Version classiqueVersion mobile

Ritual and Communication in the Graeco-Roman World

 | 
Eftychia Stavrianopoulou

Ritual Change during the Reign of Demetrius Poliorcetes

Annika B. Kuhn

Texte intégral

  • 1 On the Hellenistic ruler cult and the deification of Demetrius see above all K. Scott, “The Deific (...)

1The honours which Demetrius and his father Antigonus were granted as “saviour-gods” (soteres) after the liberation of Athens in 307, 304 and 294 established the well-known set of ritual honours commonly associated with the Hellenistic ruler cult as new, additional cult honours in juxtaposition to the already existing religious traditions.1 Extraordinary as they were since divine honours were now conferred upon a living, mortal king, they did not necessarily entail the alteration of traditional ritual structures or the invention of new forms. Instead, they were modelled after the worship of the gods in the guise of its traditional forms (isotheoi timai) such as sacrifices, festivals, temenos, altars, cult statues, the renaming of months and days.

2There were, however, individual honours and incidents that also reveal significant modifications, unprecedented manipulations and almost blasphemous distortions of traditional cults and ritual practice. These pertained to the chronological inner structure of the rituals as well as the spatial-geographical framework, the continuity of ritual traditions as well as the very essence of a ritual act. They, consequently, had not only technical but fundamental effects on the regular practice of individual cults and the celebration of festivals. The following observations are focused on several incidents that illustrate particularly well the dimensions of this form of ritual dynamics. Our main (and excellent) source for all this is the Life of Demetrius by Plutarch, who, as a Delphic priest and ritual expert, took a strong and (sometimes) biased interest in the ritual practice and events during the reign of Demetrius Poliorcetes.

1. The abbreviation and alteration of the Eleusinian Mysteries

  • 2 Plutarch, Demetrius, 26, 1. Cf. also Diodorus Siculus, XX, 110.
  • 3 Plut., Demetr., 26, 1.

3After the re-establishment of the Greek League in Corinth, Demetrius informed the Athenians in a letter early in 302 that he was to be immediately initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries upon his return and that he wished to go through all three stages of initiation in one single ceremony.2 The impending war with the alliance newly formed between Ptolemy, Lysimachus, Seleucus and Cassander did not allow him enough time to undergo the ritual in the regular, prescribed way. What Demetrius thus required of the Athenians was, as Plutarch emphatically states, not only something completely new, but also a flagrant violation of the cult tradition: τοῦτο δ’ οὐ θεμιτὸν ἦν οὐδὲ γεγονός πρότερον.3

  • 4 On the Eleusinian Mysteries see G.E. Mylonas, Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries, Princeton, Pri (...)
  • 5 L. Bruit Zaidman, P. Schmitt Paintel, Religion in the Ancient Greek City, Cambridge, Cambridge Uni (...)

4The traditional execution of the Eleusinian Mysteries followed in form a strictly obligatory procedure divided into different stages of initiation and ritual actions through precisely determined time periods.4 In the eighth month (Anthesterion) the initiates, in Agrae, near Athens, received a pre-inauguration in the form of the so-called Lesser Rites, a type of ritual purification as necessary preparation for the Greater Mysteries in Eleusis. The latter took place about seven months later, in the month of Boëdromion, and included a complex sequence of ritual events, in whose centre stood the transportation of the cult objects along the “sacred way” from Eleusis to Athens and back. On the 21st of Boëdromion the procession culminated in the telesterion, the Hall of Initiation, where the epopteia followed as the last stage of initiation and actual inclusion into the Mysteries. The initiates did not go through this last stage in one single ceremony, but only in combination with the Greater Mysteries of the following year, so that the complete initiation process stretched over the course of more than eighteen months. In this context L. Bruit Zaidman and P. Schmitt Pantel rightly emphasize that “[t]he value of the initiation process in the eyes of the Greeks, apart from the significance of each of its stages, doubtless lay in its long period of preparation and in the progression towards the final revelation in the Hall of Initiation.”5

  • 6 A historical parallel is reported in Cassius Dio, LIV, 9, 10. Dio speaks of how the Eleusinian Mys (...)

5Against the background of this strict time regulation it becomes clear that Demetrius expected a virtually unprecedented manipulation of the traditional procedure for the sake of his own person, since the Eleusinian Mysteries should be immediately adapted to his wishes in two ways.6 It pertained on the one hand to an alteration in the calendar, because Demetrius’ arrival in Athens fell in the month of Mounychion (i.e. before the regular date of the Lesser Mysteries); he, however, insisted on an immediate initiation. On the other hand it concerned the abbreviation and, consequently, the dissolution of the inner chronological structure of the ritual through the compression of the separate stages of initiation into one single act.

  • 7 Diod., XX, 110, 1.
  • 8 Cappellano, o.c. (n. 1), p. 23 holds the view that this was a common way of acting in reference to (...)
  • 9 On the ritual competence of priests see the recent studies by A. Chaniotis, “Priests as Ritual Exp (...)
  • 10 Cf. Chaniotis, l.c. (n. 9).

6Demetrius attempted to persuade the Athenians of the justice of tampering with previous cult practice on the grounds that it would befit him διὰ τὰς εὐεργεσίας.7 So the honour bestowed upon him due to his benefactions, viz. the liberation of Athens, as it was manifested in the form of the cult of the ruler, should now also be given expression through the adaptation of the calendar.8 The priest in charge of the ritual, Pythodoros, was the only one who, due to the forced ritual modifications, dared to refuse the initiation of the king, while the majority of the Athenians bowed to the forces of Realpolitik and complied with Demetrius’ desires. Considering Pythodoros’ high prestige and ritual authority, it is all the more remarkable that the protest of the Eleusinian priest remained without effect:9 As opposed to the priesthoods determined by election, by lot or by purchase, the priesthood of the shrine for Demeter in Eleusis was in the power of two famous noble families, the Eumolpiads and the Cerycids, and had always been hereditary. A specialization in ritual was therefore connected with Pythodoros’ office to a particularly great extent. This specialization touched not only upon the care and conservation of the ritual actions which were incumbent upon Pythodoros, but also upon the inherited privilege of laying claim to unchallenged ritual competence, expertise and power, a claim which was surely necessary for the mystery cult and its specific rituals.10 The disregard of the judgement of a ritual expert as shown by the Athenians is indeed an instructive example of the complex issue of ritual authority and of the meaning and power of ritual knowledge in practice.

  • 11 The outstanding importance of the Eleusinian Mysteries for the Athenians is explained through the (...)
  • 12 Cf. Thucydides, VI, 28.
  • 13 F. Graf, “Der Mysterienprozeß”, in L. Burckhardt, J. von Ungern-Sternberg (eds), Große Prozesse im (...)

7Since the precise execution of the Eleusinian rites was a matter of the utmost importance, it is no wonder that a modification of the rites was judged by Plutarch as οὐ θεμιτόν. Minor errors and oversights were penalized already one day after the Eleusinia, serious offences – investigation and revelation of the Mysteries – were draconically punished as acts of asebeia.11 The famous “Mysteries’ trial” against Alcibiades (415), because of wilful violation of the rule of secrecy, may illustrate the politically controversial nature that the irregular undertaking of the Mysteries could have, since the wrong execution of the rites “aimed at the fall of democracy”, as his opponents claimed.12 The crime of Alcibiades did not consist in a distortion or pastiche of the ritual, but in the fact that it was performed “zur falschen Zeit, am falschen Ort und durch die falschen Leute […] – und dass Uneingeweihte anwesend waren.”13 A parallel to the situation in 302 is unmistakable.

  • 14 According to Plutarch (Demetr., 11, 1) Stratocles of Diomeia was the initiator and inventor of mos (...)
  • 15 It is interesting to note that the Mounychion was later renamed Demetrion as one of the honours co (...)
  • 16 Chr. Habicht, Athens from Alexander to Antony, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 19992 [ (...)
  • 17 Cf. S. Dow, “The Calendar of the Eleusinian Mysteries”, HSPh 48 (1937), p. 111-120. In a similar w (...)

