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Ritual and Communication in the Graeco-Roman World

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Eftychia Stavrianopoulou

Moving Events Dance at Public Events in the Ancient Greek World Thinking through its Implications

Frederick G. Naerebout

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Concepts and definitions

  • 1 O. Taplin, “Spreading the word through performance”, in S. Goldhill, R. Osborne (eds), Performance (...)
  • 2 D. Handelman, Models and mirrors. Towards an anthropology of public events, Cambridge, 1990, p. 3.

1Dance is a specific kind of intentional, performative motor behaviour. Its performative nature implies an audience of some kind. As Oliver Taplin has defined performance in his simple, but adequate working definition (a ‘rough delineation’): “an occasion on which appropriate individuals enact events, in accordance with certain recognized conventions, in the sight and hearing of a larger social group, and in some sense for their benefit”.1 I am concerned here with audiences outside the private sphere, that is to say, with public events in the particular sense that Don Handelman has accorded to those words: special occasions of a public character, “occasions that people undertake in concert to make more, less, or other of themselves, than they usually do” and that are dense concentrations of symbols.2

  • 3 S.J. Tambiah, “A performative approach to ritual”, Proceedings of the British Academy 65 (1979), p (...)
  • 4 Despite their obvious importance, I would never consider public events to be coterminous with anci (...)
  • 5 E.g. J.N. Bremmer, Greek religion, Oxford, 1994, p. 1; S. Price, Religions of the Ancient Greeks, (...)

2All public events and their constituent parts are ritualized to some extent (not all ritualized behaviour, however, is part of a public event). ‘Ritualized’ is here to be understood as ‘done according to ritual’. Ritual I define, with the anthropologist Stanley Tambiah, as “patterns and rules of combination, sequencing, recursiveness and redundancy, (…) performative blueprints”.3 Ritual, a set of blueprints, has to be realized as ritualized behaviour at specific occasions, some of which are public events. In the ancient world such public events were always religious occasions (not all religious occasions, however, were public events4). Indeed, the more grandiose and better-known public events of ancient society are what are commonly called ‘religious festivals’, recurrent or non-recurrent, cyclical or non-cyclical. In fact, there is little point in insisting on the religious nature of public events, when speaking of a society where the observer cannot keep apart the religious and the non-religious other than in a purely theoretical sense. This state of affairs is nowadays often described as the embeddedness of religion in ancient society.5 I would rather say that ancient society was embedded in religion. Religion is the foil against which human life is being played out. The ancient Greek world is an example of the polytheistic variant of what is called ‘fundamentalism’ by post-Enlightenment secularized societies.

  • 6 On non-verbal communication, cf. F.G. Naerebout, Attractive performances. Ancient Greek dance: thr (...)
  • 7 On the vocabulary of ancient Greek dancing, Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6), p. 174-189; more specifically (...)
  • 8 On definition theory and the need for etic definitions, I follow J.A.M. Snoek, Initiations. A meth (...)

3Ritualized behaviour at public events (and ordinary behaviour as well, but that is less interesting, because less distinctive) consisted to some appreciable extent of nonverbal behaviour. The nonverbal is a capacious category, which reaches from paralanguage, i.e. the non-semantic aspects of vocal utterances, to the kinetic, i.e. body movements and gestures.6 Some subsets of such nonverbal movements and gestures occurring together, were distinguished by speakers of Greek as examples of orcheuma or cboros.7 If we look at what to the Greeks made up the particular human activity, which they denoted as such, and we compare this to the present, it is clear that orcheuma and choros can without much ado be translated as ‘dance’ in English, or one of its equivalents in other European languages. So if I produce an etic definition of dance, as I think I should and as I will do below, and if this etic definition of dance is closely related to modern natural language use, as it had better be, we can, in this instance, collapse the etic and the emic – something that is not nearly always the case.8 The insiders’ perspective (Greek semantics: emic) and the outsiders’ perspective (a scholarly definition, a new construct, but related to English semantics: etic) are very close to one another. That is to say: I as a scholar formulating my own definition of the dance, using, in this instance, English, and a speaker of Greek from any period of the ancient world, would agree more or less on what dance is. Naturally, the same holds good for dance imagery, apart from the problems inherent in the imagery itself. In producing still images of movement, a number of conventions are brought into play, and such pictorial conventions are hardly ever easy to ‘read’, not always for insiders, certainly not for outsiders. Of course, all the above does not mean that dance fulfils the same functions in our society as it did in ancient society.

  • 9 My etic definition: Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6), p. 165-166, with subsequent adaptations.
  • 10 For the concept of dance event: A.P. Royce, The anthropology of dance, Bloomington, 1977, p. 10 (a (...)
  • 11 W O. Beema, “The anthropology of theater and spectacle”, Annual Review of Anthropology 22 (1993), (...)
  • 12 Mousike has hardly ever been addressed as such, only in a fragmentary way. Now, however, there is (...)

4My etic definition of dance describes it as communal human behaviour, consisting of intentional, rhythmic, structured, mostly stereotyped bodily movement, coordinated by sound, which behaviour is recognized by those partaking in it or viewing it as a special category of behaviour.9 ‘Dance’ obviously can be used also in the loose sense of a combination of many different nonverbal and verbalized elements. Dance anthropology has introduced the concept of ‘dance event’, which is intended to bring out the need to contextualize dance movements.10 There is patterned sound (rhythms being beaten, song, instrumental music), there might be a subtext. In anthropological literature we find ‘MTD’, which is short for ‘music, text, dance’, and which is thought to be the most common form of performance.11 Indeed, the Greeks used the concept of mousike to express exactly that: in the Greek world dance and song (poetry set to music) commonly come together, whether the dancers do the singing themselves or not.12 The ‘dance event’ embraces more than MTD: we can also look at costuming, venue, the identity of the performers, the composition of the audience, the occasion and so on. All this is true enough: contextualization is important. But bodily movement of a particular kind, i.e. the stricter definition of dance presented above, is of course the crucial thing: without that we would not speak of dance at all.

  • 13 I can only give a mere handful of titles with a focus on movement/dance which I found useful: M. M (...)
  • 14 The ‘postmodern challenge’ has not gone unheeded, it has been re-affirmed that history/ histories (...)

5It might be noted in passing that in social and cultural research ‘body’, ‘embodiment’ and so on, have become concepts rivalling the time-honoured categories of ‘culture’ and ‘society’. This has been described as one of the main elements of post-modern theorizing13. In fact, it even seems to go beyond that: postmodernism is on the wane, but the rather overwhelming interest in the body is still there.14 It is likely to turn out to be more than a fad or fashion: the importance of the (moving) body to human culture has been recognized; in several societies, the ancient Greek one amongst them, the moving body, especially that moving in the dance, can be shown to have been, or still to be, of paramount importance.

  • 15 Taplin, l.c. (n. 1), p. 33: “ancient Greek societies were extraordinarily performanceful”; P. Wils (...)
  • 16 Sophocles, Oedipus tyrannus, 896. For this interpretation, see, amongst others, O. Taplin, “Fifth- (...)
  • 17 To give only a few examples out of very many: in Price, o.c. (n. 5), and in J.D. Mikalson, Ancient (...)

6Dance as defined above is prevalent at Greek public events, together of course with other performative elements.15 Mere prevalence does not necessarily indicate importance, but then it might do so very well. When we see the amount of documentation of and reflection on the phenomenon by the Greeks themselves, in the shape of texts and images trying to capture the evanescent dance and give it permanency, and reaching to the meta-level, we can conclude without too much circumlocution that this is indeed a cultural phenomenon of central importance. That means that anyone studying ancient Greece, and especially its public events, has to come to grips with the dance. When the chorus in Sophocles’ Oedipus tyrannus states: τί δεῖ με χορεύειν; “what use is it for me to go on dancing?”, this has been interpreted as meaning “why should I partake in some religious festival any longer?” Choreuein can mean exactly that.16 So anything that makes us moderns aware of the saltatory component of ancient public events is useful. It would be very unwise to overlook the dance. Nevertheless, dance, and all of mousikē, has been overlooked and neglected again and again, except for the specialist accounts (which, however necessary they may be, only really bear fruit when their results are integrated into the more general picture).17 Indeed, it is remarkable how often authors manage to speak about ‘celebrate’ or ‘worship’ without any indication of how exactly that was being done. The uninitiated reader certainly may be excused for thinking that dancing played no big part in ancient Greek religion, or that we do not know anything about it either way.

  • 18 Still the best article on early Christianity and the dance is C. Andresen, “Altchristliche Kritik (...)
  • 19 F.G. Naerebout, “Which way forward for dance history?”, in Dance history. The teaching and learnin (...)
  • 20 In the introduction by Murray Wilson, o.c. (n. 12), p. 8. I came to the same conclusion: F.G. Na (...)
  • 21 Plato, Leges, 654a.

7The cause for this oversight or neglect probably is some combination of long-term Christian rejection of the dance, an increasingly text-based view of history, and a loss of what has been called kinaesthetic awareness.18 The idea that the performing arts in general, and dance in particular, are something frivolous, not fit for scholarly attention, has certainly played, and still plays its part. Happily, such preconceptions seem to be weakening, but the weight of a long tradition of religious argument directed against the more bodily and sexual aspects of the human arts are behind it. I am sorry to say that dance history as a scholarly pursuit has not done much to counter this. A lot of it is either antiquarian, parochial and unsophisticated, or filled to the brim with fashionable jargon but ultimately vacuous, and thus only serves to scare other historians away from the subject – if they ever approach it at all.19 The time has come to put all that behind us and make a fresh start: and there certainly are “encouraging signs that things are changing in the study of Greek dance”, to quote a recent assessment.20 They should go on changing, for we only can hope to have a grasp of ancient Greek life when we are aware of the prevalence of dancing and carefully think through all its consequences. When one agrees, as I do, that the historian should strive to become competent in the culture under investigation, as in the Malinowskian ideal of anthropological field-work, one had better heed Plato’s words: οὐϰοῦν ὁ μὲν ἀπαίδευτος ἀχόρευτος ἡμῖν ἔσται,21

Sources and restrictions

8But when we do realize the importance of the dance in ancient Greek society, and do pay requisite attention, then the going gets rough. Dance may be important, but it also turns out to be quite difficult to find out anything about it except for the bare fact of its importance. Now, why should this be so difficult? The fairly large amount of source material that we have at our service has already been alluded to. However, the nature of the evidence puts severe limitations on what we can do, as usual.

9Let us step back for a moment from the actual sources and consider the study of dance in general. The very idea of researching dance does not seem very promising: dance is an ephemeral art, of which in the days before several kinds of modern recording techniques came into being, precious little remained the moment the dance was finished: a memory in the mind, maybe a dance floor or other venue, and some paraphernalia. Of course, a dance remembered can be reperformed, or one can draw on one’s memories to teach others to reperform, things to which we will return below. The memory of an actual performance dies with the person who partook in or witnessed that particular performance, and usually well before that time. However, memories can be externalized into a more permanent shape, either verbalized or turned into imagery.

  • 22 We are dealing here with a lot of uncertainties: illustrative is the discussion surrounding the ma (...)
  • 23 Dance floors can be disambiguated by name (such as Kallichoros), or by inscriptions (such as the r (...)

10As for the ancient Greek world, the memories are long gone, and the direct reflection of performances is limited to a few musical instruments and masks (usually in votive copies), the only possible accoutrements of the dance surviving.22 Dance venues are only recognizable as such if these are dedicated dance floors. Except for orchēstrai in theatres, nobody has attempted to collect these systematically.23 Such sources are not disregarded, but they are few and far between. It is the more indirect evidence, the texts and images, that forms the bulk of our sources. As far as the actual performances are concerned, these texts and images remain inexact and impressionistic: apparently, the ancient Greek world felt no urge to provide posterity with a precise record of its dances in either words or pictures.

  • 24 G. Prudhommeau, La danse grecque antique, Paris, 1965.
  • 25 On Nonnus’ neologisms and his drive towards poikilia in general, see several articles in N. Hopkin (...)
  • 26 The high point of such speculation was reached in Prudhommeau, o.c. (n. 24), (who actually made fi (...)

11There have been attempts to find woven into poetic sources something like an abstract of a dance manual, in the form of descriptions of dance movements supposedly extraordinarily precise: Nonnus’ Dionysiaca has been singled out as such.24 Nonnus is likely to have been something of a dance aficionado, and his descriptions of dance, of which he, true to the fashions of his age, emphasizes the pantomimic, communicative mode, are certainly colourful and very wordy, but do not appear to be precise.25 Equally misguided, in my opinion, are all efforts to discover in imagery the analytic approach lacking in writing, by supposing Greek vase painters to have been careful observers of the dance, whose imagery, or part of it, consists of so-called decompositions of sequences of dance movements. That implies that their images of dancers can be reassembled into series of human figures that enable us to reconstruct movement sequences. We could even put these images on a filmstrip and run it through a projector, giving us an animated picture of ancient Greek dancing -from an ancient source. That is plain silly and nothing but wishful thinking.26

  • 27 On dance notation, see C. Jeschke, Tanzschriften, ihre Geschichte und Methode, Bad Reichenhall, 19 (...)
  • 28 Etymologiae III, 15: nisi enim ab homine memoria teneantur, soni pereunt, quia scribi non possunt.
  • 29 On music notation, see M.L. West, Ancient Greek music, Oxford, 1992, p. 254-273 (and cf. documents (...)
  • 30 I thank Ms F.A.J. Hoogendijk for drawing my attention to this material.
  • 31 Cf. M.B. Poliakoff, Studies in the terminology of Greek combat sports, Königstein, 1982, p. 75, 16 (...)

