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Ritual and Communication in the Graeco-Roman World

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Eftychia Stavrianopoulou

Normative interventions in Greek rituals: Strategies for justification and legitimation

Eftychia Stavrianopoulou

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When he claims that I am committing impiety by saying that we should perform the sacrifices from the ancestral and inscribed laws and decrees, I am astonished at his failure to realize that he is accusing the city also – for this is what you have de
creed. (Lysias 30, 17)

1. Introduction

  • 1 A. Henrichs, “Writing Religion: Inscribed Texts, Ritual Authority, and the Religious Discourse of (...)
  • 2 For discussions on this problematic term see now R. Parker, “What are Sacred Laws?”, in E.M. Harri (...)

1For a religion “which was essentially non-literate in its ritual practices”,1 Greek religion produced a large amount of relevant epigraphical testimonies. Some of the main emphasis in these inscriptions is on cult foundations, cult calendars, oracles, hymns, collections of reports of healing, sales of priesthoods, temple inventories, and cult and sacrificial regulations. Because of the form in which the majority of these texts has been transmitted, namely decrees of the assembly, resolutions of associations or of other corporations and boards, they have misleadingly been called leges sacrae.2

  • 3 Cf. A. Hultgard, “Sacred Texts and Canonicity: Greece”, in S.I. Johnston (ed.), Religions of the A (...)

2The epigraphical material doubtlessly represents a direct source of ritual practice, if of peculiar character. The epigraphical documents deal with ritual actions, but are not necessarily ritual texts per se. With the exception of texts such as the hymns (on stone, papyrus or golden lamellae), they were not recited within the framework of any ritual practice and thus not used directly in ritual.3 Most of these so-called leges sacrae document interventions in already existing rituals or the introduction of new ritual practices, which were resolved after a proposal had been made and a group of people (e.g. the popular assembly or the assembly of an association) had debated upon it. In other words, the leges sacrae document the changeability of the rituals.

  • 4 A. Michaels, Zur Dynamik von Ritualkomplexen, Heidelberg, 2003 (Forum Ritualdynamik, 3), p. 6.
  • 5 Cf. the reconstruction of the Boiotian Daidala by A. Chaniotis, “Ritual Dynamics: The Boiotian Fes (...)
  • 6 The concept of agency has been conceptualized over the past few decades, focusing in particular on (...)

3Precisely this is the significance of the leges sacrae for the investigation of rituals. For rituals are distinct, yet at the same time generally accepted forms of action, borne by a social group, which however are “constantly changed and adapted by ‘logic of practice (practical reason)’ [Bourdieu], performance and updating”.4 Rituals are altered, the course of action is restructured, new rituals are introduced, ritual practices are modified; in other words, rituals are subject to intervention in varying degrees, intervention that causes a transformation or even the creation of a new ritual.5 Processes of ritual dynamics are thus seen to be a special case of processes of social dynamics, for the alteration of rituals – as much as their continuity – must be ascribed to actions which can be seen as an expression of a complex (human or non-human) agency.6

  • 7 Succinctly expressed by Michaels, o.c. (n. 4), p. 9-10: “Der religiose Revolutionar kann scheitern (...)
  • 8 Ritual is to be defined not only as the stereotypical repetition of a script, but also the perform (...)

4These are the actions documented in the leges sacrae. The actions evidenced in the inscriptions originated from within a field of social negotiation, instigated by humans and divinities, comprising, in interaction with the community, communicative processes, which concern the preparation, structuring, announcing and carrying out of a ritual event. For the most part, this has to do with adaptations of ritual actions to new conditions, in order to continue to guarantee the efficacy and credibility of the rituals. For rituals are well-established systems of rules. They are seen as guarantors of tradition, order, prestige, decency, honesty, economic and social prestige, etc. Transgression or alteration of these rules is a dangerous matter. It can be success ful, i.e. be accepted, but it can fail and the perpetrator may harvest punishment, contempt or ridicule by the group.7 Seen thus, the leges sacrae are not only to be read as the texts of a contemporary religious discourse, but also as an expression of communication effecting action, communication with and in front of a contemporary public. They consist of a series of actions that need to be deciphered and defined.8

  • 9 P. Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, Stanford, 1990, p. 66-68; 81-82.
  • 10 In other words, the rules are often most closely bound to the disposition. They form the dispositi (...)
  • 11 See supra n. 6 [W. Sax (forthc.)].

5In analysing those factors which permit changes of ritual to appear suitable and acceptable, the questions also arise of who is responsible for the changes, of what means are used, of the legitimation of these means as well as of the change as such. These questions involve both the options for action and the ability to act on the part of both, individuals and groups, as well as their ideas of authority and, in P. Bourdieu’s phrasing, of the rules of the game.9 These latter refer to the understanding of conscious and unconscious attitudes, practices, and dispositions that are valid in a certain historical context.10 Within this context, and using personal resources (of a symbolic, economic, cultural nature etc.), each individual can attempt (at least theoretically) to act effectively and persuasively. The ability to change a ritual, however, is not always ascribed in the inscriptions to the actions of an individual or a group, but also to a higher instance such as a divinity. In these cases the emic perspective serves as an indication of the existing ideas of the ritual participants with regard to authority.11 The interventions in ritual are based on an altogether complex network of economic, political, social, and religious aspects. Changes in one of these areas generally cause further changes affecting the structure of the ritual, even as far as abolishing it completely.

2. Who changes the rituals?

  • 12 τ[ῇ θεῷ]σμέμω[ς ἓξ]ει ϰ[αὶ τῷ] δήμῳ συμϕερό[ν]τως ϰαὶ εἰς τὸν ἔπειτε χρόνον συντελοῦντ[ι] τ[ὰ]ς (...)

… (whether) it will be pleasing to the goddess and advantageous to the demos both now and the future, should they (sc. the Milesians) accomplish the collects for Artemis Boulephoros Skiris in accordance to the proposal made on the basis of the exegesis by the Skiridai or in the manner it takes place now. Whatever the god may presage, the theopropoi should bring in to the popular assembly and the demos is to decide after the hearing, so that everything is carried out in accordance with the advice of the god. As theopropoi were elected: Pheidippos, son of Poeseidonios, Automedes, son of Elpenor, Lampis, son of Lampitos, Lichas, son of Hermo-phantes. The demos of the Milesians inquires, whether it will be pleasing to the goddess and advantageous to the demos both now and in the future to perform the collects for Artemis Boulephoros Skiris in accordance with the exegesis of the Skiridai or in the manner they take place now. The god gave the following oracle… (LSAM 47 = Syll.2 660).12

  • 13 W. Burkert, Griechische Religion, Heidelberg, 1977, p. 166-167.

6The fragmentarily preserved decree from Miletos refers to changes in the cult of Artemis Boulephoros Skiris. These had to do with the collection of donations (agerseis) from the general population, a job usually carried out by the cult personnel13. The genos of the Skiridai, entrusted with the cult of Artemis, made a proposal in the popular assembly on changes in the course of the ritual. The public, after listening to what was said by the Skiridai, was of the opinion, however, that the advice of the oracular god Apollo should be sought, so that all might be done according to his advice (ὃπως πάντα πραχθήσεται ἀϰολούθως τῇ τοῦ θεοῦ συμβουλίᾳ). The question that was to be posed in writing to the oracle of Didyma by the four representatives (theopropoi) chosen by the popular assembly was whether the goddess Artemis would prefer that the collection of donations be carried out according to the suggestions of the Skiridai, or as hitherto, and whether the one or the other method would be more advantageous for the demos. After the transmission of the divine answer or oracle and subsequent consideration, the demos of the Milesians wished to make its decision (ὁ δὲ δῆμος ἀϰούσας βουλευσάσθω).

7Clearly this was a delicate matter, accompanied by an equally difficult discussion with religious experts on the one side, the political community of the Milesians on the other. We do not know the result of the consultation of the oracle, but the popular resolution gives us a glimpse of the negotiability of restructuring a ritual. Also, it permits us to draw conclusions about the position of each of the agents, and thus enables the analysis of the various processes of confirmation or doubt with regard to the relations of authority and power in ritual.

  • 14 These questions describe an agent as a person who has the ability to bring about effects and to (r (...)
  • 15 According to F. Jacoby, Atthis: The Local Chronicles of Ancient Athens, Oxford, 1949, p. 45, “Exêg (...)