8One of the most fervent supporters of Demetrius, the Athenian politician Stratocles, who had proposed the motion for Demetrius’ demand,14 found a “sophistic” way of overcoming, at least pro forma, the seemingly insuperable hurdles in the Attic calendar: Mounychion was renamed as Anthesterion, so that Demetrius could attain the lower initiation of the Lesser Mysteries on his arrival, and immediately thereafter the same month was declared to be Boëdromion, in order that the Greater Mysteries might be celebrated and the king be granted the epopteia as well.15 Through a singular “travesty of their religious ceremonies”16 the semblance of the legal and the traditional could thus be preserved; for in spite of a shortening of the various phases, the chronology and the association of the Mysteries with the two months were formaliter preserved. The effort to avoid a complete break with tradition also reflects the great importance attached to the inalterability of chronological components at religious celebrations.17

  • 18 Hymnus Homericus ad Demeter, 480-482: ὄλβιος ὄλβιος ὃς τάδ’ ὄπωπεν ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων ὃς δ’ ἀτεγὴ (...)
  • 19 Cf. Libanius, Declamatio, 13, 52.

9The question is whether Demetrius had any political purpose in mind with his hasty desire to be initiated and his insistence on cardinal cult modifications. The following aspects of the initiation into the Mysteries may be relevant here: As culminating act of the Eleusinian Mysteries the epopteia marks the threshold between inside and outside in a process which transforms the initiate from his previous state into that of a new human being. What effect the Mysteries were claimed to have may be illustrated by the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, which culminates in the makarism: “Blessed is man living on earth, who has seen such things. But he who does not bring the sacrifice or who avoids it will never have part of such happiness; he perishes in musty sorrow.”18 The contrast in the Mystery cult between initiates and non-initiates (just like the internal division of the participants into mystai and epoptai) was far more important than any social distinction; in the Mysteries conventional barriers of the social order were irrelevant so that “unprivileged” persons – women, freedmen, and even slaves – were allowed to participate. In the place of social criteria the initiates had only to meet two conditions: they had to master the Greek language, not least so as to be able to understand the set ritual phrases, and they had to fulfill the command regarding ritual purity, i.e. be katharos, undefiled.19

  • 20 F. Landucci Gattonini, “Demetrio Poliorcete e il santuario di Eleusi”, in M. Sordi (ed.), Santuari (...)

10A political dimension of Demetrius’ demand for immediate initiation has been suggested by F. Landucci Gattonini, who has pointed out that Demetrius exploited for political purposes just these two elements: the classification into initiates and non-initiates, and the purity of the participants of the Eleusinian Mysteries. It was thereby possible for him to distinguish himself as religious-morally superior to his political opponents. His initiation meant “una ‘patente’ d’innocenza e di grecità.”20 The public display of his integrity through his status as epopteia-initiate could undoubtedly be useful to him after the murders in the dynasty of Alexander and in the face of the blood guilt of Cassander. It could also be of additional interest to him to demonstrate his complete integration into the world of Greek culture through an initiation into the Mysteries. The polar division between initiates and non-initiates in the Eleusinian ritual could thus have had a further propagandist effect for Demetrius.

2. Moving the Pythian games from Delphi to Athens

  • 21 Cf. A. Chaniotis, War in the Hellenistic World. A Social and Cultural History, Oxford, Blackwell, (...)
  • 22 Plut., Alexander, 13, 1.
  • 23 Cf. Syll.3 738.

11The permanent wars at the time of the Diadochs had significant effects on the continuity of rituals. Political conflicts often came to act as catalysts for ritual dynamics in a number of ways, at times “subverting, interrupting, or intensifying [rituals].”21 The huge strain put on the obligatory practice of traditional rituals under adverse political circumstances could lead to the neglect, interruption, or even cancellation of sacrifices, festivals, and rituals. After the destruction of Thebes by Alexander in 335 the Athenians broke off the Eleusinian Mysteries, just begun, “as a sign of mourning”.22 The Pythian Games in Delphi were not celebrated at all in 86 due to the war against Mithridates.23 These Games are also to be found at the centre of another striking example of a ritual compromised by political conditions: the moving of the Games to Athens in 290 during the Aetolian occupation of Delphi.

  • 24 Cf. Plut., Demetr, 13 (psephisma of Dromocleides) and 40, 4; Douris FGrH 76 F 13 = Athenaius, VI, (...)
  • 25 Plut., Demetr., 40, 4: Τῶν δὲ Πυθίων ϰαθηϰόντων πρᾶγμα ϰαινότατον ἐπέτρεψεν αὑτῷ ποιεῖν ὁ Δημήτριο (...)

12As Macedonian king, and having both Macedonian votes in the Amphictyonic League, Demetrius laid claim to the agonothesia of the Games, as Philip II and Alexander had done before him. He was unable, however, to carry this through for the holding of the Pythia in 290, since Delphi was at the time under the control of the Aetolians, who blocked access to the sanctuary for him and his allies.24 Demetrius, therefore, decided on a πρᾶγμα ϰαινότατον: He had the Games staged in Athens.25

  • 26 In general, not even a (natural) disaster had an impact on the continuity of a cult on its traditi (...)
  • 27 S. Hornblower, “The Religious Dimension to the Peloponnesian War, or, What Thucydides Does not Tel (...)

13The unprecedented moving of the Pythian Games and their celebration in Athens must be seen in the light of the fact that, as a general rule, the practice of a cult was inextricably tied to a particular sanctuary and the god honoured there.26 Undoubtedly the relationship between cult and traditional venue was extremely close in the case of a large panhellenic event such as the Pythian Games, which drew their splendour from their connection to the Delphic sanctuary. By moving the Pythia to Athens, Demetrius tore them out of their traditional spatial context, uprooted and alienated them. The festival thus took place after a profound alteration of its traditional environment, which had considerable effects on the intrinsic nature of the cult.27

  • 28 Plut., Demetr., 40, 4 (trans. B. Perrin): οἷς ϰαὶ πατρῷός ἐστι ϰαὶ λέγεται τοῦ γένους ἀρηγός.
  • 29 The old Pythion in southeastern Athens near the Ilissos was the scene of the Thargelia and the poi (...)

14Demetrius himself must have been well aware of the problems caused by the spatial dissociation of ceremony and sanctuary, since he tried hard to legitimize the transfer of the Games to Athens by resorting to the ancient myth of a special relationship between Apollo and the Athenians, arguing that Apollo would be best honoured in Athens, “since he was a patron deity of the Athenians and was said to have been the founder of their race.”28 With the transfer of the Pythia an old tradition would simply be continued. The idea that Apollo Pythios now appears as Patroos, progenitor of the Athenians, is based on a genealogical myth which is already to be found in Euripides’ Ion. The cult of Apollo Pythios and the phratry cult of Apollo Patroos are indeed attested to in Athens.29 Through the construction of an etiology, the association of the Games with Apollo Patroos as the progenitor of the Athenians, Demetrius bestowed upon the panhellenic Pythian Games, now moved to Athens, a new “local patriotic” character. Unfortunately the question of how the other Greek poleis responded to this transfer must remain unanswered.

  • 30 R. Flacelière, Les Aitoliens a Delphes. Contribution a l’histoire de la Grèce centrale au IIIe siè (...)
  • 31 On the chronology of the Aetolian attack and Demetrius’ expedition see S.V. Tracy, Athens and Mace (...)