12As far as we are aware, Greece knew of no dance notation, and did not produce any technical literature on dance movements at all – at least, no examples of or references to such things have been found.27 Of course, a dance notation might have disappeared without leaving a trace, but then we should compare the case of Greek music. Although Greek musical notation was almost completely lost (Isidore of Seville observed that music cannot be notated28), examples have been subsequently recovered from papyri, inscriptions and medieval manuscripts. It is mentioned or discussed by theoreticians of music, and its existence can be inferred from indirect evidence as well.29 Considering this, it would be odd if no fragment, however small, of or any single reference to a notation or technical treatise dealing with dance movements or choreographies should have survived. P.Oxy. III, 466 is a second-century papyrus giving directions for performing certain bodily movements, interpreted by the editors as directions for wrestling.30 That reading is undoubtedly correct: although the text does not contain technical terms that belong unequivocally in the realm of wrestling, the frequent use of plekein points to combat sport and not to dance.31 This is the kind of text that with another vocabulary could function as a manual for dance instruction, but we have no trace of such a thing. Lucian’s Peri Orchēseōs, which in places reads like a pastiche of some manual for the dancer, is in fact of an entirely different nature, and concentrates on the subject matter, never discussing, except for some general remarks, the execution. Other monographic titles known to us are Aristocles’ Peri chorōn, Sophocles’ Peri tou chorou, and Aristoxenus’ Peri tragikos orchēseōs, all lost except for a few fragments of Aristoxenus (fr. 44-49, cf. Athenaeus, XIV, 630c). None of these is likely to have contained any analysis of dance movements.

  • 32 This limited human movement vocabulary makes it easy to find a picture showing a pose identical or (...)

13As things stand, it seems unlikely that there ever existed in Antiquity extensive handbooks describing dance movements, gestures, positions or complete choreographies with floor-patterns and everything. The sources name many schemata, positions of the body or short movement sequences, or dances apparently named after the schema that gave it its distinctive character. Sometimes we can hazard a guess as to what it might have looked like, vaguely. But for the idea that a dance movement existed in which the dancer jumped up and crossed his legs in the air (a schema known as therma(u)stris, Pollux, IV, 102, Athenaeus, XIV, 630a, Hesychius s.v.) I do not even need a source: several dance traditions of past and present know of such a movement. Human anatomy allows only a fairly limited movement vocabulary (disregarding the – usually unknown – minutiae of the actual execution), and much of this vocabulary will have been in use in ancient Greece in one form or another.32 The mere knowledge that Greeks bend their knees, clasped their hands or shook their hips is tremendously unexciting, and a far cry from the realities of ancient dancing.

  • 33 Reconstructionism started with Maurice Emmanuel (cf. n. 26); in the 20th century this kind of rese (...)
  • 34 The fragments of musical notation give us texts set to music, but do not tell us anything about pe (...)

14So our sources provide us with no technical information. That means that we are not able to reconstruct in any way, however tentatively, a particular dance or some part thereof. A reconstruction that is not merely imaginative, but also convincing and reproducible, is simply impossible to attain.33 And what if we could reconstruct (part of) a dance? What would be the use other than seemingly satisfying our strong urge to see (hear, smell, feel) what it ‘really was like’, which of course is in many senses an impossibility whatever evidence we have. We would study it until it was dead, and we still would go on flogging it. In fact, we ought to have pronounced it dead from the very start. We would not have the music, no idea of tempo and of the duration and quality of the movement. We would probably lack most background information on occasion, performers and audience. It would be the reconstruction of a single performance (we would have to work from a single source and avoid combining different bits and pieces into a reconstruction, for reasons that will become clear below), while in fact in order to understand what we had obtained, we would need a range of examples, distributed over time and space, with which to compare it. To remedy these defects is completely inconceivable: ancient Greek dance is lost, like almost all of ancient Greek music – certainly the sound of it. Time has reduced mousikē to mere text.34

15Should we mourn these losses? Maybe yes, but for all the wrong reasons. It is more than doubtful whether a movement sequence from the ancient world would tell us anything beyond the obvious: this is difficult, easy, fast, slow, dynamic, static, energetic, relaxed, acrobatic, elegant… The meaning of it all could not be deduced from its shape. Just think: it is no easy task to grasp the nature of Baroque dancing (which does not mean that one could or should not enjoy either watching, or partaking in, modern attempts at performing it). We have some notation, we have the music, we have imagery, we have cartloads of supporting evidence, but still the interpretation is very hard (the same holds good for the music itself). Acquiring the requisite mindset is even harder, and takes a lifetime of research. One is hard put to do a bit of the impossible: turning oneself into an eighteenth-century dance aficionado, or whatever role one prefers. For the ancient world this is too much to ask. If we had a complete ancient Greek dance, performed before our very eyes, we might be enchanted, but not a bit wiser.

16Still, there is one respect in which preserved or reliably reconstructed movement could have helped research along, and that is in providing some support in working with the non-technical sources for the ancient Greek dance. The fact that we do not have a single sequence of dance movement has serious consequences for the way we judge our texts and images. Memories of dances seen or performed might form the basis for description or for image-making (in a certain sense they always will: someone ‘inventing’ a dance will also draw on past experiences), but we have no way to look in on the process. We have no examples of actual dances, so we cannot say to what extent descriptions and images are documenting existing dances, and if they do, whether they do so in a reliable way. Sometimes there is reason to think they do, sometimes it would be plain silly to suppose otherwise. But very often we have no clue. Memories of several different performances may become confused, and worse, these may have been performances of different dances. And there may be partial invention to fill in gaps in the memory, or to embellish a reality considered not exciting enough.

  • 35 J.J. Pollitt, “Early Classical Greek art in a Platonic universe”, in C.G. Boulter (ed.), Greek art (...)
  • 36 For non-dancers turned into dancing figures, see Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6), p. 246, n. 576; a third e (...)

17Let us turn to the images first: is it at all likely that the images are true to life, that is to observable reality, to the actual practice of the dance? Put in this way the question is somewhat unsophisticated: of course no image ever coincides with what it portrays. Indeed, ‘real’ versus ‘unreal’ is no workable dichotomy: a spectrum ranging from a very strong to a very weak linkage to practice is what one would expect. Those instances where a conscious effort is undertaken to maximize the linkage to practice, I call ‘documentary.’ This has not, or not immediately, to do with the issue of illusionism or verisimilitude (what is often called ‘realism’). A documentary image is put together according to certain conventions – and there are always conventions at work – which, however, may hardly add up to any illusionism (in the eyes of an observer used to all kinds of newer conventions intended to increase illusionism – such as central perspective). But that many Greek artists at least attempted an accurate or seemingly accurate representation of the human body, dress and other artefacts is undeniable. This fits in with general opinion on the tendencies in Greek art, which is supposed to have oscillated between more and less illusionistic phases.35 But obviously an illusionistic portrayal might be true to life in its constituent parts, or in some general sense, without the image as a whole referring to some external reality. Illusionistic, but not documentary. We might be looking at dancers who never were, or dancers who once were, but not at the time when the images, or some of the images, were produced.36 Hardly anybody seems ever to have drawn either conclusion; while there is no proof at all that these are documentary images.

  • 37 F.G. Naerebout, “The Baker dancer and other Hellenistic statuettes of dancers. Illustrating the us (...)
  • 38 In addition to the literature quoted in Naerebout, l.c. (n. 36), see L.J. Wales, Women and veiling (...)

18I give the example of the so-called mantle dancers, a popular motif in terracotta statuettes, which I have studied in some detail.37 It seems a priori unlikely that there was little or no difference between the dance at the place where this motif was originally conceived (possibly Athens) and when it was adopted, between, say, the early 4th and the late 2nd century BC. So we have mantle dancers, but definitely no single mantle dance (which figures frequently in literature, but is unattested in any ancient source). It seems a reasonable hypothesis that women muffled in chiton and himation, and often veiled – the way a decent woman was dressed38 – will have been regular dancers, in whatever dance, wherever these terracottas were produced or imported on an appreciable scale, although we have to admit that the popularity of the motif itself cannot be used to prove this (at most one can say that it is likely to indicate an interest in the dance in general). It is only a hypothesis as long as no new evidence is forthcoming.

  • 39 Eros in a dancing movement with a himation drawn up to his eyes: three terracottas from Myrina: Le (...)

19What kind of dancers could these muffled women, if the statuettes indeed refer to (rather than portray) actual dancers, have been? When we compare several series of dance imagery in terracotta, these mantle dancers appear to be the only ones amongst these series to show ordinary human dancers clothed in ordinary dress worn in an ordinary way and not disambiguated by any paraphernalia. Thus we can conclude that they do not belong in the theatre, nor in the sphere of Dionysiac myth or on some other supernatural plane, nor amongst the retinue of Hellenistic rulers or amongst other professional entertainers. That they are in a different sphere of their own seems to me to be underlined by the fact that they are sometimes mimicked or caricatured by representatives of the other categories, such as Eros, dwarfs, and actors/satyrs.39 So if they are not all those other things, what niche is left for the mantle dancers? I suggest the non-theatrical choruses, which had always been and remained for a long time to come an essential ingredient of the public events which structured civic life. These are ordinary women performing at one of the many events of a public nature, such as a festival at a sanctuary. The majority of their performances are not specifically documented in our written sources, hiding amongst the many faceless mentions of ‘choruses’.

  • 40 Much attention is paid to divine prototypes in S.H. Lonsdale, Dance and ritual play in Greek relig (...)

20The images of these mantle dancers, occurring over much of the Greek world, signify nothing in particular, just as a dancing satyr is not some particular satyr. The very existence of some imagery that is specific to some locale points to the ubiquitous imagery being generic. Also the fact that the image of the mantle dancer shows a strong continuity over time does not reflect an unchanging tradition – as an unchanging tradition is not likely to exist (we will return to this below) -, but results from the fact that the imagery has become increasingly topical and has turned into a kind of cipher that proclaims: ‘dance of type X’, triggering the appropriate associations. The mantle dancers do not perform a particular choreography, and are not meant to portray a particular group of dancers participating in a particular event. They stand for dance as a part of public events, they call to mind whatever chorus, they evoke the connotation ‘dance by female community members in a public context.’ The example of divine dancers may have been important in the creation of such generic images. The performers and audience must have had in mind the supernatural archetypes, they cannot not have thought of dancing gods and gods’ entourages, such as the Dionysiac thiasos, considering the amount of imagery presenting such non-human dancers.40 But that imagery is generic by necessity: a divine performance is outside human time, because it is unchanging (one would not expect gods to have trouble remembering a choreography). Human performances, by contrast, are changing all the time, but we can gloss that over by producing generic imagery.

  • 41 Krateriskoi: T.F. Scanlon, Eros and Greek athletics, Oxford, 2002, p. 166-174. Kabirion: U. Heimbe (...)

21A relatively small number of images are non-generic. These are closely linked to a particular findspot (one can think of the krateriskoi of Artemis Brauronia, the black-figure vases from the Thebes Kabirion, the terracottas of dancing boys from Kharayeb or of dancing girls from Priene), or disambiguated by a dipinto or inscription (the Pyrrhias aryballos from Corinth, the Karneia krater from Taranto, the pyrrhichists on two Athenian reliefs).41 Such images can, I think, be considered to be of a documentary nature: they intend to show a particular kind of dancing as it was performed at a certain place for a certain period of time, maybe even, but rarely so, a particular performance.

  • 42 P. Bruneau, Recherches sur les cultes de Délos à l’époque hellénistique et à l’époque impé-riale, (...)
  • 43 A long tradition stretching from Joannes Meursius in the early 17th century to the extensive oeuvr (...)

22In the same way, texts can refer to actual performances or a particular series of such performances. This we expect of most epigraphic sources and of documentary papyri, but of course literary texts, in the widest sense, can do the same. Paradoxically, with only a few exceptions, texts referring to a specific performance or to specific performances, speak of dances and of choruses in unspecific terms. The sources giving the names of, and sometimes some detail about dances and schēmata are mostly the work of learned authors who have been mining texts, usually lost to us, from many different places and periods, and thus there is no link to actual performance. For instance: the copious but rather unspecific – except for the hotly debated geranos – information on the dance in Delian inscriptions deals with specific performances, the many names and schēmata mentioned in Athenaeus, Lucian or Pollux deal with abstractions.42 Ancient meta-level analysis of the phenomenon ‘dance’ itself is very helpful in reconstructing value systems connected to the dance, but rarely illustrates this with real-life examples. It is these texts without a link to actual performance that past antiquarian efforts have concentrated upon, while unspecific information on specific events has been much neglected.43

23In conclusion we can say that the way in which texts and images relate to actual dances will remain the realm of more or less informed guesses, but with our present evidence will never be open to proof. Still, by some careful manoeuvring we can formulate some (partial) answers to the questions of who, when and where, even if the what and especially the how remain out of reach. Where, when and by whom can be set out on a set of ‘maps’ of the dance tradition of the ancient Greek world. That mapping of Greek dance, most of it dance performed at public events, is still waiting to be done.