8Who determines how, when, and where a ritual is to be carried out? Who has the ability and the power to effect changes having an impact in a complex of religious, political and economic levels?14 Four groups of actors can be discerned in the text: the religious experts proprie dictu (Skiridai), the religious experts who were designated by popular vote (theopropoi), the citizens participating in the popular assembly, and, last but not least, the deities themselves (Artemis and the oracular god Apollo). The actions of all participants in the discourse on the intervention in the ritual, both human and non-human, possess special characteristics. The suggestion was introduced by the Skiridai who presented it as a command of Artemis: this was transmitted by means of the exegesis, i.e. interpretation by the experts of the cult.15 The actions of the theopropoi have their legitimacy in the choice and definition of their persons, as the official interpreters of the oracle. However, compared to the Skiridai they are not only the mediators between divinity and their devotees, but also between the deity, their devotees, and the demos as the third instance. The demos in the form of the popular assembly is, in the end, the institution which has the power at its disposal to agree to or refuse an intervention; the act of agreeing or refusing itself ought to be in agreement with the divine order.

  • 16 For the strategies of distinction and their relationship to the symbolic capital see Bourdieu o.c. (...)
  • 17 Cf. the remark by Garland, l.c. (n. 15: 1996), p. 93, on the impact of exegetai in general, who st (...)

9This brief description is intended to show the complexity hidden behind this type of intervention. Individuals and groups, equipped with different sorts of symbolic capital, act in a complementary, yet competing fashion.16 Moreover, it is clear that the appeal to the divinatory deity is equivalent, in an emic perspective, to the agency underlying this intervention. The request of the goddess Artemis was to be confirmed or clearly formulated by the oracle of the god Apollo. The reason for the consultation of Apollo lay in the mistrust of the citizens in the exegetai or their interpretations.17

  • 18 On agermos see Burkert, o.c. (n. 13), p. 166-167.
  • 19 ‘Collecting donations’ belonged to the duties (and privileges) of the priestess of Athena Pergaia (...)
  • 20 In that way the exegetai stood out from the normal citizens, as well as from other religious exper (...)

10“What the goddess prefers and what is best for the community” is the reason given, which, at the same time, delimits the intended area of action of all actors. The collection of donations affected the cult of the goddess and simultaneously the citizens. Collecting represents the sacral requirement of donations and is concurrent with blessings for the donor.18 But it could become difficult for the people, if too much was required of them too often. It may suffice to mention the fact that these collections came to be regarded as characteristic of the unofficial cult associations, and held in contempt. Seen thus, any change in collecting donations for Artemis was not simply a matter for the experts of the cult.19 At least, it was not regarded as such, which weakened the position of the Skiridai, and involved the experts of ritual chosen by the popular assembly. The relative positions of the exegetai in the cult of Artemis Boulephoros Skiris, in particular, and in the religious life in Miletos in general, were defined by their symbolic resources of action. Their prestige and their reputation was built on their closeness to the divinity, as well as on their competence in ritual matters, which required in turn special experience and knowledge.20 Only they could interpret the wishes of the divinity.

  • 21 On the person of Lichas, who is mentioned in many inscriptions, especially in connection with the (...)

11The subject of the interpretations of the Skiridai was indeed a ritual, in which an extended circle participated: the people. These latter were not present only as spectators, but also as active participants by reason of their donations. The process described in the decree indicates that the ‘wish’ of Artemis ascertained by the exegetai did not originate in a generally recognised need. The active participation of the populace in this ritual, however, changed the parameters for judging the concerns of the Skiridai. The Skiridai were confronted with other experts, whose relative position was defined symmetrically to the former, but also deviated from them. Typically, it is not a group of envoys that is instructed to enquire of the oracle of Didyma, but rather four theopropoi are chosen. The Skiridai, as exegetai, are confronted with the theopropoi, the interpreters of divine signs, and these latter are invested with a ritual competence, namely by the political ritual of voting. This imbuement takes place because of the ‘closeness’ of the four persons chosen to the demos, or, more accurately, to the institution of the popular assembly; a certain correspondence between this latter and the goddess in the case of the Skiridai is called to mind. The performance of these four persons in the political arena formed the criterion for their being chosen, as strongly suggested by the identification of Lichas, son of Hermophantos, with the famous Milesian politician of the 3rd century BC.21

  • 22 IG II2 204 (= Syll.3 204 = LSCG 32; 352/1 BC) records a consultation of the Delphic oracle, which (...)
  • 23 Cf. R. Parker, “Greek States and Greek Oracles”, in P.A. Cartledge, F.D. Harvey (eds), Crux. Essay (...)

12While the power of the Skiridai as ritual experts obviously did not go unchallenged, the power of those commissioned by the demos was equally insufficient for attempting an intervention in a ritual action. They were recognised as a ritual authority, but it was not possible to simply bypass the authority of the real ritual experts, either. Turning to the oracular god Apollo was the only option left open in this situation and the only way to attain unity in a probably much debated matter.22 To the question, ‘who decided that the agermos should be altered in this fashion (or should preserve this form)?’, the answer would be: ‘The god Apollo’. Thus one would see the expression of the god’s agency in the oracular statement, and it is this agency that precipitated or refused this particular alteration.23

3. How does one justify changes in ritual?

  • 24 ἐπεὶ τῆς πόλεως ἡμῶν ϰαὶ πρὸς τούς ἄλλους μὲν θεοὺς εὐσεβῶς διαϰειμένης, οὐχ ἥϰιστα δὲ ϰαὶ πρὸς τὸ (...)

Since our city has a pious attitude towards all divinities and in particular towards Apollo of Korope and it venerates him with the most conspicuous honours because of the benefits due to the god, who gives by his oracles answers to each one both in official and in private matters concerning health and well-being; and it is just and suitable – because of the ancienity of the oracle and its high reputation enjoyed for generations and also because it is visited by foreigners in large number – that the city will meet particular measures concerning the discipline in the oracle and that it should be the resolution of the boule and the demos … (Demetrias: IG XI 2, 1109, 1. 8-17 = LSCG 83)24.

  • 25 See L. Robert, “Sur l’oracle d’Apollon Koropaios”, in id., Hellenica V, Paris, 1948, p. 16-28; V. (...)

13In this example, a resolution of the city of Demetrias around 100 BC is recorded, in which the consultation of the oracle of Apollo Koropaios is regulated anew.25 The application for this was made by political figures: the local eponymous priest of Zeus Akraios, the strategos of the confederation, and the collegia of the local strategoi and the nomophylakes. The changes concerned the eukosmia of the oracle sanctuary, that is, the preservation of a certain arrangement necessary for the effectiveness of the oracle. The changes must have been quite far-reaching, to judge by the individual details in the text.

  • 26 Note that this order corresponds to that of the initiators of the decree.

14The high point of the new ritual arrangement was the day of enquiring of the oracle. On this day a whole series of city officials and those of the confederation had to set out for the temple area in a hierarchically arranged procession: the priest of Apollo Koropaios, chosen by the city; a representative from both the college of strategoi and that of the nomophylakes; a prytanis; a treasurer; the scribe of the divinity; and finally the prophet.26 Apparently a stronger presence of the bearers of political power was part of the ‘new order’. The dignitaries themselves were to embody this new order: “Those named should sit properly in the temple, in white robes, ornamented with laurel wreaths, in (cult) purity and sober, and they shall receive the tablets from those who submit oracular enquiries.” The effectiveness of the ritual thus depended also upon the presence of the dignitaries, who were involved in all sequences, from the procession to the temple through the supervision of the sacrifice right up to receiving the oracular tablets, sealing the urns with their own seals and, finally, handing the answers to the enquirers.

  • 27 C. Wulf, “Performative Macht und praktisches Wissen im rituellen Handeln. Bourdieus Beitrag zur Ri (...)

15None of these changes is mentioned in the proposal as it is recorded here in extracts. Instead, the argumentative context is defined, on which all actions are based. The arguments enter into the actions of agents or spectators and shape them consciously or unconsciously. In this context, the rhetoric of the agency attains expression. Here schemes of action are presented, taking into account memories, actual conditions, cultural models, and linguistic impressions. The agent attempts to transfer these schemes into reality, in the course of which he is dependent on the other agents and is confronted with their schemes.27

  • 28 Sufficient financial resources also had to be available in order to guarantee the ‘impartiality’ a (...)