15With the reorganization of the Delphic festival in Athens Demetrius could present himself as the preserver of a hitherto uninterrupted panhellenic tradition and display to the world his interest in the observation of traditional rituals and his concern for their continuity.30 Besides, the blocked access to the Delphic oracle and the Pythian Games constituted not only a disruption in the intense communicative process and identity construction of the Greeks among themselves; what is more, it prevented the communication between the panhellenic cult community and the god. Demetrius brought home to the Greeks this fact by moving the festival to Athens, and the campaign planned against the Aetolians therefore almost had the features of a “sacred war”.31

  • 32 SEG 48, 588, l. 21-23: [(…)[() ἐν δὲ Δελϕοῖς διαμένειν τὸ τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος ἱερὸ]ν ϰοινὸν πάντων τῶν (...)

16In 289, that is one year after the Pythia in Athens, Demetrius concluded a treaty with the Aetolians, which turns out to be a bilateral safeguard against abuses concerning the sanctuary in Delphi. The text of the treaty is written on a stele consecrated by Perseus in 171, along with documents on the relationship of the Antigonids with the Amphictyonic League. It emphasizes the promise of free access for all Greeks to the sanctuary of Apollo.32 The assurance of the sacred rights of the Amphictyonic League may primarily be founded upon Demetrius’ desire to keep the effects of the Aetolian occupation of Delphi as small as possible. At the same time the Aetolians could make sure that Demetrius’ arbitrary intervention in cult life, as practised the year before, would not be repeated.

3. Ritual framing: Demetrius’ residence in the opisthodomos of the Parthenon

  • 33 Cf. A.D. Nock, “ΣΥΝΝΑΟΣ ΘΕΟΣ”, HSCP 41 (1930), p. 204; B. Schmidt-Dounas, “Statuen hellenistischer (...)
  • 34 See in particular T.S. Scheer, Die Gottheit und ihr Bild. Untersuchungen zur Funktion griechischer (...)

17Temples and sacrificial sites form the spatial framework or setting for the performance of rituals within the religious sphere (and it is, vice versa, the ritual actions that permanently establish the sacred character of a space). They visibly mark the dividing line between the sacred and the profane. A way of assimilating Hellenistic rulers with traditional deities within these ritual spaces was the honouring of the king as synnaos theos of a deity: The god and the ruler were thought to be joint owners and occupants of the temple. The statue of the ruler was erected next to the already existing cult statue of the god or goddess, thus becoming a recipient of the same honours, offerings, and rituals, which previously had been bestowed solely upon the deity.33 When staying in Athens in 304, Demetrius practised this kind of “temple-sharing” in a way which was unparalleled in the history of the polis.34

  • 35 Cf. Plut., Demetr., 23, 2-3.
  • 36 On the debate over the cultic function of the Parthenon cf. B. Holtzmnn, L’Acropole d’Athènes. Mon (...)
  • 37 Apart from its strategic function as a fortress, the acropolis as Demetrius’ new residence was a p (...)

18Plutarch relates that it was not the statue of Demetrius, but Demetrius in persona that resided in the Parthenon – a privilege that the Athenians had granted him as one of the many manifestations of their reverence and obsequiousness.35 It seems to be only logical that the conferment of divine honours on him should also imply the right to make use of the living quarters of the goddess as a royal palace. The accommodation of this new synnaos of the goddess was, however, not situated in the most sacred place, the cella of the Parthenon, where the famous cult image of Athena Parthenos was located36, but in the bordering back section, the opisthodomos, so that Demetrius did not live in immediate proximity to the goddess.37

  • 38 Plut., Demetr., 23, 3: τὸν γὰν ὀπισθόδομον τοῦ Παρθενῶνος ἀπέδειξαν αὐτῷ ϰατάλυσιν· ϰἀϰεῖ δίαιταν (...)

19Plutarch reports that Athena received and entertained Demetrius in the Parthenon as a guest.38 With this, Demetrius’ residence in the temple is contextualized in a special ritual frame, that of traditional hospitality in general and of the theoxenia, i.e. the entertaining of gods, in particular. In this guest relationship, however, the traditional concept of theoxenia is inverted: it is not a divine xenos who is invited and entertained by mortals, but the goddess herself offers hospitality to a human being. Demetrius himself speaks of a sibling-relationship when he calls Athena his πρεσβυτέρα ἀδελϕή, and here the question may arise whether Plutarch, by giving this piece of information, had in mind the marriage between siblings, which, especially under the Ptolemies, was not uncommon in later Hellenistic times.

  • 39 Clemens Alexandrinus, Protreptrikos IV, 54, 6.
  • 40 Habicht, o.c. (n. 1), p. 49 and G.B. Philipp, “Philippides, ein politischer Komiker in hellenistis (...)
  • 41 Clem. Alex., Protr. IV, 54, 6.

20Besides the characterization of the relation between Athena and Demetrius in terms of a guest and sibling relationship, there is another intriguing description of their relation by the Christian apologist Clement of Alexandria, who writes around 200 AD in his polemic attacks on paganism: “And by the Athenians a marriage with Athena was intended for him; but he disdained the goddess since he could not marry her statue.”39 According to Clement, the Athenians conceived of the Athena-Demetrius relationship as a ritual union in the form of a “sacred marriage” (hieros gamos).40 Since this marriage could be consummated only ritually, not physically, “he went up to the acropolis with the hetaera Lamia and married her in the nuptial chamber of Athena while showing the old virgin the form of the younger hetaera.”41

  • 42 E.T. Newell, The Coinages of Demetrius Poliorcetes, London, Oxford University Press, 1927, p. 38-4 (...)

21Regardless of whether Demetrius is portrayed as xenos or adelphos of Athena, or whether his relation to the goddess is described in the form of a hierogamy, the point is that in both accounts the cult assimilation of Demetrius to the city goddess is emphasized. Numismatic findings corroborate this observation with Demetrius having the portrait of Athena Promachos stamped on coins.42 The cultic “kinship” with the goddess aimed at the association of the ruler with her personal characteristics: She was the goddess who brought victory, and the protector of Athens – features which were most suitable to strengthen Demetrius’ political position in Athens.

  • 43 Plut., Demetr., 23, 4.
  • 44 Herodot, II, 64.
  • 45 In Demetr., 24, 1 Plutarch refers to the acropolis in general as the location of the orgies, where (...)
  • 46 Apparently, Demetrius’ behaviour in the temple of Apollo at Delos (on his way to Athens) was not a (...)
  • 47 The dishonouring of Athena Parthenos seems to have been taken to yet another level during the rule (...)

22Yet, the assimilation of Demetrius to Athena, pursued so intensely, was soon to break down. The presence of the king in the Parthenon would surely have caused less of a scandal if the xenos had observed the rules of purity applying to a sanctuary, if he had respected the sharp distinction between the sacred and the profane spheres, and if he had not so flagrantly misused his status as synnaos theos. But Demetrius was, in Plutarch’s words, “no very orderly guest and did not occupy his quarters with the decorum due to a virgin.”43 Instead, he violated a sacred taboo, viz. the strict prohibition to “mate both in the temples and the sacred precincts”,44 shamelessly perverting the highest cult venue into a place of extreme sexual libertinism and excess.45 It is all the more dramatic irony that this miasma was caused in the temple of Athena Parthenos, the untouchable virgin!46 Demetrius’ desecration of the sacred place implied a fundamental disturbance of the traditional cult practice and nullified the ritual dialogue between cult community and city goddess.47

  • 48 Plut., Demetr., 24, 1 (trans. B. Perrin): Αημήτριος (…) τοσαύτην ὓβριν εἰς παῖδας ἐλευθέρους ϰαὶ γ (...)
  • 49 Cf. R. Parker, Miasma. Pollution and Purification in Early Greek Religion, Oxford, Oxford Universi (...)

