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Dossier : Phantasia

Varia

Literary Rapes Revisited

A Study in Literary Conventions and Political Ideology

E. D. Karakantza

Résumé

Les scènes de viols divins dans la littérature antique et classique font apparaître une typologie particulière qui suggère l’idée que ces narrations sont des constructions littéraires plutôt que des représentations de scènes réelles. Le paradoxe qui en découle est dû au fait que le discours officiel de la cité reproduit des narrations qui remettent en question la légitimité de la succession sociale. La réponse qui est proposée est que, dans certains cas, les narrations de viols divins sont utilisées comme le moyen suprême pour la « construction » d’un nouveau discours hégémonique et dominant qui légitime l’expansion de la souveraineté d’une cité ainsi que ses visées colonialistes.

Texte intégral

  • 1 Interesting studies on rape in iconography and literature give us information as to how this act of (...)

1Throughout classical literature there is the recurrent theme of literary rapes, in which an older male (a god or hero) forces a young maiden to yield to his sexual advances. The union leads to the sexual initiation of the maiden and typically produces exceptional offspring who eventually take their rightful place in the history of an ancient race or city. This illicit sexual activity always takes place in certain localities thus marking them as fictional constructions rather than reflections of real-life scenes of rape1. As a result a topography of rape emerges as a locus communis between disparate works of literature such as epic, lyric, dramatic poetry, philosophical texts or simple references and allusions to a stock of stories with which ancient audiences were familiar. A network of conventions can be revealed as constituent units of narratives of rape, the manipulation of which by the author invokes to the cultural relevance of every story and every version of a story. Unravelling several of these strands helps us to understand the format of the narratives of rapes and decipher the underlying ideology that govern works of literature in archaic and classical times – during that long stretch of time that saw the formation of the polis and its subsequent crisis ; i.e. periods of time marked with great intellectual activity.

2In approaching literary works, interpretive problems arise when considering their interconnection with social and political life since works of fiction and « reality » interact in a complex manner.

  • 2 The classic study on reading in Ancient Greece remains J. Svenbro’s Phrasikleia. Anthropologie de l (...)

3A particularly tantalizing question concerns the mechanisms detectable in the works of literature employed in the construction of a certain ideology designed to serve the purposes of the polis ; this ideology is subject either to deconstruction or – conversely – is strengthened in its vitality and power. In none of the cases to be examined later do we seek to offer a definitive answer or solution ; rather the present paper is an exercise in reading our ancient sources. Since the time that classical scholars began offering deconstructed readings of literary works we have come to realize that reading is not as simple an action as we used to think and that, above all, reading is temporally and culturally determined ; the « innocent » reading died, usurped by a more complex successor involving several factors heavily coloured by notions of building images, identities, civic categories and – ultimately – political ideologies2.

The Symbolic Topography of the Narratives of Rape

  • 3 Herodotus 7, 189 ; either she played with her friends on the banks of Ilissos, gathering flowers an (...)
  • 4 Persephone : Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Helen : Euripides, Helen 240 ff. Oreithyia : Plato, Phaedrus (...)
  • 5 A. Motte, Prairies et Jardins dans la Grèce Antique ; De la religion à la philosophie, Brussels, 19 (...)
  • 6 Europa : Aeschylus, fr. 99 Nauck2. Io : Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 647 ff and Suppliants 540 ff.
  • 7 Homeric Hymn to Demeter, 5 ff.
  • 8 R. Merkelbach & M. L. West, Zeitschrift fürPapyrologie und Epigraphik 14, 1974, pp. 97-113 and Zeit (...)
  • 9 G. Schönbeck, Der Locus Amoenus von Homer bis Horaz, Heidelberg, 1962 ; J. M. Bremer, « The Meadow (...)
  • 10 Motte, op. cit. supra n. 5, pp. 198-232.
  • 11 Page 293/88D = 72 P.
  • 12 Page 266/6 D = 5 P.
  • 13 Euripides, Hippolytos, 73-87.
  • 14 Παρθενικόϛ γάμοϛ is the wedding that produces a παρθενίαϛ. The παρθενίαϛ, παρθένιοϛ (or παρθένειοϛ) (...)
  • 15 Homeric Hymn to Hermes, 3-9.
  • 16 Euripides’Ion, the only extant tragedy that deals explicitly with a case of rape and its consequenc (...)
  • 17 Homer, Iliad 16, 180-186.
  • 18 R. Seaford, « The Tragic Wedding », Journal of Hellenic Studies, 107, 1987, pp. 106-130 ; by the sa (...)

4Rapes of young maidens – as already mentioned – conform to certain stylistic patterns that re-occur in most literary accounts, to such an extent that the presence of certain characteristics alone in the narrative implies an imminent rape. By far the commonest place for a rape is a lush meadow (λειμῶνεϛ μαλακοί) that excites desire, or uncut meadows and gardens (ἀκήρατοι λειμῶνεϛ, ἀκήρατοι and ποηφόροι κῆποι), meadows where flowers bloom in vernal euphoria, since in a number of cases (i.e. Persephone, Oreithyia3, Europa, Kreousa, Aphrodite in her false story to Anchises)4 the maiden cut flowers prior to herself being « ruined »5. Zeus met Europa and Io in such a meadow6, Hades abducted Persephone from a similarly verdant place7, Archilochus chose a similar locus to seduce the young daughter of Lycambe8. Such a meadow presents itself as a prime candidate for a locus amoenus (a place of sexual pleasure)9, used by divine beings as nuptial beds where ἱερογαμία (scenes of sexual union between gods) takes place10 ; the lush meadow on Mount Ida where Hera seduced Zeus to divert his attention from the Trojan battlefield is a representative example. Of the same symbolic order is the meadow of love of Anakreon11, the κῆποϛ of Ibykos12 and the precinct where Hippolytos – and he alone – can meet and converse with his erotically worshipped virginal goddess13. The sacred, uncut, flowery and strangely familiar meadow and garden closely resemble the virginal body of the maidens deflowered/ravished upon it, initiating a παρθενικόϛ γάμοϛ14, a violent, bloody, reversed wedding that needs to be kept secret ; for this reason Zeus met Maia in a cave15, penetrated Danae in a sealed subterranean chamber, Apollo raped Kreousa in a sacred cave north of the rocks of Kekrops16, and Hermes crept secretly in the women’s quarters to consummate his desire for Polymele17. These unions constitute a subverted wedding ritual that cannot be accommodated within the institutionalized rituals of the polis18.

  • 19 Ogden, op. cit., supra n. 1 ; D. Cohen, « Consent and Sexual Relations in Classical Athens », in A. (...)

5A παρθενικόϛ γάμοϛ is a mock en-action of the wedding ritual that undermines the very existence of the city-state, as it subverts one of the principal rituals institutionalized by the polis to ensure its very legitimacy19 through the reproduction of legal heirs to the οἶκοϛ of the citizens.