Transmission, dissemination and change

  • 44 F. Hoerburger, “Once again: on the concept of’folk dance’”, Journal of the International Folk Musi (...)
  • 45 15th-century Italy: Naerebout, o.c (n. 6), p. 10-14. Pacific: J. Shennan, “Approaches to the study (...)

24Next we should consider what the implications are for the ancient Greek dance tradition, if dances were not recorded there in any detail, as has been shown to be likely. A dance tradition can of course manage without a technical literature on the dance: there are numerous examples of dance traditions without such a literature. In fact, most first existence dances seem to be transmitted by way of example and word of mouth. What ethnologists have called ‘first existence dance’ is dance that still is an integral part of community life, learned by participation, a living heritage, while ‘second existence dance’ is a revived dance that is the property of a few individuals, taught by teachers, with codified figures and movements.44 In post-antique Europe we do not find works dealing with the technicalities of the dance until the 15th century, and even then we have to wait another few centuries for an attempt to notate dances. And this concerns only part of the dance tradition: the court, the theatre (in its courtly variant) and in due course high society. Some cultures with highly developed dance traditions, as for example the islands of the Pacific, did not possess any codification of their dances until western anthropologists provided such for their own purposes. Even the very formalized Javanese theatre dance seems to have been transmitted without the benefit of written sources, until there was a shift towards second existence some time in the course of the 19th century when western interests interfered.45 In India, on the other hand, technical manuals are found very early: the oldest of these, dealing with dance, music and drama, the Natyashastra of Bharata, is dated variously from the 2nd century BC to the 3rd century AD. But we cannot be sure about its import. When a technical literature or even a notation arises, it does not follow that dance tradition is henceforth taught by the book. Even in our very literate society choreographies largely were, and still are, despite some inroads made by dance notation, handed on by example (with video nowadays added to direct contact). Transmission apparently functions quite well without ‘writing up’ the dance.

  • 46 Some texts, most texts? We have no way to establish what percentage of texts went altogether unrec (...)

25It seems an inescapable conclusion that in the ancient Greek world, when a performance at a public events was preserved in writing, only texts46 were written down (if they were not already available in written form), while the music and dance, not to speak of other nonverbal components, were handed on, if they were handed on at all, by oral/aural tradition and by example. Of course, from the 4th century music might be notated, but in Greece this remained a fairly rudimentary tool, which would assist in, but not replace, the memorisation of musical performance. Also, there is the rare image documenting a specific performance, but we will leave those aside now – if images ever have assisted in reperformance, these must have been images in media that have not survived. The above implies that actual performances, including rehearsals or informal ‘try-outs’, constituted the only contexts for transmission. Reperformance is possible on the basis of memories only, and as soon as the continuity, the chain of memory, is broken, the dance and music are lost. With this question of transmission, there also enter issues of dissemination, and of preservation and change. How are the components of a public festival taught to the next generation, and how are some components transferred from one place to another? What happens to them in the process? These are questions not limited to the dance, but dance enables us to gain a fresh insight into the matter and to suggest some tentative answers.

  • 47 Doubts have been sown as to the choral nature of everything that has been called choral poetry; re (...)
  • 48 See M.R. Lefkowitz, “The first person in Pindar reconsidered – again”, BICS 40 (1995), p. 139-150, (...)
  • 49 Relevant to the debate are, on the side of the pros: W. Rösler, Dichter und Gruppe. Eine Untersuch (...)

26We will look at dissemination first. Most previous work has dealt with the poetic side of mousikē. We will concentrate on choral poetry. If poetry was in fact performed by a chorus singing and dancing, what about renewed performance? As in the question of whether poetry was performed in a choral setting at all47, self-reference is also a crucial element in questions surrounding the intended audience and reperformance.48 Can self-reference by the Uraufführer be transposed to another choir? If it can, how long is it before this ceases to be realistic? Did that matter? Some have concluded that there was no reperformance at all, or that reperformances took the form of solo recitation (with music (the original music?), but probably without dance – although usually this is left undiscussed). For those denying reperformance there is no problem of transmission and dissemination, only of textual preservation; for those allowing partial, solo reperformance only, the problem is reduced to very manageable proportions. Others, however, find, both in the choral poetry itself and elsewhere, enough indications of (intended) reperformance to conclude that choral poetry was put on again and again: that is, performed by a chorus with music and dance.49

  • 50 As it was put by Currie, l.c. (n. 49), p. 69. Both Currie and Hubbard, l.c (n. 49) argue for the p (...)
  • 51 Pindar, Nemea V, 2-3. Cf. n. 93 infra.
  • 52 There may not always have been written texts: reperformance may well have been more important. Cf. (...)

27Reperformance, also choral reperformance, whether this was the poet’s intention or not, seems by far the easiest solution to fit the available evidence. If reperformances were part of (semi-)public events, these are likely to have been “song-and-dance performances”.50 I can think of no reason why reperformances should have been limited to informal, private occasions: indeed, the poets’ expectation that their words will survive, in different places, “sweet song going forth from Aegina on every boat” as Pindar put it, within the context of mousikē and its position within society, simply could not mean anything else but the expectation that some sizeable audiences would hear and see their work in actual performance.51 This may have been realized with the help of written texts, or not: there will have been instances where memory had to suffice – and did suffice until the chain was broken and no text remained for us to speculate about.52 But a written text was not intended to be read or at most to be recited to a number of friends. In a society where mousikē, especially mousikē at public events, looms large, one expects full-scale reperformance at such events, which had, after all, been the original context for the performance of some piece of choral poetry. Public events have to be programmed and ‘classics’ offer themselves as one of the items likely to be popular with an audience.

  • 53 Rösler, o.c. (n. 49), p. 103-104.
  • 54 No need to discuss all the nuances here: as far as dance is concerned, Greek culture remained firm (...)
  • 55 I. Rutherford, Pindar’s Paeans, Oxford, 2001, p. 175-178. Cf. A.L. Boegehold, When a gesture was e (...)

28Dissemination of choral poetry is likely to have been by way of choral reperformance. The original performance, or more than one such performance, may have been memorized by an appreciative audience, who took the performance home with them.53 An oral culture is used to memorizing. One need not doubt that an audience, or certain members of it, can memorize whatever they like and perform it anew – more or less.54 It is even more likely that the performers (and of course the poet and assistants), who by necessity had memorized the performance, would carry it with them wherever they went. Words will often have been written down, but can be memorized too; a tune with its particular characteristics and its instrumentation, if any (important as every instrument has its own technical limitations), is easily put to memory. We need not give examples of that. But what about the choreography? On the basis of comparative material, one might doubt whether an audience can memorize dance as easily as words or music. Interestingly, there are what one might call stage directions in the very text to be performed.55 These might be aides-mémoire, but do not add up to anything like a complete script or scenario for reperformance. With the performers themselves it is different: motor behaviour that has been frequently rehearsed and performed can become as much ingrained in the memory as words or music, or even more so (here also enters the question of whether the chorus members sing and dance at the same time: who memorizes what? I think it likely that there usually was no distinction and singing, and dancing was done by the same performers, but we do not know for certain).

  • 56 Pindar, Olympia VI, 88-91. It might be relevant that the Spartan skutala is used to produce a mess (...)
  • 57 As much is suggested by Herington, o.c. (n. 49), p. 41-57, esp. p. 48. Doubts as to the viability (...)

29All in all, we cannot reasonably expect reperformance of the dance to have been true to the original choreographies, even if texts, and possibly the music, were faithfully re-enacted by another chorus, unless poets and performers travelled about in order to rehearse a specific performance, choreography and all. They did: one Aineas, chorodidaskalos, is said by Pindar to carry an ode from Thebes to Stymphalos, as a σϰυτάλα Μοισᾶν, a ‘message staff of the Muses.56 Over time, this will assist only in preserving a semblance of the original choreography if this process continues unbroken.57 I use ‘semblance’ because it is questionable for how long a choreography will remain unchanged, even if it could be disseminated without any change or loss. Probably not for long: memories can fail and musical and movement fashions will change. We will come back to that.

  • 58 EA. Havelock, Preface to Plato, Cambridge, Mass., 1963, p. 150-151, and id., “The preliteracy of t (...)
  • 59 Not song accompanied by dance: “this is a misleading way of expressing the facts; one might as wel (...)

30At this stage of the argument, we must address the suggestion that oral culture employs dance as a mnemonic device. Eric Havelock has suggested that in the context of mousikē music and dance, both simple and repetitive, served only to make the words, or rather to make the undulations and ripple of the metre, more recollectable.58 Mnemotechnics will have been important in oral society, but whether dance really was consciously introduced and functioned as a mnemotechnic device to assist in memorizing words, is nothing but a guess. Whether dance movements functioned in the way in which one might seek to stimulate one’s memory by a sequence of motor behaviour, ‘going through the motions’, is not clear at all. For movements to function as a mnemonic device, the movements should be more or less unchanging. If song and movement are equal partners, the more common view of mousikē or song and dance culture59, it does not seem likely that the dance was simple, repetitive and static, a view which might have been inspired by the misguided idea that folk dance is simple, non-virtuoso, unchanging, on which more below. The self-reference by the singing chorus, drawing attention to their dancing, and the agonistic setting of much dancing, make one expect the choreographies (and the musical compositions) to be as interesting as the textual elements. Maybe we have to think of a set of stimulants, which reciprocally reinforce the process of memorizing. Still, there will have been limits to how much could be memorized for how long.

  • 60 See for instance the exaggerated claims by C. Zervos in his introduction to D. Stratou, The Greek (...)
  • 61 Language of course plays its part: a dance carrying the same name then and now is the surtos; see (...)
  • 62 And of their Greek followers: Fallmerayer fittingly has been called ‘(einer) der Stammväter einer (...)
  • 63 For the political dimensions of culture (especially the role of music and dance in creating an eth (...)

31We have been speaking about mousikē being disseminated. But now we have to turn to its vicissitudes in both its original and its new surroundings, if it remains ‘on the repertoire’, so to speak. And how about a truly ‘traditional dance’ – not a choreography by a contemporary individual, but something time-honoured (there is no true difference between the two, of course: traditions have to start somewhere)? We speak of first existence dance, handed down in a particular community across the generations: surely there are dances that in this way can be preserved for centuries on end? There have been a great many claims to this effect made. To take a somewhat relevant example (because there are reconstructionists, such as Marie-Hélène Delavaud-Roux in France or Anna Lazou in Greece, who look to modern Greek folkdances for the reconstruction of ancient movement patterns), ancient Greek dances are supposed to have survived even down to the present day with fairly little change, so little that the resemblance between ancient and modern dances is recognizable.60 Many Greek authors have harboured and do harbour all sorts of preconceptions about continuity.61 The preconceptions resulted from Philhellenic urging to identify with the Greeks of Antiquity, Byron’s “You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet …” echoing down the years. And those defending an opposing viewpoint, such as Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer, the most outspoken opponent of cultural Philhellenism, worked as a powerful catalyst and turned out to be the Philhellenists’ best advocates.62 Nationalistic sentiments are of course not a Greek prerogative, and form the basis for comparable survivalist thinking in many places.63

  • 64 A.L. Kaeppler, “Folklore as expressed in the dance in Tonga”, Journal of American Folklore 80 (196 (...)
  • 65 See R. Glasstone, “Changes of emphasis and mechanics in the teaching of ballet technique”, Dance R (...)
  • 66 Cf. J.W. Kealiinohomoku, “Culture change: functional and dysfunctional expressions of dance, a for (...)

32But there is no survival: neither in the long term, nor in the short term. I even think that dance is more prone to changes and distortions by internal dialectic and external influence than the less ephemeral word (the written word but also the spoken word) or music – but it will take a lot of work to substantiate this hypothesis.64 But whether its rate of change is different from that of the other components of mousikē or not, change it does. Even when every generation will be taught by their elders, the lack of codification – and when it is a living tradition, there rarely is any codification, as we have already seen – means that change is inevitable, usually slow, but inevitable. There is, I think, not a single dance that can be shown to have been preserved more or less fixed and unchanging. Indeed, not even codification appears to be of any help. Western ballet, very much codified indeed, is changing all the time; even the purest classical ballet technique has undergone long-term modifications65and, surprisingly, also short term modifications, which seem to come from the outside: fads and fashions crossing over from other movement idioms. Fixation might very well lead to a greater susceptibility to outside influences, because fixation can easily cause dysfunctionality. If a tradition shows itself able to resist outside influence and ‘remain true to itself, this might very well be because of a persistent, gradual process of internal change.66

  • 67 T.J. Buckland, “Traditional dance, English ceremonial and social forms”, in J. Adshead, J. Layson (...)
  • 68 E. Hobsbawm, “Introduction”, in E. Hobsbawm, T. Ranger (eds), The invention of tradition, Cambridg (...)
  • 69 E.E. Evans-Pritchard, “The dance”, in id., The position of women in primitive society and other es (...)
  • 70 A. Grau, “Sing a dance – dance a song. The relationship between two types of formalized movements (...)
  • 71 J.M. Chernoff, African rhythm and African sensibility. Aesthetics and social action in African mus (...)
  • 72 For instance the grumbling by Dikaios Logos in Aristophanes, Nubes, 985-989. “Those who have given (...)