23What great outrage was provoked by his blatant disregard of the basic rules of cult tradition can be inferred from Plutarch’s subtle irony in his comment on the increasing depravity of the ruler when he resided in the Parthenon: Demetrius “filled the acropolis with such wanton treatment of free-born youth and native Athenian women that the place was then thought to be particularly pure when he shared his dissolute life there with Chrysis and Lamia and Demo and Aticyra, the well-known prostitutes.”48 The fact that Demetrius did his shameful deeds on the acropolis with freeborn young men and married women must have been regarded as one of the worst sacrilegious offences, as may be inferred from specific regulations on purification in the leges sacrae.49

4. Failed ritual communication through “divine intervention”

  • 50 Plut., Demetr., 12, 2-3.

24The manipulations of traditional ritual practice treated so far were either the result of deliberate ritual adaptations decided upon by the Athenians in honour and in the interest of the king, or they originated from the highhanded modifications or disregard for traditions by Demetrius himself. In each instance they were preceded by “negotiation”, a formal honorific decree or at least an announcement of the ritual change. But ritual changes were not only pre-arranged, they could also have natural causes or occur spontaneously. Accordingly, Plutarch reports on three incidents, in which, due to unforeseen circumstances, the execution of the rituals was seriously affected. In the first, graphic example the new peplos, with the images of Demetrius and Antigonus woven into it, was torn in two during a storm as it was being carried in the procession of the Panathenaea through the Kerameikos (probably in 302/1). As a consequence, the central ritual act of the celebration, the presentation of the peplos to the city goddess, was thwarted. Furthermore, poisonous hemlock, which according to Plutarch was to be found extremely rarely in the country, grew in great quantities around the altars of the soteres Demetrius and Antigonus. Finally, on the day of the celebration of the Dionysia, the sacred procession had to be abandoned due to a sudden period of severe weather cold, unusual for the season, which came to destroy vines, fig trees and grain harvests.50

  • 51 R.L. Grimes, “Infelicitous Performances and Ritual Criticism”, Semeia 41 (1988), p. 110-116 identi (...)
  • 52 Only a few decades before, Demosthenes (4, 35) proudly stated that the Athenians had always carrie (...)
  • 53 Cf. IG II2 657= Syll.3 374; T.L. Shear, Kallias of Sphettos and the Revolt of Athens in 286 B.C., (...)
  • 54 Shear, o.c. (n. 53), p. 41: “What is still more surprising is the nature of the donations themselv (...)
  • 55 Cf. Shear, o.c. (n. 53), p. 3 sq. = SEG 28, 60, 1. 66-70.
  • 56 In his final assessment of the events, Shear, o.c. (n. 53), p. 41 arrives at the conclusion that t (...)

25What distinguishes these examples of ritual dynamics from those already discussed is the fact that each time there are external forces, natural occurrences, which lead to an unexpected disturbance, an interruption or even a complete halt of a ritual, and thereby a failed communication with the gods.51 Even worse, it is precisely the two most important festivals in Athens, the Panathenaea and the Dionysia, whose regular organization breaks down.52 Plutarch gives no details of how the Athenians reacted to these incidents, whether they continued the procession to the end or whether the entire ritual was repeated at a later date. The ritual disasters required a rearrangement of the ritual order, and it is certainly no coincidence that Lysimachus, on the occasion of the Panathenaea in 299/98, sent a new mast and rope for the ship which transported the peplos in the procession.53 The significance of this donation, whose explicit epigraphic mentioning seems peculiar to T.L. Shear in view of far more generous benefactions on part of the ruler,54 lies on a symbolic level: The equipping, even possibly the repair of the Panathenaean ship, offered an excellent opportunity for Lysimachus to project himself as the devout ruler who greatly respected the religious traditions of Athens. Interestingly enough, Ptolemy Philadelphos also sent ropes είς τὸν πέπλον to the Athenians, along with the usual grain donations, on the occasion of the first celebration of the Panathenaea after Demetrius’ expulsion in 287/6.55 These almost ritualized references to the peplos by Demetrius’ rivals assume a symbolic meaning in connection with the failed ritual performances at the celebration of the Panathenaea in 302/1.56

  • 57 Plut., Demetr., 12, 2: ἐπεσήμηνε δὲ τοῖς πλείστοις τὸ θεῖον. Even the correct performance of ritua (...)
  • 58 Plut., Demetr., 10, 4. On the peplos and its cult function see J.M. Mansfield, The Robe of Athena (...)
  • 59 So J.D. Mikalson, Religion in Hellenistic Athens, Berkeley /Los Angeles, University of California (...)

26With his monocausal interpretation of the events Plutarch voices harsh criticism of Demetrius and the Athenians. It was the gods themselves, as the Delphic priest explains, who deliberately brought about the failures in the rituals or the destruction of the ritual environment (hemlock). The gods had unmistakably signalled their disapproval in the form of divine omina and refused any communication with the mortals, which is still the main concern of a ritual action.57 But what exactly may have angered the gods? It is telling that the incidents occurred in relation to those cults or celebrations which had been introduced as isotheoi timai for Demetrius or whose traditional ritual matrix had been altered by various additions for his sake: The peplos with its traditional portrayal of the gigantomachia had been “updated” by the inclusion of the portraits of the battling Antigonid kings by the side of Zeus and Athena,58 and the Dionysia had been expanded by the festival of the newly-established Demetrieia, a fusion which presumably implied the formatting of some rituals of the Dionysia to the person of the king.59 What, in Plutarch’s view, had incurred the displeasure of the gods was the distortion and perversion of their cults as well as the readiness of the Athenians to permit or even arrange these cult innovations.

5. Demetrius’ ritual authority

  • 60 Plut., Demetr., 24, 5.
  • 61 Cf. Scheer, o.c. (n. 34), p. 275, n. 486; P. Green, “Delivering the Go(o)ds: Demetrius Poliorcetes (...)

27Stratocles, who was so inventive in manipulating the ritual practice in favour of Demetrius (s.a.), was also the father of a decree (probably in 304), which laid down that “it was the pleasure of the Athenian people that whatsoever King Demetrius should ordain in future, this should be held righteous towards the gods and just towards men” (τοῦτο ϰαὶ πρὸς θεοὺς ὅσιον ϰαὶ πρὸς ἀνθρώπους εἶναι δίϰαιον).60 There are good reasons to assume that this decree was intended as a preventive measure to ward off any criticism of the king’s transgressions of cult tradition as well as a means of exculpating him. The decree, in fact, grants the king absolution from any offences or misconduct, attributing to Demetrius’ actions a quasi-sacrosanct quality, a kind of “papal” infallibility.61 If his transgressions could be taken as being in accord with the divine will, the individual innovations and ritual errors could be harmonized with traditional ritual practice. This assignment of a ritual agency to Demetrius was an appropriate way of sanctioning drastic changes in ritual practice, both in retrospect and with a view to future actions.

  • 62 Because of the textual closeness Habicht, o.c. (n. 1), p. 49 sq. assumed that Dromocleides’ decree (...)

28Demetrius’ ritual authority was strengthened all the more in a decree of the year 292/1, in which he was honoured with the role of an “oracle”:62

  • 63 Plut., Demetr., 13 (trans. B. Perrin).

Dromocleides the Sphettian moved, when the dedication of certain shields at Delphi was in question, that the Athenians should get an oracle (λαβεῖν χρησμόν) from Demetrius. And I will transcribe his very words from the decree; they run thus: “May it be for the best. Decreed by the people that the people elect one man from the Athenians, who shall go to the Saviour-god, and, after a sacrifice with good omens, shall inquire of the Saviour-god in what most speedy, decorous, and reverent manner the people may accomplish the restoration to their places of the dedicatory offerings; and that whatever answer he shall give (ὅ τι δ’ ἂν χρήσῃ), the people shall act according thereunto.”63

29As an oracle, Demetrius is placed in the position of the supreme religious authority and elevated to a practically inviolable rank. Every modification of a ritual required the sanctioning of the deities, and it is this function as a mouthpiece of the Olympian gods that gave the oracle its paramount importance. It is significant that the Athenians did consult Demetrius as an oracle about the correct execution of the renewed consecration of the shields for Delphi, asking the soter πῶς ἂν εὐσεβέστατα ϰαὶ ϰάλλιστα ϰαὶ τὴν ταχίστην ὁ δῆμος τὴν ἀποϰατάστασιν ποιήσαιτο τῶν ἀναθημάτων. It is true that Demetrius’ ritual authority was not based on any ritual expertise, but by virtue of the decree all ritual changes could now, with his authority as a direct channel of communication with the gods, be shown as being in unison with the divine will and as being positive divine omina. When looking for the motives behind Demetrius’ appointment as an oracle and the acceptance of his words as directives of the gods, one should, of course, note that all this happened during the time of the temporary inaccessibility of the Delphic oracle: Demetrius stood in for the Delphic Pythia.

