Monographing “Sacred Laws”*
N. Robertson, Religion and Reconciliation in Greek Cities: The Sacred Laws of Selinus and Cyrene, Oxford/New York, Oxford University Press, 2010 (American Classical Studies, 54), xii+414 p., ISBN: 9780195394009
L. Gawlinski, The sacred law of Andania: a new text with commentary, Berlin/Boston, De Gruyter, 2012 (Sozomena, 11), xi+285 p., pl. 12. ISBN: 9783110267570.
- * Review article concerning the following books: N. Robertson, Religion and Reconciliation in Greek (...)
- 1 See also herein the article “Beyond Greek Sacred Laws” by V. Pirenne-Delforge and the present auth (...)
- 2 E. Lupu, Greek Sacred Law: A Collection of New Documents, Leiden/Boston, 20092 (NGSL); F. Sokolows (...)
1Along with new interest in the subject of Greek “sacred laws”, a series of monographic studies of inscriptions included in this category have recently been published.1 After Lupu’s addition to the three corpora of Sokolowski, Alexander Herda reedited the decree of the Molpoi from Miletus with a lengthy commentary, which was reviewed in this periodical.2 That is an unusually complex and detailed text, and the works under review also treat inscriptions of a similar character. While giving a general appraisal of these works as monographs on epigraphic ritual norms, a particular focus here will be the treatment of sacrificial practices by these commentators.
- 3 Selinous (ca. 500-450 BC?): M.H. Jameson, D.R. Jordan, R.D. Kotansky, A Lex Sacra from Selinus, Du (...)
- 4 This criticism is to some degree acknowledged by R. (p. 5).
- 5 Sometimes one feels like one is reading an impressionistic or reductive work of scholarship from t (...)
2Robertson’s erudite volume compares two of the most interesting and unusual inscriptions in the corpus, the “sacred law from Selinous” published just two decades ago, and the text from Cyrene, known for almost a century.3 Both inscriptions present unique or unusually explicit ritual prescriptions concerning sacrifice and purification, and almost approach what one might think of as ritual “exegetika”. But they are also very distinctive from one another, not only in the manner in which they were inscribed, but in their varied content. Almost immediately, therefore, certain concerns arise concerning R.’s approach to these inscriptions. The most important question – are these texts actually comparable? – is perhaps unanswerable, given that so much remains enigmatic about their content and context. At any rate, it might simply be said that they share only a few elements of common vocabulary, and they perhaps only seem analogous because we have so little evidence about their subject matter.4 Moreover, the two texts have explicitly very little to do with R.’s theme of “reconciliation”. In fact, R.’s argument is that these inscriptions invoke “powers of nature” (p. 6), creating at Selinous “a sacrificial code associating rich and poor”, while at Cyrene one finds religious rules for “assimilating newcomers” (p. 8-10). He thus paints an altogether rosy picture, an expressive reevaluation of the obscure context of both inscriptions.5
- 6 The original edition of JJK remains perhaps impossible to surpass in the absence of new autopsy of (...)
3R. first discusses the lead tablet from Selinous, spending the majority of his efforts on this text (p. 15-255). He includes a version of the text with translation, as well as some detailed notes on specific lines (p. 15-30). It is unclear if this is meant to constitute a new edition of the inscription; whether this is in fact possible or desirable is doubtful.6 R.’s claim (p. 15) that “[h]ere an attempt is made to establish the text and the literal meaning as securely as possible” must certainly not be taken at face-value. Where the inscription is fragmentary, R.’s text constitutes a rather wishful reading, particularly in column A, lines 1-6 and 21-24. Moreover, this is not helped by the fact that any semblance of apparatus criticus is deconstructed in the notes on the text; epigraphic standards are regrettably not upheld. Despite these discrepancies, the translation is serviceable for the remaining lines and roughly corresponds to that of Lupu.
- 7 This is the probably the case with the lead fragment of the sacrificial calendar of Corinth (ca. 6 (...)
4Here and in the following section on the display of the inscription (p. 31-39), R. has much to offer in terms of interpretative suggestions but perhaps does not much improve upon the commendable caution of the editio princeps. The lead tablet appears to preserve two separate columns of texts, and at least three different hands (A1-6, the rest of column A, column B written upside down from A). It therefore must be treated as a dossier of inscriptions, which might but do not necessarily belong together. About its “display” on a bronze bar, little can be said with confidence given that the tablet was looted and its archaeological context is lost. With its patchy and composite character, the tablet gives some indication of having been a sort of informally redacted draft, perhaps templates or “ritual notes” to be used by a ritual specialist or a private sacrificer.7
- 8 Cp. perhaps LSS 103 (Camiros, 3rd c. BC): Ζηνὶ δ[ὲ] | Ὑητίωι | ὅκκα δέηι, and also LSS 94 (id., to (...)
- 9 P. 21: “A notable feature is the single and double points sometimes used between words… they are m (...)
- 10 For example, one might wonder if τι Διὶ in line A8, being followed by a colon, does not properly (...)
5According to R., if the tablet is indeed more or less complete at the top, which is not completely certain, then the rasura in lines A4-6 might be seen as a conscious effort to create a heading in lines 7-8 (JJK think it is a fragment or remnant which may not belong with the following text). This is both a possible and attractive suggestion, since the writing appears in the same hand, and it would make the remainder of a column A a sort of sacrificial calendar for the “sacrifices before the Kotytia and the penteteric Olympic truce”. Such a “deadline” would still be unusual among sacrificial calendars, however, though the temporal flexibility of sacrifices to gods associated with “nature” might go some way towards supporting R.’s argument.8 This heading also corresponds well with the indications of “possible” sacrifices (ἔστο … θύεν) found later in this column, lines 18, 20 and perhaps 23. Another trademark of sacrificial calendars is their more or less consistent use of punctuation, but the single and double interpuncts found here are dismissed by R. and were not very well discussed by JJK.9 Without overemphasising the articulations suggested by the punctuation, it is quite possible that some interpretations of the text might be improved by a more careful consideration of this aspect of column A as a “reading-tool”.10 At any rate, beyond the difference in inscribing hands, the punctuation in column A further distinguishes it from column B, since the latter does not contain any such features.
- 11 On the difficulties inherent in “Analyzing Greek gods”, cf. the now essential remarks of R.C.T. Pa (...)