  • 20 Page 335/88 D = 75 B
  • 21 From Alkman 1 = M.–P3. 78 the following lines characterize the young ἵππον/παγὸν ἀεθλοφόρον (47-48) (...)
  • 22 Aristophanes, Lysistrata 1308-1315.
  • 23 Sissa, op. cit., supra n. 16 ; J. Gould, « Law, Custom, and Myth : Aspects of the Social Position o (...)

6In the meadows of love there is another imagery that refers to the critical time for a maiden just prior to her sexual initiation – within or outside the wedlock. A recurrent τόποϛ sees her as a young, wild animal yet to be tamed. Anakreon has given us a splendid depiction of a similar situation where he – an older male – lusts to be united with a young girl – he an adroit rider she a Thracian filly20. Alkman likens his girls to horses21 ; Spartan girls gambol on the banks of the river Eurotas like young foals22 ; Herakles after the sack of Oikhalia drives the young princess Iole out of the burning palace, to rape her against the backdrop of the murdered bodies of her kinsmen. The maiden is called a foal yet to be subjugated (πῶλον ἄζυγα λέκτρων, Euripides, Hippolytos, 546) and the hero – with the blessings of Aphrodite – celebrates with her a sinister and bloody wedding. The domestication of the wild body of a maiden is likened to the taming of a wild animal23 ; this virginal body needs to be tamed so as to be fully integrated into the legitimate reproductive line of the polis.

  • 24 Gould, op. cit., p. 52.
  • 25 Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 1, 1207 ff ; Theocritus, Idyl 13.
  • 26 During a festival in Tanagra some women bathed in the lake provoking Triton’s lustful assault. (Eur (...)
  • 27 Homer, Odyssey 11, 235-252.
  • 28 Mainly late sources (Apollodorus, Library, 2.1. 4-5 ; Ovid, Amores 1.13 ; Pausanias, 2, 38. 2 and 2 (...)
  • 29 Pausanias, 2, 5. 1 ; Apollodorus, Library 1. 9, 3 and 3. 12, 6.

7Finally, places near water, – seashores, riverbanks, freshwater springs– again have associations with sexual danger for they are localities beyond the limits of the ordered polis24. Beautiful Hylas (Herakles’ companion on the Argonauts’ expedition) was abducted and drawn by the nymphs of a spring in Mysia25. The sea god Triton emerged from the waters to abduct and rape women that were involved in Dionysian purification rituals26. Tyro, the daughter of king Salmoneus, fell in love with the river Enipeus, and used to visit the riverbank every day ; enamored Poseidon emerged from its waters and slept with her on these very banks while an ethereal wave discreetly covered the lovers27. The pretty white bull with which Pasiphae longs to unite comes from the Kretan Sea, a fatal gift of Poseidon. However, although water (in the form mentioned above- might be seen as an element of untamed nature) it is indispensable to the life of the community. King Danaos sent his daughter Amymone to find fresh water springs for the city of Argos ; the maiden, in her search, was raped by Poseidon but ensured – through her rape – the much wanted springs for the citizens of her polis28. An interesting variation of the necessity for a source to be found for a civic locality, which connects with a case of rape, runs as follows : when Aigina was abducted by Zeus, her father (the river Asopos) set out to find her ; an impossible task should there be not Sisyphos who, desiring a spring in his Akropolis in Korinth, betrayed Zeus’ secret in return for the much-wanted spring29.

  • 30 Homer, Odyssey 6, 137, 276-279.
  • 31 Herodotus 1, 1-4.

8Lastly, ports are dangerous places for young maidens, because, although undoubtedly civic places, they have the potential to turn into ambivalent localities of sexual danger. Ports allow communication with the open sea and, consequently, with unknown foreign places that again fall far away from the controllable power of the community. Nausikaa watches with suspicion a strange male creature approaching her, his body bloated by seawater, and fears that the Phaiakians might think him a xenos freshly arrived by ship to possess her forever30. In ports all around the Mediterranean sea young maidens were snatched by pirates or their enamored captain later to be sold into slavery, as run the stories retold by Herodotus who investigated the rapes of young maidens as the cause of the Persian Wars31. Virginal bodies – thus exposed to the extreme danger of foreigners, strangers to the city – disappear and become lost forever to the civic life of their native polis. Localities that mark the borderline between civic and non-civic (meadows and gardens, seashores, riverbanks) are fused with the ambivalent status of yet untamed maidenhood. However, a number of rapes are actually enacted in the very heart of the civic community, within the walls of a palace, in a sanctuary or during a public event of ritual significance.

Rape, Ritual and the Polis

  • 32 For a systematic collection of nuptial images in non-wedding scenes in iconography see Oakley op. c (...)
  • 33 A. Brelich, Paides e Parthenoi, Rome 1981, pp. 122, 126, 154 ; C. Calame, Les Chœurs de jeunes fill (...)
  • 34 C. Sourvinou-Inwood, « Altars with Palm-Trees, Palm-Trees and Parthenoi », Bulletin of the Institut (...)
  • 35 C. Sourvinou-Inwood, « A Series of Erotic Pursuits : Images and Meanings », Journal of Hellenic Stu (...)
  • 36 Sexual desire aroused by the sight of Astymeloisa is explicit and overwhelming : λυσιμελεῖ τε πόσωι (...)
  • 37 L. Ghali-Kahil, Les Enlèvements et le retour d’Hélène dans les textes et les documents figurés, Par (...)
  • 38 Homer, Iliad 16, 180-186 ; their union took place secretly in the women’s quarters.
  • 39 Pausanias 6, 22. 9 ; cf. 5, 14. 6.

9The latter cases lead us to ponder an emerging paradox. Not only is the sexual consummation of a maiden described in terms of a ritual32 – a reversed wedding ritual to be examined later in the course of the present paper – but also very often the maidens-victims, just prior to their rape, are in a ritualistic environment. Even the apparently « innocent » ball game initiated by Nausikaa, after the washing of her trousseau, refers to the ritualistic game of σφαιρεῖϛ and σφαιρίστριαι, an initiation game for young ephebes (male and female) that takes place in Lakedaimona ; and in Athens there is the assumption that young Arrhephoroi played ball – as part of their sacred initiation – in a secluded place on the slopes of the Akropolis33. Sacred precincts that contain altars – especially altars dedicated to the virgin Artemis – become the central focus of pious worship by young maidens ; however, these are the very places from where maidens are routinely snatched and raped34. Even more, ritual dancing in great civic festivals offers another opportunity for the male lust to be expressed, and in some cases to be consummated, in rape35. Innocent girls, educated by and for the city, bring disaster upon themselves by the subtlety of their performance and their exceptional beauty. Alkman’s partheneia draw well the picture ; Astymeloisa36, Agidô, Agêsikhora, and the pleiad of the other girls, excelling in beauty and grace, excite the sexual desire of the male members of the audience. In Euripides’ Helen (1310) Hades drags Persephone out of a cyclic chorus of παρθένοι. The sight of the maiden Helen enamors the Athenian hero, Theseus, while she performed a ritual dance to Artemis Orthia37 ; and young Polymele provokes the lust of Hermes while dancing again for Artemis38. The extreme example of this kind of occurrence is the attempt on Artemis herself by the river Alpheios, during a nocturnal celebration while the goddess dances with her chorus of nymphs39. The maidens instead of being protected in the sacred place are violated – in an acute reversal of the meaning of the sacred as a place of protection and civic worship.