16The agent, in other words, strives to reach a level of communication, which permits him to convey the content, motivation and the state of knowledge of his actions.28 This means that the agent must use the existing repertory of symbols, gestures and vocabulary at first, in order that the general public will accept his proposal. In his ‘rhetoric’ he refers to 1) the action to be carried out; 2) the relations that condition this action; and 3) the purpose of the action. The content of these parameters is made concrete by means of distinguishing spatial (e.g. there – here), temporal (e.g. then – now), social (e.g. the other citizens – the ‘patriot’), and mental (e.g. the unbelievers – the pious) factors. Understandably a combination of these is most frequently necessary in order to be persuasive. However, more important than the reference to each of these parameters individually is the interaction existing among them.

17In the concrete example of the restructuring of the oracle consultation in the cult of Apollo Koropaios one can follow the justification presented by the magistrates making the proposal. The introduction to the motivation clause already indicates the first major point of the argument: the special piety (eu-sebeid) of the city towards its divinities, and towards Apollo in particular. The changes suggested are supposed to be understood as an expression of the communal veneration for the god and his oracle; for this, however, eu-kosmia is needed. The scheme of action presented here involves the staging of this new eukosmia in the oracle. The justification is developed using a series of differentiations. First, Apollo is mentioned as the particular benefactor of the city, in comparison with other divinities. In this context reference is made to the particular efficacy of the oracle of Apollo, which both the city, in official matters, and all citizens, in their private ones, have felt. For this reason it is important that one ensure that the “clear information given by his oracle” can continue to be given. Furthermore, it is the tradition that must be continued: the oracle has existed for generations, and for generations the divinity has been successfully consulted. Apollo and his clear oracular statements are not only highly regarded by the natives, but also increasingly by foreigners who visit his oracle in large numbers. This latter point opens up a perspective which includes the welfare of all agents and which can be interpreted as a further boon of Apollo. The increasing numbers of foreign visitors to the oracle signifies an economic upturn and a challenge for the city and the oracle. From this point of view, not only the proposal itself, but also the position of power of those making it, in their character as leading magistrates of the city, appears justified.

  • 29 I.Magnesia 100 = ISAM 33; P. Gauthier, RPh 64 (1990), p. 63 n. 7. On the extensive bibliography pe (...)
  • 30 I.Magnesia 100 B, 1. 3-10: ὑπὲρ τῆς ϰαθιδρύσεως τοῦ ξοάνον τῆς Ἀρτέμιδος τῆς Λευϰοϕρυηνῆς εἰς τὸν (...)

18In a well-known inscription from Magnesia on the Maeander,29 the matter at hand is the introduction and staging of a festival. On the occasion of the consecration of the cult statue of Artemis Leukophryene in the new temple, changes were resolved upon concerning the annual festival and the active participation of the populace.30 Just as in the previous case of Apollo Koropaios, the restructuring was presented to the popular assembly in the form of a proposal, this time that of a single citizen. The long text contains the ‘staging instructions’ in detail, while the application describes more the scheme of action:

  • 31 ἐπειδὴ θείας ἐπινοίας ϰαὶ παραστάσεως γενομένης τῷ σύνπαντι πλήθει τοῦ πολιτεύματος ἐς τὴν ἀποϰατά (...)

Because, after divine intuition and after the manifestation of the goddess in the presence of the entire citizenry concerning the reconstruction of the temple, the Parthenon was finished in such a way regarding both the enlargement of some of its construction units and its splendour that it greatly differs from the old temple, which our ancestors left us, and because it is for the demos ancestral custom, to meet the Sacred with reverence by granting always to all gods the worthiest sacrifices and honours and first and foremost to the patron of the city Artemis Leukophryene: With good luck and for the well-being of the demos and of those who are well-disposed towards the citizenry of the Magnesians as well as their wives and their children. (I.Magnesia 100 A, 1. 11-20)31

  • 32 See also A. Chaniotis, Historie und Historiker in den griechischen Inschriften, Stuttgart, 1988, p (...)
  • 33 J. Fontenrose, The Delphic Oracle: Its Responses and Operations with a Catalogue of Responses, Ber (...)

19The proposer Diagoras refers at the outset to two mutually connected events, which provided the occasion both for the construction of the Parthenon as well as the foundation of the festival of Artemis Leukophryene. After the epiphany of the goddess (221/20 BC), the Magnesians received a Delphic oracle ordering the construction of a temple and the foundation of an ἀγὼν στεϕανίτης. The festival, quite modest in the beginning, was only established after 208/7 BC, after the Magnesians had sent out ambassadors throughout the Greek world for the propagation of the festival and the significance of the cult.32 The festival activities suggested here belong to these efforts, for the construction work may be considered finished with the consecration of the cult statue and its transport in the new temple. The Delphic oracle had spoken of holding a festival for Artemis,33 but not of holding one on the occasion of the consecration of her cult statue. The oracle and the epiphany of the goddess, however, continue to represent the background.

20The festival of the Isiteria, as one that constantly repeated, introduces a new tradition and at the same time organises the old. This is particularly to the proposer, but also to his public. For this reason he continually refers to this point. The new sanctuary may be more beautiful and impressive than that left by the forefathers, but the attitude of the entire citizenry and of every individual is conditioned by ancestral custom. All divinities are given suitable sacrifices and offerings, but in the first place the goddess Artemis, who supports the succour of the demos and all citizens. What Diagoras creates with these differentiations between the old and the new sanctuary, the ‘ancestral customs’ and the ‘new ancestral customs’, the ‘honouring of all gods’ and the ‘special honouring of Artemis’, the demos and the individual citizen, is the justification for his action; at the same time, he creates that common level upon which all further actions (on the part of the other agents) will be based.

  • 34 Cf. Jameson, l.c. (n. 20), p. 339: “The vague if frequent assurance that performance was ‘accordin (...)
  • 35 The “ancestral customs” corresponds to Bourdieu’s concept of habitus: “The habitus fulfils a funct (...)

21Both examples show some things in common, things that can be observed in other texts too. The section directly concerning the actions of the agents is introduced as a framework, within which the individual changes are made, but now they are given legitimation. Nevertheless, the proposal represents primarily a draft version for changing the ritual, a draft, which will only be realised when the community has accepted it as such. It is possible, or even probable, that a draught document of this kind contained most of the particulars occurring in the text of the actual resolution. All the more characteristic, then, that the contribution of the original initiator is measured within the shaping of a communicative framework. A formulation such as ϰατὰ τὰ πάτρια, πάτριόν ἐστιν does not express anything concrete to a modern observer and is therefore judged to be a banality.34 For the agent of the time, it possessed specific content on the one hand, and on the other it caused a concrete effect on the spectators. What one experienced in daily practice, and re-produced mimetically, i.e. the literally embodied experiences, this was the ‘ancestral’ thing.35 When, in both examples, the reverence shown by the city towards all divinities is emphasised, and then, almost apologetically, one divinity is particularly honoured, this is not a mere rhetorical trick. It has more to do with creating a consensus, especially since other citizens might believe other divinities to be more effective for their private welfare.

22The examples mentioned here can be regarded as representative, within limits, of further leges sacrae, which record changes in ritual. In most cases we can discover little or nothing of the person named as the initiator. The motivation clause, however, contains indications both of the profile of the proposer and (even more often) the dominant discussions. In the example of the text about the alteration of the consultation of the oracle, the keyword eukosmia (order, discipline) reveals or explains the new role of the city and federal magistrates in ritual, while the short mention of the increasing reputation of the oracle site beyond the borders of the city corresponds to the desires and expectations of the citizens. Conversely, the person of Diagoras cannot be classed more exactly in the resolution for the introduction of an annual festival, for his initiative is intended to make the impression that it is the collective announcement of the pious desires of all citizens.

  • 36 Cf. LSS 14, 1. 18-20: Athen (οὐ μόνον διατηροῦντες τὰ πάτρια, ἀλλὰ ϰαὶ προσεπ[αύ])ξον(τες) τάς τε (...)