- 12 On Zeus Meilichios at Selinous cf. now C. Grotta, Zeus Meilichios a Selinunte, Rome, 2010(Historic (...)
6Concerning the rituals in this column, R. has proposed a variety of intriguing and wide-ranging suggestions. For instance, he discusses the possible implication of this “deadline” heading in lines 7-8, notably distancing the festival of the Kotytia from the goddess Kotys and juxtaposing it with the Corinthian Kotyto (p. 53-68), as well as suggesting similarities with a summer solstice festival of the Kronia at Olympia (p. 69-83). On the Eumenides and Zeus Eumenes found in this text, R.’s discussion provides perhaps a useful corrective to the view that these deities are interchangeable with the dark or vengeful Semnai Theai and Erinyes (p. 85-127). But this also includes an open-ended comparison with a sanctuary at Cyrene (p. 93-95) as well as a problematic glossing over of the Attalid connotations of Hellenistic evidence cited for Zeus Eumenes (p. 87). R. accepts with some idiosyncracies the usual categorisation of the Tritopatreis as pure and impure, but prefers to view these deities as wind gods (p. 155-184). As in the case of the Eumenides and Zeus Eumenes, R. focuses to large degree on attempting to identify the “character” or “persona” of the Tritopatreis, viewing them as “agrarian” and their gentilicial aspects (“third-fathers” or great-grandfathers) as forms of address. In the study of Greek polytheism, it is always awkward to qualify deities in this manner, with rubrics concerning their spheres of influence like “fertility” or “Chthonian”, especially ones about which our knowledge is so fragmentary.11 He is perhaps on firmer ground on the subject of Zeus Meilichios worshipped in “Spring” (p. 129-153), and in “Summer” followed by harvest rites (p. 185-212), since this god probably did have an “agrarian” component as a protector of the farm or household, though it is not clear if this is what is being emphasised in the Selinuntian text. In order to highlight this aspect, R. notably resorts to an overinterpretation of the personal names Myskos and Euthydamos found in the text (p. 200-201). It is also misleading to suggest that only the agalmata mentioned in the inscription point to the rough stone blocks, boundary stones, and statues, some of which are inscribed “I am the Milichios of (X)” (my emphasis, not just “(Zeus)”, as R. has it), and which have been found at Selinous and elsewhere (p. 188, at Gaggera, “though not at Selinus”).12 These stones most clearly suggest representations of local and ancestral deities which to some degree belong (in the genitive) to the persons or familial groups (e.g. πατριᾶς, IGDS 47) which consecrated them. One might simply presume that these were among the concrete manifestations of the god indicated in the Selinous tablet (line A9: τι Διὶ : τι Μιλιχίοι τι : ἐν Μύσϙο; line 17: τι ἐν Εὐθυδάμο : Μιλιχίοι): such a block, perhaps in a small temenos or sanctuary, was likely implied by the construction with ἐν plus the genitive (not “in [the land] of …” as R. has it).
- 13 His emphasis on “magic” in the rituals continues to be a vexing issue, and is not problematised wi (...)
- 14 Cf. now S.D. Lambert, “The Sacrificial Calendar of the Marathonian Tetrapolis,” ZPE 130 (2000), p. (...)
- 15 Cp. R. himself on p. 287 and 295-296, discussing a similar expression in the text from Cyrene. If (...)
- 16 One avenue for future interpretation of such detailed rituals lies in the careful consideration of (...)
7On other points of detail concerning the sacrificial rituals elaborated in column A, R. can either convince or mystify.13 Discussing in passing the sacrificial calendar of the Marathonian Tetrapolis in Attica, he acutely notes that the sacrifice offered to the Tritopatreis at “the Well” is unspecified yet costs 6 drachmai, a unique price in the text (p. 160).14 He very convincingly suggests that it must have therefore have consisted of two piglets (each costing 3 drachmai as attested in the inscription). One might have expected R. to take this point further, perhaps suggesting that the twofold sacrifice might reflect something of the double character of the Tritopatreis as either impure or pure. Moreover, this kind of valuable inference in R.’s volume is almost always immediately followed by something more dubious. Here, he interprets the phrase καὶ καταγιζόντο hοῖς hοσία (line A12) as implying that a “priestly family” can perform the rites, whereas the phrase means “let those to whom it is (religiously) permissible consecrate (or burn)”; we do not know who these people were, perhaps members of familial cult-groups.15 Several aspects of the rituals described remain largely mysterious, but R.’s suggestions are often equally puzzling. He rightly observes that hιαρὰ is a “protean” word (p. 23), but thinks that τὰ … hιαρὰ τὰ δαμόσια (line 18) must refer to the “table and the table service” (p. 188), rather than implicit and unspecified cult objects. In his remarks on “sprinkling and smearing” in the prescriptions (p. 162-164, lines 12-13 and 16), R. avoids the most straightforward interpretation, an implied altar – or better yet one of the Milichios-type stones found at Selinous, smeared all the way down – and instead treats these actions as relating to altar-ashes “moistened with water and then smeared over the floor to make a smooth, gluey coat”.16
- 17 LSJ s.v. αὐτοφόνος gives the stronger sense “kin-murderer”.
8It is not surprising then that R. proposes an interpretation for column B of the tablet which is completely different from that of JJK and others. He views the (Zeus) Elasteros from which one might wish to be purified with the rituals prescribed here as a “lightning god”, the epithet being interpreted as signifying “striker”, rather than “avenger” or Alastor (p. 213-251). He employs greater caution in discussing the unusual word αὐτορέκτας, which he translates as “the one slaying with his own hand”, comparing this term to αὐτοφόνος at Cyrene (line 132), and treating it as implying a sacrifice performed personally by the one seeking purification. The usual interpretation is that these terms designate a “killer” or “murderer” whose pollution and haunting by an “avenging spirit” necessitates the elaborate purificatory rituals prescribed (cp. Lupu, who translates “the homicide”, using a dated sense of the word).17
- 18 Cf. still the survey of available editions in R.C.T. Parker, Miasma: Pollution and Purification in (...)
- 19 G. Oliverio, La stele dei nuovi comandamenti e dei cereali, Bergamo, 1933(Documenti antichi dell’A (...)
- 20 C. Dobias-Lalou, Le dialecte des inscriptions grecques de Cyrène, Paris, 2000(Karthago, 25), p. 29 (...)
- 21 These are too numerous to mention here and perhaps best reserved for a republication of the inscri (...)