33Any expectations of an unchanging tradition build on the erroneous idea of ‘folkways’ that are unchanging, primeval. Here enter romantic ideas about the peasantry and the unspoilt past, when every change implies degeneration.67 But folkways do change, as societies change, and so do the dances, which are part of them. ”‘Custom’ cannot afford to be invariant, because even in ‘traditional’ societies life is not so”, as Eric Hobsbawm put it. Or even more succinctly in the Opies’ wonderful phrase: “tradition is ever on the outlook for novelty”.68 There are many examples of dance traditions changing all the time.69 Several of these are supposed by those who dance them to have been faithfully preserved from time immemorial. But dances said to be ‘unchanged’ or ‘ancestral’ need not even be old: they may very well have been newly introduced only a relatively short time ago. Thus in Australia traditional dances are considered as having Dreamtime origin, while new dances are constantiy being handed down by the ancestors; but recently received dances will eventually achieve the status of having Dreamtime origin.70 Some African dances said to be age-old, might also be fairly recent creations: Dagomba drummers (who double as the tribal historians) have been heard to ascribe a particular historical origin to what is otherwise known as a ‘traditional’ dance.71 Twenty years ago Hobsbawm and Ranger edited the volume The invention of tradition which opened many eyes to the ways in which so-called traditions are made and adapted in a continuous process. Since, a whole academic industry sprang upon around this subject. Intriguing are of course situations in which tradition is highly prized, but dances are explicitly said to have been changing. Protests against degeneration and innovation, against dances ‘without an origin’ are quite common.72 They show a struggle for control over the tradition, but they also demonstrate that contemporaries are aware of the fact that their dances are changing, even when such change is resented, or said to be resented.

  • 73 On authenticity, see F.G. Naerebout, “Whose dance? Questions of authenticity and ethnicity, of pre (...)

34A buzz-word that is likely to interfere here is ‘authentic’.73 During the second existence of some dance people are aiming ‘to dance in an authentic way’, and there can be only one such way: a conscious effort is made to reproduce ‘the original’, whatever that may be. Authenticity is invoked in order to accept or reject a particular performance. But as long as we are speaking of a living tradition, authenticity is no issue. During first existence people perform the same dance over and over, but they are likely to do it differently every time. During first existence authenticity is a given, because every single (re)performance is authentic. In fact, this also holds good for second existence performances (every performance is an authentic one, and change cannot be eradicated), but there ideology decrees otherwise.

  • 74 Chernoff, o.c. (n. 71), p. 203, n. 32: ”(dances) remain basically the same (but) are transformed f (...)
  • 75 Quoted by P. Burke, Popular culture in early modem Europe, London, 1978, p. 115. Cf. E. Shils, “Tr (...)

35Whenever dances (any dances, but particularly dances in their first existence) are said to be unchanging, whether by people speaking of their own dance tradition or by those studying a foreign tradition, past or present, we should insist that evidence for these assertions be brought forward. Without such evidence any dance tradition must a priori be considered to have been changing during all or most of its existence. Of course this does not imply that all dances in a given culture necessarily change at the same speed. The one part of a dance tradition may be very much alive, creative and thus in a constant flux, another part may be relatively slow to change because it is marginalized in one way or another. But change they may all be expected to, unless we can prove the opposite to be true. Obviously, this is not meant to say that dances cannot be preserved at least in a general outline: no one will deny that some dances in some area can show a continuity of some sort.74 Innovation takes place within a traditional framework; in the words of Cecil Sharp: the individual may invent, but “the community selects”, and this necessarily brings about some continuity.75 Indeed, a changing tradition implies an unbroken tradition.

  • 76 See Chernoff, o.c. (n. 71).
  • 77 See Burke, o.c. (n. 75), p. 124 sq., on its important role in folk poetry. A.J.F. Köbben, “Opportu (...)

36One final point: when something is supposed to be unchanging, this implies a single point of departure. That need not be the elusive ‘origin’ of a tradition (though many researchers cannot refrain from speculation on this count): any arbitrarily chosen point of time can function as the standard against which one measures change or lack of it. But can such a standard exist in any meaningful way? Certainly, many dance traditions are not as monolithic as that. Indeed, with dance ‘folkways’ the quality of a dance might in fact be the potential to be danced in several different ways. It is not so much about a choreography that has a sacrosanct quality (as with some modern composers or choreographers who stricdy guard the integrity of every performance of their work – until they are dead, of course), but about a particular performance. It should be a good performance; there is above all a canon of performative excellence.76 By contrast, our modern Western culture has a very strong conservative tendency, which I would like to call a museum mentality. We are preoccupied with preserving, restoring, recreating, and with questions of authenticity (in the narrow sense addressed above) and faithfulness. But a living tradition is a complex of vocabulary and rules, and not of ready-made stuff, and this vocabulary and these rules allow for a continuum from complete memorization and reproduction to complete improvisation or ex-temporising.77 The freedom to move in this continuum, the freedom allowed to Levi-Strauss’s bricoleur, we find in folk poetry, in folk art, in music and also in dance. So what can there actually be, to be preserved without change? Things are rather less tidy than they usually are supposed to be.

37We know not even a single ancient Greek dance – but now we can come to a more serious conclusion: there is no dance to know. There is no kordax, pyrrichē or hormos to retrace. There are countless dances realized in countless performances, dances that because of some family resemblance go by the same name. If this is true about dance, then it is true for the ensembles of which dance was an important part. Public events and all ritualized behaviour that goes with it are realized in particular performances, and they are changing from the one performance to the next. Small changes, sometimes larger ones: the rate of change is unknown, but is certain to be variable. Ancient public occasions are usually studied as if there would have been a single unchanging performance repeated for long periods of time, as one can see from the fact that evidence from different time frames is combined into a single static picture. This helps in turning ancient Greek religion (archaic, classical, Hellenistic religion) into something more or less timeless. It is not: although it is highly persistent and its basic ingredients are extremely stable over time, it is anything but unchanging. Its persistence proves its adaptability.

38The efficacy of ritual is usually said to depend on it being done ‘the right way’. But that need not imply exact reproduction. Indeed, when mousikē is involved, exact reproduction is unlikely and in the long run utterly impossible. Text, scenarios, music, all verbalized or notated elements, may be preserved faithfully when put into writing (which does not say anything about the way they are understood and put to use), but the nonverbal components will be inherently unstable. If we accept that the nonverbal was an important ingredient in most public events of the ancient Greek world, we also have to accept that there is no single public event for us to know: it is changing with every performance. This may be imperceptible change, or more sudden renewal, but change it does. It would have been changing anyhow, but the uncodified, nonverbal part can be trusted to change whatever effort is made to avoid change.

Approaches: generalized

  • 78 In this context, I find it rather painful that, despite the most welcome praise on p. 8 n. 17, Mur (...)

39It is about time to start working on what we do have.78 What do we have? We have a generalized picture of a society in which a lot of dancing is going on, especially at public events, different kinds of dancing, the nature of which we can broadly distinguish. We have to do away with the hunt for particular dances and schēmata, and with the attempts to explain these as fitting in with some religious scenario. This leads to a fox hunt across many genres of texts and images dated to any period between Homer and Byzantium, looking for something that never was, a reifying, antiquarian search for the meaning of a name, for the link between a name and some nameless imagery, for some clever explanation of what this particular dance that we have reconstructed or rather constructed ourselves, was supposed to represent. But instead of trying to figure out what the kordax looked like and what it ‘really’ was, we should ask about all dancing (literally: all of it) going on at the public events of the Greek world, and what role it was supposed to fulfil. That is the sort of thing that is documented, however inadequately.

  • 79 Previously, I have lauded as the start of modern dance anthropology E.E. Evans-Pritchard, “The dan (...)
  • 80 On the difference between dance ethnologists and dance anthropologists, see A.L. Kaeppler, “The my (...)
  • 81 H.S. Versnel, “Discussion”, in J. Rudhardt, O. Reverdin (eds), Le sacrifice dans l’Antiquité, Vand (...)
  • 82 K. Latte, De saltationibus graecorum capita quinque, Giessen, 1913; C. Calame, Les choeurs de jeun (...)
  • 83 S.H. Lonsdale, Dance and ritual play in Greek religion, Baltimore, 1993 (whose work, understandabl (...)
  • 84 Henrichs, o.c. (n. 16). See also H. Golder, S. Scully (eds), The chorus in Greek tragedy and cultu (...)

40When we get to work, we should broaden our base to include both comparative material (incredible opportunities here: there is dance in almost every known human society, past and present!), and the theorizing on dance, in the past decades brought to impressive heights by newer dance scholarship.79 They can help to fill some of the inevitable gaps. Of course, we should be selective: a formalistic approach to dance, adopted by several dance anthropologists and especially by dance ethnologists in their study of living dance traditions, is of no use, as all details of ancient Greek dance movement are lost.80 But there is much more, and we should look over the fence – or we are done for.81 Until now, the impact of dance scholarship on other disciplines has been comparatively slight, but there are some signs that its results are slowly filtering in. In the field of ancient Greek dance, Claude Calame was a trailblazer in 1977 – unless one wants to see Kurt Latte as such, but his work on the dance, first published in 1913, with its references to Frazer’s Golden Bough and to several members of the Cambridge School, was without issue; Latte apparently was way ahead of the others.82 After Calame, we see bits and pieces of dance scholarship cropping up and by now it seems to have become a trend.83 Another name that I should mention is that of Albert Henrichs, who not only wrote on the dance himself, but also played an important inspirational role.84 Interesting too to see that Calame has been involved with some of those whose names also can be found in Henrichs’ sphere (Anton Bierl and Paola Ceccarelli). The trend I think I have spotted, apparently is more than a mere construct of my historiography.

  • 85 I leave out all kinds of practicalities, such as some of the boys and girls coming out onto the ma (...)

41In my own work on the ancient Greek dance, I have drawn heavily on the new dance scholarship, in trying to establish the functions it fulfilled. I came up with several things, none of them unique to dance, although dance does them in its own way.85 First, dancing distinguished the occasion as other than ordinary. Dancing at a public event signals that this indeed is an event. Even before getting down to the communication of any contents, dance had already communicated by its very movement patterns that there was a special occasion at hand.

  • 86 Attractions are discussed at length in Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6), p. 344-375. For restrictions on acc (...)
  • 87 The idea of necessary mobilization is taken from supply side economics, rational choice theory in (...)

42Secondly, dance is a crowd pleaser: it helps now and helped then to draw an audience. Greek public events were always in need of attractions. Obviously some more than others, but even if the danger of having no audience at all seemed very distant, there will have been an urge to maximize the audience (within certain parameters).86 Dance, amongst many other attractions, will do the trick. In societies where dance is omnipresent, everybody is, or has been, a dancer. There is a deep knowledge of performance that comes from participation and from continuous exposure. The connoisseur likes to see other people dance. In ancient Greece I suppose we can readily call most people connoisseurs. If the society is one in which performance is more important than the written word, there is even more reason why dance will be able to mobilize a sizable audience.87 I think a good case can be made for considering the ancient Greek world such an environment. It is a fact that public events drew crowds, and that attractions were put into place to mobilize the audience. Attractions have never been rated, but it seems reasonable to hypothesize that dance was important amongst those attractions.

  • 88 Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6), p. 375-406.
  • 89 I lean heavily upon my mentor H.S. Versnel, Ter unus. Isis, Dionysos, Hermes: three studies in hen (...)

43Thirdly, dance not only signals and attracts, it also communicates. Communication I define as the process whereby human beings intentionally and effectively share messages and meanings.88 Dance movements can carry meaning. The dance itself is not ‘meaningful’ other than in the sense that rhythmized movement for biological reasons appeals to human beings. There is no hidden code to crack about some peculiar significance of the dance for ancient Greek society. But the dance sends out messages in order to share the meaning it carries, like any performance. The idea that ritual is essentially meaningless, and consists of rote behaviour not based on belief, seems quite nonsensical to me. When we state that something carries meaning, we mean that meaning is imparted. Human culture consists in human beings going round and attributing meaning to everything (not necessarily in a consistent, unambiguous or even comprehensible manner).89 It is a vehicle, which effectively carries whatever meaning it is made to carry in a given context. These meanings are dynamic: they are no other than what at a given moment in a given area in a given context is agreed on.