  • 64 For a detailed analysis of the decree and its political background see Habicht, o.c. (n. 62), p. 3 (...)
  • 65 Aeschines, 3, 116.
  • 66 Cf. Flacelière, o.c. (n. 30), p. 51 sq.; C. Antonetti, Les Étoliens, image et religion, Paris, Bel (...)

30Apart from Demetrius’ new ritual potency, the decree sheds light on another interesting aspect of ritual dynamics. It seems that the ritual frame was employed by the Athenians as a well-calculated strategy to convey a political message to Demetrius. This view gains strength when we focus on the gist of the Athenians’ inquiry about the renewed consecration of the shields in Delphi.64 The shields in question were those that had been carried off by the Athenians as war booty after the battle of Plataea in 480/479 and had then been dedicated in the temple of Apollo at Delphi, together with an inscription which reminded the Greeks of the ignominious alliance between the Thebans and the Persians: Ἀθηναῖοι ἀπὸ Μήδων ϰαι Θηβαίων, ὅτε τἀναντία τοῖς Ἕλλησιν ἐμάχοντο.65 At the beginning of the 3rd century Delphi was under the control of the Aetolians, who had entered upon an alliance with the Thebans.66 We may assume that on the instigation of the latter the shields were removed due to their inscription, which the Thebans must have regarded as blatant provocation. With their insistence on a renewal of the consecration of the shields the Athenians would not only recall a shameful event of the past. Against the backdrop of the political situation of the time, the restitution of the sacred offerings with the original inscription aimed at the continuation of the stigmatization of the Thebans (and Aetolians). This kind of “symbolic elimination” of the enemy could only be realized after the expulsion of the Aetolians from Delphi. The inquiry of the Athenians thus implied an appeal to the new oracular god Demetrius for military intervention in Delphi.

  • 67 Douris FGrHist 76 F 13 = Athen., VI, 253d-f. (trans. M.M. Austin): τὴν δ’ οὐχὶ Θηβῶν, ἀλλ’ ὅλης τῆ (...)
  • 68 Ibid.: ἀλλοὶ μὲν ἢ μαϰρὰν γὰρ ἀπέχουσιν θεοὶ ἢ οὐϰ ἔχουσιν ὦτα ἢ οὐϰ εἰσὶν ἢ οὐ προσέχουσιν ἡμῖν ο (...)

31The ritual context of this political message as well as Demetrius’ function as communicator of the divine will may have imposed on the ruler a stronger obligation to take action than a normal petition to the king could ever have achieved. This “ritualization” or “sacralization” of political communication is also exemplified in the famous ithyphallic hymn on Demetrius, with which the Athenians received the ruler in 291 BC: After a glorification of the king, the hymn raises the issue of the Aetolian occupation of Delphi, when the Athenians implore Demetrius to defeat “the Sphinx that rules not only over Thebes but over the whole of Greece, the Aitolian sphinx sitting on a rock like the ancient one.”67 By contrasting Demetrius’ presence with the absence of the gods and their indifference when help is needed (“For the other gods are either far away, or they do not have ears, or they do not exist, or do not take any notice of us, but you we can see present here”),68 the hymn does not only encomiastically render the Athenians’ feelings of gratitude to Demetrius, but also expresses their expectations and a veiled exhortation that the ruler should promptly respond to the challenges of the time.

  • 69 Plut., Demetr., 11, 1. This honour is also attested for Ptolemy Philadelphos, Antigonus Gonatas un (...)
  • 70 Cf. Plut., Demetr., 42, 1-3. On the ruler’s aloofness see also A. Wallace-Hadrill, “Civilis prince (...)

32The ritualized communication was not only restricted to these instances. Stratocles proposed that delegations to Demetrius and Antigonus should be called theoroi in allusion to the sacred embassies for Delphi and Olympia, who on behalf of the polis made a sacrifice during the panhellenic games or consulted the oracle.69 The blurring of the political and sacred spheres is quite remarkable here: Every legation to Demetrius was equated with a theoria, i.e. the diplomatic contact to the ruler was couched in a ritual disguise. In view of Demetrius’ inapproachability and aloofness – which Plutarch extensively addresses in chapter 42 – the ritual frame of the theoria proved a useful means of overcoming communicative barriers to the ruler.70

6. Conclusion

33In view of the fact that Demetrius’ rule became more and more despotic, it is not surprising that it provided an ideal breeding ground for harsh criticism among contemporaries. There were not few who were convinced that the Athenians, carried away by a sudden feeling of gratitude for their liberator, had heaped excessive honours on someone who demonstrated by his impious and immoral actions that he did not deserve them at all. The numerous ritual innovations, modifications and abuses dealt with so far are summarized and criticized in a remarkable testimony in the comic playwright Philippides, who mordantly scolds the main initiator of these honours, Stratocles, for his opportunistic obsequiousness and scathes the ritual aberrations during the rule of Demetrius:

  • 71 Plut., Demetr., 12, 4; 26, 3 (trans. B. Perrin): ὁ τὸν ἐνιαυτὸν συντεμὼν εἰς μῆν’ ἕνα, ϰαὶ περὶ τῆ (...)

who abridged the whole year into a single month,
who took the acropolis for a caravansary
and introduced to its virgin goddess his courtesans. (…)
Through him it was that the hoar-frost blasted all vines.
through his impiety, the robe was rent in twain
because he gave the gods’ own honours unto men.71

  • 72 Plut., Demetr., 12, 4: ταῦτα ϰαταλύει δῆμον, οὐ ϰωμῳδία. Three years after Demetrius’ expulsion fr (...)

34Philippides’ attack culminates in a dramatic vision of the impact of these changes on democracy: “Such work undoes its people, not its comedy.”72

  • 73 Cf. Demochares, FGrHist 75 F 1; Plut., Demetr., 24, 5; Douris, FGrHist 76 F 13 = Athen., VI, 253d- (...)
  • 74 R. Parker, Athenian Religion. A History, Oxford, University Press, 1996, p. 261.

35In a similar way the politician Demochares, the historian Douris of Samos, and the atthidograph Philochorus have voiced their grievances, and it is a common feature with all these contemporary critics that their criticism is not so much levelled at Demetrius, but centred on the initiators and agents of the ritual changes, above all Stratocles and the people of Athens, who even tolerate the ruler’s violation of sacred ritual traditions.73 It is important to note here that their opposition is based on both political and religious grounds. According to R. Parker “[t]he language of the attack is religious, the motivation political also.”74 But it seems that their fundamental objections to the cult innovations were not implemented to pursue political aims and objectives. They suggest, however, very well that a strong sense of cult tradition has been hurt. It is the unscrupulousness of the Athenians in matters of cult and ritual during the reign of Demetrius that these critics disapprove of.

  • 75 Cf. Plut., Mor., 756a-b; see A. Wardman, Plutarch’s Lives, Berkeley/Los Angeles, University of Cal (...)
  • 76 Plut., Demetr, 13, 2.
  • 77 Ibid., 10, 3.