9Some much of this remains hypothetical and enigmatic that readers may often have to judge for themselves whether a given interpretation is convincing or not. At any rate, one should reasonably continue to use the original edition of JJK for the “sacred law” from Selinous, or Lupu’s edition for the sake of convenience. For the inscription from Cyrene (p. 259-374), R. is a priori more justified in offering a new version of the text, since very few suitable and modern editions have been available until quite recently.18 But here too, the presentation does not meet current epigraphic standards. R. gives a text based principally on his reading of the plates published by Oliverio in 1933, followed by a translation and a commentary on specific lines, which here includes more of the variae lectiones that one would expect of an apparatus criticus (p. 259-277).19 Yet readers would certainly have benefitted from a closer comparison of R.’s suggested readings with the now standard and more cautious edition of Dobias-Lalou, published only a decade ago and based on many years of careful study of both the stone and squeezes.20 My own observations of Oliverio’s seemingly excellent plates, which in fact Dobias-Lalou believes cannot be completely trusted, confirm that R.’s text is unfortunately lacking in editorial caution: many letters “read” by R. should have been treated as dotted letters, or even put in square brackets.21 The problem remains that the two faces of the stele on which the text was inscribed have, already since its discovery, been rather worn; the left and right margins of the text are almost never well preserved, and at least a few letters on each side are missing, sometimes more. Often this is crucial for interpreting the sense of a given section of the text. Larger gaps in lines 13-15, 78-84, 138-141, are more problematic still. Dobias-Lalou reports that the stone has much deteriorated since the first half of the twentieth century, but some improvements might still be possible using modern photography or other techniques.
- 22 Lines 1-3: [Ἀ]π̣όλλων ἔχρη[σε]· | [ἐς ἀ]ε̣ὶ καθαραμοῖς καὶ ἁγνηίαις κα̣[ὶ ἱ|κετ]ήιαις (so R.) χρει (...)
- 23 IG XII 4, 72 (ca. 240 BC), lines 5-6: ὅπως ταί τε ἁγνεῖαι καὶ τοὶ κα̣[θαρμοὶ ταῖς θεαῖς? κατὰ τοὺς (...)
10Given the remarkable character of this lengthy inscription, arranged by cases or topics – “rules for every need” as R. has it – and presenting itself as an oracle, one might not have expected to find it compared to the lead tablet from Selinous.22 Indeed, perhaps the most comparable inscription is the topical regulation on the similar subjects of hagneiai and katharmoi proposed by the exegetes on Cos.23 That being said, the text from Cyrene is full of rare expressions and epichoric words which remain difficult to interpret, and which are often best left untranslated. R. sees part of the purpose of the text as the inclusion of native “Libyans” into the religious community of Cyrene, though this is nowhere explicit in the text. It is also an issue which ought to be discussed with greater caution and with reference to recent studies on Greek colonisation. R. adduces the tithed “class” (lines 33ff.) implicitly designated in the inscription, and the women who (inexplicitly) have “Libyan mothers” and must learn the rituals of Artemis (lines 83-105), as evidence for this interpretation (but cf. the better contextual summary at p. 371-374). Also, the character of these ritual norms as derived from the Delphic oracle continues to be debated, and the question is briefly and carefully considered by R. (p. 250).
11R. presents the first sections (lines 4-20) of the prescriptions as “miscellaneous general rules”, but he usefully treats these on case-by-case basis, repeating a part of his translation (p. 279-287). Difficulties of interpretation are especially apparent in the much-discussed section (lines 21-25) concerning the Akamantes (here again, “winds”), the Tritopatreis, as well as Battos and Onymastos the Delphian (p. 287-297), where the understanding hinges on the meaning of the word ὁσία. R.’s innovation consists in treating this section of the text with the next one, on the “bungled sacrifice” (lines 26-32, p. 296-297), though this is far from obvious since they are separated from one another, like other sections of the text, by a paragraphos. Next, R. discusses the “tithing rules” (p. 299-317) which form the “centerpiece of the inscription” according to R., apparently basing this conclusion on the proportion of lines taken up by this subject matter (lines 33-77 and perhaps beyond). As an example of R.’s detailed and associative commentary one might cite the sacrifice called προβώμιον which is prescribed in line 67 (among others perhaps). This is rightly identified by R. as meaning something like “in front of the altar” but it must refer to a specific type of offering (like βοτὸν τέλευν) and is not necessarily to be connected with the sacrifice “before the hearth” (προσχάραιος θυσία) attested in the Lindian Boukopia inscriptions (e.g. Lindos II 582-617). It may also be felt that “ox-cutting” rites for Athena take us rather far afield from the Apollonion at Cyrene.
- 24 However, one might easily dissent from the proposition at p. 335: “However assembled, feet, head, (...)
- 25 Already, H.J. Stukey, “The Cyrenean Hikesioi”, CP 32 (1937), p. 32-43.
12Of the sections preserved in column B, R. devotes perhaps his lengthiest portion of commentary, replete with valuable examples, to the rules concerning the cult of Artemis (p. 319-351).24 Lastly, the 3 final sections of the extant inscription, under the famous and much-debated rubric ἱκεσίων, are perhaps the most comparable to column B of the tablet from Selinous (p. 353-369). But any such argument hinges on the interpretation of this word, normally an adjective “of suppliants”, but also thought to point to “ghosts” or “visitants”.25 R. believes that ἱκέσιος is an adjective qualifying an implied noun καθαρμός, therefore a “suppliant purification” that is to be performed in three different cases by different people (p. 356). Yet, despite this suggestion, all of the lines remain difficult to interpret, given that the subjects of verbs are either these adjectives or implicit and un-described “persons”. Though it might be thought the simplest solution would be to take ἱκέσιος as designating a “suppliant (person)”, this cannot be done in complete confidence and the enigmas in the part of the text remain particularly frustrating.
13On the whole, R.’s treatment of these two dossiers of ritual norms falls short of what one might hope for in a monograph on individual “sacred laws”, considering its unsatisfactory editions and often tangential commentary, but its argument is, paradoxically, so interesting and learned that it has not been possible to do justice to it here. Accordingly, R.’s work can be beneficially consulted through its useful indices (p. 397-414), but only if it is cited very cautiously. R. has valiantly grappled with these difficult inscriptions, and the evocative character of the resulting book will certainly provide subject matter for future scholarly discussions and for possible progress on the texts. But the “sacred laws” of Cyrene and Selinous will also remain substantially impenetrable until the appearance of further comparative material.