  • 90 Communication need not consist of new messages – versus the oft-quoted opinion of M. Bloch, “Symbo (...)
  • 91 C. Geertz, “Deep play: notes on the Balinese cockfight”, in id., The interpretation of cultures. S (...)

44Of course we, at a remove of two millennia and more and having to cope with defective evidence, will have to painstakingly reconstruct any such meaning. In doing this, I suggest that as a rule we should avoid complex ingenious solutions and adopt broad connotative ones. At public events dance was used, I suggest, to communicate at a glance what would have taken relatively uninspiring words to explain. These were simple messages – but it was simple things that the ritual was about in the first place. Banal, but ever so essential things as death, (new) life, the group, the community, the Other. (By the way, things most of our communication is about, still.)90 Much of this is (also) the construction and dissemination of an identity, the “story they tell themselves about themselves” to quote again these rather overworked, but undying words of Clifford Geertz.91 Needless to say, this does not imply the presence of a single unproblematic story; of course performances can deal with contested identities and world views, and can be used to further the interests of a particular group, to subvert or to protest.

  • 92 Cf. the introduction and several articles in R. Schechner, W. Appel (eds), By means of performance (...)

45Dance is an effective medium of communication, because it is an affective medium. One had better not put into words messages that are not so easily put into words without running the risk of becoming rather too literal, or using a lot of boring circumlocution – modern scholarship about ancient religion shows as much (but has no alternatives open to it). The performance, and its kinetic element – central to the dance – helped to get such messages across in a way that got to the core of the matter, and also to the audience’s core, or under their skin.92 That the performers communicate with their fellow performers seems evident: for those who join in, there is something very forceful in acting in unison. But they communicate almost as well with the attentive and involved members of the audience. To participate vicariously is a common human experience. What is important about the dance is the way in which it communicates: the messages are much the same whatever the medium, but with the dance the movement – structured by music, and frequently ‘subtitled’ by song – is put in a central position. It made the audience – all connoisseurs – feel in their own body what was being communicated.

  • 93 F.G. Naerebout, “Spending energy as an important part of ancient Greek religious behaviour”, forth (...)

46Fourthly, dancing is usually a rather strenuous or at least a complicated activity. There is every reason to think that ancient Greek dancing will have been very difficult (from the perspective of the ordinary inhabitant of any modern society) and will have required extensive training: the simplicity of ‘folk dance’ or ‘historic dance’ is a myth. This is supported by the fact that dance performances, like other performances, were often put on within an agonistic context. I suggest that this very fact of its demanding physicality is part of the aptness of dance in public events in which gods have to be honoured. One honours the gods by spending energy, by undertaking something difficult and trying to make the very best of it. The effort being made pleases the gods, who might be in the audience and who are dancers themselves. The human audience is humoured too, as their tastes are not different from those of the gods. Frequently dance, like many other forms of spending energy, is undertaken in a competitive context, which is in fact implied by the idea of ‘making the best of it’.93

  • 94 Plato, Leges, 653c-671a; 700a-701b; 798d-802e.
  • 95 See above all R. MacMullf.n, Christianizing the Roman Empire (A.D. 100-400), New Haven, 1984, and (...)

47So dancing is physical and direct, and that is why it is good to do, and why it is good at doing what it is supposed to do: signalling an event, mobilizing an audience, communicating to that audience and offering one’s energy and effort in an attempt to please the gods. Performances are not non-essential extras, to be left out, or included in, ancient public events (or modern studies of such events) more or less at will. They are essential ingredients without which most of these events would have been incomplete in the eyes of the contemporary, both unattractive and ineffective. However compelling this may sound, I cannot quote any source in which the above functions of the dance are outlined as such (if you did not find it compelling, you will say you expected as much). The evidence is circumstantial. Still, without our jargon at hand, some Greeks knew quite well what phenomenon they were trying to explain. Plato concluded that his brave new world could not do without mousike, but that it was to be controlled and curtailed. He knew it for a force so strong as to be potentially very disruptive.94 The Christians too understood very well what they were up against. The church has long combated mousike in many shapes.95 Not only was it enmeshed with pagan religion, but they also understood its strength that, even if it could be put to new purposes, would be difficult to control. Neither are the supposed messages of the dance spelled out in our sources. People do not write down the obvious, and they certainly do not do so when the very reason why these messages are put into dance is their increased effectiveness compared to mere words. Alas, they did not tell us that either. So again we have to make do with circumstantial evidence.

Approaches: contextualized

  • 96 As said above, there is as yet no such map, but of course we already have several contributions to (...)

48This story does not end here. We should move on from the generalizing search for unifying themes, which up to now has been my main concern, to historical contingency, without of course sliding back into the antiquarian habit of merging our sources into a timeless image, false of necessity. We should instead move towards the contextualization that goes with true history. Above I have spoken about the possibility to map out the incidence of the dance (sometimes, but hardly always, specified as a particular kind of dance) in the ancient Greek world on the basis of the written and iconographical evidence of a documentary character.96 There will be some distortion, because we will seldom have adequate information on particular performances; most of our material, combined into small series of material close in date, refers to a series of performances. But these performances will all have been different: even change over a period as short as a decennium can be marked. It is a proper thing explicitly to notice as much, but there is nothing to be done about it: this is a source of unavoidable distortion. One can only hope that there will be good comparative evidence available on the rate, speed and direction of change in dance traditions.

49It is only on the basis of this mapping exercise that we can test some hypotheses, outlined below. That will enable us to truly substantiate the central position of the dance in public events, and the role of dance as a mobilizing agent and a medium of communication. I have formulated seven hypotheses:

  1. Public events throughout the Greek world will have made use of performances to mobilize and communicate. Amongst such performances dance will have been very common. What percentage of reasonably well-documented public events does not include dancing? What percentage of badly documented public events does?
  2. Public events are very likely to have made use of dancing as an attraction and medium of communication, unless some other kind of performance monopolized the event. If we have a well-documented event without any dancing, is this an event that can be shown to have been monopolized by a particular (kind of) non-dance performance?
  3. In a pluralistic religious economy with largely non-exclusive firms, that is client cults, people will shop around, and to attract their attention cults will put more effort in mobilizing.97 Does the incidence of dance rise when the number of cults rises?
  4. In a crowded market non-exclusive religious firms tend to specialize. The more private religious goods are on offer, the larger the chance that there will be very much dancing or no dancing at all. On the other hand, collective public events are more likely to include at least some dancing. Is there any difference between the incidence of dancing at the public events organized by and for a whole community and the incidence of dancing at public events organized for a limited audience or by a particular firm or both?
  5. Exclusive religious firms can do away with performative mobilizing attractions. Do we find that exclusivity negatively influences the incidence of dancing? Or is its communicative value paramount?
  6. At public events the messages communicated, by the dance or some other medium, are of a simple straightforward kind. If we can establish details such as number and age of participants in the dance, or the name of the dance, or general aspects of the movement, are these details in any way to be related to what we think we can reconstruct as the meaning communicated by the performances at this particular event or as concomitant with the event at large? If this is not possible, can this be because of changes over time?
  7. Dance is effective as a mobilizing/communicating agent and unlikely to be removed from an event while other performances are continued. Thus, when an event has included dance in its programme, it is likely to retain it. Does dancing, which is known to have been part of an event’s programme, remain part of that programme for as long as the event itself survives?

50To anyone who has read my Attractive performances, or just the three-page conclusion of the third part of that book, the above set of testable hypotheses may seem quite familiar. That is right, they are almost identical to what I proposed seven years ago. Yes, I still consider this as a way forward. No, I did not find the time myself. Any takers? Dance is a subject that goes straight to the heart of ancient religious history and thus of ancient history at large, so why hesitate?

Notes

1 O. Taplin, “Spreading the word through performance”, in S. Goldhill, R. Osborne (eds), Performance culture and Athenian democracy, Cambridge, 1999, p. 33-57, quote from p. 33.

2 D. Handelman, Models and mirrors. Towards an anthropology of public events, Cambridge, 1990, p. 3.

3 S.J. Tambiah, “A performative approach to ritual”, Proceedings of the British Academy 65 (1979), p. 113-169, reprinted, with some revisions in id., Culture, thought and social action: an anthropological perspective, Cambridge, Mass., 1985, p. 123-166; see also ibid., introduction.

4 Despite their obvious importance, I would never consider public events to be coterminous with ancient religious life. The adage “polis religion is Greek religion” is manifestly wrong; cf. F. Dunand, “Fêtes et réveil religieux dans les cités grecques à l’époque hellénistique”, in A. MOTTE, C. Ternes (eds), Dieux, fêtes, sacré dans la Grèce et la Rome antiques, Turnhout, 2003, p. 101-112: “nous ne saisissons guère la piété grecque que dans ses manifestations les plus extérieures” (p. 111). And not even all ‘manifestations extérieures’ are public events.

5 E.g. J.N. Bremmer, Greek religion, Oxford, 1994, p. 1; S. Price, Religions of the Ancient Greeks, Cambridge, 1999, p. 3.

6 On non-verbal communication, cf. F.G. Naerebout, Attractive performances. Ancient Greek dance: three preliminary studies, Amsterdam, 1997, p. 383-389, with many references.

7 On the vocabulary of ancient Greek dancing, Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6), p. 174-189; more specifically on the etymology of choros and orcheuma: p. 178-179.

8 On definition theory and the need for etic definitions, I follow J.A.M. Snoek, Initiations. A methodological approach to the application of classification and definition theory in the study of rituals, Pijnacker, 1987. About emic/etic, see M. Harris, “History and significance of the emic/etic distinction”, Annual Review of Anthropology 5 (1976), p. 329-350, and T.N. Headland, K.L. Pike, M. Harris (eds), Ernies and etics. The insider/outsider debate, Newbury Park, 1990. Central texts (not only concerning religion) are reprinted in R.T. McCutcheon (ed.), The insider/outsider problem in the study cf religion: a reader, London, 1999. My plea for etic definitions does not imply a preference for an exclusively etic stance in research: I side with Clifford Geertz (C. Geertz, ‘‘‘From the native’s point of view’: on the nature of anthropological understanding”, in K.H. Basso, HA. Selby (eds), Meaning in anthropology, Albuquerque, 1976, p. 221-237) in maintaining that we should study the experience-near concepts of our informants, as he calls emic concepts, but always in connection with the experience-distant concepts of scholarship. On this issue in the field of religion, where it is hotly contested, see McCutcheon (ed.), o.c, and E. Arweck, M.D. Stringer (eds), Theorizing faith. The insider/outsider problem in the study of ritual, Birmingham, 2002.

9 My etic definition: Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6), p. 165-166, with subsequent adaptations.

10 For the concept of dance event: A.P. Royce, The anthropology of dance, Bloomington, 1977, p. 10 (after Joan Kealiinohomoku); L. Torp (ed.), The dance event: a complex cultural phenomenon. Proceedings from the 15th symposium of the 1CTM study group on ethnochoreology, Copenhagen, 1988. An impressive study of dance events, is J.K. Cowan, Dance and the body politic in Northern Greece, Princeton, 1990 (cf. my review in Paradosi 16 (July-August, 1994) p. 12-15, in Greek).

11 W O. Beema, “The anthropology of theater and spectacle”, Annual Review of Anthropology 22 (1993), p. 369-393.

12 Mousike has hardly ever been addressed as such, only in a fragmentary way. Now, however, there is P. Murray, P. Wilson (eds), Music and the Muses. The culture of ‘mousike’ in the classical Athenian city, Oxford, 2004. E. Andronikou, C Lanara, Z. Papadopoulou, A.G. Voutira (eds), Geschenke der Musen. Musik und Tanz im antiken Griechenland/ Mουσών δώρα. Μουσιϰοί ϰαι χορευτιϰοί απόηχοι από την αρχαία Ελλάρα, Athens, 2003, addresses music and dance within a single very well-illustrated catalogue, but nowhere brings the two together (also hampered by the fact that in modern Greek μουσιϰή is ‘music’). Mousikē is put centre stage in F.G. Naerebout, “O χορός στην αρχαία Ελλάφα. Μια απόπειρα ϰατανόησης”, Aρχαιολογία ϰαι τέχνες 90 (2004), p. 8-14 (in Greek, with English summary – where the μουσιϰή-problem is solved typographically).

13 I can only give a mere handful of titles with a focus on movement/dance which I found useful: M. Moerman, M. Nomura (eds), Culture embodied, Osaka, 1990; T. Turner, “The social body and embodied subject: bodiliness, subjectivity and sociality among the Kayapo”, Cultural Anthropology 10 (1995), p. 143-170; H. Thomas, J. Ahmed (eds), Cultural bodies: ethnography and theory, Oxford, 2004. The overview by S.A. Reed, “The politics and poetics of dance”, Annual Review of Anthropology 27 (1998), p. 503-532, focuses on the typical concerns of the 1990s: gender, identity, and social body. In the introductory chapter to the volume on performance, which he edited with Robin Osborne (o.c, n. 1), Simon Goldhill claims the same status for the concept ‘performance’: ‘performance’ and ‘embodiment’ are of course closely related (cf. n. 14 infra).

