν παρὰ θεῶν ταύτην ἔχοντα Paus. 2, 32, 1. Here it seems as if the grave were not shown because Hipp. was not regarded as having died and therefore would not have a grave; he is said to have been translated and set among the stars. But there was a grave and the translation story must therefore only be an afterthought. (The death of Hipp. is spoken of clearly enough by the poets: but what happened to him after Asklepios had restored him to life again? The Italian Virbius legend seems to have been little known in Greece. Paus. 2, 27, 4, knows it from Aricia.)—Very occasionally the possession of the relics of the Hero was secured by burning the bones and scattering the ashes in the market place of the city. Thus Phalanthos in Tarentum, Justin. 3, 4, 13 ff.; Solon in Salamis, D.L. i, 62; Plu., Sol. 32. As a rule the scattering of ashes is intended to serve a different purpose, cf. Plu., Lycurg. 31 fin.; Nic. Dam., Paradox. 16, p. 170 West.

39 A few examples: κενὸν σῆμα of Teiresias in Thebes, Paus. 9, 18, 4; of Achilles at Elis, Paus. 6, 23, 3; of the Argives who fought in the war against Troy, at Argos, Paus. 2, 20, 6; of Iolaos at Thebes, Paus. 9, 23, 1; Sch. Pi., N. iv, 32 (in the tomb of Amphitryon? Pi., P. ix, 81); of Odysseus at Sparta, Plut., Q. Gr., 48, 302 C; of Kalchas in Apulia, Lyc. 1047 f.

40 Perhaps by ἀνάκλησις of the ψυχή? see above, Ch. I, n. 86 (at the foundation of Messene ἐπεκαλοῦντο ἐν κοινῷ καὶ ἥρωάς σφισιν ἐπανήκειν συνοίκους, Paus. 4, 27, 6).

41 καὶ τεθνεὼς καὶ τάριχος ἐὼν δύναμιν πρὸς θεῶν ἔχει τὸν ἀδικέοντα τίνεσθαι, Hdt. ix, 120.

42 No detailed proof of this statement is needed. We will only remark that the attempt to conceal the grave is often met with among so-called “savage” tribes and has the same purpose as in the Greek Hero-cult: cf. on this subject Herbert Spencer, Princ. of Sociol. i, p. 176.

43 See Helbig, D. hom. Epos aus Denkm.1, p. 41.

44 See above, p. 23.

45 Β 603 οἳ δ’ ἔχον Ἀρκαδίην ὑπὸ Κυλλήνης ὄρος αἰπύ, Αἰπύτιον παρὰ τύμβον.—Cf. Paus. 8, 16, 2–3.—In the Troad the frequently mentioned Ἴλου σῆμα, the σῆμα πολυσκάρθμοιο Μυρίνης which “men” call Βατίεια, were similar monuments.

46 The ceremonial announcement of death, the καταμιαίνεσθαι of the proper persons (as usual the next of kin to the dead); the assembling of Spartiates Perioikoi and Helots (cf. Tyrt. fr. 7) with their women to the number of several thousands, the extravagant expression of grief and praise of the dead, the period of mourning (no business in the market for ten days, etc.)—all this is described by Hdt. vi, 58. He compares this grandiose funeral with the pomp customary at the burial of an Asiatic (Persian) monarch.—The Lycurgan νόμοι by these funeral rites οὐχ ὡς ἀνθρώπους ἀλλ’ ὡς ἥρωας τοὺς Λακεδαιμονίων 145 βασιλεῖς προτετιμήκασιν, Xen., Rep. Lac. xv, 9. King Agis I ἔτυχε σεμνοτέρας ἢ κατ’ ἄνθρωπον ταφῆς, Xen., HG. 3, 3, 1.—A peculiar circumstance at the burial of a Spartan king is mentioned by Apollod., fr. 36.—The burial places of the royal Houses of the Agiadai and the Eurypontidai (apart even in their death), Paus. 3, 12, 8; 14, 2 (cf. Bursian, Geog. ii, 126).—Embalming of the body of a king who dies abroad, Xen., HG. 5, 3, 19: D.S. 15, 93, 6; Nep., Ages. 8; Plu., Ages. 40.—Besides this the participation in primitive times of the whole people in the funeral of the Herakleid kings in Corinth may probably be deduced from the story told of the compulsory attendance of the Megarian subjects of Corinth at the funeral at Corinth of a king of the Bakchiad family: Sch. Pi., N. vii, 155 (cf. AB. 281, 27 ff.; Zenob. v, 8; Dgn. vi, 34). In Crete τῶν βασιλέων κηδευομένων προηγεῖτο πυρριχίζων ὁ στρατός (as at the funeral of Patroklos, Ψ 131 ff.), Arist. ap. Schol. V., Ψ 130.

47 Εὐπατρίδαι, οἱ . . . μετέχοντες τοῦ βασιλικοῦ γένους, EM. 395, 50.—Thus the Bakchiadai in Corinth were descendants of the royal family of the house of Bakchis. The Βασιλίδαι, a ruling family of oligarch nobles in Ephesos (Ael. fr. 48), Erythrai (Arist., Pol. 1305b, 19), and perhaps Chios as well (see Gilbert, Gr. Alt. ii, 153), also traced back their descent to the old kings of those Ionic cities. Respect paid to those who were descended ἐκ τοῦ γένους of Androklos at Ephesos, Stra. 633.—The Aigid Admetos, priest of Apollo Karneios at Thera was descended Λακεδαίμονος ἐκ βασιλήων, Epigr. Gr. 191; 192.

48 Here some reference might have been expected to Fustel de Coulanges’ brilliant and penetrating work La Cité antique. In that book the attempt is made to fix upon ancestor-worship, la religion du foyer et des ancêtres, as the root of all the higher types of worship (among the Greeks: only that part of the book concerns us here); and to show how out of these ancestor-worshipping aggregations, begun by the family, larger communities of ever-widening membership developed, and finally out of these the πόλις itself—the highest and most extensive political as well as religious community of all. For the author of that book the proof of his theory lies entirely in the simple logical consequence with which the details and, as far as we know it, the development of both private and public law follow from the original causes adopted by him essentially as postulates. A strictly historical proof that should not have to deduce the original causes from the results but should start from known beginnings and demonstrate the actual existence of every step was indeed an impossibility. The whole historical process must have been already finished when our knowledge first begins: for Homer shows us the πόλις and its component parts (κρῖν’ ἄνδρας κατὰ φῦλα κατὰ φρήτρας Ἀγάμεμνον) as well as the worship of the gods as fully established and developed. It is no disparagement of the valuable and fruitful suggestions made in that book if we say that its leading idea—as far as Greece is concerned—cannot be considered as more than an intuition, which though it may be just and true, must remain unproved. If there ever was a time when ancestor-worship was the only Greek religion at least we cannot see into that dim epoch long anterior to all tradition. To that remote period long before both the all-powerful religion of the gods and the earliest records of the Greek genius, even the narrow and slippery path of inference and reconstruction will hardly lead us. Natural as it might seem, therefore, so far as the subject itself is concerned to deal with such questions, I have taken no notice in the 146 present work of any attempts to deduce Greek religion from an original sole worship of ancestors (such as have been made by many scholars besides F. de Coulanges both in England and in Germany).

49 Those worshipped by a γένος regarded as its progenitors, γονεῖς: AB. 240, 31 (τὰ θύματα δίδωσιν) εἰς τὰ γονέων (ἱερὰ) τὰ γένη.—Physical relationship between the γεννῆται, originally a fact though afterwards only occasionally demonstrable, is indicated by the ancient name ὁμογάλακτες applied to the members of the same clan (Philoch. fr. 91–4) and meaning strictly παῖδες καὶ παίδων παῖδες (Arist., Pol. 1252b, 18).—The word πάτρα with the same meaning as γένος (Μιδυλιδᾶν πάτρα, Pi., P. viii, 38), makes it still more clear that the members of such a group are regarded as the descendants of a single ancestor. See Dikaiarch. ap. St. Byz. πάτρα.

50 Whose names were chosen by the voice of the Delphic oracle out of a hundred submitted to the Pythia. Arist. Ἀθπ. 21, 6. Cf. Mommsen, Philol., N.F. i, 456 f.

51 Instead of the common ἐπώνυμοι we also find the word ἀρχήγεται used of the Heroes of the phylai: Ar. Γῆρας, fr. 126 H.–G. (AB. 449, 14); Pl., Lys. 205 D, cf. CIA. ii, 1191; 1575. It is even plainer that the Hero is regarded as the ancestor of his φυλή when he is called ἀρχηγός: thus Oineus was the ἀρχηγός of the Oineïdai, Kekrops the ἀρχηγός of the Kekropidai, Hippothoön ἀρχηγός of the Hippothoöntidai in [Dem.] 60, 30–1. The ἀρχηγὸς τοῦ γένους is its physical forebear and progenitor, Poll. iii, 19: thus Apollo ἀρχηγὸς τοῦ γένους of the Seleucids, CIG. 3595, 26; cf. Isocr. 5, 32. Thus too the members of a phyle are actually described as the συγγενεῖς of their Hero eponymos: [Dem.] 60, 28.

52 Thus we know of both δῆμος and γένος of the Ionidai, Philaïdai, Boutadai (for the intentional distinctness of the Eteoboutadai see Meier, p. 39), Kephalidai, Perithoïdai, etc.: Meier, de gentil. Attica, p. 35. Such demes were called ἀπὸ τῶν κτισάντων, others ἀπὸ τῶν τόπων: Arist. Ἀθπ. 21, 5 (in which case a name as much like a personal name as possible was extracted out of the place-name and made into the local Hero: cf. Wachsm., Stadt Athen, ii, 1, 248 ff.). Similar conditions existed at other places. In Teos the same names occur as πύργοι (= δῆμοι) and συμμορίαι (= γένη), e.g. Κολωτίων, τοῦ Ἀλκίμου πύργου, Ἀλκιμίδης (also names which differ Ναίων, τοῦ Μηράδου πύργου, Βρυσκίδης), CIG. 3064, where see Böckh II, p. 651. In Rhodos a πάτρα as well as its larger inclusive group (κτοίνα) is called Ἀμφινεῖς: IGM. Aeg. i, 695, Ἀμφινέων πάτραι· Εὐτελίδαι, Ἀμφινεῖς, etc. (Ancestor worship προγονικὰ ἱερά in the Rhodian κτοῖναι is vouched for by Hesych. κτύναι: see Martha, BCH. iv, 144.)

53 Thus the descendants of Bakchis in Corinth traced their descent to Aletes (D.S. 7, 9, 4; Paus. 2, 4, 3); the descendants of Aipytos in Messenia to Kresphontes (Paus. 4, 3, 8), the descendants of Agis and Eurypon in Sparta to Eurysthenes and Prokles. The real ancestors were in these cases well known and could not be entirely eclipsed (being too deeply rooted in cult); thus later, as well as in the earlier period, these same families are called Βακχίδαι, Αἰπυτίδαι, not Ἡρακλεῖδαι (D.S., loc. cit., Paus. 4, 3, 8); the Spartan royal families are still Agidai, Eurypontidai, while the fictitious ancestors Eurysthenes and Prokles never quite achieved the status of ἀρχηγέται: Ephoros ap. Str. 366. In many other, perhaps more numerous, cases the fictitious ancestor may have ousted the real and once better known from men’s minds altogether.

54 [Arist.] Mirab. 106. 147

55 See Paus. 10, 4, 10. In an oracle ap. Plu., Sol. 9: ἀρχηγοὺς χώρας θυσίαις ἥρωας ἐνοίκους ἵλασο.

56 Plu., Arist. 11, names seven ἀρχηγέται Πλαταιέων; Clem. Al., Protr. ii, 35 P., gives four of these (Κυκλαῖος seems to be a mistake). Androkrates seems to have been the most prominent; his τέμενος is mentioned by Hdt. ix, 25, his ἡρῷον Thuc. iii, 24, 1; it stood in a thick grove, Paus. loc. cit.

57 Paus. 6, 24, 9–10.

58 A.R. ii, 835–50, says that this Hero was Idmon the prophet, others called him Agamestor. Sch. ad 845: λέγει δὲ καὶ προμαθίδας, ὅτι διὰ τὸ ἀγνοεῖν ὅστις εἴη ἐπιχώριον ἥρωα καλοῦσιν οἱ Ἡρακλεῶται. He was the local daimon worshipped on the spot before the colony came, and then taken over by the colonists for their own. Cf. the case of Rhesos, above, n. 36.

59 Paus. 6, 20, 15–19. It was a round altar, according to many τάφος ἀνδρὸς αὐτόχθονος καὶ ἀγαθοῦ τὰ ἐς ἱππικήν—the grave and altar being one as was the grave and altar of Aiakos at Aegina, Paus. 2, 29, 8—whose name was Olenios. Acc. to others it was the grave of Dameon son of Phlious and of his horse; or the κενὸν ἠρίον of Myrtilos set up in his honour by Pelops; or of Oinomaos; or of Alkathoös son of Porthaon, one of the suitors of Hippodameia—to say nothing of the learned suggestion of the ἀνὴρ Αἰγύπτιος given by Paus. l.c. as a last resort. Acc. to Hesych. ταράξιππος it belonged to Pelops himself, acc. to Lyc. 42 f. to a giant called Ischenos (see Sch. and Tz.). Besides all this a ταράξιππος seems to have been almost indispensable on the racecourses of the great games. The Isthmus and Nemea had theirs as well (Paus. § 19)—and Paus. 10, 37, 4, mentions it as something unusual that the course at Delphi had no ταράξιππος. Cf. Pollak, Hippodromica, p. 91 ff., 1890.

60 ἥρως εὔοδος, CIG. 4838b, cf. Welcker, Rhein. Mus., N.F. vii, 618—καλαμίτης ἥρως (Dem. 18, 129, with Sch. and Hesych. s.v.)—ἥρως τειχοφύλαξ ἐν Μυρίνῃ, Hesych.—ἥρως ἐπιτέγιος, CIA. iii, 1, 290, and 1, 194–206, see Hiller v. Gärt., Philol. 55, 180 f.—With place-names ὁ ἐπὶ βλαύτῃ ἥρως, Poll. vii, 87—ἥροιν ἐμ πεδίῳ, Att. ins. ap., Leg. Sacr. i, p. 5.—In Epidauros on an architrave occurs the inscr. ἥρωος κλαϊκοφόρου, F. d’Epid. i, n. 245. τῷ κλαϊκοφόρῳ also occurs in an inscr. from Mt. Ithome, Leg. Sacr., p. 36 (n. 15, l. 11).—Probably to this class belongs the ἥρως πάνοψ at Athens, Pl. Lys. init.; Hesych. Phot. s.v.

61 ἥρως ἰατρός in Athens, CIA. ii, 403–4, see below.—A ἥρως στρατηγός is mentioned by a (late) ins. Ἐφ. Ἀρχ., 1884, p. 170, l. 53. From their activities are named also the Heroes Matton, Keraon in Sparta, Deipneus in Achaea (Polemon: Ath. ii, 39 C; iv, 173 F).—The Στεφανηφόρου ἡρῷον was mentioned by Antiph., στεφανήφορος ἥρως by Hellan., but his name was unknown: Harp. Phot. Suid. s.v.; AB. 301, 19 ff. Cf. Böckh, Econ. of Ath.2, p. 144 Lew.; CIG. 1, p. 168.

62 In Phaleron there was an altar, καλεῖται δὲ “ἥρωος”—the learned declared it to be an altar of Androgeos the son of Minos: Paus. 1, 1, 4.—Cf. 10, 36, 6: Χαραδραίοις (at Charadra in Phocis) Ἡρώων καλουμένων (i.e. they were called “the Heroes”) εἰσὶν ἐν τῇ ἀγορᾷ βωμοί, καὶ αὐτοὺς οἱ μὲν Διοσκούρων, οἱ δὲ ἐπιχωρίων φασὶν εἶναι ἡρώων.—ἡρωι, ἡρωΐνῃ a sacrifice is offered at Marathon: sacrificial Calendar of the Attic Tetrapolis (fourth century B.C.) in Leg. Sacr. i, p. 48. ἡρωι, ἡρωΐνῃ, ib., p. 2; CIA. i, 4: fifth century.—Decree ordering a record to be set up in the Peiraeus παρὰ τὸν ἥρω, SIG. 834, 26; CIA. ii, 1546–7: ἥρῳ ἀνέθηκεν ὁ δεῖνα. Roehl, IG. 148 Ant. 29: (Mykenai) τοῦ ἥρωός ἠμι, cf. Furtwängler, Ath. Mitth. 1896, p. 9; ib. 323; ἀνέθηκαν τῷ ἡρωι (Locris).—On the different superimposed layers of stucco on the so-called Heroön west of the Altis at Olympia were the ins. Ἥρωος, Ἥρωορ, and once also Ἡρώων. There seems to me to be no reason to suppose that this nameless Hero was Iamos in particular, the ancestor of the Iamidai (as Curtius does, Die Altäre v. Olymp., p. 25, Abh. Berl. Ak. 1881). For what reason should the name of this highly honoured oracular Hero—which had by no means been forgotten—be suppressed? The name of the Hero was not given for the simple reason that it was unknown. Nameless ἥρωες ἐπιχώριοι, who according to some had set up the great sacrificial altar of Zeus in Olympia, are mentioned by Paus. 5, 13, 8. In some cases the namelessness of a Hero is explained by the fear of uttering awful names, which esp. in the case of the spirits of the lower world are very frequently suppressed or referred to by a circumlocution (cf. Erinyes and spirits of the dead, Rh. Mus. 50, 20, 3): cf. Ant. Lib. 13, p. 214, 19 W. This was perhaps why Narkissos was called ἥρως σιγηλός, Str. 404. On the other hand, it was a special form of respect, at the sacrifice to a Hero, to call out his name: τῷ Ἀρταχαίῃ θύουσι Ἀκάνθιοι ἐκ θεοπροπίου ὡς ἥρωϊ ἐπουνομάζοντες τὸ οὔνομα, Hdt. vii, 117. Ὕλᾳ θύουσιν καὶ αὐτὸν ἐξ ὀνόματος εἰς τρὶς ὁ ἱερεὺς φωνεῖ κτλ. Anton. Lib. 26 fin. Cf. Paus. 8, 26, 7; ἐπικαλούμενοι τὸν Μυίαγρον.—No one will miss the obvious analogy with the worship of the gods. In many places in Greece nameless (or merely “adjectival”) gods were worshipped, ἄγνωστοι θεοί, as at Olympia, Paus. 5, 14, 8, and elsewhere. At Phaleron βωμοὶ θεῶν τε ὀνομαζομένων ἀγνώστων καὶ ἡρώων (sc., ἀγνώστων?) Paus. 1, 1, 4. (ἀγνῶτες θεοὶ Poll. viii, 119. Hesych. s.v.: βωμοὶ ἀνώνυμοι in Attica D.L. i, 110.)

63 Τλαπολέμῳ ἀρχαγέτᾳ Pi., O. vii, 78; P. v, 56. The regular custom is mentioned by Ephorus ap. Str. 366: οὐδ’ ἀρχηγέτας νομισθῆναι· ὅπερ πᾶσιν ἀποδίδοται οἰκισταῖς.

64 Δημοκλείδην δὲ καταστῆσαι τὴν ἀποικίαν αὐτοκράτορα. Official decree about Brea: CIA. i, 31 [Hicks and Hill2, n. 41, l. 8].

65 Pi., P. v, 87 ff.

66 Hdt. vi, 38.

67 D.S. 11, 66, 4.

68 Hdt. i, 168.

69 Thuc. v, 11.—Thus in the fourth century at Sikyon Euphron the leader of the demos has been murdered by some of the other party, but οἱ πολῖται αὐτοῦ ὡς ἄνδρα ἀγαθὸν κομισάμενοι ἔθαψάν τε ἐν τῇ ἀγορᾷ καὶ ὡς ἀρχηγέτην τῆς πόλεως σέβονται, Xen., HG. 7, 4, 12.

70 Worship of the law-givers of Tegea as Heroes: Paus. 8, 48, 1.

71 In the case of Sophokles the “heroizing” had a special superstitious reason. He had once received Asklepios as a guest into his house (and established a worship of A.) and was therefore regarded as especially favoured by heaven and after his death worshipped as Hero Δεξίων: EM. 256, 7–13. (In the temple of Amynos, an Asklepiad daimon, on the west of the Akropolis an honorific decree dating from the end of the fourth century B.C. has been discovered, referring to the ὀργεῶνες τοῦ Δεξίωνος together with those of Amynos and Asklepios: Ath. Mitt. 1896, p. 299.) In this way many mortals who had entertained the gods as guests were themselves made Heroes, cf. Deneken, de Theoxen. c, ii.

72 In the examples collected in n. 35 above the removal of the Hero’s bones was in each case commanded by the Delphic oracle. Typical examples of the foundation of an annual festival of a Hero on 149 the recommendation of an oracle: Hdt. i, 167; Paus. 8, 23, 7; 9, 38, 5.

73 Plu. Cim. 19—his authority is Nausikrates ὁ ῥήτωρ the pupil of Isokrates. The god ordered μὴ ἀμελεῖν Κίμωνος. Kimon’s spirit was thus expressing its anger at the “neglect” by sending pestilence and γῆς ἀφορία—he wanted a cult.

74 Appearance at the battle of Marathon, command of the oracle τιμᾶν Ἐχετλαῖον ἥρωα, Paus. 1, 32, 5.—Swarm of bees in the severed head of Onesilos at Amathos; the oracle orders his head to be buried Ὀνησίλῳ δὲ θύειν ὡς ἥρωι ἀνὰ πᾶν ἔτος, Hdt. v, 114.

75 Before the battle of Plataea: Plu., Arist. 11. Before the occupation of Salamis the oracle ordered Solon ἀρχηγοὺς ἥρωας ἵλασο, Plu. Sol. 9.

76 The Persian Artachaies, of the family of the Achaimenidai, was given a burial of great pomp after his death, by Xerxes at Akanthos: θύουσι Ἀκάνθιοι ἐκ θεοπροπίου ὡς ἡρωι ἐπουνομάζοντες τὸ οὔνομα, Hdt. vii, 117 (—the Ἀρταχαίου τάφος remained a well-known spot, Ael., HA. xiii, 20). It is hardly likely that the unusual size of the Persian of which Hdt. speaks was the cause of his being made a Hero by the oracle.

77 Paus. 6, 9, 6–7. Plu., Rom. 28. Oinom. ap. Eus., PE. 5, 34, p. 230 C (Vig.). Celsus c. Xt. also refers to the miracle, Or., Cels. iii, 33, p. 292 L. Cf. iii, 3, p. 256; iii, 25, p. 280.

78 Kleomedes μοίρᾳ τωὶ δαιμονίᾳ διέπτη ἀπὸ τῆς κιβωτοῦ, Cels. ap. Orig., Cels. iii, 33, p. 293 L. Oinom. ap. Euseb., PE. 5, 34, 1, (p. 296 Giff.): οἱ θεοὶ ἀνηρείψαντό σε ὥσπερ οἱ τοῦ Ὁμήρου τὸν Γανυμήδην. Thus the gods, acc. to the popular opinion derided by Oinom., gave Kleomedes immortality, ἀθανασίαν ἔδωκαν, p. 297 Giff.

79 We rarely hear of other oracles directing Heroes to be worshipped. But cf. Xenag. ap. Macr. 5, 18, 30: on the occasion of a failure of the crops at Sicily ἔθυσαν Πεδιοκράτῃ τινὶ ἥρωι προστάξαντος αὐτοῖς τοῦ ἐκ Παλικῶν χρηστηρίου.—This Hero is probably the same as Pediakrates, one of the six στρατηγοί of the ἐγχώριοι Σικανοί in Sicily who were slain by Herakles and μέχρι τοῦ νῦν ἡρωϊκῆς τιμῆς τυχάνουσιν. D.S. 4, 23, 5: from Timaeus?

80 The lines of the oracle about Kleomedes may very well be ancient (ἔσχατος ἡρώων κτλ.) simply on the ground that its assertion had not been fulfilled. If oracles that come true are rightly regarded as subsequent to the events which they profess to foresee, then it is only reasonable to regard an oracle which is proved incorrect by later events as earlier than the events which contradict its prophecy.

81 οὗτος γὰρ ὁ θεὸς περὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις πάτριος ἐξηγητὴς ἐν μέσῳ τῆς γῆς ἐπὶ τοῦ ὀμφαλοῦ καθήμενος ἐξηγεῖται, in the words of Plato, Rp. 427 C.

82 γίνεται ἐν Δελφοῖς ἥρωσι ξένια, ἐν οἷς δοκεῖ ὁ θεὸς ἐπὶ ξένια καλεῖν τοὺς ἥρωας, Sch. Pi. N. vii, 68.

83 Plu., Arist. 21.—Grave of the Megarians who had fallen in the Persian wars, erected in the market of that city: CIG. 1051 (= Sim., fr. 107 PLG.), Paus. 1, 43, 3. We hear nothing of the Hero-worship of these men, but it is natural to suppose it.—Thus in Phigaleia in the market place there was a common grave of the hundred Oresthasians who had died fighting for Phigaleia, καὶ ὡς ἥρωσιν αὐτοῖς ἐναγίζουσιν ἀνὰ πᾶν ἔτος, Paus. 8, 41, 1.

84 Paus. 1, 32, 4: σέβονται δὲ οἱ Μαραθώνιοι τούτους, οἳ παρὰ τὴν μάχην ἀπέθανον ἥρωας ὀνομάζοντες. They lay buried on the field of battle, Paus. 1, 29, 4; 32, 3. Every night could be heard the neighing 150 of horses and the sound of battle. Those who attempted to witness the doings of the spirits suffered for it, Paus. l.c. The sight of the spirits made men blind or killed them. This is well known of gods—χαλεποὶ δὲ θεοὶ φαίνεσθαι ἐναργῶς. As to the results of seeing a Hero cf. the story in Hdt. vi, 117.

85 Pi., I. iv, 26 ff.; cf. N. iv, 46 ff.

86 Hdt. ii, 44, has recourse to the idea that there was a difference between the god Herakles and the Hero Herakles the son of Amphitryon: καὶ δοκέουσι δέ μοι οὗτοι ὀρθότατα Ἑλλήνων ποιέειν, οἳ διξὰ Ἡράκλεια ἱδρυσάμενοι ἔκτηνται καὶ τῷ μὲν ὡς ἀθανάτῳ Ὀλυμπίῳ δὲ ἐπωνυμίην θύουσι, τῷ δὲ ἑτέρῳ ὡς ἥρωϊ ἐναγίζουσι. Combination of θύειν and ἐναγίζειν in one sacrifice to Herakles, at Sikyon: Paus. 2, 10, 1. Herakles ἥρως θεός Pi., N. iii, 22.

87 Varying worship of the same person as Hero and as god, e.g. Achilles. He was a god in Epirus for example (called upon as Ἄσπετος, Plu., Pyr. 1) in Astypalaia (Cic., ND. iii, 45) in Erythrai (third century ins. SIG. 600, 50, 75), etc. As Hero he was worshipped in Elis where an empty grave was erected to him ἐκ μαντείας, and where at his annual festival at sunset the women κόπτεσθαι νομίζουσιν, i.e. lament over him as dead. Paus. 6, 23, 3.

88 I shall not multiply examples and only note Plu., M. Virt., p. 255 E: τῇ Λαμψάκῃ πρότερον ἡρωϊκὰς τιμὰς ἀποδιδόντες, ὕστερον ὡς θεῷ θύειν ἐψηφίσαντο.

89 In the well-known lines ἥκεις ὦ Λύκόοργε κτλ. Hdt. i, 65.

90 Thus Eupolis calls the Hero Akademos θεός, as Sophokles does the Hero Kolonos, and others do the same, see Nauck on Soph., OC. 65.

91 οἱ ἥρωες καὶ αἱ ἡρωίδες τοῖς θεοῖς τὸν αὐτὸν ἔχουσι λόγον (i.e. for dream-interpretation), πλὴν ὅσα δυνάμεως ἀπολείπονται, Artemid. iv, 78.—Paus. 10, 31, 11: the ancients considered the Eleusinian mysteries as τοσοῦτον ἐντιμότερον than all other religious ceremonies ὅσῳ καὶ θεοὺς ἐπίπροσθεν ἡρώων.

92 Machaon’s μνῆμα and ἱερὸν ἅγιον at Gerenia, Paus. 3, 26, 9. His bones had been brought by Nestor when he came home from Troy: § 10. Cf. Schol. Marc. and Tz. Lyc. 1048. The first to sacrifice to him was Glaukos the son of Aipytos: Paus. 4, 3, 9.—Podaleirios. His ἡρῷον lay at the foot of the λόφος Δρίον by Mt. Garganus 100 stades from the sea, ῥεῖ δὲ ἐξ αὐτοῦ ποτάμιον πάνακες πρὸς τὰς τῶν θρεμμάτων νόσους, Str. 284. The method of incubation given in the text is described by Lyc. 1047–55. He also speaks of a river Althainis (so called because of its medicinal properties, cf. EM. 63, 3, from Schol. Lyc.), which cured disease if one sprinkled oneself with water from it.—? from Timaeus, cf. Tz. on 1050. (Cf. also the spring by the Amphiaraion at Oropos: Paus. 1, 34, 4.)

93 Paus. 2, 38, 6.—The brother of Polemokrates, Alexanor, had a heroön at Titane in the territory of Sikyon: Paus. 2, 11, 7; 23, 4; but we hear nothing of sick-cures (though his name would lead us to suspect such).—Other Asklepiadai: Nikomachos, Gorgasos, Sphyros (Wide, Lac. Culte, 195).

94 Sanctuary of Ἥρως ἰατρός near the Theseion: Dem. 19, 249; 18, 129; Apollon., V. Aesch., p. 265, 5 f. West. Decree about melting down silver votive-offerings (third and second century), CIA. ii, 403–4.—Acc. to Usener (Götternamen, 149–53) Ἰατρός is to be regarded as the proper name of this Hero (really a functional “Sondergott”) and not as an adjectival description of a nameless Hero (as in ἥρως στρατηγός, στεφανηφόρος, κλαϊκοφόρος—this last in two different places, like ἥρως ἰατρός, see above, n. 61). Acc. to 151 his view Ἰατρός was given the adj. title ἥρως to distinguish him from a θεὸς Ἰατρός. But this would only be possible if there existed a god who was not merely an ἰατρός and so called by this title, like Ἀπόλλων, Ποσειδῶν ἰατρός, but whose proper name was Ἰατρός. But there was no such god. Usener (151) infers the existence of a god Ἰατρός out of the proper name Ἰατροκλῆς. But this would only be justifiable if there were not a whole host of proper names compounded with -κλῆς, the first part of which is anything but a god’s name (list in Fick, Griech. Personennamen2, p. 165 ff.).—There seems no real reason for understanding the name ἥρως ἰατρός differently from the analogous ἥ. στρατηγός, ἥ. τειχοφύλαξ, etc.—There existed besides even νύμφαι ἰατροί, περὶ Ἠλείαν. Hesych.

95 CIA. ii, 404, distinguishes the Hero referred to by the decree as the ἥρως ἰατρὸς ὁ ἐν ἄστει. This clearly implies a second ἥρως ἰατρός, outside Athens. But the Rhet. Lex. in AB. 262, 16 f. (cf. Sch. Dem., p. 437, 19–20 Di.), speaks of a ἥρως ἰατρός called Aristomachos ὅς ἐτάφη ἐν Μαραθῶνι παρὰ τὸ Διονύσιον, who it is clear cannot be the ἥρως ἰατρὸς that Demosthenes meant—for he is ὁ ἐν ἄστει; but the description applies very well to the Hero Physician worshipped in Attica outside the ἄστυ. See L. v. Sybel, Hermes, xx, 43.

96 Cenotaph of Kalchas in Apulia near the heroön of Podaleirios, Lyc. 1047 ff.—his body was said to be buried in Kolophon: Νόστοι; Tz. Lyc. 427; Schol. D.P. 850. ἐγκοίμησις at his heroön, sleeping on the skin of the sacrificed ram: Str. 284; the same as, acc. to Lycophron, in the temple of Podaleirios. It almost looks like a mistake in either Strabo or Lyc. But the ritual may quite well have been the same in both temples and we find it again in the dream-oracle of Amphiaraos in Oropos, Paus. 1, 34, 5.—At the present day the Archangel Michael is worshipped at Monte Sant’ Angelo beneath Mt. Garganus. He appeared there during the fifth century and in a cave which is perhaps rightly regarded as the former site of the incubation-oracle of Kalchas: Lenormant, à travers l’Apulie, i, p. 61, Paris, 1883. S. Michael had in other cases also taken over the duties of the ancient incubation mantic, and continued them in a Christian form—though the task belonged more often to SS. Cosmas and Damian—e.g. in the Michaelion in Constantinople, the ancient Σωσθένιον: see Malal., pp. 78–9 Bonn.; Soz., HE. ii, 3.

97 Lyc. 799 f. Arist. and Nicand. in Schol. ad loc. Was there a legend that made Odysseus die there? Lyc. himself, it is true, gives quite a different story a little later (805 ff.), much to the amazement of his scholiasts. Perhaps in 799 f. he was thinking, in spite of the dream oracle, only of a κενὸν σῆμα of Odysseus in Aetolia (as in the case of Kalchas).

98 Grave of Prot.: Hdt. ix, 116 ff.; Lyc. 532 ff. ἱερὸν τοῦ Πρωτεσιλάου Thuc. viii, 102, 3. Oracle: Philostr., Her. 678, p. 146 f. K. It was esp. also an oracle of healing: ib., 147, 30 f. K.

99 An oracle “Sarpedonis in Troade” is mentioned in a cursory enumeration of oracular sites by Tert., An. 46. It is difficult to imagine how Sarpedon, the Homeric one—no other can be meant here—whose body had been so ceremoniously brought to Lykia, can have had an oracle in the Troad. It may be merely a slip of the pen on Tertullian’s part.—At Seleucia in Cilicia there was an oracle of Apollo Sarpedonios, D.S. 32, 10, 2; Zos. 1, 57. Wesseling on D.S. ii, p. 519, has already called attention to the more detailed account in the Vit. S. Theclae of Basilius bishop of Seleucia; see the extracts given by R. Köhler, Rhein. Mus. 14, 472 ff. There the oracle is described 152 as a dream-oracle of Sarpedon himself who was consulted at his grave in Seleucia. It is also certain, as Köhler remarks, that Sarpedon, the son of Europa and brother of Minos, is meant. (This Cretan Sarpedon appears first in Hesiod and is quite distinct from the Homeric one: Aristonic. on Ζ 199. Indeed, Homer knows no other brother of Minos except Rhadamanthys: Ξ 322. In spite of this he was often regarded as the same as the Homeric Sarpedon who came from Lykia [cf. the name Zrppädoni on the Obelisk of Xanthos: Lyc. Inscr. tab. vii, l. 6]; acc. to [Apollod.] 3, 1, 3, he lived through three γενεαί, cf. Schol. V., Ζ 199: which seems a marvellous feat much in the manner of Hellanikos. Others made the Cretan Sarp. into the grandfather of the Lykian: D.S. 5, 79, 3.) The oracle belonged properly to Sarpedon; Apollo seems merely to have been an intruder here and to have taken the place of the Hero as he did with Hyakinthos at Amyklai. That Sarpedon, however, was not therefore quite forgotten is shown by the Christian notice of him. Perhaps Apollo was regarded as merely the patron of the oracle whose real guardian was still Sarpedon. It certainly indicates community of worship when Ap. is there called Ἀπόλλων Σαρπηδόνιος; so too in Tarentum—brought thither from Sparta and Amyklai—there was a τάφος παρὰ μέν τισιν Ὑακίνθου προσαγορευόμενος, παρὰ δέ τισιν Ἀπόλλωνος Ὑακίνθου (in which no alteration is necessary), Plb. 8, 30, 2. In Goityn there was a cult of Atymnos (Solin. 11, 9, p. 73 Mom.), the beloved of Apollo (or of Sarpedon): he too was worshipped as Apollo Atymnios (Nonn., D. 11, 131; 258; 12, 217).