  • 40 «…there is no absolute divide between different spheres of activity, public and private : the polit (...)
  • 41 K. Kastoriadis, L’Institution imaginaire de la société, Paris, 1975, p. 162.

10A second point to be made is that the very transition of the maiden to γυνή has been regularized by a series of rituals that use symbolic language to point to the integration of the maiden into the polis – the wedding ritual40. Rituals rely on a series of symbolic actions that are introduced by convention and acquire their full significance within the context of the other systems that constitute the life of the city-state. This socially sanctioned symbolic system provides a model where the signified on the social level relate to symbols-signifiers, which include the rituals, the visual signs of art and the narratives in literature. This connection gradually comes to be considered by the members of a community to be founded not by convention, but by necessity41, thus any deviation from the established connection infers the breakdown of the civic order itself. Nowhere is this threat made more evident than in the case of the subversion of the wedding ritual and its fusion with rape. Consider the following eclectic use of a number of symbolic actions and language – which is borrowed from the marital context – to describe the violent action of rape. A parody of the typical gesture of νυμφαγωγία of the maiden by the groom, who takes the would-bride by the wrist (χεῖρ᾿ ἐπὶ καρπῷ), is present in the rape of Kreousa by Apollo (λευκοῖϛ δ᾿ ἐμφὺϛ καρποῖσιν/χειρῶν εἰϛ ἄντρου κοίταϛ/.../.../ἆγεϛ... Euripides, Ion, 891-895) and in many scenes of pursuit in iconography. The carrying off of the bride in a chariot, a familiar topic again in iconography, can comfortably be accommodated in narratives of rape and marriage by abduction alike. Persephone was forced to mount the chariot of Hades (ἐπὶ χρυσέοισιν ὄχοισιν/ ἦγ᾿ ὀλοφυρομένην... Homeric Hymn to Demeter, 19-20), Kyrene that of Apollo (ἅρπασ᾿, ἔνεικέ τε χρυσέῳ παρθένον ἀγροτέραν/ δίφρῳ..., Pindar, Pythian 9, 6-7). The place where the deflowering of the maiden takes place is a bridal bed (κοῦρον,.../εἰϛ εὐνὰν βάλλω τὰν σάν, ἵνα με λέχεσι μελέαν μελέοιϛ/ ἐζεύξω τὰν δύστανον, Euripides, Ion, 888-889 ; ...κρυπτόμενοϛ λέχοϛ ηὐνάσθην, Euripides, Ion, 1484 ;…ὦ παῖ, μὴ ᾿πολακτίσηϛ λέχοϛ/ τὸ Ζηνόϛ, Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 662-663) ; and the general statement of the action is a bloody or sinister or forced wedding (φονίοιϛ θ᾿ ὑμεναίοιϛ/ ̓Αλκμήναϛ τόκῳ Κύπριϛ ἐξέδωκεν·/ ὧ τλάμων ὑμεναίων, Euripides, Hipppolytos, 552-554 ; from Euripides, Ion the following extracts : Φοῖβοϛ ἔζευξεν γάμοιϛ / βίᾳ Κρέουσα (10-12) ; πικρῶν γάμων (505) ; Φοῖβοϛ παρθένουϛ βίᾳ γάμων προδίδωσι (437-438) ; Φοῖβῳ ξυνῆψ᾿ ἄκουσα δύστηνον γάμον (941). Any description of rape usurps the conventional terminology of a formal wedding ritual, to which it bears strong affinities : both actions entail violence as they mark the « taming » of a maiden, her transition to the state of γυνή in order to produce offspring. The difference lies in the non-integration of the γυνή in the social body of the polis so as to have her sexuality controlled, regularized, channeled into socially accepted paths. The narratives of rape explore the possibilities of how – by violating the institutional order of the society – some of the female members fall victims to a secondary symbolic process – notably that of a subverted wedding ritual that seems to deny the very legitimacy of the polis.

  • 42 I take the view – evident throughout the paper – that maidens who fell victims to divine rape were (...)
  • 43 D. C. Pozzi « The Polis in Crisis », in D. C. Pozzi & J. M. Wickersham, Myth and the Polis, Ithaca (...)

11Thus a second disjuncture arises. The polis needs the virginal bodies of its maidens to produce legal heirs to the οἶκοι of its citizens. For that reason it trains them in the paternal οἶκοϛ and in the formalities of public rituals. A number of virginal bodies, however, are abused and, as a result, are forced to expose their offspring to perish or have to wait for some twenty years to be vindicated (until their offspring reach maturity)42. In all cases these virginal bodies are of exceptional beauty and lineage ; offspring of divine descent, and daughters of royal families. Their bodies are misused, expelled, driven to a foreign land or given to a mortal man to conceal the shame brought on the paternal οἶκοϛ. These familiar stories are the narrative heritage of the Greek polis, out of which part of the public λόγοϛ is constructed and enacted in lyric recitations and dramatic performances43. The discourse of polis inherits a narrative nucleus that contradicts the public image that it wishes to formulate and present in order to legitimize its body politic. Thus an anomaly is created because we can hardly accept that the narratives of rape are merely a record of civic embarrassment. How does the discourse of polis deal with this anomaly ?

Narratives of Rape mapped on to Political Ideology

  • 44 A. W. Saxonhouse, « Myths and the Origin of Cities : Reflections on the Autochthony Theme in Euripi (...)
  • 45 Loraux, op. cit, p. 168.
  • 46 Pozzi, op. cit., supra n. 43, p. 144.
  • 47 Loraux, op. cit., p. 179.
  • 48 Foley suggests that Euripides’ preoccupation with issues of unwedded mothers and illegitimate child (...)