36This kind of religious conservatism is even more distinct some centuries later in Plutarch’s Vita, who writes about Demetrius from the point of view of the biographer and the ritual expert. It is Plutarch’s firm belief that the meticulous observance of the cults and the ritual traditions gives coherence to society; any violation of tradition is equated by him with an act of violence against a fellow human being.75 For this reason he responds to all the instances of ritual innovation and modification, the distortion and perversion of rituals, with genuine outrage and indignation, and he makes no secret of his conviction that the flattering conferment of a multitude of (divine) honours on Demetrius has necessarily had a disastrous impact on his character (προσδιέϕθειραν αὐτόν),76 making him an unbearable (βαρύς) and much-hated (ἐπαχθής) ruler.77

37A final evaluation of the instances of ritual dynamics dealt with in this paper must take into consideration that the period of the Diadochs was a time of transition with new political, social, religious and cultural developments and notions taking shape. One of its main characteristics was the emergence of monarchies with all-powerful potentates, the Hellenistic kings. The new focus on the ruler had a great impact on the ritual practices and traditions, the development of the ruler cult being one of its most prominent features. The fact that the period of Demetrius’ reign constitutes the early, formative stage of the worship of the ruler may partly account for the excesses and aberrations in the ritual practice of the time, the autocratic and arbitrary behaviour of Demetrius in matters of cult and worship, the blind zeal of the Athenians in honouring the king with isotheoi timai, and the scorn of their traditionalist critics.

Notes

1 On the Hellenistic ruler cult and the deification of Demetrius see above all K. Scott, “The Deification of Demetrius Poliorcetes”, AJPh 49 (1928), p. 137-166, 217-239; E. Cappellano, Il fattore politico negli onori divini a Demetrio Poliorcete, Torino, Giappichelli, 1954; L. Cerfaux, J. Tondriau, Le culte des souverains dans la civilisation gréco-romaine, Tournai, Desclée, 1957 (Bibliothèque de théologie, 3); F. Taeger, Charisma. Studien zur Geschichte des antiken Herrscherkultes, vol. 1, Stuttgart, Kohlhammer, 1957; Chr. Habicht, Gottmenschentum und griechische Städte, München, Beck, 19702 [1956] (Zetemata, 14); I. Kertész, “Bemerkungen zum Kult des Demetrios Poliorketes”, Oikumene 2 (1978), p. 163-175; S.F. Price, Rituals and Power. The Roman Imperial Cult in Asia Minor, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1984, p. 23-52; Ph. Gauthier, Les cités grecques et leurs bienfaiteurs (iveve siècle avant J.-C). Contribution à l’histoire des institutions, Paris, Boccard, 1985 (BCH, suppl. 12); A. Chaniotis, “The Divinity of Hellenistic Rulers”, in A. Erskine. (ed.), A Companion to the Hellenistic World, Oxford, Blackwell, 2003, p. 431-445.

2 Plutarch, Demetrius, 26, 1. Cf. also Diodorus Siculus, XX, 110.

3 Plut., Demetr., 26, 1.

4 On the Eleusinian Mysteries see G.E. Mylonas, Eleusis and the Eleusinian Mysteries, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1961; K. Dowden, “Grades in the Eleusinian Mysteries”, RHR 197 (1980), p. 409-27; W. Burkert, Homo Necans. The Anthropology of Ancient Greek Sacrificial Ritual and Myth, Berkeley/Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1983, p. 248-298; id., Ancient Mystery Cults, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1987, passim.

5 L. Bruit Zaidman, P. Schmitt Paintel, Religion in the Ancient Greek City, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997 [1992], p. 139.

6 A historical parallel is reported in Cassius Dio, LIV, 9, 10. Dio speaks of how the Eleusinian Mysteries in Athens were postponed on the occasion of the visit by Augustus in 19 BC, so that the emperor could partake in the celebration. The coincidence of the imperial adventus and an important festival could further heighten the significance and festiveness of the imperial coming. Cf. J. Lehnen, Adventus Principis. Untersuchungen zu Sinngehalt und Zeremoniell der Kaiserankunft in den Städten des Imperium Romanum, Frankfurt, Peter Lang, 1997 (Prismata 7), p. 43.

7 Diod., XX, 110, 1.

8 Cappellano, o.c. (n. 1), p. 23 holds the view that this was a common way of acting in reference to people of high rank. She does not provide any textual sources for this nor does she take into consideration the fact that Plutarch regards the change as an “unprecedented act” (s.a.).

9 On the ritual competence of priests see the recent studies by A. Chaniotis, “Priests as Ritual Experts in the Greek World”, in B. Dignas, K. Trampedach (eds), Practitioners of the Sacred. Greek Priests from Homer to Julian, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press (forthcoming); E. Stavrianopoulou, “Priester gesucht, Erfahrung erwünscht”, in C. Ambos et al. (eds), Die Welt der Rituale. Von der Antike bis heute, Darmstadt, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2005, p. 90-95; R. Parker, Polytheism and Society at Athens, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2005, p. 89-115.

10 Cf. Chaniotis, l.c. (n. 9).

11 The outstanding importance of the Eleusinian Mysteries for the Athenians is explained through the constitutive part they played in the self-view and self-portrayal of their city as the cradle of civilization: It was to the Athenians that Demeter had given “the two greatest gifts in the world” – the cultivation of grain and the Mysteries. Cf. Isocrates, III, 28.

12 Cf. Thucydides, VI, 28.

13 F. Graf, “Der Mysterienprozeß”, in L. Burckhardt, J. von Ungern-Sternberg (eds), Große Prozesse im antiken Athen, München, Beck, 2000, p. 124. In another trial the non-Athenian Diagoras of Melos was sentenced to death in absentia because of his mocking of the Eleusinian rites. Cf. Souda, s.v. Διαγόρας ὁ Μήλιος (ed. Adler II [1931], p. 53).

14 According to Plutarch (Demetr., 11, 1) Stratocles of Diomeia was the initiator and inventor of most of the extravagant honours for Demetrius: οὗτος γὰρ ἦν ὁ τῶν σοϕῶν τούτων ϰαὶ περιττῶν ϰαινουργὸς ἀρεσϰευμάτων.

15 It is interesting to note that the Mounychion was later renamed Demetrion as one of the honours conferred on Demetrius by the Athenians in 294. Cf. Plut., Demetr., 12, 2.

16 Chr. Habicht, Athens from Alexander to Antony, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 19992 [1997], p. 79.

17 Cf. S. Dow, “The Calendar of the Eleusinian Mysteries”, HSPh 48 (1937), p. 111-120. In a similar way the essential alteration of the dates of an Attic festival was concealed thirty years later; when the Dionysia in 270 had to be postponed four days, the Athenians simply intercalated the same number of days after the 9th of Elaphebolion so that through such an interpolation the celebrations could begin on the 10th of Elaphebolion as usual. Cf. W.B. Dinsmoor, “The Archonship of Pytharates (271/0 B.C.)”, Hesperia 23 (1954), p. 299, l. 2-5, p. 308-312.

18 Hymnus Homericus ad Demeter, 480-482: ὄλβιος ὄλβιος ὃς τάδ’ ὄπωπεν ἐπιχθονίων ἀνθρώπων ὃς δ’ ἀτεγὴς ἱερῶν, ὅς τ’ ἄμμορος, οὔ ποθ΄ ὁμοίων αἶσαν ἔει ϕθίμενός περ ὑπὸ ζόϕῳ εὐρώεντι.

19 Cf. Libanius, Declamatio, 13, 52.

20 F. Landucci Gattonini, “Demetrio Poliorcete e il santuario di Eleusi”, in M. Sordi (ed.), Santuari e politica nel mondo antico, Mailand, 1983 (CISA, 9), p. 124.

21 Cf. A. Chaniotis, War in the Hellenistic World. A Social and Cultural History, Oxford, Blackwell, 2005, p. 160-163; quote from p. 161.