- 26 Cp. most recently N. Deshours, Les mystères d’Andania, Étude d’épigraphie et d’histoire religieuse(...)
14By contrast, Gawlinski’s book on the diagramma of Andania could serve as a model for this genre of epigraphic monograph on “sacred laws”, by virtue both of its excellent edition and its thorough commentary. This is probably the lengthiest inscription usually included in corpora of “sacred laws” (194 lines; LSCG 65), and it has been relatively well-studied since the mid-19th century. But G. has certainly improved upon previous detailed studies of this inscription, and her efforts reinvigorate the study of this text, as well as of Andania and Messene in general.26
- 27 It is a nice didactic touch that G. has even included walking directions retracing the processiona (...)
15She particularly deserves to be praised for her balanced approach to the inscription and its context, having performed repeated visits to examine the stone personally during the past decade and to analyse the historical geography of the site of Andania (cf. e.g. p. 33-59). The discussion of the topography of the reconstructed processional route from Messene to Andania is an indispensable contribution to the growing understanding of the festival, and the discussion of the sanctuary itself, which has never been excavated, is equally invaluable.27 Physical examination of the inscription (p. 60-63) has yielded several valuable insights beyond improvements in readings, notably possible confirmation of the inference that another stone was attached to the left of the existing stele, which explains why the extant text begins in media res with the oath of the hieroi and hierai. The volume helpfully includes several plates detailing specific lines of the inscription, as well as geographical illustrations and a map. One might simply note that it is unfortunate that G. was not able to publish a more full-scale photograph of the stone, perhaps even as a fold-out. But the volume will certainly repay repeated consultation, with its comprehensive bibliography and indices.
- 28 Most of the readings in column B, lines 117-194, on the right side of the stele, could not be much (...)
- 29 L. Gawlinski, “ ‘Fashioning’ Initiates: Dress at the Mysteries,” in M. Heyn, C. Colbourn (eds.), R (...)
16The core of the volume is naturally the text of the inscription itself, carefully established by G. with an apparatus criticus as well as descriptions of problematic lines.28 It is very conveniently translated on facing pages (p. 65-95), and is followed by an extremely detailed line-by-line commentary (p. 97-242). Since the extant inscription is topical, that is to say arranged by short subject headings, it is particularly suited to this form of commentary, and G.’s observations are admirably extensive. One might single out, for example, the rich discussion provided in the sections on clothing (lines 13-28, p. 107-134, the subject of an earlier article by G.), or in the section on financing (lines 45-64, p. 153-164).29 But even in other sections, consideration of archaeological and iconographical evidence, balanced with literary and epigraphical sources, lends a great value to G.’s commentary.
- 30 One might also sometimes wish for less editorial interference with the readings of the stone, or f (...)
- 31 Where previous editors had simply read τὰ νόμι̣[μα] at the end of line 95, she notes traces of a m (...)
17One could of course disagree about minor aspects of G.’s translation, yet it can be cited in relative confidence. A few small points about the text of the diagramma perhaps still warrant further discussion or improvements, particular with regard to the provisions concerning sacrifices.30 For example, the readings at lines 95-96, concerning the sacred feast (ἱεροῦ δείπνου), are improved by G. but the restoration remains doubtful in my opinion.31
18More importantly, matters of punctuation and interpretation could also arise. In the lists of sacrificial animals repeated twice in the text, in the first instance concerning the procession and perhaps the sacrificial order (so G. p. 142 and 172), and in the second, with regard to the purchasing and provision of the animals, one reads:
lines 33-34: … καὶ θυσάντω τᾶι μὲν Δάματρι σῦν ἐπίτοκα, Ἑρμᾶ|νι κριόν, Μεγάλοις Θεοῖς δάμαλιν σῦν, Ἀπόλλωνι Καρνείωι κάπρον, Ἅγναι οἶν.
lines 68-69: … ἐν δὲ τᾶι πομπᾶι Δάματρι σῦν ἐπίτοκα, τοῖς δὲ Μεγάλοις | Θεοῖς δάμαλιν διετῆ σῦν, Ἑρμᾶνι κριόν, Ἀπόλλωνι Καρνείωι κάπρον, Ἅγναι οἶν.
- 32 In fact, both lists are perhaps to be envisioned as comprised of two separate elements. In the fir (...)
- 33 All scholars appear to follow the long-standing interpretation of E. Sauppe, Die Mysterieninschrif (...)
19G. rightly suggests that the animal offered to the Megaloi Theoi took precedence over the ram to Hermes in the second case because it required a special provision, being specified as διετῆ (“two-year old”); the second enumeration formed a “grocery list” different from the first.32 But perhaps a further comment can be made concerning the animal offered to the Megaloi Theoi. To my knowledge, the editors of this text have always treated δάμαλιν σῦν or δάμαλιν διετῆ σῦν as a single offering, signifying a “young (two-year old) pig”, and G. does the same, following her predecessors (p. 171).33
- 34 It is always a substantive, like βοῦς, and never an adjective in inscriptions. In fact, like many (...)
- 35 This is comparable to what one finds in the large majority of sacrificial calendars for instance, (...)
- 36 The parataxis should not be regarded as a problem, since one would expect such a list or a calendr (...)
- 37 For groups of gods receiving multiple offerings, cp. e.g. LSCG 4 (Eleusis, ca. 500-475 BC, trittoa(...)
- 38 Cf. E. Kadletz, Animal Sacrifice in Greek and Roman Religion (diss. Washington 1976), on the gener (...)
20There are several reasons why this now seems improbable. The term δάμαλις always signifies, by itself, the offering of a heifer in ritual norms; never once is it used as an age qualifier with a substantive.34 Furthermore, adjectives describing either age, colour or quality, almost always follow the given noun for an animal in sacrificial calendars and other norms, and they do so consistently in this text: note σῦν ἐπίτοκα, as well as ἄρνας δύο λευκούς... κρίον εὔχρουν (lines 67-68).35 It is clear, therefore, that δάμαλιν διετῆ σῦν must represent two different sacrificial animals, and that one should read and punctuate accordingly: δάμαλιν, σῦν; and δάμαλιν διετῆ, σῦν.36 Despite the fact that groups of gods were sometimes given a single sacrifice (so rightly G., p. 171-172), the offering of two animals to the Megaloi Theoi ought not to be surprising, since one is clearly dealing with at least two divinities.37 Furthermore, the pair of sacrificial animals could be interpreted as revealing something of the character of the deities and help clarify their nebulous identity. Indeed, a heifer is exclusively offered to goddesses in the extant epigraphical evidence, and this fits well with the usual “gender-matching” of Greek sacrificial animals with corresponding deities.38
- 39 One would probably have expected the Dioskouroi to receive a masculine offering: cf. IG XII 4, 358 (...)