23Observing the rhetoric of the agency per se, one can repeatedly establish recourse to tradition.36 All changes, if not continuing the tradition, must at least originate in this one particular tradition. The reference to the ‘customs of the forefathers’ lends an air of legitimacy to the project, even though the project is not yet legitimised. At the same time, the impression is created on the part of the audience that everyone, agents and audience, has the same degree of knowledge, which in turn favours communication on equal terms. The use of contrary pairs of concepts represents a widely known pattern as well. Apparently conflicting ideas are connected and traced back to each other, such as the past and the present, the old and the new, the public and the private, one’s own situation and that of strangers, but on the other hand they are independent enough to bring forth new actions, symbols or gestures.

24In summary, it can be established that the text of the proposal reproduces the profile of the agent and the legitimation of his scheme of action, but it does not reproduce the exact content of the suggested alterations. It appears as if the community would like to recognise and simultaneously negate the agency of a person or group of persons. The community itself proves to be present in the scheme of action: the arguments used on the part of the agent to justify his action are taken over by the community and for this reason placed prior to the actual performative text.

4. How are changes in ritual legitimised?

  • 37 For interpretations of this Herodotean passage see more recently L. Maurizio, “Delphic Oracles as (...)
  • 38 Maurizio, l.c. (n. 37) p. 316.

25During the Persian Wars (480/79 BC), the Athenian envoys consulted the oracle of Apollo at Delphi on whether they should remain in Athens or leave their home in the face of the threatened Persian invasion (Herodotus VII, 141-142).37 When Pythia, the seeress of the cult of Apollo, prophesied the burnt and bloody temples of Attica and advised them “to flee from their home to the ends of the Earth”, the envoys asked for a new oracle: “Lord, give us a better saying about our homeland … or we will not leave the sanctuary, we will stay here until the ends of our lives.” After the second oracle about the ‘wooden walls’ behind which the Athenians were to entrench themselves, the messengers returned to Athens and reported of it to the popular assembly.38 After a debate on the interpretation of the oracle of the ‘wooden walls’-oracle amongst religious experts, participants in the assembly and military experts, everyone agreed with the opinion of the strategos Themistokles, who persuaded them that the ‘wooden walls’ did not refer to a palisade around the Acropolis, but rather to ships, which the Athenians ought to build. Themistokles’ interpretation, indeed, confirmed the first oracle, for the ships were to be used to evacuate the Attic population.

  • 39 On the identity and role of this group see now Dillery, l.c. (n. 37), p. 212-217.
  • 40 For a different point of view see Dillery, l.c. (n. 37), p. 211-2, who thinks of him not simply as (...)

26In this story, the authenticity of which need not interest us in this discussion, we observe a case of refusal and then of recognition and acceptance of the powerful agency of the seeress or of Apollo. The Athenian ambassadors at the oracle, that is the agents, refused to accept the authority of the oracle, which had, after all, been given to them by the god through the medium of the seeress. The Athenian popular assembly, on the other hand, accepted the second oracle, after agreement following a debate (‘agonistic context’) had been reached. The interesting thing in all this is that here the entire community acted as a gathering of experts, giving the oracle ‘official recognition’, instead of relying only on the interpretation of the religious experts or the ambassadors. In both episodes of this story (Delphi – Athens) a continuous change between agents and audience during the ritual action can be observed. At first the agency was ascribed to the god and his seeress, but the ambassadors’ refusal, and not least their request for a second oracle, points to their status as agents. Similarly, in the second part the debate on the interpretation of the prophecy, this time by the ambassadors, emphasises the competitive situation in which the agents confronted each other, equipped with symbolic (chresmologues)39 or political (elders) capital. Themistokles, whose interpretation was agreed upon in the end, is clearly to be understood as an agent, and his ‘stake’ in Bourdieu’s sense, i.e. his political capital as a military expert, gave him the power to be more persuasive than the others.40 All of the citizens participating in the Assembly accepted his agency and took over his decision as their own.

27This recognition occurred through a complex process of interaction between the initial agents (here: Apollo, or rather Pythia), the mediating ambassadors, and later between various agents during the discussion of the oracle in the Assembly (here: religious experts, Themistokles, the participants in the popular assembly).

28This example from Herodotus has, of course, little to do with ritual interventions, but it is particularly relevant to the question of legitimation of actions in a ritual context. Three points require emphasis here: a) the efficacy of the agency can be accepted, but also refused; b) the recognition or refusal of the agency is a public act; and c) the recognition or refusal of the agency is carried out as a performative act.

  • 41 Parker, l.c. (n. 23), p. 298, states generally that “the corollary is that group that had resolved (...)
  • 42 P. Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice, Cambridge, 200214 [1977], p. 196.

29The first episode in Herodotus’ scene at the oracle of Delphi describes the failure of the Pythia, or of Apollo: the Athenian ambassadors did not accept the oracle and demanded a repetition.41 They thus subjected the divine power to an evaluation and found it wanting; it was not “suitable, decent”.42 The example of the Skiridai-exegetai presents us with a further case of refusal. The exegetai were apparently unable to persuade the citizenry of Miletos that the changes in collecting donations as presented were instructed by the divinity. The authority of the Pythia and the authority of the Skiridai as media of the divine were doubted to an equal extent, while the interpretation of a political expert such as Themistokles was accepted.

  • 43 See M. Weber, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, Tübingen, 19725 [1925], p. 28 sq. (S16). For scholars s (...)
  • 44 Cf. Bowden, l.c. (n. 37), p. 273, who thinks of the “wooden wall”-story as one “designed with an A (...)

30But what does evaluating the action of an agent mean with regard to his power? What are the conditions whose fulfilment or non-fulfilment justifies the participants in evaluating the performance of a scheme of action as ‘successful’ or ‘unsuccessful’? In this context the questions arise of the intentionality of individual agents and of the collective of agents, as well as that of the relation between agency and ‘power’. Quite often, the concept of power is characterised by the ability of a person to attain desired and intended results43. In connection with the milieu in which interventions in ritual are decided upon, that is, before the popular assembly, one does tend to use catchwords such as ‘competition’ or ‘arena of influence’, also with reference to the person of the proposer. But this reduces the agents to one-dimensional, cynical manipulators, and does not perceive their religious attitude and their religiously based emotionality. One forgets that tranformative actions are not directed at one particular public, but at several simultaneously. They are directed at all present, but also at other groups not directly participating in the event involved.44 They are therefore polysemantic with reference to their motivation and addressees, and they are supposed to effect communication between the agents and the public. Seen in this way, intentionality cannot be the right concept to describe the motivation of an agent. There is only the illusion of an intention.

  • 45 Cf. Bourdieu, o.c. (n. 10), p. 32-33.

31As far as the connection between the status of a person and his ability to assert and implement is concerned, this is doubtless an essential factor. All agents possess the ability to change things, but not all have the same access to social and symbolic goods or positions. It is, however, worth pointing out the different resources available (”capital” according to Bourdieu) and the different contexts (”fields” according to Bourdieu) within which these resources may be obtained and applied. In order to obtain a position within a (political, religious, cultural, etc.) field, a person must acquire capital that will give him the resources necessary to the position within that field.45 In the case of Themistokles, his capital was his military ability and knowledge, which in turn gave his interpretation of the oracle the necessary credibility, indeed authority. Conversely, the religious experts possessed capital as well (cult knowledge, cult experience), but it did not help them to attain the position desired in the field involved.

32Here we meet a further condition contributing to the recognition of the agency of a person, namely the application of certain resources in a certain field. It is just the recognition given to the person of Themistokles that indicates the field in which the competition among experts took place. In the case of the oracle, it was not the interpretation of the oracle as such which was primarily important, but the interpretation of the oracle with regard to the question of defence. The case of the Skiridai must have been similar. The collections are ascribed to the cult context, but the collection took place outside the temple. Thus, not only a voluntary cult community was involved, but the entire community. Within the forum of this community, that is, in the public assembly, and on a question involving not only the cult of Artemis Boulephoros Skiris, but also everyone, the exegetes were no longer the only experts. On the other hand, they could not be ignored in such a matter, which, in the end, led to a higher instance being asked.

  • 46 Wulf, l c. (n. 27), p. 178, 180.
  • 47 Cf. SEG 26, 121, 1. 13-14: Athens (ϰατὰ [τὰ πάτρια νόμιμα]); SEG 26, 98, 1. 9-10: Athens ([ἐπόμπευ (...)