100 The inhabitants of Gadeira sacrificed to Men.; Philostr., VA. 5, 4, p. 167, 10 K. τὸ Μενεσθέως μαντεῖον on the Baetis is mentioned by Str., p. 140. How it got there we do not know.

101 Str. 546. Autol. came there as a sharer in the expedition of Herakles against the Amazons and with the Argonauts. A.R. ii, 955–61. Plut., Luc. 23.

102 For Anios see Meineke, An. Alex. 16–17; Wentzel in Pauly-Wissowa Anios. Apollo taught him the mantic art and gave him great τιμάς: D.S. 5, 62, 2. He is called μάντις also by Clem. Al., Strom. i, p. 400 P. Perhaps he was also a mantic Hero in the cult that was paid to him at Delos; in giving a list of the δαίμονας ἐπιχωρίους, Clem. Al., Protr. ii, p. 35 P., mentions also παρὰ δ’ Ἠλείους Ἄνιον, which Sylburg corrected to παρὰ Δηλίοις. A priest of Anios ἱερεὺς Ἀνίου at Delos is given CIA. ii, 985 D 10; E 4, 53.

103 D.S. 5, 63, 2. There she is identified with Molpadia, daughter of Staphylos. In that case ἡμιθέα would more probably be an adjectival title of a Heroine whose real name was unknown, like the names of the unknown Heroes mentioned above, nn. 60–2. The daughter of Kyknos of the same name is quite a different person.

104 Plut., Agis, 9, cf. Cic., Div. i, 43. At Thalamai we hear of a dream-oracle of Ino in front of which was a statue of Pasiphaë: Paus. 3, 26, 1. This probably means, as Welcker, Kl. Schr. iii, 92, says, that the same oracle had once belonged to Pas., but had then been afterwards dedicated to Ino. (Not of course that Pasiphaë = Ino, and this is not suggested by W., but merely that Ino may have taken the place of Pas.) A μαντεῖον τῆς Πασιφίλης is also mentioned by Apollon., Mir. 49: see also Müller, FHG. ii, 288 [see Keller, Paradoxogr., p. 55, 15].

105 Something of the kind seems to be suggested by Pi., P. viii, 57: I praise Alkmaion γείτων ὅτι μοι καὶ κτεάνων φύλαξ ἐμῶν ὑπάντασέ τ’ ἰόντι γᾶς ὀμφαλὸν παρ’ ἀοίδιμον μαντευμάτων τ’ ἐφάψατο συγγόνοισι 153 τέχναις. Those much-discussed words I can only interpret as follows. Alkmaion had a ἡρῷον near Pindar’s house: he could only be “Guardian of his possessions” if he were either the guardian spirit of his neighbour or if Pindar had deposited money for safe keeping in his temple—the custom is well known, see Büchsenschütz, Besitz in Cl. Alt., p. 508 ff. As Pindar was once thinking of going to Delphi “Alk. applied himself to the prophetic arts traditional in his family” (τέχναις to be connected with ἐφάψ., a construction common in Pind.): i.e. he made him a revelation in a dream—on what subject Pindar does not say—as was customary in the family of the Amythaonidai, though not generally undertaken by Alkmaion (elsewhere) who unlike his brother Amphilochos nowhere seems to have had a dream-oracle of his own. (It seems to be a mere slip when Clem. Al., Str. i, p. 400 P. attributes the Oracle in Akarnania to Alk. instead of Amphil.)

106 Plu., Q. Gr., 40, 300 D.

107 Thus no herald might approach the heroön of Okridion in Rhodes, Plu., Q. Gr., 27, 297 C. No flute-player might approach, nor the name of Achilles be mentioned in the heroön of Tenes at Tenedos, ib., 28, 297 D. How an old grievance of a Hero might be continued into his after-life as a spirit is shown by an instructive example given by Hdt. v, 67.

108 Paus. 9, 38, 5. The fetters were no doubt intended in such cases to fasten the statue (as the abode of the Hero himself) to the site of his worship. Thus in Sparta an ἄγαλμα ἀρχαῖον of Enyalios was kept in fetters. About this the γνώμη τῶν Λακεδαιμονίων was that οὔποτε τὸν Ἐνυάλιον φεύγοντα οἰχήσεσθαί σφισιν ἐνεχόμενον ταῖς πέδαις, Paus. 3, 15, 7. Similar things elsewhere: Lob., Agl. 275; cf. again Paus. 8, 41, 6. The striking effect of the statue fastened to the rocks may then very well have given rise to the (aetiological) legend of the πέτραν ἔχον εἴδωλον.

109 Hdt. vii, 169–70.

110 Hdt. vii, 134–7.

111 Sanctity of trees and groves dedicated to a Hero: Ael., VH. v, 17: Paus. 2, 28, 7; but esp. 8, 24, 7.

112 The story of the wrath of the Hero of Anagyros is told, with a few variations in detail, by Jerome ap. Suid. Ἀνάγ. δαίμων = Apostol. ix, 79; Dgn., Prov. iii, 31 (in cod. Coisl., p. 219 f. Götting.); cf. Zenob. ii, 55 = Dgn. i, 25. Similar stories of a δαίμων Κιλίκιος, Αἴνειος, are implied but not related by Macarius, iii, 18 (ii, p. 155 Gött.).

113 The story in Suid. goes back to Hieron. Rhod. περὶ τραγῳδιοποιῶν (fr. 4 Hill.), who compared the story with the theme of the Euripides Phoenix.

114 According to Paus. the ghost was explained to be one of the companions of Odysseus. Strabo says more particularly Polites, who was one of these. But a copy of an ancient picture representing the adventure called the daimon Lykas and made him black and grim-looking and dressed in a wolf-skin. The last is probably merely symbolic and represents full wolf-shape such as belonged to the Athenian Hero Lykos: Harp. δεκάζων. Wolf-shape given to a death-bringing spirit of the underworld, as often: cf. Roscher, Kynanth. 60–1. This must have been the more ancient form of the legend and the daimon was only subsequently changed into a Hero.

115 The story in its general outline recalls esp. the other Greek legends in which similar rescues occur; we are reminded not merely of the stories of Perseus and Andromeda or Herakles and Hesione, but also of the fight of Herakles with Thanatos for the sake of Alkestis, 154 in Eurip., Alc., and of Koroibos’ struggle with the Ποίνη in Argos. But the story of Euthymos and the Hero of Temesa agrees even in its details with a story coming from a far distant locality, Krisa at the foot of Mt. Parnassos, where lived the monster Lamia, or Sybaris, who was overthrown by Eurybatos—as it is told in Nikander’s Ἑτεροιούμενα, ap. Ant. Lib. viii—and is even to this day related as a fairy-tale; see B. Schmidt. Gr. Märchen, 142, 246 f. It is unnecessary to suppose imitation of either legend by the other; both independently reproduce the same fairy-tale motif, which is in fact very common everywhere. The monster overcome by the champion is regularly a chthonic being, a fiend from below: Thanatos, Poine, Lamia (which is the generic name, Σύβαρις being apparently the special name of this particular Lamia) and the ghostly “Hero” of Temesa.

116 Paus. 6, 6, 7–11, the main source; Str. 255; Ael., VH. viii, 18; Plut. Paroem. ii, 31; Suid. Εὔθυμος. The “translation” occurs in Paus. Ael., and Suid. According to Aelian he went to the River Kaikinos near his old home Locri and disappeared: ἀφανισθῆναι. (The river-god Kaikinos is regarded as his real father: Paus. 6, 6, 4.) Perhaps the heroön of Euthymos may have been near the river. “Heroizing” of Euthymos by a flash of lightning is confirmed by his statue: Callim., fr. 399; Pliny, NH. 7, 152; Schol. Paus. Hermes, 29, 148. Inscription on base of statue of E. at Olympia: Arch. Zeit., 1878, p. 82.

117 Paus. 6, 11, 2–9; D. Chr. 31, 340 M. [i, 247 Arn.]. Cf. Oinom. ap. Eus. PE. 5, 34, p. 231–2 V. Oinomaos 232 C refers to a similar legend of the pentathlos Euthykles and his statue, at Locri.

118 The story of Mitys (or Bitys) in Argos is known from Arist. Po. 9, p. 1452a, 7 ff. (Mirab. 156). A few more such stories are recorded in Wyttenbach, Plu. M. vii, p. 316 (Oxon.); cf. also Theoc. 23. Just as in the story of Theagenes, the statue was punished as responsible for the murder, so, too, the attribution of a fetichistic personality to inanimate objects lies at the bottom of the ancient customs observed in the Athenian murder laws, by which judgment was given in the Prytaneion περὶ τῶν ἀψύχων τῶν ἐμπεσόντων τινὶ καὶ ἀποκτεινάντων: Poll. viii, 120, after Dem. 23, 76, cf. Arist. Ἀθπ. 57, 4. Such judgments cannot originally have been merely symbolical in meaning.

119 Luc., D. Conc. 12; Paus. 6, 11, 9.

120 Luc., l.c. On Polydamas see Paus. 6, 5, and among many others Eus. Chron. Olympionic., Ol. 93, p. 204 Sch.

121 His victory was won in Ol. 6 (see also Eus. Chron., Ol. 6, p. 196); the statue erected to him only in Ol. 80; Paus. 7, 17, 6.

122 Paus. 7, 17, 13–14.

123 Plu., Thes. 35.

124 Paus. 1, 15, 3; 32, 5.

125 Hdt. viii, 38–9.

126 Hdt. viii, 64. The difference should be noted: εὔξασθαι τοῖσι θεοῖσι καὶ ἐπικαλέσασθαι τοὺς Αἰακίδας συμμάχους. So, too, we are told in Hdt. v, 75, that both the Tyndaridai ἐπίκλητοι εἴποντο the Spartans into the field. (The Aeginetans sent the Aiakidai to the help of the Thebans, but as they proved unprofitable the Thebans τοὺς Αἰακίδας ἀπεδίδοσαν. Hdt. v, 80).

127 Plu., Them. 15.

128 Hdt. viii, 121.

129 Kychreus: Paus. 1, 36, 1. The Hero himself appeared as a snake, as also e.g. Sosipolis in Elis before the battle, Paus. 6, 20, 4–5; Erichthonios, Paus. 1, 24, 7: for οἱ παλαιοὶ μάλιστα τῶν ζώων τὸν δράκοντα τοῖς ἥρωσι συνῳκείωσαν, Plu., Cleom. 39. The temple snake, 155 the Κυχρείδης ὄφις kept at Eleusis, was undoubtedly the Hero himself; though acc. to the rationalizing account in Str. 393–4 it had merely been reared by Kychreus.

130 Themistokles in Hdt. viii, 109.

131 Xen., Cyn. i, 17.

132 The Dioscuri helped the Spartans in war, Hdt. v, 75; the Locrian Aias the Locrians in Italy: Paus. 3, 19, 12–13; Conon 18 (artistically elaborated and no longer naive legend but both taken from the same source).

133 Hdt. vi, 61 (hence Paus. 3, 7, 7); grave of Helen at Therapne, Paus. 3, 19, 8.

134 Hdt. vi, 69. Thus, too, the Theagenes mentioned above was regarded in Thasos not as the son of Timosthenes, τοῦ Θεαγένους δὲ τῇ μητρὶ Ἡρακλέους συγγενέσθαι φάσμα ἐοικὸς Τιμοσθένει, Paus. 6, 11, 2.—Everyone will be reminded, too, of the fable of Zeus and Alkmene. But it should be noticed how near such stories as that so naively told by Herod. approach the risky novel-plot in which some profane mortal visits in disguise an unsuspecting woman and plays the part of a god or spirit-lover. That in Greece, too, such stories were current we may perhaps deduce from Eur., Ion, 1530 ff. Ov., M. iii, 281; says outright: multi nomine divorum thalamos iniere pudicos. An adventure of this sort is told by the writer of [Aeschines] Ep. 10, and he is able to produce two similar cases which he certainly has not invented himself (8-9).—In more recent times both western and Oriental nations have delighted in telling such stories; a typical Oriental example is the story of “the Weaver as Vishnu” in the Panchatantra (see Benfey, Pantsch. i, § 56); in the West there is the story of Boccaccio dealing with Alberto of Imola as the angel Gabriel, Decam. iv, 2—Very suspicious, too, seems the account of a miracle that occurred in Epidauros: a barren woman comes to the temple of Asklepios to seek advice by ἐγκοίμησις. A big snake approaches her and she has a child. Ἐφ. Ἀρχ. 1885, pp. 21–2, l. 129 ff.

135 ἐκ τοῦ ἡρωίου τοῦ παρὰ τῇσι θύρῃσι τῇσι αὐλείῃσι ἱδρυμένου, Hdt. vi, 69.

136 Hero ἐπὶ προθύρῳ, Callim., Ep. 26; a Hero πρὸ πύλαις, πρὸ δόμοισιν, late epigram from Thrace, Epigr. Gr. 841; ἥρωας πλησίον τῆς τοῦ ἰδόντος οἰκίας ἱδρυμένους, Artemid. iv, 79, p. 248, 9 H. This, too, is how Pindar’s words about the Hero Alkmaion as his γείτων are to be understood: Pyth. viii, 57, see above, n. 105. An Aesopian fable dealing with the relations of a man with his neighbour-Hero begins ἥρωά τις ἐπὶ τῆς οἰκίας ἔχων τούτῳ πολυτελῶς ἔθυεν, 161 Halm.; cf. also Babr. 63.—A similar idea is at work when a son put up a monument to his father at the doorway of his house—see the fine lines of Eur., Hel. 1165 ff.

137 Κύπρῳ ἔνθα Τεῦκρος ἀπάρχει. Aias ἔχει Salamis and Achilles his island in the Pontus; Θέτις δὲ κρατεῖ Φθίᾳ, and so, too, Neoptolemos in Epirus: Pi., N. iv, 46–51; ἀμφέπει used of a Hero, P. ix, 70; τοῖς θεοῖς καὶ ἥρωσι τοῖς κατέχουσι τὴν πόλιν καὶ τὴν χώραν τὴν Ἀθηναίων: Dem. 18, 184.

138 Cf. Alabandus whom the inhabitants of Alabanda sanctius colunt quam quemquam nobilium deorum: Cic., ND. iii, 50 (in connexion with an anecdote relating to the fourth century)—Tenem, qui apud Tenedios sanctissimus deus habetur, Cic., V. ii, 1, 49.



Greek civilization as we see it reflected in the Homeric poems strikes us as so variously developed, and yet so complete in itself, that if we had no further sources of information, we should naturally suppose that the characteristic culture of the Greeks there reached the highest point attainable under the conditions set by national character and external circumstance. In reality the Homeric poems stand on the border line between an older development that has come to complete maturity and a new, and in many ways differently constituted, order of things. The poems themselves offer an idealized picture of a past that was on the point of disappearing entirely. The profound upheavals of the following centuries can be measured by their final results; we can guess the underlying forces from a study of the individual symptoms. But the fact remains that in the very imperfect state of our information about this period of transformation, we can do little more than recognize the existence of all the conditions necessary for a complete reorganization of Greek life. We can see how the once less-important races in Greece now come into the foreground of history; how they set up new kingdoms by the right of conquest on the ruins of the old, and bring into prominence their own special ways of thinking. Colonization over a wide area meant the expansion of Greek life; while the colonies themselves, as is so often the case, traversed all the stages of development at a much faster rate. Commerce and industry developed, calling forth and satisfying new demands. New elements of the population came to the fore, governments began to fall and the old rule of the kings gave way to Aristocracy, Tyranny, Democracy. In friendly and (in the West especially) hostile relationship the Greeks came into contact more than formerly with foreign peoples in every stage of civilization who influenced them in many directions.

All these great movements must have produced many fresh currents in intellectual life too. And in fact the attempt to get free from tradition, from the long-standing culture that seemed, when reflected in the Homeric poems, so permanent and 157 complete in itself, is seen most clearly in the sphere of poetry. The poets threw off the tyranny of the epic convention. They ceased to obey its formal verse-rhythm. And with the freedom thus gained from its vocabulary of stock words, phrases, and images, it was inevitable that the point of view also should change and gain in width. The poet no longer turns his gaze away from his own time and his own person. He himself becomes the central figure of his poetry, and to express the ferment of his own emotions he invents for himself the most natural rhythm, in close alliance with music which now becomes an important and independent element in Greek life. It is as though the Greeks had just discovered the full extent of their own capacities and dared to make free use of them. In every branch of the plastic arts the hand of the artist wins in the course of the centuries an ever greater capacity to give visible shape to the imagined world of beauty. Even the ruins of that world reveal to us more plainly and impressively (because less mixed with conscious reflexion) than any literary achievement, the thing that is of permanent value in Greek art.

It was impossible that religion, alone unaffected by the general atmosphere of change, should remain unaltered in the old paths. But here, even more than in other directions, we must admit that the inward reality of the change remains hidden from us. We can see indeed many external alterations, but of the directing spirit which called them forth we hardly catch more than a glimpse. It is easy, by comparing the later condition of religion with the Homeric, to see how enormously the objects of religious worship have multiplied. We can see how much more sumptuous and elaborate ceremonial has become and observe the development in beauty and variety, in conjunction with the fine arts, of the great religious festivals of the different cities and peoples of Greece. Temples and sculpture bear unmistakable witness to the increased power and importance of religion. That an inward and far-reaching change had come over religious thought and belief might have been already guessed from the fame and importance which belonged to the oracle at Delphi, now coming into real power; and from the many new developments in Greek religious life taking their origin from this spiritual centre. At this time there grew up, under the influence of a deepening moral sense, that new interpretation of religion that we meet with in its completed form in Aeschylus and Pindar. The age was decidedly more “religious-minded” than that in which Homer lived. It is as though the Greeks then went through a period such as 158 most civilized nations go through at some time or other, and such as the Greeks themselves were to repeat more than once in after centuries—a period in which the mind after it has at least half succeeded in winning its freedom from disquieting and oppressive beliefs in invisible powers shrinks back once more. Under the influence of adversity it feels the need of some comforting illusions behind which it may take shelter and be relieved in part of the burden of responsibility.

The obscurity of this period of growth hides also from our sight the origin and development of beliefs about the soul very different from the Homeric. The results of the process are however visible enough and we can still discern how a regular cult of the disembodied soul and eventually a belief in immortality fully worthy of the name were being built up at this time. These things are the result of phenomena which partly represent the re-emergence of elements in religious life which had been submerged in the previous period, and partly the entry of fresh forces which in conjunction with the resuscitated old give rise between them to a third and new creation.



The chief new feature revealing itself to comparative study in the development of religion in the post-Homeric period is the worship of chthonic deities, that is, of deities dwelling in the interior of the earth. And yet it is an undoubted fact that these divinities are among the oldest possessions of Greek religious faith. Indeed, bound as they are to the soil of the country, they are the true local deities, the real gods of home and country. They are also not unknown to Homer; but epic poetry had transferred them, divested of all local limitation, to a distant subterranean region, inaccessible to living men, beyond the limits of Okeanos. There Aïdes and the terrible Persephoneia rule as guardians of the dead. From that distant and unapproachable place they can have no influence upon the life and doings of men on earth. Religious cult, too, only knows these deities in connexion with particular localities and particular groups of worshippers. Each of these worships the deities of the underworld as denizens of their soil and their countryside alone. They are untroubled by any considerations of a general and uniform kingdom of the gods such as the epic had set up; nor are they disturbed by similar and conflicting claims made by neighbouring 159 communities. And only in these local cults are the gods of the lower world seen in their true nature as they were conceived by the faith of their worshippers. They are the gods of a settled, agricultural, inland population. Dwelling beneath the soil they guarantee two things to their worshippers: they bless the cultivation of the ground and ensure the increase of the fruits of the soil to the living; they receive the souls of the dead into their underworld.1 In certain places they also send up from the spirit-world revelations of future events.

The most exalted name we met with among these dwellers below the earth is that of Zeus Chthonios. This is at once the most general and the most exclusive designation of the god of the lower world; for the name “Zeus” had in many local cults thus preserved the generalized meaning of “god” in combination with a particularizing adjective. The Iliad also once speaks of “Zeus of the lower world”; though by this is meant none other than the ruler of the distant realm of the dead, Hades. Hades too, in the Hesiodic Theogony is once called “Zeus the Chthonian”.2 But the agricultural poem of Hesiod bids the Boeotian countryman, when preparing his fields for sowing, pray for a blessing to the Chthonic Zeus. Zeus Chthonios was also sacrificed to in Mykonos for the “fruits of the earth”.3

But, more frequently than under this most general and exalted title,4 we meet with the god of the living and the dead under various disguises. The gods of the underworld were generally referred to by affectionate or cajoling nicknames that laid stress on the lofty or beneficent character of their rule and threw a veil over the darkest side of their nature with conciliatory euphemism.5 Thus Hades had many flattering titles and special names.6 So, too, in many places Zeus of the underworld was worshipped as Zeus Eubouleus or Bouleus,7 at other places, especially Hermione, as Klymenos.8 Zeus Amphiaraos, Zeus Trophonios we have dealt with already in their capacity of Heroes, but they are really nothing else but such earth deities with honourable titles, who have been deprived to some extent of their full status as gods9 and have on that account developed all the more strongly the oracular side of their powers. Hades, the ruler of that distant kingdom of darkness, is one of this class of manifestations of Zeus Chthonios that vary in name according to the different localities of their worship. The king of the shadows in Erebos as he appears in Homer has no altars or sacrifices made to him10; but these things belong to him as the local god of particular places. In the Peloponnese there were local centres 160 of his worship in Elis and Triphylia,11 sites of a very ancient civilization; and it is probable enough that tribes and clans having their origin there contributed by their wanderings to the spread of their native cult of the chthonic deity in other Greek countries as well.12 Hades, too, was for his Peloponnesian worshippers a god of the fertility of the earth just as much as a god of the dead.13 And in the same way he was the lord of the Souls as well, in those places where “in fear of the name of Hades”14 he was called, in honour of his beneficent powers, Plouton, Plouteus, or Zeus Plouteus.

The welfare of the living and the dead was also the concern of the female deity of the underworld called by the name of the earth itself Ge or Gaia. At the places where she was worshipped she was regarded as one who brought fruitfulness to the fields, but she held sway over the souls of the dead as well, in conjunction with whom prayers and sacrifice were offered to her.15 Her temples remained in honour, especially at Athens and at the primeval centre of ancient worship of the gods, Olympia.16 But her personality had never been quite reduced to definite and intelligible outline from the enormous vagueness natural to primitive deities. Earth-goddesses of more recent and intelligible form had supplanted her. She retained longest her mantic powers which she exercised from beneath the earth, the abode of spirits and souls, at ancient oracular sites—though even here she often had to give way to oracular gods of another description, such as Zeus and Apollo. A poet indeed mentions her once side by side with the great ruler of the lower world,17 but in actual worship she was seldom found among the groups of male and female deities of chthonic nature such as were worshipped together at many places. Above all, at Hermione there flourished from primitive times a solemn cult of the lower-world Demeter in conjunction with the lower-world Zeus, under the name of Klymenos, and with Kore.18 At other places Plouton and these two goddesses were worshipped together, or Zeus Eubouleus and the same two, etc.19 The names of the underworld god vary indefinitely, but the names of Demeter and her divine daughter appear every time unchanged. Either alone or together, and worshipped in connexion with other related deities, these two goddesses have by far the most important place in the cult of the underworld. The fame and widespread popularity of their cult in all Greek cities of the mother-country and in the colonies proves more than anything else that since Homeric times a change must have taken place in the sphere of religious emotion and service of the gods. 161

Homer gives no hint of the character or importance of the later cult of Demeter and Persephone. For him Persephone is simply the grim unapproachable Queen of the dead, Demeter invariably (and solely) a goddess of the fertility of crops20; she stands apart indeed from the rest of the Olympians, but no reference to a close association with her daughter is ever made.21 Now, however, both goddesses appear in various and changing activity, but always closely associated, and it seems as if they had come to share some of their previously distinct characteristics. Both are now chthonic deities who together have in their protection the growth of the crops and the care of the souls of the dead. How in detail the change came about we can no longer discover. It may be that, in the times of the great migrations, from various centres of the worship of the two goddesses, such as had existed from great antiquity in the Peloponnese especially,22 there issued forth this faith that differed so essentially from the Homeric-Ionic view of things. It must have spread just as in later times the special variety of the cult of the closely associated goddesses that was practised in Eleusis was widely propagated by regular missions. It also seems that Demeter, in whose name there was early a tendency to recognize a second “Mother Earth,” in many places took the place of Gaia in religious cult, and thereby entered into closer connexion with the realm of the souls below the earth.

§ 2

As the numbers of the underworld beings increased, and their cult grew and expanded, these divinities began to have a very different meaning for the living from what they once had for the Greeks of the Homeric age. The upper and the lower worlds are drawn closer to each other; the world of the living borders upon that world after death over which the chthonic gods hold sway. The ancient belief that the earth-caverns of their own land, on which men dwelt and worked, were the near and accessible abode of divinity, now reappeared here and there, and was no longer completely awed into silence by the poetic lustre of the all-embracing divine world of Olympos. We have spoken in a previous chapter of Amphiaraos at Thebes, Trophonios in the Lebadean cave, and Zeus in the cave on Mt. Ida; and again of that Zeus who was seen enthroned by those who descended into a cave in Epirus. These are all vestiges of the same belief which originally underlay all local cults of underworld deities. The realm of 162 chthonic gods, of spirits and departed souls, seemed to be close at hand. Ploutonia, i.e. direct inlets to the underworld, existed at many places,23 as also did Psychopompeia, clefts in the rock through which the souls can pass out into the upper world. In the middle of the city of Athens, in a natural chasm on the Areiopagos, underworld beings were reputed to have their home.24 The most striking denial of the separation between the living and the underworld, such as was demanded by Homeric theology, was at Hermione. Here, behind the temple of Chthonia lay a sacred precinct of Plouton or Klymenos with a chasm in the ground through which Herakles had once brought up Kerberos to the earth—and an “Acherusian Lake”.25 So near did the spirit world seem here, that the people of Hermione did not give their dead the usual coin to pay the fare of Charon, the ferryman of the dead:26 for them, in whose own country lay the river Acheron, no tract of water lay between the land of the living and the dead.

More important than these cases of contact between the dark underworld and the world of the living—for the localization of the underworld still remained for the most part matter of fancy—is the fact that the creatures of that world are again drawing closer to the senses of men. The thoughts of men turn more frequently to the other world at so many festivals and anniversaries; the gods who rule below desire and repay the veneration of mankind, both of the individual and the city. And in the train of the chthonic gods the souls of the dead, always closely bound to them, receive a cult which in many particulars goes beyond anything customary in the Homeric Age.



The first duty that the survivors owe to their dead is to bury the body in the customary manner. This age takes the matter more seriously than the Homeric people had done. Whereas in Homer denial of burial to enemies fallen in war is often mentioned, it is now regarded as a religious duty that is seldom neglected to give back the bodies of the fallen foe for burial. To deny the honour of burial to members of one’s own city is an outrage of the most extreme kind; everyone knows what terrible vengeance for such a neglect of duty was taken, by the excited populace at Athens, on the generals after Arginousai. Nothing can release a son from the duty of burying his father and offering him the regular gifts at his 163 grave.27 And if the relations, in spite of everything, neglect their task the law at Athens requires the Demarch to see to the burial of his fellow demesman.28 Religious requirements, however, go beyond the law. At the solemn agricultural festival of Demeter the Bouzyges at Athens invoked a curse on all who should leave a corpse unburied.29 This matter, which the chthonic deities take under their protection, is no mere sanitary police regulation. It is not any such consideration, but solely the “unwritten laws” of religion which are obeyed by Antigone when she covers the dead body of her brother with a little dust: even such symbolical burial is enough to avert the “abomination” (ἄγος). Motives of pure piety may have played their part, but the really fundamental idea underlying all such practices was the one already met with in the Iliad:30 that the soul of the unburied person can find no rest in the hereafter. The ghost haunts the neighbourhood, its rage afflicts the land in which it is detained against its will; and the withholding of burial “is worse for the withholder than for him to whom burial is refused”.31 Condemned criminals, indeed, are thrown by the state, unburied, into a pit;32 the sacrilegious and traitors to their country are denied burial in the ground of that country.33 This is a formidable punishment, for even though the outlaw is buried in a foreign country,34 his soul cannot be permanently tended there. Only the family of the dead in their own home can give their departed kinsman the honour due to him in the cult of the souls, and only they at the spot where his remains lie buried.35

What we know of the details of the funeral ceremonies, differs very little in essence from what had survived into the Homeric age as customs no longer fully explained by contemporary belief. The new features that we meet with may also, for the most part, be very primitive usage restored to currency. Some of the particular details make the solemnity of the act more apparent.

After the eyes and mouth have been closed by the next of kin the body is washed and anointed by women of the family, and clothed in clean garments. It is then laid out upon a bier in the interior of the house for the ceremonial lying-in-state. In Athens marjoram was strewn under the body, for superstitious reasons,36 and also four broken-off vine branches; in the grave, also, the corpse lay on vine branches.37 Underneath the bier were placed ointment vessels of the peculiar slim shape that the graves have restored to us again in such numbers. At the door of the room, for the benefit of those leaving the house who had incurred religious defilement by coming in contact 164 with the corpse, was placed a bowl full of pure water brought in from another house.38 Cypress branches fixed upon the house door outside warned the scrupulous that a corpse was in the house.39 The head of the dead person was generally decked with garlands and fillets, in a manner unknown to the Homeric age, as a sign, it appears, of respect for the higher sanctity of the departed.40

The lying-in-state of the dead, lasting the whole of one day, was certainly not intended originally to serve the purpose of a public “notification of death”, such as later writers attribute to it.41 The funeral dirge was sung at the bier of the dead man, and to give opportunity for this ceremony was its real purpose. The habit of the old Attic government of the Eupatridai had increased the pomp of funeral ceremonies in every direction, and had encouraged an extravagant cult of the souls of the departed. Solon’s legislation had to restrain and limit such exaggeration in many ways, and in particular, the tendency to increase unduly the lamentation sung over the dead body required to be kept within bounds. Only the women of the immediate family of the dead might take part in it, for to them alone the cult of the departed belonged as a duty.42 The violent expression of grief, the tearing of the cheeks, beating the breast and head, was forbidden,43 as also was the singing of “poems”,44 i.e. in all probability regular funeral dirges specially written for the purpose such as Homer made the women sing round Hektor’s bier. To extend the subject of the funeral dirge to apply to others beside the person then being buried had to be made absolutely illegal.45 This prohibition must also have been applied already to the gathering at the graveside. But to sacrifice animals before the procession to the grave was a very ancient custom, and it seems as if Solon forbade this too.46 In other states, also, legislation was necessary to put a curb on the tendency to overdo the violence of the expressions of grief for the dead47 which were common in the antiquity of the Greeks as among many of the “uncivilized” tribes who carry them to the point of exhaustion. It was not simple piety or natural human grief (never particularly given to violent or excessive demonstration) that caused these things. It was rather the ancient belief that the soul of the dead was still invisibly present, and would be pleased at the most violent expressions of grief for its loss.48 The dirge, carried to this extreme, belongs in fact to the cult of the departed spirit. The restraints placed upon the traditional lamentation may in their turn—in so far as they were effective—have been derived not from considerations of good 165 sense (which rarely have much influence in such matters) but from religious or superstitious reasons.49

The lying-in-state of the body seems invariably to have lasted for one day only.50 In the early morning of the third day51 after death the corpse, together with the bier on which it lay, was borne out of the house. Legislation was in some places necessary to check excessive ostentation at the funeral procession.52 What pomp and ceremony was customary in the time of the old aristocratic rule at this part of the cult of the dead, we may gather (if it corresponded at all to reality) from the picture of a funeral procession represented on a very archaic “Dipylon vase”.53 There the body is carried on high on a wagon drawn by two horses: men carrying swords surround it, and a whole company of women, making lamentation and beating their heads, follow the procession. At Athens the attendance in the procession was confined, in the case of women at least, to those of the immediate kinsfolk (for three generations). The men, who had their place in front of the women seem to have been admitted without such restriction.54 The admission of hired companies of Karian women and men, singing the national dirges, seems at Athens not to have been forbidden.55 At Keos and elsewhere, the laws ordered processions to the grave to be conducted in silence.56 On the whole, the discipline of respectable city life reduced the “excessive and barbaric”,57 which must once have been the rule in the display of mourning, to a discreet symbolism.

On the details of the burial procedure our information is incomplete. Occasional expressions used by Greek authors allow us to conclude—and this is confirmed by the excavation of graves in Greek countries—that besides the custom, exclusively prevailing in Homeric times, of cremation, the more ancient practice of burying the body unburnt was still kept up.58 The body was not intended to be completely destroyed. Out of the ashes of the funeral pyre the son carefully gathers the remains of his father’s bones59 in order to bury them, enclosed in an urn or a box. If on the other hand the body remains unburnt, it is either enclosed in a coffin made of baked clay, or wood60—a custom clearly betraying its foreign origin, or else—and this must have been certainly the older and more purely native Greek usage—it is let down into the earth without a coffin, and laid upon a bed of leaves;61 at other times, if the nature of the ground allows, it may rest unburied in a rock-chamber, upon a bed of stonework.62

The soul, though now set free, keeps up some connexion with the body it once inhabited. It is for its use and pleasure 166 that an ample provision of household implements and vessels is laid beside the corpse (though no longer the whole of the dead man’s possessions as once was usual); and graves since opened have restored such things in large numbers to our gaze.63 But the Greeks never seriously believed that such a phantasmal existence could be prolonged to eternity. Elaborate expedients for the perpetual preservation of the corpse (by embalmment and other means, such as were employed in the case of bodies buried in the Mycenæan shaft-graves)64 were unknown in these later times—except as a peculiar archaism in the burial of Spartan kings.