12At this point – while still leaving the above question open – we should ponder over a well documented case of literary rape – that of Kreousa by Apollo as recorded by Euripides, in Ion (411 BCE) – and the marriage by abduction of Kyrene by Apollo, the story of Pindar’s Ninth Pythian Ode (474 BCE). Ion is a tragedy about Athenian autochthony and civic identity44. N. Loraux claims that « Athens is the sole subject of Euripides’Ion, the Akropolis its sole hero. Its catalyst is a woman called Kreousa and its subject is the specifically tragic discourse of autochthony »45. Even more, the tragedy as retold by Euripides introduces to Athens Dionysos – a benign god of public celebrations – and refers to Athenian legitimacy as deriving directly from Delphi, the pan Hellenic center of advising on political issues and colonial expansion46. In Ion Kreousa, the daughter of the semi-autochthonous king Erekhtheus, is raped by Apollo on the very slopes of the Akropolis, in the very heart of the Athenian civic place. She exposes her child and later goes to Delphi with her mortal husband, Xouthos, to inquiry about the cause of their bareness. There a series of events leads to surprising revelations : Ion, the young servant of Apollo, turns out to be the son of Kreousa, who was rescued by his divine father when he was exposed to die in the same cave in which the queen was raped and exposed her baby. In order for Ion to acquire a legitimate father, Apollo convinces Xouthos that the young ephebe is his son, the product of an imaginary illicit sexual union between the present king of Athens and a Maenad when he participated in Bacchic celebrations on Mt. Kithairon. Ion returns to Athens and becomes the progenitor of the Ionians who spread along the shores of Asia Minor. As the tragedy links Ionian colonization with the city of Athens, it provides the Athenians with a sound ideological basis for their imperialism. Moreover, in the very same myth the city establishes its legitimacy through the idea of autochthony47, an idea that makes territorial claims as natural as if you sprung from the soil of the city. Ion is a myth about Athenian legitimacy and citizenship that apparently excludes the intervention of women. Yet this tragedy, with its powerful ideological and political background, is enacted through the experiences of a woman, Kreousa, starting with her erotic violation by Apollo, which brought shame on her, and ending with a vindicated queen bringing back to her city her own offspring as its rightful heir. Autochthony and imperialism are founded on and explained with a narrative of a rape. When Kreousa – still ignorant of Ion’s true identity – tries to kill her son she does so not only out of fear for her position back in Athens but also to protect her own autochthonous blood line. The queen shows remarkable interest in civic concerns – i.e. citizenship and purity of line in times of serious civil crisis (between 411 to 404/3 BCE) when the Athenians were forced by critical political events to question radically their much celebrated political system48.

  • 49 Dougherty, op. cit., supra n. 1, pp. 267-284.
  • 50 C. Dougherty, The Poetics of Colonization ; From City to Text in Archaic Greece, NY & Oxford, 1993, (...)
  • 51 The foundation of Kyrene is told by Pindar in two other Pythian Odes (4 and 5, both 462 BCE) dedica (...)
  • 52 Dougherty, op. cit., supra n. 1, p. 270.
  • 53 « It’s Murder to found a Colony » is the eloquent title of the contribution of Dougherty to Cultura (...)
  • 54 Dougherty, op. cit., supra n. 1, p. 274.
  • 55 J. Kakridis (ed.), Ellhnikhv Muqologiva [Greek Mythology], Athens, 1986, v. III, pp. 11-12.

13Raising the issue of autochthony involves civic and gender issues because claiming to be autochthonous is like claiming a natural right over the land ; the latter being equated with the city (Ion, 278) but in many other narratives with the female body. Even more, appropriating the women of a place is like appropriating the very land itself – as it becomes clear in colonial narratives (see the exemplary story of the rape of Sabinae) and in real war stories of sexual crimes against the women of a land49. Indeed, being united to a woman provides one of the cultural metaphors used in colonial discourse – that employs images, words, institutions and modes of behaviour to construct a convincing λόγοϛ to be imposed on the indigenous population50. In Pythian 9 we have the narration of a political foundation of a new city, that of Kyrene on the shores of Africa (the foundation of the colony circa 620 BCE)51, through the abduction and sexual union to a wild, young, Greek maiden who is transformed into a « fertile and flourishing landscape »52. The body of the nymph is equated with the land that takes her name. Moreover, the violence that any process of colonization entails53 is present in the act of sexual initiation of a maiden, be it rape or marriage. And as this is a remarkable point of contact between the two acts (marriage and colonization) it encourages the interchangeable metaphorical use of the two images, the acculturation of the land and the domestication of the female body : « rape, an act of violence, contains the seeds of its own transformation into an act of culture »54. In the era of archaic Greek expansion when the Greek cities of the metropolis consolidated a picture of their own symbolic structures, it is only to be expected that they should transfer those very structures (through the colonial discourse) to the new city which is destined to become yet another Greek city. Kyrene is a wild Greek nymph who defeats a lion with her bare hands ; her body becomes domesticated in the experienced hands of Apollo and becomes a tamed, fully acculturated γυνή, the queen of the land who produces a male heir – Aristaios, the Excellent or the Benefactor ; the hero goes back to the mainland of Greece and becomes a culture hero and founder of new cities in Greece and of colonies in Sardinia, Sicily and Thrace55. Following the same symbolic process, the African land of Kyrene and its indigenous population are acculturated into the Greek modes of structuring the world. In myth – as in real life – founding a colony is ordained by Apollo as a result of a civic crisis which is resolved by the actual settling of a colony ; in marriage – i.e. in the cultural metaphor for settling a colony- crisis marks the transition from the wild to the tamed, from παρθένοϛ to γυνή.

  • 56 R. Osborne, Greece in the Making : 1200-479, Oxford, 1996, p. 16.

14An interesting parallel of the founding of the colony can be found in another Pindaric version (Pythian 5, 462 BCE) in which the male founder hero, Battos, – who also causes lions to flee in terror (v. 57-59) – brings about a symbolic acculturation of an apparently wild land : he establishes divine groves, festivals for Apollo, even a straight paved street for the ritual processions of the god, and the building of a tomb for the founding hero in the ἀγορά. All those actions constitute the religious foundation of the city (Pythian 5, 89-95). However, in the name Karneios attributed to Apollo in the ode, we may detect an attempt to placate an offended deity, offence that may have been brought about by the inevitable destruction entailed in the founding of a colony56. In this story the motif of crisis, setting out to found a colony, destruction and acculturation gives a parallel to the story of the rape of Kyrene that reveals the same symbolic order as in the version of the male founder Battos ; both versions convey the same ideological message, using different cultural metaphors, and both narratives help the city of Kyrene to act out its image of its own identity.

  • 57 Pindar, Pythian 3, 6-47 ; in this masculine-centered version Pindar put the blame for the immolatio (...)
  • 58 Interesting is the Pindaric narrative of the founding of Kyrene (Pyth. IX 5-67), realized by the ab (...)
  • 59 In Pythian 9 the colonial discourse is consolidated through three matrimonial unions: 1. Kyrene and (...)