33The means of argument used by the agent, besides the application of his own (symbolic, economic, political etc.) capital, possess a dimension of action, which is essential for the modifications and alterations of ritual actions being debated. In reference to the principles of thinking, feeling and acting, thus the perceptual and evaluatory schemes effective in the society involved, as well as in reference to the actual conditions, the agent attempts to place his own ideas in relation to those of other agents. Previous communal ritual and other experiences, but also the various social constellations are taken into consideration,46 for the spectators must not only be persuaded, they are themselves to be involved and to carry out actions. The reference to tradition,47 the emphasis on a god through mention of his services to the community and each individual citizen, but also raising all kinds of expectations (e.g. economic profit coupled with cult festivals or oracles) evoked images which were to be interpreted by the participants.

  • 48 See Fischer-Lichte, l.c. (n. 8); Wulf, l.c. (n. 27), p. 178.
  • 49 Wulf, l.c. (n. 27), p. 179.
  • 50 So Fischer-Lichte, l.c. (n. 8), p. 39.

34The actions suggested, that is the schemes of action, are carried out in a performative manner. They represent cultural performances,48 for they are “answers to social constellations in which types of order have been established so as to preserve or create social coherence.”49 As performances they can be neither fixed nor transmitted, rather they are evanescent and transitory. Their material existence is created by the physical presence of agents and spectators in the same space, and for a certain period of time by the linguistic utterances and the use of aesthetic components such as voices, movement and gestures. The efficacy of the performance is constituted by in a dynamic process by the cooperation of all these elements, and especially by the communication between agents and spectators. Constitutive for this communication is the fact that the role of agent and spectator can be and is exchanged between various groups.50 This means that the participants are not simply present at the event as passive spectators, for they have gathered at the public assembly (thus at a particular place) at a specific time (thus for a certain period of time) in order to do something there communally (thus to vote on the proposals). The spectators are thus not only directly involved, but they can and should become agents themselves, which in turn requires a negotiation of the positions during the event.

  • 51 Ibid.
  • 52 Ibid.
  • 53 See infra the discussion of the motivation clause in the decree for the oracle of Apollo Koropaios (...)

35In a performative act special conditions are valid in particular with regard to its perception as well as the inference of its significance on the part of those involved.51 Because it is a matter of performances, the spectator must rely on his impressions. He cannot turn the pages back or forward, as would be the case when reading a book, he judges the course of the whole affair. As E. Fischer-Lichte rightly remarked: “Performances are correspondingly experienced first, before they are later understood – if indeed they are.”52 A meaning resulting from such a performance is open both for ambivalences and innovations. It is in just this context that the rhetoric of the agency and the people acting have an especial significance, for their actions are measured both against norms and values that characterise and strengthen the group of spectators, and against the expectations on the part of the spectators. These strategies are oriented towards realising the actions and therefore must be of an explanatory and a justificatory nature at the same time, i.e. the responsible action of the agent must be visible.53 In the end it is the group that will decide in favour of acceptance or refusal.

  • 54 Bourdieu, o.c. (n. 9), p. 238: “In the case in question, where the aim is to sanction a transgress (...)
  • 55 This becomes visible when one compares the two decrees concerning the festival of Isiteria in Magn (...)

36It is “the group that creates and designs its own actions through the work of official recognition, which consists of making each practice collective, in that it is made public, delegated and synchronised”, notes Bourdieu.54 On the one hand this means that all suggestions of possible intervention in ritual need to be confirmed by the group, whether by being accepted or refused by the group, or whether the group induces further alteration. On the other hand, recognition by the group marks the establishment of new forms of habitus,55 which are tested by their performance, thus by the complex processes of exchange such as linguistic utterances, the corporeal and aesthetic dispositions of the agents and participants, and perceived as ‘suitable’.

4. The ritual of proposal?

37This moment of public recognition of a scheme of action is expressed by the typical enactment formula ἔδοξεν τῷ δήμῳ. For this reason, the specific regulations resolved upon do not appear to any extent in the text of the proposal. These are common resolutions, which have been initiated by individual persons or a group. In a way, they represent that result intended by the actions of the agent or agents: the creation of a transformation borne by the community. This is the dynamic of these performative actions, which are to be regarded themselves as ritual actions. What looks like a simple suggestion for a future performance represents a ritual within a ritual, or at least one that triggers changes in another. The performative character of the ritual of proposal itself, if one may call it that, uses the arena in which political rituals were normally carried out, namely the public assembly. Without being a political ritual in the strict sense, the idea was to have official public recognition come into being.

  • 56 Cf. Osborne, l.c. (n. 22), p. 358: “Rather than performing a performance, the publicly displayed t (...)
  • 57 The clauses concerned with the writing of such resolutions also indicate their special significanc (...)

38The leges sacrae are to be understood as documents that not only reproduce the public recognition of the new arrangement of ritual cult actions, but also symbolically perpetuate it.56 It was not, or not just, a question of publishing the new regulations in a written, fixed form of reminder for the contemporary and future citizens or visitors of a temple.57 These were the symbols of a one-time ritual communication, which induced a series of further communications through rituals.

Notes

1 A. Henrichs, “Writing Religion: Inscribed Texts, Ritual Authority, and the Religious Discourse of the Polis”, in H. Yunis (ed.), Written Texts and the Rise of Literate Culture in Ancient Greece, Cambridge, 2003, p. 43.

2 For discussions on this problematic term see now R. Parker, “What are Sacred Laws?”, in E.M. Harris, L. Rubinstein (eds), The Law and the Courts in Ancient Greece, London, 2004, p. 57-70; E. Lupu, Early Greek Law. A Collection of New Documents, Leiden, 2005 (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, 152), p. 4-9.

3 Cf. A. Hultgard, “Sacred Texts and Canonicity: Greece”, in S.I. Johnston (ed.), Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide, Cambridge, MA, London, 2004, p. 633-635.

4 A. Michaels, Zur Dynamik von Ritualkomplexen, Heidelberg, 2003 (Forum Ritualdynamik, 3), p. 6.

5 Cf. the reconstruction of the Boiotian Daidala by A. Chaniotis, “Ritual Dynamics: The Boiotian Festival of Daidala”, in H.F.J. Horstmannshoff, H.W. Singor, FT. van Straten, J.H.M. Strubbe (eds), Kykeon. Studies in Honour of H.S. Versnel, Leiden, 2002 (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, 142), p. 23-48, or that of the Anthesteria by S.C. Humphreys, The Strangeness of Gods. Historical Perspectives on the Interpretation of Athenian Religion, Oxford, 2004, p. 223-275. See also V. Pirenne-Delforge (in this volume) for the festival of Artemis Laphria in Patrae.

6 The concept of agency has been conceptualized over the past few decades, focusing in particular on theorists of practice such as A. Giddens, Central Problems in Social Theory: Action, Structure and Contradiction in Social Analysis, London, 1979. According to Giddens (p. 55) “action or agency […] does not refer to a series of discrete acts combined together, but to a continuous flow of conduct. […]. The notion of agency has reference to the activities of an agent and cannot be examined apart from a broader theory of the acting self. […] The concept of agency as I advocate it here, involving ‘intervention’ in a potentially malleable object-world, relates directly to the more generalized notion of Praxis. […] It is a necessary feature of action that, at any point in time, the agent could have acted otherwise. […] It is a mistake […] to suppose that the concept of action can be fully elucidated in this respect outside of the context of historically located modes of activity”. Thus the concept of agency offers a starting point for the investigation of practices that either reproduce or transform the very structures that shape them. Recently W. Sax, “Agency”, in J. Kreinath, J. Snoek, M. Stausberg (eds), Theorizing Rituals. I. Issues, Topics, Approaches, Concepts, Leiden (forthcoming) exploring the usefulness of the concept of agency for the ritual theory, has argued for a “complex agency”. Ritual agency, according to Sax, is not only a property of individual persons, who invent and perform rituals, but it can also be distributed among multiple actors and institutions. Furthermore, he has pointed to the distinction between the emic and the etic perspective, because “indigenous people … often attribute ritual agency to non-human beings, while ‘we’ are looking for strategies”. See also O. Krüger, M. Nijhawan, E. Stavrianopoulou, “Ritual” und “agency”: Legitimation und Refle-xivitdt ritueller Handlungsmacht, Heidelberg, 2005 (Forum Ritualdynamik, 14).

7 Succinctly expressed by Michaels, o.c. (n. 4), p. 9-10: “Der religiose Revolutionar kann scheitern, wenn er die etablierten Ritualkomplexe angreift; er kann aber auch zum Stifter einer Weltreligion werden.”