§ 2

Once the body is buried, the soul of the dead enters the invisible company of the “Better and Superior”.65 This belief, which Aristotle regarded as of primeval antiquity in Greece, emerges very clearly in the cult-observance of these post-Homeric centuries from the obscurity which the Homeric age had imposed upon it. The soul of the dead has its special cult-group composed naturally enough of the descendants and family of the dead, and of them only. There even survived a dim memory of the time when the body of the dead was buried inside the house, which thus became the immediate centre of his cult.66 That must quite certainly have been during an age which knew little or nothing of the almost painful sensitiveness to the idea of ritual “purification” such as prevailed in later times. At least, we have no reason for supposing that the Greeks (like many so-called “savage” peoples among whom the custom prevails of burying the corpse within the dead man’s own hut) deserted the house that had now become haunted, and left it to the undisturbed possession of the ghost of the dead man buried there.67 To bury the dead within the walls of the city, at least, was considered unobjectionable in later times by certain Dorian states.68 Even where religious scruples and the practical convenience of city life combined to fix the place for burials outside the city walls, families kept their graves together often in a single extensive plot with a wall built round it.69 Where a country estate belonged to a family, this generally also included the graves of its ancestors.70

Wherever it was situated, the grave was holy, as being the place where later generations tended and worshipped the souls of departed members of their family. Grave columns indicated the holiness of the spot;71 trees and sometimes a complete 167 grove surrounded the grave, as they did so often the altars and temples of the gods.72 These were intended to serve as pleasant retreats for the souls of the beloved dead.73

Sacrificial offerings began for the most part at the actual time of the funeral. The custom of pouring libations of wine, oil, and honey at the grave was probably in general use.74 Even the sacrifice of animals, such as was made at the funeral pyre of Patroklos and even of Achilles, cannot have been unusual at an earlier period. Solon expressly forbade the sacrifice of an ox at the grave.75 At Keos, permission is just as expressly given for a “preliminary sacrifice to be offered at the funeral in accordance with ancestral custom”.76 When the funeral ceremony is over, the members of the family, after a solemn rite of religious purification,77 put on garlands (they had previously avoided this78) and begin the funeral feast.79 This also was a part of the cult of the dead. The soul of the dead man was regarded as being present—even as playing the part of host.80 It was awe felt for the invisible presence that originally inspired the custom of speaking only praise of the dead at the funeral feast.81 This feast was an entertainment given in the house of the dead man to the surviving members of his family. The dead man had a meal to himself alone, which was offered at the grave82 on the third and on the ninth day after the funeral.83 On the ninth day it appears that ancient usage brought the period of mourning to an end.84 Where it was extended to a longer period the earlier series of offerings to the dead was prolonged proportionally. Sparta had a period of mourning lasting eleven days.85 At Athens, in addition to the sacrifice on the third and ninth days, another funeral feast which might be repeated several times,86 was held on the thirteenth day.87

Even after the ceremonies attached to the funeral itself were at last over, the relations of the dead were by no means released from the duty of tending not merely the grave, but the soul of the deceased member of their family. In particular the son and heir had no more sacred duty to perform than the offering of “the customary things” (τὰ νόμιμα) to the soul of his father. These consisted above all of libations to be made to the dead on certain fixed and recurrent festivals. On the 30th of the month there was a traditional feast of the dead.88 Besides this, every year at the “Genesia”, when the birthday of the dead came round, the occasion was regularly celebrated with sacrifice.89 The day on which he first entered this life is still of importance to the psyche of the dead man. It is plain that no impassable gulf was fixed between life and 168 death: it almost seems as though life went on quite uninterrupted by death.

Besides these variable feasts of the Genesia, celebrated as they occurred by the individual families, there was at Athens a festival, also called the Genesia, at which the whole citizen body did honour to the souls of their dead relatives on the 5th Boëdromion.90 We hear also of the Nemesia as a feast of the dead in Athens91 (probably intended for the averting of the anger of the dead—always a subject of apprehension), and of various festivals of the dead in other Greek States.92 At Athens the chief festival of all the dead occurred at the close of the Dionysiac feast of the Anthesteria, in the spring, of which it formed the concluding day. This was the time when the dead swarmed up into the world of the living, as they did in Rome on the days when the “mundus patet”, and so still in the belief of our own (German) country people at “Twelfth-tide”. The days belonged to the souls (and their master Dionysos): they were days of “uncleanness”93 unsuited to the business of city life. The temples of the gods were closed during that period.94 As protection against the ghosts invisibly present, the citizens employed various old and tried precautionary measures; they chewed hawthorn leaves on their morning walk, and smeared their doorposts with pitch. In this way the ghosts were kept at arms length.95 Each family made offering to its own dead, and the offerings they made have remained for the most part the appropriate gifts of the dead on their feast-days in many lands down to modern times. A special offering was made to the dead96 on the last day of the feast, the Chytrai, which was sacred to none of the Olympians, but to Hermes the leader of the dead. To this god—but “for the dead”—were offered cooked vegetables and seeds in pots (which gave their name to this day of the festival).97 It seems probable that as a sacrifice to the dead honey-cakes were thrown into a cleft of the earth in the Temne of Ge Olympia.98 Indoors, too, the swarming ghosts entered and were entertained. They were not, however, permanently welcome guests, and finally they were driven out of the house in a manner parallelled at the close of festivals of the dead among many nations of old and modern times.99 “Begone ye Keres, Anthesteria is over” were the words used in sending away the souls, and it is remarkable that in this formula they were given their primeval name—a name whose original sense had been forgotten by Homer, but not by the language of the common people of Attica.100

Individuals may have found still further opportunities of 169 bringing gifts to their own dead and showing their reverence for them. The cult paid by the family to the spirits of their ancestors is hardly distinguished, except by the greater limitation of the circle of worshippers, from the worship of underworld deities and Heroes. In the case of the souls, however, nature itself united the sacrificers and worshippers (and no one else) with the object of their devotion. If we wish to form some idea of the way in which (under the influence of a civilization that tended to reduce all primitive grandeur to mere idyll) the worship of the dead altered its character in the direction of piety and intimacy—we need only look at the pictures representing such worship (though rarely before the fourth century) on the oilflasks which were used at funerals in Attica and then laid by the side of the dead in the grave. These slight sketches breathe a spirit of simple kindliness; we see the mourners decking the grave monument with wreaths and ribbons; worshippers approaching with gestures of adoration, bringing with them many objects of daily use—mirrors, fans, swords, etc., for the entertainment of the dead.101 Sometimes the living seek to give pleasure to the spirit of the dead by the performance of music.102 Gifts, too, of cakes, fruit, and wine are being made—but the blood of the sacrificial animals is never spilt.103 There was a time when more solemn—and less comfortable—thoughts prevailed;104 and of these we learn something from the much older sculptured reliefs, found on sepulchral monuments in Sparta, which give the dead a more awe-inspiring attitude. The ancestral pair sit in state and are approached by members of the family (represented as much smaller figures) offering their worship. These bring with them flowers, pomegranates, and sometimes even animals for sacrifice, a cock, a pig, or a ram. Other and later types of such “banquets of the dead” show the dead person standing up (not infrequently by the side of a horse) or lying upon a couch and accepting the drink-offering made to him by the survivors.105 These reliefs allow us to see at what a distance the departed spirits are supposed to stand from the living: the dead do, indeed, seem now to be “better and stronger” beings; they are well on the road to becoming “Heroes”. Drink offerings such as those we see offered on these reliefs—a mixture of honey-water, milk, and wine, and other liquids, offered in accordance with precise ritual—always formed a regular part of sacrifices made to the dead.106 Besides these, animals, too, were slain, especially sheep (less often oxen) of black colour. These must be completely burnt, as being intended for the sole enjoyment of the dead—a custom 170 observed at all sacrifices made to the spirits of the underworld.107

The whole of this very material cult depended upon the assumption—which was sometimes distinctly expressed—that the soul of the dead is capable of receiving, and is in need of, a physical satisfaction from the gifts made to it.108 It is consequently, not thought of as deprived of the power of sense-perception. Even in the grave it can feel what is going on in its neighbourhood.109 It is not a good thing to attract its attention; it is best to pass by the graves of the dead in silence.110 The common people thought of the dead, according to a famous phrase of Plato’s, as “hovering” suspended over their graves, the site of their cult.111 The pictures on the Attic oilflasks illustrate this belief, for they represent the souls of the dead flying above the grave-monument, and the diminutive size of these winged figures is evidently intended to represent their somewhat contradictory immaterial materiality, and to express their invisibility for mortal eyes.112 Sometimes, indeed, the souls become visible, and then, like the underworld gods and the Heroes, they prefer the shape of a snake.113 Nor are they absolutely bound to the immediate neighbourhood of the grave; they sometimes revisit their old habitations among the living, and not only on those days of the dead in the month Anthesterion. The Greeks, like other people, were acquainted with the custom of allowing what fell to the ground to lie there undisturbed for the spirits that hovered about the house to carry away if they liked.114 The dead man’s spirit, being thus invisibly present, can overhear if anyone speaks ill of it: either with the idea of defending the helpless, or, on the contrary, to avoid incurring the wrath of invisible but potent spirits, a Solonian law forbade abusive language to be addressed to a dead man. That is the real meaning of the old warning de mortuis nil nisi bene, as popular belief understood it. The descendants of a dead man were bound to prosecute anyone who slandered their ancestor:115 this also is among the religious duties owed by the living to the soul of the dead.

§ 3

Like all other cults, the cult of the dead had more to do with the relations of the daimon to the living than with his nature and essence considered abstractly, and in itself: a dogmatic account of this nature was neither offered nor required by his worship. Still, the cult was founded upon a general 171 conception, merely evading more exact definition, of the nature of the departed spirit. Men sacrificed to the souls of the dead, as to the gods116 and Heroes, because they regarded them as invisible Powers,117 a special class of “Blessed Ones”, as the dead were beginning to be called even in the fifth century. They attempted to propitiate them,118 or at least to avert their easily awakened displeasure.119 Their help was also sought in all times of need; but most especially, like the chthonic gods into whose realm they have entered, they can prosper the fruits of the earth120 and lend assistance at the entry of a new soul into life. For this reason libation is made to the souls of ancestors at a marriage.121 The Tritopatores also, who were invoked at wedding celebrations in Attica that the marriage might prove fruitful,122 were nothing else than the souls of the ancestors.123 We know them also to have been referred to as wind-spirits,124 and in this there appears, plainly or obscurely, an isolated fragment of the most ancient belief of the people: the departed spirits of the dead become spirits of the air; the ghosts that travel on the winds are the liberated souls of the dead.

§ 4

Though it is good and profitable in one’s own interest to enlist the sympathy and retain the goodwill of these invisible spirit powers by sacrifice, yet their worship is to a much greater degree conditioned by a sentiment of piety which no longer seeks its own advantage, but the greater honour and welfare of the dead. Such piety certainly takes on a curious form, but it is this which gives its special character to the cult of the souls, and the ideas which lie behind that cult. The souls of the dead are dependent upon the cult paid to them by the members of their family who still live on in this world; their fate is determined by the nature of this cult.125 The beliefs which nourished the cult of the dead are totally distinct from the mode of thought prevailing in the Homeric poems according to which the souls are banished into the distant realm of Hades and cut off eternally from all attention or care that the living might pay them. It differs again from the beliefs which the mysteries implanted in the minds of their worshippers; for in this case it was not their merit—whether religious or moral—which secured to the disembodied souls their position in the future life. These two streams of religious belief flowed side by side, but never met. The nearest analogue to the cult of the souls and its appropriate beliefs was undoubtedly the cult 172 of Heroes, but even here the difference is profound. It is no longer a special privilege miraculously bestowed upon a few favoured individuals; every soul has a right to the attentive care of its own family, and in each case its fate is settled, not by the character displayed or deeds done during its lifetime, but by the relation to itself of those who survive. As a consequence everybody on the approach of death thinks of the “future state” of his soul, and that means the cult which he would like to make sure will be offered to his departed spirit. Sometimes for this purpose he makes a special foundation, or bequest, which is provided for in his will.126 Of course, if he leaves a son behind him, the care of his spirit will be amply provided for; until that son comes of age, a guardian will offer the appropriate gifts.127 Even slaves to whom he has given their freedom will be sure to take part in the permanent and regular cult of their former master.128 One who has no son to leave behind him will make haste to take a son from another family into his own house, who, together with his property will inherit also the duty of offering a regular and enduring cult to his adopted father, and his new ancestors, and of caring for the needs of their souls. This is the real and original meaning of all adoption; and how seriously such provision for the proper care of the souls of the departed was taken, can best and most clearly be seen from the testamentary speeches of Isaeus, in which with a completeness of art that almost conceals itself expression is given to the genuine and simple feelings of the homely Athenian bourgeoisie whom no enlightenment had ever disturbed in the beliefs of their fathers.129

All cult, all prospect of a full life and future well-being—for so we may express the naive conception—of the soul on its separation from the body, depends upon the holding together of the family. To the family itself the souls of its former ancestors are, in a limited sense, of course, gods—its gods.130 It can hardly be doubted that here we have the root of all belief in the future life of the soul, and we shall be tempted to subscribe to the belief—as a guess tending in the right direction—of those who see in such family worship of the dead one of the most primitive roots of all religious belief—older than the worship of the higher gods of the state and the community as a whole; older even than the worship of Heroes, and of the ancestors of large national groups. The family is older than the state,131 and among all peoples that have not passed beyond family-organization and formed states, we find this type of belief about the soul invariably present. Among 173 the Greeks, who in the course of their history learnt so much that was new without ever quite discarding the old, this belief lived on in the shadow of the great gods and their cults, even in the midst of the tremendous increase in the power and organized influence of the state. But these larger and wider organizations cramped and hindered its development. Left to itself, and given more freedom to grow, such belief might possibly have elevated the souls of the family ancestors to the position of all-powerful spirits of the house under whose hearth they had once been laid to rest. The Greeks, however, never had anything to correspond exactly with the Italian Lar familiaris.132 The nearest equivalent to it would be the Good Daimon which the Greek household honoured. Careful examination shows this Daimon to have been originally the soul of an ancestor who has become the good spirit of his house—but the Greeks themselves had forgotten this.133

§ 5

We cannot at this late date trace the reawakening of the cult of souls in post-Homeric times or the varying stages it may have gone through in its development. Still, some of the facts are plain. Indications have already been noticed that point to the view that the cult of the dead was carried on in the days when the aristocratic regime still held sway in Greece with greater pomp and seriousness than in the centuries—the fifth and sixth—beyond which our knowledge hardly extends. In these earlier times, we are forced to conclude, there must also have been a livelier belief in the power and importance of the souls corresponding with the greater vigour of religious cult. It seems as if at this time ancient usage and belief broke violently through the suppression and neglect under which they lay in the times that speak to us in the Homeric poems. There is no reason to suppose that any one member of the Greek peoples was specially responsible for the change. At the same time, different districts in accordance with their varying natural proclivities and civilization differed in the cult they paid their dead. In Attica, with the spread of democracy, the ideas at the bottom of such practice tended more and more in the direction of mere affectionate piety. In Laconia and Boeotia134 and in other places where primitive life and customs maintained themselves for a long time, more serious notions of the nature and reality of the disembodied spirits remained in force and a more serious cult was paid to them. Elsewhere, as in Locris and on the island of Keos,135 the 174 cult of the dead seems to have maintained itself only in a very much weakened form. When advancing culture made individuals less dependent on the traditional beliefs of their own country many temperamental variations and gradations in belief and conception made their appearance. Homeric ideas on the subject, universally familiar from poetry, may have entered into the question and added to the confusion; even where the cult of the dead was practised with the greatest fervour, ideas radically incompatible with that cult—as that the souls of the worshipped dead are “in Hades”136—are sometimes revealed unintentionally. At quite an early period we find expressions of the view, which goes beyond anything said in Homer, that nothing at all survives after death. Attic orators, for example, are allowed to speak to their audience in a tone of hesitation and doubt about hopes commonly cherished of continued consciousness and sensation after death. Such doubts, however, only affect the theoretic consideration of the soul’s future life; the cult of the souls was still carried on inside the family. Even an unbeliever, if he were in other respects a true son of his city and deeply rooted in its ancient customs, might in his last will and testament provide seriously for the perpetual cult of his own soul and those of his near relatives—as Epicurus did in his will, to the astonishment of after ages.137 Thus, even unbelief still clung to cult as to other old established customs, and in many an individual the cult still tended to awaken the beliefs which alone could justify it.



§ 1

In the renewal and development of the cult offered to the dead, an important part was again played by that priestly association which exercised such a decisive influence on the public worship of invisible powers in the Greek states—the priesthood of the Delphic oracle. On the occurrence of disturbing portents in the sky recourse was had to the god, who gave orders that in addition to the gods and Heroes “sacrifice should be made to the dead also on the appointed days, in accordance with custom and tradition, by their relatives.”138 Individuals in doubt as to what the sacred law 175 required in the observance due to a departed soul applied at Athens to one of the “Exegetai”—probably one of that college of Exegetai that had been founded under the influence of Delphi.139 The god protected the rights of the dead, too; the fact that his decisions confirmed the sanctity of the cult of the dead must have contributed a good deal to the consideration and awe in which that cult was held by the living.140

The decrees of Delphi were even more influential where they concerned a cult to be offered not to one who had died in peace, but to a person who had been robbed of his life through an act of violence. The treatment of such cases shows with striking distinctness the change which had come over the beliefs about the dead since the Homeric period.

In Homer, when a free man has been killed, the State takes no share whatever in the pursuit and punishment of the murderer. It is the duty of the nearest relatives or the friends of the murdered man141 to carry on the blood-feud against the assailant. As a rule the latter puts himself out of reach of reprisals by flight. He withdraws to a foreign country which is unconcerned in his action. We hear nothing of any distinction between premeditated murder and unintentional or even justifiable homicide;142 and it seems probable that at that time, when no regular inquiry was made into the nature of the individual case, the relatives of the murdered man took no account of the different varieties of killing. If the guilty man can escape by flight from those whose duty it is to avenge his deed, they on their part may forgo the full toll of vengeance, which would have required the death of the murderer, and may be satisfied with the payment of compensation, after which the doer of the deed is allowed to remain in his own country undisturbed.143 The requirements of vengeance are thus in essence fulfilled, but the retaliatory murder of the murderer can be bought off. This decided relaxing of the ancient notion of vengeance can only be accounted for by an equally decided weakening of the belief in the continued consciousness, power, and rights of the murdered man, upon which the requirement of vengeance was founded. The soul of the dead is powerless; its claims can be easily satisfied by the payment of “weregild” to the living. In such a satisfaction as this, the departed soul is in reality not concerned at all; it remains a simple business transaction between living people.144 In the midst of the general declension of the beliefs about the dead—amounting almost to complete extinction—which is found throughout the Homeric poems, this weakening of belief in one particular point is not very surprising. But 176 in this case, as in the general study of Homeric beliefs about the dead, it is clear that the conception of the soul as powerless, shadowlike, and feeble is not the primitive or original one; it has foisted itself gradually in the course of years upon a more ancient mode of conception in which the dead had undiminished sensibility and could influence the condition of the living. Of this older conception we have emphatic witness in the duty—not forgotten even in Homeric Greece—of prosecuting the blood-feud.

In later times the pursuit and punishment of homicide was organized in accordance with quite different principles. The State recognized its interest in the reprisals made for such a breach of the peace: we may take it as certain that in Greek cities generally the state took a share in the regular investigation and punishment of murder in its courts of justice,145 though here, too, it is only in the case of Athenian law that we have precise information. At Athens, in accordance with the ancient code dealing with the legal prosecution of murder (which never fell into disuse after Drakon had established it by his penal legislation), the exclusive right—and the unavoidable duty—of prosecuting the murderer belonged to the next of kin of the murdered man. (In special cases only it was extended to include the more distant relatives, and even the members of the phratria to which he had belonged.) It is clear that this duty of making an accusation which fell upon the next of kin, preserves a relic of the ancient duty of the blood-feud which has been transformed by the requirements of the public welfare. It is the same narrow circle of relationship, extending to the third generation, united by a strict religious bond, to which alone belonged the right to inherit property and the duty of performing the cult of the dead. This circle of relatives is here again called upon to “succour” the unfortunate who has been violently done to death.146 The reason for this duty—a duty evidently derived from the ancient blood-feud—is easy to understand: it, too, is a department of the cult of the dead which was binding as a duty upon exactly that circle of relatives. It was no mere abstract “right”, but a quite definite personal claim, made by the dead man himself, that the surviving relatives were required to satisfy. At Athens even in the fourth and fifth centuries the belief still survived in undiminished vigour that the soul of one violently done to death, until the wrong done to him was avenged upon the doer of it, would wander about finding no rest,147 full of rage at the violent act, and wrathful, too, against the relatives 177 who should have avenged him, if they did not fulfil their duty. He himself would become an “avenging spirit”; and the force of his anger might be felt throughout whole generations.148 Implacable revenge is the sacred duty of those—his representatives and executors—who are specially called upon to fulfil the needs of the dead soul. The state forbids them to take the law into their own hands; but it commands them to seek redress at the tribunals of justice. It will take over the duties of judge and executioner itself; but a decided consideration will be shown to the relatives of the murdered man at the hearing of the case. In duly conducted criminal procedure the courts specially appointed for this purpose will decide whether the deed is to be considered one of wilful murder, unintentional manslaughter, or justifiable homicide. In making these distinctions the state has struck a blow at that older code of the blood-feud in which the right of vengeance belonged entirely to the family of the murdered man. According to that code, as we cannot but conclude from Homer, nothing but the fact of the violent death of a relative was considered, not the character or motive of the deed itself. Now, however, the murderer is liable to a death penalty which he can avoid before the verdict is given by going into voluntary and perpetual exile. He disappears and leaves the country—at the boundaries of the country the state’s authority ceases, and so does the power of the indignant spirit of the dead, which is bound to its native soil—like that of all local deities, whose influence is confined to the place where they are worshipped. If, by such flight over the frontier, “the doer of the deed withdraws himself from the person injured by him—i.e. the angry soul of the dead man”149—his life is thereby saved, even if he himself is not justified. This alone is meant by the permission of such voluntary exile. Involuntary homicide150 is punished by banishment for a limited period, after the expiration of which the relations of the dead man are to grant a pardon to the murderer on his return to his native land.151 If they voted for it unanimously152 they could even do this before he went into banishment, in which case this would not take place at all. There can be no doubt that this pardon had to be granted by them in the name of the dead man as well, of whose rights they were the representatives; indeed, the man himself lying mortally wounded could before his death, even in the case of wilful murder, pardon his assailant and thereby excuse his relatives the duty of prosecution;153 to such an extent was the injured soul’s wish for vengeance the only point at issue, 178 even in the legal procedure of a constitutionally governed state, and not in the least the lawless act of the murderer as such. When there is no desire for vengeance on the part of the victim requiring to be satisfied, the murderer goes unpunished. When he suffers punishment, he suffers it for the satisfaction of the soul of the murdered man. He is no longer slain as a sacrifice to his victim; but when the relations of the dead exact vengeance from him by legally constituted processes, that, too, is a part of the cult offered to the soul of the dead.

§ 2

It is true that the state directs the blood-feud required of the relatives of the dead man along constitutional channels that shall not contravene the laws of the community; but it does not in the least intend to abolish the fundamental idea of the ancient family vendetta. It reasserts the original claim to vengeance of the victim violently done to death—a claim closely bound up with the cult of the dead—by forbidding the old custom, common in Homeric times, of buying off the blood-guiltiness of the murderer by a compensatory payment made to the relatives of the dead man.154 It does not destroy the religious character of the whole transaction; it uses its own processes to secure the fulfilment of the requirements of religion. That is why the head of all criminal jurisdiction is the King Archon, the constitutional Administrator of all the religious functions of the ancient royal government. The religious basis of the oldest Athenian criminal jurisdiction is particularly evident. It has its seat on the Areiopagos, the hill of the Curse-Goddesses, over the sacred chasm in which they themselves, the “Venerable Ones”, have their dwelling. The judicial office is closely bound up with the service of the goddesses.155 At the commencement of the proceedings both parties take an oath in the name of the Erinyes.156 Each of the three days at the end of the month, upon which legal proceedings in these courts took place,157 was sacred to one of the three goddesses.158 To them sacrifice was made by those who were acquitted in those courts;159 for it is the goddesses who have given them absolution just as it is the goddesses who demand the punishment of the guilty. They still do it, as once they had done in the typical case of Orestes, in which they themselves had been the accusers.160 In this Athenian worship the Erinyes had not vet entirely lost their true and original character. They had not become the mere guardians of law in general, as which they were sometimes 179 represented by poets and philosophers who thus extended and weakened immeasurably their once much narrower significance. They are formidable daimones, dwelling in the depths of the earth from which they are conjured up by the curses and maledictions of those who have no earthly avenger left. Hence they are more particularly the avengers of murder committed within the family itself; they punish the man who has slain the very person whom he would have been called upon to avenge, if that person had fallen at the hand of another murderer than himself. When the son has slain his father or mother, who shall then carry out the blood-feud incumbent upon the nearest relation of the dead? This nearest relation is the murderer himself. It is the Erinys of the father or the mother who sees to it that the dead shall still receive due satisfaction. She breaks out from the kingdom of the dead to seize the murderer. She is ever at his heels in pursuit, leaving him no rest night or day. Vampire-like she sucks his blood:161 he is her destined victim.162 Even in the judicial procedure of the fully organized state it is the Erinyes who demand revenge for murder at the courts of law. Their absolute power extends in widening circle to all murder, even when it is committed outside the limits of the family; though it was only the imagination of the poetically or philosophically minded that ever transformed them completely to champions of justice of all kinds, in heaven and upon earth. In the cult and beliefs proper to individual cities they remained the auxiliaries attached to the souls of murdered men. These gruesome daimones had their origin in the worship of the dead, and they lived on in connexion with the undying worship of which they were a part. Indeed, if we examine closely the sources of information at our disposal, we can see even through their inadequacy and obscurity that the Erinys was nothing else but the soul itself of the murdered man, indignant at its fate and seizing its revenge for itself—till later ages substituted for this the conception of the ghost from hell taking over to itself the rage of the dead man’s soul.163

§ 3

Thus, the whole procedure at murder trials was directed rather to the satisfaction of invisible powers—the injured souls of the dead and the daimones that represent them—than of the state and its living members. In essence it was a religious act. As a result all was not at an end when the human verdict on the case had been given. On his return from exile the man guilty of involuntary homicide, besides receiving the 180 pardon of the relatives of the dead man, had still a double duty to perform; he had to be purified and to offer propitiatory sacrifice.164 Purification from the blood of the slain was necessary even in the case of the unpunished agent of what the state regarded as justifiable homicide;165 it restored the man, hitherto regarded as “unclean”, to participation in the religious gatherings of state and family which could not have been approached by an unpurified person without suffering defilement. The Homeric poems know nothing of any such religious purification of those who have incurred the stain of blood.166 Analogous occurrences in the religious usage of allied peoples make it, however, almost impossible to doubt that the notion of religious uncleanness belonging to a man who has had any dealings with uncanny powers was of primeval antiquity among the Greeks, too. It can only have been suppressed in the Homeric view of the matter; just as that view also suppressed the usages of expiation. These were intended to propitiate the indignant soul of the dead and the gods who protected it, by means of solemn sacrifice; but in the Homeric picture of the world they never appear, for the ideas on which they were based had themselves been swept away.

The details of purification and expiation—the former serving the interests of the state and its religious needs, the latter intended as a final appeasement of the injured powers of the unseen world—were closely united in practice and are often confused in the accounts which have come down to us. A hard and fast distinction between them cannot be drawn. So much at all events is clear; the expiatory rites indispensable when murder had been committed had the closest possible similarity with the ritual of sacrifice to the gods of the underworld.167 And, in fact, the deities invoked at such rites of expiation—Zeus Meilichios, Zeus Apotropaios, and the rest—belong to the underworld circle of gods.168 To them, instead of the murderer himself, a victim was offered to appease the anger felt by them as the patrons of the departed soul. The Erinyes, too, have sacrifice made to them at expiations169—everything in these matters is connected with the kingdom of the dead and its inhabitants.

But it was the Delphic Oracle that saw to the details of purification and expiation after murder. The necessity of such rights was impressed on men by the example set in the story of Apollo’s own flight and purification after the slaying of the earth-spirit at Pytho. These events were symbolically enacted over again regularly every eight years.170 At Delphi, 181 too, according to Aeschylus, Apollo himself purified Orestes the matricide from the pollution of his crime.171 At Athens one of the oldest propitiatory sites was called after one of Apollo’s titles, the Delphinion.172 The Oracle must often have directed its inquirers to placate not merely the Heroes, but also the angry souls of murdered (and not heroized) men by means of expiatory sacrifices: as it bade the murderers of Archilochos and the Spartan king Pausanias.173 Propitiatory sacrifice in this sense does not belong to the Apolline cult as an exclusive possession; it belongs, also, to other, mostly lower-world, deities; but it was the Oracle of Apollo that set the seal on its sanctity. At Athens the Exegetai founded under the influence of the Delphic Oracle were the official administrators of this expiatory ritual.174 Plato was certainly following the customs of Greek cities when in the “Laws” he declares that his state shall take its regulations for purification and propitiation from Delphi.175

§ 4

The Oracle, then, of the omniscient God sanctified and recommended these rites of expiation; the state regulated its judicial procedure in murder cases on the lines of the old family blood-feud. It was natural, then, that the ideas on which these religious and political institutions were based—the conviction of a continued existence enjoyed by the murdered man’s soul and of his consciousness and knowledge of what occurred among the living who survived, his anger and his powers—that these ideas should attain to something like the position of an article of faith. The confidence with which these beliefs were held still manifests itself to us in the speeches at murder trials in which Antiphon, suiting his language to his real or imagined public, tries to arouse terror and awe, as at the presence of indubitable realities, by calling upon the angry soul of the dead man and the spirits that avenge the dead.176 About the souls of murdered men indeed, regarded as more than other spirits unable to find rest, a strange and ghostly mythology grew up, of which we shall have some specimens later on. How primitive such beliefs could be we may gather with startling clearness from occasional records of purely savage customs177 which are derived from them—customs which cannot possibly have been freshly invented in the Greece of this enlightened period, and must be either primitive Greek savagery come to light again, or else barbarisms only too easily welcomed from less civilized neighbours. In any case they imply the most materialistic view of the survival 182 of the murdered man, and of the revenge that might be taken by his soul.

It is evident that what men believed about the souls of murdered men must have had an important influence upon the general belief in a future life as it took shape in the mind of the people. But the extent of such an influence can be more exactly measured in the story which Xenophon tells about the dying Kyros; as the strongest grounds for the hope that an after-life will be the portion of all souls after their separation from the body, the dying king points to the unquestioned facts which, as all admit, prove a special after-life for the souls “of those who have suffered injustice”. In addition to this he lays stress on the argument that the worship of the dead would not have been preserved intact to his own time if their souls had been entirely deprived of all active power.178 Thus we see how the cult of the souls of the dead was the chief source of the belief in a continued life after death.



1 This dual efficacy of the χθόνιοι is explained naturally enough by their nature as underground spirits. There is no reason for supposing that their influence on the fertility of the fields was a later addition (as Preller does, Dem. u. Perseph. 188 ff., followed by many). Still less have we any grounds for regarding the protection of souls and the care for the fertility of crops as a sort of allegorizing parallel (soul = grain of seed) as has been usual since the time of K. O. Müller.

2 Ζεὺς καταχθόνιος, I 457. θεοῦ χθονίου . . . ἰφθίμου Ἀΐδεω, Hes. Th. 767 f. Evidently there is no distinction here between καταχθόνιος and χθόνιος, as Preller, Dem. u. Pers. 187, wishes to make out.

3 Hes. Op. 465, εὔχεσθαι δὲ Διὶ χθονίῳ Δημήτερί θ’ ἁγνῇ κτλ. It is impossible even by far-fetched methods of interpretation (such as Lehrs makes use of, Popul. Aufs.2 298 f.) to make this Ζεὺς χθόνιος into anything else than a Zeus of the underworld. The god of the lower world, totally distinct from the Olympian Zeus (Ζεὺς ἄλλος, Aesch., Supp. 231), is here a dispenser of blessings to the farmer. In the sacrificial regulation from Mykonos (SIG. 615) it is prescribed to offer: ὑπὲρ καρπῶν (καμπῶν on the stone) Διὶ Χθόνίῳ Γῇ Χθονίῃ ΔΕΡΤΑ μέλανα ἐτήσια; ξένῳ οὐ θέμις (where δερτὰ = hostias pelle spoliatas, see Prott, Leg. Sacr. i, p. 17; though the addition of the colour of the no longer visible skin seems remarkable)—ὑπὲρ καρπῶν here belongs to Διί, etc., as the division-mark on the stone before ὑπὲρ shows: see BCH. 1888, p. 460 f. Evidence of this sort makes it clear how unjustifiable it would be to rule out all fructifying influence from the “idea of the chthonic” and to regard the chthonic deities as simply the power of death and destruction in the world of nature and men, as is done by H. D. Müller (who is met by serious difficulty in this passage from the Op.: Mythol. d. griech. St. ii, 40). It is, indeed, scarcely necessary to seek for an abstractly formulated “idea of the chthonic”; but if this fructifying and life-giving force does belong to the nature of the χθόνιοι as such, what becomes of H. D. Müller’s ingeniously thought-out and violently defended view according to which the chthonic only constitutes one side of the nature of certain deities who have in addition a different, Olympian, side in which they are positively creative and beneficent?

4 Ζεὺς χθόνιος at Corinth, Paus. 2, 2, 8; at Olympia, 5, 14, 8.

5 Thus Persephone is called Ἁγνή, Δέσποινα, etc. (Lehrs, Pop. Aufs.2 288), also Μελιτώδης, Μελίβοια; Μελινδία, consort of Hades, Malalas, p. 62, 10, Di. [8th ed., Bonn.] (? Μελίνοια, as Hekate is Μειλινόη, Orph., H. 71). Ἀρίστη χθονία, P. Mag. Par. 1450.—Hekate is Καλλίστη, Εὐκολίνη (κατ’ ἀντίφρασιν ἡ μὴ οὖσα εὖκολος, EM.), the Erinyes Σεμναί, Εὐμενίδες; their mother Εὐωνύμη (= Γῆ): Ister ap. Sch. Soph., OC. 42 (from a similar source, Sch. Aeschin. i, 188), etc. Cf. Bücheler, Rh. Mus. 33, 16–17.

6 Πολυδέκτης, Πολυδέγμων, Ἀγησίλαος (Epigr. Gr. 195; see Bentley ad Callim., Lav. Pall. 130; Preller, Dem. u. Pers. 192; Welcker, Götterl. ii, 482), Εὐκλῆς (Bücheler, Rh. Mus. 36, 332 f.).—Εὔκολος (corresponding to the Εὐκολίνη above) as a title of Hades must be rejected if Köhler’s correction of CIA. ii, 3, 1529, is right: Ἡδύλος—Εὐκόλου. 184

7 Cult of Ζεὺς Εὐβουλεύς at Amorgos, Paros (insc. cit. by Foucart, BCH. vii, 402), of Ζεὺς Βουλεύς at Mykonos, SIG. 615 (Ζεὺς Βουλαῖος, Ins. Perg. i, 246, l. 49, does not belong here); of Εὔβουλος (original title of Hades: Orph., H. xviii, 12) in Eleusis (side by side ὁ θεός, ἡ θεά): SIG. 20, 39; CIA. ii, 1620 c.d. (The Athenian legend makes Eubouleus into a mortal herdsman: Clem. Al., Protr. ii, pp. 14–15 P.; Schol. Luc., De Merc., 2, p. 275, 27 Rabe.) Εὐβουλεύς simply = Hades: Nic., Al. 14; epitaph from Syros, Epigr. Gr. 272, 9, and frequently. So, too, the Ζεὺς Εὐβουλεύς (Hesych. s. Εὐβ.) worshipped in Kyrene must have been a Ζεὺς χθόνιος. Eubouleus is also a title of Dionysos as Zagreus (Iakchos), i.e. the Dionysos of the underworld.—Incidentally, what is the origin of this designation of the god of the underworld as “good counsellor” (boni consilii praestitem as Macr. 1, 8, 17, translates Εὐβουλῆα)? It can hardly have been because he was specially able to take counsel on his own behalf (this is the sense in which D.S. 5, 72, 2, takes the title); but rather because he was an oracle god, and as such dispensed good counsel to inquirers. Thus the oracle-god Nereus is called εὔβουλος in Pi., P. iii, 92; so also I. vii, 32: εὔβουλος Θέμις.

8 Lasos fr. 1 (PLG. iii, 376), etc.—Consecration to Κλύμενος from Athens: CIG. 409.—Hesych. Περικλύμενος· ὁ Πλούτων (it is no accident that gave the name Periklymenos to the magically gifted son of Neleus). Klymenos = Hades, Epigr. Gr. 522 a 2.

9 The name Τρεφώνιος, Τροφώνιος itself also points to the fact that assistance to the fertility of the earth was expected of this Ζεὺς χθόνιος. In the later cult of Trophonios not a trace of such a belief survives.

10 ἐν οὐδεμιᾷ πόλει Ἅιδου βωμός ἐστιν. Αἰσχύλος φησίν· μόνος θεῶν γὰρ Θάνατος οὐ δώρων ἐρᾷ κτλ. (fr. 161 Sidg.): Schol., AB. on A 158.