- 40 Cf. Deshours, o.c. (supra n. 26, p. 1), p. 66-69 and 218.
- 41 Cf. P.G. Themelis, “The Sanctuary of Demeter and the Dioscouri at Messene,” in R. Hägg (ed.), Anci (...)
- 42 Though Pausanias’ (IV, 33, 4-5) reductive conflation of the spring Hagna with Kore is absolutely c (...)
- 43 Cf. esp. the famous case of the black cows habitually sacrificed to Kore Soteira at Kyzikos: ἐπελθ (...)
21The implication of a female component here, a Megala Thea if one will, might appear at first glance to mitigate G.’s conclusion, held also by Deshours and others, that the Megaloi Theoi represent the Dioskouroi (p. 21).39 But this identification must remain fairly strong, since it is based on the correspondence between a sanctuary of Demeter and the Dioskouroi at Messene (p. 21), from where the festival procession may have begun, and the Karneiasion at Andania (the gods are sometimes styled Megaloi Theoi Karneasioi at Messene).40 Archaeological evidence suggests that both Demeter and Kore were associated with the Dioskouroi in this sanctuary at Messene (cf. p. 51), along with perhaps other feminine figures such as the Leukippides or Helen.41 Demeter and Kore may have grown more prominent as Megalai Theai at Messene by the late Hellenistic or Roman Imperial period (so Deshours, 2006 p. 219-221), perhaps by analogy with the Eleusinian mysteries; and that a heifer was offered to an implied Megala Thea would certainly go a long way towards explaining the confusion of Pausanias, who believed that the Andanian mysteries were primarily devoted to Megalai Theai (i.e. Demeter and Kore).42Kore is therefore perhaps the likeliest candidate for a Megala Thea among these Megaloi Theoi.43
- 44 Kyrbantes at Erythrai (ca. 300 BC): cf. B. Dignas, “Priestly Authority in the Cult of the Corybant (...)
22This inclusion of the goddess would also help to explain the mixed priesthood, involving a pair of male and female priests, which is found twice in this text in a more or less unattributed manner (lines 28-29: ὁ ἱερεὺς τῶν θεῶν, οἷς | τὰ μυστήρια γίνεται, μετὰ τᾶς ἱερέας; cp. lines 96-97, where they are distinguished from the priestess of Apollo Karneios). G. correctly supposes (p. 211-212) that these must be the priest and the priestess of the Megaloi Theoi. Pairs of male and female priests are rarely found in Classical and Hellenistic Greek cults, once for the possibly analogous Kyrbantes at Erythrai for example, but also for Hagne Theos (probably a cult title for Kore/Persephone) at Aixone.44 One should therefore envisage a priest and a priestess of the Megaloi Theoi at Andania, perhaps conveniently distinguished from one another in order to perform initiations for males and females separately, but also clearly representing the mixed gender of the gods themselves.
23Such specific suggestions are merely meant as small contributions to the ongoing discussion on this fascinating text and are by no means intended to diminish G.’s magnificent achievement with the publication of this volume. For the present time, she has provided as close to a definitive and comprehensive monograph on the text as could be hoped.
* Review article concerning the following books: N. Robertson, Religion and Reconciliation in Greek Cities: The Sacred Laws of Selinus and Cyrene, Oxford/New York, Oxford University Press, 2010 (American Classical Studies, 54), xii + 414 p., ISBN: 9780195394009, and L. Gawlinski, The sacred law of Andania: a new text with commentary, Berlin/Boston, De Gruyter, 2012 (Sozomena, 11), xi + 285 p., pl. 12. ISBN: 9783110267570.
1 See also herein the article “Beyond Greek Sacred Laws” by V. Pirenne-Delforge and the present author, p. 163-182.
2 E. Lupu, Greek Sacred Law: A Collection of New Documents, Leiden/Boston, 20092 (NGSL); F. Sokolowski, Lois sacrées de l’Asie Mineure, Paris, 1955 (LSAM); id., Lois sacrées des cités grecques, Supplément, Paris, 1962 (LSS); id., Lois sacrées des cités grecques, Paris, 1969 (LSCG); A. Herda, Der Apollon-Delphinios-Kult in Milet und die Neuejahrsprozession nach Didyma, Ein neuer Kommentar der sog. Molpoi-Satzung, Mainz am Rhein, 2006 (Milesische Forschungen, 4). Review: A. Chaniotis, Kernos 23 (2010), p. 373-379.
3 Selinous (ca. 500-450 BC?): M.H. Jameson, D.R. Jordan, R.D. Kotansky, A Lex Sacra from Selinus, Durham, NC, 1993 (GRBS Monographs, 11) (hereafter JJK); cf. also now L. Dubois, Inscriptions grecques dialectales de Sicile II (= IGDS II), Geneva, 2008 (Hautes Études du monde gréco-romain, 40), no. 18, and E. Lupu, NGSL 27. – Cyrene (ca. 325-300 BC?): early editions should be consulted cautiously; for the sake of convenience, cf. still LSS 115, with ample bibliography.
4 This criticism is to some degree acknowledged by R. (p. 5).
5 Sometimes one feels like one is reading an impressionistic or reductive work of scholarship from the 19th or early 20th century, e.g. p. 8: “High ceremony goes with vulgar magic”, or p. 56: “The festival Kotytia brings relief, utter relief with irresponsible topsy-turvy merriment.” But contrast “Selinus, c. 450 BC” (p. 253-255), perhaps one of the best little summary-sections of this volume, where he commendably errs on the side of caution about the historical context of the Selinous tablet: “We know so little…”
6 The original edition of JJK remains perhaps impossible to surpass in the absence of new autopsy of the tablet. Dubois, Lupu and Robertson used the photographs and drawings published in the editio princeps for their own editions; my comments are also based on these source-materials.