8 Ritual is to be defined not only as the stereotypical repetition of a script, but also the performance which occurs within the frame of the script: S.J. Tambiah, “A Performative Approach to Ritual”, Proceedings of the British Academy 65 (1979), p. 113-169; E. Fischer-Lichte, “Performance, Inszenierung, Ritual. Zur Klarung kulturwissenschaftlicher Schlüsselbegriffe”, in J. Martschukat, S. Patzold (eds), Geschichtswissenschaft und ‘performative turn’. Ritual, Inszenierung und Performanz vom Mittelalter bis zur Neuzeit, Köln et al., 2003, p. 47-52. For the relationship between ritual and text see now the contributions in A. Barchiesi, J. Rüpke, S. Stephens (eds), Rituals in Ink. A Conference on Religion and Literary Production in Ancient Rome Held at Stanford University 2002, Stuttgart, 2004.

9 P. Bourdieu, The Logic of Practice, Stanford, 1990, p. 66-68; 81-82.

10 In other words, the rules are often most closely bound to the disposition. They form the disposition and guide it, since they have been internalised: Cf. P. Bourdieu, Practical Reason. On the Theory of Action, Stanford, 1998, p. 80-81.

11 See supra n. 6 [W. Sax (forthc.)].

12 τ[ῇ θεῷ]σμέμω[ς ἓξ]ει ϰ[αὶ τῷ] δήμῳ συμϕερό[ν]τως ϰαὶ εἰς τὸν ἔπειτε χρόνον συντελοῦντ[ι] τ[ὰ]ς ἀγέρσεις Ἀρτέμιδι Βουληϕόρῳ Σϰιρίδι ϰαθότι Σϰιρ[ί]δαι ἐξηγούμενοι εἰσϕέρουσι ἢ ϰαθότι νῦγ γίνεται ἅ δε [ἂ]ν ὁ θεὸς θεσπίσῃ οἱ μὲν θεοπρόποι εἰσαγγειλάτωσαν εἰς ἐϰϰλησίαν, ὁ δὲ δῆμος ἀϰούσας βουλευσάσθω, ὅπως πάντα πραχθήσεται ἀϰολούθως τῇ τοῦ θεοῦ συμβουλ[ίᾳ]. Θεόπροποι ηἱρέθησαν Φείδιππος Ποσειδωνίου, [Α]ὐτομήδης Ἐλπήνορος, Λάμπις Λαμπίτου, Λίχας [Ἑρ]μοϕάντου. Ὁ δῆμος ὁ Μιλησίων ἐρωτᾷ πότε[ρον] τῇ θεῷ ϰεχαρισμένον ἕξει ϰαὶ τῷ δήμῳ συμ[ϕε]ρόντως ἔσται ϰαὶ νῦγ ϰαὶ εἰς τὸν ἔπειτα χρόνον [συ]ντελοῦντι τὰς ἀγέρσεις Ἀρτέμιδι Βουλη[ϕόρῳ Σϰιρίδι ϰαθότι Σϰιρίδαι ἐξηγοῦνται ἢ ϰαθότι νῦγ γίνεται. ὁ θεὸς ἔχρησε…].

13 W. Burkert, Griechische Religion, Heidelberg, 1977, p. 166-167.

14 These questions describe an agent as a person who has the ability to bring about effects and to (re)constitute the world and distinguish him from an actor whose action is rule-oriented. Thus actor and agent should be considered as two different perspectives on the actions of any given individual. Cf. I. Karp, “Agency and Social Theory. A Review of Anthony Giddens”, American Ethnologist 13, 1 (1986), p. 131-137.

15 According to F. Jacoby, Atthis: The Local Chronicles of Ancient Athens, Oxford, 1949, p. 45, “Exêgêtai were interpreters who in dubious cases … on the strength of their comprehensive knowledge of ancient ritual, utter an authoritative opinion as to how an act of cult is to be performed with ritual correctness”. See also R.S. Garland, “Religious Authority in Archaic and Classical Athens”, ABSA 79 (1984), p. 114-5; id., “Strategies of Religious Intimidation and Coercion in Classical Athens”, in P. Hellström, B. Alroth (eds), Religion and Power in the Ancient Greek World. Proceedings of the Uppsala Symposium 1993, Uppsala, 1996 (Boreas, 24), p. 93; R. Parker, Athenian Religion: A History, Oxford, 1996, p. 51 sq.; A. Chaniotis, s.v. “Exegetai”, Neue Pauly IV (1998), col. 339-340.

16 For the strategies of distinction and their relationship to the symbolic capital see Bourdieu o.c. (n. 9), p. 135-141, esp. 136: “Symbolic capital is the product of a struggle in which each agent is both a ruthless competitor and supreme judge (and therefore, in terms of an old opposition, both lupus and deus).”

17 Cf. the remark by Garland, l.c. (n. 15: 1996), p. 93, on the impact of exegetai in general, who states that “it is important to note, however, that they possessed no institutionally sanctioned powers of enforcement nor, to put it crudely, any hot-line to the gods. So while an êxêgetes might intimidate a recalcitrant or misguided delinquent, he certainly could not coerce him into conformist behaviour.”

18 On agermos see Burkert, o.c. (n. 13), p. 166-167.

19 ‘Collecting donations’ belonged to the duties (and privileges) of the priestess of Athena Pergaia in Halicarnassos (ISAM 73), of the priestess of Demeter in Kos (LSCG 175) or of the priestesses of Dea Syria and Isis in Samos (IG XII 6, 1-3). These examples can be compared with the metragyrtai, ‘collectors for the Mother’ or the devotees of Bendis, who were despised for their collecting: Burkert, o.c. (n. 13), p. 167; Parker, o.c. (n. 15), p. 193 (metragyrtai), 195 (Bendis).

20 In that way the exegetai stood out from the normal citizens, as well as from other religious experts of the same cult. See supra n. 15; see also M. Jameson, “The Spectacular and the Obscure in Athenian Religion”, in S. Goldhill, R. Osborne (eds), Performance Culture and Athenian Democracy, Cambridge, 1999, p. 338. On the different opinions in scholarship upon the ritual competence of Greek priests see R. Garland, l.c. (n. 15) and id., “Priests and Power in Classical Athens”, in M. Beard, J. North (eds), Pagan Priests. Religion and Power in the Ancient World, London, 1990, p. 73-91; B. Gladigow, “Erwerb religiöser Kompetenz. Kult und Öffentlichkeit in den klassischen Religionen”, in G. Binder, K. Ehlich (eds), Religiöse Kommunikation – Formen und Praxis vor der Neuzeit, Trier, 1997 (Stätten und Formen der Kommunikation im Altertum, VI), p. 103-118; A. Chaniotis, “Priests as Ritual Experts in the Greek World”, in B. Dignas, K. Trampendach (eds), Practitioners of the Sacred: Greek Priests from Homer to Julian, Cambridge Ma. (forthcoming); E. Stavrianopoulou, “Ensuring Ritual Competence in Ancient Greece. A Negotiable Matter: Religious Specialists”, in U. Hüsken (ed.), Getting It Wrong?, Mistakes, Failure and the Dynamic of Ritual, Leiden (forthcoming).

21 On the person of Lichas, who is mentioned in many inscriptions, especially in connection with the Cretan settlers (Milet III 33, a, 1. 3-6: 228/7 BC) see C. Habicht, “Milesische Theoren in Athen”, Chiron 21 (1991), p. 327-328.

22 IG II2 204 (= Syll.3 204 = LSCG 32; 352/1 BC) records a consultation of the Delphic oracle, which was used to decide a debate on the leasing of the Sacred Orgas. As R. Osborne, “Inscribing Performance”, in S. Goldhill, R. Osborne (eds), Performance Culture and Athenian Democracy, Cambridge, 1999, p. 358, points out, this inscription is a fine example of the way “in which the Athenians devised procedures whose elaborateness was visible, through the unnecessarily complicated ritual that it ordained, the impossibility of the partiality. The visible impartiality ensured that a matter which they felt they could not decide immediately did not run on as a political issue.”