11 In Elis ἱερὸς τοῦ Ἅιδου περίβολός τε καὶ ναός, Paus. 6, 25, 2. Cult of Demeter and Kore and of Hades in the very fertile Triphylia, Str. 344.

12 Kaukones from Pylos, the Nelidai at their head, reach Attica: connexion with the cult of the χθόνιοι in Phlya in Eleusis: see K. O. Müller, Kl. S. ii, 258. Such accounts may have an historical foundation. The elaborate accounts by H. D. Müller, Mythol. Gr. 1, c. 6, and O. Crusius, Ersch-Gruber “Kaukones”—operate with too many uncertain factors for the results to have any certainty.

13 Ἅιδης . . . τοῖς ἐνθάδε τοσαῦτα ἀγαθὰ ἀνίησιν: Pl., Crat. 403 E. ὁ Ἅιδης οὐ μόνον τὰς ψυχὰς συνέχει, ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς καρποῖς αἴτιός ἐστιν ἀναπνοῆς καὶ ἀναδόσεως καὶ αὐξήσεως: Schol. B.L., Ο 188.

14 οἱ πολλοὶ φοβούμενοι τὸ ὄνομα Πλούτωνα καλοῦσιν αὐτόν (τὸν Ἅιδην), Pl., Crat. 403 A.

15 At the Genesia (Nekysia) sacrifice for Ge and the dead, Hesych. Γενέσια.—χοαὶ Γῇ τε καὶ φθιτοῖς, A. Pers. 220: calling to Hermes, Ge, and Aïdoneus in “spirit-raising”, Pers. 628 ff., 640 ff. cf. Ch. 124 ff.—appeal to Hermes and Γῆ κάτοχος on defixiones: CIG. 538–9.

16 Γαῖος in Olympia, Paus. 5, 14, 10; cf. E. Curtius, Altäre v. Olymp., p. 15. At Kos it would seem to have been stated that Ge was worshipped μόνη θεῶν, Ant. Lib. 15 (acc. to Boios). Side by side with Ζεὺς Χθόνιος was worshipped Γῆ χθονίη at Mykonos, SIG. 615, 26.

17 πότνια Γῆ Ζαγρεῦ τε, θεῶν πανυπέρτατε πάντων, Alkmaionis fr. 3 (Kink.).

18 Cult of Klymenos and Demeter Χθονία (her festival Χθόνεια: see also Ael. HA. xi, 4) in Hermione, Paus. 2, 35, 4 ff. Pausanias also thinks (3, 14, 5) that the cult of Dem. Χθονία was brought to Sparta 185 from Hermione, which may be right. Kore as Μελίβοια is also mentioned in this connexion by Lasos of Herm. fr. 1, PLG. iii, 376. Dedicatory inscriptions (CIG. 1194–1200) also mention, side by side with Demeter Chthonia, Klymenos, and Kore as well. Once (BCH. 1889, p. 198, n. 24) only Δάματρι, Κλυμένῳ. Demeter was clearly the chief goddess: cf. CIG. 1193.—From the community of the worship of Damater Chthonia in both Hermione and Asine it may be justifiable to conclude that this cult belonged originally to the Dryopians who combined with the Dorians in Hermione and were driven by them out of Argolic Asine. There is no warrant whatever for the fanciful derivation of the Demeter-cult of these neighbourhoods from “Pelasgians” submerged by Dryopian invaders.

19 There was a common worship of: Zeus Eubouleus, Demeter, and Kore at Amorgos; Zeus Eub., Demeter Thesmophoros, Kore, Here, Babo at Paros; Plouton, Demeter, Kore, Epimachos, Hermes in Knidos; Plouton and Kore in Karia. See the citations given by Foucart, BCH. vii, 402 (with whose own pronouncements I cannot, however, agree at all). In Delos, Demeter, Kore, Zeus Eubouleus: BCH. 24, 505 n. 4. So, too, in Corinth Plouton, Demeter, and Kore: Paus. 2, 18, 3; Hades Demeter and Kore in Triphylia, Str. 344. Observe also the group of divinities at Lebadeia in the cult of Trophonios: Paus. 9, 39.—At Eleusis side by side with Demeter and Kore Plouton also was worshipped: CIA. ii, 834 b. But there existed even there other groups of χθόνιοι worshipped in conjunction, τὼ θεώ once more joined with Triptolemos, and a second triad: ὁ θεός, ἡ θεά, and Eubouleus, CIA. Suppl. i, 27b, p. 59, ff. ii, 1620 bc; iii, 1108–9. This second triad, which is not mentioned on the inscr. CIA. i, 5 (from the beginning of the fifth century), may have only been subsequently added to the Eleusinian official cult (see Ziehen, Leg. Sacr., Dissert. pp. 9–10). It is a waste of time to try and identify the vague appellations θεός and θεά with the names of definite chthonic deities (as e.g. Kern attempts, Ath. Mitth. 1891, pp. 5–6). Acc. to Löschcke, D. Enneakrunosepis. bei Paus., pp. 15–16, these Eleusinian divinities were imported into Athens, established in the chasm of the Eumenides, and instead of ὁ θεός, ἡ θεά and Eubouleus, were called Hermes, Ge, and Plouton. But the correlation of these divinities worshipped there in conjunction with the Σεμναί (acc. to Paus. 1, 28, 6) with the Eleusinian group depends entirely upon the identification of the Σεμναί with Demeter and Kore. This, however, is based on nothing more than a guess of K. O. Müller’s (Aesch. Eum., p. 176 [160 f. E.T.]), which would still be very much in the air even if the theories about “Demeter Erinys” with which it is connected did not rest on such insecure foundations. (To identify the Eleusinian-Athenian Eubouleus with Plouton is impossible, if only because of the fact that in the chthonic cult of those places Εὐβουλεύς, originally the name of an underworld god, has developed into the name of a Hero who now has a place alongside the chthonic deities.)—With the cautious appelations ὁ θεός, ἡ θεά we may compare the appeal on a defixio from Athens, CIG. 1034: δαίμονι χθονίῳ καὶ τῇ χθονίᾳ καὶ τοῖς χθονίοις πᾶσι κτλ.

20 Cf. Mannhardt, Mythol. Forsch. 1884, p. 225 ff.

21 It cannot, however, be denied that already in Homer Persephone is the daughter of Demeter and Zeus. Adducing Ξ 326 and λ 217 K. O. Müller (Kl. Sch. ii, 91) has disposed conclusively of Preller’s doubts: in spite of which H. D. Müller in his reconstruction of the Demeter-myth clings firmly to the view that the goddess carried 186 away by Hades was only afterwards made the daughter of Demeter.—The Homeric poems seem to know of the rape of Persephone by Aïdoneus but not the story of her periodical return to the upper world—which is the most important feature in the Eleusinian creed. What Lehrs says on this much-discussed subject is completely convincing (Pop. Aufs.2, p. 277 f.).

22 The cult of Demeter is old in Phthiotis too (—Πύρασον, Δήμητρος τέμενος, Β 695 f.—ἔχουσαι Ἀντρῶνα πετρήεντα, h. Cer. 490). Also in Paros and Crete. That it is possible to trace the extension of the worship of Demeter in detail (as many have tried to do), is one of the current illusions on this subject that I cannot share.

23 Aornon and νεκυομαντεῖον (ψυχοπομπεῖον Phot. Θεοὶ Μολοττικοί cf. Append. prov. iii, 18 L.-S.; Eust. κ 514, p. 1667) at Ephyre on the River Acheron in Thesprotia: well known from Hdt.’s story of Periander (v, 92). Here the place of Orpheus’ descent to the lower world was localised, Paus. 9, 30, 6; cf. also Hyg. 88, p. 84, 19–20 Schm.—Entrance to Hades at Tainaron, through which Herakles dragged up Kerberos (Schol. D.P. 791, etc.), with ψυχομαντεῖον: cf. Plu., Ser. Num. Vind. 17, p. 560 E (cf. Stat., Th. ii, 32 ff., 48 f., etc.).—Similar entrance to Hades at Hermione, see below; καταβάσιον ᾅδου at Aigialos = Sikyon: Call. fr. 110.—At Phigaleia in Arcadia a ψυχομαντεῖον at which King Pausanias inquired, Paus. 3, 17, 9.—More famous is the ψυχομαντεῖον at Herakleia Pont.: see Rh. Mus. 36, 556 (this also was a place where Kerberos appeared above, Mela i, 103). Hither Pausanias came for guidance, acc. to Plu., Ser. Num. 10, p. 555 C; Cimon 6.—The Πλουτώνιον and ψυχομαντεῖον at Cumae in Italy had a long-standing reputation (mentioned as early as Soph., fr. 682 [748 P.]): cf. Rh. Mus. 36, 555 (an Italian Greek applies to τι ψυχομαντεῖον, Plu., Cons. Apoll. 14, p. 109 C).—Next the Asiatic Πλουτώνια and Χαρώνεια: at Acharaka in Karia, Str. 649–50; at Magnesia on the Maiander, ἄορνον σπήλαιον ἱερόν, Χαρώνιον λεγόμενον, Str. 636; at Myous, Str. 579. This is what τὸ ἐν Λάτμῳ ὄρυγμα must have been, mentioned among other Χαρώνια by Antig. Caryst. 123; the Κίμβρος καλούμενος ὁ περὶ Φρυγίαν βόθυνος also mentioned there, may very well have been the place in Phrygia spoken of by Alkman ap. Str. 580: βόθυνος Κερβήσιος ἔχων ὀλεθρίους ἀποφοράς (suggested by Keller on Antig). Perhaps the latter place—named after the Korybantes (?) see Bergk on Alcm. fr. 82—is the same as the cave at Hierapolis.—Better known than any was the oracular cavern at Hierapolis in Phrygia into which only the Galli of the Great Mother, the Matris Magnae sacerdos, can go without being overcome by the vapours issuing from it: Str. 629–30, Plin. ii, 208. There existed under a temple of Apollo a direct καταβάσιον ᾅδου, accessible at least to the faithful τετελεσμένοι: see the very remarkable account of Damasc., V. Isid. ap. Phot., p. 344b, 35–345a, 27 Bk. (Cult of Echidna in Hierapolis, see Gutschmid, Rh. Mus. 19, 398 ff.; this is also a chthonic cult: νέρτερος Ἔχιδνα, Eur. Ph. 1023; Echidna among the monsters of Hades: Ar., Ra. 473).—These are the mortifera in Asia Plutonia, quae vidimus, Cic., Div. i, 79 (cf. Gal. iii, 540; xvii, 1, 10).—Entrances to Hades were regularly to be found at those places where the cave was shown by which Aidoneus made his exit or his entrance in carrying off Kore. Thus at Eleusis, τόθι περ πύλαι εἰσ’ Ἀΐδαο, Orph., H. 18, 15, Paus. 1, 38, 5; at Kolonos, Sch. S., OC. 1590–3; at Lerna, Paus. 2, 36, 7; at Pheneos (a χάσμα ἐν Κυλλήνῃ: Conon 15), and probably in Crete too (cf. Bacch. fr. 53 Jebb, ap. Sch. Hes., Th. 914); at Enna in Sicily a χάσμα κατάγειον: D.S. 5, 3, 3; Cic., Verr. iv, 107; 187 at Syracuse at the spring Kyane, D.S. 5, 4, 2; at Kyzikos, Prop. 3 (4), 22, 4.

24 The Σεμναί live there in a χάσμα χθονός, Eur., El. 1266 f., on the eastern slope of the hill.

25 Paus. 2, 35, 10. The precinct of the temple was an Asylon, Phot. Ἑρμίονη; AB. 256, 15; Znb. ii, 25 (Ar. Βαβυλ.).—Kerberos is brought up from below at Hermione: Eur., HF. 615. An Acheron, and even an Ἀχερουσιὰς λίμνη, was to be found in Thesprotia, Triphylia, Herakleia on the Pontus, Cumae, and Cosentia in Bruttium—all sites of ancient cults of Hades and reputed as in close proximity to the underworld.

26 Strabo viii, 373—the same is reported by Call. fr. 110 of the inhabitants of Αἰγιαλός (prob. = Sikyon, where there was a cult of Demeter, Paus. 2, 11, 2–3; cf. 2, 5, 8. Hesych. ἐπωπίς· Δημήτηρ παρὰ Σικυωνίοις), where, at any rate, there was a καταβάσιον ᾅδου.—The name “Hermione” seems almost to have acquired a generic sense. In the Orphic Argonautica a city Hermioneia is said to be situated in the fabulous north-west of Europe in the neighbourhood of the gold-bearing river Acheron, where (as always on the margin of the οἰκουμένη) there dwell γένη δικαιοτάτων ἀνθρώπων, οἷσιν ἀποφθιμένοις ἄνεσις ναύλοιο τέτυκται, etc. (1135-47). Thus Hermione in this case lies immediately in the country of souls and blessedness, which the ancient inhabitants of the Peloponnesian city rather supposed to be in the neighbourhood of their own country.—Hesych. strangely: Ἑρμιόνη· καὶ ἡ Δημήτηρ καὶ ἡ κόρη ἐν Συρακούσαις. Was there a place called Hermione there too? See Lob., Paralip. 299.


27 If a father makes money by his son’s unchastity, the son is released from the duty of providing food or shelter for his father while the latter is alive—ἀποθανόντα δ’ αὐτὸν θαπτέτω καὶ τἆλλα ποιείτω τὰ νομιζόμενα: Solonian law ap. Aeschin., Tim. 13.

28 Dem. 43, 57–8.

29 Sch. Soph., Ant. 255. Philo ap. Euseb., PE. viii, 358 D; 359 A. See Bernays, Berichte Ber. Ak. 1876, p. 604, 606 f.

30 Ψ 71 ff.

31 Isoc. 14, 55.

32 The βάραθρον at Athens, the Καιάδας at Sparta. But the bodies were often given up to the relatives to bury, and in any case the refusal of burial can only have been temporary—it is incredible that they could have wished to leave the bodies to putrify in the open air.

33 Athenian law, Xen., HG. 1, 7, 22; common Greek institution at least as against temple-robbers, D.S. 16, 25. Examples of the enforcement of this law in the fifth and fourth centuries discussed by W. Vischer, Rh. Mus. 20, 446 ff.—Suicides in some places were refused burial honours (in Thebes and Cyprus); even in Athens it was customary to cut off the hand of the suicide and bury it separately (Aeschin., Ctes. 244). This is the punishment of αὐτόχειρες. Self-starvation was considered less shocking and that is perhaps why it occurs so frequently as a method of suicide. Cf. Thalheim, Gr. Rechtsalt. p. 44 f. Perhaps also the religious objection of the Pythagoreans (and Platonists) to taking this means of escape from an existence that has become unbearable rests upon popular feeling and belief—it was not shared at all by the enlightened of later ages. (There is, however, nothing in ancient beliefs that points to the idea that the body of the suicide should be allowed only burial, not burning. Acc. 188 to the Ἰλιὰς μικρά Aias after taking his own life was buried, not burnt, διὰ τὴν ὀργὴν τοῦ βασιλέωςfr. 3: [Apollod.] Epit. v, 7. There is no ground for supposing that the fable of Philostr., H. 721, p. 188 K., acc. to which Kalchas declared the burning of the bodies of suicides to be not ὅσιον, is taken out of an ancient poem; as Welcker does Kl. Schr. ii, 291.)

34 Cf. the words of Teles περὶ φυγῆς ap. Stob., Fl. 40, 8 (iii, p. 738, 17 ff. Hens.), and the answer of Krates Cyn. to Demetrius of Phaleron ap. Plu., Adul. 28, p. 69 CD. It is worth remarking that in the fourth and even third centuries it was still necessary to reply to the idea ὅμως δὲ τὸ ἐπὶ ξένης ταφῆναι ὄνειδος. When later on the cosmopolitanism preached by the Cynics (and after their model by Teles) becomes really common property it seems no longer necessary to introduce special grounds of consolation for having to be buried in foreign soil into pamphlets περὶ φυγῆς. At least this is not done by the Stoic Musonius or the Platonizing Plutarch. Cf. also Philodem. Mort., p. 33–4 Mekl.

35 This is the reason why so often the bones or ashes of those who die abroad are collected and brought home for burial by their relations. Exx. ap. Westermann on Dem., Eubul. 70; cf. also Plu., Phoc. 37.

36 Ar., Ec. 1030. Origanon (wild marjoram, white thyme) possesses apotropaic power: it keeps away evil spirits. The ancients knew of the virtue possessed by these plants of scaring snakes, ants, and other vermin—Aristot., HA. 4, 8, 534b, 22; Plin. 10, 195; Thphr., CP. 6, 5, 4; Diosc., MM. iii, 29 = i, p. 375 Spr.; Gp. 12, 19, 9: cf. Niclas ad Gp. 13, 10, 5. Modern superstition employs them against goblins and water sprites, witches and ghosts, Grimm, p. 1214; p. 1820, n. 980. If marjoram and gentian are laid by women in child-bed ghosts and devils can do them no harm “for they shun such herbs”: J. Ch. Männlingen ap. Alwin Schultz, Alltagsleben e. d. Frau im 18 Jahrh., p. 195 f. The two purposes are closely connected. The pungent odour of herbs and burning stuff keeps away snakes as do nocentes spiritus monstra noxia: Pall. 1, 35 = 11, 3, p. 49 Sohn. The same thing applies to monstra noxia if they try to approach the corpse in the shape of snakes or insects (just as the ghost in Apul., M. ii, 25, approaches the corpse in the shape of a weasel; where we also read that the versipelles which threaten the corpse et aves et rursum canes et mures immo vero etiam muscas induunt: ii, 22). So, too, the marjoram has a kathartic effect on the corpse, i.e. it is a means of keeping off underworld spirits.

37 Ar., Ec. 1031. The corpse lay on vine branches in several of the recently discovered Dipylon graves at Athens: Athen. Mitt. 1893, pp 165, 184. Superstitious reasons (as in the cases where olive leaves are used as a bed: see below) are to be suspected in this case, too, but can hardly be proved: cf. Fredrich, Sarkophagstud., Nach. Gött. Ges. Wiss. Ph. Cl. 1895, pp. 18, 69; Anrich, Gr. Mysterienw. 102, 3. Apart from this the ἄμπελος does not seem to have lustral effect.

38 λήκυθοι, τοὔστρακον: Ar., Ec. 1032 f.; χέρνιψ ἐπὶ φθιτῶν πύλαις: Eur., Al. 98 ff. The bowl was called ἀρδάνιον: Sch. Ar., Ec. 1033; Poll. viii, 65 (cf. Phot. 346, 1 ὀρδάνιον). It contained water fetched from another house: Hesych, ὄστρακον—obviously because the water in the house where the corpse lay was regarded as polluted. (Thus when the fire, for example, is “polluted”, fresh fire is brought in from outside: Plu., Q. Gr. 24, p. 297 A; Arist. 20.) Those who left the house purified themselves with it: Hesych. ἀρδάνια, cf. 189 πηγαῖον, πηγαῖον ὕδωρ. A laurel branch (as holy-water sprinkler, as commonly in lustrations) was placed in it: Sch. Eur., Al. 98.

39 Serv., A. iii, 680: apud Atticos funestae domus huius (cupressi) frondo velantur. The object may have been to warn the superstitious against approaching the “unclean” house: it is a characteristic of the δεισιδαίμων, οὔτε ἐπιβῆναι μνήματι, οὔτε ἐπὶ νεκρὸν οὔτ’ ἐπὶ λεχὼ ἐλθεῖν ἐθελῆσαι, Thphr., Ch. 16. This at least was the reason given at Rome for a similar custom: Serv., A. 3, 64; 4, 507.

40 Crowning of the dead with garlands, afterwards a general custom, is first mentioned in the Ἀλκμαιωνίς (epical, but hard to date precisely: fr. ii, p. 76 Kink.). On the “Archemoros” vase a woman is about to place a myrtle-wreath on the head of Archemoros. The myrtle is sacred to the χθόνιοι, and hence the myrtle-crown belongs to the Mystai of Demeter as well as to the dead: see Apollod. ap. Sch. Ar., Ran. 330; Ister ap. Sch. Soph., OC. 681. Grave-monuments too were crowned and planted especially with myrtles; Eur., El. 324, 512; cf. Thphr., HP. 5, 8, 3; Vg., A. iii, 23. Not only the dead but graves too were frequently crowned with σέλινον, parsley: Plu., Timol. 26; Smp. 5, 3, 2, p. 676 D; Diogen. viii, 57, and others; cf. above, chap. iv, n. 21. The crowning invariably implies some form of consecration to a god. Acc. to Tertul., Cor. Mil. 10, the dead were crowned quoniam et ipsi idola statim fiunt habitu et cultu consecrationis; which at least gets nearer the real sense of the practice than the view of Sch. Ar., Lys. 601: στέφανος ἐδίδοτο τοῖς νεκροῖς ὡς τὸν βίον διηγωνισμένοις.

41 Pl., Lg. 959 A. Poll. iii, 65. A still stranger reason added ap. Phot. πρόθεσις.

42 Permission to attend either the πρόθεσις of the corpse (and the funeral lamentation) or the funeral procession (the ἐκφορά) given only to women of kinship μεχρὶ ἀνεψιότητος: Law ap. Dem. 43, 62–3: i.e. within the ἀγχιστεία, to which alone the duty of the cult of the dead belonged in principle. Only these women of the immediate kin are μιαινόμεναi in the case of death: cf. Hdt. vi, 58; this is the reason for the restrictions laid down by the funeral regulation from Keos (SIG. 877, 25 ff.), which makes an even narrower selection within the ranks of the ἀγχιστεία. (From l. 22 μὴ ὑποτιθέναι, etc., the law speaks of the πρόθεσις, even though at the beginning only the ἐκφορά is in question.)

43 ἀμυχὰς κοπτομένων ἀφεῖλεν. Plu., Sol. 21. The democratizing of life in Attica after Solon’s time may have contributed to the carrying out there of provisions restricting the elaborate funeral rites of the old aristocratic period. The practice of κόπτεσθαι ἐπὶ τεθνηκότι appears, however, to have remained in use: beating of the head at funeral lamentations is a favourite motif in Attic vase-paintings (the so-called “Prothesis” vases); cf. Monum. dell’ Instit. viii, 4, 5; iii, 60, etc. See Benndorf, Griech. Sicil. Vasenb. 1.

44 τὸ θρηνεῖν πεποιημένα, Plu., Sol. 21: by which is meant funeral hymns carefully prepared beforehand and perhaps ordered from professional θρήνων σοφισταί, not spontaneous expressions of grief breaking out as though involuntarily.

45 Plu., Sol. 21: καὶ τὸ κωκύειν ἄλλον ἐν ταφαῖς ἑτέρων ἀφεῖλεν. This must surely mean: Solon forbade dirges to be sung at a funeral of one person in honour of another, different from the person actually being buried. (ἑτέρων is only used for variety after ἄλλον and simply = ἄλλων: as frequently by Attic writers: μὴ προϊέμενον ἄλλον ἑτέρῳ τὴν ἀλλαγὴν, Pl., Lg. viii, 849 E: ἕτερον—ἄλλον Isoc. 10, 36, etc.). 190 The tendency to extend the funeral hymns to include others besides the dead man is implied by a prohibition in a funeral ordinance of the πατρία of the Λαβυάδαι at Delphi (fifth–fourth century B.C.), BCH. ’95, p. 11, l. 39 ff. τῶν δὲ πρόστα τεθνακότων ἐν τοῖς σαμάτεσσι μὴ θρηνεῖν μηδ’ ὀτοτύζεν (at the funeral of another person). Was Homer thinking of something of the kind in Τ 302: Πάτροκλον πρόφασιν—?

46 In Athens it had once been the custom ἱερεῖα προσφάττειν πρὸ τῆς ἐκφορᾶς, i.e. while still in the house of the dead person: [Pl.] Min. 315 C. Such a sacrifice before the ἐκφορά (which is not described till l. 1261 ff.) is implied by Euripides, Hel. 1255, at the burial of the dead body found in the sea: προσφάζεται μὲν αἷμα πρῶτα νερτέροις—where προσφάγιον is used inaccurately of sacrifice at the grave, in which case the πρό is meaningless; as also in the insc. from Keos (SIG. 877, 21). πρόσφαγμα is also thus used, Eur., Hec. 41. Plu. (Sol. 21) says of Solon: ἐναγίζειν δὲ βοῦν οὐκ εἴασεν. Possibly Solon forbade the sacrifice of animals before the ἐκφορά, since the author of the Ps.-Platonic Minos seems also to refer to such a prohibition.

47 The Solonian restrictions says Plu. (Sol. 21) have been for the most part adopted in our (i.e. the Boeotian) νόμοι—as acc. to the indubitable witness of Cicero, Solon’s funeral regulations had been reproduced eisdem prope verbis in the tenth of the Twelve Tables by the Decemviri. Limits set to ceremonial mourning in Sparta: Plu., Lyc. 27 (whence Inst. Lac., 18, p. 238 D), in Syracuse by Gelon: D.S. 11, 38, 2; cf. “Charondas”, Stob., Fl. 44, 40 M. = iv, 2, 24, p. 153, 10 H. Some degree of restriction was imposed on their members (about the beginning of the fourth century B.C.) by the πατρία of the Λαβυάδαι in Delphi in the τεθμός published in the BCH. ’95, p. 9 ff.

48 We have a very naive expression of the ideas lying behind such violent lamentations, self-inflicted injuries, and other excessive demonstrations of grief in the presence of the dead body, when e.g. in Tahiti people wound themselves and then “call out to the soul of the dead man to witness their attachment to him” (Ratzel, Hist. of Mankind, i, 330); cf. Waitz-Gerland, Anthrop. vi, 402.

49 It is a very ancient idea common to many different nations that too violent expressions of grief for the dead man may disturb his rest and make him return: see Mannhardt, Götter der deutschen Völker, 1860, p. 290 (for Germany in partic. see Wuttke, Deut. Volksabergl.2, § 728, p. 431; Rochholz, D. Glaube u. Brauch, i, 207). Similar superstition in Greece is referred to in Lucian, Luct. 24 (in which the lateness of the witness does not prevent the belief from being ancient). The survivors who prolong beyond reason their laments are asked: μέχρι τίνος ὀδυρόμεθα; ἔασον ἀναπαύσασθαι τοὺς τοῦ μακαρίου δαίμονας.—In Pl., Mx. 248 B, the dead say δεόμεθα πατέρων καὶ μητέρων εἰδέναι ὅτι οὐ θρηνοῦτες οὐδὲ ὀλοφυρόμενοι ἡμᾶς ἡμῖν μάλιστα χαριοῦνται—thus violent grief is intended in Greece, too, to please the dead: see last noteἀλλὰ . . . οὕτως ἀχάριστοι εἶεν ἂν μάλιστα: while acc. to “Charondas”, Stob., Fl. iv, 2, 24, p. 153 H.: ἀχαριστία ἐστὶ πρὸς δαίμονας χθονίους λύπη ὑπὲρ τὸ μέτρον γιγνομένη.

50 ἐκφέρειν τὸν ἀποθανόντα τῇ ὑστεραίᾳ ᾗ ἂν προθῶνται, πρὶν ἥλιον ἐξέχειν, Solonian law in D. 43, 62; cf. Antipho, Chor. 34. Klearch. ap. Proclus in Pl. Rp. ii, 114 Kroll: Kleonymos in Athens, τεθνάναι δόξας τρίτης ἡμέρας οὔσης κατὰ τὸν νόμον προὐτέθη, i.e. it was the morning of the third day, immediately before the ἐκφορά, the πρόθεσις having occupied the whole of the second day (quite differently taken by Maass, Orpheus, 1895, p. 232, 46; but hardly correctly. It is scarcely probable that a man τεθνάναι δόξας, i.e. seeming to those 191 around him to be dead, should be recognized by these same people and treated as merely in a trance—as in fact, was the case). So, too, in the analogous story of Thespesios of Soli in Plutarch, S. Num. Vind. 22, p. 563 D, τριταῖος, ἤδη περὶ τὰς ταφὰς αὐτάς, ἀνήνεγκε (Philostr., VA. 3, 38, p. 114, 28 K.: the wife of the man who has just died περὶ τὴν εὐνὴν ὕβρισε, τριταίου κειμένου [sc. τοῦ ἀνδρός] γαμηθεῖσα ἑτέρῳ: i.e. immediately before the ἐκφορά, while the dead man still was in the house). Similar customs are implied for the Greeks in Cyprus ap. Ant. Lib. 39, 5, p. 235, 21 West. [= p. 122, 7 f. Mart.]: ἡμέρᾳ δὲ τριτῃ τὸ σῶμα προήνεγκαν εἰς ἐμφανές (εἰς τοὐμφανές?) οἱ προσήκοντες. Further, acc. to Plato’s view as given in Lg. 959 A, there should be τριταία πρὸς τὸ μνῆμα ἐκφορά.

51 Before sunrise: D. 43, 62 (more distinctly commanded by a law of Dem. Phal.: Cic., Lg. ii, 66). On the other hand, it was considered a disgrace to be buried during the night: ἦ κακὸς κακῶς ταφήσῃ, νυκτὸς οὐκ ἐν ἡμέρᾳ, Eur., Tro. 448.

52 So in particular the funeral-law from Keos, SIG. 877; cf. Plu., Sol. 21; Bergk, Rh. Mus. 15, 468. Funeral-law of the Labyadai at Delphi, l. 29 f.: στρῶμα δὲ ἓν ὑποβαλέτω καὶ ποικεφάλαιον ἓν ποτιθέτω (for the dead).

53 Reproduced Monum. dell’ Instituto, ix, 391 [and in Rayet-Collignon, Céramique grecque, Pl. i].

54 The law in D. 43, 62 (cf. 64), makes restrictions in the attendance at a funeral which are to apply to women only (and only then for those under 60): men seem therefore to be granted permission indiscriminately. We are told too in Plu., Sol. 21, that at the ἐκκομιδή Solon had not forbidden ἐπ’ ἀλλότρια μνήματα βαδίζειν—for men that is, we must suppose. The men went in front in procession; the women followed: D. 43, 62. Evidently the same applied in Keos: SIG. 877, 20.—Pittakos as aesymnetes in Mitylene forbade absolutely accedere quemquam in funus aliorum, Cic., Lg. ii, 65.—Funeral-law of the Labyadai (Delphi), l. 42 ff.: from the burial ἀπῖμεν ϝοἴκαδε ἕκαστον, ἔχθω ὁμεστίων καὶ πατραδελφεῶν καὶ πενθερῶν κἠκγόνων καὶ γαμβρῶν, i.e. the next-of-kin of the dead in ascending and descending order.

55 This is referred to as still-existing custom by Plato, Lg. 800 E; cf. Sch. ad loc.; Hesych. Καρῖναι. Menand. Καρίνη, Mein., Com. iv, p. 144 (Karo-phrygian funeral-flutes: Ath. 174 F: Poll. iv, 75–9).

56 τὸν θανόντα δὲ φέρεν κατακεκαλυμμένον σιωπῇ μέχρι ἐπὶ τὸ σῆμα, SIG. 877, 11. Funeral-law of Labyad., l. 40 ff. τὸν δὲ νεκρὸν κεκαλυμμένον φερέτω σιγᾷ, κὴν ταῖς στροφαῖς (“at the street-corners”) μὴ καττιθέντων μηδαμεῖ, μηδ’ ὀτοτυζόντων ἔχθος τᾶς ϝοικίας πρίγ κ’ ἐπὶ τὸ σᾶμα ἵκωντι· τηνεῖ δ’ ἔναγος ἔστω κτλ. (the last not yet satisfactorily explained).

57 Solon diminished (under the alleged influence of Epimenides) at funerals τὸ σκληρὸν καὶ τὸ βαρβαρικὸν ᾧ συνείχοντο πρότερον αἱ πλεῖσται γυναῖκες, Plu., Sol. 12.

58 In the list of quotations from individual authors from the fifth century on, given in Becker Char.2 iii, 98 ff. [= E.T.3 pp. 390–1], only the foll. speak for burial as the prevailing custom: Plu., Sol. 21. οὐκ εἴασεν (Solon) συντιθέναι πλέον ἱματίων τριῶν, and Plu., Lyc. 27, συνθάπτειν οὔδεν εἰασεν (Lycurg.) ἀλλὰ ἐν φοινικίδι καὶ φύλλοις ἐλαίας θέντες τὸ σῶμα περιέστελλον: cf. Th. i, 134, 4. Cremation, on the other hand, is implied as the more common in Athens (fourth century) by Is. 4, 19: οὔτ’ ἔκαυσεν οὐτ’ ὠστολόγησεν; so, too, the will (third century) of the Peripatetic Lykon (D.L. v, 70): περὶ δὲ τῆς ἐκφορᾶς καὶ 192 καύσεως ἐπιμεληθήτωσαν κτλ. Cf. Also Teles ap. Stob. 40, 8, i, p. 747, 5 H.; τί διαφέρει ὑπὸ πυρὸς κατακαυθῆναι—which is here regarded as Greek funeral usage.—In the graves recently discovered before the Dipylon gate in Athens those belonging to the earliest period almost without exertion have their dead buried (without coffin); the following period (into the sixth century) generally burnt their dead; later, burial seems to have been more usual—see the account by Brückner and Pernice of the excavations before the Dipylon gate, Ath. Mitt. 1893, pp. 73–191. Thus it appears that in the later period burial was the prevailing practice in Attica (L. Ross, Archaeol. Aufs. i, 23), as also, being essentially cheaper than cremation, in other parts of Greece as well (a few references given in BCH. ’95, p. 144, 2).

59 ὠστολόγησεν, Is. 4, 19.

60 The custom of ἐκφορά on an open κλίνη is not in harmony with the intention of laying the body of the dead in a coffin, but evidently presupposes that the body is to be placed either unenveloped in the ground or else to be burnt. The practice of coffin-burial (probably introduced from the East) later became common, but was never completely harmonized with the ancient ceremonies of the ἐκφορά.

61 Coffinless burial was usual in the graves of the “Mycenaean” period, and also in the oldest times in Attica. The Spartans were merely keeping up this ancient custom when they ἐν φοινικίδι καὶ φύλλοις ἐλαίας θέντες τὸ σῶμα περιέστελλον (buried), Plu., Lyc. 27. Here everything points to the retention of primitive usage. The bodies were buried in the ancient fashion, not burnt; they were wrapped in a crimson robe. Crimson is otherwise the special colour for war and festival dress (cf. Müller, Dorians, ii, 264); here it is used in connexion with chthonic cult: ἔχει γάρ τινα τὸ πορφυροῦν χρῶμα συμπάθειαν πρὸς τὸν θάνατον says rightly Artemid. 1, 77, p. 70, 11 H. This can hardly be because of the red colour of blood; any more than that is why θάνατος is called πορφύρεος. But even Homer Ω 796 makes Hektor’s bones wrapped πυρφυρέοις πέπλοισι—the bones only in this case instead of the whole body: clearly a vestige of an older custom which survived unchanged in Sparta. Similarly Ψ 254. So, too, e.g. in the Dipylon graves at Athens burnt bones were found wrapped in a cloth, Ath. Mitt. 18, 160–1, 185. The head of the murdered brother φοινικίδι ἐκαλυψάτην καὶ ἐθαψάτην the two other Kabeiroi in the religious myth related by Clem. Al., Protr. ii, p. 16 P. Crimson frequently occurs as a colour used in chthonic cult: e.g. at the ceremonial ἄραι implying consecration to the infernal deities in [Lys.] 6, 51; at sacrifices to the Plataean Heroes: Plu., Arist. 21; at the transfer of the bones of Rhesos: see above, chap. iv, n. 36; Polyaen. vi, 53; at sacrifices to the Eumenides, Aesch., Eum. 1028.—The custom of burial upon leaves was also retained by the Pythagoreans: they buried their dead (without burning them, Iamb., VP. 154) in myrti et oleae et populi nigrae foliis (in fact, the trees regularly sacred to the χθόνιοι), Plin. 35, 160. Fauvel (ap. Ross, Arch. Aufs. i, 31) found in graves by the Melitean gate at Athens le squelette couché sur un lit épais de feuilles d’olivier encore en état de brûler. (Olive stones in Mycenaean Graves, Tsundas, Ἐφ. Ἀρχ., ’88, p. 136; ’89, p. 152.)