14 The ‘postmodern challenge’ has not gone unheeded, it has been re-affirmed that history/ histories is/are a construct, and we have moved on: cf. G.G. Iggers, Historiography in the 20th century: from scientific objectivity to the postmodern challenge, Hanover, NH, 1997, and R. Anchor, “On how to kick the history habit and discover that every day in every way, things are getting meta and meta and meta…,” History & Theory 40 (2001), 104-116. A striking example of the ongoing foregrounding of the body: at the University of London Goldsmiths College a new research forum was recently (January 2004) inaugurated: the Centre on the Body and Perfor-mance. It seeks to unite drama studies, dance studies and the study of other performative genres by focussing on the body.

15 Taplin, l.c. (n. 1), p. 33: “ancient Greek societies were extraordinarily performanceful”; P. Wilson, “The aulos in Athens”, in Goldhill Osborne, o.c. (n. 1), p. 58-95: ”… music, virtually omnipresent in all Greek life.”

16 Sophocles, Oedipus tyrannus, 896. For this interpretation, see, amongst others, O. Taplin, “Fifth-century tragedy and comedy: a synkrisis”, JHS 106 (1986), p. 163-174. Cf. A. Henrichs, “Warum soll ich denn tanzen?” Dionysisches im Chor der griechischen Tragödie, Stuttgart/Leipzig, 1996.

17 To give only a few examples out of very many: in Price, o.c. (n. 5), and in J.D. Mikalson, Ancient Greek religion, Oxford, 2005, there is no dance in the index, and almost no dance in the text. B. Goff, Citizen Bacchae. Women’s ritual practice in ancient Greece, Berkeley, 2004, despite having ‘practice’ in her title, hardly mentions the dance, not even in the pages on the chorus (p. 85 sq.):. the bland “dancing was a feature of all choral events” (96) hardly does credit to the subject. For a comparable complaint about the absence of music from studies of ancient religion, see the introduction to P. Brule, C. Vendries, Chanter les dieux. Musique et religion dans l’Antiquité grecque et romaine, Rennes, 2001 [cf. the extensive review by E. van Keer, Kernos 16 (2003), p. 357-363]. One can only agree – but notice at the same time that there is but little dance in their book; in general music and dance are studied in unwanted isolation (this is also meant as self-criticism); A. Barker (ed.), Greek musical writings, vol. 1: the musician and his art, Cambridge, 1984, is an exemplary exception.

18 Still the best article on early Christianity and the dance is C. Andresen, “Altchristliche Kritik am Tanz. Ein Ausschnitt aus dem Kampf der alten Kirche gegen heidnischen Sitte”, Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 4th ser. 10 (1961), p. 217-262. For subsequent anti-dance tracts: F.G. Naerebout, “Snoode exercitien. Het zeventiende-eeuwse Nederlandse protestantisme en de dans”, Volkskundig Bulletin 16 (1990), p. 125-155, with many references. For a background to our modern thinking on the dance, see A. Arcangeli, Davide o Salomé. Il dihattito europeo sulla danza nella prima età modema, Treviso/Rome, 2000. Kinaesthetic awareness: B. Quirey, “The crucial gap”, Dance Research 1. 1 (1983), p. 50-55, on many in modern society not ‘being kinaesthetically alive’ – ancient historians and classicists not excepted.

19 F.G. Naerebout, “Which way forward for dance history?”, in Dance history. The teaching and learning of dance history. Proceedings of the conference held at The Royal Opera House, Convent Garden, London, 3rd-5th November 2000, London, 2001, p. 41-50, and id., “Not enough. Looking back on the EADH conference on the teaching and learning of dance history”, forthcoming. Cf. L.M. Brooks, “Dance history and method: a return to meaning”, Dance Research 20.1 (2002), p. 33-53.

20 In the introduction by Murray Wilson, o.c. (n. 12), p. 8. I came to the same conclusion: F.G. Naerebout, “Dance in ancient Greece: anything new?”, in A. Lazou, A. Raftis, M. Borowska (eds), Orchesis. Texts on ancient Greek dance, Athens, 2003, p. 139-162. Was it modesty, or the fact that it is not about dance in a strict sense, that made Peter Wilson refrain from mentioning his own marvellous study: P. Wilson, The Athenian institution of the khoregia. The chorus, the city and the stage, Cambridge, 2000? Cf. n. 83-85 infra.

21 Plato, Leges, 654a.

22 We are dealing here with a lot of uncertainties: illustrative is the discussion surrounding the masks found at the sanctuary of Artemis Orthia: see G. Dickins, “The masks”, in R.M. Dawkins (ed.), The sanctuary of Artemis Orthia at Sparta, London, 1929, p. 163-186, with J.B. Carter, “The masks at Ortheia”, AJA 91 (1987), p. 355-383, and ead., “Masks and poetry in early Sparta”, in R. Hagg, N. Marinatos, G.C. Nordquist (eds), Early Greek cult practice, Stockholm, 1988, p. 89-98.

23 Dance floors can be disambiguated by name (such as Kallichoros), or by inscriptions (such as the rupestral inscriptions at Thera, IG XII 3, 536; 540; 543, if these indeed mention dance, cf. the doubts expressed by M. Hofinger, Études sur le vocabulaire du grec archaique, Leiden, 1981, p. 125-129; on the relevance of such archaic inscriptions for the dance, see K. Robb, Literacy and paideia in ancient Greece, New York, 1994. On the possible sexual double-entrendre, see the references in Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6), p. 181, n. 391; add PA. Rosenmeyer, “Girls at play in early Greek poetry”, AJPh 125 (2004), p. 163-178).

24 G. Prudhommeau, La danse grecque antique, Paris, 1965.

25 On Nonnus’ neologisms and his drive towards poikilia in general, see several articles in N. Hopkinson (ed.), Studies in the Dionysiaca of Nonnus, Cambridge, 1994. R.F. Newbold, “Nonverbal expressions in late Greek epic: Quintus of Smyrna, Nonnus”, in F. Poyatos (ed.), Advances in nonverbal communication. Sociocultural, clinical, esthetic and literary perspectives, Amsterdam, 1992, p. 271-283, has shown Nonnus’ sensitivity to nonverbal communication, especially the dance.

26 The high point of such speculation was reached in Prudhommeau, o.c. (n. 24), (who actually made films as here referred to), but it had its roots as far back as M. Emmanuel, Essai sur l’orchestique grecque, Paris 1895, repeated as La danse grecque antique d’après les monuments figures, Paris, 1896, not by chance published in the year of the official birth of the cinema and in a period of experiments with chronophotography. Scholars may shrug their shoulders, but the influence of this kind of reconstructionist work runs very deep, and will certainly not diminish by the continuing inclusion of Prudhommeau’s work, defective in very many ways, in bibliographies on ancient Greek dancing, etc. (e.g. Mentor, Guide bibliographique de la religion grecque (Kernos Suppl. 2), n° 1729: “etude magistrale”).

27 On dance notation, see C. Jeschke, Tanzschriften, ihre Geschichte und Methode, Bad Reichenhall, 1983, and A.H. Guest, Choreo-graphics: a comparison of dance notation systems from the fifteenth century to the present, New York, 1989. Both works make clear that no truly workable notation was designed before the last century, following some 18th and 19th -century attempts.

28 Etymologiae III, 15: nisi enim ab homine memoria teneantur, soni pereunt, quia scribi non possunt.

29 On music notation, see M.L. West, Ancient Greek music, Oxford, 1992, p. 254-273 (and cf. documents, p. 277-326), and E. Pohlmann, M.L. West, Documents of ancient Greek music. The extant melodies and fragments, Oxford, 2001, where the original and modern notation of every fragment is given in full; with reference to older work, especially several relevant titles by Pöhlmann.

30 I thank Ms F.A.J. Hoogendijk for drawing my attention to this material.

31 Cf. M.B. Poliakoff, Studies in the terminology of Greek combat sports, Königstein, 1982, p. 75, 161-171.

32 This limited human movement vocabulary makes it easy to find a picture showing a pose identical or look-alike to some ancient Greek imagery from a quite different source, for instance the rich dance traditions of Asia or Central America. Unless one makes diffusionist theory go a very long way (some do: D. Watts, The renaissance of the Greek ideal, London, 19202, p. 40, claims jiu-jitsu as Greek heritage), such an identity or likeness must be accidental. This need not surprise us, as the range of movements and poses to choose from is rather limited, mainly because of physiological constraints. In fact the range of movements and poses used in dance the world over is quite small, and in this way one will often be able to observe (near) identical, but nevertheless historically unrelated phenomena. This also holds good for material deriving from within the Greek world.

33 Reconstructionism started with Maurice Emmanuel (cf. n. 26); in the 20th century this kind of research was kept alive by Louis Séchan (L. Séchan, La danse grecque antique, Paris, 1930), and especially by Germaine Prudhommeau. A present-day advocate of what by now we might call a French school of reconstructionism, although moving along somewhat different lines, is M.-H. Delavaud-Roux, Recherches sur la danse dans l’antiquité grecque (viie-ive s. av. J.C.), These de Doctorat, Universite d’Aix-Marseille I, 3 vols, s.l., 1993, and several publications since. A thorough criticism of reconstructionism is to be found throughout Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6).

34 The fragments of musical notation give us texts set to music, but do not tell us anything about performance practice. Cf. C. Ahrens, “Volksmusik der Gegenwart als Erkenntnisquelle fur die Musik der Antike”, Die Musikforschung 29 (1976), p. 37-45, on Spielpraxis (p. 38).

35 J.J. Pollitt, “Early Classical Greek art in a Platonic universe”, in C.G. Boulter (ed.), Greek art: archaic into classical. A symposium held at the University of Cincinnati, 1982, Leiden, 1985, p. 96-111, esp. p. 99-100. Cf. J.J. Pollitt, Art in the Hellenistic age, Cambridge, 1986, p. 141, who defines ‘realism’ as “an attempt to reflect one’s experience of the natural and human world without the intercession of some notion of an ideal or perfect form”.

36 For non-dancers turned into dancing figures, see Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6), p. 246, n. 576; a third example is in M.T.M. Moevs, “Ephemeral Alexandria: the pageantry of the Ptolemaic court and its documentation,” in R.T. Scott, A.R. scott (eds), Eius virtutis studiosi: classical and postclassical studies in memory of Frank Edward Brown (1908-1988), Washington, 1993, p. 123-148; she shows that the pose of the bronze so-called dancing satyr from Alexandria, now in the Cleveland Museum of Art (p. 136, fig. 21) derives from the Silenos carrying a basket of grapes, known from Campana reliefs (cf. ibid., p. 135, fig. 18-19).

37 F.G. Naerebout, “The Baker dancer and other Hellenistic statuettes of dancers. Illustrating the use of imagery in the study of dance in the ancient Greek world,” Imago Musicae 18/19 (2001/2002), p. 59-83. For a comparable take on the komasts in Corinthian black-figure, see the important work by T.J. Smith, “Festival? What festival? Reading dance imagery as evidence,” in S. Bell, G. Davies (eds), Games and festivals in classical antiquity. Proceedings of the conference held in Edinburgh 10-12 July 2000, Oxford, 2004, p. 9-23.

38 In addition to the literature quoted in Naerebout, l.c. (n. 36), see L.J. Wales, Women and veiling in the ancient world, Bradford, 2000, and L. Llewellyn-Jones (ed.), Women’s dress in the ancient Greek world, London, 2002.

39 Eros in a dancing movement with a himation drawn up to his eyes: three terracottas from Myrina: Leipzig T2186, mid-2nd century BC (E. Paul, Antike Welt in Ton. Griechische unci römische Terrakotten des Arcbäologischen Institutes in Leipzig, Leipzig, 196l2, n° 232); Leiden LKA 1028, around 100 BC (P.G. Leyenaar-Plaisier, Les terres cuites grecques et romaines. Catalogue de la collection du Musée national des antiquités à Leiden, Leiden, 1979, n° 703); Karlsruhe B2237, first half 1st century BC (W. Schürmann, Katalog der antiken Terrakotten im Badischen Landesmu-seum, Karlsruhe, Göteborg, 1989, n° 426). A dancing actor with satyr mask dressed like a mantle dancer: two terracottas from Centuripe: Dresden Z.V. 3867, early 2nd century (K. Knoll et al., Die Antiken in Alhertinum, Dresden, Mainz, 1993, n° 65); Germany, private collection, early 2nd century (K.A. Neugebauer, Antiken in deutschem Privatbesitz, Berlin, 1938, n° 123). A dancing dwarf with a woman’s veil: the well-know Mahdia-bronze as interpreted by S. Pfisterer-Haas, “Zur Kopfbedeckung des Bronzetänzers von Mahdia”, Archaeologischer Anzeiger (1991), p. 99-105. For what it is worth: M. Robertson, “A muffled dancer and others”, in A.H. Cambitoglou (ed.), Studies in honour of Arthur Dale Trendall, Sydney, 1979, p. 129-134, discusses an enigmatic image in which a mantle dancer and a dwarf dance together.