22 Plut., Alexander, 13, 1.

23 Cf. Syll.3 738.

24 Cf. Plut., Demetr, 13 (psephisma of Dromocleides) and 40, 4; Douris FGrH 76 F 13 = Athenaius, VI, 253b-f (ithyphallic hymn on Demetrius); see also J.D. Grainger, The League of the Aitolians, Leiden, Brill, 1999, p. 91.

25 Plut., Demetr., 40, 4: Τῶν δὲ Πυθίων ϰαθηϰόντων πρᾶγμα ϰαινότατον ἐπέτρεψεν αὑτῷ ποιεῖν ὁ Δημήτριος. ἐπεὶ γὰρ Αἰτωλοὶ τὰ περὶ Δελϕοὺς στενὰ ϰατεῖχον, ἐν Ἀθήναις αὐτὸς ἦγε τὸν αγῶνα ϰαὶ τὴν πανήγυριν. P. Green, Alexander to Actium. The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age, Berkeley/Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1990, p. 126 sq. and Habicht, o.c. (n. 16), p. 94 assume that in 290 the Pythian Games were carried out at two different locations: in Delphi by the Aetolians, and in Athens by Demetrius. The question whether the Games in Athens were no more than an Ersatz-event must remain open.

26 In general, not even a (natural) disaster had an impact on the continuity of a cult on its traditional sacred site. Cf. W. Burkert, Ancient Greek Religion, Oxford, Blackwell, 1987, p. 84-87.

27 S. Hornblower, “The Religious Dimension to the Peloponnesian War, or, What Thucydides Does not Tell Us”, HSPh 94 (1992), p. 179 points out that large Greek monuments were often subjected to manipulation due to their great political importance.

28 Plut., Demetr., 40, 4 (trans. B. Perrin): οἷς ϰαὶ πατρῷός ἐστι ϰαὶ λέγεται τοῦ γένους ἀρηγός.

29 The old Pythion in southeastern Athens near the Ilissos was the scene of the Thargelia and the point of departure for the Pythias, a ceremonial legation to Delphi, which had been sent there for the last time in 326. On the cult of Apollo Patroos and Apollo Pythios at Athens cf. C.W. Hedrick, “The Temple and Cult of Apollo Patroos in Athens”, AJA 92 (1988), p. 185-210; S.D. Lambert, The Phratries of Attica, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 1993, p. 211-217.

30 R. Flacelière, Les Aitoliens a Delphes. Contribution a l’histoire de la Grèce centrale au IIIe siècle av. J.-C, Paris, Boccard, 1937 (BEFAR, 143), p. 76 rightly points out: « Il voulait surtout montrer que l’occupation de Delphes par les Étoliens etait une usurpation intolérable, qui, en empêchant tant de Grecs de s’y réunir librement, portait atteinte aux traditions les plus anciennes et les plus vénérées de l’Hellade. »

31 On the chronology of the Aetolian attack and Demetrius’ expedition see S.V. Tracy, Athens and Macedon: Attic Letter-Cutters of300 to 229 BC, Berkeley /Los Angeles, University of California Press, 2003, p. 44 sq.

32 SEG 48, 588, l. 21-23: [(…)[() ἐν δὲ Δελϕοῖς διαμένειν τὸ τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος ἱερὸ]ν ϰοινὸν πάντων τῶν Ἑλλήνων [ϰαὶ συνέρχεσθαι εἰς τήν τε πυλαίαν ϰαὶ εἰς τὸν ἀγῶνα τῶν Πυθίων? τ]οὺς Ἀμϕιϰτίονας ϰατὰ τὰ πάτρια, [ὥστε ἐπιμελεῖσθαι τῶν ἱερῶν?…]. Cf. F. Lefèvre, “Traité de paix entre Démétrios Poliorcète et la confédération étolienne (fin 289?)”, BCH 122 (1998), p. 139. A further example of the assurance of unrestricted access to the Delphic sanctuary may be found in IG II2 652, l. 4-8 from 286/5.

33 Cf. A.D. Nock, “ΣΥΝΝΑΟΣ ΘΕΟΣ”, HSCP 41 (1930), p. 204; B. Schmidt-Dounas, “Statuen hellenistischer Könige als Synnaoi Theoi”, Egnatia 4 (1993/94), p. 78; I. Bald Romano, Early Greek Cult Images, Philadelphia, University Microfilms International, 1980, p. 291 assigns to the second statue the lower cult status of an accompanying deity.

34 See in particular T.S. Scheer, Die Gottheit und ihr Bild. Untersuchungen zur Funktion griechischer Kultbilder in Religion und Politik, München, Beck, 2000 (Zetemata, 105), p. 271-279.

35 Cf. Plut., Demetr., 23, 2-3.

36 On the debate over the cultic function of the Parthenon cf. B. Holtzmnn, L’Acropole d’Athènes. Monuments, cultes et histoire du sanctuaire d’Athèna Polios, Paris, Picard, 2003 (Antiqua, 7), p. 105-107.

37 Apart from its strategic function as a fortress, the acropolis as Demetrius’ new residence was a place of symbolic significance. It was the legendary seat of the first kings of Athens, and so Demetrius was visibly linked to the past of the city. There were surely also practical considerations for his taking up residence in the Parthenon. Scott, l.c. (n. 1), p. 218 rightly notes that “Demetrius found in the temple the most spacious and attractive residence in Athens, so that there was, in part at least, a desire for comfort behind his occupation of the Parthenon.”

38 Plut., Demetr., 23, 3: τὸν γὰν ὀπισθόδομον τοῦ Παρθενῶνος ἀπέδειξαν αὐτῷ ϰατάλυσιν· ϰἀϰεῖ δίαιταν εἶχε, τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς λεγομένης ὑποδέχεσθαι ϰαὶ ξενίζειν αὐτόν.

39 Clemens Alexandrinus, Protreptrikos IV, 54, 6.

40 Habicht, o.c. (n. 1), p. 49 and G.B. Philipp, “Philippides, ein politischer Komiker in hellenistischer Zeit”, Gymnasium 80 (1973), p. 505 follow this interpretation.

41 Clem. Alex., Protr. IV, 54, 6.

42 E.T. Newell, The Coinages of Demetrius Poliorcetes, London, Oxford University Press, 1927, p. 38-41.

43 Plut., Demetr., 23, 4.

44 Herodot, II, 64.

45 In Demetr., 24, 1 Plutarch refers to the acropolis in general as the location of the orgies, whereas in his comparison between Demetrius and Antony (Comparatio Demetrii et Antonii, 4, 3-4) he explicitly mentions the Parthenon. The prohibition of dogs on the acropolis “because of their gross, uncleanly habits” (ibid.) may shed light upon the strict requirement of cleanliness at this cult site.

46 Apparently, Demetrius’ behaviour in the temple of Apollo at Delos (on his way to Athens) was not any less wanton and scandalous since, when the records of the temple suggest that the kopros had to be removed after the king’s departure, one may for good reason assume, in the face of the incidents in Athens, that some very specific refuse is meant. Cf. IG XI 146 A, 1. 76 sq. See F.W. Walbank, “Könige als Götter. Überlegungen zum Herrscherkult von Alexander bis Augustus”, Chiron 17 (1987), p. 370. Cf., however, the objections by Scheer, o.c. (n. 34), p. 276 sq.

47 The dishonouring of Athena Parthenos seems to have been taken to yet another level during the rule of the tyrant Lachares, who not only removed and melted down the sacred golden shields of the acropolis but perhaps also stole the jewelry from the statue of Athena Parthenos and thereby “made Athena naked”. Cf. Plut., Moralia 379cd; 1090e; Athen., IX, 405 sq.; CAF III 357.