62 Thus in the letter of Hipparchos, in Phlegon, 1; similarly Xen. Eph. 3, 7, 4 (see my Griech. Roman, p. 391 n. 2). Plato wished his Euthynoi to be buried like this on stone κλῖναι (Lg. xii, 947 D); and this is probably how the bodies were placed in the rock burial-chambers provided with separate couches, such as occur at e.g. Rhodos and Kos 193 (see Ross, Arch. Aufs. ii, 384 ff., 392): cf. esp. the description given by Heusey, Mission arch. de Macédoine (Texte), p. 257 ff., ’76. It is the regular mode of burial in Etruria (following Greek models?): several skeletons have been found there lying on couches of masonry in the grave-chambers.

63 As though the dead had not entirely departed καὶ ὅπλα καὶ σκεύη καὶ ἱμάτια συνήθη τοῖς τεθνηκόσιν συνθάπτοντες ἥδιον ἔχουσιν Plu., Ne Suav. Ep. 26, p. 1104 D. Restrictions in Law of the Labyad. (l. 19 ff.) ὅδ’ ὁ τεθμός περ τῶν ἐντοθηκῶν· μὴ πλέον πέντε καὶ τριάκοντα δραχμᾶν ἐνθέμεν, μήτε πριάμενον μήτε ϝοίκω.

64 Helbig, Hom. Epos. 41.

65 βελτίονες καὶ κρείττονες. Arist., Eudem. 37 [44] ap. Plu., Cons. Apoll. 27, p. 115 BC.

66 [Pl.] Min. 315 D. To raise doubts on this point is mere perversity. It is of no avail to advance the argument (which is commonly used also against the similar statements about Rome in Serv., A. v, 64; vi, 152) that this story only intends to explain the origin of the worship of the household Lares. The Greeks did not have this particular worship, or else it was so completely forgotten that no explanatory account of its origin was ever offered.—Beside the hearth and the altar of Hestia the most ancient resting place of the head of the house must have been placed too. When the wife of Phokion had had the body of her husband burnt abroad ἐνθεμένη τῷ κόλπῳ τὰ ὀστᾶ καὶ κομίσασα νύκτωρ εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν κατώρυξε παρὰ τὴν ἑστίαν, Plu., Phoc. 37.—It was wrongly believed that in the remarkable rock-graves in the neighbourhood of the Pnyx at Athens examples of such graves situated inside the house had been discovered. See Milchhöfer in Baumeister’s Denkm. 153b.

67 This occurs among the New Zealanders, Eskimos, etc.; cf. Lubbock, Prehistoric Times, pp. 465, 511, etc.

68 In Sparta and Tarentum: see Becker, Char.2 iii, 105 (E.T.3 p. 393). Acc. to Klearch. ap. Ath. 522 F certain men of Tarentum were struck by lightning and killed; they were then buried πρὸ τῶν θυρῶν of their houses and στῆλαι were put up in their honour. If they had really been the criminals that legend made them it would have been impossible, even in Tarentum, for them to have been buried within the walls of the city, still less before the doors of their houses—an honour given only to Heroes; cf. above, chap. iv, n. 136. The violent alteration of πρὸ τῶν θυρῶν into πρὸ τῶν πυλῶν in order to avoid this difficulty, is obviously rendered untenable by the previous ἑκάστη τῶν οἰκιῶν ὅσους κτλ. The legend is evidently a fiction and these διόβλητοι (to whom it appears, as Heroes, neither the funeral dirge nor the usual χοαί were offered) must have belonged to the class of those whom death by the flash of lightning raised to a higher and honoured rank (see Append. 1). Thus, too, the graves in the market at Megara mentioned by Becker must have been Hero-graves: see above, chap. iv, n. 83. These cases where the graves of Heroes are found in the middle of the city, in the market place, etc., show very plainly the essential difference that was held to exist between the Heroes and the ordinary dead.

69 The μνῆμα κοινὸν πᾶσι τοῖς ἀπὸ Βουσέλου γενομένοις was a πολὺς τόπος περιβεβλημένος, ὥσπερ οἱ ἀρχαῖοι ἐνόμιζον: D. 43, 79. The Bouselidai composed not a γένος, but a group of five οἶκοι bound together by definitely traceable ties of kinship. The members of a γένος in its political sense no longer held graves in common possession: see Meier, de gentil. Att. 33; Dittenb., Hermes, 20, 4. The Κιμώνεια 194 μνήματα were also family-graves: Plu., Cim. 4, Marcellin. V. Th. 17, Plu., X Or., p. 838 B. It was always insisted on, for obvious reasons, that no stranger to the family should be laid in the family grave. But just as the penal clauses so often inscribed on graves of a later period were necessary to prevent the burial of strangers in those graves, so too Solon had to make a law in respect of graves ne quis alienum inferat: Cic., Lg. ii, 64.

70 The speaker in Dem. 55, 13 ff., mentions the παλαιὰ μνήματα of the πρόγονοι of the earlier possessors of his χωρίον (country-estate). This custom of burying the family dead in the private ground of the family καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις χωρίοις συμβέβηκε. Timarchos is asked by his mother τὸ Ἀλωπέκῃσι χωρίον (which lay 11 or 12 stades away from the city walls) ἐνταφῆναι ὑπολιπεῖν αὐτῇ (in spite of which he sold it): Aeschin., Tim. 99. Examples in East Attica of walled-in family cemeteries with room for many graves: Belger, Localsage von den Gräbern Agamem., etc. (Progr. Berl. 1893), pp. 40–2. It was thus the very general custom to keep the family graves on their own ground and soil; and this corresponds closely enough with the oldest custom of all, that of burying the master of the house in his own home.—In Plu., Arist. 1, Demetr. Phal. mentions an Ἀριστείδου χωρίον ἐν ᾧ τέθαπται in Phaleron.

71 Restriction of the growing magnificence of grave columns in Athens made by Demetr. Phal., Cic., Lg. ii, 66. (Penal clauses εἴ τίς κα θά[πτῃ ἢ ἐπί]σταμα ἐφιστᾷ κτλ. in a law from Nisyros [Berl. Phil. Woch. 1896, pp. 190, 420]: they probably do not refer to a general prohibition of tombstones altogether.)

72 Cf. Curtius, Z. Ges. Wegebaus Gr., p. 262.

73 Nemora aptabant sepulcris ut in amoenitate animae forent post vitam: Serv., A. v, 760. In lucis habitabant manes piorum: iii, 302; cf. ad i, 441; vi, 673. “My grave is in a grove, the pleasant haunt of birds,” says a dead man ὄφρα καὶ εἰν Ἄϊδι τερπνὸν ἔχοιμι τόπον, Epigr. Gr. 546, 5–14.

74 Cf. the ins. from Keos, SIG. 877, 8–9. Eur. IT. 633 ff.: ξανθῷ τ’ ἐλαίῳ σῶμα σὸν κατασβέσω, καὶ . . . γάνος ξουθῆς μελίσσης ἐς πυρὰν βαλῶ.

75 ἐναγίζειν δὲ βοῦν οὐκ εἴασεν, Plu., Sol. 21.

76 προσφαγίῳ (at the funeral) χρῆσθαι κατὰ τὰ πάτρια, SIG. 877, 13. In general, however, the sacrifice of animals at the graves of private individuals gradually became rarer and rarer: see Stengel, Chthon. u. Todt. 430 f.

77 Cf. esp. the ins. from Keos, l. 15 ff., 30. The ἐγχυτρίστριαι employed in old Athenian usage, [Pl.] Min. 315 C, seem to have been women who caught the blood of the sacrificed animals in bowls and purified the μιαινόμενοι with it. The name itself suggests it; to this effect is one among several other, clearly mistaken, explanations given by the Schol. to Min., loc. cit. (differently Sch. Ar., Vesp. 289).

78 περὶ τὰ πένθη . . . ὁμοπαθείᾳ τοῦ κεκμηκότος κολοβοῦμεν ἡμᾶς αὐτοὺς τῇ τε κουρᾷ τῶν τριχῶν καὶ τῇ τῶν στεφάνων ἀφαιρέσει, Arist. fr. 108 (101) Rose.

79 περίδειπνον. This is implied as universally occurring by Aen. Tact. 10, 5. This meal shared by the relatives (who alone are invited: Dem. 43, 62) must be meant by Heraklid., Pol. 30, 2, παρὰ τοῖς Λόκροις ὀδύρεσθαι οὐκ ἔστιν ἐπὶ τοῖς τελευτήσασιν, ἀλλ’ ἐπειδὰν ἐκκομίσωσιν εὐωχοῦνται.

80 ἡ ὑποδοχὴ γίγνεται ὑπὸ τοῦ ἀποθανόντος, Artemid. 5, 82, p. 271, 10 H.

81 Cic., Lg. ii, 63 (cf. λέγειν ἐπιδέξια ἐπὶ τεθνηκότι, Anaxandr. ap. Ath. 464 A.). On the other 195 hand, mentiri nefas erat. And yet εἰώθεσαν οἱ παλαιοὶ ἐν τοῖς περιδείπνοις τὸν τελευτηκότα ἐπαινεῖν, καὶ εἰ φαῦλος ἦν, Zenob. v, 28, and other Paroemiogr.—Besides this the lamentation for the dead may have been renewed at the various commemorations of the dead; the funeral regulation of the Labyadai at Delphi forbids expressly (not the festival but) the funeral dirge on such occasions: l. 46 ff. μηδὲ τᾷ ὑστεραίᾳ (after the burial, on which day the περίδειπνον was held) μηδὲ ἐν ταῖς δεκάταις μηδ’ ἐν τοῖς ἐνιαυτοῖ[ς] (we should expect rather ἐν τ. ἐνιαυτίοις, cf. nn. 88–92 of this chap.) μήτ’ οἰμώζεν μήτ’ ὀτοτύζεν.

82 These meals given to the dead took place at the grave itself. Ar., Lys. 612 f. ἥξει σοι . . .; Is. 8, 39, τὰ ἔνατα ἐπήνεγκα.

83 The τρίτα and ἔνατα, at any rate, were held on the third and ninth days after the funeral, and not after the day of death. It is true the references to these sacrifices in Ar., Lys. 612 ff., Is., etc., do not make this very clear. But if the τρίτα had taken place on the third day after death it would have coincided with the ἐκφορά itself, which is against all the evidence. Further, the Roman novemdiale, which was clearly modelled on Greek custom, also occurred on the ninth day after the burial, acc. to the unequivocal testimony of Porph. on Hor., Epod. xvii, 48 (nona die qua sepultus est). This is also deducible from Vg., A. v, 46 ff., and 105; cf. also Ap., M. ix, 31.

84 That this was the object of the Novemdialia festival at Rome is shown clearly enough by the evidence; that the same was true of Greece is at least highly probable; cf. K. O. Müller, Aesch. Eum., p. 143 [120 E.T.]. Leist, Graecoitalische Rechts., p. 34.—Nine is evidently a round number, esp. in Homer; i.e. the division of periods of time into groups of nine was in antiquity a very common and familiar practice. Cf. now, Kaegi, Die Neunzahl bei den Ostariern, Phil. Abh. f. Schweitzer-Sidler, 50 ff. Mourning customs were really intended to ward off maleficent action on the part of the dead. They lasted as a rule as long as the return of the soul of the dead was to be feared (esp. so in India: see Oldenberg, Rel. d. Veda, p. 589), and acc. to ancient belief the soul can return once more on the ninth day after death. See below, chap. xiv, ii, n. 154.

85 A χρόνος πένθους of eleven days, the mourning concluded with a sacrifice to Demeter: Plu., Lyc. 27; cf. Hdt. vi, 58 fin. The Labyadai at Delphi celebrate the tenth day after the funeral as a feast of the dead; see above, n. 81 of this chapter. This mourning period is not otherwise demonstrable for Greece (SIG. 633, 5, is different), but it is met with again among the Indians and Persians (cf. Kaegi, p. 5, 11), and may be primitive.

86 Lex. Rh., in AB. 268, 19 ff.; Phot. a little differently: καθέδρα· τῇ τριακοστῇ (πρώτῃ Phot.: Α instead of Λ) ἡμέρᾳ τοῦ ἀποθανόντος οἱ προσήκοντες συνελθόντες κοινῇ ἐδειπνοῦν ἐπὶ τῷ ἀποθανόντι—καὶ τοῦτο καθέδρα ἐκαλεῖτο (Phot. adds: ὅτι καθεζόμενοι ἐδείπνουν καὶ τὰ νομιζόμενα ἐπλήρουν·) ἦσαν δὲ καθέδραι τέσσαρες (the last clause is absent from Phot.) It was a meal shared by the relatives of the dead in honour of the dead and held “on the thirtieth day”; possibly nothing more nor less than the oft-mentioned τριακάδες. The guests eat their food sitting after the old custom prevailing in Homeric times and always observed by women; as applied to men it survived in Crete only, see Müller, Dorians, ii, 284. Perhaps this primitive attitude preserved in cultus is what we see in the Spartan sculptured reliefs representing “feasts of the dead” where the figures are seated. There were four such καθέδραι, i.e. the period of mourning extended over four months: thus it was the law in Gambreion (SIG. 879, 11 ff.) that 196 mourning might last at the most three months, or in the case of women four. We often hear of monthly repetitions of the feasts of the dead: monthly celebration of the εἰκάδες for Epicurus in acc. with his will, D.L. x, 18; cf. Cic., Fin. ii, 101; Plin. 35, 5; κατὰ μῆνα sacrifice to the deified Ptolemies, CIG. 4697, 48. (In India, too, the sacrifices to the dead on the thirtieth of the month were several times repeated: Kaegi, 7; 11.)

87 The Lexicographers, Harp., Phot., etc. (AB. 308, 5, is ambiguous, too), speak of the τριακάς in a way that makes it hard to see whether they mean the traditional sacrifice of the dead taking place regularly on the thirtieth day of the month, or a special offering on the thirtieth day after burial or after the day of death (ἡ τριακοστὴ ἡμέρα διὰ τοῦ θανάτου Harp., Phot. μετὰ θάνατον is the correction of Schömann on Is., p. 219, but διὰ θανάτου is formed, not quite correctly, on the analogy of διὰ χρόνου, διὰ μέσου [even διὰ προγόνων “since the time of our forefathers”, Polyb. 21, 21, 4], and must mean the same thing, viz. “after death”). But in Lys. 1, 14, we have the idea clearly expressed that the period of mourning should last till the thirtieth day (see Becker, Char.2 3, 117 E.T.3, p. 398), and in this case it is natural to suppose that the τριακάδες corresponding with the τρίτα and ἔνατα, took place on the thirtieth day after burial. So, too, the ins. from Keos, SIG. 877, 21, ἐπὶ τῷ θανόντι τριηκόστια μὴ ποιεῖν. For Argos see Plu., Q. Gr. 24, p. 296 F. It is evident that the τριακάδες were not so firmly established in Athens (at least in the fourth century) as the τρίτα and ἔνατα: e.g. Isaeus generally only refers to these last as the indispensable νομιζόμενα: 2, 36–7; 8, 39. It appears also that it is wrong to regard the τριακάδες as otherwise exactly on a footing with the τρ. and ἔνατα, as is generally done. The last-mentioned pair were sacrifices to the dead, the τριακάδες seems to have been a commemorative banquet of the living.—These fixed periods of mourning like so much else in the cult of the dead may have been handed down by tradition from a very early time. The third, ninth (or tenth), and thirtieth days after the funeral marked stages in the gradually diminishing “uncleanness” of the relatives of the dead, and this existed, it appears, already in “Indo-Germanic” times. Until the ninth day the relatives were still in contact with the departed and were consequently “unclean”; the thirtieth day puts an end to this, and is a memorial festival (though often repeated); cf. Kaegi, pp. 5, 10, 12 (of the separate edition); Oldenberg, 578. In Christian usage, sanctioned by the church, the third, ninth, and fortieth days after death or after burial were very early observed as memorial days (sometimes third, seventh, thirtieth; cf. Rochholz, D. Gl. u. Brauch, i, 203), and survive in some cases to the present day: see Ac. Soc. ph. Lips. v, 304 f.

88 τὰ νεκύσια τῇ τριακάδι ἄγεται: Plu., Prov. Alex. viii, p. 6, 10 Crus. (App. prov. Vat. in Schneidewin’s Crit. App. to Diogen. viii, 39). There was a festival kept by servants in honour of their dead masters (ἀλλαθεάδες, GDI. 1731, 10; 1775, 29; 1796, 6) twice monthly, at the νουμηνία and on the seventh: GDI. 1801, 6–7 Delphi. The last three days of the month are at Athens sacred to the inhabitants of the lower world and therefore ἀποφράδες: EM. 131, 13 f.; E. Gud. 70, 3 ff.; cf. Lys., fr. 53. On these days banquets were prepared, at the crossroads, etc., for Hekate (acc. to Ath. 325 A), for Hekate καὶ τοῖς ἀποτροπαίοις (Plu., Symp. 7, 6, p. 709 A). The souls of the dead were then not forgotten. Sch. Pl., Lg. vii, 800 D, ἀποφράδες ἡμέραι ἐν αἷς τοῖς κατοιχομένοις χοὰς ἐπιφέρουσιν. 197

89 The son ἐναγίζει καθ’ ἕκαστον ἐνιαυτόν to his dead father, Is. 2, 46. This sacrifice to the dead, celebrated once every year (θυσία ἐπέτειος offered by a παῖς πατρί), is the festival of the Γενέσια, in vogue acc. to Hdt. iv, 26, among the Greeks, everywhere as it appears. As the name shows this festival fell on the birthday of the honoured ancestor as it recurred (not on the day of his death as Amm. pp. 34–5 Valck. incorrectly says); cf. Schol. Pl., Alc. i, 121 C. So Epicurus in his will (D.L. x, 18) provides for a yearly celebration of his birthday. (Similar foundation, CIG. 3417.) The Koans ἐναγίζουσι to Hippokrates every year on the 27th Agrianos as his birthday: Soran., V.Hp., p. 450, 13–14 West. Hero-festivals, too, fall on the birthday of the Hero: Plu., Arat. 53. Gods have their feast-days and their birthdays combined; thus Hermes has his on the 4th of the month, Artemis on the 6th, Apollo on the 7th, and so on. These are birthday festivals repeated every month. In the second century at Sestos, following such precedents, there was held τὰ γενέθλια τοῦ βασιλέως (one of the deified Attalids) καθ’ ἕκαστον μῆνα: SIG.1 246, 36. Celebration of the ἔμμηνος γενέσιος of the ruling Emperor: Ins. Perg. ii, 374 B, 14. Even in later times in imitation of heathen usage the Kephallenians still honour Epiphanes, son of Karpokrates, κατὰ νουμηνίαν, γενέθλιον ἀποθέωσιν, Clem. Al., Str. iii, p. 511 P.

90 This is the public festival meant by Phryn., p. 103 Lob. = 83, p. 184 Ruth., when, to distinguish it from the birthday celebrations of living persons, γενέθλια (which did not become common till later), he calls the Γενέσια, Ἀθήνησιν ἑορτή [πένθιμος add. Meursius; cf. Hesych. γενέσια; AB. 231, 19]. The Antiatticista, in his rather absurd polemic against Phryn. (p. 86, 20 ff.), adds the still clearer statement (taken from Solon’s ἄξονες and Philochoros) that the ἑορτὴ δημοτελής of the Γενέσια at Athens was held on the 5th Boedromion. There is not the slightest reason for doubting the correctness of this statement (as many have done). In Rome, too, besides the many moveable parentalia of the families there was an official and public Parentalia held every year (in Feb.). Similarly in ancient India: Oldenberg, 550, 3.

91 The Νεμέσεια is mentioned by Dem. 41, 11. The context suggests a rite performed by a daughter in honour of her dead father. It is a quite certainly correct conjecture (μήποτε—) of the Lexicog. that the Nemeseia may be a festival of the dead (see Harp. s.v. AB. 282, 32: both glosses combined in Phot. Suid. νεμέσια). It is clear, however, that they knew nothing further about it. Mommsen declares (Heort. 209) the Nemeseia to have been “without doubt” identical with the Γενέσια. I see no reason at all for supposing so.—The name νεμέσεια characterizes it as a festival dedicated to the “wrath” of the dead, to the νέμεσις τῶν θανόντων, Soph., El. 792; φθιμένων ὠκυτάτη νέμεσις, Epigr. Gr. 119; cf. 195—this easily becomes a personified Νέμεσις: ἔστι γὰρ ἐν φθιμένοις Νέμεσις μέγα, Epigr. Gr. 367, 9. The cult of the dead, like the cult of the underworld in general, is always apotropaic in character (placantur sacrificiis ne noceant, Serv., A. iii, 63): the Nemeseia must then have been apotropaic in intention too.

92 At Apollonia in Chalcidice there was a yearly custom to τὰ νόμιμα συντελεῖν τοῖς τελευτήσασιν in early times in Elaphebolion, later in Anthesterion: Hegesand. ap. Ath. 334 F.—ἐνιαύσια, a yearly festival of the dead (but perhaps rather to be taken as sacra privata) in Keos: SIG. 878.—There is a month called Νεκύσιος in Knossos (and common to the whole of Crete acc. to the Ἡμερολόγιον Flor. [Corsini, Fast. Att. ii, 428]). It took its name from a feast of the dead (νεκύσια is mentioned along with περίδειπνα, as a regular expression by Artemid. 198 iv, 81, p. 249, 9 H.): for this see “Treaties of Kretan cities”, BCH. 1879, 294, l. 56 f.—There was a month Ἀγριώνιος or Ἀγριάνιος in Boeotia and even in Byzantium, Kalymna, Kos, Rhodos: Hesych. Ἀγριάνια· νεκύσια παρὰ Ἀργείοις καὶ ἀγῶνες ἐν Θήβαις (as to the Agon at the A. see the ins. from Thebes, Ath. Mitt. vii, 349).—ἐτελεῖτο δὲ καὶ θυσία τοῖς νεκροῖς ἐν Κορίνθῳ, δι’ ἣν τῆς πόλεως ἐν τοῖς μνήμασιν οὔσης ἐπέρχεται ὁ Ἀλήτης κτλ. Sch. Pi. N. vii, 155.

93 Hesych. μιαραὶ ἡμέραι. Phot. μιαρὰ ἡμέρα.

94 συγκλεισθῆναι τὰ ἱερὰ during the Choes: Phanodem. ap. Ath. 437 C.

95 Phot. μιαρὰ ἡμέρα· ἐν τοῖς Χουσὶν Ἀνθεστηριῶνος μηνός, ἐν ᾧ (ἐν οἷς?) δοκοῦσιν αἱ ψυχαὶ τῶν τελευτησάντων ἀνιέναι, ῥάμνον ἕωθεν ἐμασῶντο, καὶ πίττῃ τὰς θύρας ἔχριον. Ῥάμνος· φυτόν, ὃ ἐν τοῖς Χουσὶν ὡς ἀλεξιφάρμακον ἐμασῶντο ἕωθεν· καὶ πίττῃ ἐχρίοντο τὰ σώματα (leg. δώματα)· ἀμίαντος γὰρ αὕτη· διὸ καὶ ἐν ταῖς γενέσεσι τῶν παιδίων χρίουσι τὰς οἰκίας εἰς ἀπέλασιν τῶν δαιμόνων.—I do not recollect having read elsewhere of pitch as a protection against malevolent spirits or of its use in Greek superstitious practices. (The flame and smoke of burning pitch—and of ἄσφαλτος: Diph. fr. 126 [ii, p. 577 K.] ap. Clem. Al. Str. 7, 4, 26, p. 844 P.—as of sulphur, belong to the region of magic and are καθαρμοί: but that is a different matter.—τὰ καθάρσια· ταῦτα δέ ἐστι δᾷδες καὶ θεῖον καὶ ἄσφαλτος, Zos. ii, 5, p. 67, 19 Bk.). Better known is the magic protective power of the ῥάμνος. It is of use against φάρμακα and φαντάσματα, and is therefore hung up on the doors ἐν τοῖς ἐναγίσμασι: Sch. Nic., Th. 860 (Euphorion and Sophnon had also referred to this superstition). Cf. Anon., de Vir. Herb. 9–13, 20 ff., and the Scholia (p. 486, ed. Haupt., Opusc. 2); also Dioscorides i, 119 fin. (ῥάμνος also frightens away poisonous beasts: Diosc. iii, 12. In the same way marjoram and scilla are equally available against daimones and ἰοβόλα.) At Rome the hawthorn (spina alba) is specially known for these purificatory properties. Ovid, F. vi, 129 (at a wedding procession a torch made of a branch of the spina alba is used [Fest. 245a, 3 Mü.], and this is purgationis causa: Varro ap. Charis., p. 144, 22 K.).—At the Choes the ῥάμνος (i.e. twigs or leaves of it) is chewed: this is in order that its powers may be absorbed into the chewer’s own body. The Superstitious man (like the Pythia) puts laurel leaves in his mouth καὶ οὕτω τὴν ἡμέραν περιπατεῖ: also at the Choes? Thphr., Ch. 16. The laurel in addition to its other marvellous properties can also drive off spirits: ἔνθα ἂν ᾗ δάφνη, ἐκποδὼν δαίμονες, Gp. 11, 2, 5–7. Lyd., Mens. 4, 4, p. 68, 9 Wü.

96 Sch. Ar., Ach. 961, p. 26, 8 ff. Dübn.—At the νεκρῶν δεῖπνα the souls of the departed members of the family are summoned by the προσήκοντες to come and take their share (with the single exception of those who have hanged themselves): Artemid. i, 4, p. 11, 10 f. H. (cf. what is said of the νεκύσια in Bithynia by Arr. ap. Eust., ι 65, p. 1615). The same thing must have happened at the Anthesteria.

97 Worshippers offered the χύτραν πανσπερμίας to Hermes ἱλασκόμενοι τὸν Ἑρμῆν καὶ περὶ τῶν ἀποθανόντων, Sch. Ar., Ach. 1076 (Didymus from Theopomp.)—τοὺς τότε παραγενομένους (read περιγινομένους, viz. from the Flood) ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀποθανόντων ἱλάσασθαι τὸν Ἑρμῆν, Sch. Ar., Ran. 218 (after Theop.). The offering was merely placed ready for the recipients (not sent up to heaven in flames and smoke) as was customary at the Theoxenia (esp. those in honour of chthonic deities) and in offerings made to Heroes. The Ἑκάτης δεῖπνα were similar, and particularly the offerings to the Erinyes: τὰ πεμπόμενα αὐταῖς ἱερὰ πόπανα καὶ γάλα ἐν ἄγγεσι κεραμείοις, Sch. Aeschin. i, 188. 199

98 EM. 774, 56: Ὑδροφόρια· ἑορτὴ Ἀθήνησι πένθιμος (so far Hesych. too, s.v.) ἐπὶ τοῖς ἐν τῷ κατακλυσμῷ ἀπολομένοις. The feast of Chytrai was also supposed to have been a commemoration of Deucalion’s Flood. The flood was said to have subsided finally through a cleft in the earth in the Temple of Γῆ Ὀλυμπία: Paus. 1, 18, 7. Pausanias adds, ἐσβάλλουσιν ἐς αὐτὸ (the chasm) ἀνὰ πᾶν ἔτος ἄλφιτα πυρῶν μέλιτι μάξαντες. It is at least natural, with Preller, Dem. u. Pers. 229, n., to see in the Hydrophoria a part of which is described by Pausanias, a festival related to the Chytrai. Connexion of the dead with Γῆ in the Γενέσια too: Hesych. s.v.—Ὑδροφόρια a feast of Apollo at Aegina: Sch. Pi., N. v, 81 (fanciful remarks thereon by K. O. Müller, in Aesch. Eum., p. 141 [116 E.T.]).

99 Ovid’s account of the Lemuria at Rome, F. v, shows the closest resemblances to the Athen. customs. The spirits are finally driven out: Manes exite paterni! (443). The same happens in the festivals of the dead in many places: esp. in India, Oldenberg, 553; cf. also the Esthonian customs: Grimm, p. 1844, n. 42. A parallel from ancient Prussia is given (after Joh. Meletius, 1551) by Ch. Hartknoch, in Alt- u. Neues Preussen, 1684, pp. 187–8. There on the third, sixth, ninth, and fortieth day after the funeral a banquet of the relatives of the dead was held. The souls of the dead were invited and (with other souls as well) entertained. “When the feasting was ended the priest rose from the table and swept out the house, driving forth the souls of the dead as though he were driving out fleas, saying the while: ‘Ye have eaten and drunk, O ye Blessed Ones, depart hence! depart hence!’” At the close of the lantern-feast to the dead in Nagasaki (Japan) when the entertainment of the souls was over a great noise was made all over the house “so that no single soul should remain behind and haunt the place—they must be driven out without mercy”: Preuss. Exped. nach Ostasien, ii, 22. Other examples of the expulsion of souls given in Tylor, ii, 199. The ghosts were thought of in a thoroughly materialistic fashion, and driven out by waving clubs in the air, swinging torches, etc., as in the case of the ξενικοὶ θεοί of the Kaunians: Hdt. i, 172. Compare with this the prayers addressed to Herakles in the Orphic Hymns (reproducing ancient superstitions as frequently): ἐλθὲ μάκαρ . . . ἐξέλασον δὲ κακὰς ἄτας, κλάδον ἐν χερὶ πάλλων, πτηνοῖς τ’ ἰοβόλοις κῆρας χαλεπὰς ἀπόπεμπε (12, 15–16). It will be clear how near such personified ἆται and κῆρες are to the angry “souls”, from which in fact they have arisen; cf. besides, Orph., H. 11, 23; 14, 14; 36, 16; 71, 11.—κῆρας ἀποδιοπομπεῖσθαι, Plu., Lys. 17.

100 θύραζε Κῆρες, οὐκ ἔτ’ Ἀνθεστήρια. This is the correct wording of the formula; Κᾶρες the form common later and explained with mistaken ingenuity. Photius has it right and explains, ὡς κατὰ τὴν πόλιν τοῖς Ἀνθεστηρίους τῶν ψυχῶν περιερχομένων.—Κῆρες—is clearly a most primitive equivalent for ψυχαί which has become almost completely obscured in Homer, though it dimly appears in Β 302, ξ 207, where the Κῆρες are spoken of as those who carry away other ψυχαί to Hades. Aeschylus knew it (presumably from old Attic speech) and simply substituted ψυχαί for the Keres in the fate-weighing scene in Homer, thus turning the Kerostasia into a Ψυχοστασία (to the surprise of the Schol. A, Θ 70; A.B. X 209). See O. Crusius in Ersch-Gruber, “Keren,” 2, 35, 265–7 [Aesch. fr. 279 Sidg.].

101 Cf. the collections in Pottier, Les lécythes blancs attiques à représ. funér., p. 57, 70 ff.

102 Though not all of them, some at any rate of the scenes in which 200 lyre-playing at a grave is represented on a lekythos are to be taken as implying that the living provide music for the entertainment of the dead: see Furtwängler on the Sammlung Saburoff. i, Pl. lx.

103 See Benndorf, Sicil. u. unterital. Vasenb., p. 33.

104 How the mode of conceiving the spiritual activity of the dead and consequently the cult of the dead was at first more solemn and awestruck and completely on a par with the cult of the χθόνιοι; how in the course of time the relations of the living to the departed became more familiar and the cult of the dead correspondingly less awe-inspiring, more piously protective in character than apotropaic—all this is set out in more detail by P. Stengel, Chthonisch. u. Todtencult [Festschrift für Friedländer], p. 414 ff.

105 The reliefs represent a man enthroned, sometimes alone, sometimes with a woman beside him, stretching out a kantharos to receive the offerings. As a rule he is approached by a group of worshippers represented on a smaller scale. The earliest examples of these reliefs were found in Sparta and go back to the sixth century. Since the investigations of Milchhöfer especially, they are now generally recognised as representing the family worship of the dead. They are the forerunners of the representations of similar food-offerings in which (following later custom) the Hero is lying on a kline and receiving his worshippers. (That this class of reliefs representing “banquets of the dead” was also sacrificial in character is proved clearly by the presence of the worshippers who in many cases lead sacrificial victims. H. v. Fritze in Ath. Mitt. ’96, p. 347 ff., supposes that they are intended to represent not sacrifices but the συμπόσιον which the dead person is to enjoy in the after life. But he can only account for the presence of the worshippers in such a forced and unnatural way [p. 356 ff.], that this alone seems to refute his theory. πυραμίδες and incense among the offerings made do not by any means contradict its nature as a sacrifice to the dead.) The same is the meaning of the reliefs found esp. in Boeotia in which the person worshipped is seated on a horse, or leading a horse, and accepting offerings (summary by Wolters, Archäol. Zeitung, 1882, p. 299 ff.; cf. also Gardner, JHS. 1884, pp. 107–42; Furtwängler, Samml. Sab. i, p. 23). The worshippers bring pomegranates, a cock (e.g. Ath. Mitt. ii, Pl. 20–2), a pig (cock and pig on Theban relief: A. Mitt. iii, 377; pig on Boeotian rel.: A. Mitt. iv, Pl. 17, 2), a ram (rel. from Patras: A. Mitt. iv, 125 f.; cf. the ram’s head on a grave monument from the neighbourhood of Argos, A. Mitt. viii, 141). All these gifts are of the kind proper to the underworld. We know the pomegranate as food of the χθόνιοι from the Hymn to Demeter; the pig and ram are the main constituents of sacrifice made to the χθόνιοι and burnt in cathartic or hilastic (propitiatory) ceremonial. In such cases the cock, of course, does not appear because it was sacred to Helios and Selene (cf. D.L. viii, 34; Iamb., VP. 84), but because it was a sacrificial animal of the χθόνιοι (and of Asklepios) and for the same reason much used in necromancy, spirit-raising, and magic [Dieterich, Pap. mag. 185, 3]. As such it was forbidden food to the Mystai of Demeter at Eleusis: Porph., Abs. 4, 16, p. 255, 5 N. Sch. Luc., D. Me. 7, 4, p. 280, 23 Rabe—Anyone who partakes of the food of the underworld spirits is forfeit to them. On their side the reclining or enthroned spirits of the dead on these reliefs are brought into conjunction with a snake (A. Mitt. ii, Pl. 20–2; viii, Pl. 18, 1, etc.), a dog, or a horse (sometimes a horse’s head only occurs). The snake is the well-known symbol of the Hero: the 201 dog and the horse certainly do not represent victims as Gardner, p. 131, thinks—their real meaning has not yet been made out. The horse occurs sometimes by the side of women and therefore can hardly symbolize a knight’s status. I regard it as also a symbol of the departed as now having entered the spirit-world, like the snake too (Grimm understands it differently: p. 841 f., 844). I can form no decided opinion as to the dog: it is not likely to be mere genre—any more than anything else in these sculptures.