15To go back to the question about the misuse of virginal bodies and the anomaly that it creates within the ideological framework of the polis, the answer, which has been suggested throughout this paper, is as follows. The virginal body as the purest, untouched and untamed possession of a human society needs to be « sacrificed » in order for the civic order not just to perpetuate itself, but to invent its very beginnings. Thus the virginal body is elevated to the very top of the civic edifice itself and, by its abuse, produces a line of illustrious male descendants ; founders of cities and colonies, culture heroes, genitors of races. The archetypal virginal sacrifice, that of Iphigeneia – which is explicitly confused with her marriage to Achilles – serves the political ambitions of her father, and the eagerness of the Greek army to expand into Asia Minor. Semele is also sacrificed to a fatal union with Zeus, producing the god Dionysos, the archfounder of civic festivals. As for the most extreme example of this process, consider Koronis, lover of Apollo, who is virtually immolated on a pyre without, however, missing the opportunity of giving birth to a culture god, Asklepios57. Culture has to be invented and civic life institutionalized. Each polis has to establish its very existence, to validate claims over neighbouring communities, to justify its expansion through colonies58 and alliances. A founding hero is the corner stone of these claims – a παρθένιοϛ παῖϛ, an illegitimate offspring of a παρθένοϛ. The offspring of Kreousa’s rape, Ion, gives continuation to the autochthonous line of the Athenians and an ideological covering to their ideas of citizenship and imperialism. In some cases a traditional narrative of rape is dressed in the attire of a conjugal union. Thus, through matrimonial unions59 in Pythian 9 and their consequent offspring the Dorian Greek expansion to the shores of Africa and the absorption of the indigenous population into the structures of a Greek city are legitimized.

  • 60 M. Beard in her criticism on an earlier essay of hers on Vestal Virginity says: « This is a story n (...)

16The use and abuse of the epitomic maidenhood of a polis serves in manifold ways the political ideology of the time. The narratives of rape have been commonly seen as stories about distressed females who raise questions of gender (itself an important political issue) ; however, there are also about other cultural and civic categories : origins of culture, autochthony, citizenship and imperialism60. The political discourse found in archaic and classical narrative sources exposes the principles upon which civic identity and imperial expansion have to be restated and reaffirmed at times of great political changes and civic crisis.

Notes

1 Interesting studies on rape in iconography and literature give us information as to how this act of sexual violence was conceived and depicted in both forms of art. A recent book on rape edited by S. Deacy and K. F. Pierce (Rape in Antiquity, London, 1997, paper edition with new introduction London, 2002) presents us with a wide range of topics related to the subject, of which the following have been used for the completion of the present study : R. Omitowoju, « Regulating Rape : Soap Operas and Self-Interest in the Athenian Courts », pp. 1-24 ; D. Ogden, « Rape, Adultery and Protection of Bloodlines in Classical Athens », pp. 25-41 ; S. Deacy, « The Vulnerability of Athena : Parthenoi and Rape in Greek Myth », pp. 43-162 ; K. W. Arafat, « State of the Art- Art of the State : Sexual Violence and Politics in Late Archaic and Early Classical Vase-Painting », pp. 97-122 ; M. Kilmer, « Rape in Early Red-figure Pottery : Violence and Threat in Homo-erotic and Hetero-erotic contexts », pp. 123-141 ; L. Byrne, « Fear in the Seven against Thebes », pp. 143-162 ; K. F. Pierce, « The Portrayal of Rape in New Comedy », pp. 163-184 ; T. Harrison, « Herodotus and the Ancient Idea of Rape », pp. 185-208. More studies, older and recent, form the theoretical background for the study of rape : F. Zeitlin, « Configurations of Rape in Greek Myth », in S. Tomaselli & R. Porter (eds), Rape, Oxford, 1986, pp. 122-151 ; A. Scafuro, « Discourse of Sexual Violation in Mythic Accounts and Dramatic Versions of the “Girls’ Tragedy” », Differences, 2.1, 1990, pp. 126-159 ; M. Lefkowitz, « Seduction and Rape in Greek Myth », in A. E. Laiou (ed.), Consent and Coercion to Sex and Marriage in Ancient and Medieval Societies, Washington D. C., 1993, pp. 17-37 ; A. Stewart, « Rape ? », in E. D. Reeder (ed.), Pandora. Women in Classical Greece, Princeton, 1995, pp. 74-90 ; A. Cohen, « Portrayals of Abduction on Greek Art : Rape or Metaphor ? », in N. Kampen (ed.), Sexuality in Ancient Art : Near East, Egypt, Greece, and Italy, Cambridge, 1996, pp. 117-135 ; A. H. Sommerstein, « Rape and Young Manhood in Athenian Comedy », in L. Foxhall & J. Salmon (eds), Thinking Men : Masculinity and its Self-Representation in the Classical Tradition, London, 1998, pp. 100-114 ; E. D. Karakantza, « The Semiology of Rape ; The Meeting of Odysseus and Nausikaa in Book 6 of the Odyssey », Classics Ireland, 10, 2003, pp. 8-26. I would roughly distinguish three major areas for the study of rape : a. in the mythic accounts (literature and iconography) for which the above bibliography is given ; b. cases of rape in wartime (i.e. P. Walcot, « Herodotus on Rape », Arethusa 11, 1978, pp. 137-147 ; D. Schaps, « The Women of Greece in Wartime », Classical Philology, 77, 1982, pp. 193-213 ; C. Dougherty, « Sowing the Seeds of Violence : Rape, Women, and the Land », in M. Wyke (ed.), Parchments of Gender. Deciphering the Bodies in Antiquity, Oxford, 1998) ; c. and the legal ideology of rape in real life cases : Omitowoju and Ogden in Deacy & Pierce, op. cit. ; S. G. Cole, « Greek Sanctions against Sexual Assault », Classical Philology, 79, 1984, pp. 97-113 ; E. M. Harris, « Did the Athenians Regard Seduction as a Worse Crime than Rape ? », Classical Quarterly, 40. 2, 1990, pp. 370-377 ; D. Cohen, « Sexuality, Violence and the Athenian Law of Hybris », Greece & Rome, 38. 2, 1991, pp. 171-188 ; by the same author the two following books : Law, Sexuality and Society, Cambridge, 1991, and Law, Violence, and Community in Classical Athens, Cambridge, 1995 ; R. Omitowoju, The Language and Politics of Rape : Forensic and Dramatic Perspectives in Classical Athens, Ph. D., Cambridge, 1996. For a useful review of the book on Rape by Deacy & Pierce, see J. Davidson, « Reassuring the Patriarchy », Classical Review, 50, 2000, pp. 532-536.