23 Cf. R. Parker, “Greek States and Greek Oracles”, in P.A. Cartledge, F.D. Harvey (eds), Crux. Essays Presented to G.E.M. de Ste. Croix on his 75th Birthday, Exeter, 1985, p. 300: “Divination helps the consultant to move from doubt to action by providing counsel that is apparently objective and uniquely authoritative.” See also S.I. Johnston, “Introduction”, in S.I. Johnston, P.T. Struck (eds), Mantikê. Studies in Ancient Divination, Leiden, Boston, 2005 (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, 155), p. 22.

24 ἐπεὶ τῆς πόλεως ἡμῶν ϰαὶ πρὸς τούς ἄλλους μὲν θεοὺς εὐσεβῶς διαϰειμένης, οὐχ ἥϰιστα δὲ ϰαὶ πρὸς τὸν Ἀπόλλωνα τὸν Κοροπαῖον, ϰαὶ πιμώσης ταῖς ἐπιϕανεστάταις τιμαῖς διὰ τοῦ μαντείου ϰαὶ ϰατὰ ϰοινὸν ϰαὶ ϰατ’ ἰδίαν ἑϰάστῳ περὶ τῶν πρὸς ὑγιεία[ν] ϰαὶ σωτηρίαν ἀνηϰόω(ν), δίϰαιον δέ ἐστιν ϰαὶ ϰαλῶς ἔχον, ὄντος ἀρχαίου τοῦ μαντείου ϰαὶ προτετιμημένου διὰ προγόνων, παραγινομένων δὲ ϰαὶ ξένων πλειόνων ἐπὶ τὸ χρηστήριον, ποιήσασθαί τινα πρόνοιαν ἐπιμελεστέραν τὴν πόλιν περὶ τῆς ϰατὰ τὸ μαντῆον εὐϰοσμίας, δεδόχθαι τῇ βουλῇ ϰαὶ τῷ δήμῳ…

25 See L. Robert, “Sur l’oracle d’Apollon Koropaios”, in id., Hellenica V, Paris, 1948, p. 16-28; V. Rosenberger, Griechische Oraket. Eine Kulturgeschichte, Darmstadt, 2001, p. 29-32.

26 Note that this order corresponds to that of the initiators of the decree.

27 C. Wulf, “Performative Macht und praktisches Wissen im rituellen Handeln. Bourdieus Beitrag zur Ritualtheorie”, in B. Rehbein, G. Saalmann, H. Schwengel (eds), Pierre Bourdieus Theorie des Sozialen. Probleme und Perspektiven, Konstanz, 2003, p. 178.

28 Sufficient financial resources also had to be available in order to guarantee the ‘impartiality’ and the willingness of the agent.

29 I.Magnesia 100 = ISAM 33; P. Gauthier, RPh 64 (1990), p. 63 n. 7. On the extensive bibliography pertaining to the festival of Artemis Leukophryene see KJ. RlGSBY, Asylia. Territorial Inviolability in the Hellenistic World, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 1996, n° 66. The (renewed) inscription of the decree dates from the middle of the 2nd cent. BC, when a further decree concerning the revival of the festival was resolved upon. The original decree dates possibly after 208/7 or 206 BC, i.e. after the introduction of the festival Leukophryena. On the date see M. Kreeb, “Hermogenes – Quellen und Datierungsprobleme”, in W. Hoepfner, E.-L. Scftwandner (eds), Hermogenes und die hochhellenistische Architektur. Internationales Kolloquium im Rahmen des XIII. Intemationalen Kongresses für Klassische Archdologie, Berlin 1988, Mainz, 1990, p. 103-121. See also Lupu o.c. (n. 2), p. 107 sq. For the new and renewed festivals in the Hellenistic period see A. Chaniotis, “Sich selbst feiern? Städtische Feste des Hellenismus”, in M. Wörrle, P. Zanker (eds), Stadtbild und Bürgerbild im Hellenismus, Munich, 1995 (Vestigia 47), p. 164-168.

30 I.Magnesia 100 B, 1. 3-10: ὑπὲρ τῆς ϰαθιδρύσεως τοῦ ξοάνον τῆς Ἀρτέμιδος τῆς Λευϰοϕρυηνῆς εἰς τὸν ϰατεσϰευασμένον αὐτῇ ϰαθ’ ἕϰαστον ἐνιαυτὸν ἐν μηνὶ Ἀρτεμισιῶνι τῇ ἕϰτῇ ἱσταμένου σπονδὰς ϰαὶ θυσίας, συντελεῖσθαι δὲ ϰαὶ ὑϕ’ ἑϰάστου τῶν ϰατοιϰούντων θυσίας πρὸ τῶν θυρῶν ϰατ’ οἴϰου δύναμιν ἐπὶ τῶν ϰατασϰευασθησομένων ὑπ’ αὐτῶν βωνῶν (”For the concecration of the image of Artemis Leukophryene in the temple built for her, libations and sacrifices should be offered annually on the sixth of the month Artemision. Every one of the inhabitants should also offer sacrifices in front of their door, according to his financial possibilities, on altars built for this purpose”). This regulation is mentioned only in the later decree; thus one cannot conclude with certainty that the active participation of the populace through setting up private altars had been intended from the beginning. Furthermore, the engraving on the altars of the name of Artemis with the epithet Nikephoros, probably due to the victory over Aristonikos, also underlines the fact that this kind of participation was proposed only in the later decree.

31 ἐπειδὴ θείας ἐπινοίας ϰαὶ παραστάσεως γενομένης τῷ σύνπαντι πλήθει τοῦ πολιτεύματος ἐς τὴν ἀποϰατάστασιν τοῦ ναοῦ συντέλειαν εἰληϕεν ὁ [Π]αρθενὼν τῇ [ϰ]ατὰ μέρος ἐπαυξήσει τῶν ἔργων ϰαὶ μεγαλοπρέπειᾳ πλεῖστον διαϕέρων τοῦ ἀπολειϕθέντος ἡμῖν τὸ παλαιὸν τῶν προγόνων, πάτριον δ’ ἐστὶν τῷ δήμῳ πρὸς τὸ θεῖν εὐσεβῶς διαϰειμένωι πᾶσιν μὲν τοῖς θεοῖς ἀεί ποτε ϰαταξίας θυσίας τε ϰαὶ τιμὰς ἀπονέμειν, μάλιστα δὲ τῇ ἀρχηγέτιδι τῇς πόλεως Ἀρτέμιδι Λευϰοϕρυηνῇ, τύχῃ ἀγαθῇ ϰαὶ ἐπὶ σωτηριᾳ τοῦ τε δήθου ϰαὶ τῶν εὐνοούντων τῷ πλήθει τῶν Μαγνήτων σὺν γυναιξὶ ϰαὶ τέϰνοις τοῖς τούτων.

32 See also A. Chaniotis, Historie und Historiker in den griechischen Inschriften, Stuttgart, 1988, p. 34-37.

33 J. Fontenrose, The Delphic Oracle: Its Responses and Operations with a Catalogue of Responses, Berkeley etal., 1978, p. 258 sq. (H45).

34 Cf. Jameson, l.c. (n. 20), p. 339: “The vague if frequent assurance that performance was ‘according to ancestral practice’ (ϰατὰ τὰ πάτρια) is as close as we come”; Lupu, o.c. (n. 2), p. 109: “Cult performance is very much the product of tradition, i.e. the accumulation of practices, customs, usages, rules, all of which … are entailed in the term νόμος. These are the primary source for and substance of cult regulations, standing behind what the documents may (inter alia) refer to as τὰ πάτρια or τὰ νομιζόμενα.”

35 The “ancestral customs” corresponds to Bourdieu’s concept of habitus: “The habitus fulfils a function which another philosophy consigns to a transcendental conscience: it is a socialized body, a structured body, a body which has incorporated the immanent structures of a world or of a particular sector of that world – a field – and which structures the perception of that world as well as action in that world” [Bourdieu, o.c. (n. 10), p. 81]. On the mimetic processes as the basis of the performance of the ritual actions see G. Gebauer, C. Wulf, Spiel, Ritual, Geste. Mimetisches Handeln in der sozialen Welt, Reinbeck, 1998.