106 The χοαί, ἅπερ νεκροῖσι μειλικτήρια, of wine, honey, water, or oil, which are offered in Tragedy by children at the grave of a father—A. Pers. 609 ff.; Ch. 84 ff.; E., IT. 159 ff.—are modelled upon the food offerings to the dead in real life. Honey and water (μελίκρατον) were always the chief ingredients: cf. Stengel, Philolog. 39, 378 ff.; Jahr. f. Phil. 1887, p. 653. The ritual at the pouring of an ἀπόνιμμα—essentially a cathartic libation-sacrifice but also offered εἰς τιμὴν τοῖς νεκροῖς is described by Kleidemos ἐν τῷ Ἐξηγητικῷ (the quotation is not complete), Ath. 409 E f. (Striking similarities in ritual and language in Indian sacrifice to the dead: Oldenberg, Rel. d. Ved. 550. Something extremely primitive may be preserved in these uses.) The same is the meaning of the χθόνια λουτρὰ τοῖς νεκροῖς ἐπιφερόμενα, Zenob. vi, 45, etc. These things have nothing to do with the Ὑδροφόρια, as some have thought.

107 The regular animal used as victim in ἐναγίσματα for the dead is a sheep; other animals occur less frequently. The black colour is general; the sacrifice was burnt completely: cf. the instances collected by Stengel, Ztschr. f. Gymnasi., 1880, p. 743 f., Jahrb. f. Phil. 1882, p. 322 f.; ’83, p. 375.—Phot. καυστόν· καρπωτὸν ὃ ἐναγίζεται τοῖς τετελευτηκόσιν (cf. Hesych. καυτόν).—The σέλινον (a plant sacred to the dead; see above, n. 40) probably served as food for the dead at the τρίτα and other banquets “of the dead”, and was not used as food for the living at the περίδειπνον; consequently it might never be used at the meals of the living: Plin. 20, 113, following Chrysippos and Dionysios. (In the mysteries of the Kabeiroi the ἀνακτοτελέσται had a special reason of their own for forbidding parsley αὐτόριζον ἐπὶ τραπέζης τιθέναι, Clem. Al., Protr. ii, p. 16 P.)

108 The food offered is a meal for the dead: A., Ch. 483 ff. (cf. Luc., Luct. 9; Char. 22). The dead man is summoned to come and drink the offerings (ἐλθὲ δ’ ὡς πίῃς): E., Hec. 535 ff. It was the general opinion that ὁ νεκρὸς πίεται of the drink offerings (AP. xi, 8; Epigr. Gr. 646, 12), αἱ γὰρ χοαὶ παραψυχή τις εἰσεφέρετο τοῖς εἰδώλοις τῶν τετελευτηκότων κτλ. Lyd., Mens. 4, 31, p. 90 Wü.

109 It feels when friends or enemies approach its grave: Is. 9, 4, 19.

110 Sch. Ar., Av. 1490 (referring to the Τιτανόπανες of Myrtilos, a poet of the Old Comedy). Phot. κρείττονες (Hesych. κρείττονας) οἱ ἥρωες· δοκοῦσι δὲ κακωτικοὶ εἶναι· δι’ ὃ καὶ οἱ τὰ ἡρῷα παριόντες σιωπῶσιν. (ἥρωες and ἡρῷα here, in accordance with the usage common in later times, simply = τετελευτηκότες and μνήματα of the usual kind.) Since a Hero in the higher sense was buried there it was customary to pass in silence the monument, e.g., of Narkissos, ἥρως Σιγηλός: Str. 404 (so also the grove and chasm of Kolonos where the Erinyes dwell: S., OC. 130 ff.). The feeling underlying this is easy to understand, and the custom therefore is widespread: e.g. among West African negroes, Réville, Relig. des peuples non civil. i, 73. It is a German superstition (Grimm, p. 1811, n. 830). “Never call the dead by name or you may cry them up”.

111 Pl., Phd. 81 CD. The ψυχή . . . ὥσπερ λέγεται περὶ τὰ μνήματά τε 202 καὶ τοὺς τάφους κυλινδομένη· περὶ ἃ δὴ καὶ ὤφθη ἄττα ψυχῶν σκιοειδῆ φαντάσματα, κτλ.

112 See O. Jahn, Archäol. Beitr. 128 ff.; Benndorf, Griech. u. sicil. Vasenb., p. 33 f., p. 65 (on Pl. 14, 32); also Pottier, Lécythes blancs, p. 65, 2 (who proposes a doubtful theory of a supposed Éros funèbre, p. 76 ff.).

113 We frequently on vases see the occupant of a grave represented in the form of a snake at the foot of his tomb, etc.; e.g. on the Prothesis vase, Monum. d. Instit. viii, 4, 5, and often, see Luckenbach, Jahrb. f. Phil., Suppl. ii, 500.—We have already met with snakes as a favourite form of incarnation chosen by χθόνιοι of all kinds, deities of the underworld, Heroes, and the ordinary dead, and we shall frequently meet with the same thing again. Here we need only refer to Photius ἥρως ποικίλος—διὰ τὸ τοὺς ὄφεις ποικίλους ὄντας ἥρωας καλεῖσθαι.

114 What falls to the ground belongs to the ἥρωες (= souls of the dead): Ar. Ἥρωες fr. 305 H. and G. τοῖς τετελευτηκόσι τῶν φίλων ἀπένεμον τὰ πίπτοντα τῆς τροφῆς ἀπὸ τῶν τραπεζῶν (alluded to by Eur. in the Belleroph. [Stheneb. fr. 667 Din.]), ap. Ath. 427 E. This is the origin of the Pythagorean σύμβολον—as usual founded on ancient belief about the soul—τὰ πεσόντα ἀπὸ τραπεζῆς μὴ ἀναιρεῖσθαι, D.L. viii, 34. Suid. Πυθαγόρα τὰ σύμβολα. This superstition is also the reason for the νόμος said to have been current in Kroton, τὸ πεσὸν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν κωλύων ἀναιρεῖσθαι, Iamb., VP. 126. Similar belief and custom in Rome: Plin. 28, 27. Among the ancient Prussians it was the custom not to pick up the fragments of food that fell to the ground at meal times, but to leave them for the “poor” souls that have no blood-relations or friends left behind in the world to look after them; see Chr. Hartknoch, Alt- u. Neues Preussen, p. 188. Similar customs elsewhere: Spencer, Princ. of Sociol. i, 281.

115 Solonian law: D. 20, 104; 40, 49. Plu., Sol. 21, Σόλωνος ὁ κωλύων νόμος τὸν τεθνηκότα κακῶς ἀγορεύειν. καὶ γὰρ ὅσιον τοὺς μεθεστηκότας ἱεροὺς νομίζειν. This reminds us of the words of Arist., Eudem. fr. 37 [44] given in Plu., C. Apoll. 27, p. 115 B, τὸ ψεύσασθαί τι κατὰ τῶν τετελευκηκότων καὶ τὸ βλασφημεῖν οὐχ ὅσιον ὡς κατὰ βελτιόνων καὶ κρειττόνων ἤδη γεγονότων (Chilon ap. Stob., Fl. 125, 15 M.: τὸν τετελευκηκότα μὴ κακολόγει ἀλλὰ μακάριζε). A very extreme form of outrage is ψεύσασθαι κατὰ τοῦ τελευτήσαντος: Is. 9, 6; 23; 26. (The κακολόγος is particularly liable to κακὰ εἰπεῖν περὶ τῶν τετελευτηκότων, Thphr., Char. 28.) The heir of the dead man has the duty of carrying out the cult of the dead man’s soul, and this includes the legal prosecution of slanderers of the dead: see Meier and Schömann, Att. Process2, p. 630.

116 Ar., Tagenist. fr. 485, 12, says of the dead, καὶ θύομέν γ’ αὐτοῖσι τοῖς ἐναγίσμασιν, ὥσπερ θεοῖσιν κτλ.

117 κρείττονες Hesych. Phot. s.v. Arist. ap. Plu., C. Apoll. 27, p. 115 C.

118 ἵλεως ἔχειν (τοὺς τελευτήσαντας): Pl., Rp. 427 B.

119 That the ἥρωες δυσόργητοι καὶ χαλεποὶ τοῖς ἐμπελάζουσι γίγνονται (Sch. Ar., Av. 1490) applies equally to the “Heroes” properly so called—see above, chap. iv, § 11, the legends of the Hero Anagyros, the Hero of Temesa, etc.—and to those who gradually came to be called “Heroes” in later times by an extension of the term, viz. the souls of the dead in general—χαλεποὺς καὶ πλήκτας τοὺς ἥρωας νομίζουσι, καὶ μᾶλλον νύκτωρ ἢ μεθ’ ἡμέραν: Chamaileon ap. Ath. 461 C (and hence the precautions taken against nocturnal 203 apparitions: Ath. 149 C). Cf. Zenob. v, 60. Hesych. Phot. s. κρείττονες.—That the ἥρωες do, and are responsible for, evil only and never good (Sch. Ar., Av. 1490; Babr. 63) is a late belief; it does not apply either to Heroes or ordinary dead in the conceptions of earlier ages. Originally the “gods”, just as much as Heroes and the dead, shared in the violent and malignant nature of the unseen. This was later confined more and more to the lower classes of the κρείττονες and came to be attached to them so exclusively that it could in the end be regarded as a sufficient ground of distinction between them and the gods (as it certainly had not been to start with) that malice is excluded from the nature of the gods and benevolence on the contrary from that of Heroes and the dead.

120 Ar., Tagenist. fr. 485, 13: καὶ χοάς γε χεόμενοι (to the dead) αἰτούμεθ’ αὐτοὺς τὰ καλὰ δεῦρ’ ἀνιέναι (intended as a παροιμία or at any rate imitated from a tragedian—apostrophe to a dead woman ἐκεῖ βλέπουσα, δεῦρ’ ἀνίει τἀγαθά, Sch. Ar., Ran. 1462—and reproduced in this passage by the interpolator of Aristoph.). This “sending-up blessings from below” is to be understood in the widest sense (cf. A., Pers. 222); but it is natural to be reminded by such a prayer to ἀνιέναι τἀγαθά of Demeter ἀνησιδώρα (Paus. 1, 31, 4; Plu., Smp. 9, 14, 4, p. 745 A), and of Γῆ ἀνησιδώρα. διὰ τὸ καρποὺς ἀνιέναι (Hesych.); S., OT. 269, εὔχομαι θεοὺς μήτ’ ἄροτον αὐτοῖς γῆς ἀνιέναι τινά.—That the dead who dwell beneath the ground were really expected to assist the growth of the soil we may learn especially from a very interesting statement in the Hippocratic work περὶ ἐνυπνίων (ii, p. 14 Kühn; vi, p. 658 Littré [π. διαίτης iv, 92]). If a person in his dream sees ἀποθανόντας dressed in white, offering something, that is a good omen: ἀπὸ γὰρ τῶν ἀποθανόντων αἱ τροφαὶ καὶ αὐξησιες καὶ σπέρματα γίνονται. There was a custom at Athens of strewing seeds of all kinds over the newly-made grave: Isigon., Mir. 67; Cic., Lg. ii, 63. The reason for this (evidently religious) is variously given (another, no more convincing, is suggested by K. O. Müller, Kl. Schr. ii, 302 f.). It seems most natural to suppose that the seed of the earth is put under the protection of the souls of dead who have now themselves become spirits inhabiting the earth. (Note besides the entirely similar custom in ancient India, Oldenberg, Rel. d. Veda, 582.)

121 Electra in A., Ch. 486 ff., makes a vow to the soul of her father: κἀγὼ χοάς σοι τῆς ἐμῆς παγκληρίας οἴσω πατρῴων ἐκ δόμων γαμηλίους· πάντων δὲ πρῶτον τόνδε πρεσβεύσω τάφον.—As chthonic powers the Erinyes also send blessings on agriculture and the bringing-up of children. Rh. Mus. 50, 21. Prayer was also made to Γῆ by those who desired to have children.

122 Φανόδημός φησιν ὅτι μόνοι Ἀθηναῖοι θύουσιν καὶ εὔχονται αὐτοῖς ὑπὲρ γενέσεως παίδων, ὅταν γαμεῖν μέλλωσιν, Phot. Suid. τριτοπάτορες.

123 The form of the word itself shows that the τριτοπάτορες are simply πρόπαπποι. τριτοπάτωρ is the earliest ancestor, ὁ πάππου ἢ τήθης πατήρ (Arist. ap. Poll. 3, 17). Just as μητροπάτωρ is ὁ μητρὸς πατήρ and πατροπάτωρ ὁ πατρὸς πατήρ (Poll. 3, 16), προπατώρ the forefather, ψευδοπάτωρ = ψευδὴς πατήρ, ἐπιπάτωρ the stepfather (μητρομήτηρ = μητρὸς μήτηρ)—in the same way τριτοπάτωρ is the third forefather, the father of the πατροπάτωρ, i.e. the πρόπαππος. The τριτοπάτορες have an alternative form τριτοπάτρεῖς, Philoch. ap. Suidas τριτοπάτορες: SIG. 443; Leg. Sacr. i, p. 49, l. 32, 52: in Orphic verse this form alone, and not τριτοπάτορες, could be used: see Lobeck, Agl. 764. They were in fact the τρίτοι πατέρες (just as 204 the τριτέγγονοι are the τρίτοι ἔγγονοι, the ἔγγονοι of the third generation). But the “third forefathers” are in fact the first ancestors (Lobeck, 763 f.), οἱ προπάτορες (Hesych.), οἱ πρῶτοι ἀρχηγέται (AB. 307, 16)—the ancestors of the individual first of all, his bodily γονεῖς (the series of whom was not generally counted beyond the πρόπαππος—Is. 8, 32—i.e. the τριτοπάτωρ), and then the “ancestors” of the human race in general (acc. to the explanation of Philoch. ap. Phot. Suid. τριτοπ.; cf. Welcker, Götterl. iii, 73).—We cannot do more than refer here to the completely analogous ideas of the ancient Indians about the “three-fathers”: the father, grandfather, great-grandfather, as the Sapinda-fathers beyond whom the line of ancestry was not traced (Kaegi, Neunzahl, pp. 5, 6).

124 The Tritopatores are most distinctly referred to as ἄνεμοι: Demon ap. Phot. Suid. τριτοπ. cf. δεσπόται ἀνέμων Phot. τριτοπάτωρ; Tz. Lyc. 738. Orphic poetry made them θυρωροὺς καὶ φύλακας τῶν ἀνέμων. This is already a free interpretation; the Attic belief, expressed by Demon, knows nothing about this. It can only have been learned invention that limited their number to three (as in the case of the originally unlimited number of Horai, Erinyes, etc.), and gave them definite names (Amalkeides, etc., Orph. fr. 240, Ab.) or identified them with the three Hekatoncheires (Kleidemos in the Ἐξηγ.). The genuine and ancient belief about them can still be discerned through all the confusion of misinterpretation and misunderstanding, and according to this the τριτοπάτορες were the souls of ancestors who were also wind-spirits. People prayed for children to these spirits: and Lobeck, Agl. 755 ff., is right in connecting with this custom the Orphic doctrine that the soul of man comes into him from without with the wind. Even this, however, is only a speculative embellishment of the popular belief about the Tritopatores (which the Orphics cannot, as Welcker thinks, Götterl. iii, 71, have “invented”: they only explained it after their fashion and consequently must have found it already existing). When we have stripped off all speculative accretions we find the Tritopatores to have been the souls of ancestors who have become wind-spirits and travel in the wind like other ψυχαί (whose name even is derived from the breath of the wind). From these as from real πνοιαὶ ζῳογόνοι their descendants hope for aid where the entry into life of a new ψυχή is concerned. It is not hard to understand the connexion between souls and wind-spirits; it is merely that such conceptions were rare among the Greeks and for that reason these isolated wind-spirits surviving in popular belief were turned into individual daimones—the Tritopatores no less than the Harpies (see Rh. Mus. 50, 3 ff.).

125 The words of Orestes in A., Ch. 483, give very naive expression to the belief. He calls to the soul of his father: οὕτω (if thou sendest me aid) γὰρ ἄν σοι δαῖτες ἔννομοι βροτῶν κτιζοίατ’· εἰ δὲ μή, παρ’ εὐδείπνοις ἔσει ἄτιμος ἐμπύροισι κνισωτοῖς χθονός. Thus we see that the belief ridiculed by Luc., Luct. 9, was true of earlier times as well: τρέφονται δὲ ἄρα (the dead) ταῖς παρ’ ἡμῖν χοαῖς καὶ τοῖς καθαγιζομένοις ἐπὶ τῶν τάφων· ὡς εἴ τῳ μὴ εἴη καταλελειμμένος ὑπὲρ γῆς φίλος ἢ συγγενής, ἄσιτος οὗτος νεκρὸς καὶ λιμώττων ἐν αὐτοῖς πολιτεύεται.

126 Epicurus devotes by will certain definite πρόσοδοι to the yearly offering of ἐναγίσματα to his parents, his brothers, and himself: D.L. x, 18.—To the end of the third century belongs the “Testament of Epikteta”, i.e. the inscription recording the foundation by Epikteta (who came from Thera as we know now for certain: Ἐφ. Ἀρχ. 1894, p. 142) of a three-day sacrificial feast to be performed every year for 205 the Muses and “the Heroes”, i.e. for her husband, herself, and her sons; and the institution for this special purpose of a κοινὸν τοῦ ἀνδρείου τῶν συγγενῶν (together with women of the family). The inscr. gives also the rules of this sacrificial society (Michel n. 1001; CIG. 2448).—The offerings to the dead in this case (vi, 6 ff.) consist of a ἱερεῖον (i.e. a sheep) and ἱερά, especially ἐλλύται of five choinikes of wheaten flour and a stater of dry cheese (ἐλλ. are a kind of sacrificial cake specially offered to the deities of the lower world, as for ex. to Trophonios at Lebadeia: GDI. 413 with n., p. 393), and in addition to these garlands are mentioned. The following are to be sacrificed: the customary parts of the victim, an ἐλλύτης, a loaf, a πάραξ (= βάραξ, βήρηξ: interchange of tenuis and media as frequently) and some ὀψάρια (i.e. small fishes: cf. the ἀποπυρίς for the dead, GDI. 3634 Kos). The rest was probably consumed by the religious society: these special portions the person offering the sacrifice, we are told, καρπωσεῖ, i.e. (he) shall offer them to the Heroes by burning them entire. Cf. Phot. καυστόν· καρπωτόν, ὃ ἐναγίζεται τοῖς τετελευτηκόσιν (καρπῶσαι, κάρπωμα, ὁλοκάρπωσις, etc., are frequent in the LXX) and Phot. ὁλοκαρπούμενον and ὁλοκαυτισμός. καρποῦν = ὁλοκαυτοῦν in the sacrificial calendar from Kos, GDI. 3636; cf. Stengel, Hermes, 27, 161 f.

127 See Is. 1, 10.

128 In manumission records it is sometimes definitely enjoined that the freed persons shall at the death of their masters θαψάντω καὶ τὰ ὥρια αὐτῶν ποιησάτωσαν: thus on the insc. from Phokis, SIG. 841. (Instructions of this kind as esp. frequent in the records of emancipation from Delphi: see Büchsenschütz, Bes. u. Erw., 178 Anm. 3–4.) τὰ ὥρια when applied to the dead (GDI. 1545–6; ὡραίων τυχεῖν E., Sup. 175) means the καθ’ ὥραν συντελούμενα ἱερά (Hesych. ὡραῖα; funeral ordinance of the Labyadai, l. 49 ff.: τὰς δ’ ἄλλας θοίνας κατ’ τὰν ὥραν ἀγαγέσθαι), i.e. the sacrifices to be celebrated periodically (ταῖς ἱκνουμέναις ἡμέραις, n. 138; cf. τελεταὶ ὥριαι, Pi., P. ix, 98 ff.). This doubtless means in particular the ἐνιαύσια ἱερά (cf. nn. 81, 89, 92 of this chap.). Garlanding of graves κατ’ ἐνιαυτὸν ταῖς ὡρίοις (sc. ἁμέραις), GDI. 1775, 21; κατ’ ἐνιαυτὸν ὡραῖα ἱερὰ ἀπετέλουν (to the Heroes), Pl., Cri. 116 C.

129 The foll. are the expressions occurring in the speeches of Isaeus which conclusively warrant what is said above. The childless Menekles ἐσκόπει ὅπως μὴ ἔσοιτο ἄπαις, ἀλλ’ ἔσοιτο αὐτῷ ὅστις ζῶντα γηροτροφήσοι καὶ τελευτήσαντα θάψοι αὐτὸν καὶ εἰς τὸν ἔπειτα χρόνον τὰ νομιζόμενα αὐτῷ ποιήσοι, 2, 10. To be cared for in old age, buried after death, and to have permanent attention paid to one’s soul is a single unified conception, in which ritual burial at the hands of one’s own ἔκγονοι (thus securing the cult of the family) does not form the least important part (cf. Pl., Hipp. ma. 291 DE: it is κάλλιστον for a man—according to the popular view—ἀφικομένῳ ἐς γῆρας τοὺς αὑτοῦ γονέας τελευτήσαντας καλῶς περιστείλαντι ὑπὸ τῶν αὑτοῦ ἐκγόνων καλῶς καὶ μεγαλοπρεπῶς ταφῆναι. Medea says to her children in E., Med. 1032 εἶχον ἐλπίδας πολλὰς ἐν ὑμῖν γηροβοσκήσειν τ’ ἐμὲ καὶ κατθανοῦσαν χερσὶν εὖ περιστελεῖν, ζηλωτὸν ἀνθρώποισιν). That he may share in this attention to the souls of the dead a man must leave behind him a son; upon a son alone this will fall as a sacred duty. Hence a man who has no son takes the chosen heir of his possessions into his own family by adoption. Inheritance and adoption invariably accompany each other in such cases (and even in the first speech, where, though nothing is actually said of adoption, it is certainly implied throughout). The 206 motive of adoption is said in the clearest possible terms to be the desire on the part of the adopter for a permanent care of his own soul at the hands of his adopted son: 2, 25, 46; 6, 51, 65; 7, 30; 9, 7, 36. There is consequently a close connexion between εἶναι κληρονόμον καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ μνήματα ἰέναι, χεόμενοι καὶ ἐναγιοῦντα (6, 51). It is a mark of the heir τὰ νομιζόμενα ποιεῖν, ἐναγίζειν, χεῖσθαι (6, 65); cf. also D. 43, 65. Duties towards the soul of the dead consist in the son and heir’s provision for a solemn funeral, the erection of a handsome grave-monument and in his offering of the τρίτα and ἔνατα καὶ τἆλλα τὰ περὶ τὴν ταφήν: 2, 36, 37; 4, 19; 9, 4. After that he is responsible for the regular continuation of the cult and of sacrifice to the dead, ἐναγίζεσθαι καθ’ ἕκαστον ἐνιαυτόν (2, 46), and generally, καὶ εἰς τὸν ἔπειτα χρόνον τὰ νομιζόμενα ποιεῖν (2, 10). Then, just as he has to carry on for the dead man his family worships, his ἱερὰ πατρῷα (2, 46: e.g. for Zeus Ktesios: 8, 16); so also he must, as the dead man once did, make regular offering to the πρόγονοι of the house: 9, 7. In this way the family cult secures its own continuity.—Everything in this reminds us in the strongest way of what is done for the continuation of the cult of the dead, esp. by adoption, in the country where ancestor-worship reaches its greatest height—China. Desire to perpetuate the family name, the strongest motive with us in the adoption of male children, could not be so strong in Greece when only individual names were usual. Even this, however, occurs as a motive for the adoption of a son, ἵνα μὴ ἀνώνυμος ὁ οἶκος αὐτοῦ γένηται, 2, 36, 46; cf. Isocr. 19, 35 (and Philodem., Mort., p. 28, 9 ff. Mekl.). The “house” at any rate is called after its ancestors (like those Βουσελίδαι of whom Dem. speaks), and if the house has no male heir this common name will disappear. Apart from this, the adopted person will call himself the son of his adoptive father, and will ensure the preservation of the latter’s name, in the well-known fashion, by giving this name to the eldest (Dem. 39, 27) of his own sons. (A similar perpetuation of a name is probably intended in E., IT. 695–8.)

130 Appealing to φῆμαι, πολλαὶ καὶ σφόδρα παλαιαί, Plato asserts, Lg. 927 A, ὡς ἄρα αἱ τῶν τελευτησάντων ψυχαὶ δύναμιν ἔχουσί τινα τελευτήσασαι, ᾗ τῶν κατ’ ἀνθρώπους πραγμάτων ἐπιμελοῦνται. Hence the ἐπίτροποι of orphaned children πρῶτον μὲν τοὺς ἄνω θεοὺς φοβείσθων . . . εἶτα τὰς τῶν κεκμηκότων ψυχάς, αἷς ἐστιν ἐν τῇ φύσει τῶν αὑτῶν ἐκγόνων κήδεσθαι διαφερόντως, καὶ τιμῶσί τε αὐτοὺς εὐμενεῖς καὶ ἀτιμάζουσι δυσμενεῖς. It is only the circle of influence belonging to the ψυχαί which is here limited (and the circle of worship in consequence), not the potency of that influence.

131 This is true at least of the Greeks, as ancient philosophy was already aware: Arist., Pol. i, 2; Dicaearchus ap. St. Byz. πάτρα (who apparently thinks of the πάτρα as held together by “endogamous” marriage). The whole development of Greek law and politics—this much at least may be conceded to the analysis of Fustel de Coulanges (La Cité antique)—points to the conclusion that the division into the smallest groups goes back to the beginning of Greek life. The Greeks were even then divided into families and groups of kinsfolk, from the combination of which the later Greek state grew up; they never (as happened elsewhere) lived the community life of the tribe or the horde. And yet, can we imagine the Greek gods without the tribal community that worshipped them?

132 The idea of the Lar familiaris can be translated into Greek not inadequately by the words ὁ κατ’ οἰκίαν ἥρως, ἥρως οἰκουρός, as is done by Dionys. Hal., and Plutarch in their accounts of the story 207 of Ocrisia (D.H. 4, 2, 3; Plu. Fort. Rom. 9, p. 323 C). But this was not an idea current among the Greeks. The Latin genius generis = Lar familiaris (Laber. 54 Rib.) is most nearly approached by the remarkable expression ἥρως συγγενείας, CIA. iii, 1460. Inside the house, at the family hearth (in whose μυχοί, “dwells” Hekate: E., Med. 397), the Greeks worshipped—no longer the spirits of the ancestors—but the θεοὶ πατρῷοι, κτήσιοι, μύχιοι, ἑρκεῖοι. These were compared with the Roman Penates (D.H. 1, 67, 3; cf. Hyg. ap. Macr. 3, 4, 13), but their relationship to the spirits of the house and of the family is considerably less apparent than in the case of the Penates. (It is simply imitation of Roman custom that makes the dying Peregrinus call upon the δαίμονες πατρῷοι καὶ μητρῷοι: Luc., Peregr. 36. Στέφανος τοῖς τοῦ πατρὸς αὑτοῦ δαίμοσιν, ins. from Lykia, CIG. 4232 = BCH. xv, 552, n. 26. τοῖς δαίμοσι τῆς ἀποθανούσης γυναικός, Philo, Leg. ad G. 65, ii, p. 555 M. More in Lob., Agl. 769 n.)

133 The ἀγαθὸς δαίμων of which Attic writers in particular often speak has very indefinite features. Those who used the word combined ideas—no longer fully intelligible—of a divine being of fairly definite nature and shape with this name which in itself was altogether too liable to generalization. Modern writers have declared that it was originally a daimon of the fertility of crops. But there is just as little ground for believing this as there is for identifying it with Dionysos, as was done by the physician Philonides in connexion with an absurd story which he has invented on his own account (Ath. 675 B). There is much, however, that points to the connexion of the ἀγαθὸς δαίμων with chthonic powers. He appears as a snake (Gerhard, Akad. Abh. ii, 24) like all χθόνιοι. (On a snake on a talisman the words are written τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ δαίμονος: P. Mag. Par. 2427 ff.) ἀγαθοδαίμονες was the name given to a special kind of non-poisonous snake (described after Archigenes, in the Vatican iologus brought to light by myself: Rh. Mus. 38, 278; cf. Photius, αρεῖαι ὄφεις, and again esp. s.v. ὄφεις παρείας, 364, 1). Sacrifice was made to them in Alexandria on the 25th Tybi as τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς δαίμοσι τοῖς προνοουμένοις τῶν οἰκιῶν: [Callisth.] i, 32 (cod. A), or as “penates dei” as the words are translated by Jul. Valer., p. 38, 29 ff. (Kuebl.). In this instance the ἀγ. δ. is evidently a good spirit who protects the house. Only with this in mind can we understand how anyone could consecrate his house ἀγαθῷ δαίμονι, as Timoleon did at Syracuse (ἀγαθῷ δαίμονι, Plu., Ips. Laud., 11, p. 542 E; τὴν οἰκίαν ἱερῷ δαίμονι καθιέρωσεν, Plu., Timol. 36, where ἱερῷ is evidently an ancient copyist’s error). Cf. also the saying of Xeniades, D.L. vi, 74. Such guardian spirits of the house are of course familiar enough in our own popular superstition, but in their case “the transition from souls of the dead to kindly house-spirits or kobolds is still demonstrable” (Grimm, p. 913). At the household meal the first few drops of unmixed wine belong by right to the ἀγαθὸς δαίμων (Hug, Plat. Symp.2, p. 23); then follows the libation to Zeus Soter. But sometimes it was the “Heroes” and not the ἀγ. δ. who preceded Zeus Soter (Sch. Pi., I v, 10; Gerhard, p. 39): they have taken the place of the ἀγ. δ., which itself reveals the connexion between the ἀγ. δ. and these “souls”. Another fact pointing in the same direction is the worship of the ἀγαθὸς δαίμων in common with many other deities of chthonic nature in the temple of Trophonios at Lebadeia (Paus. 9, 39, 5). In this case it is mentioned by the side of Tyche and these two are sometimes met with together in grave-inscriptions (e.g. CIG. 2465 f.) and Tyche herself appears with such chthonic deities as Despoina, Plouton, and Persephone (CIG. 208 1464 Sparta). In epitaphic inscriptions δαιμόνων ἀγαθῶν sometimes occurs as completely equivalent to Dis Manibus: e.g. Δαιμόνων ἀγαθῶν Ποτίου, CIG. 2700 b.c. (Mylasa); δαιμόνων ἀγαθῶν Ἀρτέμωνος καὶ Τίτου, Ath. Mitt. ’90, p. 110 (Mylasa); cf. the inscr. from Mylasa in Ath. Mitt. ’90, pp. 276–7 (nn. 23–5, 27). The singular is rare: Δαίμονος ἀγαθοῦ Ἀριστέου κτλ. BCH. ’90, p. 626 (Karia). (δαίμοσιν ἑαυτοῦ τε καὶ Λαιτιτίας τῆς γυναικὸς αὐτοῦ = Dis Manibus suis et Laetitiae uxoris in the bilingual ins. from Beroea, CIG. 4452: cf. 4232 and 5827.) All these have come under Roman influence, but it is worth noticing, all the same, that the ἀγαθὸς δ. was identified with the Di Manes; which means that it was regarded as a daimon that had once been a disembodied human soul.—The subject might be dealt with more fully than would be in place here.

134 In Boeotia (and elsewhere, particularly in Thessaly) the designation of the dead as ἥρως—always an indication of a higher conception of its spirit nature—is especially frequent on tombstones. More will be found on this subject below. The inscriptions are for the most part of late date. But even in the fifth century (at all events at the beginning of the fourth) the custom of “heroizing” the ordinary dead was current. To this Plato Com. (i, p. 622 K.) alludes in the “Menelaos”, τί οὐκ ἀπήγξω, ἵνα Θήβησιν ἥρως γένῃ; (Zenob. vi, 17, etc. The Paroemiogrr. connect this with the Theban custom of refusing the honours of the dead to those who committed suicide. This is certainly wrong and contradicts Pl.’s intention. Keil shows this clearly, Syll. Insc. Boeot., p. 153).

135 Among the Epizephyrian Locrians ὀδύρεσθαι οὐκ ἔστιν ἐπὶ τοῖς τελευτήσασιν, ἀλλ’ ἐπειδὰν ἐκκομίσωσιν, εὐωχοῦνται, Heraclid., Pol. 30, 2. In Keos the men never wear any sign of mourning, though women mourn for a year for a son who dies young; ib. 9, 4 (see Welcker, Kl. Schr. ii, 502). The funeral regulation of Iulis (SIG. 877) published in imitation of Athenian usage implies rather a tendency to exaggerated display of mourning, at least among the common people.

136 e.g. Is. 2, 47: βοηθήσατε καὶ ἡμῖν καὶ ἐκείνῳ τῷ ἐν Ἅιδου ὄντι. Strictly speaking no one can βοηθεῖν the departed in Hades. Few nations have entirely escaped such contradictions between a cult of the dead in the house or at a grave and the conception of the relegation of the soul to an inaccessible other world. They arise from two simultaneously existing mental attitudes (representing also different stages of culture) towards these obscure subjects. The naive theology of the common people reconciles such discrepancies by attributing two souls to men, one of which goes down to Hades while the other remains beside the still-animated body and receives the offerings of the family: e.g. North American Indians: Müller, Ges. d. Amer. Urrel. 66; cf. Tylor, i, 434. These two souls are in reality the creation of two mutually incompatible modes of thought.

137idne testamento cavebit is qui nobis quasi oraculum ediderit nihil post mortem ad nos pertinere? Cic., Fin. ii, 102.—Besides Epic., Theophrastos seems to have made some arrangement for the regular celebration of his memory (by the associates of the Peripatos?). Harp. 139, 4 ff.: μήποτε δὲ ὕστερον νενόμισται τὸ ἐπὶ τιμῇ τινας τῶν ἀποθανόντων συνιέναι καὶ ὀργεῶνας ὁμοίως ὠνομάσθαι· ὡς ἔστι συνιδεῖν ἐκ τῶν Θεοφράστου διαθηκῶν. The will of Thphr. preserved by D.L. 5, 2, 14, is silent on the point. 209


138 Oracle ap. D. 43, 66 (cf. 67) τοῖς ἀποφθιμένοις ἐν ἱκνουμένᾳ ἁμέρᾳ (ἐν ταῖς καθηκούσαις ἡμέραις, § 67) τελεῖν τοὺς καθήκοντας καττὰ ôγημένα.—τὰ ôγημένα = τὰ νομιζόμενα “the customary things” (Buttmann, Ausf. Gramm., § 113 n. 7, 1, p. 84 Lob.).

139 Inquiry, at sacrifices to the dead, of an ἐξηγητής: Is. 8, 39; of the ἐξηγηταί (who give detailed instructions and advice): [D.] 47, 68 ff. Harp. ἐξηγητής· ἔστι δὲ καὶ ἃ (perh. ὅτε τὰ) πρὸς τοὺς κατοιχομένους νομιζόμενα ἐξηγοῦντο τοῖς δεομένοις. Tim. Lex. ἐξηγηταί· τρεῖς γίνονται πυθόχρηστοι (there is no need to understand this other than literally, i.e. that the college of the πυθόχρ. ἐξηγ. consisted of three members: Schöll, Hermes, 22, 564), οἷς μέλει καθαίρειν τοὺς ἄγει τινὶ ἐνισχηθέντας. The purification of the ἐναγεῖς is closely connected with the cult of the souls. It is true that prescriptions for such purification were to be found also ἐν τοῖς τῶν Εὐπατριδῶν (so Müller, Aesch. Eum. 163 A. 20 [152 n. E.T.]) πατρίοις: Ath. 9, 410 A, and it may be that the college of the ἐξ Εὐπατριδῶν ἐξηγηταί may have also given decisions in such cases. Still, that does not prevent the statement of Timaeus in regard to the ἐξηγ. πυθόχρ. from being true. (Expiations belong principally if not exclusively to the Apolline cult.)