7 This is the probably the case with the lead fragment of the sacrificial calendar of Corinth (ca. 600 BC), perhaps a sort of template or copy, also cited by R. (p. 32-33), to be published by P. Iversen (Hesperia, forthcoming; cf. SEG 32, 359). It is strange that R. proceeds from considering this fragment as analogous to the Selinous tablet and “treated like any other bronze tablet” to a discussion of the “magical” significance (p. 34-35) of this material. One might also compare the Dodona tablets, among other sorts of documents or drafts written on lead and which cannot readily be compared to defixiones.
8 Cp. perhaps LSS 103 (Camiros, 3rd c. BC): Ζηνὶ δ[ὲ] | Ὑητίωι | ὅκκα δέηι, and also LSS 94 (id., to Poseidon), lines 8-11: Ἱπποκαθεσίοις | θύεται Ἀγριανίου | ἑνδεκάται ἢ πρό|τερον· κριὸν…
9 P. 21: “A notable feature is the single and double points sometimes used between words… they are mostly used in alternate lines by way of decoration. They given no help at all in articulating phrases or clauses.”
10 For example, one might wonder if τι Διὶ in line A8, being followed by a colon, does not properly belong with the heading in these lines, thus τν hιαρν hα θυσία… τι Διὶ. Similarly, the nearly consistent use of single interpuncts in lines A10-16, used almost exclusively in this part of the text, surely highlights the distinctiveness or the parenthetical character of the detailed explanation of the rituals for the impure and pure Tritopatreis (the “calendrical style” with colons resumes only in lines 12-13 to distinguish these figures from one another as well as to specify that the sacrifice takes place “afterwards”, κἔπειτα). This might also reinforce the idea that lines 9-12 do not reveal an ellipsis of the sacrificial animal for the impure Tritopatreis. The offering is in fact specified in line 12: θυόντο θῦμα, where the colons resume. The previous lines, with their distinctive punctuation, not to mention the larger script in line 11, therefore should constitute a prolepsis of most of the ritual prescriptions concerning this sacrifice. The phrase at line 17, θυόντο hόσπερ τοῖς θεοῖς τὰ πατρια, remains more enigmatic since it is placed at the beginning of the line; does it belong with the sacrifice to the pure Tritopatreis above, as R. thinks, does it stand on its own, or does it introduce (as a new “heading”?) the following sacrifices and other “calendrical” details? Pace R. (p. 164-165) the phrases “just as to the gods” and “just as to the heroes” appear to refer to unrecorded tradition and implicit sacrificial practice; they do not relate directly to the detailed rituals described in the tablet. The punctuation only sometimes occurs in unexpected places, e.g. line A15: ποτερίδε̣[σ]ι καὶ : πλάσματα.
11 On the difficulties inherent in “Analyzing Greek gods”, cf. the now essential remarks of R.C.T. Parker, On Greek Religion, Ithaca NY, 2010, p. 64-98 (cf. also p. 144-150 on the rituals at Selinous and Cyrene).
12 On Zeus Meilichios at Selinous cf. now C. Grotta, Zeus Meilichios a Selinunte, Rome, 2010(Historica, 9), esp. p. 101-136 for the inscriptions found in the “campo di stele” at the site of Gaggera.
13 His emphasis on “magic” in the rituals continues to be a vexing issue, and is not problematised with regard to recent scholarship on the subject, e.g. R.C.T. Parker, Polytheism and Society at Athens, Oxford, 2005, p. 122-135. For example, R. entertains the notion that the ritual of enateuein suggests “the magic number nine”, but offhandedly dismisses other possible points of comparison (p. 161 with n. 26).
14 Cf. now S.D. Lambert, “The Sacrificial Calendar of the Marathonian Tetrapolis,” ZPE 130 (2000), p. 43-70, here: line B52.
15 Cp. R. himself on p. 287 and 295-296, discussing a similar expression in the text from Cyrene. If any exclusion was intended by the vague phrase, it was perhaps directed at people who were not members of a cult-family or at women: cf. the clauses concerning participation that one finds in excerpts from the Rhodian sacrificial calendar, e.g. γυναιξὶ οὐχ ὁσία (LSS 88-89).
16 One avenue for future interpretation of such detailed rituals lies in the careful consideration of comparative evidence, particularly from Italy, which is not discussed by R. On this subject, cf. the excellent recent work of J.-C. Lacam, “Les Jupiters infernaux: Variations divines en terres italienne et sicilienne (époque pré-romaine et romaine),” ARG 12 (2010), p. 197-242.
17 LSJ s.v. αὐτοφόνος gives the stronger sense “kin-murderer”.
18 Cf. still the survey of available editions in R.C.T. Parker, Miasma: Pollution and Purification in early Greek Religion, Oxford, 1983, p. 332-333, with a translation and commentary p. 333-351.
19 G. Oliverio, La stele dei nuovi comandamenti e dei cereali, Bergamo, 1933(Documenti antichi dell’Africa Italiana, 1), p. 1-94, and pl. I-III esp.
20 C. Dobias-Lalou, Le dialecte des inscriptions grecques de Cyrène, Paris, 2000(Karthago, 25), p. 295-309; cf. SEG 50, 1638.
21 These are too numerous to mention here and perhaps best reserved for a republication of the inscription.
22 Lines 1-3: [Ἀ]π̣όλλων ἔχρη[σε]· | [ἐς ἀ]ε̣ὶ καθαραμοῖς καὶ ἁγνηίαις κα̣[ὶ ἱ|κετ]ήιαις (so R.) χρειμένος τὰν Λεβύαν οἰκ̣[έν]. The restoration [ἱκετ]ήιαις is somewhat plausible given the later heading ἱκεσίων (line 110).
23 IG XII 4, 72 (ca. 240 BC), lines 5-6: ὅπως ταί τε ἁγνεῖαι καὶ τοὶ κα̣[θαρμοὶ ταῖς θεαῖς? κατὰ τοὺς ἱε]|ροὺς καὶ πατρίους νόμους συντελῶντα̣[ι…]; hypothetical case-by-case headings (αἰ δέ κα, vel sim.), relating to different priesthoods, follow the enactment of the decree, in a style that is relatively similar to that found at Cyrene.
24 However, one might easily dissent from the proposition at p. 335: “However assembled, feet, head, and skin [given to the Bear] are not like the perquisites normally awarded to priests and priestesses… The combination … can only be the reconstituted animal, a magical notion” (my emphasis). As R. himself notes, and there are other examples, the feet and head, often attached to the hide, were often attributed to priests. On the problematic invocation of magic in R.’s book, see also above with n. 13, on page 1.