40 Much attention is paid to divine prototypes in S.H. Lonsdale, Dance and ritual play in Greek religion, Baltimore, 1993, but there is as yet no satisfactory account of dancing divinities in ancient Greece. U. Woessner, Zur Deutung des Göttertanzes in Indien und Griechenland: Eine religionsphänomenologische Betrachtung, Cologne, 1981, is no help at all.

41 Krateriskoi: T.F. Scanlon, Eros and Greek athletics, Oxford, 2002, p. 166-174. Kabirion: U. Heimberg, Die Keramik des Kabirions, Berlin, 1982. Kharayeb: M.H. Chehab, les terres cuites de Kharayeb, Paris, 1951-1954, pl. 36-38. Priene: Berlin TC8607-8609: J. Raeder, Priene. Funde aus einer griechischen Stadt im Berliner Antikenmuseum, Berlin, 1984, nos 95-97. The Pyrrhias aryballos: Corinth C-54-1: D.A. Amyx, Corinthian vase-painting of the archaic period, Berkeley, 1988, p. 165; M.C. Roebuck, C.A. Roebuck, “A prize aryballos”, Hesperia 24 (1955), p. 158-163. Karneia krater: Tarento IG8263, A.D. Trendall, The red-figured vases of Lucania, Campania and Sicily, Oxford, 1967, n° 55/280, and J.-M. Moret, “Un ancêtre du phylactère: le pilier inscrit des vases italiotes”, RA (1979), p. 3-34. The Athenian reliefs: NM 3854 (SEG 23, 103): J.-C. Poursat, “Une base signée du Musée National dAthènes: pyrrhichistes victorieux”, BCH 91 (1967), p. 102-110; Akropolis Museum 1338 (IG II2, 3025; SEG 30, 104; 126; 128): Wilson, o.c. (n. 20), fig. 2.

42 P. Bruneau, Recherches sur les cultes de Délos à l’époque hellénistique et à l’époque impé-riale, Paris, 1970. For the abstractions, cf. n. 43 infra.

43 A long tradition stretching from Joannes Meursius in the early 17th century to the extensive oeuvre of Lillian B. Lawler (see P.W. Rovik, “Hommage to Lillian B. Lawler, with a selected bibliography of her writings on dance”, Journal for the anthropological study of human movement 6 (1991), p. 159-168) and beyond: F. Brommer, “Antike Tänze”, Archäologischer Anzeiger (1989), 483-494, is a fairly recent prominent example. The tradition is charted at length in the first part of Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6) (revised and translated as La danza greca antica. Cinque secoli d’indagine, Lecce, 2001). In the compiling of a dictionary the risks of falling back on old-fashioned approaches is evidently large: the authors of entries for individual dances in Der Neue Pauly, Stuttgart, 1996-, have fallen into this trap.

44 F. Hoerburger, “Once again: on the concept of’folk dance’”, Journal of the International Folk Music Council 20 (1968), p. 30-32. A. Nahachewsky, “Once again: on the concept of ‘second existence folk dance’”, Yearbook for traditional music 33 (2001), p. 17-28, adds several subtleties, but Hoerburger’s main ideas still stand up. A more serious objection can be found in the work of M. Louis, Le folklore et la danse, Paris, 1963, p. 42-43, who distinguishes two kinds of first existence dances: ‘danses folkloriques’ and ‘danses populaires’. The first are of a ritual nature and thus codified, with “un scénario intangible… réglé suivant des normes rigoureuses”. The second are largely ad hoc creations. It remains to be established whether dance in a ritual context really has such a ‘scénario intangible’, codified and all, and whether that implies any permanence.

45 15th-century Italy: Naerebout, o.c (n. 6), p. 10-14. Pacific: J. Shennan, “Approaches to the study of dance in Oceania – is the dancer carrying an umbrella or not”, Journal of the Polynesian Society 90 (1981), p. 193-208; A.L. Kaeppler, Poetry in motion. Studies in Tongan dance, Tonga, 1993. Java: C. Brakel-Papenhuyzen, The Bedhaya Court Dances of Central Java. A Mataram tradition of ritual art, Leiden, 1991.

46 Some texts, most texts? We have no way to establish what percentage of texts went altogether unrecorded.

47 Doubts have been sown as to the choral nature of everything that has been called choral poetry; references in Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6), p. 199. G.B. D’Alessio, “First-person problems in Pindar”, BICS 39 (1994), p. 117-139, came to a simple conclusion that still holds good: performance was choral as a rule, but actual practice will have been flexible (p. 117, n. 2).

48 See M.R. Lefkowitz, “The first person in Pindar reconsidered – again”, BICS 40 (1995), p. 139-150, with references to the extensive discussion, focussed on Pindar, that went before. Cf. Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6), p. 198. I omitted to include any references to the transmission and reperformance of dramatic poetry, which in fact seems rather relevant to this question.

49 Relevant to the debate are, on the side of the pros: W. Rösler, Dichter und Gruppe. Eine Untersuchung zu den Bedingungen und zur historischen Funktion frülher griechischer Lyrik am Beispiel Alkaios, Munich, 1980 (careful); J. Herington, Poetry into drama. Early tragedy and the Greek poetic tradition, Berkeley, 1985 (much in favour, bringing together testimonies on reperformances in an appendix (p. 207-210, with cross-references); G. Nagy, Poetry as performance. Homer and beyond, Cambridge, 1996; R. Thomas, literacy and orality in ancient Greece, Cambridge, 1992. On the side of the cons: J. Danielewicz, “Deixis in Greek choral lyric”, QUCC 34 (1990), p. 7-17; B. Gentiu, Poetry and its public in ancient Greece from Homer to the fifth century, Baltimore, 1988. A recent summing up in B. Currie, “Reperformance scenarios for Pindar’s Odes”, in C.J. Mackie (ed.), Oral performance and its context = Orality and literacy in ancient Greece 5, Leiden, 2004, 49-69, and in T.K. Hubbard, “The dissemination of epinician lyric: Pan-Hellenism, reperformance, written texts”, ibid., 71-93. Their approaches differ (and might be complimentary), but they both strongly defend choral reperformance.

50 As it was put by Currie, l.c. (n. 49), p. 69. Both Currie and Hubbard, l.c (n. 49) argue for the public reperfonnance of epinician poetry by the family of the laudandus as a kind of private-public choregia, or as part of a festival, possibly at the site of the victory celebrated.

51 Pindar, Nemea V, 2-3. Cf. n. 93 infra.

52 There may not always have been written texts: reperformance may well have been more important. Cf. Thomas, o.c. (n. 49), p. 113-127. Besides, after dissemination, a text might become part of a fresh oral tradition, and there need not be any exact reproduction: thus, a text may be used selectively or may be rephrased in order to fit a new situation or to be made more generic. Of course, the current view is that in performance even an established ‘text’ is never closed, but repeatedly realized, cf. A. Eschbach, Pragmasemiotik und Theater. Ein Beitrag zur Theorie und Praxis einerpragmatisch orientierten Zeichenanalyse, Tübingen, 1979, p. 78: Text = Textrealisat.

53 Rösler, o.c. (n. 49), p. 103-104.

54 No need to discuss all the nuances here: as far as dance is concerned, Greek culture remained firmly oral.

55 I. Rutherford, Pindar’s Paeans, Oxford, 2001, p. 175-178. Cf. A.L. Boegehold, When a gesture was expected. A selection of examples from archaic and classical Greek literature, Princeton, 1999 (critically received, and certainly not above criticism, but more important than generally admitted, cf. the review by F.G. Naerebout, Mnemosyne 55 (2002), p. 740-745). Of course, the whole idea of ‘stage instructions’ is undermined if one supposes that, for instance, a chorus can speak of dancing, even of their own dancing, without in fact dancing there and then, as in B. Warnecke, “Zur Geschichte der Bühnenkunst”, RhM 81 (1932), p. 45-50.

56 Pindar, Olympia VI, 88-91. It might be relevant that the Spartan skutala is used to produce a message that can only be read by the initiated, who have the right staff.

57 As much is suggested by Herington, o.c. (n. 49), p. 41-57, esp. p. 48. Doubts as to the viability of an unchanging transmission are expressed by Thomas, o.c. (n. 49), p. 122-123. T.J. Buckland, “Dance, authenticity and cultural memory: the politics of embodiment,” Yearbook for Traditional Music 33 (2001), p. 1-16, quotes an English folk dancer as saying: “we used to practice it purely to keep it [and not for performance], you know, so we didn’t lose it… unless you keep up with it, you forget how to do it” (p. 12).

58 EA. Havelock, Preface to Plato, Cambridge, Mass., 1963, p. 150-151, and id., “The preliteracy of the Greeks”, New Literary History 8 (1976-1977), p. 369-391, esp. p. 370-371.

59 Not song accompanied by dance: “this is a misleading way of expressing the facts; one might as well say that the dance was accompanied by the words”, as it was put by H.D.F. Kitto, “Rhythm, metre, and black magic”, CR 56 (1942), p. 99-108, quote from p. 100.

60 See for instance the exaggerated claims by C. Zervos in his introduction to D. Stratou, The Greek dances; our living link with Antiquity, Athens, 1966, a booklet still on sale for visitors to Athens with an interest in folk dance.

61 Language of course plays its part: a dance carrying the same name then and now is the surtos; see A. boeckh, CIG ad n° 1625 (not 1626, as in IG VII, 2712), following Leake. Cf. P. Kavakopoulos, “O συρτός. Ρευνα ϰαι Έσυμπεράσματα”, in Γ’ Συμπόσιο Λαογραϕίας του Βορειολλαδιϰού χώρου (Ήπειρος-Μαϰεδονία-Θράϰη), Αλεξανδροὐππολη 1976, Thessaloniki, 1979, p. 283-289 (non vidi). But as we all know, different things can carry the same name.

62 And of their Greek followers: Fallmerayer fittingly has been called ‘(einer) der Stammväter einer nationalen griechischen Wissenschaft, die sich gegen ihn auf ihre eigene Geschichte und Sprache besinnen zu miissen glaubte’ (p. 155), see H. Eideneier, “Hellenen – Philhellenen: ein historisches Missverständnis?”, Archiv für Kulturgeschichte 67 (1985), p. 137-159; for the whole complex ideological tangle, see M. Herzfeld, Ours once more: folklore, ideology, and the making of modern Greece, Austin, 1982.

63 For the political dimensions of culture (especially the role of music and dance in creating an ethnic identity) see T. Ingold, “Introduction to culture”, in id. (ed.), Companion encyclopedia of anthropology, London, 1994, p. 329-349, esp. 346-348, and A.D. Smith, “The politics of culture: ethnicity and nationalism”, ibid., 706-733. Good analyses of nationalist sentiment obscuring the facts: S. Staub, “An inquiry into the nature of Yemenite Jewish dancing”, in D.L. Woodruff (ed.), Essays in dance research from the fifth CORD conference Philadelphia 1976, New York, 1978, p. 157-168; E. Keschl, Dance and authenticity in Israel and Palestine: performing the nation, Leiden, 2003; I. Loutzaki, “Folk dance in political rhythms”, Yearbook for Traditional Music 33 (2001), p. 127-138, and other articles in the same issue.

64 A.L. Kaeppler, “Folklore as expressed in the dance in Tonga”, Journal of American Folklore 80 (1967), p. 160-168, gives an example of dance movements changing, but the poetry that the movements accompany still referring to the same or similar themes (p. 168). But a different view (concerning the same area) can be found in Shennan, l.c. (n. 45), who argues that “the movement style is likely to be highly conservative … texts provide new themes and new ideas … (the) familiar movements can afford to stay that way. Only a very small proportion of innovative movement is appreciated” (p. 195 sq.). There seems to be no systematic research into such processes, but the examples of attested change (cf. n. 69 infra) make one wonder about the actual meaning of ‘a highly conservative movement style’.

65 See R. Glasstone, “Changes of emphasis and mechanics in the teaching of ballet technique”, Dance Research 1.1 (1983), p. 56-63, and id., “Developments in classical ballet technique: a changing aesthetic”, Society for Dance Research Newsletter 1 (1984) [not paginated]. I can confirm this from my own experience, but everyone will come to the same conclusion after viewing a series of, say, Swan Lakes performed by the same company, in the same choreography, but filmed in different decades.

66 Cf. J.W. Kealiinohomoku, “Culture change: functional and dysfunctional expressions of dance, a form of affective culture”, in J. Blacking, J.W. Kealiinohomoku (eds), The performing arts, The Hague, 1979, p. 47-64. Of course there are other factors involved as well.

67 T.J. Buckland, “Traditional dance, English ceremonial and social forms”, in J. Adshead, J. Layson (eds), Dance history. A methodology for study, London, 1983, p. 162-175. Essential reading: M.T. Hodgen, The doctrine of survivals, London, 1936, and ead., Anthropology, history, and cultural change, Tucson, 1974.

68 E. Hobsbawm, “Introduction”, in E. Hobsbawm, T. Ranger (eds), The invention of tradition, Cambridge, 1983, p. 2; I. OPIE, P. Opie, “Certain laws of folklore”, in V.J. Newall (ed.), Folklore Studies in the twentieth century. Proceedings of the centenary conference of the Folklore Society, Woodbridge, 1980, p. 64-75, quote from p. 69.