2 The classic study on reading in Ancient Greece remains J. Svenbro’s Phrasikleia. Anthropologie de la lecture en Grèce ancienne, Paris, 1988, that nurtures and develops ideas appearing in earlier seminal studies such as T. Todorov’s « La lecture comme construction », in Les genres du discours, Paris, 1978 ; R. Barthes’« Sur la lecture », in Le Bruissement de la langue. Essais critiques, Paris, 1984, pp. 37-47 ; U. Eco’s Lector in fabula ou la coopération interprétative dans les textes narratifs, Paris, 1985. As a result of this and other intellectual trends a selection of deconstructive readings on various aspects of the ancient world has appeared during the last few decades. A representative example of the trend towards seeing fragments in lieu of a coherent historical account of an ancient subject (be it literature, art or history) is Foucault and his Histories of madness and sexuality, which offer insights into moments rather than a continuous line of evolution of those phenomena. I. Morris formulates a « deconstructive » approach in the interpretation of ancient ritual, which can be also applicable to the study of literature, as follows : to « collapse the analyst, the author of the source, the actors performing an ancient ritual, the spectators, and the readers of the modern account into one another and into an act of representation itself » (« Poetics of Power : The Interpretation of Ritual Action in Archaic Greece », in C. Dougherty & L. Kurke, Cultural Poetics in Archaic Greece ; Cult, Performance, Politics, Cambridge, 1993, p. 28). Similarly, reading a literary text proves to be as complicated as the following remarks by C. Segal show : «…the poem is a text into which are inscribed all the absences of letters, the distances between the spoken and the written word, between words and things, and between the moment of creation and the moment of successive recreations and interpretations ». The text, therefore, looses a fixed, privileged meaning in favour of a « semiological, deconstructive and anti-ideological » reading (« Poetry and/or Ideology », in Pindar’s Mythmaking : The Fourth Pythian Ode, Princeton/New Jersey, 1986, p. 123). Classical scholars have produced works within this theoretical and ideological framework (albeit not always explicitly classified as « deconstructive ») as is it obvious in the major part of the work by C. Segal, S. Goldhill, F. Zeitlin, N. Loraux, C. Calame, J. J. Winkler, J. Peradotto, P. Pucci to name only few influential scholars.

3 Herodotus 7, 189 ; either she played with her friends on the banks of Ilissos, gathering flowers and dancing (Plato, Phaedrus 229 b-c), or she participated in a procession as an arrhephoros to the Akropolis (scholiast on Homer, Od. xvi, 533) ; Akousilaos, FGrHist 2 F 30. The Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 1, 212 reports that Simonides and the early historian Pherekydes recounted the story.

4 Persephone : Homeric Hymn to Demeter. Helen : Euripides, Helen 240 ff. Oreithyia : Plato, Phaedrus 229 b ff (the name pharmakeia implies collecting flowers) and Sophokles, fr. 956 Pearson ; Europa : Aeschylus, fr. 99 Nauck, Scholiast on Il. XII, 292, and Moschus, Europa ii, 77 ff ; Kreousa : Euripides, Ion 885 ff ; Aphrodite : Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite.

5 A. Motte, Prairies et Jardins dans la Grèce Antique ; De la religion à la philosophie, Brussels, 1973, p. 44 ; Scafuro, op. cit., supra n. 1, p. 128. Terminology for female genitalia melds with terms of natural topography, i.e. λειμών, κῆποϛ, πεδίον, cf. J. Henderson, The Maculate Muse ; Obscene Language in Attic Comedy, New Heaven, 1975, p. 135 ; J. Taillardat, Les Images d’Aristophane ; Études de langue et de style, Paris, 1962, § 119, §§ 171-178. In Aristophanes’Acharneis (271-275), Dikaiopolis wishes to press his sexual desire on a slave girl, « to lift her up, throw her down and stone her fruit ». For similar imagery in other Aristophanian comedies (cf. Peace, Birds, Lysistrata) see Sommerstein, op. cit., supra n.1, pp. 100-114.

6 Europa : Aeschylus, fr. 99 Nauck2. Io : Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 647 ff and Suppliants 540 ff.

7 Homeric Hymn to Demeter, 5 ff.

8 R. Merkelbach & M. L. West, Zeitschrift fürPapyrologie und Epigraphik 14, 1974, pp. 97-113 and Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 15, 1975, p. 228 (Pap. Col. 7511 = SLG 478).

9 G. Schönbeck, Der Locus Amoenus von Homer bis Horaz, Heidelberg, 1962 ; J. M. Bremer, « The Meadow of Love and Two Passages in Euripides’Hippolytus », Mnemosyne 28, 1975, pp. 268-280 ; C. P. Segal, « The Tragedy of the Hippolytus : The Waters of Ocean and the Untouched Meadow », Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 70, 1965, pp. 117-169 ; B. Goff, The Noose of Words ; Readings of desire, violence and language in Euripides’Hippolytos, Cambridge, 1990, pp. 59-65 ; H. P. Foley, The Homeric Hymn to Demeter, Princeton, 1994, pp. 33-34 ; C. Calame, « Prairies et jardins de poètes », in L’Éros dans la Grèce Antique, Paris, 1996, pp. 187-197.

10 Motte, op. cit. supra n. 5, pp. 198-232.

11 Page 293/88D = 72 P.

12 Page 266/6 D = 5 P.

13 Euripides, Hippolytos, 73-87.

14 Παρθενικόϛ γάμοϛ is the wedding that produces a παρθενίαϛ. The παρθενίαϛ, παρθένιοϛ (or παρθένειοϛ) or σκότιοϛ is the offspring of a secret ‘wedding’ involving a maiden who looses her virginity without her father’s consent ; c.f. the Παρθενίαι who are the boys born in Sparta during the Messenian War (Aristotle, Politics 1306 b) ; LSJ s.v.

15 Homeric Hymn to Hermes, 3-9.

16 Euripides’Ion, the only extant tragedy that deals explicitly with a case of rape and its consequences, refers several times to the necessity of keeping the ‘wedding’ and the delivery of the parthenias secret. Keeping this secret (as is the case also with Antiope, Melanippe, Auge and Alope – all lost Euripidean tragedies) is the only way that the maidens can escape punishment for the misfortune they have suffered (cf. G. Sissa, « Hidden Marriages », in Greek Virginity, Cambridge Mass., 1990, pp. 87-104) ; they rarely succeed in remaining safe for long.

17 Homer, Iliad 16, 180-186.

18 R. Seaford, « The Tragic Wedding », Journal of Hellenic Studies, 107, 1987, pp. 106-130 ; by the same author, « The Structural Problems of Marriage in Euripides », in A. Powell (ed.), Euripides, Women and Sexuality, London, 1990, pp. 151-176 ; J. Redfield, « Notes on the Greek Wedding », Arethusa, 15, 1982, pp. 191-193 ; C. Sourvinou-Inwood, « A Series of Erotic Pursuits : Images and Meanings », Journal of Hellenic Studies 107, 1987, pp. 131-153 ; by the same author, Reading’Greek Culture : Texts, Images, Rituals and Myths, Oxford, 1991, pp. 65-82 ; J. H. Oakley, « Nuptial Nuances : Wedding Images in Non-Wedding Scenes of Myth », in E. D. Reeder (ed.) Pandora’s Box ; Women in Classical Greece, Baltimore, 1995, pp. 63-73 ; I. Jenkins, « Is there Life after Marriage ? A Study of the Abduction Motif in Vase Paintings of the Athenian Wedding Ceremony », Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, 30, 1983, pp. 137-145 ; K. W. B. Ormand, Exchange and the Maiden : Marriage in Sophoclean Tragedy, Austin Tex, 1999 ; H. P. Foley, « The Contradictions of Tragic Marriage », in Female Acts in Greek Tragedy, Princeton/Oxford, 2001, pp. 59-105. For the typology of wedding in general see J. H. Oakley & R. H. Sinos, The Wedding in Classical Athens, Madison Wisc., 1993.