25 Already, H.J. Stukey, “The Cyrenean Hikesioi”, CP 32 (1937), p. 32-43.
26 Cp. most recently N. Deshours, Les mystères d’Andania, Étude d’épigraphie et d’histoire religieuse, Bordeaux, 2006 (Scripta Antiqua, 16). This volume will still continue to be profitably consulted, particularly given its more extensive discussion of the historical and political context of the cults of Messene and Andania: p. 145-222.
27 It is a nice didactic touch that G. has even included walking directions retracing the processional route (p. 58, sadly as yet unattempted by this reviewer). One small point: it might have been important to examine how the site of Andania was situated on the road from Megalopolis to Messene (p. 53, citing Livy), constituting a sort of boundary or “limitrophic” village between the revitalised Messene and the new Arcadian city by the mid-4th century (and afterwards).
28 Most of the readings in column B, lines 117-194, on the right side of the stele, could not be much improved because that side has been worked into a wall inside a church.
29 L. Gawlinski, “ ‘Fashioning’ Initiates: Dress at the Mysteries,” in M. Heyn, C. Colbourn (eds.), Reading a Dynamic Canvas: Adornment in the Ancient Mediterranean World, Cambridge, 2008, p. 146-169.
30 One might also sometimes wish for less editorial interference with the readings of the stone, or for greater precision or clarity in what the lapis readings are meant to contrast, e.g. p. 70, lines 24-25 and 31, perhaps also p. 78 line 64, p. 88 line 111. On p. 90 line 116, G. needs to fully assume her new readings in opposition to those of her predecessors.
31 Where previous editors had simply read τὰ νόμι̣[μα] at the end of line 95, she notes traces of a mu (“there is only the bottom seriph of the left vertical”) and a space of ca. 4-5 letters at the beginning of line 96, following Conze and Michaelis. This leads to reading and restoring the lines as follows: οἱ ἱεροὶ ἀπὸ τῶν θυμάτων τῶν ἀγομένων ἐν τᾶι πομπᾶι ἀφελόντες ἀφ’ ἑκάστου τὰ νόμι̣μ̣[α | μέρη] τοῖς θεοῖς [τὰ λοι]πὰ κρέα καταχρησάσθωσαν εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν δεῖπνον μετὰ τᾶν ἱερᾶν καὶ παρθένων… Though not impossible, one would be hard-pressed to find a direct parallel for G.’s reading and restoration, and it is particularly difficult to conceive of νόμιμα μέρη as meaning “customary portions of meat”, since the substantival sense τά νόμιμα is the most epigraphically common use of the word and it always refers to rites rather than portions (τὰ νόμι̣μ̣[α | γέρα] might be slightly better, but still odd). Perhaps the apparent trace of the serif prevents this, but the expected reading, particularly with the lacuna at the beginning of line 96, would simply have been a generic expression like τὰ νόμι̣ζ̣[ο|μένα]. This is what one finds elsewhere in “sacred laws” of meaty and other portions “extracted” for the gods or set aside for other participants: cf. the perhaps most direct parallel, LSS 19 (Salaminioi, 363/2 BC), lines 41-43: τὸς ἄρτος ἐς̣ Σκιράδος ν|έμειν κατὰ τάδε, ἀφελόντας ἐξ ἁπάντων τὸς νομι|ζομένος ἀφαιρεῖσθαι κατὰ τὰ πάτρια. For this sense of ἀφαιρέω, see also LSS 125, lines 8-10, LSAM 70, lines 6-8, and LSAM 72, line 41.
32 In fact, both lists are perhaps to be envisioned as comprised of two separate elements. In the first, a special sacrifice is first performed to Demeter: τᾶι μὲν Δάματρι, and perhaps only then to Hermes and the rest: Ἑρμᾶ|νι <δὲ?> κριόν κτλ.; a μέν clause is always followed by a δέ in the inscription, as one would expect. In the second series, a pregnant sow is bought separately for Demeter (ἐν δὲ τᾶι πομπᾶι Δάματρι…), while another “grocery list” is headed by the offerings to the Megaloi Theoi (τοῖς δὲ Μεγάλοις Θεοῖς…). (This final list might therefore, according to general trends of cost in Athenian, Delian and other inscriptions, be seen as representing a pricing order, beginning with the most expensive bovine offering [see below] – probably ca. 50 drachmas minimum, see IG XII 4, 274, lines 5-7, Cos ca. 350 BC, and roughly equivalent to what one might expect from a pregnant sow as well: 70 drachmai at Marathon – and ending with the least costly, the sheep for Hagna.)
33 All scholars appear to follow the long-standing interpretation of E. Sauppe, Die Mysterieninschrift von Andania, Göttingen 1890: e.g. Ziehen, LGS II 58 (“vox δάμαλις solet de iuvencis usurpari […]; quodsi hoc loco ad σῦν tamquam adiectivum accessit, suem dici ferendo apro idoneam, id quo voce διετῆ confirmatur, Sauppe […] statuit”); and Sokolowski, LSCG 65 (“jeune truie mais déjà adulte”).
34 It is always a substantive, like βοῦς, and never an adjective in inscriptions. In fact, like many such terms for animals, it appears to have denoted only an approximate qualification of age, on the evidence of the added specification διετῆ in the Andanian diagramma, and perhaps at LSS 96 (Camiros, 3rd c. BC), lines 7-9: δ[άμαλιν] | μὴ νεωτέραν ἐ̣[νιαυ]|τίας. It must have habitually signified a young cow that had not yet borne offspring, much like the English “heifer”. Note also that the purported masculine sense given to the word by G. is entirely exceptional: cf. LSJ s.v. Indeed, the usual corresponding designation for a male calf or young ox is μόσχος, and a pig is often simply χοῖρος (piglet) or σῦς (mature swine of either gender).
35 This is comparable to what one finds in the large majority of sacrificial calendars for instance, with some rare exceptions, e.g. the variations at NGSL 1 (Thorikos).
36 The parataxis should not be regarded as a problem, since one would expect such a list or a calendrical series of offerings to avoid connectives such as καὶ: cf. e.g. LSS 94 (Camiros, 3rd c. BC), lines 3-6: [Π]οτειδᾶνι ταῦρον | [μ]ὴ νεώτερον| [ἐ]νιαυτίου, κριὸν | πρατήνιον, χοῖρον. Note also that the lists at Andania do not even conclude with καὶ plus a final phrase.