48 Plut., Demetr., 24, 1 (trans. B. Perrin): Αημήτριος (…) τοσαύτην ὓβριν εἰς παῖδας ἐλευθέρους ϰαὶ γυναῖϰας ἀστὰς ϰστὰς ϰατεσϰέδασε τῆς ἀϰροπόλεως ὥστε δοϰεῖν τότε μάλιστα ϰαθαρεύειν τὸν τόπον, ὅτε Χρυσίδι ϰαὶ Λαμίᾳ ϰαὶ Δημοῖ ϰαὶ Ἀντιϰύρᾳ ταῖς πόρναις ἐϰείναις, συναϰολασταίνοι.

49 Cf. R. Parker, Miasma. Pollution and Purification in Early Greek Religion, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1983, p. 75, 90-92; E. Lupu, Greek Sacred Law. A Collection of New Documents (NGSL), Leiden, Brill, 2005 (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, 152), p. 77-79, 212 sq.

50 Plut., Demetr., 12, 2-3.

51 R.L. Grimes, “Infelicitous Performances and Ritual Criticism”, Semeia 41 (1988), p. 110-116 identifies nine categories of ritual “failure”: misfire, abuse, ineffectuality, violation, contagion, opacity, defeat, omission, misframing.

52 Only a few decades before, Demosthenes (4, 35) proudly stated that the Athenians had always carried out the Panathenaea and the Dionysia at the regular time, in spite of adverse circumstances.

53 Cf. IG II2 657= Syll.3 374; T.L. Shear, Kallias of Sphettos and the Revolt of Athens in 286 B.C., Princeton, The American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1978 (Hesperia, suppl. 17), p. 94 sq. The donation suggests that the mast had also been destroyed by the storm. For a detailed discussion of the Panathenaean ship see N. Robertson, “The Origin of the Panathenaea”, RhM 128 (1985), p. 290-295.

54 Shear, o.c. (n. 53), p. 41: “What is still more surprising is the nature of the donations themselves. Lysimachos, who sent to Athens 10,000 medimnoi of wheat and later 130 silver talents, contented himself with a gift of three pieces of timber for the goddess Athena.”

55 Cf. Shear, o.c. (n. 53), p. 3 sq. = SEG 28, 60, 1. 66-70.

56 In his final assessment of the events, Shear, o.c. (n. 53), p. 41 arrives at the conclusion that the new mast and rope “were dedications more than donations.” The same donation was made by Miltiades of Marathon in 142, which is similarly emphasized in the honorary decree. Cf. IG II2 968, 1. 48 sq.

57 Plut., Demetr., 12, 2: ἐπεσήμηνε δὲ τοῖς πλείστοις τὸ θεῖον. Even the correct performance of rituals would not have guaranteed a successful communication as long as the gods did not “answer” to the dedications.

58 Plut., Demetr., 10, 4. On the peplos and its cult function see J.M. Mansfield, The Robe of Athena and the Panathenaic peplos, Berkeley, 1985, p. 51-78.

59 So J.D. Mikalson, Religion in Hellenistic Athens, Berkeley /Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1998, p. 93.

60 Plut., Demetr., 24, 5.

61 Cf. Scheer, o.c. (n. 34), p. 275, n. 486; P. Green, “Delivering the Go(o)ds: Demetrius Poliorcetes and Hellenistic Divine Kingship”, in G.W. Bakewell, J.P. Sickinger (eds), Gestures. Essays in Ancient History, Literature and Philosophy presented to Alan L. Boegehold, Oxford, Oxbow, 2003, p. 264.

62 Because of the textual closeness Habicht, o.c. (n. 1), p. 49 sq. assumed that Dromocleides’ decree was identical with Stratocles’ proposal but he revised this view later in id., Untersuchungen zur politischen Geschichte Athens im 3. Jahrhundert v. Chr., München, Beck, 1979 (Vestigia, 30), p. 36.

63 Plut., Demetr., 13 (trans. B. Perrin).

64 For a detailed analysis of the decree and its political background see Habicht, o.c. (n. 62), p. 34-44.

65 Aeschines, 3, 116.

66 Cf. Flacelière, o.c. (n. 30), p. 51 sq.; C. Antonetti, Les Étoliens, image et religion, Paris, Belles Lettres, 1990, p. 122-124.

67 Douris FGrHist 76 F 13 = Athen., VI, 253d-f. (trans. M.M. Austin): τὴν δ’ οὐχὶ Θηβῶν, ἀλλ’ ὅλης τῆς Ἑλλάδος Σϕίγγα περιϰρατοῦσαν, Αἰτωλὸς ὅστις ἐπὶ πέτρας ϰαθήμενος, ὥσπερ ἡ παλαιά (…).

68 Ibid.: ἀλλοὶ μὲν ἢ μαϰρὰν γὰρ ἀπέχουσιν θεοὶ ἢ οὐϰ ἔχουσιν ὦτα ἢ οὐϰ εἰσὶν ἢ οὐ προσέχουσιν ἡμῖν οὐδὲ ἕν, σὲ δὲ παρόνθ’ ὁρῶμεν.

69 Plut., Demetr., 11, 1. This honour is also attested for Ptolemy Philadelphos, Antigonus Gonatas und Antiochus III. Cf. P.Lond. VII, 1973; Athen., XIII, 607c. Theoroi were also sent to Alexander at Babylon. Cf. Arrian, Anabasis VII, 23.

70 Cf. Plut., Demetr., 42, 1-3. On the ruler’s aloofness see also A. Wallace-Hadrill, “Civilis princeps. Between King and Citizen”, JRS 72 (1982), p. 33 sq.

71 Plut., Demetr., 12, 4; 26, 3 (trans. B. Perrin): ὁ τὸν ἐνιαυτὸν συντεμὼν εἰς μῆν’ ἕνα, ϰαὶ περὶ τῆς ἐν τῷ Παρθενῶνι ϰατασϰηνώσεως· ὁ τὴν ἀϰρόπολιν πανδοϰεῖον ὑπολαβών, ϰαὶ τὰς ἑταίρας εἰσαγαγὼν τῇ παρθένῳ. (…) δι’ ὃν ἀπέϰαυσεν ἡ πάχνη τὰς ἀμπέλους, δι’ ὃν ἀσεβοῦνθ’ ὁ πέπλος ἐρράγη μέσος, ποιοῦντα τιμὰς τὰς [τῶν] θεῶν ἀνθρωπίνας.

72 Plut., Demetr., 12, 4: ταῦτα ϰαταλύει δῆμον, οὐ ϰωμῳδία. Three years after Demetrius’ expulsion from Athens, in 284/3, Philippides reintroduced “all contests” (πάντας τοὺς [ἀγῶνας]) by a private donation, which probably refers to the restoration of the biennial Eleusinian games as well as the Greater Mysteries, which could not be celebrated in 286 during Demetrius’ occupation of Eleusis. Cf. IG II2 657, l. 38-50; Shear, o.c. (n. 53), p. 85.

73 Cf. Demochares, FGrHist 75 F 1; Plut., Demetr., 24, 5; Douris, FGrHist 76 F 13 = Athen., VI, 253d-f; Philochorus, FGrHist 328 F 70.

74 R. Parker, Athenian Religion. A History, Oxford, University Press, 1996, p. 261.

75 Cf. Plut., Mor., 756a-b; see A. Wardman, Plutarch’s Lives, Berkeley/Los Angeles, University of California Press, 1974, p. 89 sq.: R. Lamberton, Plutarch, New Haven/London, Yale University Press, 2001, p. 56 sq.

76 Plut., Demetr, 13, 2.

77 Ibid., 10, 3.

Auteur

Universität Heidelberg Seminar für Alte Geschichte und Epigraphik Marstallhof 4 D – 69117 Heidelberg E-mail: mailto:annika.kuhn@urz.uni-heidelberg.de

© Presses universitaires de Liège, 2006

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

Cette publication numérique est issue d’un traitement automatique par reconnaissance optique de caractères.

Acheter

Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search