140 Plu., Ser. Num. 17, p. 650 C.D. expressly appeals for confirmation of the belief in a continued existence of the soul after the death of the body to utterances of the Delphic god: ἄχρι τοῦ πολλὰ τοιαῦτα προθεσπίζεσθαι, οὐχ ὅσιόν ἐστι τῆς ψυχῆς καταγνῶναι θάνατον.

141 That already in Homer the circle of the ἀγχιστεῖς (in the Athenian legal sense) was called upon to prosecute the blood-feud is certainly probable in itself; it cannot, however, be proved from examples occurring in Homer. Leist’s statements in Graecoital. Rechtsges., p. 42, are not quite exact. The facts are: a father is called upon to avenge his son, and a son his father, and a brother to avenge his brother (γ 307; I 632 f.; ω 434); once the avengers are the κασίγνητοί τε ἔται τε of the murdered man, ο 273. ἔται has a very wide sense and is not even confined to kinship; at any rate it is not simply “cousins” (ἔται καὶ ἀνεψιοί side by side. I 464).—In Attic law, too, in certain cases the duty of prosecuting the murderer extended beyond the limits of the ἀνεψιαδοῖ to more distant relatives and even to the φράτορες of the murdered man (Law ap. D. 43, 57).

142 Flight, indeed ἀειφυγία, on account of φόνος ἀκούσιος: Ψ 85 ff. (The fugitive becomes the θεράπων of the person who receives him into his house in the foreign land: l. 90; cf. Ο 431 f.; this must have been the rule.)—Flight on account of φόνος ἑκούσιους (λοχησάμενος 268) ν 259 ff. And so frequently.

143 I 632 ff. καὶ μέν τίς τε κασιγνήτοιο φονῆος ποινὴν ἢ οὗ παιδὸς ἑδέξατο τεθνηῶτος· καί ῥ’ ὁ μὲν ἐν δήμῳ μένει αὐτοῦ πόλλ’ ἀποτίσας τοῦ δέ τ’ ἐρητύεται κραδίη καὶ θυμὸς ἀγήνωρ ποινὴν δεξαμένου. Here it is very plainly represented that all that is required is to appease “the heart and spirit” of the receiver of the ποινή: the murdered man is not considered.

144 It is very natural to suppose that the ποινή (as K. O. Müller suggests in Aesch. Eum. 145 [122 E T.]) may have arisen out of the substitution of a vicarious sacrifice instead of that of the murderer himself, who should strictly have been offered to the dead man. In this way primitive human sacrifice has in many cases been replaced by sacrifice of animals. In that case the ποινή too must have originally been offered to the murdered man: in Homeric times 210 only the satisfaction of the living avenger was thought of.—In any case it is a mistake to look upon the permission to buy off the blood-feud as a mitigation of primitive severity in the taking of vengeance due to the intervention of the State. The State in this case mitigated nothing since it took no interest at all (in Homer) in the treatment of murder cases. Of course, legal proceedings can be taken to decide whether a stipulated ποινή has been paid or not (Σ 497 ff.), as in the case of any other συμβόλαιον. But the prosecution of the murderer in all its departments is left entirely in the hands of the family of the murdered man.

145 We have very few details on this point. In Sparta οἱ γέροντες (δικάζουσι) τὰς φονικὰς (δίκας), Arist., Pol. 3, 1, p. 1275b 10 (and in Corinth, too, D.S. 16, 65, 6 ff.). Involuntary homicide is punished by exile and (in this being more severe than at Athens) perpetual exile as it appears. The Spartiate Drakontios serving in the army of the Ten Thousand ἔφυγε παῖς ὢν οἴκοθεν παῖδα ἄκων κατακανὼν (like Patroklos in fact, Ψ 87), ξυήλῃ πατάξας, Xen., An. 4, 8, 25. If his banishment had been only temporary the period must have expired long before.—In Kyme there are vestiges of legal prosecution of murder (with witnesses): Arist., Pol. 1269a, 1 ff.—In Chalkis ἐπὶ Θράκῃ the laws of Androdamas of Rhegion were in force περί τε τὰ φονικὰ καὶ τὰς ἐπικλήρους, Arist., Pol. 2, 8, p. 1274b 23 ff.—In Lokri were used the laws of Zaleukos in combination with Cretan, Spartan and Areopagite institutions; these last undoubtedly dealing with homicide, which must therefore have been regulated constitutionally. (Str. vi, 260, following Eph.)

146 The limits of those qualified to inherit extends in Athenian law μέχρι ἀνεψιαδῶν παίδων (Law ap. D. 43, 51; cf. § 27) as did the duty of avenging murder μεχρὶ ἀνεψιαδῶν: D. 47, 72 (ἐντὸς ἀνεψιότητος, which must mean the same thing, Law ap. D. 43, 57). The circle of persons thus united in the right of inheritance and the duty of taking vengeance for murder constituted the ἀγχιστεία, the body of kinsfolk tracing their descent (in the male line only) from the same man, the father, grandfather, or great-grandfather of them all. This is the limit to which the γονεῖς are traced: Is. 8, 32; cf. above, note 123. Many nations of the earth are familiar with a similar limitation of the narrower body of kinsfolk composing a “house”: as to the underlying reasons for the practice many conjectures are made by H. E. Seebohm, On the Structure of Greek Tribal Society (1895).

147 As to the restless wandering of the βιαιοθάνατοι more details will be given below [Append. vii]. In the meantime it will be enough to refer to A., Eum. 98, where the still unavenged soul of the murdered Klytaimnestra complains αἰσχρῶς ἀλῶμαι. A later authority uses words that correspond well with ancient belief: Porph., Abst. ii, 47, τῶν ἀνθρώπων αἱ τῶν βίᾳ ἀποθανόντων (ψυχαὶ) κατέχονται πρὸς τῷ σώματι, like the souls of the ἄταφοι.

148 In Homeric times the injured dead becomes a θεῶν μήνιμα to the evil-doer (X 358, λ 73). Later times believed that the soul of the dead man himself angrily pursued the murderer with its terrors till it drove him beyond its own boundaries: ὁ θανατωθεὶς θυμοῦται τῷ δράσαντι κτλ., Pl., Lg. 865 DE, appealing to παλαιόν τινα τῶν ἀρχαίων μύθων λεγόμενον; cf. X., Cyr. 8, 7, 18: A., Cho. 39 ff., 323 ff. If the next-of-kin whose duty it is to avenge the death of his relative shirks the duty incumbent on him the anger of the dead man is turned upon the latter: Pl., Leg. 9, 866 B—τοῦ παθόντος προστρεπομένου τὴν πάθην. The indignant soul becomes προστρόπαιος. προστρόπαιος probably 211 applies only in a derivative sense to a δαίμων who takes the part of the dead man (esp. Ζεὺς προστρόπαιος); it is strictly speaking an epithet of the soul itself in its longing for vengeance. Thus in Antiphon Tetral. 1, γ 10, ἡμῖν μὲν προστρόπαιος ὁ ἀποθανὼν οὐκ ἔσται. 3, δ 10, ὁ ἀποκτείνας (or rather ὁ τεθνηκὼς) τοῖς αἰτίοις προστρόπαιος ἔσται. So, too, A., Cho. 287, ἐκ προστροπαίων ἐν γένει πεπτωκότων. EM. 42, 7, Ἠριγόνην, ἀναρτήσασαν ἑαυτήν, προστρόπαιον τοῖς Ἀθηναίοις γενέσθαι. We can, however, see particularly well from this case how easily the change came about from a soul in a special condition to a similar daimonic being which takes the place of the soul of the dead. The same Antiphon speaks also of οἱ τῶν ἀποθανόντων προστρόπαιοι, ὁ προστρόπαιος τοῦ ἀποθανόντος as something distinct from the dead man himself: Tetr. 3, α 4; 3, β 8; cf. ὁ Μυρτίλου προστρόπαιος, Paus. 2, 18, 2, etc.; cf. Zacher, Dissert. phil. Halens., iii, p. 228. The injured dead himself becomes ἀραῖος, Soph., Tr. 1201 ff. (cf. fr. 367; E., IT. 778; Med. 608); later his place is taken by δαίμονες ἀραῖοι. What terrible evils the unavenged soul can bring upon the person who is called upon to take vengeance are painted for us by Aesch. in Cho. 278 ff. (or else as some think an ancient interpolator of A.). Sickness and trouble might be sent over several generations by such παλαιὰ μηνίματα of the dead: Pl., Phdr. 244 D (see Lobeck’s account, Agl. 636 f.). True to ancient beliefs an Orphic hymn prays to the Titanes μῆνιν χαλεπὴν ἀποπέμπειν, εἴ τις ἀπὸ χθονίων προγόνων οἴκοισι πελάσθη, H. 37, 7 f.; cf. 39, 9–10.

149 χρεών ἐστιν ὑπεξελθεῖν τῷ παθόντι τὸν δράσαντα τὰς ὥρας πάσας τοῦ ἐνιαυτοῦ, καὶ ἐρημῶσαι πάντας τοὺς οἰκείους τόπους ξυμπάσης τῆς πατρίδος, Pl., Lg. ix, 865 E. The law says in the case of the criminal convicted of murder εἴργειν μὲν τῆς τοῦ παθόντος πατρίδος, κτείνειν δὲ οὐχ ὅσιον ἁπανταχοῦ, D. 23, 38.

150 When the victim was a citizen, and also in wilful murder of a non-citizen. See Mei. and Sch., Att. Proc.2, p. 379, n. 520.—When the citizenship of a city rested upon conquest the lives of the subjects belonging to the older subject population were of less account. In Tralles (Karia) the murder of one of the Leleges by an (Argive) full citizen might be bought off by payment of a bushel of peas (a purely symbolical ποινή) to the relations of the victim: Plu., Q.Gr. 46, p. 302 B.

151 On the expiry of the legally appointed period of banishment the relations of the dead man do not seem to have been allowed to refuse αἴδεσις. See Philippi, Areop. u. Epheten, 115 f.

152 Law ap. D. 43, 57.

153 D. 37, 59. See Philippi, op. cit., p. 144 ff. Cf. E., Hipp. 1435 f., 1442 f., 1448 f.

154 Such prohibition against taking a ποινή for murder is made by the Law ap. D. 23, 28: τοὺς δ’ ἀνδροφόνους ἐξεῖναι ἀποκτείνειν . . . λυμαίνεσθαι δὲ μή, μηδὲ ἀποινᾶν (cf. § 33 τὸ δὲ μηδ’ ἀποινᾶν· μὴ χρήματα πράττειν, τὰ γὰρ χρήματα ἄποινα ὠνόμαζον οἱ παλαιοί). In spite of this Meier and others unjustifiably conclude that murder could be indemnified by payment of money, from the illegal practice mentioned in [D.] 58, 29: this speaks rather for the contrary. They have more appearance of justification when they appeal to Harp. (Phot. Suid., E.M. 784, 26; AB. 313, 5 ff.), s.v. ὑποφόνια· τὰ ἐπὶ φόνῳ διδόμενα χρήματα τοῖς οἰκείοις τοῦ φονευθέντος, ἵνα μὴ ἐπεξίωσιν. On the strength of this Hermann, Gr. Staatsalt.5 104, 6, says, “even intentional murder could be absolutely indemnified.” Nothing is actually said of φόνος ἑκούσιος here nor do we anywhere learn that the payment of ὑποφόνια 212 on the occasion of a murder was ever a formally legalized proceeding. It remains possible, and even in the circumstances more probable, that Dinarch. and Thphr. in the passages on ὑποφόνια quoted by Harp. referred to the practice as one forbidden by law, though it might be, on occasion, an actual fact. If we had only the gloss of Suidas—ἄποινα· λύτρα, ἃ δίδωσί τις ὑπὲρ φόνου ἢ σώματος. οὕτως Σόλων ἐν νόμοις—we might have concluded that payment of such blood-money was allowed in Athens and mentioned in Solon’s laws as allowable. This would be quite as justifiable as to argue as above from Harp. s. ὑποφόνια. We know, in fact, that the law referred to the ἄποινα and ἀποινᾶν as forbidden things, from the passages already quoted from Dem. (23, 28–33). From these the gloss was itself probably derived.

155 We cannot, however, believe on the poor authority of Sch. Dem. p. 607, 16 ff., that the ἱεροποιοὶ ταῖς Σεμναῖς θεαῖς were selected out of the whole Athenian citizen body by the Areiopagos. (“Three” were chosen out of all the Athenians: D. 21, 115; at other times “ten”: Dinarch. ap. EM. 469, 12 ff.; an indefinite number: Phot. ἱεροποιοί.) According to all analogies we should rather expect this selection to have been made by the popular Assembly.

156 αἱ διωμοσίαι καὶ τὰ τόμια, Antiphon, Herod. 88. In more detail D. 23, 67–8. Those who had to take an oath swore by the Σεμναὶ θεαί and other gods: Dinarch., adv. Demosth. 47. Both sides had to swear to the justice of their case in respect of the material facts in dispute (Philippi, Areop., pp. 87–95). Such a compulsory oath taken by both parties could not of course in any circumstances serve as proof: one side at least must be perjured. Nor can the Athenians themselves have failed to see this. It is surely doing them an injustice not to see the simple explanation of this strange sort of preliminary oath-taking and to dismiss the matter with a reference to the Athenians as “not a legally-minded people” (as Philippi does, p. 88). It is much more natural to suppose that this double oath, taken under circumstances of peculiar solemnity, was not regarded as a juridical matter at all, but had a purely religious sense (as it had in the quite similar cases mentioned by Meiners, Allg. Gesch. d. Relig. ii, 296 f.). The oath-taker invokes a dreadful curse upon himself if he breaks his oath and devotes αὑτὸν καὶ γένος καὶ οἰκίαν τὴν αὑτοῦ (Antiphon, Herod. 11) to the Curse-Goddesses, the Ἀραί or the Ἐρινύες αἵ θ’ ὑπὸ γαῖαν ἀνθρώπους τίνυνται, ὅτις κ’ ἐπίορκον ὀμόσσῃ (Τ 259 f.)—and to the Gods who are to punish his children and his whole kith and kin on earth (Lycurg., Leocr. 79). If the court discovers the perjured party the punishment due to his action overtakes him (or if he is the plaintiff, he fails in his purpose) and at the same time the justice of heaven punishes him for his broken oath (cf. D. 23, 68). But the court may make a mistake and not find out the perjurer; in which case the perjurer is still punished for he becomes a victim of the gods to whom he has devoted himself—who do not err. Thus the double oath is an addition to the judicial inquiry, and heavenly punishment stands side by side with that of men. The two may coincide, but this need not be so, and in this way the guilty is punished whatever happens. (How familiar such ideas were in antiquity we see from expressions used by orators: Isoc. 18, 3; D. 19, 239–40; Lycurg., Leocr. 79.) The oath, being an appeal to a higher court, supplemented human justice, or rather the legal processes of men supplemented the oath-taking, for in this partnership the appeal to an oath must have been the older member. 213

157 Poll. 8, 117, καθ’ ἕκαστον δὲ μῆνα τριῶν ἡμερῶν ἐδίκαζον (the judges on the Areiopagos) ἐφεξῆς, τετάρτῃ φθίνοντος, τρίτῃ, δευτέρᾳ.

158 οἱ Ἀρεοπαγῖται τρεῖς που τοῦ μῆνος ἡμέρας τὰς φονικὰς δίκας ἐδίκαζον, ἑκάστῃ τῶν θεῶν μίαν ἡμέραν ἀπονέμοντες, Sch. Aeschin. 1, 188, p. 282 Sch. This certainly implies that the limitation of the number of the Erinyes to three (and not two for example)—which first appears in Eurip., but was certainly not his own invention—was officially current in the worship of the city.—Since these three days were sacred to the Erinyes, as goddesses of Hades, they counted as ἀποφράδες ἡμέραι: EM. 131, 16 f.; Et. Gud. 70, 5 (the thirtieth day of the month is for that reason φαύλη πᾶσιν ἔργοις acc. to “Orpheus” fr. 28 Ab.).

159 Paus. 1, 28, 6.

160 The Erinyes are the accusers of Orestes not only in Aeschylus (and thence in Eurip. too, IT. 940 ff.), but also in the varying accounts derived from different sources, in which the twelve gods served as judges ap. D. 23, 66 (cf. 74, and Dinarch., adv. Dem. 87).

161 The Erinyes are said ἀπὸ ζῶντος ῥοφεῖν ἐρυθρὸν ἐκ μελέων πέλανον, A., Eum. 264 f.; cf. 183 f.; 302; 305. In this they closely resemble the “vampires” which we hear of especially in Slav popular mythology, and the Tii of the Polynesians, etc. These, however, are the souls of the dead returned from the grave and sucking men’s blood.

162 The Erinyes say to Orestes: ἐμοὶ τραφείς τε καὶ καθιερωμένος καὶ ζῶν με δαίσεις οὐδὲ πρὸς βωμῷ σφαγείς, A., Eum. 304 f. The matricide is divis parentum (i.e. their Manes) sacer, their sacrificial victim (θῦμα καταχθονίου Διός D.H. 2, 10, 3), in the older belief of Greece, too.

163 See Rh. Mus. 50, 6 ff.

164 The fact that after receiving the αἴδεσις of the dead man’s relatives the agent of a φόνος ἀκούσιος was still required to offer the expiatory sacrifice as well as undergo purification (ἱλασμός and καθαρμός) is alluded to by Dem. 23, 72–3, in the double expression θῦσαι καὶ καθαρθῆναι, ὁσιοῦν καὶ καθαίρεσθαι (cf. Müller, Aesch. Eum., p. 144 [122, n. 2, E.T.]).

165 See Philippi, Areop. u. Eph. 62.

166 In the Iliad and the Odyssey there is a total absence not only of all reference to purification from blood-guiltiness but of the necessary conditions for it. The murderer goes freely among men without there being any fear of others suffering from a μίασμα attaching to him. Cf. the case especially of Theoklymenos, ο 271–8. Lobeck rightly emphasizes this, Agl. 301. K. O. Müller’s attempts to prove in spite of everything that purifications from the stain of murder were a Homeric custom, are failures. See Nägelsbach, Hom. Theol.2, p. 293.—The oldest examples of purifications from murder in the literature are (Lobeck 309): purification of Achilles from the blood of Thersites in the Αἰθιοπίς, p. 33 Kink.; refusal of Neleus to purify Herakles from the murder of Iphitos: Hesiod ἐν καταλόγοις, Sch., Il. Β 336.—Mythical exx. of such purifications in later accounts: Lob., Agl. 968–9.

167 E g. offering of cakes, sacrifice of drink-offerings without wine, burning of the materials of sacrifice; cf. the description of ἱλασμός (in this place clearly distinguished from καθαρμός) in A.R. iv, 712 ff. Similar account (offerings without wine, etc.) of the ἱλασμός (which is, however, improperly called καθαρμός, l. 466) of the Eumenides at Kolonos which the chorus recommends to Oedipus, S., O.C. 469 ff. No one might eat of the expiatory sacrifice: Porph., Abst. 2, 44. It is burnt completely: Stengel, Jahrb. f. Phil. 1883, p. 369 ff.—The 214 clash of bronze was used πρὸς πᾶσαν ἀφοσίωσιν καὶ ἀποκάθαρσιν: Apollod. fr. 36 (and in offerings to Hekate, Theoc. ii, 36; as protection against ghosts, Luc., Philops. 15; Sch. Theoc. ii, 36; Tz., Lyc. 77. Clash of bronze in this apotropaic sense occurs, too, in the dance of the Kouretes, etc.; see below). The ritual of expiation was affected in many ways by admixture of foreign superstitions from Phrygia and Lydia. Its chief source is to be found in the Cretan worship of the (chthonic) Zeus. Thence it seems to have spread all over Greece assisted by the Apolline oracle of Delphi. This is why the ram, the peculiar victim of Ζεὺς χθόνιος, is the principal victim in expiatory sacrifices, its fleece, the Διὸς κώδιον, receiving the various materials of expiation, etc.

168 On the chthonic character of the deities of expiation see in gen. K. O. Müller, Aesch. Eum., p. 139 ff. (112 ff.). Chief among them is Ζεὺς μειλίχιος (a euphemistic title; cf. above, n. 5), who is unmistakably a χθόνιος. Hence, like all χθόνιοι he is represented as a snake on the votive tablet to Ζ. μειλ. discovered in the Peiraeus (certainly the Athenian god and not a foreign deity identified with this god whom all Athenians knew well from the feast of the Diasia): BCH. 7, 507 ff.; CIA. ii, 1578 ff. On a votive insc. from Lykia we have, side by side with the chthonic Hekate, Διὶ Μειλιχίῳ καὶ Ἐνοδίᾳ, BCH. 13, 392. Other θεοὶ μειλίχιοι in Lokris were worshipped with nocturnal sacrifice (as regularly in the case of underworld deities): Paus. 10, 38, 8. The δαίμονες μειλίχιοι as χθόνιοι are contrasted with the μακάρεσσιν οὐρανίοις in the oracle verses ap. Phlegon, Macr. iv, p. 93, 5 Kel.: deis milicheis Acta Lud. Saecul. Tab. A l. 11 [= CIL. vi, 32, 323; see Mommsen, Ges. Schr. viii, 570].—Then come the ἀποτρόπαιοι: their nature can be guessed from the fact that they were worshipped together with the dead and Hekate on the thirtieth day of the month (see above, n. 88). After a bad dream offerings were made to the ἀποτρόπαιοι, to Ge and the Heroes: Hp., Diaet. 4, 8, vi, p. 652 L. Ζεὺς ἀποτρόπαιος must have been a χθόνιος, but we have side by side with him an Ἀθηνᾶ ἀποτροπαία (and an Apollo ἀποτρ. too): ins. from Erythrai, SIG. 600, 69; 115: the provinces of Ὀλύμπιοι and χθόνιοι were not always kept absolutely distinct.—An ancient and hereditary service of the propitiation deities belonged to the Attic family of the Phytalids who had once purified and offered expiatory sacrifice for Theseus after the murder of Skiron and others (ἁγνίσαντες καὶ μειλίχια θύσαντες): Plu., Thes. 12. The gods to whom this family offered sacrifice were Demeter and Zeus Meilichios: Paus. 1, 37, 2–4.—Isoc. 5, 117, makes a clear distinction between the θεοὶ Ὀλύμπιοι and the gods to whom only an apotropaic cult, ἀποπομπάς, was offered; these being the gods of expiation (cf. ἀποδιοπομπεῖσθαι in propitiatory sacrifices; ἀποπομπαῖοι θεοί: Apollod. ap. Harp. ἀποπομπάς. Cf. also ἀποπομπή of evil daimones in contrast to the ἐπιπομπή of the same: Anon. Vir. Herb. xxii, 165. See Hemsterhuys, Lucian ii, p. 255 Bip.; Lob., Agl. 984, ii).

169 e.g. in the description of the ἱλασμός of Medea by Kirke in A.R. iv, 712 ff.

170 K. O. Müller, Dorians, i, 328, 336; cf. the same ancient custom of flight for nine years and penance for the slaying of a man in the legend and cult of Zeus Lykaios; cf. H. D. Müller, Myth. d. gr. St. ii, 105. See below.

171 Cho. 1055–60. Eum. 237 ff., 281 ff., 445 ff., 470.

172 The Delphinion, the court for trying φόνος δίκαιος, and the ancient dwelling of Aegeus (Plu., Thes. 12), was at the same time 215 (and perhaps originally) an expiation site. Expiatory sacrifice was there made for Theseus after his fights with the Pallantidai and the highway robbers (ἀφοσιούμενος τὸ ἄγος, Poll. viii, 119).

173 Plu., Ser. Num. 17, p. 560 EF. Note the expressions: ἱλάσασθαι τὴν τοῦ Ἀρχιλόχου ψυχήν, ἱλασασθαι τὴν Παυσανίου ψυχήν. Suid. Ἀρχίλοχος, from Aelian: μειλίξασθαι τὴν τοῦ Τελεσικλείου παιδὸς ψυχήν, καὶ πραῧναι χοαῖς.

174 The three ἐξηγηταὶ πυθόχρηστοι, οἷς μέλει καθαῖρειν τοὺς ἄγει τινὶ ἐνισχηθέντας, Tim. Lex. p. 109 R.

175 Pl., Lg. 865 B: the agent in a φόνος ἀκούσιος (of a special kind) καθαρθεὶς κατὰ τὸν ἐκ Δελφῶν κομισθέντα περὶ τούτων νόμον ἔστω καθαρός.

176 I set down here the expressions occurring in the speeches and the (at any rate contemporary [see Appendix iv]) Tetralogies of Antiphon, which throw light on the religious ideas lying behind the procedure in trials for murder. In the prosecution of the murderer the following are concerned: ὁ τεθνεώς, οἱ νόμοι, and θεοὶ οἱ κάτω, Or. 1, 31. The vigorous prosecution of the case on the part of the relations of the dead is βοηθεῖν τῷ τεθνεῶτι: 1, 31. Tetr. 1 β, 13. The condemnation of the murderer is τιμωρία τῷ ἀδικηθέντι, his personal revenge: 5, 88 = 6, 6. The accusing relatives come before the court as representatives of the dead man, ἀντὶ τοῦ παθόντος ἐπισκήπτομεν ὑμῖν, as they say to the judges, Tetr. 3 γ, 7. The duty of accusing as well as the ἀσέβημα of the deed of bloodshed rests upon them until satisfaction is made for it: Tetr. 1 α, 3. But the μίασμα of the deed attaches to the whole city in which the murderer lives. All who sit at table with him, or live under the same roof, even the temples he walks in, are polluted by his mere presence: hence come ἀφορίαι and δυστυχεῖς πράξεις on the city. It is to the greatest interest of the judges to avert this pollution by giving a propitiatory judgment: Tetr. 1 α, 10; Or. 5, 11, 82; Tetr. 1 α, 3; 1 γ, 9, 11; 3 γ, 6, 7. Above all it is necessary to find the real criminal and to punish him. If the relatives of the dead prosecute some one other than the real doer of the deed, it is they, and not the judges (on account of their wrong decision), who will have to bear the wrath of the dead man and of the avenging spirits: Tetr. 1 α, 3; 3 α, 4; 3 δ, 10; for in this case the murdered man is deprived of his τιμωρία: 3 α, 4. But perjured witnesses and unjust judges are liable to a μίασμα, too, which they then introduce into their own houses: Tetr. 3 α, 3; or at least, if they give a false condemnation (but not a false acquittal) of the accused, they incur the μήνιμα τῶν ἀλιτηρίων acc. to Tetr. 3 β, 8—i.e. that of the falsely condemned person (whereas the murdered man still continues angry with his own relatives). If they knowingly acquit the murderer contrary to justice, the murdered man becomes ἐνθύμιος to the judges and no longer to his relatives: Tetr. 1 γ, 10.—The source of the resentment is said to be the dead man himself: προστρόπαιος ὁ ἀποθανών, Tetr. 1 γ, 10; cf. 3 δ, 10; where he is parallel with τὸ μήνιμα τῶν ἀλιτηρίων. The murdered man leaves behind him τὴν τῶν ἀλιτηρίων δυσμένειαν (and this is what the μίασμα really is—not as some modern writers have imagined, any sort of “moral” pollution—as is clearly stated in this passage: τὴν τῶν ἀλιτ. δυσμένειαν, ἢν . . . μίασμα . . . εἰσάγονται): Tetr. 3 α, 3; cf. Again 3 β, 8; 3 γ, 7. In this case the avenging spirits substitute themselves for the soul of the dead man (just as in the case where a προστρόπαιος τοῦ ἀποθανόντος is spoken of: cf. above, n. 148). The προστρόπαιοι τῶν ἀποθανάντων become themselves δεινοὶ ἀλιτήριοι of the dilatory relatives: 216 Tetr. 3 α, 4. There is no essential distinction between the two (cf. Poll. 5, 131). Elsewhere we hear of τὸ προστρόπαιον as the special attribute or feeling of the murdered man himself: Tetr. 2 δ, 9. Thus also we have the alternatives ἐνθύμιος ὁ ἀποθανών (1 γ, 10) and τὸ ἐνθύμιον (2 α, 2; 2 δ, 9). In this connexion it is clear that ἐνθύμιον (as the fixed and conventional expression for these superstitions) means the indignant memory, the longing for revenge of the murdered man (—ἐνθύμιον ἔστω Δάματρος καὶ Κούρας, GDI. 3541, 8). The proper understanding of this word will help us to see what is meant by the expression ὀξυθύμια used of the meal offered to the dead and Hekate, and the almost identical purificatory offerings, that after the religious cleansing of a house were thrown out at the cross-roads (Harp. s.v. Phot. s.v. Art. 1, 2, 3; AB. 287, 24, 288, 7; EM. 626, 44 ff.). They are intended to appease the easily awakened anger of the souls (and of their patroness Hekate), their ὀξύθυμον, a stronger version of ἐνθύμιον, by apotropaic sacrifice.

177 See Appendix ii (μασχαλισμός).

178 Xen., Cyr. 8, 7, 17 ff.: οὐ γὰρ δήπου τοῦτό γε σαφῶς δοκεῖτε εἰδέναι ὡς οὐδέν εἰμι ἐγὼ ἔτι, ἐπειδὰν τοῦ ἀνθρωπίνου βίου τελευτήσω· οὐδὲ γὰρ νῦν τοι τήν γ’ ἐμὴν ψυχὴν ἑωρᾶτε . . . τὰς δὲ τῶν ἄδικα παθόντων ψυχὰς οὔπω κατενοήσατε, οἵους μὲν φόβους τοῖς μιαιφόνοις ἐμβάλλουσιν, οἵους δὲ παλαμναίους (which means first the criminal and then, as here, the punishing spirit that avenges the criminal deed, exactly like προστρόπαιος, ἀλιτήριος, ἀλάστωρ, μιάστωρ: see Zacher, Dissert. phil. Halens. iii, 232 ff.) τοῖς ἀνοσίοις ἐπιπέμπουσι; τοῖς δὲ φθιμένοις τὰς τιμὰς διαμένειν ἔτι ἂν δοκεῖτε, εἰ μηδενὸς αὐτῶν αἱ ψυχαὶ κύριαι ἦσαν; οὔτοι ἔγωγε, ὦ παῖδες, οὐδὲ τοῦτο πώποτε ἐπείσθην, ὡς ἡ ψυχή, ἕως μὲν ἂν ἐν θνητῷ σώματι ᾖ, ζῇ, ὅταν δὲ τούτου ἀπαλλαγῇ, τέθνηκεν. Then follow other popular arguments for the belief in the continued existence of the soul after its separation from the body.



The cult of the dead, thus pursued in unhampered freedom, preserved and encouraged certain ideas of the life of the soul after death; of the soul as a conscious and powerful being which though separated from the body has not been parted for ever from the scene of its earthly existence. To the Greeks such ideas had become strange and unfamiliar—strange, at least, to the Ionian Greeks of the Homeric age.

But from such a cult no dogmatic or distinctly outlined picture of the life of the departed soul could have been deduced, nor ever was deduced. Everything in this connexion dealt with the relation of the dead to the living. Families by means of sacrifice and religious acts sought to nourish the souls of their own dead. But the cult was in itself chiefly precautionary (apotropaic) in character, and as a consequence men preferred rather to avoid investigation into the nature and condition of the dead themselves, except in so far as they came into the life of the living.

This is the point at which the cult of the souls and belief in the existence of souls stopped short among many of the so-called “savage” peoples who have no history. Nor can there be much doubt that it had reached this stage of development in Greece, too, before the time of Homer; though temporarily overshadowed, it continued to exist for it was rooted firmly in the united life of the family and its traditional practices.

Such traditional beliefs, however, left the nature of the disembodied soul vague and undefined; they viewed it purely from the standpoint of the living and almost entirely in its relations with this world; and resting on such foundations it is not very surprising if they yielded unresistingly and sank into insignificance once the feeling of the influence exercised by the dead upon the living began to weaken, or if anything happened to cause the decline or discredit of the cult of the dead. When the living withdrew their support and reverence from the departed soul the latter ceased to present any clear picture to the minds of men—it became a mere evanescent shadow—unsubstantial—little more than nothing. This is what 218 happened in the period of Ionic culture, in which Homer lived.

The poetry of that period, however, had of its own accord given rise to aspirations after a fuller and more definite picture of the long, unbounded future in the life to come. These aspirations had been given shape in the pictures of the translation of individual mortals to Elysium and the Islands of the Blest.

Such things, however, were, and continued to be, matters of poetry, not of religious faith. Even the poetical fancy dealt with the marvellous past and with exceptional heroes chosen out long ago by the special favour of the gods; such favour was not extended to include the living generations of men. The desire, once it was awakened, for a more hopeful prospect of the life to come beyond the grave and for something more than the mere negative existence of the ancestors worshipped in family cults, must look to other sources for its satisfaction. Such desires began to be felt by many, but their originating source and the secret forces that set them going must remain for us hidden behind the obscurity that lies over the most important period of Greek development, the eighth and seventh centuries. Nor does it help us very much when historians try to stop the gaps of our knowledge with platitudes or the barren offspring of their own imagination. The existence of such desires and their growing strength is shown by the fact that they were able to create for themselves a means of satisfaction (a peculiarly limited satisfaction it is true) in a direction that immediately occurs to everyone as soon as the subject of future blessedness or belief in immortality among the Greeks is mentioned—the Eleusinian Mysteries.

§ 2

Wherever the cult of the gods of the earth and the lower world, and particularly of Demeter and her daughter, was at its height it was not difficult for hopes of a better fate in the kingdom of souls below the earth, where those deities ruled, to become attached to participation in their cult. The tendency to connect closely such hopes with the worship of these gods may have existed in many different localities. In Eleusis alone, however (and in the cults, mostly of later origin, affiliated to Eleusis), we see this connexion carried out as a fully organized institution. We can follow at least in general outline the gradual advance of the Eleusinian religious organization. The Homeric Hymn to Demeter tells us the origin 219 of the cult according to the national legends of Eleusis. In the country of the Eleusinians the divine daughter of Demeter, after being carried down to the lower world by Aïdoneus, came up once more to the light of day, and was restored to her mother. Before ascending to Olympos and the company of the other immortals, in accordance with the wish of Zeus, Demeter fulfilled her promise, and when the Eleusinians had erected a temple to her outside the city, over the spring Kallichoros, she founded the sacred worship whereby men should do honour to her in the future. She herself instructed the princes of the land “in the performance of the cult and taught them her sacred Orgia”, which respect for the goddess does not allow them to communicate to others.1 This primitive Eleusinian cult of Demeter, then, is the religious service of a close corporation. Knowledge of the holy ritual, carrying with it the priesthood of the two goddesses is confined to the descendants of the four Eleusinian princes to whom Demeter once gave her ordinances as an inheritance. The cult is therefore a “secret” one: not more so, indeed, than a great many cult-societies of Greece, participation in which was strictly forbidden to all unauthorized persons.2 It differs from them, however, in the solemn promise which is made to the participants in its worship. “Blessed is the man who has beheld these holy acts; but he that is uninitiated and has no share in the holy ceremonies shall not enjoy a like fate after his death, in the gloomy darkness of Hades.” To those who share in the Eleusinian worship a privileged fate is promised after death; but even in his lifetime, we read further on,3 he is highly blessed whom the two goddesses love: they send him Ploutos, the giver of good things, to be a beloved partner of his hearth and home. On the other hand, whosoever honours not Korê, the queen of the lower world, with gifts and sacrifice, shall do penance everlastingly (368 ff.).