69 E.E. Evans-Pritchard, “The dance”, in id., The position of women in primitive society and other essays in social anthropology, London, 1965, p. 165-180, esp. p. 170; Royce, o.c. (n. 10), p. 110; J.W. Keamnohomoku, “Ethnic historical study”, in ead. (ed.), Dance history research. Perspectives from related arts and disciplines, New York, 1970, p. 86-97; ead., “Folk dance”, in R.M. Dorson (ed.), Folklore and folklife, an introduction, Chicago, 1972, p. 381-404; K. Horak, “Systematik des deutschen Volkstanzes”, Osterreichische Zeitschrift fur Volkskunde 78 (1975), p. 119-141, esp. p. 129; Hoerburger, l.c. (n. 44); Staub, l.c. (n. 63); J. Binet, Sociétés de danse chez les Fang du Gabon, Paris, 1972; Brakel-Papenhuyzen, o.c. (n. 45). Very relevant to the whole issue is J.-M. Guilcher, “Aspects et problèmes de la danse populaire traditionnelle”, Ethnologie francaise 1 (1971), p. 7-48.

70 A. Grau, “Sing a dance – dance a song. The relationship between two types of formalized movements and music among the Tiwi of Melville and Bathurst Islands, North Australia”, Dance Research 1.2 (1983), p. 32-44, and ead., “Tiwi dance aesthetics”, Yearbook for Traditional Music 35 (2003), p. 173-178.

71 J.M. Chernoff, African rhythm and African sensibility. Aesthetics and social action in African musical idioms, Chicago, 1979, p. 202-203, n. 32, p. 206, n. 61.

72 For instance the grumbling by Dikaios Logos in Aristophanes, Nubes, 985-989. “Those who have given up the true way of practising this dance and have introduced their own style which is without origin”, as it is beautifully put in the Chams Yig, a l7th-century text on dancing written by the fifth Dalai Lama; see R. de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Tibetan religious dances. Tibetan text and annotated translation of the “chams yig”, The Hague, 1976, p. 40a (translation on p. 243); cf. p. 39b. One could also quote modern-day dance ethnologists who refuse to do research into ‘degenerate’ forms of dancing.

73 On authenticity, see F.G. Naerebout, “Whose dance? Questions of authenticity and ethnicity, of preservation and renewal”, in A. Raftis (ed.), Dance beyond frontiers. Proceedings of the 8th international conference on dance research, Drama 1994, Athens, 1994, p. 77-86, and id., “‘Nice dance! But is it authentic?’ What actually is this authenticity that everybody is going on about?”, in A. Raftis (ed.), Dance as intangible heritage. Proceedings of the 16th international congress on dance research, Corfu 2002, Athens, 2002, p. 125-138. I am much indebted to R. Taruskin, “The pastness of the present and the presence of the past”, in N. Kenyon (ed.), Authenticity and early music. A symposium, Oxford, 1989, p. 137-207, and R. Bendix, In search of authenticity. The formation of folklore studies, Madison, 1997.

74 Chernoff, o.c. (n. 71), p. 203, n. 32: ”(dances) remain basically the same (but) are transformed from generation to generation”.

75 Quoted by P. Burke, Popular culture in early modem Europe, London, 1978, p. 115. Cf. E. Shils, “Tradition”, Comparative Studies in Society and History 13 (1971), p. 122-159.

76 See Chernoff, o.c. (n. 71).

77 See Burke, o.c. (n. 75), p. 124 sq., on its important role in folk poetry. A.J.F. Köbben, “Opportunism in religious behaviour”, in W E.a. van Beek, J.h. Scherer (eds), Explorations in the anthropology of religion. Festschrift J. van Baal, The Hague, 1975, p. 46-54, gives several examples of more or less institutionalized rule-breaking.

78 In this context, I find it rather painful that, despite the most welcome praise on p. 8 n. 17, Murray Wilson, o.c. (n. 12) misquote the title of my Attractive performances: ancient Greek dance, as Attractive performances: ancient Greek dances. A single letter, but a world of difference.

79 Previously, I have lauded as the start of modern dance anthropology E.E. Evans-Pritchard, “The dance”, Africa 1 (1928), p. 446-462. I still find it uniquely impressive, but I have neglected A.R. Radcliffe-Brown, who already gave much attention to dance in his The Andaman Islanders of 1922. Other pioneers – not always up to Evans-Pritchard’s standard – were Beryl De Zoete, Gerardus van der Leeuw, Jean Belo, Franziska Boas, Geoffrey Bateson, Margaret Mead and Theo van Baaren. G.P. Kurath, “Panorama of dance ethnology”, Current Anthropology 1 (I960), p. 233-254, was the first to gather the scattered material to date and thus put the discipline of dance research on the map. More recent overviews are provided by A.L. Kaeppler, “Dance in anthropological perspective”, Annual Review of Anthropology 7 (1978), p. 31-49, JL. Hanna, “Movements toward understanding humans through the anthropological study of dance”, Current Anthropology 20 (1979), p. 313-339, ead., “Dance”, in T.A. Sebeok (ed.), Encyclopedic dictionary of semiotics, vol. 1, Berlin, 1986, p. 170-172, A. Seeger, “Music and dance”, in T. Ingold (ed.), Companion encyclopedia of anthropology, London, 1994, p. 686-705, Reed, l.c. (n. 13), and A.L. Kaeppler, “Dance ethnology and the anthropology of dance”, Dance Research Journal 32 (2000), p. 116-124. For dance ethnology/ethnography, see T.J. Buckland (ed.), Dance in the field. Theory, methods and issues in dance ethnography, Basingstoke, 1999. For me, J.L. Hanna, To dance is human. A theory of nonverbal communication, Austin, 1979, remains one of the most important fruits of dance anthropology.

80 On the difference between dance ethnologists and dance anthropologists, see A.L. Kaeppler, “The mystique of field work”, in Buckland (ed.), o.c. (n. 79), p. 13-25, who points out that ethnologists study the dance in order to get at the dance itself, while anthropologists study the dance in order better to understand society.

81 H.S. Versnel, “Discussion”, in J. Rudhardt, O. Reverdin (eds), Le sacrifice dans l’Antiquité, Vandceuvres/Genève, 1981, p. 189.

82 K. Latte, De saltationibus graecorum capita quinque, Giessen, 1913; C. Calame, Les choeurs de jeunes filles en Grece archäique, 2 vols, Rome, 1977, the first volume translated as Choruses of young women in ancient Greece. Their morphology, religious role, and social functions, London, 1997.

83 S.H. Lonsdale, Dance and ritual play in Greek religion, Baltimore, 1993 (whose work, understandably, seems to force out L.B. Lawler, The dance in ancient Greece, London, 1964, as a standard text; however, Lonsdale’s work has serious flaws: see my review in Mnemosyne 49 (1996), p. 366-369, and, very critical, the review by D. Sansone, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 5.3 (1994), p. 230-233); M. Vesterinen, “Communicative aspects of ancient Greek dance”, Arctos 31 (1997), p. 175-187; P. Ceccarelli, La pirrica nell’antichità greco-romana. Studi sulla danza armata, Pisa/Rome, 1998; A. Bierl, Der Chor in der Allen Komödie. Ritual und Performativität, Munich/Leipzig, 2001, the most adventurous and incisive contribution. But maybe the best example is a recent study of prehistoric dancing: Y. Garfinkel, Dancing at the dawn of agriculture, Austin, 2003 (a great collection of material, moreover well-read in dance scholarship, but alas not very strong interpretatively). Cf. also n. 20 above.

84 Henrichs, o.c. (n. 16). See also H. Golder, S. Scully (eds), The chorus in Greek tragedy and culture I-II = special issues of Arion 3rd series 3.1 (1994-1995) and 4.1 (1996). Anton Bierl and Paola Ceccarelli took part in the same Harvard workshop on the chorus – led by Henrichs.

85 I leave out all kinds of practicalities, such as some of the boys and girls coming out onto the marriage market. Good comments on this aspect of ‘embodiment’ in E. Stehle, Performance and gender in ancient Greece. Nondramatic poetry in its setting, Princeton, 1997, p. 71; Stehle has much that is worthwhile on performance.

86 Attractions are discussed at length in Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6), p. 344-375. For restrictions on access, see id., “Na kaas een dagje wachten. Territorialiteit in de Griekse religie”, Lampas (2004), p. 36-52, and id., “Territorialität und griechische Religion: Die aufgeteilte Landschaft”, in E. Olshausen, H. Sonnabend (eds), Stuttgarter Kolloquium zur historischen Geographie des Altertums 2005, forthcoming.

87 The idea of necessary mobilization is taken from supply side economics, rational choice theory in particular. On rational choice theory, see R.V. Gould (ed.), The rational choice controversy in historical sociology, Chicago, 2001. For rational choice theory applied to the history of religion, see the work of Rodney Stark et al. (references in Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6), p. 316-317; add R. Stark, “Rationality”, in W. Braun, R.T. McCutcheon (eds), Guide to the study of religion, London, 2000, p. 239-258). See now: S. Bruce, Choice and religion: a critique of rational choice theory, Oxford, 1999 – I think his criticism can be met, because Bruce focuses on the messages, while the medium is just as important: dance for instance. The only historian to systematically have paid attention to ‘drawing crowds’ (the title of one of his paragraphs) is R. MacMullen in his Paganism in the Roman Empire, New Haven, 1981.

88 Naerebout, o.c. (n. 6), p. 375-406.

89 I lean heavily upon my mentor H.S. Versnel, Ter unus. Isis, Dionysos, Hermes: three studies in henotheism = Inconsistencies in Greek and Roman religion 1, Leiden, 1990, p. 1-35. Cf. another of my heroes, R. MacMullen, Changes in the Roman Empire. Essays in ordinary, Princeton, 1990, p. 12: “Nothing is true that leaves out untidiness”.

90 Communication need not consist of new messages – versus the oft-quoted opinion of M. Bloch, “Symbols, song, dance and features of articulation; is religion an extreme form of traditional authority?”, Archives Européennes de Sociologie 15 (1974), p. 55-81, to the effect that ritualization entails diminishing communicative potential. One can tell one’s favourite story a thousand times, with changing or unchanging purpose, and to different or identical effect. There may be less information (as used in information theory, i.e. previously unknown items), but no less message and meaning.

91 C. Geertz, “Deep play: notes on the Balinese cockfight”, in id., The interpretation of cultures. Selected essays, New York, 1973, p. 412-453, quote from p. 448. B. Kowalzig, “Changing choral worlds: song-dance and society in Athens and beyond”, in Murray Wilson (eds), o.c. (n. 12), p. 39-65, is very strong: “A community’s [i.e. a polis] existence and identity were based on its choral rituals”. She might be right, however, in stating that choral ritual should be seen as the communicative performance par excellence.

92 Cf. the introduction and several articles in R. Schechner, W. Appel (eds), By means of performance. Interculturai studies of theatre and ritual, Cambridge, 1990, discussing ‘flow’, ‘presence’, ‘concentration’, concepts used to describe spectators being ‘drawn in’.

93 F.G. Naerebout, “Spending energy as an important part of ancient Greek religious behaviour”, forthcoming in the proceedings of the international conference on the ancient Mediterranean world, Tokyo, 2004, to be published as a special issue of Kodai. To the material there, focussing on athletic agones, add Pindar, fr. 86a S.-M.: “sacrificing a dithyramb”, and Pindar, Nemea III, 10-14 and VIII, 13-16, referring to song and perfomiance as agalma, or Pythia VIII, 25-32, using anatithemi in the context of song.

94 Plato, Leges, 653c-671a; 700a-701b; 798d-802e.

95 See above all R. MacMullf.n, Christianizing the Roman Empire (A.D. 100-400), New Haven, 1984, and id., Christianity and paganism in the fourth to eighth centuries, New Haven, 1997; MacMullen is unique in his attentiveness to music and dance. Cf. J.W. McKinnon (ed.), Music in early Christian literature, Cambridge, 1987; H. Jurgens, Pompa diaboli. Die lateinischen Kirchenväter und das antike Theater, Stuttgart, 1972; D. Dox, The idea of the theatre in Christian thought: Augustine to the fourteenth century, Ann Arbor, 2004. On dance cf. n. 18 supra.

96 As said above, there is as yet no such map, but of course we already have several contributions towards such a map. A recent example is E. Pemberton, “Wine, women and song: gender roles in Corinthian cult”, Kernos 13 (2000), p. 85-106, an interesting if sometimes rather speculative attempt to contextualize padded dancers and women’s chain dances, which can be contrasted fruitfully to the very different work by Smith, l.c. (n. 37). i find the two approaches complementary (as Smith seems to do): the generalizing and contextualizing effons should go together. Other fresh and refreshing examples of contextualizing in Ceccarelli, o.c. (n. 83), and, brilliantly so, in Wilson, o.c. (n. 20).

97 In hypotheses 3-5, again a rational choice approach, cf. n. 87 supra.

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