36 Cf. LSS 14, 1. 18-20: Athen (οὐ μόνον διατηροῦντες τὰ πάτρια, ἀλλὰ ϰαὶ προσεπ[αύ])ξον(τες) τάς τε θυσίας ϰαὶ τιμὰς ϰαλῶς ϰαὶ εὐσεβῶς, ἵνα ϰαὶ παρὰ θεῶ[ν] ϰτήσωνται τὰς ϰαταξίας χάριτας); LSS 121, 1. 12-17: Ephesos (τοὺς παιᾶνας ᾄδειν ἐν ταῖς θυσίαις ϰαὶ ἐν ταῖς πο[ν]παῖς ϰαὶ ἐν ταῖς παννυίσιν αἷς δεῖ γενέσθαι ϰατὰ τὰ πάτρια ϰαὶ εὔεσθαι ὑπὲρ ἱερᾶς συνϰλήτου ϰαὶ τοῦ δήμου τοῦ Ῥωμαίων ϰαὶ τοῦ δήμου τῶν Ἐϕδσίων); LSAM 12, 1. 10-12: Pergamon (τὰ μὲ[ν] ἄλλα περί τῶν θυόν[των τ]ῇ Νι[ϰηϕόρῳ Ἀθηνᾷ γίνεσθαι ϰατὰ τὸν νόμον]).

37 For interpretations of this Herodotean passage see more recently L. Maurizio, “Delphic Oracles as Oral Performances: Authenticity and Historical Evidence”, Classical Antiquity 16 (1997), p. 308-334; H. Bowden, “Oracles for Sale”, in P. Derow, R. Parker (eds), Herodotus and His World. Essays for a Conference in Memory of G. Forrest, Oxford, 2003, 272-27’4; W. Blösel, Themistokles bei Herodot: Spiegel Athens im fiinften Jahrhundert. Studien zur Geschichte und historiographischen Konstruktion des griechischen Freiheitskampfes 480 v. Chr., Stuttgart, 2004 (Historia, 183), p. 64-74, 91-107 with bibliography; j. Dillery, “Chresmologues and Manteis: Independent Diviners and the Problem of Authority”, in johnston struck (eds), o.c. (n. 23), p. 209-219.

38 Maurizio, l.c. (n. 37) p. 316.

39 On the identity and role of this group see now Dillery, l.c. (n. 37), p. 212-217.

40 For a different point of view see Dillery, l.c. (n. 37), p. 211-2, who thinks of him not simply as “a far-sighted statesman”, but rather as a “clairvoyant religious expert who can see what other experts and authorities cannot.” See also W. Blösel, “The Herodotean Picture of Themistokles: A Mirror of Fifth-Century Athens”, in N. Luraghi (ed.), The Historian’s Craft in the Age of Herodotus, Oxford, 2001, p. 179-197, esp. 195-196.

41 Parker, l.c. (n. 23), p. 298, states generally that “the corollary is that group that had resolved to seek a sign came close to a commitment to accepting the god’s advice or verdict. No clear case of disobedience to a specifically solicited oracular response is recorded.” Parkfr refers (ibid, with n. 3) further to the specific Herodotean passage as “a probably apologetic fiction.”

42 P. Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice, Cambridge, 200214 [1977], p. 196.

43 See M. Weber, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, Tübingen, 19725 [1925], p. 28 sq. (S16). For scholars such as Talcott Parsons and Michel Foucault power is an inherent property of the social structure: T. Parsons, The Structure of Social Action, New York, 1968; id., “On the Concept of Political Power”, in S. Lukes (ed.), Power. Readings in Social and Political Theory, New York, 1986, p. 94-143.; M. Foucault, Die Archäzologie des Wissens. Frankfurt a. Main, 1986. Bourdieu, o.c. (n. 10), p. 34, speaks of the “field of power” and defines it as follows: “The field of power (which should not be confused with the political field) is not a field like the others. It is the space of the relations of force between the different kinds of capital or, more precisely, between the agents who possess a sufficient amount of one of the different kinds of capital to be in a position to dominate the corresponding field, whose struggles intensify whenever the relative value of the different kinds of capital is questioned.”

44 Cf. Bowden, l.c. (n. 37), p. 273, who thinks of the “wooden wall”-story as one “designed with an Athenian audience in mind.”

45 Cf. Bourdieu, o.c. (n. 10), p. 32-33.

46 Wulf, l c. (n. 27), p. 178, 180.

47 Cf. SEG 26, 121, 1. 13-14: Athens (ϰατὰ [τὰ πάτρια νόμιμα]); SEG 26, 98, 1. 9-10: Athens ([ἐπόμπευσ]αν ϰαὶ τὰς πομπὰς… [ὡς μάλισ]τα τοῖς πατρίοις ἀϰολούθως εὐταϰτοῦντες); SEG 30, 80, 1. 17-18: Athens ([τὰ] μὲν προνενομοθετημέν[α]) … ϰύρια εἶναι); LSS 14, 1. 18-20: Athen (οὐ μόνον διατηροῦντες τὰ πάτρια, ἀλλὰ ϰαὶ προσεπ[αύ]ξον(τες) τάς τε θυσίας ϰαὶ τὰς τιμὰς ϰαλῶς ϰαὶ εὐσεβῶς).

48 See Fischer-Lichte, l.c. (n. 8); Wulf, l.c. (n. 27), p. 178.

49 Wulf, l.c. (n. 27), p. 179.

50 So Fischer-Lichte, l.c. (n. 8), p. 39.

51 Ibid.

52 Ibid.

53 See infra the discussion of the motivation clause in the decree for the oracle of Apollo Koropaios; see also for some examples A. Chaniotis, “Negotiating Religion in the Cities of the Eastern Roman Empire”, Kernos 16 (2003), p. 177-190; id., “Das Bankett des Damas und der Hymnos des Sosandros: Öffentlicher Diskurs über Rituale in den griechischen Städten der Kaiserzeit”, in D. Harth, G. Schenk (eds), Ritualdynamik. Kulturübergreifende Studien zur Theorie und Geschichte rituellen Handelns, Heidelberg, 2004, p. 291-304.

54 Bourdieu, o.c. (n. 9), p. 238: “In the case in question, where the aim is to sanction a transgression, the group authorises itself to do what it does through the work officialization, which consists in collectivising the practice by making it public, delegated and synchronized.”

55 This becomes visible when one compares the two decrees concerning the festival of Isiteria in Magnesia (I.Magnesia 103A and B): In the second decree certain changes were undertaken, however the old regulations continued to remain valid and were mentioned as τὸ πά[τριον ἔθος]. The chronological difference between the two decrees is probably on the order of about 50 years.

56 Cf. Osborne, l.c. (n. 22), p. 358: “Rather than performing a performance, the publicly displayed texts of Athenian decrees are an independent inscribed performance”. See also the conclusion of C.W. Hedrick, Jr., “Writing, Reading, and Democracy”, in R. Osborne, S. Horn-blower (eds), Ritual, Finance, Politics. Athenian Democratic Accounts Presented to David Lewis, Oxford, 1994, p. 174: “The democratic power of writing lies not in its distant, authoritarian intelligibility, but in the active, social interaction of citizens, literate and illiterate, with the vague, inscrutable hieroglyphs which remind them and assure them of what everyone already knows.”

57 The clauses concerned with the writing of such resolutions also indicate their special significance, for not only explicit instructions concerning the type of writing are given (ϰοῖλα γράμματα: LSAM 3, 1. 15), but anyone destroying or damaging an inscribed stone is threatened with being cursed: LSAM 59, 1. 7-8: ν δέ τις [ἐϰϰόψῃ ἢ] ἀϕανίσῃ τὰ γεγραμμένα] πασχέτω ὡς ἱερόσυλος, (Iasos). The regulations regarding setting up the inscribed stone, too, testify to a special relationship between what was written and the gods: ἀναγραϕῆναι δὲ τὸ ψήϕισμα ἐν τῇ ἐξέδρᾳ τοῦ βουλευτηρίου ἐν δεξιᾷ πρὸς τὴν αἰωνίαν διαμονὴν τῆς εὐσεβίας τῶν θεῶν (LSAM 69, 1. 6-9: Stratonikeia). See also M. Beard, “The Function of the Written Word in Roman Religion”, in J.H. Humphrey (ed.), Literacy in the Roman World, Ann Arbor, 1991 (JRA Suppl., 3), p. 38; A. Bresson, “Les cités grecques et leurs inscriptions”, in A. Bresson, A.-M. Cocula, C. Pébarthe (eds), L’écriturepubliquedupouvoir, Bordeaux, 2005, p. 163-166.

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