The narrow circle of those to whom such a tremendous promise was made began to be extended after the time when Eleusis was united with Athens (which may have taken place some time in the seventh century), and when the Eleusinian worship was raised to the position of an official cult of the Athenian state. Nor was it Attica alone, but the whole of Greece which became interested in the Eleusinian festival, when Athens became the chief centre of Greek life. A solemn “truce of God” was proclaimed which assured the peaceful and undisturbed performance of the sacred ritual, and distinguished the Eleusinia, like the great games and Fairs of Olympia, the Isthmus, etc., as a Pan-Hellenic festival. At 220 the height of Athenian power (about 440)4 a decree of the people was passed which required the yearly offering of first fruits of the fields to the Eleusinian temple from Athenian citizens and allies, and invited similar offerings from all Greek states. The decree could appeal in so doing to ancient and ancestral custom, and to an utterance of the Delphic god who had authorized these things.5 The inner history of the development of the Eleusinian festival is a matter of some obscurity. The holy rites continued to be performed at Eleusis; Eleusinian noble families still took part6 in the worship of the goddesses, which was yet directed by the Athenian government. On the other hand, a good deal must have been altered in the course of time. The popular decree mentioned above acquaints us with the names of two triads, each composed of two divine personages and a Hero, who were worshipped at Eleusis at that time. Demeter and Korê occur together with Triptolemos, and also “the god, the goddess, and Eubouleus”.7 The Homeric hymn gives no hint of the very important position here (and in innumerable other accounts, as well as pictorial representations) attributed to Triptolemos, nor of the other addition to the Eleusinian group of divinities. It is evident that in the course of years many different local figures and modes of worship have been added to and fused with the old cult of the two goddesses; and that in these local figures we have always the one type of chthonic godhead expressing itself anew in ever varied and differentiated forms. Their number is not exhausted by the six already mentioned.8 The most important addition to the Eleusinian circle of deities was Iakchos, the son of Zeus (Chthonios) and Persephone. This god was himself an underworld deity, quite distinct from that Dionysos, with whom other Athenian cults confused him, and with whom he was in fact commonly identified.9 It is a very probable supposition that this god, who soon came to be regarded as the central figure of the group of deities worshipped at Eleusis,10 was the contribution of Athens to that circle: his temple was situated in Athens not Eleusis;11 in the Athenian suburb Agrai the “Little Mysteries” were celebrated in his honour in the spring as a sort of prelude to the greater festival. At the Eleusinia itself, the sacred procession, in which the picture of the youthful god was borne from Athens to Eleusis, formed the link between the part of the festival already performed at Athens and that still to take place at Eleusis. The introduction of Iakchos into the festival of Eleusis did not merely make an external addition to the group of divinities that already shared in it; it added 221 an act12 to the sacred story, the representation of which was the goal and summit of the festival; and thereby in all probability enriched it internally in meaning and substance. It is, indeed, quite impossible for us even to hazard a guess as to the exact meaning and essence of the change which came over the festival thus enlarged in the course of time. We can, however, be sure of this much; there is no ground at all for entertaining the commonly held view that it was the private mysteries of Orphic conventicles which exercised such a transforming influence on the public mysteries of the Athenian state. Those who are not content with solemn and mysterious jargon about “Orphics” and the like, but keep clearly in mind the well-known and quite distinctive features of the Orphic doctrine about gods and the souls of men, will easily recognize that everything points to the unlikelihood of even a single one of these having entered the circle of ideas current at Eleusis.13 They could only have shattered such ideas to pieces.

If the festival, then, grew of its own accord in inward meaning and outward circumstance, the circle of those who came to take part in it grew as well. Originally this festival, so rich in promised blessings, admitted only the citizens of Eleusis, perhaps only the members of certain noble Eleusinian families—and may have appeared to its members an even greater privilege through this very exclusiveness. In this respect it changed completely, admission to it was thrown open to all Greeks—not merely Athenians, but every Greek without distinction of race or country, whether man or woman, was welcomed at Eleusis (and even hetairai, who were still excluded, e.g. from the Demeter-festival of the Athenian women; to say nothing of children and slaves).14 The generosity of Athens—such was the glorious boast—wished the unexampled salvation which this festival promised to its worshippers to be made accessible to all Greeks.15 What contrast to the exclusive cult-unions into which a man had to be born in order, as citizen of a state, member of a phratria, clan, or family, to participate in the advantages they offered! The society of the Eleusinian mystery-festival, once just as exclusive as the rest, had thrown open its doors so widely that this almost unconditional freedom of access became its principle and distinguishing characteristic. The attraction of membership was even heightened by the fact that just by his own unhampered free will and choice the individual could enter the great society through the mediation of one of the two families to whom the highest priesthood of the festival 222 was committed.16 The only condition made was ritual purity, and murderers, for whom this was an impossibility—as it was even for those who were only accused of the shedding of blood—were as such excluded from the mysteries: as, indeed, they were from all the religious ceremonies of the state.17

Religious purification of the worshippers preceded and accompanied the holding of the festival; to many of the believers it may have appeared that the whole festival itself was principally a great purification and religious dedication of unusual solemnity, by which the members (“the Pure”18 as they called themselves) were made worthy of the favour of the goddesses.

§ 3

As to the actual details of what went on at the long-drawn-out festival itself our knowledge hardly extends beyond the most external circumstances, and is even so most incomplete. A few notices in late and often untrustworthy writers give us a very inadequate picture of what took place inside the great temple of initiation and of the essential Mystery. The secret which was committed19 to the Mystai and Epoptai has been well kept. Considering the enormous number of worshippers indiscriminately admitted to the festival, this would, indeed, have been a real miracle, if the secret to be kept had taken the form of dogma expressed in concept and words and capable of being communicated verbally to others. Since the labours of Lobeck, however, drastically reducing to order the confusion of opinions on this subject, no reasonable person believes that this was the case. It was difficult to let out the “secret” for there was essentially no secret to let out. Profanation could only come through actions, through “the Mysteries being acted”,20 as they were in the year 415 in the house of Poulytion. The Mystery was a dramatic performance, or, more strictly, a religious Pantomime, accompanied by sacred songs21 and formal speeches; a representation, as Christian authors let us see, of the Rape of Korê, the wanderings of Demeter, and the final reunion of the goddesses. This in itself would not have made the mysteries remarkable; a similar dramatic reproduction of the circumstances attending the life of a god, which had led to the foundation of the festival in question, was a very widespread cult-practice in Greece; it was part of the festivals of Zeus, Here, Apollo, Artemis, Dionysos, and, above all, of other festivals in honour of Demeter herself. But the Eleusinia was distinguished from all other such festivals, even from the equally secret festivals of Demeter known as the Thesmophoria and the Haloa, by reason 223 of the hopes which it inspired in the minds of the initiated. The Hymn to Demeter tells us that the pious worshipper of the Goddess at Eleusis might hope for riches upon earth and a better fate after death. Later authorities also speak of the success in this life which initiation at Eleusis gave good ground for expecting. But far more emphatic are the statements, made by innumerable witnesses from Pindar and Sophokles onwards, that only they who have been initiated into these mysteries may entertain a joyful expectation of the life to come. To them only is it granted to have real “life” in Hades; nothing but evil awaits others in that place.22

It was these promises of a blessed immortality that for centuries drew so many worshippers to the Eleusinian festival. Nowhere else could such promises be obtained with such distinctness and assurance. The injunction commanding secrecy must obviously have referred to quite other matters; it cannot have applied to this, the greatest boon anticipated from initiation at Eleusis. Everyone speaks out aloud and without restraint about it. At the same time, all our information is so completely at one on the point and so free from doubt or uncertainty that we must perforce believe that the performances that were to be preserved so secret were, in reality, for the believers the source of an assurance which was not held as the mere probable conjecture of individuals, but as fixed and certain truth beyond question or need of interpretation.

How this was brought about certainly remains obscure. Since the discrediting of “symbolism” in the sense made familiar by Creuzer or Schelling, many of our modern mythologists and historians of religion have been all the more eager to assert that the performances at the Eleusinian mysteries were in reality the true and mystic celebration of the Greek “Religion of Nature” as discovered by themselves. Demeter, in this view, would be the earth; Korê-Persephone, her daughter, the seed of corn; the Rape and Return of Korê would mean the sowing of the seed in the earth and the rise of the young grain from beneath the soil; or, in a more general sense, “the yearly decay and renewal of vegetation.” In some way or other the Mystai must have had revealed to them the real meaning of the “nature-symbolism” hidden in the mystical performances. Witnessing these performances they are supposed to have learnt that the fate of the seed of corn, represented by Persephone, its disappearance beneath the earth and eventual rebirth, is an image of the fate of the human soul, which also disappears that it may 224 live again. This, then, must be the real content of the holy Mystery.

It remains, however, first and foremost, to be proved that the Greeks23 themselves would have regarded such symbolistic mummery, in which the phenomena and processes of nature appear under the guise of anthropomorphic gods, as religious at all, or would have recognized their own religion in such things. Still further—admitting for the sake of argument the possibility of such an interpretation—the identification of Korê with the seed of corn and its fate leads at once, if we try to get beyond the vaguest generalities, to intolerable absurdity. It is difficult to see, however (and this would be the main point at issue), how such an analogy between the soul and the grain of seed could have led to a faith in immortality that was not to be had, it would seem, in a more direct fashion. What possible effect could have been produced by such a far-fetched and arbitrary parallel between the phenomena of two such wholely different provinces of existence? If a reasonably plausible deduction was to be made from the visible and unmistakable (the condition of the grain) to the invisible and unknown (the condition of the soul) surely the first and simplest requisite would be that a real causal connexion between the two should be plainly demonstrated. These may seem dull and pedantic considerations where the sublimest forebodings of the heart are concerned; but I should not have supposed that it would have been so easy to tempt the Greeks with vague surmises from the path of logic and lucidity, or that such surmises would have afforded them such extremity of “bliss”.

Lastly, the analogy, even if it proved anything, is false. It would only hold if the soul, like the grain, after a temporary disappearance below the earth, were promised a new life upon the earth—if a palingenesia in fact were promised. That this, however, was not a belief supported by the officially conducted mysteries of Athens, is admitted on all hands.

Equally untenable is the view that the dramatic presentation at the mysteries of the Rape and Return of Korê (regarded this time as a divine personage, not as the personified grain of corn) was intended to inspire hopes of an analogous fate for the human soul, by virtue of a mystic unification of the life of man with the life of the godhead to whom he swears allegiance.24 Even so the hope based upon the typical fate of Korê could only have led to a hope for the palingenesia of mankind in general, not (what was and always remained the real belief of Eleusis) to the hope of a specially 225 favoured after-life for the Mystai in the kingdom below the world. Indeed, we must not look to the Eleusinian mysteries for the ecstatic exaltation of the soul to the recognition of its own godhead—though such exaltation was the motive force and the essential core of Greek mysticism, as of all mysticism and mystic religion. From the mysteries of Eleusis, however, it remained far removed; the belief there fostered, with its absolute division and distinction between the divine and the human, never transgressed the bounds of popular Greek religion, over whose portals stood the universally prescriptive words: ἓν ἀνδρῶν, ἓν θεῶν γένος—“the race of men is one, and the race of gods is another.” Nor was Eleusis any exception to this rule; the mysteries did not point the way to mysticism.

§ 4

Inquiry is on the wrong track when a deeper meaning is sought for in the mimic presentation of the sacred myth at Eleusis whereby the human soul was to obtain the blessed hope of immortality. The conviction that the human soul was immortal in its own right, by reason of its own nature, was not a conviction that was obtained at Eleusis. That is why we may dismiss such fanciful analogies as those between the human soul and the seed of corn or the goddess of the earth’s life. Such analogies, if they proved anything, would prove at most the complete indestructibility, in spite of all vicissitude, of the life of the human soul—of every human soul. But this was not Eleusinian doctrine. The continued conscious existence of the soul after its separation from the body was not a doctrine but a presupposition of Eleusis; and it could be thus presupposed because it was the basic idea of the popular and widespread cult offered to the souls of the departed.25 The advantage obtained by the initiated at Eleusis was that a livelier and fuller content was given to the bare existence of the disembodied soul, which was all that the current worship of the souls essentially contemplated. We are assured that only the initiated at Eleusis will have a real “life” after death; that evil will be the fate of “the others”.26 Not that the soul, relieved of the presence of the body, will live hereafter, but how it will live was what Eleusis taught men. With the calm assurance common to all close and confined religious associations, the Eleusinian society divided mankind into two classes: the “Pure”, that is those who had been initiated at Eleusis, and the innumerable multitude of the uninitiated. Only for the members in 226 communion with the mystery of Eleusis was salvation assured. Salvation was theirs as a reversionary right, but salvation such as theirs was a privilege and could only be obtained by participation in the bounteous festival of the Athenian State and in its ceremonial. Centuries of large-minded tolerance in admitting to the mysteries extended this privilege to an immense number of Greeks (and of Romans, too, in later times). But the prospect of a blessed hereafter never became a matter of course; not as man, not even as a virtuous and pious man did such a privilege come to anyone. It was granted solely to the member of the Eleusinian religious society and the participator in the divine service of the goddesses.27

What were the means employed to impress this hope—this certain expectation rather—of a blessed hereafter in Hades upon the Mystai? We must frankly admit that we cannot, unfortunately, say anything definite in answer to this question. Only to the suggestion that these hopes were grounded upon symbolic representations of any kind may we give a decided denial. And yet this is the generally accepted opinion. “Symbols” there may have been, as an assistance to the dramatic or pantomimic representation of the Rape and Return of Korê;28 but hardly in any other sense than that of typical condensations—the part being put for the whole, or the whole understood in the part—of scenes impossible to represent in their entirety. It is true that with the lapse of centuries, and in the absence of any official written interpretation of the inner meaning and intention of the ritual many of these symbols became unintelligible—a disadvantage which belonged to all other departments of Greek religion as well. As soon as independent reflexion on matters of religion began to arise, many sorts of allegorical or symbolical interpretations began to be applied to the details of the performances at the mysteries. Does it follow from this that the mysteries of the Earth divinities, as some are inclined to believe, bore a symbolical or allegorical character from the outset, and differed in this respect from all other Greek worship of the gods?29 Similar interpretations were applied by philosophers or would-be philosophers to the fables of the gods in Homeric or popular mythology; the mysteries did not by any means hold a peculiar position in the minds of connoisseurs of myth-interpretation in antiquity. If a “deeper meaning” was attached by preference to the performances at Eleusis, that only shows that much in these performances was no longer understood, or in its real meaning no longer satisfied the spirit of the philosophic centuries. But it shows also that for this 227 festival of unexampled splendour, where night and the injunction of secrecy awakened awed expectancy,30 performed according to an archaic ritual of ever-increasing perfection and attended by the whole of Greece, an unusual sympathy was felt. It offered something to the eye and the ear which was attractive to all men, and they exerted themselves to find a satisfactory meaning in its sights and sounds. Finally, it is likely enough that the “meaning” which they themselves had arbitrarily bestowed upon them was what made the mysteries specially attractive to many. To this extent it is legitimate to say that symbolism was a real and historical factor in the constitution of the mysteries.

Even supposing, however, that much in the presentation of this mystic festival was consciously ordered and disposed by the founders of it with a view to symbolic interpretation, and consequently to the possibility of an ever-increasing idealization of its significance, yet this cannot have extended to the hopes of a blessed immortality revealed to the Mystai. Symbolist or allegorizing modes of interpretation must always have been the private concern of individuals and therefore liable to much uncertainty and variety.31 Our authorities, however, from the most diverse periods, speak with far too great distinctness and unanimity about the blessed hereafter vouchsafed to the initiated in the mysteries, for it to be credible that this can have been the outcome of any interpretation of complexities, or of any metaphorical application of the hopes derived from events in the life of the gods to a quite different province, the life of the human soul. What every witness speaks of in the plainest and simplest language without any special “mystery”—the hope of future blessedness—must have been offered to the participants in the mysteries in the most unequivocal fashion. It is natural, above all, to suppose that the exhibition of the “mystic drama” included particularly the final scene as it is sketched in the 2nd Homeric Hymn: the foundation of the Eleusinian festival by the goddess herself—what had once been revealed to the little city-community must have been proclaimed to the great company of those admitted to the common festival of Eleusis:32 the highest reward of participation in this unparalleled act of worship is what the Homeric Hymn distinctly puts forth as such—the peculiar favour of the gods of the lower world and a future life of blessedness within their kingdom. The statues of the goddesses were seen radiantly illuminated;33 at this festival of grace in remembrance of their trials, their happiness, and their beneficent acts, they 228 themselves—as it seemed to the faithful believer—were invisibly present. What further need of warrant was there for the promises of future blessedness?

§ 5

In spite of many extravagant statements from antiquity, we have no means of estimating how widely participation in the Eleusinian mysteries (whether of those celebrated at Eleusis itself or in the numerous associated festivals) was extended in Greece. Still, it is probable that large numbers, not from Athens alone but from the whole of Greece, sought eagerly to enter the state of grace vouchsafed to the worshippers at Eleusis. In this way the more lively conception of the state of the soul in the hereafter may have gradually become the common property of Greek imagination.

On the whole, we must be on our guard against attributing too great an importance to these mysteries. There can hardly have been any question of moral influence—the ancients themselves in their most exaggerated eulogies of the mysteries and their greatness, say almost nothing of this.34 Nor is it easy to see what part of the mysteries could have served as a vehicle of moral influence.35 Distinct dogma in the religious sense was never provided by the mysteries any more than by other worships of the gods in Greece. Nor was there anything exclusive about the cult of the mysteries; side by side with that cult and after it the Mystai took part in other worships of the gods, according to the usages prevailing in their own homes. The great festival when it was over left no sting behind in the hearts of the initiated. No requirement of a new manner of life, no new and peculiar condition of conscience was theirs on its account; no strange revaluation of values, contradicting the general opinions of the time, was learnt there. There was a total absence of that which (if we rightly understand the word) gives to the doctrines of sectarian religion their force and persuasiveness—paradox. Even the prospect of future bliss opened to the initiated did not divert them from the normal tenor of their existence. It was a genial prospect; not a compelling demand drawing all things to itself and turning men away from ordinary life. The light that fell from beyond was not so blinding that it made all things on this earth seem dark and mean. If in the decadence of Greek culture—and even among the people of Homer—ideas hostile to this life made their appearance and in many places acquired weight and influence; if some men began to think death superior 229 to life, and this life, of which alone we can be assured, as merely a preparation, a land of passage to a higher life in the world invisible—for all this the mysteries were not responsible. It was not they, nor the feelings and surmises awakened by their pictures and performances, that dulled the beauty of this earth for the enthusiasts “intoxicated with other-worldliness”, or made them strangers to the instincts of life and sanity prevailing in older and unspoiled ages of Greek life.


1 H. Cer. 270 ff. (Demeter speaks) ἀλλ’ ἄγε μοι νηόν τε μέγαν καὶ βωμὸν ὑπ’ αὐτῷ τευχόντων πᾶς δῆμος ὑπαὶ πόλιν αἰπύ τε τεῖχος, Καλλιχόρου καθύπερθεν, ἐπὶ προὔχοντι κολωνῷ. ὄργια δ’ αὐτὴ ἐγὼν ὑποθήσομαι, ὡς ἂν ἔπειτα εὐαγέως ἔρδοντες ἐμὸν μένος ἱλάσκησθε. Building of the temple: 298 ff., and following that the instructions of the goddess as to the δρησμοσύνη ἱερῶν and the ὄργια, 474 ff.

2 See Lobeck, Agl. 272 ff.

3 487 ff. I will not stop to answer the attacks made on the concluding part of the hymn nor to defend the many lines which editors have rejected. None of the attacks seem to me justified.

4 Körte, Ath. Mitt. 1896, p. 320, dates the decree in the year 418.

5 κατὰ τὰ πάτρια καὶ τὴν μαντείαν τὴν ἐκ Δελφῶν, SIG. 20, l. 5; 26 f.; 35 [IG. i, Supp., p. 59, 27b]. In Sicily the Eleusinia are already well known in the time of Epicharmos: Epich. ἐν Ὀδυσσεῖ αὐτομόλῳ ap. Ath. 374 D = 100 Kaib. EM. 255, 2; cf. K. O. Müller, Kl. Schr. ii, 259.

6 We can only state this definitely of the Eumolpidai who provided the male and female hierophants. Severely as the genealogy of this family has suffered on all sides through fictitious accretions and combinations there can be no doubt of its Eleusinian origin. On the other hand, it is a striking fact that none of the γένη who are known to have shared in the direction of the Eleus. mysteries derived their origin from the Eleusinian princes mentioned in h. Cer. 475–6 as receiving with Eumolpos the instructions of the goddess (Triptolemos, Diokles, Keleos). The Krokonidai and Koironidai did, it is true, claim Triptolemos as their ancestor, but their connexion with the sacred festival is obscure and dubious (see K. O. Müller, Kl. Schr. ii, 255 f.). The Kerykes (in whose family the posts of Dadouchos, Herald of the Mysteries, Priest ἐπὶ βωμῷ, etc., were hereditary) were only connected with Eumolpos by a tradition which the family itself regarded as apocryphal (Paus. 1, 38, 3); they themselves traced their descent from Hermes and Herse the daughter of Kekrops (s. Dittenberger, Hermes, xx, 2), and therefore evidently regarded themselves as an Athenian family. We know too little of these relationships to venture to say that this claim was unjustified (as Müller, p. 250 f., is inclined to do). Nothing need prevent us from supposing that this is one of the many innovations introduced at and after the union of Eleusis and its festival with Athens—many of them are quite evident—and that in addition to the old Eleusinian priestly families the Athenian family of the Kerykes was given a regular part in the δρησμοσύνη ἱερῶν. This would then be part of the compromise (συνθῆκαι, Paus. 2, 14, 2) between Athens and Eleusis upon which the whole relationship between the two states and their religious cults rested.

7 See above, chap. v, n. 18.

8 It is doubtful what part the goddess Daeira played in the Eleusinia: that she played some part must be regarded as certain from the fact that among the official priesthoods of the festival a δαειρίτης is expressly mentioned (Poll. i, 35). She stands in a certain opposition to Demeter: but though she is nevertheless identified by Aesch. 231 and others with Persephone (K. O. Müller, Kl. Schr. ii, 288) the most we may deduce from this is that she also was a chthonic deity. (Acc. to the sacrificial calendar of the Attic Tetrapolis, Leg. Sacr. i, p. 48, B. 12. Δαίρᾳ οἷς κυοῦσα was offered. This does not point to the identity of this goddess with Persephone—as the editor, p. 52, points out. Pregnant animals were by preference offered to Demeter, though occasionally to Artemis and Athene too.) Daeira seems from all the indications to belong to the χθόνιοι. (Meaning of the name uncertain: ? “the knowing one” or “the (torch) burning one”: cf. Lobeck, Pathol. prol. 263.) In Eust. on Ζ 378, p. 648, 24, among the notices collected from the lexicographers there is one in which Pherekydes makes her the sister of Styx (it is not Pherekydes but the over-subtle scholar to whom Eust. owes his note, who thinks that Daeira signified the ὑγρὰ φύσις to the ancients; so also Ael. Dionys. quoting οἱ περὶ τελετὰς καὶ μυστήρια in his Lexicon, ap. Eust. 648, 41. This is a worthless allegorical interpretation).—For which reason some made her the daughter of Okeanos (Müller, pp. 244, 288)—τινὲς δὲ φύλακα Περσεφόνης ὑπὸ Πλούτωνος ἀποδειχθῆναί φασι τὴν Δάειραν (648, 40). According to this she would be a Hades-daimon keeping guard over the wife of Aidoneus (cf. the guardian Κωκυτοῦ περίδρομοι κύνες in Ar., Ran. 472, quoting Eurip.). In this case we can see the origin of Demeter’s hostility. Did this Daeira also play a part (as a character) in the Eleusinian δρᾶμα μυστικόν? Ap. Rh. makes her the same as Hekate, who, however, in the h. Cer. (and on vase-paintings) is the helper rather than the enemy of Demeter.

9 So also in the recently discovered Paean (fourth century B.C.) of Philodamos of Skarpheia addressed to Dionysos (BCH. 1895, p. 403), where in the third section we are told how Dionysos, the son of Thyone, born in Thebes, went from Delphi to Eleusis where he was called Iakchos by the mortals to whom he had (in the mysteries) revealed πόνων ὅρμον ἄλυπον.—The attempt at historical synthesis, bringing together as many as possible of the different relations and ramifications of the Dionysos nature, is particularly evident in the whole composition of this hymn. The cult of Dionysos was established in Attica by the Delphic oracle—so much is certain; and that is enough for the poet who now makes Iakchos, too, come from Delphi to the people of Attica. Such a conception has no historical significance.

10 Ἴακχος (there clearly distinguished from Διόνυσος) τῆς Δήμητρος δαίμων is described as ὁ ἀρχηγέτης τῶν μυστηρίων in Str. 468 (cf. Ar., Ran. 398 f.).

11 The Ἰακχεῖον (Plu., Arist. 27. Alciphr. iii, 59, 1).

12 Was the birth of Iakchos any part of the spectacle at the mysteries? It might be thought so from what we are told by Hippol., RH. 5, 8, p. 162 D.-S.: the hierophant νυκτὸς ἐν Ἐλευσῖνι ὑπὸ πολλῷ πυρὶ τελῶν τὰ μυστήρια βοᾷ καὶ κέκραγε λέγων· ἱερὸν ἔτεκε πότνια κοῦρον Βριμὼ βριμόν. This statement, however, suffers from the disadvantage belonging to all information given by Christian writers on the subject of mysteries when not confirmed by earlier evidence; such information is admissible at most for the actual time of the writer. (Immediately combined with this in Hippol. comes the remarkable assertion that the hierophant was εὐνουχισμένος διὰ κωνείου. Of this Epict. for example (3, 21, 16) knows nothing, but only speaks of the ἁγνεία—probably confined to the time of the festival and its preparation—of the hierophant. Still, Jerome, adv. Jovin. 1, 49, p. 320 C Vall., speaks of the cicutae sorbitione castrari of the hierophant. Likewise Serv., A. vi, 661.) 232

13 An opportunity of speaking in more detail of Orphic doctrine will occur later on. Here I will only point out in passing that the ancients themselves never suggested for a moment that Orpheus—the master of every kind of mysticism—had anything in particular to do with the Eleusinia; as Lob. Agl. 239 shows.

14 As to the admission of slaves to the Eleusinian initiation ceremonies K. O. Müller, Kl. Schr. ii, 56, opposes Lobeck (Agl. 19) and suggests a doubt. His main objection is that on the great inscr. dealing with the regulation of the Eleusinia (CIA. i, 1) side by side with μύσται καὶ ἐπόπται there is mention also of ἀκόλουθοι (but not of δοῦλοι, Ziehen, Leg. Sacr. [Diss.], p. 14 f.)—i.e. presumably slaves, not themselves Mystai, belonging to the μύσται. But if slaves were initiated that would not prevent there being other slaves, ἀκόλουθοι of the μύσται, uninitiated and not reckoned among the μύσται. It is definitely stated on the official record of building expenses at Eleusis dating from the year 329/8, CIA. ii, 834, b, col. 2, 71, μύησις δυοῖν τῶν δημοσίων (the state slaves employed in the building operations) Δ Δ Δ (cf. l. 68). Initiation of the δημόσιοι also in CIA. ii, 834 c, 24. On this view, when the comic poet Theophilos (ii, p. 473 K.) makes someone speak of his ἀγαπητὸς δεσπότης by whom he ἐμυήθη θεοῖς, it will not be necessary to suppose that a freedman (as Meineke, Com. 3, 626) is speaking and not a slave.—The generosity implied was all the greater since in many of the most sacred feasts of the gods at Athens slaves were expressly excluded: cf. Philo, Q. omn. Prob. 20, ii, p. 467 M. Casaubon on Ath., vol. 12, p. 495 Schw.

15 Isoc. 4, 28, Δήμητρος γὰρ ἀφικομένης εἰς τὴν χώραν . . . καὶ δούσης δωρεὰς διττάς, αἵπερ μέγισται τυγχάνουσιν οὖσαι, τούς τε καρποὺς καὶ τὴν τελετήν, . . . οὗτως ἡ πόλις ἡμῶν οὐ μόνον θεοφιλῶς ἀλλὰ καὶ φιλανθρώπως ἔσχεν, ὥστε κυρία γενομένη τοσούτων ἀγαθῶν οὐκ ἐφθόνησε τοῖς ἄλλοις, ἀλλ’ ὧν ἔλαβεν ἅπασι (he means all Greeks: cf. 157) μετέδωκεν.

16 μυεῖν δ’ εἶναι τοῖς οὖσι Κηρύκων καὶ Εὐμολπιδῶν as the law appoints, CIA. i, 1 (more exactly Supp. p. 3 f.), ll. 110–11. Thus the μύησις belonged exclusively to the members of the γένη of the Eumolpidai and Kerykes (but to all the members, not merely those serving as officers at the particular festival concerned). Cf. Dittenberger, Hermes, 20, 31 f. The Emperor Hadrian, in order to be able to hold the festival in a more sumptuous manner, had himself made ἄρχων of the Εὐμολπιδῶν γένος, having already been made a member of that γένος: ins. from Eleusis, Ath. Mitt. 1894, p. 172.—There is no reference to the Eleusinia in what is said about the μυεῖν of a priestess belonging to the family of the Phyllidai in Phot. Φιλλεῖδαι: see Töpffer, Att. Geneal. 92.—The exx. of μύησις collected by Lobeck (Agl. 28 ff.) do not contradict this law: in the case of Lysias who ὑπέσχετο μυήσειν the hetaira Metaneira [D.] 59, 21, μυεῖν merely means defray the cost of initiation (quite correctly explained by Müller, review of Aglaoph., Kl. Schr. ii, 56). So, too, in the case of Theoph. (ii, p. 473 K.) ἐμυήθην θεοῖς, i.e. at the expense of my master.

17 The πρόρρησις of the Basileus and the proclamations of the hierophant and dadouchos excluded all ἀνδροφόνοι from those taking part in the mysteries: Lob., Agl. 15. They were also, it is true, excluded from all other sacred rites: Lob. 17. Even τοῖς ἐν αἰτίᾳ the Archon gave warning ἀπέχεσθαι μυστηρίων καὶ τῶν ἄλλων νομίμων (Poll. 8, 90): in fact, the person accused of murder was in any case, as “unclean”, excluded from all νόμιμα: Antipho, vi, 36 (in AB. 310, 8 read νομίμων). 233

18 ὅσιοι μύσται, Ar., Ran. 336. (So, too, the Mystai of the Orphic mysteries are called οἱ ὅσιοι: Pl., Rp. 363 C; Orph., H. 84, 3.) ὅσιος is probably here used in its primitive sense = “clean” (ὅσιαι χεῖρες, etc.). [Pl.] Axioch. 371 D refers to τὰς ὁσίους ἀγχιστείας of the Eleus. Mystai. In the same way ὁσιοῦν was used of ritual purification and expiation: φυγαῖσιν ὁσιοῦν the murder, E., Or. 515; ὁσιοῦν the returned homicide, D. 23, 73; (of the Bacchic mysteries βάκχος ἐκλήθην ὁσιωθείς, E. fr. 472, 15). Thus the ὅσιοι are identical with the κεκαθαρμένοι as the initiated are called: Pl. Phd. 69 C, and frequently. It would be hazardous to suppose that the Mystai called themselves ὅσιοι as the only pious and righteous people (though that is what ὅσιος ἄνθρωπος and the like mean elsewhere). Their spiritual self-satisfaction hardly went as far as that, and indeed they did not ascribe so much personal merit to themselves at all.

19 In a solemn announcement of the Keryx as it seems: the latter acc. to Sopater διαίρ. ζητημ. (Walz, Rhet. Gr. viii, 118, 24 f.) δημοσίᾳ ἐπιτάττει τὴν σιωπήν at the commencement of the sacred ritual.

20 τὰ μυστήρια ποιεῖν, Andoc., Myst. 11–12.—The more clearly descriptive expression, ἐξορχεῖσθαι τὰ μυστήρια does not seem to occur before Aristides, Lucian, and the latter’s imitator Alciphron. [Lys.] 6, 51: οὗτος ἐνδὺς στολήν, μιμούμενος τὰ ἱερὰ ἐπεδείκνυε τοῖς ἀμυήτοις καὶ εἶπε τῇ φωνῇ τὰ ἀπόρρητα. The ἀπορ. thus divulged were the sacred formulæ uttered by the hierophant.

21 At least in later ages there was plenty to hear: εἰς ἐφάμιλλον κατέστη ταῖς ἀκοαῖς τὰ ὁρώμενα, Aristid., Eleus. I, 415 Di. [ii, 28 Ke.]. We frequently hear of the beautiful voices of the hierophants, of ὕμνοι ringing out, etc.

22 The well-known statements of Pindar, Sophokles, Isokrates, Krinagoras, Cicero, and others are collected by Lobeck, Agl. 69 ff. There is a reminiscence of Isocr. in Aristid. Eleus. I 421 Di. [ii, 30 Ke.] ἀλλὰ μὴν τό γε κέρδος τῆς πανηγύρεως οὐχ ὅσον ἡ παροῦσα εὐθυμία . . . ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τῆς τελευτῆς ἡδίους ἔχειν τὰς ἐλπίδας. id. Panath. I, 302 Di. τὰς ἀρρήτους τελετὰς ὧν τοῖς μετασχοῦσι καὶ μετὰ τῆν τοῦ βίου τελευτὴν βελτίω τὰ πράγματα γίγνεσθαι δοκεῖ. Cf. also Welcker’s account, Gr. Götterl. ii, 519 ff., in which, however, there is a good deal mixed up which has nothing to do with the mysteries.

23 That is, in the time of still vital religion and in the circles which still retained an unspoilt feeling for it. Apart from these it is true that the allegorical interpretation of myths was already familiar in antiquity, and in learned circles the gods and the stories of the gods were transformed and disintegrated εἰς πνεύματα καὶ ῥεύματα καὶ σπόρους καὶ ἀρότους καὶ πάθη γῆς καὶ μεταβολὰς ὡρῶν as Plutarch complains, Is. et O. 66, p. 377 D. These allegorical interpreters from Anaxagoras and Metrodoros onwards are the real ancestors of our modern “nature” mythologists. No one doubts, however, that from their interpretations nothing can be learnt except what the real sense of Greek belief in the gods certainly was not. It is worth noticing that Prodikos, because he said that ἥλιον καὶ σελήνην καὶ ποταμοὺς καὶ λειμῶνας καὶ καρποὺς καὶ πᾶν τὸ τοιουτῶδες were the real essence of the Greek gods, was looked upon as one of the ἄθεοι (S.E., M. 9, 51–2 = B 5 Diels). Quam tandem religionem reliquit? asks the Greek whom Cicero is reproducing in ND. i, 118, with reference to this ancient prophet of Greek “nature-religion”.—For the ancient allegorists Persephone, too, is nothing but τὸ διὰ τῶν καρπῶν φερόμενον πνεῦμα (so Kleanthes: Plu. as above). Acc. to Varro Persephone “means” fecunditatem seminum, 234 carried off by Orcus on the occasion of some crop-failure, etc. (Aug., CD. vii, 20). In Porph. ap. Eus., PE. 3, 11, 7–9. we actually have the very interpretation which has been recently restored to so much favour—that Κόρη is nothing else but a (feminine) personification of κόρος = young plant, shoot.

24 A hint of such an explanation occurs in Sallustius, de Dis iv, κατὰ τὴν ἐναντίαν ἰσημερίαν (i.e. the autumnal) ἡ τῆς Κόρης ἁρπαγὴ μυθολογεῖται γενέσθαι· ὃ δὴ κάθοδός ἑστι τῶν ψυχῶν (from the standpoint of this Neoplatonist at any rate the analogy might be carried through). So, too, Sopater διαίρ. ζητ. in Walz, Rh. Gr. viii, 115, 3, speaks of τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς πρὸς τὸ θεῖον συγγενές as if it were confirmed in the (Eleusinian) mysteries.

25 It may be mentioned here by anticipation that a real doctrine of the indestructibility of the hum