19 Ogden, op. cit., supra n. 1 ; D. Cohen, « Consent and Sexual Relations in Classical Athens », in A. E. Laiou (ed.), op. cit., supra n. 1, pp. 5-16 ; C. Carey, « Rape and Adultery in Athenian Law », Classical Quarterly, 45, 1995, pp. 407-417.

20 Page 335/88 D = 75 B

21 From Alkman 1 = M.–P3. 78 the following lines characterize the young ἵππον/παγὸν ἀεθλοφόρον (47-48), ὁ μὲν Κέληϛ ̓Ενετικόϛ (50-51), ἵπποϛ... Κολαξαῖοϛ (49).

22 Aristophanes, Lysistrata 1308-1315.

23 Sissa, op. cit., supra n. 16 ; J. Gould, « Law, Custom, and Myth : Aspects of the Social Position of Women in Classical Athens », Journal of Hellenic Studies, 100, 1980, p. 53.

24 Gould, op. cit., p. 52.

25 Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 1, 1207 ff ; Theocritus, Idyl 13.

26 During a festival in Tanagra some women bathed in the lake provoking Triton’s lustful assault. (Euripides, Kyklop 263 ff ; Scholiast on Orestes, 364 ; Pindar, Pythian 4, 19 ff and Scholiast ad loc.).

27 Homer, Odyssey 11, 235-252.

28 Mainly late sources (Apollodorus, Library, 2.1. 4-5 ; Ovid, Amores 1.13 ; Pausanias, 2, 38. 2 and 2, 15. 4 ; Hyginus, Fabulae, 169) but the story was known to Euripides who attests that Poseidon gave the springs of Lerna to Amymone (Euripides, Phoenissae, 185-9) ; Amymone was also a lost satyr play by Aeschylus (Scholiast on Homer, Il. IV 171).

29 Pausanias, 2, 5. 1 ; Apollodorus, Library 1. 9, 3 and 3. 12, 6.

30 Homer, Odyssey 6, 137, 276-279.

31 Herodotus 1, 1-4.

32 For a systematic collection of nuptial images in non-wedding scenes in iconography see Oakley op. cit., supra n. 18.

33 A. Brelich, Paides e Parthenoi, Rome 1981, pp. 122, 126, 154 ; C. Calame, Les Chœurs de jeunes filles en Grèce archaïque. Morphologie, fonction religieuse et sociale, Rome, 1977, pp. 237 (n. 122), 257 ; the ball is one of the objects that Calame relates with female virginity (ibid.).

34 C. Sourvinou-Inwood, « Altars with Palm-Trees, Palm-Trees and Parthenoi », Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, 32, 1985, p. 125, where the iconographical element « altar-palm-tree » is linked with the realm of Artemis and the erotic pursuit/abduction of παρθένοι from her sanctuaries.

35 C. Sourvinou-Inwood, « A Series of Erotic Pursuits : Images and Meanings », Journal of Hellenic Studies, 1987, p. 145, and ns 93, 94 ; Calame, op. cit., supra n. 33, p. 176 : « La plupart de ces scènes < sc. de rapt > en effet se situent dans le cadre d’un chœur d’adolescents consacré à Artémis ».

36 Sexual desire aroused by the sight of Astymeloisa is explicit and overwhelming : λυσιμελεῖ τε πόσωι, τακερώτερα/ δ᾿ ὕπνωι καὶ σανάτωι ποτιδέρκεται (Alkman, 3 fr. 3ii), whereas Agesichora’s intention of seduction has been doubted [see A. Griffiths who suggests that v. 77 (Alkman 1 = M.-P3. 78) should be read με τηρεῖ, «she watches over me », since Agesichora is an epithet of Helen (« Alcman’s Partheneion : The Morning after the Day before », Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica, 1972, 14, p. 22].

37 L. Ghali-Kahil, Les Enlèvements et le retour d’Hélène dans les textes et les documents figurés, Paris 1955, 507 ff ; Herodotus ix, 73 : Dioskouroi rescue Helen from her captivity in Aphidnai by Theseus). Frazer (in Apollodorus’ Library, ii, p. 25, n. 2) says that the story was told by the historian Hellanicus [Scholiast on Homer Il. iii, 144] and in part by the poet Alkman [Scholiast on Homer Il. iii, 242].

38 Homer, Iliad 16, 180-186 ; their union took place secretly in the women’s quarters.

39 Pausanias 6, 22. 9 ; cf. 5, 14. 6.

40 «…there is no absolute divide between different spheres of activity, public and private : the political institutions of the ancient city are to be understood in terms of the totality of forms of social interaction. Moreover, if any aspect of ancient society is to be given prominence, it should be the religious, not the political..», O. Murray, « Cities of Reason », in O. Murray (ed.), The Greek City from Homer to Alexander, Oxford, 1990, pp. 5-6 ; S. C. Humphreys, The Family, Women and Death, London, 1983 ; M. A. Katz, « Ideology and ‘the Status of Women’ in Ancient Greece », in R. Hawley & B. Levick, Women in Antiquity ; New Assessments, London, 1995, pp. 21-43.

41 K. Kastoriadis, L’Institution imaginaire de la société, Paris, 1975, p. 162.

42 I take the view – evident throughout the paper – that maidens who fell victims to divine rape were distressed about the incident and suffered strong feelings of being abused by their divine lovers and rejected by the familial circle ; fathers usually enforced a punishment on the fallen κόρη. I disagree with Lefkowitz who in her paper (op. cit., supra n. 1), supports the view that the female partners ultimately consent to the union and, moreover, they extract pleasure from it and the gratification to boast of – later in life – their illustrious offspring. The actual violent act is never described or depicted in mythic accounts out of a sense of propriety but the suppression of the actual violent act does not deny it. In some cases women are tricked into the union (Tyro, Alkmene), in some others life in the paternal house must have been hell (Mestra, Danae), and there are two cases (Persephone, Kreousa) who cry out for their mothers when abducted. Kreousa’s monologue in Euripides Ion (875-921) is illustrative as to how hard must have been to give birth in secret, to abandon the child so as not to bear the consequences of somebody else’s sexual pleasure. Indeed these women, the victims of divine rapes, boast of their offspring ; in most of the cases, however, this is the only outlet left to them for their frustrated sentiments and the hardship they had to endure – for not all of these women see their life settled in another conjugal union (see also the paradigm of Koronis, who was immolated when her divine lover (Apollo) realized that she has fallen for a mortal hero). As for the gods who supposedly grant their sexual partners any gift they want, it is a faint comfort to think of this divine generosity : Daphne, Dryope, Arethusa etc. were transformed into something else in order to escape the god’s lust, Kassandra was blessed and then cursed with prophesy, and Kainis was turned into a male hero precisely in order to avoid been raped again !