37 For groups of gods receiving multiple offerings, cp. e.g. LSCG 4 (Eleusis, ca. 500-475 BC, trittoa to Plouton, Dolichos and the Theai), LSCG 22 (Athens, 4th c. BC, Moirai), as well as LSCG 132 (Thera, 4th c. BC, Nymphs; cp. LGS II 126).
38 Cf. E. Kadletz, Animal Sacrifice in Greek and Roman Religion (diss. Washington 1976), on the general validity of this phenomenon for Greek sacrifices. Heifers for goddesses: Aphrodite Pandemos: IG XII 4, 319 (Cos, ca. 125-100 BC), line 36; Artemis: IG XII 4, 339 (ca. 200-150 BC), lines 13-14; Athena: IG XII 4, 350 (ca. 125-100 BC), line 25: [τᾶι δὲ Ἀθάναι δ]άμαλιν; Athena Machanis: IG XII 4, 274 (ca. 350 BC), lines 21-22; Athena Polias: LSS 96 (Camiros); Athena Magarsia and Homonoia: LSAM 81 (Antiocheia of Kilikia, ca. 140 BC), line 9; Hera: LSAM 67B (Panamara, Hellenistic), line 9: τῇ Ἥ[ρ]ᾳ δά[μαλιν]; Hera Argeia Eleia Basileia: IG XII 4, 274, lines 5-6; Hygieia and Epiona: IG XII 4, 286 (Cos, ca. 250 BC), line 9: τᾶι δὲ Ὑγιείαι καὶ τᾶι Ἠπιόναι δάμα]λ̣ιν ἑκατέραι; Muses: LSS 101 (Camiros, 3rd c. BC). Cf. also IC I v 9 (Arkades), for the Tyche of the Emperor Trajan. The only exception would have been the restoration first proposed for the offering to Herakles at line 37 of the sacrificial calendar of Thorikos, now convincingly refuted by R.C.T. Parker, “The Herakleidai at Thorikos,” ZPE 57 (1984), p. 57-59 (and accepted by Lupu, NGSL 1, ad loc.).
39 One would probably have expected the Dioskouroi to receive a masculine offering: cf. IG XII 4, 358 (Halasarna, ca. 225-200 BC), lines 15-16: Διοσκόροις | οἶν ἔρσενα; cp. also the fragmentary NGSL 1 (Thorikos), line 37. Accordingly, the word σῦν should designate a male rather than a female pig in these lines of the diagramma, since the appellation Megaloi Theoi is of course masculine. A pig was often offered to male gods or heroes, cf. e.g. the abundant mentions of this offering in the regulation of the Salaminioi: S.D. Lambert, “The Attic Genos Salaminioi and the Island of Salamis,” ZPE 119 (1997), p. 85-106, no. 1, lines 88-92. Despite the heifer, therefore, there was of course a male component in the Megaloi Theoi.
41 Cf. P.G. Themelis, “The Sanctuary of Demeter and the Dioscouri at Messene,” in R. Hägg (ed.), Ancient Greek Cult Practice from the Archaeological Evidence, Stockholm, 1998, p. 157-186. Most relief plaques found there depict the Dioskouroi, but also some groups of female figures (p. 174-175), male-female elderly couples (175-176), female terracotta figurines (179-182, many of which appear too young to depict Demeter; one of which, fig. 65 is interpreted as Kore-Persephone). Note also that the record of bones found in this sanctuary suggests a roughly equal ratio of bovines (numbering 113), sheep and goats (149), and swine (131), with some other much less prevalent offerings. These proportions might not be significant, except for the presence of bovines, but they do partially correspond with those now suggested at Andania.
42 Though Pausanias’ (IV, 33, 4-5) reductive conflation of the spring Hagna with Kore is absolutely correctly identified by G. (p. 18 and 20), it may therefore have had some basis in reality other than a mere desire to see Eleusinian ingredients in the Andanian rituals. The whole passage is probably corrupt, since Pausanias skips from the statues of Apollo and Hermes to a discussion of Hagna (hence Sauppe’s emendation <καὶ Ἁγνῆς>).
43 Cf. esp. the famous case of the black cows habitually sacrificed to Kore Soteira at Kyzikos: ἐπελθούσης δὲ τῆς ἑορτῆς, ἐν ᾗ θύουσι βοῦν μέλαιναν… (App., Mith., 75). Oxen could sometimes be sacrificed to Kore along with Demeter at Eleusis, e.g. Hesperia 16 (1947), p. 170 no. 67 lines 14-15, and K. Clinton, “Sacrifice at the Eleusinian Mysteries,” in R. Hägg, N. Marinatos, G.C. Nordquist (eds.), Early Greek Cult Practice, Stockholm, 1988, p. 69-80. It must be said, however, that the more usual offering for Persephone/Kore in Attica was the male ram, and NGSL 3 (Phrearrhioi, ca. 300-250 BC), line 13 reads: [. .]ιωι καὶ τῆι Κόρηι βοῦμ ἄρρε[να –]. This appears to preserve the offering of male ox to Demeter (+ epithet) and Kore, though perhaps a god as well as more animals were involved in the lacunae, so that the precise recipient may not be especially clear. In any case, the identification proposed here is not absolute and other possibilities for a Megale Thea remain open. It is also interesting to note, for example, that a heifer was offered to Athena Machanis on Cos specifically on the year of the Karneia, a festival associated to a certain degree with the Andanian mysteries in Messenia; only a sheep was offered on other years (cf. IG XII 4, 274, lines 21-22, above).
44 Kyrbantes at Erythrai (ca. 300 BC): cf. B. Dignas, “Priestly Authority in the Cult of the Corybantes at Erythrae,” EA 34 (2002), p. 29-40. Aixone: SEG 54, 214 (ca. 400-375 BC), lines 23-28, where two sacrificial animals are also implied. For the identification of Hagne Theos, cf. the convincing arguments of R.C.T. Parker, “New Problems in Athenian Religion: The ‘Sacred Law’ from Aixone,” in J. Dijkstra, J. Kroesen, Y. Kuiper (eds.), Myths, Martyrs and Modernity: Studies in the History of Religions in Honour of Jan N. Bremmer, Leiden/Boston, 2010, p. 193-208.Haut de page
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