43 D. C. Pozzi « The Polis in Crisis », in D. C. Pozzi & J. M. Wickersham, Myth and the Polis, Ithaca & London, 1991, pp. 126-163 ; G. Nagy, Pindar’s Homer ; The Lyric Possession of an Epic Past, Baltimore & London, 1983 ; B. Gentili, Poetry and its Public in Ancient Greece ; From Homer to the Fifth Century, Baltimore 1988 [orig. 1985] ; S. Goldhill & R. Osborne, Performance Culture and Athenian Democracy, Cambridge 1999 (where the highly relevant contributions by O. Taplin, « Spreading the Word through Performance », pp. 33-57 ; C. Calame, « Performative Aspects of the Choral Voice in Greek Tragedy : Civic Identity in Performance », pp. 125-153 ; R. Osborne, « Inscribing Performance », pp. 341-358).

44 A. W. Saxonhouse, « Myths and the Origin of Cities : Reflections on the Autochthony Theme in Euripides’Ion », in J. P. Euben, Greek Tragedy and Political Theory, Berkeley, 1986, pp. 252-273 ; N. Loraux, « Kreousa the Autochthon : A Study of Euripides’Ion », in J. J. Winkler & F. I. Zeitlin (eds), Nothing to Do with Dionysos ? Athenian Drama and its Social Context, Princeton 1990, 168-206 ; D. C. Pozzi, op. cit., pp. 135-144. For further discussion on Ion : Scafuro, op. cit., supra n. 1 ; N. S. Rabinowitz, Anxiety Veiled ; Euripides and the Traffic in Women, NY/London, 1993, pp. 189-222 ; F. Zeitlin, Playing the Other ; Gender and Society in Classical Greek Literature, Chicago, 1996, pp. 285-338 ; Foley, op. cit., supra n. 18, pp. 86-87.

45 Loraux, op. cit, p. 168.

46 Pozzi, op. cit., supra n. 43, p. 144.

47 Loraux, op. cit., p. 179.

48 Foley suggests that Euripides’ preoccupation with issues of unwedded mothers and illegitimate children of divine or royal descent may reflect « the tensions over marriage, inheritance, and citizenship that may have intensified during the Peloponnesian War as well as continuing tensions between aristocratic aspirations and the democracy », op. cit., supra n. 18, p. 104.

49 Dougherty, op. cit., supra n. 1, pp. 267-284.

50 C. Dougherty, The Poetics of Colonization ; From City to Text in Archaic Greece, NY & Oxford, 1993, pp. 137-140 ; D. Wolftthal, Images of Rape. The « Heroic » Tradition and its Alternatives, Cambridge 1999 ; C. Segal, « Sexual Conflict and Ideology : I. Conquest of the Female, II. Masculine Metis ; Pythian 9, III. The Myth of Patriarchy », in Pindar’s Mythmaking : the Fourth Pythian Ode, op. cit., supra n. 2, pp. 165-179 ; C. B. Patterson, « Those Athenian Bastards », Classical Antiquity 9, 1990, pp. 40-73 ; M. Huys, The Tale of the Hero who was Exposed at Birth in Euripidean Tragedy : A Study of Motifs, Leuven, 1995.

51 The foundation of Kyrene is told by Pindar in two other Pythian Odes (4 and 5, both 462 BCE) dedicated to king of the land, Arkesilaos, on which reference is made to the founder of the colony, Battos, and his civilizing activity in general ; in the Pindaric version connections with Sparta are stressed. Herodotus, on the other hand, says that inhabitants of the island of Thera were the first settlers who sent Battos after a seven-years drought in the island ; this is the version of the story told by the islanders. Conversely, the inhabitants of Kyrene trace their origin from Krete via the intermediary of Thera from where Battos started his colonial expedition (4. 150-9) : Osborne, op. cit., supra n. 4, pp. 8-18.

52 Dougherty, op. cit., supra n. 1, p. 270.

53 « It’s Murder to found a Colony » is the eloquent title of the contribution of Dougherty to Cultural Poetics, supra n. 2.

54 Dougherty, op. cit., supra n. 1, p. 274.

55 J. Kakridis (ed.), Ellhnikhv Muqologiva [Greek Mythology], Athens, 1986, v. III, pp. 11-12.

56 R. Osborne, Greece in the Making : 1200-479, Oxford, 1996, p. 16.

57 Pindar, Pythian 3, 6-47 ; in this masculine-centered version Pindar put the blame for the immolation on Koronis, for although she carried the ‘pure seed of the god’[Apollo] (v. 15), she dared sleep with a mortal man of her choice.

58 Interesting is the Pindaric narrative of the founding of Kyrene (Pyth. IX 5-67), realized by the abduction of the maiden Kyrene from mount Pelion to the shores of Libya by the god Apollo. This narrative is heavily coloured by nuptial references, from the consent of a paternal figure, the centaur Cheiron, to the union, the golden carriage that carries the bride to Libya, to the reference of the bridal bed. However, there is also a conflation of themes belonging to the imagery of rape: the encounter of the nymph in the countryside, her exceptionality in beauty and power, the reference to the κῆποϛ of Zeus as the final destination, the reference to the deflowering of the maiden as the cutting of her honey-sweet ποίαν (grass), v. 37. For the founding of Kyrene, the extant narratives, their symbolism and their political significance see C. Calame, Mythe et histoire dans l’Antiquité grecque, Lausanne, 1996, passim; Osborne, 1996, supra n. 56, pp. 36-39 ; Dougherty, op. cit., supra n. 50, pp. 136-163.

59 In Pythian 9 the colonial discourse is consolidated through three matrimonial unions: 1. Kyrene and Apollo, 2. a maiden of local nomadic tribe and Alexidamus, a Greek settler, and 3. the winner of the race in full-armour Telesikrates (to whom the ode is dedicated) with a local maiden (Calame, op. cit., supra n. 58, pp. 103-109).

60 M. Beard in her criticism on an earlier essay of hers on Vestal Virginity says: « This is a story not just about gender and its ambiguities […] ; it is a story about gender (and its uncertainties) mapped on to other cultural categories (and their uncertainties) – civic identity, nationhood and imperialism (my italics). The Vestals ask us to ask what it is to be Roman, what Rome is » : « Re-reading (Vestal) Virginity», in Hawley & Levick, op. cit., supra, n. 40, p. 177.

Auteur

Hellenic Open University, Patras

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